So much more than the sum of its parts, the E89 is the latest addition to the Trev Wilkinson-designed Encore range.
Leeds, United Kingdom (July 10, 2013) -- Encore, purveyors of the greatest 'first guitars' money can buy, are set to become the Number 1 choice for the burgeoning rock and metal player with the release of the Encore E89 rock guitar.
So much more than the sum of its parts, the E89 is the latest addition to the Trev Wilkinson-designed Encore range. Available in striking Gloss Black and Thru Red finishes (both with black headstocks), the E89 is ergonomic in construction, allowing you to concentrate on the most important thing – making great music!
The E89 features a streamlined double cutaway basswood body, which gives great access to all 24 frets. The maple neck with rosewood fingerboard is slim and fast-playing, and the guitar is strung through the body, giving amazing amounts of sustain and clarity – not to mention making changing strings a lot easier for less experienced players.
Sounds come courtesy of two supercharged Guitar Tech humbuckers operated by a three-way switch and master Volume and Tone knobs. The open 'buckers and chrome knobs and hardware juxtapose perfectly with the E89's lack of a scratchplate, meaning you're getting a guitar that not only plays and sounds fantastic, but looks the business too.
The Encore E89 is in guitar stores now at £169 UK RRP, and is also available as an outfit for £239 UK RRP, which includes the guitar plus a 10-watt amp, tuner, carry bag, stand, lead, strap, Encore Tutorial DVD, spare set of strings, plectrum, and a list of guitar tutors in the UK.
Encore E89 specifications:
- Body: Basswood
- Neck: Maple – Bolt On
- Fingerboard: Rosewood
- Scale: 25.5”/648mm
- Frets: 24, Medium Jumbo
- Neck Inlays: Pearloid Dot
- Tuners: Chrome
- Bridge: Tune-o-Matic
- Pickups: 2 x Guitar Tech humbuckers
- Hardware: Chrome
- Controls:1 x Volume/ 1 x Tone/ 3-Way Lever
Encore is distributed worldwide by John Hornby Skewes & Co. Ltd.
For more information:
VOX StompLab IIB Pedal Review
Vox''s StompLab IIB is a portable, tone workstation that offers up a ton of great sounds while still being kind to both the back and the wallet.
During the all-in-one floorboards and digital-processing dark ages of the early ’90s, it was next to impossible to find an affordable unit that could actually produce the deity-like tones that were promised. Vox’s new StompLab IIB for bass is one example that really shows just how far multi-effect units have evolved in the last couple of decades. With the StompLab IIB, Vox has achieved an admirable balance of great tones on tap, extreme portability, and pricing that won’t send many bassists running. And while there are instances where its small size can work against it, the tonal capabilities that live within the StompLab’s tiny enclosure are well worth exploring.
At only 8 1/2" wide and a hair shy of 5" deep, the StompLab IIB takes up very little real estate on the floor. At first glance, its diminutive stature and fire-truck-red paint give it the look of a small toy, but the metal chassis, smooth pot movement, and solid, weighty feel in the hands quickly alleviate any possible concerns about durability. Powered by either a 9V power supply or four AA batteries, the StompLab IIB is ready for the studio or travel, though it is somewhat limited with just a single 1/4" jack to handle both mono and stereo headphones outputs.
Despite the limited output options, the StompLab’s tonal capabilities are quite extensive. There are a total of 61 effect, amplifier, and cabinet models to choose from, each of which can be stored in one of 20 user programs in any configuration you can dream up (provided that your dreams allow for a maximum of eight effects at one time). Vox also includes 100 pre-programmed patches, which helps in getting started with the pedal right out of the box. Since the StompLab’s LED readout is only able to display two numbers or letters at a time, you’ll most likely be spending some time referring to the manual until you memorize the readouts that correspond to each model.
That said, creating and altering programs is a cinch. The StompLab’s default mode (dubbed “program”) allows you to you start off by selecting the desired musical genre from the category control knob, which will then pipe in an amp that reflects that music’s tonal character. Two conjoining knobs adjust the amp’s gain and volume levels, and stomping on the pedal’s two footswitches allows scrolling up and down through the program banks. Pressing the edit button engages the, yes, edit mode, which reassigns most of the pedal’s controls for secondary functions—such as calling up effects, editing their parameters, and telling the LED screen what values to display. You can also assign the tiny onboard expression pedal to control any parameter of the amps and effects you wish.
When taking into consideration the surprisingly great tones that live within its dainty enclosure, the StompLab IIB provides a lot of bang for the buck. With a Fender American Jazz bass at the helm, Vox’s little red devil dished out excellent clean tones with plenty of definition and character. The amplifier models assigned to each genre selection lined up perfectly with what one would expect, be it for warm and smooth jazz tones, meaty and aggressive hard-rock swagger, or even some really wild and strange sounds for modern dance music. What was even more impressive was how nicely they tracked into my DAW, demonstrating how well Vox understands that half of a great, modeled tone is dependent on good mic’ing emulation.
