Another Summer NAMM introduction by Fender is the new Jimi Hendrix Monterey Stratocaster:
It’s been 50 years since Jimi Hendrix took the world by storm with his incredible Monterey Pop Festival performance, which he concluded with the sacrificial burning of his now-iconic hand-painted Stratocaster. Destroyed during the fiery culmination of his set, this one-of-a-kind guitar survived only in photos and film. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of this milestone in music history, Fender created the limited-edition Jimi Hendrix Monterey Stratocaster. A trio of vintage-style single-coil Stratocaster pickups give this Strat® its classic Fender sound. Bell-like and articulate, it has plenty of singing sustain for soloing. The “C”-shaped maple neck bears a vintage-style 7.25”-radius pau ferro fingerboard with 21 vintage-sized frets for a playing feel just like the original. The six-screw synchronized tremolo is perfect for unleashing dive-bombs and other sonic expression. An homage to Hendrix’s spectacular Strat, right down to the hand-painted nail-polish artwork that burned its way into our memories, the Jimi Hendrix Monterey Stratocaster also features an exclusive etched Hendrix neck plate.
Like the regular Hendrix Strat, this model will be made in Mexico and will have a street price of $899.99. Not bad for an artist guitar these days. The guitar will debut on August 15, 2017.
DigiTech has announced a new drum machine pedal for guitarists and bassists called SDRUM:
SDRUM is the world’s first intelligent drum machine for guitarists and bassists. By simply scratching across your guitar strings, you teach the SDRUM a kick and snare pattern that forms the foundation of the beat you want to hear. Based on this pattern, the SDRUM supplies a professional sounding drum beat with different embellishments and variations to perfectly complement your beat. Gone are the days of having your creative flow disrupted by searching through lists in a frustrating attempt to find the beat you want.
The SDRUM stores up to 36 different songs. Beats are played from a choice of 5 different kits covering a wide range of genres. The pedal also supports three different parts (e.g. verse/chorus/bridge) for each song that can be switched on the fly for enhancing live performances and exploring song ideas.
SDRUM is the fastest way to go from a beat idea to a working drum track.
- BeatScratch™ Technology creates drum patterns by strumming your strings
- 5 kits and studio quality samples for professional sounding drums
- 36 song memoriesVerse/Chorus/Bridge parts
- 12 different hats/rides styles
- Alternate instruments/voicings
- Dedicated Amp and stereo Mixer outputs
- Kick/Snare pads for tapping in a beat
- External FS3X support
- JamSync™ connectivity for interfacing with JamMan loopers
Here’s a video of how it works:
Peterson has announced an upgraded version of their StroboClip tuner, which they’re calling the StroboClip HD:
This summer, Peterson Strobe Tuners will roll out its latest innovation, the StroboClip HD – a powerful, upgraded version of its revolutionary StroboClip clip-on tuner, released in 2009. The StroboClip HD features an ultra high-definition, real-time tuning display that sports nearly twice the pixel resolution of its predecessor. The SC-HD features the same .01 cent (1/1000th of a semitone or fret) tuning accuracy and comes complete with alternate temperaments for a vast array of string, brass, and wind instruments. Over 50 exclusive, preset Sweetened Tunings are onboard to help correct inherent tuning issues exhibited by many instruments. Soft, rubber lined jaws protect an instrument’s finish while offering a firm grip for maximum signal tracking. The wide viewing angle of the display is enhanced by the SC-HD’s three points of rotation that permits comfortable monitoring of your instrument’s tuning from a multitude of angles. Greatly increased battery life using a standard CR2032 battery makes sure you are always ready to enjoy pro-level grade tuning anywhere. A “stealthy” matte black finish blends in with many instruments finishes and doesn’t detract from your instruments beauty. The StroboClip HD will also support Peterson’s exclusive Peterson Connect online utility where users can connect via USB to update the latest firmware or create a custom configuration if desired.
At a street price of about $60 it’s not a cheap headstock tuner, but it is comparable in price to the TC Electronic Polytune Clip. Additionally, Peterson has a great reputation and this looks like a nice upgrade.
