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> Cheap Gear That Surprised You?
Chris S.
post Oct 1 2014, 07:48 PM
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Hello GMC,

I was browsing my local music store's used effects and I normally don't peek in the last cabinet because that's where they keep all the inexpensive pedals like First Act and Behringer (not that they're bad, it's just not what I'm looking for), anyhoo, a Biyang Baby Boom Fuzz Star for $20USD caught my eye.

So I said what the hay and tried it out and it actually completely took me by surprise. With the fuzz knob before 12 o'clock it has a vintage Jumbo Tone Bender tone, and when you start to push it past 12 it starts to sound more like a nano muff.

Did some research and their effects are all analog, true bypass and around $45USD (new condition).

Most reviews say their compressor is a dynacomp clone without the noise and their EQ pedal beats the boss GE-7 and MXR 6 band EQ.

Couldn't pass up the good deal and so the fuzz star gets added my collection.

Have guys ever come across any gear that seemed too cheap to actually sound/play good and then surprised when you actually tried it?

Side Tidbit: From what I've read a lot of company's are taking Biyang and JoJo pedals and rehousing them in different enclosures, calling them boutique and charging 3 or 4 times the price!! Makes you wonder..

This post has been edited by Chris S.: Oct 1 2014, 08:52 PM
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Todd Simpson
post Oct 2 2014, 02:10 AM
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Run a quick search and you'll find a couple of threads on the whole "rebranding" and "rehousing" of joyo pedals as "boutique" pedals smile.gif it was a big scandal a bit back. The joyo pedals are great stuff to be honest. I've tried em, owned, used em, and yeah, they rock. Quality is on part with just about anything else I've tried, better than most, built like a tank, great value.

I'm always looking for cheap gear smile.gif So anytime I come across cheap bits I grab em! Recently grabbed a vintage Digitech GNX1 for $25. That's a massively great deal smile.gif

QUOTE (Chris S. @ Oct 1 2014, 02:48 PM) *
Hello GMC,

I was browsing my local music store's used effects and I normally don't peek in the last cabinet because that's where they keep all the inexpensive pedals like First Act and Behringer (not that they're bad, it's just not what I'm looking for), anyhoo, a Biyang Baby Boom Fuzz Star for $20USD caught my eye.

So I said what the hay and tried it out and it actually completely took me by surprise. With the fuzz knob before 12 o'clock it has a vintage Jumbo Tone Bender tone, and when you start to push it past 12 it starts to sound more like a nano muff.

Did some research and their effects are all analog, true bypass and around $45USD (new condition).

Most reviews say their compressor is a dynacomp clone without the noise and their EQ pedal beats the boss GE-7 and MXR 6 band EQ.

Couldn't pass up the good deal and so the fuzz star gets added my collection.

Have guys ever come across any gear that seemed too cheap to actually sound/play good and then surprised when you actually tried it?

Side Tidbit: From what I've read a lot of company's are taking Biyang and JoJo pedals and rehousing them in different enclosures, calling them boutique and charging 3 or 4 times the price!! Makes you wonder..



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Mith
post Oct 2 2014, 03:32 AM
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QUOTE (Todd Simpson @ Oct 2 2014, 09:10 AM) *
Run a quick search and you'll find a couple of threads on the whole "rebranding" and "rehousing" of joyo pedals as "boutique" pedals smile.gif it was a big scandal a bit back. The joyo pedals are great stuff to be honest. I've tried em, owned, used em, and yeah, they rock. Quality is on part with just about anything else I've tried, better than most, built like a tank, great value.

I'm always looking for cheap gear smile.gif So anytime I come across cheap bits I grab em! Recently grabbed a vintage Digitech GNX1 for $25. That's a massively great deal smile.gif


I have one of those GNX4's sitting in the corner. They are a great little thing and there are a few features that I wish would be added into other amp moddlers. Like the amp warping feature. I also love the little recorder in it. Would love is some new gear would have that for capturing instant ideas and also saving backing tracks into it


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Yash
post Oct 2 2014, 08:15 AM
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The Dunlop picks I have are the cheapest gear that surprised me tongue.gif Made my playing better biggrin.gif


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Chris S.
post Oct 2 2014, 07:51 PM
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QUOTE (Yash @ Oct 2 2014, 07:15 AM) *
The Dunlop picks I have are the cheapest gear that surprised me tongue.gif Made my playing better biggrin.gif

What kind of Dunlops? I used the Orange Tortex .60mm for a while, then switched to Jazz IIIs for a few years and now switch between the IIIs and 3mm Stubbies.
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Bogdan Radovic
post Oct 2 2014, 08:44 PM
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Great to hear you found a cool pedal for such a cheap price! Stores here don't have that brand, it would be interesting to try out some of those pedals. But, back to the topic of cheap gear that surprised me - I think I have a few favorites :

- Behringer BDI-21 : http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/BDI21.aspx
This pedal is awesome for the price. It is rumored to be based on Sansamp Bass Driver (hense the name) : http://www.tech21nyc.com/products/sansamp/bassdriverdi.html

Works really well as a bass guitar preamp/DI pedal.

