The 2013 Holiday Gear Guide

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Planet Waves NS Mini Tuner
(Street $22)

PLANETWAVES_MINITUNER

The NS Mini-tuner sits on the guitar’s headstock and works via a sensitive piezo transducer. It’s small enough that you can leave it on the guitar when you put it in the case, and is barely noticeable to audience members when you are playing. It has a 360-degree swivel and reversible screen for using on the front of the headstock or behind. With a headstock tuner like the NS Mini, you eliminate the need for a ¼” cable to tune and you’ll have more space on the floor or your pedal board. – W.L.

Dunlop Trigger Capo
(Street $14)

Dunlop Trigger-classical_black

Jim Dunlop Manufacturing makes a variety of capos and players are sure to find a suitable one for their particular needs. Their Acoustic Trigger Capo uses tension-based spring technology and is ideally suited for the live performer. It easily clamps across the frets and rests nicely on the guitar’s headstock. This capo feels solid when applied to the guitar neck with clean clear sound on each string. A rubber strip on the outside bottom of the handle makes it comfortable to apply to the guitar. It’s also available in flat or curved models for different types of guitar necks. – W.L.

Kyser Red Bandana Quick- Change Capo
(Street $16)

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You’ve probably worn a red bandana at some point. Now it’s time to dress up your guitar! Kyser’s Red Bandana Quick Change is a trigger-style capo that works based on spring tension applied evenly across the neck. Its name refers to the fact the capo can be placed on the guitar and moved up and down the frets using only one hand very quickly. It also clamps on the guitar’s headstock for easy access, which is very useful in a live situation. Designed and built in the songwriter-friendly state of Texas, this aluminum capo is lightweight, keeps the tone and intonation of the guitar and is very easy to use. And did we mention the design is a red bandana! – W.L.

Shubb C1N Capo
(Street $17)

Shubb C1

Shubb Capos’ patented locking action allows for easy placement on the guitar and one snap to remove. It’s a simple two-handed operation – place the capo on the neck and close the lever by pressing against the back of the neck. As you close the capo onto the neck, the tension eases and relaxes into place. It’s smart three-piece design and geometric design always keeps the guitar in tune. We ran the capo up and down the neck, playing standard cowboy chords and it indeed stayed in tune. An adjustable tension screw with a rubber roller provides fine-tuning if needed. – W.L.

Airturn BT-105 Page Turner
(Street $120)

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Face it, there will be times you’ll forget the lyrics to a song. Or maybe some fan at your gig has shouted out “Whipping Post” one too many times and you’re finally going to bust it out but don’t know all the words.  The Airturn BT-105 wireless foot-pedal allows for hands-free page turning of sheet music on your iPad/Android and (via wi-fi) instant access to sheet music and lyrics online. No more awkward flipping of paper sheet music requiring you to take your hand off your instrument. When used with apps like OnSong or Unreal Book, the BT-105 gives you complete control of your sheet music scores, lyrics, chords and more. Depending on how the sheet music is imported into the programs, you’ll also be able to instantly transpose a song’s key.

The BT-105 sits on the floor and connects to your tablet via Bluetooth. A USB is used for recharging the battery, which typically gives you 100 hours of use. The foot pedals on each side of the transceiver turn the pages forward or back. Execution of the page turning is smooth and quick. You can even connect your band members’ iPads via wi-fi and share music and set lists on stage. As an old-school paper person with over 3,000 personally annotated charts, I was reluctant to move into all digital for my music charts. It took a lot of time and scanning, but I’m happy to say the days of lugging heavy binders are gone. The Airturn BT-105 is a blessing for performing musicians. – W. L.

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