Uli Jon Roth has partnered with the Dean Guitars USA custom shop to offer limited edition production versions of his iconic Sky guitar. Available in six and seven string versions, it’ll be unveiled at NAMM on January 14. I can’t wait to check this one out, and I’ll be sure to post my thoughts from NAMM.
Here’s some info from Uli Jon Roth’s site:
The long-awaited first official Uli Jon Roth signature SKY GUITAR will finally be unveiled at the Winter NAMM show in Anaheim, California on January 14th, 2010.
There will be two different models on display, a six-string and a seven-string version.
This limited edition will be super-custom built 100% to Uli’s specifications by the custom shop of Dean Guitars USA. Each guitar will be personally named and approved by Uli Jon Roth.
Sky Guitars were the first electric guitars with a truly extended upper range and lots of extra frets.
Uli originally designed the Sky Guitar in 1982 and the development phase went through 5 proto-types, the culmination of which was “Mighty Wing” – his legendary seven-string guitar, which features an un-precedented six octave range.
From the beginning, Sky Guitars embodied the very spirit of cutting-edge innovation. These new models will honor this tradition and will incorporate several new features.
Over the past few years Uli has been approached by numerous guitar manufacturers who offered to build Sky Guitars and guitarists from all over the world are constantly asking where they might buy them.
Going back as far as the Eighties, there have been companies who sold Sky Guitars, either without Uli’s knowledge or without his consent. Many private individuals have also had copies built for themselves, because of the unique and appealing design and the features. But these were all just copied from photographs and no one had access to the precise dimensions of the originals; hence most of those copies resulted in poor imitations, which didn’t stand a chance to live up to the extremely high standard of the handful of originals, which had been hand crafted by the brilliant British master luthier Andreas Demetriou back in the Eighties.
The new Dean Custom line will be the first genuine, fully authentic Sky Guitars for twenty years.
To celebrate the release Uli will play the new Sky Guitars for the first time in public at a special performance at the Anaheim Grove Theater during the NAMM show on January 15th.
To download the PDF file “Introducing the Dean Sky Guitar” click on this link: http://www.ulijonroth.com/sky/current/sky_guitar.pdf
Bolt Trading is no longer distributing Dean in Australia (don’t worry, a new distributor has been appointed – National Music.) so they’re selling their old stock this Saturday in Melbourne, with a whopping minimum 50% off.
Here are the details:
Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine is going to auction off some of his personal guitars. If anyone wants to show their appreciate for I Heart Guitar by buying me one of these, I won’t be offended, hehe. Dave is going to sell his Korean-made Dean VMNTs and replace them with more US-made ones. I guess it says a lot about the quality of the Korean construction that Dave has been using them for so long, and because they’re his personal guitars I wouldn’t be surprised if they’ve benefited from a custom shop fret-dress or two. I’m not sure yet which guitars will be sold, but the picture above is the VMNT Rust In Peace just for kicks. CLICK HERE for my recent interview with Dave.
Here’s a post by Dave on the official Megadeth forum on Megadeth.com:
With the incredible demand, and the constant orders being filled with DEAN guitars for the Dave Mustaine Signature Line, we had decisions to make in keeping up with the orders. This is a great problem to have, and because the ‘Korean made’ DEAN guitars are so remarkable, I agreed to play these while the USA models were being made, and to give my complete support and understanding as we got this new venture with DEAN underway, and I have been so happy with any and all of the guitars they have presented me with, that it wasn’t until recently that I even remembered there was a difference!
However, being one of the more finicky guitarists, I wanted to have the USA guitars for my collection, which is made up of several other brands I have in storage, and the rest are my quiver of DEAN guitars.
I have several of these incredible DEAN Korean models, and I have conferred with Elliot Rubison that we are going to replace this arsenal of six-string weaponry – the Korean guitars – with the USA guitars.
Here’s where you come in: we are going to auction off all of my Korean ones. We are also going to take the winning bid and donate all the winnings (after the auction is closed and shipping and handling charges are deducted) to a (unnamed as of yet – deciding between two recipients still) charity this year. Dave McRobb will be working with DEAN and many of our partners to bring awareness of this auction before the Holidays, and I encourage you, if you can’t afford to bid for these KILLER KOREAN GUITARS, then you can show your support by just spreading the word (banners, fliers, whatev!) and drawing as much success for these menacing war toys, to benefit some needy children this Christmas. Until then, have a great Holiday Season, God Bless you all, and thank you for your support.
