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Author Archives: Pete Prown

Roland V-Studio 20

The Roland V-Studio 20
 
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Roland V-Studio 20 Price: $300 (street) Info: www.rolandus.com. Home digital recording has come a long way in the last 20 years, to the point where top bands are cutting full albums at home. But there is still a learning curve for the uninitiated, and the software and hardware choices are dizzying. Enter Roland, whose V-Studio […]

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Carvin’s AE185-12

Stairway to Heaven
 
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Carvin’s AE185-12 Price: $1,239 (base retail) Info: www.carvinguitars.com. Most guitarists love the sound of a 12-string, but the thought of owning one often raises several questions. Should you get an acoustic or an electric? What about controlling feedback onstage? And aren’t they hard to tune? Carvin attempts to answer all of these questions with the […]

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Taylor T3

Tone Poet
 
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The Taylor T3 Price: $2,998 Info: www.taylorguitars.com. Some guitar players never touch a tone knob, while others view it as the Holy Grail of guitar controls. If that sounds like you, put up your antenna and tune to the Taylor T3, a semi-hollowbody electric that provokes many tonal questions. Is it a rock axe? Jazz […]

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Misa Kitara

Axe of the Future?
 
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Misa Kitara Price: $789 Info: www.misadigital.com. The guitar synthesizer has been around for more than 30 years and made significant inroads to contemporary music, thanks to fusion heroes like Pat Metheny, John McLaughlin, Al Di Meola, Steve Morse, and Allan Holdsworth. The latest wrinkle is the Misa Kitara, which shifts the paradigm. Instead of a […]

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Ovation 1798 Figured Koa Elite

A Classic Reimagined
 
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Ovation 1798 Figured Koa Elite Price: $5,199 Info: www.ovationguitars.com. The folks at Ovation decided to shake things up a bit and revisit the design of their standard roundback models. The result was the limited-edition 1798 Figured Koa Elite, pretty much the state-of-the art Ovation instrument. Visually, the 1798 is a darned attractive acoustic. The figured, […]

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Epiphone Jack Casady Signature Model

Tuna Bass
 
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Epiphone Jack Casady Signature Bass Price: $699 (street) Info: www.epiphone.com. Rock-and-roll bassists of the ’60s like Paul McCartney, Jack Bruce, John Entwistle, and Duck Dunn brought something to the game that succeeding generations continue to chase. On the West Coast, Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna bassist Jack Casady was known for melodic flights thumped out […]

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Sea Level

Cats On The Coast/On The Edge
 
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By today’s standards, Sea Level was a “jam band,” but 35 years ago, they were an eclectic group variously labeled as Southern rock, jazz-fusion, or West Coast funkpop. An offshoot of the Allman Brothers Band and led by keyboardist Chuck Leavell, Sea Level played a bit of all those genres, freely mixing ideas and always […]

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Roland Micro Cube

Mighty Mouse
 
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Roland Micro Cube Price: $130 (street) Info: www.rolandus.com. Every once in a while you have to pinch yourself and thank your lucky stars to be a guitarist in the 21st century. The Roland Micro Cube is a good illustration of this phenomenon; a dinky, portable amp that runs on AA batteries, it weighs just over […]

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Black Sabbath

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Cynicism wouldn’t be out of place on your first listen to Sabbath’s first album with Ozzy Osbourne in 35 years. Before you even spin it, you can bet that the band won’t stray far from their classic sound and they don’t – even without the great Bill Ward on drums. This is thanks in part […]

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Red Fang

Murder the Mountains
Relapse Records
 
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Throughout 10 pummeling tracks, the Portland, Oregon-based Red Fang demonstrates everything that is right with heavy metal today, displaying an excellent array of influences, from Black Sabbath to Alice In Chains to Metallica. The resulting metal can be safely filed under the sub-genre of “stoner metal,” alluding to the sound Sabbath made famous 40 years […]

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