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Buffalo FX's new Ram's Head will satisfy the tastes of players who lust after Gilmour's tone on Animals and The Wall.

If you line up a several original “ram’s head” Big Muffs, each will speak with a slightly different accent. Electro-Harmonix allegedly used some 20 different schematics for this second version of the Muff, which the company introduced in 1973. One constant among originals, however, is their midrange scoop, which can make the Muff a shadowy presence in a live situation.

Precision Muffin Makin’ Steve Painter of Buffalo FX says that addressing this midrange drop was the first priority of his ram’s head clone, and indeed, his NOS BC239C transistor-driven unit has a perceptible midrange bump and increased top-end headroom. The components are period-accurate—everything inside this black box existed in the ’70s.

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The retro-pop-meets-shredder sum of the Kingbolt's parts—the like of which we don’t see often—is quirky and eccentric without looking goofy.

Since taking flight in 1997, Reverend Guitars has garnered a reputation as a player’s company. With a lineup of instruments that include signature models of artists like country picker Pete Anderson, jazz/blues virtuoso Gil Parris, and avant rocker Reeves Gabrels, Reverend has always focused more on functionality than flash. At NAMM 2013, the Kingbolt was introduced as part of the company’s Bolt-On series, and it targets a heavy-metal/hard-rock market that the company has never really explored. Like most Reverends, though, it’s a solid performer that inhabits a unique place within its target market rather than aping established standard bearers.

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A smart, modern acoustic-electric grand auditorium that’s beautifully built and supremely playable.

Founded in 2001 by Adam Cole and Brad Clark, Cole Clark builds everything from acoustic guitars to lap steels and ukuleles. But the Australian company’s original intent was simpler—make steel-string flattops from unique, sustainable, and local tonewoods, such as bunya and Queensland maple. Cole Clark’s most recent offering, the Angel AN2A3-BB, stays true to the company’s original mission. But in many ways it’s a sum of the lessons Cole Clark has learned since the company started, and this adds up to a modern grand auditorium guitar of superlative quality.

The Design and Craftsmanship
At a glance, the Angel AN2A3BB looks more or less traditionally built, but like many Cole Clarks, it has a lot of constructional attributes that distinguish it from the average steel-string. For starters, it’s built with a Spanish heel, a construction method more associated with classical guitars that integrates neck and neck joint and is thought by many to transfer sound better than a dovetail joint. The top and back feature surfaces of standard thickness and ridged sides instead of the kerfing that reinforces most flattop bodies. According to Cole Clark, these alternative methods contribute significantly to the guitar’s projection and volume.

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