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Gearhead: The Latest Instruments & Accessories

The latest from Seymour Duncan, PRS Guitars and more

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Amedia "Kommagene" Series Cymbals
ROLI Seaboard Rise
Seymour Duncan Apollo Jazz Bass Linear Humbucker Pickups
The New Digital Real Book

Amedia “Kommagene” Series Cymbals

With a name derived from an ancient civilization in Turkey, where the cymbal manufacturer Amedia crafts its wares, the Kommagene Series cymbals are expectedly old-school in design and purpose: unhammered bell, light lathing, aged finish, hand-hammered bow, best used in swinging settings. Among the Kommagene models that jazz drummers should hear are a ride cymbal ($620.80 online, in 19, 20, 21, 22 and 24-inch versions) and hi-hats ($555.40, in 13- and 14-inch versions).

Seymour Duncan Apollo Jazz Bass Linear Humbucker Pickups

Starting with the cutting, dynamic, out-front tones of traditional Jazz Bass single-coil pickups, S.D. engineer Kevin Beller developed these humbuckers, whose side-by-side coil design allows for more punch and warmth where it’s needed-but no noise. Now for the logistics: The Apollos come in bridge and neck models, for four- and five-string basses. Two size options, 67/70 mm or 70/74 mm, are available for the five-string models. Pickups ship individually or in matched sets. $94.95 per pickup online.

ROLI Seaboard Rise

ROLI’s Seaboard Rise is one of those special musical tools that begs the question: “What is this thing?” In short, it’s a game-changing wireless MIDI controller featuring 25 “Keywaves” that allow for all sorts of inspired, expressive playing. These sleek, black molded buttons can be attacked à la a traditional keyboard, but also slid upon, “scratched” and vibrato’d in ways that better suggest a guitarist, cellist or turntablist. The controller ships with ROLI’s Equator software but works with a host of sound engines, and sells for a reasonable $799.99.

PRS Guitars’ Private Stock Singlecut Archtop

Paul Reed Smith’s Private Stock sector is celebrating two decades of handcrafted custom instruments this year, and kicking off the festivities is this new addition to the jazz guitarist’s short list of dream axes. Tapping into the company’s long-running mastery of solid- and hollowbody electric instruments, and utilizing newer expertise in acoustic guitars, the PRS Private Stock Singlecut Archtop, about 3 inches deep, features a curly maple back and “locked-down” mahogany sides that enable the instrument’s spruce top to vibrate and resonate freely. Other specs include a Private Stock aluminum bronze archtop bridge with brass saddles and solid ebony tailpiece, PRS 58/15 humbuckers and a very special version of PRS’ trademarked mother-of-pearl “Bird” fretboard inlays. $9,999 online.

The New Digital Real Book

Sure, that Real Book you bought in the alley behind your buddy’s guitar shop in 1985 got you through some tough times, but let’s face it: It’s had no fewer than five gallons of coffee spilt on it over the years, it’s even more soaked with errors, and it would be nice if the composers whose work you’ve been immersed in actually got paid. Enter Sher Music Co.’s The New Digital Real Book, a 432-page PDF featuring most of the tunes you’ll need for the session, plus more contemporary jazz and R&B than Real Book editions from other publishers. The document, usable on Mac, PC, Kindle and iPad, has an interactive Table of Contents to prevent annoying page-scrolling. And if you miss your old Real Book, the pages here are easily printable. $18 online.

Originally Published