Gear News


As you read this, Rotosound Chairman Jason How will be busy organising booth for this year’s Summer NAMM ably assisted b US distributors OMG Music. The show has a new home this year – Music City Center, Nashville, a city steeped in US music tradition. The show runs from Thursday 11 to Saturday 13 July.

We’re looking forward to seeing all our friends and customers, so if you are planning to attend please pop by the Rotosound booth and meet the team!

We will be at booth 1201.

It started with just one metal box full of electrical components born in the Sixties. A chance email from a long standing customer who made us aware he had a bone-fide Rotosound Fuzz Pedal harking back to an era long since gone and dating from the late 1960’s. The seed was sewn – what if we were able to replicate the original and stay faithful to both the design and build. Enter Dr Barry Pyatt – a gentleman with both the pedigree and experience to oversee the rebirth of an iconic, first generation UK fuzz pedal. Fast forward to 2012 and the Rotosound vintage reissue fuzz pedal – The RFB1 – a dead-ringer visually and sonically which has had a fantastic reception worldwide. Tone conscious players such as Richard Fortus and Scott Holiday of The Rival Sons now have the ir own RFB1’s firmly fixed to their respective pedalboards.

Which got us thinking some more…

There is a common saying within the rock and pop fraternity that if you can remember The Swinging Sixties then you weren’t really there – John Oram WAS there and fortunately for us he CAN remember it in precise technical detail. Armed with a soldering iron and half a century of in-the-field experience John set to work designing six new pedals for us covering a wide pallette of tone tweaking effects. The brief was simple – these pedals had to sound as though they have been in gig bags and flight cases for more than four decades. Components had to be carefully selected to ensure period accurate sounds project forth when called upon – authentic 60’s design techniques using today’s technological approach was our key objective.

And so, after some fifty years in the making, and 9 months of team development we are please to announce that our six new hand wired pedals will be available worldwide from September. The first reviews courtesy of our friends at iGuitar will appear in August, so you get to hear each pedal before its in-store release. As a taster here are a few brief details of each.

The Wobbler tremolo pedal has a smooth range control of rate and depth, vintage optical attenuator and unique control of its silicon and germanium signal paths. This provides a variety of sounds that captures a vintage valve amp tremolo tone.

Making it easier to sweep through the entire audio range from shimmery to vibrant, twisting to resonant guitar is the new King Henry phaser pedal. This comes with PEAK, a control for the wider ranging of phase effects.

Next is the Pusher compressor pedal. Its audio dynamics controller provides noise reduction helping to get a more transparent tone and help increase sustain. It aids the preservation of that essential essence of the string being plucked.

Allowing chorus effect to be mixed from minimum to maximum with LEVEL control is the Crusader chorus pedal. This makes guitars sings with sparkly, lush sounds that have a rich smooth quality.


The hybrid Aftermath with its warm analogue delay and precision digital circuitry gives superb modern control and fine-tuning capabilities helping to emulate a retro delay tone.

Perfect for tone shaping is the Leveller EQ pedal. With its silicon and germanium signal parts it provides constant bandwidths on either side of frequencies. With a choice of Boom, Fuzz and Honk options, there’s a wide range of tonal options available.

Over recent weeks we have welcomed a number of new artists to our endorsee roster, including:

PUBLIC SERVICE BROADCASTING is the corduroy-clad brainchild of London-based J. Willgoose, Esq. who, along with his drumming companion, Wrigglesworth, will be touring the length and breadth of the UK in 2013 on a quest to Inform – Educate and, most importantly – Entertain.

Through their uniquely spell-binding live AV Transmissions audiences will witness the band weave samples from old public information films, archive footage and propaganda material around live drums, guitar, banjo and electronics as they teach the lessons of the past through the music of the future – beaming our past back at us through vintage TV sets and state of the art modern video projection devices.

