Archive | STAFF PICKS!

Mass Street Music Staff Gear Picks – September 2013!

Here’s a look at what the Mass Street staff has been digging most this September…

Jim BaggettCollings 001
This Collings has the warmth and response of a vintage guitar, but it’s new. It’s also very pretty!

Collings 001 acoustic guitar front shot

This Collings 001’s vintage tone captured Boss Jim’s fancy this month.


John FlynnGrosh ElectraJet Standard
This has all the attitude and none of the fluff – the mini hums are fantastic too.

Grosh Electrajet Standard with Mini Hums, front shot

Flynn’s pick is this Grosh Electrajet Standard – sleek and to the point with fantastic sounding Mini Hum pickups.


Eric MardisMagnatone Twilighter
Perfection. Classic tones abound from this beautiful amplifier. My favorite aspect is the true pitch shifting vibrato. Magnatone has come through the time warp and is here to do battle. The classic amp of yesteryear has been brought into the modern world and has never sounded better. That unrivaled Varistor Vibrato is exactly as it was in the original Magnatone with vastly improved front end and power sections.

Magnatone Twilighter 1x12 Combo

This Magnatone Twilighter 1×12 amp quickly earned everyone’s praise this month, especially Eric M. He loves the true pitch shifting vibrato.


Eric PutnamEastman T486B Thinline
This guitar looks awesome and more importantly it sounds great. When I pick it up, I can’t help but pull out some blues licks. It’s extremely resonant and the Duncan Phat Cat P90s are articulate and just hot enough to make the amp work.

Eastman T486 Thinline Electric Guitar

Eric P can’t help but pull out some monster blues licks every time he picks up this Eastman T486B Thinline. And we can’t blame him.


Alek NelsonEastman E20 SS Slope Shoulder
This is an attention grabber – beautiful burst, extremely responsive, and resonates forever!

Eastman E20SS Slope Shoulder Acoustic Guitar

The beautiful burst and superior resonance of this Eastman E20SS grabbed Alek’s attention this month.


Matt Harmon Repair Shop LuthierWren and Cuff 70’s Your Face
We’ve all gone fuzz crazy here at the store and the 70’s Your Face fuzz is one of my favorites. Mardis and I have been staying late and playing fuzzes back and forth recently and this one, and the Skreddy Lunar Module sounded very similar to our ears. I’ve been very impressed with Wren and Cuff and how they are able to take the perfect vintage sounding fuzz and transition it to a modern designed box and keep it under $200. Very impressive!

Wren and Cuff Your Face Smooth 70s Fuzz Pedal

Matt likes the Wren and Cuff Your Face pedal for its perfect vintage sounding fuzz, modern design, and nice price tag.


Ted KritikosHeavy Electronics Descend Reverse Volume Pedal
The only problem with rocking so hard, which I can’t help but do, is that there are always people scared of how much I rock. This pedal makes my cranked tube amp rock a little less when I click it on. Perfect.

Heavy Electronics Descend Reverse Volume Pedal

Ted likes to rock, but when he needs to pull it back a bit, the Heavy Electronics Descend reverse volume hooks him up real nice.


Casey GreenCollings 290 DCS
This Collings 290 is one of those guitars you can pick up anytime, in most any situation, and know that it’s going to perform. I’ll reach for this one first, especially when trying out amps. If it doesn’t sound “right” with this guitar, I know immediately, it ain’t for me! Did I mention that this guitar is ON SALE? Stop by the store and see — you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Collings 290 DC S Electric Guitar

Casey thinks this Collings 290 is the perfect guitar for just about any occasion – and even more so now, since it’s on sale.


Anne TangemanKala U Bass
I’m continually astounded when I hear a bass in the store and it turns out it’s this little uke ‘bass’. For bass players, it’s a blast and for uke players it’s something really familiar with a twist. It’s so small, yet designed with rubber like strings, a piezo pickup and EQ that make it really versatile. Kind of makes me want to learn bass now. It’s some serious fun.

Kala Rumbler U-Bass Bass Ukulele

Anne’s ready to take up bass after hearing this Kala U Bass in action. It has uke familiarity, but with a low-end twist.


