We dig into Mike Matthews' sweetly swirling and huge-sounding new streamlined rotary simulator.

Convincing rotary simulators aren’t easy to do. And when they’re done right, they’re usually expensive. Given these truths, we’re pretty impressed with the price-to-performance ratio Electro-Harmonix has achieved with the Lester G Deluxe.

That doesn’t mean Lester is cheap. At around 225 bucks, it’s still a significant investment for most players. But you get a rotary speaker sound with a deep, resonant voice that conveys a very authentic sense of motion and a well-designed feature set that lends real versatility.

The balance control enables effective shifts in emphasis between high-frequency “horn” and lower-frequency “rotor” sounds. And independent controls for slow and fast rotation speeds, an independent foot switch to switch between them, and an acceleration rate control are tickets to expressive dynamic and texture shifts. Killer drive and compression controls add very sweet and organic grit, and extra swirl. But the best tones and textures come via taking advantage of the stereo outputs and expression pedal functionality. With two amps the Lester G Deluxe sounds positively huge. And the ability to manipulate and navigate extreme differences in speed with a pedal takes Lester to places no real rotary speaker can go.

Test gear: Fender Jaguar, Fender Telecaster Deluxe, Fender Bassman, Fender Tremolux, Vox Pathfinder 15

Ratings

Pros:
Rich, immersive rotary tones—especially in stereo. Useful, easy-to-use additional features. Two-speed switch.

Cons:
None.

Street:
$224

Electro-Harmonix Lester G Deluxe
ehx.com

Tones:

Ease of Use:

Build/Design:

Value:

The emotional wallop of the acoustic guitar sometimes flies under the radar. Even if you mostly play electric, here are some things to consider about unplugging.

I have a love-hate relationship with acoustic guitars. My infatuation with the 6-string really blasted off with the Ventures. That’s the sound I wanted, and the way to get it was powered by electricity. Before I’d even held a guitar, I knew I wanted a Mosrite, which I was sure was made of fiberglass like the surfboards the Beach Boys, Surfaris, and the Challengers rode in their off time. Bristling with space-age switchgear and chrome-plated hardware, those solidbody hotrod guitars were the fighter jets of my musical dreams. I didn’t even know what those old-timey round-hole guitars were called. As the singing cowboys Roy Rogers and Gene Autrey strummed off into the sunset, the pace of technology pushed the look and sound of the electric guitar (and bass) into the limelight and into my heart. Imagine my disappointment when I had to begin my guitar tutelage on a rented Gibson “student” acoustic. At least it sort of looked like the ones the Beatles occasionally played. Even so, I couldn’t wait to trade it in.

Read More Show less

Megadeth founder teams up with Gibson for his first acoustic guitar in the Dave Mustaine Collection.

Read More Show less

The bass wiz and author shares deep wisdom about bass, music, and more.

Read More Show less
x