Fender’s Tom Morello Soul Power Stratocaster is available now!

Ya gotta hand it to Tom Morello: the guy has great taste in creating iconic guitars for himself. His ‘Arm The Homeless’ guitar, his black Tele, and his Fender ‘Soul Power’ Stratocaster, an instrument which is synonymous with his time in Audioslave. You can now own your own reproduction of this instrument, complete with ‘Soul Power’ decal among the case candy if you want to really Morello it out. But this is a very workhorse-worthy instrument in its own right, not a piece of Morello memorabilia (Morellomabilia?), with plenty of cool features to help you unlock your own self expression.

Here’s the press release.

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (March 31, 2020)—Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) today released the all-new Tom Morello “Soul Power” Stratocaster. Tom Morello collaborated with Fender on his first artist signature Stratocaster which features unique customizations from the original “Soul Power,” like a kill switch that helped shape his radical sound and riffs from the Audioslave era and beyond. Morello takes a creative approach to playing, infusing feedback, unconventional picking and tapping, in addition to heavy guitar effects that all inspired his new signature guitar.  This past year the original “Soul Power” was recently featured at The Metropolitan Museum of Art® and currently resides in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame®. The “Soul Power” Stratocaster is one of the most iconic guitars of the modern rock era and allowed for Tom to create a new sound after his time with Rage Against The Machine. Morello has pushed the boundary of guitar to new limits through his innovative style of playing and heavy metal and punk hybrid riffs.

“This Fender Soul Power signature guitar is made to my exact specifications and is an authentic replica of the instrument that forged my sound in Audioslave,” said Tom Morello. “That was a period of renewed artistic freedom and limitless expression on the guitar for me and Soul Power was the sonic divining rod leading the way. Just as important as getting the specs right however is the charitable/social justice component of my collaboration with Fender. Together we are giving away hundreds of guitars to underprivileged schools and to the Jail Guitar Doors prison rehabilitation program to help unlock creative doors and create better (and louder) futures.”

The Tom Morello “Soul Power” Stratocaster features a bound-top alder slab body, originally a limited run Strat®, a “Deep-C” maple neck with a 9.5″-14″ compound radius rosewood fingerboard with 22 medium-jumbo frets and matching painted headstock. Tom’s unique, powerful sounds – from gentle rhythms to screaming feedback, chaotic stutters and more – inspired every detail of the guitar. From a Kill Switch that creates the “Stutter” effects emulating DJ scratching that he is known for, to a Seymour Duncan® Hot Rails™ bridge humbucker pickup that delivers power and dynamics and a Floyd Rose® Locking Tremolo System that allows for radical Tremolo effects while staying perfectly in tune – this Strat was built to rock.


“We are extremely honored to have worked with Tom on this project and embark on a long-term partnership throughout 2020,” said Justin Norvell, EVP Fender Products. “Tom’s iconic original “Soul Power” guitar sound created a monumental impact on rock at the time and we’re looking forward to players today being able emulate those unique sounds with the Tom Morello “Soul Power” Stratocaster. Collaborations like these continue to keep Fender’s legacy in rock ‘n’ roll alive and inspire the next future rockers of our generation.”

The launch of Morello’s guitar marks the start of his and Fender’s 2020 collaboration in association with the Fender Play Foundation designed to equip, educate and inspire the next generation of players, alongside Tom’s other charitable efforts with Jail Guitar Doors.

In true tradition, the Fender’s Artist Signature Series honors iconic musicians through product progression and storytelling, creating instruments inspired by the unique specifications of the world’s greatest guitarists and bassists. Learn more about the Tom Morello “Soul Power” Stratocaster and access product description here; product photos and images of Tom Morello with his Signature Stratocaster can be found here.  

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

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Tom Morello “Soul Power” Stratocaster – $2,699.99 is based on the modified Designer Series Strat used during his time in Audioslave and features an alder slab body with binding and a Deep “C”-shape maple neck with 9.5″-14″ compound radius rosewood fingerboard and 22 medium-jumbo frets. Other features include: a recessed Floyd Rose® locking tremolo system, Seymour Duncan Hot Rails bridge humbucker, two Fender Noiseless™ pickups in the neck and middle positions, a chrome pickguard, kill-switch toggle, locking tuners, matching painted headcap and iconic “Soul Power” body decal and a black Fender case.