Mass Street Music Staff Gear Picks – August 2013!

August has gone by so quickly, but it hasn’t quashed our gear acquisition syndrome…here’s what the Mass Street Music staff has been into most this month…

John FlynnGrosh RC Standard
This is an amazing instrument in the Limited Ash body and Maple neck. Sound and play-ability could not be better and the looks…well it’s exactly like my coveted Retro Classic serial number #202. At this price it’s a fantastic deal, but note that Grosh is having a price increase which makes this one an even better buy.

Grosh RetroClassicStandard electric guitar

Flynn’s favorite is this Grosh RC Standard which is a twin of his own much-loved RC.

Jim Baggett
Collings O2HG 12 fret
Collings did a spectacular job on this beautiful 0. Wonderful sound, great details – very nice instrument.

Collings 02HG 12 fret acoustic guitar

Jim’s favorite is this Collings 02HG 12 fret which, as you can see here, is pretty spectacular. You should hear it!

Eric Putnam
Ovation Elite 1786
Oft it has been that I lay awake in bed dreaming of the day I would own an Ovation acoustic guitar with the balladeer sound holes and styling. I have had a recurring Richie Sambora fantasy ever since I first started playing. Seriously folks, this guitar plays great and sounds great.

Ovation Elite 1786

Hmmm – methinks Eric M played a trick on Eric P while he was on vacation…still, this guitar is a great deal.

Eric Mardis
– Too much good stuff to pick just one…  this month I’m picking an instrument AND a pedal!

Chuck Lee Silver Bell Banjo
When Chuck and I were working out the specifics on this banjo, he told me had some “old, beautiful, curly Maple” that he had been saving for “something special.”  I opted to go for it, and boy am I glad I did.  It is gorgeous and the tone is everything you’d want it to be in old time open back.  Truly stunning workmanship and materials.  We are very excited to welcome Chuck Lee banjos to Mass Street with this incredible flagship instrument.

Chuck Lee Silver Bell Custom 12 Banjo

Eric M’s 1st pick is this amazing Chuck Lee Silver Bell banjo he custom ordered from Lee – it’s outstanding in every respect.

Skreddy Lunar Module Mini Deluxe

In my opinion, this is the most musical fuzz pedal I have ever played.  Yes, I am a huge David Gilmour Fan… Yes, it caught my attention when I read that Skreddy was gunning for the “Time” solo when creating this circuit…  However, I was blown away by the range of things this box does well.  Bottom line: this pedal is super versatile.  It nails everything from a low gain growling overdrive to a saturated wall of fuzz with sustain for days.  Addictive.  You should own this.

Skreddy Lunar Module Mini Dlx Fuzz pedal

Eric’s pick #2 is this Skreddy Lunar Module Mini Deluxe Fuzz which Eric calls, “Addictive.”

Ted Kritikos
JHS Bun Runner Pedal
This is hands-down my favorite fuzz pedal in the store right now.  Each side of this pedal sounds great on its own, but with both sides clicked on, I can get that crazy, almost-ready-to-self-destruct tone that I love.  So fuzzy!

JHS Bun Runner Pedal

Ted’s loving the JHS Bun Runner pedal – his favorite fuzz evah.

Alek Nelson
Skreddy Screw Driver Mini Deluxe Pedal
I am pleased to see Skreddy Pedals added to our line up. The Screw Driver Mini is one of my favorites – really versatile and sounds particularly great with humbuckers!

Skreddy Screw Driver Mini Deluxe Pedal

Alek picked the new-to-us Skreddy Screw Driver pedal for its versatile & killer sound with humbuckers.

Mike Horan
Repair ShopYamaha Guitelele
(Mike’s talented & multi-instrument playing daughter Adelaine helped out with Mike’s pick this month, but they both agreed on this one! Thanks Adelaine for the great write-up!) The Guitelele has a wonderful sound quality. Despite its size (baritone uke), it has an amazing resonance to each note. It sounds much bigger and fuller than you would think!

Yamaha GL1 PB Guitelele

Repair Shop manager Mike & his daughter Adelaine  -who can pick a mean uke-  agreed this Yamaha Guitelele was tops for its clear tone and nice volume.

