ToneQuest Report: October 2023 – Vol. 24, No. 12


Embark on a Southern Jazzmaster Adventure, exploring the allure of the Jazzmaster guitar. Dive into custom builds, speaker design insights from George Alessandro, Eminence GA-SC59 reviews, Jeff Bolin’s EJ Fuzz Experiment, and revelations about Evidence Audio cables.

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What's Inside This Issue:

The Southern Jazzmaster Adventure – Why a Jazzmaster? You could choose a few likely guitars for surf grooves, but our money has always been on the dark horses in life, the underdogs who come from behind and leave the rest of the world in their taillights. A good Jazzmaster can change your stars. We decided to find one of the most secretly hallowed underground cheap thrill versions of the Jazzmaster, and also build our own wicked custom ToneQuest Jazzmaster using the finest parts known to earth and tell you a story or two of what happened once the dust settled on our pair of guitars. We had no idea the ramble would take us from Dallas to northern Minnesota, Southern California, Oklahoma, Virginia, Missouri, Washington, an island in the San Juans, and back home to Texas. But that’s what happens when you go full-bore in life. When you go the distance and trust that leap of faith over the Grand Canyon of tone, you get handsomely rewarded. And yes, you bet your ass, there is always plenty to learn along the way.

George Alessandro GA-SC59 Interview  – George Alessandro shares his story of the meticulous design process and evolution using the knowledge of building a robust speaker today and utilizing the sonic signature of yesteryear— “As a designer, that’s my job. To create the tones that make the music, and to help guitarists play better than they ever have before. This is the way it should be, and unfortunately, that can be a rarity anymore with a lot of what is out there for current players, but after decades of doing this, I know what I am here to do. Back in the fifties and sixties, everything was great, that’s why we chase those tones, but not so much today. You must be selective, and that pays off in special ways. These speakers are the tools to create modern magic. It’s just a matter of us putting the right ingredients together. There is no reason why we can’t exceed what was done back in the day.”

Eminence Alessandro GA-SC59 Review – All the Eminence SC speakers are one hundred percent the voicings of George Alessandro. Does the Alessandro Sound Circa (SC) 59 deliver that magic musicality we seek in his speaker design? We put the GA-SC59 in a vintage 1964 Deluxe Reverb and nailed it for three months straight. How does it compare to the workhorse GA-SC64 speaker we previously reviewed when run head-to-head with our favorite and cherished 1959 P12N? And compared side-by-side with a Jupiter 12 we think it’s worth every greenback you have to shell out for it. George and Eminence are truly at the top of their game. We enjoyed playing every guitar we put through the GA-SC59. We dig this speaker, and you will too. They’re in high demand—Get yours and have fun…

Jeff Bolin EJ Fuzz Experiment – We have written about our love for the Dunlop Eric Johnson EJF1 Fuzz pedal here a few times. We will admit to having four of them. Sometimes, it’s all about the backup. One of the boards from an EJ turned up on Reverb for just sixty-four bucks, without the housing. We grabbed it after checking with the seller in Denmark that it was stock and untouched, and also asked him why he would pull the board? He responded that he was a tinkerer who couldn’t resist doing his own version in the housing. So be it, we understand. When the board came in via global shipping a couple weeks later, we fired it to our main man Jeff Bolin at Analog Pedals to see if he could talk to us about fuzzes he makes, as well as create his own custom housing for the board and perhaps put a no harm no foul tweak or two touch if his own on it. Jeff tells us about his Analog Pedals fuzz offerings both of which we have here and use often.

Evidence Audio Siren Cable and AC Source Power Cable Reviews – We’ve had the same Lyric HG Guitar Cables for almost twenty years. As much as we have been open to finding other cables that sounded better, to our ears and hands, there just isn’t anything even remotely in the ballpark. Same with the Siren Speaker Cables, which we even have in our vintage amps as replacements. As for the Source AC Power Cable, we ordered one up and used it with a few amps, like a Marshall Plexi and the Milkman HT-15. Tony Farinella told us to get out a stopwatch and time the sustain, and we thought he was joking. He wasn’t. The overall balance and tone of chords was definitively clearer, and bizarre enough to us, the chords and single notes did last a few seconds longer compared to the usual cheap power cable most amps ship with. The difference between all these is much the same as using modern tubes instead of a good set of NOS Vintage. Most modern tubes have a powerful and woofy, bassy whomp, and are missing so much clarity and bloom, harmonic complexity. We got the lowdown from Tony, and it is beyond fascinating.