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NEW GEAR 22/24: ES-335 Slash, EHX LPB-3, Rivolta Guitars and Nord Grand 2 Piano

For guitarists and bassists who use Boss guitar synths, the manufacturer has prepared GK5-KIT series pickup sets, Gibson has produced a limited series of replicas of Slash's ES-335 and Rivolta Guitars have launched the Forma guitar collection featuring unusual body shapes. Electro-Harmonix introduced a new EQ/boost LPB-3 and AxLabs presented String Surfer roller saddles for those who want to improve their guitar's classic vibrato characteristics. For bassists looking for a semi-hollow five-string model, there's the Eastwood Classic 5 Seye Signature, Sweden's Clavia is about to distribute the Nord Grand 2 stage piano and we can also recommend the WTA Blood Orange bass preamp, Telefunken TF17 FET studio microphone and ADAM Audio A4V / A7V White nearfields. Welcome to our regular review of new gear and interesting news from the world of music.

Replica of Slash's Gibson ES-335 1963 VS

Slash used a 1963 vintage semi-hollow Gibson ES-335 in the recording of his blues album Orgy of the Damned, and to commemorate the release of that record, the company's Custom Shop has produced a replica of the instrument, which is labelled the Slash 1963 ES-335 Collector's Edition, a limited edition of only fifty pieces. Like the original, this model has received a Vintage Sunburst finish, with the relic treatment handled by the Murphy Lab division. The walls of the semi-hollow body with a central maple block combine layers of poplar and maple, and there is a Bigsby B7 vibrato and a pair of modified Alnico 2 Custombucker pickups without a wax bath. The price, including the deluxe Lifton hard case, the previously mentioned CD and other accessories, is around 15,000 dollars.

Rivolta Forma: guitars with unusual shapes

Rivolta Guitars, the company behind renowned designer Dennis Fano, is pleased to announce the launch of the Forma series, a collection of unconventionally designed guitars comprising the Sferata, Quadrata and Zenyata models, manufactured in South Korea and assembled in Nashville. In all versions, lightweight simarouba wood was used to build the neck and body with square contours, and the fingerboards are made from dark Indian rosewood. It features three-way switching and vintage-style Wilkinson tuners. The Sferata variant offers a pair of P-90 soap bars, while the Quadrata model, like the Zenyata series, is fitted with a bridge humbucker plus a P-90 neck single coil. The price of the instruments in Ciliegia Red, Toro Black or Miele Amber finishes has been set identically at around 1700 dollars.

Active EQ/boost Electro-Harmonix LPB-3

The LPB-3 Linear Power Booster, which combines an analogue EQ and clean boost circuit, is inspired by the LPB-1 effect, which was at the birth of the New York-based Electro-Harmonix brand in 1968. Using a miniature Nano chassis, the new LPB-3 version is capable of boosting the signal by up to +33dB, so it can boost the input of a tube amplifier or the volume of a preamp before connecting it to a power amp. In addition, the resulting tone can be shaped using an active three-band EQ with parametric mids and Q parameter selection. The above-mentioned correction circuit will thus also be welcomed by owners of various modelling systems, where fast frequency adjustment of the sound directly on stage can be problematic. A buffered and true-bypass mode is also available.

Boss GK5-KIT: pickup sets for guitar synthesisers

The GK5-KIT-B, GK5-KIT-G6 and GK5-KIT-G7 synth pickup systems, designed for bass guitars or six- or seven-string guitars, are based on the new Divided Pickups technology, working perfectly in harmony with standard pickups. Players can take advantage of the innovative Serial GK digital interface, simultaneously controlling the guitar synth alongside the instrument's regular magnetic pickup signal, or selecting or mixing both signal paths via a three-position switch. In addition to the dedicated pickup, each kit includes a main module, cables, an S1/S2 parameter switch, a small board with an output jack, volume potentiometer and mounting hardware.

