Fender got the official start of NAMM off to a great start with more Parallel Universe series instruments. Following up on the mixed response some of these guitars got last year, the Parallel Universe II series seems a bit more streamlined. Plus, it shows Fender branching outside their own design/company concepts in an exciting way!
Overall, 8 new guitars have been released to the word, some whackier than others. My favorite has got to be the two new Troublemaker instruments, the Deluxe and Deluxe Bigsby.
Inspired by the Telecaster’s arch rival, the Gibson Les Paul, this may be the most perfect marriage of these two instruments. Gibson is surely not too pleased to see this, but I love the idea of having some premium Gibson designs and sounds in a Fender package. 22 medium jumbo frets, Mahogany body, push-pull double tap pots and even block inlays. What’s not to like?
How about the same thing but with a Black Beauty twist and a Bigsby? Yeah, it’s pretty much a perfect guitar.
One of the weirdest, most striking guitars they just announced, meet the Maverick Dorado. Tim Shaw-designed Filter’tron pickups, a Bigsby, and straight up out-there looks abound. Hit up Fender’s website for even more about this new line and to see the other new models!
With the start of the year comes the start of a crazy month of gear announcements, unveiling, and buying/selling. Winter NAMM 2020 promises to be just as big, if not bigger, than last years behind plenty of exciting news. Let’s take a look at 6 of the guitars that caught my eye and will definitely be featured on this site in the months to come…
Fano has gotten into the affordable guitar game with their new under-$1000 line of Omnis series. The best of the bunch has got to be this GF6 offset semi-hollow (maybe hollow??) guitar that draws on the classic Fender Starcaster design. It looks like these guitars are going to sport Alder bodies, satin-finished Maple necks, and Pau Ferro fretboards. Plus, they’ll feature the same pickups as the USA-made Standard series!
Allegedly leaked by a Reverb seller and first reported by Gearnews.com, this new Fender Player Lead III looks absolutely nuts. Purple Metallic finish, dual humbuckers, and two switches that could be a 3-way and coil split?? I have to try this guitar, it just seems like it’s going to be killer.
A new signature model from Framus and Devin Townshend, this Stormbender also a lot more wallet friendly than many of their other guitars. This set neck beauty boasts 22 frets that meet a Mahogany body where two Fishman Fluence Devin Townshend signature pickups grace your eyes. Throw in an Evertune bridge and Graphtech locking tuners and you’ve got one sweet, modern metal ready six string.
Supro has had my attention all year (even if I haven’t gotten theirs yet) but this guitar takes it to another level. A semi-hollow that features a Bigsby, two Gold Foil minihumbuckers, all in a 335-sized package sounds great to me. The unique body and headstock design paired with the minihumbuckers makes this guitar quite the looker, and I have to imagine it has a totally unique tone to match. I need to play this one in 2020 for sure.
All three of Reverend’s new Contender models are awesome, but take a look at the ones on the left, the RB models. Their new Retroblast minihumbuckers are probably going to the next in a long line of beloved pickups. All that and a vibrato arm?? These cool, offset derivatives also feature the fantastic Bass Contour knob, a truly unique tone shaping option. We’ll hopefully have these and a few other Reverends reviewed in 2020!
Now under the leadership of longtime endorsee, past partner, and Muse frontman Matt Bellamy, Manson finally has offered some more budget friendly options. The new MCB-1 guitars are made by Cort but bear the iconic Manson label as well as Bellamy’s signature on the headstock. New Manson-designed humbuckers will be set in to Basswood body, which will also have a kill switch. Satin Black and Starlight Silver finishes give the guitar a gloomy appearance, perfect for churning out Muse’s dystopian futuristic guitar riffs.
As part one in a long series of interviews with YouTube’s most popular guitar players, we had the pleasure of talking with Ryan from 60 Cycle Hum and asking him a few questions about what got him and Steve started, and of course, guitars.
With this series, we hope to shed light on how many of these incredibly popular YouTube guitarists, all with varied backgrounds, got to where they are today. Whether they moved from a live stage to the screen or never toured the country, many of these YouTube personalities are becoming “rock stars” or “guitar heroes” in their own distinct way.
