A few select Australian dealers have recently taken delivery of some gorgeous new Fender Made In Japan models.
The Modern Series includes a Telecaster, Telecaster HH, Stratocaster, Stratocaster HSS, Jazzmaster HH and a Jazz Bass, all of which feature a carved and bound top, compound neck shape (Modern C to D), compound radius fretboard (9.5″ to 14″), either humbucking or Fender Noiseless single coil pickups, locking tuners and luminous side dot inlays. You can see pics of the whole range here.
The Made In Japan Troublemaker Tele is gonna turn a lot of heads. Available in Black, Crimson Red and Arctic White, it has a definite 70s feel with its amp-style control knobs, oversized headstock and twin humbucker layout. Mahogany body, locking tuners… I can imagine a lot of players digging this.
Finally there’s the Aerodyne II, featuring a round-top design for improved playability, a 2-point tremolo bridge, standard-style tuners, and a 9.5-inch radius neck mounted on high quality alder body. Its available in Stratocaster, Stratocaster HSS and Jazz Bass.
You can get all of these beauties from these dealers:
MCSTINE & MINNEMANN “PROGRAM” – THE FIRST SINGLE FROM THEIR DEBUT ALBUM – VIDEO NOW ONLINE PRE-ORDERS AVAILABLE NOW – OFFICIAL ALBUM RELEASE ON JULY 3RD 2020
McStine & Minnemann is a new band consisting of Randy McStine (Lo-Fi Resistance) and Marco Minnemann (The Aristocrats). Pre-orders for their debut album began on Friday May 1st, along with the release of their first single “Program” and its brand new music video.
The duo initially met in 2018 while working with other artists, but as they discovered their shared passion for an assortment of Rock, Pop, and Punk artists, they decided to embark on a collaborative project together. Although McStine and Minnemann initially set out to record an EP, they quickly shifted to making an album as their musical ideas and chemistry flourished. The result of their self-titled debut, McStine & Minnemann, is a high-energy collection of ten compact, yet expansive Rock songs that sit well next to the likes of XTC, Mr. Bungle, The Knack, Queen, and Frank Zappa. As both men are prolific multi-instrumentalists and writers, they have created a space for each other to showcase their incomparable instrumental talents, while infusing them with an incredible mix of melodic and lyrical depth.
The first single from the album “Program” explores the impact of technology in the modern world, and the duo worked closely with videographer Christian Rios (who has also directed videos for Flying Colors and Sons of Apollo) to create an unique music video to represent the concept. Randy remembers: “I sent the song to Christian to gauge his interest in doing a music video for it, and he came back with a concept to have the whole thing feel as if our phones are communicating and directing us. The lyrics are somewhat abstract, but he picked up on a theme of tech addiction, which is something I think about often.”
“I first recorded ‘Program’ in 2013 but only started playing it again with my trio about a year ago” continues Randy. “And I thought this would be really great to do [with Marco] if we kick up the energy a bit and take it to a Devo-esque sound. I’m super excited about how it came out! The way Marco approached the instrumental section completely took it to a new level, making it very tight and rhythmic.”
Marco adds: “The whole track has a real driving energy to it and I think, as an album opener, it sets the stage for most of the musical elements that are to follow.”
McStine & Minnemann was produced by the duo, and mixed by Forrester Savell (Karnivool, SikTh).
McStine & Minnemann Tracklist:
Falling From Grace
Top Of The Bucket
Tear The Walls Down (No Memories)
Pre-Orders for McStine & Minnemann are now available on Bandcamp with several packages to choose from – PRE-ORDER HERE NOW
$8 Digital Download
$13 CD + digital download (shipping exc.)
$25 ‘Deluxe Version’ CD + digital download (shipping exc.) with exclusive bonus content –
Private stream release of 1 new song per week (every Friday) from May 1st to July 3rd (in order of album sequence), as well as a Randy/Marco commentary track and Marco drum playthrough video per song
Guitars are more than just musical instruments. To many musicians, their guitars are an extension of their soul. A means, not only to express what their soul cannot, but also as a means to evoke emotion in other people. The value of a guitar to a musician goes beyond something that’s pecuniary. Whether you own a cheap guitar or an expensive guitar, you have to know how to take good care of it.
What are some guitar care tips that we should all know?
Replace The Strings Regularly
Strings lose their sound quality over time. The more you play your guitar, the faster the sound quality deteriorates. The intervals at which you change your strings vary depending on how much you play. Generally, you’re going to want to replace your strings once a month.
