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REVIEWS Fret-King Blue Label Super S and Super T • Fishman SoloAmp ultra-portable PA • Kustom ‘Double Cross’ 100W amp • New Fishman-equipped Vintage electro-acoustics • Diago pedal board • N-Tune onboard guitar tuners FEATURES Allen & Heath mixer user guide • Wittner metronomes • Laka ukuleles • Snap Jacks • Regal Tip • New full-size SpongeBob Squarepants guitars! • BANDS GALORE! Disturbed • Saxon’s Graham Oliver • WIN! A Vintage V6 electric guitar with N-Tune tuner! • A Dano Cool Cat Pedal case with five pedals! • A Summer Festival Music Pack!


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Graham WITH OLIVER DAWSON SAXON the Vintage METAL AXXE RAIDER cuts and thrusts like no other ..............and it looks cool too!


Gear Gear 23 11 2009 2002

FEATURES 35 JOHN MOYER – An American band with a growing European fanbase, Gear caught up with Disturbed’s acclaimed bassist John Moyer to find out why he chose Kustom to produce his new signature series of bass gear – and why his signature KBA16XJM 16 watt practice combo is very cool indeed! 53 GRAHAM OLIVER – Original guitarist with Barnsley metallers Saxon, Graham talked to Gear about the Oliver Dawson version of Saxon came about, how they played their part in the Spinal Tapo movie and why his new Metal Axxe guitar fit the bill!


Whither goest thou, musician?

9 PAUL RODGERS – So who exactly hasn’t the legendary frontman singer/songwriter played with in a four decade career? Currently enjoying huge success with Queen, Paul’s a dedicated Rhythm Tech tambourine man too.

33 GWYN ASHTON – Veteran blueser Gwyn Ashton finds yet another way to attack the blues, and how – this time it’s with his Two Man Blues Army... 19 ROY FULTON – Top Irish guitarist Roy Fulton gives us a personal ‘user report’ on his Fret-King Esprit 5.


14 AL GARE – You can’t have missed Imelda May’s rockabilly revival – this girl gives it some major attitude, and Al Gare is her fabulous boppin’ bassist, powering away on radio hits like ‘Johnny Got A Boom Boom’! 43 CRASH TEST KUSTOM – Ever left an amp stuck in a tree for a week following a car crash, then gone back, found it, checked it, plugged it in, powered it up – and continued to use it... Dave Press did. Here’s why. 22 ENCORE REFLECTIONS – Experienced guitarist Mick Morris has some tasty guitars at his disposal, but his humble Encore E6 electric provided the ideal sound for Mick’s recently-recorded solo album.


7 SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS – Lots more now becoming available on the instrument front as SpongeBob guitars go full size! Here’s what’s bound to be the hottest summer sellers from the little yella fella! 56 WITTNER – For over a century this family-owned metronome company has provided perfect timing.

17 N-TUNE – We love this neat new onboard tuner – it manages to be cool, practical and still gadgety all at the same time!



28 FRET-KING BLUE LABEL SUPER S AND SUPER T – Gear tries out these two ‘workingman’s’ guitars from the Blue Label range and finds there’s much to like about what both instruments have to offer. 34 KUSTOM DOUBLE CROSS AMP – Get ready to rage hard, as Kustom introduces a 100 watt all-valve amp head surely destined for the big stage, thanks to a three channel design dressed up in a killer-looking design! 12 FISHMAN SOLOAMP – Prepare to be amazed as amplification experts Fishman pack line array technology into a PA package that takes up the same space as the stands bag for a convention pub ‘n’ club size PA! 45 LEFT HANDER VINTAGE ELECTRICS – Yes it’s true – left hander options have now increased significantly in the Vintage range of electrics!



TECHNICAL 30 KEVIN ASTON’S TECH TALK – Many people get seriously confused by the multi-coloured arrays of rotary control knobs laid out across a mixer’s interface. Fear not, it’s a logical process, as Gear boffin Kevin Aston talks you through a channel strip control functions on an Allen & Heath ZED22FX mixer.

Some astro-physicists reckon the universe is a continuously-expanding gigantic ‘horseshoe’ shape. Also that, as time must be essentially circular and not linear, so history never ends. Like, the 16th century is still happening, somewhere. Probably back in my old school, I’d reckon... Plus, it’s a fact that matter can neither be created or destroyed, so that could be true, but – I reckon music’s got a unique universal law to it as well – or maybe just ‘Keddie’s Law’, which states that, ‘...the further forward you go, the further back you travel’. How did I come by that? Well, there’s a lot of exciting new music happening at the moment, and it’s always good to enjoy the sound of the ‘Next Big Thing’ as it blasts out of your radio. But... in amongst my cases of (soon to be outmoded) CD’s I recently found an unplayed Best Of from an early 70’s ‘softish’ Nashville-based country rock band, and thought, almost 40 years after the songs were written that I’d enjoy some ‘easy listening’ on the drive to work. And what did I hear? Brilliant songs, excellent high-quality musicianship (you know, the best kind that doesn’t try too hard), emotive lyrics sung with soaring harmonies and sharp guitar solos, all impressively produced. In two words, sheer class. I loved it! I’m going to buy all the band’s other back catalogue CD’s now. So where am I going – forward or back? Or is it, like the expanding universe, the same anyway in the end? Heck, if you enjoy it, then it counts. I smiled afterwards as I realised it was still good to have prejudices (I really really didn’t think I’d enjoy that CD) firmly overturned from time to time. What a force music is, so many levels it works on – the force is, indeed, strong! So in the face of the worst global economic situation since records (‘scuse the pun) began, we know there’s only one answer – enjoy this issue of Gear and let’s ROCK!

COMPETITIONS 21 WIN... WIN... WIN... A cool Vintage V6 fitted with a brand new N-Tune onboard tuner! Be a one-man travelling summer festival with our ‘camp fire’ musical instruments package, all for the price of a stamp! And experience a sudden rush of febrile furtling as you rack the old’ brain in the crossword. You could bag you a Danelectro Cool Cat pedal board case filled with five Cool Cat effects pedals though – nice!

Gibson Keddie

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Whether you own one of the superb new Fret-King guitars, or you're thinking of making a Fret-King purchase, or you just fancy chewing the fat with like-minded Fret-King fans, F-K distributor JHS has just opened a Fret-King Lounge at where you can make your opinions known via the Fret-King forum facility. So whether you own – or would like to own – one of the superb Blue Label Korean-manufactured guitars and basses, or one of the highly desirable Green Label instruments, assembled and finished for you by the Fret-King founder and all-round guitar supremo himself, Trev Wilkinson in his UK workshop, you can discuss all things Fret-King on the forum. Fret-King by Trev Wilkinson was born out of the desire to address a real need, expressed by many professional ‘journeyman’ guitar players, for an authentic build ‘working vintage guitar’, free of compromise and without having to pay homage to nostalgic and outmoded design criteria set many decades ago. Often referred to as a ‘Guru', a moniker which he tolerates rather than endorses, Trev Wilkinson clearly has the respect of his peers in the guitar building fraternity with an undisputed reputation as a designer and innovator with vast experience, style – and a serious playing edge.

Get clicking and join in with the Fret-King community now!

Whilst at the mega music show that is the Frankfurt Musik Messe, Gear arrived on the Jim Dunlop stand to be met by none other than effects pedal guru and all-round nice guy Jeorge Tripps. Now Director of Product Development with the mighty Dunlop company, Jeorge was keen to talk about his various projects past, present and future, with some very interesting guitar names being referred to by Jeorge as ‘work in progress’. Exciting stuff, hopefully we’ll have more details soon! We’ve looked at Jeorge’s amazing Way Huge pedals in the past couple of issues of Gear, and we love ‘em. They look fantastic and they sound even better, having been designed and built by a guy who really knows his stuff. They’re no ‘one minute to set up’ stomp boxes though – to get the best from the Way Huge pedals you have to spend some time with them and experiment with the variety of settings and parameters featured on each pedal. One point that Jeorge was delighted to make – a friend of his contacted him recently to ask Jeorge if he’d ever tried the Way Huge Pork Loin pedal with a bass – Jeorge replied that he actually hadn’t, and that the Way Huge units were designed primarily for guitar, but apparently the Pork Loin sounds fantastic with a bass too – the Pork Loin is designed to combine a clean sound with distortion and offers a really, er, huge (sorry) sound and it seems that applies to bass! If you’re a bass player who loves that kind of big, gritty sound, try some pork filling!

Play guitar? Want to sound like an orchestra on your own? Here's how – buy a semi-acoustic 12 string and your sound will chime out with sweetness and light across the nation, with harmonics and sustain like you've never heard before. Even otherwise easily-alarmed old women and small children will nod and smile in admiration of your total musicality and understanding of harmonic creation...

k VSA535-12

Big semi-acoustics are certainly versatile guitars, with a connection right back to the early jazz guitars, though the slim-body versions offer a truly resonant and gutsy sound with a sweet acoustic tonality in there too. The new f-hole bodied Vintage VSA535-12 12-string offers the best of both worlds, without a doubt – offering the drop dead good looks of those era-defining 1950's/ 60’s guitars, the VSA535-12 is semi-acoustic in construction thanks to a solid central section of wood running along the middle of the body, firmly anchoring the twin tone-filled Wilkinson MWVC humbuckers and bridge assembly. True to the constructional tradition of this style of big semi, the VSA’s carefully arched front and back double edgebound body is a traditional maple laminate matched to a slim 22 fret maple neck with a smooth rosewood fingerboard, the neck set rigidly into the big body for maximum strength and stability – and just check out that vibrant 60’s style sunburst. Rock solid Tune-o-matic bridge and stop tailpiece arrangement too, and traditional four-rotary control grouping – two volume, two tone, with 3-way pickup selector. A huge sound for a most non-huge price – £429.00, and that gets you the case as well. Bargain!


Leeds-based UK MI distributor John Hornby Skewes & Co. Ltd. – recently appointed exclusive England, Scotland & Wales distributor for Allen & Heath's PA and ZED Series of small format mixers – has now also taken over sales and distribution of these product ranges in Northern Ireland and Eire. With JHS' mainland UK distribution of A&H already proving a great success, the company is looking forward to similarly servicing the needs of the burgeoning Irish pro audio market sector. "As predicted, Allen & Heath has proved to be a perfect complement to our other hi-end pro audio brands – HK Audio, LA Audio and LAB.Gruppen,” comments JHS MD, Dennis Drumm. "As such, adding Northern Ireland and Eire to our A&H sales territory is the perfect way to capitalise on our work with the brand. We look forward to generating similarly successful results with the additional expansion of these areas to the JHS sales map." A&H sales manager, Martin Daley adds: “The transfer of PA and ZED distribution to JHS has proved very successful and the sales teams have been enthusiastic and effective.

Guitar player extraordinaire, Northern Ireland’s own Roy Fulton is a huge fan of both Vintage and Fret-King instruments. Roy’s a major force on YouTube having posted many excellent guitar demos – in addition he was one of the first guitarists to fully realise the potential of the most excellent Vintage V100MRPGM ‘Lemon Drop’ guitar and has made great use of the instrument since he took delivery of it, including posting some superb video demos on good ole yoochoob. “Since it was posted 10 months ago, my ‘Vintage Lemon Drop Part 1’ demo has clocked up over 20,000 genuine youtube plays,” Roy informs us, adding, “Thanks to everyone for all your support!” If you want to check the demo, here’s the link – eature=channel_page

We are certain the addition of Irish territory will only strengthen our relationship and build on our achievements so far.” Allen & Heath's PA Series comprises the PA-12CP and PA-20CP powered mixers with PA12, PA20 and PA28 stereo mixers, whilst the new USB-equipped ZED Series comprises the ZED-14 and ZED-24 2 bus mixers, ZED-12FX and ZED-22FX effects mixers, with ZED-420, ZED-428 and ZED-436 4-bus mixers.

Roy also owns a nicely personalised Fret-King natural-finish Esprit 5 – you can find his ‘user assessment’ of the guitar in this issue on page 19.

As mentioned in the editorial at the start of this magazine, the response to the competitions we set in the previous issue of Gear was nothing short of amazing. The prizes were pretty hot though – a rig reminiscent of something Mr Slash might use, with a simply gorgeous Vintage V100 guitar in Iced Tea matched to a Jim Dunlop signature Slash Wah pedal – except that this beauty was actually signed on the baseplate by the be-top hatted rock superstar himself! And where else are you going to find a pedal as special as that, eh? Eh? And that was the clue to the multiple choice question we set; Slash favours the Top Hat as his millinery of choice. So, ladiesngennelmun, a big hand for Kelvin Thomas over there in Pembrokeshire who is probably starting a Guns N’ Roses tribute band as we write this, given that he was the one who bagged the guitar and Slash pedal prizes! The SpongeBob Wordsearch in the same issue of Gear competition also proved hugely popular, with the chance to win a trick ‘SB goes punk’ electric guitar outfit and a super-neat SpongeBob-emblazoned junior drum kit. Rather fittingly, 11 year old Master C Mulvany’s entry got pulled out of the large box with all the entries in it, so well done to the young lad for that. More prizes to be won in this issue of course. Remember, Gear offers real prizes won by real people!

On the Vintage, Fret-King and Encore booth at the famous annual NAMM music show held in Anaheim, California USA earlier this year, this rather unusually-attired person clomped onto the booth in what seemed like 14” high platforms. Didn’t say much, but seemed happy enough enough to try out a bass guitar or two. Not sure, but he does look kind of familiar – maybe it’ll come to me in a minute...


Softapads> INTRODUCES JUNIOR DRUM Now that excessive noise has been elevated from not so much an ‘environmental nuisance’ to more of an ‘environmental crime’, drummers surely have much to thank progressive, forward-thinking companies like Softapads for. Especially those who practise at home and don’t want an eviction notice pinned to their front door by the local council. For anyone unaware of the Softapads products, they are effectively rubberised energy-absorption 'sandwiches' which are laid onto drum heads and cymbals, plus a square section for a bass drum beater pad. These pads offer impressive noise reduction levels of up to 90% when used as full circular lay-on on drum head sections and provide a true playing experience with accurate stick rebound etc. The new inexpensive Junior Drum Damper Sets from Softapads are circular rings of Softapads material (with an open centre) which when laid on to the drum heads will immediately cut overall kit volume down to sensible levels, whilst allowing the young drummer to play on the actual drum head surfaces. Semi-circular Softapad cymbal sections are also included in the Junior Practice Pad Sets, along with a bass drum beater pad.



Keep the peace with Softapads! Above: Softapads 3-piece Junior Drum Kit Practice Pads ready for action on a PP Drums SpongeBob SquarePants SBK100 Junior Drum Kit! £129.99

NEW This entry level range of acoustics has been making some real headway over the past couple of years or so since its introduction with a range of natural and coloured dreadnought-sized available at an amazing £84.99 rrp each. But perhaps that dreadnought-sized body is a bit daunting for you or, hey, maybe you just don’t like that style and shape of guitar body... Fair enough, but we bet you won’t be able to resist these curvy cuties!

k F300N £84.99rrp

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The new Falcon F300 acoustic offers a parlour-esque size body, as embraced by folk players in particular who like to hear sweet acoustic accompaniment from smaller-bodied instruments. Same price as the dreadnoughts above and available in Natural or Sunburst finishes, the Falcon F300N and F300SB retail at £84.99 each. Equally manageable is the Falcon F200N steel strung Folk guitar. Again, its student guitar format, i.e. a smaller, curved body, narrow waist design, means it’s an easy instrument on which to develop your playing skills. Available in Natural, it costs £69.99 rrp. And, for would-be younger guitarists who want a guitar to suit their size, and have no discernible gender issues, then there’s the Falcon 3/4 size Classic Guitar. In... pink, okay? Wanna make something of it? Fine, that’ll be £44.99 then, thank you.


l F200N £69.99rrp

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Great news for all SpongeBob SquarePants fans! With the junior electric and acoustic SpongeBob instruments already having been so successful – not to mention the superb SpongeBob-graphic plectrum packs! – the SpongeBob vibe has now extended to include full-size electric guitars, in these brill new SpongeBob electric outfits! Now you can have a full-size, classic shape, twin cutaway electric guitar with three single coil pickups, proper vintage-style fulcrum vibrato system, all the works, featuring amazing SpongeBob SquarePants graphics! AND, not only that but check the excellent BB Blaster 10 watt amp that comes with the outfit – it’s also decorated in the full SpongeBob regalia! How cool is this? Very cool! The new SpongeBob SquarePants Electric Guitar Outfit is available with a choice of SB guitar graphics in yellow or black, and also includes the SpongeBob covered 10 watt amp, carry bag, strap, guitar lead, plectrum, spare set of strings – and tuition DVD! Presented in a full colour SpongeBob graphic carton display pack, the new SpongeBob SquarePants Electric Guitar Outfit retails at £159.00, excellent value.


Also available separately for only £44.99 rrp!



If you fancy joining in on the SpongeBob SquarePants craze, and you have an Encore E6 twin-cutaway Californian style electric guitar, then you can! And it’s so easy, because Facelift have just released two brand new SpongeBob-themed electric guitar overlays! Featuring all your favourite SpongeBob ‘Characters’ on one Facelift, or a pattern with various close-ups of SpongeBob’s ‘Eyes’, these new Facelifts are so easy to apply and transform the look of your guitar in seconds! At only £19.99 each, Facelift guitar body overlays are totally re-usable, and will fit other similar twin-cutaway guitar body shapes – and extra SpongeBob-style stickers are included too!


Also joining the new range of more ‘grown up’ SpongeBob SquarePants Instruments is the new SpongeBob Acoustic Guitar Outfit. Based on an extremely user-friendly folk-sized acoustic guitar - which is positively swathed in full colour SpongeBob graphics across its top surface! – the SpongeBob Acoustic Guitar Outfit also includes a guitar carry bag, strap, yellow pick (of course), spare set of strings, pitch pipe for tuning duties and a tuition DVD, all presented in a full colour SpongeBob graphic-covered display carton. Buy this as a present for a young ‘un and be the coolest adult around! Only £89.99 rrp.


• VUC70 £119.00rrp

VINTAGE VUS70 SOPRANO UKULELE Effectively the ‘standard’ ukulele and the smallest bodied of the family, with the most recognisable uke tone, the soprano uke is the one on which most novices learn. The Laka Soprano Uke is an acoustic model which features a solid mahogany top, with laminated mahogany back and sides. A rosewood fingerboard carries 3mm ‘micro dot’ markers, and check the neat ‘rope binding’ rosette on all the Laka ukes including this soprano one. £99.00 rrp.

VINTAGE VUC70 CONCERT UKULELE Physically slightly larger with a 15” scale length than the Soprano’s 13” scale, the Concert is also


VINTAGE VUT80EA TENOR CUTAWAY E/A UKULELE The Tenor uke is a larger bodied instrument than the Concert, and can sometimes be seen in a variation of string format layouts, with 6 and even 8 string versions available. The cutaway-bodied Laka VUT80CE also offers a solid sitka spruce top, koa back and sides, Grover tuners and Fishman Sonitone system. £189.00 rrp.

VINTAGE VUC90 CONCERT UKULELE Boasting a solid koa top and laminated koa body with a mahogany/nato neck, the Groverequipped VUC90 is a Concert sized acoustic which retails at £179.00 rrp.

• VUC90EA £189.00rrp

VINTAGE VUC90EA CONCERT CUTAWAY E/A UKULELE The same solid koa top/koa laminate body construction, this time in a cutaway body format, with Fishman Sonitone preamp. £189.00 rrp.

VINTAGE VUT90 TENOR UKULELE Solid koa top, laminate koa back and sides, the big-toned acoustic Tenor-size uke also retails at £189.00.

VINTAGE VUT90EA TENOR CUTAWAY E/A UKULELE The top of the range Laka uke features a solid koa top, with laminate koa back and sides, cutaway body, Grover tuners and Fishman Sonitone preamp. £209.00 rrp.

• VUT90EA £209.00rrp

• VUT90 £189.00rrp

VINTAGE VUC80EA CONCERT CUTAWAY E/A UKULELE Again a Concert-sized instrument, this version greatly expands the versatility of the uke as an instrument. Here, the solid sitka spruce top is mated to koa back and sides for a different tonal variation from the instrument. Features Grover open gear tuners for improved tuning stability. The cutaway body offers improved upper fret access and being an electroacoustic, the VUC80EA is fitted with a Fishman Sonitone onboard preamp system. £179.00 rrp.


• VUS70 £99.00rrp

Adding extra value to this new Laka series of ukuleles from Vintage is the fact that, to aid instrument tonal resonance and response, the ukes are finished in a tone-friendly open pore satin finish. Additionally, the Laka ukuleles are fitted with premium grade Italian Aquila strings for maximum playing performance and an even, balanced sound. Finally, reinforcing the high-spec nature of these Lakas, the electroacoustic ukes are fitted with the uke-friendly USA-made Fishman Sonitone preamp systems, a soundhole-mounted style of unit which is totally unobtrusive both visually and physically.

referred to as an Alto ukulele, with a correspondingly bigger uke sound. The Laka Concert Uke is of an identical spec to the Soprano with a solid mahogany top matched to mahogany back and sides. £119.00 rrp.

• VUT80EA £189.00rrp


he ukulele resurgence continues unabated, with bands like the superb Ukulele Orchestra Of Great Britain demonstrating very much the musical potential and serious musical side of the various versions of the ukulele, this new ‘Laka’ series by Vintage is a collection of seriously pro-spec instruments, available in both acoustic and electro-acoustic formats.

• VUC80E £179.00rrp

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Designed to meet the needs of Laka ukuleles, the new Fishman Sonitone onboard preamp system features a concealed soundhole-mounted preamp with rotary controls for Volume and Tone. The Fishman Sonicore pickup comes standard providing solder-free maintenance, with combination battery box and output jack.



One of the most successful recent get-togethers in rock music's 'premier league' simply has to be that of legendary frontman Paul Rodgers, joining forces with the remaining active members of Queen.

ith a recent international charting album of original material out, The Cosmos Rocks, celebrating the creative union of two of the most distinctive-sounding acts of the past four decades, Queen + Paul Rodgers first announced they would be playing together back in 2005. A simultaneous UK and European tour sold out almost as soon as it was announced. Obviously, only a seriously impressive vocal talent could live up to the reputation of the late Freddie Mercury, but as Brian May pointed out early in 2008, “Paul Rodgers was a hero of Freddie’s – and still is for Roger and me.”


Paul's unmistakable voice, combined with years of stadium-headlining experience means he's a consummate frontman, who had no problems slotting into the ‘stage front’ gig with Queen. Nor did May and Taylor let Rodgers down performing trademark hits such as All Right Now, Feel Like Making Love, Can’t Get Enough and Bad Company. Perhaps that's just as well, given that a recent gig in the Ukraine saw an estimated 345,000 fans turn up for the concert... Paul Rodgers at London’s Hyde Park, Queen + Paul

Not one for letting the metaphorical grass grow under his feet, alongside Paul's busy tour Rodgers perform for Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday schedule with Queen, he also continues to record and tour as a solo artist. His latest DVD, playing his distinctive customised Rhythm Tech tambourines. Live In Glasgow has already gone gold having charted at #1 in Canada, #3 in the US on the Neilsen Soundscan Charts and #4 in the UK. The DVD included new songs and hits written with his various bands, Free, Bad Company and The Firm with Led Zeppelin guitarist, Jimmy Page who reckons, “Paul Rodgers has been, and still is by far, one of the finest talents of our musical genre.”

COUNTER-RHYTHM Whichever show or act you catch Paul with, you'll see him onstage during the set making the most of his redoubtable Rhythm Tech Pro tambourines, using his signature move of playing two tambourines in one hand. "The Rhythm Tech Tambourine is a real instrument," says Paul. "It's amazingly robust and the design enables you to perform a lot of rhythms and counter-rhythms. My artist wife Cynthia customises each one by hand painting them, which adds to their uniqueness for me." The re-designed and updated ergonomics of the Pro version of Rhythm Tech’s iconic Crescent tambourine offers a choice of either brass jingles or stainless steel jingles, in a choice of two-tone colour schemes, costing £54.99. Available with either nickel steel jingles (£34.99) or polished brass jingles (£36.99), the one that started the revolution, the legendary Rhythm Tech Crescent tambourine is available in a variety of colours.

JHS ODYSSEY BRASSWIND COMES TOP IN MI PRO RETAIL SURVEY CATEGORY ith a comprehensive selection of music instrument stores providing the data, the recent retail survey figures published by UK music industry trade magazine, MI Pro makes for interesting reading as to what's happening on the high street from a musical instrument perspective.


In a keenly-fought sector, the JHS Odyssey brand came out top in Brass & Woodwind, with the overall quality of the Odyssey range being cited as one of the prime reasons for selection. The competitively-priced JHS Odyssey 'Debut' brass and woodwind range includes a number of elegantly-presented outfits, including Clarinet, Flute,

Saxophones, Trumpet and the Cornet. The brass instruments are personally commended by leading UK cornet player, Alan Morrison, now Musical Director with the world-famous Brighouse & Rastrick Brass Band, who describes the overall range thus: "These entry level Odyssey instruments play well, are terrific value for money and ideal for the first time player." Odyssey 'Debut' Wind Outfits are supplied with a dedicated plush-lined, snug-fitting ABS case plus related cleaning and maintenance accessories with instruction leaflet, whilst a comprehensive range of Odyssey care kits and accessories is also available.

More info and prices at... 9

Ah, this we like - finding out what we ’ re going to be wanting to stomp all over in the coming year, as presented to us by our friends at legendary effects and accessories manufacturer, Jim Dunlop.

your sound, taking any too-pronounced ‘top’ off your guitar sound whilst bringing up any excess lower range too. What that effectively does is to ‘squeeze’ your dynamic range, which also consequently adds a more even sustain to your sound, making it all sound like it does on a studio recording, see? And an impressively pro guitar tone is the end result.