Even though each of the effects has just two controllable parameters, they’re surprisingly malleable. The envelope filters in particular have a massive range from subtle to extreme, and they respond to picking dynamics with excellent sensitivity. Phasing and flanging actually sound like they’re performing their duties from within the effect, instead of just careening through the high frequencies with a digital edge that’s common in other modelers in this price range. And the onboard expression pedal is not only handy for volume swelling and wah effects, but also for ramping up modulation rates and filter-frequency ranges for some truly spectacular and bizarre tones. It should be noted that I ran into some issues positioning my foot to fully control its sweep, simply because the expression pedal is so small. With the limited space, I also had to be careful not to accidently hit the volume control knob with the end of my foot, which I ended up doing several times.
Solid build. Surprisingly great tone for the price. Plenty of models to work with. Great direct sounds.
Small expression pedal is hard to use. Only one 1/4" output. Overdrives, distortions, and fuzzes can be shrill. Tricky LED interface.
Ease of Use:
The overdrive and fuzz boxes delivered the only real questionable tones during my time with the StompLab. Mild overdrives were generally rich-sounding and added burlier elements to the midrange—especially with the UK Major and LA Studio models. But as I turned up the gain into heavier territory, the highs had a tendency to get raspier and overbearing. Switching over to distortion models like the Orange Dist or Shred Dist—or the four fuzz models—only compounded this issue. Still, I was pretty impressed at how well the higher-gain models could transform the tone into an industrial-tinged wall of sound. The Techno Fuzz and Crusher models in particular were very effective in achieving wooly industrial-synth-fuzz tones in the vein of Nine Inch Nails and Ministry, but those with a penchant for classic-sounding bass overdrive will probably want to steer clear of the StompLab’s gnarlier distortions.
For a portable, tone workstation that’s kind to both the back and the wallet, Vox’s StompLab IIB is hard to topple. There’s a ton of great sounds living in this little box, and they’re worth exploring even if it takes some time to manage the learning curve. Bassists with larger feet will face a little frustration with the small expression pedal (though Vox does offer an expression pedal-less version with the StompLab IB for $69). And with just one 1/4" out, the StompLab could have benefited from having an XLR direct out or even a USB output for direct recording. Aside from those concerns, its versatility, tone, and portability make it a very solid choice for the bassist who is looking for a compact modeling unit that’s ideal for travel and on-the-fly jam sessions.
'60s Silvertone "Sharkfin" ET-460 K4L
When three pickups simply won’t do, reach for a Silvertone ET-460 K4L There was a time when a man was judged by the number of pickups on his guitar.
When three pickups simply won’t do, reach for a Silvertone ET-460 K4L
There was a time when a man was judged by the number of pickups on his guitar. Ah, those were the days—the glorious ’60s!
After seeing some 4-pickup Silvertones show up on eBay over the years, I decided I needed to experience one. So I bookmarked this particular guitar—an old ’60s teal-colored Silvertone ET-460 K4L. Nicknamed the “Sharkfin,” the instrument was made in Japan by Teisco. On this model, each of the 4 pickups has its own on/off switch, a system that allows a mind-boggling number of different pickup combinations. (Okay, that’s only 15, not including “all off,” but compared to a Tele, Les Paul, or Strat, this seems almost infinite.)
This guitar’s “Sharkfin” moniker comes from its cool, sculpted headstock. The Grover tuners were added by a previous owner.
The seller admitted that his tech had declared the neck was slightly twisted, and this probably kept bidding low. It was also missing one of the bridge roller inserts for the low-E string, as well as the Silvertone headstock logo.
I decided to take my chances anyway because everything else seemed to be there, and apparently all the pickups worked. Also, someone had replaced the tuners with nice Grovers, and the original tuners would be included in the case for the winner. I always figure when an owner changes out the original tuners for Grovers, the guitar must be pretty decent, so I bid on it.
The entire guitar sports a teal paint job.
I won it for $262, plus $18 shipping. Not exactly a steal, but definitely within bottom-feeder territory. It arrived with no strings on it (usually a bad sign), and I immediately took it to my tech Jack Dillen for an assessment. He was amused by all the pickups and switches. He put on a single high-E string, started fretting it all over the neck, and after a few minutes gave me some good news: The neck was actually in good condition. It only appeared to be twisted because a half-dozen frets were popping up.
After Jack applied a few dabs of super glue and clamped the loose frets to reseat them, the neck seemed to be just fine. He also looked in his parts box and found a compatible roller bridge saddle to replace the missing one. These simple modifications made my Sharkfin work just fine.
The Bigsby-inspired bridge includes roller saddles.
Bottom Feeder Tip #2,289: Keep your friends close, but keep your guitar tech even closer. It was my guitar tech against the seller’s tech ... and mine won. So is it a keeper? Absolutely—it now has super-low action, plays like a dream, and seems to possess a gazillion different sounds, thanks to all the unusual pickup combinations. I also dig the cool “pointy” Jetsons vibe. She’s a real retro-future looker!