Acoustic Gear Finds June 2021
Don't miss the latest and greatest gear finds for your acoustic!
Cole Clark Guitars CCFL2ECRDBL
The Cole Clark CCFL2ECRDBL Acoustic-Electric Guitar is designed for the guitarist who demands the highest standards in an instrument. The 2 Series FL Dreadnought guitar is the go-to choice for every player looking to have ultimate control of both the acoustic and plugged-in performance environments, with Cole Clark's signature 3-way pickup system and beautiful, sustainably-sourced, natural Redwood and Blackwood timbers.
Walden Guitars B1E Baritone
"I love this thing, I can't put it down. It's kind of like having a piano in your lap, you got all the low end for bass lines, and you got chords that you can strum on top, even alternating simple bass lines. There's all kinds of fun you can have with this thing!" ~ Sean Harkness, NYC
Typically tuned to B, the Baritone provides a clear low end response perfect for soloists, singer-songwriters, percussive finger-style players, or guitarists who crave a walking bass line while comping chords.
With its offset soundhole, side-port, and solid Sitka spruce top with innovative low-mass bracing, the Walden B1E sounds sonically excellent while incorporating the more comfortable Grand Auditorium body shape. A graphite reinforced Mahogany neck contribute to stability and its 27″ scale length and 1-13/16″ nut width contribute to the B1E Baritone's transparent playability.
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PRS SE P20E
The PRS SE P20E is a parlor-sized acoustic with a big voice. Features include all-mahogany construction and PRS hybrid "X"/Classical bracing, which allows the top to freely vibrate, the SE P20E projects with even, bold tone. Its smaller size makes playing for hours fun and comfortable and allows for more convenient transport.
Plug in the Fishman GT1 pickup system, and it delivers dynamic, organic tone. This electronics system features an undersaddle pickup and soundhole mounted preamp with easy-to-access volume and tone controls, which essentially transforms what some may consider a "couch guitar" into a workhorse stage instrument.
Available in three satin finishes with herringbone rosettes and accents. Other high-quality features include a solid mahogany top, ebony fretboard and bridge, and bone nut and saddle. Gig bag included.
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Tanglewood Guitars TWBBOE
Inspired by the guitars made in the 1930s, the Tanglewood Blackbird series evoke traditional values, yet offer the benefits a guitar manufactured in the modern era. These guitars feature hand-selected tone woods and a unique bracing pattern. The Blackbird Orchestra electro-acoustic guitar is carefully braced to environments, with Cole Clark's signature 3-way pickup system and beautiful, sustainably-sourced, natural Redwood and Blackwood timbers.
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Taylor Guitars GS Mini-e Koa Plus
Taylor's popular, compact GS Mini has brought countless hours of guitar-playing joy to musicians of all stripes, and the GS Mini-e Koa Plus takes the fun to a new level with elevated aesthetic details. Back and sides of layered Hawaiian koa pair with a solid koa top for a punchy, bold sound with surprising power and volume for a small-bodied guitar with a scale length of 23-½ inches, while the 1-11/16-inch nut width makes forming chords a breeze. A dusky edgeburst accentuates koa's natural grain and luster around the top, back and sides, while other notable features include nickel tuners, a three-ring rosette, and a genuine West African ebony fretboard. It includes onboard ES2 electronics and Taylor's new AeroCase®, a soft yet sturdy case with all the protection of a hardshell case at one-third the weight.
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Shubb CAPO ROYALE C1G
Adding to the company's line of premium capos, Shubb has introduced the new Capo Royale Series, featuring durable gold finishes that deliver long-lasting beauty.
Available in two lustrous finishes – Gold and Rose Gold – the Capo Royale Series brings a distinctive visual flair to Shubb's famed capo design, revered since 1980 for its ability to provide flawlessly clean fretting while keeping the instrument in tune.
For many years Shubb has received requests for a gold plated Shubb Capo. While gold is undeniably beautiful, it is not at all durable; it will wear off far too easily and quickly. It is also famously expensive. Now, Shubb has developed a high-tech technique for creating a gold-toned titanium finish. It possesses all the beauty of real gold, but is as durable as any metal finish in the world.
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Guild's most affordable jumbo yet! The F-240E is a tone cannon at a player's price. Built with a solid spruce top, mahogany sides, and an arched mahogany back, the full-bodied and powerful voice of this Guild Jumbo provides guitarists with historically-Guild acoustic tone and voicing. Guild's signature arched back design allows for enhanced volume and projection, long sustain, and a lush, full sound. The F-240E features Guild's Fishman-designed AP-1 electronics, a pau ferro fingerboard and bridge, bone nut and saddle, mother-of-pearl rosette, period-correct tortoiseshell pickguard, and a satin polyurethane finish.
