New products from the States
The new Ripley guitar has enough pickups, selector switches and balance knobs for six guitars and as the sound is spread or divided between two or more amplifiers it's easy to tell why. Each string has its own pair of humbucking pickups on the neck and bridge. A separate pickup selector switch for each string turns on either one of the pickups, or both of them. Each string also has its own balance knob so that, treating the strings as six separate entities, a stereo mix can be created on the guitar. Further, a master pickup selector switch shifts between the front six and the back six pickups.
"You can set up a mix just like a studio engineer; only the things you are mixing are the six strings," explained Steve Ripley, who has been a recording engineer for five years and a guitarist who toured with Leon Russell and Bob Dylan.
Using both his on-the-road performing experience and his in-the-studio technical experience, he spent four years developing the guitar which was first introduced to dealers at the National Association of Music Merchants show early this year. "My first prototype had a different amp for each string," he said. "Then I realized you could get the same sound panning with two amps. It's a much bigger sound than on a standard guitar yet it can be as subtle as you want it to be. You can spread the sound just a little bit, or it can be spread with some strings only coming out of the left and some only out of the right so as you play it sounds like two guys playing. You can even bounce back and forth."
Ripley went through eight different prototypes before, with the help of Bill Bartolini who wired the pickups, he developed a model that met his demands. I'm taking orders now but it'll be summer before I'm ready to start shipping guitars," he said. "The first 10 are to be used as demonstrators." Three of those demonstrators already are in the hands of musicians — J.J. Cale, Santana and the guitarist with the orchestra on television's Tonight Show. "The reception it got at the NAMM show was really great," Ripley said. "Everybody loved it." However, the price is certain to keep it out of the hands of everyone except professional guitarists — $2,000.
"But all the synthesizer prices start at $2,000," Ripley points out. And because of the sound possibilities he prefers to compare his guitar with synthesizers rather than with other guitars.
"It is a high priced guitar," he admits. "But it's not meant to be a trick guitar. It's a great guitar. The neck is great; the wood is great; the finishes are great. And it has a real stereo pleasing sound. It's more pleasing from having the spread. When you put part on the left and part on the right, it fattens up the sound. I just love this guitar," Ripley said. "It's a guitar that came from my heart."
Along more traditional lines, with just two pickups, comes the new Model HH-555 Daion handcrafted electric guitar. It features two high-output Power Pulse pickups with a coil-tap switch for each pickup, through-the-body stringing, a side-lock brass bridge, a 'negative' bottom for a stronger shell cavity and improved overall balance and a specially designed centre block. That block is made with three piles — one dense layer of maple sandwiched between two thick, softer layers of solid spruce — and features 10 'sound grooves' which are routed at either end to add resonance. The Daion HH-555 is available in five finishes: gold, brown, burgundy, honey sunburst and tobacco sunburst.
A new electric bass and three new electric guitars have been introduced by Peavey. The Peavey Foundation Bass, a full 34-inch scale maple body bass, features a neck with an ultra-thin width, eight-inch fingerboard radius and specially contoured back. Each single coil pickup is curved to the radius of the fingerboard and when both pickups are combined a hum rejection circuit acts to cancel unwanted hum and noise. Each pickup also has its own independent volume control. And because all controls are rear mounted there is no need for a pickguard, creating a cleaner appearance.
The distinctively shaped Peavey Mystic and Razer electric guitars feature bi-laminated maple necks, two high output dual coil pickups with dual/single coil circuitry, a master volume control, tone controls for each pickup and a fully adjustable bridge/saddle for improved string compensation and intonation. Both guitars are also available with Peavey's Octave Plus Tremolo system for creating pitch altering effects from as little as a quarter step to a full octave below the normal tuning of the guitar plus return to pitch.
The new Peavey Horizon guitar has the same features but has a more traditional sleek contoured body with the upper and lower cutaways being carved deeper into the maple body for full access to the 23 fret neck. Like the Foundation, Mystic and Razer, all controls are rear mounted through the body, eliminating the need for a pickguard.
A guitar pickup that attaches above the strings has been introduced by Strad-O-Mike. The pickup straddles the strings, resting on cloth pads. This, according to the manufacturer, eliminates the vibration feedback associated with conventional in-the-hole pickups and also eliminates the need to retune the guitar when the pickup is installed or removed.
A new wireless guitar system has been introduced by Telex Communications. Only 70mm x 102mm x 25mm in size and 153 grams in weight, it has a 400 meter operating range from its flexible wire antenna and 9-volt battery power. Controls on the Telex WT-100 include an on/off switch, battery test switch and a screwdriver adjustable audio level control.