- Behringer Miniamp AMP800 - http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/AMP800.aspx
This was the unit we couldn't do without in the band. It was very useful for home rehearsals using the mixer only without real amps and with electronic drums. We never had any issues with it.

I never expected much from Behringer when it comes to quality or sound but these two units really surprised me.


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Todd Simpson
post Oct 5 2014, 06:22 AM
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The AMP WARP is a killer feature. The GNX3 remains one of my fave modellers ever and i've tried WADS and WADS of processors. It's one of the few modellers that really does crazy high gain well and doesn't fall to mush. I like the GNX1 but it doesn't have the od/dist pedal section.

The GNX4 was the end of the line then it was all downhill IMHO sad.gif I owned the GNX3000 and although it had better modelling on a per amp basis, the gain structure collapsed once you pushed it in to CARCASS territory. sad.gif So far I've owned the

Digitech Genesis 3
Digitech 2112
Digitech GNX1
Digitech GNX3
Digitech GNX3000

pretty much the lineage. The only one I really dig is the GNX 3. Had high hopes for the rest but the GNX really is the holy grail imho of vintage processors. I haven't tried the GNX4 though!! Is it much different?



QUOTE (Mith @ Oct 1 2014, 10:32 PM) *
I have one of those GNX4's sitting in the corner. They are a great little thing and there are a few features that I wish would be added into other amp moddlers. Like the amp warping feature. I also love the little recorder in it. Would love is some new gear would have that for capturing instant ideas and also saving backing tracks into it


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Mith
post Oct 5 2014, 08:39 AM
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As far as I'm aware its the same as the GNX3 just with the record section. Was my first venture into modelling it really got me hooked. Also get me into recording as well.

I use to even use it live where I would put backing tracks on it and play solo.

It also has a drum machine built in which I thought was amazing.

I guess nowadays the recording thing isn't huge since its cheap to get started on a computer but the amount of times I'd be jamming with my band and we would come up with something great I could just record it straight into it so we could remember it. Man I have even used the mic pre on it and even tho its a bit dark it does a decent job.

Took ages to dial in (and so much warping) but when you get that tone its great. I remember running direct into the PA with it and some bigger band from the other side of the country walked in getting ready to set up and was blown away by the tone then was a tad annoyed that it was only the unit that cost $500 (at the time) meanwhile he had like 5k worth of amps and pedals.

QUOTE (Todd Simpson @ Oct 5 2014, 01:22 PM) *
The AMP WARP is a killer feature. The GNX3 remains one of my fave modellers ever and i've tried WADS and WADS of processors. It's one of the few modellers that really does crazy high gain well and doesn't fall to mush. I like the GNX1 but it doesn't have the od/dist pedal section.

The GNX4 was the end of the line then it was all downhill IMHO sad.gif I owned the GNX3000 and although it had better modelling on a per amp basis, the gain structure collapsed once you pushed it in to CARCASS territory. sad.gif So far I've owned the

Digitech Genesis 3
Digitech 2112
Digitech GNX1
Digitech GNX3
Digitech GNX3000

pretty much the lineage. The only one I really dig is the GNX 3. Had high hopes for the rest but the GNX really is the holy grail imho of vintage processors. I haven't tried the GNX4 though!! Is it much different?



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Todd Simpson
post Oct 5 2014, 09:01 AM
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It really does take a while to dial in doen't it wink.gif It took me over a year to get the tones I wanted but finally it worked. I could tell it was probably going to work from one of the stock tones called HYBRID I think that had a good CHUNK/krunch to it smile.gif with very little boom/flub.

Then creating custom warp models, saving them and combining them with other warp models you get these crazy hyper warp models that are way beyond anything else I've ever seen to this day. It's just an amazing unit. It honestly keeps pace with my 11 Rack in terms of tone and the GNX is 10 years old. Just a killer unit!!!



QUOTE (Mith @ Oct 5 2014, 03:39 AM) *
As far as I'm aware its the same as the GNX3 just with the record section. Was my first venture into modelling it really got me hooked. Also get me into recording as well.

I use to even use it live where I would put backing tracks on it and play solo.

It also has a drum machine built in which I thought was amazing.

