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It’s easy to ride the wave of past successes and reissue the same type of gear year in and year out. In an industry steeped in tradition, it’s a pretty sizeable risk to step out of the box you’re known for. This year, a number of companies took the risk with great success, from a pickup manufacturer’s debut amp to a certain acoustic company’s foray into electrics, we salute your courage and quality with the Premier Gear Branching Out Award.
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|L.R. Baggs Core 1 Acoustic Amp – Revisited
“After I reviewed the Core 1, I was so impressed that I sold my PA system and bought one. I’ve used it in many different situations over the past few months, and it’s never let me down. The control that’s available over each channel ensures that I get exactly the tone I’m looking for whether I plug in two guitars or a guitar and vocal mic. I’ve never needed more than the 200 available watts in a stand-alone situation, and the sound somehow doesn’t compete with room noise in a restaurant or bar—it cuts through it, so the sound is clearly audible even through background noise. Its lightweight, compact size and durability make it the ideal companion for the road. I’ve used it as a gig-saving stage monitor at outdoor festivals, and used it as a direct box as well, allowing me to have the best of both worlds—ultimate guitar-friendly control over my sound, and 2000 watts of power through a massive PA system. I can’t find one single thing to complain about after almost a year with it.” – Gayla Drake Paul
“The Core 1 mixes innovation, perfect sound and high style with affordability and value.” – January ‘08
Read the Delay review...
Read the Reverb review...
|T.C. Electronic Nova Series
T.C. Electronic’s Nova Series represented a shift back to their roots, yet the floor pedals were different enough from their usual rack-mounted effects that they earned the Branching Out award. We reviewed the Reverb and Delay, both receiving stellar marks for their versatility, musicality and authenticity. Said reviewer James Egolf about the Delay [April ‘08], “…for a meat and potatoes, throw-it-in-your-gigbag delay, the TC is unbeatable.”
|Taylor Solid Body
The most obvious choice for this award was Taylor’s high-profile foray into the electric solidbody realm. Taylor pulled out the stops for the release, taking the guitars on an extensive road trip around the country, and keeping their visibility high. Luckily, the guitars delivered. With specially designed ¾-sized pickups (in the Custom and Classic models), stunning tonewoods, comfortable weight and feel, redesigned hardware and a tone that brought out the best in our reviewer’s amplifiers, Taylor put 100 percent into these releases, and it showed.
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Watch the demo...
“They are premium solidbody electric guitars from a company who has redefined the acoustic world, and I have no problem getting behind that.” – August ‘08