Gear en Banjo Boom: Beautiful or Bold, These Banjos Rule <!--paging_filter--><p>Recently I took a little road trip to visit the Museaum of Making Music, or MOMM in Carlsbad, CA. </p> <p>It was chock full of cool historic gear and some fun interactive surprises.</p> <p>But what really caught my eye was the special banjo exhibit: <em>The Banjo: A New Day for An Old Instrument.</em></p> <p>The idea that banjo is coming into its own has been simmering in the back of my brain, and this just confirms it.</p> <p>Ranging from simple but cool instruments to intricate masterpieces, the collection gives a great overview that covers early banjo history to the instrument's role in today’s music. </p> <p>Here I present a gallery of some favorites. Are they banjos or works of art? You decide.</p> <p>And if you’re in southern California, got check out the Museum of Making Music. The banjo exhibit is there through October 31, 2014.</p> <p>Find out more at &lt; a href+< of mating music</a></></p> Acoustic Nation banjo Gear Blogs Wed, 16 Apr 2014 06:35:40 +0000 Laura B. Whitmore The Taylor T5z: Acoustic to Electric in the Flip of a Switch <!--paging_filter--><p>When Taylor’s T5 debuted in 2005, it won awards for “Best Acoustic” and “Best Electric” guitar from industry players. </p> <p>Now the company is introducing the T5z, the smaller yet bolder version of the T5. </p> <p>The hollowbody design features an active soundboard to produce a natural acoustic voice and incorporates three pickups: an acoustic body sensor, a concealed neck humbucker, and a visible bridge humbucker. </p> <p>Crossover design features include dual compatibility with electric and acoustic amps, plus five-way switching and onboard tone controls that let you shift from shimmering acoustic to screaming electric in an instant. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="349" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p>Find out more at <a href=""></a></p> Taylor Guitars Gear sponsor Tue, 15 Apr 2014 05:42:43 +0000 Acoustic Nation Contest: Enter to Win a Fender Ukulele! <!--paging_filter--><p>With springtime coming just around the corner (for some of you, anyway), what better instrument than the ukulele for strumming on the porch on a balmy day?</p> <p>Luckily, the folks at Fender agree and have partnered with us to offer one of their brand new ukes — the Ukulele Hau’oli, to be exact — for one lucky winner.</p> <p>Ukuleles are enjoying renewed popularity, with exquisite sounds and designs that are a far cry from mere musical toys. </p> <p>Originally built by Portuguese immigrants to the Hawaiian Islands in the 1880s, the small guitar-like instruments produced a lilting sound that instantly evoked the lush South Pacific atmosphere of their island homeland. Today, ukes can be heard in everything from Top 40 pop to folk and everything in between. </p> <p>Check out this fine example of the very nice Fender Ukulele Hau’oli:</p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/fenderuke.jpg" width="620" height="399" alt="fenderuke.jpg" /></p> <p>Enter below for a chance to get your hands on this small but powerful instrument and add a little Uke-alicious flavor to your gear menu! </p> <p>The Fender Ukulele Hau’oli features all laminate mahogany, concert shape with 19 frets, an awesome Tele headstock, plus Aquila Nylagut Tenor Wound C strings. The instrument also bears an acrylic abalone rosette, scalloped fan bracing, a bone string nut and a rosewood bridge with bone saddle. It's valued at $229.</p> <p>Contest ends April 30, 2014. Safari or Firefox browsers are recommended to view contest.<br /> <a href="">Enter here (don't forget to share!). </a></p> <p>Learn more about Fender ukuleles and other goodies at <a href=""></a>.</p> Acoustic Nation Contests Fender giveaway News ukulele Gear Blogs Contests Mon, 07 Apr 2014 20:46:08 +0000 Acoustic Nation The Next 40 Years of Taylor Guitars <!--paging_filter--><p>On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Taylor Guitars, co-founder Bob Taylor shares his vision for the company's guitar-making future and explains why master builder Andy Powers is good for both Taylor and the next generation of guitar players.