Gear Finds: Acoustic Edition 2022
Check here for some of the latest and greatest acoustics in 2022!
The PRS SE A40E pairs Ovangkol back and sides with a solid spruce top for full, lush tone. When matched with PRS hybrid“X”/Classical bracing, which allows the top to freely vibrate, the SE A40E’s voice projects with breathtaking volume and delicate nuance. The Angelus Cutaway body shape delivers comfort and playability, well suited for picking and fingerstyle playing.
Plugged in, the PRS-Voiced Fishman Sonitone pickup system delivers dynamic, organic tone and allows players to easily take this guitar from rehearsal to the stage. This electronics system features an undersaddle pickup and soundhole mounted preamp with easy-to-access volume and tone controls.
Additional high-quality features include a solid spruce top, ebony fretboard and bridge, bone nut and saddle, as well as PRS trademark bird inlays and headstock design. Ships with a high-quality hardshell case.
The Advanced Acoustic series represents an important step forward in the long and storied tradition of the acoustic guitar. In what amounts to a fully reimagined acoustic experience, these instruments were designed from the ground up to deliver a richer, brighter, and louder tone, with an unprecedentedly wide dynamic range. With slightly larger than typical proportions, Ibanez decided to name this new body shape the “Grand Dreadnought.” This reinvented design achieves a superb, powerful sound, and thanks to the extensive consideration given to the ergonomics, it’s extremely comfortable to play. The Advanced Acoustic series pushes the acoustic guitar to new heights in a way that promises an exciting experience for all players.
Left-Handed Guitarists: mid-priced acoustic-electric with an Ergonomic Armrest seeking partner to make beautiful music.
“Wow, the armrest really helps keep from cutting off blood circulation when I’m practicing and feels like I’m playing a smaller instrument. Responds nicely both to some intimate playing, and has nice character when you hit it a little hard; it responds with a good full low end and is still crisp and clear.” ~ Sean Harkness, NYC
The NATURA G550RCEL is a Left-handed acoustic-electric featuring an Ergonomic Armrest for comfort. The G550RCEL is a solid Spruce top Grand Auditorium Cutaway with weight reducing Low-Mass bracing. It has a voice that is focused and harmonically complex and suitable for left-handed players looking for the volume of a full-sized instrument and the comfort of a smaller body. A Glass-fibre reinforced neck ensures a lifetime of neck stability.
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We love metal at Gator – both the head-banging and physical types. While our metal stands are great for the stage and studio, they don’t always blend into their environment. Sometimes you need something more elegant and adaptable to the overall vibe of
your living room or studio furniture, which is exactly what the Elite Guitar Hanging Stands by Gator Frameworks provide – simplicity with an aesthetic to match any home or studio décor. These stands satisfy all types of players by providing a comfortable fit for most electric, bass and acoustic guitars. Show off your collection with style!
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The Grace Design BiX preamp shares the exact same DNA of its bigger siblings, FELiX2 and ALiX, but with an intelligently streamlined feature set and a price that puts it in reach of any performer, whether on your way to the coffee shop or the Megadome. BiX delivers maximum clarity and detail for any plugged in instrument, with dead simple controls – input gain, high and low shelving EQ, and a 10dB variable boost circuit, with footswitches for mute and boost. I/O includes instrument input, separate send and return insert jacks, an unbalanced line output, and a balanced ISO DI output on XLR. And BiX is pedalboard friendly, with a 9VDC power input and a compact, rugged low-profile chassis. Visit www.gracedesign.com for complete details.
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How many guitars, pedals, and amps do you need? Enough to make you happy. But window shopping alone has its own benefits.
I just got back from the NAMM show, and I am suppressing the nervous twitch of desire. My eyes and ears were flooded with all kinds of great gear, from cutting edge software plugins to microphones to—my favorites—pedals, amps, and guitars. With so much new gear around, G.A.S. was so abundant you could almost smell it hanging over the show floor. (Sorry, I could not resist.)
As you all know, I’m talking about Gear Acquisition Syndrome, the disease for which there is no cure. I have 15 guitars—17, if you count a cigar box and a diddley bow—that cover the sonic waterfront for me and then some. So why would I want more? My tube and solid-state amps are carefully curated so I can recreate all the classic tones I love, and with my quirky playing approach and equally carefully assembled pedalboard, I can put my own spin on every one of them.
And yet … I return with a pocketful of maybes. Maybe that new semi-hollow with the sleek neck and coil-splitting would get me another tone I can’t quite access now? Maybe that pedal would make it easier to accommodate pitch shifting while I solo? Maybe it’s time to add a bona fide high-gain amp, or dive into modeling?