Telex also offers a wireless handheld transmitter microphone for music performers. The WHM-400, which has a 300 metre operating range, is an integral cardioid dynamic microphone with a vocal tailored response and features a screwdriver adjustable audio level control.
Pearl continues to expand its catalog of effects pedals, the latest being a 'heavy metal' pedal, the Distortion DS-06, which has been added to its Sound Sprice Series. The DS-06 is designed to create both 'heavy metal' effects and normal distortion sounds by means of four controls — Spectrum Mode, Spectrum Level, Out Level and Distortion. The Spectrum controls create the unique 'heavy metal' effects by adding higher partials to the fundamental distortion tones. The Spectrum Mode selects the overtones, with a clockwise turn of the control producing higher partials. The Spectrum Level determines the volume of the overtones. The Out Level controls the effect's output level and Distortion controls normal distortion sounds, with a clockwise turn of the knob increasing the level of distortion. The suggested retail price of the DS-06 is $127.
Sessum, which has been custom designing pedal boards, is now making some of its efforts available to the general public. One of these is its small Travel Board, TB-1100, which was designed for Tommy Tedesco. It includes a tuner/effects switch and holds up to six effects and a medium sized pedal. Yet the board easily slips under a plane seat.
The CB-1200 Club Board holds two medium sized pedals as well as 10 or more effects and features a tuner/effects switch and a preset switch. The SB-1400 Studio Board accommodates the large number of effects required for studio performance. In addition to the tuner/effects and preset switches, the SB-1400 includes a remote feature for outboard effects.
A compact, battery powered monophonic synthesizer, the SH-101, that gives a keyboardist the same freedom as a guitarist has been introduced by Roland. Synthesiser functions of the SH-101 include a dual waveform VCO, a sub-oscillator, LFO modulation, noise generator, VCF with key follow and a VCA switchable to either gate position or an envelope position which engages the ADSR. Portamento can be either normal-on, or an auto setting which adds portamento when the keyboard is played legato.
In addition to the normal synthesiser functions, the SH-101 contains an arpeggiator with three directions of arpeggio controlled either by the internal LFO or an external clock pulse and also contains a 100-step sequencer which can either be controlled internally or synced to such other Roland products as the TR-606 Drumatix for even greater applications. Other features include key transpose, a built-in headphone amp, CV and gate inputs and outputs and overall tuning control. The list price of the SH-101 is $495.
Shure Brothers has expanded its PE (Professional Entertainer) Series of dynamic microphones with the introduction of the PE5, a light weight and economically priced microphone designed for younger musicians who are purchasing their first microphone. Its cardioid pickup pattern and frequency response is tailored for both instrumental and vocal pickup, providing, according to Shure Brothers, a vibrant and penetrating sound that is both clear and distinct.
The PE5 comes with an attached 4.6 meter cable, an on-off switch, a professional accessory swivel adaptor, an internal rubber shock mount and a pop-filter grille assembly. Its construction of Armo-Dur, a shock-resistant material, provides additional ruggedness and durability.
The Shure PE5 is available in two versions: PE5 H-C (high impedance with a phone plug at the cable's equipment end) and PE5 L-CN (low impedance with a professional 3-pin connector at the cable's equipment end).
Shure also has introduced a new eight input microphone mixer, the M268, which has been designed for optimum effectiveness as a submixer for rock, jazz and country music groups. Thus it allows musicians to inexpensively expand the capabilities of their mixing boards.
"The M268 is also an ideal mixer for electronic keyboard players, since it provides a high-impedance output for the onstage amplifier, plus a low-impedance output to feed the main board," explained Michael Pettersen, Shure's Assistant Marketing Manager for Circuitry Products.
The M268 has a high-impedance and a low-impedance jack on each of its four main input channels and also has an auxiliary input channel for tape recorders or other high-level accessories. Other features include individual feedback-type 'gain controls for all five input channels, a master volume control, simplex (phantom) power for condenser microphones, a mix-bus for simple mixer interconnection and an automatic muting circuit that prevents speaker damage during turn-on and turn-off.
Manufacturers and companies mentioned
Daion Guitars, (Contact Details).
Pearl Electronics U.K., (Contact Details).
Peavey Electronics Corp., (Contact Details).
Ripley Guitars Inc., (Contact Details).
Roland UK, (Contact Details).
Sessum, (Contact Details).
Shure Electronics, (Contact Details).
Strad-O-Mike, (Contact Details).
Telex Communications Inc., (Contact Details); La Bonaparte, (Contact Details).