Monthly Archives: February 2013

REVIEW: Schecter Stiletto Studio 4


Schecter is well known on the metal scene for their incredibly shredworthy axes (which is a huge about-face when you consider the company’s earlier days making great Strat and Tele-type instruments for players like The Who’s Pete Townshend). And this helps Schecter’s basses to have a lot going for them too: the company really understands how to make a fast, playable and comfortable neck on an instrument that is designed to handle the rigours of the road.

The Studio-4 is a neck-through instrument with a multi-laminate maple/walnut neck and body core, given some extra visual pop by mahogany body wings topped with slices of bubinga. Combined with a rosewood fretboard, the look is elegant and refined, and it’s the kind of bass that could look equally at home on a country, blues, rock or metal gig. There are some hints to the company’s modern metal leanings, particularly in the form of the pointy headstock, but the overall look gives the impression that this is not a one-trick pony. Continue reading

David Bowie – The Stars Are Out Tonight

Joe Satriani names new album & best band ever


Joe Satriani has just announced the May 9, 2013 release of his next album, Unstoppable Momentum, and a pair of killer bands associated with the project: the studio band consisting of Mike Keneally, Vinnie Colauita (whoa!) and Chris Chaney, and a new live band consisting of …Mike Keneally, Brian Beller and Marco Minnemann! That’s right, Keneally Minnemann Beller! This is mind-melting news for me and I’m sure many of you too.

Below is the news in Joe’s words, but before we get to that, let me add that Beller, Minnemann and their buddy Guthrie Govan will hit the road for a huge US Aristocrats tour this summer. Their second studio album, tentatively titled Culture Clash, is targeted for a July 16 release, and the US tour will go for six weeks, from mid-July to late August. Check out tentative dates here, but bookmark the tour page to keep an eye on the dates once they’re locked in.

And now for that word from Joe Satriani…

Continue reading

Seymour Duncan Merch Now Available

photoMy friends at Seymour Duncan (where I help out in the social media department, as you may have seen in my bio to the right of the page there) have just launched seymourduncanstyle.com, a web store where you can purchase all sorts of SD goodies, from T-shirts and pickup-inspired necklaces to straps, pots and pickup covers.

I particularly like the Invader shirt and the Invader necklace, both of which you can see me modelling in this awkwardly posed Instagram photo taken while I waited for my buddy to show up for lunch.

I’ve noticed a lot of love for the Invader lately as I cruise around guitar forums and generally talk guitar with folks, and I got stopped more than a few times at NAMM by folks wanting to know where they could get this shirt. Well, now ya know!

Steve Stevens Oz Clinic Tour


Aaah! Great to hear that Steve Stevens has salvaged his cancelled Australian clinic tour (which was mothballed when Allans Billy Hyde went under – don’t worry, they’ve been bought by new owners now, but that’s another story). Stevens will be showcasing the latest and greatest gear from Roland and BOSS, including the Roland G-5 VG Stratocaster and Roland GR-55 Guitar Synthesizer, as well as offering insights into guitar playing and cool-being.


Presented by Roland in association with Ellaways Music, Better Music, World of Music & Big Music 

Brisbane: Thursday 21 March (Buy)

Canberra: Friday 22 March (Buy)

Melbourne: Saturday 23 March (Buy)

Sydney: Monday 25 March (Buy)

Press Release:

Steve Stevens is one of the most gifted and original guitarists to emerge from the 80s music scene.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Stevens first picked up the guitar at age seven. Immersing himself in the great early 70s Brit guitar heroes like Beck, Page and Clapton, Steve would eventually became an avid prog-rock fan. Post his graduation from the highly prestigious LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts, Stevens hooked up with Generation X singer Billy Idol. Idol and Stevens released the smash hit albums Billy Idol, Rebel Yell and Whiplash Smile. Stevens co-wrote the hits ‘Rebel Yell,’ ‘Eyes without a Face’ and ‘Flesh for Fantasy.’  Continue reading

Seymour Duncan Releases Whole Lotta Humbucker Set


Back in the day, when Seymour Duncan was working at the Fender Soundhouse in London, he developed a pickup modification that added output and high-end frequency response to the typical humbuckers of the day. He’d rewind them, change the magnets and basically awesomize these pickups for players like Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton and others. The Whole Lotta Humbucker set is based on these modifications, and it’s no longer just a UK exclusive: these bad boys are now worldwide!