ABOUT TOM MORELLO:

Incendiary rock guitarist and acoustic troubadour Tom Morello, known for his innovative guitar solos and thunderous chords, is a groundbreaking artist whether in his solo career or as an original member of the rock bands Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave, two acts responsible for multiple Grammy Awards and a combined 30 million albums sold worldwide. He’s released four solo albums as The Nightwatchman and formed the band Street Sweeper Social Club with Boots Riley of The Coup in 2009. Morello has also been recognized by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the “100 Greatest Guitar Players of All-Time (#26).” Morello has produced or collaborated with artists of diverse genres including Johnny Cash, Tool, John Fogerty, Anti-Flag, Public Enemy, Joe Strummer, Crystal Method, Calle 13, Dave Mathews Band, Johnny Cash, Linkin Park, Travis Barker and Pete Seeger. In addition, he joined Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band for their 2014 world tour in support of Springsteen’s studio album High Hopes (Columbia Records) on which Morello is featured on eight tracks. In 2016, Morello joined forces with fellow Rage Against The Machine bandmates Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk, as well as Cypress Hill’s B-Real and Public Enemy’s Chuck D and DJ Lord to form the band Prophets of Rage. The band’s debut self-titled album was released in 2017 and scored top chart entries in multiple countries across the globe in its first week. On his latest solo album, The Atlas Underground, Morello transformed his sound, blending Marshall stack riff-rock with the digital wizardry of EDM and hip-hop to create the most ambitious artistic effort of his storied career. The Atlas Underground includes collaborations with Marcus Mumford, Portugal. The Man, the Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA and GZA, K. Flay, Big Boi, Gary Clark Jr., Pretty Lights, Killer Mike, and Whethan among others. Morello is also a valiant activist across issues of homelessness, poverty, hunger, and social justice, among other causes. Tom is embarking on a reunion tour with Rage Against the Machine in 2020. 

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.

Scotti Hill shows you how to play the ‘I Remember You’ solo

Here’s a cool video by Skid Row guitarist Scotti Hill showing you how to play his ‘I Remember You’ solo. I love this solo. I’ve noticed this song on the radio a lot lately and just the other day I had to sit in the car on the side of the road and listen to the end of the solo before I got out. It’s also cool to see the Jackson that Scotti used on the track.

Get Skid Row (30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) from Amazon.com.

The Seymour Duncan Polaron phase shifter is here

From Seymour Duncan:

Deep, musical phase shifting — with an all-analog signal path coupled with state-of-the-art digital control, delivering classic swirls, futuristic vortices, auto-wah vocalizations, and much more.

Analog phase shifters have been a huge part of the soundtrack to our lives. Their swirly, dreamy, spacey sounds can take a normal tone and transform it into something otherworldly. Some phasers are super-simple one-knob affairs, others are more complex machines. The Polaron is the perfect blend of instant-gratification simplicity and deep, feature-rich sound design.

The soul of the Polaron is its adjustable 2- to 16-stage analog filter array, which provides an amazing range of phaser tones—from subtle pulses to radical sweeps, with rotary, vocal, and flange-type sounds along the way. In addition to Depth and Rate controls, the Tune and Resonance knobs allow you to further tailor your phase shifter effects. This 100% analog signal path delivers beautiful, warm sound quality, but we didn’t stop there. The Polaron also features a totally separate digital processor to control LFO and envelop follower functions, for maximum flexibility plus the ability to save and store presets.

In LFO mode, the Polaron can be operated like a traditional phaser, manually adjusting the controls. You can also use the Tap Tempo function to sync the phasing to the groove. Engaging ENV mode lets your pick attack govern how the Polaron reacts, for a dynamic, interactive phase experience. Auto wah, talk box, and robot voices are all right there, along with more understated colors and textures.

When you discover a great sound in the Polaron (which you will again and again), it’s easy to save it as a preset that you can recall at any time. This feature allows you to experiment, explore, and create, safe in the knowledge that you won’t lose yesterday’s or today’s favorite envelope, depth, rate, and tune settings.

