REVIEW: Michael Kelly Guitars 1957

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There are so, so many guitars out there that follow the basic Telecaster-style footprint but either they ape the Tele so closely that you might as well get a Fender, or they diverge from the design so radically that they may as well be an entirely different instrument. Fender’s American Deluxe series does a great job of updating the Tele with modern playability and features but they’re pretty damn pricey. I get the feeling that this is where the Michael Kelly 1957 fits in. It’s far more affordable than an American Deluxe and it certainly doesn’t try to copy its features, but it’s no vintage-style Tele reproduction either.  Read More …

REVIEW: FGN J-Standard Odyssey JOS-FM-R

fgnFujigen has built guitars for some of the biggest names in the guitar world for decades. Ibanez’s incredible Japanese instruments including the Jem and JS, for example. Or the beautiful Fender Japan instruments. The much-loved Heartfield Talon. But the company makes its own instruments too. FGN guitars have been available in Japan for quite a while but they’re a relatively recent entrant on the world scene. The J-Standard Odyssey JOS-FM-R is a great place to start because it blends elements of the traditional and the modern in the same instrument. Read More …

REVIEW: Epiphone 1984 Explorer EX

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The Gibson Explorer was ahead of its time when it was released in the 50s, and still seemed like a bit a quirky anachronism in the 70s. But in the 80s it found itself at the centre of a revolution in guitar: thrash. This highly technical, highly aggressive new form of music required a guitar that could have plenty of punch, was playable, and looked badass. Certain players took the Explorer and popped a set of EMG pickups in it, and went on to create history. The 1984 Explorer EX pays tribute to the meeting of Explorer and EMG that helped to define the future of heavy music.

Click here to buy an Epiphone 1984 Explorer EX in Ebony or here to get one in Alpine White.

Or click here to see Gibson Explorers on eBay.

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REVIEW: Gibson Bill Kelliher Halcyon Les Paul

Bill Kelliher Halcyon Les Paul

Mastodon guitarist Bill Kelliher’s first signature instrument was the Gibson Golden Axe Explorer, a visually stunning instrument that combined classic explorer looks with an eye-catching golden brown sunburst finish and Kelliher’s signature Lace Sensor Dissonant Aggressor passive humbucker pickups. The Golden Axe is already becoming quite hard to find because these limited edition beasts are very much coveted, not just by Mastodon fans – they achieve the rare feat of crossing over to guitar fans in general – and anyone who gets one tends to hang onto it. The new Bill Kelliher Halcyon Les Paul follows a similar track, kitting out a classic Les Paul design with a few of Kelliher’s own personal touches and in the process creating a guitar that will please all sorts of players, whether they’ve heard of Mastodon or not.

Click Here to buy the Gibson Bill Kelliher Halcyon Les Paul

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REVIEW: Seymour Duncan 805 Overdrive

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Overdrive pedals are a funny thing: some of us like to use them to get crunchy, amp-like warmth. Some of us like to use them to boost an already overdriven amp channel into the next level. And almost everyone defaults to a certain green box when they think of analog overdrive pedals. The Seymour Duncan 805 Overdrive was designed with those classic tones in mind as a starting point but this pedal has significant differences from the Tube Screamer, beginning with the chip that powers its sound. While early development focused on the same chip, SD engineers eventually ended up with the MC33178 due to what they felt were superior sonic characteristics (along with a lower noise level and longer battery life). Click here to buy one.

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REVIEW: Gibson SG Special

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Although the Gibson SG is an American design, for many decades it’s resonated particularly closely with we Australians. Put this down to one Mr. Angus Young. There’s something about those devilish pointy horns and blues-approved tones that appeals to the Aussie pub rock aesthetic. The SG Special is one of Gibson’s newest designs, adding a few little twists and turns to an otherwise straightforward but badass-looking take on the SG style. See Gibson SGs on eBay. Read More …

REVIEW: TC Electronic Alter Ego V2 Vintage Echo

I recently checked out the TC Electronic Alter Ego X4, a vintage-vibed delay unit occupying the same footprint as the mammoth Flashback X4 Delay. That pedal offered a wealth of old-school sounds curated by US store ProGuitarShop. The Alter Ego X4 is a huge, hulking pedal that’s perfectly designed for stage use, but perhaps you don’t want a single pedal with the footprint of a lunchbox on your pedalboard. Perhaps you want a more conventional compact delay pedal that’s still packed with vintage tone. Well, my friend, meet the Alter Ego V2 Vintage EchoBuy the TC Electronic Alter Ego V2 Vintage Delay here.

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REVIEW: Blackstar ID:Core Stereo 40

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Blackstar amps are famously versatile and user-friendly, but there’s always room for any company to innovate. And innovate they have, with their ID:Series amps and now the ID:Core line. The thing that’s so revolutionary about the ID:Core line (and there are stereo combos available in 10 watt, 20 watt and 40 watt configurations) is that on the surface they’re as easily controllable as any other Blackstar amp, especially due to the handy ISF (Infinite Shape Feature) control which gives you a range of tones from UK to US and any point in between. But the free Insider software lets you fully unlock the potential of the amp by plugging it into your computer and taking your preset-editing to a whole other level.

Buy Blackstar ID:Core amps on Amazon.com

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