REVIEW: Fender Catocaster

Fender’s Stratocaster series has been rocking the world for almost 60 years through various permutations. The latest is the Catocaster. I got my hands on one to review this week and I was eager to see how it compared to my Fender American Vintage ’62 Reissue Stratocaster.

The Catocaster is available in a variety of finishes (Tabby, Chinchilla and Tortiseshell) and countries of origin (including Siamese, Persian, Balinese, British [Shorthair], Scottish [Fold], Norwegian [Forest Cat] and many more).

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REVIEW: Spector Coda 4 & Coda 5 basses

Stuart Spector is a legend in the bass world. His instruments have provided the backbone to bands like Metallica (Jason Newstead was a particularly visible Spector user in the early 90s) and Living Colour (Doug Wimbish), and Spector designs have often been imitated. The ultra-deluxe Coda series is made by hand by the man himself and his small team in the USA, and unlike his more sleek models like the NS (which still looks sleekly futuristic over 30 years after its debut) the Coda pays tribute to an altogether more vintage aesthetic: the Jazz Bass.

I got my hands on both the Spector Coda 4 (4-string) and Coda 5 (5-string) basses. Each features a one-piece rock maple neck with a 20-fret Pau Ferro (Bolivian rosewood) fretboard featuring Spector’s 1962 neck shape; a lightweight alder body; Aguilar OBP-2 active tone circuits; two passive Aguilar J single coil pickups; Schaller tuners; Dunlop Dual Design strap pins; and 34″ scale lengths. The fretboard radius on each instrument is a curvy and comfortable 7.25″ and lined or unlined fretless fretboards are available at no additional charge. The Coda is available in four colours: creme, solid black, candy tangerine and metallic blue. I reviewed the Coda 4 in Candy Tangerine and the Coda 5 in solid black.

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COOL GEAR ALERT: Seymour Duncan 35 guitar

Aside from being a legendary pickup designer, Seymour Duncan is also one hell of a guitarist. Often he can be seen playing his famed ‘TeleGib,’ a guitar he built for Jeff Beck in the early 70s. That guitar is the inspiration for the Seymour Duncan 35 limited edition guitar. A collaboration of Seymour W. Duncan, Seymour Duncan’s resident luthier and vice president of products Frank Falbo, and guitar builders Larrivee, The instrument includes a few updates, upgrades and modernizations.

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Pearl Jam marks two decades of Ten with film


Pearl Jam Twenty Film + Soundtrack + Book Coming This September



In celebration of the band’s twenty year anniversary, Pearl Jam will release a Cameron Crowe directed film, Pearl Jam Twenty, which captures the band’s journey over its twenty years, along with an accompanying book and soundtrack album this September.


The band also today announced that they will headline a weekend concert celebration to mark the twenty year anniversary at Alpine Valley Music Theatre in East Troy, Wisconsin (USA) which will be followed by a ten date Canadian tour.


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NEWS: Sheptone prewired Strat pickguards

Sheptone Harnesses Real Tone for Strat Lovers

Port Orchard, WA  May 18, 2011 – Sheptone Guitar Pickups announced today the release of their complete assembly for strat-style pickguards.  The new harness comes fully assembled with Sheptone pickups and upgraded hardware.  The assemblies are hand wired in the United States and are designed to improve the performance of stock components but also provide the musician with more versatility in their pursuit of tones.  The harness will fit onto most strat-style pickguards allowing the player to maintain the vintage or stock look of their instrument.

NEWS: Black Label Society crack US Top 50

Black Label Society‘s new album The Song Remains Not The Same has debuted at #41 on the Billboard charts. Congratulations Zakk and co! The album features acoustic-based versions of songs from The Order Of The Black (but there’s still some sweet-ass electric playing too) as well as other material recording during the Order sessions. It’s kind of the spiritual brother of Zakk’s Book Of Shadows album and the BLS album Hangover Music Vol. VI. Shades of Pride & Glory in there too. Cool.

Here in Australia the album is released by the fine folks at Riot.