The Polaron Analog Phase Shifter—Any pedal can shift phase. This one can shift your perspective.

Like all Seymour Duncan pedals, Polaron was dreamed, designed, and built right here in the US, and features true-bypass switching.

NAMM 2020: D’Angelico Mini DC

Big Things Come in Small Packages

Developed in direct response to customer feedback over the last two years, the Mini DC is a fourteen-inch-wide double cutaway semi-hollow boasting warm and punchy tone. Sibling of the crowd favorite DC, the Mini DC’s undersized body, sleek headstock design and slim C-shape neck profile combine to create unprecedented comfort for every player.

Excel Mini DC

Brand new for 2020, the Excel Mini DC is a fourteen-inch-wide double cutaway semi-hollow boasting punchy vintage tone and unparalleled comfort. The Mini DC’s undersized body, sleek headstock and slim C-shape neck profile combine to create a lightweight design perfect for players who want total control over their instrument. Strapped with Seymour Duncan 59 humbuckers and coil-splitting push/pull tone knobs, the Excel Mini DC offers a remarkable variety of rich tones and sweet sustain. Available in Black, Trans Cherry and Vintage Natural.

Premier Mini DC

Brand new for 2020, the Premier Mini DC is a fourteen-inch-wide double cutaway semi-hollow boasting warm and punchy tone. Sibling of the crowd favorite Premier DC, the Mini DC’s undersized body, sleek headstock design and slim C-shape neck profile combine to create unprecedented comfort for every player. Equipped with Seymour Duncan Designed humbuckers and a standard three-way toggle switch, the Premier Mini DC offers rich, natural tone and sweet sustain by way of its centerblock semi-hollow design. Available in Ocean Turquoise, Champagne, and Fiesta Red.

Available in stores & online on Thursday January 16th, 2020

The Ultimate Guitar Pickup Guide

Pickup Basics

The simplest way to think of a pickup is “like a microphone for an electric guitar.” And have you ever noticed that if you pluck the string close to the bridge the note will sound bright and twangy, whereas if you pick right down by the neck you’ll hear a softer, rounder tone? Well if you place a pickup near the bridge of the guitar it will sound sharper and brighter compared to one that’s placed near the neck. This is why the majority of guitars have more than one pickup: so you can select different sounds from the full and warm to the thin and snappy.

From a mechanical perspective, a pickup is simply a magnet with a bunch of copper wire wrapped around it. The magnet creates its own magnetic field. The vibration of the metallic guitar string interacts with that field, and the changing magnetic flux induces a voltage in the coil of wire. This then gets sent to your amp where it’s turned into music. There are two main types of pickups: single coils and humbuckers. Let’s have a look at each, and what they do.

Single Coils
Single coils (like you might find on a Fender Telecaster or Stratocaster) have a clear, twangy sound, and they tend to sound really great through a clean, un-distorted amp setting. This type of single coil pickup is made by wrapping wire around six ‘slug’ pole pieces (which are held in place by flatwork to create a bobbin). A cover is usually placed over the pickup to protect the wire.

But single coils have a drawback: you’ll notice a bit of background buzz which is just part and parcel of the single coil experience. Some players swear by this sound because it’s a link back to guitar’s vintage past. Others want to get rid of it so they can only have the pristine single coil sound minus the hum. Various noiseless single coils are available from companies like Fender, DiMarzio, Kinman and Seymour Duncan. Single coils are great for country, blues, indie and alternative styles.

Humbuckers
The idea behind humbuckers is to use two separate pickup coils, each wound in a different direction, over a central magnet. The hum is cancelled out by the two different coil directions, and the overall tone is generally thicker, louder, warmer and fuller than single coils. Humbuckers are great for heavier styles like classic rock, hard rock and metal, and they can add some toughness and raunch to blues too. And the softer, smoother tone of humbuckers makes them great for jazz as well, especially if you use a humbucker in the neck position on a big hollow-body guitar.

You can use single coils and humbuckers in the same guitar. Popular configurations include a humbucker in the bridge position with single coils in the middle and neck spots; humbuckers in the bridge and neck with a single in the middle; or a single coil in the bridge position of a Telecaster with a humbucker in the neck position.