I used to think these impulses were unhealthy. Especially when I was a touring indie musician and had no money to spend on gear. (One of musical life’s great ironies is that club-level working musicians often earn so little that they can’t afford to increase or upgrade the tools of their craft.) But I’ve changed my mind, thanks to my dog.
“You should never pick up interesting things with your mouth.”
Dolly, who is going on 17, is slow … or perhaps methodical … when we go on walks. But every inch of the way she is sniffing, her ears are up, and she stops to spend time looking at and smelling anything that captures her interest, even for a moment. That’s a great way to spend NAMM and to examine gear, with senses and imagination open, considering the potential of everything for your music, prepared to evaluate impulses without prejudice. (But, unlike Dolly, you should never pick up interesting things with your mouth.)
Considering a piece of gear is not the same as buying it, or I’d be broke. And evaluating these flirtations can lead to something good. Let’s say you’re smitten with a brand-new $250 modulation pedal. But after careful consideration and inspection, you realize you can get a similar sound with the chorus or vibrato you already own, and a delay or reverb pedal. The tempting new gear has led you down a path of finding a new, purposeful sound in your current gear. Same with a drive pedal. It’s fresh, it’s raw, it’s low and singing—and maybe with a bit of compression it isn’t very far from the sound you can get with your current overdrive if you just roll back the tone controls on your 6-string. And what about that semi-hollow? Maybe what I really need is a 10-band EQ pedal so I can approximate semi-hollow and hollowbody tones on all my guitars at whim, which would certainly inject a different voice into the solos or choruses of songs in my repertoire. Sometimes looking at new gear reminds us of the full range of our current musical real estate holdings. And that’s great. It’s easy to get in a rut and overlook the potential of gear you already own. (Parallel question: How many of you really make full use of the tone and volume controls on your instruments? I find this to be an oddly neglected zone of exploration, even this many years beyond Eric Clapton’s unfortunately dubbed “woman tone.”)
That said, there’s also not a damn thing wrong with buying some new gear. In fact, it’s great. Guitars, pedals, amps, microphones, plugins, and even accessories seem to get better all the time, which means we probably all have some room for upgrades if we’re able to make them. Same with the tones produced by modern emulations of vintage gear, which ideally get more on the nose with every iteration, while adding improvements to tonality and performance. In terms of consistency and playability, today’s well-made guitars are perhaps the finest ever built, in some cases outperforming the templates that inspired them at much lower cost. And, as the saying goes, every guitar—or pedal, or amp—has new songs inside of it, waiting to be discovered.
Hopefully you’ve gorged on the videos and reports from the NAMM floor that we’ve shared at premierguitar.com with you this month. There was a lot to see, hear, and smell. Well, maybe not smell, but I think you know what I mean. Never be afraid to chase gear temptation, because it can often lead you to interesting places.
Brent Mason has picked for the biggest and best names in country music: Alan Jackson, Willie Nelson, Shania Twain, Brooks & Dunn, Blake Shelton, and George Strait are just a few of the country stars on whose records you can hear Mason’s Fender-on-Fender fretwork. But his solo on “Southbound Train,” the closing track on Travis Tritt’s 2000 record Down the Road I Go, might be his hottest work of all.
As Mason explains, the song scoots along at his favorite country tempo—a Cajun two-step, Mason says—which provides the rhythmic framework for his face-melter lead. Mason says the melodic and structural components came in part from his familiarity with jazz, and the mixing of jazz and blues with his usual twangy conventions. In fact, Mason’s furious note barrages occasionally earned him some raised eyebrows (and some choice words from Conway Twitty) in the more traditionalist Nashville studio system.
This might be the toughest solo our host has taken on so far on Shred With Shifty. The key to wrestling it? “You gotta keep playing [it] til you wanna pull out all your teeth and hair,” says Mason. Which Nashville producers and stars would let Mason off-leash in the studio? How does a session ace deal with hand injuries? Listen on, shredders. And if you’re brave enough, send in your take on Mason’s solo.
Producer: Jason Shadrick
Executive Producers: Brady Sadler and Jake Brennan for Double Elvis
Engineering Support by Matt Tahaney and Matt Beaudion
Video Editors: Dan Destefano and Addison Sauvan
Special thanks to Chris Peterson, Greg Nacron, and the entire Volume.com crew.
Calling all pedal lovers! You could win one of SIXTEEN pedals in this year's I Love Pedals giveaway. Come back daily for more entries, giving you dozens of chances to win! Giveaway ends March 1, 2024.