The Music Zoo's Blog Your destination for the best guitars on the internet. Mon, 18 Aug 2014 14:45:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Video Demo Of The Louis Electric Buster Amplifier Mon, 18 Aug 2014 14:43:35 +0000


One of the joys of playing electric guitar is the magical relationship between a guitar and an amp, and the wondrous results that different combinations yield. We carry many different guitars and amps here at The Music Zoo, and they range from the more traditional to modern and advanced. One of the more traditional and pure examples of tube amplification are amps that are designed and built by Lou Rosano, the guy responsible for  the Louis Electric Amplifier Company.

Rosano makes boutique amps that capture an “old,” vintage sound using circuitry that’s straight out of the RCA Receiving Tube manual. In other words, think old Tweeds, Gibson GA series amps, and anything involving bare bones Western Electric circuitry. A Louis Electric amp naturally captures the gorgeous tonal characteristics and physics of vacuum tube technology and the principles of even-order harmonic distortion. In this video clip, watch Music Zoo friend Dennis Del Gaudio demo the 25-watt Louis Buster amp using a ’63 Stratocaster. You’ll hear the amp’s natural breakup into tube saturation as the volume is pushed to maximum. Interested in purchasing this amp? Check it out here!


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Guitar World Inside Look At The History Of Caparison Guitars Sat, 16 Aug 2014 18:40:04 +0000 guitar world magazine article on caparison guitars history

Caparison is a company that we’ve come to know and love for there quality and innovative design. At the forefront of the metal-scene, Caparison guitars are the weapon of choice for players who demand a fast neck, durable tremolo, and endless amounts of sustain. Yet, this company has loads more to offer. Check out this article by our friends at Guitar World illustrating Caparison’s journey that has led to their present-day techniques in guitar-making. Also, be sure to check out our great selection of Caparison guitars we have in stock!


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New 2014 EVH Guitars & Amps Announced Mon, 11 Aug 2014 17:22:00 +0000 EVH Blog Main Image

Don’t fault Eddie Van Halen for not being prolific enough with new music; he’s been hard at work on his line of EVH guitars and amps, creating some great new products that The Music Zoo will be stocking in the next few months. Among them is a 5150III 50-watt guitar amp combo with one 12” speaker. More compact than the 2 x 12 version, this  1 x 12 version is equally powerful and tuneful, with plenty of “brown sound” and super-high gain on tap. Other features include three channels (clean, crunch, and lead) and onboard DSP reverb, and power scaling from 50 watts down to 1.

EVH’s new guitars include a variation to the EVH Striped Series guitars that retains the same specs and build characteristics. However, this guitar is finished in a very unique—like, we’ve never seen it before!—“Circles” finish that evokes those eerie crop circles burned into farmlands all over Great Britain. Perhaps some UFO’s will be circling overhead when you play this guitar. Who knows? The guitar’s back has the familiar EVH stripes with red words that read: “BYE SEE YA LATER.” Another addition to the EVH guitar lineup is a Wolfgang Special with a gorgeous, carved flame maple top over its basswood body. Other features are a compound radius, a Floyd Rose tremolo system, and two very powerful EVH Wolfgang humbucker pickups. Scroll below for the complete spec-lists of these new guitars. If you want to be the first to get your hands on these new items, contact our sales team to pre-order or receive information on arrival dates. Don’t forget to check out our stock of EVH guitars and amps here!

5150III® 2x12 50W Combo

5150III® 2x12 50W Combo

5150III® 2x12 50W Combo

5150III® 2x12 50W Combo



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The Music Zoo Featured In Optimum TV Commercial Wed, 06 Aug 2014 21:22:47 +0000

A bit of unusual excitement swept through The Music Zoo earlier this year when, on a frigid January afternoon, a TV production crew invaded our shop and ordered us to put on our best guitar faces. They were creating a commercial for Optimum Cable and selected the Zoo as an example of a small but growing business that depends on Optimum’s high-speed internet service.  “They chose us because we use their service to its maximum power,” says Music Zoo owner and Zookeeper Tommy Colletti.” Without it we couldn’t survive.”

To be sure, we were honored to have been chosen as an example of a customer that uses Optimum’s product to its maximum ability. It also made for an exciting, monotony busting afternoon although it’s never actually dullsville here at the Zoo.  “It was actually surreal,” noted Tommy. “I mean, all the equipment, 50 or so people, catering tables, grips, laptops, monitors, equipment racks, lights, advertising people, crew standing around…it was nuts but in a great way.” And it was exciting, too. The normally rowdy Zoomates were on their best behavior, quieting down when the assistant director yelled “quiet on the set” and staying clear of the action. It was fun to watch takes on the monitors and it’s truly amazing how digital wazoo enables things to resemble the graininess of celluloid without the use of traditional film.