But What Are P90s?
The P90 is a single coil too, but it’s larger than a Stratocaster-style single coil, and its sound is edgier, rattier and hotter. It’s a great choice for alternative, punk, country and blues, goes great with slide guitar, and is even suited to styles like stoner rock and vintage metal: flip to the neck pickup of a P90-loaded guitar and play Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” to see what I mean. Because they’re single coils, P90s are prone to the same noise issues. And just like other single coils, various companies also make noiseless versions to counteract this.

Active vs Passive Pickups
A passive pickup is the most common kind (to the point where people rarely even use the term ‘passive pickup’ unless they’re comparing it to an active pickup: they simply say ‘pickup’). An active pickup is usually wound much weaker than a passive pickup, but its signal is amplified from within the pickup itself, usually via an internal 9 volt battery. There are several advantages: the output is usually more powerful; there’s often more sustain; and the sound will stay intact even if you use a really long cable (whereas the signal of a passive pickup will degrade more and more the longer your cable is). Active pickups are available in humbucker and single coil versions, and they’re both very quiet. You’ll hear active EMG single coil pickups in the hands of Mr. David Gilmour in the 80s and 90s – Pink Floyd’s P.U.L.S.E live album and DVD is essentially one huge catalog of great active single coil sounds – while companies like EMG and Seymour Duncan make plenty of humbucker models that are great for heavier styes, where the power and clarity of an active pickup come in really handy during high-speed runs and palm-muted chugs. It’s generally very difficult to install active and passive pickups in the same guitar, so usually you’ll find one kind or the other, not both. If you’d like active and passive sounds in the same guitar, check out Fishman’s Fluence series, active pickups which offer several selectable sounds, usually a more active-voiced and a more passive-voiced one. I particularly like the Devin Townsend signature set.

Magnets
Whether you choose single coil or humbucker, active or passive, the size, type and configuration of magnet/s that you use in your pickup all have a big influence on the sound that the pickup produces, as does the type of wire: how thick it is, how it’s insulated, how it’s wound around the bobbins, how many turns of wire. For instance, if you add more turns of wire then the pickup will have a louder perceived output, but will lose treble frequencies. You can counteract this by using a stronger magnet instead of extra turns, or you can raise the height of adjustable pole pieces to get more treble back into your sound. And the closer the pickup is to the string, the louder the pickup will seem to be. Raise it too close to the strings though, and the pickup’s magnetic field will negatively affect the vibration of the string, leading to weird out-of-tune notes and/or a weird ‘wub-wub-wub’ oscillating overtone. And adjustable pole pieces can also help you to refine the magnetic field and its interaction with different strings. Is the B string a little quiet compared to the rest, especially when you’re running a clean tone? Well then, raise its pole piece a little to boost the height of the magnetic field in that section of pickup. Want less bass and output but more treble? Lower the pickup a little and raise the pole pieces. Easy! But let’s backtrack a bit…

All of these factors influence the sound of a pickup, but one of the easiest to quantify is the magnet type. There are a few magnets that are typically used in pickups, and by knowing a little bit about them you can more easily figure out which one might work for the sound you’re going for. We’ll start by looking at Alnico, an iron alloy which includes iron (of course), aluminuim (Al), nickel (Ni) and cobalt (Co), as well as a little bit of copper (Cu). (I guess when they were naming it they decided against Fealnicocu). The three most commonly used Alnico magnets for pickups are Alnico II, Alnico III and Alnico V, although Alnico VIII is also sometimes used. Let’s look a few of the most popular magnets, with a focus on how they apply to humbuckers.

Alnico III
It may be a little counterintuitive, but Alnico III is the weakest of the magnets used in pickups because it has no cobalt. But I guess it’d be confusing to just call it ‘Alni.’ It has the lowest magnetic pull, which means the strings are less influenced by the pickup’s magnetic pull, and this makes it a popular choice for neck pickups. It’s a little more ‘confident’ in its tone compared to Alnico II, although both exhibit a similar ‘softness.’ Many players like to balance an Alnico III neck pickup against an Alnico II in the bridge.

