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Darren Blakeborough

My day job is as an Assistant Professor in Media and Communication Studies at the University of the Fraser Valley. My primary teaching and research interests revolve around popular culture and technology. I am an adequate at best guitar player currently attempting to romanticize my inglorious youth in a Hair Metal cover band called "Glam Chowder”. When not working or watching TV, I am usually listening to music, recording music, playing music, or trying to figure out what gear I need to make all of that music sound even better.

The BOSS GT-001 is the Swiss Army Knife for your home studio.

On the faceplate for the BOSS GT-001 it reads, “Guitar Effects Processor”, but that is really selling itself short. The GT-001 is so much more than “just” a guitar processor. While it does contain the legendary BOSS guitar effects that will give you the sound to play vitually any style of music from metal to blues to indie, it also includes effects for acoustic guitar and voice as well as being a desktop audio interface that allows you to connect to your computer for practising or recording. And there’s more!

Fender BLUES Junior. the name says it all.

When it comes to playing blues guitar, the Fender brand is almost synonymous with the genre. From the Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Stratocaster to Muddy Water’s Telecaster, the Fender guitar is as a part of the sound of modern blues as the techniques currently employed by Fender players like John Mayer, Eric Clapton, and Bonnie Raitt . The guitar isn’t alone either as Fender amplifiers have long been a part of this history. The Fender Champ, Twin, Bassman, Super Reverb, and Deluxe reverb are all in the Pantheon of blues amplification and are saving a spot for the all tube Fender Blues Junior which will be looked at in this blog.

“All about that space, ‘bout that space” on your pedal board? Hotone pedals may have your answer.

With a plethora of guitar effects pedal manufacturers producing an increasing number of beautiful looking and sounding pedals, the average pedal board has little real estate to accommodate all that you may want. Hotone Audio has responded with some very aesthetically appealing and fun sounding pedals that are priced friendly and take up about 1/3 of the space that your average stompbox requires. This blog will look at the EKO (delay), Grass (overdrive), and OCTA (Octave effect) from the company’s Skyline product line.

The Fender FA-300CE Acoustic-Electric Guitar Package covers all your bases.

  The Fender FA-300CE Acoustic-Electric guitar package bundles together everything that you need to produce a great acoustic tone in a live setting and in a recorded format. The FA-300CE is a solid acoustic guitar with great tone and playability for those wanting to learn the guitar, just starting to learn, and also for those intermediate players wanting to take the next step. The included Slide interface and accompanying software makes it incredibly easy to learn thanks to the Rock Prodigy software and to record and edit your music via the AmpliTtube software.

Review: Fender Mustang 1 V.2 – The social guitar amplifier

The Fender Mustang 1 V.2 is more than just a 20 watt practice amp with an 8” speaker and a load of tones and flexibility, it is also a guitarist’s entrance into the online world of social connectivity. The Fender Mustang 1 V.2 is a potent little amplifier that offers you a myriad of sounds and the ability to tweak to your heart’s content, but it also connects to your computer, connects you with other musicians, and connects you with your inner music producer.

iRig Pro and iRig 2 expand your possibilities for creating music.

IK Multimedia has taken already compact and portable recording technologies and made them even more compact and more portable. All of this without significantly restricting what or how you can record and what you can ultimately produce. In this blog I am going to look at two different IK Multimedia products. First is the iRig Pro, which was released in late 2013. I will then look at the brand new iRig2 and explain what each can do for you so that you might have a better idea which unit will meet your needs.

Echo and Overdrive and Blues, OH MY! 3 new guitar effects pedals from BOSS

When it comes to guitar effects pedals, or “stomp boxes” as they are often referred, the Boss brand pedals are certainly among the most ubiquitous on a guitarist’s pedal board. The BOSS OD-1X—BOSS’ newest Overdrive offering—The BOSS BD-2w Blues driver, and the BOSS TE-2 Tera Echo are among the newest effect pedal offering from the revered company. The 3 pedals on review here all have their own little nuances and tones to offer and it ultimately will depend on what you are looking for in your pedal that will determine which you will want to purchase and add to your pedal board.

The Roland CUBE GX20 Packs a Serious Punch

The Roland CUBE GX20 is a compact 20 watt guitar amplifier with an 8” speaker and an attitude that aggressively snarls in your face metal. It features independent Clean, Lead, and Solo channels as well as modelling for 6 different amp types. This ensures that whether you’re sitting in your room shredding or running a line out from your GX20 to do some home recording, your needs are met with this lightweight, solidly constructed, and versatile bad boy.

The Roland AC-40 Acoustic Chorus Amplifier

The age old adage that “bigger is better!” can finally be put to rest once and for all. Roland’s mighty might of an acoustic guitar—and more—amplifier, the AC-40 is versatile enough to fill many different needs and wishes.

I Wanna Rock! How do I choose an amp?

You’ve got your guitar, and a tune in your head. But you also imagine a particular tone you’d like your skull crushing rock epic to sound like. Your guitar is certainly a part of that overall sound, and your playing styles and techniques will certainly contribute. Ultimately, though, your amplifier is what will define your tone. The number of amplifier options and technologies involved seem endless, and can be confusing. How do you even begin looking? I’ll try to help you find the amp that will deliver the sound you want.  

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