Introducing the Fender Ultra series

Now, this is probably gonna sound like an advertorial but it’s not: I’m just really excited about these guitars and I can’t hide how psyched I am.

So.

Fender has been on a big overhaul binge lately, re-examining their guitar lines from top to bottom, leading to things like the Vintera series (which replaces the old Standards) and the American Original line. A little while back the American Deluxe series was reimagined as the Elite but now that line has been replaced by what I can only describe after a media preview participated in last week as the ultimate iteration of high-end Fender guitars for the modern player. 

If you’ve ever thought to yourself ‘I like Fenders but I wish they had the kind of high-end playability features of, say, a Charvel or a Suhr,’ well, that’s what the American Deluxe and then the Elite series have been and you’ve been totally sleeping on it! But the Ultra series takes this to a whole new level, re-examining and redesigning everything about the Stratocaster, Telecaster, Jazzmaster, P Bass and Jazz Bass to meet the standards of pro players. The neck joints are super-comfortable with unprecedented upper fret access; the necks have a new shape – a ‘Modern D’ which is the same depth as Fender’s classic C shape but with higher, squarer shoulders which ultimately make it feel smaller and easier to get your thumb around for those Hendrix chords; there’s a new satin neck finish formulation that will have you gliding all over the fretboard with ease; redesigned fifth-generation noiseless pickups including a hotter pair of single coils just for the HSS model Stratocaster; gorgeous new finishes… it just goes on and on. 

The press release is below which will take you through all the details, but what really excites me about the Ultra line – apart from the blue HSS Strat and the Mocha Burst Tele – is the overhaul to the Jazzmaster. New noiseless pickups and that super-fast neck mean we’re going to hear sounds and techniques coming out of a Jazzmaster that we’ve never heard before. Traditional Jazzmaster players are going to find the playing experience opened right up for them, while players who might not have considered a Jazzmaster in the past because of their playability are now going to discover tones and textures that they haven’t used before, without the limitations a more traditional Jazzmaster might place on their playing. 

So here are my favourites from each of the model/finish combos, followed by the press release.

Stratocaster HSS in Cobra Blue
Naturally there’s a SSS Stratocaster as well but this is pretty dang hot, especially when you see how the finish catches the light. The image at the top of this story will give you more of an idea of how Cobra Blue really looks.

Telecaster in Mocha Burst
Again you’re not really gonna get a full appreciation of this colour until you see it reacting to an environment, but once you do you’ll fall in love.

Jazzmaster in Ultraburst
All the Jazzmasters look great in their respective colours but Ultraburst is like the perfect Fender three-colour sunburst.

Precision Bass in Aged Natural
Fender has added a slight tint to this finish so it looks like a natural bass that’s done some livin’, minus any kind of relic treatment.

Jazz Bass in Texas Tea
Another colour that looks different depending on the lighting and viewing angle. From a distance it might look black but once you move it around you’re gonna see all sorts of interesting shades coming at you.

Jazz Bass V in Plasma Red Burst
I mean… just look at it! Isn’t that just one of the finest-lookin’ Jazz Basses you’ve ever seen?

FENDER® LAUNCHES NEW AMERICAN ULTRA SERIES INTRODUCING STATE-OF-THE-ART ENGINEERING, ELECTRIC GUITAR DESIGN OF THE FUTURE

American Ultra Delivers Industry Firsts: The Only “Modern D” Neck For Guitar and Bass, New Body Contours and Ultra Noiseless™ Vintage and Hot Pickups For Enhanced Playability

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (November 5, 2019) — Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) today announced the launch of the American Ultra Series, the most-advanced modern guitar from Fender. An evolution of American Elite – Fender’s premier electric series that launched in January 2016 – the Ultra Series boasts all-new modern features, state-of-the-art craftsmanship and nuanced design. Luxurious, sleek and cutting-edge, this series sets a new industry standard for precision, performance and feel with Ultra Noiseless pickups and Fender’s fastest-playing necks. Created for a wide range of today’s highly-skilled modern artists, session and working guitarists, this series also offers a new body design and contours – a pivotal moment in Fender history, decades since the last significant alteration to the iconic Fender Stratocaster or Telecaster body shapes.

Since 1946, Fender has embraced artist and player feedback as the core driver of its process, leading to decades of subtle yet crucial innovations. These thoughtful changes in design and technology can’t always be seen by the naked eye, but are meaningful to artists who crave products that evolve with the times. As younger players create new sounds, meld existing genres and push the limits of what a guitar can do, Fender products also continue to evolve.

