Frets in Focus: New Guitars, Fretted Instruments & Accessories
Fender Launches Joe Strummer Telecaster
Fender’s introduces the Joe Strummer Telecaster, designed with the guidance and support of the Strummer estate. It features distressed treatment, a “Revolution Rock” engraved neck plate, and a limited-edition art customization kit. Strummer (1952-2002) was co-founder, lyricist, guitarist, and lead singer of The Clash. The new Tele is modeled after the ’66 model Strummer played throughout most of his career. Fender and artist Shepard Fairey collaborated on the guitar’s Joe Strummer Telecaster customization kit, which includes stencils and stickers inspired by the custom designs Strummer decorated many of his instruments with. The kit comes in a 12” album cover featuring Fairey’s graphics and photography by Bob Gruen. This album art set is a limited-edition companion to the first 1,500 guitars.
New Look for D’Addario XL Packaging
D’Addario announces a fresh new look in XL packaging and the addition of two new XL lines. The new packaging brings consistency to the diverse XL line and instant visual recognition of the various strings within the XL family, though each sub-brand will maintain its unique identification and feel. Also, gauges will appear in consistent colors across the various types, and tone and feel descriptors will be added to packaging for each string type.
Reverend Buckshot Electric
The new Reverend Buckshot is suited for the player who wants the T-style tone, but thicker and more versatile. The bridge pickup is Reverend’s custom T-style single-coil that delivers upper-mid honk and bite but with more body. The neck pickup is the Revtron mini-humbucker, repositioned slightly further from the neck to better match the bridge pickup’s tone and output, and increase percussive qualities, offering full, warm tone but leaner than a full-size humbucker. And if the player wants the traditional T-style tone, just roll back the Bass Contour control and both pickups become brighter.
The solid spruce top and mahogany body with strategically placed tone chambers guarantee a resonant, light, and lively instrument that responds to the player’s touch.
Features include: 5.5 mm solid spruce top, chambered mahogany body; Wilkinson staggered EZ-Lock tuners; Reverend T-style pickup in bridge; Reverend RevTron pickup in neck; three-way pickup switch; Volume, Tone, and Bass Contour (bass roll-off) controls; 25.5” scale bolt-on maple neck with graphite nut and dual-action truss rod; bolt-on maple neck with 12” radius and 22 frets. Suggested list price is $699.
Options include cream-with-maple fretboard, three-tone burst with rosewood fretboard, and Les Trem tremolo (list price: $249)
Sierra Debuts Protective Acoustic Cases
Sierra Guitars unveils new acoustic guitar cases. While the new cases work with other brands, they are specifically designed to carry each of the Sierra guitar series in the acoustic line. All case models include an archtop feature that provides improved protection for the top of the guitar. Every case has a dark brown exterior and a padded brown, foam plush-lined interior. Antique badges and latches adorn the outside of each case, and they include a protective lock and key mechanism. The cases have MSRP of $109.
Alfred Releases Jazz Bass Title
The Total Jazz Bassist is a complete jazz method for electric and double bass that covers bebop, Latin, funk, and fusion. It also covers theory, technique, tunes, solos, and jazz styles. Students will learn walking bass lines, soloing, bass lines and solo patterns for blues changes, and dominant 7th chord scales. A CD demonstrating the examples in the book is included.
Ibanez New Exotic Wood Instruments
Ibanez has unveiled three new instruments in its exotic wood line of pure acoustic and acoustic-electric instruments: the EWC30 padauk “mini,” the EW20 maple burl limited edition, and the EWB20 fretless bass in spalted maple.
The compact EWC30PDERLG acoustic-electric has a mini-EW body made of padauk wood and a B-Band UST pickup combined with the Ibanez SRTn preamp with notch filter and on-board tuner. The MSRP is $571.42.
The EW20MBENT acoustic electric features a standard-size maple burl body and a B-Band UST pickup combined with the Ibanez SRTn preamp with notch filter and on-board tuner. This model is a limited edition and has a MSRP of $714.27.
The EWB20SMFENT is the first Ibanez acoustic-electric fretless bass from the Ibanez acoustic division. It features a spalted maple body and is equipped with a Fishman Sonicore pickup combined with the Ibanez Shape Shifter preamp with on-board tuner.
