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]
Remember the Gibson Dark Fire Guitar we covered a while back? Well the company is back with its latest "world's most advanced guitar." The Gibson Dusk Tiger Guitar ($4,150) features a Les Paul-like body, but with a flat top, tone-chambered back, magnetic and piezo pickups for traditional and more "acoustic" guitar tones, separate outputs for each string for crazy effects, a multichannel FireWire interface with Ableton Live 8 and Guitar Rig 4 Pro for even more sound processing possibilities, 18 user-programmable alternate tunings with third-generation Robot Tuning Technology, and an exotic hardwood body that looks every bit as good as it sounds. If you want to get your mitts on one, you'd better hurry: only 1,000 Dusk Tigers will be produced.
And here we thought real harps were unusual. The Eigenharp Alpha (£4,000; roughly $5,800) is a mixture of woodwind and keyboard, offering up an unorthodox musical control paradigm that includes a breath pipe, 120 keys, 12 percussion keys, two strip controllers, and multiple pedal inputs, all of which are fed into a Mac for digestion by custom software that somehow translates all of that into music. Great for the musical prodigy in your life that can't choose between Julliard and MIT.
Despite its name, you don't need to be built like an ancient mythological demigod to drag around the Hercules DJ Console Mk4 (£180; roughly $275). Billed as the most portable and compact 2-deck DJ controller with built-in audio for PC and Mac, the Mk4 weighs just 3.3 lbs, and offers dual stereo outputs and inputs, a USB port for making nice with software programs, headphone output, microphone input, two jog wheels, a cross fader, dual volume faders, six EQ knobs, functions for automatic looks and recording mixes, and included VirtualDJ DJC Edition mixing software. Just enjoy that "most portable" title while it lasts, because last we heard an iPad running Mixr isn't exactly heavy, even if you've tossed it in a case.
If you're old enough to have owned an NES, you no doubt have memories of foolishly blowing into game cartridges in the hopes that it would allow them to play without forcing some sort of improvised wedge into the console. NES Harmonicas ($20-$35) take advantage of this nostalgia by installing Hohner harmonicas in the cartridges themselves, letting you play music while reminding you of your wasted youth. As an added bonus, you also get the game's circuit board in the package, so you can actually play the copy of Zelda that sacrificed its housing for your harmonious enjoyment.
Sporting a semi-hollow body, period-correct hardware like volume and tone knobs, double band tuners and dual PAF-style 57 Classic humbucking pickups, the Gibson 50th Anniversary 1960 ES-335TD Guitar ($5,700-$6,200) is as close as you're going to get to an original without shelling out way, way more cash. Created to celebrate the ES-335TD's golden anniversary, each guitar is handcrafted by Gibson Custom's Memphis division, and comes in either a Vintage Sunburst, Faded Cherry, or Antique Natural finish, each of which is applied using Gibson's Vintage Original Specs process to make sure it looks the part. [Thanks, Jacob]