Subscribe now for free! JAZZed. CLICK HERE to signup now!

Gearcheck: February 2021

Christian Wissmuller • GearcheckJanuary/February 2021 • February 9, 2021

Share This:


Relaunched Rousseau Mouthpieces 

Following its acquisition of the famed Rousseau Mouthpiece company, JodyJazz has completed its relaunch of the Rousseau mouthpiece range. Players will see a new, sleeker look to the mouthpieces, more contemporary packaging, and most importantly, far greater consistency overall in the mouthpieces themselves. All Rousseau mouthpieces are now expertly hand-finished, gauged, and play-tested at the JodyJazz factory and held to the highest quality standards. 

Face Masks from Hosa Technology 

Hosa face masks use a polyester outer layer, cotton inner layer, and come with one 5-layer filter which can be easily replaced. These masks are washable and reusable, reducing waste from disposable surgical masks that workers and gigging professionals have used since returning to work from the pandemic. They are also stretchable and non-restrictive, made with a material that allows for good breathability without sacrificing what makes masks effective in the first place. MSRP: $24.95.

ddrum’s Studio Class Closed-Back Headphones

The ddrum Studio Class closed-back headphones fill the need drummers have for superior Db attenuation and studio quality fidelity all in an incredibly comfortable design. While other isolation headphones may provide protection from harmful sound levels and the ability for audio playback, the ddrum Studio Class headphones take performance to a new level. These professional headphones utilize comfortable ear cushions that house 40mm drivers, producing high precision audio and a frequency response of 20-20,000 Hz. These headphones also provide 36.7 dB of passive sound isolation.

D’Addario’s XS Coated Strings and VENN Reeds

D’Addario’s XS coated strings offer players maximum life, and an unprecedented level of strength and stability. Led by Jim D’Addario, the team incorporated D’Addario’s proprietary manufacturing processes and well-known innovations – like NY Steel high-carbon cores in the wound strings and Fusion Twist technology in the plain steels – to give XS incomparable break strength and tuning stability. XS will be available beginning in April 2021 in Phosphor Bronze string sets for acoustic guitar, 12-string guitar, and mandolin in the most popular gauges.

D’Addario Woodwind’s VENN is a new species of reeds that combines the stability and longevity of a synthetic reed with the sound and feel of natural cane. To mimic the organic structure of cane, D’Addario reverse-engineered cane itself, layering different strengths of polymer fibers with resin and organic reed elements to make up the reed blank. VENN lasts far longer than a cane reed, is consistent from reed to reed, and is less subject to splitting, chipping, and breaking from use. VENN requires no prep, care, and maintenance and is resistant to environmental conditions including temperature, humidity, and more. Available initially for B clarinet, alto, and tenor saxophone.

GraphTech’s Archtop Bridge

Crafted under high heat and pressure, the Archtop Bridge ensures that every nuance of an archtop’s sound is delivered with high-definition resolution. Two heights are available – standard and ultra-low – to guarantee the right fit for an archtop’s neck angle, and gold or nickel thumbwheels allow players to dial in just the right action for their playing style. MSRP: $49.95

The Graph Tech Tune-A-Lele machine heads offer precision tuning, tuning stability, and a lighter weight. Super light – one weighs just 5 grams, they are designed expressly for a ukulele’s light weight and short scale. The concentric 6:1 gear ratio of Tune-A-Lele machine heads means you have the familiar guitar-tuning feel, but with zero backlash and zero backdrive for very stable and accurate tuning. MSRP: $29.95 for a set of four.


The Exile from Dean Guitars

The Exile from Dean Guitars is a beast in playability and sonic flexibility. A high access heel joint on an Alder body offers the ability to reach every note. Equipped with a set of Fishman Fluence Modern series pickups, you can add additional sounds by utilizing their dual modes with the push/pull tone knob. This model also features a Floyd Rose 1000 series tremolo system, a black satin finish complimented with a 3-piece maple neck, 24-fret ebony fingerboard, bound neck and headstock, plus a chrome foil logo.

Luna’s Safari Vista Stallion Acoustic-Electric Travel Guitar

Luna’s Safari Vista Stallion acoustic-electric travel guitar displays a skillfully-crafted top made from tone woods on a travel guitar body (¾ size). Handmade from a combination of Lacewood, Padauk, maple, burled sapele, abalone, mother of pearl, and burled maple, this model comes equipped with Fishman electronics and a built-in tuner. Padded gigbag included.

