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Gearhead: The Latest Instruments & Accessories

New products from Yamaha, Gretsch, Roland and more

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Roland's line of premium accessories, on display at the 2016 Winter NAMM tradeshow in Anaheim, Calif.
Ernie Ball Music Man St. Vincent Signature Guitar
Yamaha's THR100H and THR100HD modeling amps

Yamaha THR100H/THR100HD Modeling Amps

Yamaha launched its THR modeling amps with some great-looking, great-sounding units best suited for writing tunes or learning licks in the parlor. Now, with the THR100HD ($799 online) and THR100H ($599) heads (and their sold-separately cabinets), the line is a real stage and studio contender. At NAMM, the THR100HD-that’s D for Dual-seriously impressed us: five amp types, five tube types and two truly independent amps in one box, for switching or blending-and no vintage-tube-combo hassle.

New From Gretsch

Think Gretsch guitars are only for rockers, rockabilly cats and Nashville session aces? Then you might want to check out Freddie Green, Sal Salvador, Mickey Baker, Harry Volpe, George Van Eps, Brad Shepik, Bucky Pizzarelli or any of the other jazz masters who’ve taken up the brand’s instruments at one time or another. This year is a big one for Gretsch, as its desire to make its products available at every price point, as well as its wish to offer vintage flavor, contemporary features or sometimes both, has resulted in a grip of new guitars. Serious pickers will be interested in the Vintage Select series ($2,399 – $3,799 online), which faithfully recreates a selection of classic Gretsch instruments from the 1950s and ’60s. Also of note is the new Gretsch Players Edition guitars ($2,199 – $3,499), which modernize those iconic designs with selling points like shallower bodies for reduced weight and feedback, String-Thru Bigsby tremolo systems for less hassle and more sustain, true-bypass tone pots that won’t affect your signal, locking tuners and more.

Roland Premium Accessories

After ruling the keyboard, electronic drums and guitar effects markets, Roland recently announced a line of premium accessories: more than 100 products in all-everything from two tiers of instrument, MIDI and mic cables to keyboards bags and stands and even a barstool. Perhaps most important, the cables are guaranteed for life.

Ernie Ball Music Man St. Vincent Signature Guitar

Ernie Ball Music Man and indie-rocker St. Vincent-solo-guitar virtuoso Tuck Andress’ niece, FYI-may have created the first guitar whose design aims to accommodate the female anatomy. (As she wrote on Instagram: “There is room for a breast. Or two.”) We know, we know-but what is this ax doing in JazzTimes? Well, St. Vincent’s monster chops lean toward prog and fusion flash, and this new instrument features the sort of quirky cool that has made the Fender Jazzmaster and Jaguar a favorite among avant-jazz explorers. Dig its African mahogany body, rosewood fingerboard with custom St. Vincent inlays, Schaller locking tuners, five-way pickup selector with custom configuration and three mini-humbuckers. Hardshell case is included. $1,899 online.

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Originally Published