Boss Announces ME-20 Effects Processor
Boss expands its ME series multi-effects family with the ME-20. Easy to use and road-tough, the ME-20 provides overdrive, distortion, delay, chorus, phaser, flanger, tremolo, rotary, and EQ effects.
The ME-20 features a newly designed metal chassis complete with three footswitches, five real-time control knobs, and an expression pedal. The EZ Edit feature allows preset effect templates to be selected which call up entire effect settings with the turn of a knob. The OD-DS solo function gives guitarists an additional punchy and high-impact lead tone per patch.
Genz Benz Adds 10” Combo, Cabinet to Black Pearl Line
Genz Benz’s releases the 30-310 combo and Black Pearl 30-410CAB. Part of the Black Pearl series designed with an all-tube signal path, component selection and custom transformers, these feature premium 10” Alnico Red Fang Eminence speakers.
Features includes: single-channel w/boost, five-position preamp voicing circuit, passive three-band EQ, Tube-Driven Accutronics reverb, Tube Rectifier, Pentode/Triode output and Power Selector switch for 30W/15W/8W output options, and 10” Alnico Red Fang Eminence speakers.
The cabinetry is 13-ply birch plywood and suggested retail prices range from $1,399 to $2,399.
Timara String Drop
Inventor Tim Wallis releases a new product called the Timara String Drop. Made in the U.S., it attaches to the guitar without any modification to the instrument. It allows for drop D tuning, and the player can easily drop it in and out. The extender handle allows the player to manage the speed of the drop as well. The Timara can be used on any string and is especially suited for Delta blues tuning and Dobro players. The MSRP is $69.99.
SKB Redesigns Guitar Cases
SKB has redesigned the SKB-61 SG-type guitar case to incorporate the new technologies that have been added to their deluxe guitar line. The SKB-61 SG-type guitar case has a new plush-lined, molded interior that will accommodate all Gibson and Epiphone SG-type guitars (except 12-string) as well as the ESP LTD Viper series guitars (except 12-string).
The case now features SKB’s new patented fiberglass reinforced nylon trigger-release latching system with the inclusion of a TSA recognized and accepted locking latch, which allows cases to be locked but still be inspected for airline security. Also included is the addition of SKB’s nearly indestructible injection-molded cushioned carrying handle and injection-molded feet and bumper-protected valance. The case has a MSRP of $189.99.
Cherry Lane Book/CDs Feature Metallica
Cherry Lane Music releases the second volumes in its Learn to Play with Metallica methods for guitarists, bassists, and drummers. Taught by Toby Wine, Learn to Play Guitar with Metallica Volume 2 covers chords, articulations, modulations, and soloing, with examples on the accompanying CD. Thirty-two riffs are covered, from such songs as “Blackened” and “The Four Horsemen.” Steven Hoffman’s Learn to Play Bass with Metallica Volume 2 provides 32 more tracks with instruction to help players achieve bass mastery using the heavy lines of Metallica. This book/CD features: “… And Justice for All,” “Enter Sandman,” and “One.” Learn to Play Drums with Metallica Volume 2 teaches drummers double-bass drum, shuffle grooves, ride patterns, time feels, and more. Author Dan Gross uses such examples as “Better Than You.” Each book/CD retails for $15.95.
Peavey Teams with John Taylor, Juicy
Peavey has collaborated with John Taylor of Duran Duran and clothing designer Juicy Couture on the new Liberator Series guitar and bass. Designed with the attitude and aesthetic of Juicy and incorporating Peavey’s musical instrument designs, the Liberator Series JT-84 bass and JT-85 guitar unite fashion and function in a pair of artfully appointed instruments.
Amsco’s Riffology of AC/DC
Amsco Publications releases Riffology of AC/DC. This new songbook teaches guitarists how to accurately play AC/DC riffs with hit AC/DC songs for guitar tablature. Each song features difficulty level, tips on how to create the AC/DC sound, lyrics, facts, and more. Also included are a band history; a discography; and sections on gear, tone, influences, songwriting, transcription, and a legend. Guitarists of all levels can learn to play over 70 AC/DC riffs from such songs as “You Shook Me All Night Long,” “Back In Black,” and “Highway to Hell.” The book retails for $24.95.
