Speed Rating July 2013: Four Mini-Reviews

January 30, 2014


$12 street (each)
Adjusting the trussrod on a vintage Fender guitar is a dicey proposition due to the “cross screw” nut being made of unhardened steel, and also because its narrow slots only accommodate screwdrivers with small tips (1/8" or so) that can easily chew up the 3/8"-wide slots. CruzTool’s Standard Truss Rod Driver, which is designed for adjusting with the neck removed from the body (the right way to do it), features a thin, 3/8"-wide (9mm) tip that fits the nut slots perfectly to avoid damage, as well as a long shaft and large handle for easier turning. But if you prefer to do your trussrod adjusting with the neck in place (and who can blame you?), the Cheater Driver has a 4mm wide tip that provides the best possible fit into a halfway exposed trussrod nut. Either way, if you own and/or maintain vintage Fender guitars or basses, these high quality tools are a must. cruztools.com —ART THOMPSON

$47 street

Although the packing-box design exudes a cute, Toys“R”Us vibe, this is a super-serious guitar stand that’s engineered like a Mercedes SLS roadster. In addition to solid, gig-tough construction, you get brilliant features such as a locking headstock holder (with a groovy spring-loaded lock/unlock mechanism), a clutch handle for quick and secure height adjustments, and molded rubber supports for the guitar body. The versatile GBU- 300 accommodates solidbodies, hollowbodies, acoustics, and even basses, and the stand’s wide stance, rubber feet, and headstock lock make for a tenacious and protective embrace. Acting like a drunken roadie, I kicked, bumped, and swatted the stand from several angles, and I couldn’t bring it down, or knock loose my guitar. This is absolutely one of the best guitar stands I’ve ever seen. gobylabs.com. —MICHAEL MOLENDA

$175 street (per pickup)

After taking my Koll Duo Glide to several gigs in a row where someone declared post-set, “Hey, that would be cool with Filter’Trons!” I finally decided they might be right. Trouble is, this guitar is routed for standard humbuckers. Enter Jason Lollar’s new Lollartron, a classic ’Tron-style pickup in a standard humbucker-sized mounting. A few solder connections later my Duo Glide was blessed with the clear but silky highs, chirpy mids, and bouncy lows that characterize “that” sound, all with an edge of PAF-like warmth and body for added dimension—in short, precisely my experience of genuine vintage Filter’Trons. Twang on! lollarguitars.com —DAVE HUNTER


$45 street
The oxygen-free conductors in this cable are stranded together to form a single center conductor, which is surrounded by seven identical strands in a “rope” configuration that makes for an extremely flexible cable that is resistant to damage from bending, twisting, etc. The specially formulated PVC outer jacket and a braided shield made from 128 extra-fine copper wires further enhance flexibility and durability, and the polyethylene insulation minimizes signal loss and high-frequency attenuation. A layer of carbon plastic beneath the braided shield nukes handling noise, and rugged metal plugs with strain relief reduce stress on the solder connections. The 20-foot cable we tested delivered a full, balanced sound with smooth, open highs, and it handled easily and was resistant to tangling. Canare makes cables for a wide variety of connectivity needs, so check out their offerings for instrument, mic, and other applications. Canare.com —ART THOMPSON

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