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="349" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p>Find out more at <a href=""></a></p> Acoustic Nation Taylor Guitars Gear Blogs sponsor Thu, 03 Apr 2014 18:45:42 +0000 Acoustic Nation Introducing the New Taylor 800 Series Models <!--paging_filter--><p>Taylor has made a tradition of celebrating milestone years by looking forward rather than back, and its 40th anniversary year is no different. </p> <p>Guided by the design strokes of luthier Andy Powers and the manufacturing expertise of Bob Taylor, Taylor has re-conceived its flagship rosewood/spruce 800 Series, infusing it with a sweeping array of tone-enhancing refinements. </p> <p>Virtually every element of the guitar’s material construction was optimized: bracing, wood thicknesses, glues, finish, strings and acoustic electronics, topped off with a refreshed design aesthetic. </p> <p>The end result is the perfect type of musical celebration: a more inspiring playing experience. </p> <p>Below, Bob Taylor and Master Builder Andy Powers discuss the future of Taylor tone, why the company's golden era is still ahead, and the vision behind the redesign of Taylor's flagship 800 Series.</p> <p>Find out more at <a href=""></a>.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> Acoustic Nation Taylor Guitars Gear Videos sponsor Tue, 01 Apr 2014 03:48:49 +0000 Acoustic Nation Review: Cordoba 12 Natural Nylon String Guitar <!--paging_filter--><p>If you’re a steel string acoustic player looking to crossover into the world of nylon string guitars, then the Cordoba 12 Natural is for you. </p> <p>The 12 Natural belongs to Cordoba’s Fusion series, a line of high quality crossover or hybrid style nylon string guitars that are designed to play and feel like steel string acoustics.</p> <p>Built with a solid Canadian cedar top, mahogany back and sides plus a rosewood fingerboard and bridge, the 12 Natural features a hand inlaid rosette using maple and rosewood rings, with 3 ply maple and ebony top purfling for a sleek aesthetic.</p> <p>With a nut width of 48mm (1 7/8”), the neck of the 12 Natural is carved thinner than traditional classical guitars, allowing the player to easily get around the fretboard. And since the neck meets the body at the twelfth fret (hence 12 Natural), the guitar is very comfortable, and quite portable too. </p> <p>The guitar’s slimmer dimensions combined with a radiused fingerboard give the 12 Natural the feel and playability that most steel string and electric guitar players are used to. </p> <p>Tonally, the guitar has all the warmth, body, and resonance that traditional nylon string guitars are known for. And for nylon string purists, the 12 Natural is built using traditional Spanish guitar methods like domed soundboards and fan bracing patterns. </p> <p>Complete with Fishman Presys electronics, built in tuner and a deluxe Cordoba gig bag, the Natural 12 is ready to gig. </p> <p>Below, watch Paul Riario give the Cordoba 12 Natural a spin:<br /> <iframe width="620" height="349" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p>Find out more at <a href=""></a>. </p> Acoustic Nation Cordoba Cordoba Guitars Gear Wed, 19 Mar 2014 00:30:08 +0000 Acoustic Nation Video: The 2014 Martin Authentic Series <!--paging_filter--><p>In the video below, Chris Thomas, senior artist relations manager for Martin Guitar, shows off the new 2014 Authentic series guitars, which were unveiled at the Winter NAMM Show in Anaheim, California, in January. </p> <p>The D-28 Authentic 1937 and the 000-28K Authentic 1921 are stunning new recreations based on 1937 and 1921 museum guitars with original specifications confirmed using X-ray technology.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p>Find out more at <a href=""></a>.</p> Acoustic Nation Martin Martin Guitar Gear Tue, 18 Mar 2014 01:15:09 +0000 Acoustic Nation Korg Announces New Rimpitch Acoustic Guitar Tuner at Musikmesse <!--paging_filter--><p>Korg announces the Rimpitch, a new style of acoustic guitar tuner for players who want a tuner close by at all times, but in a more discrete format than a clip-on option. </p> <p>The Rimpitch is a unique tuner that attaches to the sound hole of an acoustic guitar. </p> <p>It provides an incredibly convenient viewing angle, since its tuning meter appears within the player’s natural line of sight when looking down at their guitar. Its compact size and slim profile in the sound hole offer a discrete tuning experience.