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Guitar Gear Alert: February 2022

Are you a guitar fan? On the first Monday of each month, Insounder's news section will present a quick overview of new guitar gear that is about to hit the market. Guitar aficionados can thus get a general overview of the latest models of instruments, amplifiers, effects, or various accessories—strings, tuners, capos, etc. Technical equipment for bassists, drummers, keyboardists, singers, DJs, sound engineers, etc., will be presented in an overview on the third Monday of each month.


Fender Acoustasonic Player Telecaster – a more affordable alternative to the American original, manufactured in Ensenada, Mexico, shares with its predecessor the design and basic concept of a system emulating various types of electric and acoustic instruments. Featuring a hollow mahogany body, sitka spruce top, bolt-on maple neck, and rosewood fretboard, the guitar is equipped with a piezo pickup and N4 Noiseless magnetic single coil.

The integrated engine supporting SIRS (Stringed Instrument Resonance System) technology offers six voicing modes; the original five-position switch has been replaced by a three-position one, complete with an overall volume potentiometer and Blend control for a smooth mix of the following acoustic and electric registers: position 1 – Clean & Fat Telecaster, position 2 – Lo-Fi Clean & Crunch, position 3 – Small Body & Dreadnought Acoustic. The model in Brushed Black, Butterscotch Blonde, Shadow Burst, or Arctic White finishes is available at about 900 euros including a quality gig bag.

Gibson Dave Mustaine Flying V EXP – Gibson welcomed the major musical persona into their stable with a signed Flying, which is said to be followed by other signature models of the Megadeth thrash metal frontman. The first piece from Mustaine's Artist Collection features an all-mahogany construction, the Slim Taper profile neck, and a variable radius ebony fretboard carrying 24 medium jumbo frets, triangular pearl fretboard markers, and the GraphTech walnut.

Sound transmission is provided by two Dave Mustaine Signature Seymour Duncan Thrash Factor passive humbuckers, connected to a three-position toggle switch, separate volume controls, and a global tone pot. The black chrome hardware consists of Grover Mini Rotomatic tuning machines, an aluminum tailpiece, and a tune-o-matic bridge. The limited edition is offered in Silver Metallic finish or Antique Natural transparent lacquer for a price of approximately 2,800 dollars including the hard case. The initial limited edition has already sold out, with Gibson planning a more massive distribution in the second half of February.

ESP/LTD 2022 Models – a total of 43 new products, including new models and partial updates, have been announced by ESP and LTD for this year. Nearly all of the editions by Japanese firm ESP will see their cheaper siblings produced by their subsidiary LTD this year. The extensive offer will include instruments from the "Flying" Arrow series, equipped with Fishman Fluence Modern active humbuckers, a through-neck, and fretboards with a variable radius.

The EC collection will consist of seven "Les Paul" versions, starting with the LTD EC-201 model with one ESP LH-150B humbucker, through the Deluxe EC-1000T CTM EverTune to the LTD Deluxe EC-1000 Baritone with an extended 27-inch scale length. Signature features of the higher editions are Fishman Fluence or EMG pickups, stainless steel frets, quality hardware, or maple tops.

The Explorer-inspired LTD EX series will offer the less expensive LTD EX-201 and the seven-string EX-7 Baritone Black Metal with a 27-inch scale, TonePros bridge, maple neck through body, and ebony fretboard. The LTD H and H3 editions newly have the Deluxe H-1000 EverTune superstrat with the eponymous bridge and three LTD Deluxe H3-1000, Deluxe H3-1000FR, as well as a seven-string Deluxe H3-1007 Baritone with Seymour Duncan Pegasus and Sentient humbuckers.

The LTD M and MH lines announce a total of five additions with TonePros TOM fixed bridge or Floyd Rose 1000SE locking vibrato and EMG, Fishman, or ESP humbuckers. Based on the Gibson Firebird are the LTD Phoenix models, represented by the Phoenix-7 Baritone Black Metal, Deluxe Phoenix-1000 EverTune, and Deluxe Phoenix-1000 variants.

Returning to a more classic superstrat design, LTD SN instruments will be available in Deluxe SN-1000 EverTune, Deluxe SN-1007 Baritone, Deluxe SN-1000HT, and Deluxe SN-1000FR variations with various pickup configurations, including Seymour Duncan Hot Strat single coils, SD Pegasus humbuckers, and Fishman Fluence Modern and Fishman Fluence single-coil pickups.

