Welcome to The Gear Page

The Gear Page (TGP), started in 2002, now combines its 142,000+ members’ forums with a webzine. Some articles of potential interest are listed below. Of course, our primary focus is on our forums, which can be reached by clicking on “TGP Forums” in the navigation bar above. Please make sure to read our Rules of Conduct for the forums. To read any of the full articles listed below, click on the image.

Recent Reviews:

Red Dirt Overdrive: The Red Dirt has already been on the market for a few years, but is still a bit of a sleeper. Yes, it is based loosely on the Tube Screamer, but no, it is not a Tube Screamer clone. There are too many of those on the market already, a fact not lost to the crew at Keeley. It has two of Keeley’s better known mods, “baked” and “mod plus.” There is a “lo-hi” mini toggle that allows the user to choose between these two options, and an FET input stage which helps to authenticate the sound of a tube amp breaking up. The Red Dirt can be used as a very effective near-transparent boost pedal, or, you can stack it with other OD’s for any level of overdrive, from mild, to something nearing heavy metal. And, it functions very nicely as a stand-alone OD directly into an amp, with no outside help. The Red Dirt ultimately offers clear, authentically clipped overdrive that actually bests the Tube Screamer. It takes a very familiar standard of the industry pedal and does it one better in this writer’s opinion……………Click for full review.

Front-Fusion-Natural1-320x650Jericho Fusion 6:  Dave Muselman at Jericho Guitars sent us a Fusion 6 Natural guitar to play around with. I really was taken aback at the high quality of this instrument. I have to be honest, sometimes it’s hit or miss when a lesser-known company sends you something. The fit and finish and attention to detail on this instrument are right in line with the biggest names in premium products in the industry.

This isn’t your typical guitar. The goal of Jericho was to create an instrument geared for the studio and live professional who relies on absolutely perfect intonation, perfect tuning and absolutely dead-on playability. This instrument was designed with things like layering guitars 3-left, 3-right in studio, or the way touring artists frequently tune down a few more steps from their usual already-down-tuned setup in order to preserve their singer’s voice. The guitar would really shine for the studio engineer working with artists who need to work on ironing out their intonation from a heavy hand, or for a session musician pulling tricks out of his hat for a demanding producer…….. Click for complete review!


John Page Classic:  John Page has paid his dues. He was co-founder of Fender’s Custom Shop, head of Fender guitar R&D, and creator of legendary guitars for greats like Pete Townshend, David Gilmour, Eric Clapton. He has created instruments at the FCS that were out of the reach of mortals, and built high end guitars under his own name. He’s seen all the things that people loved about these guitars and decided to build a guitar with all the features he incorporated into his hand built custom guitars in a production guitar that everyone could own.

As I look over this beautiful instrument, it reflects John’s 20+ years at Fender and nearly 40 years designing and building guitars. It feels like a custom built guitar. Look at the straight-pull headstock design with Gotoh vintage style tuners with staggered height – all the strings break over at the same angle, for providing better tuning stability without string trees…………….

Click here to read the complete review!

Pure-Salem-Tom-Cat-WhitePure Salem Guitars specializes in reissues of lost and obscure guitars from the 1960s, has been in business now for about eighteen months, and with their catchphrase, “Bow Down Upon Our Church Of Acid Rock,” have begun to win converts with their oddball ‘60s reissues and original designs, many of which are shall we say, most definitely left of center.

Pure Salem is owned and operated by a former Florida police officer named Rick Sell, a self-confessed fan of psychedelic and garage rock from the ’60s. When his career in law enforcement came to an end, it was a natural move for him to go into business offering Asian-built reproductions of weird, quirky guitars from that psychedelic era he liked so much. With no dealer network, but an active website, social media and just plain word of mouth, the Pure Salem story is getting around, and many guitarists have fallen under the spell of these instruments, yours truly included. The one design that immediately caught my attention was the model Rick calls the Tom Cat, a refined reproduction of the doomed Gumby-shaped Guild S-200 Thunderbird, favorite axe of Zal Yanovsky of the Lovin’ Spoonful, and also used by Muddy Waters. The S-200 is now a very collectible and pricey guitar, partially due to the fact that less than three hundred were made back in the ‘60s. Original S-200s now fetch up to $5000 on the vintage market………..Please Click for Complete Review!

