Suhr Riot Review

Name: Suhr Riot distortion pedal

Website: https://www.suhr.com/electronics/pedals/distortion/suhr-riot/

Average Price: 240€

Overall Rank: 95 out of 100







Suhr, Product Overview

  • Distortion
  • Versatile high-gain distortion with the sonic characteristics and touch sensitivity of a high-quality 100 watt tube amplifier
  • Controls: Distortion, Level, Tone
  • Voicing switch
  • Foot Switch: Effect Bypass
  • Input 6.3 mm jack
  • Mono / stereo output 6.3 mm jack
  • 9 V DC power supply connection (coaxial connector 5.5 x 2.1 mm – minus pole inside)
  • Power consumption: 8 mA
  • Power via 9 V battery or 9 V DC power supply (not included, suitable power supply available under Art.409939)
  • True Bypass
  • Dimensions (W x D x H): 64 x 114 x 32 mm
  • Made in USA

The Good & the Bad

The Good:

PRO #1 Incredible and high quality powerful sound

PRO #2 You will have the sound of a high gain head into an easy to carry pedal box

PRO #3 Versatile, infinite gain. It can be used as Overdrive or as Booster too

The Bad:

CON #1 Maybe too much oriented to Rock, but the tone and voicing switch helps a lot

CON #2 A bit noisy if you don’t use it with good cables

CON #3 Not very cheap


Why I love this pedal and I chose it

I’ve been trying many distortion pedals out there. I’ve owned many on my pedalboard and I always struggled to find something that sounds not like a pedal but like a true amp, so I can use it when I go around for gigs and clinics with the amp I find at the place.

The Suhr Riot fulfilled this need. It can be easily linked to my pedalboard as the only source of distortion (I have other overdrives and fuzzes too by the way), and I can regulate its distortion through the volume pot on my guitar.

Another requirement is that it has to sound not too much high-ended, always respecting the correct amount of middle frequencies so I can stay in the mix without being covered from the sounds of the cymbals if I’m on stage with a loud drummer.

It has to sound aggressive if I want to play rough guitar rhythms but it has to be also “creamy” enough when it comes to play the solos, without becoming too fuzzy.

The good thing of the Suhr Riot is that It sounds absolutely fantastic in every situation and with almost any (good) amp I’ve tried it with.

You can be sure to have with you a great sound in any situation, and you won’t need to have a dedicated amp to achieve that high quality tube sound you aim for.

This is absolute gold for me.

Inside the Suhr Riot

It’s a very simple to use pedal, with only three controls: Distortion, Level and Tone.

The distortion pot regulates the amount of drive you will need to add to your sound. Disclaimer: the drive is practically infinite. When it’s turned down at 1-2 with the level at 8-9 it can easily be used as a booster too.

At 5-6 the sound starts already to be more rough and it becomes a nice sounding overdrive. With this sound, you can move from crunchy rhythms to bluesy solos and back.

Pushing more on the Dist pot, you will achieve incredible high gain sounds for your rock and metal solos. You won’t need that Rectified Head anymore, you will have the sound of a great 100 watt head in a little case.

The sound goes from a screamy JCM800 to a squeezed Mesa Rectifier, it’s absolutely stunning for the rhythms and very powerful for your solos. The very good thing is that this pedal never goes too much on the high frequencies. This is a very important point when it comes to high gain distortion pedals: they mostly become too fuzzy and high-ended when you have a lot of gain. It happens to me a lot that I’ve to use an equalizer to cut out those horrible high frequencies that avoid my solos to be heard properly from the crowd despite I’m playing on stage with other instruments.

With the Riot, you will always have the correct amount of frequencies in your solos, without your sound becoming too fuzzy or confused. You will always have the correct amount of frequencies while being on stage, and the sound is always defined.

The level pot controls the amount of volume required. It’s important to mix it with your amp, in order to avoid volume peaks while going from the clean to the drive sound.

