Is SHE the Ultimate Strat? When the guitars first appeared, I was impressed by the concept and approach. How much has one already heard about Paul Reed Smith, from the perfect formula he found for guitars, to the special and above all consistent quality, to such bitter classics as "dentist and lawyer guitars and a supposed sterility"! As a classic Maple Neck Strat player, I had been looking for a Rosewood alternative for a long time. When the Maple version of the Silver Sky came onto the market, I was "intrigued" and wanted to experience both worlds. My decision has nothing to do with John Mayer, the fact that it is exactly his signature model did not play a role in the choice, although I am a big fan of John Mayer. At first I also looked at alternatives, including Panucci, Haar, Rebel Relics (yes, the Dutch make really great guitars), but I already have the classics at home in sufficient form and so I put emphasis on subtle innovations that are nonetheless enable the classic charm to be retained.
The packaging was perfect, both guitars arrived safely. The small, precisely fitting, but still valuable gig bag has completely fulfilled its purpose.
The first sight was breathtaking. So there it was, the Silver Sky, which I already knew well enough from videos - and yet - so live and in color it looked many times more perfect. There has been a lot of discussion about the headstock - does it now fit an S-style guitar and oh, what has the network mocked about this audacity, but if you look at the guitar from a few steps away, everything seems to be just right. The design is beautiful, the guitar looks like a small work of art that has a kind of softness attached to it.
The maple neck looks very light, the gold of the Rosewood version is opaque and royal - both guitars are eye-catchers.
The first thing I notice is how light both guitars are. Next up is the tech check. Both guitars are perfectly made. The factory setting is wonderful. Both necks were slightly rounded towards the frets and there is not a ridge that can be felt. The indentation in the cutaway fits perfectly into the design.
The Silver Sky was modeled on John Mayer's old Pre CBS Strat. Accordingly, it has to meet the requirement to sound like an old woman and also to feel accordingly.
In parts, this works very well. I have to say that I've had a few chances to play Pre CBS Strats.
The Silver Sky has arguably the best neck profile I've ever played. The neck of the Maple version appears a bit stronger and rounder, although it also appears rougher and is not painted.
The rosewood neck is varnished, I didn't notice it sticking.
Both necks are fantastic in playability and fit perfectly in the hand. The combination on thin vintage frets and a 7.25 "radius creates a buttery soft feel. It has been possible to pull every note far without the strings touching the above radius. It creates a great feel that one conveys wonderful lightness.
Pickups and Tone:
The pickups are more vintage oriented. I have seldom experienced such transparency and in combination with an overdrive they create a woody, hollow crunch that is always defined.
The tone is extremely direct in the address. Especially with the Maple version. The Rosewood is in no way inferior, it sounds a little softer.
What both guitars have in common is this vintage mid-hump with a slight compression in the tones. This advantageous sound pattern takes place across all registers and frets.
So it fulfills the demand of the sought-after vintage tone in an excellent way.
Yes, what should I say. The playability is second to none. I have to admit that I've rarely had such a playable guitar in my hand. Up to the highest registers, everything can be played with a simplicity that is seldom experienced. The peculiarity of the lower cut away plays into the cards here.
The body lies ergonomically perfect on the leg or on the body when playing while standing.
If you are interested: The Maple version is a 2020 version, therefore painted with nitro, the RW a 2019 version painted with thin poly. However, I can't make out a difference in tone, based on the paint.
Game fun, game fun, game fun !!! From delicate finger pickings to bluesy chords and rocky licks. The Silver Sky delivers over the full length and breadth. The pots react particularly well. The tone potentiometer seems to be a bit lighter, so you experience a seldom experienced brilliance in the overtones, while a little turn back makes a lot, because the guitar immediately moves obediently into softer vintage realms. Overall, the guitar hangs perfectly on the volume potentiometer. The tremolo works flawlessly and there are no detunings to be noticed. The trem arm is attached and adjusted by inserting it, which works very well overall.
Information and multimedia on the Silver Sky - 2020
Sound files, videos
Anyone who knows me knows that I usually try to present my equipment properly. That's why I recorded a comparison video with different sounds this time as well.
The big question of all questions is now answered for me! Yes, the Silver Sky apparently has Strat genes, but it still gives a different feel to the game. Not new, more like a "coming home". A valuable experience for me personally, because the entire mix of the guitar shows me things that I seem to have missed but couldn't really put into words. That doesn't mean my strats are worse because they aren't at all. The Silver Sky provides a welcome change that is also highly inspiring.
