WMS at NAMM 2016

Hey guy’s Brian here again with more promised info from NAMM, just covering some of the cool new stuff that we can expect to see in the year ahead from some of our friends. Let’s start off with Marshall, who came out swinging with their new Code amplifiers. They were designed as part of a collaboration between classic amp manufacturer Marshall and Next generation plug-in designers Softube as an “authentic modelling” of classic and contemporary Marshall tones via their new Marshall-Softube (MST) modelling, in addition to its banks and banks of high quality effects, CODE offers 14 preamps, four power amps and eight speaker cabinets. These include the JTM45 2245, 1962 Bluesbreaker, 1959SLP Plexi, JCM800 2203, JCM2555 Silver Jubilee, JCM2000 DSL100, JVM410H and more, while power amp voicings on offer are EL34, 5881, EL84 & 6L6 – there’s a selection of speaker cabs, too: 1960, 1960V, 1960AX, 1936V, 1912, 1974X and more. Also, just because I find it awesome, it’s also Bluetooth, so you can control certain aspects of it via your phone or tablet, send music to it, and even (so I’ve heard) control it via a Bluetooth foot controller!

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Next let’s talk about Fender, now every year it seems like Fender is trying to top themselves in some way, and for the past few years that has been their custom shop offerings. This year they had a few that stood out to me, firstly is the Repeater Telecaster designed by Master Builder Yuriy Shishkov, that’s modeled after an 18th century watch

Fender Music Repeater Tele.jpg

And by far my favorite, because of my love for weird old esoteric Fender models, is the Katana, Fender’s shot at a hyper modern Metal guitar re-imagined by Custom Shop Master Builder Todd Krause.

Katana

oh and before I Forget it, we can’t forget the viral youtube sensation of CARDBOARD STRAT

Waller

So aside from their custom shop offerings what’ve we got to look forward to?

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Yes folks, you see that right, Telemasters!
…or as their calling them “offset telecasters”somehwat-mad-completely-mad-u-mad-madad1

now for those out of the loop, Telemasters are sort of this cool parts guitar blue print that a lot of indie manufacturers and amateur builders have been busying themselves with for years now, and sure Fender made one or two in the past as trade show talk pieces, and for the most part they were more Esquier than Tele, but this is still super cool! to see such an interesting blend of vintage and modern pulled off with such style, I love it. Oh and what’s that on the other end of the display? Are those Jazzmasters with proper jazz tailpieces? Yup, bigsby equipped jazzmasters, imitating one of the most popular mods to their hard tail jazzmasters, and at the same time pulling it off with a style that only Fender could, no extra switches or knobs, just a black pickguard, simple, subdued single tone finishes, very stylish, love it.

Lastly for Fender is the new American Elite Series, which is replacing the long running Deluxe line. I liked them, from what I’m hearing on their youtube videos they sound fantastic, and the smaller touches like the sort of rubberized knobs are cool too, everything looks vintage enough but still very modern. The new color options are modern too, and yet still feel like Fender, with new satin bursts, and light blue to dark blue bursts, as well as the return of that lovely Camaro Orange color they call Autumn Blaze Metallic, I loved that color about 4 or 5ish years ago when that was one of their regular colors, just so unusual for a guitar, flashy and yet still sorta normal.

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All and all I loved what Fender is up to this year, and I can’t wait to actually get my hands on some of it!

NEXT UP
let’s take a deep dive into Charvel, who looks to be actually reissuing their pro mod San-Dimas and So-Cal series in some very exciting colors, clearly inspired by their 80’s aesthetic

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These look awesome, so retro and cool! I’m just happy to see that Charvel is starting to move out of the cookie cutter metal guitar scene, or at the very least peppering some color in there.  I would love for them to reissue the Style 2, because I haven’t seen a super tele in years! That being said, Charvel is shaping up to have some rad new stuff coming out that is sure to impress even the most discerning of players

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Lastly I want to talk about Washburn who had a TON of cool stuff going on at their booth this year, I wish I had more to say about it, but I feel like the pictures will speak for themselves, lets start with some new parallaxe models

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To their new, rather Californian influenced, electrics

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And of course let’s not forget their acoustics, with new rather affordable new designs coming to their heritage range, as well as their woodline series, both of which are shaping up to be just beautiful (really sorry I don’t have a picture of them from the showroom floor)
WASHOWL

So there you have it guys, tons of cool new stuff coming this year in terms of gear, with lots to look forward too! and you bet as soon as I can get my hands on it, I’ll be reviewing it right here for you guys.

