On Saturday Shire will be offering discounts of up to 40%, with giveaways from Ibanez and Ashton, and a number of one off cost price specials (see them here). One of the big big bargains at the moment is an Ibanez RG770 20th anniversary reissue for $A1,650, down from $A2,995 (to convert that into your local currency, click here). There will also be the very rare and expensive Hoshino Gakki 100th Anniversary model serial #1 on display.
There will be Ibanez guitars signed by Paul Gilbert, Fear Factory and Slipknot’s Mick Thompson. Shire will also have the new Ashton Kombi on-site with Guitar Hero running out of the back.
Shire Music is a full-line, independent dealer in the Sutherland Shire, in southern Sydney. They carry a full range of instruments: Fender Custom Shop Master Dealer, Ibanez Prestige Dealer, Gibson 5 Star Dealer, Maton Custom Shop, Warwick Pro Dealer, Orange, Vox, ESP, Cort, Cole Clark, Gretsch, Jackson, Guild, Marshall and Bugera.
And also they’ve been very cool to me on Twitter so I thought I’d give them this free plug on I Heart Guitar. :)
Miranda New South Wales 2228
Phone: 02 9525 8700
Int. Phone: 61 2 9525 8700
Fax: 02 9525 4600
Future US, the company behind Guitar World, has launched Guitar Aficionado, a new magazine aimed at, let’s just say it, rich folk who can afford mega-gazillion-dollar guitars as well as luxury booty like fine handcrafted watches, solid gold toilets and a real working Millennium Falcon. The magazine will feature collections of prestigious guitars and articles about fine boutique-quality instruments and amplifiers. It will also include articles about non-guitar-related stuff like luxury holidays and executive trinkets like snazzy automobiles and the like. Essentially it’s Colbert Platinum for guitarists.
Is this magazine for me? Technically, nope! I can already imagine Guitar Aficionado being full of advertisements for $20,000 guitar picks carved from velociraptor talon, and strings hewn from the beard-hair of Neptune himself. But am I going to read it? You betchya. Just because I’m never going to afford a ’59 Les Paul (actually I’d prefer a ’62 Strat) doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy reading about this stuff. On the other hand, I’m not particularly interested in the luxury holiday articles. At least, not until I can actually afford to go on a luxury holiday, so if you want to go ahead and buy a bunch of guitars through my site’s affiliate links maybe I can earn enough in commissions to at least take a day off to have my nails done or something.
Issue #1 of Guitar Aficionado is on sale now with a cover price of $7.99.
Here’s something I whipped up a few months ago just fer laffs.
In the video I’m using an Ibanez RG550MXX 20th Anniversary reissue in roadflare red (#1083 out of 1987), a Marshall DSL50 head, AxeTrak isolated speaker cabinet, MXR/CAE Boost/Overdrive, and MXR Carbon Copy Delay.
The Charvel Surfcaster debuted in 1992 and at the time it was a bit of an anachronism. A little too early to cash in on the grunge-inspired attraction to vintage designs, and a little too late for the kind of clean-toned, ‘The Cure’ type tones it excelled at, the Surfcaster’s most notable user was probably Anthrax’s Scott Ian, who used one for the clean tones in the track ‘Black Lodge’ from The Sound Of White Noise and was pictured with one on the cover of a 1993 edition of Guitar World. These semi-hollow, lipstick pickup-toting axes never quite got the respect they deserved, although those who did buy them evidently loved them because it’s quite rare to see them on the used market. When you do find them, expect to pay around USD$1,000. The Surfcaster design lived on until 2005, by which time it had been shifted to sister company Jackson, with production moved from Japan to India. Personally I’d love to see Surfcasters return to regular production under Charvel.
I love these retro designs. The SGV series was probably a bit to wild for most players, with its slight upside-down melted Rickenbacker bass look and unconventional whammy bridge which worked great when you gave it a little TLC but was maybe a little too high maintenance for some. The SGV-800 (and the more upscale SGV-1200) had a pair of P90-style single coils which were fat and growly. The SGV-700 (and lower-priced little buddy the SGV-300) rocked a smaller single coil and a very unique humbucker. The retro/modern look wasn’t lost on Meegs from Coal Chamber, who used a black custom shop SGV with twin humbuckers, a fixed bridge, drop-tuning lever on the low E string, and number-shaped fretboard position markers, Jason Becker-style. You can find SGVs on eBay and in pawnshops pretty regularly and while they were underappreciated in their day, a little set-up know-how makes them a bargain well worth seeking out today.
