Fender Stratocaster

Standard Fender Stratocaster

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I initially bought this no frills standard model Strat as a back-up . . . however, this is a really great guitar! It is the easiest, smoothest playing Strat I've ever owned! Right out of the box!! In my opinion, it plays better (with light Fender Bullet strings) then my 65' Strat or my Gibson LP Custom.

Okay, so this axe was assembled in Mexico, so what! It still has that exceptional Fender quality, at a downright cheap price. I use it in the studio for recording and composition purposes, and it's a solid workhorse that cranks out some sweet tones. I would recommend this guitar to anyone who's not looking to lay out serious cash but needs a serious axe. I went for the Chrome Red with Maple . . . has outstanding fit & finish and makes for an awesome looking guitar! Oh, and it holds tune extremely well. (Expect to pay $399 to $499)

Fender Telecaster Thinline

Fender Telecaster Thinline (72 Reissue)

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This 72 reissue is one pretty guitar, and definitely one of my favorites! It is executed in beautiful Swamp Ash and features two outstanding Fender Wide Range pickups.

The fit and finish is clearly up to the Fender reputation . . . simply excellent! The playability is superb and the dual humbucker array and semi-hollow body provide a great range of tones ranging from classic country twang, to an awesome full bodied blues growl.

I'm using this wicked little instrument in the recording studio and have found that with a little help from the right amp, you can coax just about any sound out of her that you desire! The biggest plus here, is you don't need to spend serious money to get a "way serious" (and beautiful) guitar.

(Expect to pay $700 to $900)

Epiphone Dot Studio

Epiphone Dot Studio Semi-Hollow Electric Guitar

Epiphone Dot Studio Semi-Hollow Body Guitar

Okay, to be perfectly honest, I initially bought this guitar as a "wall hanger," that's right, an ornament for my studio . . . I thought it looked pretty cool, and would look even better hanging on the wall! It does have that "Pop Art Minimalist" look to it.

Little did I realize, I was getting a really decent quality, highly playable, sweet sounding instrument.

In terms of sound quality, which is best described as thick and rich, and its nice feel, weight, balance, and playability, I'd rank this guitar as one tremendous bargain!

The fit and finish is truly amazing for a guitar in the lower end of the price range. The semi-hollow body is of high quality laminated Mahogany (top, back, and sides) with a beautiful flawless finish, and it has a set Mahogany neck with a Rosewood fretboard. Now there are no inlays in the fretboard, but if you can already play, you don't need those anyway. The vintage open-coil Alinco V Plus Humbucker pickups, and all black hardware really add to the package. I just can't get over how great this guitar sounds when plugged in. This has to be "right up there" as one of the best guitar values ever!

The Epiphone Dot Studio is essentially a Gibson 335 clone. (We all know Gibson and Epiphone are the same company right?) So, why spend big bucks for a Gibson 335 when this baby is on the market? You ask! Excellent question . . . If you are a guitar snob, and have plenty of money you'll never be convinced that this is a close comparison. If you open your mind a bit, pick up the Epiphone Dot Studio and give it a try, you might just answer that question yourself.

If you can find one for $300 or so . . . buy it! It's a steal at that price.

B.T.W. Guitar Player Magazine (June 2005) gave the Epiphone Dot Studio a glowing review, comparing it to the Gibson 335!

Washburn XB100 Bass

Washburn XB100 Bass

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This bass was one of my biggest surprises in the range of bargain basement bass guitars! After a little bit of setup it's really quite nice. Easy to play, very light weight, good looks with a good centerline of balance. Tonal quality is quite good as well and it holds tune better than most. This is a great beginner or intermediate bass but it also makes a nice back-up unit for a more experienced player.

The Washburn XB100 has really nice fit and finish; especially when compared with other bass guitars in this price range ($100-$200). Unfortunately, you'll have to find a used one, as Washburn no longer produces the XB100.

Ovation Celebrity

Article 5

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Gadgets and Gear Insights and Opinions:

These reflections, insights and opinions are based purely on personal experiences with guitars, gear and other instruments either in the Guitar Museum or used in "The Temple of the Sick Mind Studio." Maybe it'll be of some use to you when cruising the Pawn Shops, Music Stores or eBay. No commercial endorsements intended!

