Tag: Acoustic Guitar

<aAddicted: Real Estate on Elliott Smith's "Condor Ave"

<aAddicted: Real Estate on Elliott Smith's "Condor Ave"

Martin Courtney clarifies how the acclaimed indie songwriter’s use major-7th chords, “Beatles-y tunes,” as well as fine-touch thumbing subtleties set out a narration plan.


That’s one of the things that Brian loves regarding the Aqua Puss analog hold-up. Brian was constantly drawing out an old Memory Man Delay to inspire performative, improvisational delay expressions. FTE – Wampler ‘Faux Tape Echo’This is one

of our most prominent hold-up pedals as well as for good reason. A great deal of tape emulation delays just include chorus to an existing electronic delay circuit. The Ethereal is Wampler’s popular ‘all-in-one’ electronic delay as well as reverb pedal.

Rig Rundown: Train

Rig Rundown: Train

Like King Ghidorah, these rock fretmasters prove three heads are better than one.


After a five-year break in studio releases, Train came roaring back this year with AM Gold and a tour with dates stretching into 2023 that’s delivering their new songs and a sampling of the group’s 28 charting singles from their nearly 30-year history. PG’s John Bohlinger stopped in on the band’s two guitar players, Jerry Becker and Taylor Locke, and bassist Hector Maldonado, before their June 21 show at Nashville’s Ascend Amphitheater. They displayed the big bevy of instruments they use to recreate the Train sound live.

PS: Special thanks to techs Wayne Davis and Stephen Ferrera-Grand for help running down the rigs.

Brought to you by D’Addario Nexxus 360 Tuner.

Yellow Fever

Taylor Locke’s No. 1 is this all-stock, scarred Gibson Custom Shop Les Paul Special in TV yellow. For the record, Locke uses Shubb and Kyser capos, strings his axes with Dunlops, and uses the latter company’s picks and slides.

Hum-Doozie

When the song calls for a guitar with humbuckers, Locke goes with his all-stock Gibson Custom Shop R7 Les Paul Goldtop. It’s essentially a re-do of a 1957 Paul right down to the chunky C-profile neck and Indian rosewood fretboard.

Double Trouble

Some of Train’s songs require both electric and acoustic tones, and for those Taylor employs an Epiphone Casino, which tech Stephen Ferrera-Grand has outfitted with Fishman’s PowerBridge pickup system. The jack on the Casino is stereo, which enables splitting the stock electric pickups and a piezo pickup to two separate wireless packs, mounted side-by-side on Taylor’s guitar strap. The piezo signal hits a Sound Sculpture Volcano expression pedal volume controller that routes to an on/off switch on his Line 6 HX Effects stomper. The piezo sound is sent to front-of-house and monitors via a Fishman Aura Spectrum DI preamp.

Fab Filtration Across the Nation

When it’s time to go Filter’Tron, Locke straps on this tuxedo’d G6128T Vintage Select ’89 Duo Jet with a trusty Bigsby. In case the colors aren’t shining though in the photo, it’s an impressive black with metallic green sparkle, and Locke keeps it tuned a half-step down and strung with Dunlop .011s

Old Frontier

Locke aims for a couple of classic acoustic guitar tones, and for vintage vibe he reaches for this 1964 Epiphone Frontier. It’s from the original ’58 to ’70 run, with a Sitka spruce top and maple back and sides. These days, the model has been restored to the catalog courtesy of Gibson’s acoustic builders in Bozeman, Montana.

Clydesdale Tone

The workhorse sound of the Gibson J-45 resonates in the Train catalog, and this is one of many the band keeps in their 6-string arsenal.

Reso-Phonics

When the language of roots guitar needs to be spoken, Locke grabs his Gretsch resonator—part of the company’s Roots Collection of guitars. This one uses Gretsch’s patented Ampli-Sonic biscuit cone.

Playing the Dozens

When it’s time to wrangle acoustic jangle, this all-stock 1971 Ovation Glen Campbell 12-string gets to shine and shimmer. Unlike modern 6-string Campbell signature Ovations, this guitar lacks a cutaway. It has a Sitka spruce top, a walnut bridge, and an ebony fretboard—and sounds killer.

It’s Pronounced Oo-koo-lay-lay in Hawaiian

The hit “Hey, Soul Sister,” which reached No. 3 on Billboard’s pop chart in 2009, is guaranteed set-list material for every show. So, of course, Locke always has a requisite ukulele onstage. Here’s a look at the pair of Godin ukes in his rack.

