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The El Capitan Ekoa small jumbo acoustic from Blackbird Guitars

An acoustic guitar needs old tonewood soundboard, body and neck to really make the unplugged party pop, right? Well no, not really. Guitar makers have experimented with a host of other materials over the years, including aluminum and carbon fiber. Blackbird Guitars has now followed the 2013 launch of its Clara concert-level ukulele, which is made from something called Ekoa, with a NAMM debut for an acoustic guitar called El Capitan that's constructed from the same sustainable material.  Read More

Demonstrating the Aerodrums virtual drum kit (Photo: Gizmag.com/Loz Blain)

This astonishing piece of motion tracking software watches you play air drums, and translates what you're doing into a MIDI signal in real time. It's a simple enough idea, but the execution works astonishingly well – making Aerodrums the most portable drum kit I've ever seen!  Read More

The interchangeable mic capsule system is reported compatible with most of Zoom's existing...

Zoom North America has revealed a new addition to its HD videocam range at this year's NAMM Show in California. As well as being capable of recording video at higher-than-HD resolution, the Q8 also boasts the modular microphone capsule system first seen in the H6 audio recorder.  Read More

The Variax Standard combines Yamaha guitar building know-how with Line 6 tone digital mode...

Guitarists wanting the classic tones of yesteryear can risk financial ruin by amassing a sizeable collection of original instruments or they can take a much cheaper route and turn to the digital world for help. Line 6 has been modeling vintage guitar sounds for a good many years, with its Variax guitars offering multiple vintage tones on one instrument. Now the company has added a very special new member to its Variax family, the Standard, which represents the first major collaborative effort since Yamaha acquired Line 6 in January 2014.  Read More

The Musicboard from Orange Music Education

As students of music will doubtless agree, music theory can be a bit, well, dry. It's certainly not as memorable or interesting as getting to grips with an actual instrument, but it is rewarding. The education wing of instrument amplification titan Orange Amps has announced what's billed as the first truly interactive music theory teaching tool in the world. The Orange Musicboard has been designed to engage students both visually and aurally, and is set to make music theory class rock.  Read More

The Kemper Remote control interface for the Profiler modeling amp

With the Kemper Profiling Amplifier (or Profiler for short), Christoph Kemper aimed to offer guitarists similar sonic sampling capabilities enjoyed by keyboard players, but in an easy to use lunchbox package capable of authentically modeling any guitar amp tone. And though industry opinion appears to agree that he succeeded, diving into the Profiler's impressive arsenal of digital effects and amp models during a song can be a bit of a challenge, especially when in the studio or on stage. The newly-announced Remote puts the power to switch at a player's feet.  Read More

The PRS P245 short-scale single-cutaway guitar

The 2015 National Association of Music Merchants trade show is but weeks away and Paul Reed Smith (PRS) Guitars will be taking along a rather intriguing vintage-inspired single-cutaway guitar called the P245. What makes this particular solid body PRS interesting is the inclusion of a piezo pickup system in addition to two in-house magnetic humbuckers.  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

Electro Harmonix has combined a power trio of stomps into a single compact unit named Epit...

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

Freshly unpacked and ready for testing – the Yamaha THR10C home/studio amp with Virtual Ci...

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

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