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NEW GEAR 23/24: Fender Joe Strummer, Chase Bliss Sampler, PDP Kit and Moog Spectravox

Fender Custom Shop guitar maker Paul Waller has designed replicas of Joe Strummer's Telecaster, Epiphone has decided to return to guitars with an American pedigree with the Coronet series, Greek Tsakalis AW offers a new tube preamp, Chase Bliss has introduced a pedal sampler and Slipknot's Mick Thomson has cosigned Fishman PRF-HS6-MT2 pickups. Italian bass guru Gaetano Costanzo has built a VPR5 to bassist Alberto Rigoni's specifications, Cosmodio has added the flexible distortion/fuzz Pet Yeti to its catalogue, Pacific Drums is celebrating its anniversary with a 25th Anniversary Clear Acrylic kit, Moog has launched a Spectravox synth and Body Synths has introduced a new product called Metal Fetishist.  Welcome to our regular review of new gear and interesting facts from the world of music.

Epiphone Coronet: a return to American production

First introduced in 1958, the Coronet is one of Epiphone's first and most successful original solid-body electric guitar designs. Now, production of this legend is returning to the USA, more specifically to the Nashville workshops of parent company Gibson. The symmetrically shaped double-cut mahogany body with a thickness of 3.5 cm is combined with a slightly modified neck, which has been given a Slim Taper profile and a bit wider Graph Tech 43 mm nut. The Indian rosewood fingerboard features 22 medium jumbo frets, Vintage Deluxe tuners are mounted on a vintage "Bikini" logo headstock, strings are anchored in a wraparound tailpiece, and the sound is carried by a P-90 Soapbar pickup controlled by volume and a tone with an Orange Drop condenser. The Coronet will be available in Ebony black lacquer or Vintage Cherry transparent finish.

Fender Master Built Joe Strummer Telecaster

To honour the legacy of the guitarist of The Clash and one of punk rock's leading exponents, Paul Waller, Senior Master Builder at the Fender Custom Shop, has created a limited edition featuring replicas of Strummer's popular 1966 Telecaster. The highly resonant select alder body, relic neck with a period C-profile and rosewood fingerboard with a 7.25" radius and 21 Jescar Vintage frets make the player feel like they're holding a piece of rock history, reflecting all the qualities present in Fender's popular '60s instruments. The uniqueness of this series is reinforced by the Super Heavy Relic Aged Black finish over a three-tone sunburst lacquer, a pair of Josefina Campos '67 Tele hand-wound pickups, brass nut and Schaller M6 Mini tuners. A signature strap, cable, pickups and case are also available for purchase.

Mothership: tube preamp from Tsakalis AudioWorks

The pedal preamp and overdrive from the Greek brand uses a pair of 12AX7 (ECC83) tubes and also features a fully configurable cabinet simulator with seventy IR slots linked to Tsakalis TAW Editor applications. The preamp has two identical independent channels with dual gains and volumes and a choice of Low, Medium and High Gain modes, covering the spectrum from crystal clear sound, to crunch and aggressive modern-sounding registers. In addition to the classic bypass and channel switching, the Gain A/B + Volume A/B modes can be conveniently changed via the footswitch A-B, making this analogue model a four-channel. There is also a serial effects loop, Amp/Cab Out, USB-B port and MIDI In DIN connector. Price: approx. 550 euros.

Pedal sampler Chase Bliss Onward

The latest product from the renowned American brand works on the basis of a dynamic sampler that responds to how you play. The effect architecture is divided into independently controlled Glitch and Freeze sections that can be combined as needed to create rich musical surfaces with layering, sidechaining, dynamic ducking, etc. In addition to advanced connectivity options (MIDI, CV and Expression control) or internal modulation, Onward also offers a bank for presets (2 positions by default, 122 additional positions via MIDI), tap tempo, Trail function, stereo inputs/outputs and buffered or true bypass. 16 small DIP switches are provided on the front of the chassis for more detailed editing.

