I Heart Guitar
Vernon Reid is one of my favourite guitarists, and a damn nice guy as well. He’s been playing PRS Guitars for a few years now and has solidified his partnership with the company via a new limited edition signature model, the S2 VR Vela. I love so many things about this guitar, from the Floyd Rose to the pickguard to the choice of colours. And I can’t wait to hear it in action on Living Colour’s new record, Shade, out next month. Here’s the press release.
(STEVENSVILLE, MD) August 8, 2017 – PRS Guitars is pleased to announce a new limited edition model in the S2 series of US made electric guitars: The S2 VR Vela. Developed with Living Colour founder, Vernon Reid, the VR Vela is a commanding instrument with a cult personality and tons of tonal textures.
Initially attracted by the Vela’s offset body shape, Vernon took the S2 Vela to another level through a unique set of appointments. Loaded with two HFS pickups, the S2 VR Vela has an aggressive sound with clear highs and strong mids and bass. The Floyd Rose 1000 Series tremolo adds new sonic options for players and provides the confidence to dive bomb without going out of tune. The S2 VR Vela also features a “V-shape” neck that feels full and strong in your hand and a unique pickguard designed by Vernon himself.
“I love the way it looks, the way it feels, the way it sounds. I think it’s really meant for the player that is prepared to go all different kinds of places. It’s the kind of instrument that invites people to experiment and just have a good time. Whatever kind of music you want to play…whatever you want to plug the guitar into.” Vernon Reid
There is no limit to the number of S2 VR Vela guitars that will be made, but the order window is open from August 8 – September 30, 2017 only through authorized PRS Dealers.
To explore the S2 Series and to see the new S2 VR Vela, please visit www.prsguitars.com.
About PRS Guitars:
Paul Reed Smith Guitars is a leading manufacturer of high quality instruments in Stevensville, Maryland and has provided some of the world’s most renowned musicians with instruments since 1985. The PRS team of highly skilled craftspeople design and build a wide variety of musical instruments and gear for worldwide distribution, including electric, acoustic, and bass guitars as well as boutique-style guitar amplifiers. The PRS SE line of products complements the Maryland-made PRS line by offering highly approachable and more affordable electric, acoustic, and bass guitars. Carlos Santana, Neal Schon, John McLaughlin, John Mayer, Linkin Park, Orianthi, Blake Shelton, Mark Tremonti, Zach Myers of Shinedown, Brian Kelley of Florida Georgia Line, David Grissom, Martin Simpson, Tony McManus, and Derek Trucks are among the artists currently playing PRS instruments and/or amplifiers.
PRS Guitars Info: www.prsguitars.com
Sheik Yerbouti next February, 2018 as the legendary music of Frank Zappa is celebrated live on stage by the man’s prodigiously talented son Dweezil Zappa and his band The Others of Intention.
Freak Out to some of the most inventive and wildly original music ever committed to tape! Discover Who Are The Brain Police as Dweezil conducts immaculate explorations and excavations of Frank’s 50 year old debut album. Take a drive with the Muffin Man along the Inca Roads in the Orange County Lumber Truck as Dweezil digs in for a suite mined from one of Frank Zappa’s most acclaimed albums, Joe’s Garage.
Dweezil will be whippin’ up a G-Spot Tornado, as he explores everything from the deepest album cuts through to the cult favourites that have made Frank Zappa and his music such an indelible influence on our musical culture.
Before you ask Is That All There Is? Dweezil will be holding exclusive and strictly limited guitar master classes and Q&A session before each show, exploring exciting new approaches to guitar that he has employed to play his dad’s most sophisticated and challenging melodies. So you can Shut Up ‘n Play Yer Guitar, and take a step closer to mastering The Black Page, these masterclasses provide theories that destroy the boundaries that confine music creativity.
So don’t be a Zomby Woof, move like the Teen-Age Wind and grab a ticket before they are all gone, as The Son Of Shut Up and Play Yer Guitar shows you how it’s done.
