Photokina 2014 highlights

Guitar

Livermore-based guitarist Brandon McCullough tries out the Dialtone 'infinitely adjustable...

The “right” guitar tone is an elusive and personal thing, and many seasoned guitarists strive to achieve a particular tone that reflects their musical style or matches the genre in which they are playing. In response to this, Dialtone is set to launch its new guitar pickup aimed squarely at the musician who likes to adjust their sound on the fly. Claimed to be the world's first on-guitar version of an infinitely adjustable pickup, the Dialtone promises a lot of tone control without the need for further effects boxes or software control.  Read More

Fender's Special Edition Reclaimed Wood guitars

No matter how good the tone of modern materials such as Flaxwood and Arium are claimed to be, some players will simply not entertain owning a guitar unless it's made from vintage wood. Fender has soft-launched a Special Edition series of guitars aimed at players looking for the distinct tone of old growth timber, while enjoying the benefits of modern features and hardware. The company has secured a limited amount of reclaimed wood from obscure locations in the US for an interesting take on its iconic Stratocaster and Telecaster guitars. The redwood model is made using wood from the 1930s, and the pine models timber dates back to 1868 ... and you don't get much more vintage than that.  Read More

Luminlay's MA19 series glow-in-the-dark guitar knobs

Playing a bum note or starting off in the wrong key because you can't see where your hands are in a dimly lit club or quiet corner hideaway can be more than a little embarrassing, it could lose you money. Rather than lighting up a fretboard with LEDs to indicate fret positions on the neck (or just show off), Japan's Luminlay developed some glow-in-the-dark inlays that could be installed out front for everyone to see, or just up top to aid the player. Now the company has spread the idea to volume and tone knobs, making the numbers visible even when the lights are turned down real low.  Read More

The FretPen one-stringed guitar and pen

As fans of old delta blues will already know, even two or three strings on a guitar can be too many when belting out soulful music on a guitar-like instrument. Rather than changing the pitch of a long piece of tuned wire with a glass bottle or steel blade though, the FretPen uses technology to offer players three full octaves from just three frets on a real wood neck and a companion iPhone app. Oh, and it's also a pen.  Read More

The Gibson Memory Cable powered by Tascam recording technology

Have you ever stumbled across a great-sounding riff while noodling away in the bedroom, only to find that by the time you've broken out your digital recording gear, you can't remember a note? The Memory Cable from Gibson Brands gets around such problems by merging a premium instrument cable with a digital audio recorder.  Read More

The Amp1 from Thomas Blug's BluGuitar

Toneheads will doubtless already be familiar with Thomas Blug. In 2004, Fender held a competition in Europe to find the regal ruler of its iconic Stratocaster to celebrate the guitar's 50th birthday. The German fret master took the crown, and has been known as the Strat King ever since. He's also known for his mammoth tone, something he's brought to the recently-revealed Amp1 in buckets. The 100 W signature boutique tube amp is also small enough to fit on a pedalboard or throw in a gigbag.  Read More

Roland's new Cube Street EX portable amp

Roland has give its lightweight, battery-powered Cube Street amp from 2007 a powerful upgrade in the shape of the Street EX portable busking amp. Where the original featured two 2.5 W Neodymium speakers and promised 15 hours of use from six AA-sized batteries, the EX has two woofers and two tweeters for up to 50 W of output oomph, and can stay on the street for up to 20 hours on battery power.  Read More

The Fender Slide instrument interface for iOS, PC and Mac

Fender has joined the likes of IK Multimedia and Apogee in the iOS musical interface market with the release of the Slide. The guitar-making giant promises audiophile-pleasing sonic output, independent control over volume and mix and is bundling a complimentary version of IK Multimedia's AmpliTube effects and amp modeling suite and a full version of the Rock Prodigy learning app with the device.  Read More

The Acoustic Stream 4-in-1 guitarist's companion

Mobile or gigging guitarists looking for a way to capture creative moments whenever and wherever they happen need only power up a smartphone and launch an audio recording app. Another app can use the phone's microphone to bring the instrument to tune. If they're wanting to remotely monitor the humidity and temperature of a much-loved guitar, however, the app store will likely come up blank. The Acoustic Stream wirelessly pairs with an iOS smart device running a companion app to help players quickly capture a killer riff or live stream to a mobile device or amplifier. It boasts built-in precision tuning capabilities, and sends out an alert when environmental changes threaten to damage a treasured instrument.  Read More

The Fluence pickup from Fishman

Fishman says that its new pickup range is the first truly new electric pickup system design for over 80 years. Its Fluence technology is claimed to deliver the kind of pure, consistent tone and responsive playing dynamics that today's musicians demand, while also offering multiple voices. Additionally, since the single coil and humbucking units are of a similar shape and size to traditional wound pickups, you can leave the carpentry tools on the bench and just drop in the Fluence pickups in existing slots.  Read More

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