Monthly Archives: November 2009

NEWS: NIN auctions Gibson, ESP, PRS, Jackson guitars & more

Did you manage to see Nine Inch Nails on their final victory lap before they were retired as a live band (at least in the current form – I’m pretty sure we’ll see them again some day, eventually, and when that day comes everyone will be all like, ‘pfft, what a rip. I paid to see their last tour because it was their last tour, and now they’re touring again? WTF, NIN, WTF? But I digress). Well NIN may be no more but thanks to Trent Reznor’s decision to bail out of the touring game for the time being, there are a hell of a lot of cool NIN-owned/used guitars being sold on eBay at the moment by the band. Check out this ESP Eclipse with artwork from The Fragile.

And what about this killer 1980 Gibson E-2 Explorer, complete with chunky-ass fine tuner tailpiece?

Maybe you need a cool NIN-owned Jackson Soloist in your life? After all, Trent used Jacksons pretty extensively in the early 90s.

Speaking of Jacksons, Rhoads, anyone?

There’s also this surprisingly un-NIN Paul Reed Smith Custom 22 with Roland GK-2A hex pickup…

Or perhaps you’re more into the Les Pauls the band played and destroyed.

CLICK HERE to see these items and other NIN instruments being auctioned on eBay.

NEWS: Be a part of Tommy Lee’s new CD

Just got this link from the kind folks at Roadrunner Australia about Tommy Lee’s new album (good timing after yesterday’s Motley Crue article). It seems Tommy’s taking a cue from Nine Inch Nails in offering unmixed track stems for fans to tweak and remix however they want. But wait! The key difference here is that the stems are from Tommy’s work-in-progress CD, and he might actually end up using your contribution on his album! This could be an awesome way for guitarists to get exposure, or at least a neat way to get free legal backing tracks to jam over!

Here are some details:

Tommy Lee, the staple A list Hollywood rocker, has been working hard on the new Methods Of Mayhem record. What you might not realise is that this is not your everyday, run of the mill record. You can actually be apart of it!

At his website http://www.thepublicrecord.com/, Tommy Lee has been posting up unfinished tracks (called stems), which can be downloaded by you the fan. Then you have free reign to record whatever you want, on whatever instrument over the top of Tommy Lee’s tracks. Once you’ve recorded what you think might make the cut of the record, simply upload and Tommy will do the rest!

Public Mayhem is the fitting title for the new album and Tommy Lee, along with the legendary producer Scott Humprhey, has been updating The Public Record website nearly everyday with video updates showcasing the progress of the album, and the material that has been sent in by fans across the world.

Click here to read Tommy Lee’s letter to Bob Lefsetz, defending The Public Record after being attacked by Lefsetz in the media.

NEWS: New Geisha CD featuring Joe Matera

Geisha – the band founded by Chris Doheny and today featuring occasional I Heart Guitar contributor and all-round rock journalist god Joe Matera and drummer Tom Hosie, is releasing ‘Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,’ an album combing their greatest hits together with some new songs and covers. ‘Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow’ will feature the eight singles the band had between 1985 and 1987 from their two EMI albums ‘Geisha’ and ‘Midnight To Down’ as well as two new songs ‘Birthday’ and ‘Mystery Writer’ (produced by the legendary Tom Werman) and covers of The Beatles ‘Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band’ and Small Faces ‘Tin Soldier.’

Track listing:

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Fools Way
Rainy Day
Part Time Love affair
Girl Like You
Come Together**
Calling Your Name
Normal People
Never Tell You Why
No Second Prize
Nobody’s Angel
Tin Soldier
Mystery Writer*

*Produced by Tom Werman

** Recorded for Geisha’s 1985 self-titled debut album and here, issued for the first on CD.

The album will be released on December 16th by Diamond Dog Records.