CELEBRATING 50 YEARS OF FRANK
Pre- Sale 16th August 12pm until 10am 17th
General sale 17th August 10am
TUESDAY 20TH FEBRUARY AUCKLAND BRUCE MASON CENTRE
THURSDAY 22ND FEBRUARY BRISBANE TIVOLI THEATRE
FRIDAY 23RD FEBRUARY SYDNEY ENMORE THEATRE
SATURDAY 24TH FEBRUARY MELBOURNE FORUM THEATRE
SUNDAY 25TH FEBRUARY ADELAIDE THE GOV
TUESDAY 27TH FEBRUARY PERTH ASTOR THEATRE
For tickets visit:
ESP Guitars has announced its plans for moving toward sustainable materials in guitar/bass design and manufacturing in response to the changes to CITES regulations, and while their various manufacturing facilities gradually begin the switch to new materials, they are far enough along in the process that they have made their first public statement about the new materials to be used, on a series-by-series basis.
Here’s the statement.
ESP Guitars has always been a company who takes seriously our responsibility as a manufacturer of wood-based instruments. With the most recent amendments to CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), all instrument manufacturers face increased scrutiny to ensure that the raw materials used in their products meet the requirements as designated under this international treaty.
Particular to the current version of CITES is the use of the wood genus Dalbergia, with several species known commonly as rosewood, which has been overexploited in the wild. To remain compliant with CITES, ESP has researched a number of replacement materials for use in some of our products’ fingerboards. Note that in some cases, the replacement materials are a running change via our various manufacturing facilities, and as stock is depleted on earlier versions, the use of new materials will go into effect.
LTD “200 SERIES” & “400 SERIES” INSTRUMENTS
Moving ahead, fingerboards on this series of instruments will use jatoba to replace rosewood. Jatoba is a wood found in the Caribbean, Central America, and South America that is commonly called “Brazilian cherry” due to its appearance. Some of the current 200 Series instruments have replaced rosewood with Blackwood, an engineered wood made from sustainable pine. Both materials have been tested by ESP’s specialists for tone and aesthetic appearance, and meet all of our standards for high-quality instruments.
LTD DELUXE “1000 SERIES” and LTD SIGNATURE “600 SERIES” INSTRUMENTS
ESP is making two changes to these instrument series. First, most of the guitars in these series formerly offered with rosewood fingerboards will soon be manufactured with Pau Ferro. While Pau Ferro is colloquially referred to as Bolivian rosewood, it is not actually part of the rosewood genus that is restricted via CITIES regulations, and is an excellent, high-quality substitute for rosewood on guitar and bass fingerboards. Second, on certain models that had been previously offered with rosewood fingerboards, we are making a design change to offer them with Macassar ebony. We are also changing current models in these series being offered with African ebony to using Macassar ebony instead. This is a wood native to Indonesia, and is much less vulnerable than true Rosewood or African ebony as a sustainable material.
LTD ACOUSTIC GUITARS (AVAILABLE ONLY OUTSIDE THE USA)
For all LTD acoustic models that previous used rosewood for fingerboards and bridges, the guitars have been manufactured since January 2017 using Blackwood, and beginning in July we have started to produce them with jatoba as described above. Any model that previously used rosewood for its back and/or sides will now make use of black walnut.
LTD “10 SERIES” INSTRUMENTS
For our instruments designed for beginning musicians and to be made available at the lowest possible cost, the fingerboards of LTD 10 Series has been switched to a manufactured wood material that will act as an acceptable rosewood substitute. This is a running change that is still in progress, and we will announce the specific material at the earliest opportunity.
We are sure that you share ESP’s commitment toward staying in compliance with the current CITES regulations, as well as our enthusiasm for helping to conserve these important natural resources for the planet.
By far the most talked-about guitar at the Melbourne Guitar Show this past weekend was the Peavey HP2. If you haven’t heard yet, this marks Peavey’s return to USA-made electric guitars, and it’s very, very similar to the old Edward Van Halen Wolfgang models. Word has it that these are actually made using New Old Stock bodies that had been sitting around unpainted since Eddie departed, and that this first run has already been completely sold to dealers.
If you’re in the USA, you can keep an eye on Guitar Center’s Peavey guitar inventory (including used Wolfgangs) here. If you’re here in Australia, Galactic Music is our Peavey distributor and you can find your nearest dealer here.
I checked the HP2 out up close and was instantly taken back to how great the Wolfgang was. There are a few subtle changes that separate this from the Wolfgang though. The pickups cosmetics are now standard zebra, instead of one zebra and one reverse zebra, and the pickups are tweaked a little to allow them to sound better in single coil mode than the originals did. The Peavey logo on the headstock is bigger, and there’s a range of new finishes including the beautiful Deep Ocean. It was hard to judge the sound on the crowded and very noisy show floor but initial impressions are that the tone is everything it should be, with maybe a little more detail in the high end.
