Martin Ambassador Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit will release their new album on June 16th!
Ohio’s metalcore band Miss May I went all out for an extreme video for new single “Lost in the Grey,” which will appear on the band’s upcoming album Shadows Inside, due out June 2.
“The shoot involved an entire forest landscape set, live action volatile weather elements and rodents in mouths,” shared singer Levi Benton with Loud Wire. “We have never had a video like this before. The vibe for the song is really captured well and sets a great image not only for the song, but the record as a whole. Shadows Inside is the most honest record we have ever created and a big part of that was just having the freedom and time to put everything we had into it.”
Benton also explained why “Lost in the Grey” was the perfect choice for the lead single.
“This is a great first track to release to the mass as it represents the effort it takes to get out of the complacent and stale life people live,” he said. “The song is about finding that hope and drive to push you to a new and better life. The lion has always represented hope and ambition and now with this video it’s physical and represented as a mask that one needs to show them there is a better life for everyone, if you push for it.”
Shadows Inside can be pre-ordered here, and look for Miss May I hitting the road in support of the album beginning in May.
Check out the video below, featuring guitarist Justin Aufdemkampe on his custom Charvel axe.
Strings can be one of the most overlooked pieces of gear by many guitarists. In essence, strings are the input source of the energy that goes into your instrument. Many players will choose a string type based on the recommendation of a friend, teacher, or guitar shop salesman. As you develop your ear and become a more fluent player, you will begin to learn the subtle nuances that the strings alone bring to your particular style of play. Once that occurs, one will find that there are an infinite number of choices out there in the marketplace and one type does not fit all instruments and playing styles. This can be confusing so it is best to ask yourself some questions to help narrow down the choices. I outlined two specific questions you should ask yourself to get started.
What gauge strings should I put on my guitar? This question can be answered though an evaluation of the style of music you play, how much physical strength you have in your hands, and the type of instrument you play. The string gauge will impact the stiffness of the string. I typically recommend that beginner guitar players start with an extra light or custom light set because the strings are not as stiff and easier to press down to get a note. Once a player gets more experience and the strength increases in their hands, it is good to move up in gauge to produce a louder, fuller tone. However, you may find that a lighter gauge string works better for your style of playing. If you tend to bend notes often, you may find that a medium gauge strings does not work as well as a light or custom light gauge.
The gauge of the strings has a direct impact on the amount of tension that is exerted on the top and neck of the guitar. All modern Martin guitars can handle up to a medium gauge set of strings. However, some instruments may be a little more fragile due to the construction. Some may require a lighter gauge to reduce neck bow and keep the top from lifting. Both of which will have a negative impact on the action and playability. Also, some instruments just seem to respond better acoustically to certain string tensions than others. This requires a little experimenting to find the right fit for your particular instrument. You may find yourself using different gauge strings on different guitars if you own several.
Do I like a bright or mellow attack? String attack can be defined as the actual sound of the string at the time your pick of fingertips strike the string. This characteristic is often overlooked but it is what makes a plucked instrument such as a guitar sound plucked as opposed to bowed. Lead players will often prefer a harder or brighter attack so they can cut through a mix of several instruments. Solo players may prefer a slightly rolled off or mellow attack as it may better suite the style of music they play. Plus, they are not competing with other instruments for volume.
String materials can influence attack. Probably the best place to start is to compare phosphor bronze wrapped strings to 80/20 wrapped strings. 80/20 is often preferred by bluegrass pickers due to its bright attack. Phosphor Bronze sounds bright out of the box but mellows a little quicker than 80/20. This characteristic tends to be a plus when recording since you get a little less sizzle on the high end and can sound a little more pleasing.
The string construction can also influence the attack of the string. For instance, our “SP Flexible Core” line of strings has a thinner core than the SP and traditional counterparts. The difference in the density of the materials and mass distribution will have an effect on the initial pluck of the string. We also have silk and steel strings that utilize a silver-plated copper wrap wire on a round core wire with nylon strands sandwiched in between which make of a very soft attack favored by finger style and folk players.
What you will find in the long run is that your choice of strings is a product of your specific taste. Over time, you may find that your taste in sound or physical requirements may change or perhaps you may need a new sound to inspire you. Strings are a great place to start because they are relatively inexpensive and a temporary piece of gear that will not last as long as your favorite axe.