Look, there’s no way to get around this so let’s just dive in: Peavey has returned to building guitars in the USA again, in the form of the HP 2 Guitar. And It looks very much like the Peavey Wolfgang. Eddie Van Halen took the Wolfgang design with him when he left to set up his own company working with Fender, but I’m pretty sure Peavey wouldn’t have taken this step without some kind of legal justification for using the design. One thing’s for sure though: this thing looks hot. Seriously, look at it in this pic.
It’ll be interesting to see what happens from here. When EVH left Peavey, large chunks of the Wolfgang design lived on in the form of the brilliant HP Special guitar for a while. Those things were phenomenal. Does the market have space to sustain two Wolfgang-shaped guitars, one of which has ‘Wolfgang’ on the headstock? I guess we’ll see. I can’t wait to try one of these though.
Here’s the press release.
Peavey® Builds Legacy of Innovation with USA Made HP™2 Guitar
MERIDIAN, MS — Building upon the legacy of its award-winning, USA made guitars, Peavey Electronics® proudly introduces the HP™2 Guitar at the 2017 Summer NAMM Show in Nashville. The HP2 is constructed with leading-edge technology, traditional handcrafted methods, professional-quality upgrades, and customizations. When a USA-made guitar bears the initials of Peavey founder and CEO Hartley Peavey, players can expect an iconic design with its own unique flair.
While the esthetic is classic, the HP2 undoubtedly stands out with its carved top and offset, asymmetrical body design that offers comfort, proper balance, and maximum playing ease. Maple was chosen for the top and basswood for the back; solid basswood construction is also available. Peavey selected these hardwoods not only for their natural beauty and weight characteristics, but also for their specific tonal qualities. Cream or black-edge binding accents the body.
At the select birdseye maple neck and fingerboard, players will find unmatched stability and playability. Dual graphite reinforcement bars and an easy-access, adjustable steel torsion rod provide additional strength, as does the bolt-on construction with contoured neck heel. The oil-finished fingerboard is cut from the same piece of wood as the single-piece neck, keeping the color and grain patterns consistent. The stress-relieved lamination also adds increased stability. The HP2 has a 25 ½’’ scale length, 22 jumbo frets and 15’’ fingerboard radius. The 10-degree tilt-back headstock has a 3+3 tuning machine configuration featuring Schaller® tuning machines with pearloid or cream buttons. The chrome-plated hardware finish completes the look.
The HP2’s construction and electronics work in harmony. Two custom-wound Peavey humbucking pickups supply optimal output and tonal response. They’re made using a two-step wax-dipping process that provides ultra-low noise operation and resistance to microphonic feedback. The pickups are mounted directly to the body, further reducing feedback at high volume levels and enhancing response. A Switchcraft® 3-way toggle switch allows selection of pickups in up, center and down configurations. Players will also find either a Peavey/Floyd Rose® licensed, double-locking tremolo assembly or tune-o-matic/stop tailpiece fixed-bridge to complete the guitar. Finishing off the guitar are two push-pull knobs for volume and tone, with the ability to split the pickups individually.
Get a closer look at the HP2 at peavey.com, or if you’re at the Summer NAMM show through July 15, stop by booth #623.
About Peavey Electronics®
Founded in 1965, Peavey® is one of the world’s largest manufacturers and suppliers of musical instruments and professional sound equipment. Peavey has earned more than 180 patents and distributes to more than 130 countries. Peavey and its MediaMatrix®, Architectural Acoustics®, Crest Audio®, Composite Acoustics®, Budda®, and Trace Elliot® brands and affiliates can be found on concert stages and in airports, stadiums, theme parks and other venues around the world. Chief Operating Officer Courtland Gray says, “We are striving every day to produce the world’s finest music and audio equipment.” To find out more, visit www.peavey.com.
If you can’t make it to see EarthQuaker Devices here in Nashville this week at Summer NAMM, you can still see them at EarthQuaker Day 2017, to be held on August 5 in EarthQuaker’s hometown of Akron, Ohio. It looks like quite a party.
