Summer Buyer’s Guide
< Dean Guitars
Dean Guitars releases a new line of Dave Mustaine guitars designed by Megadeth�s Mustaine and Dean Zelinsky, Dean founder. Mustaine signed the initial 150 pieces of the USA �Vehement VMNT Limited� model at NAMM in January, which sold out immediately. The guitar features a radical and sharply sculpted �V� body style topped with a heavily flamed 5A maple top. Two Seymour Duncan Dave Mustaine custom Live Wire pickups, 24 frets on a 25.5� scale length neck, ebony fingerboard, and gold hardware are featured. The guitar comes in three finishes: transparent amber, transparent red, and transparent black. The package includes a stenciled hardshell case and a signed �Deth Certificate.� MSRP on the USA version is $5,888, and a similar but Asian-made Dave Mustaine VMNT Signature has a MSRP of $1,520.
Kahler International announces their Eight String Tremolos. The 2318 and 2328 flat mount series tremolo systems retrofit all flat-top guitar bodies. The bridges feature adjustable saddles with up to three inches of string spacing, up and down adjustment, and individual front-to-back saddle adjustments. The 2318 series features steel saddles and the 2328 uses brass. Prices start at $399. The 2218 and 2228 stud mount series have all of the same features with a carved top, and prices start at $409. All models are available in chrome, black chrome, black nickel, and gold.
For the hybrid tremolos, the flat-mount model is 7328 and the stud mount model is the 7228. Prices for the hybrid eight-strings start at $299. All eight-string bridges feature custom brass saddles for the seventh and eighth string.
< Johnson Guitars
Johnson unveils their Cutaway Carolina guitars. The models feature forward-x bracing, a solid Engelmann spruce top, solid or standard mahogany or rosewood back and sides, grained ivoroid binding, and original abalone/mother-of-pearl headstock inlays. The all-solid models include a traditional diamond volute and a one-piece mahogany neck. They are also available in 000-style and classic dreadnaught, in natural, sunburst, or black. All-solid cutaways have an MSRP of $799.99. Standard cutaways have an MSRP of $499.99.
Ovation releases its 2007 Collectors� model, which incorporates several of their most recent innovations and features an AAA-grade Bearclaw spruce top, LX scalloped bracing, and their lyrachord �GS� deep-contour bowl. A single, inlaid spalted maple epaulet on the bass side of the guitar is featured, as is a fingerboard that features inlaid flame maple on the 12th fret. Available in vintage natural stain finish, it has a MSRP of $2,279 including case.
< Reverend Guitars
Reverend Guitars introduces the Jetstream HB Hardtail Electric Guitar which features a 25 1/2� scale, bolt-on maple neck, chambered solidbody with solid flame maple veneer top, two Reverend humbuckers, and bass contour control. The bridge pickup is slightly hotter than a vintage PAF, and the neck pickup slightly cleaner. The mahogany body has strategically placed tone chambers, and the maple top with TOM bridge/tailpiece increases midrange, for a warm tone with slightly increased tightness and focus. The MSRP is $559.
G&L releases the Tribute Series Legacy Lefty by G&L. The guitar sports a maple neck with rosewood fingerboard, three G&L Alnico V single-coil pickups, five-way pickup selector switch, volume control, and G&L�s PTB system with passive treble and bass controls. The PTB system allows treble and bass frequencies to be cut separately and, unlike traditional arrangements, controls are effective on all pickups. It comes in three-tone sunburst.
< Genz Benz
Genz Benz introduces the new Shenandoah Acoustic 150LT acoustic amplifier which comes in a lightweight, 26.5 lb compact package. The Shen 150LT offers two identical channels with XLR and �� inputs. Each channel has a three-band EQ with parametric mid-range controls and a Phase switch to help prevent unwanted feedback. The power amp section is a Class D technology and delivers 150 watts of clean headroom into the internal 12� loudspeaker and compression tweeter. It also features 24-bit digital effects, three separate direct outputs, compact monitor-shaped cabinet design and strong yet lightweight nine-ply plywood construction. The MSRP is $899.