Wipe Your Strings After Every Session
Oil, dirt, and grime from your fingers can build up quickly and corrode your strings if left alone too long. While you don’t necessarily have to wipe down your fretboard after each use, you definitely have to wipe down your strings in order to keep them from corroding. This also ensures that your guitar sounds the way that it should, and it’ll make cleaning the fretboard easier when you decide to do so. This is especially important for players who have excessively sweaty hands.
Dust and Polish Your Guitar Regularly
Besides maintaining the aesthetics of your guitar, cleaning an acoustic guitar or even an electric guitar, on a regular basis will help increase your guitar’s resale value in case you decide to sell your guitar later on if you play for an hour every day.
Store Your Guitar In Its Case
This is the safest possible place for your guitar, especially when you get a hard case that also protects from minor drops. This is especially important if you have kids and pets at home that are likely to topple your guitar over. Your guitar case will also help protect it from extreme temperatures.
Avoid Playing In Sudden Temperature Changes
Avoid taking your guitar from a cold air-conditioned room into a hot, humid environment as rapid temperature and humidity changes tend to take their toll on a guitar’s internals. If you really must play outside, leave your guitar in its case and allow it to acclimate before playing.
Final Word: Play Your Guitar
Even though this entire article is all about keeping your guitar clean and crisp, we strongly encourage you to play your guitar. A guitar is meant to be played, just as a challenge is meant to be overcome. Don’t forget that the reason you bought your guitar is to play with it. So, enjoy your guitar. Nobody said you can’t enjoy something without taking good care of it.
So it turns out IK Multimedia isn’t just the maker of my favourite amp sim platform (AmpliTube) and software synth (Syntronik) and mixing/mastering suite (T-Racks): they’ve also just announced a new wearable social distance monitor to make sure we don’t all make each other sick. Here’s the press release.
Helping the musical instrument industry reopen and operate safely: IK Multimedia announces Safe Spacer™ wearable social distance monitor
Easy-to-use device offers distance alarm monitoring for workplaces and public spaces
May 14, 2020 – Safe Spacer™ is a new, lightweight wearable device that helps workers and visitors maintain safe social distancing, enabling MI and other industries to safely re-open and operate with peace of mind.
Using Ultra-wideband technology, Safe Spacer runs wirelessly on a rechargeable battery and precisely senses when other devices come within 2m/6ft, alerting wearers with a choice of visual, vibrating or audio alarm.
Simple to use, Safe Spacer features a patent-pending algorithm that works immediately out of the box, with no set-up or special infrastructure needed and can be comfortably worn on a wristband, with a lanyard, or carried in a pocket. It offers ultra-precise measurement down to 10cm/4″ – ten times more accurate than Bluetooth applications.
Ideal for factories, warehouses and offices, Safe Spacer can also be used by visitors of public spaces such as music schools, large retailers, auditoriums, workshops spaces and more. Engineered for fast, easy disinfection, it’s also waterproof. For minimal handling, Safe Spacer works wirelessly via NFC contactless technology or Bluetooth.
Each Safe Spacer also features a unique ID tag and built-in memory that can be optionally associated to workers’ names for tracing any unintentional contact, to keep organizations and their employees secure. To maintain the highest standard of privacy, no data other than the Safe Spacer ID and proximity is stored.
For advanced use, set-up and monitoring in workspaces, an iOS/Android app is also available to allow human resources or safety departments to associate IDs to specific workers, log daily tracing without collecting sensitive data, configure the alarms, set custom distance and alert thresholds, export log data and more.
Safe Spacer is Made in Italy and has been developed by IK Multimedia using its extensive experience creating wireless enabled products, apps and other audio-based solutions. CEO Enrico Iori shares:
“We created Safe Spacer to help our Italian factory workers maintain safe distance during re-opening. It’s easy to use, fast to deploy, private and secure, so it can be used comfortably in any situation. We hope this solution helps other companies feel secure as they re-open, too.”
Safe Spacer will be available in early Q3 directly from IK Multimedia for $/€99.99 (excluding taxes), with volume discounts available.
Renowned shredder Rusty Cooley overcomes hand injury to record brutal masterpiece
Spread Your Disease, the new EP by modern metal outfit Day of Reckoning, is out now. The EP finds the band, Rusty Cooley, Matt Hough and vocalist Brad Lambert, building upon the stylistic elements that made 2015’s Into The Fire so compelling. But Cooley and Co. have pushed things even further on Spread Your Disease refining and expanding Day of Reckonining’s blend of thrash, metalcore, death metal and prog.
