Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Trash Cat!

I don't think we ever publicly introduced our custom made Black Cat pedalboard from Trailer Trash. This was a special request from my Black Cat business partner Hugo, who wanted a custom 100 percent Black Cat pedalboard after seeing my own personal glow-top pedalboard that Rooster from Trailer Trash built for me a few years ago.

The board includes every single production model Black Cat pedal, plus a few Black Cat Custom one-offs that Greg built especially for the board. We've officially dubbed the board Trash Cat, short for Trailer Trash/Black Cat.

The picture doesn't quite do justice to the board – in person, it's a showstopper... literally! We took it with us to the NY Amp Show, and every other person who walked by did a double-take, often stopping to ask questions or just gawk. It was a lot of fun just to see people's reactions.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Mummy Lives!

Here's something you don't see everyday, it's an Electro-Harmonix Bad Stone phase shifter. This is the very first version of the Bad Stone, sporting the infamous Mummy Face.

The Mummy Face is one of the most baffling and unsightly graphics in stompbox history. I don't know what Mike Matthews and company were thinking with this one… let's just say it was the '70s and leave it at that. For those brave enough to click, I made sure to include a nice closeup of that hideous Mummy mug.

This Bad Stone came to us in bad condition. The customer wanted us to fix it and make it sound good. Well, we succeeded on the first count. As for the second count… well, there was only so much we could do.

First, let's talk about the repair – as soon as Greg got it open and had a look at it, it was obvious that someone had been messing with the Mummy, so there had already been some poorly executed repair work. But Greg had it all figured out in less than an hour; he had to replace two electrolytic caps and a pot that had a broken lug. Then he handed the pedal to me so I could check out just how bad this Mummy could be.

All I can say is there's a good reason they don't make this one anymore. The Bad Stone is an early FET-based phaser, so the fidelity will be somewhat limited to begin with. Then again, the original MXR Phase 90 and the Maestro PS-1 Phase Shifter both used FETs, and we love those pedals. Anyway, we did spend some time calibrating the unit, but it became apparent that it wasn't going to get much better than what we had. The bottom line is this is a collector’s piece. You don't get it because it's a great phaser (it's not!), you get it for the Mummy Face. It's all about the Mummy.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Mennen Speed Stick Rant

This has absolutely nothing to do with music or gear, but I just wanted to publicly vent about an issue I have with the Mennen Corporation. Since I was a teenager my favorite deodorant was Spice Scent Speed Stick by Mennen. Unfortunately, my beloved Spice Scent Speed Stick was inexplicably discontinued several years ago.

I wasn't aware of the situation at first, I just noticed that it was getting harder and harder to find. I even had a phase where I searched for it relentlessly on the Internet, like it was an obsolete germanium transistor or something. I finally called the Mennen Corporation and was told that Spice Scent Speed Stick had indeed been discontinued, but they had a new fragrance that was very similar called Alpine Force. So I begrudgingly adjusted myself to using Alpine Force.

Now, you can probably imagine the severe case of déjà vu I had when I started to discover that Alpine Force was becoming a rare commodity. I went through the same routine of relentless Internet searching. Many online companies still have the product listed. I ordered a case of 24 sticks of Alpine Force from one company, only to be refunded a couple weeks later because the product was, in fact, out of stock. So to the makers of Mennen Speed Stick, if you're listening, you just lost a lifelong customer.