Mere weeks after most of the continental United States suffered through one of the most oppressive summer heat waves in recent memory, it's probably hard for most to picture sugar plums, egg nog and snow at this moment. But, as always, the time to take out your winter coat will soon be upon us.
Upcoming cooler temperatures also mean it's time to prepare for the most profitable season for many retailers: the holiday sales time. To best prepare, you need to stock up with the items your customers will want.
The Music & Sound Retailer invited all manufacturers to tell us the one product they most want to promote as a must-have holiday item. Some are presented as a product series. All products can be considered currently available to purchase, unless stated otherwise. Here, we present some of what the dozens of respondents to our e-mail solicitation delivered.
Editor's Note: There were so many "stocking stuffers" this year that this article will spill over into next month's issue. There, we'll
present another dozen or so hot holiday products you should check out.
Perri Ink. Custom Guitars Solostar
Your customers are on their way to stardom, perhaps, thanks to Solostar from Perri Ink. Custom Guitars. The guitar sports a string-through, solid mahogany body, along with pearloid body binding and 24 3/4-inch scale. Available in Black Gloss color, it also features a 22-fret maple neck, 12-inch radius, maple fretboard, black star inlays, Grover 18:1 tuners, Seymour Duncan '59 and Custom 5 pickups, a three-way selector, master volume, kill switch and clean boost with indicator LED. The Tone Pros bridge is upgraded with titanium saddles by Floyd Upgrades.
MSRP is $2,500. For more information, visit http://perriinkguitars.com.
Eminence Speaker Flux Density Modulation Technology
Guitarists looking to alter their tone have a solution with Eminence Speakers' Flux Density Modulation (FDM) technology. The all-analog technology allows guitarists to find the right spot of saturated tube tone at a significantly lower volume than competitors, the company says. All end users have to do is turn the modulator knob to adjust speaker output and amplifier interaction. More attenuation results in a warmer tone, while less attenuation restores volume and brightness. According to Eminence, no pedals or expensive electronics are needed to get real attenuation without losing the "feel" of playing through a speaker. FDM is available with the Patriot and Red Coat lines of Eminence guitar speakers. MSRP is $179.99. Call 502-845-5622 or visit www.eminence.com for more information.
Electro-Harmonix Stereo Talking Machine, Vocal Formant Filter
"I'd like to buy a vowel, please." Well, actually, we're not talking about "Wheel of Fortune." Instead, we mean Electro-Harmonix's Stereo Talking Machine, Vocal Formant Filter, which recreates the characteristics of vowels and reshapes an instrument's signal to mimic them. The pedal delivers nine selectable voices that deliver vowel sounds such as AH-OO and OW-EE, as well as Bassballs and wah-type dynamic filters. Voices can be shaped with Individual Attack and Decay controls and the Sensitivity function adjusts the envelope response.
The Stereo Talking Machine provides stereo outputs and an effects loop. An Expression Pedal Input adds real-time control over filter sweeps, while nine preset locations let the player store and recall favorite programs.
The Talking Machine comes with a standard 9.6-volt AC adapter and has a list price of $290. For more, contact Electro-Harmonix at 718-937-8300 or visit www.ehx.com.
M3 Products Gorilla Tips
Whoever thought of the phrase "the 800-pound gorilla in the room" was most likely not thinking about M3 Products' latest release. Nevertheless, the company's Gorilla Tips fingertip protectors are designed for beginner or infrequent string instrument players. The patent-pending product, molded from silicone rubber, is designed to be durable, elastic and reusable. Available in XS, S, M and L sizes, Gorilla Tips are sold with a carrying case to retain the set of four protectors securely. Gorilla Tips are available in clear and blue colors. Its MSRP is $9.95. Call 619-253-2872 or visit www.gorillatips.com to learn more.
Knaggs Guitars 'Kenai' Tier 2
in Hickory Burst with Morning Star Inlays
Knaggs Guitars, winner of the Music & Sound Award for Best New Company in January, hopes to follow up its successful freshman year with the new "Kenai" Tier 2 Hickory Burst with Morning Star Inlays. Part of the Influence electric series, the 22-fret mahogany guitar features a single cutaway, carved top and back, rosewood fingerboard, ebony headstock, and nickel or gold plating options. Due to heavy demand, Knaggs said three to five months of lead time is necessary when ordering this guitar. The MSRP, including a hard shell case, starts at $3,800. For more information, call 256-383-4834 or visit www.knaggs guitars.com.