-Bert Germick, R&D Technican
“The crazy German is back,” said famed film composer Hans Zimmer as he again took the outdoor stage Sunday night at Coachella. “Tonight is all about the these people behind me and you. These are amazing musicians.”
A 40-piece orchestra and choir playing and singing some of the most famous movie scores of all-time on the last night of the 3-day festival?
Sounds a bit left of center even for Coachella, and maybe too dizzying of a contrast from other acts on the bill. But, not so. Well done to festival promoter Golden Voice. Well done. It was an inventive choice, and one that offered a truly stunning and mesmerizing moment for the masses.
As cast member and guitarist Guthrie Govan told us before the set, “I like the subversive aspect of it. As Hans himself put it at the last show we did a week ago, it takes a special kind of crazy person to bring an orchestra out into the desert but someone had to do it. The crowd reaction was amazing. I think no one knew what quite to expect. Maybe they gathered out of respect, maybe out of sheer curiosity, but no one knew the type of show they were about to experience and you could feel the enthusiasm in the crowd growing so I think it was a successful experiment.”
The cinematic trip included scores from Inception, Pirates of the Caribbean, Interstellar, Gladiator, The Dark Knight trilogy and crowd-favorite, The Lion King.
A roar to rival that of Mufasa’s went up among the audience when South African composer Lebo M. returned to the Coachella stage to sing his parts from the Academy-award winning animated film.
Govan also enjoyed the spotlight during several songs, including a demonstration of his masterful and face-melting playing on his signature Charvel model during “One Day” from Pirates.
The addition of electric guitar and bass took many of the orchestral arrangements to a new, and if possible, even more grandiose level. Johnny Marr’s son Nile, who Govan said “uncannily has the exact same timing as his father,” traded riffs with Zimmer during the Inception opus, which also included a lengthy drum breakdown.
“It’s going to get considerably darker,” Zimmer warned the audience in an ominous and deep voice before what sounded like an air raid horn and a hair-raising pounding bass line kicked in for the Dark Knight trilogy.
And while, yes, it did get darker, Zimmer’s masterpieces also fed a sea of festival souls with inspiration and a true sense of magic.
Experience some of the thrilling set with a few choice video clips courtesy of Coachella, and click here to get Hans Zimmer Live tour dates!
I own a bunch of Martins (000-15M, 000-28 Eric Clapton, LX1) and I love them all for different reasons. For years I’ve been toying with the idea of my perfect Custom Martin. This is going to be it for me… the last guitar I buy for a while so I really want to go for the gold and make it the ultimate guitar.
I’ve decided on an OM-Honduran Rosewood. I’m going for tone over glitz so I’m putting my money into hide glue and Golden Era bracing rather than pearl inlay. This will be a no-frills, killer sounding guitar! I’m stuck on the top though. I love the sound of Adirondack but it usually has wider top grain. I’ve always read that you want super tight grain on the top. Should I go with Sitka because the grain is tighter?
This question is asked more than you’d think! In short, it’s all about the stiffness baby! The sound quality you like so much about Adi (Adirondack) is probably the stiffness of the wood more than anything. And stiffness has a lot more to do with the internal structure of the wood than the actual width of the grain lines. People like to dissect it and try to find a formula for the perfect top. I’m not a botanist so all I can tell you is this…. Are tight grain Adi tops often stiff? Yes. Are wider grain Adi tops often stiff? Yes. Adi is one of the stiffest spruces out there. I’ve flexed some wide grain Adi tops that really surprised me with how stiff they were.
With that said, a player who really likes to dig in and bang on the guitar might like a stiffer top because he/she can drive it without things getting muddy. Less stiff tops like an Engelmann can really lend themselves to a softer player, finger picker, maybe a classical player. With that said, a stiffer top could be just fine for that same player. It depends on what your ear likes. I have yet to say, “wow, that’s a stinker” about a particular species of spruce. They’re all pretty great in their own way.
Anyway, let’s get back to Adi. My advice to you on your custom build is get the Adi! Dive in the deep end, my friend! It will work so well with the Honduran. I would go with ¼” Golden Era bracing. And YES on the hide glue… but that’s a whole other blog. Contact your local Martin dealer to get this thing started!
