The Ibanez JEM7VWH has been Steve Vai’s main instrument since it was released at the time of the Sex & Religion album in 1993. Upon release it had a Lo Pro Edge tremolo, an Ebony fingerboard and Vai’s new DiMarzio Evolution humbucking pickups. Since then the VWH has undergone a few changes, including the switch to an Edge Pro tremolo and then to an original Edge, but by far the biggest change that really riled up the Jem community when it happened was the decision to move from an Ebony fingerboard to a Rosewood one in 2004. Sure, this gave the Jem a slightly warmer tone (which helped to cool down those very aggressive Evolutions) but many players preferred the more direct tone and smooth feel of Ebony.
Now Ibanez is releasing a Premium version of the JEM7VWH, the JEM7VP, which brings back that sweet sweet Ebony fingerboard. There are a couple of other key differences between this and the Japan-made VWH though: it has Jumbo frets and a 5-piece Maple/Walnut Wizard neck instead of the JEM neck shape and narrow/tall 6105 frets, and the Premium’s fingerboard radius is a little more subtly rounded than the VWH.
I can imagine a lot of players being very happy with this model. A) It’s more affordable than the VWH which is a seriously-priced piece of kit; B) Yay Ebony; C) The smaller frets and flatter radius of the WVH just don’t feel as Ibanezzy to players who are used to the RG neck. One point to note: it does not have scallops on frets 21-24.
This is also pretty smart marketing by Ibanez. It gives players something in between the top-of-the-line JEM7VWH and the budget JEM Jr, a guitar that a lot of folks buy to upgrade to more VWH-like specs.
I used to have a VWH and while it was a phenomenal guitar, eventually I traded it for a Strat because it just never really felt like ‘mine.’ But I’m certainly tempted to get the JEM7VP because there will always be a place in my heart for the white Jem, and I think I would like this model’s neck a little more. What do you think?
So. If you know me, you know I’m a huge Jerry Cantrell nut-swinger. I celebrate the man’s entire catalogue. The new Alice In Chains album Ranier Fog is released at the end of this week and it’s a killer evolution of the Alice In Chains sound: just like everything else AIC, it’s recognisably them yet recognisably different at the same time. I had the chance to talk with Jerry about it, along with as many other nerdy guitar questions as I could cram in to the chat. I hope you dig it. You can check it out on iTunes, at BlogTalkRadio or on pretty much all good podcast catchers (and if it’s not on yours, let me know and I’ll change that).
Best known as the frontman of the Australian rock n roll luminaires, Eskimo Joe, acclaimed songwriter Kav Temperley is stepping out solo. The first taste of his upcoming album dropped today in the form of new single, Pollyanna – an ominous reflection on the relativity of happiness – the single will be received instantly with all digital album pre-orders. Pollyanna precedes Kav Temperley’s highly anticipated debut solo album All Your Devotion, a collection of ruminating, thoughtful, and effecting songs from one of this country’s greatest talents, set for release digitally and on vinyl on September 28. To celebrate what is the culmination of years of hard work, Kav will be hitting the road in October and November this year, kicking off on October 5 at The Milk Factory in Brisbane, and moving through the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Adelaide, Belgrave, Melbourne, Sydney, Newcastle, Fremantle, Margaret River, before wrapping up in Bunbury at Prince of Wales on November 3. Pollyanna is not quite as happy-go-lucky as its namesake, but despite a moody demeanour, there is a tenacious, almost stubborn sense of positivity that lurks throughout. With careful, considered instrumentation and an arrangement that allows deep strings, plucky piano and sparkling guitar to each complement the other, Pollyanna is a deeply effecting piece of music, made even more so with Kav’s idiosyncratic, expressive vocal delivery and lyricism. Kav reflects on the inspiration behind the track, saying, “A friend once told me that our happiness is always relative, whether we live in a war zone or paradise – our happiness always swings back to the same place.I had just lost my marriage and the band had decided to take a break, all of these things that defined me were now no longer around. It was one of the first times in my life I felt like a stranger just rolling along, but I realised that amongst all of this I was a Pollyanna, someone despite the bad news always looks on the bright side. This was a song I was singing to myself to remember to stay light.” All Your Devotion is, quite simply, a daring testament of renewal. Produced alongside Pip Norman (Troye Sivan, Jarryd James, Urthboy) and John Castle (Megan Washington, Vance Joy, Bertie Blackman), the album delicately outlines the arc of newfound romance; the rapture, with Pollyanna and Queen Of My Heart, the hesitation, with This Is The Love and Devotion, and the surrender, with High and When You Run. All Your Devotion explores new sonic territory for Kav, as sparse and uncluttered production, reminiscent of pop and folk conventions, takes precendence over rock n roll ways. Kav reflects on some of the inspiration behind the album, saying, “We spend our lives building barricades to protect us, both physical and emotional. But, as well as protect, these barricades can also isolate and suffocate. All Your Devotion is about tearing those down and starting over, through all the fears and hope…It’s about growing up and moving on. It’s being courageous enough to live and to love again.”
