Speed Rating December 2013: Four mini gear reviews

January 10, 2014

$231 street

This true-stereo tremolo pedal has dual input and output jacks, and features a Tap-Tempo switch for on-the-fly speed changes. Along with Volume, Mix, and Rate controls, the unit has a 3-position Waveform switch with Sine (smooth), Square (choppy), and Warble (think Uni-Vibe) settings. There’s also a Phase Correlation knob that pans the effect between two amps (like a stereo Rhodes piano) when turned fully clockwise or lets them throb together when turned fully counter-clockwise (put it in the middle for an enticing blend of the two). The range of rich-sounding trem textures that the Supa-Trem2 produces is truly stunning, and for a sampling of its abilities, see my demo at guitarplayer.com/video. fulltone.com —ART THOMPSON

$19-$27 retail
Electrical components such as pots, jacks, tube sockets, etc., need to be kept free of dirt and corrosion, and CAIG makes it easy to keep these and other components functioning properly with this series of products. The superior cleaning ability of D5 makes it the best choice for restoring oxidized components on older equipment, while G5 adds a conditioner that enhances conductivity and protects plated contact surfaces. F5 is a cleaner for conductive plastic/ carbon components, such as faders and some types of pots, and S5 is an advanced contact protector/sealer formulated for severe environments—like your next Burning Man gig. You may not need all of these products in your kit, but I’ve found D5 and G5 to be excellent for maintaining vintage and newer amps, guitars, and pedals. Dist. by Hosa Technology; hosatech.com —ART THOMPSON

$29 direct
Belt buckle marks on the back of your guitar are a fact of life, right? Not if you use this hip-looking belt, which, besides keeping your pants up, is a buckle-less design that won’t dig into your guitar as you flail about the stage. The belt is hand cut from thick cowhide and has no synthetic components; there are just two hidden metal prongs on the back of the stitched “buckle” section that keep it securely fastened. Available in 1.5" (as tested) and 1.25" widths ($22), the Musicians Belt definitely protects instrument finishes from wear and tear. A variety of patterns are available— from plain to the fancy scroll tooling seen here on our review sample—and the belt can be ordered to fit any waist size. musiciansbelt.com —ART THOMPSON

$219 street
The Luna II is the second of Robert Keeley’s newer overdrive releases, and steers totally away from traditional Tube Screamer territory toward a versatile, dynamic, and original flavor of overdrive. A modified Baxandall tone stage with Bass and Treble controls exponentially increases the pedal’s versatility, as does a handy Lo/ Hi Gain mini-switch. On the Lo setting, the Luna II elicited juicy, sweet breakup with a textured bite and great touch sensitivity. In Hi mode it took me into distortion territory with some raunchy tones that bordered on fizzy, but with bold character throughout. A standout in a crowded OD field. robertkeeley.com —DAVE HUNTER

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