Read Joe Matera’s I Heart Guitar guest posts:

A Brief History of Martin Guitars

Joe Matera is also interviewed in Neil Daniels’ book ‘All Pens Blazing – A Heavy Metal Writer’s Handbook’

ISN’T IT TIME YOU CHECKED OUT: Motley Crue with John Corabi

Straight off the bat, lemmie state that I’m not really a fan of Motley Crue. I likes my 80s rock but the Crue were always a little too screechy for my liking, and when you really zeroed in you could hear the sloppiness that they tried to bury with layer upon layer of overdubbing. Guitarist Mick Mars has even admitted this in interviews, saying that what people thought was slapback delay or chorus on his guitar was just the result of messy overdubbage. Whatever – they had some cool songs n’junk, I just never really cared for ‘em.

But wait, have you checked out their self-titled 1994 release? The one that featured John Corabi on lead vocals instead of Vince Neil? Cos if you haven’t, you should. It’s totally badass. They stripped the sound of all the 80s glamminess, replaced it with a bit of 70s Tony Visconti-type glam here and there, and borrowed some guitar tones from Metallica (listen to the Black album and ‘Hooligan’s Holiday’ back to back to see what I mean). The Crue’s producer was, of course, Bob Rock, who in between Dr. Feelgood and this self-titled number was employed by the mighty Metallica machine to turn them into the closest thing the metal world will allow to pop stars. It’s quite obvious that he took back some of what he’d learned with Metallica when it was time to hole up with the Crue for their first (and it turns out, only) album of the grunge era. So the songwriting is dark, the performances are nuanced, the tones are finessed and the arrangements are far more solid than you would expect from the dudes who covered ‘Smoking In The Boys Room.’ The arrangements were helped by the fact that Corabi is a very capable guitarist, freeing up Mick Mars to mess around a little more with orchestration.

The world was never going to accept this album from Motley Crue. For a brief period in the 90s, any reference to or memory of late 80s hard rock was considered vulgar and embarrassing. Die-hard Crue fans didn’t want to accept the band without Vince Neil, while hard rock fans didn’t want to accept Motley Crue, no matter who was at the mic. It’s kinda surreal to now see Motley Crue selling out stadiums, when you consider just how derided their type of music was for a while there.

Even despite the fan reaction, the album reviewed well in Rolling Stone and somehow debuted at #7 on the Billboard charts. It was certified gold, back in the days when people actually bought albums. And today it’s withstood the march of time a lot better than the majority of the bands who mocked the Crue back in the day.

VIDEOS: Hooligan’s Holiday Smoke The Sky

LINK: Amazon.com Motley Crue Store


First off, I don’t know if you can even buy these guitars new any more. I wrote the first version of this review for Mixdown back in 2006, and haven’t seen any of these axes in stores for a while. But maybe this review will help out somebody who stumbles across a used one for sale and needs some more information.

Cort guitars have enjoyed a massive surge in popularity lately. The company, formed by Jack Westheimer and partner Yung H.Park in 1973, was originally established to promote Japanese and South Korean made guitars, which were gaining prominence and reputation at that time. The brand name Cort actually came from the Japanese acoustic guitar brand Cortez, which Westheimer had contracted. When the opportunity arose, the Westheimer and Park took the plunge and went from distributing other company’s guitars to making their own.

Park remains with Cort to this day, and the company’s factory in Incheon, South Korea, has attained a world class reputation not only for the manufacture of Cort guitars, but also guitars for many other top brands. The company has been able to take this design and manufacture experience and incorporate it into their own work, and we’re seeing guitars coming out of Korea today that are every bit as good as the Japanese output of the 1980s. Artists such as Jimi Hendrix’s Band of Gypsies bass player Billy Cox, Steve Vai/Pretenders bass player TM Stevens, Hiram Bullock, session legend Larry Coryell, Blues Brother Matt “Guitar” Murphy, Neil Zaza and Ricky Garcia are all proud Cort users. Several Cort basses were also my instrument of choice when I was teaching bass and guitar at World of Music – I knew I could just reach for a Cort on the wall and chances were it’d be pretty good.