Obviously it goes without saying that EVH’s Wolfgang guitars are phenomenal quality, and the range hits a lot of different price points that Peavey isn’t hitting. I know a lot of completists who will want an HP2 to go alongside their army of Peavey Wolfgangs, EVH Wolfgangs and Striped Series, Ernie Ball Music Man Edward Van Halen guitars and various Kramers.
I see a lot of press releases in the course of my day. A lot. Many of them are absolutely perfect. They’re usually written by professionals like Maric Media, ArrowAgency, Deathproof PR, Josh Vittek or any number of other folks whose job it is to get your band’s music in front of the right people, with the right accompanying information.
Then I get press released written by the band themselves.
These are never good.
If you don’t have the budget to enlist the services of a pro, you need to know how and why to write a press release. It seems like this is a big SEO topic because there are lots of articles about this online, but they all seem really generic and mostly seem to be rewrites of each other. Most don’t even have actual example. Pfft, that’s stupid. So here’s what I’m going to do. At the end of this article I’m going to give you an example of a press release, but before I do that I’m going to tell you why you’re writing a press release at all, and what not to do.
Why Are You Writing A Press Release?
You’re writing a press release because you want media to cover something. It could be:
* A local gig.
* A tour.
* A new video on your YouTube channel (yes, it’s totally, very appropriate to send out a press release for this).
* An EP.
* An album.
* A new band member.
* An award you just won.
* An award you’re hoping to win.
* An opinion on some current news or music industry issue that you feel you can contribute to.
How Will Your Press Release Be Used?
Most media outlets will basically copy-and-paste your press release, tweak it for their audience, and hit ‘Publish.’ They don’t want to rewrite it from the very beginning, and they don’t want to spend 20 minutes editing it for you. It’s not that editors are lazy, it’s just that they have a lot of emails in their inbox vying for attention, and they’re more likely to run your unsolicted news item if they can do it efficiently then move on to the next article.
What Bad Stuff Do You See, Peter?
I’ve seen some unmitigated horrors in press releases. For example:
* Terrible grammar and spelling.
* Capitalising words that don’t need to be capitalised.
* Omitting the last names of the band members, as if you’re all friggin’ Madonna or something.
* Trying too hard to write something evocative and flowery, when all the editor wants is the information. Don’t go overboard with “Since the dawn of time, humanity has sought the ultimate metal band, one that would rise forth from the flames and…” etc. It just doesn’t make for good media copy, which is what a press release is really for.
* Using the press release to direct the editor to check out your information elsewhere (website, Facebook, Bandcamp, etc). Don’t do this. Just don’t.
What Should A Press Release Include?
Relevant information, formatted so the press can release it. Easy. NEXT!
How Should A Press Release Be Sent?
You can use a mailing list client like Mailchimp to send out your press release, but I prefer just a straight text email. Here’s the thing: yes, you should send your press release as an attachment in Word or as a PDF. You should include some images (preferably your album cover if you have one, and a professional-looking live or promo shot). Include web resolution and print resolution (300dpi) versions, or link to a dropbox that contains these. But most importantly, include the entire press release in the body of the email. Remember, you want the editor to see your press release and decide to run it. This is much easier for them if it’s really, really easy to understand what it’s saying and to then copy and paste for further editing, formatting or to use as the basic for an original article. Again, editors aren’t lazy. They’re overworked and jacked up on coffee and probably underpaid and a little bit hangry, and they just want to get the article out there because that’s their job.
So with that in mind, here’s an example of a press release.
Guitarist Peter Hodgson Begins Recording Album
AUGUST 7, 2017: Australian guitarist Peter Hodgson has begun recording his debut instrumental album, Synesthesia, due for release in late 2017.
Synesthesia will include progressive rock/metal instrumental tracks that have been performed live with the Peter Hodgson Trio at the Melbourne Guitar Show and on TV’s Guitar Gods & Masterpieces, as well as other compositions.
“I’ve been sitting on these songs for a long time,” Peter says. “Some of them date back almost 20 years, but I’m always tweaking and changing them. I figure now is as good a time as any to give them a pat on the bum and send them out into the world.”
The album title is taken from a perceptual phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway. Peter has written about Synesthesia for a number of publications including Guitar World, and how he uses it to influence his guitar playing and songwriting.
