REVIEW: David Bowie – The Next Day

David-Bowie-The-Next-Day1-1David Bowie’s always at his best when he’s fucking with your idea of who David Bowie is. He achieves that on The Next Day by shattering the idea that he’s a 66-year-old dude making his first album in ten years. It’s no mistake that the cover features a defacing of the artwork for Heroes – this album could fit in very neatly between Heroes and Scary Monsters, with additional little teases and hints here and there which recall moments from 1.Outside, Heathen, Tin Machine II, Station To Station and Let’s Dance. But perhaps the most overt ode to the Bowie of old is You Feel So Lonely You Could Die, which sounds suspiciously like a long-lost track from the Ziggy Stardust sessions, before confirming your sense of “this sounds familiar” by ending with the lonesome drum beat from Five Years. It’s one of those cheeky intertextual moves that Bowie weaves into his catalog so easily.  Read More …

REVIEW: Schecter Blackjack SLS C-1 FR-S

Schecter

Although Schecter was initially known for slightly more traditional guitars, they’ve really hit their stride in the past decade-plus as purveyors of fine high-performance axes aimed at the metal market. They still cater to the traditionalists – especially with the new USA Production Series unveiled at NAMM in January), but the SLS Blackjack C-1 FR-S is a great example of how Schecter unifies a whole stack of shred-friendly features that are unashamedly pitched at those who dwell on the dark side.

[geo-out country=”Australia” note=””]Click here to buy one from Musician’s Friend[/geo-out]

The SLS has a mahogany body with your choice of Crimson Red Burst or Satin Black finish. The latter is the model on review here: the finish seems particularly well applie, and nicely offset by multi-ply binding. The neck is made of three-piece maple for enhanced stability, and there are 24 Jumbo frets on the ebony fretboard. The headstock is a bound three-tuner-per-side variant featuring Grover Rotomatic tuners with an 18:1 gear ratio for smoother tuning and a higher degree of backlash elimination. The only inlay on the fretboard face of the Satin Black version is a ‘Hell’s Gate Skull’ which looks pretty bitchen’, and definitely positions this as a metal guitar. Personally I think it’d do fine without it, as on the Crimson Red Burst model which has offset dots instead, but it’s not a deal breaker. The set neck is carved into Schecter’s Ultra Access shape, which mimics a neck-thru instrument, and the profile is the Ultra Thin spec, which is 19mm at the first fret and 20mm at the 12th.

Read More …

New Jackson 7 and 8-string USA Select models

Jackson B8DXMG Satin Black

Jackson USA Select B7

Dammit Jackson, I’m trying to not buy any new guitars this year.

JACKSON® INTRODUCES NEW SEVEN AND EIGHT-STRING USA SELECT MODELS

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (March 7, 2013) – Jackson is proud to announce the release of eight new seven and eight-string USA Select models.

The USA Select B7, USA Select B7 Deluxe, USA Select B8 and USA Select B8 Deluxe feature a beveled alder body, bolt-on quartersawn maple neck (neck-through on deluxe models) with graphite reinforcement and oil finish, compound-radius ebony fingerboard with 24 jumbo frets and side-dot position markers, 27” scale length, dual direct-mount DiMarzio® D Activator 7™pickups (D Activator 8™pickups on eight-string models), Jackson direct-mount HT-7 hard-tail string-through bridge (HT-8 on eight-string models), Jackson-branded Gotoh® tuners and Dunlop® locking strap pins. Deluxe models include black fingerboard and headstock binding. All models available in Satin Grey, Walnut Stain, Au Natural and Satin Black.

The USA Select B7MG, USA Select B7MG Deluxe, USA Select B8MG and USA Select B8MG Deluxe feature a beveled alder body, bolt-on quartersawn maple neck (neck-through on deluxe models) with graphite reinforcement and oil finish, compound-radius ebony fingerboard with 24 jumbo frets and side-dot position markers, 27” scale length, dual direct-mount EMG® 707 neck (808 on eight-string models) and 81-7 bridge pickups (808 on eight-string models), Jackson direct-mount HT-7 hard-tail string-through bridge (HT-8 on eight-string models), Jackson-branded Gotoh® tuners and Dunlop® locking strap pins. Deluxe models include black fingerboard and headstock binding. All models available in Satin Grey, Walnut Stain, Au Natural and Satin Black.

For more information, visit www.jacksonguitars.com

Fastback releases Ryan ‘Fluff’ Bruce Beard Combers pickups

Fastback has released the Beard Combers high gain pickups, signature model for Ryan “Fluff” Bruce of Riffs, Beards & Gear and Black Metal Bicycle. And these things sound monstrous! They’re designed to offer clarity in the high end with a fast balance low end response for a bold well rounded sound. They’re available in both six and seven string versions These passive pickups are built with Alnico 5 magnets, AWG 43 wire and four-conductor hookup cable, with the bridge model at 16K+ and the neck at 12K+.