I guess nowadays the recording thing isn't huge since its cheap to get started on a computer but the amount of times I'd be jamming with my band and we would come up with something great I could just record it straight into it so we could remember it. Man I have even used the mic pre on it and even tho its a bit dark it does a decent job.

Took ages to dial in (and so much warping) but when you get that tone its great. I remember running direct into the PA with it and some bigger band from the other side of the country walked in getting ready to set up and was blown away by the tone then was a tad annoyed that it was only the unit that cost $500 (at the time) meanwhile he had like 5k worth of amps and pedals.



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klasaine
post Oct 5 2014, 04:21 PM
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Mooer 'Black Secret' - a really great RAT pedal for usually about $80 on Ebay. Sometimes a lot less.

I tend to look for really useful and problem solving gear that may not be 'cheap', is well made, doesn't cost a lot and is worth every cent.

To that end the Radial 'JDX' amp DI is the best $150.00 I've ever spent ... http://www.radialeng.com/jdx.php
Variable voltage/impedance, DI with amp through and 4x12" cab EQ, polarity reversal and ground lift.
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The Mastery Bridge.
If you play a Jazzmaster or Jaguar and you're really sick of the bridges falling apart and the strings popping off when you bend then you want this ... http://www.masterybridge.com/ They're about $175.00 and again - worth every penny!

Spectraflex cables ... http://spectraflex.com/collections/fatso-flex It takes a lot of abuse to break these. I've had one in consistent use for 20 years.

This post has been edited by klasaine: Oct 5 2014, 04:24 PM


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Chris S.
post Oct 6 2014, 05:33 PM
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QUOTE
Spectraflex cables ... http://spectraflex.com/collections/fatso-flex It takes a lot of abuse to break these. I've had one in consistent use for 20 years.


Never heard of those but I'll definitely have to order one and try it out!
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ztevie
post Oct 7 2014, 01:49 PM
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Got a Squire Classic Vibe 50's very cheap. TOTALLY surprised!
Seemed well-made. Could get low string action without buzz, nice neck and overall a very nice instrument. Changed pickups to a Dimarzio Injector set and now it rocks!

Since I bought it Iv'e read on different forums that I'm not the only one surprised by the quality in those builds, a lot of people seem to have made the same discovery...

Priced as a beginners guitar, but can hold it's own for more experienced players too... A bargain.

This post has been edited by ztevie: Oct 7 2014, 01:50 PM


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Chris S.
post Oct 7 2014, 04:14 PM
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QUOTE (ztevie @ Oct 7 2014, 12:49 PM) *
Got a Squire Classic Vibe 50's very cheap. TOTALLY surprised!
Seemed well-made. Could get low string action without buzz, nice neck and overall a very nice instrument. Changed pickups to a Dimarzio Injector set and now it rocks!

Since I bought it Iv'e read on different forums that I'm not the only one surprised by the quality in those builds, a lot of people seem to have made the same discovery...

Priced as a beginners guitar, but can hold it's own for more experienced players too... A bargain.

Totally man, my very first guitar was a Squier Affinity Strat. Usually a pretty okayish instrument but I must have been lucky because it was flawless - frets filed beautifully along with the nut, great action, etc.

I ended up putting Planet Waves Trim Lock tuners on it and new electronics including Seymour Duncan Hot Rails and at this point it sounds and plays better than any MIM strat (although with the hot rails it doesn't have that typical strat tone anymore).
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Bogdan Radovic
post Oct 7 2014, 04:32 PM
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QUOTE (ztevie @ Oct 7 2014, 02:49 PM) *
Got a Squire Classic Vibe 50's very cheap. TOTALLY surprised!
Seemed well-made. Could get low string action without buzz, nice neck and overall a very nice instrument. Changed pickups to a Dimarzio Injector set and now it rocks!

Since I bought it Iv'e read on different forums that I'm not the only one surprised by the quality in those builds, a lot of people seem to have made the same discovery...

Priced as a beginners guitar, but can hold it's own for more experienced players too... A bargain.


I heard the same about Classic Vibe series by Squire but for bass guitars too. It appears as the guitars are really good sounding and well made. Great to hear from you that is the case.

Here is an interesting video comparing those basses with the original vintage instruments :



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ztevie
post Oct 7 2014, 08:31 PM
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QUOTE (Bogdan Radovic @ Oct 7 2014, 05:32 PM) *
I heard the same about Classic Vibe series by Squire but for bass guitars too. It appears as the guitars are really good sounding and well made. Great to hear from you that is the case.