• CSP-028 MXR Custom Shop ‘76 Vintage Dyna Comp

Okay, so the MXR Dyna Comp that was produced back in 1976 (we had a very hot summer that year, remember...?) has long been regarded as the ultimate stomp box compressor. There was something inherently musical about the way it tightened up a guitar signal, raising the volume of quiet notes and levelling off peaks to create rich, full-bodied sustain as described above. And now, the MXR Custom Shop brings back that highly sought-after sound with the CSP028 ’76 Vintage Dyna Comp. Meticulously researched and superbly crafted, it features the exact same circuitry used in the original 1976 Dyna Comp, identical in its component layout, silkscreen and handmade wire harness! The key component is the old school CA3080 ‘metal can’ integrated circuit (IC) which yields quieter operation, greater transparency and increased dynamic range. These IC’s have been out of production since the 80’s, but MXR has tracked down a stash of them - enough to produce a limited run of these little red boxes of compression bliss. With supplies limited, the MXR ‘76 Vintage Dyna Comp is destined to quickly become as ultra-collectable as its noble ancestor...grab one while you can. £289.00 rrp.

MXR CUSTOM SHOP ‘76 VINTAGE DYNA COMP And it’s starting off in fine style. Following on from the fabulous sound of 2008’s as-faithful-as-it-can-get re-issue of the legendary ‘74 MXR Custom Shop Phase 90 (effectively the ‘definitive’ year for this unit), well, now we have the equally definitive Custom Shop MXR ‘76 Vintage Dyna Comp! Hooray! See, the so-far hidden secret to getting that nicely-controlled sound that pro players seem to get in the studio or live on stage, is to use a compressor. As ever, studio versions are like ‘blimey-how-much?’ x 10 expensive, and anyway a stomp box version is far more practical, too. But it’s got to be a high quality unit and perform as efficiently and quietly as possible, but what it’ll do is to smooth out


MXR BASS OCTAVE DELUXE The M288 Bass Octave Deluxe is a dual-voice octave pedal from MXR Bass Innovations that offers organic analogue tone, true bypass, and a wide variety of tone-shaping options. Powered by a single 9v battery, MXR’s Constant Headroom Technology (CHT) provides studio-performance headroom and superior tracking. Use the Dry knob to mix your direct bass signal with the octave effect, or hit the Mid+ switch to add up to +15dB of internally adjustable low-mid punch (400Hz) or midrange ‘pop’ (800Hz). Bass players will love the two separately processed and individually voiced octave controls - Growl (for throaty, midrange

• M288 Bass Octave Deluxe

‘compression bliss’

octave-below tone) and Girth (for deep and smooth octave below). £239.00 rrp.

CUSTOM AUDIO ELECTRONICS WAH THE MC-404 CAE Wah was developed by Bob Bradshaw of Custom Audio Electronics and the Crybaby design team with the goal of creating a highly versatile wah-wah of top-grade components. It features dual Fasel inductors with two distinct voices (high end emphasis or low to mid resonance) and a built-in MXR MC-401 Boost/Line Driver adds even more flexibility. Choose between inductors and turn the boost on or off with the side-mounted kickswitches: bright LEDs on each side of the wah indicate operational status. The MC-404 boasts true hardwire bypass, a long-life CTS potentiometer, and internal pots for ‘Q’ and gain adjustments high performance and quality that you can only expect from Dunlop, the world leader in wah-wah technology! £289.00 rrp. ah AW CE 4 0 C4 •M

Kustom Sport Coupe Recently, amp ‘fashion’ has definitely been moving towards lower output, tone-filled Class A valve combos. And rightly so, because smaller combos are extremely convenient items to use - practising at home, at rehearsal, in the studio and at gigs too. Lower rated valve amps are still incredibly loud given their more diminutive stature, and you can always DI out or mic ‘em up into the PA for bigger gigs. And

nother great thing about Kustom is that these boys take their bass equipment very seriously! And so, alongside the existing heavy duty Groove Bass range - including the awesome KBG1300 1,200 watt bass head and powerful 600w combos - we also have the Deep End series. Deep End bass amplification combines the sweet sound of punchy valve amp tones with the robust articulation of solid state power amp design. Utilising a 12AX7 preamp in tandem with a Tube (valve) Gain control, bass players can drive the valve preamp get natural-sounding valve-based overload, from funky clean to downright mean!


Deep End DE100-115 + DE100-210 100 Watt Bass Combos Available in a choice of either 1 x 15” or 2 x 10” speaker formats, at £449.00 each. Deep End amplification, including these combos, offer additional features such as Organic Clipping, which provides that distinctive power amp ‘growl’ that bass players know and love. This features also removes the need for a power amp limiter as the louder the amp gets, the more it pushes into distortion sonically. A castor-equipped 1 x 15” extension cab rated at 250 watts is available to complement


they just look so cute - like the new Kustom Sport Coupe, for instance. The Coupe Series has earned a reputation for sizzling hot south-of-the-border tones, and the Sport Coupe takes the features of its big brothers and condenses them into an 18 watt tone monster. The Sport Coupe combo starts with a premium Baltic birch cabinet to give it superior resonance, and from there an 18 watt, self-biased Class A amplifier utilising a single 6L6 valve in the power amp forms the heart of the amp. A Master Volume lets your tone sing through the 10” KEI Kustom/Eminence speaker at any volume level, and the Sport Coupe is an ideal amp for gigging, because not only is power amp distortion attainable at userfriendly volume levels, but an XLR Direct Out with speaker emulation keeps the tone intact6 at bigger gigs too. A footswitch is included for switching channels between rhythm and lead and for activating the onboard tremolo and or vibrato.

20kg’s of solid tone, the Sport Coupe retails at £999.00.

Kustom Celestion-Loaded Extension Speaker Cabinets If you want to add more presence to your onstage sound from your Coupe combo, you could try adding one of the new extension speaker cabinets from Kustom. Designed to match the Coupe’s looks, these cabinets, available in 1 x 12” and 2 x 12” formats are crafted from a single sheet of the finest Baltic birch to ensure big, rich tonal qualities. The Coupe 112V30 (£549.00) and 212V30 (£699.00) extension cabs are loaded with the all-time classic guitar speaker, Celestion Vintage 30’s. Looking very smart with chrome metal corner protectors and top carry strap, the 112 cab is rated at 75 watts, with the 212 at 150 watts add an extension cab and spread your sound around!

the sound of these Deep End combos, priced £269.00.

Deep End DE200-115 200 Watt Bass Combo Offering 200 watts of power, the DE200-115 provides a perfect mixture of tonality, features and style through an Eminence speaker and switchable horn, at £599.00 rrp. A 200 watt, 2 x 10” extension cab is also available, at £229.00 rrp. low-end note definition in larger, ‘boomy’ rooms. £369.00 rrp. Deep End Designed to complement the DE300HD head, DE300HD 300 we have the DE410H speaker cabinet. With 4 Watt Bass Head x 10” Deep End speakers and a high frequency piezo horn capable of handling 400 watts, With its 12AX7 valve-based preamp the DE410H cab retails at £329.00. Good bass rig, and then some! adding valve colouration to a Deep End DE50 Bass Combo 300 watts output, this If you don’t need lots of gigging power, is one powerful and punchy-sounding bass rather a combo that’ll cope with practice and amp head. Alongside Organic Clipping, rehearsal and recording, then the 50 watts of another great feature on the DE300HD amp is the ‘Room EQ’ facility. Working in conjunction the DE50 has a lot to offer you. Again using the 12AX7-based preamp with the Organic with the standard onboard 3-band EQ, Room Clipping facility, the DE50 is an impressively EQ offers High Contour and Low Contour equipped, tone-filled combo, with a balanced options, to help counter the most common DI out, headphone jack and auxiliary input problems bassists face at differing venues. for CD and mp3 players, plus an external High Contour can help reduce ear-splitting speaker jack. £329.00 rrp. trebles whilst Low Contour provides additional

11 3

PA’s, whether large or small, conventionally have always tended towards a traditionally symmetrical ‘stereo’ layout to them. Now though Fishman’s innovative line array-based SoloAmp makes a good case for a re-write of the PA rulebook, reckons Brian Barnes. ‘Because the hardest thing a performer should have to carry is a tune’ is how Fishman themselves advertise their intriguing new SoloAmp PA system. Well, we like the sound of that already. Aimed primarily at the performing singer/songwriter, SoloAmp is intended to provide ‘exceptional sound quality and coverage’, thanks to its stated ability to pump out 220 watts of clean power via a vertical line array of six custom high-excursion speakers and soft-dome tweeter. Radical... So why have we tended to accept over the years that in club and pub-sized gigs, the twin speaker column PA set-up is best? Well, this is effectively an optimum way of spreading the FOH sound screen at most gigs in a balanced output format for us two-eared, stereo-detecting humans. Mostly though, live gigs feature mainly mono sound going into two output channels, but the twin speaker layout still works well in providing optimal sonic coverage. So you might look at the SoloAmp set-up and think, ‘where’s the other column then?’ perhaps followed by ‘where’s the amp and mixer?’...

Obviously there are many more conventional styles of acoustic amplifiers available on the market, including Fishman’s own excellent Loudbox, offering full range reproduction with facilities for vocal input as well as an instrument. However, these are more often than not floor-mounted units, even though in the case of the Loudbox they are in a monitor wedge style format with the sound projecting forwards and upwards. However, this can only ever offer limited audience coverage unless the sound is also fed into a dedicated accompanying PA, which is a significant additional cost factor – and a lot more to carry in to the gig. Commendably, Fishman have looked at these problems with a more ‘wide-screen’ approach. With the SoloAmp, Fishman have opted to utilise state-of-the-art line array technology, notable by its distinctive ‘vertical tower’ speaker arrangement designed, say Fishman, to

‘With the SoloAmp, Fishman have opted to utilise state-of-the-art line array technology’ When confronted with the Fishman SoloAmp for the first time, especially if you haven’t really considered what it might physically look like, there are a number of surprises in store for you where your brain might have to have its ‘reset’ button pressed. You might also have heard that the SoloAmp focusses heavily on the use of ‘new technology’, and so maybe you’re expecting some crazily mad futuristic-looking box of techno-tricks. If that’s the case, then that first look at Fishman’s SoloAmp will leave you seriously impressed by how elegant, stylish and compact it all looks – minimalist and ‘futuristic’ too, even – and how well engineered the unit is.

provide ‘... exceptional sound quality and coverage’ with its compact line array set-up.

SOLOAMP SPECIFICATION Okay, so that’s a brief intro, and we’ll check out how it all performs in a paragraph or two, but what sort of specification is involved? Well, as stated, the SoloAmp is designed to pump out a healthy 220 watts RMS; behind that chunky protective perforated metal front grille are no less than six vertically-stacked 4” mid-woofers pushing out 200 watts via a servo power amp, with a single 1” neodymium soft dome tweeter adding the remaining 20 watts. The internal servo power amp eliminates the need for any additional bass-boosting subwoofer, and the enclosed tower also includes all the related electronics, amplifier and controls for the system, greatly increasing the portability and convenience of the SoloAmp. Better still, much of the technology used in the SoloAmp comes from already having proved itself in their Loudbox units. So, it’s a two-channel, full-range system where, on the impressively user-friendly recessed front control panel, both mic/instrument channels feature both balanced XLR and unbalanced standard jack inputs. Switchable 48v phantom power is available for each channel alongside independant 10dB input gain pad push switches. Each channel has its own column of 3-band EQ rotaries, with the input Gain rotary and accompanying clip warning LEDs. Four selectable levels



of onboard reverbs are available, again with a level control rotary assigned to each channel, with anti-feedback phase and notch filters all helping too. The top row of controls, left to right, is Master Volume, then a mute switch for silent set-breaks, etc; next along, an Aux In level control, with a useful Monitor In/Out control located on the far right.

Given the limited stage space (hah!) available at most venues where singer/songwriters can perform, SoloAmp’s minimal physical presence and low-viz attitude are a real boon. It’s particularly versatile too and makes a very effective individual personal monitor if you’re going through a larger PA at a big show for instance, allowing you to maintain the integrity of your own live sound. Duos who perhaps choose to use a SoloAmp each, for instance, can make use of the monitor feed input/output

‘There’s real punch lurking in this line array, make no mistake’ Whilst on the subject of control panels, the rear panel is equally logical and user-friendly. Effects Send and Return jacks, with two-channel pre-DI balanced XLR outs as a feed to a house PA, or a recording desk. An Aux Input socket lets you plug in a CD player (remember them?), iPod and so on, whilst Monitor In and Out offers a unique interconnection facility with another SoloAmp, or Loudbox. The lower control row features a dedicated Tuner Out fed from Channel 1, then level attenuation for the Tweeter feed; a footswitch send for remote Mute control, then a balance mix DI XLR out. Finally, a power switch and IEC mains connection.

IN USE With the SoloAmp weighing in at a miniscule 25lbs, portability is an absolute breeze. With the speaker and single tripod stand together, that’s about 35lbs in the padded carry bag (equipped with castor wheels) – about the size of a normal stands bag! Walk the bag into the gig, unpack, assemble the speaker cab onto the stand, plug in... and that’s less than a minute... And you can gig SoloAmp anywhere in the world, thanks to the fully-digital universal power system. SoloAmp is designed to be placed behind the performer, probably slightly to one side – that’s how I used it, as it was physically easier to turn round and perform any quick adjustments between songs, rather than have it directly behind you. Also, this negates the need for a monitor – the projection of sound, with an ultra-wide dispersion pattern from the six speakers means that the performer and audience hear exactly the same sound. And an impressive sound it is too, with a quite amazing depth and clarity. The individually-assignable channel reverbs are a real boon too, as guitar and vocal often require fairly different ambient reverb levels, and the SoloAmp’s reverbs are more than capable of coping with any individual reverb requirements. Plugging in a pre-recorded CD or mp3 source is one way of discovering just how effective the enhanced bass response of the custom–designed speakers is in terms of bass and drums ability – there’s real punch lurking in this line array, make no mistake. The wide and even dispersion of sound from the SoloAmp tower generally means that feedback problems are almost non-existent in general venue use, and the optimum tower height is ideal for the majority of venues, even those with notoriously low ceilings.

system, allowing them to hear what the other player is doing through their own system, with the option of direct feeds to larger house/show PAs all being kept under user control – a very flexible approach. Everyone knows that high-quality acoustic-based amplification costs money, and that’s true of the SoloAmp with its £1,249.00 price tag, though if you’re using an electro that cost £2 – £3K, you certainly wouldn’t want its live sound to be compromised through an inferior system. One thing’s for sure, the SoloAmp’s performance, innovative technology and high level of specification – all of which are real-world user relevant – won’t ever leave you feeling short-changed.

Best to make yourself aware of how to deal with any unexpected feedback problems before gigging though – SoloAmp’s sweepable notch filter and Phase reverse can easily resolve any probs with unwanted resonance.

SPEC CHECK • 220w RMS output • Two mic/instrument input channels with 3-band EQ, phantom power and high quality preamps. • Compact line array design with 6 x 4” drivers + 1 x 1” neodymium soft dome tweeter. • Ultra-wide horizontal sound dispersion. • Fully digital (Class D) power amp design with universal power operates anywhere in the world. • Dimensions: 41.5”/105.5cm H x 5.6”/14.2cm W x 6.6”/ 16.7cm D Weight 25lbs / 11.34kg; complete system 35 lbs/ 15.7kg


Have you heard Imelda May’s driving rockabilly romp, ‘Johnny Got A Boom Boom’ rockin’ away like billy-o on the radio? And with that brill slap bass intro and breaks, how could you resist? Gear meets boppin’ bassist, Al Gare. o you hear ‘Johnny Got A Boom Boom’ and you’re thinking, ‘Wow – that bass player sure knows how to belt it out on the big bass...!’, on what is as fine a slice of quiff-drenched, winklepicker-tappin’ rockabilly as you’re likely to hear. And the guy who knows absolutely does know how to belt it out on the bass is a certain Al Gare. So, when Al called up JHS recently asking about getting himself a totally cool Danelectro ‘63 bass, we were delighted to invite him in and fix him up.


The late 80's saw Al cut his bassin’ teeth with Sgt Bilko’s Crazy Combo, following which he spent the ‘90s touring the world, recording, and making TV and radio appearances with acclaimed rhythm and blues band, King Pleasure & The Biscuit Boys. After performing with them on over 1,500 occasions and recording several studio and live albums, he finally called it a day and decided to go freelance in February 2001. Al's travels have since taken him from the West Coast of the States to the northern tip of Russia, playing most major cities in Europe and headlining top festivals at home and abroad. Trips to America have included a university tour of New York state, Dan Ackroyd's House of Blues Club in Boston, The Brown Derby in Hollywood, shows in San Jose, San Francisco and Scottsdale, Arizona.

Trashy! Trashy! Frequent tours of central Europe have seen him playing hundreds of gigs at all the major venues and festivals, whilst back home Al has performed virtually everywhere in the British Isles. Highlights have been hometown gigs at the Symphony Hall, (support to BB King), The Alexandra Theatre (support act to the late Cab Calloway), the NEC main arena and the Royal Albert Hall in London, Ronnie Scott's clubs in London and Birmingham, plus regular appearances at top London venues such as the 100 Club, Mean Fiddler, the Dublin Castle and the Jazz Cafe. Al is also the bass player with bands such as Palookaville, with their unique brand of trashy good-time rock ‘n’ roll instrumentals, along with The Giant Killers and Basehart. A brief stint with Internationally-known British blues band, The Nightporters was followed by Al finally settling into the wonderful Imelda May Band and the equally-brilliant long-time rockers outfit, the Mike Sanchez Band, led by the inimitable Mr Sanchez himself. More recently, Al’s been recording with highly-acclaimed Sheffield-based singer/guitarist Richard Hawley, Mike Sanchez of course and, as we’ve heard, he’s all over Imelda May’s best-selling new album, Love Tattoo, which saw Imelda and band being featured big style on the Jools Holland ‘Later’ TV show, which springboarded Imelda into the public spotlight. Gear says, keep rockin’ it, Al!

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Newest additions to the Vintage® guitar endorsee stable, FADO ROCK, were visitors at the JHS showroom and distribution centre in Garforth recently.

‘The V1004 looks great feels great and supplies me with an endless source of tasty tones!’ – Andy


An original hard rock band from Hull, Fado Rock pride themselves on playing powerful, tight and exciting live shows. Drawing on influences from the blues and classic /heavy rock genres, their music is a mixture of riffs, solos and quality tunes.

The band were bowled over by the quality and playability of the entire Vintage range, with guitarist Spike plumping for the V6MRBK Icon guitar, and bassist Andy hooked by the V10004SP. Even singer Mr Bob treated himself to a TC200BD for songwriting.

FADO ROCK are looking build upon the success of their latest release "Six Foot South" with more touring in the UK and Europe next year.

It’s the future... SNAP JACK instrument cables. Lots of brilliant new products coming out of the Snap Jack stable – here’s what’s happening from the ZZYZX company who manufacture the unique range of Snap Jack cables! In today’s guitar world, with so many instrument cables on the market, it’s hard to justify another offering – unless it’s something innovative and extraordinary. The ZZYZX Snap Jack definitely falls into those categories. With a system based on Magnetic Precision Technology, this has brought ZZYZX multiple industry awards and overwhelming accreditation. The patented Snap Jack guitar cable offers an ingenious solution to guitarists and bassists in reducing the risk of damage to their equipment, in addition to eliminating any undesirable popping or squeals by using a precision magnetic design that allows the jack to detach from the cable only when it is subjected to excess tension. The jack detaches without making any of the unwanted noises normally encountered when unplugging or plugging into an amp. By utilising the extra tips, guitarists are able to switch multiple guitars onstage effortlessly and in silence. Snap Jack cables provides the sound quality of a premium cable and its rugged design can withstand years of inadvertent mishaps. The jack tip detaches with just the right amount of pressure that makes it easy to switch instruments but difficult to unplug accidentally – ideal! ZZYZX has successfully established the Snap Jack concept over the past 2 years and has now introduced more fabulous new Snap Jack products to the line.

Standard Series Snap Jack Locking System Perfect for more aggressive players who are concerned about any unwanted detachment while performing live, but still needs the ability to switch guitars effortlessly. By sliding the locking sleeve, you can easily lock or unlock any standard series Snap Jack cable. Model no: SNP170 £12.99.

ZZYZX XLR with I.D. Tag Both ends of this XLR cable have ID tag dial. These numbers are used to match the numbers on input boxes on most stage applications. This replaces the classic type and marker to identify the cables. By rotating the ID tag dial, you can change the number on the cable for easy identification in most stage applications. Available in 15ft SNP120-15 £26.99, 25ft SNP121-25 £32.99, 35ft SNP122-35 £36.99, and 50ft cable lengths SNP123-50 £44.99.

Snap Jack Wireless System Cable Designed for players using wireless systems but who want a pro quality Snap Jack between their instrument and the transmitter. This cable offers the same quality construction as the Snap Jack cables. Now wireless players can take advantage of the silent, quick and easy swap of instruments when using the Snap Jack cables. These cables are built for superior signal integrity that many of today’s advanced musicians and touring professionals demand. The Snap Jack wireless cable is available to fit most major professional wireless systems. Available in: 3-pin (TA3F) SNP140 £39.99, 4-pin (TA4F) SNP141 £26.99 and 1/8”connector SNP142 £26.99.

ZZYZX BlackJack with silencer BlackJack cables have a built-in silencer that eliminates any annoying pop or hum noise while plugging in or unplugging your instrument. No button to push! Available in straight jack 15ft ZZCS-15 £26.99, 25ft ZZCS-25 £32.99, 30ft ZZCS-30 £36.99, 35ft ZZCS-35 £39.99 cable lengths and angled jack versions 15ft ZZCA-15 £26.99, 25ft ZZCA-25 £32.99, 30ft ZZCA-30 £36.99 and 35ft ZZCA-35 £39.99.

Snap Jack Pedal Board Series The pedal board series is designed to allow players to easily and silently change or bypass any pedal configuration. By simply turning the barrel, you can release any tension or tangle in the cable and it will lay flat. The pedal board series will reduce the loss of high-end tone, and volume you may lose when chaining multiple effect pedals together. Available in 6in SNP190-6 £26.99, 12in SNP191-12 £27.99, and 18in cable length SNP192-18 £28.99.


ZZYZX Solderless Pedal Board kits Same concept as the Snap Jack Pedal Board series. Take advantage of the kits to customise your own length of cable. Makes changing the route of your pedals effortless and with no annoying hums and pops. Supplied with 10ft of OFC cable and 10 angled tips. Model no: SNP193 £89.99.


We’re starting with a fairly subtle addition to the new range, however – the Regal Tip Yellow Jacket Brush, which features a durable rubber handle with a patented adjustable wire spread. Available as a telescoping brush with Regal Tip’s notched pull handle at £20.99 rrp, or as a compact throw brush at £19.99 rrp.

575YJTHROW – Yellow Jacket Throw Brushes

As ever, some exciting new signature sticks from stick specialists Regal Tip coming your way in 2009. Regal Tip have a highly interactive and developed artiste roster and are additionally the featured ‘stick of choice’ for drummers who get themselves involved in the ‘Guitar Hero® World Tour’ mega musical computer game!

Both Regal Tip Yellow Jacket brush pairs come attractively packaged in clear custom-sized storage tubes, and are ideal for beginners and pros alike.

Anyone with even half an interest in the drumming world will know of Keith Carlock. A seasoned performer and regular Modern Drummer awards poll winner, Keith’s career CV reads like a musical ‘Who’s Who’; Sting (loads of videos of Keith playing in Sting’s band on YouTube); Steely Dan (Keith’s out on the road with them again this coming summer..(hopefully ‘summer’ will more of a reality than a concept this year); that’s after he performs an April through May stint in the USA with the legendary James Taylor, of course... other names Keith is working with at the moment include Walter Becker on his solo ‘Circus Money’ recordings; Sean Wayland's ‘Pistachio’; pop singer/songwriter Lynne Timmes' debut CD, ‘Human’; guitar great Oz Noy's second studio record, ‘Fuzzy’; bass prodigy Tal Wilkenfeld's ‘Transformations’, and jazz fusion guitarist Wayne Krantz on ‘Your Basic Live PFKC – Keith Carlock Performer Series '06’ – and Carlock’s own band Rudder with their new self-titled CD! Whew. “I am humbled and very happy to announce that Regal Tip has just launched my signature ‘Keith Carlock’ stick,” quotes Keith on his website. “It’s been an exciting project to work on with them, and I feel we have made the perfect stick! It’s similar in some ways to the 8A I played for years, but we took some of the weight off the top and put it in the butt end of the stick, made the taper and bead slightly different which gives the stick a lot more natural bounce and great cymbal sound.” Keith also finds time to slot in a regular diet of international clinics, and gigs with Oz Noy – and hopes to have his tuition DVD out later in the year... does this man never sleep? Keith’s signature Regal Tip sticks will set you back £11.99 rrp.

Another drummer with an impressive playing pedigree, Walfredo Reyes Jr. can count Carlos Santana, Steve Winwood, Jackson Browne, Gloria Estefan, Christina Aguilera and Smokey Robinson amongst his client list. An amazingly dynamic performer, Walfredo is perhaps best known for his unique blending of the most vibrant rhythmic styles such as Latin, Afro Cuban and World Percussion with the drum set – put simply, Walfredo is a drummer and full-on percussionist in one! PFWRK – Walfredo Reyes Jr. Performer Series Based in Los Angeles, Walfredo’s musical multi-tasking, besides being an exceptionally in-demand session player, includes production, composition and education work. Walfredo’s ‘El Rockero’ signature Regal Tip sticks are based around a 5B, and feel good and solid with a short taper running onto an oval bead – not surprising considering the amount of work they have to do! Walfredo’s El Rockero sticks retail at £11.99.

A well known drumming force in hard rock and metal circles, Tommy Clufetos has toured and recorded with the self-proclaimed Motor City Madman himself, Ted Nugent, Alice Cooper and recently with Rob Zombie. Tommy also released a tuition DVD, ‘Behind The Player’ in 2008. With a background like that, it’s no surprise that Tommy Clufetos ‘313’ Performer Series Sticks definitely lean towards the ‘big hitter’ end of the scale! £11.99 rrp. PFTC-313 – Tommy Clufetos Performer Series ‘313’

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In the world of electric guitar, there’s always room for another tuning system – especially when it’s as neat and practical an idea as the N-Tune system; just ‘pull to tune – push to play’! N-Tune, says the manufacturing company, is a ‘..breakthrough in onboard guitar and bass guitar tuning, which installs in minutes under your guitar’s volume knob’. Okay so far, plus no permanent guitar modification required, and the system installs into almost any electric guitar or bass too, if they’ve got passive pickups so it’s all looking very positive.

