New Sensor Svetlana 6L6GC
Designed and developed nearly ten years ago at the Svetlana factory in St. Petersburg, Russia, the Svetlana 6L6GC ($43 retail/$32 street, per matched pair) quickly became a favorite output tube of many tone connoisseurs.
New York-based New Sensor has recently secured the rights to the Svetlana brand name in the U.S. and Canada, and is manufacturing a new version of the Svetlana 6L6GC in the Reflektor tube factory in Saratov, Russia, (the same factory that manufacturers New Sensor's Sovtek and Electro-Harmonix tubes). Boasting improved reliability and reduced microphonics, the new Svetlanas are otherwise built to the same specifications as the original St. Petersburg-made 6L6GC tubes (which are still available in the U.S., but now bear the S.E.D. winged "C" logo).
The good news is these new Reflektor-made Svetlanas possess a tonal voice remarkably similar to the original tubes, and the distinctive top-end sweetness, harmonically rich midrange, and lively dynamic response are all still abundantly present. It's also good news that Svetlana 6L6GCs are now available from two factories, as this promises a more consistent supply of these fine tubes to North America. All's well in Tubeland.
Old Dog Road Warrior
I typically avoid most guitar stands and all wire clothes hangers, because these allegedly simple and serviceable necessities of life are far from docile helpmates. No. They are devil spawn. Place your trust in the wrong guitar stand, and the hateful little bugger will always latch onto something (or someone) when you're unloading gear, jettison its parts while you're lugging two guitars and a combo amp down a steep staircase, and self-destruct when it's most needed. And-be honest-how many of those metal and chrome sprites really look totally hip onstage?
Well, the Old Dog Road Warrior electric-guitar stand ($40-80 retail, depending on color) may not be Johnny Depp cool, either, but it comes in very dashing colors, folds flat, and is innocent of those deadly moving parts. Made of polycarbonate with soft, rubber-like Santoprene inserts to protect your instrument's finish, the Road Warriors are gig-rugged and extremely steady. I smacked a couple around at the Summer NAMM show, and not one stand collapsed. Each stand also folded up neatly and quickly, and could be easily stored in a pedalboard-sized gig bag. Finally, the Road Warrior cradled several different guitars securely-the instruments didn't slip and fall even after I repeatedly kicked the stand's legs (just like those annoying lead vocalists who never seem to complete a pirouette without stumbling into your airspace). The Road Warrior is a marvelous new take on an old idea, and it has renewed my faith in guitar stands.
Ask most people if they'd like a wedgie and they're likely to eye you warily and ease back a few paces. But, the fact is that Wedgie has created several innovative products, including three types of picks. The Derlin FX is named after the durable, lightweight, and low-friction polymer that it is made out of. Originally dubbed "synthetic stone" when created by Dupont in the '50s, Derlin provides an exceptional amount of rigidity and snap even when sliced thin. The Clear XL is made from a polycarbonate blend, and gets its name from the material's translucent quality.
What differentiates these picks from more pedestrian plectra is a thumb-friendly indentation that makes them easier to hold onto. Both types are available in .50, .60, .73, .88, 1.00, and 1.14mm color-coded gauges. The Rubber, which is made from elastomer (a fancy name for rubber), is designed for use with classical and steel-string acoustics. You can get either 3.1mm or 5.0mm Rubbers in soft, medium, or hard stiffness. All three varieties come in 12-packs ($4 retail/$2.50 street).
The Derlin FX packs extra pluckiness into thinner gauges, making it perfect for articulating precise single notes and crisp chords. The Clear XL behaves more like a conventional pick, but with the advantage of the thumb indent. The Rubber allows aggressive playing with absolutely no pick noise, though its thickness and somewhat eraser-like response may rub some players the wrong way. Choosing the "right" pick is one of the most subjective decisions a guitarist can make, but if you are searching for a new experience, a good Wedgie may be just what you need.