NEW GEAR 49/23: PRS Limited Edition, Zultan F5 Ride, Korg Pad and Anka Custom Bass
Those who are ready are not caught off guard. Welcome to our next weekly roundup of new gear and trivia from the music world, where we try to sum up everything essential that's currently hitting the market that we should know about. Epiphone has launched the guitarist J.J. Nichols' signature LP Custom "Blues Power", PRS fans can look forward to a limited edition of "Dead Spec" Silver Sky guitars, Seymour Duncan is expanding its power amp selection with a 2x 100W stereo version, and bassists can expect boutique models Anka Custom Noumeno DX, the fretless MG Bass, and a special design collection of cabinets and heads from Aguilar. Precise tuning should be ensured by the Snark Titanium tuner and comfortable playing is guaranteed by Fender asymmetrical picks. The Zultan brand has strengthened the F5 cymbal line with the 18" Mega Bell Ride model and the Korg pad sampler represents a universal solution not only for drummers.
PRS "Dead Spec" Silver Sky limited series
John Mayer's next signature model is inspired by the modified "Alligator" Stratocaster by Jerry Garcia, former guitarist for the Grateful Dead, whose legacy is carried on by the Dead & Company formation led by Mayer. The gigs with D&C inspired Mayer to approach PRS, which modified his Silver Sky model and is now offering it as a limited edition "Dead Spec" of 1,000 pieces. The model with its lightweight ash body in a Moc Sand satin nitro lacquer features a hardtail bridge in the form of PRS Gen III tremolo screwed to the body and with a brass sustain block, brass nut and string retainer bar, locking tuners and above all the Alembic Blaster preamp, housed under a jack plate, which also incorporates a blaster switch and a hole for adjusting the internal volume trimmer.
The third Nichols signature model from Epiphone features the classic styling of the Les Paul Custom with an Aged Pelham Blue finish. The guitar received a Seymour Duncan Silencer JJN P90B bridge pickup with a design that eliminates the hum typical of single coils. The strings anchor in a single Lightning Bar tailpiece fitted with compensated saddles and tuning is handled by reliable Grover Locking Rotomatic tuning machines. The brushed nickel hardware is complemented by a pair of high-quality CTS potentiometers with Top Hat caps, while the more rounded 50s profile neck carries an ebony fingerboard fitted with 22 medium jumbo frets and a Graph Tech NuBone nut. EpiLite case included.
Flawless tuning with the Snark ST-8 Titanium
The popular ST-8 clip-on tuner has an improved successor in the form of the Titanium variant, which features a circular "sound shield" made from a combination of rubber and titanium. The loud sound of surrounding instruments (rehearsal room, stage, etc.) can interfere with tuning accuracy, and the shield in question should ensure that the tuner analyses the played tone without disturbing external frequencies, as one of the properties of titanium is its ability to block vibrations. The ST-8 Titanium has a rechargeable (USB) battery, pitch calibration of the reference tone, very fast response, and can even handle note detection on down-tuned or six/seven string basses where low frequencies can be problematic for less sensitive tuners. The video below demonstrates the standard versions of the Snark ST-2 and ST-8.
Seymour Duncan PowerStage 100 Stereo Power Amplifier
The PowerStage range of compact Class-D power amps has been expanded to include a stereo version delivering 2 x 100W of power at 4 ohms impedance. There are two inputs, the same number of jack outputs as well as balanced XLR connectors tied to a switchable TCC (True Cab Circuitry) with guitar cabinet emulation. There's a five-band EQ and clipping information diodes monitoring the resulting distortion. PS100 Stereo is the ideal solution for clean and transparent sound reinforcement of classic preamps, pedals and modern modelling units. Official price: approx. 600 dollars.
Fender Medium offset picks
"The most versatile pick ever" – that's how Fender describes the new edition of Offset Picks, with an unusually asymmetrical shape, a slight depression on the side intended for the thumb and an embossed brand logo on the opposite side, which together should provide a comfortable and secure grip on the pick. The series is made from durable 0.83mm thick polycarbonate and comes in sets of 6. The official price of the set in classic black or Multi-Color version is under 9 dollars in the US market.
Unconventional Infinity Ghost fretless from MG Bass
MG Bass, or rather guitar maker Mauricio Costa, has started offering a minimalist fretless neck-through bass with an ash body, a neck glued from three pieces of wenge wood and an "infinite" fingerboard made of exotic ziricote, extending from the zero fret to the bridge, so that the player has a wide range of very high tones that are not available in classically constructed instruments. The strings anchor through the body and via the bridge with separate segments, piezo pickups and 17mm spacing to the Gotoh GB707's tuning machines. The bass is equipped with a Bartolini active preamp, and you can order scale versions in 34, 30, 32, 33.25 and 35-inch lengths. The video below demonstrates the MG Bass range presented at NAMM 2020.
Five-string boutique Anka Custom Noumeno DX
Hand-built in workshops in Houston, Texas, this instrument represents the perfect blend of style and performance, eliminating the traditional imperfections of mass-produced models, and its features should satisfy even the most demanding players. Standard features include a select swamp ash body, a curly walnut top, a laminated maple and purpleheart neck reinforced with carbon fibre, a two-octave fingerboard with medium jumbo Jescar steel frets, two double-coil pickups from Ulyate, and Trickfish IPA active electronics. The hardware consists of a Hipshot A bridge with 18mm string spacing and lightweight UltraLite tuning machines from the same manufacturer. The official price has not been set yet.
Special design edition of amplifiers and cabinets Aguilar
This year, the American manufacturer has once again decided to combine the sought-after sound of its basses with a less traditional design and has introduced a limited edition of Tone Hammer / AG amplifiers and SL series cabinets, consisting of the SL112, SL210, SL115 and SL410x models. The cabinets are now available in tolex with Winter White, Tuxedo Black, Blue Bronco and Racing Green finishes. Identical colours have been chosen for the Tone Hammer 500 / 700 W amplifiers, with the exception of Tuxedo Black, which has been replaced by Glory Gold. The Aguilar AG700 head can be purchased in Blue Bronco or the exclusive Firehouse Red. The video below shows the previous custom series in a pastel Poseidon Green finish.
Hand-hammered Zultan 18" F5 Mega Bell Ride
The high-gloss F5 cymbal collection is Zultan's heaviest yet sonically brightest line, which now includes an 18" ride featuring a clear, compact expression with a distinctive response and superior punch definition. Similar to the other cymbals in this series, the 18" F5 Mega Bell Ride is hand-hammered from B20 bronze alloy and a larger hammer was used for shaping, which, along with the turning method and large bell, contributed to the assertive projection, full tone and great dynamics. These features make the F5 edition an ideal choice, especially for drummers of more punchy genres who need to assert themselves against loud guitars and prefer a more powerful playing style. The official European price of the ride has been set at around 190 euros.
Pad sampler Korg Kaoss Replay
A versatile solution for musicians, performers and producers based on the popular Kaoss Pad. Featuring 16 velocity-sensitive pads, a five-inch OLED display and a pair of freely assignable faders for smooth transitions between samples and tracks, the new addition offers immersive sampling capabilities, a comprehensive effects section, intuitive DJ controls and extensive connectivity including a microSD card slot (up to 32GB), MIDI In/Out DIN jacks, USB MIDI port, RCA jacks, 2x2 USB card and microphone input. Thanks to its carefully designed concept, Kaoss Replay makes it easy to create sounds without complex setups and lengthy parameter adjustments. An 8 GB SD card is included in the price of approx. 1100 euros.
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