Kav Templerley is set to perform tracks from All Your Devotion live to audiences across the country come October and November this year, as Eskimo Joe also prepare to hit the stage for the Under The Southern Stars festival run. It’s going to be a busy few months for the skilled musician, but anticipation is high, as Kav says, “(For the All Your Devotion tour,) it’s just going to be me with an acoustic guitar and kick drum strapped to my back. I want these shows to be raw and real so people feel like they’ve been there right next to me through the writing of this record.” Pollyanna will be available from today and will be received instantly with all digital album pre-orders. All Your Devotion is set for release digitally and on vinyl on September 28.
I’m crushed to hear of the passing of Phil Emmanuel, following an asthma attack last night at age 65. A brilliant player and a great guy. If you ever saw him play – solo or with Tommy – you witnessed a player who could go from country to surf to Satriani in the space of a bar, all with a cheeky smile. His album Kakadu Sunrise is an eclectic, beautifully-executed celebration of the guitar and his various musical interests, but it was onstage that Phil really came into his own. He was a brilliant mimic on the guitar, not in an unoriginal, copycat kind of way but in an ‘entertain the people by any means necessary’ way. His playing was more hard-rock than Tommy’s in many ways, but he could play the hell out of a country chicken pickin’ lick or an Irish jig, imitate pedal steel like the real thing, convince you that you were listening to Hank Marvin in 1963, then throw in a Van Halen lick just for kicks. The sense of humour and fun in his playing was undeniable and he clearly lived to play. Phil and Tommy released a brilliant album called Terra Firma in 1995 which captured their intuitive musical language and fun, but part of Phil’s magic was that he brought that same joy with him whether he was playing with his brother or with a pick-up band at a pub. A few years ago Phil and Tommy toured together to celebrate 50 years of making music together (they started when they were absolutely tiny) and it was exactly as amazing as you’d expect, with the brothers pushing each other to ridiculous levels of performance.
Phil sort of took me under his wing when I was about 15. He would do clinics and gigs locally quite often because his keyboard player, Simon Mills, had a piano store called London Music that also sold Valley Arts guitars and Soldano amps. I’ll never forget the first time I met him. Simon introduced us and we talked guitar for ages. Phil even sneakily bought me a beer that night and he tried to persuade my mum to let me hang out with the lads and have a few more and stuff me in a taxi at the end of the night, haha. (Mum said no). I saw him many more times over the next few years, and when I did Work Experience at London Music he gave me a few guitar pointers, particularly about focusing on melody and keeping it fun.
Thanks for everything, Phil. My deepest condolences to Tommy and family.
HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (May 9, 2018) — Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) today announced the 60th anniversary celebration of Fender’s mostcreative and expressivemodel: the Jazzmaster. A hero of the underground, the Jazzmaster has been adopted by generations of artists looking for unique sonic qualities and combinations, unlocking genre defying sound that lives on today within music and culture.
