Here is the first video release from the David Barrett Trio's upcoming album. Note that almost all of the guitar tracks feature David's Heatseeker HS-18!
The album is produced by Alex Lifeson of Rush and recorded by longtime Rush engineer Richard Chycki.
Tell us what you think!
blog comments powered by
Comments from Jef Culhane about his Heatseeker HS-18:
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!! http://www.myspace.com/jefthetoneking
"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."
blog comments powered by
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!!
blog comments powered by
Last 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: http://www.mackamps.com/articles/guitar-amp-tone-controls/
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.
blog comments powered by
Yesterday, May 25, 2012, Mack Amps Endorsing Artist David Barrett came by our showroom to test pickups in his Epiphone doubleneck.
Why would he be testing pickups at Mack Amps????
Because we are about to launch our own line of pickups that are hand made in the Toronto area and that sell for less than typical boutique guitar pickups!
The Mack line will include humbuckers, Tele, Strat and P-90 styles.
Every pickup is completely hand made to vintage standards of materials, construction and building methods. These pickups are as close to original vintage specs as it is possible to achieve in 2012.
Back to David...
David's band, The David Barrett Trio - DB3 - have been turning heads in the Toronto area and worldwide with their original instrumental music along the lines of Rush and fusion - that is heavy and highly melodic!
DB3 are currently recording an album that is being produced by Alex Lifeson of Rush and recorded by Rich Chycki Rush's long time sound engineer who has worked with Aerosmith, Mick Jagger and many other big names.
David and Alex have been friends for many years and a few years ago Alex loaned David his famous white, Gibson 1275. Well, Rush are hitting the road this summer and Alex decided he wanted to play that guitar again live. Pending the Gibson's imminent return to its famous owner, David snagged a very nice Epiphone doubleneck, but was unhappy with its pickups.
Yesterday David and I spent almost four hours testing Mack HB-1 humbuckers that were all identical except for the type of ALNICO magnets.
The Mack HB-1 humbucker lineup will include pickups made with ALNICO 2 (AL2), AL3, AL4, AL5 and AL5 'Unaligned' or AL5U (more on what that means later!).
The object of the exercise was to make David's Epi sound like Lifeson's Gibson. Not an easy task as this particular 1275 is a VERY, VERY good sounding guitar!
Here is what David ended up with:
- 12 string, bridge pickup: Mack HB-1 AL4. The ALNICO 4 humbucker is as close to an exact match with Lifeson's 12 string neck sound as possible using a different guitar. The AL4 had the perfect blend of overtones and clarity and provided a very even response over the frequency range of the guitar. It sounded just as 'lush' and full bodied and the Gibson, which was exactly what we were looking for!
- 6 string, bridge pickup: Mack HB-1 AL5U. We first tried an AL2 and then an AL5 in the 6 string bridge. The AL2 was nice and clear, but did not have as much lower mid/bottom response and overall complexity as Lifeson's 6 string bridge pickup. The AL5 was much closer, but had a bit too much attack (sounded awesome, but not quite what David wanted). So, we tried the AL5U, which provided the even response and lush overtones while still sounding ballsy and aggressive - just what a humbucker bridge pickup should be and a VERY close match to the Gibson.
- 6 string, neck pickup: Mack HB-1 AL5. On a whim, we tried the AL5 in the 6 string neck position and were blown away by the great tone! Articulate, harmonically rich 'woman' tone that had amazing bite and NO bottom end mush. Although this was a more aggressive tone than the Gibson doubleneck's 6 string neck pickup, David instantly fell in love with it!!
David did all of the testing through a Heatseeker HS-18 and 1x12CB.
ALNICO 5 Unaligned - What is it?
When ALNICO 5 magnet material is made it is cooled in a magnetic field. This aligns the magnetic particles in the metal so their orientation is aligned in the same direction.
AL5U is made slightly differently: as it cools the magnetic material is NOT subjected to a magnetic field. This allows the magnetic particles in the metal to remain randomly oriented or 'unaligned. Note that AL2, 3 and 4 magnetic particles are also not aligned.
What does that mean to tone? Whereas AL5, which is used in most humbuckers, provides the most aggressive tone of the group, the AL5U is slightly less aggressive, but features more harmonics - the word 'lush' I used above is a great descriptor.
Stay tuned for more information on the soon-to-be-launched Mack pickup line and more about the what makes pickups sound the way they do!
blog comments powered by
Warrent Greig is a GREAT jazz player and, I am proud to say, a Mack Endorsing Artist.
This guy plays the real deal. Beautiful improvised lines played with taste, dynamics and wonderful note choices - and his tone is first rate!
Here's a video of Warrent playing a solo at a recent gig with his 1949 Gibson ES175 through his Skyraider SR-15.
