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Gear Review : Zoom H4 Recorder PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 05 February 2009 03:12
By Ken Volpe - GJD
The Zoom H4 Recorder is a versatile little recorder.  It’s jammed packed with many features such as on-board effects, built-in condenser mics, phantom-powered external mic inputs.  Amazingly enough you are able to use it as a 4-track recorder and record these tracks in a 24 bit/96khz format.

I was able to utilize the H4 in a variety of applications.  First, I used the internal mics to record my band’s rehearsal.  The recording quality was very realistic and I was easily able to save the performance to an MP3 for all of the band members to review the songs we had composed and performed.

Next, we recorded some live interviews that aired on GuitarJamDaily with great results.  Since this was on the fly, the internal mics were once again the logical choice.  FYI: they were the 3 interviews that our own Scotty X did with Brad Whitford, Eric Gales, and Doyle Bramhall II.  So go check it out for yourself and hear the excellent results.
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The Winter NAMM Awards: Futures PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 29 January 2009 13:55
By Jim Basara - GJD
At GJD, we love bringing you information about things you probably haven’t heard about yet.   This year, there were some folks at NAMM who had prototypes of ideas and were looking for strategic partners to help bring their dreams to reality.  Two of those inventions really caught our attention as ideas that have a real chance of “making it”.

Glasstones – Inventor/entrepreneur Mark Payung was playing slide guitar one day and began thinking about the pure sound his glass slide made on the strings.  If that sounds great, what would it sound like if the strings were attached to glass?  These kinds of questions are how innovation happens.


So Mark went out and got himself a patent on making a guitar sound platform (nut, bridge, fretboard, and frets) made out of glass.  The result is a very unique tone with a clarity and sustain I have not heard before.  While the “feel” of glass under your fingers is different than wood, it has such a distinct sound that I believe there will be a considerable number of players who would use this instrument as a utility guitar, if not a main axe.

We’re going to do a more in-depth interview with Mark and take a closer look at his technology in an upcoming article, but it is definitely worth tracking.

Shred-O-Meter – Quite frequently at NAMM, they have “World’s Fastest Drummer” competitions where they have devices that measure the speed of a drummer as the sticks make contact with the drummer.  I’ve watched them several times and always thought it would be cool if they could do that with guitars.  Tobias Hurwitz asked himself a similar question, and then did something about it.  Tobias created a device called the Shred-O-Meter that actually monitors the speed of notes being played on a guitar.  It’s really quite amazing and has tons of potential for everything from a highly technical practice tool to the beginning of an interface for a REAL guitar game. 

The picture below shows Tobias and his partner Jay with a prototype of the Shred-O-Meter that they were showing off at NAMM.  Many of the big pedal manufacturers were drooling over its potential, so I’m very confident that we’ll one day see Tobias’ invention come to fruition.

 
The Winter NAMM Awards: Best Guitar Accessories PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 28 January 2009 04:53
By Jim Basara - GJD
In chapter 3 of the 2009 NAMM awards, we look at some of the better guitar accessories that we found.  Naturally, there were thousands of such things to look at, but these are three items that struck us as particularly innovative and “cool”.

Grab Axe
– 30 years ago, I had one of the very first Dean “Z” models (explorer body style).  One day at a gig, some bone-head ran across the stage, tripped over my cord, and pulled the guitar off its stand and cracked the headstock in half.  I’ve since learned that this is not at all an uncommon occurrence, especially with people who lean their guitars up against their amplifiers.  Mick Lindens Gig Gear has responded with a very simple and innovative device called the Grab Axe.  This simple strap secures the guitar in vertical position using a strap that attaches to your amp’s handle.  It works great, is super simple, and is a heck of a lot easier to carry around than a guitar stand.
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The Winter NAMM Awards: Best New Amps PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 27 January 2009 15:35
By Jim Basara - GJD
In yesterday’s article, we talked about some of the best new guitar offerings that we saw at the NAMM show last weekend.  Today, we’re going to highlight a few new amps.

First up is the new series of high-end amps from Paul Reed Smith.  Paul has clearly been busy this year, launching not only the new acoustic guitars that we highlighted last week, but a new guitar amp series that will certainly get a lot of attention.
 