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Blackstar Amplification ACOUSTIC:CORE30
The Blackstar ACOUSTIC:CORE 30 was designed to give singer/songwriters the ability to get a professional sound without any sound engineering expertise, then share it via live streaming or recording, or live performance. All in a compact easily portable combo with the option of battery power. This take-anywhere acoustic amp is designed for the way you play today: streaming, recording, practice or live.
Santa Cruz Guitar Company: A True Custom Shop
Santa Cruz Guitar Company has made it even easier to order the custom acoustic you've always wanted. They invite you to email them directly at email@example.com to be walked through the design process, where they will take the time needed to answer all your questions about models, tonewoods, structural options and aesthetics to ensure you will receive the heirloom acoustic that is right for you.
Levy's Hemp Vegan Guitar Straps
The New MH8P Series Vegan Hemp Series guitar straps by Levy's come in four new beautiful motifs and measure 2"/51mm in width. These organic straps are cruelty-free using sustainable materials and extend from 37"/940mm to 62"/1572mm via silver-colored tri-glide sliding adjustment. Natural hemp webbing and durable 2-ply cork ends safely support your instrument, along with pinhole stitching on both ends to prevent stretching. To address the issue of pick dropping encountered by almost every gigging guitarist, the MH8P Series comes equipped with a convenient 2.5"/64mm inside pocket to provide quick access to extra picks. Hand-crafted in Novia Scotia.
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LR Baggs Voiceprint DI
The product of nearly 3 years of intensive research and collaboration with a team of PhDs, LR Baggs is thrilled to introduce Voiceprint DI, the next breakthrough chapter in acoustic amplification. Voiceprint DI measures the acoustic response of your guitar by leveraging the processing power of your iPhone® to accurately capture your guitar's one-of-a-kind voice. A Voiceprint is created, transforming your pickup into the most authentic sound we have engineered in our 40+ years.
Henriksen Amps The Bud
Raise your hand if you only own one guitar… that's what we thought. But do you need a different amplifier for each one? The Bud from Henriksen is no ordinary amplifier; it sounds just as amazing with your acoustic guitars as it does with your electric guitars, regardless of style. The Bud is just 13 lbs and 9"x9"x9" but packs 120 watts of power and a pro-grade feature set that you can truly gig with, record, teach, or just practice.
Breedlove Guitars Jeff Bridges’ Signature Oregon Concerto Bourbon CE
Powerful and responsive like a dreadnought, tonally the acoustic electric Breedlove Jeff Bridges' Signature Model emphasizes the unique qualities of myrtlewood, with a deep rosewood-like bass, the fundamental clarity of mahogany and the enchanting shimmer of koa. The Breedlove Jeff Bridges signature "All in this Together" project benefits Amazon Conservation Team, which works in partnership with indigenous colleagues to protect rainforests.
NUX Stageman II (AC-80) Battery-Powered Acoustic Guitar Amplifier
NUX Stageman II Battery-Powered Acoustic Guitar Amplifier features a pure analog preamp with NUX's iconic Core-Image post-effects. It has specific EQ scenes for finger-style as well as strum-style in channel 1, and you can engage built-in Acoustic IRs with a dedicated mobile APP. Acoustic IR is the new trend to make your acoustic sound as natural as micing. Stageman II keeps Drum & Loop, you can control by the original NUX NMP-2 foot-controller. And the built-in rechargeable battery can let you busk on the street for 4 hours.
- 80-watt rich warm sound acoustic amp with 6.5" premium speaker and 1" tweeter
- Rechargeable battery for 4.5 hours outdoor performing
- Built-in Acoustic Impulse Response
- 2 independent channels with routing adjustable post-effects
- Mobile APP for editing and control
- Drum & Loop (60s phrase loop)
- Bluetooth Audio Stream
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Fender Gold Foil Jazzmaster Review
A tasteful but extroverted design mashup that yields myriad tone and playing possibilities.
A beautiful, tasteful, but still extroverted fusion of design elements. Super playability. Unique tone signature from mini humbuckers.
Lower-output pickups might be more versatile. Midrange-heavy tone profile can obscure some nuance
Fender Gold Foil Jazzmaster
Purists may beg to differ, but irreverently recombinant guitar design makes the electric guitar world a lot more fun and interesting. Not every design mashup works, of course. Some attempts at blending influences end up about as elegant as grafting a pine tree to a cactus. But the Gold Foil Jazzmaster is a truly beautiful mutation. It gathers together Gibson-like attributes, like a mahogany body and mini humbuckers (yes, we’ll get to that), with Fender’s shapely, comfy Jazzmaster profile and 25 1/2" scale, as well as curiosities like a Jaguar-inspired pickup selector and a Bigsby into a lively-sounding whole that’s genuinely exciting to play.