</p> <p>The Rimpitch features a high-visibility LED and a Piezo pickup that rapidly detects sound from the body of the guitar. It fits a variety of six-string acoustic guitars with a rubber clip that secures it to the sound hole, providing tuning that only the player can see, in a natural position during performance. In addition, the Rimpitch can be left attached to a guitar when not in use, for convenient transportation and storage. </p> <p>Check out the Rimpitch up close:<br /> <img src="/files/imce-images/korgacoustictuner2.jpg" width="425" height="424" alt="korgacoustictuner2.jpg" /></p> <p>The Korg Rimpitch tuner will be in stores in early summer 2014 for a US street price of $24.99. </p> <p>Find out more at <a href=""></a>. </p> Acoustic Nation Korg News tuners Gear Tue, 18 Mar 2014 00:32:38 +0000 Acoustic Nation Gibson Introduces Limited-Edition 1965 Donovan J-45 Guitar <!--paging_filter--><p>Gibson has introduced its new limited-edition 1965 Donovan model J-45 acoustic guitar. The guitar is based on the Gibson J-45 Donovan bought on Sunset Boulevard in the mid-Sixties. </p> <p>"I wrote every song on it from late 1965 into ’70, when it was stolen during a college-town gig," Donovan told <em>Guitar World</em> last month. </p> <p>This meticulously recreated J-45 honors Donovan and the music he created on the original guitar — and bear in mind, we're talking about rock classics that include "Sunshine Superman," "Season of the Witch," "Mellow Yellow," "Wear Your Love Like Heaven," "Hurdy Gurdy Man" and many more. </p> <p>The body radius, neck, finish and Sixties-style adjustable bridge were carefully recreated in order to build a custom-shop signature model for one of the most influential singer-songwriters of the last century.</p> <p>The guitar features the LR Baggs Lyric acoustic guitar microphone, an amplification system featuring a bridge-plate-mounted, featherweight microphone. You can check out <em>Guitar World</em>'s review of the Lyric system <a href="">right here.</a></p> <p>Labels on the guitars are personally signed by Donovan; all his proceeds from the guitar will be donated to teaching transcendental meditation. The guitar was built in Bozeman, Montana.</p> <p>"I was speaking to Peter Leinheiser from Gibson two years ago, and I said, 'My little J-45 still hasn’t turned up'," Donovan said. "I think he said, 'You’re being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Why don’t we make you one?'”</p> <p>For the rest of this conversation (during which Donovan discusses the guitar, his picking style, working with Jeff Beck, Rick Rubin, Jimmy Page and more), check out the "Dear Guitar Hero" feature in the upcoming May 2014 issue of <em>Guitar World</em> magazine.</p> <p>For more about Donovan — and his guitar master classes — visit <a href=""></a>. For more about the limited-edition Donovan J-45, check out the specs below and visit <a href=""></a></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/Screen%20Shot%202014-03-12%20at%201.59.03%20PM.png" width="620" height="353" alt="Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 1.59.03 PM.png" /></p> <p><strong>GIBSON DONOVAN J-45 SPECS:</strong></p> <p><strong>Body style</strong>: J-45 series, with a Sixties period-correct radiused body<br /> <strong>Wood</strong>: Sitka spruce top, mahogany back and sides<br /> <strong>Binding</strong>: Multi-ply top, single-ply back, multi-ply double-ring rosette<br /> <strong>Finish</strong>: Period-correct Cherry Sunburst, Nitrocellulose Lacquer<br /> <strong>Electronics:</strong> <a href="">LR Baggs Lyric microphone</a><br /> <strong>Strings</strong>: Gibson light gauge .012-.053; <a href="">La Bella Silk &amp; Steel</a> strings are included in the case<br /> <strong>Tuning machines</strong>: Vintage-style white button, 15:1<br /> <strong>Pickguard</strong>: Tortoise Fifties-style pickguard<br /> <strong>Bridge</strong>: Traditional rosewood belly up with adjustable saddle<br /> <strong>Scale</strong>: 24 3/4”<br /> <strong>Fingerboard</strong>: 12-inch radius rosewood with MOP dot inlay<br /> <strong>Nut width</strong>: 1.725” bone<br /> <strong>Neck-to-body</strong>: Compound dovetail secured with hide glue at the 14th fret<br /> <strong>Neck</strong>: One-piece mahogany</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> Acoustic Nation Donovan Donovan Leitch Gibson LR Baggs News Gear Acoustic Guitars Interviews News Gear Wed, 12 Mar 2014 18:28:02 +0000 Damian Fanelli Martin Guitar to Unveil Four New Guitar Models at Musikmesse 2014 <!