I owned this guitar for a few months, its an excellent player, its beautifully worked, the craftmanship is really something to be appreciated. The finish is pro quality and beautiful, the aging is done quite well. Its checking is nicely done. The fretwork was very playable. I dropped some Throwbaks in it and did a quick video on you tube, as a review of this guitar. I am quite sure if this guy keeps building, he will be a welcome addition to the luthier community.
Pros: + Sound
+ Low background noise
+ Compatibility with other pedals
As described above, I had a sound in my head that for me is the essence of the UniVibe Tone. That was Machine Gun and Izabella by Jimi Hendrix, and Bridges of Sigh by Robin Trower.
I put the RetroVvibe behind my Fuzz Phrase, also from Jam Pedals. It just sounds perfect to me here.
So... chorus mode set and stepped on - hold your breath for a moment. A big "WOW, there it is, the tone you've always been looking for!" Buzzes in my head. With a deep throb, the retro vibe pumps itself into my sounds, complementing them perfectly. No phase sound, no sound loss, just a pure addition.
The sounds start to float and I play the first Hendrix riffs. Machine Gun ... yes, that's exactly how it should sound! Message To Love… well, I think I'm in Woodstock. The speed control is at 11 o'clock, I venture and set it to 2 o'clock, Depth is fully turned up. Now it wobbles strongly and no matter how you set the speed, the retro vibe never seems too dominant.
The synergy between harness signal and vibe is perfectly balanced. I admit, I'm not a big user of the Vibe Mode, but after a short test phase, it sounds as expected - first class.
Of all the vibes I've played so far, the retro vibe is the most musical and above all the one that perfectly captures the original sound and the playing feel. A pedal that inspires and that is difficult to turn off. It's certainly not a cheap pedal, but if you finally want to arrive in UniVibe heaven, you will certainly be fully served.
Pros: + 20 min loop time
+ huge number of effects
+ solid as a rock ( 7kg / 16 lbs )
+ GOES TO ELEVEN !!!
Cons: - Not a Kemper
- Not a Helix
For me it's almost perfect, so from a five star rating i'm gona take away one star for not having the sound quality of a kemper and one for not beeing as versatile as a helix. But it'll get a extra star for going upto ELEVEN !
Pros: Fantastic well made straps made to order. Very personalized and great attention to detail!
After contacting Brad, I was pleasantly surprised at how interested he was in making me a custom strap to my liking. We talked and decided to make my strap using patches from my 26-year career. All of the patches have some significant meaning to me. The 83rd patch was my first unit, the 95th patch was my final unit. The 13th Air Force patch was where I spent a lot of my career. The Master Sergeant patch was the highest rank I attained. The patch from Osan AB was significant because I met my wife there in 1982. And the Saudi Arabia patch was where I was deployed for three separate 120-day tours to the desert!
After Brad received my patches, he immediately went to work on a few different layouts so I could decide what order I wanted them in. I was amazed at his enthusiasm and excitement over my project. He had the strap made incredibly quick and on its way to me!
But, let’s get to the good part. The Well-Hung Shock and Awe strap is THE BEST strap I’ve ever owned. It has a nice amount of padding so it’s super comfortable. The back has a very nice suede that keeps the guitar in place and never allows it to slip around. The D-Ring set up is super easy to adjust! I just could not be happier!
Pros: Extremely convincing Mid to High Gain amp tones. Has a complete and wide range of tonal capabilities (just like an amp would) with Volume, Gain, Bass, Mid, Treble, and Presence controls. Has an easily programmable Boost or Gain function. Also has Toggle Switching allowing for even more EQ possibilities. Only $129 for a Two Channel functioning pedal.
Cons: Only uses a A/C powered 9v Power supply (not included). Must choose between being able to use the pre programmable Boost or Gain during two channel function.
Two things: 1) I don't need to say a lot about this pedal. That's because Sinvertek figured out how to make a compact pedal with more features thatn any other pedal I've come across in a long time.
2) I was not familiar with Sinvertek. So far, with some minor tweaks, I can get this pedal to sound just how Pete promised; I could make it sound like his signature PT 100. I could also make it sound like a Victory VX Kracken amp.