Fender, to their credit, always seems up for playing fast and loose with tradition these days. But this unorthodox assemblage manages to be every bit as much substance as flash—and there is a lot of flash here.
Gold Is Only Skin Deep
First, though, the curious name of this instrument: The Fender Gold Foil pickups that provide its handle aren’t gold-foils at all—at least not in the traditional sense. Instead, they are alnico-based mini humbuckers. But it’s hard to argue about how completely cool they look. And in the 3-pickup configuration used here, they offer players a multitude of sounds to work with.
The output from the three pickups inhabits a genuinely unique timbral space. In the bridge pickup, for instance, you can hear a cool cross between the clear, airy tonalities of a Stratocaster single-coil and the heft of a PAF. At other times, I heard the concise punch of a Rickenbacker Hi-Gain with more sustain. In general, they are heavy on high midrange—a mirror image of most classic Fender pickups. That midrange emphasis means they dovetail nicely with black-panel Fender amplifiers—particularly with a minimum of effects and amp volume bumped up to louder, grittier zones.
The three mini humbuckers give you a cool palette to play with. The hot-Strat attributes, for instance, give the Gold Foil Jazzmaster the personality of a bossy, extra-brawny surf machine when you add heaps of reverb. The same characteristics make it ace for overtone- and feedback-heavy Neil Young sounds (which are aided and enhanced in no small part by the Bigsby).
The modes that combine adjacent pickups lack some of the snappy and quacky charm of a Stratocaster’s 2 and 4 positions. Yet, on the Gold Foil Jazzmaster, these settings have their place. In general, they have a muted and subdued voice that’s not especially responsive to picking dynamics, but they are perfect for softer melodic leads and rhythm parts that rely on tempered, regular accents. They can sound really cool, tight, and focused through a fuzz as well. But the mini humbuckers shine best in isolation or in the neck-and-bridge setting, which makes some of the loveliest sounds in the guitar and evokes the combined neck and bridge settings on a traditional Jazzmaster, which are one of that guitar’s great strengths.
Crazy, Mixed-Up Kid—Sure Is Handsome Though
As we said at the top, Fender was not shy about the flash when they put together this Jazzmaster. The guitar can be had in Candy Apple Burst, which looks pretty mean, but not nearly as slick as it does in shoreline gold. The post-CBS-style block inlays are a particularly effective design element. Visually they echo the pickup array, but they’re also an effective bridge between early and late-’60s Jazzmasters. Other elements, like the white plastic keys that top the vintage Kluson-style tuners, provide visual cohesion between the white neck binding and the post-CBS-style volume and tone knobs. But both the control knobs and the tuning keys feel a little down-market compared to the rest of the instrument’s luxe aura.
By the way, about that Bigsby: It’s loads of fun, it looks awesome, and it is very tuning stable. But if you’re accustomed to a classic Jazzmaster or Jaguar vibrato, the Bigsby can feel limiting. For me, that’s down to the fact that you can’t pull the vibrato arm toward you past the position where the arm is parallel with the strings. If you’re used to Bigsbys, or new to vibrato in general, you might not find this a limitation. But to me, the ability to pull the long arm of a traditional Jazzmaster vibrato past that point, and the ease with which you can hold it in your palm while you perform more complex picking maneuvers, is a big part of a Jazzmaster’s unique playability and appeal. And I missed it a lot as I attempted to get weirder with the Gold Foil Jazzmaster. That complaint aside, the Bigsby is awesome, and despite the limitation based in my own traditional Jazzmaster bias, it invites all kinds of radical and tasteful vibrato adornments that spice up this Jazzmaster’s already wide sonic range.
I’m fascinated with late-’50s and early ’60s car interiors, and I love the Jazzmaster silhouette. So, the Gold Foil Jazzmaster is a beautiful thing. But even if you don’t align with the design aesthetic at work here, you’d have to be pretty freaking grumpy to be totally turned off by this well-executed and balanced amalgamation of hardware and trim. For me, it works. Nothing seems forced, and, if anything, it evokes a tastefully executed bit of custom-car-design work, which, of course, underscores the distinctly California relationship between guitar and automobile that informed so many cool Fender designs in the first place.
