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Monthly Archives: August 2012

INTERVIEW: MONO’s Daniel Kushner

Have you seen what MONO is up to? They offer a range of environmentally, zoologically and aesthetically friendly cases for we guitarists, as well as plenty of other items too – wallets, laptop sleeves, iPad sleeves, backpacks, pedalboard cases, DJ storage stuff… The company has a clear and identifiable design style  too, which gives their products a lot of character. Y’know how products by companies like Apple and Fender always feel ‘Apple-y’ or ‘Fendery’ yet retain their individuality as an item? That. I had a chat with MONO founder Daniel Kushner about the company’s philosophy, product offering and jam-friendly company culture.

How did Mono begin?

MONO was born out of 3 colliding factors: 1. My desire to build a design-driven company, 2. My desire to reconnect with my musical side, and 3. My frustration at the time with the state of soft goods in the music industry. I felt I could really make a difference in the industry designing pro level products for my favorite activity – going to play music. “Go Play” became my mantra, and continues to be our mantra!

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REVIEW: RJM Music Technology Tone Saver buffer

If you’ve ever tried to use a pedal (or ten) with a couple of long cables, you’ve undoubtedly discovered the horrible tone suck that can occur. It usually manifests itself as a loss of treble, a noticeable dynamic weakness and a general cloudiness of detail. But there’s a way around it: an audio buffer will prevent the signal from being robbed of its sparkle. RJM Music Technology has been including buffers as an essential element of their highly regarded audio switching systems for years, but now this circuit is available in a pedal-sized, 9v-powered magic black box in the form of the Tone Saver.

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REVIEW: Ernie Ball Colbalt strings

Ernie Ball’s new Cobalt string series was introduced at the NAMM Show this year – coinciding with the company’s 50th anniversary celebrations (which included a huge concert featuring Paul Gilbert, Steve Morse, Albert Lee, Randy Jackson, Joe Bonamassa, Blues Saraceno and Steve Vai – who even donned a Gibson Les Paul for some Zeppelin jammage). The Cobalts are one of two string sets unveiled at NAMM this year, the other being the Everlast acoustic strings, which use a breakthrough nanotreatment to enhance the metal surface so it repels moisture and oils. This treatment is a thousand times thinner than any other coating on the market, and it’s available in 80/20 and Phosphor Bronze alloys, in all popular gauges.

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NAMM Charvel Custom Shop 7-string for sale

Remember this bad boy from NAMM?

Well it’s for sale! The Music Zoo got their hands on it and you can pick it up from their eBay store. Click here to check it out.

Steve Vai uses Emerald Ultra Guitar on tour

Remember the cover of Steve Vai’s The Ultra Zone album?

Years ago, Emerald Guitars of Ireland saw that axe and thought it was a shame that it didn’t actually exist. So they did this:

And now Steve’s using it on tour! Check the tour dates here.

Here’s the press release. Continue reading

COOL VIDEO ALERT: Fender American Vintage ’65

YES! Isn’t it cool!?!

Read more about the new American Vintage Series Strats, Teles, Jaguar and Jazzmaster here.

This is my dream Strat:

 

 

Gretsch Tim Armstrong Electromatic models

PRESS RELEASE
GRETSCH® RELEASES ALL-NEW TIM ARMSTRONG ELECTROMATIC® SIGNATURE MODELS

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (Aug. 21, 2012) – Gretsch is proud to honor Rancid founder Tim Armstrong with the release of two new signature models, the G5191MS Tim Armstrong Electromatic Hollow Body, and the G5191TMS Tim Armstrong Electromatic Hollow Body with Bigsby® tremolo tailpiece. Both models bear the personal stamp of the punk godfather, as well as a new color inspired by Armstrong’s personal specifications, Man Salmon.

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New Fender American Vintage Series guitars!

One of my favourite guitars in my personal collection is my Fender American Vintage ’62 Stratocaster Reissue, a real workhorse of a guitar which does an incredible job of capturing the vibe of a’62 Strat. It’s a very soulful axe with plenty of personality. And as a fan of 60s Strats in general and the fatter logo in particular, I’m super-stoked that Fender has beefed up the American Vintage Series offering with a bunch of all-new models, including a ’65 Stratocaster with the very logo that sends me into conniptions. One of these in sunburst is now riding very high on my wish list.
Here’s the press release and plenty of pics.

Last Chance to Enter the AmpKit “Setup Smackdown” Contest

Quick! Post your AmpKit Setups for a chance to win gear from Ashdown, Sonic Edge and Peavey! This is your last week to enter the AmpKit “Setup Smackdown” contest, so get ‘em in now! AmpKit users can submit their setups until August 23, 2012 in three categories and have a chance to win real, physical guitar and bass gear.
The categories include:
Best Clean / Acoustic Setup (prize: Sonic Edge Tumbleweed compressor and clean boost pedal)
Best High Gain Setup (prize: Peavey AT-200 autotuning guitar)
Best Bass Setup (prize: Ashdown MiBass 220 compact bass amp head).
Find out more about the Setup Smackdown contest at http://ampkitapp.com/contest/

REVIEW: DiMarzio Gravity Storm Steve Vai humbuckers


Steve Vai has used various signature DiMarzio pickups over the years: the Evolution, the Breed, the Blaze, Evolution 7 and Evolution 2 (as well as the set made exclusively for the transparent acrylic 20th Anniversary Jem). And his pickups have something in common with his music: they all seem to be designed to explore and address a specific sonic question. The Evolution is bright, middy and somewhat hyper, for instance, while the Breed is warmer and more vintage. Steve’s new Gravity Storm set comes from a different place to the Evo, Blaze or Breed. Continue reading

Seymour Duncan & Strictly 7 Keith Merrow giveaway

Seymour Duncan and Strictly 7 join forces for “The Strictly F#%$#@% Awesome Keith Merrow Signature Guitar Giveaway”

Strictly 7 Guitars recently announced the addition of the Spectral Keith Merrow Signature Guitar to its growing line of 7 and 8 string guitars. This guitar features the Seymour Duncan SH-8 Invader –  a humbucker that has a well-earned reputation as one of the most aggressive passive pickups ever. To celebrate the launch of this new guitar, Seymour Duncan and Strictly 7 have joined forces to launch “The Strictly F#%$#@% Awesome Keith Merrow Signature Guitar Giveaway” Between August 20th and September 3rd, everyone in the world will have a chance to enter to win this guitar.

Enter to win the guitar here: http://bit.ly/PozviC

The Spectral Signature Series Merrow is built to the following specs:

Cobra 7 string
Neck thru
27.5 scale
Reverse inline headstock
Northern Ash body wings
5 piece flamed maple and walnut neck
Ebony fretboard
26 jumbo stainless steel frets
Black Sperzel tuners
Black original Floyd Rose bridge
SD Invaders
Single volume
3 way switch
Spectral inlay
Infinity Grey with full black binding finish throughout

Street Price: $2090 with Hipshot bridge or $2290 with Floyd Rose

REVIEW: TC Electronic Spark Booster

Many years ago TC Electronic released the Booster + Line Driver & Distortion. This classic pedal did all sorts of things and was favoured by players from Allan Holdsworth to Anthrax’s Scott Ian to add some oomph to their tone. The Spark Booster is the next evolution of that pedal, and while on the surface it appears to offer some of the same features, inside it’s a different beast.

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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

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