Woohoo!!! The NIN/JA tour may not be coming here (boo!), but I can still catch the reunited original line-up of Jane’s Addiction at their own show here in Melbourne on July 30.
Here are the full tour dates:
July 25: Splendour In The Grass, Byron Bay (QJump)
July 26: Brisbane (Ticketek)
July 27: Sydney (Ticketek)
July 29: Adelaide (Thebarton Theatre)
July 30: Melbourne (Ticketmaster)
August 1: Perth (SMH)
Anyone with an eye to music video shows or channels will recognise this guitar from the Foo Fighters video for ‘All My Life.’ Music fans with a slightly longer memory may recall these flashy instruments in the hands of Keith Richards, Leslie West, Paul McCartney, Cream’s Jack Bruce or Black Sabbath’s Geezer Butler. Let’s go through the plexiglass to see what’s on the other side.
X RAY SPECS
This version is a near-exact replica of the original Ampeg model designed by Dan Armstrong, dating back to 1969. It differs from the originals by way of an improved neck joint, as well as a compensated rosewood bridge designed for regular string sets with three wound and three unwound strings – the original’s bridge was compensated for a wound G string, and evidently Ampeg felt that remaining vintage-faithful in this instance would compromise tuning for the majority of players who favour contemporary string sets.
The double cutaway Plexiglas body certainly looks cool, but there’s a method behind this madness. The theory is that the density and uniformity of the body material eliminates unwanted vibrations and frequencies, improving sustain by transferring the string vibrations uninterrupted by the variations in grain and density that you might find in wood.
Another very interesting feature is the removable pickup system. Out of the case, the Dan Armstrong is fitted with a Rock Sustain humbucking pickup, but a single coil Rock Treble pickup is also included. Each are designed by Kent Armstrong, who designed the original’s pickups in the 1960s and 70s. The pickups simply slot into the body and are secured by a few thumbscrews. Electronics consist of volume and tone controls, plus a 3-way tone switch. The centre position bypasses the tone circuit completely, while the other two positions shift the frequencies affected by the tone knob.
The neck is hard maple, with 24 frets on a rosewood fretboard. Die cast Grover tuners are positioned for almost perfectly straight string pull, and are close-coupled to minimise string tension differences.
I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW
I plugged into my all-valve half stack, set to a vintage, edgy but clear tone, and let ‘er rip with some Bowie riffs. The first thing I noticed was the unique attack of the notes, compared to a more conventionally constructed guitar. There was a satisfying chunk and chirp to the pick attack, followed by a kind of opening up of the tone. If you hold a note, it seems to start out compressed then spread out, sustain for a while, then gradually fade away. With some smooth Tube Screamer overdrive, the Ampeg reminded me of Trey Anastasio’s main solo tone in Phish. The tone switch was handy for emphasising different overtones in single note lines, but for pure classic chunk the guitar sounded best in the centre position. Swapping to the single coil pickup, a bright, almost P90-ish jangle was attainable, and was especially great for blasting out “Jean Genie.”
While the looks are likely to divide players, the construction quality and tone of this guitar are undeniable. Fortunately, if you don’t like the clear look, Ampeg recently announced the AMG100 series, which replaces the acrylic with swamp ash, mahogany or alder, but you owe it to yourself to check out the attack and sustain characteristics of the acrylic version.
Body: Clear acrylic polymer
Neck: Maple, bolt-on, 24.75″ scale
Fretboard: 24-fret, rosewood
Controls: Master volume, master tone, 3-way pickup selector
Pickups: 1 single-blade Rock Treble, 1 dual-blade Sustain Treble; interchangeable
Tuners: Grover nickel die-cast
Bridge: Rosewood with compensated brass saddles
Case: Hardshell case included
Finally! Manson Guitars is producing an official signature model for Matt Bellamy of Muse, and in terms of tricked-outedness this one is giving the Parker Adrian Belew model a run for its money.
