Well, it’s certainly been a busy month. As I write this, I’m in the unglamorous end of a British Airways Dreamliner cruising at 40,000ft somewhere over Virginia. We’re about to begin our descent into Nashville for the Summer NAMM show – an event that’s gone from strength to strength in recent years, maintaining a healthy mixture of big brands and boutique builders and a considerably more intimate feel than the winter show in Anaheim.
By the time you read this, you’ll doubtless be fully up to speed with all the new guitar, amp, effects and accessory releases from the show floor, but you can head to our YouTube page to catch up on all of our coverage and ensure there’s nothing you missed.
If it’s a deep dive you’re looking for, then you’ve come to the right place – this month’s new gear explosion sees us put Fender’s retro Vintera Series to the test alongside hot new products from Gretsch, Taylor, Blackstar, Chapman, Gibson and more. Gibson has been in the news for its legal challenges of late, but check out our review to find out what we think of the first production-line Les Pauls of the new era.
Elsewhere in the mag, we chat to a diverse bunch of artists, from guitar Jedi Guthrie Govan to country-soul superstar-in-waiting Yola, blues wunderkind Kingfish and LA songwriter Vanessa Wheeler, aka VAVÁ.
Just before we went to press, we learned of the sad death of legendary guitar tech Alan Rogan. Over the years, Alan tech’d for some of the world’s biggest bands – The Stones and The Who among them – and I was once lucky enough to witness him holding court in a London pub, regaling this Beatles obsessive and others with tales of working with George Harrison. Wonderful stuff.
It wasn’t just stars – Alan also helped up-and-coming builders by giving them access to vintage instruments. It’s a testament to the man that so many industry luminaries and members of the extended Guitar Magazine family have expressed sadness at his passing. Our thoughts go out to Alan’s friends and family.
Inside the issue
Vanessa Wheeler’s genre-bending take on modern guitar pop is as exhilarating and unpredictable as her guitar collection. We head to Vanessa’s Los Angeles home to check out the technicolour tools of her trade.
The new Vintera series offers serious Fender guitars for not a lot of money. We check out three guitars from the new range that combine vintage inspiration with real-world functionality.