St. Blues Rebate Programs
St. Blues Guitar announces an online sales rebate program aimed at the independent dealer. The challenge was how to build closer relationships with independent retailers while still selling direct online. “With awareness and excitement about the brand growing rapidly, the company had been forced to sell directly to consumers when an independent retailer was not within serviceable distance of the customer,” says owner Bryan Eagle. The answer Memphis-based St. Blues came up with is a program that allows St. Blues to sell directly off its site while not undermining its retailer network. “St. Blues has implemented a program that will pay a percentage of each sale to the closest dealer within that market,” Eagle reports.
Participation in the program is restricted to approved independent retailers in one of the following plans:
Gold Level dealers (earning 15% of online sales) must purchase a minimum eight-piece order each year and display a minimum of four St. Blues guitars or basses.
Platinum Level dealers (earning 20% of online sales) must purchase a minimum 12-piece order each year and display a minimum of six St. Blues guitars or basses.
In addition to comprehensive information about its guitars including audio and video samples as well as technical data, the Web site (www.saintblues.com) will sell all new guitars solely at the company’s MAP price. All independent retailers will be listed on the site, with all contact information including links to each dealer’s Web site.
Two New Finishes on AXL Marquee
AXL Marquee guitars are now available with two new finishes. The Marquee SRO and Eldorado models are now available in Lake Placid Blue and Olympic White. All models list at $174.99. These finishes are also available on Marquee electric basses.
For more information, call (901) 278-5755.
Deering Banjos Upgrades Web Site
“Buy Now” and “Rush” options have been added to the Deering Banjo Web site. Customers will receive free three-day select shipping within 24 to 48 business days after receipt of order and free installation of spikes at frets 7, 9, and 10 so that they can play in the alternate tunings of A, B, and C. This service is only available by ordering through a special page on www.Deeringbanjos.com; models on the page will be very select, and available models will vary throughout the year. Deering will give dealers a credit for the sale after shipment of the banjo so that customers can go to the store for follow-up service.
Marshall’s Vintage Modern Series
Marshall unveils its Vintage Modern series, an all-tube line of amplifiers that combines classic Marshall style and tone with modern features and gain functionality. The series includes 100-Watt Head, a 50-Watt Head, 50-Watt 2×12 Combo, and Marshall’s traditional cabinet set-up. All are all-tube, single-channel amps with a choice of two “dynamic ranges” selectable by footswitch. Fans of the series include Slash, Paul Gilbert, Doug Aldrich of Whitesnake, and Ron Asheton of Iggy & the Stooges.
Dean Rolls Out Razorbacks
Dean Guitars releases the Razorback 255 and Razorback V 255, two pointed- body styles offered for the first time with a 25 ½” scale length favored by heavy metal players. The scale length allows for increased string tension, which enhances string definition, particularly in the higher overtones, for improved clarity and a tighter overall sound. Additional advantages include wider fret spacing for increased ease of fingering when soloing in the upper neck regions, and the ability to better accept heavier string gauges.
In addition these are this first imported Deans to come loaded with U.S.-made EMG 81/85 humbuckers. Both models have a MSRP of $1,877 and include a hardshell case.
Dan’l Guitars Incentive Pricing
Dan’l Guitars is offering new dealers introductory pricing on its guitars and basses for the fourth-quarter selling season. The first Limited Editions of eight new guitar and basses feature deeply sculpted ergonomic bodies and necks, hardware components from Hipshot, Grover, TremKing, Bill Lawrence USA, Bartolini, and Rio Grande, innovative circuitry to expand tonal possibilities, and unique looks and voices. The instruments are being produced exclusively in Limited Editions to ensure the highest quality.
Ernie Ball Winner Plays Crossroads Competition
Ernie Ball partnered with the 2007 Eric Clapton Crossroads Guitar Festival to offer one musician the opportunity to play the festival stage. Just 16 years old, the winner of Ernie Ball’s first ever Play Crossroads Competition is Tyler Dow Bryant from Honey Grove, Texas. Bryant took the Ernie Ball Guitar Center Village Stage alongside the likes of Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Buddy Guy, John Mayer, BB King, Sheryl Crow, Derek Trucks, and other notables at the recent 2007 Eric Clapton Crossroads Guitar Festival at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill. Other prizes included one Music Man guitar and one Music Man bass of his choice, a one-year string sponsorship, and an all-expenses-paid trip to/from the festival. Fans voted for their favorite bands online, after which a panel of judges reviewed the top 100 bands by way of fan votes, ultimately choosing this year’s winner.