The Manson MB-1 Standard is made in the UK. It includes a Manson-designed bridge humbucker, a Fernandes Sustainer in the neck, and a fixed bridge. Most interesting of all though is the optional MIDI control screen. Map it to your effects, your computer, whatever you like. Use it to activate whammy pitch effects, change the speed of modulation effects, whack it for rhythmic stutters, whatever you like. Awesome. Delivery is expected to start from summer 2009 and orders will be fulfilled on a first come, first served basis. There’s a minimum holding deposit of (gulp) £1000. Base price is £3299
Birds Eye Maple Neck
MBK-2 Bridge Humbucker
Fernandes Sustainer Humbucking Neck Pickup
Gotoh 510 Machine Heads
Sustainer On/Off Switch
Sustainer – Harmonic/Fundamental Switch
3-way Pickup Selector Switch
Manson Deluxe Logo Hard Case
Check out Guitar Noize’s post about this guitar too.
By the way, CLICK HERE for my ‘How To Sound Like Muse’ lesson from Mixdown magazine.
There once was a time when Crate amps were considered, to loosely quote Billy Corgan, “The amp your mom bought you when she was too cheap to buy you a real amp.” Those days are long, long gone, with a long list of high profile endorsers including ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, the late great Bo Diddley, Living Colour’s Vernon Reid, Sammy Hagar, Ministry’s Mike Scaccia and Al Jourgenson, and pedal steel virtuoso Robert Randolph. My first real amp was a Crate GT-200H, a very cool hybrid head with 2 valve and 2 solid state channels. Yngwie Malmsteen used to advertise the combo version as his practice amp, so there ya go.
NUTS AND BOLTS
The V33 is a world away from Crate’s more metal-toned offerings. To a certain degree, the V33 might remind some players of another well-known amp with an association to the letter ‘V’. It’s a 33 watt, all valve Class A amp with four 12AX7 preamp valves. One 12AX7 greets the guitar signal pretty much right there at the input jack; two operate on the clean channel, and another is added when you select the overdrive channel. There are two more 12AX7s following the spring reverb and effects loop. The V33 has two 12” speakers fed by a power section running on four EL84 cathode biased output valves.
The EQ section is shared by both the clean and overdrive channels. There’s a Boost button to engage a 10dB boost at 900Hz for adding more guts to the midrange, and a presence button which provides some extra sparkle.
The effects send can be used as a line out, and the effect return jack can be used as a power amp insert, so you can use an external preamp or modeller instead if you wish.
The manual deserves a lot of praise for containing a very detailed article about valves – what they are, how they work, and how to care for them. It’s a great read, and the writer resists the urge to get too techy, without dumbing things down either.
PUT DOWN THE MANUAL, GEEK BOY
Time to put down the manual and crank this baby up. The clean channel has a great sparkle, giving way to a satisfyingly hot chunk when cranked up. The gain level never quite makes it to distortion territory even when pushed. Instead there’s a chimey, almost acoustic character which is ideal for blues, jazz, indie and country styles – especially with a slapback delay in the effect loop. The overdrive channel has a warm, slightly mushy compression which seems to love single coil pickups for a bit of Hendrix growl. Humbuckers give the amp a more fusion-ish tone. The gain never quite gets out of control, but this is an amp for more refined players who need to hear exotic intervals and careful note articulation, rather than a box of doom for metal monsters.
THE BOTTOM LINE
This amp is a great option for those who dwell on the lighter side of rock, the heavier side of jazz, right smack bang in the middle of the blues, or country players who need some meat for solos but require a rhythm channel that can take a spankin’ from a Telecaster.
33 Watts RMS
Class A, 4 x EL84 output tubes, 4 x 12AX7 preamp tubes
2 x 12″ speakers
A bit of news today so it’s time to reinstate the news summary format I was messing with a few weeks ago. I like doing these but sometimes there’s just not enough news out there to justify it. Today though there seems to be much afoot in the world of guitar.
New Fear Factory line-up
Remember the recent news that Dino Cazares and Burton C Bell had formed a new band with Gene Hoglan and Byron Stroud? Well that new band has a name: Fear Factory. That’s right, Dino’s in, and Raymond and Christian are out (but they have their own band called Arkaea).
