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A new auction record has been set by the sale of a Stradivarius violin. The auction, in aid of providing financial relief for victims of the Japan earthquake, was run by London auction house Tarisio, and the violin part of a collection owned by the Nippon Foundation for music. They cover the Northeastern Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund charities.

On offer was a well preserved violin made by the famous Stradivari family. The particular model is known as the Lady Blunt, after Lord Byron's granddaughter Lady Anne Blunt, it's owner for 30 years.

The £9.8million received for the violin is more than FOUR times the amount a record holding Stradivarius previously sold for.

Kazuko Shiomi, Nippon Foundation's president, said that although the violin was important to their collection, the reason for it's sale was far more worthy. He said "...the needs of our fellow Japanese people after the March 11th tragedy have proven that we all need to help, in any way we can"

The Lady Blunt is one of around 600 instruments made by Antonio Stradivari still in existence.

Gibson guitars are based right at the heart of the Nashville city and music scene. So it was a devastating sight for them to see the music community almost wiped out by the 2010 floods. Water damaged guitars, both old and new, fell victim to the rising waters, but the dedicated Tennessee collective battled on.

Now, a year later, guitar supremos Gibson have announced they are to release a limited run of commemorative Les Paul Studio guitars, both with a fantastic paint job each, paying homage to the flood victims.

The basis for the guitar, as mentioned, is a very minimalist Les Paul studio, with a high gloss, nitro-cellulose marbleised swirl finish in either green or blue. A mahogany body with carved maple top, coupled with a glued, quarter-sawn mahogany neck make this a warm toned beauty.

Following the simplicity of the Les Pauls adds a Tune-o-Matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece, and six Grover tuners, allowing this guitar to retain its tuning competently through the more rugged of playing.

A 490R humbucker sits in the neck position, and a 498T located at the bridge. The neck 'bucker is vintage wound round an Alnico II magnet, while the hotter bridge pickup is wound round an Alnico V magnet, giving it a punchier tone. As standard, both are wired to their own individual volume and tone controls, via a 3-way selector switch flicking between each pickup, or a blend of both in the middle position.

Both options are to be manufactured to satisfy demand, over the 300 mark at minimum, and will go on sale at an msrp of US$2,389, or approximately just shy of £1,500.

Back in January, the NAMM Show rolled into California, exhibiting the industry’s newest products. But between April 6 -9 in Frankfurt, Germany, Europe get’s its very own grand tradeshow in Musikmesse. Held annually in the German city, the expo is the largest trade show in Europe, and picks up where NAMM left off, featuring product launches from the biggest names in the music industry.

From musical instruments, production gear and electronic music goods to sheet music and marketing, Musikmesse has been leading the way for over a quarter of a century. The organisers hope to build on 2010’s successful expo, where over 77,000 visitors walked through the doors to feast their eyes on the newest bit of gear, from the 1,510 exhibitors from all manner of genres.

In addition to new instrument releases, there’ll be a whole host of artists and bands performing at the show, plus countless musicians providing their scribbles at various signing sessions over the weekend. Finally, there will be an awards show to reward artists and companies alike for their work.

Here at Instrumania, we’ll be following all the news pouring out of the show, bringing the big product launches and eye catching products, plus the more weird and wonderful instruments released over the four days.

Seattle will soon be graced with memorabilia from its favourite grunge sons betwen April 16th-22nd, at the Experience Music Project.

A vast array of items from the legendary group Nirvana will be on display, with rare and unseen photos and artefacts, instruments, both broken and whole, and other significant items are provided by the band, former road crews and family members for the exhibition.

Pieces of iconic frontman Kurt Cobain's first guitar he destroyed on stage, a Univox Hi-Flyer, will be put together for one display. The Tama Rockstar-Pro drumkit used by the Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl in his days as Nirvana drummer will also be on show.

Bassist Krist Novoselic's Guild acoustic bass and Buck Owens acoustic guitar from the MTV Unplugged recording, one of Cobain's, and subsequently Nirvana's, last ever shows are also set to be unveiled.

The display will see handwritten lyrics by Cobain for two early Nirvana songs - "Spank Thru" and "Floyd the Barber", plus candid photos from their early days in Aberdeen, Washington shown for the first time to the general public.

If Nirvana still inspire you, or even if you've been a big fan since Bleach or Nevermind were released, the exhibition should not be missed. If you're unable to make it to the US state, keep an eye out for forthcoming reports from the event.

With the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) expo recently rolling through the Anaheim Convention Centre in California, there was much anticipation amongst metal fans around the Epiphone display for the unveiling of a particular Machine Head axeman’s new signature guitar.

Frontman Rob Flynn’s multi-year signature deal with Gibson/Epiphone includes the release of the signature “Love Death” baritone scale Flying V, adorned with many a custom graphic and high end parts.

The Baritone V features six Grover machine heads on the painted headstock, and Flynn’s custom heart-skull pearl inlays down the length of the 24-fret rosewood neck. The logo is then featured as a large, eye-popping, full bodied decal wrapping around a tune-o-matic bridge and a pair of active EMG humbuckers, as displayed by Dr. Epiphone below, in an excerpt from Total Guitar’s coverage at the expo.


Also available from Epiphone is a matching flight case adorned with the same “Love Death” heart-skull decal and black and white burst, all available at some point in 2011.

For further news and reviews and all the latest information for the discerning musician, look no further than Instrumania. And if you’re in the market for a new guitar we really are the site for you. We compare the prices of thousands of guitars for sale, bringing the very best deals online.