"Is this possible? Why can't somebody make a tuner built in to a guitar?"

N-Tune The N-Tune Onboard True Bypass Chromatic Tuner is heralded as the world’s most convenient solution for fast, accurate guitar tuning. Whether you’re in the studio or on stage, simply pull your guitar volume rotary up to activate and use N-Tune’s super-bright display to silently tune up in seconds. Then push it back down to play – with perfect tone, thanks to N-Tune’s true bypass design which removes all tuning circuitry from your guitar’s signal path. N-Tune is an easy install, using standard soldering tools and requires no irreversible modification of your guitar. Just think, it wouldn’t matter if the stage was in pitch darkness, you could still use the N-Tune system and get in tune in complete silence (and complete darkness as long as you could find your volume control!). No more hunching down onto your pedal board to activate a floor tuner or, worse still, having to unplug your guitar or bass, then plug in a tuner, tune up under pressure while the band is waiting to start the next song, then unplug the tuner and plug your signal lead back in, as it clatters, pops and bangs noisily. Not a good scenario you’ll agree, but onstage, hey, we’ve all been there...

NT250CR3 £69.99rrp for single coil guitar

The (even more) good news is that there are two main types of N-Tune systems available – which will fit many types of guitar, thus –

Single Coil Guitar Package. For guitars which use, frankly, single coil pickups (of course, hence the designation) and 250k ohm type potentiometers; that would include electrics such as the Vintage V6, Fret-King’s Super 60, Super S and Super T, Country Squire and so on. White, Black, Parchment and Cream N-Tune base ring sections, which fit under the control knob as you’ll see in the image, are available for the best match with your control knobs and scratchplate.

Humbucker Guitar Package. Fits guitars with humbucking pickups which use 500k ohm potentiometers, and that category includes electric guitars such as the Vintage V100 and VS6, Fret-King Eclat Standard and Esprit 5 (twin humbucker layout), etc. Loads, in fact! Black and Cream N-tune control knob base ring sections are the available options for this style of guitar. Well, Gear thinks the N-Tune system looks pretty damn trick and we can’t wait to get this fitted to our guitars – anything that takes the pain out of a quick tune-up is absolutely fine by us – sorted! NT500CR3 £69.99rrp for humbucker guitar


SYNERGYS eries The new ‘Synergy Series electro-acoustics from Vintage have proved to be a big success in the shops. With a truly distinctive look that's an attractive hybrid of both electric and acoustic instruments, this new guitar range has been designed to please players of both instrument categories. Pick a Synergy up and feel the smooth universal C-section neck profile, and the fine gauge fretwire on the gently cambered fingerboard. If you're an electric player, this is starting to feel like home.


The Synergy's easy to hold while you're playing it, with its lightweight slim, textured finish partial bowl back design.

And you can plug it in, because Synergy Series instruments are equipped with a Sonicore undersaddle piezo pickup system from Fishman, mated to an easy-to-operate IonT active preamp system mounted in the top rim of the guitar body, with contour and phase facilities. And this summer, joining the Synergy 6-stringer range is the new 12-string version! Easily capable of providing that glorious 12-string sonic wash that we all love, the VR6RRB-12, to give it its full title, will available in Ruby Redburst and costs £219.00 rrp, which sounds pretty reasonable to us, and then some.


TO TO STRAP STRAP RANGE RANGE Dunlop and USA ‘wildcard’ brand Lucky 13 have once again joined forces to bring you a new collection of Lucky 13 straps. This highly successful line of collectable rock and roll icons feature all-new Lucky 13 designs. Each strap is adorned with Lucky 13 original slogans and artwork. Tattoo your soul! £16.99 – £26.99 rrp. Grease, Gas & Glory

Tattoo Your Soul

Bikes Booze Broads

Skull Stars

Born To Lose

Go from the skate park to centre stage with Dunlop's new SK8 Series guitar straps! Dunlop has taken the iconic styles of skateboard industry giants such as Independent®, Santa Cruz®, Nor-Cal®, and Skateboarding Is Not A Crime®, and dropped them onto our Dunlop gear. Keep your inner skate punk alive and on stage... SK8 series straps are branded with history's most recognisable skateboard logos and images, on authentic Dunlop Straps. £22.99 – £24.99 rrp. Independent Cammo

Santa Cruz Screaming Hand

Independent Red Cross


Independent Vertical

Norcal Original

Santa Cruz Dot

Lots of late nights and guitar playing went into the development of Dunlop guitar straps. The funky D38 Series features easy adjustment custom buckles, comfort edge webbing, extra-long strap lengths, 100% leather ends, bold original jacquard woven and poly-woven designs. Here’s your strap – now go play! £22.99 each. Red Check

GI Cammo

Black & White Check

Khaki Grommet

Military Sergeant

Grey Grommet


r in this ned earlie As mentio itarist Roy ear, top gu eland issue of G Northern Ir Fulton from first players to the was one of et-King excellent Fr an e th ’s get into re e uitars. H range of g t his u o b a m Roy update fro se! itar purcha newest gu


oy plumped for a twin humbucker-equipped Esprit 5 in Trans Amber, and has been using the guitar constantly since. The guitar was personalised for Roy with his name engraved on the scratchplate – in true showman tradition! Gear thought it was about time we found out exactly what Roy made of his unique looking Fret-King instrument...

What was it you liked about the Fret-King Esprit 5 that made you choose it? ‘It just has a great shape to it and looks perfectly balanced. As a guitar player (with more years under my belt that I care to remember) I’ve been lucky enough to own a wide and varied assortment of guitars. I’ve had and played all the obvious ‘big names’, but of late found myself wanting to get a guitar that was not so associated with established name players. I was going through a ‘Billy Gibbons phase’ (legendary guitarist with ZZ Top) and noticed, of late, Billy has been using more quirky-looking guitars and getting away from the mainstream shapes – that really appealed to me as well. For the last few years I’ve been looking (and buying) guitars that are just a little bit different to what is out there and considered the norm. The first moment I saw the Fret-King Esprit, I thought ‘I want one!’’

What does the guitar do for you as an instrument? ‘It delivers! When you’re gigging – and it doesn’t matter if it’s in a pub with 20 people, or in front of 2000 theatre-goers – you need your gear to work, full stop! My guitars have to be fully functional, not let me down and do everything that I need and expect them to

do – and the Esprit does the business. Although the Esprit body shape draws its influences from other guitar makes, the guitar still has a unique charm and is different enough to stand up and be counted on its own merits. It’s built like a tank and feels so solid; it certainly has a reassuring feel and touch to it, with a look that ‘turns heads’ at gigs. I’ve lost count the number of times guitarists have approached me after a gig to ask about the guitar – even to the point of wanting to buy it off me!’

How does it play? ‘The guitar plays great. It’s quite heavy but very comfortable to play sitting down or when using a guitar strap, and is really well balanced. The action is perfect and, unlike some other guitars I own, the Esprit required no tweaking whatsoever. As soon as it arrived, it was ready for action straight from the box and I started gigging it right away! It makes it a perfect choice when I’m out playing with any of my own bands, Southbound (Southern Rock Band) and The Roy Fulton Band (Classic Rock & Blues Band). When gigging, I tend to play quite aggressively at times and the guitar holds its tuning lovely. On a practical note, the position of the volume and tone knobs and how they feel when you turn them is super-important to me. I like guitar control pots to be nice and even, both in terms of feel and function and once again, the guitar delivers.’

these qualities. The pickups have loads of depth and body but also very important to my style is that they have a nice clarity to them. The pick-ups give me great definition and let me use a hybrid picking technique without sounding muddy. In terms of tone – think of it as an S-type guitar on steroids...!’

You’re a highly experienced player with a long list of credits - tell us something of your playing background. ‘I grew up listening to the guitar greats – Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana, Roy Buchanan and many more! I started playing guitar around 1970 and by the early 80’s I started giving private guitar lessons. (for £2 per hour – a good rate of pay then!) In the mid 90’s I became an RGT guitar tutor and LCM Guitar Grade Examiner. As all this was happening I was playing, playing, playing – anywhere and with anyone! I’ve never specialised in one style of music or another – I love so many different styles of music and guitar playing. Over the last few years my guitar work with solo and band gigs, studio sessions and tours as a sideman have been getting increasingly busier. If anyone is interested, a full list of the bands and artists I’ve played with or have supported are available to check out my website: ‘I’ve played thousands of gigs but the highlight for me was meeting (and supporting) singer/guitarist Ritchie Havens and also, hanging out with the legendary TV and radio presenter and fellow music fan, Bob Harris for a couple of days. That was a great weekend!’

How does it sound? ‘Excellent! Personally, I like the clarity and brightness sound of single coils but I also love the big sound of humbuckers and Trev Wilkinson’s pickups seem to have captured both

• FBES5TA £609.00rrp


Now, proving that time, and a good guitar range never stands still, here are the new colour additions to the Vintage range! Vintage V300BK Vintage’s V300 acoustic remains one of the biggest sellers in the range. The user-friendly dimensions of the V300 lie somewhere between a parlour and a concert size instrument, meaning it can offer a remarkably sweet and well-balanced sound. As ever, the guitar has a solid spruce top and nato laminate body top lurking under a new Gloss Black finish, with mock tortoiseshell scratchplate. A price tag of only £169.00 means it’s sure to carry on being a best-seller.

Vintage V300VSB Same fine build specifications, performance and dimensions as brother V300BK, but here with a fine 2-Tone Sunburst finish and black scratchplate. Sunburst is the classic coloured guitar finish, always a looker and remains so here. Again £169.00 rrp.

Vintage V400CSB Echoing some of the more fiery red sunbursts of the ‘60s and ‘70s in particular, the Dreadnought-sized acoustic Vintage V400 is wearing a brightlyhued Cherry Sunburst finish. With a solid spruce top, nato laminate body and nato neck, the V400CSB retails at £159.00.

Vintage VE300N Well, if you’ve got a sweettoned, smaller bodied acoustic guitar, what’s the next logical step? Make sure it can be plugged in, as with the VE300N - now available in Natural finish! The build specification of this guitar is


the same as the acoustic V300’s above with a Fishman Ion+ preamp and Sonicore pickup installed, the perfect way to amplify those sweet sounds. £209.00 rrp.

Vintage VEC350FVSB A popular and characterful cutawaybodied acoustic, the VEC350 guitars are surprisingly versatile instruments that feel easy to get on with. Easy to amplify too, thanks to the onboard Fishman Aero preamp system. The VEC350FVSB now adds another finish option, a classic Sunburst sprayed over a flame maple veneer makes this version a real looker at £229.00 rrp.

Vintage VEC500BL The Vintage VEC500 guitars have a definite across-the-board appeal, with their Dreadnought body shape featuring a cutaway for easy upper fret access. A solid spruce top matched to a nato laminate body give a highly useable sound in any number of styles, plus the guitar can be plugged in via a Fishman Ion+ preamp. Many people cite Blue as their favourite guitar finish so that’s the newest addition to the VEC500 range. £209.00 rrp.

Vintage VEC800VSB Another very capable cutawaybodied Dreadnought series electro, and the Fishman preamp system really helps this guitar make the most of a tone-filled solid German spruce top and mahogany laminate body. Again, this Vintage Sunburst finish is a welcome addition to the other models in the range. £289.00 rrp.

Vintage VJ100CSB Another popular acoustic guitar shape is the very traditional - and big and curvy - Super Jumbo, lovely shape. Solid spruce top, mahogany laminate body, mock tortoiseshell scratchplate and now a lively Cherry Sunburst paint job really adding to the ‘good looks’ factor. Only £189.00 rrp makes this Super Jumbo a particularly irresistible buy.

Vintage V1300BK This high-spec folk series acoustic guitar features solid spruce top and solid mahogany body, with mahogany neck. The contrasting herringbone centre rosette looks very smart against the new High Gloss Black finish. £339.00 rrp.

Vintage V1700VSB With a solid spruce top matched here to exceedingly attractive solid flame maple back and sides, this is an impressive-looking Jumbo acoustic. The only thing that could make this guitar better is a High Gloss 3-tone Sunburst, and that’s exactly what it gets.£579.00 rrp.

Vintage VE1300BK The electro version of the V1300BK folk electro. High spec solid spruce top and solid mahogany body, fitted with Fishman’s Aero Blend preamp, and now in High Gloss Black. £419.00 rrp.

Win 5 Pedals and a Pedalboard! £370 Prize!


























Q. Who designs the pickups










Worth over




WIN a Vintage V6 electric guitar fitted with an N-Tune tuner!



and hardware fitted on Vintage electric guitars?

A. Trevor McDonald B. Trevor Brooking C. Trevor Wilkinson Name......................................................................................................................................Age....................... Address....................................................................................................................................................................................... ....................................................................................................................................................Post Code...............................


Daytime Tel No........................................................Email........................................................................................................ 24



ACROSS 1. USA amplification make (6) 4. Small bells of two cones (6) 9. See 25 across (4) 10. A soccer player’s first formal warning (6,4) 11. Boxes for junior percussion instruments (6) 12. Worn by the late jazzman George Melly (3,5) 13. The sun goes down on this seaside area (6,3) 15. Positive, above normal (4) 16. Singer …. Fitzgerald (4) 17. Weather conditions can be negatively affected in this way (9) 21. To take a dispute to legal action (8) 22. A vibraphone player (6) 24. Four-string accompanying instrument (4,6) 25. (And 9 across) make of guitar by 14 down (4,4) 26. Two wheeled cab (6) 27. Known by many as “The best starter electric guitar on the market” (6) DOWN 1. A venerated Hindu God (7) 2. Band member of ‘Madness’ (5) 3. Brass and woodwind make (7) 5. Famous make of guitar machine heads (6) 6. Brand of leads (guitar to amplification) (3,6) 7. Types of wood used in musical instrument manufacturing (7) 8. Famous make of mixing desks (5,3,5) 14. Trevor is the man! Famous guitar designer and maker (9) 16. An inscription as a memory to a deceased person (7) 18. Enclose, surround (7) 19. Could be Harold’s nickname after the battle of Hastings (4, 3) 20. Famous Italian tenor (1873-1921) (6) 23. Describing a great film success (slang) (5)

Send to GEAR, Salem House, Parkinson Approach, Garforth, Leeds LS25 2HR, UK. Closing date 31st October 2009. The first correct entry out of the bag wins.

Win a Bonkers Summer Festival Pack Worth over £250! Get ready for the festival season – take your very own ‘band-in-a-bag’! We’ve got a Vintage travel guitar, Acme samba whistle, Rhythm Tech tambourine, PP Drums bongos and a Busker harmonica and harness to give away. To win, simply re-arrange the letters to spell a word that is synonymous with our Great British festivals.






....................................................................................................................................................Post Code...............................

....................................................................................................................................................Post Code...............................

Daytime Tel No........................................................Email.......................................................................................................

Daytime Tel No........................................................Email.......................................................................................................

Send to GEAR, Salem House, Parkinson Approach, Garforth, Leeds LS25 2HR, UK. Closing date 31st October 2009. The first correct entry out of the bag wins.


Send to GEAR, Salem House, Parkinson Approach, Garforth, Leeds LS25 2HR, UK. Closing date 31st October 2009. The first correct entry out of the bag wins.

Competition entries are only accepted on the original coupons cut from the magazine (If you require a free replacement copy of Gear, please send a 66p stamped A4 envelope with your address added) Photocopies will not be accepted. Multiple entries are not allowed. Only one entry per competition per person.


REFLECTIONS When Kent-based musician, Mick Morris put together a self-produced album last year, he realised it was a personal musical summary of going from ‘new boy’ to ‘veteran’ in only 40 years! Here’s how his Encore guitar helped...


ick Morris’ love affair with the guitar began a long time ago and, fortunately, still shows no signs of tailing off. After a couple of false starts on violin and piano from the age of seven, he discovered the merits of playing guitar right about the time of the late 50’s skiffle boom. In the ensuing years, Mick has worked as an accompanist to numerous stage and television artists and, as a member of various bands over the years, has frequently opened for, and played alongside, some of the biggest names in the business. Mick is also a proficient player of several other instruments including banjo, mandolin, bouzouki, ukulele, keyboards and drums and he sings a bit! Although claiming to have ‘slowed down a bit’, he is still involved in teaching guitar and music theory and helps run a guitar club in his home town of Dover, Kent, where he also plays regularly with various jazz outfits. He is currently writing a book about life as a semi-pro musician called ‘Don’t Give Up The Day Job’, and is also completing recording an album of jazz standards. Here, Mick takes up the story of his album... The incredible ‘value for money’ FACTOR OF modern budget instruments ‘I wonder if young players today know just how lucky they are to have really good quality guitars available at such low prices - and I do mean incredibly low - I'm talking about perhaps 1/20th of the price that they once were. I know it makes me sound like Methuselah, but when I was 17, a Fender® Stratocaster® cost the equivalent of about £6,000+ today and none of us could afford one. A young Eric Clapton was playing a Kaye, Jimmy Page and George Harrison had Hofner Futuramas and Jimi Hendrix played a


dreadful old Supro. In the UK at the start of the 60’s, only Hank Marvin was able to ditch his first instrument (an Antoria that wouldn't stay in tune) for a real Strat®, Cliff Richard having made enough money by then to buy him one! As for me,I bought one of Jim Burns' early creations,

a Burns Sonic, for a barelyaffordable 50 guineas (still nearly £2,000 in today's money). It wasn't a bad instrument, in fact it was good by the standards of that time, but neither it nor any of the others would come even close to the quality of a £100 instrument today. So there's absolutely no excuse for not sounding good these days!’ Encore to the rescue! ‘Several of the tracks on my album ‘Reflections’ are effectively 'homages', new tunes but intended to reflect the sound or style of one or other of my favourite or most influential players. As such, I didn't think the album would be complete without a reference to Hank Marvin who, with The Shadows,, were without doubt one of the most important and successful guitar groups of all time. Hank's playing directly influenced almost all British guitarists of a certain age, including most of those mentioned earlier (and also Jeff Beck, and later Brian May and

Mark Knopfler) and hence indirectly influenced everyone else. When it came to recording the track in question (Ranchero) the first demos were disappointing, several musician friends pointing out that whilst the tune itself sounded pretty authentic, the tone on the guitar lacked the characteristic Marvin twang and edginess. “You should have used the bridge pick-up like Hank always does”, said one. I didn't tell him, but the trouble was, I had - but I'd changed the original Fender® bridge pickup some years ago for a humbucker and whilst with the treble backed off a bit, I could now produce a passable imitation of Jeff Beck (on a bad day), it no longer had the cutting edge needed to do a ‘Hank’. I was offered the use of a spare Strat® that was laying around in the studio, but it still didn't have the early 60's tone I was looking for. Then I remembered my old Encore. The next day when I went back to the studio I took it with me and that was it - problem solved!’ ENCORE AND THE REFLECTIONS ALBUM ‘It was important to me to get just the right sounds for my album. That in turn obviously meant using a lot of instruments, including all the ‘usual suspects’. A crazy situation there I was in the studio surrounded by ‘big name’ instruments often costing ten times more than my old Encore and yet, more than once, the humble Encore was the only one to give me the exact tone I was looking for, and I ended up using it on several tracks. I’ve had my Encore quite a long time but hadn’t used it for a while, so I’d forgotten how good it sounded. All it needed was a fresh set set of strings (Dunlop 10’s) and it was ready to go. Maybe I shouldn’t have been so surprised though, as I’m also very impressed with much of the instrumentation that’s coming out of the JHS stable recently

- Vintage and Fret-King ranges in particular. In fact, having seen the reviews, I’m seriously thinking of using a Fret-King Super 60 SP on an album (ent. ‘Sooner Or Later’) which I’m currently writing material and recording demos for.’ INSPIRATIONAL REFLECTIONS ‘Apart from the occasional rare treat from the likes of Joe Satriani, Jeff Beck, etc., it’s pretty unusual nowadays to come cross an album consisting entirely of guitar instrumentals. This once very popular genre is, it seems, in danger of becoming a dying breed - though it’s good to be able to report that rumours of its total extinction have been somewhat exaggerated! What makes ‘Reflections’ even more unusual though, is the diversity of its all-original material. Scarcely any two tracks share any common musical ancestry haunting Pink Floyd-like passages and 60’s retro twang compete for attention with acoustic blues, Irish-flavoured banjo, Hendrix-reminiscent riffs (a nod to my old pal, the late bass player for Jimi Hendrix, Noel Redding) and many other styles, a clear demonstration of my reluctance to be pigeonholed into any of the usual rock, blues, country, jazz or folk genres!’ And why the title ‘Reflections’, Mick? “That’s just me reflecting - and also reflecting on - some of the players and different styles of music I’ve enjoyed over the years,” responds Mick. BUDGET BRILLIANCE “Not only was my own Encore a real hero on my own recordings, in the meantime I'm also doing my bit to promote Encore with students and at the guitar club,” Mick points out. “Beginners and youngsters in particular don't usually want to spend too much until they can see where they're going - and luckily for them, these days they don't have to!”

‘Reflections’ is now available online at: and will soon be available as a download from all major music sites including Amazon, i’Tunes, e-music, etc. More info on Kent rock and pop musicians can be found on this interesting website -

WHY ENCORE? So what’s so special about Encores that, as players like Mark Morris have found to their astonishment, they can compete with instruments sometimes costing an incredible 20 times as much? Well, as we reported in the last issue of Gear, acknowledged Guitar Guru, Trev Wilkinson, inspired designer of Fret-King and Vintage guitars and creator of many a now-standard guitar innovation, was recently commissioned to ‘overhaul’ the Encore electric guitar range to make Encores even more enjoyable to play than ever, and at unbelievably competitive prices!

Encore E6 Blaster The long-established twin cutaway body shape of the new Encore E6 Blaster, a firm favourite with guitar players the world over, has been carefully tweaked by Trev Wilkinson here to be as comfortable, ergonomic and balanced as possible. Therefore the Encore E6 features a sculpted, ergonomically designed and naturally vibrant wuton tonewood body, which is light, resonant and easy to wear - ideal for the novice player! £125.00 rrp.

Encore E99 Blaster Fans of out-and-out rock and blues guitar music might find themselves gravitating towards the distinctive single cutaway body/twin humbucker pickup layout of the Encore E99 Blaster electric. Smoothly arched top surface, with solidly mounted traditional Tune-o-matic bridge with stop-bar tailpiece, plus that

equally trademark group of four rotary controls. Love how this guitar looks! £149.00 rrp.

Encore E69 Blaster The distinctive horns of the twin humbuckerequipped Encore E69 Blaster simply shout 'attitude' - and how! With its resonant basswood body, the E69 has all the tonality and vibrancy essential for the playing power associated with this style of electric guitar. The E69 is light and manageable but with an versatile and powerful character. Just turn up the controls for maximum rock and roll! £139.00 rrp.

Encore E2 Blaster Another body style that’s been a firm favourite with guitar players for many years, the single cutawaybodied Encore E2 Blaster offers good upper fret access and easy playability with its straightforward ‘neck and bridge’ pickup layout, controlled by a 3-way pickup selector - the ideal guitar for those who love rock, blues, and country-based guitar sounds! £125.00 rrp.

Encore E4 Blaster Bass Guitar To get a true flavour of playing a full size bass guitar, you need to put the new Encore E4 Blaster Bass Guitar through its paces. Full size bass guitars can be unwieldy beasts to the inexperienced, but the E4 bass features the low mass Far Eastern tonewood, ‘wuton’ as its body wood, which makes the Encore E4 bass guitar as easy to get on with as any full size bass guitar is likely to be! £139.00 rrp.

Encore Blaster Series guitars are also available in ‘all you need’ Encore Blaster Pack outfit format, which includes guitar, BB Blaster 10w combo, guitar stand, Qwik Tune tuner, guitar carry bag, lead, strap, plectrum, spare set strings and full, professionally-shot tuition DVD - and specially-designed ‘Facelift’ re-usable guitar body overlay (E6 Blaster pack only). only £179.00 rrp. 23

TWO TWOFOOT FOOT MAID MAID This ubiquitously titled three piece band of brothers from the North East comprises of Alex Close, 19, on bass and vocals, Seb Close, 17, on drums and Chris Close, 16, on lead guitar. Formed in 2008 the band have written an entire set and have travelled the length of the country promoting their new material. Constantly working and looking for new venues to play, the brothers are building up a reputation for producing a live set that rocks from start to finish with one song flowing effortlessly into the next and have played at some of the countries most famous music venues, Newcastle City Hall, Sunderland Empire and the world famous Cavern Club, Liverpool, to name a few. Off the stage the three brothers are also successful Ice and Roller hockey players. They were all put on the ice at an early age and it was soon evident that the Alex, Seb and Chris were special. All three brothers have captained Durham City Hockey Club's teams at various age groups. They have won National, Superleague and International titles for club, region and country. Whilst not currently playing regular hockey due to there educational and music commitments the three brothers still practice regulary to keep in shape and are looking to return to competitive hockey next season.

– Chris As their surname suggests the brothers are 'Close.' Whether it's on skates or on stage they seem to have an innate ability to know what each other is going to do. Or dare I say is thinking? A look here a glance there, the three are 'in tune' with each other. Home life is no different. Music and sport surrounds them. Their determination and dedication knows no bounds. Indeed, Seb played a gig just three days after suffering a fractured eye socket, cheek bone and jaw. (he got jumped on whilst walking to MacDonalds with his girlfriend!) He looked like S##T but played as if nothing was wrong! Two days later he was in theatre having his face rebuilt and plated! Rock and Roll! Make no mistake. Two Foot Maid are for real and have a gritty determination to succeed. They also have their feet planted firmly on the ground and know there is a long, hard road ahead. The brothers have turned to Vintage guitars to help them on their journey, with Chris using his trusty Vintage Advance AV3HNF almost constantly live "It gets thrown around in it's Kinsman case in the back of the van and never goes out of tune!" he enthuses "It's robust, reliable and turns heads everywhere I play it".

– Alex

Bleech hail from London’s East End and have just released their stand-out self-penned debut single “Is It True That Boys Don’t Cry?”. The single is also the debut release for Ban*Jam records, the logical extension of the famed Ban*Jam club nights.