Their debut album 'Inform – Educate – Entertain’ was released on 6 May, entering the UK charts at #21. The accompanying album tour saw sell-out shows around the country, including Manchester’s Sound Control and 2 dates at London’s Village Underground.

The next single taken from the album, 'Theme From PSB’ (12 August), is their summery, banjo-infused calling card which will soundtrack a string of festival slots around the UK. These include headline shows at Secret Garden Party, End Of The Road & Wickerman, plus appearances at Glastonbury, Standon Calling, Green Man and many more. They are also set for two very high profile support slots, with the Rolling Stones at Hyde Park and New Order at Jodrell Bank. Theme From PSB follows recent road-safety single Signal 30 and ode to the Himalayas, Everest. Rather than focusing on a specific moment in time, it sees the band turn the spotlight onto themselves and other public service broadcasters who came before them, telling of 'these dreamers, [who] were pioneers; they envisioned a great institution’. Along the way it takes in pioneering American news broadcaster Edward R. Murrow’s famous speech from 1958, celebrating an instrument that can 'teach , illuminate and yes, even inspire’, breezing along to a climax which invokes the very best that Public Service Broadcasting – both the institution and the band – has to offer.

The band will be pressing a limited edition pink vinyl to accompany the release, the B-side of which is a live recording of previous single Everest, recorded at their sold out date at London’s Village Underground in May. The band use Rotosound Roto Pinks.

THE BALCONIES stand before you – teeth bared, eyelashes batting, clothing and hair drenched in sweat. In the blink of an eye, the trio has grown from a humble indie pop band to a leather-clad, three-headed rock and roll monster, punctuated by 80s hair metal flair.

With Jacquie at the helm, backed by the rippling rhythms of Liam, Stephen, and new drummer Theo, The Balconies continue to steamroll unsuspecting crowds throughout Europe and continental North America – doing it heavier and sweatier each and every night (go ahead, try to outdo Jacquie’s deep rock lunges and swirling hair). They’ve shared the stage with Cold War Kids, Mother Mother, Devo, Sloan, Stars, Wide Mouth Mason, Big Sugar, Tokyo Police Club, Puddle of Mudd, and the Sam Roberts Band. But The Balconies aren’t satisfied.

They’re out for blood and hungry for fresh ears– as indicated by the video for the single „Do it in the Dark”, a cut from the new album which garnered the band extensive media attention after premiering on MuchMusic.So far in 2013, The Balconies have taken Europe by storm; touring with Rival Sons, playing packed showcases at MIDEM in Cannes, Liverpool Sound City (UK), and Brighton’s The Great Escape as well as playing North American dates at South By Southwest, Canadian Music Week, and North By Northeast. With a new full-length album on the horizon recorded with legendary producer Arnold Lanni (Finger Eleven, Simple Plan, Our Lady Peace), and a summer packed full of festival dates, the future looks bright.

So, if you fancy a riot of gargantuan rhythmic proportions, swing by. Oh, and be prepared – this will get loud.

With their quintessential vintage West Coast sound, it’s fitting that TREETOP FLYERS laid down their outstanding country soul debut in the canyons of Southern California. Though based in London, the British five-piece – Reid Morrison (vocals/guitars), Sam Beer (guitar/vocals), Laurie Sherman (guitar), Mathew Starritt (bass/vocals) and the band’s lone American Tomer Danan (drums/vocals) – swapped urban England for the picturesque beaches and rolling hills of Malibu in order to record the classic sounding 'The Mountain Moves’.

„Our music makes sense there,” explains Sam. Yet 'The Mountain Moves’ hits home far beyond the reaches of Los Angeles. A record of hope, honesty and huge choruses, its universally reaching songs are strewn with sunshine-infused four-part harmonies, propelled by an irrefutable open-highway groove. Paying their dues to everyone from The Band and Neil Young by way of Little Feat and Fleetwood Mac, there are also gracious nods towards the more contemporary likes of My Morning Jacket, The Coral and Jonathan Wilson wrapped up in these 11 time-travelling tracks.

