That Just Happened caught up with Red Dragon Cartel guitarist Jake E Lee at Obscenic Arts Recording Studio in Pennsylvania where he’s been working on the band’s sophomore album, Patina.
In an exclusive behind-the-scenes interview, Lee dives into his “Guitar-senal,” which includes his signature Charvel guitar, and how his goal is to make music that he wants to hear and to “stir things up a bit.”
Watch the clip below …
Martin Ambassador Thomas Rhett has been teasing us for awhile with his new single "Unforgettable" but tomorrow is finally the day we get to hear it!
"Unforgettable" is the second single off the Martin Ambassador's third studio album that is expected to drop in the fall. The song which was written on his tour bus, along with every other song on the upcoming album, and includes the chorus “I can smell your perfume, girl that night was just like you / Unforgettable, From your blue jeans to your shoes girl that night was just like you / Unforgettable.”
Stay tuned to Thomas Rhett's social media outlets to hear "Unforgettable" tomorrow!
Stone Sour guitarist Christian Martucci is currently out on the road in support of fresh album Hydrograd, which debuted at No. 8 on the US Billboard 200 and features hit track “Song # 3.” During one of his recent tour stops, Martucci allowed Charvel the unique opportunity of heading sidestage for a close look at his touring rig.
In the video from that visit (available below), Martucci shows off his road case, which just so happens to be loaded with Charvel guitars — from a Jake E Lee signature guitar to an array of customized USA Select guitars.
“I started playing guitar around 1985, and my favorite guitar players at the time and even still to this day were guys like Warren DeMartini and Jake E Lee so Charvel was like the goal,” says Martucci.
As well as explaining what drew him to the Charvel brand, Martucci also gives a quick rundown of the features of each guitar, shares info about his tuning setups and details how he uses each one live or in the studio.
Check out the clip below, and be sure to enter for the chance to win a USA Select guitar signed by Martucci here.
Martin is proud to offer this special edition featuring imprinted original artwork by illustrator, luthier, musician and Martin archivist Dick Boak.
In creating the artwork, Dick wanted to reveal and embellish the quintessential scalloped X-bracing of the Martin Dreadnought – the most beautiful and rarely seen internal structure of the company's flagship guitar.
Personally signed and numbered in sequence, the D-BOAK Dreadnought is crafted with a Sitka spruce soundboard, genuine mahogany back and sides, a modified low oval neck, simple dovetail neck joint, bone nut and saddle, and an ebony fingerboard and bridge.
" Tonally, I've always loved the breathy glassine clarity and relative affordability that mahogany lends to an instrument. Lastly, the signed interior label attempts to express my gratitude to the many friends I've made in the music industry. Thanks!"-Dick Boak
Anyone who has had the pleasure of working with Dick Boak over the past 40+ years knows the impact that his creativity and love of guitars has made upon the company and the industry. This edition celebrates and shares his long and storied tenure at C. F. Martin & Co.
Illustrator, musician, luthier, author, and employee of 41 years, Dick Boak currently manages Martin's museum and archives. He is set to retire in January of 2018.
You can learn more about the D-BOAK here.
A new volume of Martin | The Journal of Acoustic Guitars has arrived!
The latest volume features a new Word From CEO & Chairman Chris Martin IV focusing on sustainability, more about the #FollowTheFrog campaign and Martin Ambassador James Valentine of Maroon 5's involvement, an in-depth interview with Martin Ambassador Jason Isbell on his new signature edition D-18, and more.
Now put an hour or two aside and completely lose yourself in Martin | The Journal of Acoustic Guitars here.
The Martin Custom Shop is always on point with the NAMM Show Special guitars. And this new guitar is no exception!
The unique 14 Fret Slope shoulder 00L guitar, is limited to a run of 30 guitars with a custom paper label signed by Chairman & CEO C.F. Martin IV. The show special is the same size and shape as the popular CEO-7 model.
The SS-00L Art Deco 2017 features a design motif in collaboration with luthier Bruce Petros in the form of wood purfling that extends around the top, back, and fingerboard. The purfling is laser cut from beautiful flamed maple. The top is Adirondack spruce with an antique toner and the guitar is further complimented with open gear Schaller Grandtune vintage copper tuners.
You can learn even more about the gorgeous SS-00L Art Deco-2017 here.
Charvel continues its long-held partnerships with Warren DeMartini and Jake E Lee with the upcoming release of brand-new signature models. The Warren DeMartini USA Signature Frenchie and the Jake E Lee USA Signature Blue Burst will be unveiled this week at the Summer NAMM Show in Nashville, Tenn., and available to consumers in October 2017.
