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Great service for managing your cloud storage!


cloudHQ logoRan across an app that is actually REALLY useful:

CloudHQ allows you to one-way or two-way sync and automatically transfer or backup files between a bunch of cloud services like Gmail, Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.

If you have information stored all over the cloud this one tool can keep everything synced as you want it and backed up nice and safe.  I highly recommend!!!

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Jon Hernandez New Mack Amps Endorsing Artist!


Mack Amps is thrilled to announce that Jon Hernandez is now a Mack Amps Endorsing Artist!Jon Hernandez Mack Endorsing Artist

Jon is an experienced musician and guitarist.  However, he also is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist also playing bass, drums and keyboards.

Jon has worked in a number of different bands over the last 25 years and is currently working on his first solo album.

In addition to all that, Jon is an Internet radio personality hosting two shows on the Prog Palace Radio network:  Gear Guys Radio where he hosts a weekly 2 hour show talking about all sorts of cool guitar equipment and Prognasium where he plays the latest in progressive and power metal along with interviews of some of the best bands on the planet.

You can follow Jon Hernandez on Facebook here. 

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Adam Karch New Mack Amps Endorsing Artist


Mack Amps is thrilled to announce that Montreal based Adam Karch is now a Mack Amps Endorsing Artist! 

Listen to any Adam Karch original song and you will immediately know that this guy is a serious,Adam Karch Mack Amps Endorsing Artist serious musician.  Not only is he a truly gifted guitarist, but his song writing and singing are equally impressive.

Adam plays a Mack Amps Heatseeker HS-18 and uses a set of Mack TL-1, hand made guitar pickups.  If you ever get a chance to see Adam live... DON"T MISS IT!!

Check out Adam's recent album "Cotton Fields".  You can also connect with Adam Karch on Facebook.

Take a look at this video, you'll quickly see why Mack Amps is delighted to have Adam Karch join our Endorsing Artist family!!

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David Barrett Guitar Summit 2014


I you love guitar you need to attend the Ravenswood David Barrett Guitar Summit 2014!David Barrett Guitar Summitt 2014

Mack Amps Endorsing Artist, David Barrett, is hosting the second annual Ravenswood Guitar Summitt January 31st to February 2, 2014 at super beautiful Ravenswood near Bobcaygeon, Ontario.

It's an all-inclusive, exclusive event for guitarists of any skill level.  All you need is a passion for guitar, good wine, good food and fun!

Over the course of Friday evening to Sunday David Barrett will conduct interactive sessions on songwriting and his performance approach to acoustic guitar, a session detailing his Pigtronix effects and how he uses each one and a session featuring David's Mack amps (including his new David Barrett signature models!) and - this is a very special treat - Pete Swanson of Dagmar Guitars will be there with a few of his amazing, simply stunning guitars to talk about these exceptional instruments and how he builds them!!!  Pete is a great guy and a truly gifted luthier.

In between sessions attendees will be well looked after with a wine tasting event Friday night and amazing meals throughout the weekend including on Saturday hors d’oeuvres created by Executive Chef Sacha Douglas, followed later with a gourmet sit-down dinner!!

Saturday's after dinner treat is a performance by the David Barrett Trio!!

Sunday starts with a deluxe baked oatmeal, specialty of David Barrett himself. Then Ravenswood proprietor Paul Reid will discuss motorcycling on long-distance adventures with photos from the incredible isolated roads of Canada, USA and South America.

The summitt is open to 12 guests - of any skill level.

Remember, this is an all-inclusive event including accomodation (in the stunning Ravenswood lodge in a gorgeous setting!), food, beverages and the sessions!

Learn more about the Ravenswood David Barrett Guitar Summit 2014...


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David Barrett Trio - Rush Medley - Dagmar Guitars and Mack Amps


David Barrett Gem 2GDo you dig Rush?  Come on, you know you do!!

