GET YOUR MOTOR RUNNIN’
All the classic SG elements are present and accounted for here: mahogany body with mahogany neck joined at the 19th fret, 24 3/4” scale length. Ebony fretboard, 22 frets, two humbuckers, separate volume and tone controls. Yep, sounds like an SG alrighty. But this bad boy has been pimped out and tricked up. The tuners are locking, metal button Grovers, and their chrominess is matched by a massive tailpiece assembly, shiny Dunlop strap locks, and equally shiny pickups and that little trapezoidal cover most SGs have between the neck and the neck pickup.
The volume pots are of the push-pull variety, for coil tapped humbucking tones, and the volume controls are fully independent, unlike most such designs which are interactive. The pots are also fitted with high pass tone filter capacitors to maintain the high frequencies at any volume setting – ideal, if not crucial, for those who like to run their gain levels from the guitar. A Neutrik locking cable jack is also installed as stock, so there’s absolutely no chance of ripping the cord out of the guitar during a drunken onstage stumble.
Back over at the neck end of things, we have over/under dual truss rod reinforcement, a Graph Tech nut, and a round and chunky classic ’61 SG neck profile.
HEAD OUT ON THE HIGHWAY
The 490R neck and 498T bridge humbuckers are a little hotter in output than your standard classic Gibson PAF, and they suit this hotted up guitar perfectly. If it’s Angus tone you’re after, it’s here. If it’s Clapton ‘woman tone’ you want, roll the tone down on the neck pickup and have at it. But it’s the coil tapped sounds that really won me over. The ability to summon single coil-spirited tones as well as muscular rock ones is a highly coveted attribute, and many try and fail. But the combination of coil tap and high pass filter results in heavenly edge-of-clean Rolling Stones style vintage tones, immediately transformable into a snarling metal firestorm just by flipping back to humbucker while simultaneously cranking the guitar volume back up.
Action on the test guitar was extremely low, and while it could have used a decent set-up to get the most out of the neck (there was noticeable fret buzz at a few points – definitely setup-related though, rather than a construction issue), even at such a minimal string height the unplugged tone was almost freakishly loud, especially smack bang in the centre of the midrange frequencies. This translated well to the SG GT’s muscular tones, and made it a fun guitar to play unplugged on the sofa too.
You could spend hundreds pimping out an SG with the features this baby comes with as a stock instrument. Or you could pick up an SG GT and give it a test drive and save yourself a lot of hassle. Oh by the way, I’ve seen this model in the hands of one of those Jonas brothers all the kids are crazy about. But don’t let that put ya off.
Locking metal button Grover tuners
Neutrik locking cable jack
Dunlop strap locks
Classic ’61 SG neck
Over/under dual truss rod
Push/pull pots for coil-tapped 490R & 498T humbuckers
Fully independent volume controls
High pass tone filter
Graph Tech nut
Chrome/Mirror Trapezoid inlays
Colors: Daytona Blue, Candy Orange, Muscle Green, Phantom Black, Candy Apple
Check out this great video from DiMarzio of Andy Timmons talking about his Ibanez AT100 guitar and DiMarzio AT1 humbucker (as well as showing some love for the DiMarzio Cruiser pickup too).
Y’know, just last night I was thinking “It’s about time I went through another SRV-listening phase.” Then this morning I found this in my inbox:
On June 30, 2009, the legendary Stax Records label will reissue the digitally remastered version of In Session – the Albert King & Stevie Ray Vaughan 1983 live album that reached #1 on Billboard’s blues album chart, selling more than 300,000 units. The reissue includes three sets of liner notes by Fantasy and Stax Records’ Bill Belmont, and journalists Lee Hildebrand and Dan Forte.
Among blues guitarists and fans of the craft, Albert King was the master. Austin, Texas’ Stevie Ray Vaughan, 31 years King’s junior, exploded onto the scene in 1983, first as guitarist on David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” followed by his own smash hit “Pride and Joy.” When the two met onstage at Antone’s in 1973, they formed an ongoing friendship. This bond culminated with the December 1983 live recording titled In Session. This remastered version of the 1983 performance by two blues legends is the only known recording of them playing together.
Wha? When did this happen? DiMarzio is releasing two signature John Petrucci pickups, the brutally-named Crunch Lab bridge pickup and Liquifire. The only place I can seem to find any mention of these yet is on the DiMarzio website, so I guess they’re super-ultra new. And they’re available in both 6 and 7 string versions!