Yeah, people rave about them on forums. I'm not a typical Fender strat guy myself, but people who are compare them to the best MIM strats. Considering the price it's not a bad review. I got mine used for peanuts.
Sure there are room for improvements if you'd like to put some extra money on it. I changed pups, not that they were bad, but i needed some extra beef, the originals were too stratty and weak for my taste. I'll might buy some used locking tuners since i don't like those vintage ones that doesn't have a hole but you put the string on the top of it and try to spin it around to lock itself.
Some people said the fretwire was a little soft and wears fast if you play a lot. Other than that, the neck is real comfy and straight, no dead spots even with low action and the guitar resonates and sustains as it should.

This post has been edited by ztevie: Oct 7 2014, 08:39 PM


--------------------
Gear:
* Vigier Shawn Lane Master , Bridge Bareknuckle Nailbomb, Middle DiMarzio FS-1, Neck Bareknuckle Cold Sweat
* ESP Eclipse CTM1 , Bridge EMG 81, Neck EMG 60
* Peavey Vandenberg 2nd Edition , Bridge Tom Anderson HN3, Neck DiMarzio Chopper
* Ztevie's Blue, Custom Handbuilt by Rek Guitars , Seymour Duncan Full Shred humbucker set
* Yamaha LLX6 Acoustic
* Fractal Audio Axe FX II XL+


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fkalich
post Oct 7 2014, 11:31 PM
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Won't buy any. I know the arguments, the exploited teenagers working in the Asian factories are doing better living crammed into small dorms and working for $1.25 an hour than they would had they stayed living in rural poverty. And look at Apple, after a few dozen workers jumped to their deaths from top floors of the factory they hung a bunch of nets around the factory to catch those attempting suicide, what a nice touch! I don't buy it. They are being exploited by these companies to squeeze out more mega bucks for the filthy rich to buy their half dozen 20,000 square foot mansions with.

I am buying a compressor now, and looking at companies such as Xotic, or Keeley, or this company.

Wampler Factory

It is not like I am flush. I have a Monte Allums Mod Boss Compressor that is decent, and I will use it until I see a good deal. I justify that one because I did not buy it new, I have not researched Boss but I highly expect that little or none of their product is actually manufactured in Japan anymore. I like to visualize workers who were treated like human beings, rather than farm animals when I stomp on a box. Hell I won't even eat Beef because how they are treated in agribusiness. I give humans at least equal treatment.

I was not like this in the past, largely because I assumed too much. I was really surprised when I found that Eventide uses Chinese factories, real disappointed in a company that is so cheap that it finds a way to avoid paying workers a decent wage or support decent living conditions, and then markets a top end product. But there are those that act better. Fulltone is one but they don't make a compressor. Heck, even Dunlop makes it's stuff in the USA. I have nothing against foreign made products, so long as the labor is not exploited. I drive a Toyota Truck built in the US.

This post has been edited by fkalich: Oct 7 2014, 11:58 PM
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klasaine
post Oct 8 2014, 02:30 AM
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QUOTE (ztevie @ Oct 7 2014, 12:31 PM) *
Yeah, people rave about them on forums. I'm not a typical Fender strat guy myself, but people who are compare them to the best MIM strats.


I currently own USA, MIM Fenders and a Squier Classic Vibe J-bass as well a Squier Bass VI.
I have had every country of origin Fender that there is. I'll say that the Squier 'classic vibe' stuff is as good as the average MIM Fender. Some of the MIM gear is terrible. The really great MIMs (few and far between), can rival current USA and 80s/early 90s MIJ Fenders.


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Todd Simpson
post Oct 9 2014, 04:06 AM
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Almost forgot!! In addition to the

Digitech Genesis 3
Attached Image
Digitech 2112
Attached Image
Digitech GNX1
Attached Image
Digitech GNX3
Attached Image
Digitech GNX3000
Attached Image

I also owned the

DIGITECH GSP 2101
Attached Image
with the foot controller, which was their "Flagship" product and it jus blew chunks compared the ancient GNX3 on High Gain stuff so I sold it as well.

I've given the Digitech gear every possible chance, and pretty much it comes down to the GNX 2/3/4. Every other unit I've tried has just been terrible by comparison on 5150 level gain stuff. But wow, the GNX can RIP!!!!!!!! I may have to get another for backup smile.gif





QUOTE (Mith @ Oct 5 2014, 03:39 AM) *
As far as I'm aware its the same as the GNX3 just with the record section. Was my first venture into modelling it really got me hooked. Also get me into recording as well.
...
Took ages to dial in (and so much warping) but when you get that tone its great. I remember running direct into the PA with it and some bigger band from the other side of the country walked in getting ready to set up and was blown away by the tone then was a tad annoyed that it was only the unit that cost $500 (at the time) meanwhile he had like 5k worth of amps and pedals.



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