Fishman Fluence PRF-HS6-MT2: Mick Thomson's new pickup set

According to the manufacturer, the pair of Fishman Fluence PRF-HS6-MT2 six-string humbuckers, designed to the Slipknot guitarist's specifications, can deliver the best version of Mick's signature tones while capturing everything he has been looking for sonically throughout his career. The neck pickup, featuring an Alnico V magnet and a more subtle signal output, offers three modes: Voice1 – active humbucker, Voice2 – passive humbucker and Voice3 – classic vintage single-coil, while the same mode designations on the bridge ceramic version provide Thomson's signature thick active humbucker sound (V1), piercing assertive expression in passive mode (V2) and brilliant single-coil tone (V3). Price per set: approx 290 dollars.

Gaetano Costanzo VPR5: Alberto Rigoni's signature

The renowned Italian guitar maker Gaetano Costanzo has designed a signature five-string VPR5 model for bassist Alberto Rigoni (Vivaldi Metal Project, TwinSpirits, etc.), which is completely handmade and produced without the use of CNC or other machines. The modern-designed instrument, whose alder body and headstock and neck and fingerboard made of American maple are sprayed with a snow-white lacquer, is fitted with a Seymour Duncan Alnico bridge humbucker in the style of Music Man pickups, connected to passive electronics with volume and tone potentiometers and a switch for selecting serial, parallel or single-coil mode. The Gotoh hardware has received a black finish and the fingerboard carries 30 frets. A four-string variant should also be available.

Cosmodio Pet Yeti: distortion/fuzz for bass and guitar

Cosmodio Instruments, a new boutique brand from Massachusetts, USA, has launched its first pedal, the flexible distortion/fuzz Pet Yeti, based on an original circuit using cascading gain stages. The effect, which is able to retain plenty of low frequencies in the signal even with more gain, offers several selectable clipping modes, a bit crusher function and a Strength switch (1st gain stage). Other controls consist of Output, Tone, Gain, Clean and Shape potentiometers, the latter of which affects the amount of bass before the distortion circuit, which has a significant effect on the resulting tone clarity. Price: about 220 dollars.

Anniversary kit PDP 25th Anniversary Clear Acrylic

Commemorating Pacific Drums' 25th anniversary, this four-piece drum kit uses seamless acrylic shells complemented by wood hoops infused with walnut stain. This design offers a solid tone, bright attack and controlled sustain, while the hoop type adds a throaty element to the sound and slightly increases the resulting resonance. In the case of toms, this is further enhanced by the patented STM mounts, while precision and tuning stability are ensured by the True-Pitch system. The kit, with the product designation PDLT221425TH, will be available later this year only and consists of a 7 "x10"/8 "x12" tom, a 16 "x16" floor tom and a 16 "x22" bass drum. A PDLT651425TH 6.5 "x14" snare with DW MAG strainer can be added.

Percussion synth Body Synths Metal Fetishist

Metal Fetishist is a modular beat creation platform designed for exploring rhythms, underscores and layers of percussive sound design. The main engine controls a single oscillator, a white noise source, a resonant multi-mode filter and a digital distortion section with downsampling and overdrive functions. With a sequencer, looper and CV interface compatible with Eurorack-type modules, the synth also features two randomness generators that, among other things, generate a new modulation value with a trio of variable parameters at each step, while the expressiveness of the modulation can be manually selected and, when the Steps potentiometer is turned, the previously generated random step values are first locked into repeatable sequences of 2, 4, 8, 10, 16 or 32 steps. The new product, with a price tag of about 360 euros, will arrive on the market at the beginning of June.

Moog launches semi-modular synth/vocoder Spectravox

Spectravox is a semi-modular, analogue, spectral processor designed to expand the horizons of musical expression and sound design, which – compared to the previous 2019 version – should be supported by upgraded features including vocoder units, spectral processor, filter bank, monophonic analogue synth and, last but not least, an expanded patch point section. "It is not just an instrument; it's a portal into uncharted sonic realms, offering lively drones and colourful tonal sweeps that breathe life into any sound composition," says the iconic American brand about the new addition. Spectravox can be used completely on its own or as part of the Eurorack system.

Tagy Fender epiphone Moog PDP Fishman Tsakalis AudioWorks Chase Bliss Gaetano Costanzo Cosmodio Instruments Body Synths

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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.