About Peter Hodgson
Peter is known as senior contributor and columnist for Australian Guitar magazine, where his instructional column Soloing Strategies can be found. He is also a contributor to Guitar World and Mixdown, in addition to his role as metal columnist for Beat Magazine. And his I Heart Guitar blog [iheartguitarblog.com] has been one of the world’s most visited and highly regarded guitar news sites since 2008.
Peter is an endorser of Seymour Duncan guitar pickups and pedals. He uses Kiesel guitars, Ernie Ball strings, Marshall amplifiers and IK Multimedia software.
For more information or to schedule an interview, contact:
In the late 80s and early 90s, preamps and power amps were where it was at. Amp heads? Pfft. Sure, you put them on top of your dummy stacks on stage, but you didn’t actually use them. In the 90s that all changed and players rediscovered the glories of stacks, half stacks and combos, so everyone sold off their preamps. Now you can’t take a stroll on eBay or through a secondhand guitar store without tripping over a stack of the damn things. That’s very bad news for the clumsy of footfall, but great news for those of us who can’t get enough guitar gear. So I present to you, dear reader, Cool Preamps They Don’t Make Any More.
This preamp holds a special place in my heart because it was advertised on the back page of the very first guitar magazine I ever got – the March 1991 Guitar World with ZZ Top on the cover. Part of the 9000 range that also included a few different power amp options, the 9001 rocked three channels of 12AX7 goodness. It also had a cabinet emulation switch for direct recording applications. It’s not the most well-known and full-featured Marshall preamp – that honour goes to the JMP-1 – and it seemed to be favoured more for its medium overdrive tones than its clean and screaming settings. But it’s still a cool piece of kit.
CLICK HERE to see the Marshall 9001 on eBay
This preamp is an undisputed classic. Real tube operation with the flexibility of MIDI control, this one is still the heart of Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen’s rack, and Iron Maiden has been known to use it pretty extensively. This beast packs four channels into a single rack space: Clean 1, the edgier Clean 2, Plexi-ish OD1 and high gain OD2. I’ve used a few of these in various situations over the years – usually in combination with a Marshall EL34 power amp – and I’ve never been anything less than completely blown away by the clarity and harmonic complexity, especially for fat-ass lead sounds and crunchy humbucker rhythm work. IK Multimedia has a great emulation of this in AmpliTube 4 which does an incredible job of capturing the spirit of the original.
CLICK HERE to see the Marshall JMP-1 on eBay.
Designed by N.S.”Buck” Brundage, this unit was manufactured from 1990 to 1997 and it was a favourite of producer Max Norman – yes, he who worked with Megadeth on Rust In Peace, Countdown To Extinction and Youthanasia, not to mention Ozzy Osbourne in the Randy Rhoads era. Back in the day, ART said: “Power Plant combines the finest elements and saturation curves of 12AX7s into 6L6 tubes giving the user the thickest, heaviest crunch of classic tube amps without diction and articulation of notes! The Power Plant is one of the most versatile studio and live sound production tools available. It has totally separate clean and overdrive channels, master volume control, a switchable effects loop, and a +20 dB output for a power amp feed (this output has a unique equalization and pre-emphasis circuit that reflects the curve of a guitar amplification section).”
CLICK HERE to see the ART Power Plant on eBay
This little beauty was popular among many players in the early 90s, especially when paired with a Marshall JCM 900 amp head. The typical trick was to bypass the JCM 900’s preamp section entirely by plugging into the MP-1 then sending its output directly into the Marshall’s effect loop return. Players who were big on the MP-1 included Nuno Bettencourt, Paul Gilbert, Kirk Hammett and White Lion’s Vito Bratta. Believe it or not, even Billy Corgan used one in Smashing Pumpkins. You get 128 programmable user patches, plus a chorus effect. ADA made an amp called the Quadtube which featured a rather MP-1-looking control section. They also released the MP-2 and the MB-1 bass preamp. Awesome. Now A/DA is back, and you can get the A/DA MP-1-Channel, a pedal version of the MP-1 rack preamp which employs the 4-stage vacuum tube design to achieve the same rich tone that made it the staple for most of the touring bands in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
CLICK HERE to see the ADA MP-1 on eBay.
Another tube-driven preamp with 128 presets and MIDI control, part of the X99’s cool charm is that the passive control knobs are moved by little MIDI-driven motors. The idea is that if the pots themselves were motorised, an additional gain stage would have been introduced, and you’d get all sorts of additional noise. When I was 16 I played in a band with a few older dudes. The singer/guitarist had one of these and an Alesis Quadraverb. I thought it was the coolest damn rig I’d ever seen, and the warmly overdriven sounds were godlike. The X99 is a great choice for rock styles, and although I don’t know if I’d use it for metal, it’s one powerful piece of kit with a killer pedigree. Great colour too.
