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Reviewed: Framus Devin Townsend Stormbender Guitar
Devin Townsend is an absolute mastermind. Between Strapping Young Lad, Devin Townsend Project and numerous other projects, he has released a ridiculous amount of music over the last 25 years, as well as produced some of the most pivotal heavy bands from the last two decades (Lamb of God, Misery Signals, Darkest Hour to name a few). It seems absurd to me that it’s taken so long for the man to get the signature guitar treatment, but now there is no longer any need for such absurdity. After playing numerous custom shop Framus guitars for the last few years, Devin and the German guitar giants have teamed up to finally release a production model, the Stormbender. The perfect machine for the modern metal/prog guitarist.
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: Mapex Black Panther Snare Drums
The Black Panther series of snare drums has been a staple in the Mapex world for a very long time. While the series has grown and expanded throughout the years, there are a few things that have stayed the same: high quality hardware, interesting wood selections and beautifully crafted drums. This month we got a chance to sit down with two of the newer models in the Black Panther series, the Cherry Bomb and Versatus.
Reviewed: Carl Martin Atlantic Chorus Pedal
Technological advancement in the guitar pedal world occurs at an exponential pace these days, just as in any other field. It’s why Danish pedal maestro Carl Martin has to preface the release of a new chorus pedal by acknowledging that perhaps the world didn’t need another one. The Atlantic Chorus strives to be more than your average stomp, however, offering a near unprecedented degree of sound control in an affordable price range. The design philosophy hinges on balance between new and old, not wanting to rock the boat, while pushing expectations of a meat n’ potatoes effect.
Reviewed: Steinberg Cubase 10
Favourite DAWs are like opinions: everyone’s got one. At this point, most plug-ins work on both PC and Mac, and all DAWs will work great on most operating systems. DAW choice comes down to workflow and clientele. Who will you be recording? What kind of monitoring options do you need for playback? Do you need multiple I/Os for mixing? Are you recording and mixing or using it solely for mastering?
Reviewed: Warwick Custom Shop Corvette $$ Bass
In the November issue of Mixdown we reviewed one of Warwick’s Masterbuilt basses, the Streamer. This month we had the pleasure of sitting down with one of their Custom Shop Corvette basses, and this one was just as mind-blowing as the previous. The Corvette is one of Warwick’s more popular models, even at budget levels, with its iconic body shape, dual pickups and very playable neck. While the Masterbuilt Streamer we reviewed in November is a specialist bass, the Corvette is noticeably more playable as it feels more like a workhorse bass for a more modern player. The Warwick Corvette $$ four-string is a 34” scale length, neck-through electric bass with active MEC pickups, an eye catching buck-eye burl finish and what is maybe the smoothest ebony fingerboard I’ve ever seen, let alone played.
Reviewed: Outlaw Effects Cactus Juice Overdrive
Outlaw Effects are a fairly recent entrant to the guitar and bass pedal arena, boasting a range of almost 20 micro-sized pedals. After spending some time with their Tubescreamer-inspired Cactus Juice Overdrive, I’m as big a fan of the pedal as I am of their jokes (their tag line is “there’s a new sheriff in tone”, and their entire range is creatively western-style named. Brilliant.) While some manufacturers might blatantly ripoff another famed pedal, the Cactus Juice retains its own character of Tubescreamer, and has some handy additions that turn it into its own micro-sized beast.
Reviewed: Takamine EF341SC Acoustic Guitar
Black and white is a colour scheme so often associated with very regal and dignified things, the likes of tuxedos, grand pianos and the New Zealand rugby team (respect). Upon opening the case for the Takamine EF341SC, I knew that I was dealing with a guitar to match the prestige of the aforementioned. Admittedly, I never really thought much of a gloss black finish when it comes to acoustic guitars, but I was pleasantly surprised by just how classy it looked matched with the subtle, yet refined white binding. Colour me surprised.