Press Release

Seymour Duncan Announces Worldwide Launch of Whole Lotta Humbucker

Over a year ago Seymour Duncan launched the Whole Lotta Humbucker set as a limited edition UK exclusive. This set was based off Seymour’s experience working at the Fender Soundhouse with artists like Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and many others. Seymour recalls, “When I’d work on one of those great old guitars for a client, I liked to rewind the pickups with 42-gauge plain-enamel wire. I’d also insert sand-cast Alnico magnets with a better-balanced magnetic field, which made the B and high E sound as powerful as the other strings. This modified pickup had more output and a higher frequency response. The Whole Lotta Humbucker set is a replica of these special pickups with 8.78k DC resistance for the bridge pickup, 8.20k for the neck, custom winding pitch, and a calibrated sand-cast Alnico magnet. I have such great memories of living in London, so I’m thrilled to be producing this pickup once again.” Guitar players around the world who are looking to capture the tone of an era will now be able to get Whole Lotta Humbucker at their local store or favorite online dealer.

For more information, visit: http://www.seymourduncan.com

The Taylor Grand Orchestra Series

Taylor Grand Orchestra

Taylor’s big news at NAMM this year was the Grand Orchestra shape, a completely new model designed by master luthier Andy Powers. It’s a curvaceous, downright sensual instrument designed to blend power, detail and balance across the tonal spectrum. It’s also Taylor’s biggest body shape, and when you see one in person it has that kind of presence and gravity… if you’ve ever pressed your nose against in the window of a guitar shop as a kid you know the kind of presence and gravity I mean.

“We’d been reconsidering our Jumbo guitars,” Powers tells I Heart Guitar, “and we finally got to the point where we said “Okay, well, let’s stop. If we completely re-conceive what we want to do with an acoustic guitar, with no constrictions, no preconceived notions of what it should be, what it could be used for, how it could be made, what would it be like? I literally started with a sheet of fresh paper on my drawing board. I thought about what I wanted and started connecting the dots. So I started drawing curves I knew would sound good, and combined them with bracing ideas and construction elements. This is a new, fresh voice that’s unusually responsive for a bigger guitar. It sounds good if you play heavy-handed and you end up with this huge, powerful voice that’s really linear up to the higher registers. It’s an entirely fresh, original new design that’s got its own unique, expressive voice. It’s not a revamping of something that’s already been done.”

There are currently three models: the 518e, the 618e and the 918e.

Aussies: Wanna Jam With Joe Satriani?

Satriani-Dublin-88-Copy-200x300Thump Music will give fans the opportunity to jam with the one and only Joe Satriani during his Australian masterclass tour in April.

To enter, upload a video to YouTube of yourself jamming to a Satriani song, including ‘Thump Music in the title and place your full name, ticket ID and state in the video description.

Thump will post the videos on their Facebook page for the public to vote, and the most likes wins. The players from the top three videos in each state will be invited to jam with Joe at the clinic.

The competition closes on March 29.

By the way, tickets are $80 per person and there will be giveaways and extras, from pedals and strings to instruments.

Bookings here.

Andy Timmons on the Ibanez Premium AT-10P


Andy Timmons discusses the Ibanez Premium AT10P at Winter NAMM 2013:

“I was on MTV with Danger Danger, and I met the artist relations guy and I said “I think Ibanez is a company I’d like to deal with. That’s where I imagine myself being.” And he basically said “We love you but we hate your band. We want to work with you!” That was the beauty – that complete honesty. That honesty prevails in my relationship with Hoshino to this day. It’s all about quality, and that’s really important to me.

