Pros: Sleek. Articulate. Supermodel looks. Myriad custom options. Cons: Custom upgrades can get pricey and skew value proposition. Funky flavors are not an option. Contact: (800) 854-2235; carvin.com.
Pros: Sweet single-coil and strong humbucker tones. Cons: None. Contact: (514) 457-7977; godinguitars.com.
Pros: Ultra-portable. High-quality components. Nice single-coil sound. Cons: Unevenly distributed weight. Lacks warmth. Weak humbucker sounds. Contact: (203) 264-1413; palmguitar.com.
Pros: Punchy tones. Clean and overdrive channels. Digital effects. Cons: Treble knob voiced too bright. Footswitch not included. Contact: (480) 596-9690; fender.com.
Pros: Vintage treble booster. Clean-boost tones. Cons: Wall-wart powered. Contact: (408) 482-8605; timemachineboost.com.
Pros: Gorgeous sound. Outrageous feature set. Stage and studio worthy. Cons: None. Contact: (201) 594-0817; europeanmusical.com.
Pros: Warm tone. Resistant to tarnishing. Cons: None. Contact: (818) 842-1700; everlymusic.com.
Pros: Mammoth boost. Sustains for days. Overdrive tone is sexier than Halle Berry and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos combined. Cons: None. Contact: (973) 777-6996; tech21nyc.com. Rebel Sound Black Dog Looking for a 12" speaker with a bad attitude? Consider the Canadian-made Black Dog ($140 street), a 60-watt, ceramic-magnet unit that comes in closed- and open-back versions. I loaded an “O” model Black Dog into an open-back 2x12 cabinet alongside a Celestion G12M “greenback,” and compared the sound of both speakers using a Mesa/Boogie Blue Angel and a Marshall plexi reissue. Played at low- to-medium volumes with a Fender Strat and a PRS McCarty, the Black Dog delivered similar bass, mids, and volume as the Celestion, but sounded noticeably more compressed and distorted. This was particularly true with the humbucker-equipped McCarty, which elicited fuzzy grind from the Black Dog at settings that were almost dead-clean with the Celestion.
Pros: Sounds like a classic Celestion G12M, but with more compression and breakup. Cons: Not a good choice for clean tones. Contact: (780) 963-0320; rebelsound.org.
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