Using a Grosh SSH Retro Custom into a Bogner ATMA, I could literally have two very unique Marshall DVA style of modded amps. I prefer using the preprogrammed Boost as it adds about 3dB of Volume so my leads just leapt out of the mix. Rather than bore you anymore, here's a Demo by Pete Thorn that just does this pedal justice:
Pros: Great neck profile, looks and plays fantastic. love the 2 and 4 position, Not really a 1 3 5 guy. Workable knobs to get a good sound out of any position though. Has the Strat quack. Feels real solid. Comparing it to other Strats i have owned, this one sounds better, feels better, and plays better. I've had some nice made in USA ones, but they never did it for me (well, maybe one did, but this still feels better)
Cons: Fret edges are a little sharp, my tech thinks it is not so bad, and will get better as the wood spreads out. Not a real issue, as i really never notice it, but it is the first thing i check for. Really wish it had the big headstock. Main issue, is no case. or gig bag. At this price point, i would expect a case. If it came with a bag at least, it is a 5 star guitar.
They always seem to ask......So yes, if someone stole this, i would buy another. Unless i could find the person that stole it, and beat them senseless with it. This seems well built enough to take the beating.
I would recommend this to anyone, who, like myself, isn't really a Strat guy, but would like one in their arsenal to play around with. At this price point, you can't go wrong. I love the wood grain. It is damn near perfect.
Pros: Great finish, fit, weight and tone. Comes with a killer pink lined Gibson Harshell Case and built in dust cover. Comfy neck size and the Mahogany wood used for the body has beautiful grain.
Cons: The Mini-Humbuckers are not for everyone, but you can easily swap out the Mini's for P-90s to get that vintage rock sound that Marshall Stacks love. Some may not like Weight Relief bodies.
I've owned two of these in my lifetime (both Gold Tops). The first one I bought was when they first came out in 2000. I loved the tone of Johnny Winter's Mini Humbucker Thunderbird, but I lalso loved the look of a Gold Top. So I bought and gigged the Deluxe for 2 years. But then I had to sell it to a super happy kid a few years later since after our first child was born the missus asked me to start reducing my collection But then I was forutnate enough to find a second one recently that was in immaculate condition, 8.7 lbs and had absolutely no wear or scratches on it as it was a Closet Queen. And for $2100, these guitars have seemed to keep increaing in value as more players realize they are a great value, build, that they have a unique yet familiar sound and they are just top notch guitars.
I personally think these are "sleeper" guitars. First, everyone I've either seen with one or based on the two I'vwe owned has been built with such detail. For example, all the binding was perfectly smooth around the edges. The frets were dressed, the buffing left no "Orange Peel" signs, the Rosewood Fretboards were moderately dark with very nice grain patterns and the Mohagany bodies (with Gloss Finish) had some of the best grain patterns of any Gibson's of any era IMO.
The best part is that I can use the Deluxe in a band with another guitar player that uses a Standard LP as the Mini Humbuckers stand out just enough (especially in the Bridge position) as it has more "bite" to the tone, and when set in the middle position, you get more of a Tele type sparkle. And using my Tone Control, I can roll off the high frequencies of the Neck Pickup and get a nice Jazz Tone and excellent lead tones when used in conjunction with a Fuzz.
Pros: - Phenomenal sound when played gentle
- Looks great
- It's a Les Paul
Cons: - Miserable out of the box setup
- Fretbuzz when played hard
- Ugly fretjob
The finish beside the fretboard itself is marvelous. Fretwork quality is questionable, had polish residue around the frets and has fret buzz when played hard. Out of the box setup has way too high action and still does buzz when played hard.
Pros: Great feeling, sounding, lasting and playing strings. They make standard sets for Guitar (Acoustic too) and Bass, or they will make you custom sets at no extra charge. They have 6,7,8,9 & 12 string guitar sets as well as Baritone, single and bulk sets. Their Customer Service is AWESOME.
Cons: Expensive ($11.99 per 6 string set of "Signatures", and $14.90 for the "Broadway" strings).
Today I'm reviewing Stringjoy's 9.5-46 gauge "Superlight Plus" strings (Gauges: .0095 – .013 – .016 – .026w – .034 – .046) that I use on all of my Telecasters. Now a quick note before I start; Belonging to a few musician's forums, I am always looking for the "small details" that can impact and improve my overall tone. Of course strings (and picks) have shown to play a big role for me in that category. But over the years, I also learned that this industry is full of big promises only to find that the price tag has nothing to do either with the quality (or lack thereof) of a string or with how a business is actually run. Subsequently, my string choices have occasionally let me down (physically or ethically) just when I needed them most. But not with Stringjoy.