We also had a great time with the crew, all of whom were fascinated by rows of gorgeous custom guitars. A few of them were playing “Stairway to Heaven” and “Smoke on the Water,” but we didn’t mind. No, not at all! It was only a few hours later that all was said and done. “I was amazed at how quickly they packed up their equipment and were gone,” notes Tommy. “It must’ve been 10 minutes!” One of the event’s highlights was meeting a DGA (that’s the Director’s Guild of America) trainee who impressed us with his tales of pugilistic glory, particularly with bar fights. His name was Roadhouse.

In addition to the TV Commercial, there has also been a full page print ad run in a number of major newspapers featuring our very own Guitartech Pete:


Here are some shots from the filming of the commercial, enjoy!

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Taylor Guitars Featured In USA Today Online Tue, 05 Aug 2014 20:37:13 +0000 USA Today Taylor Article

USA Today put out an article on their site today about Taylor Guitars, who are celebrating their 40th Anniversary this year.  We were honored (and a little surprised) when USA Today recently called The Music Zoo for some input from owner Tommy Colletti.  But, seeing is that Taylor is one of our best industry friends, we were more than happy to offer some input for the column.  In addition there is a nicely produced video, have a look at it here and be sure to read down the page.  We’re looking forward to another 40 years of great Taylor Acoustic Guitars!  Be sure to have a look at our current inventory right here, we stock the entire line-up of this awesome brand.


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Music Zoo Exclusive Seagull S6 Koa Acoustic Guitar Fri, 01 Aug 2014 17:27:35 +0000

If any guitar manufacturer can attest to building a great guitar that retails for an affordable price, it’s Godin and its Seagull brand of acoustics. Seriously, try Seagull’s flagship model, the S6; you’ll hear a big, very audible instrument that projects while plenty of lows and crisp top-end pour forth effortlessly. Many guitars from other manufacturers in the S6’s price range can sound like a cigar box with strings, the result of using dull sounding, lesser-quality wood with poorly executed bracing and construction.

Among Seagull’s claims to fame is its manufacturing. Godin is a Canadian company based in Quebec. All of its products are hand-built there using, for the most part, locally sourced  tonewoods with other components made in-house. For Seagull and Godin, these tonewoods are often Canadian-grown wild cherrywood for their instrument’s body and Canadian spruce or cedar for the tops. One anomaly to this formula is an S6 Koa edition that’s exclusive to The Music Zoo. This guitar is constructed with a laminated Hawaiian koa back and sides with a mahogany top. The net result is tone that is warm, with plenty of upper-midrange presence and a bright, crisp top-end. According to Seagull, some of the brightness will mellow as the guitar is played. We also noted excellent detail and clarity when playing chords and solo lines in the upper frets.

It should be noted that a guitar for less than a grand and using koa for its back and sides is quite a rare thing. Koa may grow on trees, yet it doesn’t just grow on trees; in other words, it’s rare, exclusive to the Hawaiian islands, and not readily available. At least, there aren’t a lot of koa trees that are large enough and straight enough to be used for guitar-making purposes due to dwindling supply. Moreover, it all comes from one particular tree farm on Hawaii’s big island. Think about that the next time you play a koa guitar.  Have a look at the Koa S6 guitars currently available right here.

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Tosin Abasi: D’Addario Guitar Power Video Thu, 31 Jul 2014 20:12:57 +0000

Here is a really great video recently published by D’Addario, in conjunction with Rolling Stone, launching a new series entitled Guitar Power which will showcase the Young Guns of modern rock guitar playing.  Episode 1 above features our friend Tosin Abasi.  Along with host Matt Sweeney, they cover gear, approach and technique, plus manage to do a little playing along the way.  Be sure to check out our exclusive interview with Tosin from 2011 when he visited us at the store as well.  Needless to say, he’s a great player and someone who has been on our radar for some time.  Keep in mind that D’Addario is one of our favorite strings and they also offer many great accessories for working musicians which we have right here.