The EP was not born easily. It came amid a period of personal upheaval for the band as a whole and both Cooley and Hough had to overcome hand injuries that threatened to impact their guitar playing. “It was a very tough process just due to personal lives and everything that goes along with recording an album,” Cooley says. “And in the end when everything started to straighten out I started having problems with my hand. It wasn’t guitar related. It was caused by heavy lifting and stuff like that, and it caused deep trauma and tissue damage which caused the circulation of blood to not flow properly to my hand.” The injury began to affect Cooley’s ring and pinkie fingers. “The best way to describe it is my fingers just weren’t firing correctly.”
After consulting with a doctor who worked with the Houston Symphony Orchestra and a leading sports doctor he met through bodybuilder Lee Labrada, Cooley was able to isolate the problem and address it with therapy and exercise. “The first two or three days of therapy were really painful but by the end of the final session it felt like those two fingers were paralyzed; because he’d got all the toxins and set everything up to heal. I couldn’t move those fingers for two weeks but then slowly but surely everything started to come around.”
Co-guitarist Matt Hough also had a hand injury caused by excessive neck and shoulder tension. “This has resulted in me not being able to use my fourth finger at all,” Hough says. “I had to relearn most of our material with only three fingers and have even had to tap, with my right hand, a few passages that are not possible to play with three fingers. I have since been engaged in something called ‘Alexander Technique’ which is a mind body awareness practice. This has allowed me to slowly let go of the tension in my neck and shoulders, allowing me to regain the moderate use of my fourth finger. That was three years ago. It’s been a journey! Not out of it yet but I’m closer to something that resembles my old hand every day.”
Rather than surrender to their demons the band took these tensions and ran them through their brutal metal machine; emerging with an EP which is both cathartic and empowering for the listener as well as the band. Lyrically Lambert’s lyrics explore a variety of themes from the universal to the personal. Media manipulation, social upheaval, personal betrayal, perseverance, apocalyptic views of society, as well as introverted themes of overcoming personal struggles, betrayal, self-doubt, and loss.
The EP kicks off with the pummeling riffage of ‘To The Slaughter.’ “This song encompasses much about the current state of affairs around the world,” Lambert says. “In general the theme of the song is based around the use of media platforms by those in positions of power to manipulate the population as sheep. It is also a critique on humanity in general and our tendency to move towards panic and drama without properly vetting the sources of where we get our information. With that said, the song ends on somewhat of a positive note as people can only be manipulated for so long before it all backfires on those trying to control them.”
‘Betrayer’ features some savage sweep picking licks courtesy of Cooley and Hough, while lyrically dealing with betrayal. Anger at the person who betrayed you as well as anger at yourself for putting yourself in the position to be manipulated.
‘Dig’ is about lifting yourself up out of a bad situation instead of waiting for the powers that be to do it for you. “Musically this is one of, in my opinion, Rusty’s greatest melodic solo sections that he’s ever written,” Lambert says. “The tempo changes and chord progression during the solo, as well as the rest of the song, create a very progressive sense of tension and release.”
The title track, ‘Spread Your Disease,’ is about the collateral damage left by those suffering from chronic illness or addiction. “Despite our best efforts to be there for someone sometimes it seems like folks just start slipping away from us while leaving a significant amount of damage along the way,” Lambert says. “Regardless, we find ourselves still trying to be there for them. Musically this is probably one of my favorite hooks to sing. There are a lot of vocal challenges in this song. It goes from max gutturals to some intense cleans without any rest in between. To me this song has some of the coolest slamming chugs as well as a really cool post chorus riff.”
‘Open Your Mind’ features a crushing performance from drummer Jared Sandhy, while Lambert’s lyrics deal with the band members’ struggles with painful life circumstances over the last few years. “This song deals with that as well as the realization that regardless of our external circumstances its ultimately on us to come together. Leave the past in the past and move forward.”
‘Entertained by Pain’ wraps up the EP with rapid tempo changes, lots of sonic experimentation and a guest appearance by Nile’s Karl Sanders. “Whats funny is that all we really asked him to do was to mirror some of the chord progressions in the bridge with some of his unique instruments,” Lambert says. “However, what he sent us back was way more than we asked for. He added percussion parts as well as some interesting rhythm string parts and that brought the bridge, as well as, the intro to the song to life. As a result Rusty basically completely rewrote the first half of the guitar solo section because he was inspired by what Karl did.”
