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GearCheck: September 2014

Jazzed Magazine • August/September 2014Gearcheck • September 5, 2014

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Vandoren Extended ‘Masters’ Clarinet Mouthpieces

Vandoren’s Masters clarinet mouthpiece line has been expanded with the addition of the ‘13’ series, which is pitched at A=440. Previously available in two distinct models, Vandoren has also added the CL6 model to the ‘13’ series, as well as the standard A=442 series. The Masters line features a unique exterior shape and chamber design, allowing for a resonance and tone color unlike any other Vandoren mouthpiece. The CL6 is designed for clarinetists preferring a slightly more open mouthpiece. Vandoren has also added an entire line of 13 Series Masters mouthpieces, pitched at A=440 for American orchestral players and anyone seeking a slightly lower pitch.

MusicNomad Band & Orchestra and Piano & Keyboard Care

MusicNomad’s additions to its instrument care products include: Valve Oil, T-Slide Trombone Lubricant, Bore Oil, Silver Polish, Lacquer Polish, Polishing cloths for Piano/Keyboard, Brass and Woodwind, String Instrument, Piano ONE polish, Key ONE Key, and Keyboard cleaner. The formulations are proprietary and eco-friendly. 


Jupiter 1100 Series Trumpets

The 1100 Series Trumpets produce a wide range of tonal colors and come in three distinct models which give the player the freedom to choose from a variety of leadpipes and bell materials. Whether players are looking for a dynamic, classic or majestic sound, the 1100 Series offers versatility.


Odyssey Brasswind Range

The Odyssey Premiere Series has been expanded to include the OBS800 EH Baritone Saxophone, OFG1300SG Flugel Horn, OCR1000 EH Soprano Cornet and the OTR1250 D/EH Trumpet, providing even more options for intermediate to advanced players. There is also the new OFL300C Curved Head Flute, which features a closed key, offset G design and includes additional straight head joint with silver plated nickel tube and French keywork.


L.A. Sax Big Lip “X”

 L.A. Sax’s Big Lip “X” boast a large bell and bell throat for a fat tone quality, a cupronickel body, bell and neck for increased vibrancy, rolled tone holes for an smooth feel, and most importantly, the use of new and exclusive Reactor Panel™ pads. The new Big Lip “X” saxophones are available in four elegant finishes of silver plate with black nickel keys, black nickel plate with silver plated keys and neck, antique matte, and a version in unpolished brass. Each model is hand engraved and has its own unique tonal properties.


D’Addario Reserve Cut Reeds

The Reserve cut for clarinet is built on a standard thickness blank and features a shorter vamp, rounded tip corners, and a traditional tip thickness. Reserve BH Clarinet reeds are offered in boxes of 10 and packs of two reeds in strengths from 2.0 – 4.5 with a special 3.0+ strength. Retail: $43.

The Reserve Classic cut for clarinet is built on a thicker blank and offers a longer vamp, squared tip corners, and a thicker tip. Reserve Classic BH Clarinet reeds will be available in half strengths, from 2.0 to 4.5, with special 3.5+ and 4.0+ strengths, and offered in boxes of 10 and packs of two reeds. Retail: $56. Alto Saxophone Reserve reeds feature a traditional blank option, a heavy spine, a narrow rail slope, and a traditional tip thinkness. Offered in boxes of 10 and packs of 2reeds in half strengths from 2.0 – 4.5 with a special 3.0+ strength.



SJC Maple/Metal/Maple Snare

SJC recently introduced these 8”x14” shells, which utilize 1.5” Maple, 5” Flat black steel, and then 1.5” more of Maple, with tube lugs and diecast hoops.  The snare features significant attack and body while the maple edges help with the body and snare response. The steel middle section adds a lot of high end projection.



Prentice Practice Pads

Prentice Patented Practice Pads are handmade in the U.S. with a high quality MDF fiberboard. Imbedded gum rubber playing surface with two size options. Change Pad angle quickly for match grip or traditional grip, and choose from an assortment of colors and wood finish.

Paiste PST5

Musically open-minded beginners will find a great starting cymbal set with the 14”, 16”, and 18” Medium Crashes, 20” Medium Ride, and 14” Medium Hats. The 8” and 10” Splash enrich the assortment with fast responding effect cymbals. There is also an 18” China available.

For the first time in this class, Paiste introduces a 14” Sound Edge Hats cymbal, a legendary Paiste invention that dates back to 1967. Paired with the 16” and 18” Rock Crash as well as the 20” Rock Ride, this option is an outstanding foundation of a cymbal set in louder music styles. PST5 are made from 2002 bronze in Paiste’s German facility.


Tycoon Percussion Rober Vilera Signature Timbales

Designed in conjunction with master timbalero Robert Vilera, Tycoon Percussion’s new Signature Model Timbales boast high-quality stainless steel shells with heavy-gauge, die-cast counterhoops. The 14” and 15” drums also feature a unique purple satin finish. Also included are a height-adjustable tilting timbale stand, cowbell mounting bracket, two Robert Vilera signature cowbells, a pair of timbale sticks, and tuning wrench.