The Beard Combers are sold in a tin case with black comb included, and the first 20 sets will come with a promotional free Jimmy Clip, which you place over the strings either on the bridge or headstock to control unwanted frequencies or overtones.

Street price for the Beard Combers in either the six or seven string version will be $120 single or $230 per set direct from fastbackguitars.com.

 

Gear Porn by Dave Leslie: Grubisa Merlin

Merlin

Hey there, Sports Fans. This is the first instalment of a column that I hope will be a regular occurrence around these parts. It basically entails me, Dave, chatting and sometimes waxing lyrical/nostalgic about the equipment that myself (and Suze, if you’re interested) have been playing/using/abusing during the last 20 or so years of Baby Animals (and maybe even the 17 years before that…).

Those of you who know me know that I’m a self-confessed ‘gear-head.’ I have been fortunate to have acquired some really nice stuff and I really enjoy discussing equipment, what it does, how it sounds, how it looks and most importantly, the way it makes music… Read More …

Win A Buddy Blaze Vivian Campbell ‘Lightning Storm’ Shredder

buddy and vivian

The Kramer Nightswan is one of those ‘holy grail’ guitars for many players. It was very innovative for its time, and it lives on as the Buddy Blaze Shredder. (Buddy is, of course, one of the finest guitar builders in the world and the man responsible for my killer seven-string). Now Buddy, Floyd Rose and Seymour Duncan have teamed up to give away one of only 25 Vivian Campbell 25th Anniversary Shredder VC-II / LS guitars.

Here’s the press release:

Win A Buddy Blaze Vivian Campbell ‘Lightning Storm’ Shredder

Buddy Blaze Guitars has joined forces with Seymour Duncan and Floyd Rose to give away a very special guitar: The Buddy Blaze – Vivian Campbell 25th Anniversary Shredder VC-II / LS modeled after the historic guitar used by Campbell in his Whitesnake days.

In 1987, Buddy Blaze and Vivian Campbell designed the Buddy Blaze Shredder, the guitar that would ultimately become known as the Kramer Nightswan. With a scale length of 24 5/8″, floating Floyd Rose tremolo and a ‘bridge/middle’ pickup configuration (a Seymour Duncan Full Shred and a JB, respectively), the Shredder was a unique take on the ‘superstrat’ concept. When Blaze was drafted by Kramer, Campbell soon followed him. The ‘Lightning Storm’ Nightswan prototype was born, featuring the first appearance of the Full Shred as well as a similar finish to Dimebag Darrell’s Dean From Hell, another famous guitar Buddy is intrinsically linked to.

shredder black background“I was quite drawn to the idea of working one-on-one with a guy who simply wanted to build guitars, as opposed to a bigger company that was more concerned with marketing,” Campbell says. “I liked the idea of a short scale guitar. I had been playing Charvel/Jackson for a year or two before that, and whilst I certainly appreciated those instruments, there were certain features that were unnatural to me – one of which was the wide, flat and unfinished fretboard. Another was their 25 1/2 inch scale; although I have big hands, I liked the idea of a smaller instrument with a smaller neck as I tend to use my left hand thumb over the top of the neck when playing bar chords and that was difficult to do with larger, wider necks.”

To celebrate 25 years since the ‘Lightning Storm’ prototype was created, Buddy and Vivian have teamed up to offer the  Buddy Blaze Vivian Campbell 25th Anniversary Shredder VC-II / LS. Only 25 will be made, each with a unique lightning storm graphic hand-painted by Buddy. They’ll have an Original Floyd Rose tremolo with R1 nut (Titanium Floyd optional), the same Full Shred/JB pickup combination (with each Full Shred signed by Seymour W. Duncan), a Honduras Mahogany body, figured maple neck with 16″ radius ebony fretboard, 24 5/8″ scale length, Buddy Blaze-designed CTS pot, and a certificate of authenticity signed by Buddy and Vivian.

And you could win one. Simply enter on Facebook, and you could own one of these 25 historic guitars! Entries close on March 27th and giveaway is open worldwide.

Click here to enter: http://on.fb.me/Yy93Uq

blaze2013

shredders

Alex Lifeson & Mojotone Introduce The Lerxst Omega

Lerxst Omega

Okay, so the Marshall Silver Jubilee is one of the coolest amps ever, right? And you don’t see them on the used market very often because when someone finds one they tend to not let it go. Alex Lifeson used one on the recording of Rush’s Clockwork Angels album, and he wanted to take that sound on the road. I guess either he didn’t want to risk the original amp, or maybe it was a rental or something. Mojotone to the rescue! Mojotone tech Steve Snyder created an amp for Alex based on the Silver Jubilee but with some refinements, and Alex responded,

“I am so blown away by the fantastic job you and your colleagues have done creating the Lerxst amp for me. We pulled the Marshall last night after A/B-ing the two. The tonal character is quite similar but the response of the Lerxst has greater immediacy, sustain and grip. It sounds so good!”

So he had them build another for backup. And now you’ll be able to buy your own! Read More …