Sonically, 'The Mountain Moves’ might be easy-going, but the process behind it wasn’t quite so smooth. Heading to California after a successful stint of shows at SXSW in March 2012, a hurricane alert and a harrowing airplane ride meant the band ended up stranded on the outskirts of Denver. When they finally arrived in LA, producer Noah Georgeson (Devendra Banhart, Joanna Newsom, Bert Jansch) hadn’t quite finished work on Banhart’s latest album, meaning Treetop Flyers had two weeks to kill.

They spent their fortnight of freedom roadtripping to Joshua Tree, making a Gram Parsons pilgrimage to Cap Rock and also stopping at Pappy and Harriets, a far-flung Mojave favourite of Queens of the Stone Age and Arctic Monkeys. They rocked up to the legendary roadhouse’s famous open mic night in their best cowboy threads to play an uncommonly lengthy set.

The band eventually got to work at Zuma Sound, a brand new studio which had originally been built for Rick Rubin. However, not long into the album sessions, eviction notices started appearing on the door. „We kept on thinking, are we gonna be here next week? We’ve got ten more tracks to do…”, says Sam.

When they arrived back home, a summer of high-profile festival slots awaited them. They played under Van Morrison at Green Man, and shared a stage with Bob Dylan for the second time at The Hop Farm, after opening up for him at London’s Feis in 2011.

Ostensibly named after the Stephen Stills’ song 'Treetop Flyer’, the band’s name also references the similarly titled low altitude American pilots who fought in Vietnam. „When the war was over they were forgotten about and came back to a country that had nothing for them. So they formed their own club, did work crop dusting and banded together,” explains Sam. „I felt that that represented us a bit.” Before Treetop Flyers got together in 2009, all five band members were entrenched in the West London scene, gigging locally in different acts, watching the likes of Adele, Florence Welch, Laura Marling, Mumford and Sons, Noah and the Whale and Jamie T rocket to the top of the charts. „We all met on the periphery of that scene,” says Sam.

Treetop Flyers became a serious proposition not long after they booked a rehearsal room in Shepherds Bush for a no-pressure jam session. From then on the band’s fate as a dreamy, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young style Americana act was sealed. Sam and Reid went on to write the band’s first song, the delicate comedown country of 'Is It All Worth It’, together in an empty room in Sam’s house. „It was a moment where you realise that we can be a band that’s greater than the sum of their parts, and make a noise that none of us can predict,” he says of the Simon & Garfunkel referencing number. „We can all hope for it but none of us can do it alone.”

In order to get gigs, the band recorded a demo, which became their acclaimed debut EP, 'To Bury The Past’. Every member of the band helps to pen the music. „Each and every one of us has a hand in songwriting,” says Reid. „It’s not a Treetop Flyers song until everyone has put in in their bit.” On the back of the EP release and their swiftly honed, commanding live show, they went on to win the Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition. They’d managed to forget that they’d even entered, but when they were told they’d made it through to the final heats, they headed to Worthy Farm to play a special gig for Michael and Emily Eavis and a panel of judges. Their prize was six shows at Glastonbury Festival in 2011, including opening up the Other Stage to a couple of thousand people.

What Treetop Flyers say about Rotosound

Rotosound are the first strings I can remember buying and I’ve been using them ever since. I really like RH10 (Roto Blues) as they are the perfect balance of full sounding bottom end and playable top end strings, with a great feel and tension to them’



Published since 2005 as a printed magazine, TopGuitar is a magazine of opinion for professional and amateur musicians. Since 2020 on a digital platform. Contain reviews of various guitar-related musical gear, interviews and original articles on world’s most popular artists, music reviews, event reports, guitar workshops and tips, the latest products and artist news. The Editor-in-Chief is Dr. Dariusz Domanski, a guitarist and academic teacher, doctor of musical arts.