Vintage AV3HFCR k £459.00

With the presses still warm, the wry high energy tune has been snapped up by the National Theatre for its nationwide New Connections youth theatre programme. The programme’s finale will be at the NT on the South Bank in July with Bleech closing the show. The talented three-piece, now managed by Andy Ross, who discovered that little known band, Blur, have already created a buzz among the cognoscenti having been featured by Steve Lamacq and John Kennedy. In their short, but explosive career, singer/guitarist Jennifer O’Neill has been using the Vintage Advance AV3HFCR for their live performances, which to date have included support slots with Pete Doherty, The Rifles and The Kooks. Bleech are fast gaining a reputation for their songwriting skills, gutsy live performances and their melodic, grungy, guitar-led sound reminiscent of Nineties Brit Pop at its best. The band are continuing a relentless sequence of live shows, including two nights at this year’s forthcoming Camden Crawl.


8 months. Just as Billboard Magazine predicted, it became the concert anthem of 2007. When the video was voted MTV2's Headbanger's Ball TOP 5 METAL VIDEOS OF THE YEAR, it was just the icing on the cake. In the following 18 months the band kept a militant touring schedule... staying out on the road with the likes of Korn, Disturbed, Slipknot, and Machine Head – eventually worked their way up to become a true headlining act selling out venues across America.


ormed in 2005 by Hungarian born guitarist, Zoltan Bathory Five Finger Death Punch have quickly established a reputation as one of the best metal bands of recent years.

5FDP features Ivan Moody (vocals) – Jeremy Spencer (drums) – Jason Hook (guitars-formerly of Alice Cooper) and Kustom Amplification endorsee Matt Snell (bass) the band called themselves "Five Finger Death Punch" – as a nod to Hong-Kong Kung-Fu cinema. The band recorded their self-produced first album (The Way Of The Fist) with sound engineers Stevo "Shotgun" Bruno (Mötley Crüe, Prong), and Mike Sarkysian (Spineshank) in 2006. The debut's mixing and mastering duties were handed to former Machine Head, Soulfly guitarist Logan Mader. Topping online charts and playing sold out shows, Five Finger Death Punch begun its rapid rise with their modern day metal. It wasn't long before one of the most powerful managements, "The Firm" (Korn, Limp Bizkit, Staind) took notice, and signed 5FDP to their artist friendly label Firm Music. Their critically acclaimed debut album broke into the Billboard 200 on its first week of release and had been called the "Cowboys from Hell for this Millennium" by prestigious magazines. In an unfriendly climate for metal, their hit single, "The Bleeding," went top ten against all odds and ruled the radio waves for an astonishing

For a powerful metal outfit like 5FDP, volume and tone cannot be compromised, which is why bassist Matt Snell insisted on a Kustom Groove stack for recent gigs in the UK and Europe. Matt's choice was the 1300 watt Matt Snell

Groove Bass head, with two 2x15 cabs for a full earth shaking bottom end, whilst the inbuilt atteunable tweeters ensure plenty of brightness on the top. In three short years 5FDP have torpedoed the rock charts with three hit singles, and sold over 300,000 records... An impossibly long shot from a brand-new band with a self produced debut record. 5FDP are returning to the studio to begin working on their follow up record.

Steve Righ?

merican Shock-Rockers Mindless Self Indulgence were formed by frontman Jimmy Urine and feature Steve Righ? on lead guitar, Kitty on drums and Lyn-Z on bass (who happens to be married to My Chemical Romances Gerard Way). Mixing numerous styles such as Shock rock, electronica, punk, jungle and industrial, they got their name from the CD Mindless Self-Indulgence, a solo album by Jimmy Urine recorded in the mid-1990s.


A band that's fiercely independent and stunningly visceral in both their recorded material and their live shows, NYC's Mindless Self Indulgence know how to make a big commotion. Since 1997, this co-ed electronic/punk rock band has been storming the electronic and punk scenes sweeping up many hardcore fans in its wake with its music and incendiary live performances. For live shows the bands guitarist Steve Righ? uses the Kustom Coupe Hardtop 100 watt head and cab to get his varied palette of monster tones, and can be seen using it in their hit video "Never Wanted To Dance". The story goes that he got the name "Steve, Righ?" from someone approaching him at a show saying, "You're Steve, righ?...". He was hospitalised from late 2004 to early 2005 due to a hip injury sustained at a joint My Chemical Romance/Mindless Self Indulgence show. He has had two surgeries on his hip – the first one unsuccessful. According to an interview with Jimmy for Kerrang! magazine, Steve claims to frequently get stopped by the metal detectors at airports due to his metal hip....


Tired of tripping up onstage? Then you need

DIAGO PEDAL BOARDS If you’re like us, you love guitar effects pedals. New ones, old ones, cool ones, wacky ones, big and small... you might need to put them somewhere practical though, and Tony Simmons has just the answer...they’re new and they’re ace! Ladies and Gentlemen, guitarists everywhere, we introduce - Diago Pedal Boards!

osh, there aren’t half a lot of effects pedals available these days. Not that I’m complaining, though my credit card might want to register a note of protest about the situation sometimes...Of course, the age-old problem with the most excellent stomp box is that once you’ve accumulated a few, and then a few more, and then etc... well, things can start to get a bit kind of messy. And not just because your missus is demanding to know if that’s another new pedal that you’ve bought... (Apologies if you are a female guitarist or bass player, please just swap scenarios...) So whether it’s at home, rehearsal or a gig, a load of pedals scattered around the floor does not look good, especially if you’ve opted to use wall warts, i.e. PSUs (power supply units), because you’ll then also need a couple of 4-gang plug boards beside you too. Now, knowing the average size of a pub gig performing area, if you’re surrounded by that lot on the floor around you, it’s starting to look VERY untidy. Not really too safe, either. Time for a solution.


Generally speaking, I reckon Jimi Hendrix was the first guitarist who could be seen to use pedals onstage, especially on television shows, so I’d guess he was the first official ‘pedalhead’. Bands like The Shadows had lead guitarist Hank Marvin using an echo pedal but you never saw it being used in performance, as such – Hank’s sound may even have been regarded as a sort of ‘trade secret’ at the time.. And groups like the Beatles, in their earlier days, always just fed the signal leads from the guitars straight into their amps, or so it looked on screen; a neat enough arrangement when they didn’t worry about changing their guitar sound for different numbers. With Hendrix though, there was

So, Jimi didn’t really need to bother, but how many guitarists who use pedals have thought, perhaps every time they line their pedals up on the floor to perform, that they really MUST sort out a pedal board soon... But then when they think about the trip to B&Q to get the wood and fittings, and then about putting it all together, especially if they’re not too DIYsavvy, the motivation inevitably fades into the ether... I’ve used a pedal board for a good few years now – it’s got my most-used essential six pedals on it, with room for another pedal if I want to try one in my line-up – and there’s the multi-feed power supply too, to each pedal, both 9v and 18v jobs. I can’t begin to describe the sheer convenience of this arrangement. In fact, I made up another pedal board with another set of pedals on it as my ‘alternative’ for when I want to change my sound at a practice or gig – just for the hell of it. But just being able to grab the pedal board when I’m loading up the car for a gig, then hoik it into the gig, take off the cover and lay the board on the floor, plug in my In/Out signal leads and that’s that bit done... brilliant. Also, at 1.30 in the morning after a tiring gig, pack it up, into the car – minimum fuss, innit? And it’s all so easily stored at home too, so everyone’s happy. (IT’S A) NO BRAINER So, if you fancy going the pedal board route, why not take the pain out of the assembly

‘I can’t begin to describe the sheer convenience of this arrangement’ always the wah pedal, the Fuzz Face distortion and sometimes later the Octavia octave doubler strewn around the area on stage in front of him. So three pedals didn’t – and doesn’t – look too messy, but more than that and it’s a right pain.

pedal board and slot my equally beaten-up pedals ’n’ PSU in there – at least they’ll have a nice case to travel around to gigs and rehearsals in! A pedal board looks smart and organised, is much safer to use onstage, especially where standing space is limited, and saves no end

of hassle as you don’t have to re-connect and disconnect loads of power leads and patch leads every time you play. DIAGO PEDAL BOARDS - GUARANTEED TO GO THE DISTANCE Diago Pedal Boards offer many highspecification features. Heavy duty catches make sure the base and lid are securely shut, whilst all corner sections have armour protection. A sturdy amp-style, throughbolted handle lets you transport the loaded case with confidence. One half of the case is the low-profile edge pedal board base itself – the other case half is a removable quick-release protective lid. Pedals, power supplies, etc. are fixed to a pre-set Velcro ‘loop’ using industrial grade sticky-backed Velcro ‘hook’ strips, so they can be positioned – and re-positioned – easily anywhere on the board, in any orientation. The Velcro is super-sticky, too – with the board open at a gig, no one would be able to opportunistically ‘steal’ a pedal without you noticing – you can turn the pedal board upside down and shake it as proof; the pedals don’t budge an inch. A decent roll of 25mm wide industrial-grade sticky-backed Velcro hook strip is included by Diago with every pedal board. Diago Pedal Board lids are lined with foam

stage and go the ready-made route with a fully pro quality pedal board from makers Diago? Well, I’ll tell you, my ‘old faithful’ main pedal board is getting pretty beat up and past it after years of service, so I reckon I’ll be looking to purchase my own Diago • Detachable Lid. Pedal Board Base!

to gently hold the top of any taller pedals, and attaches/detaches using quick-release hinges at the back of the board. As the lid is closed, the hinges hook progressively around each other, locking lid and board together. Diago Pedal Boards are constructed from 1/2” eastern plywood which is rigid, light and durable – and

an ideal compromise between physical size and internal capacity, with room for your most-used pedals and a power supply unit, with supplied Velcro hook tape lengths. £124.99 rrp.

GIGMAN For reference in terms of size, the Gigman pedal board is roughly the same size as a big-ish briefcase. This compact pedal board is easily portable, DIAGO PEDALBOARD capable of carrying • 1/2'' plywood panel construction and protecting your • Heavy duty fabric covering ‘most vital’ pedals, • Heavy duty catches with lock ring • Through-bolted handle with a power supply. • Armour protected corners Ideal to have as a • Non-slip feet • Quick-release hinges ‘back-up’ for your • Detachable foam padded lid larger main pedal • Low-profile pedal board base • Velcro loop covered base board. Also supplied • Velcro hook tape included with Velcro hook tape lengths. £99.99 rrp.

short circuit and voltage protection. It’s also surprisingly compact, and can be used worldwide in any country thanks to its internal voltage adaptor system (no additional step-up, step-down transformers needed), and comes supplied with one additional ‘daisy chain’ power link lead. Amazing value too, as this high-performance PSU costs only £69.99 rrp. DIAGO DELUXE DAISY CHAIN LINKS Diago offers a Deluxe Daisy Chain power supply link taking the regulated power supply to six pedals in your line-up, a Deluxe Daisy Chain set featuring 6 x right-angled 2.1mm barrel plugs, with 300mm length available between each plug. Price £9.99 per set of six.

® ®

DIAGO ACCESSORIES Precision-manufactured accessories available for Diago pedal boards!

sturdy as anything, thanks to that road-resistant heavy-duty fabric covering. DIAGO PEDAL BOARDS WHAT’S AVAILABLE TOURMAN Approximately the same size as an electric guitar case, the Diago Tourman is designed to accept a wide variety of effects pedals in a number of different formats and sizes. This is the one for you if you use quite a number of pedals, from full size wah wahs and volume pedals to larger 18v-type units such as the MXR Stereo Chorus. Even multi effects pedal boards can be accommodated in the Tourman, the largest of the pedal board options available. Ideal for session players or players in more than one band, the Tourman’s internal dimensions of 1020 x 450 x 100mm can hold a wide selection of regular and irregular-sized pedals, with plenty of space left to accommodate a power supply, such as the Diago Powerstation. The Tourman pedal board is supplied with 4m of 25mm width sticky-backed Velcro hook to keep pedals securely in situ. £149.99 rrp. SHOWMAN This mid-sized Diago pedal board case offers

DIAGO POWERSTATION This is the ultimate pedal board power supply unit, one which will power from 1 to an incredible 30 pedals (with enough daisy chains) - without noise or hum. Powering multiple effects pedals has long been a problem especially with cheaper pedal power supplies, which are often under-rated, unregulated, poorly filtered designs which pollute the guitar signal with noise and hum. The studio-quality Diago Powerstation uses state-of-the-art digital switch mode technology making it quiet, light and totally efficient in operation, and it has the ability to power over 95% of stomp box pedal types, an impressive count. It has also achieved fully-approved, type approval use certification in many countries, which underlines just how well made the Powerstation unit actually is. Safety standards are particularly high in the unit, with full internal

DIAGO POWER CONNECTION ADAPTORS A selection of power connection adaptors is also available from Diago to suit most pedal types - Green Adaptor – centre positive, 2.5mm barrel plug, £5.99 rrp. Blue Adaptor – positive tip, 3.5mm mini jack plug, £5.99 rrp. Red Adaptor – centre positive, 2.1mm barrel plug, £5.99 rrp. White Adaptor – 9v battery snap connector, £5.99 rrp. Black Adaptor – 30cm extension lead for daisy chain, £5.99 rrp.






• Powers over 95% of pedals • Powers up to 30 pedals (with enough Daisy Chains) • Studio quality components • Quite - hum and noise free • Light and compact • Heavy duty ABS shock free case • Works in ANY country • No need for step-up, step-down transformers • Short circuit and voltage protection • Meets national & international safety regs


COUNTRY SQUIRE SUPER S & SUPER T Fret-King Supremo Trev Wilkinson always maintains that he makes ‘working vintage guitars’, designed from a player’s point of view for guitar players. Tony Simmons looks at two prime examples of that famous Wilkinson philosophy. ike many guitar players I’m sure, the overall look of these Fret-King Blue Blue Label Super S and Super T guitars has a real appeal for me, reflecting my favourite electric guitar style famed for its ‘no frills, no nonsense’ attitude that has provided grass roots guitar sounds for many decades now. And though it wouldn’t be unreasonable to refer to the Super S and Super T guitars as twins, they’re by no means identical twins as each has its own distinct attributes and character.


the ‘budget’ way to build a guitar, and neither is it cheap to import proper alder from America. Then there’s the Canadian hard rock maple used for the neck and the Indian Rosewood fingerboard... It’s good to see that Trev’s applied ‘comfort contouring’ to what would otherwise be slab bodied instruments, with a nice forearm chamfer across the top bout greatly aiding player comfort - especially over the course of a night’s gig - as does the scoopedout rear ribcage


FBSTTRB Super T Trans Blue

FBSTBSC Super T Butterscotch

FBSTMLB Super T Metallc Lght Blue

Though they’re single cutaway body guitars with bolt-on necks, straight away Trev Wilkinson’s influence on the formula makes itself obvious; bat wing headstock, stepped top scratchplate, elongated rotary control plate with up-angle pickup selector - and what’s this? - a three brass double string saddle design that can be intonated? Excellent, and more on this later. Wilkinson knows that if this type guitar design is going to work, the fundamentals have to be correct. Thus the body is two-piece centrejointed imported American alder - many alternatives use three or four-piece bodies under a solid colour. Centre-jointing gives the guitars a nicely balanced feel from the matched halves, but already the raw material cost is accelerating, as this certainly ain’t


carving, both of these echoing Trev’s topof-therange Green Label UK-produced ‘Yardbird’ electric, itself a tribute to guitar legend Jeff Beck’s iconic 60’s guitar which was similarly modified, which always appealed to a young, impressionable Wilkinson. And, like Trev’s other detailing, it works!

Fret-King Super T Let’s take the more straightforward of these two guitar designs first, the twopickup Super T. It’s finished in Metallic Light Blue which really suits the guitar, and it’s interesting to note that during the course of this review, I had more non-guitar playing people come out with an (unprompted) ‘that guitar looks really nice’ than for any other guitar I’ve tried recently. Definitely a reassuring start, as everyone wants to think their ‘guitar of choice’ at least looks the part, don’t they?

The high quality/high value theme continues throughout - tuners are Gotoh® SG38 sealed gear units with a smooth and even action, and an authentic vintage style circular string tree provides a positive break angle over the nut for the top E and B strings. Intonation is always an issue with this style of guitar, but this Super T - and the Super S - feature the unique and innovative Wilkinson WT3 bridge. Constructed from thin gauge steel for authentic tone, it features intonatable machined brass saddles from Trev W for greatly improved intonation, irrespective of string gauge. Proper ‘ashtray’ style bridge housing too, and good to see the heart of any T-type guitar - the bridge pickup, natch - sporting decent diameter, non-staggered height slugs (polepieces) for the provision of that good ol’ T tone, especially when there’s also a steel baseplate under the pickup, as tradition requires for that sound.

In Use It’s easy to feel at home on this guitar, to pull it in tight, dig in, and get some seriously twangsome action going - after all, that’s what’s expected from this style of guitar and if it don’t do that, then it’s no use to anyone. But there’s no disappointment, and that famous barking bridge pickup twang is especially good on the chicken pickin’ workouts. Moving to a more bluesy rock style presents no problems either, thanks to the fat medium-heavy frets fitted here. They are notably chunky and so big, expressive bends are definitely the order of the day! The centre selector pickup position gives you the funk as it should, with that slightly thinner, more transparent tone that’s so useful for funky chord accompaniments. Flicking the selector up and forward to hook up the neck pickup gives everything you play a smoother tonal veneer, a chord freak’s heaven - and that’s me, I love these dark and jazzy tones, with that flutey octave response up around the twelfth fret - sweet. “But why angle the pickup selector like that, Trev?” I asked him. The response is typically pragmatic. “When you’re controlling the volume by riding the volume rotary as you will do with this style of guitar, the natural angle of your hand in that position means that it’s easier for your pinky to hook the selector with that upangle travel,” he smiles. And he’s right thinking about the player again.

Fret-King Super S Build-wise, the Super S echoes the Super T in many respects, including the intonatable WT3 bridge and those so-neat contours and chamfers adding greatly to the comfort factor. This is, however, definitely a more versatile take on the ‘T’ formula. In the way that many bass players opted for a P/J style of pickup layout and added an additional pickup to give their bass improved tonal versatility, so many guitarists added an extra centre single coil to the twin-pickup T guitar for more sounds. Not that the original formula is lacking in any respect, but if you’re a session player, the more tones you have available under your fingers, the better, especially if it saves you having to lug (yet) another guitar around with you. Not that I can talk, but hey... This time, the up-angle pickup selector lever offers five options - the three ‘standard’ neck, middle and bridge options are all available, along with the funkier, glassy S-type ‘in between’ sounds too - like, if you fancied doing Sultans Of Swing in your covers set, you’d have an authentic Mark Knopfler tone right away with the in-between mid/bridge position 4.

Conclusion In this super-competitive £500- £1000 guitar price category, it’s important that you should try every option you can. Other makes of these types of guitars often exhibit various inconsistencies of build quality and can feel decidedly less than average, but the build quality on these Korean-made Fret-King Blue Labels (and other Blue Label guitars I’ve tried) is always impressively high, with

excellent finish quality and impressive hardware. Trev’s proplayer

approach is always refreshing and always effective. At £649.00 rrp, very much the lower end of the price category referred to above for either the Super T or Super S, the price is right, as the famous TV programme has it. And also, as with the Super T, chunky frets and a reasonable deep C-section neck give the guitar a robust, rugged, going-thedistance feel in use. And the impression is that distance is no object...

‘STVDIO’ & ‘ATELIER’ Series STVDIO Series showcases the inspirational vibe inherent in all Fret-King¤ guitars. Each STVDIO Series guitar is a one off proof of concept instrument, unlikely ever to be exactly repeated. These individual and occasionally experimental instruments embody the talent of Trev Wilkinson as a designer and master builder. To own one of these amazing instruments, created in FretKings UK workshop, is to own a unique, intriguing, interesting and eminently capable guitar of peerless quality.

Spec Check Fret-King Blue Label Super S and Super T

FBSSOCB Super S Original Classic Burst

FBSSTRB Super S Trans Blue

FBSSBSC Super S Butterscotch

Body: Comfort contoured, centre-joined 2-piece American alder Neck: Canadian rock maple Fingerboard: Indian rosewood Machineheads: Gotoh Bridge: Wilkinson WT3 raised edge Controls: Volume, Tone, 3-way pickup selector (5-way Super S) Pickups: (Super T) 2 x Wilkinson s/c; (Super S) 3 x Wilkinson s/c Case: Fret-King luxury padded bag RRP: Super S: £649.00 Super T: £649.00

ATELIER Series showcases the outer limits of the cosmetic embellishments possible with FretKing¤ GREEN LABEL Series guitars. Each ATELIER Series guitar is although created as a virtually one off custom instrument, is available to special order. These individual and occasionally experimental instruments embody the talent of Trev Wilkinson as a designer and master builder. To own one of these supremely beautiful instruments, created in Fret-Kings UK workshop, is to own an ber collectible work of art, as well as an interesting and eminently capable guitar of peerless quality.

Visit: to see more 29


TECH TALK What’s a mixer?

ALLEN & HEATH ZED22FX A mixer is actually a very simple animal. I know it looks like it has acres of controls, but all it does is to allow you to combine and route audio signals from a set of inputs to a set of outputs. More advanced models will allow you to add varied signal processing effects. The main image on this page shows an Allen & Heath ZED22FX mixer. I chose this for my example as it is equally at home as a live mixer, or for recording. The ‘22’ tells you it has 22 input channels, which it can mix (combine) into 2 channels – I’ll return to this later.


OK, let’s jump in and take a look at a channel strip of an Allen & Heath ZED22FX, and explain what the controls do. The first 16 channels are all exactly the same, and are termed MONO INPUTS.

Mic In

Do you know your PAN from your PFL? We’ve all felt intimidated by the layout of mixing desks, but fear not - Gear’s tame boffin Kevin Aston guides you down a desk channel strip using the ALLEN & HEATH ZED22FX desk. It only takes an onstage cry of ‘Can I have less reverb in my monitor?’ from the vocalist to elicit one of two reactions from anyone standing in the proximity of the mixing desk; a) someone who goes straight to the respective controls and takes out some of the reverb as requested or, more likely, b) total paralysis caused by control confusion. Don’t be afraid to admit it, mixers can be daunting to look at, with seemingly hundreds of multi-coloured controls with function names which only serve to baffle even more. So, without further ado, let me lead you gently into the land of the mixing console... A mixer can be referred to by a number of titles; mixing console, board and desk are often used but each means the same thing. A mixer is a device that allows you to balance, position, effect and equalise a number of sound sources (inputs) into a good sounding sonic image referred to as ‘..a mix’. In the mix, you can add effects to some channels but not others, and position instruments to a location in the stereo sound field. You can route channels to outboard equipment that produces an interesting effect and ‘sculpt’ the sound of each channel with a dedicated equaliser where the bass, mid and treble can be varied in such a way that the whole song ‘gels’. And you can dramatically improve your music made of multiple tracks by learning how to mix.

backing off the bass EQ and lowering the volume of that channel.

Spend a few minutes looking at any mixing desk, and you will notice that every mixer layout follows a simple and logical sequence of control layout. Starting from the left hand side, the panel is set out in distinct vertical ‘strips’, each strip being the same. These are the individual input channels, the ‘22’ in the mixer’s model number. These are the 22 input channels.

Use this XLR input to connect your microphones or DI boxes. It is a balanced input, wired in the normal convention of Pin 1 = chassis, Pin 2 = hot signal (+), and Pin 3 + cold(-) signal. The Mic input connects to the heart of any mixing desk, the preamplifier. The preamp is used to boost the weak -70 dBu to -50 dBu nominal output levels of microphones to around +4 dBu.

Line In Use this connector for plugging in ‘Line Level’ instruments such as keyboards, samplers or drum machines. It can also be used to accept the returns from multitrack tape machines and other recording media. It is a balanced input, wired in the normal convention of (stereo socket) Tip = hot signal (+), Ring = cold signal (-) and Sleeve = chassis. If you connect a plug to the Line Input, it overrides the XLR input socket.

TOO LOUD Moving to the right hand side, the layout has changed slightly, but it still follows the same logical layout principle. The two red sliders refer to the two outputs. So far so good, but what exactly does a mixer do? You take a number of input signals; vocal microphone(s), keyboards, guitars and drums. Listening to the band playing, the guitarist may be too loud compared to the rest of the band (never, it’ll be the drummer or the bass player – guitarist Ed). Your mixer gives you full control over this. Each sound source goes through one or more channels. Using the input levels and EQ, you can “shape“ each sound and, using the channel faders, you control each channel’s volume level. Using these few controls, you can “place” sounds across the stage using the Pan controls. You can bring a sound to the front of the stage by gently boosting the volume and EQ on that channel. OR, you can move the sound to the back of the stage by

Insert Point This is used to connect external signal processors such as compressors or limiters within the input module. The Insert Point allows external devices to be placed within the Input Path. This is a stereo socket, wired to Tip = signal send, Ring = signal return and Sleeve = ground.

Gain Control (Input Sensitivity) Sets how much of the signal from the mic or line inputs is fed to the channel. This gain runs from -6dB to +63dB with the XLR input, -10dB to +26dB when using line in.

HPF (High Pass Filter) As the name suggests, this switch cuts out the very lowest frequencies of a sound whilst

allowing the high frequencies to ‘pass through’. It’s particularly useful in live situations to reduce stage rumble or microphone ‘popping’, which can produce a muddy mix, or to clean up male vocals and filter out low frequency hum. The A & H HPF is a 2-pole filter rolling off at 100Hz; 2-pole means it will roll off at 12dB per octave.

EQ Section The equaliser section allows you to change the tone of the sound on each input. Do not confuse this section with, say, your guitar amp’s EQ – these are designed to only enhance the frequency range of a guitar. The A & H EQ covers the whole of the audio range. An EQ section is normally split into ‘bands’ which control a range of frequencies, in a similar fashion to the treble and bass tone controls on your home hi-fi. The ZED has 3-band EQ, with a separate control for the middle audio frequencies. This control is also ‘swept’ which provides even more sophistication. Simply described, a sweep EQ allows you to choose the exact frequency to cut and boost, rather than having it chosen for you, as on normal “fixed” controls.

• HF EQ gives +/-15dB boost or cut, with a corner frequency of 12kHz. • MF EQ gives +/-15dB boost of cut, which has a variable frequency range from 120Hz to 4kHz. • LF EQ gives +/-15dB cut or boost with a corner frequency of 80Hz.