~Hoover

 

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World Music Supply | ESP Guitars

Hey guys, it’s Brian from World Music Supply again, bringing your usual dose of gear and guitar reviews. Today I get to bring you a few gems from our friends over at ESP, what I love about ESP and LTD guitars are just how lead friendly they are. As someone who grew up playing metal guitar, and even though I have transitioned away from that style of playing and into less labor intensive styles of music, I still love the feel of a guitar with a thin neck, and nearly flat radius, and when it comes to big, thick metal lead tones, ESP has always been my go to brand. So think of the theme of today, as guitars crafted for metal, but with enough stylistic wiggle room to fit in well enough almost anywhere.

ESP Ltd M103FM See-Thru Black

ESP Ltd M103FM See-Thru Black

First up on the list for today is the M103FM-STBK, which is part of their Mirage series of guitars, which are your rather typical Super Strat affair. Shred friendly necks, nice flattened radius, bold sounding pickups, and of course that perfectly setup Floyd Rose Special tremolo. The LH-150 humbucking bridge pickup had a wonderfully full sound, with a rather nice low end to it, which is something I always look for in a bridge pickup, the LS-120 middle and neck pickups had a nice clarity to them, but still had a very full sound, more so than you typically find in single coil pickups.

To play this guitar is a thing of beauty, the neck is lighting fast, and the combination of a maple fretboard and a trans black flamed maple top is a true thing of beauty. The feel of the neck is perfect for those who need to play fast, with big tall frets, and a nice flattened out radius, not to mention the delivering big bends with the Floyd Rose. Clean this translates to a guitar that has a all of the spank and sparkle that you expect of a strat, but when you crank up the distortion this guitar becomes a thing of power! With fiery rhythm tones, that have all of the weight and girth you could ever need, and with enough punchy lead sounds, or if you switch to the neck pickup, glassy lead sounds to keep your lead work sounding fresh for years.

so what is the M103FM-STBK? Well to put it briefly, it’s a workhorse. This guitar has all of the tones you could ever need, a Floyd Rose, and a neck that is perfect for shred friendly guitarists, all at a price point that is more than accessible to the beginning metal guitarist, and this is why the M103FM-STBK earns itself a solid 10 out of 10.

EC1000FR-STBLK

EC1000FR-STBLK

Next up is something a little less conventional than a super strat, a super LP, the EC1000FR-STBLK. This isn’t your average LP, this guitar comes armed to the teeth with all the appointments of a modern metal machine. Covered in a trans black flamed maple top, with plenty of abalone appointments, and not to mention the delicious black nickel hardware and the really cool Earvana Compensated Nut.

First off, this guitar does still carry a lot of the already amazing specifications of a standard LP, Mahogany body, Flamed Maple top, nice Thin U Mahogany Neck, but this guitar is definitely hotrodded. This all starts with the 24 fret neck, with 24 big XJ sized frets which are just great for lighting fast legato runs. You also get an amazing set of EMG pickups, with an 80 in the bridge, and a 60 in the neck. These pickups have a very big, full tone to them, with plenty of smooth clean signal, and enough output to drive even the heaviest of metal. Next you get the obvious addition of the black nickel Floyd Rose 1000 tremolo, with an Earvana compensated locking nut.

My understanding of the Earvana system is it slightly offsets the scale length of each string to help keep each string in tune better, and help eliminate the inherent intonation issues of the guitar. What this translated to, while subtle, was an ability to play in tune perfectly next to very unforgiving instruments. What I mean by this, is when you are a guitarist who only plays with other guitarists, if you’re slightly out of tune, its not too easy to notice, as it almost creates a chorusing or doubling effect, which your brain will translate as musical rather than an out of tune note. But, if you’re like me, and often play guitar next to a synthesizer, you know that if you are out of tune, you can’t try and hide it, because the keyboard can’t really be slightly sharp or flat, and your guitar can be.  