The playability is superb. Build quality is excellent. And I love the many tones available here, too. The mahogany body may or may not add some midrange to the tone spectrum—such assertions are hard to quantify on solidbody instruments. And depending on your perspective and tone predilections, the pickups could be a little more nuanced and complex. Maybe making them a little less hot and midrange focused would be nice. But the abundant switching options put a lot of sounds at your fingertips. There are many possibilities here, and all in an instrument so aesthetically inviting that it will be hard to put down—or stop staring at.
Fender Gold Foil Jazzmaster Demo | First Look
Fender Gold Foil Jazzmaster Electric Guitar - Shoreline Gold
Nuno Bettencourt Is Out for Blood
The Extreme guitarist shares his pedal philosophy—including how a visit from EVH inspired him to use a phaser on the new record—and talks about ripping with Rihanna at the Super Bowl and more.
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Nuno Bettencourt on Pedals
I have a love-hate relationship with pedals. That's why I don't use anything, because I've always felt they get in the way of what you're trying to say if you use them wrong, especially with choruses and things like that. When Edward switched from being straight in your face, and then started splitting things left and right and chorusing and doing that, which was amazing and creative and beautiful, I lost a lot of him. I heard less of him and I heard more of what it was going through as the voice.
And I really prefer any guitar player, whether it's Brian May or Jimmy Page especially, anybody, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Meaning, sometimes it's not the greatest tone in the world and sometimes it's not the prettiest to listen to, but there's an emotion there, and I think pedals and what you do processing-wise gets in the way. The notes are there, but they get in the way of expression and emotion because there's a physicality that you have in your fingers that, to me, it's like I always try to find that straight shot from here to there, to that speaker, to that microphone, to the record.
And it's funny because recently, let me drop a name, Steve Vai. Recently, when I was at Steve Vai's house, he wanted to hear the album before it came out. So I drove to his house. He has an amazing studio, and he's like, "Let's play it from top to bottom." He's like, "We're not going to stop. I want to listen to this damn tone." And he stopped after every song, he's like, "All right, now wait a second." I'm like, "Steve, we're supposed to listen to this like an album." He goes, "Yeah, yeah, but the guitar's right there. How did you get it to be right there?" I just said, "Because there's nothing there. There's no magic, no hocus-pocus.”
It's always been a 57 and a 421, and I don't do anything to equalize, and I let it be on the outside of the center of the speaker, outside the cone, and I let it go. And yeah, I'll use a little delay. Delay is different for me or so revere because it enhances what you've done already. What I need is the type of processing that becomes the body of what you're doing, it becomes part of that note, if you know what I mean. That's like more of... And I always feel like, as a guitar player, the real you tends to never never come out when you do chorusing or flanging or something. Unless you want it for an effect. It's like an effect or even to make it pretty. Sometimes we do chorus with chorusing stuff or you want it to... By the way, you want it to have that sound and that just a big body of just beauty, then you're doing it right.
I don't think there's a right or wrong, don't get me wrong. I'm not being a pedal snob or anything. But for me, I love my heroes and the guitar players I heard when there's not much in the way of their hands, and they find the right amp to just be that extra voice for them to interpret what they're doing with their hands. And that's always been my goal. And amps have changed every album, but I think wherever your headspace is at, that becomes the tone.
Nuno Bettencourt on Why He Doesn't Use Pedals | Wong Notes Podcast
Rig Rundown: Larkin Poe
See how dynamic duo Megan and Rebecca Lovell dazzle and delight with a svelte signature lap steel (and its 1950s inspiration), two Fender Custom Shop throwbacks, and plenty of soulful, sweet-sounding, sister synergy.
“Our relationship is everything about this band,” conceded Rebecca Lovell to PG in 2022. “The way that we communicate, the way that we play together, the way that we facilitate one another’s musicianship. It is the air that we breathe as a band, and everything revolves around our siblinghood.”
Their symbiotic sorcery has taken them from budding bluegrass pickers in the Lovell Sisters (then alongside older sister Jessica Lovell) to real-deal rockstars as Larkin Poe with several No. 1 albums on the Billboard blues chart. Since 2010, when the sisters regrouped as an electric duo, they’ve released six studio albums, five EPs, and one live set. Each musical installment from the twosome continues to bring fresh songwriting and sonic influences, further intensifying and enlivening their core chicken-fried, boot-stompin’, roots-rockin’ sound.
On the penultimate day of their first touring leg in support of 2022’s Blood Harmony, the sensational Larkin Poe sisters, Megan and Rebecca Lovell, welcomed PG’s Chris Kies onstage at Nashville’s Brooklyn Bowl to talk tone. Megan shows off her brand-new Beard signature Electro-Liege lap steel and a 1950s Rickenbacker B6, featuring some ingenious engineering that inspired the Liege’s unique silhouette. Rebecca explains how she fell for the HSS Stratocaster and why she’s finally ready to be in a committed relationship with fuzz. Plus, we find out who’s taking who’s gear when it comes to the Lovell sisters and their significant others.
