Monday, July 14, 2008

Fender Strat Gets N-Tune!

Fender's Standard Stratocaster in Chrome Red
is North American made with lots of classic tone!

Just in case you wanted to know what we're using to test our pedals and multi-effectors it is, our Fender Standard Stratocaster. Otherwise known as the "Pedal Meister"!
This is a rock solid, all time favorite with a fast maple fretboard, three pickups and tremolo bar. The Chrome Red finish has a semi-metallic look without being flashy. Its just a good, straight-forward axe! To make it even sweeter, we had the NEW N-Tune onboard tuner installed. This is a lighted, battery powered tuner from Zero Crossing, that fits under the volume knob of your Strat. It will even fit the volume knobs of other models, with different colors to match or contrast your pickguard.

N-Tune On Board Tuner
by Zero Crossing
List $99.99 - Street $79.99

We road tested the N-Tune Fender Style Package. The N-Tune onboard tuner installs under your volume knob. Offers a quick and very accurate tuning, (we compared it with the BOSS TU-2). Now you can tune up anytime, anywhere, even on a dark stage, without having to pack an extra tuner. A definite must if you are on tour or playing lots of consecutive concerts. You will need to be able to solder two wires and installation / battery changes require removal of the pickguard and strings. We suggest you use Duracell 9 volt Procell Alkaline batteries, (PC1604) and coordinate changing the tuner's battery with replacement of your strings. I do this with my Martin D-16 which has a battery powered, under the saddle pickup and it's no big deal. To prevent accidental draining of the battery, there is even an auto-power off feature designed into the N-Tune. If the tuner does not detect a note being played for 3 minutes, it automatically powers itself OFF to save battery life. Excellent!

Meet our Pro Guitar Tech Team, Ian West, (left) and Randy Cauvanaugh. They are known as the "Fender Experts" and keep all of our road gear in top, gigging shape. We rely on their expertise and knowledge of electric guitars, pedals and set-ups. They actually did the installation of the N-Tune on board tuner for us. Here's what they had to say:

Ian: "Very cool idea! I especially like the true bypass feature."

Randy: "It works great. The only thing I don't like is that you have to remove the pick plate and strings to replace the battery. Just like a pedal, don't leave your guitar cabled into your amp after playing or it will drain the battery."

Many of the top named guitar companies are installing onboard tuners on their newer models. I've seen a few in action and was not too impressed. They seemed to be hard to see and not very accurate. The N-Tune onboard tuner works as if it were custom made for your guitar as it fits unnoticably under the volume knob. Pull the knob, it lights up and flashes green when you're in tune. Push it back in and its true bypass feature lets your guitar perform business as usual. I really like this feature and the freedom of being able to tune up, even on a dimly lit stage, with ease. It was very close in accuracy to my BOSS Tu-2 which is in my opinion the best tuner on the market. So now I can leave all my tuners in the studio. With my N-Tune onboard tuner installed, I'm good to go!

Fatso Flex "Silent Plug" Guitar Cables
By Spectraflex
Price: $42.95 (10 ft) - $57.95 (25 ft)

Spectraflex guitar cables are the cables we use for both performing and recording. I've used Spectraflex for years now. In fact, this was the cable I purchased when I brought my first electric guitar, the Aria Pro II. What impressed me then as now was the quietness and beauty of these braided guitar cables. All of them are still going strong after all these years. The Fatso Flex, shown here, was voted among the Winner's Circle of best guitar cables this year by Guitar Player Magazine. Not surprising. Spectraflex makes incredible sounding cables! Ultra quiet and reliable now with "Silent Plug", I have the ability to switch guitars quietly without disconnecting from my stage amp. The best of both worlds. This is hands down, the best guitar cable I've ever used. Made in the USA, Spectraflex does it again!

Spectraflex Pedal Cables
Price: $18.95

This is our choice for pedal cables. These link up your individual pedals with the same noiseless quality you get from the Spectraflex line of guitar cables. Shielded, braided, high quality cables made just like their big brothers. Made in the USA. Multiple colors and patterns help you to organize your pedal style! See how we put it all together in our next installment of Guitar Pedals...Get the Effect: Part III
Always disconnect your pedals and instruments with onboard battery powered devices such as preamps, pickups and tuners, after use. Even if they are shut OFF, leaving them cabled will cause the batteries to drain! Simply disconnect all your cables when you're done playing and you'll be fine. Duracell's PC1604's are cheaper than the consumer marketed "Copper Tops" and can be purchased in bulk packs for less. Best choice is to use a single power source for all your individual pedals. We'll tell you which one the pro touring bands use and why, up next!

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