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Gearhead: The Latest Instruments and Accessories

New from Fender, Roland and Tama

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Fender American Standard Series 5-string bass
Roland HS-5 Session Mixer
Tama Star snare stand

Fender American Standard Series Expanded

Since debuting in the mid-’80s, Fender’s American

Standard instruments have become institutions in the guitar market: They’re affordable yet completely professional in quality and craftsmanship-some of the least expensive axes that can still be called investment opportunities. Among the seven new or revised instruments in the line are Stratocaster and Telecaster models with double-humbucker pickup configurations, and two fresh incarnations of the recently introduced Dimension bass: a four- and five-string model (pictured), both with twin humbuckers. $1,299-$1,499 online.

Roland HS-5 Session Mixer

Though it’s better suited to rock instrumentation than jazz, plenty of fusion and jazz outfits could put Roland’s new HS-5 Session Mixer to good use-especially if rehearsal volume is a concern and you own a digital drum kit. The unit facilitates sound-free ensemble practice for up to five players, with each getting his or her own streamlined mixing controls and choice of Roland’s convincing COSM effects and digital reverbs (not to mention the always helpful metronome click). Musicians are able to save their settings for future sessions, and the HS-5 can record music in stereo directly onto a thumb drive or by computer via USB hookup. This sort of apartment- and classroom-friendly tool has been around, but the HS-5 looks like a particularly tidy and user-friendly take on it. $599 online.

Tama Star Hardware

Think of Tama’s new Star line of hardware as a superb instrument or stereo cable: rock-solid in durability and usability, with the goal of being as transparent as possible, so that the guitar and amplifier or system components can be heard with purity. The series includes a boom cymbal stand (below), snare stand (left), combination stand and double tom stand, and certain features act as a through line: extra-heavy double-braced legs, joints that tilt and swivel for precise placement, oversized rubber feet and True-Sound Insulation Mute construction that allows for drum support without sound interference from the stand. When you home in on the individual products you’ll find even more wow-factor features-like Ring-True cymbal felt and the snare stand’s Cradle-Hold basket-that again strive for utmost stability while ensuring drummers hear their drums and cymbals and not their hardware. $139-$219 online.

Originally Published