The Week In Guitar: new Blink music, new Boss pedals and a bleak economic outlook

It’s been a busy week in guitar culture as ever, but here are the most notable news stories, trends and weird stuff we’ve seen over the last seven days.

The week in guitar, 15 September

Images: Boss / Manny Carabel / Hinterhaus Productions / Getty

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Welcome once again to The Week In Guitar – don’t have time to keep up with all the going on in guitar culture every week? Well, luckily we here at Guitar.com don’t have anything better to be doing, so we might as well distil the last seven days of guitar news into one handy place. What’s been happening?

UK musicians hit hard financial barriers

Image: Getty Images

It’s no secret that the UK economy’s outlook at the moment is pretty dire. Combine that with paltry streaming payouts, unpaid rehearsals, and low performance fees and things don’t get any better. A survey has found that around half of working musicians in the country are earning less than £14,000 a year – far below minimum wage, which is £19,000 a year.

The survey was conducted by Musicians’ Union and the charity Help Musicians, who hope to use the data to broaden the support options available for working musicians.

Fender releases a (more) affordable version of Mike McCready’s Strat

Fender Mike McCready Stratocaster
Image: Fender

Especially with the above story in mind, it’s good to see Fender release a replica of Mike McCready’s 1960 stratocaster that isn’t $15,000. Built in Ensenada, Mexico, the Mike McCready Stratocaster features a hand-crafted, heavily Road Worn lacquer finish over an alder body, recreating the battle scars McCready’s own Strat has earned over 60-odd years of use.

Blink-182 finally confirms release date of new music

Image: Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images

Blink fans have finally been sated with a solid date for new material, after years of asking “where are you?” – the answer? 21 September, so stay tuned for that. The record will mark Blink-182’s first album with DeLonge back in the fold. He re-joined in October of 2022 after nearly 10 years apart from remaining original members Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker.

Quick Riffs

  • Somewhere in Boss HQ, someone loudly exclaimed: “crap, we haven’t released a noise gate in like, 35 years!” and thus, the lovely and modern NS-1X was born, now featuring a cool LED light bar to indicate gain reduction. And, crucially, more control and better noise reduction.
  • Ed Sheeran Ed Sheeran Ed Sheeran Ed Sheeran is possibly considering bringing out his own line of looper pedals, which would make sense given he made his name via loop-heavy solo acoustic gigs.
  • A 12-page thread about “reverse-classism” breaks out on The Gear Page due to a mention of the term “blues lawyer”.

Quote Of The Week

“Nobody would expect a five-minute song with no chorus and a mandolin being the lead instrument to be played on the radio at all – much less become a worldwide number-one hit”

Mike Mills has revealed that, not that surprisingly when you think about it, R.E.M. were taken aback by Losing My Religion becoming as big as it did. Hard to imagine when you listen to the song or think about its impact, but he has a point about the mandolin.

The Encore

Anything can be a distortion pedal… at least, according to David Hilowitz. But the principle he demonstrates in the above video is an important one to understand: any piece of analogue equipment is capable of distortion in some ways, and sometimes, it can sound really cool.

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