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Charvel’s affordable metal machine offers incredible playability and crushing overdriven tones.

Since the ’80s, the name Charvel has been more or less synonymous with hot-rodded solidbodies. With strong Fender roots, Charvel adopted a no-frills approach to guitar design that helped usher in an era of streamlined shred machines for players seeking the perfect platform for acrobatic lead work, raunchy rhythms, and supreme tuning stability for tremolo dive-bombing.

Fast-forward to 2013, and Charvel—now operating under the umbrella of the Fender family—is still building guitars that expertly blend proven designs with stripped-down, shred-oriented elements. The Desolation Soloist DX-1 ST blends classic “super strat” concepts that metal players have grown to love with a silky, slender neck, a deeply carved neck joint, and mammoth-sized tone.

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Bogner's beastliest amp is made miniature—and still slays.

Excellent sounds in a portable and very affordably priced package.

A footswitchable clean channel and onboard reverb would make it perfect.

$329

Bogner Ecstasy Mini
bogneramplification.com

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The original Bogner Ecstasy, released in 1992, is iconic in heavy rock circles. Though it was popularized and preferred by rock and metal artists (Steve Vai and Brad Whitford were among famous users), its ability to move from heavy Brit distortion to Fender-like near-clean tones made it appealing beyond hard-edged circles. Even notorious tone scientist Eric Johnson was enamored with its capabilities.

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Rig Rundown: IDLES

See how chaotic co-pilots Mark Bowen and Lee Kiernan bring five pedalboards to mutilate, mangle, and mask their guitars into bass, synth, hip-hop beats, raging elephant sounds, and whatever “genk” is.

Do you hear that thunder? That’s the sound of strength in numbers. Specifically, it's the sound of four 100-watt stacks. (Actually, one is a 200-watt bass tube head.) IDLES’ guitarists Mark Bowen and Lee Kiernan finally have the firepower to match their fury. (Original members singer/lyricist Joe Talbot, drummer Jon Beavis, and bassist Adam Devonshire fill out the band. Kiernan took over for guitarist Andy Stewart after 2015 EP Meat was released.)

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