The M200P is a unique hybrid guitar, based on the still-available M200. Its general outline is somewhere between a PRS and a Line6 Variax. The carved agathis body is extremely heavy, and the subtle arch of the fretboard results in a Les Paul style neck pitch. Picking the guitar up from the treble side cutaway, you could be forgiven for thinking you’re holding a set neck guitar, but the M200P is a bolt on. The neck joint itself also feels like a set neck, and it all adds up to making the guitar feel sturdy and resonant.

The 22 fret mahogany neck is just a touch on the smaller side of medium depth. Fretboard width is relatively small, which is a huge benefit for speedy legato techniques and general long-term playing comfort. The tip of the headstock has a small semicircular bite out of it which creates a distinctive shape and creates a contour for the “Designed by Cort Research” logo to follow. The larger screened Cort logo sits between the unbranded tuners, and the model number is stamped on the back of the headstock and on the headstock’s truss rod cover.

A pair of uncovered black humbuckers form part of the M200P’s sonic arsenal, but by far the most impressive inclusion at this price point is the Fishman Powerbridge – a unique addition for the Australian market by special order of distributors Lamberti Bros, and no doubt the ‘P’ added to the M200P name. This little beauty features piezo elements in each of the bridge saddles, connected to a preamp and integrated with the guitar’s existing magnetic pickup system. It’s a huge advantage to have the ability to summon acoustic tones on demand at a gig without having to deal with lugging an acoustic guitar and dealing with feedback woes.

The aforementioned thin neck width, combined with a flattish fretboard radius, the angle of the neck pitch and the subtle carves of the top, contribute to making the guitar easy to play for long periods despite the heavy body weight. The frets are relatively low in profile and highly polished, which further enhances the playing experience. The neck on the review model was perfectly straight and the action was low and buttery, inviting wide bends and slippery smooth slides and position shifts.

The pickups sound quite rich and full, with a decently high output. The bridge humbucker emphasises pick attack and just loves to be pelted with harmonics. The neck humbucker has an almost single coil vibe, but with higher output and no noise. The single coil effect increases the harder you dig the pick into the strings. The middle pickup setting sounds great for vintage Santana style leads or warmly overdriven classic rock rhythms.

Flipping to the Fishman Powerbridge, the M200P yields a very usable approximation of an acoustic guitar tone. By definition piezo pickups can’t replicate the warmth of an acoustic guitar’s body and wood, because they only transfer the string vibration itself, but this particular preamp seems to impart a little warmth, playing down much of the ‘quack factor’ inherent in piezo pickups. It’s interesting to note that when you switch to acoustic mode, the M200P feels like a completely different guitar. I found myself playing it quite differently to when in electric mode, yet still getting just as much out of it. The thickness of the humbuckers gives way to the clean note separation of the piezo, and the tighter than usual grain of the rosewood neck contributes to a rounded tone, free of neck dead spots.

Best of all, though the M200P only features a single output, it’s actually a stereo output combined in a single jack, and using a stereo Y cord you can split the acoustic signal to one amp and the electric signal to another. This is a great way of adding huge amounts of texture, especially in a band with only one guitar, and opens up a whole world of processing tricks. It also allows you to maximise the potential of the piezo tone by sending it to a dedicated acoustic guitar amp or to the mixing desk via an appropriate preamp. This is a great alternative to just using an electric guitar amp’s clean channel, which isn’t designed to reproduce the tonal range of an acoustic guitar.

The M200P is a killer utility guitar, suitable for everything from nu metal to classic rock, Chicago blues to modern FM radio stuff, and that’s even before you flip the switch and turn it into an acoustic capable of covering country, jazz, pop – maybe even classical with a judicious tweak of the tone control. The stereo output is an especially nice touch, and contributes to the M200P being one of the most versatile guitars for the price. You may have a hard time finding one internationally, but if you’re here in Australia and you look hard enough you just might be in luck.

Buy Cort guitars at Green Meanie Guitars – enter the code IHEARTGUITAR for an additional $10 off!