Lean, No Cheese, 35 Watts

Locke uses a Top Hat King Royal 2×12 combo kept slightly off stage but loud enough to be audible. The 35-watter has three 12AX7s and four EL84 power tubes, and a GZ34 governing the rectifier. There’s a fat-off-bright switch, too. How does he run it? See the next photo.

All Set!

Here are his settings for the Top Hat. Note the master volume riding at 1 o’clock and his preference for the hi-input jack.

Is That a Banana, or….

Locke isn’t monkeying around: If his Top Hat goes down, he’s got a Vox C4 tucked aside as a spare. And a banana—maybe to snack on while Ferrera-Grand powers the amp up?

The Great Switcheroo

Locke’s electric guitar signal hits a Shure Axient Digital wireless and zooms into a Radial SW4 switcher. Tech Stephen Ferrera-Grand does the wireless switching on the Radial unit, in his guitar rack.

Above the SW4, you’ll see, peeking out, the acoustic boss: a Countryman DI. The Godin ukuleles follow the same signal flow as the acoustics, but along a different path into a separate Countryman DI.

Treading the Treadles

From the rack, the signal is sent out to a Pedaltrain ’board, outfitted with a Best-Tronics patchbay. The board contains a Dunlop DVP1XL volume pedal to a Line 6 HX. A second DVP1XL controls certain effects parameters, such as delay repeats and Leslie speed. The signal is then sent into a Boss NS-2 noise suppressor and on to the Top Hat amp.

Each speaker gets its own microphone: a Shure SM57 and an Audio-Technica AT4040.

For the majority of the set, Taylor keeps his HX set up with the following effects models: a Tone Bender fuzz (for leads and solos), a Klon Centaur (primary overdrive sound, almost always on), an MXR Timmy OD (neutral volume boost), EHX Deluxe Memory Man (modulated slap delay), Boss DM-2 Delay (long delay), and a Fender Vibratone (rotary). Taylor scrolls to other pedalboard scenes for song-specific effects, using tremolo for “Meet Virginia,” a Small Stone phaser for “AM Gold,” and so on.

Butterscotch Bliss

Another entry from the realm of the classics: Jerry Becker’s 2011 all-stock Fender American Vintage ’52 Telecaster has an ash body, a large U-profile neck, and, of course, a maple fretboard. It is strung with Dunlop DEN1046 Electric Nickel Performance+ string sets, running .010–.046. PS: Becker uses Levy’s straps and wireless pouches, Dunlop custom graphic signature picks, and Kyser Quick-Change capos.

Red Horse

This Gibson SG Classic from 2010 is stock and strung with Dunlop Performance+ .010–.046 sets—as are all his electrics. It has P-90s, a rosewood fretboard, and pearloid dot inlays up the neck.

Guitar of the Beast

This second-generation Gibson Les Paul Special reflects the body style that led Les Paul himself to cut ties with Gibson in the early 1960s. Nonetheless, with their two P-90s and lighter slab bodies, these are killer guitars. The double-horn cutaways make this 1973 a rare beast. It’s stock.

All Stock and Ready To Rock

Here’s Becker’s 1973 Gibson Les Paul Custom, left as it came from the factory. As you may recall, this model comes with “banjo”-style fret wire, to earn their reputation as—as Gibson put it on the model’s introduction in 1954—fretless wonders.

Modern Classic

This Gibson ES-339 was built in the first year the model was issued: 2007. The company introduced this guitar as a smaller—Les Paul sized—take on the ES-335, with a laminated maple-poplar-maple body, a maple center block, and spruce contour braces.

One More 45

Here’s yet another of Train’s Gibson J-45s. This one is a 2013 Custom Shop model in a wine red finish, and it is strung with Elixir 11050 80/20 Bronze Polyweb lights, gauged .012 to .053.

Nashville Tuning

Becker’s 1966 Gibson B-25 is set up in Nashville, or high strung, tuning. In this tuning, the wound E, A, D, and G strings are replaced with lighter-gauge strings tuned an octave higher than usual. In the old days, this had to be done by raiding 12-string sets, but some modern string makers produce Nashville tuning sets. So, Becker uses D’Addario EJ38H Phosphor Bronze .010–.027s.

Canadian Nylon

This 2017 Godin Multiac Nylon Duet Ambiance Natural HG has Fishman electronics that allows the internal blending of four microphone settings. It also sports a slim nut width (1.9″), a Richlite fretboard, and a chambered mahogany body. The strings: D’Addario EJ31 Pro-Arté Rectified Nylon Hard Tensions.

