NAMM 2010: New pedals from Jim Dunlop and MXR

JC95 Jerry Cantrell wah

The Jerry Cantrell wah is based on the darker, wider-response wahs Jerry has favoured over the years (one particular favourite of his back in the day was the old Jimi Hendrix Crybaby, which is different to the one you can buy today). His signature pedal is custom-voiced for a tight, punchy heel-down tone, while a side-mounted control knob lets you fine-tune the toe-down frequency. It also has a bitchen road-worn oxidized brass casting with Alice In Chains tread which matches the pattern on some of Jerry’s new G&L signature guitars.

M148 Micro Chorus

The Micro Chorus is a reissue of the classic 80s pedal, using the original bucket brigade technology. A single Rate control is all you get but the pedal is voiced so perfectly that you really won’t need any further control range to access its classic sounds. The only change from the original is the addition of true bypass.

M152 Micro Flanger

Based on the MXR M117 Flanger, the Micro Flanger was originally released in the 80s and features only two controls: Rate and Regeneration. Like the Micro Chorus, the Micro Flanger features 100% analog bucket brigade technology, and it also features the addition of True Bypass. Cool!

CSP105 ’75 Vintage Phase 45

Yep, the rare Phase 45 is back! The little brother of the Phase 90 features has two stages of phasing, offering subtle sounds with hand-matched FETs and a hand-wired circuit board. It features a Carling switch, CTS pot and Switchcraft jacks. Oh and it’s limited-edition, so hurry up!

CSP202 Custom Comp

This Custom Shop compressor uses the rare CA3080 ‘metal can’ IC for increased dynamic range, greater transparency and quieter operation. It also includes RF supression components for interference-free operation, as well as an internal Attack control for fine-tuning the speed of the note’s initial attack.

ZW38 Black Label Chorus

The latest MXR Zakk Wylde pedal, the Black Label Chorus features a subtler delay than the MXR Stereo Chorus. It uses bucket brigade technology and has two outputs: Mono and Thru.


NAMM 2010: Highlights from day 2

Here in no particular order are some highlights from NAMM day 2:

* The performance by Mike Keneally, Bryan Beller and Marco Minnemann in the Dean Markley booth. Crammed into a tiny performance space, MK and crew turned in monstrously cool versions of ‘Snowcow,’ ‘Beautiful,’ the ‘Dolphins’ medley, ‘Cause of Breakfast’ and a few that I missed because the room was so full that I couldn’t get in at first!

* Stumbling across Alex Skolnick doing a signing, saying hello and finding he recognised my blog logo. Alex said he wants to come back to Australia, this time with his jazz trio.

* Seeing Chris Jericho and Rich Ward of Fozzy. Can’t wait to check out the new Fozzy CD. They’re signed to Riot, who have been unfathomably cool to I Heart Guitar.

* Checking out the new MXR pedals, including the Micro Chorus, Micro Flanger and Jerry Cantrell wah.

* The 25th Anniversary Paul Reed Smith press conference, hosted by Tom Wheeler and featuring guest speakers Ted Nugent, Al DiMeola, Howard Leese, David Grissom and Carlos Santana.

* A special PRS event, again hosted by Tom Wheeler, where Grissom and a few other quite notable guitarists (including amp legend Ritchie Fliegler – nice to meet ya Ritchie!) compared five PRS McCartys (some with 57/08 pickups and some with 59/09s) to Paul’s own 1958 Gibson Les Paul goldtop. Paul said he bought the guitar in Japan after falling in love with it, claiming it’s the best Les Paul he’s ever played. He brought it back to America and used its nuances as inspiration for further PRS refinements. Cool!

I’m building up a huge backlog of NAMM stuff to write about when the actual NAMM-attending is completed, including breakdowns of new extended range guitars, reissues, signature models and more. Unfortunately my plan to live-blog from the NAMM floor has been quite hampered by the impossible-to-actually-access-cos-everyone’s-trying-to-use-it-at-once public Wi-Fi. :(

NAMM 2010: Taylor Serj Tankian Signature Model T5

I’m stopping by the Taylor booth at NAMM today but before that, lemmie post this here news item for ya. There’s lots more cool Taylor stuff to come though!

Taylor Guitars Announces the Serj Tankian Signature Model T5

ANAHEIM, Calif. – January 16, 2010 – For the versatile rocker, no guitar can speak as loudly or as delicately as the award-winning Taylor T5, the industry’s best-selling electric/acoustic hybrid guitar. Just ask Serj Tankian, the accomplished, creative frontman and songwriter for the Grammy® award-winning rock band System of a Down. Tankian, who recently released his first solo album, Elect the Dead, has played Taylor acoustic guitars for several years, and has spent the past two years touring with a Taylor T5. Now, Tankian brings his creative input, coupled with the expertise of Taylor’s design team, to his own signature model, the STSM-T5.

The STSM-T5 is based on the popular T5-C and features a sleek, thinline opaque black body, crafted from sapele and paired with a maple top. Two stylized, unbound f-holes grace the top, and the fretboard and peghead feature a red “energy wheel” inlay design that was provided by Tankian. The same vibrant red binds the body, fretboard and peghead. Says Tankian of his T5: “The way the T5 is designed, especially when playing in an arena environment, sounds like a great acoustic and is by far superior to anything else in terms of sound, clarity, depth and tone. When I’m writing music or lyrics, I’m just pouring whatever comes out of me from the universe and channeling it and structuring it into a quality record.”

The versatility of this guitar lies in Taylor’s proprietary T5 electronics and five-way switching, which together yield a wide range of guitar tones, from delicate acoustic to full-on electric crunch. Three magnetic pickups – an under-fretboard neck humbucker, a visible bridge humbucker, and an acoustic body sensor mounted to the inside surface of the top – provide a complete integration of tonal output. “I try to make music in a way that I’d be interested in listening to it myself,” Tankian says. “Using the T5 gives me the versatility of a pure acoustic sound or electric. It’s light and thin too, so you can stand in front of the mic and just rock out. For a stage environment, the T5 works great.”

The STSM-T5 is offered at a suggested retail price of $3,198 and comes in a ready-to-rock hardshell case with a certificate of authenticity signed by Tankian. The STSM is available at authorized Taylor dealers worldwide.

To experience the company’s new guitars, artist performances, or to learn more about Taylor Guitars, please visit the Taylor Guitars booth on the second floor of the Anaheim Convention Center, Room 213.

For additional information about STSM-T5, please visit

To view video of the STSM-T5, please visit

For additional Taylor Guitars news, please visit