Warren DeMartini USA Signature Frenchie
Fans have long clamored for a replica of Warren DeMartini’s famed and beloved “Frenchie” guitar, as seen live on tour and on a slew of magazine covers throughout Ratt’s reign in the 1980s. Charvel has responded with the Warren DeMartini USA Signature Frenchie, available in a Snow White and a Gloss Black finish. Both are detailed with cross decals and a tribute quote to James Dean in French that translates “too fast to live, too young to die.”
The Frenchie also offers premium features such as a Dinky™ alder body, one-piece bolt-on quartersawn maple neck and a 12″- 16″ compound radius maple fingerboard with 22 jumbo stainless steel frets and black dot inlays.
Custom-made for the legendary lead guitarist, the Seymour Duncan® Warren DeMartini RTM (“Rattus Tonus Maximus”) bridge pickup is a powerful high-output humbucker that naturally compresses for a well-balanced and even tone, perfect for complex chording and precision soloing. The RTM is boosted by an SSL-4 Quarter Pound neck pickup, adding fat, supercharged punch and extra sustain.
The Frenchie also features a single volume control knob, three-way toggle switching, a Floyd Rose Original locking bridge and Gotoh® tuning machines.
Jake E Lee USA Signature Blue Burst
Jake E Lee’s original Blue Burst guitar gained notoriety during his stint with Ozzy Osbourne, as he recorded and performed live with the famous instrument throughout the band’s pivotal Bark at the Moon and Ultimate Sin years. Charvel® has recreated an unmistakable replica of Lee’s original model down to the very last detail.
The Jake E Lee USA Signature Blue Burst features a poplar body, one-piece bolt-on quartersawn maple neck and a 12” radius rosewood fingerboard with 22 medium jumbo frets and white dot inlays.
Equipped with a versatile customized Seymour Duncan® JB Alnico II humbucking bridge pickup, this model can handle a diverse range of tones from sweet and warm to aggressive and distorted. It’s also supercharged with two powerful single-coil DiMarzio® SDS-1 pickups in the middle and neck for extra gain with a deeper, darker tone. The pickups are controlled with a five-way blade switch and single volume knob.
Available in a mesmerizing Blue Burst, this signature axe also features a brass Charvel hardtail bridge and output jack plate, and black Gotoh® tuning machines.
For many guitarists, including myself, changing strings can seem like a daunting task. While a new set of strings only costs a few dollars and stringing your guitar only takes a few minutes, many of us will avoid changing our strings for weeks, months, or evens years. Then, after we’ve finally decided to subject ourselves to the grueling, pain-staking task of changing our strings, we take one strum and usually say out-loud -- “I should have done this a long time ago.” For a few days you seem to be playing a completely new guitar which stokes the artistic flame of your soul and in turn sparks creativity and rekindles your love for the instrument, but over time we forget how good that first strum sounded and the cycle repeats.
When is the appropriate time to change one’s strings? The answer to that question differs from player to player due to several variables: your sweat’s acidity, humidity, pick gauge (if any), how hard you fret and/or pick, bending frequency, the amount of time you play, type of string, etc. – basically, the amount of abuse you subject your strings to and the type of strings you use.
Luckily, there are few signs that your strings have been through enough and it is time change them. One of these signs would be the need to tune your guitar on a frequent basis. Once a string has been put on a guitar, stretched, and tuned, it should hit a sweet spot where it does not need to be tuned very often. Eventually, after a lot of playing, a string will lose the ability to hold its tuning, and therefore, need to be changed. A second sign would be the loss of treble frequencies/attack. This can be hard to discern for beginners, but over time your ear will develop and you’ll be able to pick-up on this key bit of sonic information. This sign is also subjective because every player prefers a different amount of trebles/attack, but there is a point for all strings where the attack and trebles have degraded to the point that the string sounds dull or “muddy” – time to change those strings. A visual sign to look for is wound string’s wrap wire separating at a fret position(s). Typically, this only occurs if you are a player that frets really hard which is commonly known as “digging in”. Often, this sign is accompanied by a buzzing sound when you play the affected string at the compromised fret position. The most obvious sign that it is time to change your strings would be when a string breaks. Keep in mind that strings can break due to technique, or guitar defects such as a saddle burr, but even the strongest strings will eventually break. The last sign, and probably the most talked about, is string corrosion. Strings can corrode on the inside between the core wire and wrap wire. This is called galvanic corrosion and is nearly impossible to detect. Fortunately, corrosion can also occur on the outside of the string where it is very easy to see due to oxidation. Commonly known as rust, oxidation is a clear sign that it is time to change your strings.