The amount of volume is incredible. You can boost a lot your sound if you regulate the pot at 7-8 already. The volume control will give more volume and definition, so you most probably won’t need for a booster anymore.

Trust me it can be stupidly high, like very high volume!

Another good side of the volume pot is that it is transparent, it only adds the volume you prefer to the drive settings you’ve already decided. The more you go further with the volume, the more the sound becomes huge but its color remains the same.

The tone nob reacts well by cutting or adding high frequencies to the sound.

The voicing switch

This switch is something to look at too. It can provide some cool changes to your sound depending on the kind of nuances you will need.

On the left it produces a natural tone that responds dynamically to your guitars volume control. The sound is smooth and balanced, perfect for both solos and rhythms.

The middle position is the one I prefer. It adds some mid range to your sound, it is perfect for my solos.

The right position adds a high gain color while being a bit “vintage” at the same time. The sound become a bit more aggressive and it will help you to have more punch.

Other features

Report from the Suhr Page:

The True Bypass: Riot is true bypass pedal. This function allows for the remote switching, and the battery monitor feature. The relay produces less popping when switching the pedal on and off.

FX Link: The FX Link connector allows the pedal’s switching function to be controlled from an external switch, pedal board, loop switcher, or any other custom interface. FX Link also provides the ability to power up in the On/Off state.

Low Battery Monitor: Riot incorporates a unique battery monitor that alerts the user to low battery conditions. In addition, the battery monitor will automatically switch the pedal to True Bypass if the battery voltage is too low for the circuitry to correctly operate.

Conclusion

The Suhr Riot is a fantastic pedal, I gave him a very high score due to the quality of the materials and its sound.

It’s not very cheap, and considering the amount of distortion it is also quite silent, but be careful to use good cables and connectors too on your pedalboard otherwise it can become a bit noisy if used with high levels of gain. This is however a normal feature for distortion pedals, it is normal to have a bit of noise with high levels of distortion and the Riot is not that much noisy anyway. This is a great advantage that makes it stand up from competition.

I personally use this pedal in every live I do and I’ve never ever had one only issue.

Links to buy the Riot:

Amazon : https://amzn.to/2KRuwJW

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How to learn to play guitar

Guitar is still (2019) a very popular instrument. It’s easy to carry and very versatile. Still, there are lots of people interested in starting to learn guitar effectively every day. Learning guitar can be somewhat tricky at different levels: For example if you’re a beginner you will most probably have pain in your fingers trying to learn the first chords. Your hands will need to stretch properly before having consistent results. If you’re an advanced player you will most probably fight with yourself to find your personal voice and your original approach while playing a super-popular instrument.

Wherever level you have as guitar player, you will have to face with a learning curve.

In this article I will give you 5 tips to learn guitar in the best possible way, avoiding wasting your precious time and keeping up the most effective mind approach through the learning process.


Tip#1 Choose wisely the guitar you start with


If you’re a beginner guitar player, I strongly suggest you to set-up your instrument first.

Among guitar players, there’s a myth equal to “no pain-no gain” for bodybuilders: if you want to build muscles in your hands you’ve to struggle with a super-hard-to-play instrument in order to become strong enough. This conviction is not only wrong but also very dangerous for your articulations.

The keys for playing any instrument are basically two: comfort and relax

The guitars you start to play with and that you buy in a shop are mostly not set up. This means that the action (the distance between the strings and the neck) will be terribly high and as result you could start to develop have articulations problems. Trust me, A LOT of people give up learning because they are not aware of this simple fact and they will mostly turn it on their lack of talent.

Please be wise and bring your instrument to a good luthier (or ask your music shop) in order to set up your instrument properly. This means basically: the action has to be as low as possible, the octaves have to be in tune.

Tip#2 Choose a cheap but already good quality instrument

I don’t advise you at all to go for a super cheap instrument made in the-land-of-far-away, or the one you found at your grandma’s attic. Be careful, so you won’t have to spend double the cost once you start to really like playing.

