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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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2015 NAMM Top Ten "Best By Blue Book" Part 1   
2015 NAMM Top Ten "Best By Blue Book" Part 2   

2015 NAMM Top Ten "Best By Blue Book" Part 1

Sunny Southern California is in our rearview mirror, and the grueling NAMM Show is once again behind us, but all the cool new industry gear is still fresh in our minds. Blue Book was there once again to gather the information on all the 2015 guitars and amplifiers that will populate our Blue Books and online databases. For those who are unable to attend the show (and those who weren’t able to cover every square foot that we do), here is our top ten list of cool, new, and exciting instruments from the 2015 NAMM Show, in no particular order:

Brown’s Guitar Factory Custom Lap Steel

As John Brown’s website states, “You Dream It, We Build It!” This message couldn’t be more appropriate with this hybrid lap steel skateboard. Featuring a one-piece solid maple body, Macassar ebony fingerboard, Slow-wound TuckerBucker pickup, dog bone-shaped mother-of-pearl inlays, leather handle, and a built-in wah-wah swell, this lap steel is nicely equipped. The skateboard trucks and wheels are optional, and we recommend not taking this out on the streets unless you want to risk scratching the cool California Ocean Blue Flake finish. Nice work on the creativity, guys!

2015 Gibson Les Paul Classic

Gibson is beginning to release a new set of their core models each year that are just different enough to be distinguishable from earlier models. However, this Les Paul Classic probably looks radically different to most purists with Gibson’s G Force electronic tuning system, a wider neck and fingerboard with a zero fret, only three knobs (as opposed to the normal four) with push/pull coil taps in each volume control, and a built-in 15db turbo boost in place of the missing tone control. Lastly, Gibson pays homage to the late Les Paul by commemorating what would have been his 100th birthday in 2015 with a gold “Les Paul 100” on the headstock. I was told at the Gibson booth that this may have been Les Paul’s last signature before he passed away – talk about timeless!

Martin 50th Anniversary D-35

Martin’s famous D-35 with a three-piece rosewood back turns 50 in 2015, and to celebrate, Martin is producing a 50th Anniversary model that is limited to 100 pieces worldwide. The D-35 was born in 1965, when Brazilian rosewood was becoming increasingly difficult to obtain, so Martin created the three-piece back in order to utilize smaller pieces of wood. The guitar became quite popular with a deep sound and the likes of Johnny Cash playing the guitar. The 50th Anniversary model has a Brazilian rosewood center piece, but the wings (other two pieces on the back) are made of Indian rosewood. For Martin D-35 enthusiasts, this will likely be a sought after instrument.

Tone King Falcon

Mark Bartel, who builds Tone King amps, is part of the Premier Builder’s Guild – a consortium of instrument and amp manufacturers that pool resources to maximize their efficiency (this will become increasingly popular in the future). The Falcon is totally retro in cosmetics, simplistic in circuitry, and modern in terms of technology. A 12W output from 2 x 6V6 tubes through a 10-inch speaker with only volume/tone controls gives it old school tone. A three-position “voicing” switch gives three unique styles of sound (rhythm, tweed, lead). Lastly, an Ironman power attenuator allows the user to achieve the same tone and feel at several different power levels. This means you can get the same sound out of the amp without waking up the entire neighborhood.

Guitar Revolution V-Shaped Guitar with Electronics Clip

Innovation is what drives the musical instrument industry, and Guitar Revolution’s electronics clip is proof of that. A combination of guns and guitars (at Blue Book, we can relate very much to this combination), the V-shaped guitar has a patent-pending removable “clip” in the side that acts as on-board electronics. This clip can be removed (just like a magazine in a firearm) and interchanged with different electronics as well. The guitarist is left with a cool looking guitar and an easy way to modify sounds just as quickly as you could replace a clip in a gun.

Please click here to read Part 2!

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Strung Out - by Zachary R. Fjestad
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