Slick-SL59The Slick SL59:  For a long time, I had been tempted to pull the trigger on one of those insanely inexpensive guitars from Guitar Fetish, the online retailer better known as GFS, but mixed reviews always prevented me from actually going through with a buy. Some people were pleased, quite a few were not, but most agreed that regardless of which model GFS guitar was purchased, just about all of them needed work; a setup, sharp ends and dings in the frets, faulty wiring and flakey electronics, etc. Very few of them came out of the box ready to play. It was a case of, you pays your money and you takes your chances. Obviously, these are cheaply made guitars that are probably good platforms for modding, but the downside to that is no matter how many upgrades you put into a cheap guitar, it will never bring back all those dollars spent when it comes time to sell.

So, when the Earl Slick models became available last year through GFS, I was again sorely tempted. After lots of thought and finally achieving some peace of mind that I could return the guitar if I wasn’t happy, I took the plunge, a leap of faith, and bought a Slick SL59.

When the box arrived, I noticed it said SL54 on the outside of the carton. Opening it, I discovered GFS had shipped the wrong guitar. The SL54 is their stripped down Strat style guitar. To their credit, GFS immediately issued me a UPS label and a return authorization number, and I had my SL59 about a week later. Kudos to them for that………..Click here for the complete review.

cluster_finalThe ClusterFuzz sounds densely textured with lots of rich harmonics. It cuts through the mix and gives you tons and tons of tweaking room. The Tone knob is high-cut control (variable low-pass filter), while Fuzz is an overall gain control. The Filter switch offers additional low-pass filtering control. There is a clipping selector rotary switch that steps through four sets of clipping diodes, as well as offering a “diode lift” (no diodes) option. The base tone doesn’t change when switching between diode sets, but the overall compression, dynamics, and low-end are very different, as is output volume. The “8-Bit” control I don’t totally understand, but I know that the more clockwise the knob goes, the more crazy the tones are coming out of the pedal. Forrest explains more about that in the Q&A section below…………For the full review, click here!

FullSizeRenderA couple of weeks ago, GizmoAudio founder, owner, and lifelong musician Charles Luke sent us a couple of his pedals to check out. Charles said that he originally set out to design his own overdrive pedal that would give him the clean sound he couldn’t get out of other pedals, and after testing and honing and working, the Sawmill was born. He also sent us the RIPSAW high gain distortion pedal that he makes. I asked what the difference in the two is – Charles says the Sawmill design is Mosfet based, the Ripsaw is transistor based. He says they run off of different supply voltages but the main difference is the type of transistors used – he had to run the Mosfets at a higher voltage to get to the sweet spot……… For the full review click here!

CurtSmallCurt Mangan Strings:  Strings are strings, right? Although guitar and bass players may argue over whether it is worth paying extra for “boutique” strings, I suspect that few would argue that the choice of strings can be that final tweak to get a desired tone. Some players state that certain brands retain their vibrancy for longer than others, which they maintain justifies a higher price. Others choose strings based on available budget, ease of finding and buying their desired brand, differences in tension and feel or, if you’re like me, it comes down to a combination of tone, feel and longevity………..

For the full review please click here.

V-Picks: This review is long overdue and had its beginnings over 10 years ago. At that time I was laying down some bass tracks for Ariel Pozzo, an Argentinian guitar player and, although I am almost exclusively a finger-style bassist, there was a track that really required me to use a pick. I tried some of the typical choices available at that time but wasn’t happy with the sound I was getting. As I was going through my small pick collection, I saw one pick sitting there that was quite unusual. It was from V-Picks and was made of thick acrylic, was larger in overall size than the others and, on a lark, I decided to give it a try. That pick ended up being the one I used for the track and, although I continue to be a finger-style player, whenever I need a pick for bass or guitar, I invariably use a V-Pick………. To read the full review, click here.