It doesn’t really matter which kind of guitar you will choose. It can be electric or acoustic, it has to have already some inner quality in order to avoid both pain for your hands and your wallet if you will decide to get serious. In the worst scenario, you can always re-sell it as used if you don’t want to keep it with you.

Here’s some examples of good guitars you can start with:

Acoustics

Ibanez AW54OPN Artwood Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar

Ibanez 6 String Acoustic Guitar Pack, Right, Natural (IJVC50)

    Electrics

    Ibanez S Series S670QM – Sapphire Blue

    Ibanez JEMJRWH Steve Vai Signature 6-String Electric Guitar – White



      Tip#3 If you can, go and take music lessons

      A lot f people learn by internet and this is a very good thing. The downside of internet is that it would be very overwhelming.

      There’s so much information that you will most probably lose yourself through the learning process.

      Also, another risk is that you could start having an overall incorrect posture. In that case, it would be very difficult to come back from bad habits. I strongly suggest you to find a graduated and qualified music teacher.

      Everyone teaches guitar nowadays but you will most probably get scammed by some musicians that just teach to increase their salary while they are not dedicated to their core activities, which are mainly concerts and studio. These people most probably have some good practical experience but they don’t have any clue about what really music didactic is and how to communicate the concepts to their students. As it is for playing, teaching is an art and there are skills and abilities to develop that are not only related to music itself that comprehend the understanding of how dealing with people and being good in communicate with them.

      Trust me, it’s plenty of supposed to be good musicians that are terribly bad at teaching. The myth that you can teach easily as long than you’re “talented” is BS.

      Do a favor to yourself: search for a good teacher that is graduated with a specific music teaching degree, or if you can’t find it, beware of the musicians that just brag about how cool their are but then they treat you not like a person but just like a way to make their wallets bigger. Trust me: it’s plenty and stay away from them.



      Tip#4: Use the internet with a strategy

      Internet is full with good and bad guitar courses.

      I absolutely suggest you to go for it, you can find plenty of very good tips here and there on YouTube or googling around. The best way you can use the internet is: search for good articles and videos, search for a well-made beginner course and use them in parallel with your music lessons.

      The best way to learn is processing your information while being critical. You will have multiple points of view and for sure you will have much inputs to get along with your music teacher. For example, you will have much ideas for songs to start with or you will be carried by some music style in particular. Whatever the input is, you will be pushed to grow up and learn much.

      Tip#5 Be constant and consistent

      As like anything in life, making serious progresses in playing an instrument it’s a matter of time, patience and a serious strategy.

      Guitar can be a very tricky instrument at the beginning: you will have to face some little discouraging and frustrating moments before succeeding. There’s no magic pill but working hard and having the right strategy, being organized.

      You’ve to dedicate a precise amount of time every day. Even if few times, you’ve to work every day. This is the best possible approach and you will see results for sure.

      A strong passion for music will lead you, so don’t worry about any struggle. Playing guitar is fun, it’s beautiful and it will make you happy whatever is the level you reach, so relax and think about it much in therm of a funny moment.

      Also, don’t forget to play with other people as much than you can. Try to search for a band, go to open mics, go to jam sessions. It doesn’t matter your level, what’s matter is sharing your passion for music with other people. This will lead you far away and it will compensate every possible frustrating moment you could face during your path.

      Relax and enjoy the trip!

      Conclusion

      I hope this article gave you some useful tip about starting to play guitar and remember: it’s all about passion and dedication, nothing else!

      If you’ve any questions you can always write me to: ignaziodisalvo@gmail.com

      Cheers!

      Ignazio

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      How to get inspiration for writing songs

      It happens very often that students ask me how to write songs and more generally how to have the right tools to compose and write music. Most of them are driven by writing guitar-related music, most of them (like me nowadays) would love to start to compose songs.

      I’ve already talked about this topic in my first article How to learn to write songs and I only scratched the surface of it.