“The American Ultra Series is our most advanced series of guitars and basses for discerning players who demand the ultimate playing experience in precision, performance and tone,” said Justin Norvell, EVP of Product at Fender. “Blending state-of-the-art engineering and nuanced design to provide a high-performance experience for today’s player, American Ultra is the next chapter in Fender’s legacy of cutting-edge innovation. American Ultra has truly been decades in the making and is a result of our tireless commitment to meet the needs of today’s working and touring guitar players looking for a modern feel and tone.”

Inspired by Fender’s never-ending pursuit to equip players with the best tools to create, record and perform music, American Ultra is Fender’s most advanced series of instruments – providing the ultimate in precision, performance and tone. The series answers the call from discerning players looking for modern advancements to help them create at the highest level. One of these elevated features is the all-new “Modern D” neck with a compound-radius fingerboard, smooth American Ultra satin back finish and extremely rolled edges. The result is a neck that’s slim and fast – yet ergonomic and comfortable – for blazing solos and easy comping without sacrificing tone and resonance. Other key features include:

New body contours: For next level comfort and playability, Fender redesigned the body contours of its most iconic models for the first time in decades. New back body curves offer hours of gigging comfort while a super-sculpted neck heel gives players unparalleled access to the upper register of the fingerboard, resulting in better accessibility and comfort. 

Noiseless pickups: American Ultra instruments feature two types of innovative new noiseless pickups: Ultra Noiseless™ Vintage pickups deliver authentic Fender single-coil sound – without hum. Ultra Noiseless™ Hot pickups offer modern performance and classic tone so you can launch your amp into overdrive. 

HiMass™ bridge: With lots of metal, lots of mass and a cool modern look, the HiMass bridge on American Ultra basses delivers serious sustain, precise intonation and rock-solid tuning stability. 

Double Tap Humbucker: The American Ultra HSS Strat features a brand-new Double Tap Humbucker with an overwound coil to ensure matched volume between pickups in coil split mode.

Redesigned preamp with active/passive switching: A redesigned preamp on American Ultra basses features three bands of active boost/cut for sweeter highs, focused mids and lots more usable bass. For a more traditional tone, the redesigned pickups can also be used in passive mode. 

New colours: American Ultra instruments are available in a variety of colours, including: Cobra Blue, Mocha Burst, Texas Tea, Arctic Pearl, Aged Natural, Plasma Red Burst and Ultraburst.

Advanced electronics: All American Ultra guitars feature a treble-bleed circuit to preserve high-end response at any volume – plus advanced wiring options that activate different high-performance features depending on the model.

Models include (Australian recommended retail prices): 

American Ultra Stratocaster® – $3,899.00

American Ultra Stratocaster® HSS – $3,899.00

American Ultra Telecaster® – $3,899.00

American Ultra Precision Bass® – $3,899.00

American Ultra Jazzmaster® – $4,099.00

American Ultra Jazz Bass® – $4,099.00

American Ultra Jazz Bass® V – $4,299.00

For detailed specs, additional information on new Fender products or to find a retail partner near you, visit www.Fender.com. Join the conversation on social media by following @Fender.

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ABOUT FENDER MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS CORPORATION:

Since 1946, Fender has revolutionized music and culture as one of the world’s leading musical instrument manufacturers, marketers and distributors. Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) – whose portfolio of brands includes Fender®, Squier®, Gretsch® guitars, Jackson®, EVH® and Charvel® – follows a player-centric approach to crafting the highest-quality instruments and digital experiences across genres. Since 2015, Fender’s digital arm has introduced a new ecosystem of products and interactive experiences to accompany players at every stage of their musical journey. This includes innovative apps and learning platforms designed to complement Fender guitars, amplifiers, effects pedals, accessories and pro-audio gear, and inspire players through an immersive musical experience. FMIC is dedicated to unlocking the power of musical expression for all players, from beginners to history-making legends.

Whoa. Schecter’s PT Pro looks killer.

Spotted something pretty spectacular on Schecter’s Instagram today: the 2019 PT Pro. It’s available in two colours (Trans Purple Burst and Trans Blue Burst) with an Alder body, Roasted Maple neck, Ebony fingerboard, glow-in-the-dark side dots and Schecter USA Z-Plus humbucking pickups. There’s coil-splitting via a push-pull pot, and a Graph Tech XL Tusq nut and a nice straight string-pull to keep everything operating smoothly. These little babies are made in Indonesia so the price won’t be inaccessible, but if you’ve played some Indonesian guitars over the last few years you’d know there’s some damn fine stuff coming out of that part of the world right now.

Introducing Fos, a tube guitar overdrive by Eon Research

Here’s a press release I just received about something that looks pretty badass!

