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The Year in Gear 2015

Our favorite guitars, basses, amps, effects, and accessories from the last 12 months.

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Way Huge Blue Hippo

Another gem from the workbench of Jeorge Tripps. The Blue Hippo brims with thick analog-chorus goodness—the kind that makes people who claim to hate chorus rethink their relationship with the effect. Blue Hippo also incudes a tasty, if darkish, vibrato channel. Another Way Huge steal, if you ask us!
$169 street
jimdunlop.com

Click here to read the full review

In the years we’ve compiled our annual list of Premier Gear Award winners, we’ve probably never seen a list more eclectic than 2015’s. From high-gain monster amps and atmospheric reverbs to mini overdrives and wahs, 2015’s award winners covered all the bases.

As always, it was a joy to see how both big-time musical instrument industry players and little shops a step removed from the garage managed to haul in Premier Guitar’s prize for gear excellence. And if anyone’s counting, we’re pretty sure we also set a record for Premier Gear Award winners. So we hope you’re comfy—this list of primo gear may take some time to cover.

Full Slash Interview
Full Slash Interview on New Blues Album, S.E.R.P.E.N.T. Festival, Guitar Gear, Pedal Steel & More

The guitar icon shares what went into making his chart-topping blues album and what gear fans can expect to see at the S.E.R.P.E.N.T. Blues Festival tour.

With two channels of 100% valve versatility, selectable output wattage, and footswitchable attenuator.

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This 1968 Epiphone Al Caiola Standard came stocked with P-90s and a 5-switch Tone Expressor system.

Photo courtesy of Guitar Point (guitarpoint.de)

Photo courtesy of Guitar Point (guitarpoint.de)

The session ace’s signature model offers a wide range of tones at the flip of a switch … or five.

Hello and welcome back to Mod Garage. Not long ago, I came home late from a band rehearsal, still overly excited about the new songs we played. I got myself a coffee (I know, it's a crazy procedure to calm down) and turned on the TV. I ended up with an old Bonanza episode from the ’60s, the mother of all Western TV series. Hearing the theme after a long time instantly reminded me of the great Al Caiola, who is the prolific session guitarist who plays on the song. With him in mind, I looked up the ’60s Epiphone “Al Caiola” model and decided I want to talk about the Epiphone/Gibson Tone Expressor system that was used in this guitar.

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Slinky playability, snappy sounds, and elegant, comfortable proportions distinguish an affordable 0-bodied flattop.

Satisfying, slinky playability. Nice string-to-string balance. Beautiful, comfortable proportions.

Cocobolo-patterned HPL back looks plasticky.

$699

Martin 0-X2E
martinguitar.com

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Embracing the idea of an acoustic flattop made with anything other than wood can, understandably, be tricky stuff. There’s a lot of precedent for excellent-sounding acoustics built with alternative materials, though. Carbon-fiber flattops can sound amazing and I’ve been hooked by the sound and playability of Ovation and Adamas instruments many times.

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