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The Slide Queen’s Loyal Subjects
After making the switch to electrified instruments, Megan Lovell has been an avid ambassador of the lap steel guitar. Her first and longest partnership with the instrument is an early 1950s Rickenbacker Electro Model B6 (top). The unusual upper-bout aluminum wing was something Megan created to help keep the instrument’s heft off her shoulder and put it in a more comfortable playing position.
As you can see below, the B6 was a big inspiration on Megan’s new Beard Guitars Electro-Liege lap steel. The Electro-Liege is built for comfort and speed, with a lightweight poplar body, Jason Lollar Horseshoe pickup, and a shape that was hand-drawn by Megan to emulate the same curves in the homemade body extension she uses for her Rickenbacker.
“Against Megan’s will, I have been calling her ‘the slide queen’ for a long time,” Rebecca said to PG in 2022. “I’ve sorta forced the issue and now she’s kinda stuck with it. So, she wanted to make a play on that, so liege is referring to the royalty angle. Megan went into granular detail about this. It was really cool to see these little paper cutouts on cardboard of what it was gonna look like, and hats off to Paul Beard for really taking all of her information and going for it.”
The result looks like a futuristic cross between her Rickenbacker and a Dobro. And the Liege carries half the weight of its forefather. “It was really cool that he had the trust to just take all of the measurements from my drawings and just make it,” Megan told PG. “It’s exactly what I wanted.” Both lap steels ride in open-G tuning, she puts Ernie Ball strings on them, and attacks both with Dunlop Zookies thumbpicks.
“The first electric guitar I ever bought, is my seafoam green Jazzmaster. I got that because we were playing with Elvis Costello, and that was his main guitar and I just thought it was so badass,” Rebecca detailed in PG in 2018. However, you won’t see any of those instruments in this Rundown. So, how did Rebecca come to love and appreciate the Strat?
Well, she’s married to Rig Rundown alumnus Tyler Bryant, who’s had a long association with that particular Fender. She snagged one of his Fender Custom Shop 1960s Stratocaster HSS’s and took it on tour. She loved its smaller, lighter profile and thicker tone. So, she enlisted the good people at the Fender Custom Shop to build her a clone of Bryant’s 1960s copy.
“I love humbuckers,” says Rebecca. “It’s so beefy, and having toured as a four-piece for so many years, that extra chunk has been helpful.”
Rebecca keeps all her electrics in standard tuning, they take Ernie Ball Slinkys (.010–.046), and she hammers against them with Dunlop Tortex .60 mm picks.
(It’s worth checking out Bryant’s Rundown to hear the story behind his two main “Pinky” Strats that are now immortalized in a Fender signature model.)
A Silvery Stunner
Rebecca’s other main Fender is this Custom Shop 1950s “blackguard” Tele that she requested be bedazzled in a silver-sparkle finish.
“This is the most bling thing I own. I’m not a big girly-girl, but come on! I love it because it’s spanky as hell,” admits Rebecca.
The Stolen Special
Here’s the gateway drug that introduced Rebecca into the specialness of Strats. She still tours with it and keeps it stocked and ready for any backup duties.
For some added twang and note bending, Rebecca travels with this Gretsch G6129TPE Players Jet FT Electric Guitar with Bigsby.
The ladies are vintage small-combo aficionados, but the rigors of the road make traveling with them a nerve-wracking endeavor. Their collective solution is to tour with a couple of Fender ’65 Deluxe Reverbs. And both plug into the amp’s vibrato circuit.
Double Trouble—Megan Lovell & Rebecca Lovell’s Pedalboards
As with their onstage amp choices, the sisters have nearly identical pedalboards. Both rely on a Line 6 HX Effects, a Strymon Iridium, and a Rodenberg Custom Amplification TB Drive. The drive is Tyler Bryant’s signature pedal that stacks a pair of TS-style circuits into one box. He had a custom enclosure made for both Megan (“Slide Queen”) and Rebecca (“Habibi”) that has their respective nicknames on it (top). Megan has an Ernie Ball 40th Anniversary Volume Pedal and Peterson StroboStomp HD Tuner, while Rebecca (bottom) has some added firepower with a Beetronics Royal Jelly and a limited edition MXR Sugar Drive in a “brown sugar” coating. Additionally, Rebecca has a Boss TU-3 Chromatic tuner to keep her guitars in check. Both Lovells have a Strymon Zuma power supply and a Xact Tone Solutions routing box under the hood.