Brookdale Guitar Show 2009
The 12th Annual Brookdale Guitar Show in Lincroft New Jersey had some very interesting vendors this year. There were many very cool guitar and equipment dealers in attendance displaying a wide range of vintage and current production instruments.
Marc Tappan the director of sales for D’Angelico was one of the vendors out in full force at the show. He brought some very nice archtop guitars that were easy on the eyes and did not fail to impress with playability and tone. The D’Angelico line is imported but do not let that fool you into thinking that these are cheap facsimiles of an iconic high quality guitar. The new D’Angelico line is very high quality and has many models to choose from. The great blues artist Susan Tedeschi and jazz great Phil Upchurch are two of the company’s endorsees that are playing these fine guitars. Marc goes over all of the instruments and makes any set up adjustments before they reach their final destination; the players hands.
Andy Fuchs had a handful of his rich luxurious sounding amps on display. These amps are rich, fat and punchy. I played Andy’s personal amp and for a small sized 1×12 combo it was absolutely huge sounding. The snakeskin covered amp had a very refined tone with two distinct sounding channels plus a very nice sounding onboard spring reverb. The Plush line of pedals are being met with rave reviews and the few I heard were fantastic. Andy is currently designing more pedals for future release so stay tuned.
Paul Unkert had many examples of his Unk line of guitars for everyone to try. These guitars sport a tuning fork type of headstock that lets the bass strings resonate at a different frequency than the treble strings. 37 years of skill as a luthier went into the design of the Unk line of guitars. There are many models to choose from including the new import models which are excellent for the cost conscious player looking for great quality on a recession budget.
Frank O’Hearn brought some of his Shamrock amps to Brookdale. His amps are no-nonsense, straight to the point, hand wired tube amplifiers. Each model sports an EF86 preamp tube, Volume, Tone and Master Volume and are available in different wattage ratings. The Master Volume control can be switched in and out of the circuit via a pull-pot. With the Master disengaged the amp becomes very bold and dynamic and with the Master engaged the amp can be played at very tame levels without losing the tone and feel of a cranked up amp. These are very user friendly amps with minimal knob twiddling required. The blind dovetailed cabinetry is beautiful and available in many different stains. No tolex here just beautiful woodgrain with poly finish for protection.
Jimmy Somma of Sommatone Amplification set up a semi-circle of his handsomely tolex covered current amp models which include the Roaring 20, Roaring 40, The Outlaw and the Earl Slick signature model the Slick 18. All four sounded great and there were many familiar guitar tones to be had within each different model. The Roaring 20 and 40 both had nice harmonic content due to the duet (Roaring 20) and quartet (Roaring 40) of EL84 tubes. The parallel onboard reverb sounded warm and lush. Blendable bright and normal channels will accommodate both single coil and humbucker equipped guitars, no prejudice here. There is a footswitchable boost function that is perfect for solos. One innovative is the Presence control which allows the player to really fine tunes the overall tone of the amp taming a bright guitar or articulating a darker sounding guitar. The Outlaw is a rock player’s amp. It screams rock and roll all the way. Mucho sustain and gain on tap in spades but retains clarity and note separation amongst the overdrive. And the small Slick 18 head would be great in a studio situation. Just like the other three models the Slick 18 had great tone and dynamics with nice clarity and no mushy bass response. Jimmy says he uses Mercury Magnetics transformers for all his builds along with other choice components in his tonal recipe.
These are a few of the fine manufacturers that were displaying products at the show. Interviews and in-depth product reviews will be forthcoming in the near future. We are blessed to be playing guitar in a time of abundant choices of gear, recession or not!
Shamrock Amplifiers- [email protected]