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Musikmesse 2014 - Editors' Picks

Our editors scoured the halls of Europe's biggest gear show for the most interesting guitars, amps, pedals, and more!

PG Editors pick their top gear from Musikmesse '14. See all of our Musikmesse coverage here.

Nick Page


Poland-born, Berlin-based luthier Nick Page creates ultra-high-end, one-of-a-kind custom instruments. His designs boast unique and exquisite detailing, yet they have a worn-in, well-loved feel. We lusted after his three new semi-hollowbody models: Blitz, with its Charlie Christian neck pickup (beneath a humbucker cover), a bridge PAF, and a customized Duesenberg trem; Ida Marie, a paisley-patterned beauty with a maple ply top, bird’s eye maple neck, and dual humbuckers; and Le Sabre, with its etched metal pickguard, dual humbuckers, and modded Duesenberg trem. Page winds all his own pickups.

BluGuitar Amp 1


Thomas Blug, creator of some of Hughes & Kettner’s best products, has gone solo with his BluGuitar line. He knocked us out at Musikmesse 2014 with Amp 1, a four-channel, 100-watt amp head that looks like a small multi-effect pedal. Employing much novel circuitry—and a single micro-sized Russian tube—the tiny floor unit summoned fat, full tones the belied its modest size.

Alvarez Elite Masterworks Series


Alvarez introduced several new high-end acoustic guitars from their Elite Masterworks series at Musikmesse 2014. We dug the Blues Elite BE70SB (far right), a pretty and petite acoustic with a true carved top of AA Sitka spruce, a one-piece mahogany neck, Indian rosewood back and sides, flamed maple binding, hand-carved bracing, a bi-level ebony bridge, and lovely pearl and abalone inlays. Another beaut was the MGA70E (top), a grand auditorium-sized model with an AA Sitka spruce top, East Indian rosewood back and sides, a mahogany neck, and many attractive appointments. Another AA Sitka/rosewood beauty, the BE70CE (lower left), features a single cutaway.

Hagstrom Northern Super Swede


Sweden’s Hagstom resurrected a classic bass at Musikmesse 2014. The Northern Super Swede reproduces the instrument that Abba’s Rutger Gunnarsson played on such hits as “Dancing Queen.” When we say it’s a neck-through model, we mean it: A single slab of mahogany runs from headstock to bridge, surrounded by double-cutaway mahogany wings. The pickups are hand-wound J-types by Lundgren.

Aalberg Audio Ekko & Aero


Norway’s Aalberg Audio previewed a cool crowd-funded delay pedal at Musikmesse 2014. It’s comprised of two components: Ekko, a digital delay stompbox with light meters to denote the delay time, feedback, and mix settings, and Aero, a small, ergonomic wireless controller that can be clip-mounted on your guitar, belt, or wherever. Aero’s push/pull pot lets you set tempo by tapping, scroll through effect parameters, and enter values. It’s the first in a planned series of remote-controllable effects.

TV Jones Brian Setzer Signature Pickups


TV Jones has been winding pickups for Brian Setzer for 20 years, but has only now released a Brian Setzer signature model, which debuted at Musikmesse 2014. It’s descended from the Gretsch Filter’Tron, but features a new pole screw alloy and what Jones describes as a “more over the top” sound. It’s a sonic knockout with crackling transients and airy highs that never seem harsh, and a fat bottom end to anchor that brightness. It sounds stunning through an overdriven amp, where the bold treble response maintains definition even as you slather on the gain.

On her new record with her trio, Molly Miller executes a live-feeling work of structural harmony that mirrors her busy life.

Photo by Anna Azarov

The accomplished guitarist and teacher’s new record, like her lifestyle, is taut and exciting—no more, and certainly no less, than is needed.

Molly Miller, a self-described “high-energy person,” is fully charged by the crack of dawn. When Ischeduled our interview, she opted for the very first slot available—8:30 a.m.—just before her 10 a.m. tennis match!

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George Benson’s Dreams Do Come True: When George Benson Meets Robert Farnonwas recorded in 1989. The collaboration came about after Quincy Jones told the guitarist that Farnon was “the greatest arranger in all the world.”

Photo by Matt Furman

The jazz-guitar master and pop superstar opens up the archive to release 1989’s Dreams Do Come True: When George Benson Meets Robert Farnon, and he promises more fresh collab tracks are on the way.

“Like everything in life, there’s always more to be discovered,”George Benson writes in the liner notes to his new archival release, Dreams Do Come True: When George Benson Meets Robert Farnon. He’s talking about meeting Farnon—the arranger, conductor, and composer with credits alongside Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, and Vera Lynn, among many others, plus a host of soundtracks—after Quincy Jones told the guitarist he was “the greatest arranger in all the world.”

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The new Jimi Hendrix documentary chronicles the conceptualization and construction of the legendary musician’s recording studio in Manhattan that opened less than a month before his untimely death in 1970. Watch the trailer now.

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Rivolta Guitars' Sferata | PG Plays
Rivolta Guitars' Sferata | PG Plays

PG contributor Tom Butwin dives into the Rivolta Sferata, part of the exciting new Forma series. Designed by Dennis Fano and crafted in Korea, the Sferata stands out with its lightweight simaruba wood construction and set-neck design for incredible playability.

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