With these kinds of appointments, you would expect this guitar to play like a dream, and you would not be disappointed. The neck was perfect, thin and quick enough for super fast lead work, but still with enough meat left on it that I didn’t feel weird playing chords on it. The Earvana nut was a subtle improvement, but it made playing chords sound just a little bit sweeter, and when I played next to a keyboard on a synth pad, I noticed my guitar sounded a little more “on” than usual, almost like there were more riffs that worked with the chord than usual. All of my lead work sounded a little more alive too, thanks to the EMGs distinctive sound, and I wanted to keep playing longer, just because this guitar is so cool to look at, I just didn’t want to put it down.

At the end of the day, what more could you ask for? This guitar is everything you love about a standard LP, but with a dozen or so amazing additions to it’s already genius design that make it so much more to cherish. For the simple fact that they took one of the greatest designs for a guitar in history, and turned it up to 11, the EC1000FR-STBLK earns itself a solid 10 out of 10.

World Music Supply | Marshall DSL Amplifiers

Hey guys, it’s Brian from World Music Supply here again, to bring you another dose of gear and guitar reviews. Today though, I have an awesome treat, I get to review the Marshall DSL series of all tube amplifiers.  Surprisingly, this is the first Marshall I have had the privilege to actually review, a fact that I hope to rectify in the coming months. Regardless, the DSL stands for Double Super Lead, because the amp is based around a two channel design. All of the amps in the line have the same overall design and a similar sound, with the only noticeable difference from amp to amp is volume and headroom, as well as the controls layout.

The Marshall DSL15H 15 Watt All Tube Amplifier Head

The Marshall DSL15H 15 Watt All Tube Amplifier Head

First up on the block today is the 15 Watt head, which is also available in a combo which is equipped with a Celestion 12” speaker. The 15 watt DSL is laid out like the other amplifiers in the family, with a classic gain, an ultra gain, a mid shift button which contours the mids for a much more metal friendly setting, and a deep button, which shifts the resonance frequency to boost the bass up. The amp is also equipped with a Pentode/Triode switch that drops the power down to 7.5 watts as well as shifting the tone to a smoother less aggressive styled sound.

The Marshall DSL15C 15 Watt All Tube Combo Amplifier

The Marshall DSL15C 15 Watt All Tube Combo Amplifier

The first thing that needs to be mentioned, is this amp is plenty loud, but I could so see the point behind an amp like this in the studio, as you can crank it, and get that classic Marshall on the brink sound, without being evicted or going deaf. The sound does have everything a great Marshall should have, that great Nashville style clean tone, with just a bit of an edge to help you cut out above the band, a crunch AC/DC style sound, and switching to the Ultra gain side of the amp, you get everything from late 80s hair metal gain, all the way up to mid 90s angry at the world style gain. All of the settings are very, very usable, and voice perfectly for what they are designed for, the classic side ranges from the aforementioned Nashville style clean, and right up to what you recognize as the Marshall sound of the late 70s, with tons of bottom end, mid range cut, and all of the harmonic glory that cemented the Marshall name into the fabric of history.

The Ultra side, is much more aimed at really hard rock, and metal players, as the levels of gain are amazingly high, it is great as a lead boost for solos, and as a rhythm channel for a metal guitarist, as with the tone switch engaged, the mid range chunk that this channel has is perfect for big, brutal rhythm, and just devistating when you play big down tuned chords.

The Marshall DSL40C 40 Watt All Tube Combo Amplifier

The Marshall DSL40C 40 Watt All Tube Combo Amplifier

Next up is the 40 Watt combo version of the DSL, which incorporates all of the features of the 100 watt head, into a 40 watt package you could fit in the trunk of your car. The two channels now are split, with a clean/crunch switch on the classic channel, and a lead one and lead two switch on the ultra channel. There is also an expanded EQ with a presence and resonance control taking over for the bass shift button, as well as two different types of reverb on hand.

The division between the channels was cool, and being able to switch from clean to AC/DC style crunch to a metal lead tone was pretty cool. The division of the ultra channel made for an interesting conundrum as I loved everything about the ultra on the 15 watt version, but now being able to switch from that metal grind tone I got before over to an equally amazing Lead two was just great for down tuned glory. It was hard to choose which side of the Lead section I liked more, but the one part that floored me was, it really isn’t all that noisy, you still might need a noise gate, but compared to many other high gain amplifiers, there really isn’t all that much hiss.