The new series of amps consists of three models:
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2009 Winter NAMM: Best New Guitars - Part 2 PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 23 January 2009 15:59
By Jim Basara - GJD
Part 2 of 2009 Winter NAMM: Best New Guitars - click here for Part 1

Fender Roadworn – Over the past few years, Fender Custom Shop has been a driving force behind creating a whole new market of relic and distressed instruments.  Fender has now brought the relic mojo to the mainstream market with its new Roadworn series.  This new guitar line has great vibe with its distressed look, but I also REALLY liked the feel of the relic’d necks.  As a fan of naked (unfinished or lightly finished) necks, the Fender Roadworn axes felt super smooth in my hands – better than any non-Custom-Shop Fender I’ve ever played.  There are five models in the new Roadworn line:

1.    ‘50s Strat
2.    ’60s Strat
3.    ‘50s Tele
4.    ‘50s P Bass
5.    ‘60s J Bass

Each model is built to the specs of its namesake era.  The guitars feature a nitrocellulose-lacquer finish to duplicate the finish of the age.  The six-string models feature supercharged Tex-Mex pickups, and 6105 frets.


Gigliotti Guitars

Long time GJD readers may remember that we reviewed the Gigliotti Joe Bonamassa model, in detail, after its initial launch.  Based on his success with Bonamassa, Patrick Gigliotti has launched an eye-popping line of guitars that got a lot of attention at NAMM.  The Gigliotti line is essentially a build-to-order guitar line that comes in two basic models: the GT and the GS (tele-style and strat-style, respectively) with a whole host of options (neck size, frets, pickups, paint, etc.).  All of the guitars come with the revolutionary Gigliotti Voicing System, which is available in either brass or aluminum.  The guitars are nothing short of amazing in every aspect and they were a real standout in a hall full of thousands of instruments. 

 
XOX Piezo Model

XOX has now established itself as the leader in carbon fiber electric guitars.  They were one of my picks last year with the introduction of their “Handle” guitar, and this year they expanded their line with three new models.  They collaborated with Billy Sheehan on a baritone model called the “Billytone” and they worked with Earl Slick on a signature Earl Slick model, both of which are fabulous guitars.  But what really blew me away was their new “AcousticXOX”.  I was doubtful when I first saw it because I just couldn’t imagine a piezo in a carbon fiber guitar that is, to say the least, thin on body material.  The guitar features a DiMarzio Hot Minibucker and a Tone Pros piezo bridge with the Ghost system preamp.  The pickups can be blended for a wonderful hybrid tone and there is a mid-boost switch for the piezo that sounds absolutely fantastic.  The piezo doesn’t create a pure, warm acoustic sound like a high-end acoustic would, but it does create a great aggressive acoustic sound that is perfect for blues, rock, and pop players and by combining it with the mini-humbucker, using the blender knob, you can get some very unique and complex tones.  It has replaced the Parker Fly now as my favorite piezo-equipped guitar.  I instantly pulled the trigger on an order for one of these, as well as for a Billytone model.  They are special instruments.


Brazen 7-String Thorsen


The 7-string market has been pretty stagnant and limited to a small number of models made by a relatively few manufacturers.  Because they require a lot of additional engineering, there just aren’t too many builders who want to tackle the job.  But this year, Brazen has decided to take a swing at that market with a VERY credible offering.  Brazen teamed up with Italian shredder Olaf Thorsen and they worked together for a year to create the new Brazen Thorsen model.  This 7-string hot rod features a mahogany body, maple neck with ebony fingerboard, Floyd Rose tremolo, Seymour Duncan pickups (Distortion – bridge/Jazz – neck), and Grover tuners.

The guitar screams, and it plays great.  I watched a variety of people come through the Brazen booth to try out the new 7-string addition and everyone I saw walked away saying that it was a fantastic guitar.

 


 
2009 Winter NAMM Wrap-up: Part 2 PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 21 January 2009 11:54
By Ken Volpe - GJD
Earlier in Part 1, I mentioned that I was going to talk about the current retro craze that has been sweeping the industry for the last few years.  So, let me get into that.  You have all these companies making guitars with blemishes so they will look “old school.”  You have Amp and Pedal companies trying to create the tones of days gone by.  You have Pro Audio companies producing hardware and software to simulate analog tape saturation.  The list goes on and on…. Yes, I know that a lot of these products have been around awhile but it is increasing with each passing year.  That is another great thing about attending NAMM; you can really take the pulse of the industry.

