Reviewed: Fender American Performer Stratocaster
The Fender/Gibson dichotomy has never been stranger than in 2019 -- with Gibson filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May of last year the brand’s focus has been financial restructuring. Fender have won the battle of the icons for now, but where do they go from here? A dizzying stream of rebrands of their signature models has arrived over the past year -- think Parallel Universe, Alternate Universe, Professional and Player series -- and now we can count the Performer series amongst their midst. Taking a look at the Stratocaster, it’s hard to know if this is a triumph or just a victory lap.
Reviewed: Gretsch G6228 Players Edition Jet
Gretsch may be fabled for their hollow body guitars, but their solid body offerings are certainly not to be overlooked. The ‘Jet’ has long embodied the Gretsch aesthetic, offering different tones to its bigger bodied family members. From the Players Edition line of guitars, the G6228 combines Gretsch handiwork in a solid body guitar that can handle more than a few styles of playing.
Reviewed: Gretsch G5622T Electromatic
With players such as Chet Atkins, Brian Setzer, Malcolm Young, Chris Cheney, George Harrison, Bo Diddley and Eddie Cochran sporting Gretsch axes, there’s no doubt you’re already familiar with the name. Favourites in the rockabilly, country and rock world, Gretsch guitars definitely have a ‘sound’ that has seen them used in just about every genre imaginable. Now residing under the Fender banner, Gretsch continue to produce classic instruments such as the Falcon, Jet, 6120, Penguin and Country Gentleman, as well as offering a suite of variations and new models to suit a range of players.
Reviewed: Jackson Guitars SL2Q and SLX Soloist
Jackson have been a staple of metal and rock guitars and basses since Grover Jackson acquired Charvel guitars in the ‘70s. Synonymous with a seemingly endless list of big rock and metal acts, Jackson have continued to produce high quality instruments with a contemporary edge, and the SL2Q Pro Series Soloist and SLX Soloist both pay tribute to the timeless ‘Super Strat’ shape made famous by Jackson and Ibanez. The SLX Soloist is a budget-priced solid body electric with Duncan designed humbuckers, a Floyd Rose Special locking tremolo system and a red sparkle finish. The SL2Q, meanwhile, is a 24 jumbo-fretted solid body electric with dual Seymour Duncan Distortion humbuckers, a Floyd Rose 1000 Series double-locking tremolo system and eye-catching ‘Purple Phaze’ finish.
Reviewed: Jackson Guitars Pro Series Chris Broderick Soloist HT7
The seven-string electric has become quite commonplace in heavier styles of music, with the extended range typically adding extra low-end girth. While it can be used in many contexts, the humble seven-string is often synonymous with more shred-style players. Jackson have long catered for many rock/metal shredders, so it makes sense that they have a player such as Chris Broderick in their enclave and offer a number of seven-string guitars right across their range.
Reviewed: Framus D-Series Panthera
Framus Guitars is the guitar branch of famed German-based company Warwick Basses. In addition to guitars, Framus is known for its high-gain guitar heads and cabinets. After spending years producing high-end and custom built guitars for the likes of Devin Townsend, Cephalic Carnage and Candlemass, Framus has branched out into the more affordable D-Series that includes the Panthera.
Reviewed: Sterling by Music Man John Petrucci JP60
There is no doubt that John Petrucci is a hugely influential guitarist, musician and composer. Dream Theater have released 13 studio albums garnering numerous accolades and recognition from fans and the music industry alike, and Petrucci’s playing and writing continue to play a huge part in this success. Enjoying a long-standing relationship with Music Man, the band has collaborated on many iterations and variations of Petrucci signature models in a range of specifications. Making the Petrucci models even more accessible, Music Man has enjoyed success with the extension of these guitars in its Sterling line of instruments.
Reviewed: Fender Parallel Universe Jazz Tele
You know that particular look of elation marathon runners get once they finally schlep through that bastard ribbon? The well-deserved yet borderline smug grin that painters get when they finish whitewashing an entire interior? The way the electricity in the air changes when someone cleans up a table in a pool hall? If Fender guitars were suddenly anthropomorphised into human form then the Parallel Universe series would be its wry smile. With their oldest arch nemesis out of the running for all intents and purposes, they are freer than ever to stretch their inimitable wings and feel the heady creative breeze that encircles the top of the food-chain flow languidly over every pore and feather.