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Gear: October 2011

| September 30, 2011

When Nevermind was released by Nirvana 20 years ago, a North Side guitar-store owner told me Kurt Cobain‘s Jaguar guitar was a piece of crap and Nirvana sucked.

Fast forward and the album is considered a groundbreaking signpost of the grunge era and Fender has introduced the Kurt Cobain Jaguar, “meticulously modeled on the battered and highly unusual 1965 Jaguar that Cobain wielded during the heady early-’90s era when Nirvana ruled rock and led a musically stunning and culturally subversive movement. ”

Guess that owner was wrong, huh?

According to the company, “Fender craftsmen have reproduced Cobain’s battle-hardened left-handed Jaguar down to the last unusual detail, including its worn finish, dual humbucking pickups, and unique electronics and controls (which were already in place when Kurt acquired the guitar in summer of 1991).”

New/old features include an alder body with an aged finish and hardware adjustments, bound fretboard with pearloid dot markers, Stratocaster headstock shape with 1950s-style Fender logo, DiMarzio humbuckers, triple knurled “chrome-dome” knob configuration (volume-volume-tone), three-position toggle switch, black chrome Adjusto-Matic bridge, and Gotoh sealed tuners. The guitar is also available in a right-handed version, but not with the reverse headstock that Jimi Hendrix wannabes cherish.

Accessories include a black textured vinyl hardshell case, and an exclusive Fender Kurt Cobain book with photos and commentary by Charles Peterson plus an insightful interview with Nirvana guitar tech Earnie Bailey.

Having a collector’s guitar costs a bit extra. Fender starts the bidding at $1,819.99. Vist for info.

D-40 Recorder

Since the days of cassette-based Porta-studios, Tascam has been looking for an electronic version of a recorder with the same simple magic to capture demos, future hits, and market share.

The DR-40 is labeled as a 4-track recorder that features an adjustable condenser microphones, four track recording, XLR mic inputs, and extended battery life into a portable design.

Four tracks can record either from built-in adjustable condenser XLR microphones or line inputs. A pair of mic preamps offer the option of phantom power, recording at up to 96kHz/24-bit resolution, with either an XLR or 1/4-inch line inputs using locking Neutrik combo jacks.

The DR-40 records onto SD or SDHC cards up to 32GB, and a 2GB card is included. (Sorry. Even as it experiences a vinyl-like revival, no cassettes).

Once your demo is recorded, playback can be adjusted with an EQ and the optional “Level Align” feature to avoid volume surges with compression. A stereo reverb effect is also built-in, as well as a speaker and chromatic tuner. Demos can be transferred to a PC or Mac using a USB 2.0 jack.

Other features include overdub mode, variable speed playback, limiting and low-cut filter, an optional BP-6AA battery pack, which takes six AA batteries, increases the battery life of the DR-40 from 17.5 to over 50 hours. This battery pack is designed to attach itself to the DR-40 and a tripod allowing users to record for a long period without the use of an AC adapter or a computer. Suggested retail price is $200, and more details can be found at

News and Notes

IE, Tobias Music, and Taylor Guitars are hosting the Taylor Guitars Road Show again this year, on October 23rd at 1 p.m., at the Tivoli Theatre in Downers Grove. See Grammy-winner Wayne Johnson and Taylor factory clinicians show off some cool Taylor gear on a Sunday afternoon, plus some one-day sale pricing. Visit for info.

– David Gedge

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Category: Columns, Gear, Monthly

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