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BOSS Katana Amplifiers

I will admit that I’m a very jaded gear enthusiast, over the years my heart has become very hard to “innovation” and digital profiling and the hype that surrounds it, dismissing most recent developments in the world of amplification as fads or a pale imitation of the great tone of vintage valve circuitry.

I was wrong, I admit it.

The Boss Katana range of amplifiers started a crisis of faith for me in regards to the perceived purity of tone associated with vintage or valve amplifiers to the point where for the first time in my life I see solid state/modelling as the future. The Katana is a seriously impressive amplifier and a lot of work and effort went into crafting the perfect entry/intermediate solid state amplifier and its fans (including myself) are beyond impressed with the results.

With a range of on board-effects, multiple channels/banks and an output volume adjuster this little amplifier can really move some air and comes in a multitude watt variants (my favourite is the 50 watt version). It of course sounds fantastic, offering everything from the most brutal of gain settings to the cleanest of silky cleans with everything in-between literally a dial away and best of all it actually sounds REAL.

Now I don’t propose for a second that the Katana will replace your favourite tube amplifier but as practice amp for backstage, bedroom and even small venue use there is no other even on the same playing field. If I had access to the Katana when I first started playing I would be completely besotted with its features and due to its affordability it would have been high on my Xmas/birthday list. It’s impossible to try and predict the nature of the guitar industry going forward but the Katana (along with a handful of other digital amp models) certainly feels like a C change product, highlighting that not only is a great sounding solid state affordable but it’s also the start of something truly special on the horizon for amplifier technology.

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PRS SE Limited Edition Custom 24 Maple Series

The PRS (SE) Custom 24 is a design that needs no induction, its easily accessible neck and iconic design has been inspiring guitarists for decades now and the new range of SE Custom 24’s are no different. Unlike other models in the past however this series comes with a bonus extra: their fretboard/necks are maple topped with a satin feel back, a unique combination. Tie that all together with some incredibly eye popping finishes and you have a contender for the perfect mid-price point electric guitar.

Throughout the course of the review both myself and Duncan were reflecting upon the niche spot in the market that PRS SE have secured, creating instruments of considerable quality and consistency at a price that is actually obtainable for musicians and students which the same cannot be said for some other historic brands that due to a host reasons are price hiking out of reach of their target market.

The novelty of having a maple fingerboard on a model that has traditionally stuck to darker neck designs (Rosewood, Ebony etc.) looks significantly better than initial photos and reactions would suggest and feels like an absolute dream under the fingers. The black bird inlays may not be to everyone’s taste but in this instance they provide a sense of dignity to the entire instrument. The Flame top on the body is of course as drool worthy as expected, my personal favorites being the Sapphire blue and deep purple finishes as both really accentuate the natural grain underneath whist sporting a one off style aesthetic.

Although my favorite PRS SE model of all time is the Custom 24 Exotic ebony this series of maple delights really add something special to the SE catalogue and look 100% better in person than either a screen or article can truly portray. This all rounds off as a very warm recommendation for anyone looking a humbucker equipped professional grade instrument at a mid level price point (£799).