Black and Brown and Trem All Over

Magical modulation: The brownface Tremolux

You see a lot of chatter online about the differences between the tremolo circuit Fender used in its early-’60s “brownface” amps and the trem circuit that replaced it in the mid-decade “blackface” models. (Just Google “brownface blackface tremolo” to see what I mean.) The prevailing sentiment seems to […]

Tonefiend “How To” Articles

Here’s a running list of all the “how to” posts on this site, as opposed to the ones where we’re just hanging out talking crap. 😉

How to Install Pickups How to Install Onboard Effects. How to Install “Vintage” Les Paul wiring. How to Direct-Record Guitars. How to Install “Nashville” Tele Wiring on a Strat. […]

A Cool Alternative Tone Control for Bass

Looks vintage, but it ain't.

After auditioning so many different tone-control schemes over the course of the Mongrel Strat Project, I wound up with more tone circuits than I have Strats, so I figured I’d victimize a bass — specifically, a 1954 Fender P-Bass reissue with a Seymour Duncan Quarter-Pound pickup, which I’ve […]

The Pagey Project: Prelude

Double the sounds available from your axe!

Man, preparing the Pagey project has been a real eye-opener! Expect some surprising results! (Hint: There’s much of interest, even for players who have zero desire to sound like Page.)

I’ll be posting the first video and tech walk-through after the weekend, but in the meantime, […]

Onboard Distortion Without a Battery?

Low-Voltage Chunk from Diode Distortion!

Did you know you can add a simple circuit to your guitar or bass that produces onboard distortion — without using a battery?

The idea is pretty simple — you attach a pair of diodes to the guitar’s output via a pot or switch. With the diodes connected […]

Charlie Christian (and That Pickup)

Despite being obsessed with Charlie Christian for decades, I’ve never played a Gibson ES-150, the guitar he made famous. I’ve never even messed with a “Charlie Christian pickup,” even though it’s been a fairly common retrofit ever since the late Danny Gatton installed one in his Tele’s neck position. But I’ve always wondered: Could the […]

Gore Pedals: New for 2017

Oh man — my friends at Premier Guitar just posted a video of me demoing four of my new pedal prototypes at NAMM. I didn’t even think I’d have these ready by showtime, but I powered out at the last minute. (Maybe ’cause I needed something to take my mind of the inauguration.)

It’s […]

What’s Your Favorite Note?

No, I don’t mean like, “What’s better: B-flat or F-sharp?” Rather, is there a single note from a great recording or performance that haunts your dreams?

Here’s what go me on the topic: One of my Premier Guitar colleagues, Gary Ciocci, recently turned me on to El Twanguero (aka Diego Garcia), a brilliant Spanish-born, Argentina-based […]

Less-Boring Looping (“Pumped-Up Kicks” Cover)

For a while I’ve been playing this loop-based cover of Foster the People’s “Pumped-Up Kicks” at solo gigs and with my duo band, Mental 99. At risk of sounding like a pompous dick, I’ve annotated the performance, highlighting techniques I’ve found useful for making loop-based performances livelier and less predictable.

I’ve covered some of […]

Ultimate Lipstick-Tube Guitar (with experimental tone control & onboard overdrive)

Okay, it’s not the ultimate lipstick-tube guitar for everybody, but it probably is for me. It’s my third lipstick-tube pickup experiment — and definitely my favorite.

You may have heard some of these parts before: I used the neck for all my Mongrel Strat projects, and the Strat-sized Seymour Duncan pickups appeared in my […]