REVIEW: Ampeg Micro-VR

The Ampeg SVT is the undisputed king of rock bass amplification. Seriously. It’s formed the backbone of rock for decades, and it’s so cool that even Paul Gilbert – a guitar hero – wrote a song about the glories of plugging a bass into a mighty SVT and rocking the fuck out. Now, Ampeg’s Micro VR doesn’t actually claim to be an SVT, but it certainly borrows from that classic mega-amp’s styling, helped in large part by its little partner, the SVT210AV speaker cabinet. It basically looks like a mini SVT for an elf.
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CLICK HERE to buy the Ampeg Micro-VR Bass Amp Head and SVT210AV Bass Speaker Cabinet Stack from Musician’s Friend.

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Faith No More to play King For A Day for a night

Y’know the Faith No More gig in Santiago, Chile on November 14? Today the band has revealed two big pieces of news.

1) They’ll be playing the King For A Day, Fool For A Lifetime album in its entirety

2) Trey Spruance will play guitar for the gig!

This is huge news! Spruance, genius from Mr. Bungle, Faxed Head and Secret Chiefs 3, played on the King For A Day album but didn’t play on the tour (Dean Menta was the band’s live guitarist during this era, before they hired Jon Hudson for Album Of The Year). King For A Day was a pretty damn influential album for me back in the day and I still give it a spin for a solid three weeks or so every year. If you’re not familiar with it, here are some clips. It’s a much darker, more aggressive, heavy and melodic album compared to the stuff they were better known for from The Real Thing and Angel Dust.

COOL GEAR ALERT: Ibanez FRM100-TR Paul Gilbert Fireman

Paul Gilbert’s Ibanez Fireman signature model is freaking gorgeous, but the version(s) released a few years ago were also freaking expensive. Ibanez and Pablo Gilberto to the rescue! The FRM100-TR is a much more affordable alternative and it features Paul’s new DiMarzio Injector pickups (along with an Area ’67 in the middle position), which I reviewed a little while ago.

The guitar is made in China, and if you’ve played Ibanez’s stellar Artcore range you’d know that they make some great stuff in China, with especially impressive fretwork. As a Paul Gilbert fan and simply as a guitar geek I would love to get my hands on one of these for a test-drive – hell, I want one to keep now and I’ve never even played one!

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Def Leppard Australian tour – and a sad, sad tale of birthday betrayal

The mighty Def Leppard are touring Australia soon with Heart and the Chiorboys. Sounds like it’ll be a great gig – I saw Def Leppard last time they were here and they were amazing. The tour is presented by MAX, Triple M, Australian Guitar Magazine (who I write for), KOFM, Mix 106.3 and Mix 94.5.

The press release and tour dates are below, but first let me regale you with a tale.

Picture it. Wodonga. 1988.

An already-into-rock me is about to turn 10. All I want for my birthday is Def Leppard’s Hysteria album (on cassette, natch). My cousin Daz was into Def Leppard in a big way and he was a few years older than me and, in my opinion, totally cool. So, my birthday rolls around and my first present is one of those awesome 80s boom boxes with two tape decks and a graphic EQ!!! I was in heaven! I could play the hell out of my Dire Straits and Beatles tapes on this! Then mum hands me another present, all wrapped up, obviously a cassette. YES, I think. This has got to be my Def Leppard tape! This is going to be so awesome! So I hastily unwrap it, all trembling hands and chattering teeth. Def Leppard Def Leppard Def Leppard!

You know what the cassette was?

Jason Donovan’s Ten Good Reasons.

Needless to say, I was mortified, and being 10 I was able to tantrum it out until I got my Def Leppard tape too. Hehe.

Now on to the press release!


McManus Entertainment is thrilled to announce Def Leppard’s return to Australia in October. They will be joined by American rock band Heart, who will be touring Australia for the very first time.

With more than 65 million albums sold worldwide, Def Leppard – Joe Elliott (vocals), Phil Collen (guitar), Rick “Sav” Savage (bass), Vivian Campbell (guitar) and Rick Allen (drums) – continue to be one of the most important forces in rock music.

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COOL GEAR ALERT: PRS SE Mikael Åkerfeldt

It’s unofficially Opeth week here at I Heart Guitar – after all, new album Heritage is out now and it kicks all sorts of ass – so let’s take a look at the Paul Reed Smith SE Mikael Åkerfeldt signature model.

This puppy was unveiled at NAMM this year, and although Mikael didn’t use it on the Heritage sessions, he definitely stands behind this guitar. And why not? Legendary PRS-designed tremolo bridge, SE HFS and SE Vintage Bass pickups, old-school bird inlays, 24 frets and that cool Opeth stylised ‘O’ logo. This is a classy axe, and I’ve long been impressed by PRS SE build quality. To be honest, I wasn’t really impressed during the first year or two of the SE line, but manufacturing tolerances and build quality zoomed right up pretty early on and now I rank them pretty high – especially the SE One, the Torero and the Orianthi and Paul Allender signature models.

By the way, check out my interview with Åkerfeldt here.

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CLICK HERE to buy the Mikael Åkerfeldt signature model from Musician’s Friend.

Opeth Australian tour

Woohoo! Opeth are coming to Australia this December to kick our collective Antipodean asses with material from their killer new album Heritage as few as a few old favourites reworked in the vein of the Heritage stuff. (Read my interview with Opeth’s Mikael Åkerfeldt here)

Here’s the press release about the tour, for which you can thank Soundwave Touring:

OPETH are Pioneers.

OPETH continue to create epic and iconic music; inventing and reinventing the rules as they go along. With over Twenty years and Ten albums under their collective belt, OPETH’s legion of fans has grown as much as their kaleidoscopic sound has broadened.

OPETH have reinforced their hold on the mantle of the most innovative, creative and revered heavy artist of recent times with the release of ‘Heritage’…”a progressive vision of metal’s limitless possibilities when placed in the hands of our generations greatest musicians and it’s an absolute masterpiece.” – Metal Hammer

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