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Blue Collar's Cool Equipment Alerts!
By Mick Polich - 09/15/2008 - 09:27 AM EDT

Thought I’d do a quick blog on some cool new stuff on their on the guitar marketplace….

Fender’s 1965 Princeton Re-issue amp – I’ve heard about this unit, but didn’t believe my eyes and ears until I saw a YouTube vid with amazing Tele guitarist Jim Campilongo. Man, that swampy, spooky, Gothic type reverb/ tremolo tone really cuts thru. I think these are Chinese built, PCB type units, which there ain’t a darn thing wrong with that. For best results, check out Fender’s website for a crisp description, and the YouTube vid with the great Mr. Campilongo.

I've seen some street prices anywhere from $700 -$800 on these babies....

Dan Electro ‘Vibe’ pedal – Dan Electro seems to always issue reasonably priced, cool retro – type pedals and guitars – I own a baritone model from the mid-1990’s, and have own some of there El Cheapo effects pedals. Well, they have a new line of die – cast pedals that so far hit the mark in reviews. I’m a proud owner of not one, but TWO ‘Vibe’ pedals (it’s a long story). The ‘Leslie’ effect is pretty neat in it’s way, and will definitely see the light of day on a few studio recordings. I think the street price is around $60, but as with many Dan items, it’s well worth it!

Fender Champion 600 amplifier – For $199, I’ll take two – heard my buddy Eric Hovey play through one of these back in Iowa this past summer – he had two models, one with the stock speaker, one loaded with a Weber replacement. Chinese – made, a shout-out to the golden days –all-tube, pretty fun for a low-wattage amp.

Epiphone 5 watt tube stack – This amp just LOOKS cool! Low wattage pushing a cabinet – I like that idea. Low wattage amps force you to play the whole amp, not just the pre-amp section. The low-wattage amp stack has been on the comeback trail for a few years now – yep, people are getting the message: you can play the guitar AND the amp! Production out of China provides us with cost-affordable tube amps – I own a Chinese made Crate 3112 two - channel amp, with a 6BQ5 output section, and a 12” Celestion 70/80 speaker –great tone, and kills with a 4 – 12” cab hooked up to it. I think the ‘hand – wired’ argument cannot apply across the board, especially with the Champ, Crate, Epiphone, and Fender Princeton amps…..

LOOKING FORWARD TO: a Dan Electro Reel Tape echo unit ( $149 street – naw, it can touch the Fulltone tape echo unit, but a pretty good bang for the buck from the reviews I’ve read), and an Audio-Technica Perception 200 condensor microphone that I picked up a few months back for the studio. The Perception could be my ‘holy grail’ of inexpensive microphones in my stock ($180) – on-line reviews say major coolness abounds from these little units for all-purpose recording.

“The Soul Of Tone: 60 Years Of Fender Amps” – I received this coffee-table edition from my wife’s nephew Ben Rathke, who is a senior design engineer at Fender in Scottsdale, AZ., and I haven’t put it down since. Slice-o’-life stories about Don Randall, the CBS takeover in 1965, those ugly solid state amps from the 1906’s and 1970’s, and of course, Leo. Fascinating stuff – thanks a ton, Ben!

Just a little sidetrack in Gearville, kids – any cool equipment alerts out there, please send them my way – would love to hear about them!

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