The Marshall DSL100H 100 Watt All Tube Amplifier Head

The Marshall DSL100H 100 Watt All Tube Amplifier Head

Finally there is the matter of the 100watt head, which took everything I liked about the 40 Watt version and pumped it up a lot.  What I love about this head though is that it is everything a Marshall should be, versatile, dramatic, roadworthy and loud! As with any 100 Watt amp, you have to handle them with a certain amount of care, as they are amazingly loud, I was able to keep the clean channel clean no matter how loud I turned up, well I should say, as loud as my ear drums would let me turn up. The Crunch channel had a lot more boom to it when it was pushed through a 4×12, and likewise the lead channels had a lot more thump to them, and by that I mean you get a lot more of that punched in the chest feeling when they are coming at you from a Marshall 4×12 cabinet.

All in all , the DSL series are some of the best Marshalls I’ve ever gotten to play through, with a liveliness to them, and a brashness about them that reminds me of the amps of yesteryear, but at the same time retaining all of the power tube punch you need to play modern metal. For all of these reasons the entire DSL family scores a well earned 10 out of 10.

World Music Supply | Jackson Guitars

Hey guys, Brian here with World Music Supply again, sorry for the myriad of interruptions with the blog last week, what with me being sick, and my hours being rearranged here at the office in anticipation of the upcoming holiday season, the blog accidently just got pushed to the back burner, and you as the reader suffered. Not to worry, because we now return to our regularly scheduled blogging, and today I got a chance to sit and review some products from our awesome friends over at Jackson guitars. First up is the JS32RT Dinky.

The Jackson JS32RT Dinky Electric Guitar Transparent Black

The Jackson JS32RT Dinky Electric Guitar Transparent Black

The JS32RT Dinky features a transparent Black finished flamed top, and a string through Tune-O-Matic style JT390 tailpiece. This guitar is a different beast than most Jackson Dinky’s as many of them feature a more “Fender” esque bridge, rather than a string through  style, this all results in little different sounding guitar, with a slightly different sound than it’s brethren. Add its unique construction, in with the fact that this guitar is armed with Jackson CVR2 humbuckers, with their blisteringly high output, and this guitar just screams rock! The action on the neck is smooth and well balanced thanks to its compound radius fretboard, without any dead frets or buzzing anywhere along the neck. The neck was smooth, and easy to play, and the Dinky body, with its slightly smaller shape fit like a glove.

Plugged into a clean amp, this guy had a lot of cool clean tones, with big warm chord tones, and bright, strident single notes. The Indian Cedro body, had a very unique and warm tone to it, which fit the over all sound of the guitar well, especially when I cranked up the gain on the amp and let this guitar shine. The high output pickups had a big, bold character to them that was never lost in chords or in quick runs along the neck. They stayed clear at all times, never muddying up, or losing their warm, yet cutting edge. Overall for a guitar that costs as little as this one does, to have tones like this, is down right unheard of, but pair the tones, and the price with the stunning looks, and unique hardware and the JS32RT Dinky easily earns itself a solid 9 out of 10.

The Jackson RRXT Rhoads Electric Guitar in Black

The Jackson RRXT Rhoads Electric Guitar in Black

Next up is the RRXT Rhoads with Duncan designed pickups, long time readers will know by now that I love Jackson Rhoads, mainly because I looked up to Randy Rhoads quite a bit in my early days as a guitarist, the image of that offset V is just so powerful to a young mind. Now this one is armed to the teeth, with a Neck through body that features Jacksons Speed Neck profile, a Tone Pros tailpiece and Duncan Designed HB-102 pickups.

Clean this guitar has a unique and interesting character, with lots of sustain and warmth, and a focused sound that had a neat way of cutting and pushing itself through the mix. The neck was just as its name implied, fast. The slim, yet not too slim taper of the neck, as well as the smooth finish lead this neck to feel almost like it wasn’t really there, it was just my fingers and that fretboard. The ability to play fast lines was almost unparalleled and the added sustain of the neck through design was equally amazing. The pickups had a lot of body to them, with a warm, vocal like character.