These signs can occur together or at different times depending on the aforementioned situational variables and the type of string. For example, strings made with high tensile strength core wires, like Martin’s SP Acoustic strings, offer much more tuning stability and break resistance than traditional guitar strings, but do not have a corrosive barrier. Therefore, corrosion may appear before the loss of tuning stability or before a string breaks. Whereas treated/coated strings inhibit corrosion, but do not necessarily address the mechanical wear of a guitar string. In that situation, a string could break or not hold its tuning long before corrosion appears. Then of course, there’s the best of both worlds –Martin’s SP Lifespan strings. These strings are made with the high tensile strength SP core wire and are treated for corrosion resistance which addresses both mechanical and corrosive string wear.
All in all, knowing when to change your strings is not an exact science. Just do your best to recognize the signs of string wear and your guitar will thank you.
From: Rory Glass, Sales Representative, Martin String Division
Charvel is proud to welcome solo American guitarist and songwriter Angel Vivaldi to the artist family.
“Working with Charvel has been incredible,” he said. “It’s an honor to work with a historic company that has had such an impact on the guitar community. What we’re currently designing together is nothing short of breathtaking… this prototype is already seeing a lot of miles on it! Humbled and excited to enter into this new era of my career with Charvel.”
Fans can catch Vivaldi out on the road with Andy James this fall on THE WAVE OF SYNERGY TOUR. The duo will hit 22 cities, which will also include joint VIP guitar clinics, complete with Q&A sessions, meet and greets, tour memorabilia and more.
Fans can also expect to hear brand new material from Vivaldi’s upcoming album Synapse. Get the details and tour dates here.
Martin Guitar has expanded the popular 16 series with the addition of the GPC-16E.
Each model in the 16 series is designed with tone wood that best compliments the body size and shape of that particular model. With the new GPC-16E, which is a Grand Performance size with the depth of a 000, Martin selected a solid koa back and sides to enhance the easy, natural resonance of this guitar, making it great for recording.
You can learn even more about the GPC-16E here.
Charvel signature artist Guthrie Govan is currently in the middle of a summer-long Hans Zimmer Live tour, but he found a few minutes for this quick chat about the gig and his newest signature models.
Q: Is it a true story that when Hans Zimmer first contacted you on Facebook you thought it was a joke?
A: Yeah, it might sound paranoid but my experience with Facebook – I’ve had a few episodes like that where people purport to me that which they are not so experience taught me to be suspicious and it just seemed so farfetched.
Q: How did you reply then?
A: I think it was something along the lines of, “Come on, we both know you are not Hans Zimmer. You are wasting my time and your time. You are not really Hans Zimmer so who are you and what do you really want?” And he replied, “no, no it really is Hans, the dodgy German composer. Here’s my phone number, please call me,” and I did.
It sounded authentic somehow, something about the second message and the persistence— like okay, he’s keeping up the charade, maybe it is really him.
Q: How did that call go when you rang him?
A: Very encouraging, very flattering because this is what Hans does. He stays up until 5 in the morning watching YouTube videos and looking for weird new musicians that he might want to work with and he found some clip of me playing fretless guitar and he liked the eccentricity of it. Originally he was looking for people playing fretless guitar because he wanted to reinvent the Thelma & Louise soundtrack and on the original recording it was played by Pete Haycock. Pete was very good friend of Hans and is no longer with us so it’s a very emotionally charged piece of music for Hans. So he went to all of this trouble to look for someone who could play slide guitar in a different way and then realized the piece of music was close to him that he didn’t want to do it in the set —he wasn’t ready and so we did a whole European tour last summer and only on the last gig of the tour did we play Thelma and Louise. I guess I didn’t screw up too badly because its back in the set every night now.
Q: How familiar were you with his work before getting the gig?
A: I don’t know if anyone is familiar with ALL of his catalog because he’s just such a prolific guy but yeah, I was fully aware of his work and what he does. The funny thing is—even people who don’t the name have been exposed to that music. You can’t really escape it, he’s such a big deal in the world of Hollywood scoring.
Q: Is there a certain song in the set that is your favorite?
A: Everything is fun in a different way. From a guitar’s perspective, where I have the most spotlight if anyone’s curious, is the Thelma and Louise piece. It’s just a six-minute guitar solo. And there’s some stuff in Crimson Tide and Angels and Demons that I enjoy.
It’s just an interesting gig because it’s like acting almost. You have to be a different musician for each song. If you listen to the original soundtrack, there’s not that much guitar going on. When Hans gives you the gig, he just says, “I’ve hired you because I believe in you. I trust your mind, and I trust your fingers so you’ll know what to do. I’m not going to micromanage you. Do what you think is right and if I disagree, don’t worry, you’ll know about it.” So it’s flattering and high pressure. I’ve found a mindset that work, which is I just have to imagine what type of guitar player would complement that song and then become that guitar player for its duration.