CLICK HERE to see the Soldano/Caswell X99 on eBay.
This all-tube four-channel blue behemoth is one of the most lusted-after pieces of guitar kit around. Forgive me for going back to Megadeth but if you dig the tones of the Rust In Peace era, they burst forth from this piscatorial pulveriser. It’s also all over a lot of early 90s work by Alice In Chains and Anthrax. The Fish is exceedingly hard to find today, so if you see one, snap the damn thing up.
CLICK HERE to see the Bogner Fish on eBay.
Hafler Triple Giant
The Bogner you buy when you can’t afford a Bogner, the Triple Giant was indeed designed by Reinhold Bogner himself. It’s not quite in the same league as the Fish, but it’s certainly not without its charms. There’s a pleasing depth to the midrange and bass. Just know that if you cover up the Hafler logo with black tape so people think you have a real Bogner, we’re onto you. *cough* Hi Simon.
CLICK HERE to see the Hafler Triple Giant on eBay.
Aah, how cool is this! Reverend Guitars has just unleashed the Reeves Gabrels Dirtbike, a stripped-back, ready-to-get-down-and-dirty guitar inspired by Reeves’ personal history. In his own words:
“What I think is cool about this guitar is the fact that I have a whole ongoing story/reason/explanation of always having a no frills simple, fast and blue thing to zip around on that threads thru my whole life. This guitar is a continuation of that sense of freedom in the form of speed and power stripped down to its essentials. And Reverend Guitars matched the light metallic blue color of both of its two wheeled predecessors. To me a single pickup guitar with a trem is just like my 1966 Schwinn Stingray with the extension spring on the front wheel or my 1971 Honda dirtbike with the raised front fender and slightly extended fork. It’s a guitar with enough agility that it will let you grab air and do wheelies and the power to leave some rubber on the asphalt in front of the neighbor’s house. And, really, that’s all you need. Did I mention it’s blue?” – Reeves Gabrels.
It has a custom Railhammer pickup, solid Korina body, Wilkinson WVS50 IIK tremolo, passive bass contour knob and a 22 jumbo fret Rosewood fingerboard on a three-piece Korina neck. It comes in three colours: Reeves Blue, Violin Brown and Cream. More info here.
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.
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?
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.
PRESS RELEASE: TOLEDO, OH (June 14, 2017) – Reverend Guitars and Matt West united to create a signature model just in time for Neck Deep’s Warped Tour jaunt. Based on the Jetstream platform that West loves, the guitar has a single Reverend CP90 pickup and a Wilkinson tremolo. It’s topped off with a reverse headstock and West’s wizard logo on the back. The model is available in Midnight Black and Powder Yellow, both with tortoise pickguards. The guitar will be released this Friday, June 16, 2017, in conjunction with West’s Warped Tour appearance.
Matt West is a member of the Welsh pop-punk band, Neck Deep, known for their intense and philosophical lyrics as much as their riff-driven music. The band is about to embark on the Vans Warped Tour for the entire US run. They will release their third studio album, The Peace and the Panic, on August 18, 2017.
On all Reverend Guitars, there is a Boneite nut and locking tuners, Reverend’s Bass Contour Control, and a dual-action truss rod – all for maximum performance. You can’t be different if you’re playing what everyone else is. Visit www.reverendguitars.com to start your journey towards being an individual.
PRESS RELEASE: AKRON, Ohio — Ohio-based extra special effects pedal manufacturer EarthQuaker Devices will host the second-annual EarthQuaker Day festival at their downtown Akron facility (350 W. Bowery St.) on Saturday, August 5, 2017 from 1:00pm until 8:00pm.
The company, proudly based in Akron, Ohio since 2004, invites music lovers of all ages to converge upon their facility for a day of live music, product demonstrations, local business and art exhibitions, guided workshop tours, food from local favorites the Square Scullery and Nuevo, coffee by Kent’s Bent Tree Coffee Roasters, Dippin’ Dots ice cream, discounted EarthQuaker Devices B-stock, door prize giveaways, the PRS Guitars Riff Contest, fun, and games. The event is free and open to the public.