Eleca International Inc. introduces the new eAmp 1.0, billed as the world�s first guitar practice amp that doubles as an iPod playback system. Players can play along with their favorite bands or learn guitar riffs and solos. The eAmp features dual cabinets, a headphone jack, built-in overdrive, and a soft carrying case. The MSRP is $250.
BAND & ORCHESTRAL
Kaman Music releases the Eldon model ESS400 B-flat soprano saxophone, manufactured by Antigua Winds. The sax incorporates a single-piece yellow brass body with lacquer finish, ribbed construction, power forged keys with high F-sharp key, and adjustable contoured thumb rest. The outfit includes both straight and curved necks and is supplied in a lightweight collegiate case with shoulder/backpack straps. The MSRP is $1,029.
D�Addario has taken their Kaplan Solutions cello A and D strings and teamed them with the popular Helicore cello G and C strings to create a premium four-string set called the Kaplan Solutions/Helicore Combo Set. The new set combines solid steel core A (titanium wound) and D (nickel wound) Kaplan Solutions strings and stranded steel core tungsten/silver wound G and C Helicore strings for a blend of tonal warmth and volume. The sets are offered in full-scale length in medium tension at a MSRP of $219.
The company also introduces Kaplan Premium Rosin, which is an applicator that doubles as a storage case. Available in light and dark, Kaplan Premium Rosin is suitable for violin, viola, and cello bows and the Kaplan recipe produces less dust, keeping hands and instruments cleaner. It has an MSRP of $14.99.
Meisel introduces the German-made, handcrafted 9020 violin. It�s constructed from well aged and seasoned woods, and features a graduated solid carved spruce top with maple back and sides. It also offers a gold amber spirit varnish, hand applied and polished throughout, and ebony hardware and trimmings.
Levy�s Leathers >
Levy�s unveils five designs of their classical guitar straps, which are 2-1/2� nylon webbing and 2-1/2� stuffed polyester webbing. The leather ends of these straps are fastened together with a third piece that leads to a plastic sound-hole hook. The strap is worn comfortably over one shoulder and under the opposite arm and cradles the guitar at its waist.
Levy�s also offers a new ergonomic guitar strap, the creation of Duane Greene of G.C. Basses & Design Ltd., in five colors. This 1-1/2� leather strap with 5� wide contoured, moveable, foam-lined pad was designed specifically for the bass guitar player. It features a hook-and-loop adjustment that can shorten the strap to as tight as 37�.
Also new are Levy�s embroidered guitar straps in eight original designs on 2� polypropylene webbing, with leather ends and tri-glide adjustment, and three new Levy Metal straps featuring rivets, rings, and motorcycle chains.
AXL releases the Deluxe ABS Electric Guitar Case (CG-700-E). It fits most electric guitars and protects from low-level impact. The case has a black ABS design, a wide aluminum valance, heavy-duty latches and hinges, plush interior lining, a valance, and a stackable design. The MRSP $89.99.
D�Addario unveils their Gypsy Jazz Guitar Strings to produce the authentic sound of Django Reinhardt. The strings are available in light (EJ83L) and medium (EJ83M) gauges. The wound strings are silver plated copper over a hex core and packaged in D�Addario�s E-Series corrosion intercept bag for ultimate protection. The sets have a MSRP of $17.99.
Fender debuts an array of new accessories, including best-in-class electric instrument cables. The line falls into two categories, Gold and Platinum. The Platinum series features DCA Cable Architecture, proprietary die-cast ends with Switchcraft plugs, and nylon over-braiding for tangle-free performance. The Gold Series features proprietary modeled ends with an ultra-durable PVC jacket.