Emily has worked at Martin Guitar for 10 years. She has been cross-trained in every aspect of guitar building and currently serves as the Martin Guitar Custom Shop Administrator. Dear Emily is an advice column that will appear bi-monthly on the Martin Guitar Blog.
Martin Ambassador Thomas Rhett is flying high in 2017! He is becoming a father of two bundles of joy this summer, is racking up major award wins, and is now the owner of a 1940 D-18!
To celebrate his ACM win for Male Vocalist of the Year, Thomas Rhett's father, Rhett Akins, surprised him with a D-18 from 1940. Not only did Rhett surprise Thomas with the guitar, but he also picked himself up a D-18 from 1941. That is some serious father-son bonding right there!
Wishing for a D-18 like Thomas Rhett received? Check out the D-18 Authentic 1939 that was designed to exactly mirror a guitar from that time period.
Rabea Massaad and Pete Honore over at Andertons Music got a workout in with Charvel’s Pro-Mod guitars in a new video gear segment.
After a really peaceful and nice opening jam session that the guys referenced as #thingsthatyoudontthinkispossibletoplayonneonyellowguitars, the guys delve into the versatility (well beyond “80s hair metal”), craftmanship, features, unique colors and reasonable price point of these Charvel Pro-Mod Style 1 San Dimas and So-Cal instruments.
And of course, the segment would not be complete without a bit of shreddage, too.
Check it all out below!
Our team has the pleasure of working with clients from all corners of the world from all stations of life. From pro musicians, to studio hounds, to blue-collar enthusiasts. It doesn’t seem to matter if their venue is the big hall downtown or the living room. There seems to be a critical window when we see interest in a Custom Shop creation begin to gain momentum.
We collaborate on designs for dealers wishing to differentiate themselves from the market at large. Favorite features among their staff and regionally popular influences often drive their motivation. We work closely with others who wish to incorporate interesting bits of our diverse design history into their instrument. We may even take a walk through our expertly curated museum to gain inspiration for in-house designed creations.
Then there’s the most important design of all- yours.
Despite the countless combinations of materials, construction, shape and size we’re still presented with special requests that have never shown up in the hands of any player. Sure the occasional Brazilian Rosewood with pearl dripping off every corner gets commissioned, but the bread-&-butter of our work are what we refer to as “player preferences”. A simple change or two that can affect the comfort / playability or offer a desired shift of the instruments sonic potential. It’s surprising that most of our clients have a base level of familiarity to begin with (I.e. 000-18) and they know what they’d do to make it their one-of-a-kind like a wider neck and braces that might help to open up the top for finger-style. Now more than ever our work comes from someone excited to learn that they can get simply what they want.
Thankfully you don’t have to be a Martin hi2storian or have nerd-like ninja-knowledge of our construction strategy to make that simple change. This is the best time in history to get anything you’d rather have. It happens every day- your prescription for glasses is just a little different from mine. It’s possible to trace your feet to have custom shoes or orthotics made. Pick some material, provide a few key measurements and PRESTO- I’m wearing clothes that fit my awkward frame like a super model. Your house, your car, your computer, your phone, your dinner tonight . . . you’re making choices every day that customize the world around you. You’re the dreamer. . . You’re the designer . . . someone else might be hammering out the details back in the shop, but you’re calling the shots.
From the first guitar you ever picked up to the one you just put down, there’s a good chance the voices in your head are describing your custom. Check with your Martin authorized dealer. They know that “one-of-a-kind” is what we do.
The inspiration always comes down to passion and enthusiasm. And we build “one-of-a-kind” . . . one at a time . . . all the time.
Scott Sasser is a gear-o-holic. When he’s not buried in spreadsheets & collaborating with our clients on special products & programs as Custom Shop Director, he unwinds by building custom audiophile headphones and restoring vintage drums. . . or just trying to leave it all behind on a motorcycle. With a musician’s background and a specialized MI history, 2017 marks Scott’s 9th anniversary with Martin Guitar. If the iPod’s playing, there is a good chance he’s listening to Elbow or Nada Surf.
Iced Earth has revealed new details about upcoming album Incorruptible, due out June 16, including a heads up that its first two singles “Seven Headed Whore” and “Raven Wing” will drop at the end of April.
The 10-track album will be available in a variety of formats, including special limited edition vinyl in several colors and a 36-page artbook version with album sketches and comments about each song from guitarist and main songwriter Jon Schaffer.