On Sunday July 7, 2013 the David Barrett Trio was the closing act of the 13th annual RushCon event.  According to the event's organizing body "RushCon is the largest North American gathering of fans celebrating the music of Canadian rock band, Rush."

The weekend long event started Friday and spanned the entire weekend including a Rush gig at Copps Colesium in Hamilton, Ontario.

The final event of the fesitivities was Sunday's Closing Reception at Toronto's The Oribt Room.  And, the highlight of that event was the closing act DB3!!

The David Barrett Trio recently released their self-title first album to wide aclaim.  All but one song was produced by Rush's Alex Lifeson and Rich Chycki (who also engineered all of the songs he and Lifeson produced and mixed the entire album) and the one that wasn't was produced and engineered by the legendary Alan Parsons!  Mr. Chyki has been behind the console for many Rush albums and has worked with the likes of Mick Jagger, Aerosmith and many more.  Impressive company indeed!

Based on the Trio's admiration for Rush's body of work and their delight in playing their tunes, it was a natural fit for the RushCon organizers to include them as the headliner for last event of the 13th annual Rush extranvaganza!

In the following video you will see an excerpt from the David Barrett Trio's Rush medley!  David is playing through his three-amp Mack backline with the Dagmar Custom Guitars stunning creation "Jane".  Enjoy!!

David Barrett plays the following Mack gear: Heatseeker HS-18, Skyraider SR-15, Gem 2G and 1x12CB, 1x12OB (custom) and 1x10CB speakers cabs.  He will soon be playing his signature amps the Atomsmasher DB-18 and Atomsmasher DB-40!

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Jef Culhane's Resistor - NEW Album and Upcoming Gig!


Any fan of great songwriting, guitar playing and singing based on classic 70's rock may well know of Jef Culhane.  Particularly if you're from the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.

If you don't know of Jef, here's your chance to learn about a consummate musician - and a great guy - with a long and successful music career.

Jef Culhane’s Resistor will be performing their new record live, opening for UK legends Nextar and Martin Turner’s Wishbone Ash, June 30th, 2013, 6:30 PM at Famous Dave’s in Uptown Minneapolis, MN!

The following is an excerpt from Jef's web site:

"Jef Culhane. Iconic lead guitarist from Minnesota, renowned worldwide.

Jef Culhane has had a decades-long and wildly varied career performing as a highly accomplished guitarist. His talent allowed him to master other string instruments as well, including mandolin, and other less common instruments. Demand for his ability led to a great deal of session work over the last four decades. Additionally his shows led Jef to perform not only all throughout the USA, but also in the Caribbean and Austria!

Jef is now back in his home state of Minnesota, after receiving a diagnosis of terminal cancer. However, even that could not prevent him from making his new record, with a release date of June/July 2013.

Having returned both to his hometown, and his musical roots, he has reformed his iconic 1979-1980 band: Resistor.

In 1979 Resistor first appeared and immediately developed an uncanny level of acceptance in the fast changing music scene of the American Midwest.

Formed by Jef, they performed many high profile shows in Minneapolis and St Paul, playing mostly songs composed by Jef, and original lead singer Wade “Flash” Madson, in addition to covers considered “hip” at the time. Many of these performances were at clubs reserved for the entirely original groups of the day, a real change from the night club scene of even five years prior.

They also managed to perform to large audiences regularly in the suburban areas, altering the list to fewer originals and covering more mainstream popular rock as well. No other band in the Midwest managed to deal from both sides of the deck, and certainly none with the same reception. That kind of cross-over of venues just DID NOT HAPPEN – except for Resistor, they had an appeal that worked on both sides."

Learn more about Jef and the Resisitors here:



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David Barrett Trio - NEW Music Video "Dive" featuring Mack Amps


Here is the first video release from the David Barrett Trio's upcoming album.

The album is produced by Alex Lifeson of Rush and recorded by longtime Rush engineer Richard Chycki.

Tell us what you think!