      The way you can write songs are so many, and honestly I don’t like that much talking only in therm of “songwriting”.

      Composition and songwriting are nowadays the skills that more than everything make the difference in any musician’s career. It divides the people that are passionate about the instrument and spend their time learning covers to put them in YouTube, from the people that make a true effort to be creative artists more than just musicians, trying to write a story.

      I’ve nothing against YouTube covers, I’ve few covers on YouTube too and learning covers might be a very good exercise to monitor our progresses. But let’s just face the truth: YouTube is PACKED with EVERYONE putting his/her cover stuff in the platform… Do we really need it? Does Music really need it?

      The REAL problem about making music for many people is not the lack of skills. Skill can be “easily” acquired with some effort. On the other hand, the lack of inspiration is something very hard to overcome for any artist and specifically for any songwriter out there.

      It has been said already so many times that the possibilities of pop songs are becoming quite limited.

      People who listen to radio are becoming the more and more intrigued by a classic 4 chords songs, or at least this is what major propose. It can be discouraging for many serious aspiring songwriters in any style, but everything depends on how you use and interpret the few chords.

      Most of the times it is not the skills or the style itself, it’s just about feeling really inspired and having that idea that makes you have goosebumps.

      So how to find this Grail? In this article I’ll try to give you my suggestions based on what I do to overcome the lack of creativity and avoid getting stuck in the white paper syndrome.


      Tip #1: Don’t push your creativity, let it flow naturally

      This has a lot to do with our ability to understand our boundaries.

      I would overall say that a true composer and songwriter has to have the right skills to stay creative even when the mood is down or when the focus is lacking

      If you’re professional and serious in what you do, you will have to work towards the direction of being able to create regularly, no matter how or if you’re inspired or not. It’s about taking actions, it’s about sitting down and do the hard work without thinking too much. This is the best starting point to achieve consistent results.

      On the other hand you’ve to accept the fact that as human being you’ve limits. You can go with automatism for a while, but you know already inside of you that it will end.

      Listen to yourself and your body. Try to understand when too much work is just too much and you’re not productive whatever is the action you decide to do. In that case, the best is just to disconnect for a while and let the flow coming naturally to you. I would say that a good work balance for me is 50 minutes production, 10 minutes rest.

      Careful: rest is rest. Taking a pause is not staying into the same subject. For example, you’re writing a song and in your pause you keep on listening to other songwriters or other music related stuff. Your brain has to stay disconnected for a bit, so take a walk, talk with your friends/partner etc, take some distraction.

      Then you’ll see how easy can be to come back to get focused again.

      Tip#2: Use the free moments at your advantage: take note and record.

      As human being, you’ve to take care of the many aspects of your life in order to stay healthy and balanced.

      You can’t dedicate all your time to work: there are your friends, there’s eventually your partner, there’s your family, there’s your health. The very good side of all of this is that you can use this time at your advantage.

      Music is the expression of the artist him/herself as person. If you don’t take care of the person, your music will lack of deepness. If you don’t observe, listen, try to learn from other situations and people, you will have nothing to say through your songs.

      Real life is most of the time your best inspiration. It’s you, you’re unique, as unique can be the way you tell a story if you really listen to yourself.

      During your daily activity, take note of what happens to you, force yourself to write down your emotions. Try to capture every single melody or idea that comes to your mind during your day.

      The best and most spontaneous ideas come where we are unfocused. Our brain is not conditioned by the expectations we have from ourselves nor from our audience. When we compose songs we are subconsciously trying to fill in our expectations.

      This doesn’t happen when you’re out with friends or with your family or partner(s). Write it down or record it, you’ll be grateful to yourself afterwards.

      Tip#3: Study Music Theory and Harmony

      This is pretty obvious: if you don’t know how to compose a good chord progression or a good melody for your songs, maybe it’s because your harmony and theory skills are lacking.

