23 February 2010

Xotic Effects BB Preamp USA

The pedal that is so famously associated with Andy Timmons. BB is also known to stand for "Blues Breaker" . It has a metal housing and is built quite well. Runs on 9v and is sized rather small in boutique fashion. I picked this one up pre owned. My first impressions of the BB preamp when i plugged it into my VOX AC15HW was the amount of creamy fatness it gives out with all knobs at the noon position and the gain at 9 o clock. The clean boost that the BB gives out is a warm sounding organic tone. Nothing digital about it since this is an analog pedal in all it's glory.

The BB has 4 knobs. Volume, Gain , Treble and Bass. When the gain knob is pushed up to 3 o clock, It produces saturation and the break ups are very nice and can produce tones that comes pretty close to Andy Timmons "Electric Gypsy". Another note about the BB is the dynamics that the BB is very capable of coaxing. There is no need to rool back the volume knob to get the tones into the clean categeory. Picking dynamics can greatly smoothen out the tone almost to a clean state.

Not only this pedal sounds good stand alone but when the BB is stacked, In this case i stacked the BB with a hardwire CM2 in classic mode, The tone becomes a fat saturated lead signal that is very harmonical in dynamics. This pedal stacks really well and is pretty quiet.

I would recommend the BB preamp if your looking for a warm clean boost and more. unlike the AC and RC booster, The BB preamp has got more versatility in terms of having more gain. The BB is definately not a one trick pony. There are variations for the BB as well, There is the BB preamp Andy Timmons signature, The BB Preamp MB Custom Shop ( MB stands for MID BOOST ) And the BB preamp plus.

Probably one of the better TS type pedals around.

The BB preamp retails brand new in stores around the SGD$300-$330 range.

Street value wise is around SGD$180 - $240

This pedal is definately staying in my rig!

Rating: 9/10

06 February 2010

Line 6 M13 Stompbox Modeler

Line 6 released the m13 some time back after having much success on their line of amp and pedal modeling gear comes this monster of modeled stompboxes. The M13!

The Build

Just as always, line 6 has built yet another tank like structure and weighs in at quite a bit. 3.7+kg of meat to lug around to shows and practice sessions. Its hard black metal chassis ensures that the M13 is well protected. The M13 also has those signature stomp switches in chrome that can be found on the pod x3 live. stomp on the switches and the led lights come on. this time round, there are different colored led lights and not the usual orange led lights. The colors vary depending on the patch that is selected. the colors include green, red,purple and blue. The M13 looks killer in low lighting conditions and will make playing in the dark rather enjoyable with the multi colored led lights.

What’s inside

The M13 comes with 19 delay models, 23 Modulation effects, 17 Distortion effects, 12 compression and EQ effects, 26 Filters and 12 different reverbs. Models from the famous line 6 stompboxes from the likes of the DL4, DM4, FM4, MM4,Verbzilla and Echo pro. It also has a tap tempo function and a short 28 second looper.


I have to say after much fiddling with the M13, I especially love the modulation and time based effects. It makes life that much easier without having too many stompboxes on my board. One of the down sides of this unit is the dirt models. I found that the dirt section of the models can be better. There’s that hint of digitalness and sterileness that I’m not really fond of. Besides that, the tones from the rest of the models can really come in handy and are pretty decent.

The Signal Chain

For someone like myself who loves the sound of individual stompboxes, The M13 offers the ability to have this pedal used as a hybrid with your favorite stompboxes. In setup mode, the placement of the effects loop can be modified. For instance, I will be able to slot in a fuzz pedal right after the on board time based effects or even place an external EQ pedal after the on board dirt effects on the M13. Easily customizable so your signal chain will be in the right order. The M13 is also true bypass so there is no "Tone Suck" happening in your signal chain with the M13 in it.

Update v2.01

A recent update has added some new models into the M13. Do take note that the MIDI to USB cable used to update the M13 is NOT INCLUDED in the purchase. One will have to purchase this separately in order to do updates on the M13. With the new 2.01 update, 2 of my favorites are the Smart Harmony and Glider. The Smart Harmony is a harmonizer effect. This effect has been left out of its previous models and updates but finally Line 6 has added the inclusion of a harmonizer effect that was highly requested since the pod seriesof multi efx was launched. Got 80’s metal harmonized solos? Now you can! The next is the glider effect. This glider effect is modeled after a whammy pedal. When used with an external expression pedal, Changing pitches are a breeze. Get ready for some “Rage Against The Machine” action!


Line 6 has built a good piece once again. Of course there are some flaws that can be improved in this unit but the people at Line 6 were listening to what the people wanted and they delivered a more than satisfactory piece. If you are looking for a one stop multi efx board that’s easy to understand and work around. This unit serves very well in terms of simplicity, tone & value for money but be warned if you are looking for a Multi efx pedal to serve your booteek needs. If that's the case, look elsewhere.


  • Value For Money
  • Great Modulation and Time Based Effects
  • Sturdy And Solid Housing
  • Ability to Customize Signal Chain
  • Multi Colored LED for Easy Recognition of Banks
  • 2 Inputs for 2 x Expression Pedals to Run Simultaneously
  • True Bypass
  • Tap Tempo

  • Midi to USB Cable Not Included And Would Need to Buy Separately if The Unit Needs a Firmware Update
  • Dirt Section of The Effects Are Not Too Great
  • Weighs in at 3.7kgs
  • Does Not Have Incorporation via MIDI With POD Farm or Gearbox Software
  • Lacks a Standalone Switch For The Guitar Tuner
  • Extended Looper Time Would have Been Great

Retails: SGD$728 and available at City Music

Street Value: SGD$500-$600

Rating: 7.5/10

04 February 2010

The David Gilmour Fender Black Strat Project

I spent a few good weeks setting this strat up. Most of the time was spend waiting for parts to arrive. Most of the parts that I wanted to be fitted into this project could not be found locally. Or maybe I did not look hard enough. The parts needed for this project were:

  • Warmoth 1 Ply 11 Hole All Black Pickguard
  • Fender Custom Shop Custom 69’s
  • Seymour Duncan Pro Shop Custom Staggered SSL-5
  • Orange Caps
  • Fender S1 Aged White Knobs
  • White Single Ply Backplate Cover
  • Stewmac Adhesive Copper Shielding Tape

The cavities had to be copper shielded. These Custom Shop 69’s are true single coils and not reverse wound hence this step is absolutely necessary to minimize the noise level.

I had the original SCN noiseless swapped out and have the new pups put into this order:

Neck: Fender CustomShop Custom 69’s

Middle: Fender Custom Shop Custom 69’s

Bridge: Seymour Duncan Pro Shop CustomStaggered SSL-5

Rewired the new pups in with an orange cap. I maintained the original S1 Switch for extra tonal options under the hood. I have to admit that it's not a neat and tidy wiring job. I have the long leads uncut due to "resale" reasons that i might have in the future.

Swapped out the original pickguard with an all black single ply Warmoth pickguard and changed the knobs and back plate cover to an aged white set. I also made sure I did some fret leveling / crowning and dressing with my set of fretting tools from Stewmac.


Not an exact in detail replica of the famous Gilmour Black Strat but it’s close enough for me. I wanted to keep some of the key modern features in this Strat. I have always preferred the 2 point synchronizing bridge and the locking tuners. It’s not a Gilmour Black Strat but more of a Black Strat with Gilmour’s influence made for me.

And here is the final result...



More Detailed Pictures Can Be Found In the " Guitar Porn Gallery "