The First ‘Burst Comes to Carter Vintage Guitars

The First ’Burst comes to Carter Vintage Guitars

May 13, 2016, Nashville TN… Carter Vintage Guitars has acquired the earliest example of Gibson’s iconic cherry sunburst Les Paul guitar, the model made famous by Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Duane Allman and numerous other influential rock guitarists.


The Les Paul Model, as it was originally called, had been introduced in 1952 with a gold finish on the top, but in 1958 Gibson began experimenting with cherry-stain finishes. After several trial runs, two guitars were shipped on May 28, 1958 to Gibson’s parent company, Chicago Musical Instrument, for approval. In Gibson’s daily shipping ledger, they were described as “LP Spec. Finish.” They featured the yellow-to-red “sunburst” that became the standard finish on the model.


One of the guitars in the shipping entry, serial number 8 3096, has been known to Les Paul aficionados for more than a decade and is currently owned by Slash, former guitarist for the group Guns N’ Roses. The guitar that now resides at Carter Vintage is serial number 8 3087. It went to the O.K. Houck music store in Memphis, where the father of the current owner bought it in 1958 as a Christmas present for his son.


“The original owner, who still lives in Memphis, sent us photos with the serial number, 8 3087,” said Walter Carter, proprietor of Carter Vintage and former historian for Gibson Guitar Corp. “I had found an entry twenty years ago in Gibson’s shipping ledgers that I thought might be the first ’burst, and the serial number rang a bell. The owner also had snapshots of himself at age 14, taken just months after he bought it. It’s the kind of discovery that vintage guitar collectors dream about.”

This “first ’burst” has a three-piece maple top, which is different from the two-piece top that subsequent sunburst Les Pauls sported—an indication that it was intended to be a “goldtop” and was pulled off the production line for the experimental finish.

Gibson made an estimated 1,500 cherry sunburst Les Paul Standards before changing the body shape and finish color in 1961. The cherry sunburst Les Paul is one of the most highly sought vintage guitar models and has been the subject of several books.

Carter Vintage Guitars was established in Nashville in 2013 by Walter and Christie Carter and is an internationally known dealer of vintage fretted instruments.


Affordable Soundproofing Window Panels!

If any of you have been looking for an affordable and convenient way to sound proof your home studio, I’ve finally found the solution! For years I’ve been looking for an inexpensive and practical way to reduce the amount of sound that comes from my home studio, particularly through my windows. Sure, I could build sound isolation material into my windows or I could put up some plexiglass but those options are expensive and, more inconveniently, relatively permanent!

At J.Rockett Audio Designs we do lots of recording for sound bytes of our pedals. Not only do I want the noise to be reduced but I also want to decrease sound reflection so that the recordings are as true as they can be. I’ve always wanted to come up with a way to temporarily create a sound barrier for my windows…something I could put up while recording and then take down when I’m done.  Heck, I’d love to be able to at least enjoy the view out my windows when I’m not recording!

The answer?

Audimute isole Two-in-One Sound Isolation Sheets!  Man, these things are absolutely brilliant!  They are made of cloth and weigh 20 pounds each.  Not only do they have sound absorption material inside them but they have a sound barrier material as well.


So, I can absorb reflective sound waves as well as block sound waves going out the window!  And, you just hang them over your windows via three grommet holes as you can see from this actual before and after shot of the windows in my home studio!  It takes me 30 seconds to hang them and less than that to remove them!

IMG_1744 IMG_1742

I’m actually using three sheets in order to create the best sound barrier possible. I hung two sheets, as you normally would, to cover both windows and then I hung the sheet in the middle by only one grommet hole. It has cut the volume by more than half outside my windows! You can also hang these throughout the room to create even more sound absorption and isolation if need be as well as over doors to avoid making the Mrs. angry while she’s cooking dinner or watching Days of our Lives!

Each sheet is 36″ wide by 82″ long. The best part is that these things are only $119 each or you can get them in sets of three for even more savings like I did. J.Rockett Audio Designs is not affiliated with Audimute in any way. This is just a great product that I happened to run across which has saved me a ton of time and a substantial cost to soundproof my home studio. And again, I can take them down whenever I want so that I can watch the birds outside!

Check out Audimute’s website at for more information on these awesome sound isolation solutions!


Guitar Tip of the Day

Welcome to our brand new feature, the Guitar Tip of the Day!  From this point forward, many of our newsletters will consist of the Guitar Tip of the Day with our Master Guitar Instructor, Chris Champion. Chris is the former jazz guitar instructor at Arizona State University.  He has over 40 years of experience as a player and trained at the Musicians Institute.  He knows guitar theory inside and out and is one of the top jazz players in Arizona.

In this video segment Chris talks about how to use the Open String E Minor Pentatonic technique.  It’s a fantastic technique if you’ve been trying to incorporate hybrid style picking into your playing.  His simple explanation allows you to easily add some very cool licks to your arsenal!

