Monday, January 14, 2013

Always Check the Cheap Seats

Just a quick story if your out there. I took my kids to the flea market over the weekend. It was a pretty nice day for the middle of January, the kids were looking at toys, I always check the used CD's and DVD's. There is never any GOOD guitar stuff. NEVER. Always a few garbage practice amps and a few knock off strats. Except this day. As we were walking around, we went to the back, you know the area, where you move from the people who do this for a living to guys sitting on the back of a truck with a few items from their house laid out on a table that they are also selling. Yeah, the way in the back. My son stopped to look at some toy cars, and I saw a Valvestate Marshall and a Hammer Slammer strat knockoff. No interest.  Then my son asked, "Daddy, what's that pedal?" It was sitting on top of the Marshall and I had thought it was a foot switch for channel switching the Marshall. But it wasn't. It was an original Marshall Shred Master pedal! And by original I mean Made in England! I tried not to get my hopes up, "Do you know if this old thing still works?" I said blowing off the dust. "I really don't know" he told me. There weren't any outlets around, we were way in the back at this point, and so I shrugged and acted like I was going to walk away. "I don't know man, how much you asking?" He shook his head and said "How 'bout twenty bucks." I did everything I could to contain my excitement. "Twenty bucks, yeah I'll take a chance" As we walked away, I told my wife, "IF it works and I don't love it we can easily sell it for $150." Even if it didn't work I could probably have one of the many pedal guru's on the internet take a look. I kept telling myself all the way home that it wouldn't work, or I won't really like it that much. After all, he probably knew it didn't work and that's why he sold it so cheap right?

Well, it works. The pots are a little scratchy but it sounds AMAZING! For being called a Shred Master there is not a lot of gain. But it sounds huge. Early Van Halen sounds are easy. Any late 70's early 80's classic Marshall tones are there. I'm gonna do a longer review after I've had some time to mess with it, but here is the short of it. It sounds like an old Marshall, it is versatile... sort of. It's not going to sound like anything but a Marshall, but the contour control lets you go from scooped to mid heavy. I'm not telling you this story to gloat and say Hey Look What I Got. This was pure dumb luck.  We've all dreamed of running into an old Strat or an old Martin acoustic that the guy doesn't know what he has. And even though it's just a cool pedal, it's a great find. Keep searching, keep your eye out for stuff. And Always Check the Cheap Seats.

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