CLICK HERE for the Megadeth eBay store which is where I’m guessing the guitars will be auctioned when the time comes.
Chris Broderick’s cool new Megadeth Endgame Ibanez custom guitar (reported here last week) isn’t the first axe to feature Megadeth-themed album art. Since Megadeth’s return with The System Has Failed, Dave Mustaine and his co-guitarists have used a whole bunch of custom guitars from ESP/LTD, Dean and Ibanez.
Here are a pair of Dean VMNTs with artwork from Rust In Peace and United Abominations, respectively.
Glen’s tenure in Megadeth only lasted for one album and a few tours, but he sure used some cool custom-painted guitars in that time. Here we have a pair of ESPs (Countdown to Extinction and Peace Sells …But Who’s Buying graphics) and a Dean Vendetta with the United Abominations cover.
This is an off-the-shelf Ibanez S5470 with a custom hand-painted image taken from the booklet to Megadeth’s new album, Endgame. Chris told the Megadeth forum this one will be re-fitted with DiMarzio pickups.
25.5 inch scale
6 In-Line headstock
Dave Mustaine Signature Seymour Duncan Livewire Pickups
The most surprising thing about this model to me is that it features a distressed finish. Interesting that Dave would choose to go this route on a brand new guitar. First of all, he’s known for playing Vs, so the distressed finish isn’t mimicing the wear on a particular much-loved road-warrior guitar. Secondly, he’s quite well-known for graphic finishes and that cool metallic Mercedes grey colour.
Having said that, maybe it’s because I’m such a Mustaine geek but I’m really really into this guitar.
Megadeth’s new CD, Endgame, is out now on Roadrunner.
UPDATE! Here’s footage of Dave Mustaine using his new Dean Zero signature model on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon:
Check out this pic from the photo gallery of Dave Mustaine’s page at The Live Line. It’s the first look at his new Dean signature model, the Zero, which he plan to play on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon on September 17 (actually technically it’ll be September 18 because the show starts over midnight – but you know what I mean, right?). Make sure you sign up for TheLiveLine – it kicks ass.
Dave mentioned this guitar in my interview with him a few weeks ago:
“At the NAMM show that’s coming up at the beginning of next year they’re going to be debuting a brand-new Dean guitar for me. The exciting part is that I looked at Dean’s catalogue and a lot of the guitars they had and… well, my VMNTs, it’s nothing like the original V that they have. It’s nothing like the ones they’re creating right now too. My line is my line. Neck shape, the configuration of the electronics, the ease and comfort, the way the pitch of the headstock is, the way the strings go through the body for getting all of that extra resonance. It’s a one-of-a-kind mentality towards making a guitar the absolute best thing you could ever possibly want to play through. They had another body style that wasn’t being utilised by anybody. I said ‘Can I get you to make me one of those?’ ‘Well yeah, fuck man, sure man!’ I said ‘Wow, is anybody playing this?’ ‘No man.’ I said ‘Can I?’ ‘Fuck yeah man!’ I said ‘Can I change some of the lines on this?’ ‘Yeah sure!’ ‘So I’m gonna Dave Mustaine this guitar right now, ok.’ So we’re debuting a brand-new style. It’s called the Zero and I can’t really tell you much more than that other than it’s going to be a workhorse and the people who have seen it already over at Dean, they’ve been there for years and they’ve seen everything under the sun, that kinda stuff is exciting. Especially when it’s opening up another area of creativity with the company.”
CLICK HERE to read the full interview.
Dave Mustaine has something on his mind. After a heavy interview schedule he must have had to deflect a question or two about, well, any number of those topics that people tend to bring up when they just wanna get a controversial soundbite out of Dave. So Dave cuts short the topic at hand – the amazing contribution of new guitarist Chris Broderick – to state “I’m a very different kind of person when it comes down to this business. Unfortunately my reputation is nothing who the man is. People have made me out to be a very mean bastard, and I’m no different to you, I just do things differently. As far as what I think is right and wrong, man, I come from a school where things were a little different back then. I didn’t walk uphill both ways to school, it’s just that we didn’t have the same kind of things that young kids have for school nowadays. I love the way I grew up. I wouldn’t change it for a thing, because I enjoyed working hard for the things I got, and y’know, I still enjoy working hard for the things I got. I don’t want handouts. I think I should be entitled to every single thing I’m entitled to, I want it! But if it’s just something that you get because of your job and it’s not because of what you’ve done to deserve it, I don’t want that. That’s just kinda like chump change.’
