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There’s an obsessive-compulsive bunch out there who will tweak forever to get it right. It doesn’t matter how well received something was the first time, dagnabit, they’re going to make it better. This group’s attention to detail and relentless improvements have given birth to a whole slew of second and third generation instruments that improve upon their predecessors—often just months after the predecessors hit stores. To these we say: keep on tweaking—our tone is better for it—and enjoy the Premier Gear Redux Deluxe Award.
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|Carol Ann OD2r -- Revisited
The OD2r is a boutique amp that was slimmed down and tailored toward recording. The amp is versatile, with a switch for either 6V6 or 6L6s and two distinct channels. Both of the amp’s two channels were mind-blowers, with Channel A delivering perfect Strat tone, and Channel B delivering a completely new and different sound. Reviewer Steve Ouimette says, “I liked it so much that I’ve ordered one to be part of my arsenal of amps. After I had it for that brief period of time I just felt like there was no other amp that could achieve its tone, so I called up Alan and he’s going to build me one. Clearly, the cat is out of the bag.”
|Ibanez Tube King TK999HT
An update of the nineties Tube King, the new version features a 12AX7 that delivers genuine tube-like distortion. The pedal is easy to get great sounds out of, and is a great choice when a tube amp isn’t an option. Said reviewer Gary Guzman [August ’08, online], “It can make any guitar setup with average pickups and amp sound amazing.” With a street price of $149.99, the Tube King nearly won the Nice Price award as well.
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Hamer Talladega Pro
We got our hands on the Talladega Pro a mere half-year after the Talladega. The Talladega Pro was spot on; it brought together a wraparound bridge and humbuckers, dropped the controls in a classic LP configuration, and classed it up with ivoroid binding on the mahogany neck. The Pro really separated itself from its predecessor by offering a thick, Gibson-like tone with a Fender scale and feel.
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“If you’re a Fender aficionado and switching between different scale lengths gives you the willies, the Talladega Pro could handle your humbucker-flavored chores with aplomb.” – July ‘08