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The Best and Worst Gear of 2023: Rhett and Zach's Picks

The Best and Worst Gear of 2023: Rhett and Zach's Picks

On this year-end, in-person edition of Dipped In Tone, our two hosts look back on the year’s most inspiring pedals, guitars, and amps, plus the biggest gear disappointment.


Stew Mac

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It’s the most wonderful time of year: the “year in gear” season is finally upon us, and we’re celebrating with this special in-person episode of Dipped In Tone. Zach and Rhett gang up at Zach’s place to run down the best of the best of musical excellence and oddities in 2023.

The guys start in with their favorite stompboxes. Rhett tips his hat to Old Blood Noise Endeavors’ Beam Splitter, Hologram’s Chroma Console, and Universal Audio’s 1176 pedal, which he runs as a hard-clipped overdrive. Some might say it sounds shitty, but as Zach notes, “Shitty is pretty in the mix!” Zach’s “boring” picks include the Nobels ODR-1, his collection of new Tube Screamer variants, and the Poly Beebo. Along the way, they talk about the magic of going back to old gear they’d written off in their younger days, and dig into the root causes of Zach’s discomfort with more experimental playing approaches.

Rhett sings praises for the new Orange OR30 and remembers its early 2000s predecessor, the AD30, and he and Zach agree on the superior, “8K” quality of Two-Rock’s current offerings over nearly every other amp on the market. Out of this year’s axes, Rhett favors both Fender’s Vintera II ’60s Bass VI and the Mexican-made Jason Isbell Custom Telecaster, plus the Collings 470 JL—Julian Lage’s signature. Zach spotlights his PRS SE Silver Sky, and a gorgeous Gibson Custom Shop 1959 ES-335 Reissue.

Be sure to stick around for the end,when the duo call out the year’s biggest disappointment in gear, which Zach describes as “baby’s first modeler.”

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