NAMM 2009: Amplitube Fender

I’ve been using IK Multimedia‘s Amplitube 2 for a while now, and I find it an especially handy songwriting tool which allows me to test parts out with a variety of different amp and pedal combinations before settling on how the hell to do it live on stage. Fender was already bitten by the modelling bug a couple of years ago when they paired up with Boss to release a few pedals which emulated Fender amp tones. Now the modelling bug has well and truly sunk his fangs into Fender’s tweed-covered hide in the form of Amplitube Fender.

Press release:

AmpliTube® Fender® is the only official Fender® guitar/bass amp and FX software suite, made by IK Multimedia in cooperation with music icon Fender® Musical Instruments Corporation. With a collection of 45 pieces of gear, including some the most sought-after classic and modern Fender® amps (Twin Reverb®, ’59 Bassman® LTD, Super-Sonic™, Metalhead™ and many others), cabinets, stompboxes and rack effects, AmpliTube Fender® sets the new standard for software amplifiers. From guitar to bass, and from country to blues, rock, punk and metal—whatever style you play—AmpliTube Fender® is the only amp suite that gives you the world’s most influential guitar and bass tones right on your desktop.

AmpliTube Fender® is the result of years of intense research and development by the tone gurus at Fender® and is handcrafted by the software and audio engineers at IK Multimedia. Seldom has there been such close cooperation between two leaders in their respective fields, with the goal of producing the most advanced and realistic-sounding software recreation of the world’s most renowned amplifiers and effects. The results have been amazing, as Fender’s Shane Nicholas, senior marketing manager for guitar amps said:

“An electric guitar is nothing without amp tone, and Fender® amplifiers are the standard by which great amp tones are measured. We’re confident that the thrill of plugging into a great tube amp will never die, but we are proud to give digital recording enthusiasts the opportunity to discover and utilize many of the best Fender® tones, old and new, with the convenience of PC recording. Unlike other guitar modeling software, IK Multimedia developed the realistic sounds of the AmpliTube Fender® edition with the master tone-team at Fender® Musical Instruments. From the legendary Tweed Deluxe™ to the modern high-gain Super-Sonic™, this is the real-deal palette of tones you need to make great music in the digital domain.”

The extremely accurate Fender® tones achieved by this collaboration, together with the large variety of gear included, covers the widest range of tonal palettes and makes AmpliTube Fender® the ideal choice for those who are recording guitar for the first time or for DAW users who demand nothing less than tonal perfection.

Stand-alone and plug-in software for all the most popular platforms, including VST/AU/RTAS plug-in formats.
12 of the most influential guitar amps of all time.
12 original matching cabinets and more, with nine microphones.
Six signature classic stomp effects and six rack effects.
Incredible tone flexibility; mix and match amps, cabinets, mics and more.
Sound-certified and approved by Fender®.
Five separate modules: tuner, configurable stomp pedal board, amp head, cabinet plus mic, and rack effects.
Two fully configurable rigs with up to 32 simultaneous effects.
Digital tuner.
Includes SpeedTrainer™ and Riffworks™ T4 recording software.
Can be expanded with additional “Powered by AmpliTube” models using AmpliTube X-GEAR.
Can be controlled live with StompIO, StealthPedal™ and any traditional MIDI controller.
Hundreds of presets included, with more that can be downloaded from the AmpliTube preset XChange area. Powered by AmpliTube® with exclusive DSM™ (dynamic saturation modeling) and new VRM™ (volumetric response modeling) technology.
Pricing and Availability
AmpliTube Fender® will be available in 2 versions:

AmpliTube Fender®
The official Fender® guitar and bass, amp and FX software with 12 amps, 12 cabinets, six stompboxes, nine mics and six rack FX. Also includes Riffworks™ T4 for guitar recording and AmpliTube X-GEAR for full expandability with any “Powered by AmpliTube” software and live control. MSRP €169.99 / $229.99 (excluding taxes).

AmpliTube Fender® Studio:
The easiest way to plug your guitar into your computer and get the legendary tone of Fender®. Including StealthPlug USB audio cable interface and AmpliTube Fender® LE (four amps, five cabinets, two stompboxes, two mics, two rack FX), plus Riffworks™ T4 for guitar recording and AmpliTube X-GEAR for full expandability with any “Powered by AmpliTube” software. MSRP €109.99 / $139.99 (excluding taxes).

AmpliTube Fender® and AmpliTube Fender® Studio will be available through the entire IK sales network of dealers and distributors by the end of February 2009. Preorders are already available through selected dealers around the world and in the IK online store.

For further information online, visit
For more information, visit their web site at

NAMM 2009: Taylor T3

Last year I reviewed one of those awesome new Taylor solidbody guitars for Mixdown magazine. Its Gretsch-inspired pickups sounded so great that they prompted me to order the similarly-voice Dimarzio EJ Custom pickups for my custom Ibanez project (which I still haven’t finished, boo). Anyway, my point, even though it’s taking me a while to get to it, is that Taylor’s electric guitars are amazing.

Press release time.

Following the success of the T5 and SolidBody models, and born from a love of innovative design and classic electric tone, Taylor Guitars is expanding its electric line with the company’s first purely electric semi-hollowbody guitar, the T3.