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Jef Culhane comments on his Mack Amps Heatseeker HS-18


Comments from Jef Culhane about his Heatseeker HS-18:

Minnesota 2007

Jef Culhane comes from the deeply talented musical universe centered in St. Paul/Minneapolis.  Check out his Myspace page and listen to the tunes from his album "Out Of The Hat Into The Fire"... great writing (love these songs!!) and guitar playing!!

"The near life changing event was when I plugged in the Stratocaster (Eric Johnson Model).  It was more "Strat sounding" than any Strat I have ever heard.  It blew away the Matchless DC30 I had.  Literally, I sat with my mouth open for several minutes in disbelief."

"Yesterday I took the rig over for a showdown with a friend's Mesa, and he had to admit the Mack killed his Mesa."

"Well, you have proven again, you are the King of Voicing.  Using inexpensive components in a combination that is frighteningly close to the tones you only get by spending 4 times the money - or more!"

"Seriously, I say all this stuff because I mean it.  I already bought your amp, I am not angling for an endorsement deal or anything of the kind.  I just support the small business man (having been one), and you are filling a real void/niche that has existed far too long."

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Mack Amps Skyraider SR-15 Customer Sound Clips

Mack Amps Skyraider SR-15 boutique guitar amp

Mark Bussieres, who owns a Mack Syraider SR-15 boutique guitar amp, kindly recorded two demo tracks and sent them in to us!  You get to hear the results!

The two tracks are called "Classic Rock Sample" and "Soul Rock Sample".

Classic Rock Sample was recorded as follows:

    • SR-15 into Randall isolation cab loaded with Celestion V30.
    • V30 mic'ed with SM57 pointed on axis just to the left of the cone at a distance of where grill cloth would be on a regular cabinet.
    • Alesis IO26 mixer/audio converter.
    • Logic Pro 9
    • Left Channel:  Mid-90's Les Paul Gem (with P90s) using the bridge pickup with the SR15 volume at 3 o'clock and the tone at 12 o'clock.  Added a bit of delay in Logic.
    • Right Channel:  2005 Parker PM20 using bridge pickup in humbucker mode (they are bright HBs).  Same volume and tone on the Skyraider.  Bit of reverb added in Logic.
    • Centre Channel:  1992 Godin G1000 using bridge humbucker pickup.  SR volume up FULL!  Tone around 2 o'clock.  Again, some delay added in Logic.
Soul Rock Sample was recorded using the same signal chain and the following instruments:
    • Left Channel: 1994 Stratocaster with SR in Burn mode and volume at 11 o'clock and Tone at 12 o;clock.
    • Right Channel: MIM Tele with SR in Hot mode, volume and tone as above.
    • Lead Guitar CLEAN: Les Paul Gem with both pickups SR in melt mode with volume at 10 o'clock and tone at 12 o'clock.
    • Lead Guitar DIRTY: Same as for clean except volume up full and bridge pickup only.
    • Some reverb and delay added here and there for good measure. All other instruments played by me, except drums as usual.
Only a light touch of reverb and delay was added, no other effects were used in this recording.
MANY thanks to Mark for taking the time to lay down these well played and recorded tracks!!

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Improve Your Live Electric Guitar Tone


Val Halla Mack AmpsLast week we received an email from a guitarist that had read one of our articles - "Getting Great Guitar Sound On Stage" and had some questions about how to improve his own live sound.

He plays a Les Paul Studio and Epiphone Sheraton through a POD 500 multi-effects processor and Orange AD30 amp.

He was concerned about the live tone he was getting because a few venue sound engineers had advised that at times his tone was too "thin and bright".

He was using the POD to try and get chimey Vox tones by using an AC30 amp sim setting and then adding EQ to try to overcome what he perceives to be the dark tone of the Orange amp.

Here is what we suggested he try to get the range of tones he was looking for:

First, get to know your guitars and your amp without effects.  Spend some time to understand exactly what they sound like on their own and what kind of different tones they can produce by adjusting the amp controls.