Auxiliary Section Auxes 1 & 2 Each of these controls sends a signal to an auxiliary bus. The signal is sourced pre-fade which means that the level is independent of, and unaffected by the fader. Auxes 1 & 2 are primarily used for foldback monitoring purposes, as the fader does not affect the level. They can also be used as feeds for recording and are available sources to the USB interface for this purpose. These sends are affected by the Mute switch, so muting the channel will also mute the Aux sends. Input Path. The control varies the signal level to the bus from off (fully attenuated) to

+6dB, with unity gain at the arrow. There are master level controls for the Aux 1 & 2 outputs situated in the master section of the mixer.

the mono input channel is shared between the left and right buses and subsequently the main stereo outputs. Set to the mid position, equal amounts of signal are fed to left and right, with pan set to L, none is sent to the Auxes 3 & FX Right bus. These are post-fade sends, which means that A pan pot is nothing more than a pair of the signals are affected by the channel fader. specially tapered pots (level controls) wired Primarily used for effects sends, the aux back-to-back so that as the level going out of signal will reduce if the fader is pulled down, one pot increases, the level going out of the so keeping the correct proportion of the other decreases. In sound system applications, effect. Muting the channel will also mute the it is desirable to taper the resistance elements Aux sends, and the send controls have 6dB in the two sections of the pan pot so that gain fully clockwise. There are no master level when the pot is centred, the output level controls for Aux 3 & 4 outputs. from each section is 3 dB less than it would be if the pot were turned all the way up for Let me explain pre- and post- fader. The the individual section (all the way to one side). signal applied to the auxiliary or effects mixing bus(ses) may be derived before (pre) The total POWER then coming out of the or after (post) the channel's fader. This pre or loudspeaker system will be the same with post fader signal still must go through the the pot centred as with the pot to one side auxiliary or effects send level control before or the other (two amplifiers each producing it is applied to the aug or efx bus. When an 3 dB less than full power equal the same as auxiliary or effects mix is derived pre fader, one amplifier producing full power). fader adjustments made to alter the primary PFL & PK! LED mix will not affect that auxiliary mix. Only the send level control adjusts this mix. Post The PFL (Pre-Fade Listen) switch sends the fader auxiliary or effects sends are still channel signal to the PFL bus and subsequently subject to the send level control, but they to the headphones and the main L R meters. also track fader changes. Used for checking the audio signal before raising the fader or un-muting the channel. Post fader sends are often used for feeding The PK! LED illuminates dimly to indicate the echo or reverb devices because one generally PFL switch is pressed, and brightly to indicate wants the echo sound to fade out when the channel signal is within 5dB of clipping. the channel is faded out of the Fader mix. Sometimes, for special effects, one may prefer a This determines the level of the input signal pre fader echo send; within the mix and provides a visible when the indication of channel level. All A&H desks channel is come with 100mm travel faders which provide faded, its echo greater control snd smoother response than component the limited 60mm travel faders often fitted to lingers until the echo budget concious mixers. send control is turned down, Mute Switch giving the appearance of a sound moving off ‘into the distance’. This mutes or cuts the signal to the left and Auxiliary mixes for stage monitoring or right buses and the Aux buses. A rectangular sub-mixes for remote use are generally LED illuminates to show the Mute switch is derived pre fader. In this way, channel pressed. fader adjustments that are intended to fine tune the main house mix will not distract NEXT ISSUE performers on stage or cause inappropriate Okay, Kevin’s talked you down through a imbalances in broadcast or recording feeds. channel strip on the excellent Allen & Heath It is important to remember that performers ZED22FX. In the next Gear, he looks at stereo on stage use their monitor mixes to judge operation, how to introduce the onboard desk their own playing or vocal dynamics, and the effects into your mix, and the all-important balance between band members. If these output control section on your desk. balances are arbitrarily changed during a performance because the mixing engineer is attempting to alter the house mix and the monitor feeds happen to be derived post fader, the entire performance will be adversely affected. On the other hand, there may be exceptions, particularly in small clubs where the stage monitor speakers spill into the audience to a large extent, where compromises must be accepted, and the stage monitor mix is best done post fader.


PAN (Panoramic Control) The pan control adjusts how the signal from 31

With his most recent single, 'Broken Strings' already having been a longtime fixture in both the national and international music and download charts, young singer/songwriter James Morrison has also been enjoying a welcome reception to his songs whilst touring over in the USA. After years spent playing cover songs in the earlier part of the decade, Morrison decided to push ahead with his own material, and in 2006 his distinctive soulful vocal style broke through with his self-penned debut single, 'You Give Me Something'. This was followed by a huge response to the ensuing debut album, ironically titled 'Undiscovered', which by the end of that year had sold over a million copies, notching up three BRIT Award nominations along the way. Continued single success with songs like 'The Pieces Don't Fit Anymore' and 'You Make It Real' led up to the release of his second album, 2008's 'Songs For You, Truths For Me', with James also fitting in some very popular high-profile concert and festival appearances alongside his own tours in the interim period, all helping to make James very much a household name as a performing artist. James Morrison (left) buddies up with Fishman's Director Of Marketing & Artist Relations, Chris DeMaria at James' recent sold-out acoustic show in Boston, Mass. on his current USA tour.


RARE EARTH Active Soundhole Pickup

As an essentially acoustic performer, James' sound is very important to his show – as such, he chooses to use Fishman's high performance Rare Earth Humbucking active magnetic soundhole pickup as his primary signal source. Recently re-voiced and fine tuned for even smoother treble response, the Fishman Rare Earth HB unit features cutting-edge neodymium magnets for a warmer and more natural full acoustic tone, with excellent string-to-string balance characteristics; the perfect complement to James' warm and soulful vocal style, in fact!

60’s-inspired diminutive Danelectro Hodad Mini Amp just wants to rock – in style!


ometimes, you just have to pick up an electric guitar, plug it in and play, don’t you? Whether it’s to play along with songs you’re listening to on your laptop, for instance, or if you simply need to express the anarchy in your soul during during the Monday morning corporate conference call to the Manchester office... Whenever that time is, the brand new amp from Danelectro, the Hodad Mini Amp, will rock your world – no matter what the occasion!

• Model: DH1 • 340gms Weight • 133mm (w), 120mm (h), 63mm (d)

Danelectro’s new Hodad is a real little looker, featuring a triangular-esque shaped exterior, not seen since the introduction of those now highly-desirable combos that many British guitarists cut their playing teeth on, way back in the dawn of very early 60’s beat groups! The Hodad’s handsome traditionally-hued two-tone cabinet will enhance the decor of any house or office, and it takes up hardly any space on your desk or table top! So what’s this little beauty got to offer? Well, it’s a powerful mini amp for practice or back stage tune-ups, and its novel twin speaker format angles the sound in a divergent fashion, giving a big spread of sound – relatively speaking, of course. Check out the Hodad’s control layout – jack in the top, and the larger rotaries offer Tone, Gain and On/Off/Vol (with 'LED On' status), plus (because it's Danelectro!) a cool Echo effect AND a vintage-toned Tremolo – with adjustable speed! The Danelectro Hodad Mini Amp costs £39.99 rrp.


Or, the ‘Dead On ‘58’ Longhorn, as Danelectro have it, is coming this summer. But it’s a classic either way, with all the characteristic Dano details – Copper Burst finish, ‘50s ‘pointer’ style top controls on the two Volume/Tone dual concentrics, twin warmed-up alnico Lipstick pickups... so cool. Anyone can wear and play this bass because it’s a short scale instrument, weighs hardly anything an you’ve got full access to all 23 frets! Always a favourite with cool bass players, the Longhorn retails at £319.00. Check out the Dano range at

represents a definite melding of traditional blues-meets-the-21st century. Not just in the stripped-down, guitar and drums power duo approach to the songs, but the fact that the album was also recorded at Hoo Farm Industrial Estate in Kidderminster, on Gwyn’s Apple Mac laptop, before being engineered and mastered by David Mitson, whose CV states that he was the chief studio engineer in Sony’s Mastering Suite in Los Angeles for some 15 years and worked with the biggest artiste names in the world.

Vintage Advance AV6 £379.00rrp


ne thing with any new album from blues stalwart Gwyn Ashton, is to expect the unexpected. Gwyn’s hi-energy approach to the blues will always be present on the tracks of course, along with his trademark gritty bar room vocal style and plenty of driving guitar, naturally. But even by Gwyn’s standards, this is definitely taking a gamble. The new album is called Two Man Blues Army, and a two man blues army is what it is, no mistake. As you line up the CD for the first track, you’re thinking, “Will a duo have the firepower to do what’s expected ...?’ Will it ever - the album simply roars into life with a raucous onslaught of soupy, swampy, scruff-of-the-neck, revved-up Hendrix-y electric guitar, as the appropriatelytitled ‘Meltdown At The Hoo’ hits top gear and hammers away at your senses! This we like - in fact, the whole album of killer tunes

RECORDING TWO MAN BLUES ARMY “We used three mics on the kit, two on my amp and a DI for the octave pedal,” recalls Gwyn, ”and recorded most of it live with my amp baffled off by a desk but still bleeding into the drum mics. I guess that gave it the big guitar sound we got,” Ashton reports on the recording process. “After recording in studios all my life it was kinda funky to be doing something like this. We weren’t, like, trying to beat the clock to get it done quickly. It’s the most relaxed I’ve felt recording, with virtually no pressure to get out of the building because someone else had booked the studio the next day.” An extensive playing history includes opening for blues legends such as BB King and Buddy Guy to sharing the stage and recording with members of Rainbow, Black Sabbath and

Danelectro DC59 £229.00rrp

retur ns t n h o s n A y -rocker Gw s l e b u n r unch a new a e a l t Vet o y m A r Blues with a Two Man s! Whitesnake, Gwyn needed to call on e blue all his experience to make the power at tack on th duo format work - especially as the first performance with the duo inadvertently took place in front of 14,000 festival goers in Germany. Why ‘inadvertently’? Well, his bass player had disappeared the previous day, so Ashton and his drummer appeared as a duo, finalising the song arrangements in an onsite caravan 30 minutes before their set! Having amassed quite an arsenal of working guitars, Gwyn’s a big fan of his Laguna Blue Vintage Advance AV6 with its 3 x stacked P90 pickups, and his Danelectro DC59......... Gwyn on his Danelectro DC59 "I love old guitars and this one feels as good looks the part, too. Great sparkle from the lipsticks when I hit the strings with a bottleneck..." Check Gwyn out on his My Space page at and at

Gwyn on his Vintage AV6 "This guitar goes from Junior® to Strat® in a split-second, with a bit of extra obtainable growl. By cranking the bottom tone control you can actually blend the coils and dial in more windings, making the pickups humbucking. Cool!"


KUSTOM ‘DOUBLE CROSS’ AMP Expanding its already-impressive USA all-valve amplification range, Kustom has introduced the Double Cross - a world-class, all-valve 3-channel guitar head. Ray Boyd reckons it’s time to buu-uu-rrnnn..! esigned by noted amp builder James Brown (the subject of a major Gear interview in the past) the 100 watt Kustom Double Cross boldly re-defines high-gain guitar amplification, with a broad spectrum of stunning new tones and usermodified features. The Double Cross consists of three distinctively voiced channels: Rhythm, Lead I and Lead II. Each Lead channel can be modified by users via four separate function switches which are located at the four end points of a ‘Cross’ design on the front control panel. These switches are not simply EQ parameters; instead, each uniquely blends additional 12AX7 valve stages, letting players actually alter the gain/EQ/Attack structure of their preamps - modifications usually not offered to consumers unless they take their amplifier to a knowledgeable technician to be permanently modded. The two Lead channels are voiced differently, with Lead I catering to a modern heavy tone and Lead II crafted for a more high-gain ‘cranked amp’ lead tone. The four switches on each Cross are: (1) Bright, which alters the tone to enhance high-end response and tighten the low end; (2) Gain, which boosts the preamp gain; (3) Tight Stage: which adds chunky, vintage-style gain like a classic amp when fully cranked; (4) Thick Stage: offers rich, aggressive tonal qualities with complex harmonic content. These four functions may be activated, omitted and blended in any combination to create a wider choice of tones than any other high-gain amp on the market.


High Gain “Having worked on high-gain amps for years, I always noticed how adding more gain usually causes so much compression that you lose all your dynamics and note definition,” explains Kustom amp guru, Brown. “Although the Double Cross offers tremendous amounts of gain and distortion, it adds the extra tubes (valves) in a new way that doesn’t change your dynamics or sacrifice the touch sensitivity, regardless of the amp’s settings.” All three channels of the Double Cross provide separate Gain and Volume controls a standard Kustom feature - as well as independent Bass, Middle, Treble and Presence controls. There is also a global Master Volume and a Boost Volume control


that can be activated with the Double Cross’s 5-function rugged metal footswitch (included). A speaker cabinet-emulated Direct Out, drawn from Kustom’s Coupe Series amps, has now evolved to offer two signal options; (1)

you’re trying to find the ‘sweet spot’ in your amp’s sound, though each of the three channels has its own EQ, Presence, Gain and Volume controls alongside a Master Volume and Boost rotary on the front panel, too.

‘Being able to fine tune your sound with the switches on each Double Cross symbol point is a nice touch’ the tonal colouration provided by a Celestion™ Vintage 30 speaker-loaded straight-front 4x12 cabinet or (2) the distinct sound of a slant-front, Vintage 30loaded front 4x12”. The rich, punchy tone of Kustom’s DI signal has been much revered by professional musicians and is now even more effective.

Other special Double Cross features include an all-valve footswitchable effects loop; a 6L6 / EL34 bias switch if you decide to change the type of output valves you use for a different tonality; a ‘Tight’ input jack that actually tightens the attack response of the entire amplifier system... Also, the 5-function footswitch activates each channel, Boost function and effects loop, with individual Send and Return gain controls. The Double Cross is obviously designed to offer the maximum amount of control possible over each facility - neat.

In Use It’s impossible not to get straight to Lead II and go for it, to hear all the Double Cross’ tone circuits in action as designer Brown intended. Into a Kustom Coupe 4 x 12 and it’s a flippin’ massive sound, too - drop the low E string on your guitar down a tone to D, plug into the ‘Tight’ input jack and the low downs guts in the sound really flaps your flares and then some, but it all sounds very contained at the same time, especially with rapid fire double string style riffing on the D and A strings. Being able to fine tune your sound with the switches on each Double Cross symbol point is a nice touch. It’s especially useful live on stage when

But such high gain shenanigans are to deny the versatility of the Double Cross. I’ve always found Kustom’s all-valve amps to have an attractive clean channel sound, as with my own 72 Coupe, dynamic and responsive, exactly the case with the DC. Single coil chord voicings and lead runs are tracked beautifully by the amp and the headroom available keeps it all sounding smooth. Up the Gain though and experiment with the available midrange and you’ve also got a terrific ‘crunch’ sound - for Country Rock guitar work this is an exciting, edgy, dry tone for rhythm and lead tasks, clear and articulate. Use a humbucker-equipped guitar on this setting, select the Drive and Bright tone switches and you’ve definitely moved into Angus territory! Incidentally, the user’s manual provides some useful reference settings to get you into the tonal ballpark for a variety of different amp sounds across all three channels.

Conclusion Retailing at £1,999.00, it ain’t pocket money to buy nor, having read this far, would you expect it to be. But, other specialist boutique amps retail for far in excess of that sum and there’s no doubt that, in comparison, the Kustom Double Cross is an awesome representation of what valve power can do in terms of performance, dynamics and harmonics. Alongside its other onboard facilities. It’s usefully versatile with a number of extremely useful innovations. It’s a superbly musical tool in the right hands, great name and we all think it looks the absolute bol... er, business!

Disturbed do some very big shows does the band have extensive pre-tour rehearsals with the stage show ? “We don’t do a whole lot of rehearsal. We all know how the songs are meant to sound. We play so much together in the studio or onstage anyway, that we all know what’s going on. We’ll sometimes change the set list to shake it up a bit for us, throw in new songs. Half an hour before we go onstage, Dan, our guitar player might say, hey, let’s put such and such a number in the set as well!”

ormed in Chicago in the midnineties when singer David Draiman met up with three musician friends who were already a gigging outfit, guitarist Dan Donegan, bassist Steve ‘Fuzz’ Kmack and drummer Mike Wengren, Disturbed’s career took off around 2000 with the release of their debut album, The Sickness. They then gained a slot on the then-annual mega-metal high profile USA ‘Ozzfest’ tour in 2001, headlined by Ozzy Osbourne and his band, before themselves becoming one of the hardest-working bands in the hard rock arena, Disturbed have since gone on to be a multi-platinum selling band with a huge and extremely loyal following. With a new album out, ‘Indestructible’, Disturbed are well into their current ‘Music As A Weapon’ tour. Gear caught up with bassist John Moyer, who replaced original bass player Kmack, and who’s become quite a feature in the band with his rock-solid, thundering bass lines and charismatic stage presence. “We’re a little over half way through the ‘Music Is A Weapon’ tour,” explains John. “It’s Disturbed’s flagship tour, and we do it with every album cycle. This is when we get to bring out all of our toys, get the best bands we can on the bill, and go for it!”


As Disturbed go out for such extended periods of time, does it get difficult to maintain the level of intensity and attitude that the band is known for every night? “We’ re coming up on a year out on the road now, maybe a couple of months left to go before we close the doors and start work on a new album, but at the beginning of a tour, yes, it’s all fresh and you’ve got all these new songs that you can’t wait to go out and play! On a long tour, maybe after a year we have to sometimes figure out ways to keep that freshness.”

The band’s fan base seem to grow significantly every year - does that have an impact on how you pace your shows? “In Europe, we’re still building our fan base and we feel that recently it’s gone to another level for us there while we’ve been playing festivals. We like the big arena rock sound, that whole vibe. David is a great frontman and he loves the big stage, and makes sure everyone has a great time, making everyone putting their fists in the air, or pointing their devil horns in the sky, just getting into it! The bigger the crowd, the more intense performance you get from us. We came to fruition doing the nu-metal scene, and we got lumped in with that but we don’t have DJ’s and a lot of that scene doesn’t exist anymore - I think that’s because our fans are across the board. If you like hard rock and heavy metal, you can get what we’re doing.” Who inspired you to start playing? “One of my main inspirations when I started playing was Duff McKagan from Guns N’Roses - I’m a huge Duff fan! Plus Billy Gould from Faith No More, and then Metallica in general. Plus a lot of Black Sabbath and Geezer Butler! Geezer wrote some great stuff, and he has that loose, fluid vibe when he plays, which makes the band’s sound really big.” John has recently been working with Kustom to produce Signature Series amplifiers, which feature John’s personal ‘Skull & Flames’ graphics on their grilles - very cool. What was John looking for from Kustom for his sound? “I wanted a big, round, heavy tone that was really tight because a lot of what we play in Disturbed is very fast and I really need to hear the articulation of the notes. When I play Kustom amps I get that - from note to note, there’s no bleed or run-over from the last note into the next one. The notes are clean, tight

and defined. Low end frequencies can be hard for some amps to handle, especially when you’re moving quickly on the fretboard. When I’m doing real fast runs, it’s still punchy and still clean and the Kustom tone is round and deep with that little bit of colour in it that I really like. My Kustom speaker cabinets also have great spread on them, they’re not directional in projection so you get an even spread of bass sound. You can stand right in front of it and get the sound but if you go off to the right or left, it’s still there - most other cabs won’t do that.” Do you like to play with loud onstage volume? I have a medium sound level onstage, with four 8 x 10” cabinets in use, powered by two Kustom amp heads - and that’s a lot of bass sound (laughs) - I don’t turn it up too loud, I don’t have to! If you have too much low end onstage, it’s difficult for the sound engineer to do his job because your bass sound is bleeding into all the drum mics and vocal mics! We use in-ear monitors onstage anyway so we can all hear each other very well.” It’s good that your signature bass range also includes the John Moyer KBA 16XJM practice combo - many people overlook the fact that that’s where most people who want to learn will start! (Laughs) yeah - good point! Not many people start with an 8 x 10” cabinet! Even guys who play in club bands aren’t using 8 x 10” cabinets - that’s a full concert rig for sure. But my Kustom KBA16XJM practice amp, I use it every single day. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or a professional, you’ve got to have a practice amp. I got mine in my dressing room, and every day I’m jamming out or warming up on it. The 16 watt is a small unit but has a really good tone in it, it’s quite powerful for its size. I’m really pleased with how that turned out.”

• KBA16XJM £139.00rrp


DC59 STILL A CLASSIC With the PREMIUM PR:O line, HK AUDIO has raised the bar for modular sound reinforcement systems for musicians. Alongside excellent audio quality, this line of speaker cabinets offers a rich feature set ordinarily found exclusively on very pricey pro equipment. Until now, that is. Like all HK AUDIO® products, PREMIUM PR:O is all about well-balanced, transparent sound and controlled power. Now a passive 2 x 10” PRO210 subwoofer (£519 rrp) and an active version, the 2 x 10” PRO210SA (£849 rrp) have joined the range, further increasing the versatile yet compact attributes of the range. Meantime, weatherproof covers (they’ll be needed!) are now available for the existing cabs in the PR:O range, typically priced around the £30 mark. l PRO210

ell, we just love Danelectros at Gear, don’t we? Why? They’re just brill, that’s why, okay? For such ridiculously inexpensive instruments, they certainly punch way above their weight and sound amazing in many different types of music. For a perfect example, a certain Mr Mark Knopfler, guitar hero to the cognoscente, enjoys spending time with a Danelectro DC59 double cut, in the classic Jimmy Page (oops, there’s another famous Dano name) style black body/white scratchplate finish. And, like Jimmy, boy does he make it sound like something very special – check it out on Mark’s collaborative DVD concert performance with Emmylou Harris, ‘Real Live Roadrunning’, and watch a Danelectro in the hands of a master.


And now, even better – later this year we’ll again see the 12-string version of the fab Dano double cut! Gear editor Gibson Keddie has used one of these Dano 12-string beauties for almost 10 years now, and comments that no end of people at gigs have commented on its superb sound. “Unlike some other electric twelves, there’s actually room on the fretboard to properly finger out all the chords and the between-string spacing is just right with enough clearance for the back-picking you need to do to get that classic 60’s 12-string sound,” he points out. The legendary DC59 retails at a mere £229, while the 12-string version will cost £329 rrp. Don’t miss getting one this time around!

DES HORSFALL AND KUSCHTY RYE Des Horsfall made his debut as a solo recording artist in 1995 on fledgling London label Southbound Records with his first commercial album release, ‘Easy Road’. The album was produced by highly respected fellow Yorkshireman, songwriter and producer Jon Strong at Tube Studios in Leeds. The album established Des as a mainstream Country-Rock artist and gained him popularity and recognition among the Country and Roots Music communities. His videos enjoyed heavy rotation on Country Music Television and VH-1, whilst the album received substantial radio airplay including Bob Harris and Nick Barraclough shows on BBC Radio 2. Des subsequently worked the stage with such artists as Joe Ely, Steve Earle, Emmylou Harris, Little Feat and many others. The end of the nineties saw Des working with producer Gary Hall on his second studio album ‘Mixed Grill’ which forayed more into ‘Roots/Rock’, adding Blues and Folk influences to the mix.


After touring Mixed Grill with his band ‘Fallen Horses’ Des entered the new Millennium with a live album ‘Breathing the Same Air’ produced by Gary Nattrass. Intrigued, and with a desire to learn the secrets of the ‘Dark Arts’, Des studied recording and production techniques at Leeds College of Music where he attained a degree in Music Production. He subsequently built and equipped his own analogue recording studio (Valve Studios) which is now first choice to a growing number of musicians and bands who are beating a path to his door. Des is currently putting the finishing touches to his latest studio album ‘Leave ‘em Wanting More’, under the watchful eye of ‘rising-star’ producer/engineer Andy Bell who has recently worked with Seasick Steve, Teenage Fanclub, Kerfuffle, and many other Folk and Roots artists.

“ Vintage resonator ticks all the right boxes” Looking for a slightly different sound on this recording, Des plumped for the Vintage VRC800BK resonator guitar to capture some authentic slide and blues tones. "I like to try to create as many textures as possible both live and in the studio" he explains, "and my Vintage resonator ticks all the right boxes" Des will be touring solo, duo and with his new band Kuschty Rye throughout 2009 and beyond.


WITH Razorlight’s Anglo-Swedish line-up has proved to be a great success, and the band now rightfully enjoy headline act status. Gear catches up with RL’s influential drummer, the talented Mr Andy Burrows! Formed in London in 2002 around vocalist/guitarist Johnny Borrell and guitarist/vocalist and Swedish ex-pat Björn Ågnen, Razorlight were then joined by bassist Carl Dalemo and drummer Christian Smith-Pancorvo. After Smith-Pancorvo left, he was replaced by Andy Burrows in time to celebrate the release of the Razorlight's official debut album from 2004, the hugely successful and much-loved, Up All Night. Thanks to a mixture of sparky, offbeat but catchy tunes, not to mention an unshakeable belief in their own abilities and appeal, Razorlight continued to surf the wave of popularity all the way to the release of their second self-titled album in 2006, augmented by tours in their own right alongside high profile support gigs with bands such as Queen + Paul Rodgers and longtime Britpop giants, Oasis. l Reco Reco

Slipway Fires Meantime, Burrows has definitely made his mark on the band in more ways than one; alongside his inventive and intuitive percussive skills he has contributed notable songs such as the smash hit America and co-writing Before I Fall To Pieces with 'Light frontman, Johnny Borrell – talented boy! Now the Anglo-Swedish indie rock outfit has returned with their long-awaited third album, Slipway Fires. The dynamic new album sees lead singer Johnny Borrell and his bandmates incorporate a raw, edgier rock dynamic to their already recognisable and acclaimed sound with a collection of songs stripped down to basic raw emotion. Back on tour again, Andy Burrows has recently been adding some Rhythm Tech accessories to his kit set-up, including the indispensable Mountable Gig Tray, a 13" x 7 1/2" clamp-on accessory percussion tray that attaches easily to any stand in a drum set. Improved MGT features include foldable accessory hooks which can now be positioned at the front, middle or rear of the tray, which now weighs some 30% less than previous models.

