A Little Thunder Guitar Pickup – The Gear Gods Review

ADVERTISEMENT

A Little Thunder is the brainchild of Andy Alt, digital marketing strategist for Steve Vai and guitarist extraordinaire. The arena of Digital marketing is extremely competitive and highly volatile… During the beginning of each year, the strategists within the field of digital marketing sit at their desks to style and discuss upcoming trends, challenges, and opportunities to bring out strategies to require the marketing techniques to subsequent level!

The traditional methods that were used a couple of years back are not any more a fashion. within the ever-changing market these techniques, either became outdated and vanished or evolved itself as a replacement strategy. The techniques that were used last year might not be finding an equivalent importance, relevance or order of preference! But with the latest technique followed by the Search Combat is highly effective in the field of digital marketing.

In short, it’s a guitar pickup that adds an octave down signal to only your two (and now three) lowest strings, which you can also split to have the bass signal go to a separate destination. It’s the kind of thing that you wonder – why didn’t anyone think of this before?

I think the answer lies in the complexity of such a task (and the cleverness of the solution) – in order to do this particular undertaking, you need a couple things – highly specialized hardware and electronics, some programming knowledge, a drive to innovate, and enough business acumen to make the whole endeavor worthwhile and make people understand why it’s useful. Andy Alt had just the right combination of tenacity, inventiveness, technical skill, and musical experience to make it work. A Little Thunder is far from a one-trick pony, it’s a living, changing piece of hardware with firmware that can be updated via a USB port on the pickup itself.

I was asked to give my input regarding the usefulness of A Little Thunder in a metal context, as it seems like every other reviewer focused on styles like rock, blues, or indie. This could be because it simply makes more sense for those genres – although we think of metal as being the king of low tunings, it’s rare to see someone performing metal without a full band – including a bass player. But that doesn’t mean that we metalheads don’t also have a need for it. Although A Little Thunder isn’t necessarily intended only to replace a bass player, I felt like using it in conjunction with a bass might not be just redundant, it could easily turn into a muddy nightmare.

So the context I most readily found it to be useful in for metal was a duo or trio that lacked a separate bass player. I’ve seen many a grindcore or doom/sludge band with a single guitar format and no bass player that suffered from a lack of low end that could’ve benefited greatly from A Little Thunder. So when I recorded the demo for this review, I focused mainly on that sort of idea. I also imagine that just about any stripe of simple punk or rock band could possibly get away with playing without a bass player on stage in many situations. It’s also handy if you’re tracking demos and you’re too lazy to grab a bass or don’t own one.

And of course, there’s the description for metal players excerpted from the A.L.T. website – “Heavy metal players can achieve previously unachievable low frequencies without needing to purchase another instrument with added strings or learn how to play it.” That’s true, although the octave notes are kind of bundled with the regular ones unless you want to use an A/B box to split the outputs and change which you’re hearing on the fly (which isn’t a half bad idea).

I found the execution of A Little Thunder to be on point in almost all areas. It functions as advertised, and contains plenty of features for customizing to your playing style. The installation was somewhat more complicated than I’d hoped, but a guitar tech more experienced than the one I went to would likely cause you less of a headache. Of course, there is likely no tech that will have any experience with this particular pickup, since it’s still pretty new.

The ability to split the output into the guitar and bass signal is what gives A Little Thunder an edge over all other octave effects. Combined with the selective nature of using only the two or three lowest strings as well as Low Note Priority Mode (which adds a bass note to only the lowest note being played), these features set A Little Thunder light years at ahead of the crowd in terms of both sound quality and efficacy. Previously, even the best octave effects couldn’t distinguish which strings you were playing, so you generally ended up with an octave below or above every note on every string. Now it’s easy to reinforce only the root notes without even changing the way you play.

I thought for sure that engaging the -2 octave mode would make for some sludgy bliss, but although the tracking was great, I think that’s just too far to pitch down a sound without some suboptimal tonal effects. The intent behind it is more for things like using a capo up high, which would make the -1 octave setting not quite low enough.

Good news for extended range players – there is currently a seven string version in development. I’m not sure yet when this is set to debut, but it’s good to know that it’s in the works.

Also, the newest update to the firmware unlocks a hidden feature that was baked into the pickup from the beginning, but only now can be unleashed – an octave down on your D string as well! This can be turned on and off simply by pushing both capacitive touch buttons at once and holding them. Another great example of how A Little Thunder was designed to be future-proof.

I think that A Little Thunder could be a game changer for many bands and artists, and although its usefulness in metal might be more limited than other genres, it might be just the upgrade your guitar needs to take your sound to the next level, and it’s just plain a rad little invention.

For more information and to order your own A Little Thunder, head over to their website. Order one during the month of April 2016 and use the code ‘geargods’ at checkout to receive $25 off!

[reverb search=” esp LTD” product=”” make=”” model=””]

Written by

As Editor-in-Chief of Gear Gods, I've been feeding your sick instrument fetishism and trying unsuccessfully to hide my own since 2013. I studied music on both coasts (Berklee and SSU) and now I'm just trying to put my degree to some use. That's a music degree, not an English one. I'm sure you noticed.