Casey Green
Xotic SL Drive Pedal
The Marshall-in-a-box territory is pretty well trod, but this Xotic SL Drive is a welcome breath of fresh air. For one thing, it’s tiny. If you’re the type that already has 8 or so pedals on your board, this is great, because most likely, you won’t have to boot anything to make room. But what’s most impressive is how the SL sounds. I could see myself using it with a single channel amp, set clean, and relying solely on this pedal as my “drive channel”. Very cool.

Xotic SL Drive Pedal

The new Xotic SL Drive pedal is Casey’s favorite this month (that’s actually his hand in the pic too!), not only because there’s no need to make extra room on your board, but its classic Brit amp tone will knock you out.

Anne Tangeman
Fender Pawn Shop Mustang Special
This is one of my favorites right now – many different tones, plus it’s used and in pristine condition (I’m always in favor of a bargain). The 3-way toggle plus the old school pickup switches are perfect for bopping between clean and twangy surf and the dirtier garage sound I love – super fun guitar and a sweet 24” scale player.

Fender Pawn Shop Mustang Special

The tonal versatility, light weight and nice used price make this Fender Pawn Shop Mustang Special Anne’s top pick o’ the month.



Mass Street Music Staff Gear Picks – July 2013!

Here’s this month’s roundup of what the Mass Street Music staff has been ogling the most…

John FlynnFulltone Plimsoul Pedal
Great thick overdrive, but still very articulate…perfect when you need a great drive tone at lower volumes too.

Fulltone Plimsoul Effects Pedal

Flynn’s into Fulltone’s great Plimsoul overdrive this month – like he needs another pedal…

Jim Baggett
Sergio Tezanos Madrid Classical
You just don’t see this every day. It’s beautifully built with a wonderful sound.

Sergio Tezanos Madrid Classical Guitar

A rare classical has captured Jim’s attention this month.

Eric Mardis
Paul Cochrane Audio Timmy Pedal
I’ve always been an amp distortion guy, but lately I’ve been having fun with fuzz pedals. The Timmy is a low gain overdrive pedal, not a fuzz – but the magic that happens when you stack a fuzz (Skreddy Lunar Module) into the Timmy is addictive. It’s fantastic by itself (dial in Malcolm Young, J Page, Larry Carlton), but I truly love it in conjunction with the fuzz (Gilmour, all things awesome).  The “cut” EQ dials are super accurate… I’m not sure how I lived without a Timmy for so long.  It adds new colors to my board while playing well with others. A “no brainer”. TIMMY!

Cochrane Timmy Overdrive Pedal

I asked Mardis what his top pick was this month & he just shouted, “TIMMMMAAY!”

Eric Putnam
Dr. Z Antidote Amp
This amp sounds amazing! The vintage/modern switch is very useful – there is plenty of gain in the modern settings, and the vintage mode has plenty of headroom. Dr Z is always coming out with great products and this one is an instant classic.

Dr Z Antidote Amp Head

Eric P’s favorite is the latest from Dr Z – an amazing amp that begs to be play LOUD.

Ted Kritikos
PreSonus FaderPort USB DAW Controller
This little guy is a must have for anyone interested in making music with a computer.  The amount of time it has saved me by providing physical transport buttons is enormous.  Plus, the long-throw fader is motorized, so it jumps around all by itself as you switch from track to track – sure to impress/terrify/fascinate your cat.

Presonus Faderport USB DAW Controller for recording music on your computer

This PreSonus FaderPort is essential for home recording but, according to Ted, it can also double as a cat toy.

Mike Horan
Repair Shop Luthier & Manager –  Leo Posch JM
In the midst of Collings CJ-35 fury, I would like to insert the Posch J-M – yet another slope D in the tradition of the J-35/45. This guitar sports a gorgeous sunburst and a very thin lacquer finish. It’s interesting to hear it against the Collings CJ. While the Collings presents the modern twist on the tradition, the Posch has a deeper, wide open sound associated with older instruments.