In the Pedal Pond

Becker uses a Fractal Audio Systems FX8 MkII combined with a Mission Engineering SP-1 Expression Pedal. There’s a Lehle D.Loop SGoS Loop Switcher, a Boss TU-3 Tuner, a Radial JR-2 Remote, and a Lehle P-Split Passive Splitter. It’s all powered by a Voodoo Labs Pedal Power 2 Plus.

But Wait, There’s More

Guitar tech Wayne Davis mapped out Becker’s signal flow for us. The electric guitars hit a Shure Axient Digital Wireless receiver and flow into a Radial JX62. There, the 6-strings can be directed into the Lehle D.Loop in and then out via a loop A send to the Fractal FX8. The loop A return then reroutes through a D.Loop out to the Radial again. Then there are amp options: a Matchless DC-30 or a Leslie combo preamp and 145 rotary speaker cabinet. Acoustic guitar arrives via the wireless and hits the PA via the JX62 DI out.

Green Sound Machine

This envy-shaded DC-30 is Becker’s big gun. It was the company’s first design and gets huff from four EL84s, with two preamp sections: one powered by two 12AX7s and the other by a single EF86. That’s a lot of tonal versatility.

The Understudy

This Vox AC30 acts as Becker’s back up.

Coming Up Roses

Bassist Hector Maldonado’s long search for an early ’60s P bass landed him this 1960 Fender Precision days before Train’s current summer tour. The gem was professionally refinished by Joe Riggio of Riggio Custom Guitars at some point, but other than that it’s as Leo intended over 60 years ago. Riggio helped connect Maldonado to the seller so he could acquire his dream bass.

No. 2

With the arrival of his new old P, this off-the-rack Fender American Vintage ’62 P bass reissue got demoted to the No. 2 slot. But Maldonado says it plays better than some of his vintage instruments, and this 4-string has been around the world a few times with Train. Both Fenders take D’Addario roundwounds (.045–.100).

Sir Paul’s Highball

If you’ve spent time with any of the last three Train albums, you’ve heard this limited-run Hofner Gold Label Violin Berlin model. It is made of German Nussbaum wood and has the company’s 511B staple pickups in a normal-spacing configuration. Hofner’s Gold Label instruments are highly limited editions.

Get Back!

For the ultimate Beatles’ vibe, Maldonado uses this Hofner B-Bass HI-Series Violin model. It provides the desired “pluck” sound of 1964. Both of his stage Hofners take D’Addario XL Chromes, flatwound (.045–.100).

Spanish Flair

“Cleopatra” off AM Gold has a flamenco guitar part. Maldonado is classically trained, so he was the obvious choice to handle it, plus Becker and Locke are already busy with their own guitar chores on the song. Hector’s setup on his Yamaha CG172SF is creative. He uses a blend of strings from his Fender Bass VI and nylon guitar strings to hold down the low end and shred fingerstyle.

Racked and Ready

A Mesa/Boogie Subway D-800+ powers his basses, while an Avalon U5 Class A Active Instrument DI give a clear signal to front-of-house. And like his compatriots, he’s running a Shure AD4D rackmount wireless system.

More on the Floor

Maldonado has more pedals on the floor than his fellow Trainmen. His stomp station consists of a trio of mini MXRs—a Carbon Copy, Phase 95, and Vintage Bass Octave—plus an Electro-Harmonix Holy Grail Nano reverb, a Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver DI, a DigiTech Bass Driver OD, an Origin Effects Cali76 compressor, and a Mesa/Boogie Five-Band Graphic EQ. A Dunlop Volume (X) DVP3 and a Boss TU-3s mini Chromatic Tuner keeps his instruments reined.


So, You Wanna Be a Luthier? Part 2: The Scoop on Lutherie Schools

So, You Wanna Be a Luthier? Part 2: The Scoop on Lutherie Schools

In my previous column, “So, You Want to Be a Luthier?”, I talked about the types of people attracted to lutherie training programs, some of the possibilities and options these individuals have at their disposal, and discussed both long-term and short-term training, either of which have their place for primary or supplemental training. But the question remains, what school should you choose for your lutherie training? And what might a school have to offer that would best suit your educational needs?


Here’s some good news: While the guitar itself is of European ancestry, since we are a guitar-crazy culture, many of the premier schools for fretted musical instrument making and repair are right here in the United States. In fact, many international students travel to the U.S. to learn here and typically comprise up to one third of our student body.

With all schools, there’s not one that will check every box and perfectly meet everyone’s criteria. Students have different learning styles and personalities that flourish in various types of training programs. For example, my school, the Galloup School of Guitar Building and Repair, focuses on hands-on training to make sure students leave with a premium amount of time physically building and converging with musical instruments. But for some, this type of training may not be as flexible as they would like. So, let’s look at some of the options available in the world of lutherie schools.