It was about 2 years ago when I found my supplier of strings to have fizzled out (story for another day). I was beginning to worry as it was clear I needed to find another source that was (list not in any order):
2) Felt good to the touch
3) Held tuning after bends
4) Sounded great
6) Lasted more than a few hours of heavy playing.
(And I was willing to pay a bit more if I could find something that lasted longer).
So I searched "The Gear Page" and I found out about Stringjoy. The reviews were glowing (almost to a fault) but I figured that a company that's been in business for some 6 years had to have it together. And if you were not a good music company making strings in Nashville......everyone would know. So, I went on the website, found what I wanted and a few days later these arrived.
I noticed a few things right off the bat. First, they came in great packaging. Second, they came sealed in plastic . Third, there was a "Rewards" card inside that I would soon find out would reward me if I continued to use Stringjoy strings. Now the first guitar I put them on was my '63 Fender CS Telecaster (Ocean Turquoise). Note: In my younger days, I'd run 10's on my Tele's, but some mild arthritis has set in so I had to drop down to 9.5's so I could play with a lot less pain during a gig. Here's a shot of my Tele.
The Stringjoy website says this about the 9.5 set:
"These are going to be perfect for anyone who wants the fullness of a set of .010s, but with the flexibility of a set of .009s. With this set, you can bump the size up just a little bit without having to commit to a full leap. And if you think about it, your shoes come in half sizes, so why shouldn’t your guitar strings?" And they were right. The first thing I noticed after I strung up my Tele was that the strings felt as though I had sprayed them with some Finger Ease. My fingers glided up and down the E, A & D strings with such comfort. Then I noticed that after playing some double stops, whole step bends and other classic Tele licks that the strings held tune beautifully. I usually play my guitars for about a half hour before gigging with a new set. With the Stringjoy's, I didn't have to put nearly as much effort into pre-streching since they held tune so well within a very short period of time aftet I strung them up. After a while of using these strings, here's the actual review I posted on their website:
"Been playing/touring in working bands (original & cover), doing session work and teaching for a long time now. Over the years I've used a lot of different strings. While a lot of string companies make some real good products, Stringjoy Strings have such a great tactile feel, they stay in-tune (especially after major glisses/bends/dives/vibrato movements) and they seem to have a longer lifespan than other strings I've used while maintaining a great balance of lows, mids & highs. They sound great on P90's, Humbuckers and Single Coils. And if you look you'll see that here's just too many 5 Star ratings to ignore the fact that everyone else trying them loves them as much as I do. Do yourself a favor and just buy one pack of Stringjoy Signatures. Then use your own ears & fingers to see how your guitar & amp reacts and notice just how easier they are to play versus other strings".
Now I'm using the Nickel Wound "Signatures" that are $11.90 per set, (and I know that can buy you two sets of Ernie Ball Nickel strings). But EB's are not for me just like Strat's are not for some; it's a personal choice. Stringjoy also offers Pure Nickel strings called "Broadways" for about $3 more per set. Some may find paying $14.90 for a set of Pure Nickel Strings is not worth it and I have yet to try them as they are a relatively new offering from Stringjoy. But I plan on ordering a set and adding a review in the near future. I highly recommend you giv e them a try too!
Pros: Most powerful pedalboard 10 Band EQ on the market, super user friendly, upgradable software, programable, multiple routing options, AC or DC operation, easy to see on a dark stage and sturdy build.
Cons: At $250, it's a bit spendy for an EQ pedal. Not as many pre-sets as the Boss EQ-20. That's all I got in this category.
If the Boss EQ-200 looks a bit familiar, that because it takes on the same type of "look" as their "EQ-20" style pedal. That said, this Boss EQ is in a much smaller housing, with a ton of powerful options & features. It covers a nice wide band of frequencies at 30k, 60k, 120k, 200k, 400k, 800k, 1.6k, 3.2k, 6.4k, and 12.8 (That includes 11 positions per slider). It also has a total SPL output range from -15 to + 15 dB.
As mentioned in the "Con's", there are only 4 presets. But I've got to be honest here and admit that I only use 2 of the 4 presets right now, and I can use a 3rd pre-set to get a "Cocked Wah" sound for one or two lead/rhythm parts from songs on our setlists. So for me, I still have one extra "preset" that once I have a chanch to gig this thing, I may finally figure out what to do with it.
So this thing is EASY to use, and with the adjustable LED display you can really set this on the fly so long as you have a gppd grasp on what frequencies you want to bring out in your guitar, as well as what frequencies you don't want as accented. There's two push buttons for switching channels or storing presets into the memory (all with corresponding lights to differentiate between the functions). The two footswitches also activate the bypass function and can be used for cycling through presets. It's very easy to save settings:
1) Press and hold the memory button.
