Penyanyi asal Irlandia, Chris De Burgh, akan tampil dalam suatu konser di Teheran pada akhir November, ungkap situs jaringan televisi Iran, Press TV, awal pekan ini. Konser tersebut menjadi yang pertama kalinya seorang penyanyi pop Barat akan manggung di negara itu sejak terjadi revolusi Islam tahun 1979.


Press TV mengutip pernyataan produser musik Majid Roqani yang menjelaskan konser itu akan berlangsung di stadion tertutup Azadi di Teheran Barat. Pengisi acara adalah De Burgh dan band asal Iran, Arian.


De Burgh akan tampil dengan lagu-lagunya selama 40 menit dan 30 menit berikutnya sang penyanyi akan beraksi bersama band Arian.


Konser tersebut membutuhkan izin dan petunjuk khusus dari kementerian Kebudayaan Islam dan tidak dijelaskan jika Roqani telah punya izin tersebut.


Arian dan De Burgh telah merekam versi baru dari lagu De Burgh, The Words I Love You, dan lagu itu menjadi album terbaru dari grup Arian.


Arian adalah kelompok pop paling terkenal di Iran dan konser mereka di luar negeri selalu mendapat sambutan besar.


De Burgh mengunjungi Teheran pada bulan Mei dan melihat-lihat fasilitas teknik di tempat konser tersebut. Stadion Azadi berkapasitas 12 ribu orang dan karcis konser tersebut diperkirakan akan ludes.


Penyelenggara konser adalah perusahaan rekaman Taraneh Sharqi yang dipimpin Roqani. De Burgh adalah salah satu penyanyi pop barat paling terkenal di Iran dan hampir semua albumnya bisa didapat di seluruh penjuru Iran. Album-album De Burgh, seperti juga musik barat umumnya, bisa dibeli dalam bentuk bajakan di pasar gelap Iran seharga Rp9 ribu.


De Burgh menyatakan senang karena lagu-lagunya didengar di Iran, tapi dia terusik dengan pembajakan tersebut.
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Snow Patrol telah mengklaim bahwa album rekaman mereka yang kelima ini adalah album terbaik mereka. Penggebuk drum band asal Irlandia ini, Johnny Quinn, mengatakan pada Belfast Telegraph bahwa CD baru mereka akan diberi judul ONE HUNDRED MILLION SUNS.


Band rock alternatif yang album terakhirnya, EYE'S OPEN, dirilis 2006 silam berharap bisa merilis album baru mereka tersebut Oktober depan.


"Kami merekam album ini di Grouse Lodge Studios di Irlandia dan di studio yang sama di Berlin. Di situ U2 merekam ACHTUNG BABY mereka," kata Quinn.


"Lagu-lagunya masih penuh dengan melodi, tapi cukup berbeda dengan album-album kami lainnya."


"Sulit membayangkan apa yang akan dipikirkan orang-orang tentang album ini tapi kami sangat senang. Bahkan aku pikir ini adalah album terbaik kami sejauh ini."


Snow Patrol mengonfirmasi bahwa mereka akan melakukan pertunjukan besar untuk semua orang pada 2009 depan. Mereka juga merencanakan tur kecil sebelum akhir tahun ini.
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Suara merdu dan karisma Chrisye masih menyisakan kesan di belantika musik Indonesia. Dan tentunya masih banyak karya-karya legendaris musik ini yang tersisa. Jumat (01/08/08) bertempat di FBar, EX Plaza Jakarta, diluncurkan lagu Chrisye yang belum sempat release, bertajuk Lirih. Lagu ini ciptaan Aryono Huboyo Djati dan direkam pada 1993 yang sebenarnya merupakan bagian dari album SENDIRI LAGI.


"Lagu Lirih tak jadi dimasukkan di album bukan karena tidak memenuhi standar, melainkan harus melalui sedikit revisi. Tapi karena tenggat waktu sudah tiba, akhirnya lagu ini batal dimasukkan ke dalam album tersebut," ungkap Aryo, yang juga penulis lagu Burung Camar.


Menurut direktur Musika Studio, Indrawati Widjaja lagu ini ditemukan terselip di antara arsip lagu-lagu. "Jadi ternyata lagu Lirih ini ditemukan terselip dalam arsip lagu-lagu yang pernah direkam Chrisye di Musica Studio, dan yang mengingatkan Aryo," ungkap Indrawati.


Sedang istri Chrisye sendiri, Damayanti Noor juga tak kalah kagetnya dengan lagu unreleased ini. "Untuk beberapa hal, almarhum tidak pernah bercerita kepada saya, termasuk termasuk lagu Lirih yang sudah terekam tapi tertunda peredarannya. Saya menduga lagu Lirih ini direkam 15 tahun silam. Tapi entah mengapa tak jadi dimasukkan ke dalam album. Lagu ini dapat disebut unreleased song yang dihadirkan dengan sentuhan baru," ungkap Damayanti.
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Bagi para penghibur penampilan selalu berperan penting. Hal serupa juga jadi pilihan Syahrini. Saat manggung penyanyi ini memang selalu berpenampilan seksi. Tapi Syahrini tak melulu seksi, dia lebih mempertimbangkan tempat di mana dia akan tampil.


"Seksi itu hanya interpretasi di panggung saja. Malah ini menurutku nggak seksi, karena aku masih pakai celana jeans kok," ungkap Syahrini yang di temui di pacuan kuda Trijaya, Jagakarsa, Jakarta Selatan, Jumat (1/8/8). Sedang kegemaran Syahrini mengenakan u can see Syahrini mengaku masih pilih-pilih tempat.


Di saat-saat ini banyak sekali aksi pencekalan pada hal-hal yang berbau 'nakal', tapi hal semacam ini tak membuatnya terlalu khawatir. "Takut ada, tapi aku fleksibel aja. Aku selalu mendengar saran dari orang banyak, dan selalu mengikuti aturan yang ada. Karena norma dan adat yang ada di Indonesia. Seperti adat ketimuran masih berlaku," ungkap penyanyi ini.
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Menyambut bulan suci Ramadhan yang jatuh pada September mendatang, Radja tak mau ketinggalan. Ian Kasela dkk sudah menyiapkan satu album religi yang diyakini bisa meramaikan industri musik, khususnya di bulan suci bagi umat Muslim tersebut.


Di sela penampilan Radja dalam rangkaian tur kedua di Solo, Radja yang diwakili Eva dari Bright Manajemen mengungkapkan bahwa bulan Agustus nanti Radja akan merilis sebuah album religi bertajuk SURGAKU.


"Kurang lebih ada 10 lagu yang ada dalam album tersebut. Sayangnya lagunya aku lupa," ungkap Eva.


Sebenarnya, ditambahkan Eva, peluncuran album religi yang akan dirilis itu sudah dibuat satu tahun yang lalu.


"Mungkin ini waktu yang paling tepat untuk launching nanti. September kan udah puasa. Pas banget," imbuh Eva.


Usai Solo sebagai kota kedua, Radja akan mengunjungi 8 kota lagi di Indonesia. Dalam event yang digelar atas kerja sama Class Mild dan Bright Manajemen ini Radja membawa suasana baru dengan mengusung penyanyi rap bernama Bary, yang ikut berkolaborasi dalam lagu Pelarian Cinta.
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Persaudaraan dan persahabatan antar pilar pilar punggawa d Masiv menjadikannya mereka masuk dalam jajaran band papan atas. Sederet hits mereka pun ramah di telinga penikmat musik tanah air. Namun, mereka mengaku untuk menyambut bulan suci Ramadhan nanti, Ryan dkk tak mau latah ikut merilis album religi.


"Nggak lah, toh album d Masiv masih baru. Kami tetap pada jalur kami, nggak latah ikut-ikut lainnya," kata Rama, sang gitaris, yang ditemui saat penampilan d Masiv dalam acara bertajuk 'The Sound of Blending Music' di Diamond Internasional Restoran Solo, Jumat (1/8) malam.


Meski sudah punya dua video klip, band yang dimotori Ryan (vocal), Riki (gitar), Rama (gitar), Rai (bass), dan Wahyu (drum) masih belum puas. Kini mereka tengah menyiapkan video klip terbaru bertajuk Merindukanmu.


Kesuksesan yang didapat d Masiv, menurut Rama, bukan hal yang mudah. Semuanya didapat karena kekompakan dan visi yang sejalan. Ditambah lagi, mereka ternyata bertetangga dan sudah mengenal satu sama lain layaknya saudara.


"Kami berlima semua masih tetangga, malah ada yang saudara seperti Riki dan Ryan, mereka adik-kakak. Ikatan batin kami berlima sangat kuat," ujar Rama.
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Penyanyi Aura Kasih terkenal dengan imejnya yang seksi. Bahkan dalam berpakaian Aura disebut-sebut meniru penyanyi manca negara, Shakira. Namun, Aura keberatan dengan anggapan tersebut.