Short-term training is geared toward students who want to quickly advance their skills and resumé in a reasonable timeline. At Galloup, we do offer short-term training, but it primarily focuses on bread-and-butter skills and problems that are commonly encountered in guitar repair and restoration. Additionally, the Galloup School has been authorized by Taylor Guitars as a Silver and Silver Plus Level Warranty Certification training facility. However, Galloup does not offer short-term training for guitar making.

Students have different learning styles and personalities that flourish in various types of training programs.

For those looking to build a guitar in a short amount of time, one of the most established short-term programs is the American School of Lutherie, operated by Charles Fox in Portland, Oregon. This is an incredibly well-balanced program focusing on the quality construction of a flattop steel-string and an electric guitar. Another great program is operated by Robert O’Brien in Parker, Colorado. O’Brien Guitars offers an all-hands-on-deck operation wherein students build a flattop instrument in roughly one week. For short-term archtop guitar training, Dale Unger at the Nazareth Guitar Institute does a great job. Students move through building 17″ L5-style archtops to completion in the white (no finish applied) in one week. I’ve spoken to many students who’ve taken Dale’s class and they were more than happy with the experience. These are great options since they’re short and the training style is typically more personalized.

Long-term training, on the other hand, is a completely different situation, where classes can range from a few months in a private trade school to two years in an accredited college-based program. At Galloup, we offer long-term training that can extend to more than 2,000 training hours if a student wants to take all classes available. But although we are a licensed private trade school, we are a non-accredited program. So, as with all non-accredited programs, students must finance it themselves or secure a loan through a private lending institution.

Minnesota State College’s Guitar Repair and Building program in Red Wing, Minnesota—often called the “Red Wing school”—is a great example of a two-year, college-level course of study. Another medium to long-term option is the Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery in Phoenix, Arizona. To my knowledge, it’s the longest-running lutherie program in the United States, and it has produced many fine luthiers over the years. Roberto-Venn offers an 880-clock-hour program that allows students to take part in more of the design elements of guitar making. With both Red Wing and the Roberto-Venn schools, their accredited backing makes it easier to secure financial aid for those in need of assistance.

There is no one right answer. It’s up to the individual to determine what school and curriculum best meets their needs and financial preferences. In fact, many students choose to attend multiple programs to fulfill their education requirements.

For a full list of lutherie classes offered worldwide, you can check the Guild of American Luthiers at https://luth.org/resources/lutherie-schools/lutherie-schools-usa/. Not only do they offer a full listing, but the Guild is also a great source of information for inspiring luthiers.

Fender Paramount PS-220E Review

Fender Paramount PS-220E Review

Fender’s new Paramount PS-220E Parlor is a million kinds of fun. For starters, imagine picking up a little old Stella tucked away in a dusty corner of a garage sale—only to find the action is perfect and the tuners actually work. Then consider the basic joys of any good little acoustic: how easy it is to hold, how light it is, how little room it takes up when you leave it sitting around the living room waiting for whatever spark of inspiration hits at random. The PS-220E dishes oodles of those small pleasures. And while the price isn’t exactly small for an imported instrument of this stature, the playability and versatility are equal to much more expensive instruments.


All Dressed Up

There are a lot of reasons the Paramount sells for a somewhat premium price. It’s charmingly handsome—in no small part because of the detail work that reveals itself up close. The purfling, rosette, and backstrip are fashioned around a pretty feather-and-checker pattern of blue, green, and red that alternate with spaces of antique white. The entire neck and headstock are bound, and quite immaculately at that. The ovangkol fretboard inlay and headstock overlay are classy and understated but feel that extra bit luxurious. The visual charm is reinforced by a subtle chocolatey burst finish on the solid mahogany top. And while the solid mahogany back and sides are made from what some might call rough grain, the rustic effect works in harmony with the fancier details to create a sort of restored antique look.

While the price isn’t exactly small for an imported instrument of this stature, the playability and versatility are equal to much more expensive instruments.

You certainly can’t complain about the detail work on the guitar’s exterior. Adding so many visual treats means more spots where workmanship can go wrong. But everything from the frets to the binding, purfling, and inlays are pretty much perfect. Inside, things are less so. There is evidence of sloppy gluing and less-than-precise kerfing cuts—none of which have any bearing on the sound. But the price of the guitar does leave you longing for a tidier touch on that count.