NEWS: Neil Zlozower – ‘Six-String Heroes’ plus book signing

I’m sure we’ve all seen the awesome work of photographer Neil Zlozower peering out from our favourite magazine covers and CD booklets over the years. Zloz seems to have an innate ability to capture the energy, the excitement and the awesomeness of the electric guitar. He has a new book called ‘Six-String Heroes’ which recognises this particular quality, and he’ll be appearing at Mr Musichead Gallery to sign copies on December 5. Here are the details:

Mr Musichead Gallery Presents

Rock and Roll Photography Legend Neil Zlozower

A Book Signing for his latest book ‘Six-String Heroes”

WHAT: L.A. photography legend signs copies of his new book that showcases 150 of the greatest guitar players in history

WHERE: Mr Musichead Gallery

7511 W. Sunset Blvd.

Hollywood, CA 90046


WHEN: Saturday, December 5, 2 – 6 pm

With a forty-year career as a top rock and roll photographer, Neil Zlozower has seen and done it all, and then some. Simply stated, if you know anything about music, then you have most certainly heard of “Zloz”. Known around the world for hundreds of magazine and album covers, his images have often solidified the iconic visual images of many music idols and lent the man himself to reach his own legendary rock and roll status.

The most recognized rock photographer from the 70’s and 80’s, Zlozower toured extensively with Van Halen and Motley Crue and in their heyday. These raucous experiences lent to Zlozower’s two previously released books, both aptly titled A Visual History, and published by Chronicle Books in 2008 and 2009 respectively. Zlozower’s Fuck You: Rock and Roll Portraits was also released by Chronicle Books in 2008 and features a veritable rock and roll hall of fame of musicians such as Guns N’ Roses, Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, Poison, and Zackk Wylde flipping Zlozower the bird as a playful celebration of rock and roll attitude. With a studio located in the heart of Hollywood since the 70’s, Zloz is a guy that remains true to his L.A. roots.

His newest release, Six-String Heroes (Chronicle Books), is a stripped down collection of live, candid and studio shots of 150 of the greatest guitar players to ever live. The book is a must have for every guitar enthusiast and anyone who knows one! The dynamic assortment of players includes Eric Clapton, Led Zeppelin, Jeff Beck, John Frusciante, Les Paul, Slash, Joe Satriani, Dimebag Darrell, Chuck Berry, Zackk Wylde, Tom Waits, Ratt, and countless others. Six-String Heroes features a foreword by Steve Vai and includes text from countless unpublished interviews throughout the book by music journalist Steven Rosen. The December book event co-sponsored by Guitar Center will feature all of Zlozower’s books. Fine art photographs of famous Zlozower images will be on display.

Zloz has invited many special guests to the event, and with him it’s clear that this could mean anyone and everyone.

Neil Zlozower is a featured artist at Mr Musichead Gallery. Opened in 1998, Mr Musichead Gallery is LA’s first gallery devoted to featuring a vast collection of album cover art, poster art, fine art and photography that chronicles rock and roll’s rich heritage. Past exhibits have included the Art of Jerry Garcia, fine art exhibits with Incubus front man Brandon Boyd and British illustration legend Alan Aldridge, and a Hendrix album cover photography show with Karl Ferris. Owner and founder Sam Milgrom established himself in Detroit as a cutting edge, influential music retailer and live concert venue owner who has now set his sights specifically on the LA music/art scene. Mr Musichead Gallery has recently been mentioned in The Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly, Blackbook, Juxtapoz and Flavorpill.

REVIEW: Krank Krankenstein +

I’m not sure what’s the coolest thing about Krank amps, exactly. Is it the metalleriffic logo? The faultlessly roadworthy construction? Or is it that these monsters are brutal enough to withstand not only the mighty picking hand of one James Hetfield, but also to stand toe to toe against the crushing metal power that is Dethklok lead guitarist Skwisgaar Skwigelf?


