Sterling by Music Man S.U.B. AX4
The Axis is one of the most coveted guitars in the Ernie Ball Music Man line-up. It traces its lineage to the Edward Van Halen model of the early 90s, but after Eddie left the company a few changes were made, particularly to do with neck dimensions and control layout. The S.U.B. AX4 is a new-for-2015 model that takes this iconic guitar de- sign and presents it in a much more affordable package while keeping the key elements in place.
PRS GUITARS S2 VELA
It’s not often that PRS Guitars comes out with a new shape but they’ve been on a roll over the last few years with models like the Mira and Starla. Joining that illustrious club is the new Vela, an intriguing instrument which does that magical thing of combining elements of a bunch of comfortable, familiar instruments to come up with something unique and wholly its own.
GODIN CORE CT ELECTRIC GUITAR
The Godin Core CT proudly proclaims ‘Made In Canada’ right there on the headstock face, and so it should: they consistently make great guitars and have earned the right to be proud of them. The Core CT is a little different to some of the Godins you may have seen in the past. It’s a more traditional than some of their ‘hey, this is a Godin’ designs. So the choice to have so much information on the headstock seems to be a way of saying ‘yep, we can do all of this stuff.’
DIAMOND - HALCYON ZB-FR
Five Finger Death Punch guitarist Zoltan Bathory needs a guitar that can keep up with the band’s rapid-fi re riffs and big chunky chords, and one that can fi ll out the sound when co-guitarist Jason Hook is soloing. Bathory previously had a few signature models with another brand, but he’s now connected with Diamond for a new model that picks up where the previous ones left off and takes it to new places.
Diamond Guitars Barchetta LT- T Electric Guitar
Diamond’s guitar line is quite varied, from all-out heavy metal guitars to classic rock machines and blues-friendly designs. The Barchetta (pronounced ‘barketta) LT-T seems to be pitched at more of a ‘budget all-rounder’ market, with looks that are stylised without being too aggressive, and features that are simple but adaptable.
Guild Guitars Starfire V Electric Guitar
Guild have been around since 1953 and their instruments have been donned by players in a range of styles, from jazz to rock to blues and pop. Acoustics, solid bodies, archtops and the odd funky in between guitar have also seen Guild run the gamut of models, specs and shapes. While their vintage instruments still very much revered, their newer models continue the original tones and aesthetics that have made them such a sought after builder. One popular model has been the Starfire.
DIAMOND GUITARS IMPERIAL AB WITH BIGSBY VIBRATO
As we saw with the Hell_ re last month, Diamond is a company that’s not afraid to put its own very unique stamp on classic designs. The Imperial AB with Bigsby follows the general Diamond template that feels familiar while remaining completely different to anything you’ve ever seen before.
DIAMOND GUITARS HAILFIRE SM ELECTRIC GUITAR
Just to clear up the confusion, this company was initially known as DBZ (after Dean B Zelinsky), then Diamond DBZ, and are now simply Diamond Guitars. If you’re familiar with Jeff Diamant’s Diamond amps, this is the same company. I’ve been following this line since their inception and I can honestly say they’ve made some of the most rapid progress of any guitar brand I’ve seen - in playability, overall quality and most definitely in the uniqueness and technical perfection of their finishes. Some of the stuff that was on show at NAMM was flat out amazing.