Gil Parris GPS Model from Reverend Guitars

The Reverend Gil Parris GPS has tons of Reverend upgrades and is loaded with Fishman Fluence Single Width pickups. A knob in the bridge tone control switches between the two pickup voicings – a vintage tone and a more muscular “Hot Texas” tone. The Reverend Gil Parris GPS is available in Midnight Black with a choice of Roasted Maple or Pau Ferro fingerboards.

Print & Digital

Music-Go-Round from Alfred Music

Music-Go-Round is a 100-page book overflowing with creative musical activities for elementary students. This book includes Color-By-Note coloring pages, Word Wizard word searches, Musical Mix-Ups, Colorful Beats, Music Note Spelling Bees, Puzzling Pitches, and more. Music-Go-Round covers facts and concepts that are already part of music curriculums, these attractive reproducible worksheets are perfect for bell work, simple assessments, extra credit exercises, homework assignments, quick lesson extensions, or ready-to-go substitute teacher plans.

Jazz Duets: Etudes for phrasing and Articulation and Triads for the Improvising Guitarist from Berklee Press

Jazz Duets: Etudes for Phrasing and Articulation by Richard Lowell provides 27 duets in jazz and jazz-influenced styles such as swing, bebop, funk, samba, and others. They are appropriate for performance by any melodic instruments. The duets feature independent contrapuntal lines, and practicing them will give players intimate insight into how these constructs sound and can be used to create a wide variety of colors. Players will improve their ear, sense of timing, phrasing, and facility in bringing theoretical principles into musical expression. Players will learn to use: jazz staccato and legato articulations; scales, modes, harmonies and other structures; various meters and ways of interpreting them; phrasing within and between measures; swing feel; and more. $14.99

Triads for the Improvising Guitarist by Jane Miller explains how triads are the key to understanding harmony, soloing, and comping. By understanding how triads relate to larger chord structures, players can improve their command over harmony and be able to use triads more effectively in their playing. Through visualizing and using common triads on the first three strings, players can create smooth lines that make sense of the chords even when the song changes keys or modes. The book includes online access to recorded examples which include PLAYBACK+, a multi-functional audio player that allows you to slow down audio without changing pitch, set loop points, change keys, and pan left or right. $19.99.

Band & Orchestra

Anniversary Edition Saxophones from Cannonball

Cannonball celebrates 25 years in business with a new special-edition model of the popular Big Bell Stone Series saxophones. Each of these models is handcrafted with a nickel silver bell, bow, original neck, and FAT Neck, and is further enhanced with an oversized, solid titanium neck screw and lyre screw. An intricate pattern selected from Cannonball’s catalog of premium hand engravings – White Tiger – is carefully carved onto each bell and bow. Seventeen semi-precious Snakeskin Jasper stones adorn each saxophone. Finished in polished black nickel plating and acoustically hand-customized as with every pro Cannonball instrument, the striking presence and rich sound of these versatile saxophones make a bold statement. Available in alto (A5-25) and tenor (T5-25) through authorized Cannonball dealers worldwide beginning March 2021.

Eastman’s New Marching Sousaphone

Eastman has introduced the EPH495 BB marching sousaphone, marking the beginning of advancements being made across the full line of Eastman marching instruments. The new Eastman EPH495 BB sousaphone includes a shoulder brace matched to finish, redesigned neck bracing, and support throughout the instrument, all while maintaining a lightweight design that is comfortable on players of all statures. It also features an accessible first valve tuning slide, a shoulder guard for added comfort, and powerful sound through all registers.

Buffet Crampon Student Alto and Tenor Saxophones

Using many of the same design elements as the Buffet Crampon 400 Series professional saxophones, the 100 Series student saxophones give young band students a high-quality instrument that plays well right away, a crucial first step for beginning saxophonists. These 100 Series saxophones feature a gold lacquer finish, leather pads with metal resonators, a high F# key, and a large bottom bow for easier low note response.

Cases & Stands

Gator’s Professional Microphone Boom Arm

Gator’s new professional desktop broadcast/podcast microphone features an on-air indicator light, 360-degree rotation ability, and a replaceable XLR cable. The stand is fully adjustable and will clamp or directly mount to surfaces up to 2.17”/55mm in thickness. The spring-loaded articulating arm has a maximum weight capacity of 4.4 lbs./2 kg and can extend up to 32.25”/940mm. It comes equipped with a 3”/76mm extension adapter which allows plenty of extra room to comfortably attach an XLR cable without having to bend or force cables.