Alice Cooper to tour Australia
Lennard Promotions, in association with Music Max, announces the forthcoming Alice Cooper’s Theatre Of Death Australian Tour in August 2009 – Tickets on Sale from usual outlets on Monday 4th May.
TOUR DATES Tuesday 18th August – Win Entertainment Centre, Wollongong (Theatre Mode) Wednesday 19th August – Gold Coast Convention Centre (Theatre Mode) Friday 21st August – Newcastle Entertainment Centre (Theatre Mode) Saturday 22nd August – Brisbane Convention Centre (Theatre Mode) Monday 24th August – Sydney Entertainment Centre (Theatre Mode) Wednesday 26th August – Royal Theatre, Canberra Friday 28th August – Palais Theatre, Melbourne Saturday 29th August – Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide Tuesday 1st September – Challenge Stadium, Perth (Theatre Mode)
Ticketek 132 849 or www.ticketek.com.au Ticketmaster 136 100 www.ticketmaster.com.au www.alicecooper.com
Source: Riot Act
Okay, regardless of what you think about Creed (personally I’m not a fan, there I said it), Mark Tremonti is a heck of a guitarist, and hey, maybe this Creed reunion tour will boost attention for Tremonti and his instructional DVD, ‘The Sound And The Story,’ which features appearances by Michael Angelo Batio and Rusty Cooley.
Source: Creed.com http://www.creed.com/
Buy: Mark Tremonti’s ‘The Sound And The Story’ from eBay stores.
Tony MacAlpine returns to Planet X
Yep, T-Mac has returned to Planet X, the prog band featuring Virgil Donati and Derek Sherinian. The band is heading to the studio later this year for a new album, to be followed by a tour. Rad. Tony is also selling two of his main guitars, a Carvin T-MAC VI 6-string and Carvin T-MAC VII 7-string. Go here for details. http://www.tonymacalpine.com/guitars/index.html
I first became aware of B.C. Rich guitars when I was a kid. A local music store (Don Jefferson Music or something like that, colloquially known as “Jeffo’s”) had some lower-priced models in their catalogues, which would be stuffed into the local paper before Christmas every year. It wasn’t until much later that I learned B.C. Rich did so much more than just white Warlocks with a recommended retail price of $699. But still to this day whenever I see a white Warlock I think about being about 8 or 9 years old, thumbing through these catalogues, which I would keep for months) dreaming about the day when I could plug in a real electric guitar. Whoa.
Anyway, the point of this post is: look! 40th anniversary limited runs of original B.C. Rich models!
B.C. Rich Marks 40Th Anniversary With Limited Run Of Original-Spec, Handcrafted Guitars
April 24, 2009
Commemorating its 40th Anniversary as America’s premier builder of uniquely shaped, lifestyle-driven electric guitars, B.C. Rich proudly announces a new series of handcrafted instruments to mark the milestone. The special guitars are a tribute to models originally developed by company founder Bernardo (“Bernie”) Rico and are limited to a production run of 40 guitars per model.
The four Handcrafted Anniversary Guitars represent the first original designs offered by B.C. Rich: the Seagull, Eagle, Mockingbird and Bich. Each will receive a 40th Anniversary commemorative logo on the back of the headstock, a special serial number and certificate of authenticity.
All Anniversary instruments utilize Neck-through-Body Koa wood construction, a feature rarely seen before B.C. Rich came on the scene back in ’69. This method maximizes sustain and helps maintain the long-term structural stability of the instrument. Bodies are crafted of solid Koa with Maple accent stripes (“stringers”) on two models and utilize DiMarzio Dual Sound pickups.
Additional design details include the classic B.C. Rich Diamond fingerboard inlays (Snowflake design on the Seagull), Grover Super Rotomatic tuners and vintage Cal Rad knobs.
“The 40th Anniversary Series lets us pay tribute to our original designs with these retro-inspired models,” said Rock Clouser, product manager for B.C. Rich. B.C. Rich Anniversary Series instruments each have a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price of $4,200.00.