Plug your LP straight into the amp.  Set the amp's gain for a clean tone on the clean channel.  Set the treble-middle-bass (TMB) controls all on 5 - what does that sound like?

Next, cut the bass and mid to zero and the treble full up.  What does that sound like?  Do that with each of the TMB controls.

Now, to start dialling in the basic tone you are after - brighter than what you have been getting, put the TMB controls back to 5 and roll off the bass to zero and boost the treble up to the point where the amp gives you the treble response you are looking for - leave the mids at 5.  If the amp is still too dark gradually lower the mids - and raise the treble if need be - to try and get a great tone that gives you the brightness you are looking for.

Keep in mind that there is no 'wrong' position for any of the TMB controls.  Don't be afraid to experiment with what might seem to be extreme or weird settings.  Here's an article about TMB controls that shows that they are not very precise and that what might be considered ' normal' settings do not necessarily alter the tone in a way that you might think:

The point is that you should be able to get the basic rhythm tone you are after from your guitar and amp without outboard EQ.  Spend enough time at it to learn what your amp is capable of and to get comfortable with how your guitar sounds without its tone being altered by your POD.

When you have achieved a clean tone that you are happy with move on to the drive channel and do the same thing looking for a crunch tone or tones that you like that meet your needs.

When I say spend some time doing this I mean, perhaps, a few hours of playing and experimenting not just a 15 minutes knob twiddling session.  As described above, you will learn what your amp and guitars are capable of producing on their own and you will tune your ears to what a guitar sounds like straight through an amp.

Next, introduce your effects back into the signal, but only very subtly.  Remember, when it comes to effects less is always more unless you are after extreme tones where the sound is the effects.

Follow the same path with the gain and volume controls.  What settings gives you the most clean headroom on the clean channel - the highest volume you can achieve while still maintaining a clean tone?  What setting produces the max overdrive/distortion?  Best crunch?  Can you find a setting where simply altering your pick attach can take you from clean to overdrive and in between?  etc.  Learn what your amp and guitar can do regarding overdriven and distorted tones without any effects in the way.

If you were able to get good tone from your amp and guitar you should not need the amp sim from the POD.  Reintroduce the POD without using the sim you are used to - with your new found settings how do the modulation and time-based effects sound? 

Regarding time-based effects, try bringing them in subtly - don't use as much as you used to - how does that sound?  Less reverb, delay and chorus almost always sound better particularly on stage.  The instant you start to use these effects in a live band setting you start to recede into the mix - the added ambience makes your tone less distinct and your guitar starts to fade into the wash of sound produced by the cymbals and whatever else is happening on stage.

At your next rehearsal try playing without any time-based effects with your new amp settings and see how your sound sits in the mix - try to stand in front of the band when you play to get a good sense of this.  Chances are that you can hear your guitar better than before.

I realize that to replicate the recorded tone of some songs, time-based effects may be critical because the tone is the effect.  Even in those cases experiment with more subtle settings than those that produce a tone just like the recording when standing in front of your amp and playing by yourself.  The natural ambience of the room add to time based effects and, again, lots of phaser/flanger/chorus/delay/reverb will cause your tone to recede into the mix and you will likely want to add treble to cut through.  Less is more!

Regarding lead tone, if your amp's drive channel doesn't quite get you to the distortion level that you want for some leads use a pedal for that.  But, keep in mind that the most common error of guitarists is to use too much distortion.  As before, try adding less distortion for leads than you might have used in the past, gradually increasing to where you get a good, 'flowing' lead tone.  Then stop!  My guess is that if you had lowered the distortion level that sound guy would have said "problem solved" and you would no longer have sounded thin and bright.

In conclusion, I bet that you will find that EQ is not the solution.  Less effects and different amp settings probably will be the answer.  Turning on effects and then looking to EQ to make it sound good is an exercise in chasing your tail.

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