NEWS: My playing on – Roger Mayer pedal demo

Hey, here’s something you might wanna check out. While you’re over at listening to all the awesome sound clips and videos of James Ryan shredding up a storm through Roger Mayer pedals, look down in the corner of the X Series page and you’ll stumble across a clip of me playing the Mongoose X. It’s just a little demo I whipped up in the process of reviewing the pedal for Australian Guitar magazine. Thanks to Jay from Guitar Toyz for thinking enough of the clip to post it, and thanks of course to Roger for making awesome pedals!

Here’s the link:

There are also links to a whole bunch of my reviews for Roger Mayer pedals for Australian Guitar magazine. You can see those here.

NAMM 2010: More pics of the Ibanez Universe swirl reissue

Now that I’m back home in Australia I’m sorting through my NAMM photos. Here are some more pics and a press release about the UV77REMC, the new 20th anniversary reissue of the UV77MC.

First up are my pics from the display:

New Ibanez Universe 7-String Re-Issue Rockets 20 Years Back to The Future
January 29, 2010

It was 20 years ago when Steve Vai joined forces with Ibanez to produce his ultimate weapon, the 7-string Universe, the first production 7-string solid-body electric guitar. The groundbreaking Universe was quickly recognized as the “Most Innovative Guitar of the Year” by music retailers at the 1990 Music and Sound Awards.

Originally designed as a virtuoso shred machine, the guitar would have a new life later in the ’90s with its extended low-end range making possible the new breed of rhythmic metal of heavy music players such as Korn and Dino Cazares. Ibanez is proud to recognize Steve Vai’s achievement with the release of the new UV77RE Universe 20th Anniversary edition.

Like the original, the solid body UV77RE reissue is seven strings of fire, ready-made for maximum shred and some of the meanest riffing on the planet. The multi-color swirl motif arrives once again from the original Universe artist, Darren Johansen. Because of the swirl paint process each Universe guitar is uniquely individual in appearance. As with Ibanez’s other Limited Edition Reissues such as the famous Bob Weir model, all UV77RE models are crafted in Japan by the same luthiers who created the originals.

1990 not only brought the Ibanez Universe guitar to the world, it also debuted Steve Vai’s groundbreaking, earth shattering album, “Passion and Warfare,” and each U77RE comes with a commemorative poster of this sonic masterpiece.

Only 100 UV77RE reissues will be available worldwide.

NAMM 2010: Ibanez Joe Satriani acoustics, JS2400

Perhaps one of the more surprising Ibanez offerings at NAMM this year was the pair of Joe Satriani signature acoustics. While he’s used acoustic guitars in the studio for years, Joe’s not exactly the first name that comes to mind when you think ‘acoustic,’ but he’s been playing a prototype of this new model on stage with Chickenfoot lately, and the guitar is now in production. Here are my pics from NAMM (that’s the JSA10 on top and JSA5 on the bottom).

Ibanez Unleashes New Joe Satriani Signature Acoustic Guitars
January 28, 2010

Already world famous for its JS line of Joe Satriani signature electric guitars, Ibanez this year embarks on a shimmering new acoustic adventure with Joe, with the new JSA acoustic guitar. Joe says his JSA acoustic “feels great, plays great and sounds wonderful. And, in all black, it looks so cool! It has outstanding projection and an impressive dynamic range too, with a powerful clear tone essential for live performance. The JSA acoustic has a full and balanced sound that’s perfect for strumming, soloing, or delicate finger picking. It has good access to the upper frets, and the electronics make anything you play sound clear and natural.”

JSA signature acoustics arrive in two models, the all-solid construction JSA10BK and its more affordable version, the JSA5BK. JSA10BK features a solid Engelmann spruce top and solid rosewood back and sides. The JSA5BK combines a solid Engelmann spruce top with mahogany back and sides.

Both JSA models feature fine Fishman pickup/preamp electronics, chrome Grover tuners and black high gloss finish and come equipped with D’Addario® EXP™ coated strings.

Ibanez also launched the 24-fret JS2400 which Joe mentioned in my interview with him back in June. Here’s what Joe had to say about it at the time.