There will be live music, clinics, workshop tours, food & drinks, games, giveaways, and prizes. There will also be a Riff Contest to win a PRS SE Custom 24 guitar. Sounds like a lot of fun!
The event goes from 1:00 to 8:00 with an afterparty to be held at Annabell’s Bar & Lounge. Check out the EarthQuaker Devices site to learn more about the event and to register for the Riff Contest.
Most noticeable is the silver sparkle relic’d finish with the paisley pick guard. This finish sits on a Paulownia core body with spruce top and back. This wood combination is an interesting choice. Fender says this combination creates a “lightweight instrument with acoustic-like resonance.” I’ve never played a guitar with Paulowinia before, so I’m curious to hear what it sounds like.
The neck is maple with a custom “Enhanced V” shape and a 9.5″ radius. About the neck, Fender says “Crafted to Paisley’s personal specifications, the “Enhanced V”-shaped neck rounds out higher up the neck, making it great for chording or soloing.” Brad further discusses the neck in the video below.
For pickups the Brad Paisley model has a custom-wound ’64 bridge and a Twisted Tele neck.
I’m not really into a lot of modern country, but I do enjoy listening to Paisley’s music and I appreciate his approach to recording with his own band rather than Nashville session musicians. I’m glad to see Fender collaborating with him on this model.
At a street price of $1199, it’s fairly expensive for a made-in-Mexico guitar. But, it’s also more affordable than most of Fender’s other artist guitars, which should make it more accessible to fans.
Yeah yeah, I know I've been far too quiet in recent times. Sometimes life gets in the way of blogging, guys. ANYWAY, despite all that malarkey, I couldn't let this freaky Hendrix-inpsired Strat/Flying V mutant axe that I just saw offered for sale on eBay go unmentioned.
I'm sure it'll be sacrilege for some, but I'm no purist, I quite like it although perhaps not enough to warrant the tune of the US $2,430.00 Buy It Now price.
GIBFENDRIX...? You can almost hear the vulture squawks of the lawyers circling overhead.
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Hey Meet my Kiesel Vader! She’s a V7 with Hipshot/Kiesel vibrato. One of the coolest things about Kiesel is that every guitar is essentially a custom instrument: there’s an almost overwhelming range of options from which to spec out your dream guitar. Funnily enough, there’s a pretty similar guitar to mine on the V7 gallery, but that’s pretty much coincidence: whoever ordered that guitar just happened to have similar tastes to me. There are some differences too though, and as Homer’s assistant Karl said on The Simpsons, “My reasons … are my own.” Let’s break down what I selected and why.
So. Every element of this guitar was selected for a particular reason related to synesthesia. I’ve written about this before, including this article for Guitar World. Essentially synesthesia is a condition where a sensory input will set off other sensory ‘resonances.’ For instance, the number ‘2’ is blue to me, and always has been. It tastes kind of creamy and is very smooth to the touch. My brain has just always thought of it this way, and ditto for the other numbers, letters, shapes. It can happen with anything: particular speaking voices remind me of certain times of day. Certain guitar tones can generate really specific and complex chains of association that might incorporate texture, perception of size, levels of luminance, and so on. I’ve never done mushrooms cos I probably don’t need to. My brain is psychedelic enough on its own. That’s why I dig sensory deprivation tanks.
But back to the guitar: each of my specifications were based on specific things I wanted this guitar to be for. Things I wanted to play on it, sounds I wanted it to make, feelings I wanted it to generate or represent.
* Colour. This particular Aqua Burst reminds me of a shade of blue I often see in my dreams. I have a recurring dream of a futuristic city rising out of the ocean on the horizon, and it’s always an exciting place to visit. I wanted this guitar to embody that same sense of freedom and joy I have in those dreams. That’s also why I selected a flame maple top: to give the feel of waves in the ocean.
* Fingerboard. I always feel musically influenced by the colour of a fretboard. I feel like I play more ‘sunny’ on maple, and more ‘dark’ on rosewood. I chose Zebrawood because its mix of light and dark colours will (hopefully) encourage my subconscious to blend those two approaches.
