Dig into the details of a pile of new gear from Steve Vai, MXR, Abasi Concepts, Dophix, b3, and more!
Martin Custom Guitar
Here's the 2,500,000th guitar to come through Martin’s factory and built by their team. The guitar was made from birdseye Belizean rosewood and heavy Sitka spruce. Display built by Jody Betz.
Positive Grid Spark Mini
At $199, Dreadbox’s Treminator goes way past trad-style trem. It offers five different wave shapes, fade in/out controls, tap tempo, and a handful of “secret” features when you hold down one of the footswitches. Think Minus the Bear in a box.
Do you love Teles and wigglesticks? VegaTrem just gave us a quick look a the VT-2, which takes there rock-solid trem technology and applies it to T-style setups. Installation isn’t invasive and the bar feels smooth as silk. Pricing is TBA, but look for them this fall.
Manhattan Prestige Basses Session One
Famed session legend Neil Jason founded a new instrument company called Manhattan Prestige Basses and brought their first model, the Session One, to NAMM. It’s an incredibly well-balanced instrument that sports an alder body, maple neck, Tusq nut, Luminay fret markers, and a Wilkinson bridge. A rock-solid workhorse that comes in at $999 street.
Imperial Electric: The Appetite
The Audient EVO16 is a fully featured recording solution that offers 8 inputs, phantom power, multiple headphone outputs, and an inventive Smart Gain feature that makes setting levels a snap. Will hit stores soon at $499.
Pro Co Lil' Rat
The classic tone of the Rat has been shrunk into a micro-sized enclosure. It has the exact same circuitry and clipping as the original, just smaller. In order to save space they took out the battery option, but it still sounds as gnarly as ever. And quite a deal at $79.
Blackstar St. James
Blackstar spent the last two years developing a new line of ultra-powerful and ultra-light amps. The St James series offers two different setups (6L6 and EL84) that include a full 3-band EQ, dual channels, reverb, reactive load options, and deep editing via an app. Heads are $1,199, combos are $1,299, and the 2x12 can is $749.
Martin D-28 Rich Robinson Guitar
Martin just released a new signature model from Rich Robinson that was patterned after his dad’s ‘50s model. It has rosewood back and sides, a chunky neck, Sitka spruce too, and is the first artist model that's aged to replicate the original. It will street for $6,999 and be out in late summer.
Ernie Ball Music Man Tosin Abasi Kaizen
Futuristic shredder Tosin Abasi just announced a new collaboration with Ernie Ball Music Man. The Kaizen is an immaculately designed 7-string that sports a mini humbucker in the neck, Steinberger tuners, a multiscale neck with floating trem, and much more. Should be out in late summer with a price TBA.
Steve Vai Hydra
One of the most incredible creations at this year’s show was Steve Vai’s Ibanez Hydra. It was prominently featured on Vai’s last album and the up-close details are amazing.
Tom Quayle Signature
Ibanez and fusion stylist Tom Quayle extended their partnership with a singlecut signature model that's loaded with a Seymour Duncan mini-humbucker in the neck and an Alnico Pro II in the bridge.
Abasi Concepts emi Series
Dophix Michelangelo Overdrive Plus
b3 Guitars Telstar
Gene Baker and b3 Guitars brought their mashed-up Telstar to the show. It pays obvious tribute to a pair of classic models, but this one features a 10(!)-way switch, Lollar pickups, a double graphite reinforced bolt-on neck, and a MannMade hybrid tremolo. They will be exclusively sold through The Music Emporium and will start at $5,200.
Gamechanger Audio Bigsby Pedal
Gamechanger Audio's new collaboration with Fender has resulted in a digital version of a seminal tremolo. The Bigsby pedal allows for both upward and downward polyphonic pitch bending in addition to adjusting the rate of the vibrato. It feels smooth and natural and makes the more extreme Bigsby moves much easier. It's available now for $379.
Black Volt Amplification Earthcaster
MXR and Third Man Hardware Double Down
The latest pedal collab from Jack White's Third Man Records is the Double Down. Inside, there are two of MXR's Micro Amp circuits in a single box. It has dual outputs with phase and buffer switches on the side. Should be out later this year.
As this annual celebration of music and community approaches two decades in the running, Phish reclaims the festival-circuit reins of the premier festival it helped inspire. Here are some highlights from the Bonnaroo farm.
Phish’s Trey AnastasioPhish frontman Trey Anastasio’s fingers glide smooth like butter across the frets of his Paul Languedoc Koa guitar. A major highlight of the band’s six-hour stage time over the four-day weekend was the longest groove of Friday’s set, a 14-minute rendition of “Everything’s Alright.” That song’s message was easily digested by a committed hippie-friendly crowd who came in droves to see the pioneers who trailblazed jam-band fests.
