Meet the 41 guitars, basses, amps, and effects that blew our minds this year with their fantastic tones, innovative features, and all-around awesomeness.
When it rains it pours. That’s what we learned while assembling the roster for this year’s Premier Gear Award winners. After all, this glut of gear goodness meant we tickled our ears—well sometimes pummeled our ears—with tones dulcet, dangerous, daring, and delectable. It also means that you, faithful reader, will be swimming in possibilities—which is a damn good thing when it comes to making music. Traditionalist, futurist, minimalist, maximalist … no matter where you fall on the guitar geek chart, you owe it yourself to test-drive at least one of the instruments or gadgets among the winners’ ranks. Heck, we think you should try ’em all. So rip it up, readers—let those furious notes fly. This is the crème de la crème of 2012, and it’s there for the pickin’!
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While the Verellen Meat Smoke’s odd moniker and charred visage conjures thoughts of feasting on brisket and pulled pork, the heavyas- heck sounds lurking within this 300-watt monster are more mouth watering than the biggest Memphis BBQ banquet. Like the Marshall Major and Sunn Coliseum back in the ’70s, the Meatsmoke is equally suited for guitar or bass, and the six 6550 power tubes will give any player enough headroom to shatter glass with sweet clean tones. But it also has an overdrive channel that generates heaps of midrange grunt and grind that will spin the heads of metal fiends and stoner rockers out to do major damage. In our review, we suggested it might be the best new amp on the market for doom rock, sludge metal, and postrock players for whom massive volume is an essential musical texture. And though that may remain a subjective assertion, you can be certain the Meatsmoke will be too beautifully deafening for you to hear anyone arguing the point. verellenamplifiers.com