Each attendee will receive a raffle ticket upon entry for a chance to win one of several door prizes, including contributions from Moog Music, MakeNoise, the Nightlight Cinema, the Akron Symphony Orchestra, SIT Strings, the Akron Civic Theater, Summit Artspace, DeMarco School of Music, Good Life Tattoo, Tri-C Recording Arts & Technology, and more.
One of the 2016 highlights was the Riff Contest, which thanks to the generous sponsorship of the Maryland-based PRS Guitars, will receive a significant prize upgrade. This year’s winner will take home a PRS SE Custom 24 guitar valued at $759, in addition to EarthQuaker Devices’ Erupter and Ghost Echo v3 effects pedals, an EarthQuaker Devices swag pack, and a first place trophy. Contestants will receive 30 seconds to impress a panel of celebrity judges with their best riffs performed through an assortment of EarthQuaker Devices pedals. Participants must pre-register at www.earthquakerdevices.com/eqdayand check-in on the day of the event. Limited to 20 entries. Contest begins promptly at 5:15pm on the Lawn Stage. The 2017 celebrity judges include:
- Juan Alderete – bassist in Halo Orbit, Deltron 3030, Racer X, the Mars Volta, Juliette Lewis
- Nick Reinhart – guitarist in Tera Melos, Big Walnuts Yonder
- Jamie Stillman – EarthQuaker Devices founder, president, and product designer, guitarist in Relaxer, the Party Of Helicopters, Drummer
EarthQuaker Day 2017 will feature original music and covers performed by EarthQuaker Devices employees, including:
- Suffer Little Children (The Smiths tribute)
- Crystal Visions (Fleetwood Mac tribute)
- Thelma & the Sleaze (Nashville, TN)
- Fringe Candidate
- EYE (Columbus, OH)
Effects pedal clinics and Q&A sessions include:
- Marc Lee Shannon (Michael Stanley & the Resonators) – Using Pedals with Acoustic & Folk Instruments
- Nick Reinhart – Guitar Clinic
- Juan Alderete – Bass Clinic
- Nick Reinhart / Juan Alderete / Jamie Stillman – Roundtable Discussion & Jam
Other notable additions to this year’s festival include a dunk tank, a cash grab machine, and, courtesy of 91.3 the Summit FM, EarthQuaker Day 2017 will be an official MusicAlive Donation Station where attendees may donate their new or gently-used instruments to help keep music in our schools and place instruments in the hands of Akron Public Schools students in need.
The official EarthQuaker Day 2017 after party begins at 8pm at Annabell’s Bar & Lounge (784 W. Market St.) and will feature performances by Black Sabath and This Moment In Black History.
To celebrate the occasion, participating retailers in the United States will offer EarthQuaker Devices products at a 15% discount on August 5, 2017.
EarthQuaker Devices is a manufacturer of hand built guitar effects pedals that has been based in Akron, Ohio since 2004. The company, which began as a one-man basement workshop operation is now an award-winning multimillion-dollar international phenomenon with clients ranging from bedroom rock gods to Grammy Award winners.
EarthQuaker Devices would like to thank each and every one of our sponsors from the bottom of our hearts. Your kindness and generosity makes us proud to be from Akron, Ohio, and we appreciate your contribution to this celebration of Northeast Ohio’s creativity, talent, and passion more than you will ever know. EarthQuaker Day 2017 sponsors include:
- 91.3 the Summit FM
- Rock & Recovery
- Circle Prime Manufacturing
- Dr. Z Amplification
- Hoppin’ Frog Brewery
- PRS Guitars
- Pro Guitar Shop
- Tri-C Recording Arts & Technology
- Chicago Music Exchange
- The Devil Strip
- Gotta Groove Records
- Guitar Riot
- Mr. Zub’s Deli
- Mustard Seed Market & Café
- Peoples Bank
- Thursday’s Lounge
- Saffron Patch Cleveland
- 91.1 WRUW FM
- Akron Art Museum
- Akron Civic Theatre
- Akron Symphony Orchestra
- Bent Tree Coffee Roasters
- CAD Audio
- Decibel Pedalboards
- DeMarco’s School of Music
- Custom Audio Mutation
- Annabell’s Bar & Lounge
- Warwick / Rockboard
- Graham Fox & Co.