--paging_filter--><p>C. F. Martin &amp; Co. will unveil four new models at Musikmesse 2014 in Frankfurt, Germany, March 12-15.</p> <p>Two new retro-inspired models, the 000-18 and OM-28, both highlight distinct vintage design and include features that can be found on coveted Martin pre-war era guitars. </p> <p>Additionally, two new cutaway models are being introduced, the DC-Aura GT and GPC-Aura GT, both of which will come equipped with Fishman F1 Aura Plus electronics.</p> <p>The 000-18, which has a beautiful aging toned top in Sitka spruce with ¼” scalloped “X” bracing, is married with mahogany back and sides. The body is edged with tortoise color binding and complemented with a polished finish. The 24.9” short scale model’s neck features a modified low oval profile with Performing Artist taper, with a width of 1-3/4” at the nut and 2-3/16” string spacing for easy playability. Nickel open-geared tuners with butterbean knobs are found with a rosewood headplate, which displays a large old style Martin logo. MSRP $2,899.00. </p> <p>The OM-28 is constructed with all the features of the OM-28E Retro without the electronics package. Aging toner and a polished gloss finish are applied to the Sitka spruce top which features ¼” “X” scalloped bracing. The polished gloss East Indian rosewood body is edged with ivoroid binding. Like the 000-18, the model’s neck features a modified low oval profile with performing artist taper with a width of 1-3/4” at the nut and 2-3/16” string spacing for easy playability. The 25.4” long scale produces powerful notes which are great for a variety of playing styles. Nickel open-geared tuners with butterbean knobs are found with a rosewood headplate, which displays a large old style Martin logo. MSRP $3,799.00.</p> <p>View the OM-28 below:<br /> <img src="/files/imce-images/martinom15.jpg" width="225" height="499" alt="martinom15.jpg" /></p> <p>DC-Aura GT and GPC-Aura GT: The new Dreadnought and Grand Performance are special models consisting of East Indian rosewood bodies with a satin finish and a polished gloss Sitka spruce top featuring a two ring pearl rosette. Added features for both models include certified African blackwood bridges and fingerboards with hexagon pearl inlays. The chrome ratio tuners with skeleton knobs allow each string to have its own gear ratio, making tuning easier. The skeleton button adds a jewel like appearance and lessens the weight of the tuners. Both models come equipped with Fishman F1 Aura Plus electronics and a hard shell case. MSRP $2,699.00.</p> <p>Find out more at <a href=""></a>.</p> Acoustic Nation Martin Guitar News Gear Wed, 12 Mar 2014 15:22:53 +0000 Acoustic Nation Dean Markley Introduces XM Series Acoustic Pickup <!--paging_filter--><p>Dean Markley has introduced its new XM acoustic pickup.</p> <p>From the company:</p> <p>Achieving true, transparent acoustic tones through amplification has always been a struggle. </p> <p>Dean Markley’s new XM Series acoustic pickup is specifically designed to deliver true acoustic sound while eliminating the common problems of other amplifying techniques. </p> <p>In addition to working with acoustic guitars, the XM series features a model that will work with other acoustic instruments such as fiddles, mandolins, banjos, bajo sextos, ukuleles, cello and viola. All three models are available now and are made in the U.S.</p> <p>The XM (Xtra-fast Mounting) is a connection system using the popular Dean Markley ProMag Plus, ProMag Grand and Artist pickups. The XM series utilizes a 24-inch low noise cable hardwired directly to the pick and terminates at a female 1/4-inch jack. At the female 1/4-inch jack is a strap button mount that allows a musician to connect any instrument cable or wireless system. All XM units install in seconds to amplify any acoustic instrument into any amplifier, PA system or recording device. There is no drilling or modifications required so that the integrity of the instrument remains intact.