"Kata siapa, dalam pemilihan baju itu aku nggak punya panutan, semua pilihan aku sendiri," ujar Aura saat ditemui di Tenis Indoor Senayan, Jakarta, Jumat (1/8/2008).

Mengenai penampilannya yang terbilang seksi, mantan finalis Miss Indonesia 2007 asal Lampung itu mengaku dirinya tak pernah sengaja menciptakan imej tersebut.

"Sejauh ini aku nggak pernah merasa seksi. Kalau pun ada yang bilang aku seksi, itu aku anggap sebagai bonus," tutur pelantun Mari Bercinta ini.

Aura menegaskan dirinya tak ingin dianggap sebagai penyanyi yang hanya bermodalkan tampang atau pun daya tarik fisiknya. Dia bertekad untuk membuktikan bahwa dirinya memang penyanyi yang berkualitas.

"Aku akan terus meningkatkan kemampuan vokal aku, aksi panggung dan juga dalam menghayati lagu. Selain itu, aku ingin belajar membuat lagu sendiri," pungkasnya.
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Ada yang berubah dengan penampilan Agnes Monica. Kulit penyanyi muda ini nampak lebih cokelat saat ditemui di konser Alicia Keys di Plenary Hall, Jakarta Convention Centre, Senayan, Kamis malam (31/07/08). Usut punya usut, Agnes ternyata sedang melakukan persiapan penampilan baru untuk video klipnya.


"Ini untuk membuat video klip yang baru. Album yang baru, judulnya rahasia. Di sini aku juga dari produser. Dari mixing, mastering. Jadinya pusing sendiri," ungkap Agnes saat ditanya soal warna kulitnya yang nampak lebih gelap.


Untuk mendapatkan kulit yang lebih gelap, Agnes mengaku melakukan beberapa usaha ekstra, salah satunya dengan pergi ke salon. "Sering berjemur du atas apartemen. Trus juga di salon, cara berjemur yang baik, biar nggak item banget," kilahnya.


Jangan-jangan perubahan penampilan ini juga dimaksudkan untuk membuat perubahan image yang lebih dewasa? "Saya sih pingin berjalan apa adanya aja. Saya nggak mau proses untuk dewasa itu dipaksakan. Kan saya baru 17 tahun," ujar Agnes sambil ketawa dan berlalu.
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Setelah lama beristirahat dari panggung musik, Cindy Fatika Sari yang sempat menjadi vokalis band Gallery siap tampil lagi. Istri Tengku Firmansyah ini baru merilis band dan album terbarunya.

Grup musik itu digarapnya berdua dengan Firman, panggilan akrab Tengku Firmansyah, dan diberi nama Green Light. Band beraliran pop rock itu memiliki album Reunied, dengan single andalannya Putus Saja.

"Pemilihan nama Green Light bukan tanpa alasan. Karena band ini merupakan permulaan bagi saya untuk kembali melangkah. Ini dilakukan karena saya ingin bergabung kembali dengan teman-teman lama dan bermusik lagi," ucap Cindy saat ditemui di konser Simple Plan, Tenis Indoor Senayan, Jakarta, Kamis (31/7/2008).

Lagu dari kelompok musik yang beranggotakan personel Gallery itu bercerita tentang hubungan percintaan antara pasangan kekasih.

Dengan aliran pop rock, keduanya saling menjajal kemampuan menggarap Green Light. Bahkan Firman terjun langsung menjadi produser untuk mempromosikan bandnya ke radio-radio.

"Supaya lebih aktif, kita ikut bikin album juga. Untuk proses recordingnya selama satu tahun. Saya juga turut mempromosikan band ini," ungkap Firman.
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Penyanyi Shanty memang penggila konser. Kali ini ia mendatangi konser Alicia Keys yang digelar di Jakarta Convention Center, Kamis (31/8/2008) malam lalu. Kata Shanty, Alicia Keys super woman.

Konser Alicia Keys malam itu bertabur artis. Mereka yang datang di antaranya, Masayu, Agnes Monica, Rianti Cartwright, Wulan Guritno, Maia, Krisdayanti dan masih banyak lagi.

Penyanyi asal Amerika Serikat itu membawakan sekitar 20 lagu. Penampilannya sungguh maksimal. Sayangnya media online dilarang mengambil gambar aksi Alicia tersebut.

Soal penampilan Alicia Keys yang maksimal pun diakui Shanty. "Semua lagu gue suka. Pokoknya nggak yang gue nggak suka. Dia kayak super woman, bagus," urainya.

Bahkan saking kagumnya pada Alicia Keys, pelantun 'Hanya Memuji' itu sampai menyebut pelantun R'N'B itu sebagai penyanyi terhebat selama satu dekade mendatang.
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Saat Simple Plan menggelar konser di Jakarta, pada Kamis kemarin Audy berada di antara kerumunan penonton untuk melihat band asal Kanada itu.

Meski ajang yang digelar Java Musikindo itu dapat memberi pencerahan terhadap masyarakyat Indonesia bagaimana sebuah konser berstandar internasional, Audy justru mengaku kecewa.

"Saya kecewa sama antusiasnya penonton terhadap band-band dalam negeri yang nggak seperti band luar negeri. Padahal band dalam negeri nggak kalah dengan band luar," ucap Audy saat ditemui di konser Simple Plan, Tenis Indoor Senayan, Jakarta, Kamis (31/7/2008).

Kehadiran Audy di Tenis Indoor Senayan kala itu tak hanya untuk menonton aksi panggung Simple Plan. Putri musisi Yopie Item ini juga ingin melihat Andra and The Backbone yang didapuk menjadi band pembuka dalam ajang tersebut.

"Selain ingin nonton Simple Plan, saya datang ke sini untuk melihat penampilan Andra and The Backbone karena suka sama performancenya," tutur adik kandung Stevie Morley Item, sang gitaris Andra and The Backbone.
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SOME SAY THAT first impressions are everything, and that they influence your opinions and expectations forever after. Considering that our first impression of Ibanez's S Series guitars was a memorable one indeed-watching jazz übershredder Frank Gambale flaunt a gaudy yellow Saber in the late '80s-it should come as no surprise that we were completely beguiled when we laid eyes on the company's elegant new S2170FWNTF.

LOOKS
The S2170 is a standout member of the Ibanez A-Team-the Prestige Series-featuring some of the finest attributes the company has to offer. You'll surely find yourself gazing for a while at that intriguing burled poplar top, which adorns the slim yet sleek mahogany body that all S series guitars possess. The body's "natural flat" finish (indicated by the NTF at the end of the guitar's name) only adds to its appeal, as does the guitar's overall cosmetic simplicity: a mere two knobs for global volume and tone, one five-way pickup selector, and an elegant bound rosewood fretboard garnished by a lone Prestige inlay at the 12th fret. The headstock maintains the less-is-more aesthetic, topping the guitar with a rosewood truss rod cover and a subtle Ibanez Prestige logo that emanates a royal character underneath those classy-looking Gotoh Precision tuners.

FEEL
Don't be fooled by the S2170's slenderness; once you handle the guitar, you'll be quickly reminded that it does in fact possess a mahogany body. Still, it balances nicely on a player's lap. On its own, the buttery Wizard II prestige neck is nearly worth the guitar's full retail price--the rounded contours of this five-piece maple/Bubinga composite just melt into your fretting hand--and it only takes a lick or two to start gushing over the 22 jumbo frets and ultra-flat radius, which foster an atmosphere of bending nirvana. Whammy junkies will fully appreciate both the smoothness and the consistent tuning afforded by the roller bearings in the revolutionary Ibanez-designed ZR (zero resistance) bridge, not to mention its handful of tweakable features like the arm torque adjuster, which lets you easily adjust the whammy bar's height.

SOUND
Most important, and most astonishing, are the array of tones that the S2170 can produce. We were able to switch from thickly compressed, high-gain fusion lines to clean, delay-drenched ambient tones with only minimal EQ adjustments to the patches on our M-Audio Black Box. American-made DiMarzio/IBC pickups are the ace in the 2170's pocket; designed by pickup mastermind Steve Blucher, they project a warm, vintage-style rock 'n' roll tone at a medium output. Think Gibson PAFs, but overwound for hotter mids.

IS IT FOR YOU?
The S2170FWNTF is a versatile instrument capable of creating many sonic textures. Aesthetics notwithstanding, this guitar can be counted on to deliver on those days when you need the right ax for that midday session with Paul Rodgers, followed by the quick rehearsal with the Metallica tribute band that precedes your gig as sole guitarist backing up the Temptations.

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The sound of Electro-Harmonix pedals has resounded through rock music for four decades. Almost every guitarist can name one that he (or she) loves. But many also lament that their favorite EH pedal is too big to fit on their pedal board, or that they're wary of taking it on the road because the casing seems, well, un-roadworthy. And the fact that these units require a different power supply than any other piece of guitar gear has always been a definite turnoff. Well, brothers and sisters, you can now rejoice. The new Nano series of pedals from Electro- Harmonix puts to bed all the aforementioned caveats, packaging the distinctive sounds that we've come to adore in solid, molded metal casings with standard adapter inputs, small enough to fit easily on the most crowded pedal board.