Washburn Steve Stevens
These models were advertised somewhat heavily in the guitar magazines when Stevens was a member of Motley Crue singer Vince Neil’s solo band circa 1993. I remember seeing the truss rod adjustment at the base of the neck, as well as the 2-humbucker, 1 volume, 1 tone control layout and thinking “Dude’s trying to make a Strat-style guitar out of an Ernie Ball Music Man Edward Van Halen.” Funnily enough, by the time the Vince Neil tour rolled around, Stevens was playing… Ernie Ball Music Man Edward Van Halens. There were three versions of Washburn’s Steve Stevens signature guitar: two Chicago custom shop-built models (the SS80 and SS100) and the Korean-made SS40. The SS100 had a white front with a Frankenstein graphic and black back and sides, while the SS80 was solid black. Pickups were a set of slanted Seymour Duncan JBs, and the body wood was poplar. Check out this old-school Washburn advertisement.
CLICK HERE to see Yamaha SGV guitars on eBay.
Fender Tommy Emmanuel Telecaster
Tommy Emmanuel is well known for his amazing acoustic playing, but those who started following Tommy’s career in recent years might be surprised to know he once had a signature Fender Telecaster. Very similar in design to Fender’s Nashville Telecaster, this Mexico-made axe was made exclusively for the Australian market, and it added a Strat-style middle single coil to the traditional Telecaster layout. It also had a six saddle bridge with old-school saddles (not those big flat ones like you see on Deluxe series Fenders), and a blue finish which recalled, without directly copying, Tommy’s blue Fender Custom Shop Telecaster, which had three black Bartolini single coils and white body binding. Tommy’s main Telecaster squeeze though was a gorgeous 66 Custom, also with Bartolonis. See that one here. (Fender Tommy Emmanuel Telecaster photo from the Fendertalk forums).
Ibanez Steve Lukather (SL1010SL)
Steve Lukather’s current Ernie Ball Music Man signature is so kickass a guitar that it’s easy to forget that in the early-mid 80s he had a signature Ibanez. Part of the Roadstar II series, Luke’s model featured a carved birdseye maple top on a basswood body, a maple neck with ebony fretboard, two Ibanez humbuckers (a Super 58 in the neck and an SL Special – essentially an overwound Super 58 – in the bridge position), 22 frets, subtle cross inlays, coil splitting performed via the volume and tone pots, and the much-maligned Pro Rock’r bridge, which had a locking nut and fine tuners but wasn’t as stable as Ibanez’s later Edge series models.
I’ve been a bit too busy this week to follow the whole Chickenfoot live fiesta, but luckily Lewis from Japan Guitar Journeys has kept on top of it. Check out this post on his blog, where you’ll find live performances of Down The Drain, Montrose’s Bad Motor Scooter, Soap On A Rope, Running Out, Future In The Past, Bitten By The Wolf, Deep Purple’s Highway Star, and Sexy Little Thing.
Here’s Sexy Little Thing to get you started.
Want a vintage 1982 Ibanez TS-808 Overdrive pedal? Yeah, me too. Well you have the chance to win one and also contribute to the great pool of guitar knowledge with Tonepedia.com
Here’s some info from Tonepedia:
Here is your chance to win an Original (not a reissue) 1982 Ibanez Ts-808 Overdrive pedal- The most desirable overdrive pedal ever created. Stevie Ray Vaughan used it- and now you can too!
Listen to sound samples we made with it here.
All you have to do is to upload sound samples to www.Tonepedia.com.
How do I do that?
1) Visit our site and register.
2) Add your guitar gear to your personal profile.
3) Upload Mp3 sound samples of the gear you added.
The contest ends on June 15th 2009.
The winners will be announced on the 4th of July
What is Tonepedia.com?
Tonepedia.com is a user generated website for electric guitars and gear.
Its main feature is audio sound samples with detailed information about the elements (guitar, amplifier, speakers etc.) that were used to create the sample.
It\’s completely free and anyone can register and contribute.
The user with the best sound sample will win the big prize (The TS808)!
The five runner ups will receive Dean Markley strings!
Remember! The more different samples you upload, the more chance you have to win!
How are we going to decide on the winner?
The sound samples will be judged using the following criteria:
* Playability, sound quality, etc.
* Popularity: Number of views and comments.
