News - Guitars
Despite the rising international value of the Yen (which looks set to force price rises all round in Japanese equipment over the next few months), Yamaha U.K have decided to stem the tide and have actually announced lower RRPs for some of their popular guitars and basses as of the end of Feb!
The full range of the price cuts is too large to detail here, but (just to whet your appetites!) some of the following examples will give you the idea. The SG200 drops from £239 to £199, the SG1000 S falls from £429 to £399, the SE700 E & HE slide from £439 to £429, the SA800 is cut from £499 to £479. On the bass side, the BB300 is down from £209 to £199, the BB1100S moves from £429 to £399 and the luxury BB3000 is reduced from £749 down to £699.
What can we say, except 'Well done Yamaha!'?
More info on Yamaha guitars and basses from Yamaha Musical Instruments (U.K) Ltd, (Contact Details).
Lost that vital control off your '58 gold top Les Paul? Hunting for that rare Tele part? Have we got good news for you! The details come from Part And Parcel, who already offer a catalogue listing 1,000 parts which cover just about every imaginable item for guitar customised refurbisher/owners and builders. The new scheme is called 'Part-search'; and works as follows.
If you've a guitar (or bass) in need of a scarce part, you can now contact Part and Parcel (giving full details of what you need and including templates if scratchplates or covers are needed), and they will try and obtain them for you. Special stocks of scarce hardware are currently being compiled including both log and linear pots, open and closed machines (even those rare Gibson 'stone button' types) plus a wide range of scratch-plates traditional trem systems, knobs switches etc.
IT readers interested in this service (not to mention Part and Parcel's huge catalogue of customising and building parts) should contact Dory Oakes at Part and Parcel, (Contact Details).
No, British pickup makers UKG haven't turned themselves into a 'Public Limited Company', but they have just announced two new single coil bass pickups which are bound to interest Precision (and 'similar') bass users, and which they've named the 'PLCs'.
The earliest Fender Precisions were fitted with single coil pickups, and UKG have gone back to this principle - but have taken it considerably further in the quest for bass sounds suitable for today's needs, offering UKG say, 'increased tonal versatility'.
The aim behind the two new UKG pickups (dubbed the PLC2 and PLC3) is, we gather, to develop a more punchy bass sound, by using larger pickups employing bigger coils and more turns of heavier gauge wire. According to UKG, 'More turns of heavier wire will give better transient response and a broader frequency spectrum, giving a rich resonant sound with roundwound strings and a clunky twang with tapewounds.'
Heavier wire, UKG say, gives a better frequency response, and a double layer of enamel cuts down energy-robbing 'crosstalk' between the windings. 'Crosshatch' winding (used on the PLC2 and 3) is claimed to enhance transient response.
The PLC2 (with 8 mm button screws and almost 5/8" heads) has its field provided by a strontium barium ferrite baseplate - apparently this is the strongest magnetic material currently available. It's designed to give a 'rich punchy sound, with depth and punchy transients'. The PLC3, on the other hand uses Alcomax cylindrical poles. This material, we understand, has similar electrical properties to Alnico, but with a greater field strength and a slower decay rate. Apparently it 'gives a sustained resonant tone, very clangy if you wind up the treble, rather like a deep Strat' If the two are used together, UKG tell us, they can be ordered in reverse polarity for a humbucking effect. Two PLC3's, meanwhile, can be wired in series, giving 'an amazingly deep, rich tone'. Out of phase wiring produces 'a deep metallic clang'. Two PLC2's, on the other hand, are said to give a 'jazz/bass sound, whereas out of phase wiring produces 'a gutsy, guttural effect'.
The happy news is that UKG's highly advanced pickups don't cost an arm and a leg. All of their single coil pickups (including some hugely versatile ones for guitars) are priced at £25 each and can be obtained direct from the makers.
More info from UKG Pickups at (Contact Details).
Eddie Van Halen, you've got a lot to answer for! During the past couple of years the growth of guitarists getting extravagant with their tremolo systems has been matched by a huge number of 'advanced' whammy bar systems coming onto the market. Good though many of these new trems are, the strains imposed on strings when constantly under the extreme pressure from heavy wham-bar users has resulted in a need for strings which can take that sort of punishment without breaking.
To the rescue, then. Superwound, with their 'Starfire Xtra-Wraps'. These strings feature reinforced twists on the plain strings and they're available in a variety of gauges. In fact the range of gauges of these nickel Superwounds covers some extremely useful options. Not all the Starfire range features the reinforced twists on the plain strings (the RRP £3.80 SF9 for example). This one's a 9-42 set. The RT9H however, ('RT for 'reinforced twists') runs 9-46 - a useful extra bit of weight at the bass end, sort of in between a normal 9 and 10 gauge range. It has an RRP of £4.26.
A twist reinforced Starfire set can also be obtained as '10s' (the RT10 Set) with gauges running 10,13,17,26,36 & 46. Watch out too for a 12 string set in the Superwound Starfire series (without the Xtra-wrap twists of course) available in Light (011), Super Light and Medium gauges.
Bass players finding their strings prohibitively costly, on the other hand, will be delighted by the arrival of Superwound Economy sets in 3 gauges: SF101 med/light (35, 55, 70, 90), SF101LC (40, 60, 75 & 95) and SF101LD (45, 65, 80 & 105). RRP for these all-British strings is just £10.12 - not bad, eh?
More info on Superwound strings from James How Industries Ltd, (Contact Details).
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