Part of me thinks that the newer technology should be good enough in it’s own realm; but it’s never been the case.  Our ears tell the truth.  If this truth did not exist then this whole retro age would not exist.  Have you ever asked yourselves why are we going backwards?  And more importantly why are we not paying enough attention to the struggling music industry itself? 
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2009 Winter NAMM Wrap-up: Part 1 PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 20 January 2009 14:56
By Ken Volpe - GJD
Every year the Winter NAMM show seems to come around quicker than the year before.  I guess my perception is that as I get older, time goes by quicker.  Wouldn’t you agree?  As I write this, I am on a plane flying back to New York City where the temperature is 8 degrees above zero and I am reflecting back on the 2009 NAMM show that took place in Anaheim, California.

The one theme that keeps running through my mind is how manufacturers keep going deeper in their development of retro products.  Before I get into my thoughts about this retro craze (details in Part 2), I’d like to tell you about some of the happenings from the show. 

I arrived late Thursday afternoon in sunny Anaheim.  Hunger pangs from lack of food on the airplane (although who misses airplane food) kept me from really settling in my room.  Just as well since I was meeting a friend for dinner in downtown Disneyland. 
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Video Review: Taylor Solidbody Classic SC PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 15 January 2009 02:19
Today we are featuring a great new model from Taylor guitars. The Solidbody Classic SC. This guitar features a solid ash body with a single cutaway. The maple neck is a 25.5 scale length with a rosewood board. It also has a beautiful crushed pearl pickguard, a specially designed adjustable aluminum bridge, and 3 noiseless single coil pickups. Sit back and enjoy this new GuitarJamDaily feature with our own Phil Miller rockin' the Taylor Solidbody Classic SC.

 
Gear Review: Ernie Ball Coated Slinky Strings PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 09 January 2009 13:21
By Ken Volpe - GJD
I have to admit as I sit to write this, one thought keeps going through my head, “Am I actually going to be able to write a full review for guitar strings?”  Well, the answer is “Yes” as you will witness in about 600 words from now.

First off, let me tell you that as a professional guitarist I have used the exact same brand of strings on all my electric guitars for the last 15 years or so.  This brand will remain anonymous.  Let’s just call them “Brand X.”  My string gauge of preference has always been a set of .010s (tens).  I have always found tens to be a happy medium.  They are thick enough to give you a beefy and fat tone yet thin enough to do some aggressive bending when needed.  Tens also allow me to play just about any style under the sun. 

Over the years I have tested many different brands and types of strings from the different manufacturers.  I tend to prefer pretty standard strings. 

In terms of coated brands such as Elixir, for my preference they feel too “waxy” to my fingers.  Actually, the Elixir acoustic strings aren’t too bad but as I just mentioned I don’t like the feel of them for electric.  So when I heard about the Ernie Ball coated strings I was a little hesitant.
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Video Review: PRS Starla Electric Guitar PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 06 January 2009 12:33
Today we are featuring an awesome new axe from PRS. The Starla model. This guitar is a single cutaway with custom pickups and a Bigsby B5 tail piece and a Grover Tune-O-Matic bridge. Sit back and enjoy this new GuitarJamDaily feature with our own Phil Miller rockin' the Starla.



Similar in spirit to the double cutaway Mira model introduced at Experience PRS 2007, the single cutaway Starla has many vintage themed appointments and is PRS Guitars’ first solidbody electric guitar featuring a standard Bigsby B5 tail piece and a Grover Tune-O-Matic bridge. The guitar also includes exclusive Starla Treble and Bass pickups.

The solid mahogany Starla body is accented with a 24 ½” scale rosewood fingerboard, a solid mahogany neck and dot inlays or optional bird inlays. Proprietary Alnico magnets incorporated into the pickup design contribute to the guitar’s unique clean and crisp sound but are also capable of rich harmonic overtones when driven. Other features include a uniquely shaped black plastic pick guard, tone and volume pots and a three-way pickup selector. Color options include Vintage Cherry, Vintage Mahogany, Vintage Orange and Black.

