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Having had the chance to see and hear the prototypes at Steven Fryette’s shop a few months ago, it was a hoot getting to check out the final versions today. These tube-based pedals feature high-output transformers and unique casings that are as tough as anything else on your board.
• The S.A.S. is a balls-to-the-wall distortion that's raunchy as hell but amazingly musical when used in moderation. Its tonal character is based on a unique pentode design and an ear-picked Tung Sol EF86 tube. The Gain controls the overdrive applied to the tube, Volume controls output, and Bias controls the headroom. This pedal is great for getting that verge-of-death sound without actually pushing an amp to its limits. What does S.A.S. stand for? Fryette coyly says, “Let the guessing begin.“
• The EF86-based Boostassio works as either a straight boost (up to 20dB clean) or a get-you-there-quicker saturation tool. Volume controls output, while Bias controls headroom and a wide scope of harmonic range.
PRS Private Stock Signature Limited-Run
This is the first signature PRS associated with multiple players—Howard Leese, Michael Ault, Davy Knowles, Tom Wheeler, and Paul Reed Smith himself. Limited to 100 guitars, this model is the culmination of those players’ desires and druthers. Booth-watchers noted the guitar’s pronounced low-E chime and generous sustain.
Traynor Iron Horse
This big brother to Traynor’s aptly-named Dark Horse takes the lunch-box concept and makes it giggable in bigger venues. The tube compliment consists of one 12AU7, two 12AX7s, and two EL34s. The 12AU7 triode tube works with a cascading input stage to run like a high-gain pentode. The amp also features fixed and cathode-bias modes. The DHX212 cab has an angled internal baffle and two removable back panels for selecting between open and closed-back resonance.
Martin Leonardo Da Vinci Mona Lisa Special Edition
Martin understandably did something special for serial number 1,500,000 this year. The Leonardo Da Vinci Mona Lisa (aka the “Da Vinci Unplugged”) features Harvey Leach-designed inlays of famous Da Vinci paintings and sketches. The rosewood piece used for the back was selected for its wavy grain, which mimics the hair pattern of the Vitruvian man.
Choice Swag: Seymour Duncan Necklace
There’s bling and then there’s single-coil bling. Who needs a pickup line when you’re rockin’ a pickup necklace?