Sit and Strum Awhile

If you imagined the perfect guitar for sitting down with after a long workday, or the ideal songwriting partner that you drag from the garden to the beach to the living room and down to the studio, it might feel a lot like the Paramount PS-220E. The action is delectably low, and you can vigorously strum barre chords from the 1st fret to the 12th without hearing any buzzing or clanking strings. The C-profile neck is just substantial enough to make you feel like you’re not squeezing to fret effectively, but slim enough that you can move around quickly. The easy playability means the PS-220E very handily transcends simple strummer roles. Fingerstyle moves and complex chords are made significantly easier for the low action and nice set-up, which can give you a lot of confidence for stretching your playing. It’s great for leads for the same reasons. Occasionally there is a slight sense of disappointment because the small parlor body can only generate so much muscle for these applications. And there is inevitably some limits to the dynamic range you can generate. That said, the PS-220E has impressive headroom for a guitar of this size. And pushing it to its limits rarely creates any harsh overtones.

The Fishman Sonitone Plus undersaddle pickup and preamp are, in general, an effective addition to the PS-220E. The tones most suited to the guitar tend to live in the lower third of the tone control’s range, and I generally played with the volume as low as possible to soften any undersaddle transients. Hard strumming, needless to say, brought out the least flattering of these sounds. But the Sonitone could sound quite sweet in fingerstyle situations, which makes it a nice fit for the very fingerstyle-friendly PS-220E.

The Verdict

It’s hard to find a reason to complain about any aspect of the PS-220E’s performance or playability. It feels fantastic—at times like a natural extension of your body. And if you struggle at all with hand or body fatigue from wrestling with a bigger instrument, it’s hard to imagine a more enjoyable alternative. But the PS-220E is appealing for many reasons beyond comfort. The playability makes it a much more direct line between your musical intuition and imagination, which is a pretty invaluable thing whether you’re a songwriter or tackling a challenging tune or arrangement. It’s a good thing the PS-220E is as stylish and easy to play as it is, because $829 is pretty steep for an import instrument. But regardless of price or place of manufacture, you can’t argue that the PS-220E is a pure joy to hold and play.

Gear Finds: Acoustic Edition 2022

Check here for some of the latest and greatest acoustics in 2022!


SE P20

The PRS SE P20 is a parlor-sized acoustic with a
big voice. Boasting traditional parlor features
like sweet, midrange tone, historic vibe, and easy
portability, the PRS SE P20 also brings a unique
voice to players. The PRS hybrid “X”/Classical
bracing locks down the back and sides while
allowing the top to freely vibrate, allowing the
PRS SE P20 to project with even, bold tone, while
the all-mahogany construction provides an organic
warmth to the guitar. Its smaller size keeps
playing fun and comfortable for hours, so whether
writing, recording, or performing the P20 is sure
to impress.

Available in three satin finishes with herringbone
rosettes and accents, PRS SE Parlor acoustics look
as good as they sound. Other high-quality features
include a solid mahogany top, ebony fretboard and
bridge, bone nut and saddle, as well as PRS
trademark bird inlays and headstock design.

SE P20E

The PRS SE P20E is a parlor-sized acoustic with a big voice. The PRS P20E features all-mahogany construction, and has an organic, warm voice. Featuring PRS hybrid “X”/Classical bracing, which allows the top to freely vibrate, the SE P20E projects with even, bold tone. Its smaller size makes playing for hours fun and comfortable and allows for more convenient transport.

Parlor-sized acoustics can be miscategorized because of their size but make no mistake this is a professional-grade instrument. Plug in, and the PRS-Voiced Fishman Sonitone pickup system delivers dynamic, organic tone, so whether writing, recording, or performing the P20E is sure to impress. This electronics system features an undersaddle pickup and soundhole mounted preamp with easy-to-access volume and tone controls, which essentially transforms what some may consider a “couch guitar” into a workhorse stage instrument.

SE T40E

The PRS SE T40E pairs ovangkol back and sides with a solid spruce top for full, lush tone. When matched with PRS hybrid“X”/Classical bracing, which allows the top to freely vibrate, the SE T40E’s voice projects with breathtaking volume and delicate nuance. The Tonare Grand body shape delivers a familiar feel and a thunderous tone, well suited for picking and fingerstyle playing.

Plugged in, the PRS-Voiced Fishman Sonitone pickup system delivers dynamic, organic tone and allows players to easily take this guitar from rehearsal to the stage. This electronics system features an undersaddle pickup and soundhole mounted preamp with easy- to-access volume and tone controls.

Additional high-quality features include a solid spruce top, ebony fretboard and bridge, bone nut and saddle, as well as PRS trademark bird inlays and headstock design. Ships with a high-quality hardshell case.

