NEWS: Megadeth and Slayer tour together

Megadeth and Slayer haven’t had the friendliest of relationships over the years (especially Dave Mustaine and Kerry King, the latter of whom actually played some early gigs as a fill-in member of Megadeth). Back in the day they brought along Anthrax and then little-known opening band Alice In Chains for the Clash Of The Titans tour. Now Slayer and Megadeth will put their differences aside to get all metal on a whole bunch of lucky Canadians. Here’s the press release.

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:

June
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!

http://megafanclub.megadeth.com

NEWS: I Heart Guitar mentioned on Talking Metal

So this morning I was riding the tram to work and listening to episode 257 of the Talking Metal podcast by John Ostronomy and Mark Strigl – I had a few weeks’ worth to catch up on cos I was on holidays for a few weeks and my morning commute is usually my iPod time – and after a great interview with the very eloquent Duff McKagen, they read out an email I sent them a few weeks ago, and they mentioned my site. I didn’t expect them to read out the email on the air (although I’m not gonna lie to ya, I made sure to include site information just in case), and it was a very nice little surprise to start my morning.

My apologies to the lady sitting next to me on the tram, who was probably wondering why I suddenly started grinning like a doofus.

It’s been a good couple of weeks for I Heart Guitar publicity, what with the mention in the May 2009 edition of Premier Guitar and my guest post on the Jemsite blog. So it’s at this point that I’d like to get all gushy and thank everyone so so much for their support, including my fellow guitar bloggers (you can show them some love too by checking out the blog links to the right).

NEWS: Paul Reed Smith moonlighting as Dr Drew?

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.

CLICK HERE to see Paul Reed Smith guitars on eBay.

REVIEW: Krank Revolution + amp

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.

CLICK HERE to buy the Krank Revolution Plus on eBay.

SPEC CHECK

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.

REVOLUTION CALLING

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.

SPECS:

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
Line out
4, 8, and 16-ohm speaker output impedance selector Series effects loop

REVIEW: Seymour Duncan SHPR-1 P-Rails pickup

The Seymour Duncan P-Rails SHPR-1 pickup is one of the latest entries to the company’s increasingly broad pickup offering, and it looks like nothing else the company has ever made. While most pickups tend to look quite similar to each other on the outside, the P-Rails looks like bizarre hybrid of a P-90 style single coil pickup and one half of a mini, single coil-sized humbucker.

CLICK HERE to see Seymour Duncan pickups on eBay.

NOT YOUR ORDINARY PICKUP

The strange visual presentation is a clue that this is not your ordinary pickup. Designed to be wired into either a 2 or 3 way switch, the P-Rails can be either a regular humbucker, a Fender-style single coil, or a Gibson style P-90.

I tested a matched P-Rails set in a Framus semi-acoustic guitar, with two-way mini toggle switches discreetly installed underneath the pickguard, and wired for humbucker and P-90 modes. A 3-way switch would also allow for standard single coil mode using the mini rail-style portion of the pickup. Seymour Duncan says that when this mode is engaged on both pickups, the tone is similar to the ‘quacky’ positions 2 and 4 on a Stratocaster.

In the bridge position, the P-90-inspired portion of the pickup sounds warm and edgy, but not too over the top compared to some other such pickups on the market. Note separation is nice and clear, even with complex chords and a good dose of distortion. In the neck, the tone is full and warm, with pronounced pick attack, and is especially good for blues soloing.

HOW’S IT SOUND?

In humbucking mode, the bridge pickup is not a particularly high gain affair. It’s great for crunchy, supportive barre chords and voice-like solo tones, and the smooth, rounded midrange and slightly muted treble response make it especially good for banging out power chords in a more traditional rock style, rather than a downtuned, chugga-chugga metal way. The neck pickup sounds juicy and lyrical in humbucker mode, with great sustain and dynamics. It sounds especially good when its output is boosted by an overdrive pedal or clean boost.

It’s also a lot of fun using the mode switches almost like amp channel switches. If you set your amp just on the edge of crunch when the guitar is in humbucker mode, you can then switch to P-90 mode for a cleaner, brighter tone.

Since the test guitar had individual volume controls for each pickup, I was able to bring in a small amount of the bridge P-90 to add a subtle little high end and pick attack to the neck humbucker mode, or change the ratio between the two pickups to add a little roundness to the bridge P-90 by fading in a small amount of the neck humbucker sound.

Seymour Duncan recommends another wiring option for the pickup: Normally, in humbucking mode, P-Rails are wired in series, for a high-output sound suited to classic rock and heavier tones. However, when the coils are wired in parallel, the mismatch produces a P.A.F.-style humbucker tone with less phase cancellation associated with standard parallel wired humbuckers, with present upper-mid bloom responsiveness and pronounced string articulation.

THE BOTTOM LINE

The P-Rails is the ideal solution for players who want a maximum number of options with the minimum amount of fuss, and it’s an especially handy studio tool, effectively tripling the number of available sounds from the one guitar.

Music 123 shopping links

Seymour Duncan SHPR-1 P-Rails Neck Humbucker Electric Guitar Pickup Standard


Seymour Duncan SHPR-1 P-Rails Bridge Humbucker Electric Guitar Pickup Standard

REVIEW: Seymour Duncan SH-15 Alternative 8

Not content with releasing the Blackout and Livewire active pickups with unprecedented power, Seymour Duncan has unleashed the SH-15 Alternative 8 passive humbucker. The 8 in the Alternative 8’s name is derived from its Alnico 8 (Aluminium/nickel/cobalt alloy) magnet, and this pickup marks the first time this magnet has been used by Seymour Duncan.
The Alternative 8 has a DC resistance of 17.68k, making it one of the hottest passive humbuckers in Seymour Duncan’s history, almost stepping on the toes of the mighty Distortion Parallel Axis, a ceramic magnet humbucker which weighs in at an imposing 21.3 k. The pickup features hot coils wound for maximum output, enhanced further by the natural qualities of the Alnico magnet. While a ceramic magnet might sound tight and bitey, Alnico adds warmth and presence to the true midrange as well as the upper mids, while taming the fizzy buzz factor.