Don’t forget to like, subscribe, and follow all of our 60 Cycle Hum’s videos and podcasts, you won’t be disappointed!
Matt: Hi Ryan, thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us! What inspired you to start the whole 60 Cycle Hum YouTube channel and pod cast and really your whole career in the guitar world? Especially because you are coming at it from a surf- and church-rock inspired angle unlike many of your peers.
“Well the podcast started because my co-host Steve and I would sit at our desk jobs and send craigslist ads back and forth to each other all day. Around the same time, we both started listening to podcasts, and we looked at each other and said well, we’re kind of already doing that now, we just need to actually record it. So, we spent about 6 months joking about it, and once we figured out a name for the show, we started doing it. We already had mic’s and basic recording experience so it was easy to jump into.
As far as moving to YouTube and demos, it kind of just naturally progressed from doing the podcast. A friend of ours visited JHS and I said “hey bring me back some pedals” like jokingly and when he came back he actuallybrought back some pedals for us. I had already got into doing video production work, and I figured if people were gonna start giving me pedals than I need to shoot video coverage of them. And it just kinda grew out of that, I’ve realized it’s something I really enjoy doing. It’s just kinda slowly grown over the past five years.”
Matt: You do some really cool, not necessarily complex but awesome modifications. You have made a Fender Flying V, you fixed up the Epiphone SL1…What is your favorite build that you’ve ever done for the channel?
“Oh man, this is a hard question. My most functional one I did before I started the podcast, it’s a Mexican Strat body with a baritone Telecaster neck on it. The modifications I’ve done to the Squier Bullet Mustang have been a ton of fun for me. I just did a bunch of paint modifications to it, then I threw in a kill switch and then I dropped in an noatronic expression system into it. It’s a bare bones, good playing, cheap guitar so you can do a lot to it and not feel bad about it.“
Matt: I also loved the Harley Benton Mustang-style one, and you did the self-cut pickguard.
“That one was a lot of fun. I think what I like the most about that one is that I didn’t like the guitar stock when it arrived. The pickups were kinda ehh, the hardware needed help, like it was a really cheap version of an offset tremolo. But now that I have a pickup in it that I like and did some cosmetic modifications, I really like that guitar!”
Matt: One thing I also noticed about your podcast and your videos, more so in the videos, is that you’ve done a lot of work with more affordable guitars. Did you start that partly out of a market inefficiency where people weren’t covering them? Did you just not wanna go out and get Gibson’s and Fender’s?
“It’s a lot of things. I think that I’ve always had an attraction and a love for affordable guitars. I have a bit of an ADD mentality for guitars, I play one for a little while and then I want to shift to another. That’s a lot easier to do with affordable guitars. If I was going to be someone who only spent more than $1500 on a guitar, I’d only buy a new guitar every 3 years. With $200 guitars you can buy a new one almost every month and just keep putting them back into the market and doing experiments with them.
I want to try every single guitar that there is and cheap guitars happen to be what I can afford to that. And there is this niche in the YouTube market for that, I don’t see a lot of people doing what I’m doing where I buy a cheap guitar and spend 5 or 6 videos doing mods to it or exploring it and demoing it.”
Matt: Money aside or modifications aside, if the Fender or Gibson Custom shop was going to build you a dream guitar, what would you pick?
“I play surf rock and a lot of more classic/retro music, but I started out, my very first guitar was this Floyd Rose, 24 frets, shred kind of thing. That’s one thing I really like about the Harley Benton guitars, they all have really flat radius. I’ve always wanted a guitar that has that early ‘60s look like a Jaguar or Vox Phantom, but is like a secret shredder. Like a Jaguar with a Wizard neck on it or something. And a pickup that is wound just a little bit too hot. Like some sort of a Jazzmaster or Jaguar that is secretly hot rodded to be a fast player and high output with some sort of ridiculous metal flake look.”
