Reviewed: Fender American Original '50s Telecaster
Late one night as I was knee deep in some research (read: distraction and procrastination) for a review much like this one, I happened upon one of the strangest and most perverse cultural phenomenon known to mankind. Listed alongside a number of different pedal shootouts, I spied a particularly long video curiously titled ‘Unboxing’. Intrigued, I chanced a wayward click and what ensued left me nothing short of agog. I watched, in its entirety mind you, an entire half hour film of a person of unknown origin opening the packaging that encased a Lego toy car. Immediately hypnotised, I watched as they pieced together the item, sat its driver in his place and pushed it back and forth across my computer screen a while. Once the bar along the bottom was completely red, I came shunting back to cold, hard awareness. What had I just witnessed and why had it bewitched me so? In the time since I have come to begrudgingly accept that the unboxing video makes up a good portion of the data on YouTube’s intimidating servers, but it wasn’t until I flicked open the latches on this Fender American Original ‘50s Telecaster that I truly understood the worth of such a genre.
Reviewed: Squier Contemporary Telecaster HH and Stratocaster HSS
When a person walks into a guitar shop, there are only so many ways that the ensuing conversation will go. Some people venture inside knowing exactly what they want, be it a spare set of strings or ’72 Tele, some are just in for a gawk, and others are barking up the wrong tree altogether (no, we don’t buy vinyl!) One of the most rewarding conversations is the one where a precocious youngster tentatively creeps in ahead of his allowance/parents. That kid is floored by the shiny expensive things and thoroughly distracted in their quest to find their first ever riff stick.
Reviewed: Ernie Ball Music Man Majesty Monarchy
There’s a lot to be said about John Petrucci’s stamp of approval. His list of equipment over the years features some of the most revered guitars, amps and pedals to ever hit the market. Let’s be honest, the guy has pretty impeccable taste and the insane chops to back it up, so basically any gear he attributes his name to is going to turn heads around the world. The newest Petrucci signature model from Ernie Ball Music Man, the Majesty Monarchy is a true testament to that ethos. A sleek, modern guitar that makes a statement the moment you lay eyes on it.
Reviewed: Loog Pro Acoustic & Pro Electric
Loog officially makes guitars for kids but frankly, their designs are so cool that adults seem to dig ‘em too. The company began as an academic project in 2010 around the idea of a sustainably made guitar that encourages kids to play, and that could be put together with an adult. Everything about Loog is geared towards simplicity and fun from the guitar design itself to a bundled app that gives you everything you need to start playing songs straight away.
Reviewed: Fender Eric Johnson Thinline Stratocaster
Eric Johnson has been synonymous with the Stratocaster for decades - except when he plays a semi-hollow body Gibson, that is. And so finally in 2018 the two guitar styles have come together in the perfect combination, like peanut butter and chocolate, or coffee and chocolate, or caramel and chocolate.
Reviewed: Gretsch G5420TG 135th Anniversary Electromatic
How do you quantify class? How do you describe the thing about someone or something that cuts them above the rest? Furthermore, how do you distil that ethereal otherness that defines the illustrious few and renders them indelible marks on history’s pages? There is any number of adjectives that come close to pinpointing said essence but none that do so in such a way as to simplify it en masse. The proof is in the pudding, as the adage goes, and any attempt to coagulate something so mercurial is folly. In the instrument world there is a temptation to allow descriptors like country of origin, wood type et al to take the reigns, but at the end of the day nothing compares to the relationship a pair of hands has with any given fretboard. There is no substitute for the way a piece of wood unveils itself to a player and no amount of generalisation will render a blanket rule as long as nature has her way.
Reviewed: Gretsch 135TH Anniversary G6118T Players Edition
A lot can happen in 135 years. This past century has seen socio-political quicksand, gargantuan military devastation and dizzying technological revolution like never before. How the human race as a whole, let alone any of our creative endeavors, has survived is a boggling thought. As a testament to that survival, Gretsch have chosen to celebrate the best way they know how. The Players Edition 135th Anniversary G6118T is as glorious an example of refinement, stoicism and timelessness as you would expect from one of the most revered names in guitar history.
Reviewed: Fender American Original '60s Jaguar
Most players with a penchant for Fender find themselves in one of two camps. The first favouring Leo's original designs – the utilitarian, straight-ahead classics of the Stratocaster and Telecaster. Others, however, yearn for something different. Something that stands out from the pack; an instrument that's loveably idiosyncratic and provides a platform for experimentation or creative playing. Enter one of Fender's most underrated instruments: the Jaguar.