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Strung Out by Zach Fjestad

Strung Out by Zach Fjestad
  Zachary R. Fjestad is a former author of the Blue Book of Acoustic Guitars, Blue Book of Electric Guitars, and Blue Book of Guitar Amplifiers, as well as the author of the revised edition of the Gibson Flying V book. Fjestad has been covering the music industry at Blue Book since 2002 and regularly attends guitar trade shows along with several vintage guitar shows. He also reads and makes notes on music industry trade and vintage guitar magazines and is in contact with several musical industry representatives.
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McPherson 4.0XP Brazilian Rosewood with Manhattan Skyline

McPherson set themselves apart from the rest by introducing the offset soundhole on their guitars. This is a unique feature to their instruments, but others in the industry utilize it as well. McPherson’s Custom Shop produces some truly one-of-a-kind pieces that really stand out from the rest and this 4.0XP is no different. Featuring the Manhattan skyline, the back of this guitar has unbelievable inlays. In fact, the artist working on this guitar adjusted the color of some of the windows in the building only a week before the NAMM Show because he didn’t quite like how they looked.

ESP Rinne (Transmigration)

ESP’s Custom Shop is known for producing some truly unique guitars, but this one tops them all. ESP Japanese Master Luthier Masao Ohmuro pulled out all stops on this design. Loosely based on a Flying V, this guitar is a work of art. There is a making of this guitar on ESP’s website that shows how it evolved. I’ll let that do the talking.

Magnatone Single V

Ted Kornblum of St. Louis Music notoriety revived Magnatone a few years ago and re-introduced the brand at the 2013 NAMM Show. Just two years later, they’re setting up international dealers. The Single V is loosely based on a ’56 Tweed Pro with 30 watts output, 2-12 inch speakers, and two channels. Another feature is true pitch shifting vibrato that was utilized on the original Magnatone 280 – something that defined Magnatone. All Maganatone amps are built in the U.S., and the Single V is part of the Traditional Collection.

Ibanez Joe Satriani 25th Anniversary Art Guitars

To celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Joe Satriani/Ibanez relationship, Ibanez produced 50 special art models that directly involved Satriani. The artwork on each one of these guitars was drawn by Satriani himself at the Ibanez Custom Shop in Los Angeles, and each piece is unique. Satriani takes a cue from his sisters, who did the artwork on a few earlier Ibanez models, and taps into his own artistic creativity. These guitars are a mix between the JS2400 and JS2450 models, and 25 of them will be available for sale in the U.S. Even at a retail price of $8,000, these guitars will likely be collectible for Satriani enthusiasts.

Rickenbacker 4004L Laredo

One of the most standard and consistent exhibitors at the NAMM Show is Rickenbacker. Probably underappreciated when it comes to basses, Rickenbacker does offer a full line of bass guitars. The 4004L Laredo utilizes the famous 4000 body shape of the Rickenbacker bass with simple and sleek appointments. A low loss circuit in combination with high output pickups delivers loud yet clear tones.

Honorable Mention:

Sabian Cymbals

Blue Book doesn’t have a book or database on drums, but walking through Hall D of the Anaheim Convention Center, the Sabian booth was unavoidable because of their giant wall of cymbals. Go big or go home rings true here (as with many other displays at the NAMM show) and I’m always impressed at manufacturers’ creativity to filling up otherwise empty booth space. Hey, if you can’t expand out, the only other way to go is up!

Back-side image of Martin D-35 guitar courtesy Martin. Full-size image of 2015 Gibson Les Paul Classic courtesy Gibson.

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Strung Out - by Zachary R. Fjestad
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