“It’s a really cool thing. I’ve always liked the idea of having those frets up there but I never wanted to move the humbucking pickup. That’s always been the problem because the humbucking neck pickup really only works where Gibson stuck it on the Les Paul. To me, that’s the spot, and once you start moving it back towards the bridge it starts to become horrible-sounding. Other guitars that have had the 24 frets and they move that pickup, it’s like, you may as well get rid of it, you know? So I was determined to solve this. And what saved us was the DiMarzio Pro Track. Ibanez got this thing right up against the last fret. It’s amazing how they were able to do it. It’s got a little bit more generous cutaway to the body so you can get up there and play up there. We’re still experimenting with the bridge pickup. I’m thinking it might be a Norton, one of the pickups I designed along with the FRED and the Mo’Jo with DiMarzio. Steve Blucher at DiMarzio is a wizard, so when I say I designed the pickups, that’s a euphemism for me requesting something (laughs). I say “Steve, can you just give me something that goes, like, ‘KKRRR-RURRRR’?” and he goes “Okay. Gimmie a couple of days.”

Specs include basswood body, maple neck, rosewood fretboard, original Edge bridge (by the way, the Edge is now standard on all Prestige JS models – woohoo!), DiMarzio Mo’ Joe bridge pickup and DiMarzio Pro Track neck pickup.

Here’s Ibanez’s page about the JS2400, while this page includes a video featuring Joe talking about the new axe.

NAMM 2010: Performance Guitar booth visit

One of my favourite stops during NAMM was at the Performance Guitar booth in Hall E. I’ve heard of Performance for many years and I know that both Frank Zappa and Steve Vai were early fans of the company, but apart from playing one for about 30 seconds at a guitar clinic by Aussie shredder Joe Cool when I was about 16, I’d never seen one close up. A recent Premier Guitar feature on the company piqued my interest further, so when I saw them at NAMM I zoomed right over to say hello and check out their gear.

I knew about Performance’s guitars, but let’s face it, their guitars come with a price tag which is as high as their quality level (ie: you get what you pay for, which is a good thing!). But what really surprised me was their pedal mods under their TTL (Top of the Line) brand. At NAMM, Performance had set up a rig where you could A/B the modified and unmodified versions of various pedals. I was particularly taken by their Boss DS-1 mod. Performance’s website says:

DS-1 Distortion

Original Characteristics:
The original DS-1 has a simple, yet well designed circuitry. It has the right amount of gain and the symmetrical distortion produced by diodes.

What has been Modified and Improved:
The input impedance has been changed to the tube amp standard of 1MΩ. Improvements have been made in the area of picking nuance, quicker response time, and overall sound definition. The even harmonics, especially the second harmonic, have been emphasized to recreate the sound of a fully-driven tube pre-amp. This resulted in the thin sound becoming eliminated completely and the overall sound becoming much richer. The gain factor has been re-evaluated at various frequencies to achieve great distortion, even with a single coil pick up. With respect to the original design principle, no switches were added and overall modifications were kept simple.

The company makes a couple of its own pedals too, including the FZ-85, a filter modulation pedal designed in collaboration with Frank Zappa in the 80s. The site says:

FZ-85( F.Zappa Filter Modulation)

There’s an early ’80, Frank Zappa wanted special his own sound. Frank and we collaborate each other to make special effect for Frank. It control and emphasize the particular frequency. This effects pedal has 3 mode select SW. There are low pass mode, band pass mode, high pass mode.

*Low pass mode position cut the higher frequency above the frequency you set up.
*Band pass mode position cut the frequency without the frequency you set up.
*High pass mode position cut the lower frequency below the frequency you set up.

And then you can set up the frequency that you want to make it peak point with “F” control knob. And also you can set up the resonant peak with “Q” control knob. For example, you can have the sound like an eccentric “Wah Wah” with moving the “F” control knob. This effects pedal is different from other effects pedals. Because this effects pedal boosts up the inner voltage. That’s why this effects pedal can get wider dynamic range and works more extremely. You can’t find any other effects pedal like this. You can get this sound only from this one. Frank couldn’t make his sound without this effects pedal. Now this effects is used by Dweezil Zappa, Steve-Vai, Warren-Cuccurullo and many more musicians and they Loved it!!

I was also blown away by the Snake Skin guitar (autographed by Warren DeMartini of RATT) which I used when testing out the pedals. It was very responsive to pick attack and despite the hard rock vibe of the snake skin finish I found it great for bluesier, Hendrixy riffing.