Crunch Lab details:
One thing has stayed consistent throughout John Petrucci’s long and successful career: the DiMarzio pickups in his guitars. John has been pushing the envelope of progressive metal since the late eighties, and the new DiMarzio Crunch Lab Bridge Model ensued from our most recent collaboration with John. He used it throughout Dream Theater’s tenth studio album, Black Clouds and Silver Linings.
John swears this is the best live and studio sound he has ever had, and the name says it all crunch is what it’s all about with a big, tight sound that’s neither muddy nor thin.
Tech Talk: The Crunch Lab is noteworthy (bad pun alert!) for what it doesn’t do – it’s not a screamer, and it’s not about thundering lows. Its physical appearance is identical to the D Sonic, but the internal design is a lot different. It’s louder, and the highs have more depth. The lows and mids are more open, and this is crucial for playing chords with body and presence through a gained–out amp. The voicing of the pickup is also different enough to the point that John prefers the Crunch Lab to be installed in almost all of his guitars (including the JP Bari) with the solid bar toward the neck, regardless of the guitar’s tuning.
One thing has stayed consistent throughout John Petrucci’s long and successful career: the DiMarzio pickups in his guitars. John has been pushing the envelope of progressive metal since the late eighties, and the DiMarzio LiquiFire Neck Model resulted from our most recent collaboration with John. He used it throughout Dream Theater’s tenth studio album, Black Clouds and Silver Linings.
John swears this is the best live and studio sound he has ever had. He wanted a neck pickup with a flowing, singing solo tone when used with a heavily overdriven amp and a clear chord sound with a clean amp setting.
Tech Talk: Since the mid 1990s, John’s neck pickup sound has been based on either the standard Air Norton or the custom version in his Ernie Ball guitars. The LiquiFire has several significant differences. Its treble response is warmer and smoother while bass response is tighter and brighter. The total sound has a more focused voice.
Read my interview with DiMarzio pickup designer Steve Blucher here.
06/2009 – Joe Satriani joins the Marshall family!
Marshall Amplification plc is pleased to announce that Joe Satriani will be using a Marshall backline for new group Chickenfoot. The super group, made up of four rock legends, started the European leg of their world tour on June 20th and will be heading back over to the States in August to continue .
Joe contacted Marshall Amplification prior to the first show at the Nova Rock Festival in Austria in order to check out some new Marshall gear. Marshall took some amps to the rehearsals, and Joe loved the tone of the JVM410H.
Joe used the JVM410H for the show at the Nova Rock Festival and will be visiting the Marshall factory this week to have a look around and try out different speaker cabinets.
Chickenfoot recently released their debut album and has taken the States by storm, going in at number 4 on the Billboard Album charts. For more information on Chickenfoot, check out www.chickenfoot.us
WHAT?!? So what of the Peavey JSX series? Is this why the JSX 50 hasn’t come out yet? Or is Joe just using Marshall because in some countries it can be really hard to find Peavey gear, whereas Marshalls are pretty much the standard when it comes to renting backline? I mean, I’m pretty well travelled within the guitar world here in Australia and I’ve only ever seen two Peavey JSX amps, and they were on stage with Joe. So is Joe leaving Peavey, or is he just using Marshall for convenience? I guess only time will tell.
GRAAR! Did I scare ya? Good, cos this Schecter Hellraiser Solo-6 is one mean son-of-a-fish, and I had to do something to set the mood for the rest of the review. While the Solo-6 Classic reviewed here is a classy, refined instrument which excels at clean voicings, this Hellraiser cousin is built to be a brutal death machine from hell.
First of all, the Hellraiser Solo-6 has a lot of the features you’d expect for a single cutaway solid body guitar: The body is mahogany with a maple top (quilted if you choose the Black Cherry finish, otherwise there’s Gloss Black or Gloss White). The 3-piece mahogany neck has a rosewood fretboard and 24 (not 22 like you might expect) X-Jumbo frets. The inlays are demonically evil gothic crosses, and the body is ringed with abalone binding. That’s right, this guitar is so evil that it sacrifices sea creatures and decorates itself with their remains. Creepy.
However if you’re looking for a stock-standard brutal metal axe design there are a few construction surprises to throw off your preconceptions (and laugh at them derisively from a throne of evil): the scale length is a manly 25.5”; the neck joins the body with a very ergonomic Ultra Access cut which flows through diagonally, and there are a pair of EMG humbuckers. That’s an 81-TW in the bridge and an 89 in the neck. Both are splittable into single coils, if you want to get all pretty for a few bars before unleashing the brutal hellfire once again.
