Reviewed: Fender Player Series Stratocaster
It feels like lately the kind folk at the Fender dream factories have decided to smarten up their already spiffy act. Gone are the modern appointments, nay quirks, of the Blacktop and Highway One series. Workhorse American Professional models have well and truly planted themselves in the hearts and minds of players from all walks of life and their classic era builds have those of us with nostalgia on the brain tied up in knots.
Reviewed: Line 6 Shuriken SR250 Variax Guitar
The Line 6 Variax Shuriken is the latest Variax guitar, created in conjunction with 12-Foot Ninja guitarist Steve “Stevic” Mackay, and it’s a force to be reckoned with. It connects via VDI to Line 6’s Workbench HD software and allows the user to endless tweak presets that can be turned on and cycled through very easily. It’s available in 25.5” and 27” scale lengths, and feels like a solid, well-built guitar.
Reviewed: Sterling by Music Man Albert Lee AL40
Albert Lee is undoubtedly guitar royalty. Best known for his remarkably clean and lightening fast country chops, the venerable guitarist has been in partnership with Ernie Ball Music Man for over 40 years, with his signature offset guitar receiving rave reviews worldwide. As such, it was no surprise that when the Albert Lee signature model by Sterling was announced in early 2018, it turned the heads of adoring fans worldwide. Just like the St. Vincent, John Petrucci and James Valentine signature models, the SBMM Albert Lee signature successfully manages to balance both the spirit and elegance of its more expensive counterpart with the affordability of the Sterling series.
Reviewed: Vox Starstream Type 1
“The ultimate instrument for players looking to redefine the electric guitar” reads some of Vox’s press regarding the Starstream Type-1. There have been a number of companies that have had a swing at straying from the traditional electric guitar sound and shape with varying degrees of success. Vox, under its umbrella with Line 6 and Yamaha, has been on the money with recent releases, so I’m intrigued to see and hear the Starstream Type-1 in action.
Reviewed: Jackson Guitars Pro Series Signature Mick Thomson Soloist SL2
Slipknot have been massive players on the metal scene for many years. Highly influential for their combination of brutal riffs and energetic syncopated grooves and rhythms, the band has spawned various signature models and endorsements for many of its members. The latest sees Jackson releasing the Mick Thomson Pro Series signature model. A ‘Soloist’ shape with a few tweaks, let’s have a closer look.
Reviewed: Fender American Original '50s Telecaster
Late one night as I was knee deep in some research (read: distraction and procrastination) for a review much like this one, I happened upon one of the strangest and most perverse cultural phenomenon known to mankind. Listed alongside a number of different pedal shootouts, I spied a particularly long video curiously titled ‘Unboxing’. Intrigued, I chanced a wayward click and what ensued left me nothing short of agog. I watched, in its entirety mind you, an entire half hour film of a person of unknown origin opening the packaging that encased a Lego toy car. Immediately hypnotised, I watched as they pieced together the item, sat its driver in his place and pushed it back and forth across my computer screen a while. Once the bar along the bottom was completely red, I came shunting back to cold, hard awareness. What had I just witnessed and why had it bewitched me so? In the time since I have come to begrudgingly accept that the unboxing video makes up a good portion of the data on YouTube’s intimidating servers, but it wasn’t until I flicked open the latches on this Fender American Original ‘50s Telecaster that I truly understood the worth of such a genre.
Reviewed: Squier Contemporary Telecaster HH and Stratocaster HSS
When a person walks into a guitar shop, there are only so many ways that the ensuing conversation will go. Some people venture inside knowing exactly what they want, be it a spare set of strings or ’72 Tele, some are just in for a gawk, and others are barking up the wrong tree altogether (no, we don’t buy vinyl!) One of the most rewarding conversations is the one where a precocious youngster tentatively creeps in ahead of his allowance/parents. That kid is floored by the shiny expensive things and thoroughly distracted in their quest to find their first ever riff stick.
Reviewed: Ernie Ball Music Man Majesty Monarchy
There’s a lot to be said about John Petrucci’s stamp of approval. His list of equipment over the years features some of the most revered guitars, amps and pedals to ever hit the market. Let’s be honest, the guy has pretty impeccable taste and the insane chops to back it up, so basically any gear he attributes his name to is going to turn heads around the world. The newest Petrucci signature model from Ernie Ball Music Man, the Majesty Monarchy is a true testament to that ethos. A sleek, modern guitar that makes a statement the moment you lay eyes on it.