Thursday, September 4, 2008

Gear Related - The Mojo Hand FX Mystick Octavius

No matter how big of a fuzz/octave fan I am, whenever I hear that a new one is hitting the market, my first reaction is typically somewhere in the "whatever" neighborhood, between "meh" and "blah". It is no secret that I'm a big Brad Fee/Tone Factor/ Mojo Hand FX fan, so for this reason, I decided to give it a chance. Brad being the badass dude he is arranged a tourbox so that some of us could try to pedal out. First of all, it looks great. I know that's not a huge concern for most, but first impressions are first impressions. So, I plugged the thing in to my trusty old Carvin X-100B with a splittable humbucker guitar and put it through its paces. The Mystick Octavius has a switch that brings the octave in and out. I started with the octave on. As with all octave pedals I've tried, the best octave fuzz sounds are found in the 12th fret area with the front pickup selected. I was pleased with the sustain I got on strong notes, and the octaves bloomed in and out very nicely. Moreso when used in conjunction with my '77 Distortion plus clone or single stage mosfet booster. Octavey, Noodly leads all day long. Usually this is where the usefulness of an octave/fuzz ends. Not so with the Mystick Octavius. Flip the octave switch, and you've got a fuzz/overdrive force to be reckoned with. The even-ordered harmonic tone I got was great for all out rock-n-roll riffage. Zep and Clutch riffs just plain rocked on this thing. Then it shifted into high gear when I kicked the Distortion+ on. It had great chord clarity for a fuzz. I just wanted to stand right in front of the amp, crank it to 11 and play "Whole Lotta Love". Do yourself a favor Hit up Brad at Tone Factor and give the MojoHand Fx Mystick Octavius a try. Your inner Jimmy Page will thank you.

Mojo Hand FX on Myspace
Tone Factor

Monday, June 23, 2008

Saturday Night Adventures (or How I Got Cat Food, Butter, and a Paper Cut)

I went to Albertson's for cat food and butter Saturday night, but I got MUCH more than I bargained for. It was about midnight, just finished with a band practice for a fill-in job, and I got a call from Melissa that the cats were starving.. and she needs butter for toast in the morning. I stop in to the store, and I am just about the only one in there other than the night crew, who are all in one aisle, doing as little as possible. I get my things, notice that the cat on the Cat Chow bag looks exactly like one of our cats and begin pondering what the actual percentage a cat owner should rightfully get for a cat-model, when this gnarly little old dude comes down the aisle (a large isle with dairy on one side, beer on the other) pushing a shopping cart. This gentleman closely resembled the troll/dwarf warrior guy in Lord of the Rings, but with homeless guy crazy eyes, long unkempt red hair, and a jean jacket. As funny as I found this gentleman, I found nothing amiss at this time, for this is the hour the freaks emerge anyway. We passed, exchanged that "grocery store look", you know the one, and I headed to the checkout. My wares procured, I headed out and noticed, coming toward the front of the store, Gnarly with an obscene amount of beer stacked on a cart. Whatever the weight capacity of the cart, he had exceeded it by 36 or so cans of fine american pissner. I thought to myself as the automatic door slammed against the railing at the exit, "man, they sent homeboy on the beer run just in time, or maybe a bar was having a good night and was about to run out and sent the dish guy out to replenish the stores..." I notice a BEAT jeep cherokee is running at the curb....I use the term "running" loosely...more like a sickly lope.. I turn to head toward my car and the situation begins to click..."STOP!!" I hear from inside the store...Gnarly was running behind this engorged shopping cart of drunken bliss and the cashier is too slow to catch him. I notice what's going on and head over to cut him off... I kick the cart over so it won't roll anymore and he grabs a case in desperation and just walks toward the Jeep-lopy, which at this point is pretty close...Pretty much the whole staff of the store has reached the door and are starting to emerge... "You can't touch me! You can't touch me man!! I'll file assault charges! its illegal you touch me...You can't put your hands on me!!" I say, "Its illegal to steal, too, ya idiot..." and I take the last case out of his hand (giving myself a nasty paper cut from the inside of the handle part of the box).... He starts to buck up, then jumps in the jeep shouting profanity out the window (as he drives away at what must have been 8, maybe 9 miles an hour) about how he's going to sue the stupid mexican for assaulting him... The slow running cashier thanks me, another employee calls me stupid...("he could have had a gun"), I smile and head to the Puma-mobile with some Cat Chow, some sweet cream salted butter, and a little extra pride in myself.

Rant from my days in Retail...

Preface: Included in the following rants are my thoughts and observations gathered from nearly 10 years in retail sales at a large retail electronics chain. It is generally meant for other people who feel my pain in the retail game, but you may enjoy the reads as well. I'm not a mean guy. I am no elitist. I'm just a regular guy who took the time to observe what was happening in front of my eyes and found it hilarious. You may not. In the words of Levar Burton, "you don't have to take MY word for it...."

Random Retail Rants - Chapter 1 The Customer.

In all my years in retail, I have probably become a BIT jaded to the ignorance of the general public when it comes to choosing the correct electronics products and accessories that they want, nay, NEED. But in this and following rants, I don't fault customers for their ignorance. What I rage against in my retail life is not customer ignorance, but customer stupidity. You'll see what I mean:

Part 1 - Running Man

The average IQ for a person in the United States is just under 100. For a genius' like you, its probably higher. You are, after all, a high-powered selling machine, correct? You haven't time to tell people where the restrooms are, or where to check out... you have high-tech, low priced, shiny new electronics to sell, (with the appropriate accessories and services of course). GOOD NEWS! I have devised a way to differentiate the mentally qualified buyer from a dully, that can be handled at the door before they even grace the carpet of your cutting-edge electronics extravaganza of savings. Enter: The bracelet system. Upon entering your edifice, the potential customer will be asked a VERY simple "five years ago" technology question, such as "What kind of film does a digital camera take?" or something equally as simple for someone of average or below average intelligence to discern themselves from slack-jawed, rock/hill dwellers. Should the answer be something like "well, digital cameras don't use film, but rather memory cards" you get a green bracelet and you are free to shop at will in any of the fine departments in the store. However if the answer is in the vein of "7" or "apple juice", that person gets a RED bracelet, and will confined to the media/movie area where they are less likely to hurt themselves or one of you. Should they try to venture toward the shiny, flashy TV's...BZZZT!, a gentle jolt of electronics current will be sent to their bracelet reminding them that they are not allowed, and maybe that Ghostbusters 2 is on sale or something. On the day that I came up with this one, I was particularly annoyed at silly questions "where do you keep the plasma refill cans?", "have you ever measured this 12" subwoofer", etc. So, I was thinking more along the lines of the collars from Running Man...

more to come...