So, what’s the deal with pickups, then? Check out this piece I wrote for Andertons which breaks it down for ya, from the basics to more advanced stuff like the difference between coil splitting and coil tapping. A snippet: “The simplest way to think of a pickup is “like a microphone for an electric guitar.” And have you ever noticed that if you pluck the string close to the bridge the note will sound bright and twangy, whereas if you pick right down by the neck you’ll hear a softer, rounder tone? Well if you place a pickup near the bridge of the guitar it will sound sharper and brighter compared to one that’s placed near the neck. This is why the majority of guitars have more than one pickup: so you can select different sounds from the full and warm to the thin and snappy.”
The mighty DragonForce have always brought the epic energy, triumphant power-metal riffage, anthemic choruses and intense shred to their work, but what makes their new album Maximum Overload stand out a little from the rest of their catalog is their willingness to step outside of their established sound just far enough to keep it fresh. Vocalist Marc Hudson has well and truly settled in now (he joined prior to the recording of previous album The Power Within, and Trivium’s Matt Heafy contributes his vocal power to three tracks as well. And for the first time DragonForce have worked with an outside producer, Jens Bogren, who has also produced, mixed or mastered the likes of Soilwork, Symphony X, Pain of Salvation, James LaBrie, Devin Townsend. Throw it all together and you have Dragonforce’s biggest-sounding album yet. Continue reading
The Seymour Duncan Pickup Booster is one of those pedals that really shook things up, introducing a lot of players for the first time to the idea of boosting their signal before it hits their amp, thereby making the preamp tubes work harder and creating all sorts of great sonic textures from vibrant cleans to screaming overdrives. It was discontinued a little while ago but now it’s back, with a new look at some subtle improvements. All the regular features are still there, including the Pickup Resonance Switch, which lets you select different resonant frequencies for different sonic results; the idea is that its two modes will make a single coil sound like a vintage or modern humbucker, but you can use it with humbuckers for cool sounds too. And there’s now a discrete push-pull output stage and the capability for 0dB unity gain, so you can use it simply as a buffer or for the tone-sculpting abilities of the Pickup Resonance Switch without changing your level of gain. Continue reading
It’s that time again! Soundwave line-up announcement – and 2015 will be huge. First of all it’s great to see the return of one of my favourite bands, Faith No More, to Soundwave. And there are plenty of other repeat offenders on the bill: Slipknot, Lamb of God, Marilyn Manson, Slash… plus Judas Priest, Soundgarden, Ministry… aw why don’t ya just read the press release… Continue reading
PRESS RELEASE: A Fret-King Danny Bryant signature model guitar, signed by many great guitar players has raised £1,300 in a benefit raffle to help Walter Trout in his yearlong and successful recovery from a recent Liver Transplant. Through a 25 year long solo career Walter has sought to merge the essence of the blues with relevance for the times we live in. Before his solo career, he played lead guitar for John Mayall, Canned Heat, John Lee Hooker, and many others. Donated by JHS & Co. Ltd, the Fret-King Black Label Danny Bryant signature model was selected as Danny is actually standing in for Walter in his ‘Walter Trout Band’ currently touring the USA and Canada. Continue reading
The Ernie Ball Music Man model started life as the Edward Van Halen guitar around 25 years ago. After Eddie’s association with that company ended, the guitar design lived on with a few changes as the Axis, while a new variation called the Axis Super Sport was also introduced. Compared to the Floyd Rose-loaded regular Axis, the Super Sport typically features a fixed bridge (a Music Man vintage tremolo is also an option) and five-way pickup switching (with single coil modes in positions two and four), but is still very much an Axis. The Semi Hollowbody version was introduced at the NAMM Show this year. Continue reading
If there is one name that is synonymous with modern Post Progressive Metal, it would undeniably be Dream Theater. The supreme lords of the genre own their style, best described as mixing the progressive tendencies of bands such as Pink Floyd, Rush and Yes with the metal edge of Metallica and Iron Maiden. With a career spanning close to 30 years, Dream Theater have recorded over 10 million album sales around the world to a fanatical diehard fanbase. Continue reading
There are certain things we think of when we hear ‘Gibson Les Paul.’ Chief among these are the single cutaway design, two pickups each with their own volume and tone controls, and a carved top. And Gibson’s long-running Melody Maker model differs from this in many key ways, including a slab body, pickguard-mounted controls (most often just single volume and tone knobs), and usually just a single pickup. The Les Paul Melody Maker combines aspects of both designs and it does so in a way that brings out the best elements of each at a price that’s almost unheard of for a US-made guitar. Continue reading
Randall Amplifiers has been home to many talented engineers over the years, starting with Gary Sunde and even including Bruce Egnater who invented the MTS modular series. In particular the company has long been an innovator in the world of high-gain amps. So who do you turn to when you want to kick it up to a new level? Randall Brand Director Joe Delaney enlisted the services of world-renowned heavy metal amp engineer Mike Fortin to reinvent Randall for the 21st Century. Coming from the likes of Korg/Marshall USA and Yamaha (and of course his own Fortin brand amps), Mike understands distortion. Randall purchased two of these designs – the NATAS and MEATHEAD – and these are now known as the THRASHER and 667. But that’s not all; Fortin has used those amps as springboards for new designs too, including the SATAN signature model for Six Feet Under/Feared guitarist Ola Englund, the NULLIFIER for Anthrax’s Scott Ian, and the forthcoming CAGE 103 for Metallica’s Kirk Hammett and a new line for Meshuggah’s Fredrik Thordendal. I caught up with Fortin to chat about what makes his amps tick. Continue reading
Epiphone is giving away a Limited Edition G-1275 Doubleneck – yes, the ‘Jimmy Page’ style 6/12-string beast. The giveaway is open to residents 18 years and over from the United States, Canada, UK, Ireland, and select countries in the EU. Visit Epiphone.com for more details, but here’s the press release (and please note that I have nothing to do with this, I’m just sharing the news, so please don’t complain to me if your country is not eligible! Every time I post these I seem to get a torrent of abuse which is really fun).
PRESS RELEASE: Epiphone is home to the world’s best professional instruments on a working musician’s budget and this August, Epiphone continues its monthly giveaways by offering guitar players and Epiphone fans around the world the chance to win the new Limited-Edition G-1275 Doubleneck 6-string and 12-string with a custom hard carrying case.* Continue reading
PRESS RELEASE: Jackson is pleased to announce two new Jackson Custom Shop limited edition guitars and a signature bass guitar charged with new features, and designed for speed and killer looks.
Jackson Custom Select (JCS) Series
Jackson Custom Select Series instruments are Jackson’s top-line best, recalling the time-honored traditions of the ’80s-era Jackson Custom Shop. Nowhere else will you find U.S.-built production-model shred machines of such stellar design, peerless performance and superior craftsmanship, brought to life by the best builders in the business. Continue reading
Duesenberg Guitars was founded in Hanover, Germany in 1991, but if you were to look at their guitars without knowing this fact, you’d be forgiven for thinking they’re a classic American brand from the 50s. Their designs have that retro-futuristic cool, like something from an Eisenhower-era science fiction movie about rock n’ rollers from 2014. This vibe is enhanced somewhat by the branch that the company opened in Fullerton, California in 2004. Their designs are augmented by Art Déco motifs including a recurring ‘three step geometry’ vibe which you can see in the headstock, pickguard, pickup surrounds, selector knob and of course the ‘D’ of the Dusenberg logo itself. No matter the model, when you see a Dusenberg you know exactly what it is. The particular model on review here is a Starplayer-TV, essentially Duesenberg’s flagship model. Continue reading