Bicolor LED switch on SIB! Varidrive

The Varidrive by SIB! is a gnarly fully AC powered vacuum tube overdrive. It’s got a real analog growl, pushing that tube to the limits for real distortion.

For such a nicely engineered pedal, they forgot one thing: there’s zero indication when you’ve engaged the effect… I mean, other than screaming overdrive in your ears. But visually, ya got nothing, and during a hard core punk rock gig, it can sometimes be hard to tell. Luckily, SIB! already put an LED on their pedal to indicate it’s getting power. It’s not so hard to change that out for a bicolor LED to indicate power AND when the effect is engaged.

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One Thing’s for Shure

I bought a used Shure Beta 58 off of craigslist some time ago. The damn thing just stopped working one day. I tried to see about fixing it, but it was a ding dong mystery and the insides of that thing do not reveal secrets easily. Plus, a bunch of it is just glued in. I finally read about sending it in to Shure for “repair,” where they charge you half the cost of a new mic and you get… a new mic, in the box. No warranty or receipt required.

I can reveal, friends, it is true. Shure has a great product replacement system and sent me a brand new Beta 58A in the box with all the peripherals. All I had to do was fill out a form and provide CC payment info. I also sent in a GLXD1 wireless transmitter that’d gone wonky which they fixed for free! Again, no warranty! They just did it!

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Plug and Play Jack Plate Replacement

Maybe you have a guitar cab with just a single input, but you want to be able to switch to 4Ω instead of just the 16Ω it’s wired to. Maybe you want to run your speakers in stereo. Maybe you just hate those stupid fucking bullshit plastic Marshall switchable stereo jack plates that constantly break. If any of this applies to you, please consider the Plug and Play jack plate as a replacement.

Full disclosure: I have nothing to disclose. This was bought and I installed it. As far as I can tell, it’s made by Amplified Parts, a webstore I use frequently to purchase tubes and parts. This is an all purpose jack plate made of durable metal with no stupid switches that break. Installing one is easy.

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Modify Apple’s MagSafe 2 into MagSafe 1

Apple Computer is such an annoying corporation. They make these tiny changes to their stupid cords because they expect all of us to be rich tech bros upgrading our shit constantly. Well, I’m a cheap skate and I’m still rocking a seven-year-old laptop. But I did lose my charger. It was a MagSafe 1 charger. You know what’s incredibly hard to find now? MagSafe 1 chargers. Well, it turns out MagSafe 2 is the same fucking thing, just slightly different in size.

I picked up this old charger off craigslist for $20. It was late, we met in front of a grocery store, and I didn’t realize it had the wrong end until I got home. Dammit. Do I call the guy back? Do I try and sell this one myself? Or do I fuck it all up on my own DIY like I always do? You can guess the answer.

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Operating Theatre: Shure GLX-D Digital Guitar Wireless

I finally got the Shure GLX-D wireless system once my old Sennheiser wireless’s screen crapped out on me before our last tour. I am glad to say I was super happy with its ease of set up and its performance. It’s built tough all the way through and cuts down on the peripherals I need to set up during a fast change-over.

But… there’s always a but… I had a SLIGHT problem with it on the last tour. User error. I nabbed a cable out of it quickly at a bad angle and snapped the tip off inside the wireless. I was a little afraid to even try and open this thing, but I had nothing to replace it and was halfway through tour so I was stuck.

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Operating Theatre: Ampeg V-4B Part 2

My amp is older than me. I’m middle-aged and I’m falling apart. Why should my amp be any different? I’ve done some other work on it before [Part 1], but ye olde Ampeg V-4B was well overdue for a recap job.

It still looks better on the inside than me.

“Recap” means replacing capacitors. More specifically, electrolytic capacitors. After decades, they age and will drift from their original rating or even die. In the tone section of an amplifier, this isn’t always a big deal. It might change the tone. In the power supply, though, capacitor drift is a bigger deal: like, expensive-impossible-to-replace-power-transformer-blows-up big deal. The should be replaced before that happens.

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Mondo Morley Medicale: EVO-1 Part 1 – MODS

The Morley EVO-1; one of the holy grails of stupid, antiquated pedal-collecting. It’s a monster-sized beast that accomplished one tiny effect. It has… a really, really short echo. But when it came out, how fucking novel! In a world before BBD chips, in a time of oil… this is the oil can echo.

“Just look how compact it is!” said a 1970s musician

This was a broken EVO-1 that I picked up online. The base was rotten and the echo did not echo. I fixed it all up and did meticulous work photographing everything. And then my computer crashed. This was in 2014. So, it’s been awhile. In lieu of the gigantic photo essay I had planned, I’m gonna take my time and retrace my steps. If you want to know more about oil-can audio technology now, see my previous article on the Morley RWV Rotating Wah I refurbished. If you want to see a simple way to mod the circuit board to make an EVO-1 more powerful, for the 2-6 people who actually own one that works, read on!

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5 Mistakes from the European Bas-tour-ds

I didn’t really manage to keep a good tour diary on this last European tour… call it lack of motivation, call it the ability to download and watch TONS of films from Netflix on my phone. Either way, I still feel the need to put something down before it ebbs from aging and already addled mind: at least to learn a few lessons. Yeah, we made some mistakes on this tour, but fuck it; it really was one of the most easy going tours I’ve ever done with a crew that managed 0% slacking and 100% laughter.

The unusual gang of idiots.

There’s no real need for tour stories here; we all had a good time with relatively few crazy adventures. Most of the tour stories would just be us talking about old cartoons or cult movies while imbibing lots of alcohol. So let’s try a list of errors we made and how to correct them.

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