* Neck. This is a 5-piece Black Limba/White Limba neck-thru. I wanted something that had more of a natural, ‘this used to be a tree’ look, and the particular colour of Black Limba reminds me of tree bark. This is a pretty futuristic-looking guitar so I wanted to balance that with something a bit more earthy.
* Body. The body is Alder, and I chose a natural finish because, again, I just wanted to offset the futuristicness of the design. And the almost desert-like colour balances really nicely against the Aquaburst top. It kinda makes the guitar look like Scarif from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
* Satin finish. I didn’t want this one to be shiny: sometimes it feels like a glossy finish is a barrier between me and the guitar.
* Pickups. This guitar as shipped has Kiesel Lithium pickups, but I’ll be installing my Seymour Duncan Custom Shop model, the Magnetar, soon. The bridge Lithium has an Alnico V plus ceramic booster, and a DC Resistance of 13.16k, and the neck model is Alnico V with a reading of 7.78k. The Magnetar is a pickup that MJ created for me when I asked her for ‘A pickup that sounds like the look of sunshine through a glass of beer, the feel of freshly-sanded wood and the taste of creme brûlée. It has an Alnico 8 magnet and it sounds both woody and airy, with a nice kick in the upper mids. Not too hot, not too gentle. This guitar will also have the first neck version of the Magnetar, and I’m going for a Zebra look for the same reason as choosing a Zebrawood fingerboard.
* Logo. I went with a white logo with black shadow because it stands out nicely and I wanted to proudly display the Kiesel name. Also another Zebra/light-dark balance thing.
* Seven strings. You can get a Vader in 6, 7 or 8 strings in standard or baritone scale or multiscale. I selected 25.5″ 7-string because 7 feels right to me, and I tend to be most comfortable on 25.5″ 7-strings rather than longer scales because I like to think of the 7 as a 6-string with a few extra notes when I need them, rather than orienting the whole guitar design towards those lower few notes. And I went with standard instead of multiscale because my multiscale heart belongs to Ormsby Guitars. Heh.
* Tremolo. Because whammy bars is fun.
So what does one name an instrument like this, designed to evoke both natural beauty and a certain space-age aesthetic, and to hopefully serve as a catalyst for better things?
|Sargent Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band|
|Sargent Pepper recording session|
|Paul McCartney with 1967 Bassman|
We know that McCartney first used this amp in 1965 and continue to use it until 1967 in the recording studio.
After that Lennon and Harrison both put that Bassman to use. Lennon continued to use it in the studio on some of his solo work. This Fender Bassman was the 1964 6C6-B circuit and featured twin Utah 12” speakers. It was a similar circuit to the one used on in the same era Bandmaster.
|Beatles with Vox AC30's|
|1964 Vox AC30|
The Vox AC30 was a 30 watt class A amplifier, which technically speaking is very inefficient, because the power tubes are operating at full power. However class A is very pleasing to the ear and makes for a great performing amplifier.
The Vox AC30 had cathode biasing and no negative feedback loop. In my opinion the AC30 is one of the best amps ever made.
Despite the popularity of Vox amps in the U.K., the company was facing financial difficulties as early as 1964.
|Jennings and Denney|
Some of the former JMI employees cut a deal with the bank that held the assets and they were able to procure the Vox name. Vox equipment was then produced under the name Vox Sound Equipment until 1969 when yet another bankruptcy ensued.
|Vox Birch Stolec AC30|
But let’s back up to before 1967 when Sargent Pepper was being made. Even before that date, when the Beatles and other bands were touring, as early as 1964, the folks at Vox realized the AC30 at full volume was not going to cut through the screams of the female fans. So they investigated producing a larger version.
|Vox AC50 MKII|
They had already come up with the AC50 MKII that McCartney can be seen using in concerts. (He still uses this amp today.)
What they came up with was the Vox AC100 aka the Vox Super Deluxe. This was a a one channel amplifier that came with a large speaker unit, which contained four 12" Celestion speakers. It was Vox' answer to the Fender Dual Showman amplifier. The Beatles can be seen using this amp in concert footage.