Distorted, this guitar was more of the same, the tone was still bold and powerful, never muddy, and defined across all the strings. The bridge pickup was fiery, and had more crunch and cut than I could imagine, and the neck pickup was warm and vocal, with a roundness to it that complemented the bridge pickup quite well. At the end of the day, this guitar is amazing, with a comfortable and memorable body shape, a sound that can do anything you ask of it, and sustain for days. The RRXT Rhoads definitely deserves its 10 out of 10 rating.

World Music Supply | Washburn Electrics

Hey guys, Brian with World Music Supply here to bring you some much needed guitar and gear reviews for the weekend. This Saturday I got the chance to review two guitars that just came into the warehouse from our friends over at Washburn. One of the things we love about Washburn, is they cater to every price bracket, and every genre of guitarist, from Metal to country, from acoustics for singer songwriters to jazz cats with their arch top hollow bodies. Today I get to sample some of these instruments, one that is universal, one that is a little less…traditional. First up, let’s start off with that more universal guitar, the Washburn WINSTDWH.

The Washburn WINSTDWH Idol WIN Standard Series Electric Guitar

The Washburn WINSTDWH Idol WIN Standard Series Electric Guitar

I used the term “universal” for a reason, the single cutaway, mahogany body with maple top, and two humbuckers is a real universal combination. Worn on stages around the world by everyone from metal guitarists, who love the huge sound of the two hot humbuckers, to country guitarists who like its more conservative look, and its bright twangy tones, this guitar really has a universally loved design, and an equally loved sound. I picked the white finish, as I personally just love white Les Paul style guitars; call it a hold over from my teenage years of idolizing Randy Rhoads. The WINSTDWH comes pretty well armed when it comes to everything from tonewoods to it’s Duncan USM Alnico 5 pickups, and over all they make this guitar sound just amazing.

Running clean this guitar has a bright and strident tone, with lots of girth and body. The neck feels super comfortable, with plenty of body to it, so it didn’t feel super modern, but thin enough that you can still play fast without too much extra effort. The bridge pickup was a tad bright, with a warm vintage character. The neck humbucker is warm and fat sounding, without sounding muddy or bass heavy. The different control layout of the volume and tone controls makes doing pinky volume swells far easier than with the typical volume and tone layout, which is something I have had a problem with for years.

Running into a dirty amp, this guitar sounds massive! The sustain is fantastic thanks to its proven tone woods and set neck design, and the Alnico 5 pickups are hot, with a searing quality to them that is just delightful. I was able to coax everything out of this guitar, from classic 70’s style blues rock, to down tuned metal, to good old rock and roll grind. The sound is distinct, but familiar, with a sound that is both old and new. That’s what I love about this style of guitar, every generation has re-invented it, taken it in a new direction, and made it their own. You can play rock on it, metal, country, heck even jazz, this guy really does everything! You just cant go wrong with this guy, and that’s why the WINSTDWH earns itself a solid 10 out of 10.

The Washburn PS7000-HBK PAUL STANLEY Electric Guitar

The Washburn PS7000-HBK PAUL STANLEY Electric Guitar

Next up, is the Paul Stanley PS7000 series, and in today’s review specifically, the PS7000HBK. I labeled this guitar as untraditional earlier in the blog, and there is a definite reason why. From its weird drooping lower cutaway, its upper bout that looks far different than most, and its over all asymmetrical design, the PS7000 might look like a typical les paul from far away, up close it looks like one, but only in the surrealist sense of the word.  

As weird as this guitar might look, it sounds down right awesome. The clean tones are deep and rich, with perfect intonation all across the neck thanks to the inclusion of the Buzz Feiten tuning system. The action was smooth and clean, and try as I might I couldn’t find any lick that didn’t sound awesome on this guitar. All of the KISS songs I know also sounded just perfect on this guitar, as the tone was clearly designed from the ground up to compliment them.

Dirty, this guitar was a treat. The warm characteristic it leant to the overdriven amp was just to die for, it felt vintage, but it looks like it came from outer space. The sustain was tremendous, lasting on and on with a warm vocal quality. Overall this guitar is a great addition to the growing Paul Stanley family of Washburn guitars, and a great LP style guitar for anyone who wants one, but doesn’t want to look like everyone else. For its unusual looks, and super powered sounds, the PS7000HBK scores itself a solid 10 out of 10.