König & Meyer’s 12195 Laptop Stand 

König & Meyer’s 12195 Laptop Stand mixes a steel base with aluminum elements to insure the perfect balance of stability and light weight. Made in Germany, its visual appeal matches its functionality. Ideal for mobile DJs and musicians, it also does double duty at the home studio or office. The stand folds flat for easy transport and features individually adjustable pins adjust to fit a variety of laptops, mixers, CD players, and more. Its height extends to 10.5” and folds flat to 2.5” Protective support pads and anti-slip rubber feet ensure protection. The stand comes in gray powdercoat finish. MAP: $149.99

Piano & Keyboard

ES920 and ES520 Digital Pianos from Kawai

Combining Kawai’s Responsive Hammer keyboard action and Harmonic Imaging sound technologies, the ES920 and new mid-range ES520 reproduces the touch and tone of a concert grand piano, providing an authentic, rewarding playing experience for musicians of all abilities. In addition to other fine features, including brand-new lightweight body design, these portable instruments are suitable choices for home, stage, or classroom. The ES920 and mid-range ES520 feature a brand-new modern body design with a flat panel surface complemented by smooth, rounded edges. With their modern design, sturdy body, and lighter weight, the ES920 and ES520 are some of the most portable pianos in their respective classes making them excellent choices for the gigging or studio musician. In addition to their portability, when attached to their dedicated HM-5 designer stand and F-302 triple pedal bar, these instruments transform into stylish and compact piano replacements.

Yamaha’s DGX-670 Digital Piano

Yamaha’s DGX-670 digital piano features a modern, attractive aesthetic and a simplified user interface. The new “Portable Grand” ensemble instrument is a full, 88-note weighted action keyboard with exceptional playability, superb sound and visual appeal, making it ideal for beginners and accomplished pianists. The DGX-670 includes the company’s Graded Hammer Standard keyboard action – the low keys have a heavier response and the high keys have a lighter response – which delivers the touch piano teachers recommend for building proper finger technique for playing acoustic pianos.

While the DGX-660 had a traditional, rectangular frame, the DGX-670 has been totally redesigned with a modern body featuring curved edges. Operation of a wide selection of functions is made quick and easy, thanks to a new, full-color LCD screen featuring a simplified user interface. The keyboard also has enlarged buttons on the front panel that feel nice to the touch without taking up too much space. Additional features of the DGX-670 include: 601 instrument Voices, including 29 Drum/SFX Kits, as well as 263 accompaniment Style presets; Bluetooth audio, which allows musicians to play their music through the new 10W x 2 speaker system; and “USB to Host” that functions as a two way 2-channel audio and 16-channel MIDI interface.

Drums & Percussion

Limited-Edition CRX AIR Low-Volume Cymbal Sets

TRX Cymbals has released a limited edition, four-piece set the popular AIR Series low-volume cymbals with a custom, Sky-Blue finish. The set, which is recommended for practice rooms, teaching studios, and low-volume playing situations, includes 14˝ hi-hats, 20˝ ride, 18˝ crash-ride, and 16˝ crash plus a cymbal bag. MSRP: $499.99

Paiste’s Signature Series Revival

Paiste has announced a new phase of Signature Series re-launches and new models. 19“ & 20“ Power Crash are assertive instruments for bright, full accents. 20“ & 22“ Power Rides pierce the loudest guitar walls with a solid, bright ping and strong bell sound. 14“ & 15“ Power Hi-Hats complete the triumvirate of Signature Power models with their bright and cutting character. The 14“ Heavy Hi-Hat features power and brilliance as well, and features clear, full sound with a rich low-end. For the first time Paiste presents the 22” Mellow Ride – a larger version of the popular light ride cymbal. In the new size, the sweet, mellow stick sound and the rich, soft wash obtain even more depth and volume. Signature Cymbals are made by hand from Signature Alloy using traditional methods that have remained unchanged in over half a century.

Zildjian’s Limited Edition Vintage As

In celebration of what would have been Armand Zildjian’s 100th birthday, the Avedis Zildjian Company will be releasing vintage cymbals from the Zildjian family vault. This first ever family vault release features 200 hand-selected genuine vintage 20” A cymbals from Armand Zildjian’s personal collection. Included with each cymbal is a pair of limited-edition Armand Zildjian signature drumsticks, a pair of gloves, a signed and numbered certificate of authenticity, and a book celebrating Armand Zildjian’s life and legacy. All of these come packed in a premium Calzone road case.

The Latest News and Gear in Your Inbox - Sign Up Today!