Fender Jimi Hendrix Monterey Stratocaster

Jimi Hendrix’s performance at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 was so revolutionary that its notes are still reverberating today. On that day, Jimi changed so much about what we believed a musician could do and the sounds a guitar could make (whether blasting out ear-shattering feedback or shrieking its last breaths as it smashes against the stage floor in a hail of flames and parts). Fender has now released a limited edition Stratocaster in tribute to that iconic performance and the instrument that met its firey death on that stage. Here’s the press release.  Read More …

PRS Introduces Vernon Reid Signature Model

Vernon Reid is one of my favourite guitarists, and a damn nice guy as well. He’s been playing PRS Guitars for a few years now and has solidified his partnership with the company via a new limited edition signature model, the S2 VR Vela. I love so many things about this guitar, from the Floyd Rose to the pickguard to the choice of colours. And I can’t wait to hear it in action on Living Colour’s new record, Shade, out next month. Here’s the press release. 

(STEVENSVILLE, MD) August 8, 2017 – PRS Guitars is pleased to announce a new limited edition model in the S2 series of US made electric guitars: The S2 VR Vela. Developed with Living Colour founder, Vernon Reid, the VR Vela is a commanding instrument with a cult personality and tons of tonal textures. Read More …

Dweezil To Tour Australia & NZ In 2018

I am so utterly, utterly excited about this. Dweezil Zappa is returning to Australia and New Zealand in February to not only play shows but also present a series of exclusive guitar masterclasses too!
 
PRESS RELEASE: David Roy Williams in collaboration with Principal Entertainment present Dweezil Zappa, son of the legendary Frank Zappa, celebrating 50 years of Zappa with a series of concerts and exclusive guitar masterclasses in Australia & New Zealand in early 2018.
Read More …

ESP Responds To CITES Amendments

ESP Guitars has announced its plans for moving toward sustainable materials in guitar/bass design and manufacturing in response to the changes to CITES regulations, and while their various manufacturing facilities gradually begin the switch to new materials, they are far enough along in the process that they have made their first public statement about the new materials to be used, on a series-by-series basis.

Here’s the statement.

ESP Guitars has always been a company who takes seriously our responsibility as a manufacturer of wood-based instruments. With the most recent amendments to CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), all instrument manufacturers face increased scrutiny to ensure that the raw materials used in their products meet the requirements as designated under this international treaty.

Particular to the current version of CITES is the use of the wood genus Dalbergia, with several species known commonly as rosewood, which has been overexploited in the wild. To remain compliant with CITES, ESP has researched a number of replacement materials for use in some of our products’ fingerboards. Note that in some cases, the replacement materials are a running change via our various manufacturing facilities, and as stock is depleted on earlier versions, the use of new materials will go into effect.

LTD “200 SERIES” & “400 SERIES” INSTRUMENTS
Moving ahead, fingerboards on this series of instruments will use jatoba to replace rosewood. Jatoba is a wood found in the Caribbean, Central America, and South America that is commonly called “Brazilian cherry” due to its appearance. Some of the current 200 Series instruments have replaced rosewood with Blackwood, an engineered wood made from sustainable pine. Both materials have been tested by ESP’s specialists for tone and aesthetic appearance, and meet all of our standards for high-quality instruments.

LTD DELUXE “1000 SERIES” and LTD SIGNATURE “600 SERIES” INSTRUMENTS
ESP is making two changes to these instrument series. First, most of the guitars in these series formerly offered with rosewood fingerboards will soon be manufactured with Pau Ferro. While Pau Ferro is colloquially referred to as Bolivian rosewood, it is not actually part of the rosewood genus that is restricted via CITIES regulations, and is an excellent, high-quality substitute for rosewood on guitar and bass fingerboards. Second, on certain models that had been previously offered with rosewood fingerboards, we are making a design change to offer them with Macassar ebony. We are also changing current models in these series being offered with African ebony to using Macassar ebony instead. This is a wood native to Indonesia, and is much less vulnerable than true Rosewood or African ebony as a sustainable material.

LTD ACOUSTIC GUITARS (AVAILABLE ONLY OUTSIDE THE USA)
For all LTD acoustic models that previous used rosewood for fingerboards and bridges, the guitars have been manufactured since January 2017 using Blackwood, and beginning in July we have started to produce them with jatoba as described above. Any model that previously used rosewood for its back and/or sides will now make use of black walnut.