BODY:

* Mahogany

NECK:

    * 24 1/2" scale length mahogany neck with east Indian rosewood fretboard and dot inlays
    * 22 fret - wide fat
    * Option: Abalone bird inlays

HARDWARE:

    * Bigsby B5 Tailpiece with Grover Tune-O-Matic bridge
    * Vintage style tuners
    * Black pickguard

ELECTRONICS:

    * Starla Treble and Bass pickups
    * Volume and tone control with 3-way blade switch



 
Video Review: Ernie Ball Family Reserve. "Luke" BFR Model Guitar by MusicMan PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 11 December 2008 06:42
Today we are featuring an extraordinary guitar.  Ernie Ball Family Reserve. "Luke" BFR model guitar by MusicMan. Designed in conjunction with guitar legend Steve Lukather. This instrument is built to the highest  standard and uses the best available woods.Sit back and enjoy this new GuitarJamDaily feature.

Click here to watch the review


 
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  • 02:41 - 01.10.2008 Spotlight >> Spotlight
    A five week long, cross-country tour featuring some of the best known and most respected figures in rock and blues has been set to celebrate the legacy and music of Jimi Hendrix. Presented by Experience Hendrix, L.L.C., the Hendrix family-owned company founded by James A. “Al” Hendrix, Jimi’s father, entrusted with preserving and protecting the legacy of Jimi Hendrix together with musical instrument giant Gibson Guitar, this year’s Experience Hendrix Tour represents a dramatic expansion beyond last year’s seven sold out performances.

    Featured artists who will be performing music written by and associated with Jimi Hendrix include blues giant Buddy Guy, contemporary guitar greats Jonny Lang, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Eric Johnson, Cesar Rojas and David Hidalgo of Los Lobos as well as Aerosmith’s Brad Whitford.
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  • 01:53 - 26.09.2008 Spotlight >> Spotlight
    Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) and Italian distributor M.Casale Bauer proudly announce the grand opening of the Fender Custom Shop Showcase Italy. It is the third such international exclusive Fender guitar destination, joining the elite Fender Custom Shop Lounge (Düsseldorf, Germany) and Fender Showcase Tokyo (Japan).

    The Fender Custom Shop Showcase Italy is in Bologna, Italy, and is housed in a building by California-born Italian designer Gretchen Alexander. The showroom is located near the offices of M. Casale Bauer, Fender’s Italian distributor since 1962, and was created to provide Fender dealers, their special guests and artists with a comfortable place to find, try and buy some of the most beautiful guitars in today’s market. The showcase features an impressive array of high-end guitars crafted by the master builders of the Fender Custom Shop and provides artists and dealers (and their VIP clients) with access to some of the most unique high-end Fender instruments ever made available in one place. The showroom houses an unparalleled selection of Fender Custom Shop instruments, as well as Bauer’s personal collection, one of the largest and most valuable in the world.
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  • 03:41 - 23.09.2008 Spotlight >> Spotlight
    Los Angeles, CA – World-renowned Australian guitarist Tommy Emmanuel will  release Center Stage, a live concert DVD on October 14th via Favored Nations Acoustic.  
     
    The full-length concert DVD follows the recent release of the Center Stage  double CD, both having been recorded live for the PBS television series “Sierra Center Stage.” Filmed in eye-catching high definition, every element of modern technology was used in production, creating a stunning package, both aurally
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  • 00:09 - 19.09.2008 Spotlight >> Spotlight
    Montreal, Canada- September 16th, 2008: Renowned guitarist Daryl Stuermer will be giving Godin Performance Clinics in and around Quebec and Eastern Ontario from September 29th to October 3rd 2008.

    Having performed in studio and toured the world with both Phil Collins and supergroup Genesis for years, Daryl is a player who is on top of his game and has the chops to prove it. Performing as the Daryl Stuermer Duo, he will be accompanied by keyboardist Konstantin Efimov during the clinics and will also be giving attendees his perspective on playing live, recording, technique, and his gear, by fielding a Q&A session after each performance.
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  • 09:29 - 03.06.2008 Spotlight >> Spotlight
    SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (June 2, 2008) -- Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) announced today that it has acquired certain assets of Groove Tubes LLC. Among other assets, FMIC purchased the Groove Tubes brand. Groove Tubes company founder Aspen Pittman will continue in a consulting role.
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