Nano Dr. Q
For funky filtering, it's hard to go wrong with the Q. Its sensitivity is preset but it responds equally well to single-coil and humbucking pickups. The Range control lets you go from low-end burps to high-pitched squawks, while the Bass switch kicks in a healthy dose of extra booty-to the extent that you'll need to back off your guitar volume to keep from overloading your amp. Once you do, however, you'll find that the additional bottom is a useful option. Whether your thing is Jerry Garcia (or New Bohemian)-style leads, funk rhythm, or electronica effects, the Dr. Q would be a welcome addition to your audio arsenal.

Nano Bassballs
Originally designed for bassists, the first Bassballs pedal found numerous fans among guitarists seeking a very vocal envelope filter pedal. With a Q that almost approaches a talk-box level of vowel reproduction, the Bassballs "speaks" for itself. Add a distortion switch that brings out further levels of harmonic overtones, plus a range of oscillation that approaches insane, and you have the recipe for a classic EH effect. Except for two subtle changes-the Sensitivity knob has been relabeled Response, and a mini-toggle engages the distortion instead of a slider switch-the Nano version exactly replicates the original. This unit gives new meaning to the concept of "making your guitar talk."

LPB-1
"An exact recreation of the original LPB-1 circuit, which ushered in the age of overdrive in 1968," says the EH website. A major claim, but not far from the truth. Back when guitarists started using higher-wattage amps to reach bigger crowds, but before there were hotter pickups to overdrive them or pedals to emulate that overdriven sound, the original LPB-1 (Linear Power Booster) allowed rockers to drive the front end of a Twin Reverb into distortion, even with single-coil pickups. The new version recreates the massive range of boost available in the original. It also revives that pedal's distinctive tone-not totally transparent but extremely warm and musical. There are many other clean boosts out there, but only one sounds like this.

Muff Overdrive
The EH Big Muff Fuzz is an archetype among fuzzes, the Little Big Muff and Muff Fuzz variations on the theme. The Muff Overdrive courts confusion by being neither a fuzz nor, to these ears, the standard definition of an overdrive, yet it offers elements of both. Like a good overdrive pedal, the Muff Overdrive cleans up nicely when you back the volume of your guitar down. That said, lots of other pedals give you a more natural-sounding overdrive than this one when you crank it up. Still, with a little experimentation, you'll discover what this pedal does well: adding some of that Muff Fuzz sound to an already overdriven amp. Setting a Fender Princeton to overdrive when my guitar volume was up, I could then kick in the Muff Fuzz for further distortion (à la the LPB-1) and some fuzz-like coloration. Backing off the guitar volume cleaned everything up - a limited but very cool effect.

Switchblade
This pedal revives one of the first external switching devices available to guitarists. Want to take advantages of the different channel inputs available in classic Twin Reverbs and Marshalls? Just run your axe into a Switchblade and avail yourself of route "A" (sent to one amp input) or "B" (sent to the other). Need to switch guitars quickly and quietly? Plug one instrument into "A" and the other into "B," then come out of the single Switchblade jack to the amp. You can change speaker cabinets, route pedals, or perform a multitude of other sonic manipulations with this simple pedal. Think for a minute and you'll find a use for it.

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BACK IN THE LATE SIXTIES, when cigarettes were still being advertised on TV, the Chesterfield brand introduced a new line of smokes called 101s, which were 101 millimeters long. The whole marketing concept behind the brand was to poke fun at competitor Benson & Hedges, which had just introduced Benson & Hedges 100s, and the Chesterfield ads brilliantly skewered B&H's obsession with size by pointing out their cigarettes were "a silly millimeter longer" (which was sung to the tune of "La Bamba").

That old jingle came to mind when I first heard about Pedulla's Thunderbolt TB-5 19mm, the wider-necked version of the Thunderbolt TB-5. The 19mm reference comes from the string spacing at the bridge (19mm is approximately 3/4"). That makes the added width at the 22nd fret a bit more than Chesterfield's millimeter. To be exact: 6.35mm (approximately 1/4"). How much difference could a quarterinch make? You'd be surprised. Despite its bold moniker, the Thunderbolt is a bass of great subtlety, where seemingly small details can make a big sonic difference.

HEAVY NECKING
Pedulla's Thunderbolt basses are cousins of the company's Thunderbass line. They have a similar body shape, use the same active Bartolini soapbar pickups and TBT preamp, and also employ Pedulla's unique tone-shaping Thunderguts switch. Where the two diverge is at the neck: the Thunderbass is neck-through, whereas the Thunderbolt is bolt-on (Thunderbolt, get it?).

Pedulla sent the two Thunderbolt 5-string models for our tests, and the pair nicely showcased the strengths and aesthetic possibilities of these basses. Both were, of course, gorgeous- Pedulla is justifiably famous for the quality and beauty of its woods and finishes-and both played like butter and felt like old friends right out of the box, no adjustments needed.

The TB-5 (the one with the standard- sized neck) has a captivating AAA flame maple top finished in a rich "vintage cherry sunburst" and highlighted by the contrasting rosewood fingerboard and chrome hardware. Its wider sister is an ETB-5 19mm, with the "ET" standing for "Exotic Top," in this case, deep coffee-colored Bubinga wood. This bass also sports a coated maple fingerboard and gold hardware. Otherwise, the two were identical, with 34- inch-scale hard maple necks, soft maple backs, brass barrel bridges, identical Bartolini pickups and the four-knob control arrangement, and the same Thunderguts switch. Let's call them Skinny Red and Big Bubinga.

Being attracted to bright, shiny things, I started with Skinny Red. At just under ten pounds, it was hardly a featherweight, but was so well balanced and shaped that I barely noticed the load once it was strapped on. Also, the contour of the upper half of the body lets the bass slip into the ideal playing position, snug against the body but angled out enough for optimal access to the strings.

Each pickup is positioned in a carefully chosen spot, both for tone and comfort. When using the neck pickup as a thumb rest, my fingers fell into a naturally bright sweet spot about four inches from the bridge. There's also plenty of room between the pickup and the neck for slapping, and the comfortably wide string spacing was no doubt beneficial to my occasionally sloppy thumb.

But as happy as my right hand was, it had nothing on the left. Pedulla has one of the best-shaped necks in the business-thin but carefully contoured, it delivers both the ease and speed of a J-Bass neck, while also suggesting the solidity of a P-Bass. Playability can best be described as effortless, whether you're playing low and funky or high and melodic.

Being so pleased with Skinny Red, I didn't give much thought to Big Bubinga, until I decided to take Red to a rehearsal while using Bubinga for the gig. It turned out to make for a telling comparison. For one tune, I was asked to cover a cello part, which meant working between the 8th and 18th fret while trying to create the illusion of smooth legato phrasing without a bow.

Things worked well enough with Skinny Red, although the part sounded a little, well, thin. On the gig with Big Bubinga, by contrast, what had initially seemed a chore suddenly became a pleasure. Thanks to the extra distance between strings, I had more room to play with vibrato, while the maple fingerboard added enough edge to the tone to make the sustain seem more expressive and less guitar-like than before. It wasn't quite like playing arco, but it was plenty close.

It isn't just the string spacing that makes Big Bubinga so comfortable in the upper register. Pedulla uses a different fingerboard radius for standard five-strings like Skinny Red and for 19mm five-strings like Big Bubinga (a 12-inch radius for the former, a 15-inch for the latter). What that means in practical terms is that Big Bubinga's fingerboard is slightly flatter. Combined with the additional width, it improved my left-hand positioning, and made it easier to focus on controlling the strings.

It was a fairly subtle improvement, but Pedulla has a flair for subtlety. Take, for example, what the electronics and pickups do with the tone. Both basses have an inherently warm, midrange-y sound, with crisply defined and clearly present highs, and a tight, punchy low end. With the Thunderguts switch on, the mids and upper lows take on added weight and richness, as if you'd just gone from chocolate to chocolate fudge. And with the well-voiced, simple, and powerful Bartolini TBT bass and treble cut/boost controls, it's easy to fine-tune and reshape either instrument's sound to suit just about any situation.

But the controls are just the beginning. Because the active circuitry and Bartolini pickups are exceptionally transparent, they don't add color so much as amplify the basic characteristics of the Thunderbolts' sound, and where that really pays off is in your right hand. If you tend to use a variety of picking techniques, or even just greatly vary the intensity and dynamics of your attack, these basses have an uncanny way of enhancing such nuances that makes those subtle shadings seem even more remarkable and vivid.