For Bonnaroo’s 17th year, the godfather of modern music festivals went back to its roots with one of the bands that pretty much invented the jam circuit. Phish headlined two nights out of four on June 13-16, in Manchester, Tennessee, and their followers showed up, too, selling out the 80,000 capacity for the first time since 2013. For Bonnaroo’s inaugural year in 2002, Trey Anastasio headlined with Widespread Panic. Even back then, Anastasio and his band Phish had already been doing this for years: In 1996, they held the Clifford Ball festival in Vermont and drew 70,000 people to an event where Phish was the only act, and these massive concerts became a regular tradition.
And so it goes, decades later, Phish got the most stage time at ’Roo, about six hours in total over multiple sets, because hey, give the people what they want. Bonnaroo’s genre-leaping lineup might be spastic for listeners who keep their eggs pretty much in one basket, but with four days and more than 100 acts in the lineup, it’s a music fiend’s dream. Have a look at our handpicked highlights of players who performed this year, and go down the rabbit hole of discovery, because that’s what it’s all about on this farm. P.S. Did you know Post Malone plays guitar? We weren’t able to photograph it, but here’s a video of him playing solo acoustic on “Stay.”)
An inside look at 10 of the Pink Floyd legend’s most iconic guitars that will be sold at auction in New York on June 20.
1969 Martin D-35
David Gilmour purchased one of his most cherished Martins, this 1969 D-35, in 1971 while on the way to the famous Manny’s Music in New York City. Gilmour had purchased his iconic “Black Strat” from Manny’s just the year before. “It was a very New York experience—the sort of thing we English boys had seen in films,” Gilmour told Christie’s regarding his pilgrimages to buy guitars at Manny’s in the ’70s. “It’s hard to describe, but it was a wonderful place.” However, this Martin D-35 came into his possession while he was en route to Manny’s, not in the store itself.
At that time, there was as much business happening on the sidewalks of Manhattan’s 48th Street, where Manny’s was located, as there was going on in the stores lining the block. Gilmour was approached on the street by a musician who was hawking a Martin D-35. Gilmour took a look inside the case, played the guitar a bit, and bought it on the spot. It became his primary studio acoustic for both Pink Floyd and his solo recordings for decades, most notably appearing on “Wish You Were Here” and “Shine On You Crazy Diamond,” an homage to Pink Floyd co-founder Syd Barrett, who left the band in 1968.
“There’s a great quote from Gilmour when he was interviewed by Desert Island Discs [a popular radio show on BBC Radio 4] years ago,” says Christie’s musical instruments specialist Kerry Keane. “They asked him, ‘What would you need on a desert island?’ and he basically said, ‘It’s not what I need; it’s what I have to have and that would be my Martin D-35. It’s the best guitar I own. It’s the guitar that’s always by my side. I’ve written just about every piece of music using that guitar. My ideas come through that guitar.’”
For more than 50 years, David Gilmour has been a master artist, using the guitar as his main vehicle to create some of the most recognizable songs in the canon of rock music history. This month, he’s selling 120 of these tools in what is being hailed as the largest and most comprehensive guitar collection ever to be auctioned, according to Christie’s, the British auction house coordinating the event.
Value estimates range from $300 to $150,000 per guitar. Gilmour says he’s not retiring any time soon: Selling these instruments is his way of giving back. All proceeds from the sale will go to Gilmour’s longtime charitable foundation. (Here is a list of organizations Gilmour has supported in the past.)
“These guitars have been very good to me and many of them have gifted me pieces of music over the years,” Gilmour says. “They have paid for themselves many times over, but it’s now time that they moved on. Guitars were made to be played and it is my wish that wherever they end up, they continue to give their owners the gift of music. By auctioning these guitars, I hope that I can give some help where it is really needed and through my charitable foundation do some good in this world. It will be a wrench to see them go and perhaps one day I’ll have to track one or two of them down and buy them back!”
The David Gilmour Guitar Collection exhibit, a selection of his 10 most significant instruments, was on display in London in late March of this year, and then made a stop in Los Angeles in early May before its final viewing in New York, which will take place June 14-19. During the L.A. showcase, Premier Guitar had a chance to view these 10 selected guitars privately and up close, including the Holy Grail: Gilmour’s Black Strat. With details provided by Christie’s instrument specialist Kerry Keane and Gilmour himself, here’s a look at some of the most famous guitars in the world.