Melding the sleek lines and shape of the T5 into a semi-hollowbody, the T3 features an expertly crafted body of sapele, topped with quilted maple. A svelte neck of tropical American mahogany sports heftier fret wire for a truly electric feel, while brilliant chrome hardware adorns the T3 for a ready-to-rock look that screams electric, vintage and cool.

While the T3 offers plenty for any player on its own, the designers at Taylor decided to take the new line up a notch in a variation, the T3B. Marking a first for the company, the T3B includes an authentic Bigsby Vibrato (model B70). The T3B incorporates a roller bridge for high performance, allowing the player the independence in setting the intonation of each string and eliminating the “dragging string” sound so commonly found in fixed bridges. The standard T3 model comes with a stop tailpiece.

“This is one rockin’ guitar that produces sounds our SolidBodys and T5s don’t have. When you do something that looks good, that’s one thing, but when cool sounds start coming out, you go, ‘Man, that’s just it.’ We knew this guitar was too good to hold back,” shares David Hosler, lead designer.

The new model includes Taylor’s Style 2 humbuckers which are specially positioned to capture the T3’s fidelity and range of tones. A three-way switch covers three standard configurations of pickup switching and as an added twist, coil splitting is available for both humbuckers by pulling up on the volume knob.

“The way I describe it is, imagine you have a guitar with two humbuckers and a three-way, and you have a guitar with two single coils and a three-way, which gives you that really cool, ‘bitey’ sound,” adds Hosler.

The control knobs, located in the traditional electric position below the bridge on the lower bout, function as push-pull pots. Pulling up on the volume knob activates a coil splitter, which turns the humbuckers into single coils. The tone knob is also a pull switch, which when pulled engages a second capacitor.

Hosler explains, “In the down position, one capacitor punches up the mid tones. Then when you pull the knob up, it adds another capacitor on top of it and uncorks a warm, fat, mellow old-school jazz tone. In between these two voices, this guitar spans the spectrum from traditional, hard rock to jazzy fusion. Even when overdriven, the air, articulation and distinction of all notes are there.”

The T3 is available in a high gloss finish to highlight the naturally lustrous color of the quilted maple or in a variety of sunburst colors. Strung with Elixir light gauge electric strings with NANOWEB® coating (” target=”_blank” ref=”nofollow”>), the T3 comes ready to gig in a hard shell Taylor case.

The T3 and T3B will be available domestically in mid-February and internationally in early spring 2009.

NAMM 2009: What were your favourites?

I’m sure there will still be a few NAMM 2009 press releases filtering through for the next week or so (I’ll be adding a bunch of new stories tonight), but now that the bulk of NAMM news is in, what are your personal highlights from this year’s new gear?

If you wanna refresh your memory, you can see all my NAMM coverage by clicking THIS LINK.

Here are the things I’m most stoked about:

Peavey 3120
Mesa Boogie Mark 5
Carvin Legacy II

Ibanez Paul Gilbert Airplane Flanger
Eventide Pitch Factor
Vox Joe Satriani Big Bad Wah
New RJM switchers

ESP James Hetfield Iron Cross
Ibanez RG1527M maple-fretboard 7-string
Ibanez PGM100 reissue
EVH Wolfgang

By the way, anybody else notice that there was no big Dave Mustaine/Marshall announcement? Dave’s been talking for months about a new signature Marshall product, and there are various rumours that it’s either a variant of the JVM series head, a rackmountable JVM preamp, or even a new MIDI tube preamp to fill the gap left by the discontinued JMP-1. I’ve contacted Dave to see if he can shed any light on the story, and I’ll report back if I hear from him.

SPARKLY GUITAR WEEK: Day 1 – Ibanez Talman TC825

Welcome to the first I Heart Guitar Theme Week. In the future these will occur in the first week of the month any month when I can think of a theme, but I’m feeling all inspired post-NAMM so I’m going to start now, while I’ve got my Google on.

First up is my very own Ibanez Talman TC825, named Candy. You can see the full specs in this Ibanez catalog from 1997. This sparkly beauty was a Christmas present from Mrs I Heart Guitar in 2005. After I almost lost my mind over its magnificence at Music Swop Shop in the Melbourne suburb of Carlton, she asked me a few questions about it, then told me she’d like to buy it for herself so I could teach her to play guitar. But it was all a ruse! I was carrying the guitar out of the store for her when she said “You’d better let me carry that …I can’t make you carry your own Christmas present.” This is just one of the many many reasons I’m totally in love.

This particular Talman was produced in Japan at the same Fujigen factory as Jems, high-end RGs, Joe Satriani JS models and other cool stuff like that. It has two Ibanez Super 58 pickups, 5-way switching (there are single coil and parallel options in addition to the standard humbucker selections) and, coolest of all, a Bigsby tailpiece. The body is alder and the sparkles are magnificent. This guitar is great for edgy overdrive and retro tones, and you can hear it on the song ‘Mistral’ on my myspace.

The Talman name lives on in Ibanez’s catalog in the form of various acoustic guitars, but this particular design, sadly, does not. If you can find a used one in good condition, they’re great little players with lots of character.

Check back tomorrow for another sparkly guitar!

CLICK HERE to see Ibanez Talman guitars on eBay.