Rowbi FX Custom – Chris George Drive


Rowbi FX Custom Chris George Drive Pedal

Being a world renowned guitar gear demonstrator, and being crowned Guitarist Magazine’s ‘Young Guitarist Of The Year 1997’ when he was 16. – Chris George is well versed in all things guitar.

I approached Chris and offered to make him his very own OD pedal from the Rowbi FX Custom Shop, something I’ve never done before. Rowbi FX is a hobby for me and all previous pedals I’ve built ( see some of them here ) are owned by yours truly. With that in mind I consider this a one off thing for a good friend – and so won’t be making any more Chris George Drive pedals.  This is a one off 🙂

Chris essentially wanted a clean boost with a bit more oomph and a way to boost treble too – but was happy for me to put my own spin on it.  So I took those requirements baked it at gas mark 7 for a few weeks (while it was built and tested) and viola – the Rowbi FX Custom Shop Chris George Drive was born.

Chris has given the pedal a good work out, and had this to say: “The pedal sounded amazing on my recent tour! Although it’s not a gain monster, there is plenty to add some sparkle, particularly on vintage amps. Thanks again for it, I’ll definitely have it as my go to OD pedal from now on.”


Rowbi’s Winter NAMM 2014 Roundup


It’s been quiet in the land of Rowbinet for a few weeks while I took stock of all the fabulous NAMM product releases. I also felt it was of little benefit to my readers to simply repost the same press releases as just about every other music blog around has, but instead to blog about something only I can, in the form of a Rowbi Roundup.

“What’s this fabled Rowbi Roundup you speak of?” I can hear you all thinking: Keep reading and I will detail which new products I am most interested in (in no particular order):

TC Electronic Ditto X2:
This one was a Rowbinet unofficial exclusive, which I blogged about in early Jan. It’s a great idea to expand a little on the tiny ditto looper, without going mad on too big a looper pedal. I feel that it has enough features in its limited package to be a great product in its own right though, and should be worth trying out if you’re in the market for a small and simple looper pedal.
Fav Feature: The ability to export and import loops and backing tracks via USB.
More info:


Orange Dual Dark:
Despite some metal bands using Orange amps, they don’t really have many high gain amp options, but this surely fits the bill. The only concern I have is the high cost for what it is. There may be cheaper options but they’re not Orange… So choose your weapon wisely.
Fav Feature: Dark Terror gain channel but with more POWER!!!!
More info:


Chapman Guitars ML-2 Classic:
I have a particular soft spot for Goldtop guitars, and also have a lot of respect for anyone who can bring a fresh idea to the market within the music industry (I refer to community designed guitar). This limited edition brings a welcome twist to the community designed ML-2 with a nod towards the 1950s single cuts, including a hard case and USA Seymour Duncan 59 PAFs.
Fav Feature: The phase reversal switch for the neck pickup (aka the Peter Green Mod).
More info:


Line 6 AMPLIFi:
In a shift to target consumers who are looking for an all in one guitar and media solution, Line 6 have really hit the nail on the head with this bad boy.  Sure it will still work great as a gigging amp, but it’s the addition of being a full range Bluetooth stereo speaker system that makes it more flexible than a regular guitar amp can be.  Think of this as Guitar amp v2.0 and perhaps the advert should say “The Guitar Amp, Evolved” may have been more accurate than ‘reinvented’, but I see what they’re getting at with the 5 speaker system, Bluetooth, iOS control and sharing community for tones.
Fav Feature: The iOS Amplifi App (Which you can download for free on the Apple App store to try it out before getting an Amplifi amp).
More info:


Boss OD-1X/DS-1X

Another unofficial Rowbinet exclusive, as I posted the photos of these pedals around a week before NAMM on my twitter feed I’m keen to try these out in person, as it’s hard to really know how a pedal will sound unless you’re using your own guitar and amp, but based on what info I have read and seen they kick ass!  If you’re after something that’s similar to the original DS-1 or OD-1 with a little more, just get an original (and mod it if you need to).  These new pedals are a totally new take on distortion and overdrive and use DSP (digital signal processing) so are not your typical old analogue (mod-able) pedals.
Fav Feature: Additional tone shaping controls (compared to the DS-1 and OD-1).
More Info:


Marshall Handwired Series

There’s nothing quite like a gorgeous looking and sounding amp which has been built with all the care that comes with being hand wired.  There’s really not a lot else that needs to be said about these amps except that if you like the sound that these vintage sounding Marshalls will give you, and you’ve got as spare stack of bank notes in your pocket – Why not!  But if they’re not your ‘thang’ then check out the new custom Tattoo series of amps from Marshall as they nearly made this list: (
Fav Feature: Drake transformers in the 2245THW
More Info:


Viva Belov!