Megadeth’s new album, Endgame (Roadrunner), is angry, uncompromising, powerful, energetic, dark, and at once raw and precise. Y’know, the kind of album you’ve been hoping Megadeth would have made in 1994 combining elements of both Rust In Peace and Countdown To Extinction – except heavier. Much, much heavier.
Endgame is really energetic and angry. Where did that come from?
I don’t really know what spurred this on other than just being in a good place right now. I’m happy. I still have some of the things that have wounded me – the scars are never going to go away, but it’s just the way I’m dealing with things now. And I think that’s probably the key to everything. If I look at my circumstances it’s like looking at scores from yesterday’s football matches. In the beginning, even though it’s zero to zero, at some point that time’s already designated and it’s already been exposed, expired, lapsed and it happened. And for me I’ve just got to accept those things and just do the absolute very best I can to work up to those moments. My career right now is better than it’s ever been. I’ve got a brand new contract I just signed with ClearChannel Radio over here for three years, my book’s coming out next year, my record’s coming out next month. I believe I’ve written the best record of my career and I love the way that the fans are reacting to it. And even more importantly than anyone’s reaction to it, it just seems like people have forgiven me for whatever it was they were mad at me about, and my heart is just so, just leaping with gladness. Because I am no longer the easiest boy to hate in heavy metal.
Well I think part of that too is that with the online forum and things like TheLiveLine you’ve made yourself really available to fans.
Yeah, that’s fun too.
It seems like with United Abominations you were really confident going in, but with this one it seemed like you weren’t really giving anything away until it was finished.
I think probably one of the reasons why the timing was different with that was, with the last record there were so many times where we would post about stuff and people would get excited, but I wasn’t really finding myself being able to experience the record as much as I wanted to, and the reason for that was I was too caught up in what people were thinking. And I don’t make music to react to peoples’ thinking. I write music cos I like music. And I don’t know why, but God made me good at this. Why me? I don’t know! I certainly haven’t done anything that stands out to reason why I would be blessed with this talent. I just know I want to try my best to use it, and I want to have fun while I’m doing it. Man, I love watching people have fun while I’m out there doing my job.
How did having your own studio impact the sessions?
I think having the studio was beneficial for us because it gave us the license to be able to come and go at our leisure. If we wanted to start early we could, and if we wanted to start late we could. I think that’s something that really makes the band feel respected as individuals. It’s those little things that make all the difference in the world. I’ve been around the block a few times so those things are second nature to me but it’s not to Chris or to Shawn because even though they’re relatively new, they’ve had their experiences with doing things at the proper level, and I would like, myself, I would love to get Megadeth back to the proper level.
Let’s talk about Chris Broderick for a minute – I loved Glen Drover’s playing on United Abominations but he seemed kinda polite and restrained, whereas Broderick sounds angry.
