NEW GEAR 36/23: Friedman JEL amp, Trigon-6 module and new era of ROSS effects
Those who are ready are not caught off guard. Welcome to our next weekly roundup of new gear and trivia from the world of music, where we try to sum up everything essential that's currently hitting the market that we should know about. Along with another acoustic guitar by Tim Armstrong, Fender unveils unique basses from its California Streetwoods series, Mooer offers an upgraded octave pedal Pure, the Friedman brand comes up with a second signature amp from Jake Lee, Iron Maiden's drummer gets his own drum head models and the return of ROSS is confirmed by five reissue effects. We can also recommend the modular version of the Sequential Trigon-6 synth, the upgraded PreSonus Eris BT nearfields and Seymour Duncan's P-90 Silencer pickups.
About a decade ago, Fender pleased not only guitar fans of the punk band Rancid with the introduction of the first signature acoustic from the band's member and founder Tim Armstrong, followed by several other Hellcat models. Now the Californian brand adds the latest member of the line to its catalogue, which, like the previous instruments, is based on Armstrong's long-running Fender acoustic. This year's variant is called the Hellcat Checkerboard 2023 and, like the 2018 Checker limited series, features a chessboard pattern on the top part of the Concert-style spruce body made from laminated mahogany. The guitar features a maple neck, high-quality electronics in the form of a Fishman CD-1 preamp, and the walnut fingerboard is decorated with traditional skull and cat inlays.
Jackson CS SL Soloist 3S-V: Jeff Beck's favourite model
At the request of the American music label Music Zoo, the Jackson Custom Shop returned to the 1980s and produced a special line of CS SL Soloist 3S-V superstrats, which had also been used by Jeff Beck. The instruments, evoking the "80s" versions of the Soloist edition from the "San Dimas" era, are available in a total of six relic finishes and feature a pickup configuration HSH consisting of a pair of Seymour Duncan ST59-1b / SHR-1n mini-humbuckers and an SSL-1 middle single pickup. The superstrats with a retro Rhoads Concorde-style headstock received a Floyd Rose tremolo, and the alder neck-through-body with a maple neck is sprayed with nitro lacquer. Despite a price tag of about 5500 dollars, this collection is disappearing from the Music Zoo warehouse at an unprecedented rate.
Mooer Purer Octave: the evolution of the Pure pedal
The result of an upgrade of a popular mini-pedal, usable for guitar, bass and other instruments, is a polyphonic octave pedal with an improved DSP algorithm offering 15-octave modes with precise tracking, transparent expression and various combinations of octaves, adjustable by Sub and Upper parameters. It has the chorus-like Detune mode, which together allows you to achieve sounds such as 12-string guitar, organ, etc. In addition, two presets can be stored in memory or the Direct button can be used to activate only the effect signal. Purer Octave with a footswitch connected in true bypass mode should be available for about 100 euros.
Humless single-coil pickup Seymour Duncan JJN P90 Silencer
In addition to designer Seymour Duncan, the single coil is signed by blues-rock guitarist Jared James Nichols, whose Les Pauls are mostly equipped precisely with P-90 pickups. Like other single-coil models, the standard P-90 suffers from the typical electrostatic hum, which the JJN P90 Silencer version manages to eliminate while retaining the tone and dynamics of the traditional sound. Choose between black or cream finishes and soap bar or dog-ear variants. The company now also produces the P90 Silencer in Hot and Vintage versions. "Simply put, the JJN P90 Silencer is my dream pickup," says Nichols of his signature single.
Friedman JEL-20 and JEL-112: head and cabinet by former Ozzy band guitarist
The now discontinued Friedman JEL-100 amplifier, developed by the company for Jake E. Lee, who played guitar for Ozzy Osbourne in the 1980s and went on to form the hard rock band Badlands, has a successor in the form of the more compact JEL-20 and the JEL-112 cabinet. The 20W dual-channel head (2x EL84s) offers the British sound that Lee used for most of his career when he preferred Marshall Super Lead or modified versions of the JCM 800. In addition, there are modern features such as an XLR output with cabinet emulation linked to a load box for silent recording, a transparent effects loop, Bright and SAT switches, etc. The JEL-112 closed cabinet is equipped with a Celestion G12M-65 Creamback speaker.