Cowbell Rhythm Tech's popular Hat Trick is now also a feature on Andy's kit – basically a tambourine designed for mounting in hi-hat pull rods, its ultra-lightweight construction and new smaller overall diameter allow intricate tambourine patterns to be played without altering the feel of the hi-hat pedal. Lastly – a couple of extremely handy Performance Percussion drum stick holders for good measure; percussively practical, of course! RT7402 Double Hat Trick £31.99 k

These newer additions to Andy's kit join his existing mounted Rhythm Tech ‘Metalworks’ Reco-Reco. Part of the unique Pete Engelhart-designed range of metal percussion now produced by Rhythm Tech, the unusual construction of the Reco-Reco means it is capable of some very funky and creative percussive sounds. Or, as Andy and his drum tech Barnaby describe it, “Oh, that cowbell thing with the springs on it? We wondered what that was called... It's good, though!”


collaboration. "The JHS team has created a line of instruments that are well suited for any performance application and deliver great value for money," he continues, before summarising with "We are confident that the Vintage/Fishman partnership will yield many more fine instruments in the future." Great stuff! So here are the new models – acoustic and electro-acoustic – that have been added to the Vintage line-up. Remember too, that for optimum performance, all Vintage acoustics and electros are factory-fitted with high-quality USA-manufactured strings.

Vintage V200NC With a variety of additions to the acclaimed range of high-spec Vintage acoustic and electro-acoustic guitars, the news gets even better as the new electros are equipped with Fishman pickups and preamps! Designed to offer all the levels of specification, materials, options and – most importantly – playing performance expected from guitars which belong in higher price brackets, Vintage acoustics and electro-acoustics continue to offer a comprehensive selection of fine-looking, fine-playing instruments, models which any guitarist would certainly be proud to own. Tone-enhancing premier quality solid tops are a standard feature on all Vintage acoustic and electro-acoustic guitars, alongside a choice of superior tonewoods which make up the back and sides of each instrument. Whether in a carefully selected laminate or a solid tonewood such mahogany or rosewood along with elegantly-shaped and crafted instrument necks, Vintage guitars are designed to offer maximum player comfort.

A perfect example of Vintage’ high spec applications, this curvy 39” acoustic will surely prove to be quite a tone machine, featuring as it does a solid cedar top matched to solid mahogany back and sides. A rosewoood fingerboard sits on a mahogany neck, and the use of an abalone rosette is a nice detail touch, while the satin natural finish allows the cedar to resonate and breathe, further increasing the V200NC’s balanced response and smooth inherent tones. Truly excellent value at £199.00 rrp.

Vintage VE900MH A Grand Auditorium-sized cutaway-bodied electro-acoustic in mahogany makes for an impressive-looking guitar. If you fancy standing out from the crowd with a guitar which present the distinctive grain patterns of mahogany to its best effect, this is the way to go. Equipped with Fishman’s Ion+ preamp system that big, rounded tone from the all mahogany construction will sound just as pleasing when the guitar is plugged in to an amp or a desk. £229.00 rrp.



And now, upping the ‘value factor’ even more given that there is no attendant retail price increase, all new Vintage electro-acoustics in the range will now feature pickup and preamp systems from legendary American acoustic amplification experts, Fishman fitted as standard. For many years, Fishman's unwavering goal of acoustic excellence has resulted in not only their heralded position as the world's #1 specialist in acoustic amplification, but also no less than 30 patents awarded by the US Patent Office.




Vintage V700’s

“We are very proud to collaborate with JHS on their Vintage range of electro-acoustic guitars," is Larry Fishman's enthusiastic response to this exciting new Vintage/Fishman


The exaggerated curves of the hugely traditional jumbo guitar body shape also remain a firm favourite with many players – these are big (41”) guitars with a correspondingly big sound, making it an ideal instrument for accompaniment, and is especially good with strummed chords. The V700N offers a solid spruce top with a high gloss finish, matched to flame maple veneered back and sides with a more tactile satin finish. The traditional looks of this style of acoustic are augmented by the multi-ply black and white binding and attractive abalone rosette work, finished off with a mock tortoiseshell scratchplate. Available in Natural & Vintage Sunburst. £299.00 rrp.

Vintage VGA900’s ‘Sweetwater’ If you like your guitars to project and have a real physical presence, this Vintage 41” Grand Auditorium cutaway-bodied electro should

certainly be on your shopping list. With a solid spruce top matched to mahogany back and sides, there’s a lot of wood adding to the impressive tonal qualities of this guitar. Additional attractive detail touches include understated rosewood binding beside multiple black and white purfling, with contrasting abalone rosette work. Rosewood is the bridge material, with rosewood featuring further as neck binding. The imposing natural-finish high-gloss top VGA900N features pickups and preamp courtesy of Fishman, this time in the form of an Ion+ preamp with a Fishman Sonicore undersaddle pickup as the sound source. Excellent value at £249.00 rrp. Featuring the same specification, build and electronics as the VGA900N, this time available in an attractive Sunburst finish with mock tortoiseshell scratchplate, also costing £249.00 rrp.

plenty of room for an easy playing style with open ringing chords matched by crisp detail on single note lines too. The natural-finish V1200N is an electro-acoustic model, and features Fishman’s higher-spec Aero Blend preamp, with Fishman Sonicore pickup, Grover tuners and retails at £399 rrp.





Vintage VEC1400-12

Vintage V1200N Another Grand Auditorium model, this time featuring an elegant Florentine style cutaway, marked by its pointed leading edge, as opposed to the more ‘conventional’ rounded edge cutaway design. The V1200N offers a classic, high-spec tonewood combination, where the expansive solid spruce top is mated this time to solid mahogany back and sides, with the low-mid tonal bias of the mahogany adding body and fullness to the brighter tone of the guitar’s spruce table (top). Attractive rosewood/maple/flame maple forms the body binding, whilst elsewhere on the guitar, the overall higher grade materials spec means that Indian rosewood is used for the fingerboard and ebony the bridge. As a 41” Grand Auditorium model, the 648mm scale length leaves you

Good to see a 12-string in this new line-up, especially as we’re big 12-stringer fans at Gear, whether electros like this, or bona fide electrics. Being a Dreadnought bodied cutaway, the VEC1400-12 is a big old beast with a big old sound to match, from its solid spruce top and solid mahogany body, matched to a mahogany neck. Available in Natural Satin plus 10% gloss finish, with Indian rosewood fingerboard and Indian rosewood bridge, and a pleasing multi-ply binding laminate of black/white/abalone/maple. Plugged in, the VEC1400-12 will give a huge wash of sound filled with ringing harmonics, thanks also to the processing power and high quality signal source to the Fishman Aero Blend preamp system . £499.00 rrp.

Vintage VEC1900N Also a Grand Auditorium model with a cutaway style body, the VEC1900N has a solid German spruce top in a high-glossed Natural finish, mated to solid lacewood (a variable-colour sycamore) back and sides, and a mahogany neck. The Indian rosewood fingerboard and bridge offer a pleasant understated look, matched by contrasting wood binding. As with the other Grand Auditoriums in the new range, the VEC1900N is fitted with a Fishman Aero Blend preamp and Sonicore pickup as well as Grover machineheads. £549.00 rrp.

Aero Blend Features:


• • • • • • • • •

• • • • • • • • • •

Built-in microphone with mic blend control Brilliance control for additional tone shaping Notch, onboard anti-feedback control Smaller footprint than standard size preamps Volume control Bass, Middle and Treble control knobs Phase control button Low battery indicator (9V battery) Flip-top housing to access integrated battery compartment • Pre-wired Fishman Sonicore pickup • Low profile control knobs


Onboard easy to read 7-segment LED tuner Bass & treble controls for enhanced tone shaping Smaller footprint for easy access to controls Volume control EQ shaping control Phase control Low battery indicator (9V battery) Surface mounted battery compartment Pre-wired Fishman Sonicore pickup Low profile control knobs

Vintage models equipped with Ion+: VE900MH, VGA900N, VGA900SB

Vintage models equipped with Aero Blend: V1200N, VEC1400-12, VEC1500N, VEC1900N

Acoustic Amplification 39

• Regular Hardshell

• Deluxe Vintage

• Premium Hardshell

Strength & Protection ...with style

• Ultima ABS

Kinsman ABS & Hardshell Cases The ideal combination of protection, strength and integral security. Deluxe shaped cases are available in high quality, durable material Kinsman cases are precision moulded inside and out to ensure an exact compartment fit for each specific type of instrument.

Introducing the NEW Palma Junior Acoustic Guitar Pack. An ideal introduction to playing acoustic guitar. Available in Natural and three other striking metallic colours.

The revolutionary new Seiko Stick Tuner.

ST01 £11.99rrp Auto Chromatic Tuner Stylish Key Ring Design Ultra Compact Size – 6cm Long Easy To Use Chrome Finish Face Plate Auto Tuning Mode Built In Microphone LCD Display Note Indication LED Tuning Guide Tuning Range A0 ˜ C8 Pitch Shift A4=440Hz Auto Power Off Battery Included


• • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Photo: Jon Richards

MATTHEW MACAULAY Matthew Macaulay's latest album, "As For Me" has been heavily publicised as one of the standout Christian worship releases of 2008.


roduced by Kipper (Sting), it features eleven tracks which not only clearly demonstrate Matthew's great songwriting skills, but also his sincerity and passion about his faith.

Raised in Chorleywood, Hertfordshire, Matthew took an interest in music from an early age. Throughout his teenage years, he learnt the drums and guitar and by the age of sixteen, was leading worship at his home church, St Andrews Chorleywood. ‘I remember standing at the front of church and feeling so sick I could barely think straight’, he says. ‘I was always so encouraged to play in front of people which I now really value – playing in front of so many people week after week was a great training, although I’m sure not so great for congregations early on!’ In order to promote the album Matthew has put together a band to begin touring soon, and was looking for some new equipment to take out on the road. After looking around he came across the wonderfully quirky Danelectro Pro guitar in aqua finish. To complete his sound he has also added the MXR M132 Super comp and GT-OD overdrive pedals, and a Diago Showman pedal board to keep them safe. Matthew says “The Danelectro Pro is the best value for money guitar I have owned. It has it's own unique sound and is a pleasure to play, I haven't played anything else since it's arrival!” 2009 will be a busy year for Matthew that includes dates at the Frenzy festival at Edinburgh in June.



Sometimes, a practice/rehearsal combo is just the thing to keep everybody happy. Easy to carry around and just the ticket at home, popping it from room to room and leave everyone else to watch the fascinating evolution of the rural saga that is Emmerdale. Kustom’s Dart 10 is ideal – with twin channels giving you lead and rhythm ability and full 3-band EQ, plus Reverb and Delay, it’s a little corker. Line Out lets you hook it up to a PA desk, there’s a headphone jack and CD/tape/mp3 input. Smart in black with white piping, it’ll rush you £64.99 rrp.

CHROME STEEL SLIDES There are many different slides out there, offering various different tones and everyone’s got their own personal fave. But if you’re looking for a brighter tone from a slide that’s got a more comfortable playing weight, the new Dunlop 318 and slightly larger 320 chromed steel jobs should fit the bill. Particularly if you’re into ‘..aggressive electric playing’ say Dunlop. Sounds good to us already. £14.99 each, rrp.

GUITAR TECH HEADPHONE AMP As guitarists, we can’t lug a full size amp about with us all the time – much as we might like to. So... something more practical, perhaps? Like this compact and lightweight Mini Pocket Amp Headphone Amplifier from Guitar Tech. And it is truly pocket size. Designed to clip on to a belt but with a full size jackplug input for easy instrument connection, plug in the supplied stereo headphones and you’re set anywhere, anytime. Adjust the sound with straightforward Volume and Tone controls, and select either of the Clean or Distortion settings to suit. Brill, at only £24.99 rrp. Powered by 9v battery (not supplied).




KinsmanStands Quality & Strength with style...

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Original British Design

ress didn’t P e v a D n ia ic s u Gigging m h extreme c u s o t o g o t really mean e how reliable it u q e v o r p o t lengths p was... m a m o t s u K is h and robust MISSING! t anyway. u o d n u o f e h t Meantime, a lot of my equipment and bu y name’s Dave Press and I’m a semiprofessional musician doing sessions, gigs and other shows in London and the South East. An event occurred which you may find interesting and which is quite a testament to the ruggedness of a piece of kit that I regularly use...


Let me explain. Back in November 2008, I was driving along on my way to pick up a cheque for a show. Before I knew it, my van had spun out of control for some reason, then went spiralling down a hill and - bang! - slammed into the barriers on the hilly side of the carriageway, on the left hand side. Then, very shaken by the experience and trying to get my thoughts together to decide what to do now, as I looked up, another large van was rapidly bearing down on me, also spinning along as I had. Bracing myself, the other van slammed into me...Ouch! However, we were both physically okay as it turns out, but both very shaken. The vans weren’t so good - my one was a total write-off, and the cause of our crashes turned out to be a diesel spill from a truck (Oh yes, we know about diesel spills motorcycling Ed who came off on spilt diesel on a roundabout...).

gigging gear which was in the back of the van was thrown out as I’d spun along. Once I’d finally collected my thoughts after the crash, I walked around and collected it all up. It all seemed okay. So, this had all happened on a Thursday and there were weekend shows coming and band gigs, fortunately all went well. The next Thursday I was scheduled to do a sit-down acoustic gig, for which I’d planned to use my Kustom 100 watt PA. But I couldn’t find the PA amp... I thought it might be at the rehearsal studio, or at home, but no, it seemed to be missing. My girlfriend suggested it must still be

‘There had been six days of rain in the interim period during which my amp had lain out in the elements...’ somewhere around the crash site. I said I’d already checked the site after the crash, and anyway if it was still there it would be ruined as there had been six days of rain in the interim period during which my amp had lain out in the elements... But she convinced me to take another look the day before the gig, so we drove down. The crash site was a grass verge which bordered a forest and as we drove slowly along where the van had spun off the road I suddenly spotted the

amp peeking through some nearby bramble bushes - you can imagine how hard to spot that was, no wonder I’d missed it! I pulled the amp out which wasn’t at all easy. It was a bit muddy and wet and the corners had taken a bashing but it looked intact. Anyway I took it home and put it in the airing cupboard to dry off overnight. Still thinking I’d need to organise a replacement unit for the gig, I took it out of the cupboard the next day, gingerly plugged it in and pressed the ‘On’ switch... It was totally fine! I ran through a test of all the functions, and everything worked as it should! Amazing. Even more amazing, I took it with me and used it for the gig that night where it was 100% and gave no trouble.

RUGGED I thought that Kustom might like to hear about how rugged and robust the kit they produce actually is, especially having survived the not-often-used ‘thrown from a spinning van and left in the mud and rain for 6 days’ test! Mind you, I can’t quite see magazines incorporating this into their review testing schedules..but the amp is still working fine and I’ve been gigging it relentlessly since then - I don’t think anyone could expect more from a piece of kit, could they? Well done Kustom for performance levels surely above and beyond the call of duty!

KPA80 PA System with 2 mics £299.00rrp


Profile One Complete PA System £599.00rrp


Profile Two Complete PA System £999.00rrp



NEW STRAPS ADDED TO GUITAR TECH RANGE If you're a guitarist or bass player, you'll know that every so often, you fancy changing something in your set-up – but changing instruments is expensive... So, one cheap but effective way to get a quick 'change' fix is to get yourself a new strap! Here are the newest additions to the Guitar Tech range of top value for money straps, and pretty cool they look too. Made from resilient 2" wide webbing, these straps also feature genuine leather end pieces for a secure strap button fit. l KBA16XJM £139 rrp

Kustom have recently been working with John Moyer, acclaimed bassist for US multi-platinum selling band, Disturbed. If you fancy getting into the John Moyer vibe without spending too much cash, Kustom is producing a limited run of easily-affordable John Moyer Signature KBA16XJM practice combos! These 16 watt combos feature a scaled-down version of the same striking JM artwork found on John’s megawatt Kustom bass rig – all in a portable amplifier package that’s perfect for warming up backstage or working at home or in the studio. The sealed-back cabinet design KBA16XJM features a 4-band active EQ, built-in limiter, Celestion speaker and an external speaker jack. At only £139.00 rrp, it’s totally wicked!


Strap slogans – 'Access All Areas', 'Call Security!' and that irritating reply so beloved of disaffected teenagers everywhere – 'Whatever!' Each strap retails at only £6.99.

Here at Ge ar, of corresp we get a fair bit ondence fr om, quite frankly, ra the left-hande r disgruntled dg bassists ab uitarists and out the fa ct that their favo urit available f e guitars aren’t or then - rea them to play. OK d on! t’s never an ideal situation for left handers, and at Gear we do sympathise, honest we do. We can only nod and agree when another claim of unjust disparity pops into the inbox. Obviously it’s mainly a question of economics, and I’m sure left handers everywhere will be groaning at this, but it has to be appreciated that the additional tooling costs for body and neck shaping, plus reverse hardware etc., does make it rather an expensive process to perform, and for a much more limited market if looked at in strict economic terms. But now for some good news! Many of the most popular Vintage electrics are now available in - hooray - left hand format! Right, so pick yourself up off the floor and let’s have a look at what you can now rush off to your local music store and order - at these prices, you can’t argue that it’s not been worth the wait.... And - just before we start, did you know that August 13th this year is officially set to be Left Handers Day, where you can celebrate all things left handed! See, we are up on the lefty vibe here at Gear after all...


VINTAGE LV100MRPGM ‘LEMON DROP’ ICON Probably the most popular guitar in the amazingly popular distressed Icon series, the Lemon Drop was introduced as Trev Wilkinson’s tribute to his guitar playing icon, Peter Green. Designed to look as if it had indeed had rather a hard life playing the blues in many a smokey pub and club over the years, the Lemon Drop also felt the part to play with a truly authentic tone, thanks to Trev fitting a pair of his carefully-wound PAF-a-like humbucking pickups, with their aged nickel covers adding subtle colour to the sound. With a flame maple-capped mahogany body and set-in neck, the value factor of the V100 is surely immense. And of course, Trev being Trev, he’s custom-wired the control circuitry to give that distinctive thin bluesy ‘honk’ when the selector is mid-position, reminiscent of Greeny’s wonderfully nasal tone as heard on early Fleetwood Mac songs such as ‘Need Your Love So Bad’ and ‘Stop Messin’

Around’. And the lefty version also features the famously accurate detailing such as the differential bell type control knobs, all the famous ‘battle scars’, and the sealed gear replacement tuners - with ‘original’ machine head locating screw holes also present - now that’s attention to detail! This guitar is guaranteed to make sure you get the blues and lose your ‘no left handers’ blues simultaneously! Great value at £409.00 rrp.

VINTAGE LV100CS CHERRY SUNBURST If you prefer your guitars to look ‘as new’ and not completely road worn, then you might well plump for the very new ‘n’ shiny Cherry Sunburst left hand V100. Once again, a high level of specification means that you’ve got a maple-capped solid mahogany body with set-in mahogany neck, Wilkinson tuners, pickups and hardware, etc. Only £289.00 retail makes it something of a steal, and it joins the existing Tobacco Sunburst lefty option in the range.

VINTAGE LV6MRBK ICON BOULEVARD BLACK Boulevard Black has proved itself to be a popular option in the Icon range, looking as it does like an honestto-goodness, long-time hard working well-scarred electric guitar. Perhaps even that one that was once owned by Britain’s #1 guitar god. Perhaps. Anyway, lots of pattern scarring, and check the wear on that maple neck! Again, like its right-handed brother, the new left hand option is filled with Wilkinson goodies to make sure it plays and sounds as good as it looks, especially at £339.00 rrp.


for this type of guitar is the good old 3-tone finish, Sunset Sunburst which somehow always manages to look as good ‘distressed’ as it does when it, too, is new and shiny. Both options, shiny and now distressed, are available, with the lefter costing you but £279.00. Bargain!

VINTAGE LVS6VW VINTAGE WHITE The VS6 remains one of the long time best-sellers in the Vintage electric guitar range, and rightly so - it looks great, feels great to play and sounds terrific! The newest addition to the right-handed VS6 line-up was the classic late 60’s/70’slooking Vintage White version introduced towards the end of last year. With gold hardware helping to make this a distinguished-looking instrument, it’s already proving as popular as its established VS6 brethren. Cool, and here is the left hand version looking just as good, especially wearing a ridiculously minuscule price tag of only £259! Cheap price, certainly not a ‘cheap’ guitar though.

VINTAGE LVJ96MRJP ICON FRETLESS SUNBURST BASS GUITAR And no way do left handed bass players get forgotten, either. This here is one of the funkiest basses in the Vintage range. Like the Lemon Drop V100, this is also a tribute instrument, with some neat detailing touches. Pattern scarring, fret markers and fret lines still there though the frets have been ‘removed’, scratchplate also ‘removed’ with location holes still present, leaving only the chrome control plate. So, ‘weather’ (sorry) you’re a right or left handed bass player, you can enjoy this so-funky bass for only £289.00. Amazing!

Another failsafe colour option




Fishman players in a wide variety of musical genres and styles were represented in over 30 of the 110 categories at the 2009 GRAMMY® Awards in Los Angeles. Leading off the festivities were Robert Plant and Alison Krauss who won five GRAMMYs for their collaboration on the hugely successful album, Raising Sand, including Record Of The Year, Album Of The Year, Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals, Best Contemporary Folk/Americana Album and Best Country Collaboration With Vocals. Singer/violinist Krauss and band members Buddy Miller (singer/guitarist) and Stuart Duncan (guitar/banjo) are all Fishman players. Radiohead, who also use Fishman, earned five nominations for their album In Rainbows, winning for Best Alternative Music Album in a category that included Beck, another Fishman artist. Longtime Fishman artist and supporter John Mayer also received four GRAMMY® nominations, winning two GRAMMYs® for Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance from his release Continuum, edging out other Fishman users Kid Rock, James Taylor and Paul McCartney. Jerry Douglas Signature AURA Pedal. PRO-AIP-JD1 £299.00rrp.

Fishman endorsee Jerry Douglas, who has his own Signature Series Aura pedal, was also nominated for two awards, both for Best Country Instrumental Performance.

Other Fishman players who won or were nominated for GRAMMYs® included Bela Fleck, The Who, Cherryholmes, Brad Paisley, John Jorgenson, Randy Travis, George Strait, Trace Adkins, Charlie Louvin, Ricky Skaggs, Rush and Emmylou Harris. Well, that’s an impressive list of artistes for sure, and congratulations to all!

“Cat Got Your Tone?” “I Hated My Rig”

GRAMMY® is a registered trademark of The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, Inc.

CT1 Tremolo

CD1 Distortion



• True Bypass (3PDT) • Metal Case • Metal Jacks • From £34.99rrp

CM2 Metal II £44.99

“To be honest, I’m hard to please. I’m the one who sends the steak back to the kitchen…several times.

Acoustic Amplification

CC01 Drive

CF1 Fuzz £44.99


But when it comes to my tone, I’m not just hard to please, I’m impossible! So not finding the tone I was looking for, I decided to create my own. Some cats have 9 lives. I’ve got 9 tones. Maybe I’ve got yours.”

CM1 Metal

CC1 Chorus



The C at Cool Cat Board CT01 Transparent Overdrive



“Finicky About Tone”


CV1 Vibe


£49.99 ®

Holds 5 “Cats.” Includes DC Supply and all cables. £74.99

• KH95 Kirk Hammett Signature Wah

kay, here’s a real wah hottie! Now you can command the same killer wah tone as Metallica’s mercurial lead guitarist, Kirk Hammett with the new Kirk Hammett Signature Wah! Developed in close conjunction with the metal guitar icon himself, it has been meticulously tuned and tweaked to deliver the wah-wah sound that totally revolutionised metal solos in the 80’s - and for all time to come, even.


This is the legendary tone that Kirk dials in on tour, using his DCR1SR Crybaby Rack Wah. Dunlop’s engineers took Kirk’s EQ, volume and tone settings reflecting decades of blazing Crybaby riffology, rock students - and reproduced them with exacting precision. The Kirk Hammett Wah is exceptionally even in response as you move from heel to toe, with a thick top end and full dynamic range. Cool dark metallic green colour and ‘X-Ray’ rocker plate imagery, too, as you'd expect from Kirk! So, dare you step into – or onto – the footprint of a giant? Own a piece of the legend – the Kirk Hammett KH-95 Signature Wah from Dunlop, priced £249.00 rrp.

B B M I C R O B L A S T E R Guitarists don’t always need big watts for big fun - after all, small is the new big, innit? Enjoy the convenience and high fun factor of having a neat little combo like this new BB Micro Blaster around the house or the office to plug into and get playing! Measuring 150mm(h) x 145mm(d) x 83mm(w), the black textured-finish features a contrasting silver cloth grille and four rubber feet, so it certainly doesn’t take up too much space. Two chunky ‘chicken head’ style knobs give you Volume and Tone, alongside the main standard jack input on the top panel. The Off/On/Overdrive switch sits here too, with a power-on LED sat next to it. On the rear panel, you’ve got a headphone socket for silent practice, mp3 input socket, battery compartment (9v battery supplied), and 9v dc in. £22.99 rrp means it’s easy on the pocket for this practice amp as well.

HK AUDIO ESYS EPX Powerful PA Package With four powered 15" subwoofers and two powered 12"/1" mid-/high-range units pumping out a total of 2,400 watts RMS, the new ESYS EPX certainly lives up to ELIAS rigs’ long tradition of delivering the goods. Public address doesn’t get any simpler than this – simply stack ‘em and enjoy a big, big sound. ESYS EPX is a sound system engineered to delight every ‘Top 40’ band. Easy to transport, it sets up and tears down in just a few minutes. And, as far as mains power goes, a little goes a long way. This rig delivers lots of power without overloading small venue power supplies, too. And, courtesy of its forgiving voicing, soundchecks have rarely been easier or more enjoyable. The HK ESYS EPX provides all the acclaimed benefits of the ELIAS family. It is flexible enough to be able to position its compact components on or next to the stage. It even has a high-end mini PA built in for tiny venues – If you’re playing an ‘unplugged’ gig in an Irish pub, leave the ESYS EPX bass bins in the rehearsal room and take the full range-enabled mid-/high-range units. ESYS EPX does so many things so well, but none better than serving the needs of bands that play bigger halls, or power DJs who demand an all-in-one rig that packs a mighty low-end punch. £4,699.00 rrp.