Here are my photos from the Performance booth. Check out that Vai-style flame guitar!


NAMM 2010: Way Huge Aqua-Puss, Dunlop Volume Pedal, Heavy Core Strings

Remember my recent post about the new stuff from Jim Dunlop/MXR? Well here’s a little more info direct from the company themselves, including some more info about the awesome new Way Huge Aqua-Puss MkII analog delay. John Mayer’s all about this pedal and it sounded great at NAMM. Before we get to the Dunlop info, check out this video from Premier Guitar at NAMM, which includes Uli Jon Roth giving the Aqua-Puss a run-through at the booth.


The Aqua-Puss MkII is making its triumphant return, ready to bathe a tone thirsty world in gorgeously smooth delay. One twist of the Delay knob takes you from a tight 20ms delay to a cavernous 300ms. The Feedback control regulates delay duration and intensity. But watch out. Extreme settings can send the Aqua-Puss MkII into self-oscillating psycho-freak-out mode! Meanwhile the Blend knob lets you set a balance between dry and delayed signal—from mild to wild. The Aqua-Puss MkII delivers all the spooky mystery of vintage analog delay and tape-based echo, with none of the hassle of creaky, ancient gear.


Control your volume levels with exacting precision with the new Dunlop Volume Pedal. The Dunlop Volume Pedal features a patent pending Steel Band Drive that creates a low-friction environment with no strings or ratchet gears attached – allowing you to achieve thick, luscious volume swells in one smooth motion without the fear of breaking. With fully adjustable tension and high-quality low-noise electronic components, the sound is as clean and transparent as the feel is smooth. Housed in a lightweight but durable aluminum chassis, the pedal features a rocker pedal that is slightly curved for ergonomics, with an aggressive non-slip tread that keeps your foot firmly in place. Great features, smooth, hassle-free performance and crystalline tone make the Dunlop Volume Pedal the smart choice for every musician.


Heavy Core® Strings are uniquely designed for the player that enjoys higher tension at standard tuning or normal tension at dropped tunings. Our proprietary core-to-wrap ratios are meticulously calculated so the player can really “dig in” while retaining sound fundamentals. Heavy Core® Strings, like all Dunlop Strings are manufactured with the highest quality of materials and engineered for great tone, balance, and feel.

NEWS: Dave Weiner sells his Ibanezes, joins PRS

Now this is interesting. Finding his guitar needs shifting in new directions and no longer feeling that Ibanez reflected his personality, Dave Weiner is selling off a bunch of his Ibanezes and is hooking up with PRS under a non-exlusive agreement which will allow him to play other brands when he feels like it, while also developing 6 and 7 string models. Cool!

Dave talks about his sweet new PRS 513 in this video here:

You can read more, including comments from Dave, on this thread on Jemsite.

As for Dave’s garage sale, check out the guitars he’s saying goodbye to here. Currently he’s selling an Ibanez LACS (LA Custom Shop) 7 string, an Ibanez AF207 7-string jazz guitar with one-of-a-kind 5-way high frequency filter, an Ibanez AJ30ECE acoustic guitar used on Steve Vai’s recent ‘Where The Wild Things Are’ live CD and DVD, and an Ibanez SR485 5-string bass.


NEWS: Rotosound Double Decker Rotos string sets

I’m currently rocking Rotosound strings on almost all of my 6-string guitars, and I really like how lively the tone is. I’m also a bit of a tightass, so Rotosound’s new Double Decker sets, which save you up to 20% by packaging two sets together, has gotta be a good thing.

Here’s the press release.

Rotosounds launch Double Decker Rotos string sets

Rotosound’s best selling R9 and R10 Rotos nickel on steel guitar strings are now available in superb value twin set packaging. Called ‘Double Deckers’ the new packs of Rotos offer greater value for money and are up to 20% cheaper than buying two single sets.

Rotos are used by many of the world’s top artists and range from Guthrie Govan to Franz Ferdinand; they are the first choice guitar strings for amateurs and professionals alike. With a brilliance in tone, Rotos are made using the finest quality nickel on steel and manufactured with the strictest of quality control to ensure consistency, strength and durability.

