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Guitar

Los Angeles industrial designer and keen guitarist Mark Andersen says that close examination of playing patterns has revealed that the current knob/switch setup on most electric guitars results in "conflicting motion paths" when the player needs to tweak the tone or volume, or select a different pickup. His answer is to replace the pots and switches with a pair of touch panels on the pick guard, to convert your Strat-shaped axe into a Touchmark Guitar. Read More
Learning to play guitar is tough. It takes time, dedication and practice. Lots of practice. Fortunately, technology is taking the edge off a little and offering more hope of success to those who might otherwise take an early bath out of frustration. Online teaching services like iPerform3D provide virtual lessons whenever you need them, hardware additions such as the Maestro can help guide students to the correct finger positions, and the gTar marries the power of your iPhone with buttons and strings on a full-sized guitar. The JamStik from Zivix brings many of these aspects (and more) together in a compact portable practice/learning guitar made for the mobile generation. Read More
Where so-called robot tuning was once the exclusive domain of Gibson's higher end models like the gorgeous Firebird X, the introduction of its Min-ETune system at this year's Musikmesse in Frankfurt, Germany sees the iconic guitar maker widening the field a little. The folks behind the technology were also at the trade fair, showing off a retrofit auto tuning system called TronicalTune. Essentially the same as Gibson's new mechanical tuner, the Tronical kit comes in a number of different configurations to cater for do-it-yourself installation on various guitar makes and models. Read More
Back in November 2012, we brought you news of a new pickup harmonizer technology dubbed LEV-96 in prototype testing over at Moog Music. Sat in the sound hole of an acoustic guitar, the device took precise control of string vibrations to offer an expansive, colorful and rich harmonic backdrop to what was being played. Paul Vo, the inventor of the newly-renamed Vo-96 Acoustic Synthesizer, has since made some improvements to electronics, user interface and mechanical design, and has now launched a crowdfunding campaign to get what he calls the "most fundamental and radical innovation in the music industry today" into the hands of musicians. Read More
I must confess that the more time I spend tapping away on a computer keyboard, the more my guitars sit ignored and unplayed in the corner. This is also something that troubled Wieden+Kennedy's David Neevel. Unlike me though, he decided to do something about it. With a little help from a Roland GR-33 guitar synth, an Arduino Uno, some electronics and custom code, he managed to trick his laptop into treating his Flying V as if it was a standard keyboard input. Read More
New York's Electro Harmonix (EHX) has taken three of its most popular stomps and merged them into one compact Epitome unit. A player can choose to operate the Micro POG, Stereo Electric Mistress and Holy Grail Plus independently, or blend them all together for some seriously powerful sonic madness. In addition to catering for even more tonal experimentation by mixing up the signal chain, the intriguing Shimmer button can also turn one of the four reverbs into a delay, generate an infinite drone or a wild swirling leslie-type sound. Read More
Though looking street-worn, beaten and abused can actually be a rather favorable look for a skateboard deck, there comes a time when stylish scuff gives way to unsightly eyesore and it's time to break in a new board. Rather than simply throw away all that quality wood, offbeat Argentinian luthier Ezequiel Galasso and pro skateboarder Gianfranco de Gennaro Gilmour have teamed up to repurpose old boards into "born to shred" guitars. Read More
Though ready and willing to take full advantage of all that the digital tone modeling revolution has to offer, like many guitar gearheads, I fall back on my trusty tube amps and analog stomps when it's time to get serious. Color me intrigued, however, when Yamaha's two-strong THR Series solid state combo amps hit the shelves at the beginning of last year – featuring the company's Virtual Circuitry Modelling (VCM) technology for authentic-sounding tone, even at low volume. Three new models made a U.S. debut at the Winter NAMM Show back in January 2013, and I've been discovering exactly what VCM tubes sound like with the THR10C solid state boutique home/studio amp. Read More
OK, I admit to cheating a little bit with the title. The Amp in a Can is not really a tube (valve) amp at all, but rather a cheap and cheerful portable guitar amp housed in cardboard tubing that weighs less than 200 g (7 oz). Read More
There are an awful lot of guitar effects pedals that massage, tweak, clean, or otherwise enhance the signal from a guitar's pickups before it reaches the amplifier. The Anti-Effect from Poland's Chaosound turns its back on all that goodness and tries its best to destroy the sound instead. Read More
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