Phil Thorell and his band "The Force" have a pretty good pedigree when it comes to touring and gigging. Over the last few years the band have supported such luminaries as Steve Vai, Status Quo and The Red Hot Chilli Peppers. The band have released two albums "Breakin' Free" and "Different Worlds" and in addition to countless venues in the UK, the band also played Wembley as guests of the British Music Show. Phil is also a busy teacher, splitting his time between kids and young adults at schools, and private tuition. He also took part in the "Guitarist Of The Year Competition" at Wembley "It was a fun weekend," he says smiling, "but unfortunately no cigar!"

semi-solid guitar favoured by the likes of Larry Carlton, Alex Lifeson and Eric Johnson. I’d never played a guitar like this before, so rather than take a chance on the expensive American model, I opted for the Vintage. These guitars have a retro-chic about them but they can live in both contemporary and nostalgic musical settings easily. The diversity of tones from the Vintage 535 is ideal for my style of playing. I like to back off the volume controls and switch pickups often to soften up the sounds for blues and jazz, then open it all the way up to get a blistering full modern rock tone. The 535 does all of that yet it still keeps its dignity and its identity throughout." Many of Phil's students have Vintage guitars ranging from VS6 to the V100, TC200 and V6 models. "It’s great that they can see their teacher using the same brand as them, and us all being just as satisfied. Regardless of price, the quality of components and manufacturing, as well as the sound of these instruments are all excellent. Most importantly the guitars feel nice to play. They feel like pro instruments not cheap copies like some other manufacturers churn out." You can find out more about Phil and the Force at...

Recently, Phil expanded his guitar collection to include a Vintage VSA535 semi acoustic after reading a review. "I wanted that classic

Woo, scareeee. One thing scarier than a shull-shaped hand shaker and that’s surely a glow-in-the-dark skull shaker! That’s just a whole different world of scare, baby! Okay, calm down dear, it’s just a commercial. Beadbrain Shakers are unique skull-shaped shakers that produce a loud maraca sound, and are easy to hold in order to get that rhythm thang movin’! Extremely durable, they can provide that shikka-shikka backing to any type of music you want... Except, I would imagine, classical. Performing the ritual, time-honoured ceremony of the ‘passing over of the sum of £2.79’ in your local music emporium will allow to gain the access to the darkest shaker rhythms of the Beadbrain...


Though you might want to be flash and have one of the new 6-guitar display stands from Kinsman in the corner of your front room – and very nice to look at that would be, too – it’s much more likely that music stores will be able to make more use of them as a means of displaying six guitars in a compact floor space area. Capable of carrying either electric or acoustic guitars, the Kinsman KDDGS6 costs £59.99 rrp.

Fishman’s state-of-the-art Aura onboard preamp systems offer the excitement of Fishman’s patented Aura Acoustic Imaging technology in a smaller footprint module.

digital equalisation, the onboard Aura and Aura Pro systems offer the best and most accessible onboard control and sound quality available for electro-acoustic guitars.

Four custom-made Aura images are pre-loaded into the easy to use preamp design. Featuring a built-in tuner, feedback-fighting phase control and fully-programmable

Fishman Aura and Aura Pro systems come complete with Switchjack Stereo Endpin Jack and an Acoustic Matrix Undersaddle pickup, available in Narrow and Wide pickup width formats.

Taking their name rather unsuprisingly from the unbroken lines at the edge of the road, Soul/Ska/Pop band THE RUMBLE STRIPS have been rather busy lately. Originally from Tavistock in Devon, and having known each other since childhood it’s hard to put an exact formation date to them, but the current line up has been together since 2004 and is now based in London. The band are currently signed to Fallout Records, a subsidiary of Universal Island Records, through whom they have recently re-released their most current single, k "Motorcycle". Their debut album, DG63TAN Girls And Weather, was released in £229rrp September 2007, and featured the mDTE1 track “Girls and Boys” which was used £139rrp in the British film comedy, “Run Fatboy Run” starring Simon Pegg. Key support dates with the Dirty Pretty Things and The Zutons helped push the band further into the public eye. They were thrillingly out of step with the times. “In the early days, our fans seemed to be a lot of middle aged men who'd latched onto the Dexys Midnight Runners comparisons,” laughs multi-instrumentalist Tom Gorbutt. But soon the band had built a far broader fanbase, headlining the NME New Music Tour and gigging relentlessly.

Tom decided to put some quirky Danelectro vibe to TRS already quite unique sound. Already owning and using a Danelectro Baritone, he has recently added a Danelectro 63 guitar in Tangerine along with the Reel Echo and Wasabi Overdrive pedals to his already considerable onstage arsenal. After lead singer Charlie sang vocals on 'Back to Black' for producer Mark Ronson at The Electric Proms in 2007, in late 2008 the band began working with him on their second record at London rehearsal space The Joint. Recorded off the back of their first US tour the band lay down the bulk of the tracks at Avatar Studios, New York, leaving vocals to be completed in London, England whilst orchestration was composed and over seen by Owen Pallett (Final Fantasy, Arcade Fire) and completed in Prague. The new album is sited for release in summer 2009 and goes under the working name “Welcome to the Walk Alone”. DAO1 k


Patch William officially started in the summer of 2007 with their first gig at Bristol University. The band consists of Ed and Will, who are brothers, Bill, who is their father, George, one of their old friends, and Ali, a recent addition to the band since recording.

CC1 k

For their first year playing the band conscientiously gigged around London, recorded at home and promoted themselves culminating in a lucky run-in with multi award-winning producer, and recently appointed Chairman of The Music Producers Guild, Steve Levine. Having heard them play, Steve quickly signed the band to his label, Hubris records, in the summer of 2008. Looking for a range of effects to add to their sound, Steve, a longtime fan of Danelectro equipment, suggested they try out the Coolcat pedal range – and they band were so impressed they bought an entire pedalboardful!


From this Patch William have been invited to perform a live session for BBC introducing where they recorded three tracks which have subsequently been played on 6 music and Radio 1. Since then the band has begun to record their first studio album, to be released over the summer with a prospective tour to support it soon after. Patch William currently have a residency at The Troubadour, Earls Court which they play at monthly inbetween a busy recording schedule. Steve Levine Grover Strap Locks feature the ‘quick release’ mechanism players want and need. This strong yet lightweight accessory provides security along with the ability to easily remove the strap for use on another instrument or storage. Straplocks? Don’t use them? Well, let us tell you (from bitter experience) that they’re officially brill, and can save you a load of tears after your pride and joy has dropped off your strap and bounced off the floor, with a big dent in the now-seriously cracked shiny lacquer... not good.

The new Grover GP800 Series Strap Locks are available in Nickel (GP800N), Chrome (GP800C), Black (GP800B) and Gold (GP800G), priced from £21.99 rrp.


Picking up ‘Best In Show’ capped a successful NAMM 2009 for Facelift, which recently had its official licence to produce a Yamaha Pacifica range extended from UK-only, to a worldwide deal. “I’ll soon be announcing at least two further official licence deals with major guitar manufacturers, to join those already in place with Fender and Yamaha,” continues Hrano. “Less than three years from launch, Facelift is truly a global success.”

Guitar body overlay ‘Facelift’ won ‘Best In Show’ at the annual Winter NAMM event in Anaheim, California! On the final morning of the four-day 2009 USA NAMM show, attended by more than 85,000 MI professionals, seven industry experts, having trawled the exhibition to identify the best products declared Facelift ‘...A cool product made by cool guys. You can have one guitar and 30 different looks with Facelift.’ "The accolade was completely unexpected and a fantastic tribute," responds Mike Hrano of Rockano Productions Limited, which produces Facelift. “Finding anything at NAMM can be something of a challenge,” he continues, adding, “and this year, there were 1505 exhibitor stands, so for Facelift to have shone out from among them is amazing. Ours was the only product or company from the UK or from outside of the USA to pick up ‘Best In Show’. It’s certainly something to be very proud of, and I am.”

A removable and re-usable laminated vinyl overlay for guitar bodies developed to quickly change the appearance of any guitar, Facelift is coated in ‘ultra-low tack’ adhesive that leaves no residue. It can be applied and re-applied in seconds to instantly transform any guitar, new or old. The Facelift range comprises nine designs each to fit Fender® Telecaster® and Stratocaster® guitars, with recent designs to fit the Yamaha® Pacifica® 112V, 012 and 112J guitar body shapes. Give your guitar an instant new look with a re-usable Facelift guitar overlay – including the excellent ‘Quo’ Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt 'signature guitar’ versions – for only £19.99 rrp!

BEN BEN HOWMAN HOWMAN Ben Howman is another working professional guitarist who has discovered the superb qualities of the Vintage Advance guitar range. lVintage

After obtaining a degree in music from York St. John University, at which he was also part of several music scenes he is currently working in several groups of various styles, including a corporate function band that has just done a videoshoot for gigs abroad in places like Dubai etc, plus blues, soul, jazz, and rock groups, D F Sec, and Back to Black, to name just two.

AV2HNF £429rrp


Able to play in a variety of styles, he says his particular favourites are jazz, blues, funk, rock, metal, fusion, and world music, some classical and various mixtures and sub-divisions of all these genres. (do you play any Kylie Minogue? – sarcastic Ed) “My personal guitar favourites would have to be Greg Howe, Robben Ford, Larry Carlton, George Benson, David Gilmore, Guthrie Govan, Mike Stern, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Joe Bonamassa, and Tony Macalpine to name a few.” ‘The humbuckers give it a nice fat sound, ideal for jazz blues and even metal...’

Playing such a diverse range of material, Ben needed a guitar that was incredibly versatile, and able to go from screaming metal lead to subtle jazz at the flick of a button.




"I tried Vintage guitars mainly by recommendation, but also curiosity as I'd never played one before” He found himself more than a little pleased with what he found. “My Vintage Advance AV2HNF guitar is fantastic," he exclaims happily. "The humbuckers give it a nice fat sound, ideal for jazz blues and even metal, and then all I need to do is roll off the humbucker and there you have all the bright twang and shimmer of single coil tone too." Through his work with the Lincolnshire Jazz and Rock Academy in which Ben leads the contemporary rock group, and other events, he has worked and played alongside some of the country's finest musicians, including Ray Fenwick, Dave Ital, Dave Swift and Harry Harris. He currently continues to gig and teach in his native Lincolnshire.

4+1 50





VFM300VSB F-STYLE MANDOLIN With its distinctive oversize F-Style headstock, here mated to a highly ornate rococo ‘Victorian era’ style scroll horn, double bound f-holed archtop body, the VFM300VSB mandolin features a tone-enhancing solid spruce top with figured solid maple back and sides. An impressive level of detail includes a small black pickguard, overhung bound-edge 25-fret rosewood fingerboard and adjustable rosewood bridge, along with the period correct black peghead face, featuring inlaid abalone Vintage logo and emblem, plus gold-plated open gear tuners with ‘crushed ice’ effect pearloid buttons, plus gold-plated hardware. Vintage Sunburst finish. £399.00 rrp includes hard case. VFM400AVB F-STYLE MANDOLIN (Oval Soundhole) Again, an ornate oversize headstock on this F-style mandolin, here with a vertical oval mouth soundhole design. A high level of specification includes a double bound body with solid spruce top, figured solid maple back and sides, adjustable rosewood bridge, bound edge 26-fret neck and gold-plated open gear tuners with ‘crushed ice’ effect pearloid buttons. Also featured is an attractive abalone ‘Vintage’ headstock logo with elegant ‘flower pot’ inlaid peghead motif. Antique violin burst finish. £399.00 rrp includes hard case.







figured solid maple back and sides, adjustable rosewood bridge, bound edge 26-fret neck and gold-plated open gear tuners with ‘crushed ice’ effect pearloid buttons. Also features an attractive abalone Vintage headstock logo with elegant ‘flower pot’ inlaid peghead motif. £369.00 rrp includes padded carry bag.

VINTAGE® DELUXE G BANJO INTRODUCED The two most common forms of banjo are the 4-string Tenor banjo – frequently found in traditional Irish music and tuned an octave below the mandolin – and the 5-string G banjo, so named as it is commonly put in G tuning these days. The G banjo is the only completely indigenous North American folk instrument, and has more than 50 different tunings! Vintage's new VB30GDL Deluxe G Banjo features a VMT400VB DOUBLE CUTAWAY MANDOLIN multi-ply wood rim with rolled brass tone ring and Remo® With its ornate oversize headstock, vertical oval mouth soundhole and ‘Weatherking' coated banjo head. Both the neck and resonator frame sharp horned, double cutaway arched top body, the VMT400VB’s are mahogany, while the fingerboard is rosewood. Hardware is chrome sunburst finish is the ideal complement to its intriguing looks. for extra longevity, including the armrest, flange and geared machine Specification includes double bound body with solid spruce top, heads. £329.00 rrp.

NEW FOR 2009 Professional Wireless Microphone Systems 90 Series Single Channel VHF Systems

L90 Tie-Clip Microphone System

H90 Headset Microphone System

S90 Microphone System

SU100 Series 10 Channel UHF Systems

SU100LVM-OFT Tie-Clip Microphone System inc. Case

SU100HVM-OFT Headset Microphone System inc. Case

SU100 Microphone System inc. Case


e enerates th be Series g Tu n o d ti ri ca yb fi H ) pli Voltage (HV sic valve am as h cl ig f H o ’s ch s! m u n o g to Kust nsive all-valve desi ne and respo er price than w lo authentic to a d an t ss weigh - but with le

three preset reverbs. There’s a neat variable speed Rotary Speaker effect available here too, with a built-in Octaver which can be pre-selected to Octave Up or Octave Down. The HV100T retails at £599.00 rrp.

HV100T COMBO Kustom’s HV100T combo represents the top-of-the-line High Voltage HV combo. 100 watts RMS of power and two 12inch Celestion™ speakers provide tight, high-volume valve tone with total control. The heart of the HV100T is its 12AX7-based tube (valve) preamp. To maximise the valve’s distinctive audio characteristics and dynamic range, the HV preamp circuit operates at higher voltage levels, resulting in a rich, dynamic sound loaded with harmonic content. Two channels each have an independent Master Volume control as well as independent 3-band EQ, along with a Variable Boost which can also be operated from the (optional) footswitch. The HV also offers 16 semi-programmable 24bit effects (effects send and return jacks are also inbuilt for any external effects) and a speaker-emulated Direct Out XLR provides a balanced line-out to a PA desk, etc. The optional footswitch gives you direct control over channel switching, activating the multi-fx system and boost, whilst a second ‘momentary’ footswitch is used for tap tempo and toggle functions, including


HV100THD AMP HEAD The Kustom HV100THD amp head takes the same flexible combo circuitry and offers it in a classic head format that is ideal for use with Kustom’s HV Series 4 x 12” speaker cabinets (see below). Both HV100T models offer the same two-channel layout, each with Gain and Master Volume controls. This Dual Master system provides natural valve overdrive and compression and it’s great for dialling in medium-gain tones with ease. And if you want serious gain, stand back from singing lead to heavy grind, it’s all inside the HV. £449.00 rrp.

HV SERIES 4X12’ SPEAKER CABINETS Available in either angled or straight front formats, the new HV 4x12’s are loaded with four Celestion G12P80 guitar speakers, the HV 412’s are built with an all-plywood shell and baffle board, giving superior resonance and projection. Decked out in black weave grille cloth, with chrome corner protectors and smart silver piping, the HV412 looks and sounds dangerous! With 260 watts power handling, the cabs weigh 70 lbs/32 kg and cost £449.00 each rrp.

HV SERIES COMBOS HV65, HV30, HV20 If 100 watts-worth of High Voltage Kustom is perhaps a little too much for your needs, here are three new HV combos to suit. Like their big brother 100 watt versions, HV combo amps offer turbocharged tones via the exclusive 12AX7 valve preamp design. This circuit generates the complex tonality and responsive feel of valve amplification, without the weight and serious expense! The HV65T 65-watt, Hv30T 30-watt and HV20T 20-watt combos have that same twochannel layout, each with Gain and Master Volume controls allowing them to be set independently. This Dual Master system provides natural valve overdrive and compression on both channels all the way to thick, singing distortion. The HV65T (£529.00 rrp) and HV30T (£429.00 rrp) units each incorporate a 24-bit Digital Multi-Effects System that provides 16 high-fidelity, semiprogrammable effects with tap or toggle functions for each effect, letting players fine-tune their choices. The HV20T (£349.00 rrp) has its own unique Effects section that mixes analogue and digital technologies to provide an independent Reverb control as well as eight footswitchable effects including a ‘Delay and Boost’ setting that really makes guitar solos stand out. In all, HV Series combo amps provide professional tone, features and boutique styling in versatile, performance-oriented packages.

Veteran Saxon axeman Graham Oliver is the latest addition to the Vintage® endorsee list. Gear's Gavin Coulson catches up the founder of one of the NWOBHM™ pioneer acts and finds out about losing fingers, having Metallica as your support band and his input into the most famous spoof rock movie ever... the band Free at every gig we could - I just loved that simplistic ‘big guitar riffs through a stack’ sound of guitarist Paul Kossoff and knew that’s what I wanted to do.

ay back when (okay, the late 70’s) Saxon were one of the first of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) bands, championed hugely in the likes of weekly music paper Sounds (RIP) and of course Kerrang!, bless its little heart. Based in Barnsley, South Yorks, Saxon’s original line-up was Biff Byford (vocals), Graham


Oliver and Paul Quinn (guitars), Steve Dawson (bass) and drummer Pete ‘Frank’ Gill. Saxon proved to be one of the most successful of the bands from that genre, and gained worldwide popularity having sold an amazing 100 million records to date. How did it all start for the young Graham Oliver? “When Steve (Dawson) and I were younger, he had this old van he’d bought for £50 and we would travel around the country following

You mention Paul Kossoff there, but do you have any other guitar heroes? And who inspired you? “I remember going to Butlins when I was 13, and the house band guitarist there, Ollie Halsall was an absolutely amazing player, and really inspired me to get into guitar. I also remember watching Stevie Winwood in Doncaster play ‘Stevie’s Blues’, and bunking off school in ‘67 to watch Hendrix play, very inspirational.

Bands Played On’ is a reworking of Robin Trower’s ‘Whisky Train’ , and ‘Wheels Of Steel’ is ‘Cat Scratch Fever’ reversed! On another note, Metallica’s second gig was supporting Saxon at The Whisky A Go-Go in the States - Steve and I picked them out of a handful of demos sent to us and to their credit they have never forgotten that. They invited me to a gig recently, and just before they came on, our song ‘Heavy Metal Thunder’ was playing through the PA system. It was a great feeling, but of course I couldn’t start saying to the kids in the crowd around me “Hey, I wrote this riff, and that’s my guitar solo!”, they’d just think I was some sad nutter!” It's no secret that you split with Saxon rather acrimoniously, which lead to your current outfit ODS (Oliver/Dawson Saxon, with former Saxon bassist Steve Dawson and drummer Nigel Durham, while vocalist Biff Byford fronts his ‘Saxon’). Any plans for a 30th Anniversary reunion? “For me, Saxon was the original five members anything else is a tribute. With ODS we have written new songs, and all we want to do is play them and the classic songs we created. Unfortunately, it has proved difficult, because promoters want to use Saxon’s history in order to sell tickets, which is understandable. It’s

‘Metallica’s second gig was supporting Saxon!’ But there was a time when I it looked like I might never play again (Graham lost most of the index finger on his left hand in an accident in the 1970’s). Paul (Quinn, Saxon co-guitarist) and I then worked out how I could form chords, play solos, etc. just using my remaining three fingers. A month later I was back on the road, and a couple of years later I was playing a guitar solo on Top Of The Pops!” In Saxon you were responsible for writing some killer metal riffs and songs - do you have a favourite? “Although I came up with riffs for ‘Never Surrender’ or ‘The Bands Played On’, the songs were always a team effort. The riffs came out of inspirational moments - ‘The

sad but all we ask is to promote ourselves using the name of the band that we started, after all. That said, I have no beef with any of the guys - Paul Quinn and I were like brothers and I’ll always be grateful for his help after my accident.” Why did you recently choose the Metal Axxe Raider and Vintage® AV6 Advance guitars for yourself? “I’m currently playing a wide spectrum of styles and because a lot of gigs these days are overseas, I’m constantly on and off airplanes. When you get to the gig, often you are straight on stage, with no time to soundcheck. So I need a guitar that can go from power chord riffage, to subtle arpeggio backing, without the need for complicated effects loops or amp settings, whilst with-


standing the sometimes less than tender care of budget airlines (laughs) - the Vintage AV6 model does this with great aplomb. For ODS and Los Dragons, I need to pull out all my metal tricks, so that’s why I chose the Metal Axxe VR2001MD Raider guitar, as it comes with the locking vibrato system which is ideal for all the harmonic divebombs and it still stays in tune.”

What attracted you to the Vintage guitar range? “Mainly, it was the number of respected live and session musicians who were already working with the brand - people like John Verity, Ten Years After’s Joe Gooch who I’ve actually jammed with, and of course Geoff Whitehorn. These are serious musicians who need an instrument that will do its job properly, and they wouldn’t use anything that couldn’t do the job really well. So I knew there had to be something special about the brand, something that was verified when I tried them out for myself.”

of fun because I never went through that cover band stage, I’ve really only ever played my own stuff, even in the early days. It’s a challenge to start learning other peoples songs. I think it’s made me a better player and because I haven’t done it before, it’s not boring to start ripping through classics like ‘Smoke On the Water’ or ‘Little Wing’”. As many people know, the excellent spoof rock movie, ‘This Is Spinal Tap’ took its inspiration from various rock and metal bands of those days to hilarious effect - it’s almost a bible for bands to watch these days. The rampaging metal machine that was Saxon in its heyday surely offered more material for them to use than most other bands? “It’s funny you should mention Spinal Tap. I find it uncomfortable to watch in places. Back in the day, we were shooting the ‘Power And The Glory’ video, which was directed by - get this -

‘I find Spinal Tap uncomfortable to watch in places...’ As well as Oliver/Dawson Saxon, you’re involved in T-Rex, and the Los Dragons project. “Los Dragons is a band featuring Kee Marcello from the band Europe, Don Rox (Eric Martin) and I on guitars, Mike Terrana (Malmsteen) on drums, and Jack Neille (Tygers Of Pan Tang). We do lots of gigs in Europe, sometimes under the name Twin Dragons or Guitar Legends, basically playing classic tracks, sometimes covers from our own bands and some original stuff. It’s a lot

Ridley Scott (yes, that (now Sir) Ridley Scott, director of Aliens, Blade Runner, Gladiator etc. fame), and a movie studio called us up and asked if they could send an actor out on the road with us... It turned out to be a chap called Harry Shearer (who


54 httpwwwmyspacecomods

II for 2009

With the comments that he reckons his new Metal Axxe Raider is the business, stalwart axeman Graham Oliver seems delighted with his choice of guitar. One thing’s for sure, Graham’s Metal Axxe guitar will be continuously subject to the most arduous of conditions for such an instrument - air travel. Inconsiderate check-in and baggage handlers (bang, oops sorry, bang...), drastic fluctuations in surrounding temperatures, humidity and pressure...and all before he and his guitars even get to the flippin’ gig, where Graham’s guitar has to then produce the driving powerful performance that the guitarist is depending on. Graham’s confidence in his Metal Axxe Raider speaks volumes about the construction, abilities and performance of the 2009 METAL AXXE Range. Originally launched over five years ago, the Metal Axxe guitars and basses have definitely been a hit with guitarists in many countries. And for 2009, all the

became ‘Derek Smalls’, bass player in the ‘Spinal Tap’ film. These days, he’s the voice of no less than 21 ‘Simpsons’ characters, including Mr Burns, Principal Skinner and Chief Wiggum!). We had no idea he was researching for a spoof ‘rockumentary’, it was never mentioned. So we of course got drunk with him, and regaled him with a few tales of life on the road with Saxon. For instance, I told him about the time we did a gig with Motorhead who had been testing out copious amounts of dry ice before the show, which had left the stage wet in places. Come showtime, I started the intro to our first song, ‘Motorcycle Man’ off-stage, then I ran onto the middle to put my foot up on the monitor. At least, that was the plan. What actually happened was, I slipped on a wet patch, and slid across the stage on my back! My guitar tech ran onto the stage and lifted me upright while I played on, and I didn’t miss a note! Of course, this was parodied in the film’s famous scene where Spinal Tap guitarist Nigel Tufnell bends over backwards too far during their ‘set’ and falls over but keeps playing till a roadie runs out and picks him up! In fact, it has been said that Harry eventually based his entire ‘Derek Smalls’ character on our Steve...”

guitars have received major upgrades to cosmetics and hardware more firepower from the fitted Wilkinson pickups; new re-profiled neck shapes for faster, more responsive playing; new colour finishes and headstock shapes, plus a bolder Metal Axxe ‘XX’ headstock and 12th fret logo! Here’s what’s available in the new and exciting 2009 Metal Axxe range. After all, if you want to make a statement about the music you play, these are definitely the guitars to have!

RAIDER VR2001BMS Black Metal Sparkle £329.00rrp

• • • • • • •

Wilkinson hi-output pickups! Wilkinson tuners! Floyd Rose vibratos! Re-profiled speed necks! New colour finishes! New ‘XX’ cosmetics! New ‘XX’ headstock & 12th fret inlay!

VWR1001BRQ: Blood Red Quilt £339.00


VWR1001HBF: Helms Black Flame £339.00

VWR999HBF: Helms Black Flame £329.00


VR3001BKZ: Gloss Black £329.00rrp

VR3001SWB: Gloss Black/Vintage White £299.00rrp


VR4001CMO: Camouflage £269.00rrp

VR4001BK: Gloss Black £269.00rrp


VW5001BK: Midnight Black £279.00rrp

VWB9001BK: Midnight Black £309.00rrp


This family-owned business has been involved the production of precision metronomes for well over a century. Looking around at the present turbulent economic climate, it’s not hard to understand how hard it is for companies, particularly specialist manufacturers, to remain a competitive force in an undulating market. Imagine then, the trials and tribulations which will have been faced by a company which is well over 100 years old...two shattering world wars, ongoing generational family management changes, not to mention the influx of cheap competition from the Far East in particular over recent years.