If you live in the Phoenix, Arizona area and would like to take lessons from Chris or pick up a JRAD pedal, just contact Monty’s Music in Scottsdale at or 602-494-0036.  They are the exclusive JRAD dealer in Phoenix.  For more information on Chris, visit his website at

2016 Tour Series Pics

Tranquilizer Cropped
Tranquilizer is one of 7 new Tour Series Pedals for 2016

It’s finally here, the release of our brand new Tour Series line for 2016!!  We will be showcasing all the new pedals at NAMM this week in Anaheim, CA.  We are shooting to have all the pedals ready through our dealers approximately 30 days after NAMM so be sure to check them out with your local dealer or online retailer!  We are stoked about these pedals and I know you will be too as they’ve all had rave reviews!  Click on the Tour Series Pedals Brochure link below to read about and see pictures of all the new pedals along with the Archer, Archer ikon, Boing and Dude pedals!

Tour Series Pedals Brochure



Tone Report-The Dude

The new The Dude by Rockett Pedals Friday, Oct. 16, 2015 in Brentwood, TN.


Everyone knows that guy on any given guitar forum. The one who will always invoke that specific “holy grail” amp when talking about tone. Everyone will collectively roll their eyes, sigh, and say to themselves “Not this guy again.” On the guitar forum I frequent, there happens to be one of these “Dumblebores” (a term coined by a friend of mine for this specific guy), who swears by any rare concoction that made its way out of Mr. Dumble’s door. To be honest, I am quite intrigued by the rabid fandom and almost mythic reverence these amps carry, so I was excited to take J. Rockett’s latest pedal for a spin, to see what the hype was about, and to see if Dumblebore’s spell could captivate me into finally understanding the myth that is the Overdrive Special.

First things first, let’s start with the front. The Dude has a wonderful heft to it for such a small pedal, and I feel that it needs to be mentioned that this thing is one of the heaviest small-format pedals I have ever felt; the metal casing feels like it’s made out of a repurposed airplane fuselage. The switch and knobs are just as hefty, and feel almost overbuilt. It’s got four mini chickenhead knobs controlling Level, Treble, Ratio (Gain), and Deep (Bass). Seeing these chickenhead knobs so close together worried me a bit, as I thought they might catch on each other when turning them, but that is not the case here, as they are aligned almost perfectly so that they just barely miss each other (nice catch J. Rockett). The footswitch is just as hefty as the enclosure itself, and takes a bit (but not too much) oomph to click it. The jacks are top-mounted, and it takes standard nine-volt DC. The font is clearly inspired by the ‘80s incarnations of Dumble’s Overdrive Special, which is a nice touch for those seeking authenticity.

Most, if not all of Dumble’s circuitry is based on the Fender Blackface circuit, which is understandable. The Dude really sounds like a hot-rodded Blackface, and unfortunately carries over some of the undesirable (to me at least) parts of that circuit that Dumble seemed to do away with mostly in his amps. The Dude can be incredibly trebly, to the point of icepick, past 12 o’clock. The treble part of The Dude’s circuit doesn’t have an incredibly wide sweet spot, and really needs to be fine-tuned. This isn’t a bad thing, but it does require some time to understand how it all fits together. The treble circuit is connected to the gain, and boosting the treble also adds gain and volume. But at higher volumes, and even with darker amps, anything past 12 o’clock is almost unbearably trebly. That being said, the rest of the circuit sounds great once the treble control has been tuned properly. The Ratio control is Dumble-speak for gain, and the Deep control is based off of the Deep switch on a Dumble amp, which is essentially a bass boost. The Deep control really sounds wonderful, and paired with a well-tuned treble it adds a nice, clean, evenly layered crunch. These are the sounds you hear on Robben Ford and late Santana records: articulate distortion with just the right amount of finesse. It made me feel like I was playing through glass, as I really heard what the pedal was doing to my signal. The Dude is right at home with rock, blues, fusion, and anything in between, with a lovely hollow overdrive tone. I tried adding delay, reverb, and modulation, but really, this thing is meant to be played with minimal effects. You can really hear each note ring out with a reckless abandon that’s held tightly by the player’s dynamics. However, with a pedal this clear, I felt like I really wanted more. There was a tiny artificial sheen to the high-end of this pedal, perhaps due to the fact I had to cut out a lot of high-end for the sake of the continued use of my hearing. A lot of the time it feels like there is a light layer of cling wrap over the tone; transparent from a distance, yet annoying enough to notice if you’re really looking. If those issues are addressed, I would hasten to recommend this to the Dumblebore in your life.

What We Like: Great Dumble-like tones, very clear overdrive sounds with a nice hollow crunch. Overbuilt and hefty enough to chuck at a wall without fear of damage (other than your wall).

Concerns: Almost unusable past 12 o’clock on the treble control. Missing just an extra bit of that hi-fi sheen.

New Rockett Pedals 2016!


