Speed Rating: Timber Tones Bone Tone Picks and more

February 7, 2014

Ernie Ball
Musician’s Tool Kit
$39 street

Everyone needs a good set of tools, and this kit features the essential items needed to do routine maintenance on your guitar. These include a 6-inone screwdriver (#1 and #2 Phillips, 3/16" and 1/4" nut drivers, #1 and #2 flat head), 13 hex wrenches (1.5mm, 2mm, 2.5mm, 3mm, 4mm, 5mm, .050", 1/16", 5/64", 3/32", 7/64", 1/8", 3/16"), heavy-duty, forged-steel string cutters, a pegwinder, a 6" steel rule, Ernie Ball Wonder Wipes (string cleaner, polish, and fretboard conditioner), a micro-fiber polishing cloth, and even instructions on how to properly string a guitar. Everything is contained in a compact nylon pouch that you can stash in your gig bag, making it easy to carry the tools you just might need to get through the gig. ernieball.com. —Art Thompson


$229 street

Eventide’s five Stompboxes (TimeFactor, ModFactor, PitchFactor, Space, and H9 Harmonizer) are powered by 12 volts/400mA, and the PowerFactor2 was designed with those requirements in mind. Co-developed with Cioks of Denmark, the PowerFactor2’s eight isolated and short-circuit-protected outlets feed up to four Stompboxes or similarly power-hungry devices, and four additional pedals (two up to 100mA and two up to 200mA), with individual LEDs indicating the status of each outlet. Six of the outlets may be switched between 9 and 12 volts, and the mains voltage may be switched between 115 and 230 volts. Fourteen Flex cables are provided, including a jumper to derive 18 volts from two 9-volt outlets. I used the PowerFactor2 to power four Eventide Stompboxes and four other pedals, and it functioned flawlessly and never broke a sweat. eventide.com. —Barry Cleveland

Virtuoso Phase Shifter
$285 street

This reimagined boutique version of the famed Maestro PS-1A Phase Shifter of the 1970s features a six-stage analog phase-shifting circuit (using JFET transistors) and has three footswitches for slow, medium, and fast speeds, with accompanying blue, orange, and red indicator lights. The Virtuoso has a rich, chewy phasing sound, and, just like the original, the effect takes a bit to ramp up or down when you change speed. Other than two internal trimpots that Heptode strongly warns against messing with, there’s nothing to adjust on this pedal except the speed. Nevertheless, it’s perfect for delivering that classic swirling sound as heard back in the day on tracks by the Isley Brothers, Led Zeppelin, and Yes. Made in France, the Virtuoso features high-grade components, is true bypass, and can be powered by a 9-volt battery or optional AC adapter. heptode.com —Art Thompson

Timber Tones
Bone Tone Picks
$19 street, 4-pack

Since 2009, Brighton, England-based guitarist Rob Wooller has produced eco-friendly, natural- material picks from exotic woods (sourced from unused pieces from guitar and furniture makers), bone (from farm animals raised for food), and leather (waste from guitar-strap manufacturers). The company also offers picks made from felt, platinum, gold, stone, and shell. A ton of exotic tone choices there! I tested Blond Horn and Buffalo Horn picks at a rehearsal. While these plectrums are mighty thick, you can grasp them securely with two grip options—a “thumb” indent on one size, and an angled ridge on the other. I was a bit reluctant to bash away with such a solid, heavy pick, but I experienced no shredded strings. Both picks produce bright, articulate tones that seem to explode from the guitar whether strumming or picking, and neither interfered with my technique or playing comfort (I typically use less hefty, 1mm nylon picks). Definitely a hip option for those looking for new and unique sounds. timber-tones.com. —Michael Molenda

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