And it only gets better the louder you play (unlike some basses that turn to mush at high volume). Both Thunderbolts sounded great at moderate volume through my Gallien-Krueger 400RB-IV and 210; on my test gigs, Skinny Red showed a few more teeth with a bit more growl, while Big Bubinga's sustain and warmth were wonderfully consistent in all registers. Big Bubinga's maple fingerboard made it a bit better for slapping, with plenty of clank-free bite, while Skinny Red sounded more at home in fingerstyle situations. And when I played both basses through a cranked G-K 800RB with a SWR Goliath III 4x10, the difference was like seeing a movie on DVD or seeing it in the theater: The story stayed the same, but the delivery offered more attentiongrabbing presence and detail, with obviously greater impact.

THE BOTTOM LINE
With a list price of over three grand, neither version of the Thunderbolt is cheap, but even so, Pedulla definitely delivers value. In addition to looks that will leave your bandmates drooling, these basses are clearly designed and built with a craftsman's sense of pride, and painstaking, unsurpassed attention to detail. And while they have plenty of power, their real strength is their ability to convey a wide range of shading and nuance, which is evident when playing quietly or solo- and also when blasting at high volume. And if you spend a lot of time high up on the neck, or you're a wild-ass slapper, definitely go for the 19mm option. There's nothing silly about a few extra millimeters

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Active pickups have a specially tuned preamp built into each one of them that influences the pickup’s EQ, response and output. This preamp makes it possible for the pickups to consistently generate layers of overtones that most passive pickups cannot, especially in conjunction with high gain and distortion. On the flipside, these preamps generally inject a flavor outside of the guitar’s natural sound, often referred to as cold or one-dimensional.

This has left many players to speculate on what tones might be possible from active pickups if they were to also inhere the lifelike beauty delivered by time-honored passive designs. Seymour Duncan handily answers this question with its new Blackout active pickups. Through clever concepts, Duncan’s Blackouts are roughly the sonic equivalent of typical active pickups driven by a warm tube overdrive.

FEATURES
An industry-standard black epoxy casing hides the Blackouts’ bar-style magnets, which are wide enough to support either vintage or Floyd-bridge string spacing needs. If you’re already using active pickups with a three-pin connect system, it won’t take more than a few minutes to light a fire into the Blackouts. On the underside of each pickup, you’ll see the same three-pin, plug-and-play-style system. Should you prefer a typical installation, standard wires are also included. What aren’t visibly apparent are the groundbreaking balanced inputs that feed the differential preamp. This novel inclusion of audio technology results in far greater dynamics and a 12-to-14db reduction in noise compared to other active pickup designs.

PERFORMANCE
Active pickups are often cited for imparting their own frequency curve, thereby obscuring a guitar’s natural tone. The Blackouts, however, seem to supercharge the instrument’s tonal quality, imbuing it with a particularly aggressive midrange that sounded not at all unnatural. Neither sweet nor delicate, these ill-mannered heathens belch raw midrange blasts with all the grace of a gassy Tasmanian devil and scream with much the same animalistic emotion and toothy bite. Depending upon the amp I used, the pickups’ output sometimes required lower gain settings and a change in the amp’s EQ settings to achieve the best tones. Still, their sound was always woody, warm and intensely organic.

THE BOTTOM LINE
Seymour Duncan’s Blackouts have an exciting and natural sound, qualities I would have never expected to find in active pickups. Chief among their attributes are an explosive midrange charge, searing harmonic grind and an earthy foundation that belie their active nature.

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Boosting a guitar's signal is easy, but it takes a sophisticated device to do it without adding distortion or affecting tone and response. One of the few pedals to actually achieve this is the hand-built Katana Clean Boost, from Keeley Electronics.

The secrets to the Katana's practically limitless headroom are audiophile-grade components and a specially designed I.C. known as a charge pump. This muscular circuit doubles the nine-volt input voltage to 18-volts before a set of FET transistors smoothly amplifies the sound.

The Class A Katana has a single side-mounted push-pull pot that lets users adjust the amount of boost with their foot. Pushing in the pot places the pedal in Pure Clean mode, where you get a healthy dose of clean boost. Pulling it out puts the Katana in High Gain mode, giving your tone a little tube grit just this side of overdriven.

Tested through a host of amps, the Katana was supremely transparent, offering everything from mild lift to radical boost while it maintained the precise nuances of my attack. It's like getting more from your amp without maxing out your gain. No wonder the Katana has found a place in the pedal boards of Z.Z. Top's Billy Gibbons and Anthrax's Dan Spitz, among many others.

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MIKE PALERMO IS A CANADIAN guitarist and music store proprietor who once had a serious problem. After trying every distortion on the market, he couldn't find a box that fulfilled his twisted need for bombastic tone. His solution was simple and effective. Mike fashioned a steel casing to resemble a WWII landmine, stuffed it full of explosive circuitry and started placing his pedals in places where important people would step on them. Nice guy, huh? Needless to say, the hand-built distortion box has blown away everyone who has hit its switch.

The olive-drab-green Landmine is completely analog and has controls for level, low, mid and high adjustment, plus amp and mixer outputs that can be used simultaneously. All lettering is appropriately painted with a military-style stencil. Through clean Fender and Victoria amps, the Landmine produced crushing low-end, ass-kicking midrange report and fiery top end attack. But it was the distinct and offsetting textures of tubelike distortion and chainsaw fuzz that really tweaked my ear. Palermo has succeeded where many have failed before him, magnificently blending two dissimilar distortion types into one righteous high-gain ordinance.

If you're looking for a boutique overdrive that can introduce wicked tone in your arsenal, by all means, step on the Landmine and prepare to be destroyed.

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Seymour Duncan is one of the oldest and best-known names in pickup design and manufacturing, but the company is relatively new to the crowded pedal market. I guess the old adage “Better late than never” is applicable here, because the Seymour Duncan SFX-03 Twin Tube Classic is a little master-piece of tube tone.

FEATURES
The Twin Tube Classic has Rhythm and Lead channels built around a pair of micro 6021 tubes, which were originally devel-oped for use in military devices. The quality of their performance is outstanding, and because the tubes aren’t sensitive to vibrations or jarring, they should last the lifetime of the pedal.

Although most other tube-powered pedals run 12AX7 preamp tubes at low voltages, Seymour Duncan cooks these little wonders with a hot 240 volts. The resulting tone is smooth, warm and thick, like a great tube amp cranked to 10 (or 11). Basic features for this well-built, heavy-duty pedal include global bass and treble controls and individual volume and gain controls for the rhythm and lead channels. The pedal is true bypass when switched off and comes with the necessary AC power adaptor.

PERFORMANCE
I tested the Duncan TT Classic with a Les Paul Custom, a vintage Charvel and a Fender Vibro-King. Playing just one chord through the Duncan’s Rhythm channel brought a big smile to my face. The tone was old-school, with the midrange bloom of a “Plexi” on 5 and the warm crunch of a pushed Bassman quarter stack.

Switching over to the Lead channel made things even better. The high-gain tones here were sweet, rich and extremely organic (think Duane Allman at Fillmore East). The fact that all this comes from a single pedal makes it all the more impressive.

THE BOTTOM LINE
The Twin Tube Classic produces beau-tifully thick and juicy output tube–style distortion, and its two channels provide everything players of classic rock, metal and blues could want.

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SOME OF THE MOST interesting new sounds to come from the minds at Marshall are encapsulated in these three new digital stomp boxes: the RF-1 Reflector reverb, the EH-1 Echohead delay and the RG-1 Regenerator modulation

pedals. Having long ago established itself as a leader in amp design and manufacture, Jim Marshall and company have set their sights on building a line of effect pedals that deliver boutique tone at affordable prices. To that end, the Reflector, Echohead and Regenerator have features and tone that make them useful and welcome additions to the effect pedal market.

Each of these hefty beauties is built like a miniature tank and features top-quality polished jacks and tough switches that deliver a solid "click." Each pedal has six mdoes, dual output jacks, mono and stereo operation, passive bypass circuitry and a spillover circuit that prevents the effect "tail" from cutting off abruptly when the pedal is switched off. If I have one quibble, it's with the nine-volt battery compartment: in this age of easy access and advanced ergonomics, it's unfortunate that a screwdriver or coin is still required to open the boxes' battery doors.

RG-1 REGENERATOR

PEDAL MANUFACTURERS COMPETE to create the most dramatic and deranged modulation effects, but not all players want their sound to be dominated by vertigo-inducing sonic mayhem. This is what makes Marshall's Regenerator unique. The tones in its six modes-Vintage Chorus, Multi-Chorus, Vintage Flanger, Phaser, Step Phaser and Vintage Vibe-are reserved at all but the most extreme settings. The pedal has controls for speed, depth and regen and an expression pedal input.

I particularly enjoyed the Vintage Chorus mode, which recalled the warmth and thick sparkle of the benchmark Boss CE-2 pedal. I was also intrigued and somewhat amused by the Step Phaser's bubbling and sometimes abrupt "crystal staircase" effect. Overall, though, Vintage Vibe was my favorite mode, with its combination of chorusing with a soft rotary-speaker pulse.