AxLabs String Surfer: boost your vibrato

For guitarists whose instrument suffers from intonation or other problems caused by the integrated vibrato, AxLabs has upgraded its bridge roller saddles made of precision-machined solid brass, providing sharper attack, longer sustain and a warmer tone compared to the standard thin saddles made of pressed steel or zinc blocks. Additionally, String Surfer saddles significantly minimise friction when strings slide over this hardware segment thanks to a rotating roller mechanism, ensuring a more precise return during bends, while the system also effectively minimises the occurrence of string breakage. String Surfer saddle sets in several colour finishes are supplied with pitch adjustment screws, intonation screws and springs.

AxLabs String Surfer

Five-string Eastwood Classic 5 Seye Signature

"Amazing how light it is but also how epic it sounds. It’s not as intimidating as the other 5 strings! It’s got 4 string energy," says Seye Adelekan, a member of the successful Gorillaz project, about his new signature bass. The semi-hollow five-string model from Eastwood Guitars is based on the Classic 4 version and retains most of its key features, including a warm, musical and articulate expression. The laminated maple body is matched by a maple neck, a rosewood fingerboard carrying 22 frets and a pair of Custom Dogear P90 pickups connected to a common tone, separate volume controls and a three-position switch. The bass, with its shorter 30.5-inch scale, gold hardware and Matte Black lacquer finish, costs about 1000 dollars including a hard case.

Bass preamp/drive WTA Blood Orange

Canada's Wee Thunder Amps (WTA) has launched the Blood Orange tube preamp, delivering a full, musical sound with distortion, gain, volume, three-band EQ and footswitch controls in true bypass mode. The pedal is based on the circuitry of the Orange AD200B, one of the best tube bass amplifiers ever made, according to WTA. The effect covers everything from powerful clean sounds to light harmonic crunch to full-on fuzz. The 12AX7 operates at 250V, a similar voltage to classic tube amps, and uses high-quality Mallory M150 or Silver Mica capacitors.

Special Edition ADAM Audio A4V and A7V White Monitors

ADAM Audio's limited edition collection of popular A4V and A7V studio nearfield monitors has been given a stylish snow-white facelift in Arctic White with a glossy lacquer finish. Both designs feature all the specifications of their original counterparts, including integration with Sonarworks, facilitating automatic audio correction of the monitors depending on the listening room. The new products are expected to hit the market in June. Official European prices for 1 unit: A4V White approx. 500 euros, A7V White approx. 750 euros.

Studio condenser microphone Telefunken TF17 FET

The TF17 is the latest representative of the Alchemy series of condenser microphones, inspired by the vintage phantom-powered concept. Combining iconic midrange expression with modern FET technology, the TF17 features an assertive presentation with very low self-noise and can handle SPLs up to 135 dB. Its extended low-frequency response, strong mids and smooth highs can be beneficial for recording vocals, drums, electric guitars, pianos, etc. Designed with various recording environments in mind, the cardioid model is ideal for home, studio and stage use. The TF17 FET features a K47-style capsule, premium components and a British OEP/Carnhill transformer. In addition to a standalone microphone (approx. $900) and accessories, a stereo set (approx. $1,790) can be purchased.

Nord Grand 2: stage piano with Kawai keyboard

The Nord Grand 2 stage piano features the latest version of Kawai's premium action keypad with triple sensors for each key, and the redesigned controls offer a range of new features. The elegant piano combines the sensitive response of an acoustic piano with the company's popular sound libraries, a tactile user interface and, most importantly, a greater degree of flexibility, given by a pair of sampling synthesisers (1GB memory) and the same number of layers taken from the Nord Stage 4, which together offer much more complex sound surfaces and registers. The individual layers also feature an independent effects section, which adds, for example, a dynamic compressor, modified modulations, reverbs, delays, etc. The Nord Grand is expected to arrive on the market in June.

Tagy Gibson boss ADAM Audio Electro Harmonix clavia Rivolta Guitars AxLabs Eastwood Guitars Wee Thunder Amps Telefunken

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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.