Seymour Duncan rates the pickup’s tonal response as Treble: 9; Midrange: 8; and Bass: 7, with a resonant peak at 4.46 KHz. In contrast, the famed Alnico II humbucker favoured by Slash has a DC resistance of 7.6k, and its tonal response breaks down to Treble: 8; Midrange 4; and Bass: 7, with a resonant peak at 7.1KHz, resulting in a more open, airy tone more suited to bands with multiple guitars.

I tested the Alternative 8 in a Gibson Custom Shop Les Paul Standard through my Marshall DSL50 all-valve half stack. I usually keep the Marshall’s gain at about half way, and goose the input with an overdrive pedal for a little extra fullness and body depending on the guitar and pickups. This certainly wasn’t needed with the Alternative 8. This pickup is loud, chunky and gutsy. It’s ideally suited for single guitar bands, especially when the guitarist really wants to be noticed. The tone is bright and full, with lots of midrange ‘poke,’ making it a great pickup for lead playing. The dynamic response is a little squashed at medium gain levels – picking harder doesn’t increase the volume, but it fills out the bottom end of the tone response nicely. The pickup’s natural compression also makes it great for legato techniques.

Options include a nickel or gold plated cover, if you don’t like the exposed coil look, and the pickup can be ordered in standard or trembucker size (more info here), the latter spaced for Fender-style or Floyd Rose-equipped guitars. It’s important to buy the right size for your guitar, because if the pole pieces of the pickup don’t line up with the strings, you risk a cataclysmic mismatch in volume from one string to another.

This is one of those pickups that rewards the player for putting in a little more detail and finesse. Every little phrasing choice is presented loud and proud for the audience to hear, which can be either intimidating or liberating depending on your approach. But if you have the guts to take on this monster, it’s well worth the tonal payoff.

NEWS: Wizard Modern Classic

Here’s a press release for ya. I’m busy as all get-out today so I don’t have time to inject my usual charm into this intro.

Wizard Amplification Unleashes Their Modern Classic on the World
April 21, 2009

Advertisement Wizard Amplification now offers their Modern Classic, hand wired point to point, all tube guitar amplifier directly online for purchase. The customer will deal directly with the manufacture that has been delivering the real tone behind the scenes for decades. All Modern Classics are built at time of order and are available in a 50 watt 2 x 12 combos or 50 and 100 watt head configurations.

Wizard Amplification has been building guitar and bass amplifiers 20 years for some of the most influential and prestigious guitar heroes of our time. The Modern Classic offers you the soft, sweet tones of a vintage amp and at the stomp of a switch, the blistering leads of today’s high gain units.

Wizard Modern Classic features include:

Two inputs (high and low sensitivity) ideal for amplifier ganging.
Foot-switching capabilities take you from vintage clean to modern high gain with extended bottom end response.
Lead Gain with Pull Channel Select, Lead Master with Pull Lead Boost, Rhythm with Pull Rhythm Boost, Treble, Middle, Bass and Presence controls.
4-8-16 ohm impedance selector.
White or Gold graphics
E34L powered 50, 4T50, and 100 watt models.
Also available in a 2×12″ combo.

Cabinets are of 100% Baltic birch in construction with recessed steel handles, high quality speaker mounting hardware and aluminum jack plates with Switchcraft jacks. High grade Tolex covering add to the ruggedness that make all Wizard Speaker Cabinets a thing of beauty and road worthiness.

Available in a variety of speaker configurations and power handling options, Wizard Speaker Cabinets reproduce warm and smooth characteristics combined with solid punch and clarity.

First introduced at the 1995 NAMM musical industry trade show, the Wizard Modern Classic head & combo have grown in popularity far beyond the highest of expectations, now all Wizard Amplification products will be available factory direct to the consumers.

For more information, visit their web site at http://www.wizardamplification.com/.

NEW GEAR DAY: E-Bow

I’ve read about E-Bows for years – stretching back to when Eddie Van Halen used one for the intro to ‘Spanked’ on Van Halen’s For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge – and when the Australian government decided to kickstart the economy with a $900 cash bonus to 7 million or so taxpayers, I figured it was time to splash out on some goodies. So yesterday I marched into Allans Music on Bourke St and let Australia buy me an E-Bow.

If you haven’t seen one before, an E-Bow is an electronic bow for guitarists which uses ‘direct string synthesis’ (otherwise known as some sort of sorcery involving magnets) to make the note sustain forever – or at least until the 9v battery runs out. You place it directly over the string and let it do its thing. There’s a standard mode as well as a harmonic mode which creates a heavenly overtone.

I’m still learning to use the E-Bow so I’m not going to sully this post with a poorly performed demonstration. But go to the E-Bow website and check out this page for some cool demonstration files which show that the E-Bow can be used for a lot more than just holding notes.

One limitation of the E-Bow is that it only works with single notes. If you wish to sustain chords, you might want to check out the Fernandes Sustainer or the Sustainiac.

Sustaining devices on eBay:
E-Bow
Sustainiac
Fernandes Sustainer