In March last year, guitar maker Gibson brought some eye-catching sparkle to its twin-horned classic by adding more than 400 carat of diamonds and pounds of 18 K gold to an SG for the creation of the two million dollar Eden of Coronet. Master Builders from Fender's Custom Shop recently raided the jewelry box to give the workhorse Telecaster a luxury makeover inspired by an 18th century pocket watch.
Four years after launching the G5 Guitar Effects and Amp Simulator Pedal, Zoom has announced what the company claims is the "finest collection of guitar effects offered in one package." The G5n multi-effects processor packs 78 effects, amp and cabinet emulators, together with factory patches created by a diverse line-up of guitarists and onboard rhythm patterns.
Learning to play guitar is hard. Though there's no effective replacement for many of hours of repetitive practice, today's six-string students do have numerous teaching aids to help make the learning curve a little less steep. PocketStrings, for example, caters for chord shaping on the go, Fretlight illuminates fretting finger positions, games like Rocksmith make learning more fun and countless mobile apps can turn the ubiquitous smartphone into a powerful teaching tool. But there are times when simply marking finger positions on a fretboard might make chords and scales easier to remember. Naturally, you don't want to be taking a Sharpie to your axe of choice, which is where Fret Friend may come in handy.
Though interfaces like the excellent iRig Pro Duo are great for bridging the divide between music creation apps running on an iPhone or iPad and an electric guitar, changing tones on the fly does involve taking playing hands away from the guitar to make a touchscreen selection. China's Tone Shifter has developed a box that places such control, and much more, at a player's foot-stomping disposal.
Wireless technology has been available for a good many years, but reliability, affordability and complexity issues mean that many players prefer to remain cabled to an amp. Line 6 is looking to solve such problems with the Relay G10, a plug and play system that's claimed as easy as using a cable and has enough battery life to survive the longest of noodlefests.
There's no doubt that tablets and smartphones have made multi-track audio recording on the run easier than ever. But connecting instruments to iPads and iPhones has never been quite as simple. The iRig Pro Duo from IK Multimedia helps make that final connection and allows musicians to truly record on the run.
Tweaking settings on effects stomps for different song requirements can be a bit of pain. Not only do you have to indulge the patience of the audience by crouching down to your pedalboard to turn the knobs, but you also have to remember which value positions give the desired sound. GigRig's AutoPot allows players to set value presets and have up to three of its arms change the settings for them.
Back in 2012, Vox reached back through its mold-breaking design history for the launch of the Apache travel guitars. The swinging 60s have again provided some inspirational fodder for next generation instruments, though only in name this time around. The Starstream Type-1 guitars feature an onboard modeling system that includes 27 different tones to play with, and a rather distinctive body shape.
Fishman's TriplePlay MIDI controller and pickup gives guitar players access to a world of digital sound generation, whether it's playing a funky vintage synth from your fretboard or blowing a haunting melody on a flute. The controller wirelessly links to music creation software running on a laptop, which then outputs the tones via the audio jack to headphones, powered speakers or even an instrument amp. But you don't really want to be leaving your laptop, which may contain personal information, just off stage when touring small clubs, so Fishman has launched the FC-1 Floor Controller. This allows players access to patches and presets from connected sound modules and synths.
If you're looking to divebomb and squeal like Steve Vai or Joe Satriani, but your vintage guitar doesn't have a vibrato system, you could avoid losing chunks of tonewood by installing a top mount system like the FRX from Floyd Rose. But switching from hardtail to whammy will still involve slamming your axe on the maintenance table for a while. Sydney, Australia-based Fomofx says that its Virtual Jeff can be installed in just 30 seconds on just about any guitar, and easily removed when not needed.