Thomas Blug: A few of his favourite things
Tell us about your career till now?
I'm a professional guitarist and amp-designer for almost 30 years now. I played in many different bands in Germany and all over Europe, released 5 Solo Albums, 3 live DVD's, and a bunch of German video Guitar tutorials. My biggest concert was to open up for Michael Jackson back in the days in front of 100.000 people.
Besides being a musician I have been working as a freelance consultant and promoter for companies like Hughes&Kettner and Steinberg and Vintage. Finally, I decided to start my own company BluGuitar, but also I want to share my knowledge by doing a few collaborations for products that I want to do, but make more sense for other companies. A good example here is Xvive
How did you come to work with Xvive?
I saw the products and met Xvive people at a trade show when I was promoting my signature guitar in the UK. I noticed that they had great pedals, but just the overdrive pedals I did not like. So I offered my help and experience to Xvive. We concluded to do it right and make true Thomas Blug Signature pedals.
Your vision for the future?
As our collaboration is very successful, I see some more products with my input for Xvive.
It is a sweet, creamy and thrilling hi-gain overdrive with a lot of class in its tone.
Being an amp designer I know the difference in tone. The golden brownie´s classic and rich tone inspires you to play like a rock hero. When we dial the pedal I thought of heroes like Eddy van Halen, Michael Schenker, Gary Moore and some other Guitar heroes with a great solo tone. Golden Brownies tone is as good for rhythm as for melodic Soloing due to the good balance of great attack and rich harmonics.
Which generation of JCM800 did you try to simulate? Did you also refer to JCM900?
It's not a 100 % copy of those amps. I believe it is more: it's that based on that tone plus some extra sweetness and punch that makes your guitar sing...
Single coil or humbucker; which is better to play with?
It works great for both, but being a Strat player - actually winning the Title "Fender Strat-king of Europe", I made sure it's a killer pedal for Strat player too!
Just make sure the gain is almost at full for Strats with single coil pickups and about the middle position for humbuckers a starting point...
Which guitarist sound concept did you have in mind?
Eddy van Halen - Michael Schenker
And of course, my own signature hi-gain sound that is maybe in between those two sounds.
Is one tone knob enough to control the midrange? What about the Presence knob?
Yes, we've got two controls for tone: Tone and presence. They both allow many musical adjustments and assure a perfect match to your clean tone
Tell me your favourite settings
Using a Strat into a nice sparkling clean Channel:
- Gain 3 o´clock or full
- Output half
- Tone Middle or a bit more
- Presence Middle or a bit more
- The tone settings depend on the Clean Sound of the amp, experiment with your rig to find your favourite!
T2 is a more classic rock like AC/DC. It is very dynamic, so the fun is to form the notes with your attack. There is more headroom compared to T1, so you can also use some extra boost in front of it.
T1 sounded perfect for soloing with fine texture distortion and T2 seemed to be perfect for backing play with clean and powerful tone. What do you think?
This tone reminds me of 70s rock signature sound such as The Who, Led Zeppelin, also like AC/DC.
Did you have these tones in mind?
Yes, sure! The sound is inspired by all those great British rock bands that used those classic vintage stacks that were cranked - with the volume up to 10.
It is great as a booster with a midrange boost. How do you think?
Yes, Dynarock is as dynamic as a classic British tube amp (Marshall Plexi style). This kind of amp goes very well with classic boosters such as range master, tube screamer or mid boost...
Tell me about your favourite setting
- Drive: 2 o'clock
- Volume: 12 o'clock
- Tone: 12 o'clock
- Mid boost off
Sounds like a cranked old Tweed Fender with a rectifier tube. Dirty, spongy with lots of character. Best for your dynamic expression in a bluesy rock style
How do you want this one to be used? Does it work better on a solid state amp?
Works on both kind of amps: solid State and tube amps. It will give a solid state amp a tube feel, and a Tube amp will get more growl and dirt, it changes the tone to a cranked amp sound, just like it would sound at almost full volume. The Beauty of the pedal is that you get this at any volume!
Works fine as a booster to add some tube taste?
Also, you can use it as a booster. This will make your tone fat and rich. But be careful with the Gain, as it can get muddy when turned on full. But sometimes you might like that!
It has fuzz tone with drive all the way up. Is this your intention?
Yes! There is also a beauty in those fat fuzz tones. Never forget what Jimi Hendrix did with a fuzz.
How can we make the best use of the LOW CUT?
This depends on your guitar and your amp Settings. The biggest Tone is without the Lo cut. I use that for soloing.
But If you want a fatter tone especially for rhythm playing, the lo cut becomes helpful to get the chords less dirty and a bit more defined
Tell me your favourite settings
Using a Tele or Strat thinking Keith Richards style
- Gain: 3 o´clock
- Tone: 3 o´clock
- Volume: Middle position
- Lo cut. Off
You said that O1 was based on cranked up vintage Fender Tweed. What did you have in mind for O2? What is the main difference?
O2 is both vintage fender and Vox in one box. The great feature is that you can blend between the 2 characters to find the perfect character for your personal setup
It sounds pretty much straight compared to O1. What do you think?
It sounds very straight and much cleaner when growl is on the left side. But it gets as dirty when growl is turned up all the way.
What can the GROWL knob handle?
With this control, you can blend between a cleaner, straighter overdrive character like an AC30 or other class a style amp to a dirty and nasty fender tweed amp character. The beauty is that you can find the sweet spot for your guitar and amp. If you use it in the middle you get actually those two overdrives at the same time, just like using 2 amps simultaneously.
It really sounds great with chord play with drive knob up, is this your intention to design this pedal?
For me I can use this pedal for many styles from country, blues, rock'a'billy and old school rock n' roll for both chords and soloing.
What's your favourite setting?
Every control in the middle position!
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