This Week in Gear – 12.5.2013 – Mostly Gibson Edition

Gibson recently announced a whole bunch of crap is changing in 2014.  They’re a big company, so it’s a big deal.  Here’s a rundown of the major headlines.

Cool Stuff

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  • Auto-tune.  Updated system, keeping your guitar in tune.  I don’t know if I’d want this all the time, but if you’ve ever gone out of tune mid-song, this would be super helpful.  Also, I’d much prefer something that works with the actual tuners compared to the systems that use some sort of electronic pitch correction (ie – Peavey).  It’s really confusing to hear your guitar acoustically out of tune but in tune through the amp.
  • Possibly reasonable prices.  They’re making a big deal about affordability in 2014.  Obviously they’ve seen the negative press building over the years about their absurd MSRPs.  While I’m not sure anyone will be able to justify $2,999 for a Les Paul Standard Plus, a Les Paul Futura1 with the Min-ETune system for $1,149 isn’t too bad.
  • Graph Tech Nuts. Whoo!
  • PLEK! Say hello to better playability and intonation.  It’s about time Gibson.

Stuff that’s kinda neat, maybe?

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  • New Colors. They’re not showing much here.  Satin finishes can be cool.
  • New Pickups. This could be a really good thing, or really bad thing.  Won’t know until we hear them.
  • Undercut fret overbinding. After years of having frets randomly hanging over the edge of fretboards…
  • One piece fingerboards. It’s a good thing, but leave it to Gibson to brag about a “feature” that can be found on Chinese guitars.

Downright Stupid Announcements

  • Cryogenically treated frets. Because stainless steel is too expensive.  Jury is out on whether this actually helps, and it definitely only helps if it’s done right.  Simply throwing your frets in with the rocky road doesn’t make them better.  Would like to see some actual info on this one.
  • Proprietary strings. I don’t know what this means yet.  Hopefully it’s just that Gibson released their own line of strings and not that you have to use their line of strings…
  • New serial number system. I’m not sure how this makes things more collectable.  No matter how you number it, collectible + mass produced don’t mix.

In other news…

Wampler Ace 30

Everyone and their drunken brother-in-law makes an AC30 pedal.  Now Wampler does as well.  But you know what?  I’m pretty excited about this one.  It’s got a class A boost, a top cut, the boost runs independently from the overdrive circuit – so you can switch the boost on separate from the overdrive.  And the headroom switch has potential for fun, offering a chance to keep the thing a little cleaner if you’d like.  I know I run into problems with that a lot now, with my Catalinbread pedal, depending on the guitar/amp selection I use.  Sometimes it seems the gain knob can’t go low enough, and other times it feels like there’s no balls in the thing.  Switching to 15W mode for lower output pickups through high watt amps would be a nice option, and the other way for hot pickups and amps that break up early.

ace30

 

  1. Stupid name