timmons“Once we came up with a guitar that I felt was home, back in 1994, I felt like I’d found a guitar that was for me. Several years later, when I was heading in more of a solo direction, we developed the AT-100. And the main thing for me on that guitar that was so important was that I wanted it to be exactly like my guitar. I thought there was no point in having a signature model if it’s not what I play. So along the way we were developing it, and I of course chose the most expensive option at every turn! But it was more about integrity. The neck had to feel right, it had to have the versatility and it had to sound like my guitar. And I still pick up production models of the AT-100 and some of them sound better than my old guitar. But I just won’t let that one go until it falls to dust. My luthier has suggested that if I have a few of these guitars, I should start playing them because that one’s going to fall apart! Continue reading

Periphery – Scarlet video

Periphery tour dates

Van Halen, Billy Joel Headline Stone Music Festival

Well, this came out of nowhere: Van Halen and Billy Joel will headline the new Stone Music Festival in Sydney, Australia, inspired by 1970s Australian film Stone. Seems like very odd timing, given the very cluttered Australian touring environment at the moment and the fact that it’s only two months away. Also, so far only seven acts have been announced, and tickets go on sale tomorrow. But hey, Van Halen!

I’m gonna be honest: I always get an uneasy feeling in my stomach when I hear of a concert or festival being announced so close to the planned date, and it’s unprecedented to have tickets (priced up to $429) go on sale one day after announcing the festival. It’s a big ask, and I’m sure the promoters know that so they’re probably planning a sizable media blitz to make sure people know about the festival and the bands.

It will be Van Halen’s only Australian appearance. So I’m kinda bummed, cos I can’t really justify spending, like, $800 for tickets, transport and accommodation. Oh well…

The acts are:

Saturday April 20:
Van Halen
Kings of Chaos (Matt Sorum, Duff McKagan, Gilby Clarke, Joe Elliott, Glenn Hughes, Sebastian Bach, Steve Stevens)

Sunday April 21:
Billy Joel
Illumination Road

Richie Ramone has also been announced but the promoters haven’t said yet which day he’ll be playing.

Here’s the press release:

STONE Music Festival is coming to Sydney in April!
Only Australian performances from Billy Joel, Van Halen and Kings of Chaos

Billy Joel and Van Halen have been confirmed to headline the inaugural STONE Music Festival to be held over two days at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium on Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 April, 2013.

STONE Music Festival will be an EPIC once-in-a-lifetime Aussie celebration and the only place fans will get to see these international headliners in Australia this year!

Supporting these global superstars on the Festival bill will be a massive array of legendary international and Australian rock acts that amongst them have accumulated a plethora of album sales and awards, and plenty of smash hit singles for festival goers to belt out at the top of their voices. The line up at STONE Music Festival really is like no other!

STONE Music Festival takes its name and its attitude from the iconic 1974 Ozploitation flick, STONE.

The film is a cult classic and the timing of the Festival serves as a timely reminder of our fallen veterans in the lead up to ANZAC day. STONE Music Festival will pay homage to our fallen heroes by celebrating mateship, brotherhood and all things that make this country great while creating a brand new Aussie ANZAC tradition.


John Merchant on mixing ‘secrets’

Barry Gibb and John Merchant

I just interviewed engineer/producer John Merchant for a few Aussie mags (to promote his forthcoming Australian masterclasses in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane – tickets here), and this quote was so awesome that I thought I’d share it here:

“So many times, especially if you go to online resources – and I will not name Gearslutz – there’s this feeling that mixing is a secret, or that there are tricks. I would contend that if you see the word’s ‘tips,’ ‘tricks’ or ‘secrets’ in the title of the book, it’s probably bullshit. If you ask a concert pianist what the secret is to being a great player, they’re going to look at you with deeply tired eyes and tell you they’ve been practicing for eight hours a day or more since they were three.”

John Merchant ‘Mixing In The Box’ Masterclass dates:

Friday, 1 March 2013 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM (EST)
SAE Melbourne Campus
235 Normanby Rd
South Melbourne, Victoria 3205

Monday, 4 March 2013 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM (EST)
SAE Brisbane Campus
Riverside Dr
Brisbane, Queensland 4101

Wednesday, 6 March 2013 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM (EST)
SAE Sydney Campus
55-57 Wentworth Ave
Sydney, New South Wales 2000

SeymourDuncan Vapor Trail

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 If you'd like to support the site, feel free to kick in a couple o'bucks using this donation button.

I Heart Guitar Weekly