LTD “10 SERIES” INSTRUMENTS
For our instruments designed for beginning musicians and to be made available at the lowest possible cost, the fingerboards of LTD 10 Series has been switched to a manufactured wood material that will act as an acceptable rosewood substitute. This is a running change that is still in progress, and we will announce the specific material at the earliest opportunity.

We are sure that you share ESP’s commitment toward staying in compliance with the current CITES regulations, as well as our enthusiasm for helping to conserve these important natural resources for the planet.

The Peavey HP2 In The Flesh

By far the most talked-about guitar at the Melbourne Guitar Show this past weekend was the Peavey HP2. If you haven’t heard yet, this marks Peavey’s return to USA-made electric guitars, and it’s very, very similar to the old Edward Van Halen Wolfgang models. Word has it that these are actually made using New Old Stock bodies that had been sitting around unpainted since Eddie departed, and that this first run has already been completely sold to dealers. 

If you’re in the USA, you can keep an eye on Guitar Center’s Peavey guitar inventory (including used Wolfgangs) here. If you’re here in Australia, Galactic Music is our Peavey distributor and you can find your nearest dealer here.

I checked the HP2 out up close and was instantly taken back to how great the Wolfgang was. There are a few subtle changes that separate this from the Wolfgang though. The pickups cosmetics are now standard zebra, instead of one zebra and one reverse zebra, and the pickups are tweaked a little to allow them to sound better in single coil mode than the originals did. The Peavey logo on the headstock is bigger, and there’s a range of new finishes including the beautiful Deep Ocean. It was hard to judge the sound on the crowded and very noisy show floor but initial impressions are that the tone is everything it should be, with maybe a little more detail in the high end. 

Obviously it goes without saying that EVH’s Wolfgang guitars are phenomenal quality, and the range hits a lot of different price points that Peavey isn’t hitting. I know a lot of completists who will want an HP2 to go alongside their army of Peavey Wolfgangs, EVH Wolfgangs and Striped Series, Ernie Ball Music Man Edward Van Halen guitars and various Kramers. 

How To Write A Press Release For Music Media

I see a lot of press releases in the course of my day. A lot. Many of them are absolutely perfect. They’re usually written by professionals like Maric Media, ArrowAgency, Deathproof PR, Josh Vittek or any number of other folks whose job it is to get your band’s music in front of the right people, with the right accompanying information. 

Then I get press released written by the band themselves.

These are never good. 

If you don’t have the budget to enlist the services of a pro, you need to know how and why to write a press release. It seems like this is a big SEO topic because there are lots of articles about this online, but they all seem really generic and mostly seem to be rewrites of each other. Most don’t even have actual example. Pfft, that’s stupid. So here’s what I’m going to do. At the end of this article I’m going to give you an example of a press release, but before I do that I’m going to tell you why you’re writing a press release at all, and what not to do.

Why Are You Writing A Press Release?

You’re writing a press release because you want media to cover something. It could be: 

* A local gig.
* A tour.
* A new video on your YouTube channel (yes, it’s totally, very appropriate to send out a press release for this).
* An EP.
* An album.
* A new band member.
* An award you just won.
* An award you’re hoping to win.
* An opinion on some current news or music industry issue that you feel you can contribute to.

How Will Your Press Release Be Used?

Most media outlets will basically copy-and-paste your press release, tweak it for their audience, and hit ‘Publish.’ They don’t want to rewrite it from the very beginning, and they don’t want to spend 20 minutes editing it for you. It’s not that editors are lazy, it’s just that they have a lot of emails in their inbox vying for attention, and they’re more likely to run your unsolicted news item if they can do it efficiently then move on to the next article. 

What Bad Stuff Do You See, Peter?

I’ve seen some unmitigated horrors in press releases. For example: 

* Terrible grammar and spelling.
* Capitalising words that don’t need to be capitalised.
* Omitting the last names of the band members, as if you’re all friggin’ Madonna or something. 
* Trying too hard to write something evocative and flowery, when all the editor wants is the information. Don’t go overboard with “Since the dawn of time, humanity has sought the ultimate metal band, one that would rise forth from the flames and…” etc. It just doesn’t make for good media copy, which is what a press release is really for. 
* Using the press release to direct the editor to check out your information elsewhere (website, Facebook, Bandcamp, etc). Don’t do this. Just don’t. 

What Should A Press Release Include?

Relevant information, formatted so the press can release it. Easy. NEXT!

How Should A Press Release Be Sent?