It’s probably a safe bet that the Krank name wouldn’t be quite so prevalent in the guitar world if they hadn’t secured the endorsement of the late great Dimebag Darrell, just months prior to his tragic death in 2004 (and a huge ‘screw you’ to the asshole currently burning in hell for taking Dime from us – hope you like ass-forkin’, dingus). A long time solid state amp user, Dime was so taken by the sound of the all-valve Krank Revolution that he teamed up with the company to design his own amp, the Krankenstein. That amp has undergone a few changes to become the new Krankenstein +, which takes the basic design that was formulated with Darrell, and refines it as a result of some of the lessons learned over the last few years, during which Krank went from virtually unknown to one of the most prominent amp makers in the metal world. These refinements include a larger transformer and a switch to Sovtek 6550 valves instead of the 5881 valves used in the original Krankenstein.

At the heart of the Krankenstein + is a preamp section with four 12AX7 valves. The Dime channel includes a gain control, a 3 band EQ stack (treble, midrange and bass) and a sweepable midrange control. There are two master volumes, accessed via footswitch, so you can set separate levels for rhythm and lead. Then there’s the Kleen channel, which has a simple three band EQ and a volume control. There are master volume and presence controls so once you’ve got the perfect ratio of rhythm, lead and clean levels, you can tailer the amp’s output to the size and tonal characteristics of the room.


The Dime channel has a hell of a lot of gain on tap. Even with the gain set to 1, you’ll get a distortion that’s more than powerful enough for classic Judas Priest/Iron Maiden metal grind. Crank it up to 5 and you’re in death metal territory. Go up to 10 and you might never come back from the abyss. Then again, you might like it there. In fact, it’s probably best to start here. Hehe. My favourite setting was with the tone and gain controls all set around 5, more or less, and with the sweep control at about 11 o’clock, which created a tone reminiscent of John Petrucci’s sound on Dream Theater’s ‘Scenes From A Memory’ album but with the bite and presence of their ‘Train Of Thought’ album. This sound was perfect for metal, and made hard rock more intense and powerful. Of course, scooped-mid Pantera tones are easily achievable, but to write this off as a Dimebag soundalike tool is to do the Krankenstein + a great disservice.

The Kleen channel is extremely clean, and is great for those ‘This Love’ arpeggios. It’s also a perfect platform for getting the most out of distortion pedals, because this sucker will simply not distort on its own. And of course, all that sparkly cleanness and inexhaustible headroom makes it great for adding chorus, delay, reverb and maybe a little compression to get those classic metal clean tones.


If you need more vintage, overdrive-based sounds and fatter, rounder tones this is not the amp for you. Try the Revolution + instead (my review here). If you need gritty clean tones with bite and snarl when you dig in with the pick, you’ll be disappointed in the staunchly clean manifesto of the Kleen channel, but if you need ultra clean sounds for spooky intros, and all-out distorted mayhem for everything else, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better amp to deliver just that, and nothing but, in the Krankenstein +.

LINK: Krank

Here’s a NAMM demo video of the Krankenstein + and Revolution + from Premier Guitar’s excellent YouTube channel:

Black Friday!

I promise this’ll be the only time I do a post solely dedicated to affiliate links, but to make it worth your time if you’re not interested, here’s ‘Black Friday’ by Steely Dan.

And here’s ‘Black Friday’ by Megadeth.

NEWS: Tom Anderson 7-strings!

Tom Anderson Guitarworks is doing a one-time run of 7-string Pro Am and Drop Top guitars. This could be the one and only time these instruments will ever be available. Check them out!

In a posting on Jemsite, Matt from Matt’s Music Center says:

“There are lots of options available so you can get exactly what you want. Delivery would be in February or March, get in touch with me if you’re interested in owning one of these!”

For more info contact Matt’s Music Center.

NEWS: Huge Dean sale in Melbourne this weekend

Bolt Trading is no longer distributing Dean in Australia (don’t worry, a new distributor has been appointed – National Music.) so they’re selling their old stock this Saturday in Melbourne, with a whopping minimum 50% off.

Here are the details:

5-7 Vere Street, Collingwood (just off Wellington Street)

Saturday November 28
Over 350 instruments
Minimum 50% off
Doors open 10am
First come, first serve.
All inquiries: btc@iprimus.com.au
Including Dimebag, Michael Schenker, Michael Angelo Batio and Dave Mustaine signature models
Guitars from $200-$8000

NEWS: New Steve Morse Band CD – Out Standing In Their Field

Just got this press release. I can’t wait to hear the album, but even more than that, I love a bad pun, and ‘Out Standing In Their Field’ is one of the baddest – in the best possible way!


