February 2017
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2009 Premier Gear Awards

Tons O’Tones
A computer is versatile office tool. A bear is a versatile hunter. Likewise, the gear listed below is as versatile as it is impressive. Its builders either knew no boundaries, or reverted back to tried-and-true methods to achieve a new standard. Whatever the case, you won’t be disappointed… trust us.

Soldano 44 BCMRockbox Boiling Point

The truth is, we get a lot of overdrive pedals for review. Most are pretty decent, and some are quite good. But every once in a while we get one that totally blows us away. The Rockbox Boiling Point was one that absolutely made our toes tingle! Reviewer Chris Burgess said, “I discovered a veritable library of overdrive flavors that took me through several decades of my mental tone catalog.” The Boiling Point from Rockbox (November 2009) delivered it all; it’s as versatile an overdrive as you can get. Hell, you might even win some points with your significant other by selling off your other 12 overdrives and just keeping this one … maybe.
Street $389

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AnderbergAnderberg Custom Guitars Wille

New guitars and guitar makers continue to expand the instrument’s possibilities every single day. But in the race to outdo versatility, perhaps some lose track of the guitar’s traditional qualities. Luthier Michael Anderberg is not one of those guitar makers. Anderberg has stuck to a traditional approach to guitar building, and his Wille model is a testament to the success of his perspective. Reviewer Brian Barr (September 2009) wrote, “There is something truly wonderful about the Wille, and I can safely say I haven’t been this excited about a guitar since I picked up my first PRS over a decade ago.” From its asymmetrical neck to its carefully chambered body to its pair of Seymour Duncan pickups, the Wille delivered on all fronts. We cried a little when it left the building to go back. Really.
MSRP $3200

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Acoustic Image Ten2 ComboAcoustic Image Ten2 Combo

Over the years, enterprising guitarists have discovered that some bass amps also make pretty decent guitar amps. Stevie Ray Vaughan and his ’59 Fender Bassman is just one example that quickly comes to mind. The folks at Acoustic Image, however, have taken this concept to another dimension. If you’re a multi-instrumentalist, the company’s Ten2 Combo (November 2009) is your dream come true. This round-ish sonic powerhouse works for “bass, acoustic guitar, hollowbody jazz guitar, keyboards, vocals, and a whole gamut of other string instruments.” It features two 10" speakers and a tweeter, weighs just 28 lbs., and packs a punch that’ll make your nose bleed. This is simply “versatility and tonal nirvana” at its best.
Street $1539

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Goodsell Black Dog 50

Although there was plenty of anticipation about Richard Goodsell’s departure from the kinds of designs he’d become known to venture into new territory, we weren’t expecting the kind of versatility he delivered in the Black Dog 50 (February 2009). Looks-wise the amp seemed to fit easily into the Marshall-style high-gain category, and we learned from Goodsell that the design had been born from no more than a JCM800 transformer and an itch to “go big.” While the amp didn’t leave any guessing about whether or not it would provide enough gain and power for those hungry for the crunch, reviewer Chris Burgess was caught off guard by the range of its tonal capacity, calling it “an amp with superb dynamics and sensitivity that travels fluently across the spectrum of vintage tones.”
MSRP $1899

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