- Human Unlimited
- Make Noise
- Moog Music
- The Nightlight Cinema
- Nuevo Modern Mexican & Tequila Bar
- Birchwood & Pine
- SIT Strings
- Square Records
- Three Anchors Tattoo
- Good Life Tattoo
- Towpath Credit Union
- Wax Mage Records
- The Guitar Department
- Square Scullery Food Truck
What: EarthQuaker Day 2017
When: 1:00pm – 8:00pm, Saturday August 5, 2017
Where: EarthQuaker Devices HQ – 350 W. Bowery St. Akron, OH 44307
Cost: Free, open to the public
PRESS RELEASE: Melbourne rock outfit Drunk Mums return with a new single ‘Ode To Death’ The first single of their forthcoming EP Denim.
The track continues from their recent homage of hard rock and punk heard on their latest release Leather.Taking influence from Johnny Thunders and The Stooges the band takes a step back with this one, or so it seems, considering the lyrics have a pretty bleak undertone. Don’t let that fool you though, it is still something you could probably show ya parents and hell they’d probably like it too.
‘Ode To Death’ is true to the Drunk Mums rock, punk, garage sound which has been witnessed in previous tracks ‘Plastic’ and ‘Nanganator’. Following the release of ‘Ode To Death’ Drunk Mums will roll out a small Australian tour with some of their favourite bands in support.
The four piece, have built a reputation for their rowdy shows over the years, having played at many of the country’s finest festivals: Cherry Rock, Party in the Paddock, Paradise, Sounds of the Suburbs as well as with the likes of Jake Bugg, Dune Rats and Rich Ramone.
Catch ‘Ode To Death’ live in August when Drunk Mums take their Aussie garage rock on the road.
PRESS RELEASE: Amsterdam, The Netherlands (June 20, 2017) — True to its name and purpose, the Phaser pedal for electric guitar has progressed through various musical phases, and across many stages, over the past few decades. Simple in delivery, NEXI Industries’ Phaser (PSR-01) represents the next stage for this effect pedal, with a plug-‘n-play design that makes compatibility a breeze—just like the effect’s signature sweeping and swooshing.
As a modulation, the phaser effect is created by the pedal’s signal processor that receives the input of the guitar and breaks it down into two parts—the first is kept dry, preserving the guitar’s original sound, while the second passes through various stages, creating the “sweeping” effect. NEXI’s analog Phaser is a throwback to the pedal’s earliest days, with a single knob that increases or decreases the speed of the peaks and troughs. Crank it up to “Fast” to create an aggressive swirl for heavy rock or metal, or turn it down to “Slow” for a lush sweep that’s ideal for ballads, reggae, or country.
NEXI’s Phaser was designed by boutique effect pedal creators, the self-declared “Vintage Analog Protection Squad,” who are committed to providing a unique tone without compromise. Like all NEXI pedals, the Phaser is true bypass and hybrid, meaning it can be used standalone with a 9V battery or plugged right into the external power supply of NEXI’s revolutionary pedal board. Aptly named “The Solution,” this heavy-duty board has a two-channel switch and three-step booster to satisfy every guitarist’s ego. It’s also equipped with a built-in tuner and power supply, two charging docks for tablet or smartphone, and covers that protect ports against dirt and beverage spills (splash-proof). Players are free to create those mind-bending swooshes and swirls, knowing that their board—and their Phaser pedal—are safe and sound.
Get a closer look and hear a demo at https://nexi.eu/products/phaser.
PRESS RELEASE: June 21, 2017 — Edmond, OK — Keeley Electronics is proud to announce the Tesla MKIII Fuzz, a vintage voiced MKIII Soviet Germanium fuzz with Keeley attention to detail.
With controls for FUZZ, TONE, and LEVEL the Tesla Fuzz makes it easy for players to dial in very wild amounts of fuzz. Modifications to the circuit allow for an increased high frequency not heard of before as well as ultra-low noise. Furthermore, design modifications have solved temperature problems that can affect vintage fuzz units. This particular bender design has a very vintage tone to it. Pure fuzz, no overdrive. Think late 1960’s and very unrefined.
“Our design team focused on building a MkIII style circuit with a stash of 104NU71 Soviet transistors that Keeley obtained. In this particular NPN Germanium design we focused on bringing out the most amazing attributes of the transistor. The 104NU71 has a super sticky, velcro tone and an incredibly unique bass response” said Robert Keeley, founder and chief engineer, Keeley Electronics. “To achieve this, we employed several technical innovations from our Time Machine Boost and Holy Fuzz designs. We also use techniques to nearly eliminate temperature coefficient problems in germanium designs.”