In 1958, Fender introduced the Jazzmaster as the top-of-the-line electric guitar for jazz musicians; later the sound and easily modifiable style attracted counterculture and misfit players, including aficionados of surf guitar – who rarely hesitated to personalize their instruments and make a sound of their own. Over the past 60 years, players across genres have wielded Jazzmaster guitars – from J Mascis (Dinosaur Jr.), Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth) and Elvis Costello to Troy Van Leeuwen (Queens of the Stone Age), Chelsea Wolfe, Jim Root (Slipknot), Chris Stapleton, Portugal. The Man and The War on Drugs. A cult classic today, the Jazzmaster still is the core tool for contemporary artists and innovative players continuing pushing the creative boundaries of music.
To celebrate the 60th anniversary occasion, Fender is releasing highly collectible iterations of the beloved Jazzmaster, including three, limited edition models in select colors: the Limited Edition 60th Anniversary ’58 Jazzmaster, Triple Jazzmaster and Classic Jazzmaster.
“The Jazzmaster is the little engine that could,” said Justin Norvell, SVP, Fender Products. “It didn’t follow its original destiny to be a jazz guitar, but found a niche on the creative cutting edge and maintains significant popularity today as we celebrate its 60th anniversary. Whether it’s surf, ‘90s punk rock or alternative music, the Jazzmaster has remained the guitar of choice, pushing music forward into uncharted territory.”
The original ‘58 Jazzmaster boasted a revolutionary offset waist, distinctive-sounding pickups, a flexible rhythm/lead circuit and was the first Fender guitar to sport a rosewood fingerboard. An homage to the original prototype of this ground-breaking guitar, the 60th Anniversary ‘58 Jazzmaster accurately recreates the bold and distinctive look and feel of the original 1958 prototype, giving players a taste of the Jazzmaster in its original form. The Limited Edition 60th Anniversary ’58 Jazzmaster is offered in 2-Color Sunburst. The Triple Jazzmaster features amodern, triple-pickup and is an homage to the mod ethos that permeates Jazzmaster player circles. Combining authentic looks and uniquely flexible wiring – the guitar also features brand-new humbucking pickups from pickup guru Tim Shaw for a guitar that’s ready to rip it up on stage and off. The Limited Edition 60th Anniversary Triple Jazzmaster is offered in Daphne Blue. Classic Jazzmaster updates the classic 1966 model with features that modern, creative players are sure to appreciate. This model is a reproduction of the 1966 Jazzmaster, which at the time, was updated with the following features: bound neck, block inlays, and as a special aesthetic touch, a slick-looking matching painted headstock. These stylish visual cues—as well as the rich, multi-dimensional sound—made this one of the most sought-after Jazzmaster models. The Limited Edition 60th Anniversary Classic Jazzmaster is offered in Daphne Blue, Black, Vintage Blonde, and Fiesta Red.
The 60th anniversary Jazzmaster models are available at local dealers and on www.Fender.com on the below dates; models include:
o Available Now: Limited Edition 60th Anniversary ‘58 Jazzmaster – $2,299.99
o Available September 2018: Limited Edition 60th Anniversary Triple Jazzmaster – $1,999.99 and Limited Edition 60th Anniversary Classic Jazzmaster – $1,199.99.
To learn more about Fender’s 60th Anniversary Jazzmaster models and for product descriptions of each model, click here. For series product images, click here.
For technical specs, additional information on new Fender products and to find a retail partner near you, visit www.fender.com. Join the conversation on social media by following @Fender.
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ABOUT FENDER MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS CORPORATION:
Since 1946, Fender has revolutionized music and culture as one of the world’s leading musical instrument manufacturers, marketers and distributors. Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC), whose portfolio of brands includes Fender®, Squier®, Gretsch® guitars, Jackson®, EVH® and Charvel®, follows a player-centric approach to crafting the highest quality instruments and musical solutions across genres. FMIC is dedicated to unlocking the power of music through electric and acoustic guitars, amplifiers, pro audio, accessories and digital products that inspire and enable musical expression at every stage, from beginners to history-making legends.