Pearl FFS Free-Floating Snare Drums

Pearl’s new Task-Specific Free Floating Snare Drums are offered in a 14” width by 3.5”, 5”, 6.5”, and 8” depth, each made utilizing specific shell materials to optimize each drum’s sonority with respect to depth.

The Task-Specific 14×3.5 Piccolo Free Floaters feature 1.2mm Stainless Steel or 6-ply Birch, both known for their brightness, which complement the bright, penetrating sound of piccolo snares. 14”x5” Free Floaters feature 1.5mm Brass or 6 ply Maple shells known for their smooth and even frequency distribution. 14”x6.5” Free Floating Snare Drums are equipped with 1.2mm Phosphor Bronze or 6 ply Maple with an inner ply of African Mahogany. The 14”x8” Free Floater features a 1.2mm Seamless Aluminum shell with strong lows, smooth mids, and sweet highs. All drums are equipped with Die-Cast hoops, free floating lugs, chrome hardware, Coated Ambassador batter head, and Pearl’s new SR-160F strainer.


Maxonoix StickARK Drumstick Holder

StickARK™ is a Kick Mount 4x Drumstick Holder with an innovative design that positions four sticks right in front of a drummer (on kick/bass drum) with easy-grab spacing between sticks. StickARK holds all popular stick sizes and works with all standard 8 or 10-lug kick drums. It stops stick rattle & keeps sticks accurately lined up. Uses fast, simple tool-free attachment that auto-forms a custom fit on each kick drum.


Sabian Jojo Mayer Omni Cymbal

The new dark Omni provides a nuanced tone on the ride surface while adding a dimension of playing with the shoulder, which offers a unique texture and excites more of the cymbal’s body without activating the crash. These properties are unique to the HHX version, and are a direct result of the HHX hammering. The cymbal includes jumbo (HHX) hammering, Sabian B20 bronze, a natural finish, and pinpoint lathing.

Kaces Redesigned Percussion Line

Kaces’ percussion line includes a broad selection of items such as marching drum stick quivers, snare drum porters, bell kit porters, snare and bell kit duo porters, snare drum backpacks, and bell kit bags. All porters feature durable heavy-duty wheels, convenient telescoping double-handles and either padded shoulder straps or built-in backpack straps. Kaces also offers a full line of graphic printed practice pads, and all Kaces percussion bags come with a 1-year limited warranty.



Dean Markley Helix Pure Nickel Guitar Strings

Helix strings are made with a new patented hyper-elliptical winding technique, creating a tighter wrap and more mass, which seals the strings without the need for coating.  By using pure nickel, the strings will offer a warmer, clearer tone all while extending the life of the string.

Deering Goodtime 12” Rim Openback Banjo

This banjo is designed to be ideal for anyone to pick regardless of hand size. The 12” Goodtime also features an armrest, custom crafted Goodtime adjustable tailpiece, and full 22-fret scale. Its light weight makes it easy to travel with, as well.


Rotosound Tru Bass RS88LD Black Nylon Strings

Rotosound’s Tru Bass RS88LD Black Nylon Strings have been re-engineered using a new manufacturing process designed to achieve a bass string that produces a deep warm double bass-like tone. The Tru Bass RS88LD Black Nylon Strings have been used over the decades by musicians like Paul McCartney (on Abbey Road) and Herbie Flowers (on Lou Reed’s “Walk On the Wild Side”). The new productions methods have resulted in a superior coating to protect the strings from perspiration, dirt, humidity and acid hands. The new Tru Bass RS88LD strings are available in 4 and 5-string sets and non-standard scale lengths.


Kala Guitarlele

Kala Brand Music’s new hybrid instrument, the Guitarlele, is a six-stringed instrument tuned to A-D-G-C-E-A, that projects a bright and full tone similar to capoing up on the fifth fret of a regular guitar. Features include a select solid spruce top, Koa back and sides, mahogany binding and rosette, slotted headstock with Koa cap, Grover Tuners, rosewood fingerboard, and satin finish.


Eastman Guitars Thinline T486-RB  Ray Benson

Eastman Guitars collaborated with guitarist Ray Benson on his signature Thinline T486-RB. The T486-RB is a double cutaway featuring deluxe laminate top, back and sides, with ivoroid binding throughout the body, neck and headstock. The guitar is a 24” scale length between the 1” bone nut and nickel Gotoh tunomatic bridge. Handwound Lollar pickups include an El Rayo at the neck with a Low Wound Imperial at the bridge. D’Addario strings and hardshell case included.


Fishman Fluence Single Width Pickups

Fishman is now shipping the new Fluence Single Width pickups with humbucker models to follow soon after. Fluence are fully analog active pickups that are combined with Fluence Core printed “coils” and feature true Multi-Voice electronics to consistently create idealized versions of classic and customized guitar sounds. Fluence pickups are not susceptible to spurious noise, hum, cable capacitance problems, loss in tonal response and clarity due to small volume changes and other inductive issues. The Multi-Voice feature allows players to transform pickups from vintage to hot, or from hot to “line-in” clean with the right level, balance and gain for each voice.