</p> <p>The Dean Marley Artist XM is a transducer pickup that mounts directly to the soundboard of the instrument without invasive adhesives or hardware. It is specifically designed to accommodate traditional acoustic instruments such as fiddles, mandolins, banjos, ukuleles, cellos or violas. It can also be used to amplify hollow body jazz guitars without sound holes or electronics. </p> <p>Here's a photo of the Artist XM in action:</p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/DMtransducer2.jpg" width="620" height="321" alt="DMtransducer2.jpg" /></p> <p>The Dean Markley ProMag Plus XM is the continuation on the original design introduced 25 years ago. The single coil pickup floats directly under the strings of an acoustic guitar or bajo sexto and is suspended in place by two foam inserts that gently caress each side of the sound hole. </p> <p>Its unique design allows the pickup to capture both the sound of the vibrating string and the sound projecting from within the body of the instrument, transmitting the true, transparent acoustic tones. The suspension foam pieces also allow the user to adjust the proximity of the pickup to the strings to compensate for the actual tones created by the guitar.</p> <p>Dean Markley’s ProMag Grand XM offers the same features of the ProMag Plus but houses a humbucker pickup for hum-free signal that is desired in studio recordings.</p> <p><strong>MSRP:</strong><br /> Artist XM – $79.95 USD<br /> ProMag Plus XM – $109.95 USD<br /> ProMag Grand XM – $129.95 USD</p> <p>For more information, visit <a href=""></a>.</p> Acoustic Nation Dean Markley News Gear Acoustic Guitars News Gear Wed, 12 Mar 2014 01:02:31 +0000 Acoustic Nation Video: Martin Guitar's 2014 Performing Artist Series <!--paging_filter--><p>In this video, Chris Thomas, senior artist relations manager for Martin Guitar, shows off the new additions to the company's Performing Artist Series. All the models were unveiled at the 2014 Winter NAMM Show in Anaheim, California.</p> <p>The GPCPA4 Shaded Grand Performance cutaway and the DCPA4 Shaded Dreadnought cutaway are the warmly shaded top versions of the GPCPA4 and DCPA4 models.</p> <p>Find out more at <a href=""></a>.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> Martin Guitar Gear Wed, 12 Mar 2014 00:08:18 +0000 Acoustic Nation Video: The 2014 Martin Custom Shop Models <!--paging_filter--><p>In the new video below, Martin's Senior Artist Relations Manager, Chris Thomas, unveils two new beautifully crafted Custom Shop models — the Eric Clapton OM-ECHF Navy Blues Model and the CS-00S-14. </p> <p>Both guitars were debuted at the 2014 Winter NAMM Show. </p> <p>The Eric Clapton OM-ECHF Navy Blues is the third in a series of collaborations between Martin, Clapton, and Clapton's multi-talented friend/associate in Japan, Hiroshi Fujiwara. </p> <p>The CS-00S-14 is a premium Style 42 12-fret slotted-head fingerstyle model crafted with rare Honduran rosewood back and sides.</p> <p>Find out more at <a href=""></a>.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> Martin Guitar Gear Fri, 28 Feb 2014 13:21:07 +0000 Acoustic Nation Review: Norman Guitars Parlour SG Model <!--paging_filter--><p>When I hear about parlor guitars, I picture someone sitting by the fireplace in their 19th-century mansion, strumming chords while wearing a smoking jacket. </p> <p>Maybe that’s just me.</p> <p>A parlor- (also spelled parlour-) style guitar is easy to spot because of its smaller body. This gives the guitar a unique, punchy midrange tone and makes it easier to play and transport. Early American blues and folks artists preferred them for these reasons — plus they often were more affordable than dreadnoughts.</p> <p>Norman released its own version, the Parlour SG, as part of its Expedition series. The top, back and sides are made of a three-way lamination of wild cherry. The bridge and fretboard are rosewood. The nut and saddle are TUSQ by Graphtech. Additional options include a TRIC case and a Fishman Isys + electronics system with built-in EQ and tuner.