Leo Posch JM Acoustic Guitar

Repair Shop Manager Mike H is taken with the beautiful, open sounding Leo Posch JM this month

Matt Harmon
Repair Shop Luthier –  Collings OM1A
This Collings sounds great, just the right amount of player wear on this one. No need to keep it cased up when not playing it and perfect to take places, hang out and play without fear of the first ding or scratch.

Collings OM1A Cutaway acoustic guitar

This used Collings OM1A acoustic caught luthier Matt H’s eye

Alek Nelson
Squier Affinity Tele
I really can not believe how good these new Squier Affinity guitars are! I have heard a lot of people say they wish they had had one of these when they first began playing.

Fender Squier new Affinity Telecaster Lake Placid Blue

Alek’s pick this month is the improved Fender/Squier Affinity Tele – nice improvements (including a smoother neck) on this classic affordable electric


Anne Tangeman1964 Mustang
This Mustang is just too cool. I’m sure there are more pristine ones around, but this one has that ‘somethin’ somethin” that just feels so right.

1964 Fender Mustang Dakota Red

This ’64 Fender Mustang shows a few scars of the years, but Anne thinks it’s the pick of the litter this month.

Casey Green
1982 Les Paul Standard
These Norlin-era Les Pauls are becoming some of my favorite ever. Especially when you can find them in good, mostly un-modded condition like this one. There’s really nothing that sounds quite like a great LP – thick, rich, and heavy. And so easy to play! Plus, this 1982 Les Paul Standard has the rare distinction of being built the year I was born. Someone get it before I do!

1982 Les Paul Standard Black

Casey’s been hankering for this sweet ’82 Les Paul Standard


Mass Street Music Staff Gear Picks – June 2013!

We’ve got a great mix of new and used gear in the store right now (including a ton of used pedals), but there are several things that really stand out. Here’s the very best of the best for June, in our humble staff’s estimation:

Jim BaggettTaylor Custom Koa GS
Our luthier Josh did a great job picking out the beautiful Koa (matching a Master Grade top with Grade A back and sides) for this incredible guitar. It looks wonderful, and sounds great – balanced with a surprising openness to it.

Taylor Custom Koa GS BTO

Boss Jim gives the Taylor Build To Order Koa GS two thumbs up!


John FlynnGermino Lead 55LV 2×12 Combo Amp
The Lead 55 has a stellar reputation that is so well deserved. A powerful and  articulate driving vintage “Marshall” tone that can clean up nicely when you back off the volume on your guitar – or by pulling back on your pick attack…and this one has a great unique look as well … It does not get any better when it comes to this type of amp. BTW: This new smaller 2×12 sounds fantastic and is a bit more manageable as well.

Germino lead 55 LV head and 212 Cab amp

Boss Flynn says “it does not get any better” than this Germino Lead 55LV Head and Cab. Looks sharp too!


Eric MardisCollings OM2H
This guitar is magic. I’ve always been a dreadnought guy, but I have been enjoying smaller bodies lately. The lack of a tongue brace really opens this top up to easy activation. This thing runs the gamut from sweet finger picking to powerful strumming and flatpicking… it does so much, so well, that it is truly astounding. How can this be? Collings’ skill and perfectionism… or MAGIC!

Collings OM2H

Eric’s pick is this Collings OM2H acoustic guitar – one of those guitars with the magic ‘it’ factor.


Eric PutnamCaroline Guitar Company Wave Cannon Pedal
This is a versatile, usable overdrive that can also make very cool, crazy noises. Once you flip the havoc switch you start to get crazy feedback and oscillation that you can control with your volume and tone knobs and the knobs on the pedal. I really like that fact that this pedal can do both classic drive tones as well as new experimental sounds.

Caroline Wave Cannon Effects Pedal

Eric P – currently obsessed with the insane ‘Havoc’ mode on the very cool Caroline Wave Cannon pedal!


Ted KritikosHelweg Custom Pedalboard
I greatly admire how much attention to detail this pedalboard embodies. You could stare at it for hours and not find a tiny quibble with the construction. Plus, I love anything two-tone, so this is perfect for me.