RF-1 REFLECTOR

THE REFLECTOR'S REVERB effects are on par with some of the better rack units. The pedal has six reverbs on tap: Hall, Plate, Room, two Spring simulations and a wildly unique Reverse mode. The unit's time and level controls are standard fare, while the damping control lets you govern the amount of reflected high frequencies to produce everything from vibrant and sparkling ambience to creamy dark reverbs. An expression pedal input provides control over the decay time, a performance feature that let me sculpt dramatic ambient waves.

Tonally, the Reflector's simulations were comparable to my Victoria combo's tube-driven reverb unit, arguably the finest reverb of its type. The Reflector demonstrated an accurate decay that did not color the amp's tone. I especially enjoyed Reverse mode, in which the Reflector produced an alien amalgam of note rejection and regurgitated reverb that sounded as if the amp was throwing each sound back at me.

EH-1 ECHOHEAD

WHEN GUITARISTS USE the word "echo" to describe a delay effect, they're usually referring to a softer and more natural repeat, like those produced by a tape-driven delay unit. It's therefore appropriate that Marshall has dubbed this pedal the Echohead, because its delay tones are uniquely soft and lacking harsh digital edges, without affecting the accuracy of each repeat. Its has six modes-Hi-Fi, Analogue, Tape Echo, Multi-Tap, Reverse and Mod Filter-and controls for delay time, feedback and level. For players that are skilled enough to set a tap tempo, the Echohead's 1/4-inch foot pedal jack is compatible with most momentary switches.

Unlike so many other digital delay pedals, the Echohead's repeats seemed to meld organically with my existing tone, rather than force me to compensate for a loss of highs or unnatural sustain. The Hi-Fi mode produced a clear and colorless delay that was suitable for any application, but the Tape Echo setting was the most fun for me. Its relaxed repeats and pillowy bass response gave my Strat a calm and sweet demeanor that was great with fine blues and jazz tones.

THE BOTTOM LINE

MARSHALL'S NEW TRIO of six-mode pedals create truly fresh sounds. The EH-1 Echohead's digital delays can be particularly delicate, the RG-1 Regenerator's modulation tones are friendly rather than obnoxious, and the RF-1 Reflector produces the most realistic reverb I've heard yet from a pedal.

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THROUGHOUT THE EIGHTIES, most guitarists considered wah pedals a joke, the kind of thing you'd only use if you were recording a porno soundtrack or chase scene music for a budget action flick. Then Guns N' Roses scored a Number 1 hit with "Sweet Child O' Mine," which features a blistering wah guitar solo by Slash. Suddenly, hard rock and metal players began to take the humble wah-wah more seriously once again.

FEATURES
DUNLOP'S NEW CRY BABY SW-95 Slash wah tips the ol' top hat to Slash's role in the wah pedal revival. The Slash wah is no ordinary Cry Baby. It features a high-gain distortion circuit and a classic Fasel inductor, just like Slash's own custom-built wah pedal. It also has an easy-access top-loading battery compartment on top of the rocker pedal and a Slash-approved metallic-red paint job.

The Slash wah operates just like a traditional wah pedal-just click the effect on by pushing down on the toe of the rocker pedal (blue LEDs on both sides of the pedal will light up), and wah away to your heart's content. To kick in the distortion circuit, push in the red mushroom-shaped knob on the right side of the pedal near the heel. Red LED indicators will start to glow, and you can adjust gain and volume with the knobs on the right side of the pedal.

PERFORMANCE
THANKS TO THE FASEL inductor, the Slash wah delivers an expressive, vocalike midrange that's thick and creamy. The distortion circuit is placed in front of the wah, which delivers a wider range of wah tone than if it were placed after it. Note that the volume drops dramatically at the full "heel down" position with the distortion engaged-this phenomenon always occurs when you place a distortion in front of a wah and is not unique to the Slash pedal. Also, the distortion does not work separately; you can turn it on only when the wah is also on.

THE BOTTOM LINE
TONALLY, THIS IS ONE of the most expressive wahs around, with a midrange sweet spot that can really make your guitar talk. Hats off to Slash for designing a wah pedal that's as classic as his riffs.

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VINTAGE TUBE FENDER Princeton and Princeton Reverb combos are the stuff of studio legend. These low-watters were intended as upscale practice amps for guitarists who thought the Fender Champ too basic, but they found their way into studios because they sounded big and loud, at levels recording engineers could live with.

The Princeton name eventually got co-opted for a line of solid-state amps that were designed to be portable and affordable. With the new Princeton Recording-Amp, Fender has not only returned the amp to its tube origins but also enhanced its feature set for studio use.

FEATURES
SPORTING MINIMAL CONTROLS and a tube-driven spring reverb, the Princeton Recording-Amp uses a pair of 6V6 power section to push 20 watts of tube tone from its 10-inch Jensen C-10R speaker. If this were the end of the story, the Princeton would be a straightforward vintage-style tube combo.

But the new Princeton has modern features, too, including a built-in compressor, an overdrive circuit, the D.I. recording outputs (which have speaker emulation), and the Trans-Impedance Power Attenuator, which lets the power section churn out gain-heavy tone at low volumes. There is even an effect loop, which was lacking on the original vintage hardware.

The combo's front panel controls are divided into two sections. The top panel has traditional controls-volume, treble, bass and reverb level-and inputs 1 and 2, for guitars with standard and hot pickups, respectively. The lower control panel gives you command over the Princeton's compressor, overdrive and Trans-Impedance Power Attenuator circuits (more on this last item below). The compressor has an on switch and controls for sensitivity and level; the overdrive has an on switch and controls for overdrive, tone and level. Both are effective additions: the former adds sustain and drive and lets you dial up a countrified tone, while the latter reminds me a bit of a Tube Screamer, adding edge and grit without getting too fuzzy. Each section can be activated by the included footswitch, as can the reverb and effect loop.

The rear panel features speaker and headphone outputs, an XLR line output with a level control and ground lift, effect loop connections and a multipin jack for the included footswitch. The effect loop is especially welcome because it gives you the option of using processors like delay post gain, something preferred by most modern players.

TRANS-IMPEDANCE POWER ATTENUATOR
THIS IS EASILY the Princeton's coolest feature, allowing you to create huge sounds while maintaining low output volumes. It couldn't be easier to employ: use the amp's volume control to dial up progressive amounts of whole-amp gain, ranging from clean sounds to smoking blues tones; then, use the attenuator's oversized knob to set the amp's output level.

With vintage nonmaster-volume amps like the original Princeton, you still have to move some air to get the power tubes to sing, and while this may be fine in a recording studio, it's usually too loud for recording in an apartment. The power attenuator circuit is the solution to the latter problem and makes the Princeton sound much creamier than a typical master-volume amp, which relies on preamp overdrive and doesn't saturate the power tubes at lower volumes. Here, the preamp and power section work together to create thick tone syrup, sculpted by the tone controls.

PERFORMANCE
THOUGH IT'S CAPABLE of a range of tones, the Princeton Recording-Amp is not designed to cram the sound of every amp ever made within its compact frame. It has an identity of its own.J

In action, the Princeton did more than impress: it inspired, too. Free from the complexity of a modern amp's control panel, I just dialed in a baseline tone, plugged in my Tele and started wailing. The amp was plenty loud enough to compete with bass and drums. My favorite setting was with the volume up a little less than full; from there, I used the Tele's volume knob to go from clean to nasty, adding a little grit with the treble knob. The compressor and overdrive are both worthy additions, but the amp's pure tone was a blast without them.

THE BOTTOM LINE
LIKE A TASTEFULLY updated vintage Porsche, the Princeton Recording-Amp marries what's great about the old days with the utility of the modern age. The result is great tone that is accessible equally onstage and in the studio.

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AMONG MAKERS OF sound-processing gear, BBE may be the most iconoclastic. Think about it: The company's trademark product is the Sonic Maximizer, a specialized form of signal processing that optimizes the phase relationship between frequencies. Not quite the stuff of low-tech stomp boxes.

And yet BBE has also been making guitar and bass rack units over the years, and that experience led them to develop a collection of stomp boxes that allude to classic fuzz tones, boosters and green Screamers of yore. BBE's new sextet of effects includes three distortion units, two clean boosters and a compressor. The idea: get vintage tones and features into reliable, affordable packaging. For this review, I'll focus on three: the Crusher, a distortion with EQ; the Green Screamer, a vintage-style overdrive; and the Freq Boost, a treble booster. Other new models include the Free Fuzz, the Orange Squash compressor and the Boosta Grande clean booster.

All six units are solidly built and resemble BBE's already released Sonic Stomp and Opto Stomp. Each can be powered by a nine-volt battery or with its included power supply, and the pedals also work well with a third-party multi-unit power supply. What's more, all feature true bypass, so they don't suck away your tone.

