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2 years on from his unexpected death at the age of 50 in June 2009, Michael Jackson's personal items went under the hammer at Julien's Auction House in beverly Hills, with a portion of proceeds from the auctions being donated to the Shambala Preserve in California, which has housed Jackson's two Bengal tigers since closing Neverland Ranch in 2006.

The iconic red and black calfskin jacket, one of two worn in the "Thriller" video and autographed by the "King of Pop" himself, notched up a total cost of $1.8million following add-ons, equal to £1.13million.

Also on sale were a sequined glove, as worn on many a stage, a fedora, the wig worn by Jackson when the ill-fated "This Is It" concert series was announced, and a pair of sunglasses, the latter selling for a cool $50,000 (£31,000).

Following a recent blod post on Metallica's site, the Bay Area thrash masters have revealed they have put together a 10-track album's worth of material for a forthcoming release, working with The Velvet Underground's legendary guitarist and vocalist Lou Reed on the new material. And it seems they can't wait to share their new stuff with their army of fans either.

In an excerpt from this blog post, the band reveal just what they've been getting up to over the last few months:

"Ever since we had the pleasure of performing with Lou at the 25th Anniversary of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at Madison Square Garden in October of 2009, we have been kicking around the idea of making a record together.

Some of you astute Bay Area residents may have picked up news of recent Lou Reed sightings in the greater San Francisco area and we have indeed been working at our home studio at HQ on and off over the last few months.

In what would be lightning speed for a Metallica related project, we recorded ten songs during this time and while at this moment we're not exactly sure when you'll hear it, we're beyond excited to share with you that the recording sessions wrapped up last week."

Also, as the photo above reveals, it would appear James Hetfield is getting into the groove with his new signature Snakebite guitar from ESP, released at this year's NAMM show, as we revealed here previously.

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.