Funny you say that. When we’ve done these records in the past there’s always been the same standard for doing the music that I’ve always had, and that’s ‘there’s your way, my way, our way,’ which meant that when we were writing the record, if you wrote a part we would listen to it, and if it was good we would leave it completely intact. Secondly if we listened to it and it was good but it could do with a little bit of a change, we would make that change and it was ‘we.’ But if we came down to where it was a ‘my way,’ which wasn’t very often, that would be like… there was a circumstance with Marty Friedman where there was a song called ‘Trust.’ At the end of ‘Trust’ there was a guitar part right before the big breakdown in the solo started up, and Marty had done the solo there. I didn’t like it so I asked him to do something different and he didn’t do it. So I came in, and this guy Dann Huff that was working with us, Dann had said ‘Well we like it.’ I said ‘Hang on a second, can you guys step out for a second?’ So they they all stepped out of the room and it was just me and Dann in there and I said “Don’t you ever say that to me again.” Because I don’t give a fuck who you think you are, or who he thinks he was, but it’s like, c’mon dude, have some couth, have some dignity. That’s the kind of stuff that you don’t expect from professionals like that. Now, we had a song called ‘Breadline’ that Marty had a solo on, and he loved that song. And management called up and said ‘We hate the solo, we want you to redo it.’ I said ‘We can’t redo it, he’s gone.’ And they said ‘Well, you cut it.’ This happened because I told them we have three choices. I can either leave it bare, I can mute it or I can replace it with something I could do. They were like, ‘We want you to replace it’ and I was like, ‘I figured you would.’ So I went in and I tried doing the solo. First idea, they kinda liked it so I did it until I executed it right. Then Marty came out to listen to the song. He didn’t know anything. He’s sitting in the control room, song’s coming up, he’s fucken’ hot-buttered popcorn. Dude is just wetting his pants. Song comes up, solo comes up, solo goes past, song’s over. You could hear a pin drop. Dann had neglected to call Marty and tell him that that’s what was gonna happen to him, that his solo was going to be basically rendered ineffective and looped around so it wouldn’t intefere in the channels. I looked back at Marty and he was cryin’. And I was furious, because at that second it dawned on me that somebody forgot to tell ‘em. Terrible, huh?
That’s crazy! Do you have any new Dean guitar stuff coming up?
Yes I do! It’s a good thing that you asked. At the NAMM show that’s coming up at the beginning of next year they’re going to be debuting a brand-new Dean guitar for me. The exciting part is that I looked at Dean’s catalogue and a lot of the guitars they had and… well, my VMNTs, it’s nothing like the original V that they have. It’s nothing like the ones they’re creating right now too. My line is my line. Neck shape, the configuration of the electronics, the ease and comfort, the way the pitch of the headstock is, the way the strings go through the body for getting all of that extra resonance. It’s a one-of-a-kind mentality towards making a guitar the absolute best thing you could ever possibly want to play through. They had another body style that wasn’t being utilised by anybody. I said ‘Can I get you to make me one of those?’ ‘Well yeah, fuck man, sure man!’ I said ‘Wow, is anybody playing this?’ ‘No man.’ I said ‘Can I?’ ‘Fuck yeah man!’ I said ‘Can I change some of the lines on this?’ ‘Yeah sure!’ ‘So I’m gonna Dave Mustaine this guitar right now, ok.’ So we’re debuting a brand-new style. It’s called the Zero and I can’t really tell you much more than that other than it’s going to be a workhorse and the people who have seen it already over at Dean, they’ve been there for years and they’ve seen everything under the sun, that kinda stuff is exciting. Especially when it’s opening up another area of creativity with the company.
Marshall is something where I honestly believe I’ve died and gone to heaven. Going to Marshall, having them give me the support and endorsement, the belief, the love, the kindness, the things that go along with everything, I thought that was never going to be possible. I got that from Dean but I kinda figured that is what it is and that nobody else would have that kind of relationship with me. Because the big people whose products I use, I’ve never really tried to milk them for anything. It’s just not my style. So Marshall, I asked them to make me a cabinet similar to ones I had made about 20 years ago. I tried them again about 10 years ago. I had these 1960 cabinets and I put this metal grating on the front of them. And they’re bad, they look really bad. Then I ended up not using them for a while because we went to having stuff in scrim, so you don’t need them when it’s behind the scrim. Then we went back to having them show. By that time we changed a couple more things, and now we’ve got the cabinets, and I talked to Marshall, and said ‘Would you guys be willing to help me make these cabinets so that they would be done right? Please?’ ‘Yeah sure, how about we do an endorsement and make you the happiest boy in the world?’ ‘Yabbadabbadoo!’ Man I was the fucken’ happiest kid in school. So now I get Marshall amplifiers. I have not only my own speaker, we also have the covering for that, which is available for all of the heads to go with those speakers. Now, there’s another project we’re working on with them right now – a little tiny stack called the Megastack. It’s for the mid-level guitarist with a mid-priced practice guitar. It’s going to have several presets – there’s four of them in the amplifier and four of them in the footswitch. So that’s something that Marshall is intending on doing with me too, and it’s like ‘Are you kidding? How did I get so blessed!’ I know the grand poobah of the Marshall family, Sir Dr James Marshall OBE, and man, talk about just a neat, neat, neat little old guy. Loves his bands, his guitar players. I had received a letter from him that was so unbelievably flattering, and it just made me feel like I was a million dollars. I was so unbelievably stoked. He said it was one of the first times he’d actually worked on a project with an artist, because all the other stuff was just pre-existing stuff. Now, he did have these guys work with grille cloths and cabinets with different kinda stuff on the front of it. Some of the heads would have different stuff on the front, but nothing that was a real fundamental design change. And I didn’t know that. I thought we were just working on a project of mine. And man, I was so excited. Especially when we went to the MusikMesse show in Germany, watching the way the company was treating me, man I felt like royalty. There’s just something with the guys from Marshall and Dean, they make you feel like you’ve arrived. I love those guys and I’m looking forward to spending the rest of my career with the company and just riding it out.