Spread Your Disease was produced, recorded and mixed by Lambert at Psychonaut Studios in Houston, Texas, with drum performances by Jared Sandhy in Bangalore, India, and bass by Texan Sherman Clark.
I’ve spent the last week or so daydreaming about 12-string electric guitars (which is not a rare occurrence for me, to be honest. I’ve wanted one since I first heard The Beatles). Danelectro has released many great 12s over the years, and they’ve just announced a Reissue ’66-12, which of course features Dano’s legendary Lipstick pickups in the form of a coil-splittable Lipstick humbucker alongside a wide range neck single coil. I especially like the black one. Giving me big goth vibes.
Here’s an unboxing video from Tim Nienhuis:
And here’s the press release.
Danelectro launch Reissue ‘66-12 electric 12 string guitars.
Modern Danelectro® 12 string electric guitars have often been described as ‘…possibly the best electric 12 you’ll ever play for the money.’ The originals from the 1950’s, are still regarded as the finest ever built and were pioneers in 12 string electric guitar designs.
The new Reissue ‘66-12 once again overflows with avant-garde and retro styling, with all the sonic merits and vintage emotions that have earned Danelectro respect from guitar players and collectors around the world.
Features include a striking double cut-away, reverse body with a delightful ‘German carved’ bevelled edge design. A single f-hole sculptured in the lower bout denotes that the ‘66-12 is semi-hollow, naturally adding sustain and presence, and with alder the perfect choice for the construction and centre block, provides a balanced tone of focused low, mid and high frequencies.
Needless to say, the classic 12 string Danelectro Lipstick® pickup combination is a joy of joys in itselfj. Now with a coil-tapped dual Lipstick humbucker in the bridge position, the ‘66-12 delivers the familiar clear tone at single coil or humbucker volume levels.
Combine this with the warm sweet tone of a full range single coil pickup with large housing angled at the neck, and the amount of tones offered are staggering. The ‘66-12 is indeed, one of the most versatile electric 12 string guitars available that also offers superb playability to match.
With a great string action, sleek C shape, bolt-on maple neck and a smooth 22 fret pau ferro fingerboard, this gorgeous example of Danelectro workmanship, is a songwriter’s inspiration from the first strum of an open chord, to soaring solo note runs.
Hardware includes chrome master volume and master chrome tone controls with ‘D’ motif and 3-way selector switch, whilst straight string-pull from the vintage style die-cast machine heads to the fully adjustable bridge, via a precision-cut 12 slot graphite nut, ensures stable tuning and accurate intonation.
Now with more warmth and more jangle, the new Danelectro ‘66-12, is visually arresting with f-hole binding, a black or white 2 ply scratchplate and finished in a choice of two high gloss finishes: transparent 3 Tone Burst or Black, the only problem is…what color to choose.
If you follow me on social media you’ve probably seen me be pretty open about my battles with anxiety. Hey you’ve probably even helped me get through some insomnia. And with this whole lockdown situation, stress levels are pretty high in general. So I thought I’d give the Declutter The Mind app a try. https://declutterthemind.com
There are lots of meditation apps out there and for a while I felt like like the best thing for me was just to put on a rain sound generator and zone out. But that’s not a very active experience and doesn’t particularly address specific issues: am I anxious? Do I need to wind down? Do I just need a little time for myself? My various rain apps don’t address that at all. Declutter The Mind has daily guided meditations to introduce you to different types of practices and concepts, which appeals to me because what works one day might not be the right fit for another day. And I’m the kind of person who likes to have some control over what they’re putting into their brain. So Declutter The Mind is great for that because everything is described quite clearly. There’s a 30-day Mindfulness course designed for beginners, but more advanced meditators can find things that work for them too. You can set the length of time from 5 minutes to 30 minutes, and save your favourites.
Meditations are divided into categories including Essentials, Mindfulness, Anxiety & Stress, Sleep & Relaxation, Managing Emotions, Mental Health, Productivity and an Unguided category, plus an Emergency category which includes a quick relaxing visualisation and a breathing exercise, easily accessible for when you need ‘em. I particularly like the Mental Health section, which includes guided meditations for Mindfulness for Suffering, Loving Kindness for Self Love, Loving Kindness for Gratitude, Loving Kindness for Forgiveness, and Visualisation for Depression. Some of the meditations are pretty specific, like the Flying Anxiety one included in the Anxiety and Stress category.