Source Audio sent us a Soundblox Dimension Reverb pedal, a really interestingly laid-out pedal with its sideways-rectangle control knob layout and button panel below that. With 12 different flavors of reverb (6 different room sounds, 2 plate reverb settings, 2 spring reverb settings, and a modulation or an echo setting) and a massive amount of parameters you can tweak, the Soundblox Dimension 2 is a really versatile reverb unit that should find a home on everyone’s board.

Before I even read the directions, I just messed around with the center dial, getting the various reverb types to easily show off each of their unique characteristics. And they all sound so gorgeous, I really had a hard time deciding which one I wanted to leave it on. Our contact at Source Audio recommended we pay particular attention to the Spring Reverb mode, and he’s right, it’s really special. The engineers at Source Audio auditioned many amps and reverb units to make sure they got it right, and they nailed it……………Click here to read the entire review.

Source Audio also sent us one of their Programmable EQ pedals, which is an awesome little EQ in a tiny little box. But unlike the EQ pedals we’ve used in the past, with faders that slide up and down, the Source Audio unit uses a row of electronic meters to display what your EQ settings are, and is programmable so that you can recall your specific EQ settings for various uses – set it up one way for one song, but set it up another way for the solo. The Programmable EQ allows for boost or cut of 18dB on seven frequency bands. There is a control on the pedal called “Octave Extend” which adds control over the 62Hz range……………. Click here to read the entire review.

Last, but not least, Source Audio included a Dual Expression Pedal, which feels very smooth and extremely precise in operation. The pedal has two outputs, so you can control two different pedals at the same time. What a concept! I’m telling you, these engineers have been really thinking outside the old box. I was using it to control two different delays that I have on my board and it was just great fun to be able to manipulate both of them at once.

In addition to operating like every expression pedal you’ve ever known, the Dual Expression also includes a special Sensor Output which “connects directly to any Hot Hand®, Soundblox®, Soundblox 2, or Soundblox Pro pedal for real-time control over filter sweeps, effect modulation, LFO speeds, wet/dry mixes, drive levels” and more. Oh, and did I mention, the range of Output 2 is adjustable with a knob on the right-hand side of the pedal? It’s really an expression pedal on steroids! ………….. Click here to read the entire review.

Current Artist Feature: Interview with Oz Noy

A few years back, I was up one night surfing the net. You know the drill. For me, it’s my normal routine on the nights when my bouts of insomnia resurface. I can’t remember if I was looking at different amps or guitar effects, or what, but that’s not even important. What is important is that in the mist of my surfing, I discovered a guitar player that changed my life. Strong words, but it’s true. His name is Oz Noy, and the raw energy of his playing escaped from my speakers and proceeded to melt my face off. I then had a new mission: to find any recording with Oz Noy’s name on it. So, that’s exactly what I did (after my face grew back).

The playing I heard on those recordings was fantastic. At the time, I had really grown bored with instrumental guitar music. For me, it was all starting to sound the same, but Oz changed all that! His songs had melodies that stuck in my brain and the playing was beyond spectacular, but the one thing I found in his music that was lacking elsewhere: funk. This dude’s sense of timing was so very cool. It is this rhythmic sense that pushes Noy’s music in to a whole other stratosphere………. To read full article click here.

Current Article Feature:

Understanding Gain Structure
Understanding Gain Structure

No doubt there’s tons of very cool stuff hiding in any guitar/amp rig, some of it very hard to find for all but the initiated, so IMHO it really helps to know a little bit about how your rig thinks in order to find it all. By learning how amps and guitars think in general, a lot of those knobs on the front and rear panels will make gobs more sense and will greatly increase your power to sculpt tone before you ever touch an effect. So this article is the first in a series designed to show you, sans screwdriver, how to do just that with gain structure.