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Happy New Year from the Loog Guitars Team

Happy Loog Year

2014 was a year of learning and growth for Loog Guitars. After ending 2013 with the Electric Loog Guitar becoming 100% funded on Kickstarter, this year promised to be awesome. And it was – just not in the way we were expecting.

Life has the habit of proving you wrong every time you think you’ve got things completely figured out. We could just write about the good stuff but we’ve always preferred a more honest approach. This year, we faced a ton of surprises and challenges that came up at every corner, showing that Murphy’s Law is alive and well everywhere in the world. Loog Guitars is a young company, and with growth comes learning. Thankfully, after all the ups and downs of what we can only describe as a huge rollercoaster ride, we still managed to pull through. And that’s something we’ll definitely be celebrating this Wednesday and Thursday.

Yet that’s not all 2014 was about for us. Our visits to NAMM and Summer NAMM were the most fruitful to date. We launched new Loog-inspired accessories like our Loog backpacks and vintage straps. We got to visit Third Man Records -a huge dream of ours- and record a Loog track on their vintage recording booth. We got to sell guitars at the MoMA Store, an even greater milestone.

And, best of all, we got closer to the amazing community of Loog Guitar players spread around the world. We continued to see how young players at the New Music School in CT evolved thanks to our friend David Mills. We shared your frustration with delays, your happiness with every single delivery, your pride in showing off your guitar once you got to play. This year, we received more pictures and videos from Loog players than ever before. Each one of them made us unbelievably happy and humbled – happy that you’d share such a private moment with us and humbled that, despite twists and turns, you never stopped believing in us and gifted us with your patience.

In more ways than one, 2014 forced us to go back to square one. And to see so many people willing to walk with us through that journey was amazing. It made it less scary – and all worth it. We’re still working hard to get up to speed and -fingers crossed- we’re very, very close to that. Hopefully, 2015 will let us achieve everything we dreamed for 2014. And, channelling Barney Stinson, we hope it will be every bit as legendary as we imagine it.

So a huge thanks to all of you who’ve had our back this year and are still there to celebrate this New Year with us. We honestly, from the heart, couldn’t have made it without you.

Rock on into 2015 and have an awesome New Year!

Our very best wishes to you and your family,

The Loog Guitars Team

The Electric Loog Guitar in Videos – So Far

It’s hard to get to know a guitar online. And while we do try to convey the love we feel for our own Loog Guitars via social media and this site, sometimes pictures and words are just not enough.

Luckily, we recently started uploading more videos of the Electric Loog Guitar on our YouTube Channel, where you can see all the people who tried it out at NAMM like this one:

But we’re also extremely lucky to have several Electric Loog players send in their own footage playing their Electric Loog Guitars – and we thought it would be cool to gather all of them right here for your hearing pleasure.

So here’s a sample of the things we’ve been receiving so far – and links to these awesome folks’ social media profiles from where they did so. We’re really grateful to have such a bunch of talented people share our passion for these tiny guitars that could!

Do I wanna know – arctic monkeys #loog style #guitar #awesome #music #sound @loogguitars

Video posted by Seth Rudd (@saltine_seth) el

 

Faders guitar teacher @aceofwades shredding on the blue Loog. @loogguitars @loogcanada #loog Video posted by Faders Music – Brandon, MB (@fadersmusic) el

Episode 2 of @fadersmusic Guitar Teachers riffing on the @loogguitars #addictive #loog #nottheintendeduseofaloog

Video posted by Faders Music – Brandon, MB (@fadersmusic) el

Our guitar teacher @aceofwades is back shredding on @loogguitars #loog #shred #guitar

Video posted by Faders Music – Brandon, MB (@fadersmusic) el

Guitar Practice from Todd Patrick on Vimeo.

So a huge thanks to everyone with the courage to send in video of themselves playing – and keep ’em coming! The more we have, the more we can share our love for this tiny, awesome guitar 🙂

The Right Amp for Your Electric Loog Guitar

We told you all about amps in our latest post, but what about the Electric Loog Guitar? Well, if you’ve been reading our comments on Kickstarter, Facebook or other social media, you would have noticed that you can actually hook your Loog to any kind of amp but there are a couple of 100% personal preferences we have when it comes to turning the volume up to 11.

