DiMarzio’s new John Petrucci pickups are out now

Mr. John Petrucci of Dream Theater has a heck of a pair of ears on him for designing pickups. His DiMarzio Crunch Lab and LiquiFire set is one of my favourite combinations ever, and the Illuminators are no slouches either (I haven’t tried his Sonic Ecstasy set but I’m sure they’re badass too). His latest collaboration with DiMarzio is the Rainmaker neck and Dreamcatcher bridge humbucker set, which DiMarzio describes like this:

“The Dreamcatcher™ Bridge reflects John Petrucci’s continuing process of refining and expanding his sound. Although designed specifically for John’s neck-through signature Ernie Ball Music Man Majesty guitar, the basic performance shows the overall direction John said he wants to follow in pursuit of his personal sound. This pickup has an increased sensitivity to pick attack and more dynamic range overall. The Dreamcatcher™ Bridge focuses more power on the low mids to allow the bridge position to cut through the mix without brittle highs or muddy lows. The Rainmaker™ Neck has an interesting blend of both warmer highs and more open mids to blend classic and modern approaches to the neck pickup.”

And:

“The Dreamcatcher™ Bridge is a heavyweight pickup that’s also light on its feet. It has power but is not ultra-high output. The power is concentrated on the low mids, and there is a small scoop in the upper mids to keep the overall sound both warm and defined. The split sound is both full and very focused for the middle position neck and bridge split combination that John Petrucci is known for.

Although it may seem odd, John Petrucci has recently requested more of a blues-based tone without sacrificing his signature Dream Theater sound. The Rainmaker™ Neck achieves this with a broader EQ than John’s other models, with open mids and a bit less output. The result is a sweet overdriven sound that can clean up when the volume is rolled down and remains solid and articulate with high gain.”

The pickups are available in six and seven-string configurations in a huge variety of colours, and you can learn more about them on Petrucci’s Artists Page on DiMarzio.com, along with the various other pickups he’s used over the years.

Steve Vai has unveiled his new Synergy Amps module

Since Carvin rolled down the shutters for the last time, Steve Vai fans have been wondering what Dr. Vai is going to do next amp-wise. At NAMM he was talking up Synergy Amps, whose interchangable modules are damn fine indeed. And today Vai his previewed his signature module. Thus tweeteth Steve:

 

We can’t glean too much from the photo other than that it’s a two-channel preamp with three-band EQ and a couple of voicing switches. Typically with Synergy these are three-position Treble and Bass voicing switches. I love the green face plate, and you better believe I’ll be getting one of these when funds allow!

 

New Richie Kotzen song ‘Venom’

Here’s Richie Kotzen’s new single and video, ‘Venom.’ Love the guitar sounds on this one, and the guitar/bass doubling. And who wouldn’t want a red Kotzen Strat, eh? If you want some of that Kotzen tone yourself and you can’t get your paws on his signature Strat, check out the DiMarzio Richie Kozen Strat Replacement Pickuguard. The pickups are three medium-gain Alnico 5 single coils (actually they’re able to be wired as humbuckers if you wish but Richie has them running in single coil mode), all with the same output, classic-Strat-style, and you can hear them up-close in this video (the Strat section kicks in at about 4 minutes):

Meet the Fender Rarities Koa Flame Ash Top Strat

Check this beauty out! It features a two-piece ash body with a flame koa top and a one-piece, quartersawn European maple neck. The custom Tim Shaw overwound 59 gold-foil single-coil pickups are warm and clear, while the Shaw custom Filter’Tron™-style humbucking pickup delivers a powerful, articulate voice. The “Modern C”-shaped quartersawn neck delivers classic Strat tone while the 9.5”-radius fingerboard and narrow-tall frets make it comfortable to play.

Here’s a closer look at those pickups. The gold-foil single coils look amazing and I hope we see more Strats with this pickup configuration. I’m imagining these on a bound black Strat or on a Mustang or something. Oh please, Fender.

Tony Visconti’s legendary Bowie ‘Heroes’ vocal sound can be yours

You know the legendary vocal sound on David Bowie’s ‘Heroes’? If you don’t know what I mean, listen to the album version (the single version cuts off half the good stuff). What you’ll hear at the beginning of the song is Bowie’s voice all close up to begin with but then as the song opens out to the ‘dolphins’ bit that kicks off the single edit, more reverb is introduced. Then as the song progresses, Bowie hits certain notes that seem to shake the whole room. What you’re hearing there is a very clever technique created by producer Tony Visconti; that’s three microphones at different locations in the room of Hansa Studios. The first mic – the one Bowie is singing right into – has a compressor on it to lift up his softest vocal inflections. The second is moved off a bit to collect a more ambient sound but only when Bowie’s voice hits a loud enough level to trip a gate on that mic. The third mic is set even further back and again is fed by a gate that is only opened up when Bowie really goes for it. And until now, you’ve had to have the right gear in the right room to achieve that sound.

But now Visconti has teamed up with Eventide to offer this effect in the form of Tverb, along with the ability to move the mics around the room in stereo. Imagine how it could sound with acoustic guitar or drums: your reverb can follow the dynamics of your entire track. And of course it’s going to bring vocals to life in the same way Visconti did on those legendary Bowie sessions in Berlin in the 70s.

Right now you can get Tverb for 75% off. Hit this link to learn more. And check out these videos.

Hear the new Northlane single ‘Talking Heads’

Northlane have just released ‘Talking Heads,’ the new single from their forthcoming album Alien, which will be out on August 2 on UNFD.

“‘Talking Heads’ talks about the insecurities and anxiety that come with growing up in a violent home with drug addicted parents,” vocalist Marcus Bridge says. “That trauma had made it difficult to express my thoughts and ideas in the past, both emotionally and creatively. We started working on this song pretty early in the process and I think writing it actually started to erase a lot of that insecurity, helping me open up a lot more for the rest of Alien. I think it’s important to know that there are a lot of people who feel the same way. I hope with this song and the issues talked about on rest of the album, that people will start to feel comfortable opening up about their past, turning it from a weakness to a strength in the process.”

New City And Colour single ‘Astronaut’ out now

 

Alexisonfire guitarist Dallas Green – whose solo output is released under the name City And Colour as I’m sure you know – has just released ‘Astronaut,’ the first single from his forthcoming album. It’s a haunting, immersive track which grows to an almost psychedelic crescendo and you can listen to it right here.

Produced by three-time Grammy-winning Jacquire King (Kings Of Leon, Tom Waits, Modest Mouse, Norah Jones) and mastered by Emily Lazar (Beck, Coldplay, Dolly Parton, The Chainsmokers), the first female mastering engineer to win a Grammy for best engineered album (2019). ‘Astronaut’ is the first original music from City and Colour in almost four years and is featured on his upcoming sixth studio album to be released this Spring on Green’s newly minted Still Records, an imprint of Dine Alone Records.

“I always think of the relationships in my life that have been fractured because I ended up doing what I do for a living,” says Green regarding the inspiration for the new song. “I’m always gone, wandering around and singing songs. However, it weighs on my family and friends. I’m asking for ‘one more year’. I left home at 21 to go play my guitar. It’s lonely, but it’s because I yearn to wander. I’m aware of how lucky I am.”