UNLEASH THE BEAST
The first thing I did with the Hellraiser Solo-6 (after stocking up on wooden stakes, silver bullets and garlic) was to set my Marshall to ‘kill’ and make sure the bridge pickup was engaged in full humbucker mode. Of course your Metallica ‘Black Album’ tones are here in abundance, as are your Dethklok death metal sounds. This is a muscular, tough sounding guitar with great note definition, and unlike some axes which seem to beg for mercy if you pick too hard, this one practically pleads for you to give it the walloping of a lifetime. I couldn’t resist adding a little delay and chorus, tuning to C-G-C-G-C-E and blasting out a few Devin Townsend riffs circa Ocean Machine. In fact, the Devin Townsend comparison is a good one because in single coil mode the Hellraiser Solo-6 does a good job of approximating his earthier ‘Terria’ era tones as well.
In humbucker mode the neck pickup lashes out hyperspeed arpeggios with clarity, power and articulation. Flip to single coil mode and the sound becomes sharper and grittier. No matter which mode you select with either pickup, there’s lots of treble and bass, and great sustain.
RUN FOR COVER
That I managed to make it through this review without the Hellraiser Solo-6 stalking me like the dreaded Chupacabra and dragging me into the bushes to feast on my innards is indeed surprising. This is a well-made, intense, brutal, powerful guitar with a voice – nay, a mind – of its own and a lot of musical versatility, especially for those who dwell in the shadows, emerging periodically to murderlize the ears of the weeping masses with an onslaught of metal power.
I’ve been a Living Colour fan ever since about 1990 or so when I saw the video for Type on an Australian show called Countdown Revolution. I’ve played ‘Love Rears Its Ugly Head’ countless times in various cover bands and bar jams. I’ve shredded my fingers to the bone on licks from ‘Ignorance Is Bliss’ and banged my head to ‘This Little Pig.’ I think I listened to Collide-O-Scope for about a month solid. Finally saw them live in 2006 and while I didn’t get to meet them, Vernon gave a few guitar picks to my buddy Steve from Tempus and he gave one to me, so it has pride of place with my Steve Vai and Brian Molko picks. And Vernon Reid is one of the nicest guys on Twitter. Follow him here.
So it should come as no surprise that I’m a little dizzy with excitement about the forthcoming new Living Colour album.
LIVING COLOUR To Release ‘THE CHAIR IN THE DOORWAY’
World Tour To Commence Fall 2009
New York/London — Living Colour will release their first new studio album in five years entitled The Chair In The Doorway on September 15 via Megaforce Records. The legendary downtown NYC rock band, who exploded out of CBGB’s in the late ’80s, landing all over MTV, the cover of Rolling Stone and stadium stages around the world with their Grammy Award-winning, multi-platinum debut album Vivid, are back and “fierce” as ever.
Original members Vernon Reid, Corey Glover, Will Calhoun and (since 1993) Doug Wimbish gathered at Sono Studios outside of Prague in The Czech Republic during the fall of 2008 and spring of 2009 to write and record what would become The Chair In The Doorway. The results stretch from the modern soul anthem “Behind The Sun” to the politically-charged, heavy rock of “DecaDance” to the sacred steel blues of “Bless Those.” The artwork for The Chair In The Doorway was compiled from thousands of contest entries by fans from around the world.
“We feel like this is the best record we’ve made yet and we couldn’t be more excited to be releasing it with the legendary Megaforce Records,” says guitarist Vernon Reid. “Some of our favorite bands were or are Megaforce artists, Metallica, Bad Brains, Anthrax, Black Crowes, so it’s an honor to be part of a label with a great legacy.”
Living Colour will announce plans for a world tour shortly. With dates set to begin in September, it will include their first North American tour in four years along with performances in South America, Europe, Australia and Asia.
Having helped to pave the way for a number of contemporary African-American artists to follow in their wake, ranging from Rage Against The Machine to Lenny Kravitz to Ben Harper, with a multi-dimensional sound that drew equally from Jimi Hendrix, Bad Brains, Talking Heads and Ornette Coleman, the success of Living Colour broke down the color barriers in rock music. Guitarist and founding member Vernon Reid also founded the Black Rock Coalition to use his influence to further this cause.