SE A40E

The PRS SE A40E pairs Ovangkol back and sides with a solid spruce top for full, lush tone. When matched with PRS hybrid“X”/Classical bracing, which allows the top to freely vibrate, the SE A40E’s voice projects with breathtaking volume and delicate nuance. The Angelus Cutaway body shape delivers comfort and playability, well suited for picking and fingerstyle playing.

Plugged in, the PRS-Voiced Fishman Sonitone pickup system delivers dynamic, organic tone and allows players to easily take this guitar from rehearsal to the stage. This electronics system features an undersaddle pickup and soundhole mounted preamp with easy-to-access volume and tone controls.

Additional high-quality features include a solid spruce top, ebony fretboard and bridge, bone nut and saddle, as well as PRS trademark bird inlays and headstock design. Ships with a high-quality hardshell case.

SE A60E

The PRS SE A60E pairs ziricote back and sides with a solid spruce top. The tone favors a full bottom end with rolled-off highs reminiscent of some vintage acoustic guitars. When matched with PRS hybrid “X”/Classical bracing, which allows the top to freely vibrate, the SE A60E’s voice projects with breathtaking volume and delicate nuance. The Angelus Cutaway body shape delivers comfort and playability, well suited for picking and fingerstyle playing.
Plugged in, the PRS-Voiced Fishman Sonitone pickup system delivers a dynamic, organic tone and allows players to easily take this guitar from rehearsal to the stage. This electronics system features an undersaddle pickup and soundhole mounted preamp with easy-to-access volume and tone controls.
The SE A60E is beautifully appointed with abalone and figured maple accents. Additional high-quality features include a solid spruce top, ebony fretboard, and bridge, bone nut, and saddle, as well as PRS trademark bird inlays and headstock design. Ships with a high-quality hardshell case.

SE Hollowbody II Piezo

The SE Hollowbody II Piezo combines the balanced, clear, resonant tone of a hollowbody instrument with the power and stability of a solid-body electric guitar. The 58/15 “S” pickups deliver clarity and balance that sound big and musical in a hollowbody platform.

Boasting an LR Baggs/PRS Piezo system, the SE Hollowbody II Piezo provides musicians with the versatility of wielding both acoustic and electric tones in one instrument. Players can plug into the “Mix/Piezo” jack and use the individual volume controls to blend the 58/15 “S” pickups with the piezo’s acoustic tones. Alternatively, players can plug into the jacks separately, so the guitar can run magnetic pickups into an amp and run the piezo through an acoustic amp or DI into the soundboard. This is the most versatile SE instrument in the Series twenty-year history.

Advanced Acoustic Series

The Advanced Acoustic series represents an important step forward in the long and storied tradition of the acoustic guitar. In what amounts to a fully reimagined acoustic experience, these instruments were designed from the ground up to deliver a richer, brighter, and louder tone, with an unprecedentedly wide dynamic range. With slightly larger than typical proportions, Ibanez decided to name this new body shape the “Grand Dreadnought.” This reinvented design achieves a superb, powerful sound, and thanks to the extensive consideration given to the ergonomics, it’s extremely comfortable to play. The Advanced Acoustic series pushes the acoustic guitar to new heights in a way that promises an exciting experience for all players.

PA Series

The PA acoustic series from Ibanez affords fine-tuned fingerstyle playability and tone to a wider range of musicians by offering some of the key elements from the JGM signature models at a more accessible price point. The PA300E features a uniquely shaped asymmetrical jumbo body made from a solid German Spruce top and Pau Ferro back and sides. The 5-piece African Mahogany / Pau Ferro neck features a wider 45mm nut, allowing more space between strings for precise note access, a critical element for fingerstyle. The PA300E also features an extremely unique three-pickup system paired with an Ibanez custom preamp with three individual volume controls for the magnetic pickup, under-saddle pickup, and contact pickup. It also has stereo outputs for tailored signal routing options. The PA230E is largely similar except the top is made of Cedar and the back and sides are Okoume.

Altstar

The Ibanez Altstar is the perfect option for the aspiring electric guitarist with a drive to explore the world of acoustics. Its compact dreadnought body, 15.7” fingerboard radius, tighter string spacing, and 25.5” scale was all chosen to offer electric guitarists a seamless transition to acoustic playing. The Altstar line also offers one more surprise; the neck joins the body at the 16th fret rather than the 12th. This small but important feature, along with a single-cut body, affords unparalleled upper fret access offering uninhibited and comfortable playing in any register.