2) Use the memory footswitch to scroll to one of the open preset locations.
3) When you reach the EQ you want, press and hold the memory button again.
*Confirmation of the preset being saved comes via a red light that will blink).
Now the sliders are not Motorized, so they don't move when you change presets. It's the display screen that indicates the preset EQ curve and that is very important when you’re onstage and don't have more than a second or two to look at the preset. The preset changes are very smooth and immediate. Note that the display screen first shows the name of the memory location; M-1, M-2, M-3, M-4.) before displaying the EQ image. This requires you to have to remember the preset names. (I plan on using a Label Maker to for that). It might have been nice if they gave the option to see the EQ Curve first as that seems a bit more intuitive when you know what type of preset you need. But that's just me.
The early verdict: After using thre EQ-200 with a '66 Fender Princeton Reverb and my '62 CS Fender Strat, I found this EQ to be able to shape my tone in a way that far exceeded my formerly "always on Xotic EP V2 Boost (set a noon). With the EQ-200 I could highlight the sparkle of my Strat for Rhythm parts or really beef up the bottom end and mids of my Bridge pickup. And when I hit the Bypass switch, I certainly noticed that the overall tone of my Strat sounded like a blanket had been thrown over my amp. With places like Amazon or Sweetwater Sound (both have great retun policies) I highly recommend this tone shaping pedal as the worst that can happen is that it's not for you and you can return it. OTOH, this pedal could replace a couple existing pedals on your board depending on how you use it.
Pros: She's well worn, and feels wonderful in the hands
Between the 6-way toggle switch and various push/pull switches, the tonal possibilities are endless
She has a "shred" and "chug" mode rather than a "rhythm" and "treble" mode
She goes to 11!!!
Cons: She has definitely been dinged up over the years, which isn't everyone's cup of tea
This guitar is my baby, and as you can tell, I've put a lot of time into customizing her
Pros: Incredible take on the "Tweed" iconic sound. Very flexible with included Boost and the "Soul" channel just nails that Extra that you want. Most beautiful and authentic Tweed covering possible.
Cons: Not enough people can have / experience this amp. But those that do get the additional blessing of dealing with Don, who is just the nicest guy.
I came to MLP initially because of the Squawk Box sub-forum. I was interested in the builders, and wanted to learn to build an amp for myself. Don provided valuable support and encouragement on my path to successful building. But I wanted something that I was not quite ready / able to do for myself.
This Tweed 12 was exactly what I was wanting. A vintage-looking and sounding lower-powered combo, with a perfect mix of features and sounds. His Soul channel is a beautiful sound, all on it's own.
I didn't just jump off the cliff, sight-unseen, into a purchase from "someone on the internet". I had met @Malikon and seen / heard his Soul Tramp custom made amp head in person. While that steam-punk beauty was not "my" sound, it was a fabulous example of amp building and more than enough proof to me that Don could provide what I was looking for.
And it was a perfect fit with his Tweed 12 product. I really like the character of 6V6 power tubes, and with the Soul channel, Bite and Boost switches it has more sounds and more flexibility than any strictly "vintage" amp available.
I'm a hack guitarist. But I want my gear to not be the reason if I sound "less than stellar". This Tweed 12 makes the sounds I make incredible, even if the musicality is "dubious". It actually encourages me to play more, because I can get lost in the tones (and finding them), and I hope that leads me to more practice / eventually improving as a player. Let me say that a different way : this is gear that Makes ME Better than I am on my own.
And the vanity of it all. I want stuff to "look the part" - and this just DOES. Don puts so much effort into his builds. The Combo is better constructed than what you find on the shelf anywhere. And his Tweed covering ? There is only one way to describe it : "Yummy". The extra effort he puts into the Shellac job just screams "this is a serious piece of "Vintage" gear" - but built for today. Honestly, I'd buy it on cosmetics alone (I'm that shallow ?).
Don is a great asset to MLP. Very easy to deal with as a Vendor, and his product just excels in quality. Buying something that you can't go out and try first requires a certain "leap of faith". Don gets around that by providing good pictures and demos that really gave me confidence that I was making the right choice. But really, even the unboxing exceeded my expectations. Packed impeccably, and shipped quickly, it arrived perfectly. And included a wonderful custom Cover to keep this beauty protected.
I can honestly say, if a "boutique" amp experience is what you are looking for, this is it.