Social media is a shitshow lately. I don’t need to remind you about certain divisive presidents of certain international superpowers, or particular superstars who always seem to pop up to draw attention to themselves when someone else is getting too much positive press. Whipping out your phone to check your social feeds can be unintentionally stressful, and the metal community is no exception. Staind’s Aaron Lewis shot his mouth off at Limp Bizkit’s Wes Borland recently for referring to Los Angeles rather than his native Jacksonville, Florida as his home (like there aren’t millions of people who want to re-forge their identity outside of their hometown), and it spilled over into Facebook arguments among fans on various Facebook groups. Drum legend Mike Portnoy is always speaking out against metal news sites that seem to phrase their headlines in ways designed specifically to generate arguments in the comments section. And don’t get me started on the shitstorms whipped up in the replies any time Kerrang! or Revolver tweets about Slipknot, Ghost, The Pretty Reckless, Babymetal… It’s enough to make you want to chuck your phone in the creek and go have a lie down under a tree.
Sometimes you need to step back and realise that your social media feed is for you to curate. If you’re cramming this information in your head all day, it’s okay to make sure you’re only cramming in the stuff that doesn’t send you into a panic attack. I’ve noticed there are a few particularly great social media accounts that post uplifting-but-still-totally-metal content, and I find they help me get through my day as someone who buries their face in their phone way too much and would rather load up on a ‘promote what’s great, not what you hate’ philosophy. If that sounds good to you, here are some recommendations for people to follow on Twitter. Oh and I’m @iheartguitar if you don’t follow me already.
Ben Eller – @BenEllerGuitars Uncle Ben is one of the sweestest dudes you’ll ever meet. A great guitarist and bassist, he puts a lot of heart and happiness into everything he does, whether it’s sharing spicy guitar memes or his hugely popular This Is Why You Suck At Guitar YouTube series. (Dude can only get away with that series title because he’s so damn nice).
Kimberly Freeman (One Eyed Doll) – @Kimberly_OED Kimberly is the frontwoman of the duo One Eyed Doll. Imagine if a supernatural horror movie could play metal guitar, or if What We Do In The Shadows was a band instead of a hilarious mockumentary. Kimberly is incredibly supportive of her fans, and her retweet game is crazy strong.
Jose Mangin – @JoseMangin A self-described heavy metal ambassador, Jose is a host on Sirius XM Radio and the dude lives metal. He’s the kind of guy who will put his Uber driver on the guest list for a festival he’s hosting, and he’s a big believer in using metal as a catalyst to bring people together across racial and social divides.
Jared Dines – @JaredDines Jared is a music/comedy YouTuber with nearly 2 million subscribers, who makes videos about metal cliches and tropes, but is also a talented guitarist who understands that metal can simply be fun. Check out his recent video where he uses a custom Australian-made 18-string Ormsby guitar to create a crushing-but-hilarious djent track.
Higgo – @Higgo74 You may have heard Higgo on Triple M or GoldFM, or on his Distortion podcast. Dude is metal through-and-through and he always on top of the latest bands and releases as well as the classics. Even if I do razz him for tweeting about reality TV sometimes. Heh.
Jaide Soto – @Jaide_Alicia Jaide is an 10-year-old metal journalist from the USA who was raised on a diet of Van Halen and KISS, and whose metalhead dad helped her set up shutupandrockon.com to share her reviews and interviews with the likes of Fozzy’s Rich Ward (another great person to follow at @thedukeofmetal), Faster Pussycat guitarist and rescue-dog advocate Ace Von Johnson (@acevonjohnson) and Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider.
Dean Delray – @DeanDelray Dean is a comedian and former rocker from California whose podcast Let There Be Talk is a must-listen resource for great conversations with rock royalty. He’s utterly hilarious onstage so if he’s ever in your neck of the woods, do go see him and you’ll have a great night.