Check out Warren Grieg's YouTube site for some more great videos and his Mack Endorsing Artist page!
blog comments powered by
April 8, 2012, Richmond Hill, Ontario: Mack Amps is pleased to announce the launch of a new electric guitar speaker cabinet - the 1x10 CB!
The 1x10 CB is a 10" guitar speaker cabinet featuring an Eminence Redcoat 'Ramrod', 10" ceramic magnet speaker.
The 1x10 CB replaces the 1x10 OB (open back cabinet). In addition to the Eminence Ramrod speaker in place of the OB's Eminence Rajin Cajun speaker, the new 1x10 CB's cabinet is 50% deeper than the OB's and features a tuned port. Both of these new design elements help to give the 1x10 CB a warmer and deeper voice compared to the OB.
"The 1x10 OB was popular with Mack Amps Gem owners, but we kept tweaking and playing with designs that would provide even better 'at home' and low volume guitar tone," said Mack Amps founder, Don Mackrill. "The result is a small guitar speaker cabinet that produces big sound. Most guitarists are surprised that so much bass and warmth can come from a 10" speaker cab."
The Eminence Ramrod was selected for the new 1x10 CB because of its British character, lush cleans and because it LOVES overdrive and distortion!
Deeper cab, closed back, tuned port. More warmth and bottom!
Based on the experience gained from designing the Mack Amps 1x12 CB speaker cabinet that also features a tuned port, the quest for more warmth and body in a small 10" speaker cabinet naturally focused on a tuned port also.
At high volumes the 1x10 CB sounds like many of the smallish 1x12 cabs on the market. However, when low volume is required for at home playing or perhaps in the studio bass response becomes even more important.
As the volume drops the perception of bass frequencies (see the article "Maximize Low Volume Guitar Tone" to learn more) decreases relatively more than midrange and treble frequencies. That's why many hi-fi amps have a 'loudness' control - to boost the bass when listening at low volume.
To counteract this natural phenomenon, and help guitarists that play at home (ALL of us!), the new 1x10 CB has been designed to produce relatively more bass frequencies than traditional 10" guitar speaker cabinets.
Check out the new Mack Amps 1x10 CB guitar speaker cabinet!
blog comments powered by
Mack Amps Endorsing Artist Tommy Mack and his Austin, Texas based band, The Lifters, have recently released a new album "Rolas Para Gringos"!
Tommy and The Lifters epitomize Texas rock and roll that they spice up by adding elements of punk and country.
"We finally have a CD that was recorded all in one studio with one engineer and produced by our ears exclusively. The songs are a mix of old un-recorded material and new stuff I wrote just for this project, and believe me, it's all LIFTERS, all the way." says Tommy.
THE LIFTERS started out in 2001 and have since released three CD's, two on Austin label Killingbird records and the latest "Rolas Para Gringos" on TOMMYPLANET RECORDS.
THE LIFTERS released their second CD "Texas Trash" in 2005 to positive reviews in the USA and abroad. The single "She's A Devil" was in heavy rotation in Brazil, Argentina and the UK prompting plans for a future tours.
Included on the new CD are two country standards 'Make Believe' by Conway Twitty and "Mama Tried' by Merle Haggard. Both songs have a refreshing rock edge that is synonymous with the bands 'Big Texas Sound'.
THE LIFTERS started 2007 by playing La Zona Rosa on New Years Eve With Reckless Kelly and later securing a spot in SXSW. After two mini-tours of Texas they began laying ground work for the next CD.
In 2011 they finally released their third CD "Rolas Para Gringos" on the newly formed Tommyplanet Records label in September 2011. With help from good friends Bukka Allen (Bodeans), Kelley Mickwee (The Trishas), Cody Braun (Reckless Kelly) and Bobby Rock (Honky) they have finally hit their stride and don't plan on looking back!
Rolas Para Gringos and Texas Trash can be purchased at CDBaby, iTunes and other online music sites.
TOMMY MACK & THE LIFTERS are TOMMY MACK (vox/guitar) BILLY CHAINSAW (bass/vox) LANCE FARLEY (drums) ROB BENTLEY (Guitar).
Tommy plays both a Mack Amps Heatseeker HS-18 and Heatseeker HS-36. Here they are mic'ed and ready to rock in the studio:
blog comments powered by
Mack Amps is very pleased to announce the addition of Joey McCarran to our growing family of Mack Endorsing Artists!
A New Hampshire native, Joey McCarran has been playing many instruments for the better part of almost 20 years. He has had a guitar in his hands for the past 15.