The Telecaster-like LTD TE line saw three new models – the Deluxe TE-1000 with steel frets, the Hipshot hardtail bridge, and two Fishman Fluence Modern humbuckers, the more affordable TE-200 with a fixed bridge and ESP LH-150 pickups, and the TE-201, different by only one pickup installed.

The popular LTD Viper series, with shapes evocative of a modernized Gibson SG, will also be available in Deluxe Viper-1000 Baritone, Deluxe Viper-1000 EverTune, and Deluxe Viper-1000M versions with Fishman Fluence Open Core or EMG pickups and various hardware.

The new color facelift will offer the single-sensor LTD M-1 Custom '87 in new Dark Metallic Purple and Metallic Gold lacquers, the LTD Mirage Deluxe '87 with Snow White and Metallic Gold shades, the electroacoustic LTD TL-6 in an exclusive Purple Spark Burst finish, and finally the ESP and LTD James Hetfield Snakebyte signatures, which will be available in an army Camo finish.


MXR Tom Morello Power 50 Overdrive TBM1 – a signature distortion based on the sound of Tom Morello, guitarist of the Rage Against The Machine, who has long used a combination of a Marshall JCM800 2205 (50W) two-channel amp with a Peavey 4x12 slant cabinet, fitted with Celestion G12K-85 speakers, and a DOD FX40b graphic equalizer, which is plugged into the amp's effects loop and serves as a clean volume boost.

The MXR Power 50 overdrive uses a circuit built on mosfet solid-state amps with dynamics close to a tube amplifier, and the controls consist of gain, volume, three-band correction controls, and a mini-pot with a Presence parameter affecting the upper midrange. In addition to the input and output, there are also send/return effect loop, so Morello fans can use his solution with an EQ pedal plugged in. The effect with a stylish design can be purchased for about 190 dollars.

Death by Audio Germanium Filter – according to the manufacturer, the drive/distortion/fuzz from the New York-based company is based on a console-style distortion using a 1960s Russian solid-state circuit and a filter unit designed in the Death By Audio workshops. The truly simple main panel features only a Gain knob with a range from subtle crunch to aggressive fuzz and a Filter pot that works as a specially calibrated EQ.

An internal trimmer mounted on the circuit board is used to adjust the output volume. The box measuring 12.7 x 6.4 x 5.7 cm and weighing around 300 g is powered by a standard 9V adapter or battery, which should last quite a long time given the minimal current consumption of around 5 mA. The official price of the case in the US market has been set at 225 dollars.

EHX Nano Q-Tron – a combination of envelope filter and automatic wah, designed for guitar, bass, synths, and other instruments, responds to the dynamics of the playing and is equipped with a rotary switch selecting between Low Pass, Band Pass, High Pass modes, affecting the frequency operating band, the width of which can be fine-tuned using the Q parameter. The output volume is determined by the Volume pot, and the Drive parameter adjusts the sensitivity of the filter, including how the pedal responds to the dynamic level of the note or chord being played.

The effect, measuring 70 x 114 x 53 mm and consuming 10 mA, is powered by a 9V adapter or battery; the footswitch is connected in true bypass mode, so the pedal does not affect the character of the incoming signal in the off state. The fully analog Electro Harmonix Nano Q-Tron is available at about 120 dollars.

Amplifiers, combos, preamps, boxes, etc.

Taurus Stomp-Head 7.Apogee "plus" – floor guitar amplifier, based on the patented Master Tube Design technology linked to the 12AX7 tube, provides a maximum output of 90 W with the possibility of reducing it to 40, 20, or 12 W. The three-channel preamp with Clean/Crunch and Lead branches is complemented by an analog enhancer (Servo Gain), Boost function switchable by footswitch, reverb, noise gate, input sensitivity selection, midrange voicing, etc.

The main difference from the previous version of S-H 7.Apogee is the improved cabinet emulation section allowing you to add and manage up to 16 third-party IR samples and edit virtual microphone position. Sample recordings are handled by a USB port and sample selection is controlled by a small red knob on the back of the chassis, below which is the Edge/Center microphone pot. The main output automatically detects the impedance of the connected boxes (4, 8, 16 ohms), and the five footswitches are assigned the Clean, Crunch, Lead, Reverb, and Boost modes. The European price is around 970 euros.

Supro Royale 1×12 – the 50-watt tube combo was designed with an emphasis on legible, detailed contoured bass and massive projection, making this amp's sound a standout in band mixes and on big stages. The power stage with 5881 tubes and the overall master offers the choice of Class A (35 W) or AB (50 W) operation, the preamp built on 12AX7 tubes is equipped with volume, boost, and three-band correction pots, and a spring reverb with Level and Dwell controls is installed.