Discovered by Mick Jagger who produced their first demo and later offered them an opening slot with The Rolling Stones, Living Colour would go on to create a repertoire that includes a multitude of classic songs, including “Cult Of Personality,” “Elvis Is Dead,” “Open Letter To A Landlord,” “Glamour Boys” and “Love Rears Its Ugly Head.” With The Chair In The Doorway, the fifth album of their storied career, Living Colour expands the scope of their timeless body of work and, in the process, proves vital as ever.
1. Burned Bridges
2. The Chair
4. Young Man
6. Behind The Sun
7. Bless Those
8. Hard Times
9. Taught Me
10. Out Of Mind
11. Not Tomorrow
Photo by Bill Bernstein
So I was just down at Allans Music on Bourke St here in Melbourne and I noticed in the window this beauty: A new Ibanez PGM100RE, the first of two Paul Gilbert models reissued by Ibanez this year (the other being the not-too-long-ago-discontinued PGM300). The pink of the painted F holes is a little lighter than the original, but these are such stunning guitars that while I was looking at it, a grandma who looked like she had no interest whatsover in the guitaristic pursuits strolled over to admire it. One of the things I dig about this model is that it’s very similar in overall design and colour to my beloved RG370, which I wrote about on the Jemsite blog.
One thing I don’t like though is the price tag – AUD$5,495. With an exchange rate of 1 AUD = 0.80 USD at the time of writing, that puts this axe at US$4,400. OUCH. Granted, the chaps at Allans would probably be open to a little friendly haggling if you asked nicely, but still, the US list price is $US2,665, which would put the street price at… well, I don’t know, but a lot less than five and a half grand AUD.
Then again, these are pretty hard to find in Australia and there are a lot of factors involved in setting the price here, so it’s simply not practical to convert the US list price into Australian dollars and expect that to be the local price. So before any Aussies decide to buy a PGM100RE from overseas instead, I’d like to urge them to support the local industry and buy locally – otherwise we’ll see less and less of these cool reissues and limited editions on the racks of our local stores. I’ve had a lot of great dealings with Australian Ibanez importer Australis over the years (they went absolutely above and beyond the call of duty in helping me get my hands on a Jem7VWH – thanks Scott!) and I’m sure they’re keeping the price as low as can reasonably be expected. Plus they brought Paul Gilbert down here on a clinic tour last year which gives them extra awesome-points in my book.
If you’re reading this and you happen to run an Australian guitar store that has the PGM100RE in stock, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll update this post with a list of stores where Aussies can find these awesome axes.
More info on the PGM100 here.
My buddies over at Riot recently sent me this press release:
FREE REIGN (DALLAS COWBOYS BAND) SIGN WORLD WIDE DEAL WITH RIOT ENTERTAINMENT
NFL Superstars become Heavier Than Metal….
There is a new name in Heavy Metal! Free Reign featuring the Dallas Cowboy’s # 75 Marc Colombo, # 71 Cory Procter and # 70 Leonard Davis along with local guitar virtuoso Justin Chapman have signed a world wide deal with Australia’s Riot Entertainment. Their upcoming debut EP is set for release in the fall.
Free Reign has been branded ‘Heavier than Metal’ for their intense musical style as well as their intimidating stage presence. They bring something unique to this powerful genre.
“This is an amazing opportunity for Riot and to further establish our name internationally,” said Riot Owner / CEO John Howarth. “Free Reign is a band with massive potential. There has been an enormous buzz surrounding them since they appeared on the scene a few months ago. Free Reign has already been flooded with endorsements. Their marketing potential is limitless. These guys are already huge sports stars, but they have shown they have the talent to diversify. I am positive that Metal fans will embrace Free Reign and see them take it to the next level. These are exciting times for Riot and we are excited to see what the future holds. When the opportunity arose to work with Free Reign I jumped to it! This is something that has never been done before and this band is a long term project. It’s also been great working with John Gomez of TQ Management putting this deal to bed”.
“The members of Free Reign and myself are equally excited to be working with John Howarth and his team at Riot Entertainment” said Free Reign Manager John Gomez. “Riot has a great track record and they work hard for their Artists, we all look forward to a bright future together and are honoured to call Riot our new home.”
Riot is also the new home for Fozzy, fronted by WWE Wrestling superstar Chris Jericho and featuring Stuck Mojo mastermind Rich Ward.
“I would love to see a double bill with these bands, imagine that! No security needed!” suggested John Howarth. “I know that would be one hell of a gig. Imagine WWE, NFL, Fozzy and Free Reign fans all under the one roof; only the strong would survive!”
Free Reign play their last gig before the NFL Season on Saturday 27TH June at the House of Blues in Dallas!