Supro has continued in the current trend of major guitar makers sharing their new NAMM models early! They also really hopped on the Bigsby bandwagon this year, and included the re-popularized tremolo system on both the Conquistador (on the right) and Clermont (on the left) models.
The Conquistador and Clermont are essentially the same, stunning guitar but with different pickup configurations. In “Trans British Racing Green”, the Conquistador packs the familiar single f hole Supro style into a larger, 335-sized body. A Bigsby B7 tremolo graces the guitar along with a Gold Foil Mini-humbucker in the neck, and an Alnico 3 PAF humbucker in the bridge.
Dazzling thanks to its “Aqua Burst” finish, the Clermont pairs two of those same Gold Foil Mini-humbuckers in the same 335-sized package. Unlike the Conquistador’s Mahogany body, the Clermont has an all Maple, flat-top construction. Both guitars also feature the vintage “Hofner Tea Cup”-style knobs. Even better, both cost just under $1000 each, providing surprising value behind the glamorous looks and features.
As we prepare for an onslaught of gear reviews and news related to the NAMM show coming up, GFI now has a brand new Instagram page! Follow @guitarsforidiots for pictures and demos of all the gear that we’re reviewing, modifying, or jamming on. We’ve got some great reviews and videos coming up before we roll out our new YouTube channel, and you won’t want to miss them!
One of the best parts about being a guitar journalist is finding new, exciting brands and guitars to review and write about. Luckily, we’ll be getting one of these gorgeous Goldfinch guitars to review shortly. In the meantime, let’s take a look at this awesome company and their current offerings!
The Painted Lady
Featured in the cover image, the Painted Lady is one off kilter guitar that more people should know about. The offset guitar comes in a variety of sick colors and single pickup configurations. You can even get it as a 12 string! Better yet though, it is designed to be easy to modify and ambidextrous, as you can easily flip it over and have a lefty guitar. Need I say anymore?
This guitar is weird looking, but that is what makes the Noir so appealing. It’s got that 3 humbucker design that is reminiscent of either of Gibson’s Black Beauty guitar or the Supro Tri Tone. It’s wonderfully weird, and feels like an American-made guitar despite its affordable price and overseas construction. It looks weird but is very well built, that’s a pretty cool match in my opinion.
Now the Kensignton is one of the coolest guitars I have seen in awhile. 3 P90s grace this monster, one of which is a dog ear. Plus it is semi-hollow, this thing just rocks. I can’t even imagine the wide variety of tones I could pull from this thing, and while we have some Goldfinch reviews in the pipeline, I hope this one will join soon as well. They also have a Kensington bass that is now available for pre-order, adding yet another awesome option to their growing line.
Why Goldfinch Guitars?
I’m sure you are thinking this is a sponsored post, but it isn’t. I receive no payment from any company, big or small. I just love highlighting gear that I love. These models are really out there, but at way more affordable prices than some of my favorite weird Eastwood models. They are cool, affordable, and generally well received. While my opinions could strengthen or worsen after I review them, this is a company that definitely deserves your attention.
Reverend, like many companies, is getting the NAMM party started early with a trio of announcements. Two new models, the Roundhouse and Contender, and an updated model, the Warhawk, grace your eyes above.
The Warhawk Reboot
Available in three configurations, the new re-launched Warhawk combines an offset body with a plethora of color options. The DA version comes with a P90 in the neck and a humbucker in the bridge, their popular “Double Agent” load out. The same guitar comes in the DAW package, just with an added Wilkinson tremolo system. Lastly, the 390 comes with three p90’s stacked into the body, providing a ton of sonic options.
Announced just before Christmas, the Roundhouse is a Les Paul-like take on a Reverend guitar. Featuring a carved Flame Maple top and tune-o-matic bridge, the Roundhouse is a double humbucking machine.
Another trio of top shelf guitars, the Contender family brings an offset LP body style with a number of pickup configurations. Available with or without a vintage, bigsby-like trem system, the Contender also comes with either humbuckers, P90s, or Reverend’s new Retroblast Mini-Humbuckers.