March 2015 MSM Staff Gear Picks
Josh Baldridge - Gibson Vegas High Roller, Used
I plugged this guitar into the Blue Label 65 Amps London the other day to have some fun. The guitar itself is so comfortable that I didn't expect it to sound so huge. The lightweight hollow body gives the low end extra depth and space, but the Burstbucker Pro pickups retain the high end clarity you need with a guitar like this.
Jim Baggett – Collings D2H MRA VN
This D2H really jumps out at you - great sound that has elicited a 'Wow!' from folks who have played it. It's got what you'd expect from a Collings made guitar but the Madagascar has added a transparency and brilliance to it. You hear the sound and not a guitar.
Eric Mardis - Empress Effects Heavy Pedal
I've been looking for a distortion pedal that does "heavy" properly for years. The Empress has tons of gain, stays tight in the bass, and handles palm muting better than ANY distortion pedal I have every tried. It has two channels, so you can dial in two separate sounds or keep the tones the same and use one for a solo boost. This thing also sports the most musical noise gate I've ever tried. At $300, this thing ain't cheap - but you are getting the most tweakable, best sounding heavy distortion available. It does remarkable old school sounds like Judas Priest/Iron Maiden, thrash majesty like Metallica/Megadeth/Slayer/Anthrax, and modern brutality like Dethklok/Lamb of God/Killswitch Engage. If you don't find this to be the best distortion pedal ever, then you don't know snakes from "marital aids".
Eric Putnam – Xits X10 Amp (new 2015)
Beautiful cleans with plenty of chime on this new Xits amp. The breakup is really touch responsive and the controls are intuitive and no nonsense. You've got plenty of headroom, but you can also get it to break up easily when you want it to. And it looks AWESOME.
Anne Tangeman – Tom Anderson Raven Turquoise
This Raven guitar has got it going on in every single respect. The Anderson PH pickups are incredible - P90 inspired with some nice chime too. The body has a sleek feel to it and I love the almost retro look with the turquoise finish, tortoise pickguard and filtertron-esque look of the pickups. This is a killer guitar.
Anne's favorite, the Anderson Raven, is firing on all cylinders and then some.