REVIEWED: THE CHARVEL USA SELECT SO-CAL
Charvel’s connection with the Strat hails back to the late 1970s when the guitar manufacturer had a penchant for producing reincarnations of the beloved model. Back then they were referred to as the Superstrat, and regularly featured a Strat-shaped body with a single humbucker and a tremolo bridge system. Within Charvel’s newly released USA Select Series the So-Cal model is the guitar that comes closest to the Charvel Strats of old. And while it’s a loosely tied ode to models gone by, it’s nice to see Charvel revive a long-running relationship with the guitar that helped them reach early prominence.
REVIEWED: THE CHARVEL USA SELECT SD-2 GUITAR
The alder body on the SD-2 is finely crafted and curved; sculpted with a single cutaway and a glancing slant for extra comfort. The neck is one-piece quartersawn maple and the fingerboard is maple with black dot inlays.
REVIEWED: THE CHARVEL USA SELECT SD1
Eddie Van Halen, Richie Sambora and Randy Rhoads are just a few of the monumental names that were wielding Charvel axes in 80s, etching the brand’s name into the history of rock and heavy metal for ever more. The Californian guitar manufacturer’s new flagship USA Select series taps into the very essence of what made Charvel so appealing back in its 80s heyday – a throwback to fiery pickups, menacing hardware, and the weapon-like, industrial feel of old.
REVIEWED: THE ERNIE BALL MUSIC MAN ST. VINCENT SIGNATURE MODEL
To be frank, signature guitars can often be more trouble than they're worth. All too often guitar manufacturers are tempted into drafting up a slightly redesigned version of an already in-production model, slapping the artist's name on the headstock, jacking up the price and calling it a day. Thankfully, Ernie Ball's St. Vincent signature model strays far away from this notion. With hands-on production ideas contributed from Annie Clarke at every step of the way, the result is a guitar that is unlike any other on the market today - a unique beast reimagined from the ground up.
JACKSON SCOTT IAN KVXT X-SERIES ELECTRIC GUITAR
Jackson Guitars have never been one to shy away from the spotlight. They deal in heavy metal and everything that comes with it: the pulverising tone, pulsating riffs, even hotter leads and audacious looking weapons. All of which was founded upon a 1980 collaboration between Jackson and Randy Rhoads, from which the Flying V-inspired Concorde was born. From that very moment the ‘V’ body shape became synonymous with Jackson, and so too the typical pointed headstock, as well as a penchant for producing guitars that play unbelievably fast. Touching upon all of these traits is the X Series Scott Ian King V KVXT. A signature guitar made in the name of thrash metal legend and Anthrax founding member Scott Ian, the KVXT is an axe pulled straight from the heyday of 80s metal.
REVIEWED: THE GUILD S100 POLARA ELECTRIC GUITAR
1992 was twenty-five years ago this year. Janine Garofalo was the funniest person in America; MTV ruled the airwaves and those were truly halcyon days for guitar bands, as we all know. Now, with kids in their late teens aping almost every fashion miss-step, it seems enough time has past for that whole thing to be cool again. Aside from having to pretend we like the PVC hibiscus on our friends’ tube-tops this means the welcome return of some of the vehement, angst-addled rock music that so tempered the decade that broke punk.
TC ELECTRONIC FORCEFIELD COMPRESSOR
A good compression pedal is an extremely useful thing to have for guitarists who perform live, allowing the creation of diverse tonal and dynamic sections within your playing with ease. It is true however, that many musicians may not have a proper understanding of exactly what a compressor does or is operated, and consequently they are often used merely as boosters. This may be the perfect unit then for guitarists who are interested in experimenting with the functionality of a simple compressor without spending a large amount of money on it.
FENDER AMERICAN PROFESSIONAL STRATOCASTER
The hallmarks of an American-made Fender Stratocaster will forever be a classic combination, embraced by guitarists, and imitated by competitors. There’s no going past the versatility of three quality single-coil pickups, that classic double-cutaway body shape and a vibrato bridge. With rumours mounting in late 2016 that Fender was planning to discontinue the production of the American Standard Stratocaster, a sense of panic was unleashed amongst the guitar community. What we weren’t aware of at the time, however, was that Fender were planning to unveil a new Strat – the American Professional Stratocaster. It’s with this new model that Fender have both honoured and enhanced that of its predecessors – most notably with the instalment of newly developed pickups. For this reason alone it’s a welcomed upgrade from what we have seen in the past.