During a recent interview with Metal Wani, Schaffer shared the writing direction behind Incorruptible.
“There is no concept on this record; it’s just ten individual tracks not related to each other,” he said “We have one called ‘Clear The Way’, which is about the Irish Brigade at the Battle Of Fredericksburg — very tragic, actually — but that’s a big epic (song), like ten minutes; and then we have one called ‘Black Flag’, which is a pirate song. It’s quite a… I think I pulled it off pretty well with the lyrics, to be able to tell such a big story in a very short amount of time. I think it’s gonna be a highlight of the record.”
The band also unveiled the album’s cover artwork, which was created by David Newman-Stump of Skeleton Crew Tattoo and Roy Young.
Stay tuned for more details on Incorruptible as the date draws closer. In the meantime, enjoy fan-filmed footage of Iced Earth’s performance at a show in the Netherlands featuring unreleased track “Great Heathen Army,” with guitarist Jake Dreyer on his Charvel Guthrie Govan Signature Model.
It's the moment NEEDTOBREATHE fans have been waiting for! The Martin Ambassadors have released new music along with a new music video.
People.com unveiled the new track "HARD LOVE" which features Andra Day. You can check out the new song and music video here.
As part of the release of the "HARD LOVE" song, the Martin Ambassadors are releasing a video series on their website that captures stories, relationships, triumphs, and challenges that shape how their fans think about hard love. You can view the Hard Love video series here.
Video of Sepultura’s April 2 interview and performance on Brazil’s TV Cultura has surfaced.
The band kicked off the set with track “Phantom Self” from latest album Machine Messiah, and then between song breaks took turns answering questions about the effort, their long-awaited documentary and their influences.
Check out the performance and interview in the clips below, and hang around long enough to see guitarist Andreas Kisser pull off a playful rendition of Aerosmith’s famous lick “Walk This Way” on his custom Charvel So-Cal.
The 00-15E Retro is the first 00-14 fret instrument in the Retro Series.
The acoustic-electric guitar features a solid mahogany top, back, and sides. The top is visually distinctive thanks to the 15-style burst. The 00-15E Retro comes equipped with Fishman F1 Aura+ electronics and is strung with SP Lifespan strings.
What makes the 00-15E Retro even better is the fact that MAP price has recently been reduced to $1,999! You can learn even more about the 00-15E Retro here.
Get a quick look, listen and spec rundown for the NEW Charvel Joe Duplaniter Signature Pro-Mod San Dimas Style 2 HH Product as the Gojira singer and guitarist jams on the axe.
As the 2017 Musikmesse show kicks off in Frankfurt, Germany this week, we are excited to share with you the latest Martin Guitar offerings. Introducing the 0-18, the DST, and the DSTG!
0-18 - A new addition to the Standard Series, the 0-18 has a scallop-braced Sitka spruce top with mahogany back and sides that serve as the foundation for this concert sized beauty. You can learn more about the 0-18 here.
DST and DSTG - Premium features like forward-shifted braces, ebony fingerboard and bridge, and bone nut and saddle add sonic complexity to these value-priced made in Nazareth, Pennsylvania Dreadnoughts. Available in satin or full gloss finish, the solid-wood sapele/sitka DST and DSTG have a tortoise colored headplate, binding, and heel cap. You can learn more about the models here.
Big congratulations to Martin Ambassador Thomas Rhett on his big ACM Award wins last night!
The Martin Ambassador took home the award for Male Vocalist of the Year and Song of the Year for "Die A Happy Man." Not only did he take home two of the biggest awards, he also performed his new single "Craving You" with Maren Morris. You can watch a clip of the performance here.
Martin Ambassador Thomas Rhett's Martin guitar of choice is a 000-14 Adirondack spruce custom. Ready to experience a custom Martin guitar? You can find an authorized Martin dealer to create your custom Martin guitar dream a reality here.
Adrenaline Mob has announced that new album We The People will be released on June 2 and will coincide with a supporting world tour. Vocalist Russell Allen and Charvel guitarist Mike Orlando recruited new members in drummer Jordan Cannata and bassist David Zablidowsky to record the follow-up to 2014’s Men Of Honor.
Adrenaline Mob’s music has always been politically charged, and the album’s cover art and title indicates the band will continue to voice their opinion on the subject. The first song Orlando wrote for We the People is a track titled “Blind Leading the Blind,” which expresses his sentiments around the Trump/Clinton presidential campaign.