You can use a mailing list client like Mailchimp to send out your press release, but I prefer just a straight text email. Here’s the thing: yes, you should send your press release as an attachment in Word or as a PDF. You should include some images (preferably your album cover if you have one, and a professional-looking live or promo shot). Include web resolution and print resolution (300dpi) versions, or link to a dropbox that contains these. But most importantly, include the entire press release in the body of the email. Remember, you want the editor to see your press release and decide to run it. This is much easier for them if it’s really, really easy to understand what it’s saying and to then copy and paste for further editing, formatting or to use as the basic for an original article. Again, editors aren’t lazy. They’re overworked and jacked up on coffee and probably underpaid and a little bit hangry, and they just want to get the article out there because that’s their job. 

So with that in mind, here’s an example of a press release. 

Guitarist Peter Hodgson Begins Recording Album

AUGUST 7, 2017: Australian guitarist Peter Hodgson has begun recording his debut instrumental album, Synesthesia, due for release in late 2017.

Synesthesia will include progressive rock/metal instrumental tracks that have been performed live with the Peter Hodgson Trio at the Melbourne Guitar Show and on TV’s Guitar Gods & Masterpieces, as well as other compositions.

“I’ve been sitting on these songs for a long time,” Peter says. “Some of them date back almost 20 years, but I’m always tweaking and changing them. I figure now is as good a time as any to give them a pat on the bum and send them out into the world.”

The album title is taken from a perceptual phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway. Peter has written about Synesthesia for a number of publications including Guitar World, and how he uses it to influence his guitar playing and songwriting. 

About Peter Hodgson

Peter is known as senior contributor and columnist for Australian Guitar magazine, where his instructional column Soloing Strategies can be found. He is also a contributor to Guitar World and Mixdown, in addition to his role as metal columnist for Beat Magazine. And his I Heart Guitar blog [iheartguitarblog.com] has been one of the world’s most visited and highly regarded guitar news sites since 2008. 

Peter is an endorser of Seymour Duncan guitar pickups and pedals. He uses Kiesel guitars, Ernie Ball strings, Marshall amplifiers and IK Multimedia software.

Suggested Social Post
Oz guitarist #PeterHodgson @iheartguitar is recording an instrumental album. Follow the progress here: https://www.facebook.com/peterhodgsonguitar/

For more information or to schedule an interview, contact: 

Peter Hodgson
peter.j.hodgson@gmail.com

Web: iheartguitarblog.com
Twitter: @iheartguitar
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/peterhodgsonguitar/
Instagram: @iheartguitarblog

Cool Preamps They Don’t Make Any More

 

In the late 80s and early 90s, preamps and power amps were where it was at. Amp heads? Pfft. Sure, you put them on top of your dummy stacks on stage, but you didn’t actually use them. In the 90s that all changed and players rediscovered the glories of stacks, half stacks and combos, so everyone sold off their preamps. Now you can’t take a stroll on eBay or through a secondhand guitar store without tripping over a stack of the damn things. That’s very bad news for the clumsy of footfall, but great news for those of us who can’t get enough guitar gear. So I present to you, dear reader, Cool Preamps They Don’t Make Any More.

Marshall 9001

This preamp holds a special place in my heart because it was advertised on the back page of the very first guitar magazine I ever got – the March 1991 Guitar World with ZZ Top on the cover. Part of the 9000 range that also included a few different power amp options, the 9001 rocked three channels of 12AX7 goodness. It also had a cabinet emulation switch for direct recording applications. It’s not the most well-known and full-featured Marshall preamp – that honour goes to the JMP-1 – and it seemed to be favoured more for its medium overdrive tones than its clean and screaming settings. But it’s still a cool piece of kit. 
CLICK HERE to see the Marshall 9001 on eBay

Marshall JMP-1


This preamp is an undisputed classic. Real tube operation with the flexibility of MIDI control, this one is still the heart of Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen’s rack, and Iron Maiden has been known to use it pretty extensively. This beast packs four channels into a single rack space: Clean 1, the edgier Clean 2, Plexi-ish OD1 and high gain OD2. I’ve used a few of these in various situations over the years – usually in combination with a Marshall EL34 power amp – and I’ve never been anything less than completely blown away by the clarity and harmonic complexity, especially for fat-ass lead sounds and crunchy humbucker rhythm work. IK Multimedia has a great emulation of this in AmpliTube 4 which does an incredible job of capturing the spirit of the original.
CLICK HERE to see the Marshall JMP-1 on eBay.

