About six years ago, I tried to buy every P-90-equipped guitar out there. I remained curious about the semi-hollow Gibson Blueshawk, which sports a contoured, light body with f-holes, a Varitone switch—and P-90 pickups! From time to time, I’d do an eBay search for “completed listings” to see what Blueshawks were going for, and the ballpark was between $450 and $700.
Auction Item: 1999 Gibson Blueshawk
Winning Bid: $500
The auction for this guitar ended at $475 without the reserve price being met—probably because the seller didn’t know how to post pictures and had only one positive feedback. But I was intrigued enough to call the seller, who said he’d lower the reserve to $500. I told him I’d love to buy his guitar, but that his low feedback made paying too risky. Because I had excellent feedback, he offered to ship the guitar first, and, if I was satisfied, I could send him a money order. I was impressed this guy was willing to ship a perfect stranger a $500 guitar and receive payment on the back end. I gave him my address before he came to his senses.
The guitar was almost brand new, and, after playing it for ten minutes, I knew it was going to be a keeper. I especially liked the dummy coil buried between the two P-90s, which keeps the guitar quiet while allowing the essence of the single-coils to come through. I really dig the Blueshawk. It’s like having a Les Paul, an ES-345, a Strat, a Tele, and an ASAT all rolled into one.
—Will Ray, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to bring an entire chorale of background vocalists to your next gig—all without hassling over per diems, transportation, and diva dramas? The VoiceLive ($799 retail)—a floor-processor-styled performance workstation for vocalists—can deliver layer upon layer of thick harmonies with just a few foot taps. Boasting much of the mojo found in TC-Helicon’s VoiceWorks studio processor, the VoiceLive offers solo performers and band vocalists the ability to stack male and female harmonies (the gender-bending is pretty compelling), simulate vocal doubling, correct pitch, and add reverb, delay (tap-tempo), compression, and 3-band EQ.
The VoiceLive features separate microphone and instrument signal paths. An onboard mixer lets you process signals in various ways, and then output a stereo or mono blend directly to an amplifier or sound system. The pro-quality microphone preamp has a single XLR input, and offers phantom power, a –20dB pad, a voice-optimized analog optical limiter, and a trim pot. There’s a 1/4" input for your guitar (or other instrument), and a second 1/4" jack that accepts balanced line-level inputs for connecting the VoiceLive to an effects loop. The addition of S/PDIF is also a nice touch that allows the unit to be used in a digital-effects loop, or as a direct digital recording device.
You can create up to four-part vocal harmonies using a number of human-modeled naturalization options, and control them in a wide variety of ways using the eight onboard footswitches and/or an optional expression pedal. The VoiceLive comes loaded with lots of cool presets, but the unit’s well organized LCD, four soft keys, and large data-entry wheel make creating your own custom programs a snap.