Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Guitar

The Light Lead is claimed to be the world's first optical analog jack-to-jack guitar cable

Before an adoring public can begin to appreciate your axe-wielding wizardry, the signal from your electric guitar will probably need to make its way down some copper cable to get to the Marshall stack. On the way, the tone of the guitar can get flavored, capacitance can cause frequency loss, and if you're really unlucky, the to and fro of nearby taxi conversations can add some unexpected color to a performance. The Light Lead from London's Iconic Sound promises the kind of signal clarity that many players might very well kill for. Claimed to be the world's first optical analog jack-to-jack guitar cable, it's touted to have zero capacitance, zero loading, electrical safety and a virtually infinite lifespan.  Read More

Gizmag looks back at instrument innovations highlights of 2013

It's been another bumper year for new musical instruments. Join us as we look back on some of 2013's high points, including inventions that dare you to play out of tune, new takes on familiar designs, and simply stunning 3D-printed creations.  Read More

Guitarist Mike Rowell plays the Bouillez acoustic

If you go shopping for an acoustic guitar, the chances are you'll be greeted with many variations on the same theme – a contoured wooden box with a hole between the bridge and the high end of the neck. The Bouillez (pronounced Bull-yah) dares to be different. Its creator Dan Bouillez has lopped off the fixed soundboard of a cheap, kick-about acoustic and replaced it with a floating one that gives the instrument a striking look and unique tone. With a great-sounding prototype in the bag, the self-taught musician and engineer has just started to build the very first production model.  Read More

The Beatbuddy guitar pedal drum machine from David Packouz

Though noodling is a whole lot of fun, and fingertip calluses certainly need regular workouts, there are times when it would be good to have your very own John Bonham or Mitch Mitchell to provide a rock-steady beat. Playing along to backing tracks or engaging the help of loopers, drum machines or rhythm boxes can work to some degree, but there's little or no room for improvisation or creativity unless you take your hands away from the guitar to mix things up a bit. Billed as the first guitar pedal drum machine, the Beatbuddy from David Packouz puts control of the beat at your feet, leaving your hands free to get on with some serious shredding.  Read More

The Aristides 070 guitar will debut at NAMM 2014

Ask just about any seasoned guitarist what gives an instrument that special something and you'd be lucky if the reply wasn't "wood." Yet manufacturers have made numerous axes over the years with claimed great tone, but without so much of a splinter of exotic tonewood in sight. Few have been so bold as to say that their material of choice doesn't just equal vintage wood, but improves on it. Aristides Instruments out of the Netherlands is one such upstart, and will be showing off its latest seven-string Arium creation at the NAMM 2014 show in January.  Read More

An ensemble of ODD instruments will take to the stage at Euromold in Frankfurt, Germany, b...

Kiwi Professor of Mechtronics Olaf Diegel has now added a set of drums and a keyboard to his catalog of beautiful 3D-printed instruments. His new creations will join guitar and bass models for a road trip to Frankfurt's EuroMold event next month, where a band will take to the stage to play some live sets using the instruments.  Read More

The Roadie Tuner from Band Industries

All manner of integrated and external gadgetry has been introduced over the years to help newbies or seasoned guitarists achieve and maintain pitch perfection with little effort. Rather than requiring players to swap out stock tuning heads for some robotic assistance, like with the TronicalTune system, or buy into the digital manipulation of output from folks like Antares, the Roadie Tuner slips over each machine head, one at a time, and works with a smartphone to bring an instrument to tune.  Read More

The iLoud portable speaker for musicians and audiophiles

Thanks to mobile audio processing and recording apps, composing on the road has never been easier. Showing off your latest killer riff to the rest of the band through tablet or laptop speakers is less than satisfying, however. There are a good many battery-powered micro amps out there which might help a little, but the output is often, to put it delicately, sub-par. Italy's IK Multimedia demonstrated a wired/wireless audio thrower at the Winter NAMM show back in January that promised studio monitor sound quality in a portable, chunky tablet-sized package. Developed specifically for musicians and audiophiles, the 40 W iLoud has now been released.  Read More

The Farmer's Mill Electric Mud Grinder from Crushsound

Inspired by the kind of brown or muddy tones produced by ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons on tracks like Loaded from the 1996 album Rhythmeen, Jedrzej Lewandowski of Poland's Le 2 Workshop architects created the Farmer's Mill, which was unleashed, appropriately enough perhaps, on April 1 2012. The second generation has now been released. It's a little bigger than its predecessor, a lot better, and is now available in orange as well as white. Gizmag has spent the last few weeks making guitars wheeze, cough and splutter like they've been smoking 40-a-day since birth, and walks way mighty impressed with the destructive capabilities of the Mark II Electric Mud Grinder.  Read More

The custom graphics on the Indus guitar from France's Kompozit Guitars

Many veteran guitarists believe that great tone can only come from instruments made using exotic hardwoods. This hasn't stopped makers from trying other materials, though, including Ampeg's iconic Dan Armstrong-designed Plexiglas guitar, the all-metal Gittler Guitar, and the 3D-printed guitar from AweSome Musical Instruments. For its new line of hand-made, Tele-shaped axes, France's Kompozit Guitars has chosen to give polyester-based fiberglass a whirl.  Read More

Looking for something? Search our 29,538 articles