The PZ-Pro is a dynamite workhorse that can surely make gigging easier.

Extremely road-worthy. Dynamite range of features.

Lacking individual channel outputs.

$499

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Radial's latest iteration of their PZ-Pro is a dynamite workhorse that can make your acoustic instruments sound better and your rig more streamlined. In simple terms, it's a 2-channel preamp with a built-in effects loop, switchable boost, and independent EQ controls that could easily function as a grab-and-go setup or the centerpiece of an expansive pedalboard. Radial's reputation for rock-solid construction and road-worthy gear is well known, and the PZ-Pro carries that torch admirably. When you pick it up, it just feels like it can handle life on the road, and at $499 it should.


Recorded direct with a Cordoba Acero through a Focusrite Scarlet 2i4 interface into Logic.

I plugged in my Cordoba Acero and fed it to a Fishman SA330 PA system. The PZ-Pro's preamps are top notch and gave me plenty of clarity and headroom for nearly any amplified situation. The real magic was the PZ-Pro's versatility. Immediately, I thought of how using an external mic in channel 2 (bonus: it has phantom power!) along with a direct line could give FOH plenty of sonic material to work with. And if you're a utility player who needs to cover mando, acoustic, banjo, dobro, or any combination thereof, setting up individual EQ levels and roping in a few external stomps is a breeze. Plus, the added blend knob ensures that your external effects won't overpower your fundamental tone. That's an often-requested feature for acoustic pickers. One minor quibble is I wish each channel had its own XLR output and the pre/post EQ was a switchable feature.

Kudos to Radial for not overloading a unit like this with flashy, unnecessary bells and whistles and focusing more on real-world applications. The PZ-Pro is exactly that: a pro-level tool that puts more weight and thought behind the essential elements of acoustic amplification.

Test Gear

Cordoba Acero & Fishman SA330

Made in Canada, this two-voice guitar features a chambered Mahogany body, carved Swamp Ash top, 25.5” scale Mahogany neck and Rosewood Fingerboard.

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Gain is fun in all its forms, from overdrive to fuzz, but let’s talk about a great clean tone.


We’re all here for one thing. It’s the singular sound and magic of the stringed instrument called the guitar—and its various offshoots, including the bass. Okay, so maybe it’s more than one thing, but the sentiment remains. Even as I write this, my thoughts fan out and recognize how many incarnations of “guitar” there must be. It’s almost incomprehensible. Gut-string, nylon-string, steel-string, 12-string, 8-string, 10-string, flatwound, brown sound, fuzztone…. It’s almost impossible to catalog completely, so I’ll stop here and let you add your favorites. Still, there’s one thing that I keep coming back to: clean tone.

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A supreme shredder’s signature 6-string dazzles with versatility.

This immaculately built guitar sounds great and can do it all.

The more affordable price is still out of reach for many guitarists

$2,799

Charvel MJ San Dimas SD24 CM
charvel.com

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Charvel’s first Guthrie Govan signature model was released in 2014, after an arduous two-year effort to get the design just right. Since then, the guitar—now in its second edition—has become one of Charvel’s most coveted models. Unfortunately, its $3,699 price keeps the U.S.-made axe out of reach for many.

This year, though, the company released the Made-in-Japan signature MJ San Dimas SD24 CM, which sells for a slightly more manageable $2,799. Needless to say, that’s not cheap. But depending on your priorities, it’s a fair price for a very high quality, pro-level instrument.

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