Fishman Loudbox Artist
Your customers might just want to get loud when using Fishman's Loudbox Artist acoustic instrument amplifier. It features 120 watts of bi-amplified acoustic power, two input channels, feedback-fighting controls and a new dual effects section. The end user can also control reverb, chorus, flanger, delay, echo and slap echo effects. The amp's two mic/instrument channels feature combo 1/4-inch and XLR inputs, three-band EQ and notch-filter controls. One-quarter- and one-eighth-inch auxiliary stereo inputs with level control enable backing tracks or set-break music. A Channel Mute allows the musician to silence both input channels, while a headphone output enables private practice. Also provided is a foot switch input for the remote muting of input channels or chorus, flanger and slap echo effects. Loudbox Artist, available as of this month, comes in a brown and cream color. The list price is $769.15; street price is $499.95. To contact Fishman, call 978-988-9199 or log onto www.fishman.com.
Sanyo Pedal Juice
Sanyo's Pedal Juice is manufactured to deliver up to 50 hours for a single analog pedal or up to 20 hours of continuous power to three digital pedals. The rechargeable battery pack, available in eneloop white or black colors, features a DC nine-volt battery unit, intended to provide consistent, long-lasting sound quality. According to the company, Pedal Juice's lithium-ion battery eliminates the need for AC power, and the output voltage is more stable for longer periods of time without the possibility of AC ground looping noise. Pedal Juice can be recharged hundreds of times, eliminating the cost of buying lots of nine-volt batteries. It has two DC outputs, which can power not only pedals, but also multi-effect units and portable recorders. The MSRP is $199.99. To find out more, call 714-777-2760 or visit http://us.sanyo.com.
DJ-Tech Professional iCube 55
As the holidays draw closer, entertainment is needed for the hottest parties. In addition to bands, DJs provide plenty of entertainment…but they need the latest products to keep audiences involved. Enter the iCube 55 from DJ-Tech Professional. The wireless PA system for Apple iPods and iPhones can function up to 12 hours on a single charge, said the company. Its three-channel mixer allows DJs to utilize a wired mic, line level device, iPod or iPhone. It also features a telescoping handle and wheels designed for easy transport and mobility. For more information, call +852-2741-1491 or visit www.djtechpro.com.
Jammin Pro StudioPack 702
Those customers of yours who dream of being a songwriter or recording their own music are sure to be jamming with Jammin Pro's StudioPack 702. The professional recording studio bundle includes a seven-channel mixer with an integrated USB player/recorder, dynamic microphone and high-performance studio headphones. Included in the package is Studiomix 702, a compact studio mixer that provides multiple connection options, USB playback and recording. Studiomix 702 also features an integrated USB port that allows for direct playback or recording of MP3s.
To learn more, call 732-388-5000 or visit www.jamminpro.net.
Big Bang Distribution AHEAD Series
Big Bang Distribution proves the "Big Bang Theory" once again with its AHEAD line of drumsticks, cases, snare drums and accessories. The series includes Armor Drum Cases that feature a Tru-Form teardrop shape, Dyna-Zip zipper system and DX dual-foam padding. It also sports the Cymbal Silo and the rollerboard-based Hardware Sled. Armor Snare Drums are available in 6"x13" and 6"x14" black or chrome over-brass models as well as the extra-thin-shell XT series, which come in a selection of American Black Cherry, African Mahogany and Bolivian Rosewood models. A third member of the series is the Metronome Practice Pad. According to the company, it combines the benefits of conventional practice pads with the educational advantages of on-board electronics, and helps drummers improve their technique, control, endurance and timing. MSRPs vary. To learn more, call 800-547-6401 or log onto www.bigbangdist.com.
