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Wireless guitar systems have come a long way; a hell of a long way! Traditional analogue wireless systems were flakey at best, and at worst, pretty abysmal. In terms of reliability they were probably equivalent to the British weather, although at the moment we really can’t complain too much about that. As the years have gone by analogue technology has been superseded by the digital age, bringing with it a whole new breed of wireless guitar systems.

The beauty of a wireless system is the added movement it allows you on stage. If you prefer to get up close and personal with your adoring fans then this is the perfect opportunity. However, traditionally this freedom of movement does come at the cost of sound quality. The digital technology used in the Line 6 Relay G30 eradicates this issue, with a whole array of features designed specifically to fine tune your tone. Digital technology ensures the sound you hear is the sound the guitar makes. It sounds simple, but by cutting out all interference the guitarist is left with an instrument that provides a sharp, precise tone.

If you are determined to experience the freedom of going wireless, digital really is the best way to go. Traditional analogue systems can prove to be more trouble than they are worth, with future FCC rulings likely to shift devices around in the analogue realm and cause interference with various other devices. With the Line 6 Relay G30 no such problems exist, as the digital channel lock technology that comes with the product allows you to make an unshakable connection between receiver and transmitter.

Another string to the digital wireless guitar system’s bow is just how compact and easy it is to use. Simply place it next to your guitar pedals and away you go. All the controls you need are easy to access and you can switch between them quickly with the mere touch of a button. The product is also durable, which is important given the bumps and scrapes it is likely to experience whilst you are on the road travelling up and down to gigs.

If you’re the sort of musician who likes a good strut whilst blasting out your crowd pleasers, the Line 6 Relay G30 digital wireless guitar system could be the perfect bit of kit for you. And you can buy it online for a great price here at Instrumania.         

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Before we start, I have a confession. Back when I first began pestering my Mum and Dad to buy me a guitar, I was bought a basic model travel guitar from a cheap local music shop. After about a week of play it, I hated it and refused to practice on it, instead borrowing my friends Squier Stratocaster. Now some 11 years on, I meet my old enemy. But this time things were different...much different.


The Hofner Shorty Electric Travel Guitar was nothing like my schoolboy nemesis. Sure it’s a low cost Chinese import but it doesn’t really show. It has a nice basswood neck, the body is finished well comes with decent gig bag and cable.


It does feel a little weird as the balance is off compared to a normal electric guitar and can be a bit awkward to play at first. It took me some time to get used to it.
Where it really gets interesting is when you start to play. It sounds much better than I expected. The humbucker is loud and bright, and has to be one of the most responsive guitars I’ve played especially at this price range. Throw on a few pedals and you’d be amazed at the tone that you can produce. After a bit of fiddling I even managed to run a few riffs and licks in a clean 60’s tone that I love.


The action on the strings is tremendous and the pickup is just as good, so feel free to put your shredding hat on and go for it. From sheer play-ability, and tonality aspect, the Hofner is miles ahead of its counterparts.


I didn’t think I would ever say this about a travel guitar but I genuinely love the Hofner Shorty. Not because it is easy to travel with but because out of all the guitars in this sort of price range I've ever played, I’ve never played anything that sounds as good and plays as well as the Hofner Shorty. Quite simply, the Hofner does the job it was designed to do and it does it well.  


If you are in the market for a low cost travel electric guitar, that sounds great, offers a nice bright tone and not just “another guitar”, you have to check out the Hofner Shorty Travel Guitar model, a great axe for the intrepid travellers amongst us.

If we are being 100% honest, you are probably not that excited about buying a guitar tuner pedal but let me tell you something. Step one of sounding awesome, is to get your gear set up and in tune. A pedal tuner really is one piece of kit you need in your life. "Okay" I hear you say..."so which is the best pedal tuner?" Well if only it were that simple. There are a whole host of pedals available...but here we’re going to talk about the 3 guitar tuner pedals widely regarded as the best around.

 


Boss TU-3 Compact Chromatic Tuner


The Boss TU-3 tuner can be seen on stages everywhere. Boss are widely known for having legendary stomp pedal quality and is certainly built to last. Housed in a tank-tough stompbox body, the TU-3 has a bright LED meter that really does well against glare, even outdoors.


On really nice feature is the Accu-Pitch Sign function which provides a nice virtual “thumbs up” when tuning is done.

 


TC Electronic Polytune


A successor to the extremely popular original Polytune, The TC Electronic Polytune Mini has a great advantage of being one of the smallest pedal tuners on the market so you can be sure it’s going to fit on even the most cramped pedalboard. The top reason of using a polyphonic tuner like the TC Mini is that it allows you to strum all 6 strings and instantly see which is out of tune. Though the pedal is tiny, it does have the drawback of being unable to be battery powered due to its compact size.

 


Korg Pitchblack Chromatic


The Korg Pitchblack chromatic pedal tuner, with large LED display, is my personal tuner of choice and a must-have item for the serious guitarist or bassist. The combination of high precision tuning, excellent display and advanced functionality make it an easy choice for me. Featuring a tough aluminium die cast body, you know this pedal was built to last. Another great feature is the tuning guide that indicates whether your instrument is sharp or flat so you are always able to tune quickly and accurately on stage.


Whichever pedal tuner you choose has to be the right fit for you and your style. Check out the tuners above and let us know your thoughts.


The age of the digital DJ is now, and with huge forward leaps made in the past few years the quality of computer DJing hardware is continuing to rise. In this, the latest Instrumania review, we’re going to take a look at the Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S4, which despite being released over a year ago, still offers a simple, one-stop solution to laptop DJs.


The Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S4 package contains everything the modern day computer DJ could need, except of course for the laptop! The all in one four deck software, controller and audio interface system is based on tried and tested Native Instruments technology. The Tracktor Kontrol S4 also comes with the benefit of Pro S4 software, along with new sample decks and a live loop recorder, which enables users to edit and record loops on the fly for a creative DJ experience.


What made the Kontrol S4 so exciting was its standing as the first 4-deck controller built by Native Instruments for its popular Traktor Pro platform. The addition of the Traktor Pro S4, designed specifically for integration with the Kontrol S4, ensures a smooth and intuitive operation. The most significant difference with the Tracktor Kontrol S4 is the addition of two sample/loop decks that can stand in for the 3rd and 4th track decks, along with a loop recorder that includes layered recording for live improvisation.


These two key additions have taken the Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S4 from strength to strength, and with dedicated control systems which offer both responsive and smooth control, usability is assured when operating faders or implementing filter sweeps and effects tweaks. The S4 is also not currently compatible with DVS systems yet, although Native Instruments say this feature will be introduced soon. 


Drawbacks of the Kontrol S4 include the fact that operating on USB bus power alone is not recommended due to dim LEDs. Some users may also still prefer to have a supplemental grid controller. Price is currently at the higher end of the spectrum that most laptop DJs will be willing to pay, which is not tempered due to the lack of a price break for licensed Traktor Pro users. However, with admirable integration between hardware and software, the Kontrol S4, whilst not trying to be all things to all DJs, is closer to that than many other products which have been developed with ubiquity as their sole intention.    

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