Collectible Fender Precision basses from the Custom Shop California Streetwoods collection
The unique California Streetwoods edition also includes two basses based on the first-ever Fender Precision, which still featured the Telecaster headstock shape. The Roasted Ash & Elm P-Bass – NOS version from master builder Jason Smith features a roasted ash body combined with slabs of elm, a figured pear fingerboard, a neck made from the same material, CS Josefina H-W '62 P-Bass centre pickup and Hipshot Ultralite pickups. The design of the Himalayan Cedar P-Bass variant – Journeyman Relic was handled by Vincent Van Tright, who chose the Himalayan Cedar body not only for its sound qualities but also for its captivating, soothing aroma, which is enhanced by a very thin finish. The premium equipment consists of a CS Josefina H-W '51 P-Bass split-coil, Babicz FCH-4 bridge and Gotoh GB640 tuning machines.
The Ross Electronics brand is back with five pedals
Compressor, Distortion, Fuzz, Phaser and Chorus – these are the reincarnated effects of the iconic ROSS brand, which returns to the market thanks to a collaboration between designer Josh Scott of JHS Pedals and Cameron Ross, grandson of company founder Charles "Bud" Ross. The common denominator of the reissue is not only the design of the chassis but also the pair of knobs and the side button for selecting two sound modes. The OTA-style Compressor offers Vintage/Bright modes, the MXR Distortion Plus, DOD 250 or ProCo RAT-style Distortion has a choice of Germanium/Silicon modes, the specific-sounding Fuzz has Vintage/Modern voicings, the OTA Phaser features Analogue/Univibe modes and the analogue Chorus with BBD V3027 chips provides Chorus/Vibrato modes.
CODE Nicko McBrain „Boomer“ drum heads
Iron Maiden's drummer has become a corporate player for British drum head manufacturer CODE, which has designed the Nicko McBrain "Boomer" models to his specifications, including a pair of single-ply white snare heads in 13- and 14-inch sizes and nine clear versions for toms or floor toms with diameters of 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 18 inches. The polymer foil models have Grip Tight hoops with a steel core covered with a layer of aerospace aluminium, and a chrome Donut Dot (0.33 mm thick for snare, 0.25 mm thick for tom) is glued into the centre of each head on both sides. This not only achieves higher durability, but also a clear piercing sound with a strong attack and precise control of dynamics.
Sequential Trigon-6 Desktop Module with MPE support
One year after its premiere, the Trigon analogue polyphonic synthesiser has a more compact sibling in the format of a desktop module, i.e. a version without a keyboard but with all the sound capabilities of its predecessor, plus MPE (MIDI Polyphonic Expression) support. There are three discrete oscillators for each of the six voices, with a choice of triangular or saw modulation shapes along with variable-width pulse waves. It includes an improved two- or four-pole ladder filter, an adjustable Vintage parameter, a dual-effects section and other features. The Trigon-6 is thus a modern synth with intuitive controls and a versatile sound that builds on the past and enhances the present.
PreSonus Eris 3.5BT and 4.5BT 2nd Gen: studio monitors with Bluetooth 5.0
With the second generation of the small nearfields from the Eris series, PreSonus has dealt with the complaints of some owners of the original models, who did not question their sound quality, which was above standard in this price range, but objected to the often more pronounced electromagnetic noise. The company has eliminated this problem with better shielding, added a Standby switch to the rear panel in addition to the Power switch on the front of the active cabinet, and has also partially worked on design details such as potentiometer covers with a more pronounced mark and elongated LED lights replacing the blue backlit logos. Inside, we can find a Bluetooth module, a Class AB power amp (2x 25W), an output current limiter, overheat protection and a subsonic filter. The video below demonstrates the previous version of the Eris 3.5BT, the new version should be on the market at the end of September.
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