Later in 1964 JMI reached an agreement with the Thomas Organ Company of the United State that they would be the sole US distributor for Vox. This may sound like an odd arrangement, if not for the fact the JMI was once known as the Jennings Organ Company. It may have been short-sighted of the former Jennings Organ Company to believe a US organ manufacturer would be a great vehicle to distribute Vox amplifiers. But during the guitar boon era, many companies were trying to get a piece of the pie.
|US made Vox Super Beatle|
This is how the US Vox Super Beatle and other US amplifiers came to be made by the Thomas Organ Company aka Vox US.
Dick Denney traveled to the USA in 1965 to visit the Thomas Organ/VOX US manufacturing facility to see their products first hand. He was impressed with their solid state amplifiers. This lead him to come up with his own solid state/tube hybrid versions.
The guitar amps that Denney designed were called the UL7 series and the bass versions were the UL4 series. UL was suggestive of Underwriters Laboratories, a group the put its approval on electronic merchandise.
The UL705 was a 5 watt amplifier,while the UL710, and UL715 produced 15 watts. Both had solid state preamps, with tube based power amplifier sections.
The power tube (or valve) selection of the UL730 included one ECC83 and a quartet of EL84 tubes. The ECC83 is actually a preamp tube, but was used as a phase inverter.
The UL730 was a two channel amplifier with two inputs per channel, a boost switch for each channel. Channel One featured volume, treble, middle, and bass potentiometers, and controls for tremolo speed and depth.
|Vox UL730 front panel|
The separate speaker cabinet was loaded with twin 12” Celestion speakers. Of course the amplifier featured the trolley.
|The Beatles session |
with the UL730
Vox manufactured only 100 units. This was not a popular amplifier since out of the 100 units sold, 76 units were returned. Some may have been defective, while others were exchanged for another amp of the era. The 76 units that were returned were said to have been destroyed.
The amplifier that was delivered to the Beatles included a promotional sticker inside of it that stated it was “Promotional Stock - Model No. 760 Amp A/C Current - Serial # 3020 - Artist The Beatles”.
It is said to have been in George Harrison's procession and was to be auctioned on 12/15/2011, but the seller withdrew the offer prior to the sale date.
|Vox single spring reverb|
To avoid this fee he and Denney came up with their own reverb design.
|McCartney using UL730|
During the albums creation, McCartney played his Rickenbacker 4001S bass through it on most of the songs. Although it is said that he employed the UL430 bass amp on Lucy In The Sky.
In addition to the Bassman and the Vox UL730, The Beatles utilized a 1967 Fender Showman amplifier that was in the studio.
|1967 Fender Showman|
It is also written that Paul McCartney used a Selmer Thunderbird Twin 50 MkII on Good Morning, Good Morning, which he may have used early in The Beatles career.
|Selmer Thunderbird Twin 50 MKII|
|1967 Vox Conqueror/Defiant|
Both channels featured volume, treble, and bass potentiomers and a boost switch. And both had two inputs.
|1967 Vox Conqueror |
top and front panel
The Vox Conqueror came with a modified trolley that contained the speaker unit only. The head stood on top of the speakers.
The Beatles also used two other Vox amplifiers; the 7120 and the 4120 bass amp, which they had used on the Revolver LP.
The 7120 was the most powerful amplifier that Vox had produced. This was another hybrid amp, with a solid state preamp section and a tube power amp section, which consisted of four KT88 power tubes and an EL84 and an ECL86 which acted as phase inverters. It was rated at 120 watts. It utilized one ECL86, one EL84, and a quartet of KT88’s. The amplifier had two channels.
Channel two featured two inputs, a boost switch, volume, treble, middle, and bass controls, and a reverb control.
The 7120 speaker cabinet had two 12” Celestion T 1225 speakers and two Goodman midax horns. The controls on the amplifier section were on the bottom of the amplifier head.
|McCartney with a Vox UL730, Harrison and Lennon with Vox Defiant amps|
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If you look in the current issue of Mixdown Magazine you’ll find my interview with Stone Sour’s Corey Taylor about the band’s new album, Hydrograd (released today). We had a great chat about the band’s incredible new album Hydrograd. But we talked about a lot more than could be fit into that article, so I thought you’d like to see some other highlights from the interview.