      The fact that most of the most famous songs are built out of 4 chords is an excuse. You need to know the weight of every chord you use, and its function related to the contest you’re writing. You also need how the relationship between the melody and the chord works.

      So no excuses, study music theory and if you need for Skype lessons about this topic I’m available at this email address.

      Tip#4: Analyze the songwriters and composers you love the most

      Music analysis is a strong weapon to grow up your vocabulary. Listening and understand the composition method behind the songs you love will lead you to a more consistent knowledge of what your limits and strong points are.

      It’s not about putting yourself in competitions with the others: you will never ever have the same songwriting ability of Stevie Wonder, nor the same fantasy of Burt Bacharach. This is because you’re unique, your life experience is unique, the music you love is the result of your personal tastes.

      If you analyze the most important songwriters, you will absorb not only their songs but also the way they approach the art of composition.

      The more you know about what’s behind you, the more you will be lead to be yourself and sit in the Giant’s shoulders.

      Tip#5: Read and watch movies, be culturally interested

      Creativity is not something that comes out of nothing but it’s mostly a re-elaboration of past information.

      The more your brain is stimulated by different forms of creativity, the more you’ll find your inner voice.

      Read to have stories to talk about, watch at movies, go to expositions. In few words be culturally interested. This will lead you to have more deepness in your way to express yourself, you will be able to tell your own story in your own way.

      Conclusion

      I hope these five tips can be helpful for you. If you liked the article please leave a comment and share it.

      Also, if you’re interested in growing your songwriting skills in function of a career, you can take a look here.

      Ignazio

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      Victory V40 Review


       

      Name: Victory V40

      Website: https://www.victoryamps.com/v40-the-duchess

      Price: 999£ incl VAT

      Owners: https://www.victoryamps.com

      Overall Rank: 4,5 out of 5

      Victory V40 is a single channel head. It’s a portable and lightweight amplifier with an incredible huge and warm clean sound. It is responsive to touch and full of dynamics.

      Features and Specifications

      1. Format: Single channel head
      2. Power: 42 Watts,
      3. Low Power: 7 Watts,
      4. High Power Single-Ended: 1.5 Watts,
      5. Low Power Single-Ended: 0.5 Watts
      6. Valves: 3 x 12AX7, 2 x EL34 as standardSize (mm): 342(w) x 185(h) x 185(d) including handle, feet & controls
      7. Weight: 8.2kg / 18.1lbs
      8. Extra features: Two-position Voice switch
      • Mid Kick switch
      • Footswitchable digital reverb with hard bypass option
      • Series effects loop with hard bypass
      • Power valves switchable to 6L6Single-ended mode
      • Skeletonised metal case with rubber handle
      • Padded carry bag included
      • Single-button foot switch for reverb on/off included

      The good and the bad

       

      The Good:

      PRO #1: Lightweight, easy to carry, simple to use.

      PRO #2 : Incredible clean sounds, it works very well with the pedal, incredible headroom and natural compression. It sounds very transparent and it will naturally exalt the tone of your guitar and your pedals while adding rich character to your sound.

      PRO #3: Possibility to switch the power, digital reverb included.

      The Bad:

      CON #1 It doesn’t forgive sloppy playing.

      CON #2 You have no overdrive, nor distortion. Just beautiful clean tone.

      Small beast, huge sound

       

      I started to use this amp in 2018. I must admit it before starting this review: I’m in love with it.

      I’ll try to be as sharp as possible, also because I officially endorse Victory Amps ( and I couldn’t be happier about it), but being very honest, you’ve to make a huge effort to find something bad in this little amp. It just sounds great.

      As you can see in the specifics, it’s a single channel amp with volume and master, treble, middle and bass controls.

      You also have two interesting footswitch I’ll talk about in a while.

      As told already, the sound is huge and full of headroom, considering the dimensions of this small beast.

      Easy to use

      The thing I really love about this amp is its spartan approach: everything is made in function of the low weight and the portability while having an incredible and rich tone at the same time.