And just in case you’re not a comment-follower (we get you), here’s what we usually recommend to new Electric Loog Guitar players (with Amazon links to compare prices).

1. A large Marshall Amp

Marshall amp

Nothing to say here, really. It’s a Marshall – a freaking piece of art. This is what you need if you want to go LOUD.

2. Battery-operated Fender Mini

Fender Mini Amp

These amps are great to practice without disturbing anyone – or to avoid your little ones from creating too much of a havoc. Plus, its portability is awesome! You can take it anywhere and the battery tends to last quite a bit.

3. Tiny Vox amPlug Headphone Amp

Vox AmpPlug

This little guy makes even less noise with a huge plus: no messy cables lying around. It’s great to just take with you to the couch and play by yourself (or when you need some ignoring to do – we’re not judging!). It’s also really cool to learn and try out different Electric Loog sounds without disturbing the neighbors during your, uh, discovery process 🙂

4. An i/o for iPads and iPhones like this one

iRig

If you’re into tech, this is your guy. Obviously, this one’s silent and needs a good set of headphones to create some proper sound. However, it’s even MORE portable than the rest – and with a guitar as small as the Loog, we know our players are going places. We just like the nifty factor – you’re using your own mobile phone or tablet to use a guitar. And that’s already pretty awesome for us.

Any other amps you’d recommend to other Loog players? Let us know and we’ll add them 🙂

Brief Introduction to Guitar Amplification

Some people say that “the tone” of a guitar is in the player’s fingers; others claim that it depends on the wood or on the pickup used. But probably the most important part of the sound of a electric guitar is in the amplifier. Without the amp, you don’t even get any sound!

Considering that most Electric Loog Guitars have already been delivered, we thought it would be cool to quickly write up about guitar amps, at least to get the basics you’ll need to get the best sound out of your guitar.

Standard acoustic guitars were hard to hear in acoustic ensembles, until Leo Fender -one of the pioneers of the electric guitar- added an electromagnetic pickup that could be connected to an amplifier, bringing loudness into the guitar game. And here’s where the story of guitar amplification begins.

The first amps were all tube-based, giving them a smooth and beautiful tone, that became crunchy and mean when cranking up the volume. This was disliked by some musicians but, with time, became one of the most important components in the now well-known electric sound (you can also check out our post on guitar distortion to better get this). In the late 70s and early 80s, solid-state amplifiers which were louder, cleaner and more reliable became the new standard. Yet tube amps had a huge comeback in the 90s – people just love the warm, sweet tube-based sound of old Fender and Marshall amps.

And, in the mid-90s, amplifiers went digital, with digital emulation of amplifiers becoming advanced and ubiquitous enough to become a real option for musicians. These amplifiers can sound like dozens of different amps with just the flick of a switch – or turn your iPad into one when plugged into your guitar (or Loog) with a guitar amp modeler.

Here are some of the most iconic amplifiers in the story of rock music.

Fender Twin Reverb 

Fender Twin Reverb

Pinnacle of the clean guitar sound, the Fender Twin Reverb is almost impossible to overdrive. It sounds super clean and warm, with a great tremolo circuit and a spring reverb. It’s still manufactured and used today.

Famous players: The Beatles in their rooftop concert, Johnny Marr from The Smiths, Jack White.

Vox AC30

Vox AC30

With less headroom than the Twin Reverb, the AC30 -as its name suggests- holds only 30 watts, but don’t be fooled – these are seriously LOUD 30 watts. It has some slight crunchy distortion that is very sensitive to the player’s attack when overdriven. The Vox AC30 is basically the sound of brit rock from the 60s onwards.

Famous players: The Beatles, Brian May from Queen, The Edge from U2, Tom Petty.

Marshall Super Lead

Marshall Super Lead

This Marshall amplifier is THE rock ‘n roll sound. Not as metal as you would think, the sound is fat and creamy. These amplifiers are now rare and sought-after, but were very influential in the story of rock music.