I Heart Guitar: One moment in the single Fabuless really made me laugh: the ‘motherfucker’ in the chorus. I have a running joke where I insert unnecessary motherfuckers in songs that really don’t deserve it. Steely Dan or the Beach Boys or something.
Corey Taylor: [Laughs] Thats funny because I do that all the time when I’m in my car, singing. I’m always adding an unnecessary motherfucker to what I’m singing along to, where it just needs a little more, y’know? I mean I’m sure they would have gotten to the motherfucker eventually but they were too busy with the notes, so people like you and me provide the motherfucker for them.
That song is so eclectic. How did it come together?
That song came together from Tooch (guitarist Christian Martucci) and Roy (Magora, drums) jamming together. It was one of those songs where when we heard the demo we were like ‘Holy shit.’ It took a little arranging because it was all in different spots – it originally had a totally different feel to it – but the riffs themselves all had a great vibe. I took it and did my magic on it and worked it in with the lyrics that were going on in my head and different melodies and stuff, and it came together really quickly. It was a matter of arranging the puzzle so that the song fuckin’ figured itself out.
The first few times you listen to it you don’t quite know what could happen next.
Exactly. And that’s the cool thing. I feel like a lot of music doesn’t have that feeling any more, and you can anticipate what the next part is. With a lot of bands you can almost write the fuckin’ next riff in your head before you’ve even heard the song all of the way through for the first time. With this song it keeps you guessing right up until the last minute.
So this is the first record written with Christian Martucci and Johnny Chow.
Working with those two, honestly, was so effortless. The great thing is it all starts with us just getting along. Really getting along. We all hang out, we all love hanging out and talking shit and joking, and we’re all such dorks that it doesn’t really matter. So writing together is the same thing. We just love what we do so much that we get excited when we hear what we’re doing with the music.
How’s the spine coming along after your operation? Has it affected your range? I was thinking about how when Frank Zappa got pushed off the stage and broke his neck, and after he got rebuilt his voice got lower.
Yeah, that didn’t happen to me. It’s really only a physical thing for me. I’m slowly but surely starting to get my mobility back, and that’s even after a year. It’s been pretty crazy. But luckily I didn’t lose any of my range – actually I got some back because I quit smoking over a year ago, and I’m starting to get my range back because of that. God, if I’d know that would happen I’d have quit ten fuckin’ years ago. But I’m still in the process of rehabbing all that shit, and I’m slowing but surely getting my body back. It’s a fucking pain in the ass but I’m getting there.
I don’t think people realise how physical singing is – how much of your whole body goes into it.
Oh yeah. You can lose your chops really easily. And not only lose your chops but you can let your talent go to fuckin’ shit, and it can take you years to get that shit back. About six years ago I started to really try to keep myself in shape as much as possible, and as long as it’s worth it you just keep trying, keep going for it.
What guitars are you using at the moment?
On the road I have three guitars that I’m using, really. I have a 2008 Gibson Firebird that has a couple of Seymour Duncan pickups in it. It has a nice chunky edge to it and a really killer clean tone. Those guitars have a great clean tone. I also have a 1987 Gibson SG out with me that smells like the dude who owned it chain-smoked around it for about 45 years! It’s got the colour, but unfortunately it’s also got the smell, so I named it Keith. So I’ve got that out with me and I’ll probably bring that down with me to Australia when we get down there. And I’ve also got a Framus and I’m thinking about working some magic with those guys. I actually have a Stevie Salas Idolmaker model that I’m using right now and they’re fuckin’ pretty dope, dude. I wanna have them use that base and make a custom for me but give it more of a hollowbody vibe, and put a couple of humbuckers in it and see what happens. I think that could be really fuckin’ cool, because it plays amazingly. It’s got such fuckin’ chunk to it. It’s really great. So those three I’m kinda rotating through, just feeling them out every night.