For more info, visit http://www.bcrich.com/.
MEGADETH AND SLAYER TO CO-HEADLINE
“CANADIAN CARNAGE” JUNE TREK
Monday, April 27, 2009 — Talk about a mind-blowing line-up. Slayer and Megadeth – two of the bands that defined the thrash/metal genre – will perform together for the first time in more than 15 years when they co-headline four shows in Canada in late June. The tour, dubbed “Canadian Carnage,” will also feature Machine Head and Suicide Silence, and will see Megadeth and Slayer each closing two of the four shows. Tickets will go on sale Saturday, May 2, and will be available at all Ticketmaster outlets and at Ticketmaster online.
Few bands come close to matching the intensity that Slayer brings to its live shows, having been named “Best Live Band” by numerous media outlets including Revolver, SPIN, and Metal Hammer. Slayer – guitarists Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman, vocalist/bassist Tom Araya and drummer Dave Lombardo – is currently in Los Angeles recording its as yet untitled tenth studio album with Greg Fidelman producing and Rick Rubin executive producing. Fans were given an early taste of the brutal new Slayer material when “Psychopathy Red,” a song inspired by the heinous Russian serial killer Andrei Chikatilo, who confessed to savagely murdering 56 children, was recorded last October and then leaked online. Attendees of “Canadian Carnage” will be treated to Slayer performing “Psychopathy Red” live on stage. Plans are to release the new album in July, in tandem wi th the Mayhem Festival tour Slayer is co-headlining with Marilyn Manson.
With over 20 million albums sold worldwide, the icon that is Megadeth culminated earlier this month, with Dave Mustaine’s acceptance of the highly coveted “Golden God” accolade and the band’s headline performance at the inaugural Revolver Golden Gods Awards in Los Angeles. Megadeth – lead guitarist/lead vocalist Dave Mustaine, lead and rhythm guitarist Chris Broderick, bassist James Lomenzo and drummer Shawn Drover – is currently recording their 12th studio album in Los Angeles with Andy Sneap. The disc is scheduled for release later this summer to coincide with a full scale world tour. Known for their ferocious live show, Megadeth will once again bring this intensity to their loyal throng of Canadian followers.
Bay Area titans Machine Head add to the carnage as main support. Machine Head – vocalist/guitarist Robb Flynn, guitarist Phil Demmel, bassist/backing vocalist Adam Duce and drummer Dave McClain – are currently touring in support of their critically-acclaimed and Grammy nominated The Blackening. Since its release, the band has been awarded both Best Album at the Metal Hammer Awards and Album of the Year at Kerrang’s annual ceremony that same year. And with a fan base so rabid, they’ve actually been banned from certain U.S. venues, Machine Head will bring with them the relentless stage show they are renowned for.
There is little doubt in anyone’s mind that Suicide Silence is one of the frontrunners of the new wave of American metal, a statement further validated as the group won the “Best New Talent” award at the inaugural Revolver Golden Gods Awards, held at Club Nokia in Los Angeles on April 7. The group was also hailed as the event’s breakthrough artist by the L.A. Times, but make no mistake that this extreme juggernaut is not resting on its laurels and is about to take things up a notch with their highly-anticipated sophomore release, No Time to Bleed, which was produced by acclaimed producer Machine (Lamb of God) and set for a June 30 release.
Dates for the Megadeth/Slayer co-bill are:
24 GM Place, Vancouver, BC
26 Rexall, Edmonton, AB
27 Saddledome, Calgary, AB
29 MTS Centre, Winnipeg, MB
“CANADIAN CARNAGE” TICKETS PRESALE
AT THE MEGAFANCLUB TUESDAY, APRIL 28 10AM
There will be a special FAN CLUB EXCLUSIVE Megadeth/Slayer “Canadian Carnage” concert tickets PRESALE held Tuesday, April 28 at 10AM! Fan club members, log in to the fan club Tuesday morning, click on “Tour” then “Tickets”. You will be provided with links to purchase your tickets from along with a password emailed to you late Monday. Tickets will go fast! Don’t delay!