      In fact, I’ve tried many small/portable amps back in the days. Despite the big advantage given by the fact that carrying around a small amp is very practical ( and healthy for your back), the tone was all the time sacrificed in function of the lightweight.

      The good thing about this amp is that you’ve the advantage of the lightweight but you don’t sacrifice your tone at all. On the contrary, you’ve a perfect working machine that will always respond very well to your playing nuances and the character of your guitars and pedals.

      As extra features, you’ve a two-position voice switch, which changes the V40’s character and tone.

      Voice 1 is centered more on the early 60s ‘blackface’ tone; Voice 2 is more aggressive, evoking the warm sounds of the 1950s.

      A small switch called ‘mid kick’ adds extra gain in the mid range, to give more punch and tone to your solos.

      There’s also a digital reverb with a front-panel level control and on/off switch.

      This is what you have on the back panel: a series effects loop, switchable bias to take EL34 and 6L6 valves, a single-ended mode with a switch to even out the wear on both valves, and a couple of defeat switches that remove the reverb and the effects loop if needed. You also have the speaker outputs to plug to your favorite cabs.

      You can play anything from Blues roots to Rock’n’Roll, passing by Jazz, Funk/Soul/R’N’B and more!

      Plus: it is very transparent with all pedals

      The range of tones you can cover is  wide. You can go from bluesy, rich warm clean tones ’till some nice over driven R’N’R vibe if you turn on the volume.

      About this last point I however have some reserve: it is rare to have possibility to squeeze and amp like that nowadays, so you’ll be most probably forced to have good pedals to obtain your overdrives and distortions… But, who cares? It honestly sounds very good, this amp is a true pedal swallowing machine and practically EVERY guitar player still uses pedals, so you can sleep tight. The good news is that this amp will accept and exalt the tone of any (good) pedal out there and this is not something you can always take for granted.

      I tried this amp in many situations already: Jazz gigs, with a Blues trio, even with my Metal band.

      The sound is all the time incredibly huge and rich.

      A very good idea I’ll try during the next months is using Victory preamp pedals into the V40to expand my tonal range. By that moment, it’s like you have many amps and tone combinations in an all-in-one solution and I’ve to admit that this possibility intrigues me a lot.

      Who is this amp made for ?

       

      I would advise this amp to touring and gigging musicians who want a reasonable priced, solid and portable working machine.

      Rarely this amp will leave you upset during live gigs, and despite there are many other little portable heads out there, its competitors are quite behind, due the fact that rarely you will have that huge sound concentrated in such a small amp.

      It’s also true that the versatility of the amp itself it’s quite limited. It is not your amp if you’re searching for a machine with different sounds in it. The V40 is an amp made to have zero compromises. Just a great warm basic tone that you can enrich with your favorite pedals. Usually, when you’ve the overdrive section in these kinds of little heads, you’re forced to sacrifice the clean sound a bit in favor of the distortion. You can’t have everything, but you can find the right strategies to sort it out. It’s however true that in most cases, even if you have an amp with an overdrive channel, you most probably will use pedals anyway, so why bother?

      If I still didn’t repeat that much already, the very good thing about the V40 is its incredible tone. I strongly invite you to give it a try: you won’t be upset.

       

      Conclusion

       

      As you can see I can’t be neutral when I talk about this amp; the reason is that it just sounds great.

      So if you’re a maniac of the old warm pure clean 50′ and 60′ fenderish tones, this amp will do its dirty job in the best possible way.

      Just to resume:

      • The V40 is the amp for you if you’re searching for a high quality small amp at a very reasonable price and you’ve good pedals to work with.
      • It’s not your amp if you’re searching for an amp with multiple sounds directly incorporated in a single head.

      That’s all for now folks!!

      Don’t forget to leave a comment to this article if you liked it and subscribe to our newsletter to know more about it!

      Ignazio

      Link to buy the V40

      Link to take a look to its bigger brothers:

       

       

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