Also, Fender has redesigned the entire Deluxe Tweed Gig Bag line with slimmed-down pockets, and a sewed-in special pocket between the handle wedding which fits guitar stands, cables, pedals, tuners, etc.
There is also a new category of best-in-class electric Mod Shop instrument pickups. Designed by guitar pickup guru Bill Lawrence, they feature visually striking designs, proprietary architecture, and include lines for Stratocasters, Telecasters, and Jazz Basses.
Dean Markley �lets its freak flag fly� with the introduction of the new Jimi Hendrix electric guitar strings. Researching the different strings Hendrix used during different times of his career, the engineers at Markley have developed two types of Jimi Hendrix strings. The Jimi Hendrix Pure Nickel strings come in four gauged sets (.009-.083, .009 – .042, .010 – .046, .011 � 0.52), and are based on the type of strings from the artist�s early days. The Plated Steel strings are also available in four gauged sets (.009 – .038, .009 – .042, .010 – .046, .011 – .052). The strings sets are colorfully packaged with psychedelic replicas of Hendrix�s Axis: Bold as Love and Electric Lady Land records.
< Gator Cases
The Gator GBE-Extreme-1 case joins the company�s Economy Gig Bag series. Constructed of 600-Denier nylon exterior with 10mm padded 420-Denier nylon interior, it is designed to fit extreme-shaped guitars such as the Flying Vs, Explorers, Dean ML, etc. It comes with a reinforced headstock and bridge interior area, accessory pocket, and shoulder strap.
Gator also releases the G-Tour Truck Pack Trunks, which feature a hinged lid, grey carpet interior, four casters (two locking), and a recessed dish on top of the case for stacking without removing the wheels.
Recording King >
Recording King Banjos add genuine gold-plated hardware, which is now available as an option on all Recording King resonator banjos. The Professional model features a mahogany resonator with concentric rings and a one-piece mahogany neck. The Soloist features a flamed maple resonator and a one-piece flamed maple neck. The Artist Deluxe has similar features, but with a delicate floral engraving on the hoop and armrest. All models have American Standard thread hardware, 20-hole tone ring, and a 3-ply rim. Banjos with gold-plated hardware list from $1,799.99 and include a vintage archtop hardshell case.
< Ritter Bags
The Ritter RJG700 features 20mm soft foam padding, luggage-grade 420D nylon, adjustable, soft padded backpack system; luxury padded carrying handle, additional grab handle at the rear and a Number 10 two-way zipper with silver metallic zip pulls. The RCG700 has 25mm soft foam padding, luggage grade 600D polyester, and comes in black or chocolate. It also sports a soft non-scratch nylon liner and an adjustable backpack system with MP3 player and phone pouch.
Hal Leonard >
Hal Leonard releases six MusicPro Guides on DVD. These titles provide pro audio and music production instruction covering Apple�s Logic Express 7 and Logic Pro; Steinberg�s Cubase SX3; Digidesign�s Pro Tools LE7; and Propellerhead�s Reason 3. Each are standard DVD players as well as playable on computer DVD drives. Hosted by Andrew Eisele, they cover each application from installation and set-up to creating a finished mix. All guides have an MSRP of $39.95.
Oak Publications, owned by Music Sales, presents �Oak Archives� � 20 previously out-of-print titles. Included are Freedom Is A Constant Struggle: Songs Of The Freedom Movement ($34.95); The People�s Song Book ($24.95); and Pete Seeger collections� American Favorite Ballads ($18.95) and The Bells Of Rhymney ($24.95). European folk titles being reissued include Favorite Spanish Folksongs ($18.95), Folk Songs Of France ($14.95), and Songs From Shakespeare�s Plays And Popular Songs Of Shakespeare�s Time ($19.95).
Boston Music, a division of The Music Sales Group, presents the Beginning Piano series, eight titles that include Classical, Romantic, World and Boogie & Blues genres. Titles include Beginning Bach For Piano, Beginning Mozart For Piano, Beginning Classics For Piano, Beginning World Music For Piano, and Beginning Boogie & Ragtime For Piano. All retail at $9.95 each.