This is the second I Heart Guitar lookalike post (remember my suspicions about Satch moonlighting as Bobby on The Kingdom Of Paramithi?). Last night I was watching TV and an ad for Celebrity Rehab With Dr Drew Pinsky came on. My first thought was “Sweet, what’s Paul Reed Smith doing on E! ..?” Don’t tell me their latest reality show is ‘Woods Of The PRS Private Stock Showroom’ or ‘Keeping Up With The McCartys.’
So what do you think? Is Paul Reed Smith moonlighting as a celebrity rehabilitation facilitator? That’s Paul on the left and Dr Drew on the right.
The Krank Revolution + has a lot in common with the Dimebag Darrell signature model, the Krankenstein – after all, Dime was swayed over to Krank by the Revolution, and it was this amp that he used as the basis for his own model. While the Krankenstein is a savage, mega-high-gain beast fit for the metal mayhem created by Darrell, the Revolution is a more versatile creature, designed to be many things to many players, instead of the ‘two things to one player: ultra clean and mega distortion’ brief of the Krankenstein.
The Revolution + has two channels, ‘Krank’ and ‘Kleen.’ Krank has a 3 band EQ (treble, midrange and bass), two footswitchable master volumes and a parametric sweep control which shifts the focus from bass and treble-heavy metal bite to midrange-thick hard rock. The Kleen channel has a similar 3 band EQ and a volume control, as well as a Boost button which adds grit and sparkle to this otherwise spotlessly clean channel.
The ‘plus’ indicates that the Revolution + has a few changes since its first incarnation. A more powerful transformer is the first clue, creating greater grunt and headroom. Gone are the original 5881 power valves, and in their place are four Sovtek 6550 valves, which are often used in valve bass amplifiers for their tight low end response, clear highs, and high headroom. Their use here skews the Revolution +’s gain generation ratio further towards ‘preamp distortion’ than’ power amp distortion.’ You will still get some colouration at higher master volume levels, but the amp is more likely to sound similar whether it’s at bedroom or stadium volume level. This also means the line out will give a more accurate representation of the amp’s sound than some other amps, because the power amp has less influence on the overall tone.
Normally with an amp like this I would go for the throat on the high gain channel straight out of the gate. I guess today I was feeling a bit more low-key, because I started with the Kleen channel using my Ibanez UV777BK 7-string. I was immediately impressed by the clarity and headroom of the channel, and it was ideal for those Metallica ‘One’ clean tones, especially Kirk’s clean solo tone on the intro. Hitting the Boost button immediately smacked me back into the world of guitar dirt, though. This is like a magic button which makes the amp and guitar seem to speak to each other as if they’re a single instrument. The high end was now sharp and angry, and the bass was punchy and tough. The midrange had just the right level of grind, and this channel will satisfy blues and country players as well as metal players who need a clean sound, but not TOO clean.
The Krank channel can cover a huge range of distortion tones, from classic rock to thrashy firestorm, but I pretty quickly zoned in on an almost identical facsimile of the Queensryche ‘Operation:Mindcrime’ rhythm guitar tone, one of my personal favourite rock sounds.
NOW THAT’S A PLUS
If I had to choose between the Krankenstein + and the Revolution +, I’d say ‘Viva la Revolution!’ While Dime’s amp does what it does extremely well, the Revolution just does more, and is more adaptable to individual playing styles. Its ability to handle a wide range of gain levels and to excel at each of them makes this a pretty exciting amp to play through, and one of my favourites of the last few years.
2 switchable channels – Kleen and Krank
Exclusive EQ sweep control on the Krank channel
Separate volume and 3-band EQs per channel
2 footswitchable Master Volume controls on the Krank channel
Master Presence control for both channels
4 – Premium Electro Harmonix 12AX7 preamp tubes
4 – Premium Sovtek 6550 power tubes
4, 8, and 16-ohm speaker output impedance selector Series effects loop