Fender Limited Edition USA Stratocaster Sandblast
This year, Fender has been releasing tons of new limited-edition products, but the Sandblasted Strat is particularly unique. The sandblasting is partly responsible — no two finishes will look and feel the same way. But aside from the finish, this is a solid USA-made guitar with your time-approved specs: 9.5″ fretboard radius, 25.5″ scale length, American Standard Strat pickups and more. The neck is a good size, not too large and not too small, which made it comfy in any register of the fretboard and allowed me to navigate easily. Overall, it’s a solid Strat at a solid price, and the most distinctive Stratocaster released in quite a while.
Wampler Plexi-Drive Deluxe
This pedal is an awesome update to the already superb Plexi-Drive pedal. My favorite addition was the Pre-Gain switch that acts as a boost to help saturate your drive tone even more. Best of all, it operates independently from the main Post-Gain section and therefore can be used on its own. The Bass switch beefs up your lows and really does work well to combat the thinner tone you get out of running some amps at lower volumes. The Bright switch really makes a difference in sound; it’s sharp and cutting — perfect for darker amps or when your tone needs a push out in front of a band. It really does sound like a Marshall, but most importantly, it even responds like a Marshall, and because of that, I think this pedal really hits the mark.