The year 2005 is running out... and this is the best time to reminiscence its most remarkable events. Being a guitar website, this time we decides to compile a list of the most progressive, innovative and sometimes amusing music products that become available this year. Obviously, it's impossible to cover all of them, so we've concentrated on the most important items. Some of them are available in your local shop, some of them were made in a limited quantity and were auctioned off, but it's still fun to know what kind of stuff manufacturers developed in 2005!
1. Fender -- Evolving Art.
Inhabitants and guests of Arizona GuitarMania public art project were lucky to see and touch 10-foot-tall, fiberglass Fender Stratocaster guitar models earlier this fall, Sept. 23 [read story on UG]. More than 80 local celebrities and artists -- including Eddie Van Halen, Stevie Nicks and The Phoenix Suns -- created art pieces using these models, all of which were on free public display. Since then, the guitars have been showed at various public locations throughout the 'valley' and won't be together again 'till they're auctioned off on Feb. 4, 2006. -- learn more
2. Squier -- Master Guitars.
Fender's daughter enterprise Squier didn't waste time this year as well. They have launched new Master Series guitars (M-80, M-80 Special, Esprit, Thinline Tele HH and Chambered Tele HH)! Squier design has reached a new level with the introduction of the Master Series. These guitars have sophisticated style and modern features for today's players. The Master Series instruments feature a 24.75" scale, powerful dual-humbucking pickups, sultry satin or gloss finishes and satin-platinum hardware. Two guitars of this series -- M-80 with set neck and M-80 Special with bolt-on neck [review] -- were designed by Fender Custom Shop Senior Master Builder Todd Krause. He has built guitars for some of the most recognizable names in the business, such as Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Keith Richards, and this guitar represents his original vision. "I wanted to build a workingman's guitar for a new generation of players," Krause said. "This guitar evolved from many years of seeing things in guitars that I like or dislike. The M-80 is the culmination of 25 years of designing and building guitars for the world's most discriminating players." -- learn more
2. ESP -- 30th Anniversary.
This year ESP Guitars pleased their adherents by releasing a special "30th Anniversary Guitar Collection." ESP president Matt Masciandaro says, "ESP is thankful to everyone who helped us grow over the years. We're very proud of having produced a range of guitars and basses that have been so well accepted by the world's top players. ESP's motto has always been 'If you can dream it, we can build it', and we still stick to that philosophy." All new models -- LTD F-2005 [review], LTD Viper-2005, LTD EC-2005 -- feature an anniversary logo inlay accompanied by a black satin finish. ESP's suggested retail prices for these instruments vary from $900 (for Viper and EC models) to $1000 (for F model). And without doubt, any of these guitars would become a great addition to any collection. "It's been an amazing run so far," continues Masciandaro. "But our focus is on the future, and we have many great plans in store. Here's to the next 30 years!" -- learn more
4. Boss -- Materialize Your Ideas With Power And Ease!
World famous -- mostly for the high-reliability effect pedals -- Boss corporation launched a new versatile, feature-packed 12-track BR-1200CD Studio. From guitar pick to compact disc, it can turn ideas into pro-quality songs with power and ease. Packed with great COSM effects and amp models derived from Boss's GT-6-series multi-effects processors as well as a great-sounding bass and drum programmer for instant backing tracks, the BR-1200CD is the friendliest and most comprehensive 12-tracker on the market to date. Along with all its features, the BR-1200CD also has a USB port for simple, one-cable data exchange with a computer. Audio tracks can be imported/exported in WAV format and songs can be safely backed up externally. The BR-1200CD is compatible with both PC and Mac. -- learn more
5. Line 6 -- Turn The Knob And Believe!
Pioneers of digital modeling guitars Line 6 haven't introduced any brand new ideas this year, but they've quite successfully filled up their award-winning Variax family with a new model -- Variax 600 [review]. This guitar takes technology and sound from its forerunners and puts over 25 historic guitar sounds into a professional grade instrument with a classic look and feel. Variax 600 was designed for the professional guitarists who want incredible flexibility in one instrument that works just like a traditional guitar. With all its external simplicity it gives you an unlimited variety of different sounds and effects. Besides playing a certain guitar model you can get a desired effect by using 5-way switch and knobs. Then, you can use a PC connection for downloading the additional patches. The modeled variations include solid-body, semi-hollow guitars, and hollow-body electrics with single-coil and humbucking pickups as well as several six- and twelve-string acoustics. Variax 600 is available in 2-tone sunburst, vintage white, blue, and black finishes. Couldn't said better than "Just Turn The Knob And Believe!" Incidentally, Line 6's suggested retail price for this beauty is 1,120$. But it worth the bargain! -- learn more
6. B.C. Rich -- Shaped To Shock, Built To Rock!
Rather entertaining product has been launched by B.C. Rich in cooperation with Coffin Cases earlier this year. This is a new series of Coffin Cases and Body Bags made especially for B.C. Rich guitar shapes. Each case and bag is conveniently designed to fit several models of B.C. Rich axes. Product manager of B.C. Rich guitars Rock Clouser says, "Simply put, a B.C. Rich guitar now can ride in outrageous style. Developing product with Coffin has been a great match up. It's clear that Coffin Cases and B.C. Rich have the same goal of making high quality products with dynamic styling! A Coffin Case is a natural fit for our daring guitar shapes!" Coffin Case chief executive officer Jonny Edwards adds, "B.C. Rich has keenly identified and developed a specific market niche. Because of overwhelming demand we have created a line to give B.C. Rich customers what they really want. Cases and guitars, shaped to shock, built to rock!" Thus, if you're a die-hard B.C. Rich idolater -- you must have one ot these widgets in your collection. By the way, sexy girls are not included. -- learn more
7. B.C. Rich -- Action Tuners -- Unbelievable Lazy.
And in the end of our narration we'd like to tell you about one ineresting device -- world's first robotic guitar tuner String Master [story on UG]. Crafted by Action Tuners company, String Master uses advanced computer technology to sample the sound several times, eliminating harmonics and overtones. It also can re-string your guitar -- automatically unwinding the old string and winding the new string with a push of a button. In accordance with String Master, all you have to do is hold this device on each tuning peg and pluck the proper string, String Master "listens" to the sound and its powerful gear motor actually turns the peg for you. The tuner will beep when the string is in perfect pitch. -- learn more
That's all we wanted to tell you in the end of this year. Perhaps our all-seeing eyes and all-knowing minds have missed something which worth mentioning, but we tried to cover the most interesting and important products and events of the year. Looking to the year 2006, we would like to wish guitar manufacturers to create something really groundbreaking and exciting -- something that might turn musician's world upside down ...and a Merry Christmas!
Rock on, See ya in 2006!