I’ve done guided meditations before and I’ve always found the same thing: the first couple of attempts don’t quite click because I’m too in-my-head about what’s happening. But once I get over that initial phase, I’m all good. It’s the same as floatation tanks, which I love: my first few sessions didn’t really ‘work’ because I was too distracted by the novelty of it all, but after a few tries I really started to get a lot out of it.
I can highly recommend Declutter The Mind, especially now during these stressful times. And I know a lot of my fellow musicians can benefit from the kind of focus and peace that these guided meditations can help provide.
I’ve absolutely and utterly craved an Ernie Ball Music Man guitar of my own since the very first time I picked up a guitar magazine in 1991 at the age of 12 and saw the Edward Van Halen guitar. Even as we speak, a Balboa Blue Ernie Ball Music Man Axis is the wallpaper pic on my iPhone. One day I have to own an EBMM. I’ve reviewed so many over the years and they always feel great and their quality control is incredible.
Now the Axis is being challenged for top place on my EBMM Crush List thanks to the introduction of the new Sabre Guitar. Here’s the press release which tells you all you need to know, but seriously, just look at that pic and try to tell me it’s not one of the most beautiful dang guitars you’ve ever seen.
Ernie Ball Music Man Announces Availability of New Sabre Guitar
The new instrument features a carved maple top, contoured body and wider neck
(San Luis Obispo, CA – April 22, 2020) – Ernie Ball Music Man, the world’s leading manufacturer of guitar strings, musical instruments and accessories, is proud to announce the availability of the newest model in its instrument offerings with the all-new Sabre guitar. The new Sabre guitar features a lightweight Okoume body, thick carved maple top and custom Ernie Ball Music Man humbucking pickups, delivering lively, dynamic sound with striking clarity and sustain. The Sabre features a book-matched premium top adorned with natural binding, which elegantly highlights the beauty of the figured maple wood grain. Crafted with a slender, contoured body and slightly wider nut width, the Sabre guitar provides unmatched comfort and playability. It is also comes equipped with a roasted figured maple neck, and a choice of rosewood, ebony, or maple fingerboard, Schaller locking tuners, a 5-way switch, and Ernie Ball Music Man’s super smooth modern tremolo system.The Sabre will be available in four finishes including Cobra, Boujee Burst, Honeysuckle, and Blue Moonstone. It is now available, with retail pricing starting at $3199.
KEY PRODUCT FEATURES: • Okoume body • 3/8-inch thick carved flame maple top trimmed with natural binding • Roasted figured maple neck • Wider nut width (1 11/16-inch) • Two custom Ernie Ball Music Man designed humbucking pickups • Super smooth modern Ernie Ball Music Man Tremolo system • Schaller locking tuners • Chrome hardware (black hardware with Cobra finish) • 22 stainless steel frets • The fretboard is maple, rosewood, or ebony depending on finish
ABOUT ERNIE BALL In 1962, veteran player and guitar teacher Ernie Ball created Slinkys®, the innovative light gauge electric guitar strings widely revered by thousands of iconic players including Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Jimmy Page, Paul McCartney, Metallica, Brad Paisley, Slash, John Petrucci, Angus Young and John Mayer. The strings are all crafted in Coachella, CA. Ernie Ball also offers state-of-the-art instrument accessories that are carried in more than 6,000 stores in the U.S. and 120 countries worldwide. Officially purchasing the Music Man® company in 1984, Sterling, joined later by his sons Scott and Brian, has built a team of dedicated professionals based in San Luis Obispo, CA who collectively share a common goal: crafting the highest level of hand-crafted instruments available. Originally founded by Tom Walker, Forrest White and Leo Fender in 1974, Music Man built its name leading an industry revolution, introducing active electronics on its production instruments. As part of the team during the ’70s, Sterling Ball played an important role on the design and development of the iconic StingRay basses. The family-run company maintains its founder’s dedication to preserving the musician’s playing experience and delivering superior sound quality through the development of new products, such as Cobalt Slinkys, M-Steel, Earthwood, and the revolutionary Element Shield Packaging, keeping each set as fresh as the day they were made. The company also fosters artist development through musician-focused programs such as the world’s largest and longest-running unsigned artist programs, where bands compete each year for the chance to play live on national tours, festivals and events. Visit them online at www.ernieball.com and www.music-man.com.