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Happy New Year everybody! Been taking a long break to enjoy the holidays here with the fam. Came across this today and thought I would pass it along.

Coin Guitar Picks

Buy here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/GuitarPickCollection?section_id=11814989

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That’s right. I won a contest. Every month for the past 3 years I have entered Carvin’s online contest to win a gift certificate and I finally won. I didn’t believe it at first when I saw the email in my inbox, but sure enough after reading it 18 times and checking the originating email address I was convinced. I had more doubt and stress after that. You see they had to mail, yes MAIL, me the gift certificate. I then had to call them up and place my order and then mail, yes MAIL, them the gift certificate back. I was convinced it wouldn’t work out and that something would get lost somewhere. I was wrong! I received my order this past Tuesday. I ordered some strings and mic cables and an amp stand and a mic stand and a Carvin SX100 1×12 combo amp, in red tolex of course.

I am very excited. I’ve played it a bit and I really like the sound. It has emulator tech in it, but instead of Carvin trying to make it sound like another specific amp (i.e. making a Carvin sound like a Mesa Boogie Rectifier) they tried to make a solid state amp sound like a tube amp. An amp with 12AX7 tubes in it to be precise. What I love about Carvin is that their amps have a meatier, beefier,  sound to them. I dig Marshalls, but they can be too tinny for me sometimes.  The clean on this is reminiscent of a Roland Jazz Chorus minus the chorus. It has chorus, just not that Roland chorus.  The gain channel can do light to pretty saturated distortion. While it may not work for some death metal it is great for classic rock AC-DC style and even Metallica type sounds. There is also a blues button that switches the gain sound to, well, a blues sound. Additionally, it has Reverb, Chorus, Flange and Echo. Though you can only choose one effect at a time (I’m sticking with reverb for now) it is great to have options while recording. Which I hope to do so I can give you some samples.

One last bit that is exciting: extension speaker out. In my dream world I would get the Vintage 1×12 speaker cab to go with.

Carvin 1×12 Vintage Series Extension Speaker

So there you have it. This was meant to be a simple post about my good fortune, but, apparently, there was a ton I wanted to write. Thank you for taking the time to read a somewhat lengthy post (if you did) and thank you for just looking even if you didn’t read this (which means you didn’t read that).

And because I still don’t feel this post is long enough, here are the specs of my new amp from Carvin’s website:

Features:

– Active tone circuits for individual contour and extreme range
– Each channel features custom tailored Bass, Mid-range and Treble controls
– SmartEffects™ – Reverb, Chorus, Flange and Echo with 2 parameter controls for 256 total variations
– One Carvin British Series BR12 12 inch speaker
– Sealed controls
– Classic black knobs
– Classic red jewel lamp

Specifications:

– Strong poplar plywood enclosure – not particleboard!
– Covered in black tolex (they actually have many choices for the tolex)
– Premium components and solid design for years of reliable performance
– 100W Output
– Carvin British Series BR12 12 inch speaker
– CH1 EQ @ 80, 700 & 11.5k Hz
– CH2 EQ @ 50, 500 & 11.5k Hz
– Cabinet Voiced Line Out, Headphone Jack, External Speaker Jack
– AC Power: 90V to 255V, 50-60 Hz
– Dimensions: 19.5 inches wide X 10.25 inches deep X 17.75 inches high
– Weight: 37 lbs.
– Made in San Diego, California

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So there are two new pieces of Jason Becker gear. It is a testament to his talent that he is still relevant and beloved after his 1987 debut in Cacaphony with Marty Friedman. For those of you not in the know Becker was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease in 1990 and given 3 years to live. Well, it’s 2009 and he is still with us. He has continued to write music and has released 4 albums since his diagnosis, the most recent is titled Collection and is a combination of older and newer songs featuring guest musicians.

So here we are 19 years after Becker was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease and 16 years after he was supposed to have died and Jason has a new signature guitar made by Paradise Guitars and a new pedal made by Pro Tone.

The guitar is a remake of his toy inspired guitar. He has one made from and Ibanez body and one from Peavey later. There was talk of Peavey doing a signature guitar for Becker, but that never happened. The new Paradise guitars have the large numbered frets and colorful pickups as well as the natural finish. Now, as I will most likely never get to try one out, and I know I will never own one ($2499 for the “standard” package and $2699 for the “deluxe” package) I can only telly you what I like and dislike about its appearance. First, the things they get right, in my opinion: The finish is perfect, the fret numbering and pickup colors. Things I don’t like: the head stock and volume knob. I prefer the headstock on the original model as well as the super-large volume knob on the original. I have placed pictures of both below for you to compare. Yes my problems are superficial. Whatevs. The materials and construction are superior from what I can tell. Bet it’s a great feeling and sounding guitar. The stats etc. are here http://paradiseguitarsusa.com/jason_becker.html

The version I like on the left, newer version on the right

The version I like on the left, newer version on the right

I have been waiting for the Jason Becker Distortion pedal for sometime. There have been ads for it for over a year it seems and until my most recent issue of Guitar Player all the pictures have been artist renderings. Even now, on Pro tone’s own site they still do not have an actual picture of the pedal. Also of note is that while the pedals overall setup and knobs appear to be the same I have seen 3 different bits of artwork for the pedal and the artwork on the pedal featured in Guitar Player is not the same as the artwork on the pedal on Pro Tone Pedal’s website. From what I have read and the few videos I have seen on YouTube the Becker pedal is not for me. However, if you are a tone seeker or shredder this pedal will be for you.

pro-tone-pedals-jason-becker

Update: check out a hands on review at Agreed’s Gear Reviews

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