</p> <p>The scale of the guitar measures to just under 25 inches, so even with a smaller body, the neck and fret spacing feels common. The built-in tuner on the Fishman pickup makes tuning a cinch. </p> <p>The Norman comes well setup with Cleartone strings. The finish feels great. It falls somewhere between glossy and satin, similar to an already-broken-in guitar. The sound hole is decorated with a burned-in rosette that lets you know the guitar is handmade in Quebec, Canada.</p> <p>Instantly this guitar could become “the couch guitar." The unplugged volume is a little quieter than your average acoustic. The TRIC case, which stands for Thermally Regulated Instrument Case, is a durable hybrid of a hard case and a gig bag. If you need to leave the couch, this guitar and case would make great traveling companions for work or camping.</p> <p>For the sound clips below, I played the same chord progression three times. First, the unplugged guitar is mic’d up. Second, the guitar’s pickup is plugged in direct. Finally, I blended together the pickup with the mic.</p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="350" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src=";color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true"></iframe></p> <p><strong>Web</strong>: <a href=""></a><br /> <strong>Street Price</strong>: Norman Expedition Parlour SG Isys+ (with case and electronics), $349</p> <p><em>You can't believe everything you read on the Internet, but Billy Voight is a gear reviewer, bassist and guitarist from Pennsylvania. He has Hartke bass amps and Walden acoustic guitars to thank for supplying some of the finest gear on his musical journey. Need Billy's help in creating noise for your next project? Drop him a line at</em></p> Acoustic Nation Billy Voight Billy's Breakdown Norman Guitars Gear Acoustic Guitars Blogs Gear Wed, 26 Feb 2014 20:42:47 +0000 Billy Voight Gear Review: Learn to Play Guitar with Jamstar <!--paging_filter--><p>Jamstar is a guitar-learning app for iOS, android and desktop computer. </p> <p>Those looking for an interactive approach to learning guitar should check it out. It mainly targets beginner and intermediate players, but does contain more advanced lessons as well. </p> <p>Upon first entering the program, a prompt will ask how much experience you have and then suggest a lesson to try. </p> <p>There are plenty of lessons on each level covering everything from learning the strings and warm-up exercises to strumming chords with assortment of well-known songs. </p> <p>Jamstar tracks your performance by using the mic of your phone, tablet, or pc to pick up the sound of your guitar. It seemed to pick up my acoustic guitar well enough and the sensitivity can be easily adjusted within any current lesson. </p> <p>A built-in tuner will help guide anyone through the tuning process complete with note recognition, correct way to turn the tuning peg, and a voice guided prompt to let you know when to move to the next string. I found the tuner to be pretty accurate and easy to use. </p> <p>Jamstar also has a practice mode for each lesson. This gives you 15 seconds to play each note or chord correctly. You also have the choice to slow the piece down and work up speed at your own pace. </p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/Screen%20Shot%202014-02-24%20at%2011.49.05%20AM.png" width="620" height="395" alt="Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 11.49.05 AM.png" /></p> <p>The program keeps track of your progress, so you know where you need to improve based on how you did on each lesson. You also have the option to retake a lesson as many times as you want to get a better score. There are leaderboards so you can see how well you rank among other users. The ability to share your progress via Facebook or Twitter is also present.</p> <p>In the marketplace you can browse the different courses based on playing levels or music genres. Once you have exhausted all of the freebies, additional lessons are just $.99. There are also songs to play along to by a variety of artists including Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Foo Fighters, Green Day, Muse and more. </p> <p>For more info or to try it free check out at<a href=""></a></p> Acoustic Nation Jamstar Gear Tue, 25 Feb 2014 07:46:34 +0000 Justin Horenstein