PRECISION MANUFACTURE Thus it is for Wittner, legendary German manufacturers of precision metronomes and additional musical accessories. Founded in 1895 in the Black Forest region of Southern Germany by Gustav Wittner, the Wittner factory today employs over 100 people, including a number of craftsmen and designers eagerly ensuring that Wittner’s reputation for precision manufacture remains as intact today as it always has been. Gustav Wittner began the company by capitalising on his experience of making clocks which he applied to the equally fastidious manufacturing principles of metronomes. An export market soon began to grow at the turn of the 20th century, to Russia in particular, and after World War 1 Gustav’s son Rudolf assumed control of the Wittner concern, which he gradually expanded to a medium-sized industrial plant with much greater production potential. Rudolf’s expansion plans proved timely, as the fledgling music industry really began to take off in the late 20’s / early 30’s, with a mass consumer movement towards listening to – and playing – music. TAKTELL As Wittner’s reputation grew, in addition to their Maelzel Metronomes, Wittner started producing the ‘Taktell’ metronome. Under its registered trademark, the ‘Taktell’ became such a term of quality that, in many countries, the word ‘metronome’ was almost replaced by the word ‘Taktell’. Though Wittner metronomes by and large remain true to the classic looks and operation of a mechanical pendulum style unit, the company has always been proud of its continued investment in state-of-the-art production technology, cited as ‘ extreme necessity in order to maintain superior production quality and competitive all-round pricing’. Besides metronomes, Wittner also manufactures other high quality musical accessories such as violin strings, adjusters, violin tailpieces, etc. Though Wittner’s current range includes a digital credit-card size metronome, the main business of the company still emanates from the traditional Maelzel Pyramid Metronome units, in both wind-up mechanical and quartz-based formats, alongside the evergreen Taktell Classic, of course. Recent Wittner innovations have seen the introduction of the Taktell Piccolo metronome – definitely a more ‘tactile Taktell’ this time, with a variety of pastel shades available colouring the company’s ‘Soft Feel


Leather Look’ covering, with the traditional Taktell wind-up mechanism and swinging pendulum again ensuring first class tempo management. Also available in more compact pocket-size format are the Wittner Taktell Piccolino and Taktell Super Mini metronomes. And now... WITTNER INTRODUCES TAKTELL ANIMAL PENDULUM METRONOMES Okay, so what's the best way to get children and young music students (and adults...!) more interested in the benefits of using a metronome with their music making? Answer – make it fun! And that's exactly what these superb Taktell Animal Metronomes from German metronome specialists, Wittner have to offer. With well over a century of experience of manufacturing precision metronomes, the new animal metronomes offer all the features and facilities found on conventional mechanical pendulum style metronomes, as expected from a specialised musical artefact bearing the Wittner name. The fun, attractive design of these new Animal Metronomes is aimed at increasing the time students will want to spend being involved with metronome practice. Wittner Animal Metronomes are mechanical pendulum units with a traditional wind-up mechanism precisionengineered for reliable, accurate performance. Animal Metronomes • Traditional metronome that produces loud clicking sound • Pendulum motion provides visual sensing of tempo • Tempo range 40-208 bpm • Wind-Up Mechanism • £76.99rrp ea.

Model Numbers Cat: 839021 Owl: 839031 Penguin: 839011


preamp matched to a Sonicore pickup. Aero onboard preamp systems are designed to offer maximum control, performance and quality of sound from a small, unobtrusive format, here offering anti-feedback control, brilliance control and an endpin jack out assembly. With such impressive features, the SM475CEA surely represents amazing value at only £339.00 rrp.

We’ve said this before, but anyone looking to buy a high specification classical guitar for bargain money would be doing themselves a disservice if they didn’t put ‘Santos Martinez’ as a ‘must try’ on their shopping list...


he award-winning, critically-acclaimed range of Santos Martinez classical and electro-classical guitars offers an alluring combination of sweet-toned performance and easy playability, lifting these superbly-crafted instruments far beyond their humble retail prices. High levels of specification and the use of premium grade materials mean that most Santos Martinez instruments offer such features as tone-enhancing solid spruce tops, on electro versions coupled with specially-developed onboard pickup/preamp systems from USA-acknowledged acoustic amplification experts, Fishman. The Santos Martinez range also offers a range of elegantly-constructed, beginner-friendly junior classicals, available in 1/2 and 3/4 sizes, as well as full size options. However for 2009, all Santos models from the SM200 solid cedar-topped model upwards will now feature a Spanish heel assembly at the critical neck/body joint. This high grade and uniquely traditional method of classical guitar construction, named after the shoe shape it resembles, offers not only improved stability but a weight saving of up to 30% over a conventional solid block heel, significantly improving tonal resonance and vibrational transfer through the instrument. Also in 2009, Santos Martinez instruments will be finished in a UV (Ultra Violet) varnish, which allows for a much thinner body coating, allowing the wood used for the table, back, sides and neck of the guitars to perform in a more resonant manner, over the more conventional, more stifling and less flexible polyester-based finishes more usually found on guitars in these price categories.

New models for 2009 Two exciting new models are being introduced into the Santos range for 2009, the SM475CEA Bossa Nova, and the SM450CEA 39” Classical.

Santos Martinez

SM475CEA This elegantly-proportioned electro-classical is a particularly versatile cutaway-bodied guitar, with a high level of specification which uses an interesting and varied selection of tonewoods, including a solid cedar top matched to rosewood back and sides, edged with paduak binding. All Santos electro-classicals now use much-lauded Fishman onboard amplification as an OEM fitment, with the SM475CEA making use of a Fishman Aero+

Santos Martinez

SM450CEA With the more traditional look of a cutaway-bodied classical guitar and the paler colour of its solid spruce top this time, the SM450CEA also features rosewood as the tonewood laminate used for the body’s back and sides. The instrument’s 39” overall dimension definitely imbues it with a compact and manageable nature, giving the guitar a genuinely upmarket classical guitar feel. Maple provides a sympathetic body edge binding here, and the colourful rosette inlay provides an attractive visual counterpoint on the guitar’s table. The cutaway feature facilitates upper fret playing access allowing use of the entire fretboard area as a playing surface, against the more restrictive full-body format of a conventional classical guitar shape. As with the SM475CEA guitar, Fishman’s Aero+ preamp system and Sonicore pickup arrangement are OEM amplification fitments. Offering equally impressive value, the SM450CEA retails at £309.00.

Not Forgetting... Alongside these two new additions, the two existing flagship Santos Martinez electro-classical guitars remain in the range, namely the cutaway-bodied SM675CEA Bossa Nova and the SM650CEA, also an electro-acoustic cutaway model. The upgrade of Santos’ amplification systems to Fishman models means that these guitars will now feature the Fishman Aero Blend. This superb tone-capturing unit features a combination arrangement of Sonicore undersaddle pickup and built-in mic as its pickup sources, with a Blend control allowing the user to obtain an optimum sound via the two signal sources. An Anti-feedback control helps keep the sound smooth and under control. As before, the SM675CEA features solid tonewoods in the form of a solid cedar top with a solid rosewood body, while the SM650’s tone comes from its solid spruce top, also matched to a solid rosewood body.

AND FINALLY A number of other attractive guitars can be found to match your tonal requirements and budget in the Santos Martinez range, including other full body classicals and electro-classicals. Don’t miss the opportunity to snap up one of these fine ‘bargain classics’!



RODRIGUEZ Sr. 1926-2008 anuel Rodríguez II, one of the finest luthiers of the Madrid school, died on December 25th 2008 in this city, where he was born in 1926. In the very early years, he started working with his father, a constructor of flamenco and classical guitars. They had their own workshop in their home, while also working in the renowned Ramírez workshop. There, legendary masters such as Jose Ramírez III taught him the love of fine woodworking using simple tools and materials and the struggle for quality in often difficult economic and political times, with only a limited availability of proper woods and other necessary materials.


Flamenco singers and players would often get together at that time in the guitar workshops, playing, dancing and singing until the sun started to rise on the following day. But Rodríguez, though fond of this bohemian ambiance, was always concerned about organising a stable base from which he could produce handcrafted instruments, always striving for a strong, balanced sound from strikingly beautiful guitars.


EC does it...

Driven to develop his luthiery skills, he emigrated to the USA under the patronage of the musician Theodore Norman. In 1959 he established himself with wife Emilia in Los Angeles, where his two boys, Manuel Jr. and Norman were born. He spent 14 years in the US, building many instruments for the lively musical world of Los Angeles and Hollywood. He also conducted research together with engineers at UCLA to improve design (bracings, frets, tieblocks, etc.). An important result was the mobile bridge for correcting the temperamental tuning challenges all guitars must deal with. He also learned English, which would prove very helpful in his later life.

An ardent guitar fan after seeing The Shadows at age 9, Alan Burridge, from Poole in Dorset, who is now 58, decided to catalogue the bands he’d seen between 1960 and 1980. This resulted in a book titled ‘Bournemouth Rocks!’ which will be available in July from Natula Publishing – details at Whilst researching the book, Alan remembered an early gig by Cream at Bournemouth’s Pavilion Ballroom in August 1966, which he missed. “I was 15, still at school and the gig took place at quite short notice. Either I was broke, unable to get to the gig on the night, or both!” he remembers. “Transport was more difficult then, and not being there was heartbreaking for a fan like myself.” To make up, he attended Cream’s legendary Royal Albert Hall ‘Farewell Concert’ in November 1968. “I adored Eric Clapton’s ‘psychedelic’ Gibson SG which he’d played since early 1967, but when he walked onstage with a Gibson ES335, I felt so disappointed. But the hippy era


After returning to Spain, he soon realised that the business needed to be set on a more diverse footing, developing a dual approach constructing both fully handmade concert guitars in the workshop – where his sons received their training as luthiers – and using machines. His guitars have been praised by no less than Andres Segovia, Regino Sáinz de la Maza, Angel Romero and Theodore Norman and many others. A true family concern, the Rodriguez stable is still today located near Madrid in the Toledo province, where Manuel Sr. continued to work until just a few weeks before his death. He defined himself as '...simply a luthier and guitarmaker, neither a good nor a bad one', stressing his pride of belonging to this fine group of creators, underscoring the humility and goodwill of this master builder. Manuel Sr. is survived by his two sons, Manuel Jr. and Norman, who are both actively involved with the family company.

that that SG so beautifully represented had run its course, so Clapton did the right thing by moving on.” Recently, the local Bournemouth Daily Echo caught up on Alan’s ‘missing gig’ dilemma, and tried to help find details of this elusive Cream show. “A lot of people remembered it and phoned the paper with anecdotes,” said Alan, “but the gig isn’t listed in any of the Cream biographies, so we need proof by way of a ticket stub or newspaper advert – can anyone help, please?” A lifelong guitar fan but with little self-confessed aptitude for playing them, Alan made guitars at school and always has one around his home, ‘ have a strum on or polish!” But Clapton’s psychedelic SG, known today as ‘The Fool’ after the Dutch artists who painted it, has always been his favourite. “It is the guitar of my generation, so when I found Vintage Guitars had a tribute style guitar available I just had to have one,” he enthused. “After a heart operation in 2006, I gave up smoking and drinking and saved the money, so what better way to spend it?” The Vintage V6MRF 'Fool' is exclusive to London-based music retailer, Ivor Mairants Musicentre (0207 636 1481), who commissioned it. Each Fool guitar is hand made and hand painted, and production of this fabulous tribute instrument is very limited.

Classical Education

Classical or flamenco...many people don’t realise that there is a big difference between these traditional guitar styles. Classical expert Tim Panting explains.

question often asked by visitors to the famous Ivor Mairants Musicentre guitar specialist in London, concerns the difference between ‘Spanish’ and ‘Classical’ guitars - what is the difference? Well, both terms are suitable but are primarily generic; ‘nylon strung guitar’ is probably a more accurate term for these guitar styles, because nowadays there are many different shapes and sizes of guitars with nylon strings. Narrow necks, 14 frets, cutaways, slim bodies, 7-string, 8-string, electrics with piezo/mic pickups... However, the ‘classic’ design as we now accept it features 12 frets up to the body, wide fingerboard and deep body with generously rounded shoulders and equally curved lower bouts, a style which originated around the latter stages of the 19th century.


TORRES - THE ARCHITECT OF CLASSICAL GUITAR STYLE Antonio Torres (1817-1892) from Almeria in southern Spain is credited as chiefly responsible for developing the guitar into what is now called the ‘classical’ guitar, as described above. The predecessors of this design of classical guitar were rather smaller instruments with strictly limited powers of projection and volume. Torres was responsible for many technical innovations including a separate saddle arrangement, Antonio Torres (1817-1892) and his own ‘fan strut’ soundboard bracing pattern, Torres believing that the behaviour of the guitar’s table (or top) was the most important element in the instrument’s ability to produce and project sound. Interestingly, the guitar was never considered a serious instrument until another guitarist and contemporary of Torres, Francisco Torrega (1852-1909) started to use Torres’ instruments. Even so, by the beginning of the 19th century, inspired guitarists/ composers such as Fernando Sor had composed music of incredible depth and and technical difficulty, thereby establishing immense possibilities on the instrument. However, the guitar has almost never been out of the hands of folk musicians, bands and other popular entertainers as an instrument capable Francisco Torrega (1852-1909)

of deftly accompanying singers and dancers, and then being able to add flourishes of dazzling virtuosity all of its own. This is where the gypsy music of Andalucia in southern Spain, namely ‘Flamenco’ comes in. The name also originated in the late 19th century, and comes from the old Middle Dutch language; derived from the word ‘Vlaminc’ , literally ‘Fleming’, it meant ‘like a gypsy’. Flamenco’s spirited, rhythmical and percussive fire helped give the guitar a very dynamic profile that was enormously exciting yet unnerving to the inhabitants of the more genteel salons in the towns! Even here, Torres’ guitar designs also influenced the design of the modern flamenco guitar.

FLAMENCO FIRE So, what are the main differences between the two guitars? To begin with, flamenco music demands a very specific type of sound from all the elements of the music itself, which is made up of singing and dancing, the guitar being chiefly an accompanying instrument. But the sound of a flamenco guitar has to be very distinctive - very bright, with little or no harmonic overtones emanating when being strummed or plucked. A percussive attack and quick instrument response are needed to accompany the very tight and synchronised dance movements used in the form. This is achieved by using specific types of wood, and the proportions of the instrument itself, flamenco guitars being generally much lighter than classical ones. The back and sides of flamenco guitars are traditionally made of cypress wood, as opposed to tropical hardwoods such as Brazilian rosewood which are used in classical guitars. Set-up wise, the action (string height above the frets) of flamenco guitars tends to be lower than that employed on their classical counterparts and therefore a certain amount of string buzzing as they rattle off the frets is acceptable on flamenco guitars. This is often a worry for guitarists unused to this natural slackness which actually adds to the percussive strumming of the flamenco rasquedos. The advantage of a low action is ease of playing, so flamenco guitars can be extremely versatile in terms of being a fast-playing acoustic, right up to usage n modern day acoustic jazz-metal, a la Rodrigo y Gabriela.

CLASSICAL GAS The classical guitar is an instrument that tries to achieve the impossible but actually does very well for such a modest machine. Andres Segovia (1883-1987) raised the profile of the instrument enough for it to be

considered a serious concert instrument capable of playing alongside established instruments such as the violin and piano. The sound demanded by classical guitarists is full and rich with as much tonal projection as possible, and the action does not have to be too high, a common mistaken belief - the guitar must be comfortable to play, of course. The back and sides of these guitars are traditionally made with either Brazilian or Indian rosewood, the former being very rare and causing the price of the instrument to rise dramatically. Cedar and spruce, as with flamencos, are the woods favoured for the instrument tops.

MANUEL RODRIGUEZ There are many studios producing instruments across Spain, but central and eastern regions are where most studios are situated. Madridbased Manuel Rodriguez guitars start from a minuscule £189 for the Model 9 Caballero up to the NR-R Rodriguez Professional Rosewood Guitar at £3,699.00. Special order models from the Rodriguez company can lift the price tag to a considerably more hefty £15 grand but such is the way with specialist builds of any instrument or artefact. The Rodriguez catalogue offers a wide choice of classic variations, with many different tonewood recipes on cutaway bodies, electroacoustic versions, and so on. Rodriguez Flamenco models start at £499 for the C3F Caballero Flamenco which is made from sycamore rather than cypress, but the Model FF is a fully-fledged flamenco guitar, retailing at only £1,249.00. So you can have a choice of the ‘genuine articles’ - as far as authentic Spanish guitars are concerned - at what are extremely reasonable prices! Tim Panting is Reviews Editor for Classical Guitar magazine.

59 Portable Sound

Concert Sound

Install Sound

Gear Salem House, Parkinson Approach, Garforth, Leeds LS25 2HR, U.K. Tel: 0113 2865 381 Fax: 0113 2868 515 E-mail: Publisher: Simon Turnbull Editor: Gibson Keddie Contributors: Kevin Aston, Brian Barnes, Alan Burridge, Gav Coulson, Mick Morris, Dave Press, Tim Panting, Tony Simmons Art Editor: Simon Turnbull Art Team: Richard Dennison, Gary Barlow Staff Photographers/Illustrator: Gary Barlow, Richard Dennison Subscriptions (Free): Susan Lindley Chairman: John H. Skewes Managing Director: Dennis J. Drumm Printed by: Warners (Midlands) PLC. 01778 39 1000 All material is copyright and must not be copied or reprinted in any format without the express permission of the publishers. The views expressed by contributors are not necessarily those of the editor or publisher. Unsolicited contributions are welcome, but we regret we have no budget to pay for any such material that we choose to print. We do our best to ensure accuracy but we cannot be held responsible for any omissions or errors, though any complaints will be fairly investigated. All recommended retail and guide prices mentioned in this magazine were correct at time of going to press. Please note prices/specifications may be subject to change without notice.





Whether you’re perplexed by PA, fired up by Fret-Kings or resurrecting a rusty Rodriguez classical, you can tell us about it on this page. Write to Gear at Salem House, Parkinson Approach, Garforth, Leeds LS25 2HR, or email

Dear Gear I have been self taught to play a guitar for the past twelve years and am a big fan of Spanish classical and Spanish flamenco guitar music. I have only just come across a full-sized acoustic nylon string Manuel Rodriguez Caballeros model. I found it in a second hand shop, and it had hardly been used. I purchased it despite the strings looking rather worn so I bought some new normal tension strings for it. I must admit that I am going to enjoy many years of proud ownership of my Rodriguez guitar, just as much as I am having great pleasure in playing it. It’s an excellent quality classical guitar with a fantastic sound and is a great addition to my small collection of classical guitars.

Mr Julian P. Priestly Bridlington

Dear Gear I've just purchased a Fret-King Super 60 SP and it knocks the pants off my American Standard Stratocaster. I played it solid for 2 hours last night with some whammy bar nonsense going on and it stayed in tune. Class! I love the sound and setup of the guitar and was wondering what make and gauge of strings they ship from the factory. I am assuming they are 9's of some description but want to replace them like for like. Good work by you guys for making a good guitar (the Strat®) into a great guitar. Look forward to your response and keep up the good work!

Fraser Coull via email Fitting a set of Dunlop 9-46 (Light/Heavy Bottom) strings will keep your Super 60 feeling as good to play as it does now, Fraser. It’s a nice guitar to look at and play, thanks to high quality finishing and performance Wilkinson hardware (designed by Trev Wilkinson)– that vibrato system’s a beauty, and in conjunction with the staggeredheight Gotoh tuners providing an even string break angle over the nut, plus no friction causing headstock string tree, keeps it all sounding sweet and in tune, as you’ve discovered!

produced a high quality flight case which he opened revealing a beautiful cherry red semi-acoustic electric 335®-style guitar. It had the gold ‘Vintage’ logo on the headstock. I thought this guitar was unique as it was fitted with three black Wilkinson pickups and also featured one of the control knobs having push/pull facility to enable coil-splitting the pickups from humbucking to single coil. After looking through your mag, I’m guessing that this guitar may be from your Vintage AV3 range?

I. G. Purdie Hawick


Indeed it is from the Vintage range, and the guitar is in fact a Trev Wilkinson designed Vintage AV3PFCR. Fitted with Wilkinson three black, stacked P90 humbuckers, these can be taken to single coil mode via an innovative rotary ‘Roll Control’ making this guitar a particularly versatile tone machine, which retails at £479.00. An attractive carved flame maple top (not a veneer) on a semiacoustic body also makes it comfortable to hold and easy to play.

Dear Gear

Dear Gear Alongside playing in a duo and a four piece folk-rock band I also do functions like birthday parties and wedding receptions as a DJ, which all keeps me pretty busy most weekends. As a result I seem to have accumulated lots of bits of amps and PA gear which is a nightmare to - (a) keep at home, (b) transport in my car and (c) connect up at gigs with wires absolutely all over the place. Got to admit, it looks ‘unprofessional’ and, if I’m being honest’ slightly dangerous. Health & Safety would not be happy. Is there one system you can recommend that can do these gigs and let me get some space back at home?

Kenny Mitchell Warminster Wow, that’s a busy schedule, Kenny – we’re impressed! But it’s easy to keep adding and adding stuff as you’ve done to keep up with what’s needed, but there will always come a point where you want to start afresh! We reckon the best option for you is probably the HK Audio L.U.C.A.S IMPACT. A subwoofer + 2 x satellites system (get the stands to go with it to make life easier) it’s rated at 1,200 watts and has a seriously professional high quality sound with loads of thumping bottom end power for your DJ work, and will easily cope with your other gigs. It’ll take up hardly any space at home, fits in your car and if you also get the covers set it will keep it as good as new for years to come! You’ll also need a front end mixer of course, Allen & Heath’s ZED or PA series will do the trick.

Regarding your Vintage left handed LEST96, I have recently purchased one and would like to say I am very impressed with the high quality workmanship. The bass is beautiful and made to a high standard. It’s now becoming the most played bass I own. It's everything I wanted in a bass and now I have found it, I can stop looking. Trying to find a nice left-handed bass is very difficult – so thanks for considering us left handers out there. Please thank the people on the factory floor from me.

Neon River via email

Dear Gear I recently visited an old friend who told me he had taken up playing the guitar. After he gave me a spare copy of Gear magazine, he then


Thanks for letting us know you’ve found a bass which you really love! Information on more brand new left-handed additions to the Vintage guitar and bass range can be found on page 45.


The Kyser Quick Change Capo America’s Favourite Capo

While the Kyser Quick Change Capo clamps firmly for on-pitch intonation, you can quickly release it and slide it up or down – or remove it in seconds without disturbing the tuning. Made of strong lightweight aluminium, the Quick-Change is designed to be operated comfortably with one hand and never interferes with your fingering. Rubber lining & sleeve won’t mar or react with guitar finishes.

Made in USA

Thunderer Whistle ACME have been producing whistles and authentic bird calls for SINCE 1870 and have a reputation second to none.

Acme products are used throughout the world; from school and orchestra use, to football match referees, concert and carnival goers and ornithologists.

Encore acoustic and electro-acoustic guitars are expertly-constructed, full size, big-sounding instruments. They offer a pleasantly crisp and bright tone with an impressive ringing sustain. Responsive and easy to play, they make an ideal instrument on which to begin learning guitar.


From smoothly - picked jazz tones to burning metal overdrive, Sharkfin multi-tip plectrum edge design lets you play any style, any way you want...



PX Series

anti-kink bushing

chuck-type strain relief


/4" professional jack plugs



Plug in without ‘crack’ Designed to enhance the complete frequency output range and harmonic overtones of your instrument. Features Neutrik silentPlug. moving magnet

NEUTRIK branded

Available in all good music stores.












-B 2X


The Guitar Professor ® is a highly accurate, easy to use guitar tuner & pitch pipe... Plus a CHORD FINDER that teaches the new player to play over 250 different chords! £14.99


Available in all good music stores... 63

Full Size/Junior Drums


Great value, all-in-one kits that will kick start your illustrious drumming career!

Rhythm magazine


Best seller. Sturdy hardware. ‘ ’ Rhythm magazine Buyers Guide: Beginner Drum Kits


The hardware is ‘good and sturdy ’

PP300 now with

Drummer magazine

stand ‘upit towillsome serious bashing ’

PP250BL playing heads

5 PIECE DRUM KIT £299 rrp

Gear magazine


PP100BL PP300 Gloss Black, Metallic Silver, Metallic Blue, Metallic Wine Red £399rrp


A choice of three instrument sizes, designed to fit student and beginner players of all ages and hand sizes. Light and responsive, these instruments offer a smooth, well-defined nylon string tonality with good note detail and a lively resonance. With outfits available in 4/4, 3/4 and 1/2 size formats, each outfit contains a Guitar Carry Bag, Encore Strings Set, Tutorial DVD, Pitch Pipe, and Tutor Listing.

For More info visit



tring Swing USA products are suitable for live performance, shop display, studio, school and home use and are available for slatwall, wall, floor, stand and equipment fitting.

Each hanger has a fully padded yoke that is guaranteed not to mark the neck of the instrument. The yoke width is adjustable (squeeze or spread) without weakening the hanger so anything from the widest neck guitar to a 1/2 size violin can be accommodated. Yokes also pivot to cradle all headstocks and the keeper rings secure instruments in the hanger.



Visit the ‘new look’ JHS website Check out the latest ‘News’,‘New Product’ and ‘Product Demonstrations’ sections for up to the minute information and videos!

Go direct to these world famous brands

Allen & Heath Mixers

Fret-King Electric Guitars Mighty Bright Portable Light & Sight Resource

Augustine Classical Guitar Strings

Snap Jacks Magnetic Guitar Cables

Calato/Regal Tip Drumsticks

Tuners & Metronomes

D’Aquisto Strings HK Audio Pro Audio Equipment

Kyser Capos Diago Pedal Boards

Jim Dunlop Pedals

LA Audio Pro Audio Equipment

Kustom Amplification/Accessories

Rhythm Tech Percussion Danelectro Guitars/FX Pedals


Fishman Transducers Shubb Capos

Grover Machine Heads

String Swing Instrument Hangers/Holders

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Super Sensitive Strings & Accessories for Bowed Instruments

Wittner Metronomes, Tuners & Tailpieces

Eagle Mountain Straps

Lab Gruppen Power Amplifiers

Facelift A Re-Usable Guitar Body Overlay

Classical Guitars

Musical Essentials

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For further information visit our website or call in to your local Vintage Dealership today.

Gear Magazine Issue 23