The pedals' construction is solid; in fact, it's on par with the toughest pedals I've tested. The old-style button footswitches give a solid click when engaged, and the metal knobs are easy to grip and firm to turn. Other features common to all pedals include on/off status LEDs and nonskid bottoms. And while the BBEs aren't fancy, they certainly look good on a pedal board.

THE CRUSHER
The Crusher distortion pedal is the most elaborately outfitted of the new effects, with controls for gain and volume and a three-band passive EQ. Despite its name, the Crusher is capable of smooth and rich tones. It sounded good even when pushing an already overdriven tube amp, adding punch and roundness to the tone without sounding mushy. Its gain curve is progressive, which makes it easy to find the sweet spot between your guitar and amp. At minimal gain, the Crusher works well as an EQ/booster that can alter your amp's distortion without fuzzing it out. At maximum gain, the pedal produces teeth-melting tone.

The EQ proved to be an extremely useful and powerful asset. Scooping the midrange produced excellent thrash and grunge sounds, while boosting the mids and cutting highs served up Clapton's warm Cream-era tone. Overall, the Crusher's best feature is its ability to dynamically enhance and expand on the amp and guitar's existing tone without destroying it. Using it is like having an extra channel.

GREEN SCREAMER
The Green Screamer is a dual op-amp overdrive pedal that pays homage to the great TS9 Tube Screamer. But while it may have a similar profile, the BBE is not an imitation of that classic Ibanez stomp box. The Green Screamer is a little brighter and delivers a more tubelike "spit" than my old TS9 (yes, I A/B'd them), though it also has a little less overall gain. Controls include the classic trio of level, tone and gain. Like the Crusher, it can be used as a clean-ish boost, and riding the treble with the gain backed off added some kick to my tube amp. But the pedal's mission is to deliver midlevel gain and overdrive, and it does so capably. The sound is tight, compressed and smooth, making the Green Screamer an excellent choice for blues, country and classic rock.

FREQ BOOST
In the days before purpose-built high-gain amps, players used boosters to drive their tubes harder. The single op-amp Freq Boost is patterned after treble boosters of yore and is effective at pushing the front end of a tube amp. Unlike the Clean Boost, the Freq Boost adds presence to the tone by pushing the highs. This was evident when I used the pedal in front of a tube amp on the brink of distortion. With the Freq Boost's volume control set at 12 o'clock, the pedal produced minimal gain but delivered more detail and punch from the guitar, giving the tone a nice, bluesy edge. Pushing the pedal harder produced a dark, driven crunch sound that was great for lead playing. No matter where I set its volume control, the Freq Boost brought my tone out front without making it too harsh. If you have a good tube amp and want to kick it harder, this pedal is a must.

THE BOTTOM LINE
Each BBE pedal I tested was designed for a specific type of distortion, and in every instance, I think the results are both well executed and extremely musical. Distortion connoisseurs will appreciate the nuances of tone and articulation possible with the BBEs and the ease with which they can create powerful and usable sounds.

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AMPS LIKE THE Soldano SLO-100, Bogner Uberschall and Diezel VH4 are among the elite high-gain amplifiers because of their ability to create incredible quantities of gain without compromising clarity or musicality. Unfortunately, those amps come with price tags in excess of $3,000. The new Rivera Knucklehead Tré is built for players that want a similar level of performance but have half as much money to spend. The big news here is that the Tré is more than a worthy competitor in terms of high-gain finesse; it also treats players to dazzling clean tones, pragmatic tone-shaping circuitry and scintillating touch sensitivity.

FEATURES
The two-channel Rivera draws its conservatively rated 120 watts from four EL34 power tubes and delivers them to speakers via a massive custom output transformer. A quintet of 12AX7s drive the preamp, and audiophile- grade electronic components ensure crystal-clear signal integrity and a superquick response. Controls for the Clean/Rhythm channel are basic: gain, bass, middle and treble, with push/pull pots that engage the midrange notch and bright circuits.

The Lead channel has independent gain and EQ controls, along with a master volume pot that can be pulled out to boost the channel's already ridiculous gain. The channel is also home to a circuit that Rivera calls Foundation. While the global presence knob adds sizzle and top to both channels, the Foundation control adjusts the Lead channel's bass depth, without producing a noticeable change in speaker damping.

The back panel has a channel-assignable effect loop and a jack for the included three-button footswitch, which can be used for channel switching and to engage/ disengage boost and the effect loop.

PERFORMANCE
Using a Peavey HP Special, I tested the Rivera with Mesa and Tone Tubby cabs. The cabs allowed me to create punchy modern sounds and sparkling Seventies-style clean tones with a level of sonic quality typically reserved for expensive boutique amps. But after notching the midrange and activating the bright circuit, I found that the Rivera was also surprisingly capable of slinky, blackface-era warmth.

I initially set the Lead channel's gain very low and the master volume at about six. The Rivera responded with a powerful Plexi-style crunch and enough headroom for some authentic AC/DC stage tones. Medium gain settings yielded rhythm blasts reminiscent of Green Day, while setting the gain on 10 made the Tré sing like a murderous chainsaw and pound the speakers with an ungodly low end.

Activating the boost was like kicking an already angry tiger in the ass, fueling the head's firestorm of gain and distortion to a frightening level. Sustain was practically endless, and no matter how fast I played, every note remained tight and full. To assess the channel's open nature and ripping presence, I dialed the treble down to zero. Even at this setting, there was no loss of definition and screaming harmonics exploded from the speakers.

THE BOTTOM LINE
In short, the Knucklehead Rivera Tré is one of the baddest amps on the planet. It generates gain like an unattended nuclear reactor and seems incapable of producing a weak or mushy note. Yet its delightful clean tones are among the best in its class. Rivera has again come through with a notable achievement in amplifier design.
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THE HOT BRITISH tube distortion is one of the most popular pedals from Radial Engineering's award-winning Tonebone pedal series, revered for its ability to accurately create the tones of a modified "Plexi" stack. Since its initial offering, Radial has received praise for the pedal's tone and numerous requests for a more feature-laden British-style pedal. The company's response comes in the form of the new tube-driven Plexitube distortion pedal.

FEATURES Indeed, the Plexitube picks up where the Hot British left off. In addition to recreating the sound of the original Hot British pedal, the Plexitube has a second high-gain channel, more control over the distortion, several voicing options and an effect loop insert on channel 2 (lead).

The new Plexitube distortion creates its immense range of Brit-style distortion and tone through an onboard 12AX7 preamp tube and a specially designed multistage solidstate drive circuit. Of course, the pedal features true-bypass operation when turned off. Features include a drive knob for both channels, global high- and low-frequency controls and independent output level controls.

The EQ can be adjusted further with switches for voicing, midboost and top-end response and independent contour knobs for each channel's midrange. For players who like to run one channel with effects and one without, channel 2 features an insert loop that lets you add effects. This greatly enhances the Plexitube's flexibility, making it possible to switch between a chunky rhythm distortion and an intense high-gain lead tone that features delay, chorus, flanger or whatever effects you want.

PERFORMANCE I plugged the Tonebone Plexitube and a Burstbucker-loaded Les Paul into my Fender Vibro-King. The Plexitube's two channels offered modern edgy distortion that was very lively. Channel 1 featured slightly less gain than channel 2, but the unit overall provided a very bright attack, screaming harmonics and tons of sustain. The Plexitube's tonal options kept me busy for days, like a kid let loose with a mad scientist's kit.

THE BOTTOM LINE The Plexitube provides everything you need to generate layers of searing Brit-style preamp-derived gain.

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Musik Indonesia tengah diramaikan band-band yang menjual musik pop mellow. Artis Cindy Fatikasari yang pernah jadi vokalis band Galeri mengaku kurang suka.

"Kita nggak suka musik pop menye-menye Indonesia sekarang. Soalnya musik yang sekarang kayak nggak ada nyawanya," ujar Cindy saat ditemui di Tennis Indoor Senayan, Jakarta, Kamis (31/7/2008) malam.

Artis yang kini jadi bintang sinetron itu ditemui bersama suaminya Tengku Firmansyah saat menonton konser Jakarta Jam. Dari tiga band yang tampil malam itu, Cindy menantikan band pop punk New Found Glory.

"Rugi aja kalau nggak jingkrak-jingkrak di dalam, soalnya tiketnya mahal," tutur bintang sinetron 'Jelita' itu soal Jakarta Jam.

Bagaimana pendapat Cindy soal penampilan Andra & the Bakcbone? "Ya lumayan lah. Tapi aku sendiri kalau band Indonesia cuma exicited sama Netral aja," jawabnya.
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Ketika musik digital berformat MP3 masuk Internet, para penggemarnya bisa saling berbagi musik koleksi mereka - yang ditransfer dari cakram padat rekaman atau sumber lainnya - melalui jaringan pertukaran file peer-to-peer.