ART Powerplant

Designed by N.S.”Buck” Brundage, this unit was manufactured from 1990 to 1997 and it was a favourite of producer Max Norman – yes, he who worked with Megadeth on Rust In Peace, Countdown To Extinction and Youthanasia, not to mention Ozzy Osbourne in the Randy Rhoads era. Back in the day, ART said: “Power Plant combines the finest elements and saturation curves of 12AX7s into 6L6 tubes giving the user the thickest, heaviest crunch of classic tube amps without diction and articulation of notes! The Power Plant is one of the most versatile studio and live sound production tools available. It has totally separate clean and overdrive channels, master volume control, a switchable effects loop, and a +20 dB output for a power amp feed (this output has a unique equalization and pre-emphasis circuit that reflects the curve of a guitar amplification section).”
CLICK HERE to see the ART Power Plant on eBay

A/DA MP-1


This little beauty was popular among many players in the early 90s, especially when paired with a Marshall JCM 900 amp head. The typical trick was to bypass the JCM 900’s preamp section entirely by plugging into the MP-1 then sending its output directly into the Marshall’s effect loop return. Players who were big on the MP-1 included Nuno Bettencourt, Paul Gilbert, Kirk Hammett and White Lion’s Vito Bratta. Believe it or not, even Billy Corgan used one in Smashing Pumpkins. You get 128 programmable user patches, plus a chorus effect. ADA made an amp called the Quadtube which featured a rather MP-1-looking control section. They also released the MP-2 and the MB-1 bass preamp. Awesome. Now A/DA is back, and you can get the A/DA MP-1-Channel, a pedal version of the MP-1 rack preamp which employs the 4-stage vacuum tube design to achieve the same rich tone that made it the staple for most of the touring bands in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
CLICK HERE to see the ADA MP-1 on eBay.

Soldano/Caswell X99


Another tube-driven preamp with 128 presets and MIDI control, part of the X99’s cool charm is that the passive control knobs are moved by little MIDI-driven motors. The idea is that if the pots themselves were motorised, an additional gain stage would have been introduced, and you’d get all sorts of additional noise. When I was 16 I played in a band with a few older dudes. The singer/guitarist had one of these and an Alesis Quadraverb. I thought it was the coolest damn rig I’d ever seen, and the warmly overdriven sounds were godlike. The X99 is a great choice for rock styles, and although I don’t know if I’d use it for metal, it’s one powerful piece of kit with a killer pedigree. Great colour too.
CLICK HERE to see the Soldano/Caswell X99 on eBay.

Bogner Fish


This all-tube four-channel blue behemoth is one of the most lusted-after pieces of guitar kit around. Forgive me for going back to Megadeth but if you dig the tones of the Rust In Peace era, they burst forth from this piscatorial pulveriser. It’s also all over a lot of early 90s work by Alice In Chains and Anthrax. The Fish is exceedingly hard to find today, so if you see one, snap the damn thing up.
CLICK HERE to see the Bogner Fish on eBay.

Hafler Triple Giant

The Bogner you buy when you can’t afford a Bogner, the Triple Giant was indeed designed by Reinhold Bogner himself. It’s not quite in the same league as the Fish, but it’s certainly not without its charms. There’s a pleasing depth to the midrange and bass. Just know that if you cover up the Hafler logo with black tape so people think you have a real Bogner, we’re onto you. *cough* Hi Simon.
CLICK HERE to see the Hafler Triple Giant on eBay.

Reverend Reeves Gabrels Dirtbike

Aah, how cool is this! Reverend Guitars has just unleashed the Reeves Gabrels Dirtbike, a stripped-back, ready-to-get-down-and-dirty guitar inspired by Reeves’ personal history. In his own words:

“What I think is cool about this guitar is the fact that I have a whole ongoing story/reason/explanation of always having a no frills simple, fast and blue thing to zip around on that threads thru my whole life. This guitar is a continuation of that sense of freedom in the form of speed and power stripped down to its essentials. And Reverend Guitars matched the light metallic blue color of both of its two wheeled predecessors. To me a single pickup guitar with a trem is just like my 1966 Schwinn Stingray with the extension spring on the front wheel or my 1971 Honda dirtbike with the raised front fender and slightly extended fork. It’s a guitar with enough agility that it will let you grab air and do wheelies and the power to leave some rubber on the asphalt in front of the neighbor’s house. And, really, that’s all you need. Did I mention it’s blue?” – Reeves Gabrels.

It has a custom Railhammer pickup, solid Korina body, Wilkinson WVS50 IIK tremolo, passive bass contour knob and a 22 jumbo fret Rosewood fingerboard on a three-piece Korina neck. It comes in three colours: Reeves Blue, Violin Brown and Cream. More info here.