As a general rule, guitar shapes haven't changed much in the last 40 years — and that's not exactly a good thing. Sinuous Guitars ($1,750-$2,150) aims to change this by offering up organically sculpted guitars boasting poplar bodies, hard maple necks, dual Humbucker pickups, and a range of rock-worthy finishes. And if you had any question about the company's woodworking chops, know that the founder builds Herman Miller's Eames Classic line as his day job. Yeah.
Oh sure, you could buy an iPad and over $300 worth of music apps instead, but then you'd miss out on all the colorful, tactile fun of the Teenage Engineering OP-1 Portable Synthesizer ($850). This all-in-one sound box features eight built-in synthesizer engines, multiple effects, four rotary encoders, an FM radio(!), a built-in four-track recorder, a color-coded interface, OLED display, and 16 hours of battery life.
Just because you play guitar doesn't mean your den, office, or man cave needs to look like a stage. The new line of Yamaha THR Amps ($TBA) offers fantastic tone and versatility in small, decor-friendly packages. Powered by Yamaha's VCM technology, each THR offers multiple amp styles — including clean, crunch, and modern — in a single package, as well as USB connectivity, included Cubase AI software, and the ability to run off AC or battery power. Arriving this January.
Perfect your picking with Corter Leather Guitar Picks ($10/5-pack). Crafted in the U.S. using firm hides, these 5oz thick picks offer a warmer tone than their plastic counterparts, can be tanned and oiled to a carmel brown if you'd like, and even mold to your grip a bit, letting you focus even more on your playing, whether you're holding an acoustic body or a 12-string axe.
You paid a fortune to get your impossibly vintage-looking Jag-Stang just the way you wanted it, so why are you carrying it from gig to gig in a pedestrian case? The Brixton x Fender Guitar Case ($200) is worthy of carrying such a lovingly-crafted axe, with a vintage-inspired design, solid construction, and a near guarantee that it won't be mistaken for the opening band's gear. [Scouted by Eric]
Who better to launch a new artist signature amplifier line that Slow Hands himself? The Fender Eric Clapton Signature Amplifiers ($1,400-$4,200) are built by hand to the exact specifications of Clapton — well known for his favorite black Strat — based on the '57 Twin, '57 Deluxe, and '57 Champ amps, and feature '50s-era tremolo, a switchable power attenuator, a finger-joined solid pine cabinet for a warm tone, and a lacquered tweed covering with vintage brownish gold drille cloth and leather handles. Six-string skills not required, but highly recommended. [Scouted by John]
Believe it or not, we're quickly approaching the 20th anniversary of Nevermind's release — so why not celebrate by treating yourself to a replica of Cobain's axe? The Fender Kurt Cobain Jaguar Guitar ($1,850) is a replica of Kurt's iconic 1965 Jaguar, sporting a fittingly distressed three-color sunburst alder body, Stratocaster headstock shape, DiMarzio humbucking neck pickup, and DP100 Super Distortion bridge pickup amongst other details, and arriving in a black hard-shell case with an exclusive book containing photos and an interview with Nirvana guitar tech Earnie Bailey, who for a few years held what had to be one of the coolest jobs in the world. [Scouted by Timothy]
Sometimes guitars are just tools, there to make sound and nothing else. That's not the case with Lichty Guitars ($4,000 and up). Lovingly handmade by Jay Lichty in his Tryon, NC workshop, these guitars are as much pieces of art as instruments — although they're good at that too — thanks to their construction from striking woods like Brazilian Rosewood, Cocobolo, Bubinga, Claro Walnut, Koa, and Pau Ferro. Just don't go all punk rock with one of these — it would be a real shame to see one smashed onstage.
Have a classic, custom, or otherwise high-end guitar that needs an equally-awesome amp to go with it? Look no further than Carr Amplifiers ($1,150-$3,350). Built by actual guitarists in a small shop in North Carolina, these versatile amps are instruments unto themselves, ready to take your sound from solid to signature while their off-beat, unique designs do the same for your stage setups. Plug in, jam out, and enjoy.
Say hello to the next generation of instruments. The Misa Kitara Digital Guitar ($850) melds the traditional guitar shape with new technology to create an instrument that's instantly familiar and yet unlike anything you've played before. In place of the bridge sits an eight-inch multitouch screen which allows for a wide range of playing techniques, while buttons on the fretboard serve up the notes from the built-in database of more than one hundred sounds — and if that's not enough for you, you can always use the Kitara as a MIDI controller. Coming soon to a stage near you.
Inspired by early 20th century 12th fret guitars, the Blackbird Lucky 13 Guitar ($1,800) packs full-size sound into a three-quarter sized body. This is made possible by the Lucky 13's hollow-neck carbon fiber construction and head mounted Stereo Sound Port, which combine to offer a fuller sound. Other features include a 3D sculpted back, a unique 13th fret neck connection that allows for greater fret access while retaining the tonally preferable bridge placement, and a classic shape that mixes the new and old with class and style.
Despite its name, it's definitely more of a synth than a piano. The Pocket Piano Synthesizer ($150) is a nifty small bag- or cargo pocket-sized musical contraption featuring an industrial look, a built-in 3-Watt speaker, a 1/4" output jack, wooden keys, and the ability to run off a 9V battery, as well as six unique modes, including a vibrato synth, harmonic sweepers, two-octave arpeggiator, an octave cascade, mono FM synth and a FM arpeggiator, or more than enough to amused for hours, or at least until the battery dies. [via]