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Category Archives: Gear

Blackstar ID:30TVP

Tone in the Digital Domain
 
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Blackstar ID:30TVP Price: $399.99 Info: www.blackstarampsx.com. Since forming in 2007, Blackstar has been building user-friendly amplifiers and attracting high-profile artists like Leslie West, Neal Schon, and Gus G. The company’s ID series would seem to represent the next logical step: Blackstar’s first digital non-tube amp line. The 30-watt entry in the ID series has many […]

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Brimstone Audio Crossover Distortion XD-1

Bi-Amping in a Box
 
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Brimstone Audio Crossover Distortion XD-1 Price: $299.95 Info: www.Brimstoneaudio.com. Brimstone Audio is a relatively new company that hit the ground running, entering the stomp-box arena with some innovative ideas that offer tone geeks unparalleled aural flexibility. The XD-1, for example, is essentially two amps in a box. It allows the user to generate the kind […]

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D’Angelico’s EXL-1 and EX-SS

Deco Redux
 
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3rd Power Solo Dream/Switchback amps Price: $1,859 list/$1,149 street (EXL-1); $1,999 list/$1,409 street (EX-SS) Info: www.dangelicoguitars.com. Images of John D’Angelico crafting masterpieces in his Little Italy shop haunt guitar enthusiasts to this day, implying an era of lost glory. Happily, D’Angelico guitars, long inaccessible to average guitarists, are being revived and reinterpreted in a manner […]

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Epiphone’s ES-339 PRO

Scale-Sized Kicks
 
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Epiphone’s ES-339 PRO Price: $400 street Info: www.epiphone.com. The Gibson ES-335 quickly revealed its versatility and tone following its introduction in 1958 – all warm ’n’ woody like a jazz archtop, or nasty and rude for blues and rock. The design got an added shot years later when Gibson scaled the 335 into a more […]

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ToneTron’s Billy-Rocker

Best Amp You've Never Heard of
 
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ToneTron’s Billy-Rocker Price: $1,200 Info: www.tonetroamps.com. On a quiet residential street in Minneapolis lives a mad scientist. Erstwhile rockabilly guitarist Jeffrey Falla is the brains behind ToneTron. And from his laboratory come some of the best-sounding amps you’ve never heard of. Falla began modifying and building amps as a ’70s teen, launching his custom-build ToneTrons […]

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HomeWrecker Pickups

Slumbering Strats, Awake!
 
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In 2011, session guitarist Joshua Hernandez began winding pickups in his living room. From these modest beginnings, and with no desire simply to replicate the sounds of vintage pickups, Hernandez went a step further and set out specifically to build modern pickups suited to the sonic idiosyncrasies of Stratocaster-style guitars – or, as Hernandez puts […]

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Musicvox Spaceranger Guitar and Bass HT

Shagadelic
 
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Musicvox Spaceranger Guitar and Bass HT Price: $799 (guitar); $899 (bass) Info: www.musicvox.com. Popularized in film and television, Musicvox Spacerangers have drawn attention for their mondo lower horn and freakishly huge headstock. Purists turn up their noses, but countless others dig the Euro-cheapo aesthetic. Users have included country star Keith Urban, of all people, and […]

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Headway EDB-2 Equalizer Direct Blend Preamp

Make Way
 
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Headway EDB-2 Equalizer Direct Blend Preamp Price: $475 (retail)/$320 (street) Info: www.headwaymusicaudio.com. Designed in England and manufactured in Korea, the Headway EDB-2 is a 5.75″ x 3.75″ x 1.5″ box with a feature set that makes it ideal for acoustic guitarists who need an ultra-low-distortion connection to a PA or sound-reinforcement amplifier. The EDB-2 has […]

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Carr Bloke

No Regular Fella
 
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Carr Bloke Price: $2,450 Info: www.carramps.com. From early models such as the Carr Slant 6V and the Rambler to more recent offerings such as the Artemus and Sportsman, North Carolina-based builder Steve Carr creates impressive tube designs that are never mere copies from the past. His latest circuit is the Bloke, which is his take […]

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Rivera Shaman Series Pedals

Holy Tones
 
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Rivera Shaman Series Pedals Price: $299 each (street) Info: www.rivera.com. With roots stretching to the late ’70s, SoCal-based Rivera Amplification is best known for their handbuilt-in-the-U.S.A. tube amps. Not to be overlooked, however, are the firm’s pedal offerings, specifically their Shaman series of effects boxes. With the exception of the Acoustic Chorus Shaman, all were […]

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