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October 25, 2020
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.



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