What guitar gear I’d buy this week: a guitarist’s guide to the post-Black Friday comedown
It seems we’re never short of new releases, discounts and pre-orders in the guitar universe. Especially over the last week, which saw Black Friday burst through the door and shout about its many, many savings on amps, pedals and guitars. It can be a little overwhelming, and some seriously cool stuff could have slipped through the cracks. So here’s what I’d pull the trigger on right now, sitting in the smoking crater left by Black Friday.
READ MORE: The best distortion pedals to buy in 2023: 10 great hellraisers from budget to boutique
Why should you care what I’d buy? Well, as a reviewer here at Guitar.com I get to test out a wide variety of new gear every month – plus, I also play in a band on the regular, and, like you, I just genuinely love guitar gear!
JHS NOTAKLÖN – $99
Good things come to those who wait, and for those who missed out on the first round of NOTAKLÖNs (which went in about 4 picoseconds), more are on the way. I love DIY pedals because a) making stuff is fun and b) they really help you understand that circuits are just circuits, and there’s not that much “magic” going on. Even if they are the “correct” diodes…
The Notaklon is a great place to start for both those things – this pedal will be truly yours once you’ve made it, and despite being solderless, it might be the doorway to you diving fully into DIY pedal making. And hey, it’s also a Klone for just $99!
Check it out at JHS
S By Solar AB4.6FRC – $349
I’m of the firm belief that every player should try a guitar with a floating, locking vibrato once in their life – if only just to find out they don’t like it. Solar’s new S sub-brand – a sort of Squier equivalent with more affordable bolt-on models – launched not too long ago, and is offering some seriously mean-looking guitars for not that much cash. The AB4.6FRC in particular is a slightly (but not overly) pointy S-type with a Floyd Rose. Have you ever done a reverse dive-bomb? No? Well, you should. They’re fun. You’d like ‘em. Don’t listen to the other open-mic goers. Your drunken rendition of Sweet Home Alabama needs reverse dive-bombs. Trust me.
Check it out at S by Solar
G4M 638 Baritone – on sale for only £199
Above: a guitar you can get for £200.
Yes, even after Black Friday some deals remain. This baritone normally goes for around £300, but now it’s down to just under £200 – that’s a serious saving. Worried that G4M guitars are a bit “budget?” Well, they’re affordable, that’s for sure, but the Telecaster-alike I reviewed a while ago (back before the G4M brand incorporated both Gear4Music and SubZero products) was nothing to sniff at. It wasn’t the best guitar in the world, but it was by no means bad – and it was an awesome mod platform, as this baritone is as well. I’d probably use that £100 saved to swap out the bridge humbucker for something Alnico but higher-output – something like a Railhammer Anvil is great at handling lower tunings.
And yes, my baritone bias is on full display here – baritones are awesome, and can make you totally rethink the way you play. Seriously – tuning down to B and below isn’t all about djenting out derivative morse-code riffs: a baritone through some reverb and delay is a soundscape machine. But, yes, also, you can use one to shake all the crockery off your neighbours’ shelves if you so wish.
Check it out at Gear4Music
The money-no-object pick – Chase Bliss Lossy – $399
Well, I guess Brian Eno continues to be right. In 1996, he wrote a great passage about how as soon as the problems with any medium can be avoided, we’ll get straight on emulating those same problems. Enter Lossy, a pedal dedicated to the failing bitrate of a crap MP3. Following on from its other nostalgia-in-a-box that was the Gen Loss MkII, this deliberately digital distortion thing might have absolutely zero appeal, but given that I distinctly remember listening to garbage pirated MP3s through shitty beige speakers in the “computer room”, it’s right up my alley.
Check it out at Chase Bliss
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