When coupled with the Fluence rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack, time between battery charges is weeks instead of hours. Recharge with a standard USB charger for another 200+ hours of playing time.



The Commandments of the Half-Time Shuffle from Alfred Music

R&B drumming master Zoro brings us The Commandments of Half-Time Shuffle, the first book dedicated exclusively to learning about and playing the half-time shuffle. Complete with historical analysis and overviews of the lineage of the style, the book will equip drummers with all of the necessary tools needed to conquer one of the most beloved, yet mystifying, grooves in drumming history. This book features photos, album cover art, motivational quotes, and recommended listening, as well as transcriptions of the most definitive half-time shuffle grooves. Users will gain the skills to master the language of the triplet – the foundation of all shuffles.


Jazz Band Pianist from Hal Leonard

Jazz Band Pianist is designed as a primer for a middle-school or high-school age pianist interested in joining their local or school jazz ensemble. This book consists of step-by-step instruction, review exercises, and practice pieces, plus accompanying audio featuring live jazz musicians. Students learn how to read chord symbols, “comp,” and form chord voicings.

JazzDeck from NorCal Jazz

The JazzDeck “textbook in a box” is designed to help players of all levels build confidence and sharpen their chops as jazz soloists. Comprised of 54 high-grade playing cards color-coded by chord type, the JazzDeck systematically illustrates the ways to excel as a soloist. With its presentation and multi-dimensional, non-notation platform, the JazzDeck is especially suited to players of any stage. Retail: $19.95


Kendor Music’s Effective Etudes For Jazz, Vol. 2

This book for jazz ensemble auditions, recitals, festivals, and lessons includes 20 etudes based on the changes to popular jazz standards so players learn to improvise over the chord progressions of songs that all jazz musicians should know. The downloadable MP3 tracks include two versions of each etude – one with a professional soloist & rhythm section, and another with just the rhythm section.



Instrument Care Apparel Brass and Woodwind Covers

Instrument Care Apparel (iCA) brass and woodwind covers protect instruments while they sit out on their floor stands. The three-layer design is lined with a soft fabric, has 3/8” foam for protection, and is covered with a variety of attractive fabrics. iCA’s Classic Cover slows the cooling process of the instrument down by 2.5 hours.


Asterope Premium Audio Cables

Asterope premium audio cables are designed to deliver pure, uncolored, high definition sound and include a number of product families. The Asterope Pro Stage Series is built for more demanding environments to ensure consistency, control, and durability. The Pro Studio Series is designed to provides a more dynamic, spatial, and superior sound, aimed at more intimate environments when clarity and harmonic response are critical. This series utilizes technology that delivers “high-definition” sound with a great bandwidth. Asterope products include proprietary wiring and production methods, patented “ultra-clarity” connectors, a limited lifetime warranty, and more.

On-Stage Stands U-Mount Accessories

The TCA1066 Accessory Kit includes a Presentation Grip, two additional Mounting Posts, and a Mounting Post End Cap. The Presentation Grip is a comfortable hard foam sleeve that slides over any u-mount post. The Mounting Post End Cap protects the threading and adds a finishing touch to the post, providing a non-slip contact point. The two additional mounting posts provide extra length with the 5” UM-42 or a lower profile with the 2-3/4” UM-41. Compatible with the Snap-On cover variants of the Quick Disconnect u-mount Tablet Mounting System.


Yamaha P-255 Portable Digital Piano

The Yamaha P-255 Portable Digital Piano boasts Pure CF Sampling from a Yamaha CFIIIS concert grand for its piano tone, responsive touch via Graded Hammer action, and Synthetic Ivory Keytops. The P-255 also offers the Live Music Toolbox with a Sound Boost button, Panel Lock mode, and internal speaker On/Off control for when the player wants to use only external amplification.

Available for free on the App Store, the new P-255 Controller app for iOS devices extends the instrument’s interface by enabling musicians to customize their sound, save favorite settings for instant recall, and sort and organize song content via an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch. The P-255 also features an internal capacity for 10 user songs and 2-track recording.

Zoom H5 Handy Recorder

Like Zoom’s flagship H6, the H5 employs a system of interchangeable input capsules. The H5 also comes with a new X/Y stereo capsule, featuring extended signal capacity – up to 140 dB SPL-and shockmounted microphones for reduced handling noise. The H5 allows four tracks of simultaneous recording directly to SD cards up to 32 gigabytes in a variety of MP3 and BWF-compliant WAV file formats, including 24-bit / 96k high-resolution audio. With the use of an optional adapter, it can be mounted directly to a DSLR or camcorder and requires just 2 AA batteries for power, with alkaline battery life of more than 15 hours. Dual XLR/TRS combo jacks included.


PreSonus AudioBox iTwo Studio Recording Kit

This special all-PreSonus system combines a USB bus-powered interface for Mac, Windows, and iPad with Studio One® Artist DAW software (Mac and Windows), Capturetm Duo recording software (iPad), monitoring headphones, a large-diaphragm condenser microphone, Nimbit® Free account, and all necessary cables.

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