Famous players: Angus Young (he still uses one!), Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Johnny Ramone, Graham Coxon.

Roland Jazz Chorus

Roland Jazz Chorus

The only solid-state amplifier on this list, this amplifier is impossible to overdrive. It sounds clean and a bit sterile, but is great in its own way. The Roland Jazz Chorus was very popular in the 80s and is still in use by some great players. They also can create a beautiful -albeit overused- chorus effect. Oh, and they are indestructible.

Famous players: Andy Summers from The Police, Robert Smith from The Cure, Pat Metheny, thousands of jazz players worlwide.

Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier

Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier

Last but not least, the Mesa Boogie is the definitive sound of alternative rock and metal from the 90s. You know that super distorted guitar sound that covers the entire spectrum of sound? That’s the Mesa Boogie sound. But that’s not just it! It can also produce a great, clean sound or can sound awesome as if on the verge of breaking.

Famous users: Santana, Wes Borland of Limp Bizkit, Dave Grohl, James Hetfield & KirkHammett from Metallica, Tom Delonge of Blink-182.

Your Pics of the Electric Loog Guitar

These last couple of weeks have been amazing – Electric Loog Guitars are being shipped, kids and adults are receiving them worldwide and, despite some problems, we’ve had the honor of being invited into our  fellow players’ homes to see exactly how kids react to the guitar. Thanks to all of you who’ve sent in pics, videos and kind words – they mean the world to us. Here’s a quick selection of some of them:  thanks and keep em coming!

The Tinkering History of Guitar Distortion

Hands up if, like us, you take guitar distortion completely for granted. It’s dumbfounding to realize that, such as electric guitars themselves, distortion hasn’t been around for that long – or even that it was never popular until pretty much recently.

Yet the awesome thing about distortion is how it started: tinkering on broken amps or guitars, looking to control and expand a new sound that already came up uncontrollably on old, low-fi amps. Most discovered the sound accidentally, like Ike Turner and the Kings of Rhythm, when recording their song “Rocket 88” in 1951. Rhythm guitarist Willie Kizart got to the studio with a busted amplifier. Depending on whom you ask, the amp had been left in a trunk and rain leaked in, or had fallen off the car – what’s certain is that the resulting sound was pretty cool:

Soon enough, some musicians started to try and control distortion and bring into their own sound, by playing smaller amps to their maximum output. This method was known as “clipping” and widely used by Willie Johnson or Chuck Berry.

Yet most cases of distortion continued to happen coincidentally, by accident, with wider discoveries made once musicians tinkered with their amps in order to recreate the sound on stage or at the recording studio.

This is the case of Link Wray and his Ray Men, when they were invited to Cadence Records’ to record their song “Rumble”. Wray was not happy with how un-distorted the crisp, studio sound left the song, so he took a screwdriver to the amp and got to work – resulting in the first instrumental song banned from radio for its odd sound, which the American public thought would provoke juvenile delinquency:

What the song did provoke, though, was the interest of two bands that eventually went down in history for their own sounds: The Kinks and The Who. Both bands are known for having tinkered with instruments to create new sounds, but they’re also a huge part in instrument manufacturers taking notice of the need to control distortion.

First came trying to introduce distorted tones into amps, with Leo Fender and Jim Marshall (with a little help from his friend Eric Clapton), paving the way. But in 1960, Grady Martin went a step further. While recording for Marty Robbins’ “Don’t Worry”, Martin busted a key fuse on his bass, resulting in this distorted sound:

Martins actually took the time to figure out what went wrong – and then replicate it to play the song on stage. The result was probably the first fuzzbox ever made, which inspired The Vultures to try their own hand with the sound. Manufacturers started building their own, but not many musicians caught onto it.

Then, in 1965 The Rolling Stones’ released Satisfaction, using the Gibson Maestro Fuzz-Tone, which sold out its entire stock in less than a year after the song came out. In 1966, Jimmi Hendrix decided to combine the fuzzbox with Wah Wah pedals and Univibes – and the rest is history. And that’s only less than 50 years ago to reach the awesome, well-known sound of this Electric Loog Guitar distorting away: