REVIEW: AmpKit Mac

Agile Partners’ AmpKit for iOS won me over. We had a rocky start due to a less-than-optimal guitar/iOS interface I bought that didn’t quite let AmpKit do its thing. But once I upgraded to GuitarJack 2 by Sonoma Wire Works, I was utterly sold, and I realised that AmpKit is so very input dependent that of course it sounds better with a higher quality interface. And I realised that AmpKit does what no other iOS amp sim seems to do, giving you a completely and utterly usable tone right out of the box that you can simply drop into a recording and know it’ll sound great. I’ve used AmpKit on a few recordings, plugging it into my Mbox, but I always thought it’d be great to have AmpKit accessible from within my Mac itself.

And now you can get exactly that! AmpKit Mac is custom-built for OS X 10.7 Lion and 10.8 Mountain Lion, taking advantage new capabilities in OS X. I’ve been playing around with it for a few days and the very first thing that struck me was how perfectly suited the AmpKit interface is for the Mac. Just as it made clever use of the iPad screen to present everything in an easy-to-access way, AmpKit for Mac lays out the virtual guitar rigs logically and usefully. There’s a multi-panel user interface with a main “Stack View” and separate floating panels for Gear, Backing Tracks, Recording, and Metronome. It helps that certain iOS-influenced features are ported over too, including Multi-Touch gestures, Full Screen mode, Sharing via email or AirDrop, and gesture-enabled Quick Look. Read More …

Aristocrats DVD, plus Guthrie talks Charvel

The Aristocrats – Bryan Beller, Guthrie Govan and Marco Minnemann – are preparing to release their very first live CD and DVD, BOING, We’ll Do It Live!, just in time to awesomize the holidaysfor musicians everywhere. And get this: the 5.1 surround audio mix was done by Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree!

I was lucky enough to catch the Aristocrats’ very first gig back before they even had a name, and I can’t wait to crank the new DVD up to neighbour-enraging levels at home. There’s more info about the DVD below, but before we get to that, Guthrie has shared a few words on the custom Charvel he’s been seen playing recently.

He says:

“Hello! Guthrie here, with a somewhat boring (but apparently necessary!) update… and a pretty picture ;-)

Well… the guitar I’ve been using lately has apparently caused something of a stir in certain sectors of the online community, so I figured it might be helpful if I explained what’s actually going on. Read More …

How To Buy A Beginner Guitar

Hey! I’ve written an article for Anderton’s offering some tips on what to look for in a beginner guitar. There are so many options out there these days compared to when I started on my Status Strat copy and Marathon MX3 amp (with no distortion! Can you believe it?). I’ve tried to provide a nice overview for those who aren’t sure what to look for. You can read it here.

If you’re an experienced player, what was your first guitar? Do you still have it?

Extreme & Richie Kotzen to tour Australia

Wow! Two of my favourite guitarists are touring Australia together in April 2013: Extreme and Richie Kotzen. This is going to be the Aussie guitar event of the year (well, on equal footing with Joe Satriani’s Australian clinic tour). They’ll be playing Brisbane, Newcastle, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide.

Here’s the press release:

Lennard Promotions are thrilled to present 90’s rock giants Extreme along with very special guest guitar virtuoso Richie Kotzen live in Australia in 2013.

Extreme won a legion of fans during the 80’s and 90’s selling over 10 million records including their global smash hit More Than Words. Known for their heavy hitting musical ability and featuring the blazing guitar work of Nuno Bettencourt, Extreme exercised restraint rather than indulgence producing amazing music that not only showcased the band’s proficiency but also their collective mastery of hook laden rock.   Richie Kotzen is a renowned guitar prodigy in his own right texturing both his own acclaimed releases and those from a string of notable acts including Poison and Mr Big with stunning guitar lines and breathtaking musical dexterity.  Teaming up for what is sure to be a highlight on the 2013 touring calendar Extreme and very special guest Richie Kotzen will thrill Australian music lovers and galvanise guitar tragics alike.

It all started when four Boston-bred kids joined forces in the late 80s to form Extreme. With an original new sound and ground-breaking records, the foursome was immediately recognised as innovators in the world of rock & roll. The band has described their music as “Funky Metal” in the early days, but it would evolve much more in the mid-90s by blending classic rock influences with post-grunge and alternative rock.  The band’s popularity was fuelled by guitar virtuoso Nuno Bettencourt’s signature style, Gary Cherone’s resonant vocals and socially conscious lyrics, Pat Badger’s rock solid bass, and the hard hitting Kevin Figueiredo on drums.

The band’s self-titled debut was released in 1989 to some acclaim, thought it was their 1990 album Pornograffitti that captured worldwide attention.  Peaking at number 10 on the Billboard 200, Pornograffitti was certified multi-platinum and featured Bettencourt’s blistering guitar work which brought widespread admiration from rock guitar enthusiasts and continual exposure in leading guitar playing publications. It was however the acoustic ballad More Than Words, that captured imaginations and reached #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 in the United States landing Extreme their first #1 hit song.

Since the worldwide smash that was Pornograffitti Extreme have released three further albums including Saudades de Rock in 2008 and endured various periods of hiatus with members exploring side projects including Gary Cherone’s stint as vocalist in Van Halen before reforming permanently in 2007.  Showcasing material from their most recent album and classics from all their previous discs, the members of Extreme are always thrilled to be heading out on the road.  “As much as we enjoy recording, for me, I’ve always loved playing live for the fans,” Cherone says. “We can’t wait to get out there and play this music live.”

Fender-wielding Los Angeles-based guitar hero Richie Kotzen is frequently touted in the international guitar press as one of the world’s best guitarists, with a 50-album discography to back it up. Born in 1970 in Reading. Pa., Kotzen Kotzen moved to San Francisco at age 18, recording his first album at age 19 for metal mainstay label Shrapnel Records. Guitar World magazine readers proclaimed him one of the top three best new guitarists of 1989.

Kotzen’s big break came in 1991 when, at age 21, he joined multi-platinum glam rockers Poison, with whom he recorded 1993’s Native Tongue. The platinum album spawned two top-twenty singles written by Kotzen, “Stand” and “Until You Suffer Some (Fire & Ice).” Post-Poison, Kotzen recorded albums on Geffen, Shrapnel and JVC until 1999, when legendary jazz bassist Stanley Clarke and drummer Lenny White invited him to form Vertu, which recorded an eponymous album that year and toured Europe extensively. Later in 1999, Kotzen joined hugely popular rock band Mr Big, recording Get Over It (1999) and Actual Size (2001) and penning his first number-one single in Japan, “Shine.”

Kotzen is one of the few artists to have two signature model Fender guitars in Japan; a Telecaster and a Stratocaster bearing his name have each been top sellers in Japan since they were introduced in 1995. Richie Kotzen’s latest release is titled ’24 Hours’

Lennard Promotions Proudly Present:


With Special Guest Richie Kotzen 

Australian Tour 2013


11TH APRIL EATON HILLS HOTEL, BRISBANE  /Phone 07 3325 6777  / Phone 1300 762 545

12TH APRIL PANTHERS, NEWCASTLE  / Phone 1300 438 849


16TH APRIL METRO CITY, PERTH  / Phone 1300 762 545




Wow! This is a very cool idea. I especially like the headphone jack, because the tangle-factor is always so much higher with iOS guitar devices And their associated cables. They seem to have thought of everything herE.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (November 12, 2012) – Squier is proud to introduce an innovative new Strat guitar model that can directly connect with and record to Apple iPhoneiPadiPod touchMac or Windows-based computers.

The Squier by Fender Strat Guitar with USB and iOS Connectivity features an onboard mini-USB connector that allows players to interface directly and easily with all these devices, with no additional hardware needed – including GarageBand and other music apps on iOS. Read More …

Rock Science Marshall 50th Anniversary board game

Now this is cool. I’m sure all of you have a head full of rock trivia and you feel left out by TV music quiz shows such as RockWiz and Never Mind the Buzzcocks because they sometimes talk about stuff that doesn’t involve cranked up stacks. Well check this out: Rock Science and Marshall Amplification have teamed up for a special limited edition of the Rock Science board game. It’s packaged in what looks like a little Marshall head too, which is a nice touch

Here’s the press release:


Limited Edition Rock Trivia Board Game Celebrating Iconic Music Brand and Legendary Artists Available In Guitar Center Stores December 2012
(11.10.2012 – Los Angeles) One of the world’s most iconic brands of musical equipment, Marshall Amplification, joins up with the rock game of the century, Rock Science to celebrate “50 Years of Loud” with a limited edition version of the wildly popular Rock Science board game. With over 1,600 trivia questions ranging from early rock and metal to current artists, the Rock Science Marshall Game is a tribute to the immense contribution Marshall Amplification has made to music history. Read More …