gear award 2019

The 60+ guitars, amps, pedals, basses, and accessories that stood out from the crowd and earned our coveted Premier Gear Award this year.

Carr Telstar

Carr Telstar

This handwired 17-watt, 1x12 combo employs two familiar power tubes—a 6L6 and an EL84—to produce the presence and immediacy of a great Fender tweed, the thrilling sparkle of Vox overdrive, and a tighter, tougher bass response than you’d expect from a strictly vintage midsized combo. Telstar’s suave spring reverb, strong note fundamentals, articulate attack, and extraordinary touch response caused Joe Gore to exclaim, “I love this frickin’ amp.”

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$2,450 street,

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Plus! December Premier Gear Award Winners!
Read the full reviews on the pages indicated below!

1. Peavey Invective.MH$699 street,
2. Chase Bliss Dark World$349 street,
3. Comins CGS-16 $2,399 street,
4. Ernie Ball Music Man Short-Scale StingRay$1,999 street,
5. EBS MicroBass 3$349 street,

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Spring-reverb junkies rejoice: This brilliant offering from France puts three amp-rivaling ambience options right on your pedalboard.

Recorded using a Squier Vintage Modified Telecaster Custom with Curtis Novak Tele-V bridge and JM-V neck pickups going into a Ground Control Tsukuyomi boost (set at 9 o’clock) and then into a Warehouse G10C/S-equipped 1976 Fender Vibrolux Reverb (with reverb off) miked with a Royer R-121 and feeding an Apogee Duet going into GarageBand with no EQ-ing, compression, or effects.
Clip 1: Le Bon tank (first bypassed) then with two different settings: 1) All controls at noon and spring-saturation switch off, first in middle pickup position, then neck pickup. 2) Out and low at max, mix at 2 o’clock, and high at 10 o’clock, first in middle pickup position, then in middle pickup position with spring-saturation switch engaged.
Clip 2: Same as clip 1, but with La Brute tank.
Clip 3: Same as clip 1, but with Le Truand tank.


Adds world-class spring-reverb sounds of all stripes to any amp. Great build. Reasonable price.

Requires careful pedalboard placement and possibly extra padding, particularly for heavy stompers.

$349 street (Premium bundle, tested), $249 (Le Bon bundle), $279 (La Brute bundle), $299 (Le Truand bundle)

Anasounds Element


Ease of Use:


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Though capable of chaotic violence, this granular delay is also ingenious, inspiring, and endlessly fun.

Many cool tones—and the means to control them. Fine sound quality. Good price.

Definitely not for-everyone.


Red Panda Particle 2


You’re about to read a rave review of an innovative and inspiring pedal. Red Panda’s Particle 2 is practically guaranteed to take your tones to new places. But before proceeding, be aware that those destinations aren’t for everybody.

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