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Gearhead: The Latest Instruments & Accessories

New from XO Brass, Meinl Cymbals, Radial Engineering and Sire

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XO Professional Brass 1632RGL-LT lead trombone
Meinl Byzance Dark Big Apple Ride Cymbal
Radial Engineering Bassbone OD Preamp
Marcus Miller by Sire Bass

XO Professional Brass 1632RGL-LT Lead Trombone

New York-based trumpeter, composer and bandleader John Fedchock is enjoying something of a banner year in 2015: In March he released Fluidity, a stellar live quartet record, and more recently his big band returned with Like It Is, which is reviewed (very positively) in this issue. This year has also seen the release of XO’s Fedchock-designed lead trombone, a pro-level instrument that prides itself on its light weight, tonal and stylistic versatility, top-notch craftsmanship and special features like a handcrafted 7.5-inch custom-annealed bell, a custom mouthpiece and unique bracing. Rose brass bell, MSRP: $2,625; yellow brass bell, MSRP: $2,795.

Meinl Byzance Dark Big Apple Ride Cymbal

For drummers looking to capture the spang-a-lang of their favorite hard-bop records, Meinl recently released this unlathed 22-inch ride. Featuring period-specific short sustain, it’s dark and raw in sight and sound-like an old Blue Note LP. $419.99 online.

Radial Engineering Bassbone OD Preamp

Radial’s Bassbone OD Preamp offers a bunch of must-have live and studio functions in a single pedal. It’s a direct box; it’s a bass overdrive stompbox with drive, mix and tone controls; and it’s a sort of bass mixing board with two switchable inputs, each with designated low, mid, high and gain knobs. In addition, Channel-A features a button that, when activated, boosts the signal by 10 megohms-excellent for the sort of piezo pickups used to amplify a double bass. And Channel-B boasts Drag Control, a type of “load correction” that helps lower-output vintage axes get the most out of whatever amp or interface they’re being fed into. The two channels can be blended in the case of a dual pickup system, and silent tuning is possible via a tuner output and mute footswitch. Silent practice is also a breeze using the Bassbone’s built-in headphone preamp. $349.99.

Marcus Miller by Sire Basses

There’s “affordable,” and then there’s the new signature line of electric basses Marcus Miller has released through the Sire brand. The J-bass-inspired V7 is selling at $399, with a five-string option available for an additional $100. The more rockish M3, equipped with two humbuckers, is available only as a four-string and ships for just $299. Miller fans and most jazz and funk players will opt for the V7, and its rundown of features is impressive, especially given the price: The model has a body crafted from swamp ash (pictured, à la Miller’s original Fender) or North American alder; a signature bridge with old-school J-bass design elements plus a heavy-mass saddle; and an inventive electronics setup with three-band EQ, a pickup-blending pot, middle boost/cut control and active/passive toggle.

Originally Published