Helweg Custom Pedalboard

The perfect construction detail on this Helweg Custom Pedalboard is just one reason it’s Ted’s favorite this month


Josh BaldridgeRepair ShopTaylor Custom Koa GS
It has been a couple months since my visit to the Taylor Factory where I picked out this set of Koa and it’s pretty satisfying to see the finished product. The full instrument sunburst turned out beautiful and really dresses up this Custom GS. We went with Adirondack bracing to allow for a more responsively structured top, and it does add more openness to the master grade Koa. My Taylor trip was a fortunate opportunity to select an impressive body wood combination that also lowered the end cost of the guitar. The Master Grade top is stunning and the hand picked single A back/sides have a striking grain pattern accentuated really well by the burst finish.

Taylor Custom Koa GS Build To Order

Luthier Josh hit a home run in hand selecting the Koa for this Taylor Custom Koa GS! He chose the beautiful finish too, to highlight the wood’s unique grain.


Matt HarmonRepair Shop –  Grosh Sunset 79
This guitar has two things I love – first, the body of a Electrajet and second, the Blown 59 pickup. This guitar just screams. It has everything you need and nothing extra.

Grosh Sunset 79 electric guitar

Luthier Matt’s pick is the Grosh Sunset 79, which has “everything you need and nothing extra.”


Alek NelsonXotic EP Booster Pedal
With everyone showing off their cool pedalboards in our May newsletter, it has made me want to expand my own board! The Xotic EP Booster is next to join my arsenal – there is a reason why it is on so many boards here at Mass St. Music! It really fattens up your tone without altering it, and it’s so small, it fits easily in that last sliver of space on your board.

Xotic EP Booster Effects Pedal

Alek is getting the tiny-yet-mighty Xotic EP Booster for his own board.


Casey GreenGretsch G5422 Electromatic Hollowbody
I’ve always had a soft spot for white guitars, and this Gretsch Electromatic is no exception. The gold hardware (particularly the licensed Bigsby trem) just puts it over the top. Beautifully resonate and articulate, this one is as fun to play unplugged as it is amplified. Well, almost. The Black Top Filtertron pickups really give it a voice all its own. Rockin’. Twangin’. Blingin’. What else could you ask for?

Gretsch Electromatic Hollowbody

It’s white. It’s gold. It’s awesome. A little bling with a whole lotta’ tone and playability to back it up.


Anne TangemanGretsch Custom Junior Jet I w/Grosh G90
The Gretsch Junior Jet is a cool guitar, but the fact that our own repair shop modded it with a Grosh G90 vintage P90-style pickup is even cooler. The Jr normally comes stock with Gretsch mini hums, which are cool in their own right, but put a Grosh G90 in and this thing instantly becomes your favorite guitar. It’s way more versatile than you’d think and a LOT of fun to play. The Mahogany JJ body and classic burst finish so classic, but wait til you hear this one. I already have a Junior Jet II with two dogear P90s that our shop did for me, so I know it’s a great mod, or I’d have bought this one already! $315? Seriously? Someone take this guitar home – you will love it.

Gretsch Junior Jet Modded with P90 Grosh G90 pickup

Anne is 100% convinced that this used, modded Gretsch with a Grosh G90 is the very best deal in the store right now.



Mass Street Music Staff Gear Picks – May 2013!

Happy Spring (at last) folks! We’ve got a bevy of sweet new gear in the store right now, plus a whole lot of new-to-us used instruments. Here’s the current cream of the crop in the estimation of the Mass Street Music Staff:

Jim Baggett1932 Regal Resonator
This ’32 reso shows some wear, but plays great and is a whole lot of fun.

1932 Vintage Regal Resonator Model 45 Guitar

Boss Jim’s pick is, this 1932 Regal Resonator, is 81 years old and sounds as lively as ever.

John Flynn
Strymon Flint Pedal
This is one of the best pedal investments I have ever made. I just love how beautifully this trem lays in a live mix. It’s pronounced, but never distracting. The verb is extremely versatile as well, but I’m using the ’80s Hall’ setting for most everything.

Strymon Flint Tremolo and Reverb Effects Pedal

Even Boss Flynn couldn’t deny the power of the Strymon Flint pedal – “I just love how beautifully this trem lays in a live mix.”

Eric Putnam
Fender Classic Player Jaguar HH
Looks cool, sounds great, and has a surplus of switches. Check it out, it ROCKS!

