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10 of the Best New Guitars Released in 2018

FenderFramus and Warwick GuitarsGibsonGuitarsIbanezLP-Style and Single-Cut GuitarsMetal GuitarsNutter GuitarsOffset GuitarsPaul Reed SmithPRSSG-Style GuitarsS-Style and Double-Cut GuitarsStone Wolf GuitarsSuhrT-Style GuitarsUnique-Shaped Guitars+-
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2018 has been a pretty decent year for new guitar releases - with genuinely something exceptional for near enough every variety. Fender released the really cool alternative range of Parallel Universe guitars - including the above Troublemaker Telecaster. And Gibson released the perfectly packaged Les Paul Junior Tribute.

 

We also saw Ibanez, Music Man and PRS further build on their quality reputations - while Music Man concentrated more on its Sterling diffusion range as it was so busy ...

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10 of the Best New Guitar Amps Released in 2018

3rd Power AmpsAmp CabinetAmp HeadAmpsBossCombo AmpGigging AmpHome-Play AmpKoch AmpsMESA/BoogieModelling AmpPaul Reed SmithPRSSolid State AmpSuproTube AmpVox Amplifcation+-
2018GPXBestNewAmps2018700-min.jpg

I feel Boss still kind of bossed it in 2018 - with 3 heavy hitters that took on all-comers in those categories - the Katana Air, Katana Artist and Nextone Artist - a trio pretty much suited for any sort of conditions - the first as the best of the portable practice amps - and the latter two as the ultimate versatile gigging-machines - for those that still like to lug amps around.

 

I feel that this sort of cabinet form factor of amp will be largely restricted to more fixed locations as ...

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Thoughts on Modifications, Partscasters and Kit Building, and DIY Guitar Making in general

Analysis PlusBen CroweBig Leg CircuitsChristopher OwenCrimson GuitarsDarrell BraunGear MaintenanceGuitar AccessoriesGuitar Gear Improvements and PrototypesGuitar Gear ResourcesGuitar Gear RetailGuitar MaintenanceGuitarsPaul Reed SmithPRSSchallerSeymour DuncanThe Tone KingWarmoth Custom Guitar Parts+-
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This article was inspired by a number of things really, but most recently triggered by a few YouTube videos - by Louis The Tone King and Darrell Braun. I’ve been an avid follower of Louis, Darrell and one Ben Crowe over at Crimson Guitars for a few years now. I have watched all of Ben’s crazy guitar builds and have for a long time been tempted to go on one of the Crimson Guitar Building Courses and make my own axe as it were.

 

In my recent feature about Guitar Tuning ...

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Further Thoughts on Guitar Tuning Fidelity, Locking Machine Head Types and Arrangement

Ernie Ball Music ManGear MaintenanceGuitar Gear Improvements and PrototypesGuitar MaintenanceGuitarsPaul Reed SmithPRSSchecter Guitar ResearchScott Walker GuitarsWarmoth Custom Guitar PartsWashburn Guitars+-
2018GPXTrapezoidHeadstocks700-min.jpg

The last time I covered this subject - ’The Shape of a Guitar’s Headstock has a significant impact on Tuning Stability’ I focused more on what the issues were rather than the solutions. Here I will go into slightly more detail about the science of guitar tuning fidelity and all the little gains that can be made by doing things properly! This article was sparked in part by my recent article on 9 ’SG’-style guitars, where I really decided for once and for all that I ...

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What Two Years of Tone-Questing Looks Like - Acquisitions, Passes and Still Probables

Big Muff Style FuzzBoostBoost and OverdriveBossChorus and VibratoCompressorCryBabyDelayDelay WorkstationDigital DelayDigital ReverbDistortionDriveDual-DriveDunlop EffectsDunlop UltexElectro-HarmonixFuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGuitar AccessoriesGuitarsKatanaMarshall Style DistortionModulationModulation WorkstationMulti-DriveOverdrivePaul Reed SmithPicks and PlectrumsPitchPRSReverbReverb WorkstationS-Style and Double-Cut GuitarsStrymonUtilityVolumeWah and Fixed Wah+-
2016AfBlgToneQuest700-min

As stated elsewhere, I got back into guitar again in September 2016, and initially had decided to keep it simple with a great guitar and a cool modern modelling amp. Yet I soon found out that this was not delivering the goods for me and decided in November 2016 that I should pursue the pedal / stompbox route also known as ’pedal platform route’.