Yang paling ramai kala itu adalah Napster.com, yang para penggunanya bisa berbagi musik tanpa harus mengeluarkan sepeser uang pun. Tapi kepopuleran Napster harus berakhir karena dianggap melanggar hak cipta.

Sebagai gantinya, muncul layanan penyedia musik digital berbayar. Sebut saja Insound, Rhapsody, dan Apple iTunes Music Store. Tapi pelayanan penjualan musik tentunya berbeda untuk setiap negara dan melibatkan toko musik digital yang berbeda pula. Salah satunya dengan menggunakan WMP11, loe akan mendapatkan akses ke musik dunia di manapun loe berada.

Untuk membeli sebuah lagu, tentunya loe harus mempunyai koneksi internet dan kartu kredit yang masih berlaku. Kelebihan membeli ditoko musik digital yang tersedia dalam menu Windows Media Player 11 (WMP11), loe mempunyai kesempatan membeli lagu maupun musik tanpa harus meninggalkan kenyamanan rumahloe.
Cara menggunakan WMP11:

1. Klik tab ’Music’ di WMP11, pelayanan toko musik digital yang tersedia akan muncul dalam daftar.

2. Loe kemudian dapat melanjutkan dengan berlangganan dan membeli musik digital pilihanloe dari toko digital musik pilihanloe juga tentunya.

Untuk musik indonesia salah satu penyedia musik digital ialah Independent Music Portal (importmusik.com). Perusahaan ini dimiliki oleh musisi terkenal Indonesia, Anang Hermansyah, yang dapat membantu musisi independen yang belum mempunyai kontrak dengan merek manapun untuk menyebarkan digital musik mereka untuk publik.

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Grup band Metallica akan mengeluarkan album baru. Album itu bertajuk Death Magnetic. Dalam album kesembilan mereka, Metallica membicarakan tentang kematian.

Mengenai tema album mereka, Hetfield sang vokalis memiliki pandanga tersendiri.

"Pada awalnya judul ini bisa dianggap sebagai penghargaan untuk orang-orang yang meninggal di dalam bisnis ini. Seperti Layne Staley (pentolan Alice In Chains) dan banyak orang lain yang telah meninggal. Pada dasarnya mereka seperti martir rock'n roll. Lalu judul ini berkembang dari situ," papar Hetfield, vokalis Metalicca, seperti dikutip dari NME, Rabu (30/7/2008).

Album band asal Los Angeles ini akan di rilis pada 22 September mendatang. Hetfield menambahkan, bandnya bersikeras untuk menunjukkan tema kematian di dalam album mereka, karena punya alsan tersendiri.

"Konsep bahwa kita semua akan mati kadang terus dibicarakan lalu didiamkan begitu saja, tidak ada orang yang ingin membicarakannya," tambahnya.

"Hal ini seperti hal yang tidak berguna. Namun kita harus berhadapan dengannya di titik tertentu."
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Bertempat di Tennis Indoor Senayan, Simple Plan yang menggelar konser di Jakarta, pada Kamis (31/7/2008) tampil menggebrak penontonnya.

Band asal Kanada ini mulai tampil sekira pukul 22.00 WIB. Pierre Bouvier, sang vokalis, langsung menyapa para penggemarnya dari atas stage. Tak hanya Bouvier, seluruh personel band ini juga interaktif dengan penonton.

Kelompok yang juga digawangi David Desrosiers (bass, backing vokal), Sebastien Lefebvre (guitar, backing vokal), Chuck Comeau (drum), dan Jeff Stinco (lead guitar) ini atraktif mengajak penonton ikut bernyanyi bareng, loncat, dan tepuk tangan bersama.

Sebanyak 17 lagu dibawakan anak-anak muda asal Montreal itu. Mulai dari lagu yang ada di album pertama, No Pads, No Helmets...Just Balls, sampai lagu dari album teranyar mereka, Simple Plan.

Sementara di kerumuman penonton, tampak datang sejumlah selebriti Tanah Air. Di antaranya, Audi, Cindy Fatika Sari, Tengku Firmansyah, Tommy Kurniawan, serta Ari K Untung yang datang bersama Fenita Daben, istrinya.

"Seru banget. Saya senang nonton Simple Plan dan memang suka sama musik-musik keras. Saat mendengar lagu keras, kita bisa loncat-loncatan, dan saat lagu slow kita bisa ikut iramanya. Inilah saatnya kita teriak-teriak dengar konser," kata Ari Untung saat ditemui usai konser.

Sebelum konser Simple Plan digelar, Andra and The Backbone didapuk menjadi band pembuka. Tepat pukul 18.00 WIB, kelompok ini membawakan 10 lagu mereka, seperti Sempurna, Main Hati, dan Musnah. Andra and The Backbone menutup penampilan mereka sekira pukul 19.30 WIB.

Selanjutnya, New Found Glory, band asal California, Amerika Serikat, turut menghibur penonton. Band yang telah hadir sejak 11 tahun silam ini tampil begitu memikat dan energik. Misalnya Chad Gilbert, gitaris sekaligus pentolan New Found Glory kerap bernyanyi sambil berlari.
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Di balik kesuksesan konser Alicia Keys yang berlangsung di Jakarta, Kamis (31/7) malam, ternyata sebelumnya sempat menuai protes dari organisasi anti tembakau AS, Tobaco Free Kids, dan Komisi Nasional Perlindungan Anak terkait dengan sponsor konser oleh perusahaan rokok.

"Komnas Anak mendesak pada manajemen Alicia Keys soal sponsor rokok dalam konsernya untuk tidak dicantumkan, dan ternyata setelah dilakukan pengecekan di sekitar lokasi konser sudah tidak ada umbul-umbul atau logo produk rokok sponsor," ujar Ketua Umum Komnas Perlindungan Anak, Seto Mulyadi alias Kak Seto, di Jakarta, Kamis (31/7) malam.

Kak Seto mengungkapkan, AS telah mengeluarkan larangan bagi artis-artisnya tampil dalam pertunjukan yang disponsori perusahaan rokok. Pihak Komnas PA, menurut Kak Seto, juga menerima surat dari sebuah organisasi yang peduli pada bahaya tembakau agar turut memantau apakah logo sponsor masih tercantum sebagai media promosi konser.

Dari hasil penelitian Komnas Anak dengan Universitas Hamka, lanjut Kak Seto, iklan rokok, promosi dan sponsor perusahaan rokok memiliki korelasi langsung dengan meningkatnya usia inisiasi dini perokok anak dan jumlah perokok.

Sementara itu, Direktur Hubungan Perusahaan PT HM Sampoerna Tbk Yos Adiguna Ginting mengatakan, pihaknya memutuskan untuk tidak memakai produknya dalam promosi penyelenggaraan konser Alicia.

"Namun demikian komitmen kami kepada penyelenggara untuk dapat terlaksananya konser ini, maka kami akan tetap memenuhi sesuai kesepakatan yang sudah dibuat sebelumnya," jelasnya.

Konser Alicia Keys di Jakarta merupakan bagian dari konser dunia bertajuk Alicia Keys As I`m World Tour. Promotor acara ini adalah Rini Noor Production yang pada 2007 menghadirkan konser Beyonce. Konser Alicia didukung sepenuhnya oleh merek rokok A Mild dari PT HM Sampoerna.

Belakangan sejak muncul kecaman dari organisasi anti tembakau di AS, pihak panitia menutup logo rokok yang ada di sejumlah materi promosi konser. Di Jalan raya sekitar Gelora Senayan menuju lokasi konser, sejak sore hari tidak terlihat adanya umbul-umbul merek rokok itu. Beberapa logo sponsor yang ada ditutup dengan lakban hitam.

Sang diva sendiri, Alicia Keys, seolah cuek dengan larangan tersebut. Penyanyi dengan sembilan penghargaan Grammy Award itu tetap tampil mempesona ribuan penggemarnya.
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Pagelaran musik Jakarta Jam hari pertama lewat sudah. Meski penontonnya tak terlalu banyak, sang promotor acara Adrie Subono santai saja. Malah kata Adrie, demi Jakarta Jam, ia rela berdarah-darah dulu.

"Jakarta Jam akan tetap kita jadikan event tahunan, awalnya memang harus berdarah-darah. Tapi nggak apa-apa, yang penting setiap tahun kita punya satu agenda musik yang tetap," urai bos Java Musikindo itu saat berbincang dengan detikhot di tempat Jakarta Jam digelar, Tennis Indoor Senayan, Jakarta, Kamis (1/8/2008) malam.

'Jakarta Jam Day 1' atau hari pertama, Kamis (1/8/2008) malam lalu memang tak begitu diserbu pecinta musik. Padahal band-band yang tampil sungguh menjanjikan, ada Andra & the Backbone, New Found Glory dan Simple Plan.