“The title track is very much inspired by the past election year,” explained Allen. “It touches on our society, here in America. The album title is a reflection of our times.”
And those times don’t solely focus on politics.
“The songs have certain particular stories that stand on their own,” stated Allen. “Many of them are also driven by the climate we live in today and some are about having a good time, being free and loving rock ‘n’ roll. All the tracks have a personality and character to them.”
Stayed tuned for more from Adrenaline Mob as the new album draws closer this summer.
In the meantime, fans of Orlando should also check out the clip below as he plays “Wheels in Motion” from his work with Sonic Stomp. The track will appear on the fall 2017 Sonic Stomp Live in Brazil DVD.
“Nashville Sound” will include 10 new songs that focus on everything from politics to love and mortality. You can learn more about “Nashville Sound” here.
The group will also launch an extensive summer tour beginning on June 17th, which includes a 5-night stand at the Ryman Auditorium in October. You can find a full list of tour dates here.
Martin Ambassador Jason Isbell's Martin guitar of choice is the D-42. You can purchase the guitar by finding your nearest authorized Martin dealer, finding a certified online Martin dealer, or explore the buy from factory program.
Internationally renowned glam rock act Steel Panther has dropped its latest effort on the masses and despite the album’s title, fans should raise their expectations for Lower the Bar.
“I think we’ve expanded, frontman Michael Starr explained to Billboard. “Our style is still the same formula, I guess, but we’ve changed it up a bit. I could say that we used to sing about pussy and partying; now we’re singing about partying and pussy, but the reality is we did switch up a few things. It’s a really solid, fun, intelligent party record. We’re just maturing as a band after being on the road for years together and living together. It shows.
“It’s hard to put into words without sounding like a typical review, but it feels different to me. It feels like we’re doing some melody lines we normally wouldn’t do on a couple of sings, different kinds of moods and not necessary just ‘Dr. Feelgood’. There’s some different stuff in there, but everything’s open for interpretation.”
Co-produced with longtime collaborator Jay Ruston, the album features 11 new songs with another two tracks available on a Best Buy deluxe edition. In true form for the kings of debauchery, song titles range from “Pussy Ain’t Free” to “Poontang Boomerang” and “Goin’ in the Backdoor.”
Sample the effort below with the new video for “I Got What You Want,” which was filmed during Steel Panther’s sold-out 2016 U.K. arena tour and features Satchel tearing away at his Custom Charvel Dinky Bengal Striped.
Want to buy the album? Boom, get it here!
Have a special place in your heart for Dreadnought Cutaways? You are going to love this new release!
The DCRSG is constructed with a Sitka spruce top and mutenye back and sides. The result is beautiful tone with a good bass response with clear mids and trebles. The fingerboard and bridge is built with Richlite. The model includes a high performance taper neck and Fishman Sonitone electronics.
Ready to take this guitar out on the road? You can learn more about the DCRSG here. You can purchase the guitar by finding your nearest authorized Martin dealer, finding a certified online Martin dealer, or explore the buy from factory program.
A few blogs ago, I received a bunch of questions about the origins of Guatemalan Rosewood. My response was “a certain valley in a certain country that only I have access to”. This seemed to upset some people. I have decided to give you a hint. The country is Nicaragua. Yes, it is odd that Guatemalan Rosewood trees grow in Nicaragua, but trees do not pay attention to boarders.
This is my valley.
This is me on behalf of C.F. Martin & Co donating money to gentleman named Oscar.
He started his Rosewood farm using seeds he found in the forest.
Under the butterfly is a freshly planted sapling. In 300 years, it should be ready to be turned into guitars.
While many people only do what is necessary under the laws of the land, we are thankful for the “Oscars” of the world, who go above and beyond when it comes to the conservation and sustainability of precious resources. We will continue to support Oscar and like-minded people around the globe.
Muchos Gracias, Oscar!
Michael Dickinson is a 26-year veteran of Martin Guitar. Michael has worked in numerous departments , such as the Sawmill and Customer Service, and is the current buyer of exotic, alternative, and sustainable woods. Ask Michael is a bi-monthly column that will appear on the Martin Guitar blog.
Please note, Michael will not be responding to every comment left on the blog.