The Keeley Electronics Tesla MKIII will be released June 22nd at RKFX.com and at select dealers worldwide. Street Price is $149. Visit www.rkfx.com for more information about the full lineup of award-winning Keeley Electronics effects.
Ever since Kiesel announced the Vader headless (via a ‘one image fragment at a time’ social campaign a couple of years ago) I’ve daydreamed about owning one. At at NAMM this year checked out quite a few of them and was really impressed by the weight, balance and resonance. So, with thanks to Jeff and Manny at Kiesel, I’m about to take delivery of my dream Vader. Above is a snippet of a photo that Jeff sent me. There’s actually a very similar V7 on the Kiesel site, but mine has some key differences, and there’s a long and convoluted reason for every wood and colour choice, which I’ll get into in a full review when the guitar arrives. For now, why don’t you head on over to the Kiesel website to check out the various options on the Vader!
“Oh yeah, I was into them back when I used to listen to music.”
“That band is still together?”
“They were the soundtrack to my teenage years.”
I’m a music journalist, and a dad in my late 30s. That means I run into a lot of parents, some my age, most a few years older. It seems that most parents that I run into had their kids later in life than we did, and indeed a lot of my classmates are having their first kids now, while my son is 10. And the sentences quoted above are something I hear a lot when I chat with fellow parents. Inevitably the question of ‘What do you do for a living?’ comes up and I find myself explaining my cool-ass job. And I inevitably hear things like those statements, and others like “I used to listen to heavier bands but I grew out of it” or “I have no time to listen to music now.” It really hit home with the passing of Chris Cornell, when a bunch of friends on Facebook posted things like “You’re my favourite, I used to listen to you all the time,” as if Euphoria Morning wasn’t fucking phenomenal, or like Audioslave didn’t exist, or King Animal wasn’t a thing. That really bummed me out because Cornell continued to make music every bit as vital as those big Soundgarden records. He never went away and his standards never slipped (well, there was that one pop album but even then, dude was following his muse).
I know I’m lucky because my job forces me to listen to new music. It’s the same as in any profession: you can’t really do it to the best of your ability if you’re relying in information that’s 20 years old. Still, it makes me sad that there are people out there who are my age and who would have been raised on the same diet of 90s alternative, industrial, metal, grunge and other now-retro-but-then-nowtro stuff, who think of music as something in their past rather than something that grows with them. The musical nostalgia industry is fuelled by the power of music to make you remember how you felt at the time you first heard it, but there’s no reason you can’t continue to bring new music into your life to serve as the soundtrack to where you are now. Hell, Spotify is like twelve bucks a month. YouTube is free and it’s loaded with new music. It’s so easy now to find out what your old favourite bands are doing today or, even more importantly, to find new ones that can represent you and your feelings.
Something I’ve been doing a lot of lately is going back and listening to things I never really had the access to check out back in the day, when in order to listen to a band you had to either buy the record, hear someone else’s copy or catch it on TV or radio. I loved the Cure songs I saw on the Australian music video show Rage, but my CD money was always spent on metal and shred. Now I’m digging further and deeper into their back catalog and more recent records, and while many of these tracks are over 30 years old and totally new to me, they’re finding a place in my heart that’s every bit as important as Dirt or Passion And Warfare or Fair Warning. Now I’m catching up on bands like The Replacements, or filling in the gaps of my knowledge of The Cure, or getting into Crowded House non-album tracks. But I’m also checking out newer artists like Between The Buried And Me, Rival Sons, St. Vincent, Northlane… and this music, all of which is new to me whether it’s new or not, has its own emotional resonance for my present-day life. I can still always put on Living Colour’s Stain or Ministry’s Psalm 69 to remember how I felt at 16, but I can also put on Ryan Adams’ Prisoner or Periphery’s The Price Is Wrong to capture how I feel today at 38.
My buddy Dean Delray, whose podcast Let There Be Talk is an essential listen, is always talking about this. He always hears folks saying “There are no great bands any more.” There are fucktonnes of them out there. But to hear them you have to own the fact that maybe the music you loved as a teenager wasn’t any more special than the music today’s teenagers are listening to: it’s just that you heard those songs at a time that was special to you, and you’ve associated the excitement of ‘first kiss, first beer, first party’ with those bands as part of one whole package of nostalgia. That’s totally cool, but see it for what it is and let yourself feel the same way about new music that can accompany new moments. Music is vast and beautiful and alive and you don’t need to stop listening to new music the moment you turn 18.