Alnico II
Alnico II is associated with the original PAF humbucker, and it’s still used today in a great number of pickups. The tone is relatively soft and clear, often described as sweet, with a slight rounding off of the more brittle treble frequencies. It can sound very musical and mellifluous with a clean tone, and rather ’singing’ with overdrive. If you’re running a hotter, more distorted tone you may find that Alnico II humbuckers tend to provide excellent note separation for complex chords.

Alnico V
Alnico V pickups usually sound hotter and more ‘edgy’ than their Alnico II and III counterparts. They’re great at more aggressive tones and in situations where you need a little more ‘unity’ in your chords: notes may knit together a little more tightly when you’re chording through heavy distortion with an Alnico V pickup. It’s also a little warmer in the midrange, which makes it great for lead guitar.

Ceramic
Ceramic magnets are also used in some pickups. Their sound is usually characterised as more ‘modern,’ with a tighter low end, more ‘cut’ and higher output compared to Alnico magnets. You can usually bet that a ceramic-loaded guitar will sound pretty powerful, maybe with a little more bold midrange, especially in the upper mids. Some early ceramic pickups sounded rather flat and pinched, but as pickup companies further explored the capabilities of the magnets they discovered how to really get the most out of the tone.

Alnico VIII
Alnico VIII is probably the least common magnet type, but many players consider it to be an undiscovered gem, It gives you the power of a ceramic magnet but with the warmth and harmonics of an Alnico V, and is a great way of preserving some of the woodiness of your guitar tone while still hitting your amp with plenty of output.

What’s a split coil/coil tap?
Many players confuse ‘coil split’ and ‘coil tap,’ using the terms interchangeably, but they’re actually quite different. A coil split involves a humbucker pickup whose wiring lets you essentially switch one coil off, thereby turning it into a single coil. Many players like having the tonal flexibility of having single coil and humbucker tones available in the same guitar. Unless you’re buying an intentionally vintage-styled pickup, most pickups these days come with four conductor wiring as stock. That usually entails four separate wires (a ‘start’ and ‘end’ for each pickup coil), plus a ground wire. You can have your guitar wired so you can turn off one coil via a push-pull switch built into a volume control, or you can use a separate toggle switch, or (depending on the type of switch you’re using) special custom wiring. You will get single coil hum when using single coil mode, but not humbucker mode.

A coil tap is different: it involves a single coil pickup which is made with an extra wire coming off it to give you two different levels of output. The full output and a lower ‘tapped’ output. Again you can use a push-pull knob, a toggle switch or special wiring to engage the tapped mode. The benefit here is that you can have a ‘full-power’ sound for solos and huge riffs, then flip to tapped mode to reduce the output, distortion and volume for quieter moments when you need to drift into the background a bit.

Acoustic Guitar pickups
Amplifying an acoustic guitar can be tricky. Part of what makes an acoustic guitar great – perhaps the most major part, really – is the resonance that occurs within the body itself. But the most popular type of pickup for acoustic guitars is the piezo element, which lives underneath the bridge saddle and translates the vibration of the strings through the bridge into amplifiable sound. But this process gives you a distinctive harsh ‘quack’ tone which you then need to either live with or eliminate. There are plenty of preamps and outboard devices out there which superimpose ‘profiles’ of different acoustic guitars onto your piezo sound, thickening it up and greatly reducing the synthetic effect of the piezo pickup.

There are a few other options though (other than simply micing your acoustic guitar up with a microphone or two, which can be great in the studio but problematic in a live environment). One is a magnetic pickup, much like those used for electric guitars. These still pick up the sound of the strings themselves, rather than the strings as resonated through the body, but the effect is much warmer and less harsh and brittle than a typical unprocessed piezo element. The other option is an internal microphone system, which will give you a much more accurate reading of the actual sound of your guitar. There are some units which combine several of these options – for instance an internal mic for the resonance and a magnetic or piezo pickup for the detail, with the ability to blend between them. Some of these systems come as stock equipment in the guitar when you buy it, while others will need to be installed, either by yourself or a competent technician (depending on complexity of the job: some simply pop in while others need a little bit more work).

