The 2015 Holiday Gear Guide

Godin Multiac Spectrum SA Acoustic-Electric (left) (Street: $1,579) No matter what your taste or playing purpose, you normally can’t go wrong with a Godin guitar, and the company’s Multiac Spectrum SA is no exception. Godin has always been a rule-breaker, and they’ve done it again with this acoustic-electric that has a Seymour Duncan lipstick pickup in the neck, as well as individual transducer saddles under each string, giving the option of blending the bridge piezo and the Duncan. And for the player who takes things a few levels higher, it has a 13-pin connector for controlling Roland GR Series and Axon AX100 guitar synths. If you’re really adventurous, you can blend both pickups and the synth with each other using the sliders in the top of the guitar body. The guitar has a chambered mahogany body that’s designed to fight feedback, with a spruce top, mahogany neck and Richlite fingerboard. And it’s got a way-up-the-neck cutaway that allows access to the 22nd fret. A cool and versatile guitar for the player who’s looking for something out of the ordinary that’s sounds great and is highly functional. Made in Canada. Paul Reed Smith SE Custom 22 (right) (Street: $729) The PRS SE Custom 22 is a good all-purpose electric that can deliver everything from nice vintage rock tones to smooth jazzy sounds, and all points in between. Equipped with PRS Tone Furnace neck and bridge humbuckers, the guitar’s three-way toggle switch allows each pickup to be used separately, or for the two to be used together, with different tone combinations achievable using the single tone knob. The mahogany neck with a rosewood fretboard lends itself to both speed and accuracy, and PRS-designed tuners and stoptail bridge help ensure the most perfect intonation available. On top of it all, this double-cutaway guitar is gorgeous, continuing the PRS tradition of making great-sounding axes that combine both fine art and engineering craftsmanship. The guitar features a beveled maple top and a mahogany back that comes in either a vintage sunburst or a sweet whale blue. And, of course, the neck inlay features the always-cool PRS bird inlay. A nice axe for both the stage and the garage.

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter


D’Addario Phosphor Bronze Strings
(Street: $6.50)

Strings can definitely make or break (pun intended) the sound of your guitar. The D’Addario family has been involved in string-making going all the way back to the late 1600’s in Italy and are the world’s largest string-maker. The Phosphor Bronze line, which is 92% copper and 8% tin with phosphorous, was introduced by D’Addario in 1974 and has become synonymous with warm, bright, and well-balanced acoustic tone. D’Addario Phosphor Bronze strings are made in the USA and are precision wound with corrosion resistant phosphor bronze onto a carefully drawn, hexagonally shaped, high carbon steel core. The result is long lasting, bright sounding tone with excellent intonation.

A variety of gauges are available- from Extra Light 9-45 to Extra Heavy 14-59. There’s even a Nashville tuning set available! Pricing on these generally $6-$7 for a single set up to $40 for a 10 pack. The cost of these strings won’t break your bank and they won’t break on you during your performance.

D’Addario NS Artist Capo
(Street: $17.99)

The NS Artist Capo has several cool features you rarely see on a capo. It utilizes a spring-loaded tension bar, which lets you fine-tune the amount of pressure applied to the guitar neck. This gives the guitar even tension regardless of the shape of the guitar neck. Combined with the micrometer tension adjustment and direct horizontal pressure, the NS Artist Capo virtually eliminates pulling the strings side to side and the need to retune during use. Additionally, the trigger-style design and lightweight aluminum construction adds no obstruction or noticeable weight to the neck of the instrument. Another very cool feature is a mounting bracket for attaching a NS Mini/Micro-tuner (sold separately) to the capo. This capo is a little different in that it mounts from the front of your fretboard, with the clamp facing the audience. What this allows is for the (optional) tuner to be positioned behind the guitar neck and in full view for you to tune. Small tuners and capos are competing for space on a guitar’s headstock these days, so kudos to D’Addario for creating an all-in-one unit.

D’Addario Picks
(Street: $8 for 10-pack)

The reality is, the way a pick feels is important. Some guitarists prefer smaller jazz-shaped picks with a sharp edge, while others like tortoise, celluloid, Delran or Delflex. Thumb picks and individual finger picks give depth and a pronounced boom, and are commonly used by blues and instrumental guitarists. It’s all about feel and whether it stays in your hand while you’re playing. D’Addario has the bases covered for you, with a multitude of pick choices. The Duragrip picks pictured here are Delrin-style and give you strength and fatigue resistance, plus a percussive, crisp sound when strumming. What makes these great for acoustic players is the checkerboard surface, which makes sure the pick stays in your hand.

About the musicians:

A native of Jackson, Tennessee, Erin Rae is a folk singer and songwriter who is currently on tour with her band The Meanwhiles in support of her debut album Soon Enough

Kelsey Waldon is a country music singer and songwriter from Monkeys Eyebrow, Kentucky. She released her debut album The Goldmine in 2014. 

Daily Discovery: Old Man Canyon, “Back to the Start”

Daily Discovery: Victoria Canal, “Unclear”