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Carl Martin Launches the Ampster

Carl Martin Launches the Ampster

A 100% analog tube amp/speaker DI intended to supplement an amp, or replace it.

The Ampster, a single tube driven amp/speaker simulator that can either supplement your amp, or replace it. A fully analogue unit with controls that are the same as your amplifier with the addition of a mute switch, a speaker selection switch and a voicing switch. Additionally, the Ampster reacts to your playing in the same way your full-size amp does, giving you the same feel with zero latency.

The Ampster is housed in a solid metal box with the standard EQ (Bass Middle Treble), pre and post volume/gain controls (Master & Gain) plus a Presence Control. There is a Mute Switch for obvious reasons and a Cabinet Switch with an LED Indicator light (Red for a 2x12 Open Backed Cab, and Green for a 4x12 Closed Back Cab). On the back of the pedal, you will find a Ground Lift and a Voicing Switch (a subtle low-end cap controlled voicing adjustment). Input, Link (output to your amp or powered speaker) Balanced DI (XLR output to go to a mixing or recording console), a Send and Return for those specific effects that shouldn’t be in front of the amp, a Remote Input for use with digital or analogue effect controllers like the Carl Martin Octa-Switch ‘The Strip’, and your standard 9v 1A power input.

US MAP: USD 299.00. More info at www.carlmartin.com/ampster.

Fender’s 70th Anniversary American Vintage II 1954 Stratocaster has the feel, tone, and look of a genuine heirloom guitar.

Two Strats celebrating the iconic solidbody’s 70th Anniversary excel from different ends of the price spectrum.

Tones, dynamic range, and playability that showcase the expansive potential of a great Strat. Lively, blooming pickups. Near-flawless build. Great neck if you don’t mind a little thickness.

Thick neck may be too much for folks with smaller hands or conditioned to slimmer modern profiles.

$2,599

70th Anniversary American Vintage II 1954 Stratocaster
fender.com

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As a kid, my aesthetic leanings—particularly where guitars were concerned—were a little anachronistic and specific. In a time when canonical classics and shred machines ruled the collective guitar consciousness, I lovedcustom colors and odd shapes, so a sunburst Stratocaster, particularly one with a maple neck, was, to my eyes, downright uptight and institutional.

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Features include a MAX switch for 20dB or 33dB boost, PRE-GAIN knob for total gain control, and selectable Buffered/True Bypass switching.

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John Bohlinger puts an AI tool to the test—and finds a dog that says meow.

The AI driven paradigm shift is upon us, and it’s happening much quicker than we anticipated. You’ve undoubtedly seen AI make amazing stuff, but I was shocked when I checked out AI songwriting site suno.com. When prompted, I typed: “An acoustic-rock-style song. Dog is a compassionate counselor to humans but secretly a serial killer.”

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As he approaches his 80th year, Chris Smither remains a potent songwriter and guitarist whose work is truly timeless—carved from experience and a deep perspective into the human condition.

Photo by Jo Chattman

The veteran fingerstylist and songwriter—who’s had his songs covered by Bonnie Raitt, Emmylou Harris, and others—ponders the existential while celebrating the earthly. He also talks about the trajectory of his six-decades-long career, and how he learned to stop doing what’s unnecessary.

Now well into his sixth decade as a performer, with more than 20 albums behind him, singer-songwriter Chris Smither is doing some of his finest work. His vivid lyrics and resonant baritone on his new recording, All About the Bones, are elevated by his inimitable guitar style.

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