The Music Link Talks Banjo
The world’s first talk show for banjo enthusiasts dedicated two full episodes to The Music Link and its best-selling Recording King banjos. BanjoTalk.com, hosted by David Pericone, has had The Music Link product designer Greg Rich, president Steve Patrino, and director of product development Travis Atz as guests in the last few weeks.
Rich answered e-mail and caller questions about Recording King banjos, his history at Gibson’s Custom Shop, plus new and future projects from The Music Link’s key major brands.
Also featured recently were Recording King artist Todd Taylor, discussing his Guinness World Record for fastest banjo player, and his appreciation for Recording King banjos. All shows are archived online at banjotalk.com.
DigiTech Hot-Rods Modeling Processors
DigiTech introduces two RP Series modeling guitar processors: the RP90 and RP70. Each processor features new models based on classic and coveted amplifiers, distortions and effects, classic stomp boxes, modulation effects, delays, reverbs and also includes special effects like DigiTech’s Whammy pedal.
The processors have DigiTech’s AudioDNA 2 DSP engine, which offers four times the power as the previous AudioDNA processor. Using DigiTech’s newly added Tone and Effects Library buttons, it is easy to dial in the desired sound using a three-step process. The RP90 and RP70 are also infinitely “tweakable” using the RP’s intuitive interface.
Sonic Research Turbo Tuner
Sonic Research introduces the new Turbo Tuner model ST-122 true strobe tuner. While the Turbo Tuner works well with any instrument, it is especially suited to stringed instruments and offers extreme accuracy and fast automatic note selection. It allows the user to program alternate tunings and features 14 temperaments other than equal temperament. The small size fits in any standard case, or even a pocket. The street price is $129.99.
Reunion Blues Adds Mando Bags
Reunion Blues expands its leather line to cover the needs of mandolin players. Two new black leather mandolin bags, one for the A-shape and the second for the F model, feature form-fit sizing and sidewall construction for superior protection. Both styles incorporate the unique Reunion Blues double foam system, which provides snug cushioning next to the instrument surrounded by firmer foam on the outside for strength and impact resistance. The interior lining is extremely low in sulfuric compounds to prevent tarnishing of metal parts. Strong double zipper pulls and double strap rivets are made with heavy-duty black chrome hardware. Both models have a MSRP of $349.
StepMax Showcases Tremolo
The StepMax Company introduces the StepMax, a new dual action non-floating, direct replacement guitar tremolo. Unlike with other designs, no drilling or routing is necessary, and the StepMax pulls the strings straight back, not down to the fretboard. It also is capable of a full step bend and beyond, can accommodate a piezo saddle, and can convert back to original at any time. The StepMax tremolo decks in the neutral position and comes back to a full stop after high and low pitch bends, with a smooth transition to both modes. The tremolo is available in natural satin, with colors on request.
Dean Markley, George Lynch Super-V Strings
Beginning with an idea suggested by longtime Dean Markley Strings endorser George Lynch, the string winders and designers at Markley have come up with a new string with an old school sound: the Super-V (Super Vintage) Strings. Super-V strings use a special formula nickel and steel alloy, as well as customized core-to-wrap ratios.
Super-V Strings are available in four gauged sets light (.009-.042), regular (.010-.046), LTHB (.010-.052), and medium (.011-.052).
Mighty Moe Amp Strap Offers Total Mobility
Intime Design introduces the Mighty Moe amp strap, billed as the most portable amplifier in the world. A comfortable 2-1/2” boot-leather strap supports your guitar while a dedicated cable connects to the Mighty Tone amp and speaker. Featuring both clear and overdrive channels, the Mighty Moe lasts up to 12 hours on a single nine-volt battery and provides a volume boost for both solid-body and acoustic-electric guitars. For quiet practicing, a 1/8” headset jack cancels Mighty Moe’s speaker. The MSRP is $99.
Ministar Guitar, Minijazz Bass from Codel
Codel Enterprises introduces the Ministar guitar and the Minijazz bass, touted by the company as “the world’s smallest full-size guitar and bass.”