Fender Classic Player Jaguar HH white electric guitar

Eric P’s favorite is this Fender Classic Player’s Jaguar HH with it’s “surplus of switches”

Eric Mardis
Collings D2H AVN
Another stunner from Collings… I played a D2HABaaa for years in SLR and this one captures the magic of that guitar.  Loud and louder, but also handles the sweet stuff very nicely. Top Notch.


Collings D2H AVN Custom Acoustic guitar

Eric M says this Collings D2H AVN is “loud and louder”


Ted KritikosMass Street Music/Z’s 60 Cycle Buzz Coffee
coffeenmugThe moment I wake up, before I put on my makeup,
I drink a little Mass Street Brew
While combing my hair now
And wondering what dress to wear, now
I drink a little Mass Street Brew
Forever, forever, I’ll brew up a pot
And I will slurp it…
Forever, forever, I drink it a lot
Oh, how I need you
It’s tasty, and roasty, Arabica blend
To live without you
Would only be heartbreak for me

Alek NelsonEastman AC420
Eastman hit it out of the park with this AC420, at a great price too! If you’re looking for a great dreadnaught at a great price (I am!), give this one a look.

Eastman AC420 acoustic dread guitar

Alek’s in the market for a killer dread & this Sitka/Rosewood Eastman AC420 is a solid contender.

Josh Baldridge
Repair ShopGrosh RCHT Standard Ltd Ed
The phrase “Limited Edition” gets used loosely most of the time, but this Retro Classic Hollow T Standard is one of only four that Don Grosh made…that carries a lot of collect-ability weight in spite of the mere 6 pounds, 10 ounces that it actually measures.  I think this guitar feels, looks, and sounds amazing. The chambered body is just so comfortable and makes the whole guitar respond effortlessly.

Grosh Retro Classic Hollow T Standard limited edition guitar

Josh has been eyeballin’ this Grosh Ltd Ed. RCHT Standard – one of only 4 made.

Mike Runyon
Repair ShopSquier Vintage Modified Mustang
This is a fun little guitar! With a chunky neck and short scale, it feels incredibly solid. The two Duncan designed Single Coil pickups give it that characteristic ‘Stang’ sound, but I’m really surprised by this guitar’s responsiveness – even unplugged. Very friendly price too!

Squier Vintage Modified Mustang guitar

Luthier Mike R. picked this inexpensive Squier VM Mustang as the neck feels great and it sounds fantastic.

Jesse RobertsMartin 00-DB Jeff Tweedy
I’ve never been one for ‘signature’ models, but this 00 has something special. I was initially drawn to its smooth, even tone when fingerpicking (as it should be for an all-Mahogany guitar), but found it to be surprisingly responsive when using a pick as well. Very dynamic, and all around fun to play. It seems like a versatile workhorse type of instrument, one that you could use in the studio, in the backyard, or on stage. To top it off, its dark sunburst finish looks fantastic. Can’t go wrong with this one.

Martin 00-DB Jeff Tweedy Mahogany acoustic guitar

Jesse’s pick is Martin’s 00-DB Jeff Tweedy model – great all-around guitar for picking or strumming, plus it’s sustainable Mahogany. Sweet!

Josh Huskisson
Souldier Clapton Guitar Strap
If you haven’t tried Souldier Straps then you’re missing out – these are comfortable, and as durable as they are awesome looking. Are you into helping the environment? These are made from recycled materials too. Awesome! 

Souldier Clapton guitar strap yellow

Josh H picked this Souldier Clapton strap – recycled materials never looked so good!

Anne Tangeman
Squier Affinity Strat SSH
Well, the Affinitys have a taken a step up! Seriously. This is markedly different – the fretboard edges are smoother and detailing on the neck overall is really nice. And it’s $179. For those wanting a cheap strat, a base model for modding out pickups or just a great starter, this is it. And who can resist that ’70s grape color? I think it’s fantastic!

Squier Affinity HSS Strat grape color

Hey Kool-Aid! The detail to the fretboard & addition of a humbucker (and that great color) made Anne take notice of this new Squier Affinity.