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Fender has revealed two new small tube amps that are said to have an air of the early days...

Whether it's an old-fashioned typewriter input for tablet computers, digital cameras made to look like 35mm film classics, or custom e-bikes with a touch of vintage styling - retro-now is most definitely in. If you want a guitar amplifier to fit right in with all your nostalgia-oozing new tech, Fender's Pawn Shop Special models are here to help. The diminutive Greta is styled liked an old tabletop radio, and the more powerful Excelsior is described as one of the distinctive tube combo amps in the company's history.  Read More

The new G-5 Strat features Roland's COSM modeling technology, offering players instant alt...

Roland and Fender have joined forces to create a guitar called the G-5, that fuses a traditional Stratocaster body shape with cutting edge digital music technology. Set to hit the shelves a few months before either of the Auto-Tune guitars from Peavey and Parker, the VG Strat G-5 offers similar alternate tuning at the turn of a knob, a host of onboard digital guitar emulations and the chance to dial in different pickup and signature guitar sounds, too.  Read More

PocketStrings portable guitar practice tool (Photo: Gizmag)

Guitarists don't like to be parted from their guitars. Even as a rank amateur, I get a nagging itch in my fingers after a couple of axeless weeks on the road. But guitars take up a lot of space and they are expensive to haul with you on a plane, so I often find myself seeking out music shops just so I can have a noodle. It's exactly this kind of affliction that PocketStrings is designed to address. It's not an instrument and it doesn't make a sound, but this portable mock-up of the first four frets of a guitar could help you satisfy the playing itch as well as giving beginners and more experienced players a take-anywhere tool on which to practice chords and build finger strength while keeping your calluses tough.  Read More

Fender has launched its first ever multi-effects unit - the Mustang Floor

We've been treated to a number of Fender stomp boxes over the years - like the classic Fender Blender and BOSS collaborations like the '65 Deluxe Reverb - but the iconic manufacturer has never gathered all its tone tweaking know-how into one big bundle ... until now. The new Mustang Floor brings together dozens of effects, amp modeling and computer interaction into one rather attractive multi-effects unit.  Read More

Peavey Electronics and Parker Guitars have teamed up with Antares to launch the first elec...

The sound and feel of modern music was changed forever in the late 1990s when Antares launched its Auto-Tune pitch correction technology. As well as putting some life back into flat performances, the system was also used to great effect by the likes of Cher and T-Pain to give a unique twist to vocal tracks. The company announced its intention to bring the technology to the electric guitar in May 2011, sending shivers down the spines of purists everywhere. Now Peavey and Parker have launched the first guitars to incorporate Auto-Tune for Guitar and we've had the chance to take a closer look at the former's AT-200 in action at Winter NAMM in Anaheim. The verdict: pretty impressive.  Read More

It's been a good year for musical instrument innovation - we take a quick look back at som...

The closing of the year is a great time to reflect on recent events. Regular readers will already know that musical instrument development is a bit of a passion of mine, and 2011 has been a great year for innovation. Join me, if you will, for a quick retrospective look at some of the tech we've been treated to during the last 12 months, ending with a recent take on an old classic - the Crap-o-Caster.  Read More

The guitar-shaped Tabstrummer programmable MIDI controller allows users to create and regi...

Electronics enthusiast Miroslaw Sowa and programmer Vsevolod Zagainov - both from Montreal, Canada - are currently busy putting the final touches on a new button-based, guitar-shaped sound machine called the Tabstrummer. In the same way that tablature notation has allowed players like me (who are unable to read score) to learn new songs, this new MIDI instrument allows folks who'd like to play a guitar, but for whatever reason can't, the opportunity to easily create some chord-strumming music. The instrument allows chord shapes to be assigned to clicky buttons on the short neck, which can then be recalled and played as a song by simultaneously strumming or picking the virtual strings.  Read More

Bob Wiley's Ministar dispenses with the traditional guitar body, which adds little or noth...

Guitarists who travel a lot and want to take an instrument along for the ride - but don't want to risk damaging that prized vintage Strat - might find themselves turning in the direction of a scaled down stand-in. Such solutions come in many different shapes and sizes - from full size instruments with parts that collapse (like Daniel Mapp's Jetson travel guitar concept) to models with a shortened neck and small bodies (such as Martin's Backpacker) to strange-looking beasts with tuners positioned in a hollowed out section of the body (like the Traveler's Speedster). Bob Wiley's Ministar guitars, though, are essentially a bunch of necks with pickups. While there is a model with a shortened 19-inch scale neck, most of the odd-looking electric, acoustic and bass guitars sport full length necks and, says Wiley, play and sound just like the big brand models, but at a fraction of the price - and a fraction of the size.  Read More

A hands-on review of the Kitara digital guitar synthesizer

Way back in January 2010, a short demo video of a new digital instrument prototype was posted on YouTube by its creator Michael Zarimis, and went viral. From the millions of views, a list of prospective buyers was drawn up and the Misa Digital Guitar soon began its journey towards commercial availability. By the time the next CES show arrived, the instrument had ditched its gleaming white ABS plastic casing and gone over to the dark side, received a few design modifications, and been officially named Kitara for its public debut. The Kitara has now been made available for purchase, and I've spent the last few weeks getting to grips with this innovative new instrument - being rewarded for inventive experimentation and punished for bad playing technique.  Read More

The Di Donato guitar is hand-crafted in aluminum alloy and tonewoods and features custom p...

Whether it's cars, clothing or - in this case - guitars, there's something instantly appealing about Italian design. Combining the well-known tonal properties of aluminum and hardwoods like mahogany and rosewood, the hand-crafted Di Donato guitar is the brainchild of Edoardo DiDonato, who has applied traditional luthier skills used to craft violins, violas and cellos to create an instrument that is both modern and classic at the same time.  Read More

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