UKC100 and UKS100

The UKC100 and UKS100 are concert and soprano-sized ukuleles, both featuring a side sound port for accurate, natural acoustic tone. These Ukuleles also feature creative build elements that deliver major improvements in tone and playability. They both feature a neck joint at the 14th fret rather than the 12th, which offers significant benefits in terms of higher fret access. This design modification also allows the bridge to be positioned more towards the center of the instrument, producing improved volume and tone. Taller frets afford a faster and more accurate playing experience, and a reshaped, more rounded neck heel greatly improves playing comfort. The top, back, and sides of the instruments are made of Sapele, while the neck is a single piece of Okoume. The fretboard and bridge are made of Purpleheart, and each has an open-pore finish for better acoustic resonance and projection.

UKC100 and UKS100

The UKC100 and UKS100 are concert and soprano-sized ukuleles, both featuring a side sound port for accurate, natural acoustic tone. These Ukuleles also feature creative build elements that deliver major improvements in tone and playability. They both feature a neck joint at the 14th fret rather than the 12th, which offers significant benefits in terms of higher fret access. This design modification also allows the bridge to be positioned more towards the center of the instrument, producing improved volume and tone. Taller frets afford a faster and more accurate playing experience, and a reshaped, more rounded neck heel greatly improves playing comfort. The top, back, and sides of the instruments are made of Sapele, while the neck is a single piece of Okoume. The fretboard and bridge are made of Purpleheart, and each has an open-pore finish for better acoustic resonance and projection.

AEGB24E

The AEGB24 features an AEG body shape with a Sapele top, back and sides. The scale length is 32”, which affords a comfortable reach and playing position. Other notable features include a 3-piece Nyatoh/Maple neck, acrylic rosette, and die-cast tuners, along with a Walnut fretboard and bridge. The onboard electronics include an under-saddle pickup paired with an Ibanez AEQ-2T preamp equipped with an onboard tuner. The preamp delivers flexible tone-shaping possibilities with individual controls for volume, treble, and bass frequencies. This model also features a removable, extra-long finger rest, allowing the player to find a comfortable resting spot for their right hand across a wide span of the instrument. The bass is offered in two finishes, Mahogany Sunburst Gloss and Black High Gloss.

JGM Series

The Ibanez JGM series guitars are the signature instruments of Jon Gomm and represent an exciting advancement in the design of fingerstyle acoustics. They feature a number of unique specifications, not least of which is a distinctive asymmetrical jumbo body. This design enhances acoustic properties and provides ample surface area for the percussive elements of Jon’s playing. The body is made of a Thermo Aged™ Solid Sitka Spruce top and Pau Ferro back, and sides. The body also has Thermo Aged™ Spruce, Modified X-M bracing, helping to deliver lows that are more pronounced and brighter high end. The electronics include a Fishman® Rare Earth Mic Blend active sound hole pickup and Tap pickup, paired with Fishman’s Power Tap Earth Blend Preamp. The electronics offer an extremely organic sound that preserves the brilliant acoustic properties of these instruments.

Natura G550RCEL

Left-Handed Guitarists: mid-priced acoustic-electric with an Ergonomic Armrest seeking partner to make beautiful music.

“Wow, the armrest really helps keep from cutting off blood circulation when I’m practicing and feels like I’m playing a smaller instrument. Responds nicely both to some intimate playing, and has nice character when you hit it a little hard; it responds with a good full low end and is still crisp and clear.” ~ Sean Harkness, NYC

The NATURA G550RCEL is a Left-handed acoustic-electric featuring an Ergonomic Armrest for comfort. The G550RCEL is a solid Spruce top Grand Auditorium Cutaway with weight reducing Low-Mass bracing. It has a voice that is focused and harmonically complex and suitable for left-handed players looking for the volume of a full-sized instrument and the comfort of a smaller body. A Glass-fibre reinforced neck ensures a lifetime of neck stability.

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Elite Series Hanging Guitar Stand

We love metal at Gator – both the head-banging and physical types. While our metal stands are great for the stage and studio, they don’t always blend into their environment. Sometimes you need something more elegant and adaptable to the overall vibe of

your living room or studio furniture, which is exactly what the Elite Guitar Hanging Stands by Gator Frameworks provide – simplicity with an aesthetic to match any home or studio décor. These stands satisfy all types of players by providing a comfortable fit for most electric, bass and acoustic guitars. Show off your collection with style!