So, it’s a really good contrast. Before I started this tour I was going around India and Japan playing my solo stuff with a trio of local musicians. This is completely the opposite in every way. I think balance is a healthy thing. I’d be tearing up the furniture if I just had to do one thing for the whole of my musical life—variety helps to keep things fresh.
Q: What led you to guitar to begin with?
A: It kind of found me. I started playing when I was so very young. I don’t remember choosing a guitar but there was a guitar in the house. My dad knew about five chords. So it was just part of growing up — a matter of thinking “What’s that object I see every day in the living room, and I need to learn how to operate it.” Then I discovered you could use it to play Elvis songs and the rest wrote itself.
Q: What was it that brought you to Charvel?
A: I just had a good vibe the first time I met people from the company and I sensed they actually wanted to work, and cooperate and collaborate to make a guitar that is perfect for me. It felt like they would listen to all of my input, and we spent about two years just fine-tuning and tweaking. They probably did get tired of me but they didn’t say so, and I think there is a unique and versatile instrument that came out of all of that process.
There are other companies I could have worked with, but it would have been more like “Here’s our flagship heavy metal guitar, we can put your initials on the 12th fret – what kind of paint would you like on it?” That would never feel quite right. If I’m going to stick my name on the back of a headstock, it feels so much better to have input into everything.
The most painful part of the genesis of my signature guitar was the tremolo. We spent a lot of time attaching different arm attachments and stuff like that. I can remember being on tour with Stephen Wilson, the guys would send me a new bridge and metal working tools and I’d be there changing the size of the hole where the arm goes into the bridge plate and leaving a pile of iron filings on the carpet when I checked out of the hotel. It was a lot of back and forth, but we got there in the end. The thing that really cheers me up is occasionally I’ll see a YouTube video of a respected player who doesn’t do the kind of thing I do and they found this guitar and found something about it that works for them.
I was very happy when I heard John Mayer bought one. I was like, “Okay, you are not really the target audience for this guitar but you found merit in it – that’s great.” That’s the proud parent feeling.
Q: You’ve got two new models out now. Can you talk a bit about what you were going for with the Signature HSH Caramelized Ash and Signature HSH Flame Maple guitars?
A. Yes, the Caramelized Ash … I like an ash guitar – it has a different frequency response, and I have also always liked the neutrality of basswood with a little bit of maple on the top. I think you can get pretty close to the sound of a lot of different guitars with that wood because there’s no EQ bias anywhere with that wood combination. Ash has a bit more of a character and asserts itself in a bit more noticeable way. It just kind of works for me. When we did the last Aristocrats album I deliberately wrote all of my contributions using a bolt-on guitar with three single coil pickups, which will go nameless, because guitar tones will make you play differently and you get a different kind of inspiration when the voice of a guitar is sounding a certain way. I very much went down that, okay, I’ll say it, the Strat route, and I thought for playing that live, wouldn’t it be really cool to have the GG but with a little more of that single coil DNA? Also, I really like the new secret switch — it kind of makes the humbuckers sound like single coils without the hum you would normally associate with those.
Q: How many guitars do you have in your collection in total?
A: I don’t know. Not that many. More than 10, less than 20. In touring and flying around so much, it gets confusing and sometimes I have no choice but to leave a guitar in a certain destination and I’ll see it in a year when I come back. My Charvel signature model in the Britannica Red – it’s currently in one of the Charvel offices. I’ve got a couple of these guitars stationed in unfeasible parts of the world right now.
Q: Are you one of those guys who will play guitar incessantly?
A: Not really. I like the idea of walking on stage and picking up a guitar and being pleased to see it. If I’m recording, yes, a lot of playing and your fingertips feel the difference and you are changing strings twice a day. Day to day life, sometimes I’ll take the guitar in the hotel room on a day off, sometimes I don’t. I’m always thinking about music. A lot of the practice I do now is just listening to musically actively or thinking about music and imagining how something would sound, and the actual guitar playing aspect of it is just motor skills. As long as you do some playing every day, you remain gig fit. I’ve never been one of those people to warm up for 8 hours before a show. Sometimes I’ll just walk on stage, plug in the ear-monitors and go.
After much speculation, we are so excited to debut the new D-18 Jason Isbell guitar!
Martin Ambassador Jason Isbell worked with the Martin Guitar Custom Shop to design his new Custom Signature Edition D-18 which is closely modeled after Martin’s Golden Era series. The model boasts a pre-aged Vintage Tone System (VTS) Adirondack spruce top; mahogany back and sides; and rear-shifted scalloped bracing which produces more natural volume and a clear powerful tone. It is constructed using hide glue which, unlike newer synthetic reproductions, dissolves into the grain of the wood and creates more resonance throughout the instrument. Isbell chose a thin finish and left off the pick guard - all design details that have one common goal – to make it loud.
You can learn more about the D-18 Jason Isbell here.