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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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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MXR Super Badass Dynamic Overdrive Review
A top-flight OCD alternative that sings at a very accessible price.
Wide range of overdrive and boost tones. Exciting higher gain tones. Clear but robust boost textures. Very forgiving to use.
Might sound a touch meaty for humbucker users chasing near-clarity in boost situations.
MXR Super Badass Dynamic Overdrive
The OCD, a hard-clipping MOSFET, op-amp-driven overdrive, was a success for Fulltone. It was also a great value, which may be why some larger manufacturers held off on building their own affordable versions. It’s unclear if MXR had an inkling that Fulltone would go on hiatus as a company. But with news that Fulltone would close up shop for the foreseeable future, the release of MXR’s excellent OCD-inspired stomp, the Super Badass Dynamic Overdrive, looks impeccably well timed. And for players that now face the inevitable price gouging that goes with Fulltone’s absence, the 129 bucks they’ll pay for this very capable OCD alternative looks like a pretty great deal. Best of all, it’s a very flexible overdrive that can sound and feel genuinely thrilling.
Anyone that has had a go with an OCD will be at home using the Super Badass Dynamic OD. Obviously, the controls differ little from a zillion other overdrives. And functionally speaking, the primary difference between the MXR, or any other OCD homage, and simpler overdrives is the midrange boost toggle, which here moves between boost and cut positions.
The clean, economical circuit is laid out on a through-hole circuit board, which is home to a Texas Instruments TL082 op-amp like that which powered many OCD units. As with the original OCD, however, the MXR’s secret sauce lives not in the gain stage but in the clipping section, where the MOSFETs perform the cool trick of generating hard clipping that is also exceptionally smooth.
Riding With the Tone Ranger
In terms of dynamics, the Super Badass Dynamic Overdrive works as advertised. Relaxing or increasing pick attack intensity yields many shades of sparkling-to-dirty tonalities. The MXR also registers tone shifts from picking position relative to the bridge with accuracy and sensitivity I don’t encounter in a ton of affordable drive pedals. Guitar volume attenuation also yields lovely results. The reduced output still sounds awake, robust, and alive with high-mid and high-frequency content. This is a real treat if you use single-coils without a treble bleed circuit and have grown accustomed to losing top-end definition at lower guitar volume.
The MXR is dynamic and flexible in other ways, too. The wide range in the pedal’s tone control, for instance, is an additional asset if you use guitar volume attenuation aggressively. It enables you to retain extra sparkle and high end in clean tones at low volume, and wails when you return to full volume without ripping your ears off. There is treble to spare here, but it tends to be of the smooth, singing variety, rather than the painful sort.
As a clean boost, the MXR’s output is full of body and adds little in the way of extraneous color to a fundamental guitar voice. It’s nearly as transparent in this context as a Klon or good klone, which are arguably the standard bearers for transparent boost/overdrives. But I actually preferred how the MXR sounded compared to my favorite klone in “clean boost” settings, because of the compression and extra mass in the low midrange that the MXR adds to my guitar’s voice. It’s not a truly transparent voice, perhaps. But frankly, what is? And I’d venture that the Super Badass Dynamic OD will be the ideal solution for a lot of players that think they want near-total clarity in a boost, but actually long for a thicker variation on their basic guitar sound.
The Super Badass Dynamic Overdrive is a very flexible way to add attitude, body, and color to any guitar and amp combination. Its rangy drive and tone controls and super-useful midrange boost/cut toggle make it easy to adapt to unfamiliar backlines or navigate switches between single-coils and humbuckers. To my ears it’s an especially dreamy match for a black- or silver-panel Fender amplifier. But I can imagine that the versatility afforded by the control set would make it a sweet pairing for British amp voices as well.
Single-coil pickups shine in its company. I loved how the MXR made the bridge pickup in a Telecaster sound like a more robust and meatier, yet still very lean and articulate, version of itself. And while humbuckers, predictably, tend to coax a more rockist accent from the MXR, the ample and smooth extra high end you can summon from the pedal makes more muscular tones pop with clarity that rarely gets bogged down in low-midrange mud. I suppose that transparency hunters might find the MXR’s voice a bit charged with gain. But I found that the Super Badass Dynamic OD walked the borders between clarity, body, and aggression with an unusual grace. Given the high quality and very accessible price, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend finding out for yourself how it fits into your world.
MayFly Flat Earth Review
A vintage-style compressor that combines relative silence and squish.
Great sounding vintage compression. Easy to use. Lower noise floor.
Many modern comps have more options.
MayFly Audio Flat Earth
Traditionally, comps that come out of the Ross/DynaComp school offer three things: simple controls, that signature squish, and a bit of noise. Although the Flat Earth definitely feels like part of this lineage, it’s relatively quiet. That’s partly thanks to a circuit that uses a LM13700 chip inside the feedback loop. A small, but significant, design choice that makes a world of difference.
Designer Trevor May also believes that compressors usually have too many controls. And the May Fly certainly keeps things simple. There are level and sustain knobs, just as you’d see on many basic comps, but May adds an attack control giving players the option to lend notes a bit more or less definition when picking. My first experience with Ross/Dyna Comp-style compressors came by way of approximating the clean arpeggio tones that appeared in so many ’80s power ballads. And it was great to have access to that feeling as I cranked the sustain. Plugging in a Les Paul and adding some dirt via a Jackson Audio Optimist, I was able to get a smoother sound while still preserving that balance of touch, squish and sustain. Overall, the Flat Earth is a dynamite option for players who need vintage-style tones with a no-brainer setup and that would love a lower noise floor for extra gain pedals.
MayFly Flat Earth
Factory Tour: Fender Custom Shop
There's more in Corona than a slice of lime. The California city is also the home of Fender’s Custom Shop, and PG’s John Bohlinger, with our crack video team of Chris Kies and Perry Bean, descended on the shop recently for a different kind of rundown.
The tour starts with master builder Andy Hicks, who recount his CV, including a stint in the Gretsch Custom Shop, where he built the Malcolm Young 1963 Jet Firebird G6131 limited edition. At Fender, he leads a tour through the company's metal shop, which includes a press installed by Leo Fender. Saddles, pickup bobbins, shielding, bridge plates … check. You can watch a CNC machine cut Strat pickguards, and then stop in on Josefina Campos, perhaps Fender’s most famed living pickup maker, with 31 years of experience. Campos’ pickups are destined for Master Built guitars. How do you know if you've got a Campos pickup? She signs and dates each one. At Fender’s wood mill, where both the Fender USA and Custom Shop sawing gets done, you see alder, ash, and maple blanks, plus rosewood for fretboards. Learn about the "Golden Neck,” and see how Custom Shop necks get hand shaped. In Custom Shop final assembly, everything comes together. Guitar bodies have been painted and aged. Assembled neck are bolted in. The wiring and electronic installed. “All the guys in here are experts about their own work as well as everything else,” Hicks explains. That's part of Fender Custom’s quality assurance gameplan. On this day, Team Built instruments were on the menu. Master Built guitars are the province of a single builder, from start to finish. And master builder Austin MacNutt gives us a close-up look at one of his special projects, the Jerry Garcia “Alligator” Stratocaster, in a limited run of 100. And in Hicks’ own shop, he talks about the process of creating a custom guitar, from talking to the buyer about his or her desires, to plugging it in and playing it. He also displays a very special Jaguar, made from a 50,000-year-old piece of partially petrified wood, with a blonde inlay from mastodon tusk. FYI, he currently has 50 to 75 guitars at various stages of the three-month process of custom building. Hicks also talks about creating his annual prestige model. It's a secret. You've gotta wait till next year!