These patent-pending instruments are the direct result of collaboration between musician/designer Bob Wiley, and manufacturer Ken Kim. The instruments will be distributed throughout the U.S. by Codel Enterprises.
Wiley addressed the playability issue of these 24-fret instruments by including an adjustable bridge and adjustable neck tension rod, plus an adjustable nut, which allows the strings to be set as “close as Mother Nature will allow” without buzzing or rattling. Beginners and professionals alike will appreciate how effortless it is to play one of these guitars. No more sore fingers for beginners, and no expensive nut dressing for the store owner. The guitar has a 25 1/2” scale, and the bass is 34”.
The pickups are high-output, with a great variety of tonal characteristics. The guitars only feature a volume knob, but because of the construction of the instrument, the player can get a great deal of tonal variation by varying the position of their picking hand.
In solid-body instruments, Wiley believes the body has little to do with the overall sound, therefore, the “body-less” design. The folding metal rods simulate the size of a traditional guitar with a body, and help the guitar balance properly when played sitting or standing. At three lbs. for the guitar, and five lbs. for the bass, they are truly portable, and great for players with bad backs. Because of these factors, Ministar’s slogan quickly became, “Body … We don’t need no stinking body!”
Both instruments come with a padded nylon carrying bag with a zippered pocket containing the shoulder strap and signal cord, which are also included.
Suggested retail prices are $139.99 for the Ministar guitar, and $159.99 for the Minijazz bass.
For more info, contact John Lamb at 1-860-408-1441 or Glenn Libby at 1-336-595-2829.
Pantheon Adds Short Scale Guitar
Pantheon Guitars announces the addition of the Bourgeois Short Scale Slope D guitar. It features a shorter scale fretboard, red Adirondack spruce top and mahogany back and sides, Brazilian rosewood headstock veneer, and ebony fretboard and bridge. Additional features include ivoroid binding, Bourgeois snake-head headstock, 23/32” nut width, nickel Waverly tuners with ivoroid buttons, and a sunburst finish hand-sprayed by Dana Bourgeois. MSRP is $4,195.
Yamaha Virtuoso Gig Bags
Yamaha introduces the Virtuoso Series gig bags for guitarists and electric bassists, from entry-level players to professionals. The Virtuoso gig bag comes with Yamaha’s exclusive Air Cell pads on backpack-style straps for increased comfort. It offers self-repairing zippers with custom zipper pulls, thick interior padding, an outer shell made from 600 denier material, designer webbing, and two accessory pockets with a net pocket for tools and strings.
Available in a black and gray color scheme, the Virtuoso comes in three models: the YBVAG fits acoustic guitars and oversize electric guitars, the YBVEG fits most solidbody electric guitars, and the YBVEB fits electric basses. The bags retail for $59.99.
Ovation Celebrity Adds 12-String to CC Series
Ovation has added a 12-string model to its Celebrity CC series of instruments. The CC245-HB features a spruce top with a honey burst finish accented by an inlaid abalone rosette. A mid-depth cutaway bowl pumps out ample volume and the OP-4BT preamp provides easy tonal control on stage. The MSRP is $569.50.
‘Axtone By Giannini’ Marks New Branding Strategy
A business partnership between Etros Music and Giannini Brazil has given birth to a new branding strategy and a new international brand: “Axtone by Giannini.”
The Giannini student guitar models have a strong reputation for being “real instruments” with very good intonation, playability, and tone. Although similar Chinese products have improved a lot over the years, particularly their finish quality, they are still known for having an artificial tone and some intonation problems. By combining Giannini’s 107 years of know-how in musical instruments making with Etros Music’s marketing and design expertise, Axtone instruments offer original design, superior tone, intonation, and playability at attractive prices.
After a period of research and market tests, Giannini and Etros have implemented an efficient and reliable business model with China. A partnership with a Korean agency with offices in China guarantees the dialog with the manufacturers, R&D, production supervision, and several stages of quality control. Currently the Axtone line is available for the U.S. market from Etros’ warehouse in Florida, and the line soon will be available to other international markets directly from overseas. The current product line includes six student guitar models, but will soon be expanded by several additional models.