I know a lot of my guitar buddies are getting more and more into synths these days. I personally have really, really been enjoying IK Multimedia’s Syntronik. Now IK has really kicked it up a notch with UNO Synth, a true analog synth at an affordable price with all sorts of user-friendly features. Watch the video below to get a little hint at what it can do.
I love that UNO Synth marries IK’s knowledge of intuitive and future-thinking control functions with the unmistakable feel of analog. This looks like something you can easily incorporate in a live setting or within a studio setup, and it looks so easy to use that I could probably turn my 11-year-old kid loose on it and he would come up with some pretty cool stuff.
May 2, 2018 –IKMultimedia proudly debuts its premier hardware synthesizer, UNO Synth. Designed for everyone interested in rich, true analog sound, this new monophonic synth offers a wide sound palette and easy programmability in an ultra-portable, battery-powered format for on-the-go music creation, live performance or studio recording – all at an affordable price.
The ultimate real analog synth for everyone IKMultimedia combined its more than two decades of experience in software and hardware development with the expertise of Italian boutique synthesizer maker Soundmachines and IK‘s synth guru Erik Norlander (one of the brains behind acclaimed synth designs including the Alesis Andromeda). The result is a no-compromise instrument that delivers massive analog sound along with hands-on programmability and advanced features.
UNO Synth delivers everything from classic to modern sounds to create music in any genre. First-time synth users get instant gratification from this easy-to-use instrument – 100 presets and an easy-to-play keyboard with selectable scales and an arpeggiator make UNO Synth the perfect gateway into the synthesizer world. Experienced pros will also love its rich sound and easy portability.
Great sounding true-analog audio path
Beneath its miniature exterior, UNO Synth packs a powerful synth engine with professional sound and a full analog audio path on par with more expensive synthesizers. It includes:
An all-analog audio path with 2 VCOs, noise generator, resonant multimode VCF and VCA
2 independent VCOs with Saw, Triangle and Pulse waveforms with continuously variable shape including PWM of the square wave plus a separate white noise generator
A 2-pole OTA-based analog resonant sweepable multimode filter (LP/HP/BP) with overdrive
7 LFO waveforms (Sine, Triangle, Square, Up Saw, Down Saw, Random and Sample-and-Hold) to modulate Pitch, Filter, Amp and continuous oscillator wave shapes including PWM
This highly flexible engine excels in producing the rich, warm, punchy, deep bass sounds that are the core of a high-quality monophonic synth, and brings a wide sonic palette of leads, drones, arps, sequences, sweeps and effects.
While UNO Synth is monophonic, its two independent oscillators can be tuned differently to generate interesting pad-like interval sounds and octaves. Pulse width modulation of each oscillator offers advanced modular-style timbres from classic synths.
The pure analog filter brings all the warmth, depth and fatness expected from a real analog synth. The multimode resonant filter can be used for subtle tonal modification or screaming, aggressive resonant sweeps. The filter can also be modulated with the filter envelope, LFO and performance buttons.
Ease-of-use with powerful programming
UNO Synth comes with 100 grab-and-go presets (80 fully rewritable), making it ready to play out of the box. Each preset also includes an associated arpeggio and sequence for even greater musical expression and sonic power. This makes it easy for everyone to find the perfect sound fast, for a productive and enjoyable experience.
More than 40 onboard controls are available on the top panel to give real-time access to synth engine parameters, for immediate sound sculpting capability with no deep menus to scroll through. For added control, a Mac/PC editor is also available.
The UNO Synth’s generous 27-note onboard multi-touch keyboard offers over two octaves of sound control as a chromatic keyboard or as a predefined scale keyboard with 13 available scales. The built-in arpeggiator with 10 arpeggio modes and a 4-octave range offers even more creative possibilities for keyboardists and non-keyboardists alike.
The UNO Synth keyboard also doubles as a step-edit control for its built-in, 100-pattern sequencer. Sequences can be programmed in real-time or in steps (with modulatable synth parameters per step), making the UNO Synth sequencer among the most powerful in its class.