Peddles and Effects

Amps and Sound Gear

Percussion & Keys

The Jimi Hendrix Experience Peddle

Jimi Hendrix Experience Peddle

Ordinarily, I'm not very impressed with 'celebrity branded' effects peddles. The Jimi Hendrix Experience pedal from DigiTech, however, is an exception I'm more than willing to make.

This very cool peddle actually captures seven of Hendrix's signature tones that changed rock guitar playing forever.

The sounds were created using the original masters at Electric Lady Studios in association with Eddie Kramer, Jimi's original recording engineer. The pedal so closely models the fine nuances of Hendrix's sounds that each pedal requires two AudioDNA DSP chips.

I love this peddle!

(Expect to pay $180 to $200)

The Fender Rumble 60 Bass Amp

Fender Rumble Bass Amp

I initially bought this amp as a studio bass amp, and it serves that role exceptionally well, however, once I plugged in the electronic drums, I discovered how flexible this amp truly is. Great crystal clear sound that doesn't break up even over the lowest of lows. It now has the exclusive role of amplifying my drums.

This is the perfect studio amp and unless you're playing larger venues like gymnasiums, this little 60 watt amp will carry you through most club venues. It's housed in a very road worthy, rugged cabinet and yet it's very portable and fairly light weight. Nice little red light show pulses from the bottom of the cabinet as well.

A super amp for the money.

(Expect to pay $250 to $300)


Line 6 Spider II 210 (Amp)

Cool and Versatile - One great Amp!

Line 6 Guitar Amp

The Line 6 Spider II 210 sits in my recording studio, and what a cool little amp it is! I was first exposed to it when checking out a Telecaster Thinline at a guitar store, and that was all it took, I knew I had to have this amp! Its range of easily controlled FX and the ability to mimic various amp models allows it to easily hold its own in my studio with two "up-line" Fender amps and my vintage 1960's Danelectro Explorer (tube) amp.

It fills a nice tonal gap between the dirty blues bite of the tube amp, and the super crisp icy clarity of the Fenders, allowing me to tune in some very cool, edgy sounds. With its 120 watts and 2 10" speakers, I'm sure this amp would also be gig worthy . . . say in a smaller club venue . . . it has plenty of punch! Line Six no longer makes this one so in my book, it's a cool, quality amp that can be had at a super low price on the used market. (Expect to pay about $200 to $225 used)

OSP DD-502 Electronic Digital Drums

OSP Digital Drum Set

This digital drum has got to be one of my biggest instrument surprises yet!

Yes, Rolland is the "Gold Standard" when it comes to digital drums, however, not everyone can fit a Rolland into their budget.

I have played Rolland sets, Yamaha's and others This set is 'not a toy' by any means it is a serious drum kit!

Intrigued by the amazingly low price I watched and listened to an online demonstration about 25 times . . . I simply couldn't believe it. I then decided, what the heck, I'll take a chance, it's not that much money.

When my OSP DD-502 arrived I still could not believe it. As I was unpacking and assembling this set, I kept thinking, wow this is fantastic quality. All of the pieces where well made and of substantial, good quality materials. Everything was engineered to fit together, and it all went together easily (just follow the directions.)

The OSP DD-502 takes standard 8 inch drum heads not little rubber pads. You can outfit the kit with Evans, Remo, or any other drum head. The sensitivity is fantastic, the velocity follows your playing pressure and the target area extends across the entire drum head. The drum brain is fantastic: 215 voices, 20 pre-set kits, and 10 user defined kits. Another interesting feature are the 50 preset songs you can play along with.

It has five heads: 3 Toms, 1 Snare, 1 Kick drum. All hardware, cymbals, kick peddle, high-hat control peddle and cables are included, I only had to buy a throne.

Plugging it in nearly blew my mind . . . wow! Other manufacturers should be afraid . . . be very afraid. What a great digital drum kit! Again I will say . . . this is no toy, it is a good pro-quality digital drum kit.

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