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GearHead: The Latest Instruments & Accessories

New from Korg, Fender, Yamaha, Roland and more

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Yamaha's redesigned Recording Custom Series drums
Mindi Abair custom alto saxophone mouthpiece by Theo Wanne
Roland JC-01 Jazz Chorus Bluetooth speaker

Roland JC-01 Jazz Chorus Bluetooth Speaker

For fans of Roland’s super-loud, squeaky-clean line of Jazz Chorus amps, this new wireless Bluetooth speaker will be a must-have before it’s even turned on. (Let’s put it another way: Even as a paperweight, it’s pretty neat.) But the crossover extends to sound as well: This rechargeable-battery-operated gem includes real three-band EQ, a high-def sound field and a built-in mic that facilitates hands-free talking. $199 online.

Korg Minilogue Analog Synthesizer

Boutique-ish analog synthesizers have long since made their comeback and are now essentials in the contemporary keyboardist’s arsenal. But they can get unreasonably expensive. Korg offers a $499 solution with its 37-slim-key Minilogue, an authentic analog synth featuring an attractive aluminum-and-wood build, an OLED oscilloscope display, eight voice modes, up to 200 programs, 41 dedicated panel controls plus a slider, onboard tape-style delay and a 16-step polyphonic sequencer.

Mindi Abair Custom Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece by Theo Wanne

Many, many sax mouthpieces are said to capture the laidback tones of heyday acoustic jazz, but what do you do on a high-volume rock or R&B gig? A Blue Note setup might not cut it. New from Theo Wanne and Mindi Abair, a contemporary-jazz star whose credits include Aerosmith, this nickel-plated alto piece is a rager that utilizes Wanne’s proprietary Advanced Resonance Technology for sounds ranging from whisper to wail. $325 online.

Fender GB Twin Reverb Amplifier

First things first: GB stands for “George Benson.” Following up his tastefully tweaked signature Fender Hot Rod Deluxe, Benson has collaborated with Fender on a lightly customized Twin. This is mostly the dependable, great-sounding amp you already know, with some useful mods including a solid-pine cabinet for decreased weight and increased resonance, a re-voiced low-gain Normal channel for added headroom, distinctively understated gray vinyl covering and a “GB” badge on the grille cloth. $1,699.99 online.

Yamaha’s Redesigned Recording Custom Series Drums

Yamaha’s Recording Custom drums have earned a reputation similar to that of the Gibson Les Paul or Selmer horn-enduring pro-level industry staples with a score of classic recording credits behind them. Now, with extensive design input from session legend Steve Gadd, Yamaha has redesigned the series to feature new-school technology and manufacturing while retaining the core of its classic sound and feel. Among the updates are weighted lugs that aim to enhance sensitivity, and a line of metal snare drums.

Kit MSRP: $4,500; snares: $679.

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Originally Published