Alfred announces that they are now the distributor of the best-selling vocal title, The Zen of Screaming. This DVD is hosted by metal vocal coach Melissa Cross, whose past students include the singers from Slipknot and Killswitch, among many others. It features menus that allow the user to navigate through over 30 segments including ones on vocal maintenance, actual vocal cord footage, and animations illustrating specific vocal exercises. Backstage and performance footage and candid interviews with some of Cross�s artists are also included, and the DVD comes with a CD and booklet.
Alfred also releases three new Strawberry Shortcake titles for kids. The popular children�s doll and animated character is featured in three packages: Strawberry Shortcake Sing-Along (Book & CD); Strawberry Shortcake Easy Recorder Songbook (Book & Recorder); Strawberry Shortcake � The Sweet Dreams Movie (Easy Piano).
There is also the new The Willie Nelson Guitar Songbook featuring 15 of Nelson�s greatest hits including �Always on My Mind,� �Don�t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys� and �On the Road Again,� among many more.
Hudson Music >
Hudson Music founders Rob Wallis and Paul Siegel have launched Hudson Limited, a subsidiary label created to showcase independently produced DVDs and multi-media products featuring players and educators from around the world. New titles include Australia�s Ultimate Drummers Weekend 2004, a two-disc DVD; Hands, Grooves & Fills by Pat Petrillow, a DVD, book and CD; and Rhythmic Horizons by Gavin Harrison DVD. All three have a MSRP of $39.95.
Carl Fischer introduces Scarlatti Cadences and Brainstorm for Piano by Sebastian Currier to its piano repertoire. The publication joins together two pieces that were conceived separately, one inspired by Scarlatti, one by Ravel�s Scarbo. The MSRP is $11.95.
Carl Fischer also presents Three Piano Preludes, a compilation of pieces by American composer Samuel Adler, a member of the composition faculty at the Julliard School of Music. These pieces are intermediate to late-intermediate level. The MSRP is $9.95.
DRUMS & PERCUSSION
Gretsch announces that it has reconfigured its Blackhawk Series kit. Two configurations are offered: a fusion and a standard, and both are available in liquid black and wine red finish options. Hardware packs will include chain-drive bass drum and hi-hat pedals, sturdy snare drum stand, and boom cymbal stand. All standards are double-braced. Other features including six-ply toms, seven-ply bass drum; 2-1/2� x 14� steel snare drum; ball-style tom mount; and telescoping bass drum spurs.
Craviotto, a Rhythm Tech company, introduces its �one-ply� snare drums, bass drums, and tom-toms made of domestic, exotic, and rare hardwoods that have previously been unavailable for drum sets. The drums feature reinforcing hoops and precise bearing edges and diamond inlay. They are made in the U.S. and available on a limited, made-to-order basis and subject to the availability of appropriate wood supplies.
Dixon unveils the 707 Hi-Hat Stand, a lightweight double-braced stand that features a direct-pull system with double chain, hinged height adjustment and cast tripod collar with a captive threaded bolt insert. It comes with a one-year warranty, and the MSRP is $72.50.
To commemorate its 20th anniversary, GMS Drum Co. has created a limited-edition snare drum. The snare drum features a nine-ply ash shell comprised of eight plies of North American white ash with an outer ply of figured North American olive ash burl. Eight-ply North American maple retainer rings are beveled on both upper and lower edges to mellow sonic reflection inside the shell. It features a 20th anniversary logo embedded in the lacquer, and has a MSRP of $1,250.
Hammerax introduces a line of hand-hammered percussion instruments. Called �hybrids� because each one combines the characteristics of multiple traditional instruments, they are made from bronze alloys that are cast, rolled, and hand-hammered and include Boomywang, Glass, Meanie, Dustbowl, and Lash models.