April 1, 2004
Action Tuners String Master Robotic Tuner
The String Master robotic guitar tuner ($99 retail/$69 street) not only has a microprocessor that does all the thinking for you, it also includes a built-in electric motor that automatically turns the tuning peg to the correct pitch! Simply plug your guitar into the String Master’s 1/4" input jack, pluck the string a few times, and watch in amazement as the motor does all the work. Powered by a single 9-volt alkaline battery, the String Master’s motor is surprisingly powerful and can turn continuously in either direction.
Whether you’re looking for a tuner or an electric string winder, or you just enjoy clever gadgets and gizmos, the String Master is loads of fun and hard to resist.
Auralex Acoustics GRAMMA
Auralex has provided studios with sound-absorption options for years, so the company is pretty savvy about “tuning” acoustic environments to maximize sonic clarity. The GRAMMA ($59 retail/$49 street) puts some of that sound-control magic into a portable mini-riser that can isolate signals from any speaker cabinet to reduce low-frequency resonances and provide tighter, clearer sound dispersion. Just pop your rig atop the 23" x 15" MDF platform (the GRAMMA can handle up to 300 lbs) and start making some noise. The carpet-covered top sits on two 2" x 4" foam rails that decouple your rig from the floor, and a 2"-thick wedge of Auralex’s Studiofoam is placed between the rails to trap booming bass frequencies.
I used the GRAMMA in my home studio under various guitar amps and a subwoofer, and the device absolutely tightened up low-end signals. An added benefit was that the GRAMMA minimized the roar transferred to the poor soul living in the apartment below me. One GRAMMA. Better studio tones. Two happy apartment dwellers. Not a bad return for a 50-buck investment!
Moody Standard Guitar Strap
Many players treat guitar straps as less-than-afterthoughts. That is, until their backs turn to jello due to the ineffective distribution of the guitar’s weight, or until some bar bruiser gives them grief for hoisting a fine instrument on dorky rigging. Happily, a Moody Standard strap ($69 direct) can guard against sins of fashion and body abuse. These lovely, handcrafted accessories have a top layer of fine Italian leather, a middle layer of luscious suede, and a bottom layer of shoulder-nurturing suede. The 2.5" Standard model is comfy enough to make a Les Paul appear almost weightless, and it feels already “broken in” from the very first use. If you never thought you’d fall in love with a guitar strap, check one of these out—and have an engagement ring ready!