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BiX Instrument Preamp, EQ and DI

The Grace Design BiX preamp shares the exact same DNA of its bigger siblings, FELiX2 and ALiX, but with an intelligently streamlined feature set and a price that puts it in reach of any performer, whether on your way to the coffee shop or the Megadome. BiX delivers maximum clarity and detail for any plugged in instrument, with dead simple controls – input gain, high and low shelving EQ, and a 10dB variable boost circuit, with footswitches for mute and boost. I/O includes instrument input, separate send and return insert jacks, an unbalanced line output, and a balanced ISO DI output on XLR. And BiX is pedalboard friendly, with a 9VDC power input and a compact, rugged low-profile chassis. Visit www.gracedesign.com for complete details.

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Riversong Glennwood TS6 Review

The first and perhaps most important thing to know about Riversong’s Glennwood TS6 is that it aspires to hybridize elements of electric and acoustic guitars. This is not a new idea—certainly not in the amplified acoustic era, where the straightest route to eliminating feedback is by reducing the resonant elements that cause feedback in the first place. Some acoustic/electrics achieve these ends by slimming bodies down to electric-guitar thickness. Riversong, however, sticks to traditional acoustic formula by making the TS6 a full-sized instrument. Its dimensions are a little bit atypical: the 16″ wide body and 4 3/4″ thickness are about the same size as Martin’s “jumbo” J body and the Taylor Grand Pacific. The pretty silhouette also echoes the curvaceousness of those larger guitars. Those similarities sometimes feel like an exception, though. At nearly every other turn, the TS6 very happily breaks the acoustic design mold.


 A Nuts-and-Bolts Approach

You don’t have to look very hard or be an acoustic guitar construction expert to see that there is a strong deconstructive thread in the Riversong’s design. The gap in the top behind the bridge, the slim heel, and, above all, the bracing and neck-through build are major breaks from classic acoustic design philosophy. These very overt differences are also a clue to how the Riversong stretches the definition of what an acoustic guitar is.

Most tradition-minded acoustic builders would consider the small space aft of the bridge detrimental to a resonant top. And few would opt for the bolt-on neck and through-body re-enforcement that runs the length of the body. These obvious deviations from acoustic design dogma are just the start. Peek through the side port and you’ll see “skeletized” bracing that looks like sections of a cantilever bridge in miniature. Adjustment to the action and neck tilt? They’re made with an Allen key that you place through an access cavity on the back of the guitar at the heel.

All these very unconventional elements are executed at a very high level of workmanship. I failed to find a construction miscue anywhere. The fretwork is pretty much perfect and the solid wild cherry back and sides, Sitka spruce top, maple neck, and walnut fretboard are all shaped and put together with obvious care.

Electrified Vibrations

Considering that the TS6’s primary mission is that of a hybrid electric/acoustic—and that so many of its fundamental design elements would traditionally be considered detriments to acoustic tone—the TS6 sounds pretty good unplugged. If I had to guess, I’d venture that the Jumbo-like dimensions were adopted, in part, to offset the diminished volume and overtones that could result from the neck-through design. Yet the TS6 is notably resonant, particularly in the low-midrange, and exhibits nice sustain. It may not be as loud or detailed as a dedicated acoustic of similar dimensions, but it holds its own, and the combination of projection from the side port and soundhole creates a nice composite sound image that would be well worth miking and doubling with the pickup signal in a studio or on a quiet stage.

The combination of projection from the side port and soundhole creates a nice composite sound image that would be well worth miking and doubling with the pickup signal in a studio.

The TS6’s amplified qualities and its electric-like playability are the main attraction, though. The Fishman Flex undersaddle pickup and preamp hold up pretty well to hard strumming without getting quacky, but the guitar and pickup work best together in dynamic fingerstyle settings. I tended to work from fairly tame tone settings on both the TS6 and the Fishman Loudbox I used for amplification, but the TS6 left ample headroom for adding sparkle to the basically well-rounded tonal foundation. Playability, as advertised, is excellent for a flattop. The 16″ fretboard radius and jumbo frets make it easy to fret with a light touch. The 1 5/8″ nut width and the neck profile (which to me felt at various times like a 1960s Guild or a Rickenbacker) also conspire to lend a very electric-feeling experience. The neck-thru system’s ability to facilitate and withstand pitch-bending neck wobbles also checks out just as Riversong claims. I can’t remember using an acoustic in this fashion so readily, dramatically, and with such negligible effect on tuning stability.

The Verdict

At around $2,000, the TS6 is a flattop for players committed to the unconventional or performers that can also afford to keep a classic flattop around for recording pure acoustic tones (if they are concerned with such expressions). It’s a niche instrument, but it does a brilliant job of blurring the lines between acoustic and electric.