The new double decker packs are coded R9-2 and R10-2 and reduce packaging by approx 70% compared to buying two separate packs. They will be available in the shops from March 2010.

For further information on the new sets and other Rotosound products see

NEWS: Megadeth to play Rust In Peace live

Here’s one I didn’t see coming. Megadeth are going to play the entirety of Rust In Peace live during their forthcoming tour with Testament and Exodus. Why exactly didn’t I see it coming? Well, cos Dave Mustaine seemed to shrug off that the very idea just a few months ago when I interviewed him:

Here’s a question from the Megadeth forum: Are you planning anything to mark the 20th anniversary of Rust In Peace?

Well if they’re asking about me playing with those guys again I think I’ve made it pretty clear.

Well even something like a special commemorative release, or playing the album start-to-finish live.

Yeah, I’ve heard that, but my answer is pretty simple: If it was gonna happen it would have. I don’t think it’ll ever happen. I don’t dislike any of those guys. We did have some very difficult periods together but I was just as difficult to be around as they were. And all I want to do right now is just bless them and just let them know I’m a fan of theirs. Even the ones I had a hard time with, I’m a fan of theirs. They were part of my life and I look to those times together with great fondness.

But wait, if you read closely, Dave seems to be a bit evasive when I bring up the idea of a ‘play all of Rust in Peace’ tour, instead shifting the focus to whether he’d reform the line-up of that era. Did Dave plan to do this all along? Or was it a recent decision based on needing to do something spectacular to compensate for the fact that Slayer had to reschedule their tour plans with Megadeth due to Tom Araya’s back operation? Or is this decision simply a ‘Dave decided he wanted to do it, so here it is’ thing? Whatever the reason, there are gonna be some very happy metal fans out there this year, and a very sad guitar blogger who won’t even be on the same continent. :(

Here’s the press release

The mighty Megadeth will join forces with Testament and Exodus for a month-long jaunt that will find these thrash titans crisscrossing the nation on the ‘Rust in Peace’ 20th anniversary tour. These will be incredibly special shows that will delight Megadeth fans, as the band will be playing their landmark, genre-defining album, 1990’s Rust in Peace, in its entirety, in addition to other Megadeth set list favorites.

Megadeth’s latest, ENDGAME, was released in September 2009 and received some of the highest critical accolades of the band’s career. The band performed on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon and was nominated for yet another Grammy – the eight nomination of their storied career- for “Head Crusher.” Megadeth also enjoyed heaps of praise in the press, from outlets as varied as New Yorkto Revolver to VH1’s “That Metal Show” to PopMatters. With ENDGAME, Megadeth have once again ascended to the top of the metal world.

The tour will kick off on March 1 in Spokane, WA and will run through the end of the month.

MegaFanClub tickets presale will be held on Thursday, January 28th from 10AM to 10PM. Tickets go on sale to the general public Friday, January 29th.

Dates are as follows:

3/1 – Spokane, WA – Knitting Factory
3/2 – Boise, ID – Knitting Factory
3/3 – Medford, OR – Medford Armory
3/6 – Calgary, AB – Big Four (Testament with Special Guests)
3/7 – Edmonton, AB – Shaw Conference Centre (Testament with Special Guests)
3/8 – Saskatoon, SK – Prairieland Exhibition Hall
3/11 – Indianapolis, IN – Murat Theater
3/12 – Pittsburgh, PA – Palace Theater
3/13 – Buffalo, NY – Town Ballroom
3/15 – Washington, DC – 9:30 Club
3/16 – Baltimore, MD – Rams Head Live
3/18 – Scranton, PA – Scranton Cultural Center
3/19 – Norfolk, VA – The NorVa
3/21 – Atlanta, GA – Tabernacle
3/22 – Asheville, NC – Orange Peel
3/23 – Memphis, TN – Minglewood Hall
3/25 – Houston, TX – Verizon Wireless Theater
3/26 – Austin, TX – Stubb’s Amphitheater
3/27 – Lubbock, TX – The Pavilion
3/28 – El Paso, TX – Club 101
3/30 – Tucson, AZ – Rialto Theater
3/31 – Hollywood, CA – Hollywood Palladium (Testament with Special Guests)

Stay tuned for more information next week on the rescheduling of the “American Carnage” tour dates, as well.