Here’s a question from the Megadeth forum: Are you planning anything to mark the 20th anniversary of Rust In Peace?
Well if they’re asking about me playing with those guys again I think I’ve made it pretty clear.
Well even something like a special commemorative release, or playing the album start-to-finish live.
Yeah, I’ve heard that, but my answer is pretty simple: If it was gonna happen it would have. I don’t think it’ll ever happen. I don’t dislike any of those guys. We did have some very difficult periods together but I was just as difficult to be around as they were. And all I want to do right now is just bless them and just let them know I’m a fan of theirs. Even the ones I had a hard time with, I’m a fan of theirs. They were part of my life and I look to those times together with great fondness.
Also with an album as strong as Endgame I dunno why you’d wanna look back 20 years?
Yeah, why? People are saying ‘Can you get together and do a reunion thing?’ and it’s like, ‘Yeah but you have to suck both my eyes out first.’ No disrespect to those guys but it’s like that old saying when you marry your girlfriend: ‘Why buy the cow when the milk is free?’ I’m sure there’s something nasty like that. But I love where we’re at right now and I wouldn’t change anything for anything. There’s no reason to make any changes to anything. Period.
As a fan who’s been lucky enough to hear the album pre-release it’s really cool to feel what everyone’s going to get to feel when it comes out.
Did you hear it? That’s awesome, I’m glad you liked it!
Yeah, ‘44 Minutes’ is totally one of my favourite songs of the year.
Really? Aw thanks bud! Well if it wasn’t for guys like you we would probably be over on the side of the road dying from eating roadkill. But we’ve tried really hard to keep our integrity. And I think if anything’s going to happen, it’ll be this record, and it’ll be soon. And if it’s not meant to happen for me, we’re gonna know, and this is pretty much gonna be the end of the road here, because I don’t know if can make a better record than this!
Endgame is out on Roadrunner on September 11 in Australia and September 15 in the US.
Endless thanks to Roadrunner Australia.
An edited version of this interview is also in the current edition of Mixdown Magazine.
The Dean Eric Peterson signature Old Skull V starts shipping this month. According to this post on Blabbermouth.net, the Testament guitarist says “I’m very excited because I finally have a signature coming out. It’s a guitar I’ve been playing for a while, and I think people will enjoy the action. It’s got triple-binding, all-black EMG pick-ups, block inlay, and some really cool artwork. Not too much, but enough to keep it evil!”
Fans who purchase Testament’s special VIP packages for their current North American headlining tour have a chance to win one of three Eric Peterson Signature “Old Skull V” guitars. The packages also include meet-and-greet opportunities, access to soundcheck, a collectible laminate, an autographed poster, Testament music skins, a limited-edition Testament messenger bag, and a chance to win a Testament Darkstar skateboard.
After a highly publicised relationship with Dean fizzled out a few months ago, Trivium’s Matt Heafy has officially returned to Gibson.
Matt’s been playing his Gibsons live since the split with Dean, but nothing official had been said until a Gibson signing session was announced for Musikmesse.
Here’s a little video of Matt presenting guitars to winners of a Gibson contest at Musikmesse.
