COOL GEAR ALERT: Gibson SG Standard 24

I was just cruising around and I came across this: the Gibson SG Standard 24 for American Music Supply. Look at this thing! Just LOOK AT IT! Argh, how cool! It bums me out that this is an exclusive model that I guess won’t find its way to Australia. I love mini humbuckers (I used to have a Firebird with Seymour Duncan mini humbuckers which sounded awesome), I love SGs (I’m Australian – we’re genetically predisposed to like SGs because of Angus Young), and 24 frets are ear-shredding fun. From a tonal perspective a mini humbucker in the neck makes a lot of sense: it focuses the pickup on a narrower area of the string, giving you a tighter and more focused sound. I’d love to get my hands on one of these, but alas, I fear I am doomed to miss out. Still, phwoar.

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Gibson 70s Studio Tribute models

Gibson’s 50s and 60s Studio Tribute series is a kind of odd one. They’re not exact recreations of actual models, but rather they tap into the spirit of instruments from that era, with lower-cost satin finishes and less ornamentation. But the 50s and 60s Tributes I’ve played have been great guitars, especially the 60s Studio Tribute Les Paul I reviewed a while ago. Now Gibson is releasing the 70s Studio Tribute line containing three models: a Les Paul, an SG and a Firebird. These models aren’t based on actual 70s guitars (no Norlin-era pancake construction, thankfully!) but they’re cool axes in their own right, and each features newly designed Dual Blade Alnico Mini Humbuckers.

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REVIEW: Taylor SolidBody Standard

Recently, Taylor Guitars and Australian distributor Audio Products Group offered me an incredible opportunity: to design my own guitar via the Solidbody Confgigurator at then have the guitar built, then use it for reviews and videos on I Heart Guitar. After thinking about it for about a millisecond I of course said yes and started designing. I’ve been in love with the Taylor Solidbody since the first time I reviewed the SolidBody Custom a few years ago, and if you dig around on YouTube you can even find a Share My Guitar video from NAMM 2010 which has about five seconds of me jamming with some random dudes in the background. So I was familiar with the general layout and qualities of the various Solidbody models, and I took this into account in designing my guitar.

My first choice was to decide between the SolidBody Classic (swamp ash body with satin-finish maple neck and Indian rosewood fretboard) or Standard (chambered mahogany body, quilted maple top, gloss-finish mahogany neck, ebony fretboard). I decided on the Standard. The next choice was cutaway: single or double? I selected the double cutaway version just because it feels more ‘me.’ The guitar’s scale length is 24 7/8″.

The Configurator gives you the option of tremolo or fixed bridge versions. I selected the tremolo version – it’s a non-locking unit with a low fulcrum point which gives it extra smooth operation, and the intonation setup work is done through the back of the guitar, keeping the playing surface smooth and screw-free. I decided to go for a pickguard rather than direct mount pickups, so I could later take advantage of Taylor’s interchangeable solderless pickguards. I selected three of Taylor’s mini humbuckers, which I fell in love with when I reviewed that first SolidBody back in the day. To my ears, these pickups are voiced somewhere between a P90 and a Gretsch FilterTron, with maybe a bit of overwound Strat thrown in. But they’re very low noise and are uniquely Taylor in construction and tone. Taylor’s tone knob is specially voiced to produce a wah-like midrange kick when it’s turned all the way down, and their guitars feature a fuse to protect you from unwanted zaps onstage.

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