Casio CTK-4200, LK-280 and WK-225 Keyboards
Casio added the CTK-4200, LK-280 and WK-225 to its line of keyboards. The keyboards feature 600 built-in tones and 180 built-in rhythms that can provide individual drum patterns or a full-range accompaniment. All three keyboards are equipped with Casio's Step-up Lesson System, which allows end users to learn the 152 built-in songs. When utilizing the LCD display, musicians can learn both music notation and correct hand positioning to track their progress. Each model also features a five-song, six-track recorder, so users can capture a performance or create original compositions. A built-in USB port allows users to connect to Mac- or Windows-based computers that can house music education and composition software. An audio line input is included, so the keyboards can be used as a stereo speaker system for an MP3 player. The CTK-4200 is available for an MSRP of $249, whereas the LK-280 and EK-225 sport MSRPs of $299. Visit www.casio.com for more.
Esoterik Guitars DR-1 Model
Dave Reffett, lead singer, guitarist and producer for the band Shredding the Envelope, provides the inspiration for Esoterik Guitars' SR-1 model. The signature series model features a five-piece walnut and figured maple neck with a neck-through design. The body delivers a shape derived from Honduras mahogany. Also offered on the guitar is a fretboard with 24 jumbo frets, a 25.5-inch scale length, ebony knobs and an ebony headstock overlay with a pearl inlay. MSRP for the guitar is $3,495. Call 805-215-0784 or visit www.esoterikguitars.com for more information.
FBT EvoMaxx 4a
Featuring Italian craftsmanship, FBT released its EvoMaxx 4a, a 1,000-watt two-way powered polypropylene cabinet speaker. The speaker includes an 800-watt Class D LF amp powering a 12-inch B&C neodymium magnet woofer and a 200-watt HF amp powering a B&C 1.4-inch HF driver/horn. EvoMaxx delivers 130dB SPL while weighing in at 28 pounds. The control panel offers a DSP with four EQ presets, balanced XLR and 1/4-inch inputs. FBT's S.T.E.P. protection circuitry is designed to prevent component failures, and the cabinet speaker has the capability to mount to walls and ceilings. Also available this holiday season is FBT EvoMaxx 6a, with a 15-inch B&C woofer and a B&C 1.7-inch HF driver, as well as the EvoMaxx 2a, which includes a 10-inch B&C woofer, 1.4-inch B&C HF driver and more. All EvoMaxx speakers are backed by a three-year warranty. The MSRP for the EvoMaxx 4a is $999. Call 800-333-9383 or visit www.fbtusa.net for more information.
Rotosound Classic Swing Bass RS 66LD Strings
The holiday times are known for a lot of classic things. Classic movies and songs never go out of style. Neither does a good guitar string. Rotosound offers its own classic. Classic Swing Bass RS 66LD strings will celebrate their 50th anniversary next year. The strings were created thanks to the suggestion of the late John Entwistle of The Who, who was searching for a brighter, more piano-like bass tone to complement his trebly and fleet-fingered lead bass style. The strings are produced using a secretive process and are manufactured the same way they were in the 1960s. MSRP is $39.95. To learn more, call 800-675-2501 or visit www.rotosound.com.
Bootleg Guitars Dawg Bass
This next product is definitely not for the "dawgs." Bootleg Guitars are manufactured to provide excellent playability and tone via hand-selected woods, a northern ash body and a quartersawn maple neck, the company said. The basses, available in four- and five-string versions, feature jumbo Jescar frets, a solid brass nut, circular black dot inlays and Hipshot Ultralite tuners on the headstock. Dawg Bass is outfitted with Bartolini humbuckers and CTS and Switchcraft electronics that complement the pickups, which allows for a full tonal spectrum, the company added. A gun stock oil finish is intended to give the bass a unique look. It is available in black or chrome colors and red, white or blue pearloid pickguard choices. MAP price for the four-string bass is $1,849; it's $1,999 for the five-string. Call 216-496-0994 or visit www.bootlegguitars.com to learn more.
Amptweaker TightRock Distortion Pedal
Your customers may get "dirty"—and even "scream"—when using Amptweaker's TightRock Distortion Pedal. But that, of course, is because the distortion pedal ranges from dirty to screaming. TightRock features EQ and gain switches to provide tonal flexibility. Also included is the SideTrak loop, a second effects loop that kicks on when the pedal is bypassed, which can add chorus or compressor to your "clean" tone or when switching to alternative distortion pedals. TightRock can also be used as a built-in A/B box to switch to a second amplifier by connecting the SideTrak Send to another amp. TightRock debuted at July's Summer NAMM show. Visit www.amptweaker.com for more information.
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