How To Make Sure Your Tube Amp Is Safe To Work On

How You Can Get 10% Off A Brand New Ceriatone Amplifier
Over the last moth or so I have been getting a severe case of GAS for another amp. And seeing how I have now cut my teeth building a few pedals, I thought why not try building one of the kits from Ceriatone.

Although I am extremely keen on the idea, the little voice in my head is warning me of the dangers associated with building tube amps.

So, in order to prepare myself, I have been doing some precautionary research, and one of the best videos I have found to date is the following video presented by Premier Guitar… DIY: Amp Safety 101.

Watch and Learn how Kye Kennedy runs you through the process of making your tube amp safe to work on.

How You Can Get 10% Off A Brand New Ceriatone Amplifier

Vox in a Box Pedals – What Is Your Favorite VOX in a Box Pedal?

Recently we published a review of the Tech 21 Liverpool Pedal : Vox in a Box and it got me thinking, Just how many Vox sounding pedals are out there?

So I thought I might have a bit of fun and list as many Vox in a Box Pedals as I can find. Now this list is by no means a comprehensive one, and I personally can’t vouch for the accuracy of their tone, but it should be interesting to see just how many pedals that claim (or have been rumored) too emulate that classic British sound in a stomp box.

Wherever possible, I have linked to both the manufacturer’s page where you will find a detailed description of the pedal and an eBay listing so you can see it’s current market value. A lot of the pedals listed below are either no longer in production or very hard to find, so If you find any of the links are broken or incorrect, please let me know in the comments below and I will update or remove the links. Also feel free to suggest any pedals that I may have missed.

I have tried to group the listings by manufacturer in alphabetical order. Here we go…

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Fender Squier JV Stratocaster Japan 50’s Re-issue

Today’s edition of cool guitar pics is brought to you by, the very popular and sought after Fender Squier JV Stratocaster 50’s Re-issue.

Now straight up, I am no expert on these older Japanese Fenders, I had an inkling they were made by the FujiGen Gakki factory and I’ve read and heard so many rumors that these were originally made by Tokai, but after purchasing the book, Squier Electrics: 30 Years of Fenders Budget Guitar Brand by Tony Bacon, which is an excellent resource on the history of the Fender Squier, and where I sourced my information for most of this article, I discovered that the FujiGen Gakki factory were at the time making Greco guitars, which were superb Fender copies and Japans best selling guitar at the time, so the rumor that Tokai were the original JVs is completely false based on the information presented by Tony Bacon. I must add, the birth of the Fender Squier is a very interesting topic to study if your into Japanese guitars like I am.

The JV Squiers are renowned for their high quality and were born out of the whole ‘Lawsuit‘ period that so many other guitars from that era are famous for, Tokai, Aria, Fernandes, Greco, Ibanez, to name a few.

Fender Squier JV Stratocaster Japan 50's Re-issue

1982 Fender Vintage Reissue ST57-115 JV 00200

End Date: Friday Jul-17-2020 15:47:46 PDT
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Comparing An Original Lovepedal Eternity Burst To A Clone Build

If you followed my Instagram feed you would of known that not too long ago I embarked on a new hobby, pedal building using Vero layouts courtesy of

I am not educated in the ways of DIY electronics, I only learned how to flow solder when I started on this new undertaking, so I would very much consider myself a complete novice in this field.

But getting to the point of this article, I recently made a clone of a Lovepedal Eternity Burst, which I have owned and reviewed in the past but sold to fund other GAS related purchases, which to my ears sounded very, very close to the original.

So, just a few days ago a friend of mine popped over to compare his original Eternity Burst to the clone and here are a couple of videos we shot comparing the two.

This first video is with the two pedals set on a low gain boost setting.

Lovepedal Eternity Burst Hand Wired SjS

End Date: Monday Jul-27-2020 21:08:23 PDT
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Aria Pro II LS-500 Standard – MIJ Les Paul Beauty

Looking at an Aria Pro II LS-500 Standard today. I love these vintage Aria Pro II MIJ guitars. This particular guitar is the third Aria Pro II that I have owned. One is an LS-500 Leopard model (which I am yet to post pics of…) and the other is a 50s Strat clone which I had reliced.

Aria Pro II LS-500 Standard - MIJ Les Paul Beauty

1970’s Era Les Paul Electric Guitar Copy, Made In Japan. Unbranded.

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End Date: Saturday Jul-18-2020 7:14:20 PDT
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My Fender Classic Series 70s Stratocaster Repainted White

Ok, so here is a post I have been meaning to do for a long, long time. Ages ago I bought a Fender Classic Series 70s Stratocaster but I absolutely hated the thick poly coating. The neck, although had a really comfortable profile felt so slippery and hard to play and the body had so much poly finish on it that it was like it was dunked in a big bucket of poly goop and hung out to dry… The poly finish on it was horrible.