Boost is also switchable by footswitch, there is a switchable effect loop with a tube buffer and outputs for external cabinets with impedances 1x16 / 2x8 / 2x4 ohms. The solid poplar skeleton houses a twelve-inch Supro BD12 speaker with a large ceramic magnet and a special British-style membrane. The Supro Royale 1 x 12, measuring 52.07 x 24.13 x 48.26 cm and weighing 22.2 kg, is covered in dark Black Scandia tolex and is priced at 1500 dollars.

Magnatone Starlite – a full-amp compact combo with 5W power, but enhanced by Class A end stage wiring, delivers the sound of classic vintage Fender Tweed or Blackface-style instruments. The 12AX7 preamp section features a pair of instrument inputs with different sensitivities and simple controls in the form of Volume and Tone pots. A negative feedback switch is connected to the power amp circuit, using a single 6V6 tube, limiting the maximum output if necessary.

On the main panel we also find an output for an external cabinet with an impedance of 8 ohms; the internal Magnatone Custom Ceramic Magnet speaker, made by WGS, has a diameter of 8 inches and is housed in a box measuring approximately 43 x 20 x 30.5 cm. The hand-assembled boutique model, weighing 8.6 kg, is covered in brown faux leather, and comes with a soft case and quality instrument cable. It’s priced at around 1,300 dollars.

Accessories, software, etc.

Guitto GGP-04 – the brand belonging to the Joyo conglomerate has introduced a new system for acoustic guitars, encompassing, in addition to piezo, vibration pickups, and an active module, a bank for five instrument factory IR pulses that can be replaced with custom samples. For example, WAV guitar samples with Auditorium or Dreadnought bodies are available, and the developers have also equipped the circuit with an effects section with several delays and reverbs that can be used without an amplifier, thanks to Vibration Speaker Effects technology.

For recording impulses (24-bit/16, 24, 32, 44.1 kHz) the USB-C port is located in the module, equipped with a color LCD display, three multi-function pots, phase rotation, and a tuner. The system is powered by a single rechargeable Li-on battery (included with USB cable, handles, etc.). The official price has not been released yet.

Lollar La Prima – the American boutique brand's mini-humbuckers are characterized by superior responsiveness to dynamics and playing style, thick bass, strong mids, and softer warm highs. The open and articulate sound without typical humbucker compression is accompanied by the necessary transparency of expression and a faster, more expressive attack.

The pickups are available in both bridge and neck versions (3.8 / 3.3 kOhm) with metal covers in chrome, golden chrome, nickel, and black chrome, a choice of two-way vintage wiring or modern four-conductor cable, and Firebird or Soapbar/LP Deluxe style mounting frames, among others. The basic price for a single pickup has been set at about 180 dollars.

IK Multimedia  AmpliTube MESA/Boogie 2 – a set of four certified virtual amplifiers and five Mesa Boogie cabinets created with DIM technology, consisting of models Mark IIC+, Mark V, California Tweed, Triple Crown amps, and 1x12 California Tweed (Jensen 40 speaker), 2x12 California Tweed (Jensen 100), 2x12 RoadKing (Electro-Voice), 4x12 RoadKing Black (Electro-Voice), 4x12 RoadKing Vintage (Celestion Vintage 30) cabinets. Windows and Mac platforms are supported and plug-ins include Audio Units, VST 2, VST 3, AAX formats.

A large part of Mesa Boogie fans might be pleased with the first-mentioned Mark IIC+ amplifier, which is still one of the most sought-after models of the Mark series, thanks to distortion circuits wired in cascades, producing an organic high-gain sound, which can be heard, for example, on older Metallica’s albums. IK Multimedia has set the price of the AmpliTube MESA/Boogie 2 package at about 100 euros (excluding tax), while a package containing a set of Mesa Boogie 1 + 2 plug-ins can be purchased at a bargain price of about 180 euros and includes emulations of the Mark III, Mark IV, TransAtlantic TA-30, Dual/Triple Rectifier combos, stompboxes, etc.

Tagy gear alert Fender ESP ESP LTD Gibson MXR EHX Death by Audio Taurus Supro Magnatone Guitto Lollar IK Multimedia

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For Insounder, I am mainly responsible for the news section and articles covering the gear of well-known musicians. I have been playing guitar in various bands for years and I also teach this beautiful instrument.