 

A very great number of YouTube videos I watched in those early days, as well as pedalboard pictures on Pinterest featured Strymon ...

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The Perfect Electric Guitar Design and Why

Guitar Gear Improvements and PrototypesGuitarsIdeal Guitar BuildPaul Reed SmithPrototype-XPRSS-Style and Double-Cut Guitars+-
2018AfBlgPerfectGuitar700-min

Following on from my visualisations of Perfect Pedals and Amp I now add my take on my idealised guitar - of course largely building on and evolving from PRS here. When I scope out a guitar for myself I have a number of key criteria in mind - which must be present in a guitar or easily upgradeable at home. In fact the easiest way to communicate this is why a top-to-bottom checklist with explanations - the highlights of which are covered in the visual above:

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PRS Guitars - 6 of the Best

GuitarsPaul Reed SmithPRSS-Style and Double-Cut Guitars+-
2018AfBlgPRS6Guitars700-min

To most guitar buyers there are 3 essential classic guitar types that most try to own one of each within their lifetime. These 3 classics are of course a Fender Stratocaster, Fender Telecaster and Gibson Les Paul - all have different shapes, headstocks, tonal profiles and different feel - and each has its own strengths and weaknesses. Together these 3 guitar tropes have influenced all others and been the bedrock of rock’n’roll since the late 1950’s. These guitars hold their ...

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Paul Reed Smith spends 2.5 years building John Mayer a PRS Strat Replica - the JM635 Silver Sky

Brent MasonFenderGuitarsJohn MayerPaul Reed SmithPRSSG-Style Guitars+-
2018AfBlgPRSSilverSky700-min

So the world’s least secret surprise is finally revealed - the long awaited John Mayer PRS S-Type which has already been seen out in the wild at various gigs. I must say that I am both pleasantly surprised and bemused at the same time, while the £2,300 ticket price is not unreasonable really compared to other pro USA-made ’strats’ by the likes of Suhr etc. It’s called the ’Silver Sky’, while its model designation is 635JM which comes from the source ...

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Electric Guitar String Theory - Gauge, Type, Tone, Touch, Lifespan, Price

D'AddarioDR StringsDunlop StringsElixirErnie BallGHS StringsGuitar AccessoriesOptima StringsPaul Reed SmithPRSRotoSoundStringsWilly's Mexican Lottery+-
2018AfBlgGuitarStringTheory700

Most 6 string guitars (electric) are supplied with standard 10 gauge (10-46) strings usually OEM’d for the guitar manufacturer by one of the main manufacturers or overseas subsidiaries. Some guitars are down-tuned by default, like my PRS Holcomb SE and those tend to have heavier gauges (10-52). 7, 8 and 9 string guitars have particularly heavy gauges, I may consider a 7 at some stage, but I’m really not going anywhere above that.

 

Both my current Guitars are PRS; my CE was ...

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6 of the Best Amps introduced at Winter NAMM 2018

Amp CabinetAmp HeadAmpsBossCombo AmpEVH GearGigging AmpHome-Play AmpKoch AmpsModelling AmpPaul Reed SmithPRSSolid State AmpTube AmpVox Amplifcation+-
2018AfBlg6NAMMAmps700

I know many guitar aficionados prefer to spend most of their money on amps, then guitars, then pedals. While in many ways I’m the other way around really. Although I wouldn’t mind spending around £2K for an amp or a guitar once I’ve saved up, my guitar will always take precedence as the highest ticket value item. For me the guitar is the start of the tone journey, and so much of what is important in handling a guitar and achieving great tone and dynamics is impacted by ...

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