Now listening – Greg Koch and Andy Powers at NAMM 2016

These two guys are just incredible. What a way to show off the new Taylor guitars.


Gretsch Streamliner Series

Beautiful new release from Gretsch.


The Streamliner series has two main lines – the Center Block and the Hollow Body. As the names suggest quite clearly, one is essentially semi hollow body while the other is a true hollow body.

The larger G2420 has options to come with or without Bigsby and fitted with two BroadTron pickups.


The smaller Center-Block guitars G2622 and G2655 are double cutaways. Also available with or without Bigsby.


With retail price of US$619 – US$749, they will be interesting guitars if Swee Lee brings in the series.

*photos from Gretsch

Fender Paramount

Not usually popular for its acoustic guitars, Fender has launched an all-solid acoustic guitar series.


The new guitars feature all solid wood construction, with the standard models having spruce top with mahogany body and the deluxe models having spruce top and rosewood body. Another difference would be the fretboard and bridge where the higher end deluxe models get ebony while the standards get rosewood.


The Paramount series come in three body shapes – PM1 (dread), PM2 (parlour) and PM3 (000). Guitarbear must admit that the great looking parlour is top draw of the bunch.


Other appointments include bone nut/saddle, vintage open tuners, binding all around, and the Fishman developed PM System with tuner, tone and volume.


These China made guitars have kept the price point to a manageable level considering the fact that they are all solid. The standard costs GBP519 while the deluxe will go for GBP629.

*photos from Fender, musicradar and

JJB Prestige 110 on Ohana ukulele

Did an installation of the JJB Prestige ukulele pickup two weeks back on an Ohana willow wood concert.


Willow isn’t particularly common as a tonewood. It is mostly used on entry level laminate guitars and ukes. I guess the grains are nice enough.

For this installation, I reversed the order of work a bit while waiting for my drill to be charged.

The Bearclaw Special came first.

I gave the uke a good clean up and fretboard moisturising. Lemon oil and 0000 steel wool – good friend of rosewood fretboard. 🙂


Installation begins

Drilling a 12mm hole at the base. Remember to tape up the base to avoid cracks and chips.


We’re almost there. The step bit makes work rather slow.


OK. Nice and neat 12mm hole we need.

Test the pickup

The JJB Prestige 110 has a single transducer and is easy to install. First plug it into an amp to check for sound. Tap the transducer lightly. If there is sound, it is working.


I use a jack and thin cable as a fishing line. Insert through the base.


Exit through the sound hole and connect the jack to the pickup. Sorry, I forgot to take a photo here. But here’s a photo from previous project to help you get the idea.


Pull out the fishing line back through the base and the pickup input jack will get into position.


Use a small plier and towel to carefully tighten the jack. Nicely done.

I went on to glue the transducer under the bridge plate. Not an easy task because the soundhole is so small and the uke is so thin. Here is another photo from previous project.


Test drive the installation. All good.

A photo of the sexy back. Looks a lil bit like bocote.


I gave the uke a final polish because of all the fingerprints after all the work done.


Clover boy says OK!


Fender American Elite

New Fenders launched at NAMM 2016.


Looks more like new colours and new finishes given a new name. Let’s hope new pricing doesn’t skyrocket overnight. I must say these are gorgeous new colours and new finishes. New. 🙂 


Of course Fender has taken the opportunity to use the latest generation noiseless pickups and locking tuners here. OK, now we know it’s not just new colours. 🙂

*photos from Fender and musicradar