* Text and information used to describe the relevant gear and sound sample.
One of the big surprises for most visitors to the NAMM convention in Anaheim, California this year was the revelation that Ernie Ball Music Man were releasing a new sub-brand called Sterling which would recreate some of the iconic company’s best-known designs, while keeping costs down by using Asian manufacturing facilities. “Hang on,” I hear you saying. “Wasn’t that the point of those O.L.P EBMM copies?” Well yeah. Those O.L.Ps (which are quite playable and well-made for the price point) are pitched at the lower end of the market, while Sterling By Music Man is aimed more towards the middle (although the introductory prices seem extremely reasonable). So where does the additional money go, and what kind of guitar do you get for it?
OUT OF THE DARKNESS AND INTO THE LIGHT
The Silhouette is one of Ernie Ball Music Man’s longest standing models, and over the years variations have been used by no less a guitarist than the great Keith Richards, shredder Vinnie Moore and Good Charlotte’s Benji Madden. That’s a pretty wide range of guitar royalty right there, and it gives you an idea of just how adaptable the Silhouette is. The basswood Silo20 has a humbucker-single-humbucker configuration, 5-way pickup selector switch (positions 2 and 4 split the humbucker’s coils into singles in conjunction with the middle pickup), volume and tone controls and a string-through hardtail bridge. The maple neck is attached with a 5-bolt joint, has 24 frets on a maple fretboard, and is topped off with locking tuners.
Construction is very solid for a guitar in this price range. Particular care has been taken with the fret ends. They’re not quite as finessed as a USA-built top shelf Ernie Ball Music Man instrument, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a rough spot along the fretboard edge. Combined with the asymmetrical neck carve, which slopes in towards the treble strings (picture an aerofoil kind of shape but fatter) and the result is a very comfortable, playable instrument which seems to mould to your body.
I AM THE MUSIC MAN
Sterling, meet Marshall. The words kinda sound like a couple of Connecticut guys being introduced at the yacht club, but the sonic results certainly don’t. The Sterling-designed pickups, which are based on Alnico magnets, are very hot and powerful. There’s a kind of dark vibe, with powerful bass and almost fuzzy highs, while with the exception of a little upper-midrange spike they sound quite scooped in the mids. This seems to emphasise the percussiveness of the tone, making the Silo20 a great choice for palm-muted pop-punk riffs or, with higher gain levels, all-out chugging metal. Digging in with the pick brings out some cool overtones, and the excellent upper fret access really shows off how good these pickups sound when you move up to the widdly end of the neck. The high end gets tamed a little and the pickups positively scream, in the best possible way. The single coil is definitely more spanky than sweet, and is especially good for country, funk and soul sounds. The output is high enough that it can hang with the humbuckers without breaking a sweat.
INVEST IN THE STERLING
The Sterling brand is a bold move for Ernie Ball Music Man but I think they’ve got it right. Is playing the Silo20 like playing a USA-made Silhouette? Nope. But taken on its own merits it’s a very well made, great-sounding mid-price guitar that gives a slice of the Ernie Ball Music Man experience without breaking the bank.
At the dawn of the 90s, Eddie Van Halen aligned with Ernie Ball Music Man to develop his first signature guitar. Though he was previously associated with his self-cobbled creations and some Kramer models, he’d never put his name on a commercially available axe, and the whole guitar world was looking. I’m sure at the time that the expectation was of a single-pickup Silhouette with a Floyd Rose tremolo, single volume knob and a red finish with black and white stripes. So when they unveiled the Edward Van Halen model, with its quilted maple top, Les Paul-meets-Telecaster shape and twin humbuckers, it was quite controversial.
BE A SPORT
Eddie’s association with Ernie Ball Music Man didn’t last, but his model lives on (with subtle changes) as the AXIS, and it’s upon this model’s Super Sport variation that the Sterling By Music Man AX20 is based. The AX20 has the same twin humbucker layout with a Music Man-designed fixed bridge, a 5-way pickup selector switch, and controls for both volume and tone (the Edward Van Halen model only had a single volume control, which was capped with a knob that said TONE, the joke being that when you turn it all the way up you get good tone. Arf). The body, as with the AXIS, is basswood with a maple cap. The decision to use basswood for the Edward Van Halen model was quite controversial back in the day: a relatively flat-sounding wood, it wasn’t typically associated with high-end guitars until Ibanez started using it in Steve Vai’s Jem models in 1987.