Eon Research, a new audio design and manufacturing house from Greece, is announcing its debut product, Fos. It is a tube guitar overdrive created to draw a new path in the musician world. Fos is using a vintage russian miniature tube as the active part of its fully analog design while it utilizes a nixie tube for display purposes. This extreme high gain design has the ability to drive (and overdrive…) any amplifier with its deep, fat sound. The whole circuit is built with selected high quality parts and is housed in a chassis made from mirror-polished steel and exotic wood hand finished with beeswax. 

Fos will be released in 99 numbered pieces at the end of October 2019.

Eon Research is a company specialized in design and manufacturing of innovative, transparent sounding audio gear for the professional and musician market. Eon uses specially selected parts and techniques in order to provide that bit of warm, organic sound that is usually missing from most modern gear.

www.facebook.com/EonResearch

www.eon.audiocare.gr

eon@audiocare.gr

EHX brings back the V2 Violet Ram’s Head Big Muff

EHX is reissuing the venerable 1973 V2 Violet Ram’s Head Big Muff, a pedal that currently goes for ridonculous figures on the vintage market. You absolutely will not find one below $1,000 and you’re more likely to pay in the range of of $1,500-$2,500. The new version will set you back a much more reasonable $99.

EHX founder Mike Matthews says “Prices of original Ram’s Head Big Muffs have reached astronomical heights.This reissue nails the classic V2 tone heard on legendary recordings and famous guitar solos, and does it at a price any working musician can afford.”

Watch as Bill Ruppert takes you on a journey through time and tone as he explores what makes the ’73 V2 Violet Ram’s Head Big Muff so sought after.

Two new Solar Guitars distressed models

SOLAR GUITARS Announces Two New Type A “Limited Edition” Distressed Models

Solar Guitars – is very proud to announce the addition of two new Type A “Limited Edition” distressed guitars.

A1.6D LTD: 1199 $/€ suggested street pricing. Distressed Natural Matte finish

Limited Edition to 300 pieces, 6 string Type A – Alder body – 3 piece maple neck (Thin C profile) with ebony fingerboard – 25,5” scale – 24 stainless steel frets – Luminlay side dots – Solar locking tuners – EverTune bridge – Duncan Solar pickups – 1 volume control – 1 tone control- distressed hardware and body finish – Includes gigbag and hand signed / numbered certificate.

A1.7D LTD: 1299 $/€ suggested street pricing. Distressed Natural Matte finish

Limited Edition to 200 pieces, 7 string Type A – Alder body – 3 piece maple neck (Thin C profile) with ebony fingerboard – 26,5” scale – 24 stainless steel frets – Luminlay side dots – Solar locking tuners – EverTune bridge – Duncan Solar pickups – 1 volume control – 1 tone control- distressed hardware and body finish – Includes gigbag and hand signed / numbered certificate.

Both models are available for preorder from the Solar Guitars web store: www.solar-guitars.com, and selected dealers.

Introducing the Cort X700 Duality

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA — With the introduction of the X700 Duality, Cort has designed an electric guitar that can seamlessly transition from shred machine to chic refinement. The new flagship of the venerated X Series brings together boutique-quality materials and hardware components with custom-wired electronics that unleash the beast or quickly reign them in, making this guitar suitable for virtually any musical genre and style.

At first sight, the design of the X700 Duality conveys “speed,” with its flamed maple top on a swamp ash body. These materials complement each other to produce a warm, yet punchy high-midrange sound that cuts through the mix with authority. Imaginations will be sparked by the Light Blue Burst finish and chrome hardware, but there’s so much more to the X700 Duality than its visual pizzazz.

The X700 Duality’s Seymour Duncan TB4 bridge humbucker and SH2N neck humbucker, combined with a special 5-way wiring, present all of the modern and classic humbucker tones as well as two exceptional single-coil sounds for unmatched versatility. The X700 Duality achieves clarity and depth, whether the player is tearing it up on a metal riff or riding the wave with a sparkling, clean tone. This model’s “duality” comes into play through its unique electronics. The 5-way switch is custom-wired to provide glassy and sparkling single-coil sounds in the second and fourth positions, as well as full-bodied and powerful humbucker sounds in the bridge, middle, and neck positions. So as the player is driving with over-the-top metal tone, they can just as easily dial down to a jazzy warmth. A simple, yet versatile control layout, 1 volume and 1 tone knob, allows the player to focus on making music.

The X700 Duality’s hardware also has a significant influence on its sonic character. This guitar features the Cort CFA-III Tremolo System made from a metal injection molding manufacturing technique with stainless steel on the saddle, bridge plate and block for a big, solid, bold and articulate sound as well as enhanced sustain. The recessed tremolo bridge allows for pull-ups to raise the pitch as well as for push-downs to lower it, providing even more sonic versatility. Staggered locking tuners provide excellent tuning stability by eliminating string slippage at the posts while facilitating quick string changes.