2016 brings on seven new pedals for J.Rockett Audio Designs. All the pedals will be released as of Winter NAMM 2016 in Anaheim, CA. They are as follows:

  1. Blue Note Overdrive Tour Series
  2. .45 Overdrive
  3. Tranquilizer (Vibe, Phase, Univibe, Leslie)
  4. Hooligan (Fuzz)
  5. GTO (Guthrie Trapp Signature Overdrive Pedal)
  6. Alien Echo Tour Series
  7. Lenny (Pushed Steel String Singer/SRV Tone)

So, there will be plenty of pedal goodness to satisfy all your stomp box cravings! We are constantly trying to bring products to market that are innovative and tonally delectable! On that note, we’ve decided to ask YOU where you would rank the importance of a specific type of pedal on your board.

Here is a list of the types of effects pedals you will typically find. The list simply specifies the various pedals available out there and it is not ranked. What we want you to do is rank them in order of importance. This newsletter is an open discussion blog that will allow you to post your feedback so please do so!

  1. Overdrive
  2. Distortion
  3. Fuzz
  4. Octave
  5. Pitch Shifter
  6. Harmoniser
  7. Talk Box
  8. Auto-Wah
  9. Wah
  10. Chorus
  11. Phaser
  12. Flanger
  13. Rotating Speaker
  14. Tremola/Vibrato
  15. Volume
  16. EQ
  17. Compressor
  18. Delay
  19. Reverb

In the comment section below please provide your list of what you think should be #1 through #19 relative to importance on your pedal board.

Shawn Tubbs

Shawn Tubbs

Many of you have probably seen some of our demo videos done by Shawn Tubbs. Not only is Shawn gracious enough to give us his time to create demo’s of our pedals, but he is also one of Carrie Underwoods’ guitarists on tour. Not a bad gig for sure! Shawn is one of the most accomplished session players in Nashville…and one of the nicest guys around I might add!

Shawn has a unique style, blending country, rock, blues and jazz progressions seamlessly. Those who follow Shawn on his YouTube channel (click here) are enamored by his talents. He is truly a phenomenal player! He is currently building a new website you can find by clicking here. It’s brand new and not finished yet as he will be adding much more in the near future!

I encourage you to check out Shawn’s YouTube channel as he’s one of those players you can watch play for hours and constantly pick up on something new. His phrasing is impeccable and his runs are spot on. The following video is an original Shawn wrote a few years back.

And the following video is Shawn doing a demo of The Dude! We’ve been waiting for months for him to get off tour with Carrie to do this video for us. We just finished it last week so enjoy!

Black Friday Dealers




It’s almost here…Black Friday! Most of our dealers will be having tremendous deals on our pedals on Black Friday. If you’ve been in the market for one of our pedals, that will certainly be the day to get the best deals! Do us a favor and visit your local J.Rockett Audio Designs dealer in the city you live in. The best way to understand how good our pedals are is to play one and the best place to do that is at your local music store that carries our pedals.

If there isn’t a local dealer in your area you can certainly find great deals on Black Friday via our online dealers. See our dealer list by clicking on the following link:


And, if you haven’t seen it yet, here is our newest video review of The Dude overdrive done by N Stuff Music!

Archer Settings

J. Rockett Audio Designs Archer

We are thrilled at the popularity of our Archer Overdrive! For those who are unfamiliar with the iconic pedal it takes after, they probably wouldn’t know the ideal way to adjust the Archer for the best tones. As with the infamous “K” pedal, the Archer was not designed to be a stand alone overdrive unit. In other words, you don’t want to run it into a clean amp and then use the pedal solely to create your overdriven tones. Even though it still sounds good when you attempt this, it won’t sound it’s best and it won’t be doing what it was designed for.

The Archer is designed to take what your amp already gives you and simply add to it. It won’t color the tone of a great amp, it will thicken it, adding some sustain and presence. And it will do all that with tremendous transparency. So, the best way to use the Archer is into an amp that has just gotten into that break-up territory. That’s where the sweet spot is between the amp and the pedal. Here are the most popular settings:

  • Output at 12, treble to taste, gain at 9
  • Output at 11, treble to taste, gain at 10
  • Output at 10, treble to taste, gain at 11
  • Output at 12, treble to taste, gain at 11

I could go through a ton of additional settings but the one’s I’ve listed are probably the most popular used by top musicians when utilizing the pedal as an overdrive unit to give your amp that extra something. However, the pedal is exceptional as a boost pedal as well. Personally, that’s how I like to use mine. When you dime the volume on the Archer it opens up the Op Amp, similar to how tube amplifiers work best when you open them up, tapping into the power tube section of the amp. Here are some great settings using the Archer as a boost:

  • Output dimed, treble at 11, gain at 11
  • Output dimed, treble at noon, gain at 9
  • Output dimed, treble at 1, gain at 8
  • Output dimed, treble at 11, gain at 1

Ultimately, however you use the pedal is up to you as every musician’s taste is different. To tap into what the Archer has been designed for, the settings I have suggested (combined with an amp that is already into break-up) is how you will get the best tones out of the pedal! Here’s a link to a great write-up on gearslutz of the original “K” pedal, it’s newest predecessor (which we originally manufactured), and the creation of the Archer.