Technical Terms

Pole Piece: A metal slug or screw which corresponds to each individual guitar string, focusing the pickup’s magnetic field at the optimal position to do its job.

Coil: The basic structural foundation of a pickup: wire wrapped around pole pieces, either as a self-contained unit (in a single coil) or as part of a slightly more complex assembly which shares a single magnet (humbucker).

Single coil: a pickup style which provides excellent clarity and translation of the sound of the string, but which is susceptible to certain kinds of background hum.

Humbucker: a pickup designed to eliminate the hum of single coils by cancelling it out with an opposite coil. It has more power and a thicker, warmer sound than a single coil.

Trembucker: Seymour Duncan’s term for a pickup whose pole pieces are spaced slightly wider apart for a guitar with a Fender or Floyd Rose-style bridge.

F-Spaced: DiMarzio’s term for a pickup whose pole pieces are spaced slightly wider apart for a guitar with a Fender or Floyd Rose-style bridge.

Coil Split: A type of wiring option which ‘turns off’ one coil of a humbucker to approximate the sound of a single coil. Usually requires a pickup with four conductor wiring.

Coil Tap: A type of wiring available with certain kinds of single coil where a ‘tap’ is run off the wire at a certain point, giving you two selectable power levels.

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.

Meet The Moniker Guitars Rival Series

Moniker Guitars has just unveiled the new Rival Series, a really unique chambered guitar that is made in the USA and features Seymour Duncan pickups for a mere $879USD. I think this is a great way to offer a certain degree of customisation while keeping costs down: essentially it’s the same basic guitar but with different faceplate and pickup options, and Moniker appears to have put a great deal of thought and care into designing and instrument that will effectively ‘become’ whatever pickup configuration you order. Go for some Duo-Sonics and you’ll have a great indie instrument. Select the Hot Rodded Humbucker option and you’ve got a powerful rock or metal machine. Other options include Strat, Tele, Lipstock or Phat Cat (P90 in humbucker housing) style pickups. I’ll be reviewing one soon, but in the meantime here’s a video and the press release.

Moniker Guitars launches the Rival Series, a unique chambered body guitar, designed to “rival” any other on tone, feel and price.

Austin, TX – October 23, 2017 – Moniker Guitars has launched the Rival Series, a bold electric guitar design intended to “rival” any other on tone, feel and price. In striving to build a guitar focused on those elements, Moniker has reimagined the instrument and how it can be built in the United States at a retail price that is under a thousand dollars.

Rival Series guitars feature an offset body shape made of maple with a matching maple neck and fretboard. The inside of the body utilizes a unique chambering pattern known as “Rival Ribs” to add resonance and warmth to the guitar. The Moniker website allows you to choose one of six styles of Seymour Duncan pickups to dial in the exact tone you’re looking for. On the outside of the body, the maple frames your choice of a colored Reso-acrylic faceplate. This creates a striking visual contrast between the faceplate and the natural wood. The hardness and reflectiveness of the Reso-acrylic top helps to bounce sound throughout the chambered body.

When it comes to feel, the first thing players notice is that the Rival chambering reduces the weight of the guitar to a mere 6.8 pounds. The acrylic top cuts away to allow for a contoured wood arm rest and a contoured neck heel allows easy access to the upper frets. Both body and neck are coated in a thin satin top coat to preserve the natural feel of the wood.

Customized Rival Series can be ordered through the MonikerGuitars.com at a retail price of just $879. The guitars are built in the same shop where Moniker has been building its Customer Series guitars in Austin Texas.  

“Our experience with our Custom Series line is what led us to develop the Rival Series.” says owner Kevin Tully. “We’re fortunate in that we’ve had the opportunity to speak to every single one of our customers and learn what they’re looking for. Beautiful finishes are important to many customers and on our Custom Series line, we spend a lot of time working on finish. But most people are just looking for great tone and great playability and they’re on a budget that doesn’t allow us to spend hours and hours on finish work. The Rival Series is the result of of prioritizing the fundamentals of the instrument and marrying them together in a clean and simple modern design. We’re extremely proud of how it has come out looking, playing and sounding.”