AXIS OF …AWESOME
Having reviewed an actual Ernie Ball Music Man AXIS last month in Mixdown Magazine, the first thing I did with the AX20 was give it the ol’ once over to see how closely it measured up. The neck shape is surprisingly similar, the 5-bolt neck joint is very stable and comfortable, and the fretwork is quite respectable. There didn’t seem to be any finishing blemishes or anything of the sort. Unplugged, the AX20 has a little bit of that steely high end and midrange poke that you tend to find on a new guitar that’s not yet broken in, and which seems more present on some new guitars than others. Now, being a big fan of the DiMarzio pickups in the AXIS, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the AX20. My fears were soon dashed though, because these humbuckers sound great. I imagine they’re the same design as the ones in the Silo20 model (see my review of that model here), but the addition of the maple cap on the AX20 adds more midrange and alters the characteristic of the high end compared to the Silo20. The result is a high-output pickup which screams with harmonics and has a powerful, cutting pick attack. The neck pickup sounds full but still has a nice sizzle, and the bridge unit… well it sounds pretty darn close to the famous ‘brown sound’ – certainly closer than one could be forgiven for expecting. By the way, the pickup selections are: bridge humbucker; bridge and neck (single coil); bridge and neck (humbucker); neck (parallel – kinda like having 2 single coils), neck (humbucker). The single coil modes are snappy and funky. For non name-brand pickups these units are pretty damn special.
AX YOURSELF: IS THIS THE GUITAR FOR YOU?
The AX20 is a great guitar for the money. In fact it’s a great guitar for any money. The playability and construction aren’t quite as finessed as its USA-made daddy, but the tones are very complex, it looks sharp as all get-out, and it’s very easy to play. I feel it’s especially important to point out this: often when one buys a mid-priced guitar with proprietary pickups the first thought is ‘what pickups am I gonna replace these with?’ Well you instantly save yourself a few hundred bucks with the AX20 because it already sounds that good. Is it as good as an Ernie Ball Music Man AXIS? Nope. Does it feel like one? Well the Sterling’s neck feels a little slicker and more mass-produced, and the fretwork isn’t quite as nice as the AXIS, but the similarities are striking in terms of neck profile and overall playing experience. The AX20 and the AX40 trem version probably aren’t going to steal away any sales from the AXIS, and in a side-to-side comparison the AXIS still of course comes out on top – with that kind of pedigree that’s a given – but the AX20 comes across as a better guitar than it needs to be for the price range it’s competing in, and it more than adequately fills the gap between the cheaper OLP copies of Ernie Ball Music Man designs, and the real thing.
Just spotted this video review of the Dan Armstrong AMD100 guitar from Fat Tone Guitars. Think of this as a wood version of the ADA6 I reviewed recently.
Steve from Fat Tone Guitars deserves extra points for playing the Ziggy Stardust and All The Young Dudes riffs in this video.
Available now on iTunes is Dream Theater’s new cover of Rainbow’s ‘Stargazer.’ CLICK HERE to buy it.
The new Dream Theater album, Black Clouds & Silver Linings, will be released by Roadrunner on June 23.
CLICK HERE to order the standard edition from Amazon.com or the ad to the right to order the 3-disc special edition.
There is also a deluxe box set edition of the album, which costs $130.98 at Amazon.com. CLICK HERE to order the deluxe edition from Amazon.com. Here are the details from Dream Theater’s site:
Deluxe Collector’s Edition Box Set (3CD & DVD)
A Nightmare to Remember
A Rite of Passage
The Shattered Fortress
The Best of Times
The Count of Tuscany
6 cover Versions (TBC)
A Nightmare to Remember (Instrumental)
A Rite of Passage (Instrumental)
The Shattered Fortress (Instrumental)
The Best of Times (Instrumental)
The Count of Tuscany (Instrumental)
The Deluxe Collector’s Edition Box Set includes the full album, a CD of instrumental mixes of the album and a CD of six cover songs (the titles of which will be revealed at a later date) plus the following special features:
Stem mixes of standard CD (try your hand at producer with isolated audio tracks of the entire album)
Dream Theater mouse mat
Find a silver foil ticket (100 lucky fans win a Meet & Greet with the band)
Lithograph of cover art, numbered (100 lucky winners will find a litho signed by Hugh Syme)
Limited edition audiophile 180-gram double-LP set with exclusive artwork from Hugh Syme