Viva Belov!

Viva Belov! Or in English: “Living Belov!”

The above photo shows this slogan printed on the amp chassis of a Blackheart Engineering Little Giant (BH5H), and it sure is true, those things are alive!

The ‘Rock Out Certified’ Little Giant was one of Pyotr Belov’s many creations, this one being with Blackheart Engineering, but he’s also worked on the Epiophone Valve Series (including the Valve Junior), his own custom boutique amps (Called Belov Amps) and the more recent rereleased Ampeg guitar amps.  They’re all examples of Viva Belov!

Now Belov’s going in a new direction, and had setup a new company with the sole intention of helping other companies maximise their potential through all plases of releasing a new music product to the market.  Here’s the info from the almightly Belov himself:

“After 25 years in the Music Instrument Industry I decided to offer my knowledge to all of those who want to take their product to the next level. This week I formed Belov Group LLC. To learn more, please visit Belov Group LLC offers a range of consulting services all designed to help your company reach its potential and react to new opportunities quickly with less risk.

There will be no major launches, no flashy web sites and no Facebook to suck up valuable time. The focus is on the customer and their product. I will be at NAMM so perhaps I will see you there and be glad to answer your questions in person.”

Boss DA-2 Adaptive Distortion


News from Boss are their next generation compact pedals with Multi-Dimensional Processing Technology, or MDP.

“Unlike standard distortion pedals that process the entire guitar signal with one effect, the DA-2’s Multi-Dimensional Processing employs multiple distortion processors to seamlessly adapt the sound in real time and create the ideal tone for every register. As a result, the DA-2 delivers a rich, musical distortion that plays well all over the neck, from tight, edgy low-string tones to fat, smooth highs for lead playing. With the power of MDP, the DA-2’s distortion is dramatically responsive to your playing dynamics, and every note is heard with clarity and definition.”

For more info, click here to visit the Boss product page.

Delayed Reaction – Line 6 DL4 vs TC Electronic Flashback X4 Shootout


Delays are often sworn about and can on occasion be the cause of a monumentus pain in the ass.  I am of course describing delays to us going about our daily lives. Be it traffic jams, late public transport, or our children throwing up all over themselves and us, moments before we are due to leave for work.  But not all delays are bad.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…
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Boss GR-D: Distortion With A Difference

Boss GR-D

According to the Boss UK Blog: “The clarity of the distortion needs to be heard to be believed”.

But what is it that us guitarists are looking for when we buy a distortion pedal? Are we looking for clarity or are we looking for filthy (opposite of clarity) distortion?
Now I can see some benefit of being able to apply different filters at the string level, such as less treble for the higher strings when soloing. But the description of its distortion just sounds odd to me…. I assume it sounds the part in real life though.

Amp Modeller Makers Get Amp Manufacturer Support – Why?


Line 6 started a trend in 1996 with the release of the AxSys 212 modelling guitar amplifier and soon after in 1999 the red kidney bean shaped POD was released and changed how guitarists recorded guitar tones in the studio. Since then Line 6 have released many other products, but so have other companies too!.

After reading about IK Multimedia’s release of officially certified Orange and Carvin amp models for AmpliTube on Guitar Noize I begun to think about original amp manufacturers and how in the past few years, they have been more willing to officially support/certify amp models/simulations of their ‘real’ amps.

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Hearing and Being Heard – Input and Output Impedances Explained

Why reinvent the wheel….

Here are a couple of great articles explaining what input and output impedances are all about, in layman’s terms as well as more technical detail (for those who want it):

Beam It With TC Electronic’s TonePrint App

If you’ve not already heard about it, get over to TC Electronic’s Website and checkout their TonePrint enabled compact pedals, and the new TonePrint app for iPhone (and soon for Android).

You can literally play a sound from your iPhone, with the iPhone next to your guitar pickups, and the pedal hears the sound and can reconfigure itself! It’s called Beam It. How cool is this for downloading artist settings and sharing with your mates!

Positive Grid JamUp – Guitar Amp Sim and MultiFX for iPhone/iPad/iPod

It seems that the guitar amp sim and multi FX market has finally caught up with all the electronic music apps for iOS, and in the last 12 months I’ve lost count of the number of Amp sim and MultiFX appps and interfaces for iPhone/iPad/iPod. Well thank the Lord, finally we have a good choice, with apps from IK Multimedia (iRig), Apple (Garageband), Line 6 (Mobile POD), just to name a few…. But now we have another interface and App from Positive Grid: Called JamUp.

They all work in slightly different ways, but the end result is good to great from all of them. Some also make their own interface, and although there will of course be some cross-compatibility: You can be sure the best performance is likely to be had from using an interface and software combination both from the same vendor.