In addition to a built-in delay effect, five instant performance modulations are also available (Dive, Scoop, Vibrato, Wah and Tremolo) for added real-time playability and instant dynamic expression during performances.
Ultra-portable, battery-powered, for on-the-go music
UNO Synth’s ultra-compact dimensions make it among the smallest monophonic synths available. Its light weight (only 400g) and battery power (4xAA included) or USB power-supply (for battery power banks) give musicians the freedom to make music anywhere.
Use it standalone, with other gear, or with a DAW
On its own, UNO Synth can be used to make music whenever and wherever inspiration strikes. The built-in audio input also allows for daisy chaining other external audio devices (like drum machines) with no additional mixer, for a small footprint and extreme portability.
MIDI IN and OUT enables connection to a master keyboard or any MIDI gear for use in a live or studio rig as a sound module. Via USB MIDI, UNO Synth also conveniently integrates directly with a DAW running on Mac/PC computers or mobile devices, without additional hardware interfaces.
Made in Italy
UNO Synth is proudly made in IK‘s own Italian manufacturing facility, to ensure the highest quality standards. Like the majority of IKhardware products, UNO Synth is built using a combination of IK‘s state-of-the-art, automated mounting machines and test systems, and fine, renowned Italian craftsmanship.
Pricing and availability
UNO Synth is available now for pre-order with free shipping from the IKMultimedia online store and from IK authorized dealers worldwide for the affordable price of only $/€199.99*, with shipping scheduled for July 2018.
As a guitar nerd it’s been really exciting watching Nita Strauss’s career progress over the years, from killing it in The Iron Maidens to currently kicking ass with Alice Cooper and her own band We Start Wars. Nita has also launched a Kickstarter to help fund her debut solo album, which you can contribute to here.
At the NAMM Show this year, Nita and Ibanez announced the release of her JIVA10 signature model, and it’s one stunning guitar, with a really cool EKG-style inlays, ‘Deep Space Blonde’ finish and Nita’s brand new DiMarzio Pandemonium humbucking pickups with a custom grille designed by Mike Mesker. And now those pickups are available separately too! Below is the press release describing the two models and what Nita was seeking to achieve with her tone.
DiMARZIO RELEASES PANDEMONIUM™ NECK & BRIDGEHUMBUCKING PICKUPS
Staten Island, N.Y., April 6, 2017 – DiMarzio, Inc. announces the release of the Pandemonium™ Neck (DP276F) and Bridge (DP277F) humbucking pickups for electric guitars.
The new Pandemonium™ humbuckers were developed for sensational guitarist Nita Strauss. Nita is known for hard rocking metal. She wanted a modern take on a classic rock sound.
The coils on the Pandemonium™ Neck Model are tuned far enough apart to create clean, open mids with sweet highs and lows. It can go from smooth solos to pristine, dynamic chords.
The Pandemonium™ Bridge Model is a modern take on the classic rock pickup, with a big voice that covers a lot of ground. The coils are tuned to slightly different frequencies to capture both solid lows and warm highs. The Pandemonium™ Bridge Model is equally at home with power chords and solos.
DiMarzio’s Pandemonium™ humbucking pickups feature a custom pickup grill designed especially for Nita. Nita’s logo design is cut all the way through the black metal cover, allowing the Double Cream™ bobbins below to show through.
When you’re on the road playing different venues as much as Nita is, you discover exactly what works and what doesn’t. You can rest assured that the Pandemonium™ humbuckers will perform because they’re 100% road tested by Nita.
DiMarzio’s Pandemonium™ Neck and Bridge Model pickups are made in the U.S.A. and may now be ordered for immediate delivery. Suggested List Price is $199.99 each (MAP $139.99). For more information about the new Pandemonium™ pickups, please visit our website at www.dimarzio.com.
The Pandemonium™ humbuckers are available in F-spacing only.