During this time he has played in many projects, but is currently playing lead guitar through a Skyraider SR-15 for Boston-based TJ Courtney (www.tjcourtney.com). They’ve recently played legendary venues such as The Pearl Street Ballroom and the Iron Horse in Northampton, MA and are set to play the Middle East in Cambridge, MA as well the Delancey in NYC. They are currently gearing up for a showcase at SXSW 2012 and are planning a Summer 2012 tour.
Joey also has his own side project, (www.joeymccarran.com). In 2008, he was nominated by fans for the 2008 MTVu Woodie Award for “Best Musician on Campus”. Out of a field of a few thousand potential recepients, Joey reached the Top 25. He has two EP’s on the iTunes Store, 2008’s North Shore and The Skyline EP that came out in 2010. He continues to work on material today, and a third EP is due out early next year.
Currently finishing his senior year at Boston College, Joey is studying Communications and Studio art and expects to graduate in May, when he is going to then pursue a career in music industry.
Joey plays a Skyraider SR-15.
blog comments powered by
Following are two reviews from a recent Mack Amps Gem 2G customer. Rob did such a nice job of writing detailed descriptions of what he encountered that I thought prospective customers would benefit from understanding his experience with the Gem 2G.
Ealge eyed readers who are familiar with Mack Amps' product line will note that Rob refers to a closed back 10" speaker cab... and we don't advertise one for sale!
When I spoke with Rob about the styles of music he plays I decided he was the perfect candidate for a new 1x10 CB speaker cab that we have not yet launched. He bought a prototype! It has the same width and height dimensions as the 1x10 OB speaker cab (12" and 16" respectively), but is 4" deeper that the OB at 12".
The back baffle does not fully enclose the back of the speaker. Looking at the back of the speaker, the baffle ends before the top creating a gap running the full width of the cab. This is a tuned port designed to increase bass response.
The closed back, tuned port and Eminence 10" Ramrod speaker combine to produce a cab that sounds bigger than it appears that is characterized by suprising bass response and a warm, articulate tone.
Stay tuned for more information about the 1x10 CB!
Here's Rob's two part review:
"I've been playing your amp for hours. What impresses me most is how many different tones I can get out of it. All of the controls are very effective and even the tone control on my guitars have more effect than they have had on other amps I was using -- a borrowed Traynor YCV and circa 1970 Fender Champ.
Got to go now--I have to order a pizza. I was going to go grocery shopping this afternoon, but once I started playing the amp, I couldn't tear myself away to do something as boring as shopping.
I have to say you nailed it on the head with your slogan: "Virtuoso Tone w/o the Prima Donna Price"!"
- Rob initial comments on his Gem 2G and 1x10CB
"Well, I have had your cab and amp for a week now, and I still can't keep away from it when I'm at home.
A bit of background: I'm playing a Guild Starfire IV with Seymour Duncan Antiquity Humbuckers and a Heritage 575 with the same pups. I am also playing a 1956 Gibson ES-125 with a P90.
No matter what I plug in, I'm getting tones I have never heard before -- musical tones with harmonics and shimmering highs, and more low bass than I thought I would get with 4 watts.
With the humbuckers, I have the most fun diming all the amp controls and just using the vol. and tone on the guitars. With the P90, strangely enough, what works best is diming all the guitar controls and playing with the gain, vol., and hot/melt, 4w/1/4w controls on the amp.
But no matter which guitar I'm using, this amp and speaker combination is fun, musical and just plain captivating. I'm amazed at the sweet sounds I can get. And what a variety of sounds! Compared to the previous amps I was using (which are now gathering dust) I can make it sound like I'm playing a completely different guitar with just some tweaking of the knobs and buttons. No matter what sound I'm getting, though, I can then play with the amp through my guitar by varying my attack and pick angle and the amp responds like nothing I've ever played through before.
The CB ported speaker cabinet with the 10'' speaker you recommended is just ideal for the music I play -- jazz and blues. At the volume level I play at -- I'm in a townhouse and I want to stay on good terms with my neighbours -- I can get a hint of very tasteful tube distortion when I need it, yet the head room lets me get full, pure rich notes on quieter passages. The 10" speaker is perfect for this application. It is not so stiff that 4 watts cannot sufficiently drive it, yet it is rigid enough that the cone is not flapping and adding its own sound/noise.
I'm one of those types that often has second thoughts after I've bought something. In this case, though, it took me 10 minutes of playing to affirm I had made the right choice. Every minute of playing after that has just reinforced my conviction that this is one jewel of an amp that is perfect for home playing.
I may sound like I'm raving, but I am so pleased with this amp and speaker combination that I can't stop telling people about it -- except when I'm at home, and then just try prying a guitar out of my hands!
Take care, and thanks for the great product."
- Rob's full review after a week playing his Gem 2G and 1x10 CB
blog comments powered by