Core One Bullet Coil Cable
Nothing says "old-school cool" more than coiled guitar cords, which were the choice of Jimi Hendrix, Danny Partridge, and other guitar and bass legends. Unfortunately, nothing says "crappy tone" more than these notoriously bad-sounding relics of yore.
But Core One's new Bullet Coil Cable ($70 retail/$40 street)-which sports 99.9 percent oxygen-free copper conductors and copper-braided shielding-is a major improvement on the "telephone wire" of the past. The Bullet has a noticeable high-end roll off, but that's hardly a surprise considering it contains 33 feet of cable (maximum extended length is 25 feet). Longer cables have more capacitance than shorter ones-which typically results in some loss of high-end-but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Early in his career, Stevie Ray Vaughan preferred the funkiest Radio Shack coil cords available, strictly for their tonal coloration. With my Tele plugged into a Fender Twin Reverb, I actually dug the way the Bullet rolled off some of the glistening treble spikes. However, one of the best things about the Bullet is that it looks cool, and that's a rare thing to say about any guitar cord.
Featuring a thin micro-suction pad that clings to almost any surface,
Stix Pix ($3.99 retail/street price N/A; pack of six) are designed to provide enhanced grip, and can be stuck anywhere on your instrument. The beauty of the micro-suction pad is that it's non-adhesive. Instead, the pad contains microscopic cavities that trap air to create suction. And when the pad becomes dirty and ineffective, it can be completely revitalized by placing a piece of Scotch tape against it. Available in a variety of thicknesses and colors, Stix Pix definitely do provide a firmer hold, though the pad does alter the way the pick feels in your fingers. Whether you're willing to trade the familiarity of your regular plectrum for some insurance against having it fly out of your hand at an inopportune moment is something you'll have to judge for yourself. But if you suffer from chronic pickdropitis, or simply think it looks dumb to have bunch of picks taped to your mic stand, give these things a try. You just might get stuck on them.
Tascam CD-SP1 Carrying Case
Tascam's new CD-SP1 Carrying Case ($39 retail/street price N/A) rules for anyone who owns the company's popular CD-GT1 guitar trainer.
As any GT1 owner knows, leaving the house with it involves bringing along a power supply and a stack of whatever CDs you happen to be working on-all of which comprise an armload of stuff. Now you can pack everything inside this clever carrying case. But the SP1 is more than just a gear purse. In the spirit of the multi-featured gizmo it protects, the SP1 has a hidden talent: Empty the case, connect two small pairs of Velcro straps inside, flip the case over to form an inverted V, connect the stereo mini plug to the GT1's headphone output, and you've got a desktop monitoring system. Two speakers hidden in the lid of the SP1 project the mix right at your face with plenty of spread, and just enough wattage for jamming along with your favorite CD. Now you can practice (or record, if you have a Tascam Pocketstudio 5, which also fits the SP1) on vacations, at your in-laws' house, or anywhere else your significant other probably wants your undivided attention.