Cort’s world-class craftsmanship is evident throughout the X700 Duality, but especially with high-quality materials where they matter. On the neck, the strength and brightness of the 3PC maple is balanced by the warm midrange of panga panga, resulting in super playability, feel and tonal definition. The ebony fingerboard provides jet-black beauty and slick smoothness, while the Luminlay side dot position marks make it easy for players to see the fretboard position markers while performing on dark stages. As another road-friendly feature, the 24 stainless steel frets (25.5’’ scale) boast excellent resistance to corrosion. The wide and tall fret-type offers a quick response with good articulation when playing chords as well as a clear tone when playing single notes.

Learn more about Cort’s X700 Duality and watch demos by world-renowned guitarist Hedras Ramos at www.cortguitars.com.

MSRP $1299.99 USD

Seymour Duncan Blackened Pickup Booster

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The Pickup Booster is one of Seymour Duncan’s ‘must-have’ pedals, and I loved relaunching it in its new design when I worked with Seymour Duncan a while back. Now that same kickass pedal is available in a limited edition ‘Blackened’ finish which matches that of pickups like the Nazgul, Sentient, Pegasus and the mighty Blackened Black Winter.

The Pickup Booster is a clean boost pedal with a few tricks up its sleeve in the form of a three-way voicing switch which can either fatten up weak single coils or brighten up dark humbuckers – although I found that the ‘beef up a single’ setting works great on humbucker lead tones too.

More information here.

BOSS adds to the DD delay pedal line with some real doozies

BOSS’s DD series of compact digital delay pedals have long been the standard in easy-to-use, great-sounding delays, but over the years they’ve added more and more advanced features without sacrificing the ease of use. Two new DD series pedals take two different approaches; the DD-3T is an update of the venerable DD-3, this time featuring tap tempo and some other fancy features. And the DD-8 takes over from the DD-7 as the most advanced delay in the compact series with all sorts of wild tricks up its sleeve. Here’s the press release.

New Digital Delay Models in the Iconic Compact Series Bring Players Expanded Features and Increased Versatility

Los Angeles, CA, September 26, 2019 — BOSS announces the DD-3T and DD-8, two new digital delay pedals added to the famous compact series lineup. The DD-3T replaces the long-running DD-3, updating the classic pedal with tap tempo and other modern features. The DD-8 takes over from the previous-generation DD-7 as the most advanced delay in the compact series, enhanced with numerous sound modes and features that make it the most full-featured delay pedal in its class.

In continuous production for over three decades, the DD-3 has been the go-to delay stomp for countless players, revered for its warm, round delay tone and simple controls that make it easy to dial in sounds fast. The DD-3T retains the same sound circuitry and controls as the DD-3 while adding useful functions for today’s guitarists.

A key addition the DD-3T brings is tap tempo, an essential feature for creating the rhythmic delay effects at the heart of many styles. The onboard pedal switch can be used to input tempos, and it’s also possible to connect an external footswitch for instant-access control. The DD-3T also features a dedicated direct output like the DD-3, which allows users to send effect-only and dry sounds to separate destinations. On the DD-3T, this output has been moved next to the main output jack to make pedalboard connections easier.

Equipped with a diverse selection of delays, the DD-8 packs impressive sonic range into one small pedal. Clean digital delays, vintage analog and tape types, and modulation echo are available, plus specialty delays like shimmer and reverse. There’s a new Warm type for softer echo tones, and a +RV type that blends delay and reverb together. Warp is perfect for dynamic ambient textures, while the new GLT type provides glitchy rhythmic effects. A Looper mode is even included, with up to 40 seconds of recording time and unlimited overdub capability.

The DD-8 features full stereo I/O support with three different output modes. Independent mode provides linked parallel delays on the left and right channels, maintaining the true balance of stereo input sources in the effect sound. There’s also a panning mode for ping-pong delay effects, and a wide stereo mode for enhanced spatial depth. And with the Carryover switch, users can set whether delay trails continue or stop when the effect is bypassed.

With the DD-8’s extensive real-time control options, players can easily bring their music to life. It’s possible to tap in tempos with the onboard pedal switch and control the Warp and GLT modes for unique expressive effects. Adding one or two footswitches unlocks more creative possibilities, like on-demand tap tempo, extended looper control, and a unique Twist effect. Alternately, an expression pedal can be used for continuous control of level, feedback, or delay time—or all of them at once.

To learn more about the DD-3T and DD-8, visit www.boss.info