Fretlight Certified Teacher Program

fretlightAs someone who writes instructional columns (you can read Unleash Your Inner Rock God in Mixdown magazine every month), I’m all for learning from magazines, websites and YouTube. But if that’s your only method of learning, it could take you years to catch up to things you would learn very early on with a teacher. Fretlight, who have long offered innovative illuminated-fretboard guitars for learning purposes, are now bringing teachers right into the equation with their new Certified Teacher Program and Learning Center, which connects students and teachers and lets the student see the teacher’s fretting illuminated on their own guitar. This is a really great idea which I can see helping a lot of players to really optimise their learning time. Here’s the press release: Read More …

Cool Gear Alert: Tronical Tune

TronicalCheck out this great video of the Tronical tuning system. This is the same company who developed the self-tuning system found in the Gibson self-tuning guitars, and the technology is now available for almost any guitar. The video features a song written in Open E that changes to Drop C mid song. It’s cool to see how quick the transition is, and how tastefully it’s worked into the composition. Visit Tronical’s website for more info, and especially make sure you go to this page which lists various specific guitar models and the appropriate Tronical units for those axes. And now here’s the video! Read More …

Cool Gear Alert: EHX Hot Tubes

EH Hot TubesEHX has made so, so, so many classic pedals, and they never stop innovating. For instance, right now I’m trying to wrap my head around their brilliant 8 Step Program, an incredibly flexible and creativity-goosing stompbox that’s like nothing else out there. But at the other end of the spectrum there’s the EHX Hot Tubes, which takes the original 70s pedal of the same name, and squeezes it into a compact nano-sized chassis instead of the much larger chassis of the 1978 original. Below is the press release: Read More …

Soundwave 2014 line-up announced!

SoundwaveIt’s here! The first announcement of the annual Soundwave festival here in Australia. Look, I’m just gonna say it: Soundwave rivals any festival in the world for sheer quality of bands and atmosphere. There are other great metal festivals, sure, but Soundwave just has this vibe about it, y’know? Whatever your preferred flavour of heavy music, there’s something for you. And Soundwave 2014 doesn’t disappoint. Just check out these names: Green Day, Living Colour, Avenged Sevenfold, Megadeth, AFI, Korn, Trivium, Newsted, Baroness, Testament, Gwar, Whitechapel, Teseract… argh!

Here’s the first round of bands in full:  Read More …

REVIEW: Hiwatt SA-2012 Custom 20

SA2012Hiwatt’s all-tube amplifiers have been powering rock since pretty much the dawn of the genre, famously propelling the world-changing sounds of artists such as The Who’s Pete Townshend and Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour – all while looking super-cool in the process. As Mr. Townshend knows, there’s something magical about a Hiwatt power section pushed to breaking point – an alchemical combination of punch, growl and ring that you just can’t get from any other amp. And as Mr. Gilmour knows, Hiwatt’s cleaner tones are a great platform for effects, from simple ambience around a clean sound to full-on modulation and fuzz: they’re extremely stompbox-friendly amplifiers.  There are plenty of great tones a Hiwatt can help you achieve, and the Hiwatt catalog boasts plenty of different amps at different price points to get you there. The Custom 20 is up there in the high-price, boutique end of the spectrum. Of course, size is no indication of value, so don’t be thrown by its diminutive stature: this is a serious amp for serious players. Read More …

Your Signature Guitar?

Buddy Blaze SevenatorThere’s a really cool discussion over at the Seymour Duncan User Group Forum right now: if you had a signature guitar, what would it be? Forum member Dr. Vegetable posed the following questions: Which company called you? Which standard model in their product lineup do you base your sig off of? (Need not be in current production.) What specs do you insist upon that make it uniquely yours? What other customizations do you make to the guitar? What special piece of “case candy” goes with it as a collector’s item? I gave it a great deal of thought, because there are a lot of companies I’d love to have a signature guitar through. I replied with one answer, but then I realised I really have two. So below are my responses, the original and the one that hit me after I’d already hit ‘post.’ Read More …

The Spectra Of Plectra: Take Your Pick

big stubbyLemmie tell you a little story about plectrums. I used to always – always – use a Jim Dunlop Jazz III pick. It was my go-to pick no matter what I was playing: electric, acoustic, bass, 7-string, metal, blues, jazz. And it served me really well. But then one day I found myself in a foreign country on an unfamiliar guitar with an unfamiliar pick and I felt completely lost. Oh and it was during a lesson with Paul Gilbert, which is a real good way to feel intimidated, no matter how great Paul is at making his lessons seem fun and relaxed. A little while later, I went to a Marty Friedman clinic which was a hugely influential night in my development as a guitarist. Lemmie explain.   Read More …

Three Decades Of Roadrunner Records

RoadrunnerI don’t think there’s a single metal fan alive who hasn’t banged their head to an album released by Roadrunner Records. Sepultura, Slipknot, Type O Negative, Fear Factory, Dream Theater, Megadeth, Rush, Trivium – these are just some of the bands who have released albums on the label over the years. To celebrate three decades of brutality (and even some good old-fashioned rock), Roadrunner has compiled the ultimate four-CD box set, XXX: Three Decades Of Roadrunner Records, which looks at four particular aspects of the label’s output: the early years, the 90s, the 2000s-to-present, and the hard rock element. It also features extensive liner notes, which is always fun, at least if you’re a liner-note-nerd like me who loves that stuff. It’s out on September 27, and here’s the press release: Read More …