March 2015 MSM Staff Gear Picks

Josh BaldridgeGibson Vegas High Roller, Used
I plugged this guitar into the Blue Label 65 Amps London the other day to have some fun. The guitar itself is so comfortable that I didn’t expect it to sound so huge. The lightweight hollow body gives the low end extra depth and space, but the Burstbucker Pro pickups retain the high end clarity you need with a guitar like this.

 Gibson Vegas High Roller electric Guitar cherry burst
This used Gibon Vegas High Roller has a bigger sound than you’d expect.

Jim Baggett
Collings D2H MRA VN
This D2H really jumps out at you – great sound that has elicited a ‘Wow!’ from folks who have played it. It’s got what you’d expect from a Collings made guitar but the Madagascar has added a transparency and brilliance to it. You hear the sound and not a guitar.

 collings d2h mra vn madagascar rosewood acoustic guitar
Another Collings acoustic, the D2H Madagascar, makes Jim’s list of favorites.

Eric Mardis
Empress Effects Heavy Pedal
I’ve been looking for a distortion pedal that does “heavy” properly for years. The Empress has tons of gain, stays tight in the bass, and handles palm muting better than ANY distortion pedal I have every tried. It has two channels, so you can dial in two separate sounds or keep the tones the same and use one for a solo boost. This thing also sports the most musical noise gate I’ve ever tried. At $300, this thing ain’t cheap – but you are getting the most tweakable, best sounding heavy distortion available. It does remarkable old school sounds like Judas Priest/Iron Maiden, thrash majesty like Metallica/Megadeth/Slayer/Anthrax, and modern brutality like Dethklok/Lamb of God/Killswitch Engage. If you don’t find this to be the best distortion pedal ever, then you don’t know snakes from “marital aids”.

 empress effects heavy distortion pedal
Eric M’s dream distortion has become a reality with this Empress Heavy pedal!

Eric Putnam
Xits X10 Amp (new 2015)
Beautiful cleans with plenty of chime on this new Xits amp. The breakup is really touch responsive and the controls are intuitive and no nonsense. You’ve got plenty of headroom, but you can also get it to break up easily when you want it to. And it looks AWESOME.

 xits x10 112 combo tube amp new for 2015
The new XITS X1o amp – Eric’s pick is ‘AWESOME!’

Ted Kritikos
Xotic Effects EP Booster Pedal
This pedal makes everything sound better – it’s that simple.

xotic effects ep booster pedal 
Most of the staff already owns this Xotic EP Booster, Ted’s just reminding us how great it is.

Matt Harmon
Heavy Electronics Descend Reverse Volume Pedal
So glad I picked one of these up, such a versatile pedal when you have a low wattage single channel amp and want to keep it turned up.

heavy electronics descend reverse volume pedal 
Matt H’s pick is this great Heavy Electronics Descend Reverse  Volume pedal.

Susan WillitsCollings MT GT Mandolin
What can I say, it’s another great Collings mandolin – excellent quality and one of its most affordable.

collings mt gt gloss top mandolin
Collings does it again, the MT GT mandolin is Susan’s favorite this month.

Thomas Hamm
Grosh EJ Custom Metallic Black, Used
This is probably my favorite Grosh guitar – a killer Jazzmaster-style with the correct color combo: black and tortoiseshell. Nothing beats that.

 grosh electrajet black metallic with p90s - used
This used Grosh EJ sounds great and looks great, what more could you want?

Anne Tangeman
Tom Anderson Raven Turquoise
This Raven guitar has got it going on in every single respect. The Anderson PH pickups are incredible –  P90 inspired with some nice chime too. The body has a sleek feel to it and I love the almost retro look with the turquoise finish, tortoise pickguard and filtertron-esque look of the pickups. This is a killer guitar.

tom anderson raven guitar with PH pickups, turquoise finish

Anne’s favorite, the Anderson Raven, is firing on all cylinders and then some.

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