Etros Music LLC is Giannini’s exclusive distributor for North America, the Caribbean, and Central America. For more information, visit Etros Music/Giannini at www.gianniniguitars.com or contact at (954) 746-2777 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Seymour Duncan Shape Shifter Tremolo
Seymour Duncan releases the Shape Shifter Tap Tremolo, their latest stomp box. Its 100% analog signal path delivers the lush, hypnotic, pulsing vibes characteristic of 1950s tube amps. But it also allows for ultra-modern experimental sounds like flutters, shimmers, warbles, and even “helicopter chops.” In Rate mode the tremolo speed varies continuously from one to 20 cycles per second. An LED pulses in time with the tremolo effect for easy Rate setting. In Ratio mode, the speed is established by tapping the Tap Rate switch, allowing for synchronization of the tremolo rate with the song tempo. The Wave control allows the tremolo effect to go from the smooth modulation of a sine wave through the sharper characteristics of a triangle wave to the abrupt on/off effect of square wave drive. It also features a Shape control. When it is rotated away from its center position, the relationship between the time spent increasing the volume and the time spent reducing the volume changes. For example, the player can dial in one-tenth of a second of volume increase followed by four-tenths of a second of volume decrease, or vice-versa.
Allparts’ Cord Lok System
Allparts has addressed the problem of guitarists and other fretted instrument players placing the cord behind the strap, which can damage connections and finish. Their new Cord Lock System (CLS) locks both cord and strap and the shielded cable-tie slides easily to position, but grips the cord securely when pulled. This provides real “stress relief” protection to expensive cables. The CLS works with other strap locks or easily replaces them (on Fender end buttons only). The patent-pending lock comes two per package and has a MSRP $12.
Boulder Creek Suspended Bracing System Acoustics
Boulder Creek Guitars announces a new line of acoustic guitars with the “SBS” suspended bracing system. This design allows the soundboard to vibrate more freely than conventional “X”-braced systems which leads to better tone with greater sustain, the company states. The bracing system uses aluminum tone bars that are suspended ½” below the top of the guitar. In addition to providing the necessary strength to support the bridge, the tone bars also transmit the vibration of the strings to the contact points of the bars.
The Stage and Studio Series features a conventional front soundhole design while the Solitaire Series features the soundhole on the top side of the guitar facing the player. All Boulder Creek guitars feature solid Sitka spruce or solid cedar tops with either mahogany or rosewood backs.
Major Music ‘00 Thinbody’
Major Music Supply unveils its latest addition to the Revival Acoustic Guitar Line, the RG-26 “OO-Thinbody.” The smaller body is designed with the singer/songwriter and fingerstyle player in mind. It features a Sitka top, mahogany back and sides, rosewood fingerboard and bridge, X-bracing, a dovetail neck joint, bone nut and saddle, and Grover tuners.
Takamine Enhances G-Series Guitars
Takamine adds a splash of nature’s beauty to its G-Series guitars with the new “Flowers and Butterflies” models. These instruments feature genuine abalone flowers and butterflies applied to the guitar top protected by a gloss natural finish. They feature the TK40 preamp, a cutaway body with solid spruce top, and mahogany back and sides. The Acoustic, NEX Acoustic, and OM Acoustic have a MSRP of $570; the NEXC Acoustic/Electric has a MSRP of $789.
Oscar Schmidt Adds Six Uke Models
Oscar Schmidt by Washburn introduces six ukuleles to its line. The OU250BELL is a reissue of a vintage Washburn “bell”-shape ukulele popular in the 1920s. It features a solid trembesi top, back, and sides with ivoroid body binding, abalone logo, rosette, and fret dot inlays. The model has deluxe Grover GH305 tuners with ebony buttons, bone nut and saddle, and GHS strings. Deluxe hardshell case included. The MSRP is $389.90.
The other models are the OU280SWK (MSRP $899.90); the OU220SWK concert ukulele (MSRP $399.90); the OU240SWK tenor ukulele (MSRP $429.90); the OU6 tenor ukulele (MSRP $329.90); and the OU5LCE concert acoustic-electric cutaway ukulele (MSRP $359.90). The OU280SWK features a solid top, back, and sides of Hawaiian Koa harvested on the Big Island of Hawaii. The OU280SWK and OU220SWK are both constructed with a solid mahogany top, back and sides in a satin finish. The OU6 and OU5LCE are both built with a select koa top, back, and sides.