Tag Archives: 70s Tone

Boutique Guitar Amplifiers

20w Combo BackThe three most important things a guitar player wants from an amp are tone, tone and tone. This is why boutique products are always the better choice. There is nothing quite like that moment when you try out a new boutique amp for the first time: you can see that every detail has been meticulously thought out, and that it has been cared for and loved every step of the way from conception to testing. You find a place to set up your new best friend, plug in your favourite guitar – savoring every moment – and flick the switch that starts the magic. The tubes start to glow with a deep red aura, warming up to deliver that rich, deep tone they were born to give, and then when the time is right you strike the strings and the rest of the world ceases to exist for the briefest, sweetest of moments.

Blues Power 60wDesigning and building amplifiers can be a simple manufacturing process, or it can be a kind of alchemy, mixing just the right tasteful amount of wood, plastic, metal and glass into a thing of beauty. This is the main difference between the boutique amplifier builder and the standard amplifier manufacturer. Bigger companies have the wrong idea; they exist for money only and so they deliver products as quick and as cost-effective as possible. Cheaper components, automated manufacturing and thousands of the same product are the result.

The boutique amplifier company is another creature entirely. These companies are smaller, more personal and care more for the quest for the perfect tone than anything else. Components are carefully sourced and chosen purely for their effect on the sound of the amplifier: if the more expensive component is the better one to use to get the desired sound, then the more expensive component is the one that is used. Even if it has to be flown in from the other side of the world.

Conan applies the finishing touches to a set of custom speakers
Conan applies the finishing touches to a set of custom speakers

With so much attention to detail, careful component sourcing, and hand crafting, boutique amplifiers are often more expensive as a result. But to skip over them in favour of a cheaper model from a bigger manufacturer is false economy. When a tube amp is used for extended periods of time, the heat from the tubes and the vibrations from the speakers put the internal components under a huge amount of stress. Cheaper components will not handle this very well and will often break sooner, and with devastating results. The boutique amplifier, however, is ready for this. The quality of the components means that boutique amps not only sound better than their mass-produced counterparts, but they also last much longer and – thanks to the flexibility of the designers – can be custom made to look better too.

 

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Pink Floyd: The Wall. Dave Gilmour’s Tone

Deep, warm distortion in a box.
Deep, warm distortion in a box

RELEASED November 30, 1979, The Wall is one of Pink Floyd’s most successful studio albums, selling over ten million copies in the US alone.  It is one of a number of concept albums produced by the British progressive rock band, largely influenced by frontman Roger Waters.

The album deals with a range of themes, including – most notably – childhood abuse and ridicule, dealing with the passing of loved ones, the pressures of live performance, marital breakdown and self-imposed social isolation.

Gilmour's solos on Comfortably Numb are considered by many to be the among the greatest solos ever written
Gilmour’s solos on Comfortably Numb are considered by many to be the among the greatest solos ever written

With so many complex themes explored in one album, The Wall was an ambitious project from the start.  The song-writing and musical performance of the band was equally as ambitious.  Waters’ lyrics are so deep and strikingly beautiful at times that the listener cannot help but be moved at some point during a listen to the album; David Gilmour’s wailing guitar work and unmistakable tone complement them perfectly.

From the slow, mellow sounds on Mother, through the soulful bending of Another Brick in the Wall to the driving rhythm of Run Like Hell, Gilmour’s playing on this album was breath-taking.

The Wall Era has controls for Drive, Tone and Volume, as well as a 'Mid Boost' switch
The Wall Era has controls for Drive, Tone and Volume, as well as a ‘Mid Boost’ switch

Baroni Lab has crafted a distortion effect unlike nothing before, in homage to the wonderfully rich guitar tone on this influential rock album.  The Wall Era distortion emulates the deep, harmonic feel of Gilmour’s overdriven guitar sound perfectly.

With drive set low, you can give your solos a powerful edge, without over-colouring the original sound.  Cranked up, it approaches a deep, incredibly warm distortion which is perfect not only for the heavier moments of The Wall, but for a whole host of other rock songs as well.

The tone control is equally as versatile.  Not only does it allow for dark to bright distortion, but it also modifies the kind of distortion applied to the signal.  Set the tone all the way to the right and the guitar takes on a bright, scratchy sound.  All the way to the left you have a powerful, dark distortion.

For a little extra punch during guitar solos, there is a pedal-mounted switch on the Wall Era, making it possible to switch between ‘flat’ and ‘mid boost’ modes easily.  Mid boost does exactly what it says on the tin, bringing out the mid levels of the guitar signal, allowing it to instantly cut through the mix in any live situation, without the need to turn up the volume.

Check out the demo below!

http://www.baroni-lab.com