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Remembering Legendary Blues Guitarist Johnny Winter Tue, 29 Jul 2014 20:28:22 +0000 johnny-winter-40-years-001

His career was just beginning to flourish again when Johnny Winter passed away suddenly on July 16th from natural causes. He was 70 years old.  The legendary blues and rock guitarist, producer, and three-time Grammy winner was a huge inspiration to the staff at The Music Zoo; if anybody could shred with a slide, it was Johnny Winter.

Sure, he was a dedicated bluesman, but in a modern way; Winter took the blues are revamped it with hard, driving rock and roll on which he sang—like a bluesman—and wielded a slide like it was nobody’s business. Indeed, Johnny Winter’s slide guitar work was masterful and it dominated nearly every aspect of his musical personality. And while he played electric guitar primarily, almost always using a trusty 1964 Gibson Firebird, he was also drawn to tradition. Winter was a fine acoustic bluesman, something evident when he played a steel-bodied National resonator guitar. Listening to his first two recordings for Columbia Records, 1969’s Johnny Winter and Second Winter (released later the same year) revealed his diversity and they included guest shots from blues legends such as Willie Dixon and Big Walter Horton.

Ultimately, his was a style that ran fiery and hot, with a brashness and confidence that took the blues and rock and roll world by storm. Although he was a bona-fide rock star during the ‘70s, Johnny Winter played electric blues guitar, which would never be the same after his debut. None other than Muddy Waters recognized this, electing to record three Grammy-winning albums with Winter playing guitar and producing. We at the Music Zoo salute the man, his musical greatness, and his legacy.


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Guthrie Govan Demos Victory Amplifiers Thu, 24 Jul 2014 21:37:20 +0000

Our friend Guthrie Govan is one of the hottest players out there right now, and we’re proud to be carrying his touring workhorse: Victory Amplifiers.  In this video recently published by Victory, we get a full taste of what this impressive line is all about.  Be sure to take a look at our Victory Amplifiers page for our current inventory and contact us if you’re interested in ordering or have additional questions. For more great Guthrie interviews and information view additional entries to our blog right here.




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Cars & Guitars: Beauty And The Beast Wed, 16 Jul 2014 21:39:34 +0000

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Every so often in Roslyn, New York, a quaint suburb of New York City located on the north shore of Long Island, the relative quietude of a town that takes its colonial-era history all too seriously gets shattered by a car dubbed The Bete Noire, or The Black Beast. It’s loud. It backfires. It snorts and chortles, and it sounds more like a rip-roaring locomotive than an automobile. It turns out that The Black Beast was built in 1909 by the American Locomotive Company, which manufactured cars for a brief spell in the early 20th century. They were loud cars, built for an upscale market and priced from $5,000 to $7,500.

James Honeyman-ScottMore than 100 years since its roll-out, the Black Beast, a 1909 Alco six-cylinder racer, resides at 55 Lumber Road in Roslyn, in the very same building that’s home to The Music Zoo. If you want to talk about loud, this is where loudness and darkness reign supreme; loud cars, loud guitars, Marshall amps, spark plugs, an old Shelby Mustang, Charvel guitars and shred-friendly Jacksons, gorgeous Fender and Gibson Custom Shop instruments…all under the same roof. In fact, The Music Zoo has its own kind of Bete Noire, actually a Beaute Noire in the form of a 1959 Gibson Les Paul Custom that was owned by late Pretender’s guitarist James Honeyman-Scott. Hence, we’ve got a Beauty and the Beast right under one roof…pretty radical for a village where old schoolteachers walk around dressed like it’s 1776 for thrills, and where George Washington once rented a room before leading the troops into the Battle of Brooklyn.

Speaking of thrills, The Music Zoo recently talked our landlord and Black Beast owner, Howard Kroplick, into allowing us to pose our Beauty with his Beast amidst Roslyn’s lovely harbor surroundings. For this wild and crazy stunt, Walter Bryant, the Zoo’s staff photographer, and Kroplick took the Black Beast for a little spin where it made some noise and turned some heads.  It was truly a Beauty and the Beast mash-up.

The Black Beast is considered one of the very first combustion engine racing cars, built and designed when the “horseless carriage” concept was just getting its wheels, so to speak, and when car sales were influenced by how the machines performed on the racetrack (Henry Ford supposedly remarked that “Victory on Sunday means sales on Monday”). With its Black Beast (8 of 8)six-cylinder, 100-horsepower engine, Alco sponsored the car in numerous races with its test driver, Harry Grant, leading the Black Best to victory in almost all of them. One noteworthy win was the 1909 and 1910 Vanderbilt Cup races, which took place on Long Island and was organized by William K. Vanderbilt (heir to the railroad tycoon). Indeed,  the Black Beast was fast—keeping pace at roughly 62 miles per hour, but also victorious as a result of simply being an excellently built automobile that rarely broke down. Actually, one of the few instances of breakdown occurred during the very first Indy 500, when a bearing failed on the 52nd lap.