So I decided I would repaint it in the style of a Hendrix’y strat, with a white theme… You can see the process documented on my post titled Repainting my Classic Series 70s Stratocaster

The following pics are the finished result. The pics are taken at two different time periods. The ones with the pavers as the back drop are the photos I took not long after it had been painted in September, 2012. The photos taken on the plush back drop were taken in May of 2015.

Fender Classic Series 70s Stratocaster Repainted White

Vintage Fender Stratocaster 1960’s Pat Pend Bridge saddles.#1

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End Date: Sunday Jul-12-2020 7:47:05 PDT
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Fernandes Super Grade Goldtop – ‘A’ Grade Les Paul Clone

Today I am posting about one of my all time favorite guitars, it’s a Fernandes Super Grade Goldtop. As you can see it is obviously a Les Paul clone, which was made in Japan around the early to mid eighties.

Fernandes Super Grade Gold Top

Vintage 1968 1969 Gibson Les Paul Custom Rectangle Case Standard Goldtop 1970 71

End Date: Wednesday Jul-22-2020 13:09:52 PDT
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Fernandes Stone Logo 70s Strat Copy

Today, for your viewing pleasure is a Fernandes Stone Logo 70s Strat Copy from the very early 80s. For those of you who don’t know, Fernandes is a Japanese company who originally manufactured flamenco guitars and has been around since 1969. The Fernandes parent company (Saito Musical Instruments) also make Gibson copies under the Burny brand name.

For more information about Fernandes, there is a really useful article on the website…

Okay, so this particular Strat copy is one of the Stone Logo series, which were produced between 1980 and 81, according to the article linked to above.

Fernandes Stone Logo Strat. A 70s Fender Stratocaster copy made in the early 80s from Japan.

Vintage Fernandes FR55 series SSH late 1980s Japan

End Date: Friday Jul-17-2020 11:12:04 PDT
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2002 Crafted in Japan Fender Jaguar

Here’s a look at my old 2002 Crafted in Japan Fender Jaguar.

Unfortunately, the only video I have of this guitar, other than how I added a BuzzStop Bar, was one of the earlier recorded demos, so the audio isn’t very good. In the video below Darren is playing some rock into a Marshall JCM800.


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End Date: Tuesday Jul-14-2020 13:43:34 PDT
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Aria Pro II Strikin Sound Relic Project – Complete

It’s been a long time coming, but I finally have my Aria pro II Strikin Sound Relic Project to a point I can finally say it’s finished.

I know the guitar community stands divided when it comes to relicing a perfectly good guitar, but I must admit, I really enjoyed doing this project. There is something cool that happens with your bond to a specific guitar once you do your own little mods to it, like my recent Telecaster project, where I stripped off the poly coating and finished it with a clear lacquer. I found that with every guitar I have either re-painted, re-fretted, swapped the pups, or done some modification to it in some way, I have always found it really hard to part with. Whereas the guitars I buy and leave alone, I don’t seem to worry too much when it comes time to sell them. It’s kinda weird, but you just seem to bond with a guitar a lot more when you invest more than just play time into it.

Any ways, if you want to go back through the steps I took while doing this relic job check out all of the posts tagged with Relic Project. Unfortunately I didn’t get every single last detail along the way, especially the last few steps,  but you will get a pretty good idea of how this whole project got started and the initial steps involved.

So the guitar itself is an Aria Pro II Strikin Sounds 50s Stratocaster copy. When I bought this guitar I was so impressed with the body, weight, how the neck felt, the wood grain, etc… but there was something about how the guitar looked that was just wrong. Obviously the guitar just had a recent fret job, where the guy who replaced the frets striped all of the fretboard down, so the fret board was un-painted and the timber looked brand new and very light in color, whereas the rest of the guitar was pretty old and worn looking. To me it was just wrong, so I didn’t really bond much with the guitar initially. But, the reason I bought this particular guitar was that I really wanted a 50s style Strat, and at the time I was totally keen on the Road worn Strats Fender were making. So, I had two choices, try selling the Aria to buy the Fender or just relic the Aria. Hence the decision to do a relic project was made.

Aria Pro II Strikin Sounds 50s Stratocaster Copy Relic

L-5 ces Jazz guitar Aria Pro Superb Japanese Vintage Lawsuit AMAZING JVGuitars

End Date: Friday Jul-24-2020 20:22:11 PDT
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Ceriatone 5E3 Tweed Deluxe – A Classic Re-incarnation

How You Can Get 10% Off A Brand New Ceriatone AmplifierSo it’s time to Look at another amp, and today it’s the classic circuitry of the Ceriatone 5E3 Tweed Deluxe.

In this first video, Darren is playing an Orville Les Paul Gold Top, the speaker cab is a 1×12 Fargen, loaded with a 70th Anniversary G12H Celestion. The overdrive pedal is a BWM Spider.

In this next video, Darren is playing a Tokai Silver Star. The cleans on this next video show how this amp can sound really chimey when combined with the single coils of the Tokai and the openness of the oversized Fargen cab. Continue reading