Trivium Australian tour dates:
13 May 2009 Into The Mouth Of Hell We Tour Brisbane, The Tivoli
14 May 2009 Into The Mouth Of Hell We Tour Sydney, UNSW Roundhouse
15 May 2009 Into The Mouth Of Hell We Tour Melbourne, Palace Theatre
17 May 2009 Into The Mouth Of Hell We Tour Adelaide, HQ
19 May 2009 Into The Mouth Of Hell We Tour Perth, Capitol
The ML is probably Dean’s most famous design, not least due to the contribution of one Dimebag Darrell. Dime received his first ML as a prize in a guitar playing contest as a teenager, and when Pantera were on tour in the early days he would scour the pawn shops of the USA in the hope of finding more MLs to add to his collection. Over the years Dime tricked out his MLs with Floyd Rose tremolos and a combination of Bill Lawrence and Dimarzio humbuckers, and these innovations eventually found their way into his signature range. But the heart and soul of the ML was always the classic 1979 design cooked up by company founder Dean Zelinsky. Dean Z has moved on now but Dean are still cranking out some very cool guitars (including the Rusty Cooley and Dave Mustaine models).
Zelinsky’s basic premise for the ML was to take the front half of a Gibson Explorer, the back half of a Gibson Flying V, and join them together in the middle, thus creating an unholy super-being of awesome rock power. The unique V shaped headstock and string-through design are intended to increase the overall sustain and tone by spreading string vibration energy across a larger area, and combined with the massive body the overall impression of the ML is that it’s an absolutely huge guitar. As I type this review the ML is lined up with a bunch of my personal guitars and it makes them look like ukuleles by comparison.
As you travel further up the Dean price list the pickups and hardware become more ‘boutique.’ On the Korean-made ML79, the pickups are Dean brand uncovered black humbuckers. Switches and knobs feel sturdy enough, and the large kidney button Grover tuners hold tuning particularly well, even if, like me, you’ve just been to a Zakk Wylde gig and now every second note you play is a pinch harmonic on the low E string, bent up a fourth and vibratoed within an inch of its life.
The neck is suitably chunky for a design hatched in the late 70s – it wasn’t until the mid 80s that super thin necks really started to appear with any regularity on this type of guitar – and the pearloid block position markers only add to the chunky vibe. An aggressively shaped V string anchor splays the strings out as it sends them through the body, and despite the 24-3/4” scale length the string tension is quite high, most likely due to the increased string length between the nut and tuning pegs. Action on the review model was way higher than I would like for a guitar that would mainly be used for blisteringly fast riffage and hyperspeed solos, but this is easily fixed. The review model was finished in a well executed silver burst similar to the Les Pauls favoured by Tool guitarist Adam Jones, and while other guitars in this series of MLs are topped off with binding, I kind of wish this one did too just to complete the look.
The ML79’s sustain was on the lower side of ‘long,’ but certainly longer than you would find on a bolt-on guitar, and what it lacked in infinite sustain it made up for with solid, thick tone. It’s like the string energy that would have gone into keeping the note going forever has instead been distributed into the overall thickness of the note.
The unassuming pickups pack quite a punch, with a thick, almost Van Halenesque tone that stands out from the mix with a vowel-like upper midrange. They sound a bit like Dimarzio PAF Pros to my ears, though not as dynamic. The bridge unit easily handles the transition from heavy rhythm to wild lead, and cleans up nicely with a solid, harmonically rich aura. The neck pickup sounds full and articulate, and aside from the PAF Pro comparison, it also reminds me of the neck pickup of my first guitar teacher’s 67 Gibson SG, a tone he described at the time as “juicy.” It’s not as rounded as that particular guitar’s sound, but it’s certainly in the ballpark. Believe it or not, the neck pickup of this monster also offers a quite passable clean jazz tone. You’ll certainly turn some heads if you rock up to a jazz gig with this behemoth.
The Dean ML79 represents an affordable version of a now classic design, and its faithfulness to the original blueprints means you can own one without having to spend megabucks on eBay or sifting through the racks of backwater pawnshops to own a piece of rock history. If I had my way I would update the design slightly with a thinner neck and a coil tap for the middle ‘neck-plus-bridge’ pickup selection just to get a little more tonal flexibility and add another dimension to the available clean sounds, and I would drop the strings way down to pull of sweep picking licks and Dimebag style lateral scalar licks, but otherwise it’s a fine axe worthy of the Dean name.
Body: Mahogany (Flamed maple top on transparent finishes)
Neck: Mahogany neck; Rosewood fretboard
Pickups: 2 Dean uncovered humbuckers
Electronics: 2 volume; master tone