REVIEWED: ERNIE BALL TAP TEMPO SWITCH
Milo and Otis; Scooby and Shaggy; Avocado and non-homeownership. History is up to its gills with classic duos that, once paired become inseparable and as a result greater than the sum of their parts. The delicate ecosystem at the feet of almost every modern sonic warrior is no exception. Combinations ranging from two overdrives stacked on top of each other to the humble one-two punch of tuner and reverb are the entranceway to a bottomless rabbit hole down which new and improved corners of the tonal universe abound. Where time based effects are concerned however, it is all too easy to become lost in the wilderness, throwing everything around you into an off-axis whirlpool of clashing tempos, phase issues and countless other horrors. The remedy is one of the simpler yet probably most effective pairings going; your favourite delay or modulation and it’s trusty side-kick, the Tap.
REVIEWED: FENDER AMERICAN PROFESSIONAL JAZZMASTER ELECTRIC GUITAR, SONIC GRAY
Following the discontinuation of the American Standard Series, Fender’s new American Professional series of guitars are a stab at some of the brand’s classic models, but with some notable advances like the ‘Deep C’ neck profile, narrow-tall frets and a brand, spanking new range of pickups dubbed V-mod. One of these revamped classics is the American Pro Jazzmaster in Sonic Gray. Though it is a stunning looking guitar, aesthetics are not the be all and end all, so we took it for a test run to see if it lives up to the American Pro series tag line: ‘these instruments were made to explore the creative space between today and tomorrow’.
REVIEWED: STERLING BY MUSIC MAN CUTLASS CT50 GUITAR
The ‘Music Man’ portion of the Ernie Ball Music Man name was a company founded by Leo Fender in 1974, and the earliest bass and guitar models were new instruments that showed an evolution from what Leo had designed before. Since then - and especially under the guidance of Ernie Ball - the company has taken things pretty far from those original design styles, but they bring it right on back with the Cutlass. Available in EBMM and the more affordable Sterling By Music Man models, the Cutlass is a bolt-on, three-single-coil guitar that feels a little more ‘Leo’ than anything EBMM has released in years.
REVIEWED: THE CHARVEL USA SELECT SO-CAL
Charvel’s connection with the Strat hails back to the late 1970s when the guitar manufacturer had a penchant for producing reincarnations of the beloved model. Back then they were referred to as the Superstrat, and regularly featured a Strat-shaped body with a single humbucker and a tremolo bridge system. Within Charvel’s newly released USA Select Series the So-Cal model is the guitar that comes closest to the Charvel Strats of old. And while it’s a loosely tied ode to models gone by, it’s nice to see Charvel revive a long-running relationship with the guitar that helped them reach early prominence.
REVIEWED: THE CHARVEL USA SELECT SD-2 GUITAR
The alder body on the SD-2 is finely crafted and curved; sculpted with a single cutaway and a glancing slant for extra comfort. The neck is one-piece quartersawn maple and the fingerboard is maple with black dot inlays.
REVIEWED: THE CHARVEL USA SELECT SD1
Eddie Van Halen, Richie Sambora and Randy Rhoads are just a few of the monumental names that were wielding Charvel axes in 80s, etching the brand’s name into the history of rock and heavy metal for ever more. The Californian guitar manufacturer’s new flagship USA Select series taps into the very essence of what made Charvel so appealing back in its 80s heyday – a throwback to fiery pickups, menacing hardware, and the weapon-like, industrial feel of old.
REVIEWED: THE ERNIE BALL MUSIC MAN ST. VINCENT SIGNATURE MODEL
To be frank, signature guitars can often be more trouble than they're worth. All too often guitar manufacturers are tempted into drafting up a slightly redesigned version of an already in-production model, slapping the artist's name on the headstock, jacking up the price and calling it a day. Thankfully, Ernie Ball's St. Vincent signature model strays far away from this notion. With hands-on production ideas contributed from Annie Clarke at every step of the way, the result is a guitar that is unlike any other on the market today - a unique beast reimagined from the ground up.
JACKSON SCOTT IAN KVXT X-SERIES ELECTRIC GUITAR
Jackson Guitars have never been one to shy away from the spotlight. They deal in heavy metal and everything that comes with it: the pulverising tone, pulsating riffs, even hotter leads and audacious looking weapons. All of which was founded upon a 1980 collaboration between Jackson and Randy Rhoads, from which the Flying V-inspired Concorde was born. From that very moment the ‘V’ body shape became synonymous with Jackson, and so too the typical pointed headstock, as well as a penchant for producing guitars that play unbelievably fast. Touching upon all of these traits is the X Series Scott Ian King V KVXT. A signature guitar made in the name of thrash metal legend and Anthrax founding member Scott Ian, the KVXT is an axe pulled straight from the heyday of 80s metal.