Sometimes good things must come to their ends, and the Black Beast was retired in the years preceding World War I, seldom seen or heard from until being sold to a collector in the 1930s where it lived in a barn. That collector sold the Black Beast to vintage car historian Joel Finn in 1968, who put some massive restoration work into it before selling the car in 1975 to casino tycoon Bill Harrah. Harrah had a collection of more than 1,500 cars, among which the Black Beast was probably feeling like a mere number…if it was capable of feeling. When Harrah sold the car in 1988, it bounced around Europe like some washed up movie star waiting for rediscovery, eventually winding up in France where, in 2008 it became available for sale and Kroplick was right there with a check. “I’ve followed that car for years,” he recalls. “When it was offered on the internet I jumped on it. A Belgian dealer was selling the car and I flew to Brussels to inspect the car before finalizing the deal.” It’s now parked at 55 Lumber Road in Roslyn, amidst the throbbing pulse of a neighboring dance studio and the brown sound tones of Friedman amps and a good Charvel.Black Beast (3 of 8)

Or, a Friedman matched with a great, vintage Black Beauty Les Paul, like our James Honeyman-Scott guitar. It’s from 1959 and with all the tell-tale features from that year, such as three PAF humbuckers, gold hardware, block-inlaid ebony fretboard, the split diamond headstock inlay, and that lustrous black finish. It all coalesced into the Fleetwood Brougham of electric guitars—a class act all the way.  Jimmy’s guitar came to us in an ugly but somehow cool Norlin-era Gibson “Protector” (sometimes referred to as the “Chainsaw”) from the late ‘70s with the Pretender’s logo stenciled on, but that hardly discounts from this guitar being a primo example of the 1959 Les Paul Custom. Along with the features previously mentioned, it has the period-correct  low and thin fretwire (which led to the guitar earning the alternate nickname, “Fretless Wonder”), multi-ply binding, fancier gold-plated tuners, and a one-piece mahogany body that was carved on the top. The instrument’s body used an upscale multi-ply binding that added to the aesthetic (the ebony fretboard had a single-ply binding), and a total of 246 Les Paul Customs left Gibson’s Kalamazoo, Michigan factory in 1959.

Throughout his all-too-brief career, Honeyman-Scott played many different guitars as if he needed to experience the inherent greatness in all of them. He endorsed Hamer, loved his ES-335s and Firebirds, recognized the tonal possibilities of Strats and Teles, and remained partial to his Zemaitises. His Black Beauty also appeared on stage and on record and, ultimately, Jimmy used guitars like a painter or sculptor would use their tools. He was a truly dedicated musician, absorbing everything he could and taking his guitar cues from British pub rockers like Chris Spedding, Dave Edmunds, and Billy Bremner, not to mention the country influences and string tugging of Albert Lee. Yeah, this was a music fanatic, and stories persist of James Honeyman-Scott  showing up at parties and plowing through the host’s record collection until he found some Beach Boys records, whereupon  he’d hang out by the stereo and ignore the surrounding debauchery.

As a guitarist, Jimmy preferred subtlety instead of an overt display of chops. A perfect example is the eight-bar solo for “Kid,” where taste and melodicism make for an unforgettably concise and musical guitar statement that combines some country twang with gorgeous arpeggios using fretted and open strings. Elsewhere in the band’s repertoire, he channels some serious rockabilly and Eddie Cochran riffs to match the Pretender’s post-punk rock-meets-Kinks mashup. Black Beast (1 of 8)Actually, Chrissie Hynde credited Honeyman-Scott with bringing melodicism to what was originally nihilism-fueled punk.

Time machine ahead a few decades and across continents to…Roslyn, where Black Beast and Black Beauty live together in the land of loudness and Blackness. “Kid” is playing on the radio, the Black Beast is getting readied for the next big car show, and the Black Beauty is sitting pretty in its Protector case while the Music Zoo’s staff begs owner Tommy Colletti for a turn playing it. We don’t know if Honeyman-Scott and Harry Grant are looking down in curiosity or splendor, yet we’re certain that black is the new black…not orange.

Written By Mike Bieber

Photographs By Walter Bryant


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