Soal tidak begitu ramainya penonton, Adrie rupanya sudah melakukan evaluasi. Evaluasi ini diperlukan agar Jakarta Jam 2009 mendatang lebih sukses lagi.

Dalam evaluasinya ayah dari Melanie Subono itu menilai ia seharusnya tak menggelar empat kali konser di bulan yang sama. Seperti diketahui selain Jakarta Jam yang digelar dua hari berturut-turut, Java Musikindo juga akan menggelar konser The Used dan Panic at The Disco pertengahan Agustus ini.

Dengan empat kali konser dalam bulan yang sama, menurut Adrie, penonton tentu akan bingung mengalokasikan keuangannya. Ditambah lagi para orangtua yang membelikan tiket konser untuk anak-anaknya juga baru mengeluarkan biaya untuk sekolah anak.

Meski begitu, Adrie tak kapok untuk terus membuat Jakarta Jam 2009 mendatang. Ia juga akan tetap menggelarnya di bulan Agustus, menyesuaikan jadwal artis yang manggung di SINGFEST (Singapore Music Festival-red) dan Fuji Rock Festival di Jepang.
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Kapanlagi.com - Setelah sekian lama vakum Sheila on Seven akhirnya kembali bersatu dan bersiap meluncurkan album baru. Kamis malam (31-07-08), grup band dari Yogyakarta ini manggung bareng di acara music corner, di Grand Indonesia. Dan personil Sheila berbagi sedikit soal album baru yang bakal segera mereka luncurkan.

Soal rencana kemunculan Sheila kembali ke kancah musik Indonesia, Duta menanggapinya dengan menganggap ini sebagai bagian kehidupan. "Kehidupan kan berputar, kemarin-kemarin roda kita sempet kempes. Tapi sekarang udah dipompa lagi. Kalau nge-band adalah hobi kita. Kita seneng. Jadi buat kita setiap hari kita di atas atau di bawah. Kita kalau mau ngeband juga nggak lihat orang lain. Yang bisa dibilang orang lebih keren, atau musik yang nge-trend itu seperti apa, jadi kita suka pada musik kita dan punya tanggung jawab untuk itu," ungkap Duta.

Sedang bicara soal album baru mereka, menurut Duta, untuk mewujudkan album baru mereka, grup ini harus mengumpulkan dana. "Kita ngorek-ngorek tabungan lah. Di tiga album pertama, Alhamdulillah kita bisa nabung. Produksi dari April kemarin, tapi belum kelar, rencana 10 lagu. Atau dananya juga dari job-job kecil kita. Ya meski acara manggung itu, nggak seperti tahun 2007 ke bawah. Itu sebulan bisa minta empat hari yang kosong, tapi kalau sekarang sih kebalikannya," ungkap Duta.

Untuk album mendatang, Sheila lebih ingin menunjukkan kematangan mereka dalam bermusik, dengan lirik-lirik yang lebih sederhana. Mereka juga meminta masukan dari penggemar setia, Sheila Gang. "Jadi album ini lirik atau nada lebih simple dari album-album sebelumnya. Bisa dibilang kalau album keempat itu adalah eksperimen. Album kelima adalah pemikiran yang sangat dalam dan album keenam kita buat yang bijaksana. Kita lebih memikirkan masukan-masukan Sheila Gang," ungkap Eross.

"Jadi ya Alhamdulillah, masih ada orang-orang seperti Sheila Gang, yang tetap setia setiap ada show Sheila on Seven. Jadi untuk menghormati mereka sebelum launching, 2.000 copy pertama untuk album ini, rencananya pertengahan Agustus, akan dilepas ke Sheila Gang. Jadi kalau ada yang mau, silahkan pinjem atau denger dari Sheila Gang," tambah Duta.
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Dewa 19 Lama tak manggung di Yogya, Dewa 19 membuat para penggemarnya jatuh cinta. Dewa 19 seperti ingin melunaskan kerinduan mereka. Lagu-lagu hit seperti Cinta Gila, Pupus, Dewi, meluncur dari vokal Once dengan mulus.

Penampilan Dewa 19 memang beda dengan band-band lain di Indonesia. Terutama pada pemilihan repertoar lagu yang mereka pilih. Dewa 19 tak sekadar pentas, namun mereka pandai menyusun song list sehingga emosi penonton bisa terbawa di lagu-lagu yang mereka bawakan.

Penampilan Dewa 19 dalam rangkaian Boshe Vvip Club 2nd Anniversary beberapa waktu lalu, benar-benar meriah. Di acara bertajuk Month of Tremendous yang menampilkan 'Spectacular Concert by Republik Cinta' mulai dari Dewa 19, Dewi Dewi, dan Andra and The BackBone itu, pengunjung Boshe tumpah ruah.

Atri, Marketing & Promotion Event mengatakan kesuksesan gelaran tersebut, memang berkat Republik Cinta Management yang sudah persiapan jauh hari. "Harus diakui, artis-artis milik Republik Cinta Management saat ini memang barisan yang patut diperhitungkan," papar Atri, saat dihubungi KapanLagi.com, Rabu (30/7).

Andra and The BackBone membuka konser malam itu. Lagu-lagu andalan termasuk Musnah, Hitamku, dan Sempurna, dibawakan Andra cs dengan full energi. Ini membuat clubbers jadi histeris. Pasalnya, lagu-lagu Andra yang dikemas pop-rock itu memang romantis namun tetap garang.

Tiga pilar Andra and The BackBone yaitu Andra (gitar), Dedy (vokal), Stevie Item (gitar), dan additional player, Kinoi (bass) dan Agung (drum) seolah ingin menyodorkan ke publik Yogya bahwa main musik rock tak harus bising.

"Kuping orang Indonesia itu lagu-lagu melayu dan balada, makanya kami tak jauh-jauh dari konsep pop-rock manis," kata Andra.

Setelah Andra and The BackBone, giliran Dewa 19 muncul membawakan 5 lagu. Sesaat setelah itu disusul dengan penampilan Dewi Dewi. Ada yang beda dari Dewi Dewi sebab kini mereka tinggal berdua, yakni Puri dan Tata, sedang Ina mundur dari grup ini. "Meski kini tinggal dua, toh itu tak mengurangi eksistensi Dewi Dewi, lagu-lagu macam Dokter Cinta, Kangen, dan Cintaku masih ditunggu penggemarnya," ujar Atri.

Dewi Dewi dan Dewa 19 juga berkolaborasi di lagu Elang. Malam itu, kemeriahan Tremendous Nite masih terjaga, ketika kembang api dari Bola Firework meluncur warna-warni dari halaman parkir Boshe.
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Karir Fergie tak hanya gemilang di dunia musik. Salah satu personel Black Eyed Peas itu telah tercatat membintangi beberapa film layar lebar juga serial TV. Kini Fergie kembali ditawarin peran layar lebar.

Di film 'Nine' yang tak lain adalah sebuah proyek drama musikal, pelantun 'London Bridge' itu akan menjadi seorang PSK alias pekerja seks komersil.

"Tokoh saya dasarnya adalah seorang PSK di pantai. Ia memperkenalkan dunia seksualitas. Akan ada lagu yang sangat kuat. Saya sangat tak sabar untuk memerankan karakter ini.. Saya akan bernyanyi sebagai karakternya dan itu yang paling membuat saya exciting," ujar Fergie dikutip detikhot dari NME, Kamis (31/7/2008).

Dalam film ini Fergie akan berlaga bareng Nicole Kidman, Kate Hudson, Daniel Day-Lewis, Penelope Cruz dan banyak lagi. Fergie pun tak sabaran ingin berbagi ilmu dengan aktor dan aktris senior itu.

"Saya akan jadi spons di lokasi syuting. Saya ingin mengambil semua yang disuguhkan para aktor brilian itu. Saya mungkin akan jadi lebih diam dari biasanya selama syuting karena saya ingin mengamati dan belajar," jelas Fergie bahagia.
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Ali Lohan, adik kandung Lindsay Lohan, nampaknya ingin mengikuti jejak kakaknya. Setelah sukses bernyanyi, Ali berencana berakting dalam film. Namun, bukan sembarang film, dia akan jajal akting di sebuah film porno.

Kabar itu langsung merebak saat ibunda Lindsay, Dina Lohan, tertangkap kamera tengah menemani Ali untuk bertemu sutradara film porno dan mengikuti audisi.

Seperti dikutip Contactmusic, Kamis (31/7/2008), Ali tertangkap kamera sebuah tayangan reality show saat mengikuti audisi film Trolls. Tapi tak ada seorang pun yang tahu pria di balik film itu, Peter Davy, adalah sutradara film-film porno seperti Voodoo Lust dan Dreams in the Forbidden Zone.

Namun begitu, juru bicara keluarga Lohan berkilah Ali mengikuti audisi untuk film porno.

"Ali tak mengetahui tentang masa lalu Davy. Jika dia mengetahuinya, dia tidak akan pernah mengikuti audisi itu," kata juru bicara itu.
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