~November 17, 2009~

For a musician as talented as guitar maestro Steve Morse, there are no boundaries between genres; there is only his unique sound. On November 17, The Steve Morse Band will release a new studio album Out Standing In Their Field via Eagle Rock Entertainment. This will also be released digitally on October 13.

Morse, who got his start in the Dixie Dregs in the 1970s, has enjoyed a fruitful career, earning himself a reputation as a “musician’s musician.” He’s spent the last sixteen years shredding for the legendary Deep Purple, in addition to fronting his own band. The release of Out Standing In Their Field will be the 12th album to date for The Steve Morse Band.

On this entirely instrumental album, Morse joins forces with bassist Dave LaRue and drummer Van Romaine to pound out un-tethered creativity. A multi-faceted blend of Morse’s influences, Out Standing In Their Field is a diverse sound spectrum, twisting together elements of rock, country, jazz, funk and classical. Unencumbered by lyrics, Morse’s guitar acts as a wailing, exploring siren, channeling emotion and raw power through the language of riffs. In addition to the ten brand new tracks boasted on Out Standing In Their Field, the band threw in an extra treat: a live recording of their song “Rising Power.” This bonus track invokes the goosebump-inducing power the Steve Morse Band conjures on stage.

Embarking on a North American tour with this new release, Steve Morse and his band have earned the right to be considered Out Standing In Their Field.

Eagle Rock Entertainment is an international media production and distribution company operating across audiovisual entertainment programming. Eagle Rock Entertainment works directly alongside talent to produce the highest quality programming output covering film, general entertainment and musical performance. Eagle Rock Entertainment has offices based in London, New York, Germany, France & Toronto.

Track Listing:
1.) Name Dropping
2.) Brink Of The Edge
3.) Here and Now and Then
4.) Relentless Encroachment
5.) John Deere Letter
6.) More To The Point
7.) Time Junction
8.) Unnamed Source
9.) Flight Of The Osprey
10.) Baroque ‘N Dreams
11.) Rising Power (Live)

COOL GEAR ALERT: Cherub Skull Guitar Tuner

Just got this email from the folks at Australasian Music Supplies. How cool! I must get one of these to throw in the guitar case to brutal-up my tuning routine.

The WST-711 Skull Tuner is the newest addition, automatic guitar and bass tuner to the Cherub range. It’s for guitar players looking to make a statement – not only with their music but with their equipment and accessories as well!

Features include a skull and crossbones display with two, dual coloured LED eyes that light up to help you tune. The teeth are numbered to display which string you are tuning.

Acting as a tuning meter, the eyes flash to indicate how close you are to the proper note. When the eyes flash slowly red you are almost in tune. The bones and eyes light green when you are in tune.

The WST-711 includes the latest tuning software that reduces the tuner response time to 30milliseconds.

Built in mic. Auto power off. Belt clip. CR2032 battery included.

Look for it in stores!

Merchant City Music

Peter Hodgson Hi! I'm Peter Hodgson. I write for Gibson.com, Australian Guitar, Australian Musician, Mixdown Magazine (including my instructional column, 'Unleash Your Inner Rock God,' which has been running since 2007), BluntBeat (including their weekly hard rock/metal column Crunch) and The Brag. And I'm Assistant Social Coordinator with Seymour Duncan. I've been playing guitar since I was 8 years old, and I've been writing for magazines since I was 18. I've also worked as a guitar teacher (up to 50 students a week), a setup tech, a newspaper editor, and I've also dabbled in radio a little bit. I live in Melbourne, Australia, and my hobbies include drinking way too much coffee, and eating way too much Mexican food. You can check out my guitar playing at Bandcamp or on YouTube, and feel free to email me at iheartguitarblog@gmail.com If you'd like to support the site, feel free to kick in a couple o'bucks using this donation button.

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