StringFest 2020 calls for luthiers and tonewood suppliers

StringFest In Deloraine, Tasmania is on again from April 17 to 19. You can read my article about it in the current issue of Australian Guitar magazine, but in short it’s a celebration of stringed instruments, especially those made from Tasmanian timbers. Luthiers, tonewood and accessory suppliers will have the opportunity to display and market their wares to a very interested and motivated group of musicians, collectors and hobbyists. 

Concerts and workshops will be held in several venues over the weekend from 2pm on Friday 17th until 5pm on Sunday 19th. Among the artists appearing in 2020 are Jeff Lang and The Harry Edwards Trio.

Previous StringFest exhibitions have attracted over 1,000 people to view and buy these handmade instruments, or accessories for those intending to build their own instruments. Tickets are available on the day or bookmark the ticket link here for when tickets become available online.
If you want to be involved, exhibition tables and exhibition fees are just $10 per day, with the exhibition held in the large hall beside the main concert venue. The hall be open to the public from 2pm – 5pm Friday, 9am-5pm Saturday and 10am – 2pm Sunday.
If you haven’t arranged a site for display of your instruments and/or performance please call or email Nick on 0437 195 026 to do so as sites are filling up!

NAMM 2020: New Fender artist models including Tom Morello Soul Power guitar!

I can’t be the only one who has utterly craved a production version of Tom Morello’s ‘Soul Power’ Strat as used in Audioslave, right? Or a replica of Eric Johnson’s legendary ’54 Stratocaster named Virginia. And Slipknot’s Jim Root is a man of great taste when it comes to designing new guitars with Fender. So read on!

FENDER® EXPANDS ARTIST SIGNATURE SERIES LINEUP WITH ROCK AND HEAVY METAL LEGENDS, ERIC JOHNSON, JIM ROOT, TOM MORELLO

Eric Johnson “Virginia” Stratocaster® – The First Model Added to Fender’s Stories Collection – Jim Root Jazzmaster® V4 and Tom Morello “Soul Power” Stratocaster® Debut at Winter NAMM 2020

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (January 16, 2020)—Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) today announced three new additions to its Artist Signature Series electrics offering – the Eric Johnson “Virginia” Stratocaster, Jim Root Jazzmaster V4 and Tom Morello “Soul Power” Stratocaster – all debuting at Winter NAMM 2020 in Anaheim, Calif. Developed with rock, blues and heavy metal players in mind, these all-new Artist Signature Series models add performance-ready features and stylistic touches hand-selected by some of the industry’s most iconic players – from Grammy®-winner Eric Johnson and Slipknot guitarist Jim Root to Audioslave and Rage Against The Machine legend Tom Morello. 

For the first time, Fender has replicated and released Eric Johnson’s beloved ’54 “Virginia” Stratocaster, the instrument he used to record hit song “Cliffs of Dover,” the Tones record (1987 Grammy® nomination for Best Rock Instrumental Performance) and the Platinum Ah Via Musicom (1991 Grammy® for Best Rock Instrumental Performance) albums that made him a hero to music fans and guitarists alike. Built in Corona, California, this extremely limited-edition model combines extraordinary history and exceptional tone. Its rare sassafras body, custom switching and special set-up will thrill players and collectors by showcasing its unique silky tone and distinct fine grain appearance. The Eric Johnson “Virginia” Stratocaster will be the first model in Fender’s all-new Stories Collection, a celebration of the guitars that shaped history’s most iconic music and the details that made them unique. 

Both beautiful and beastly, the Jim Root Jazzmaster V4 is the fifth Fender artist signature model for Slipknot guitarist Jim Root; it features active humbucking pickups, a 12″ radius, jumbo frets ideal for heavy playing styles, an ebony fingerboard, block inlays and striking white finish that makes the guitar stand out on stage. Fender worked hand-in-hand with Root to deliver crushing detuned tone with an all-new bold look, culminating in a brutal-sounding signature Jazzmaster model that complements his heavy playing style.

The Tom Morello “Soul Power” Stratocaster is based on the modified Designer Series Strat, which Morello used during his time in Audioslave. Featuring an alder slab body with binding, a recessed Floyd Rose® locking tremolo system, Seymour Duncan Hot Rails bridge humbucker and two Fender Noiseless™ pickups, this Strat delivers powerful and unique effects from gentle rhythms to screaming feedback, chaotic stutters and more.

“We are excited to continue to work with such legendary players to help share their story through music,” said Justin Norvell, EVP Fender Products. “Whether it is their first Artist Signature model, or fifth, we continue Fender’s legacy by helping artists showcase the versatility of our instruments. Each Artist Signature model that we reveal at Winter NAMM this year will showcase a variety of exceptional, legendary tones that made music history.” 

Product Details: 

Eric Johnson “Virginia” Stratocaster – $4,999 (Launching February 2020) joins the Fender Stories Collection. Eric Johnson already had his 1954 “Virginia” Stratocaster when he recorded Tones and the Platinum Ah Via Musicom, groundbreaking albums that made him a hero to music fans and guitarists alike. To this day, Eric continues to release brilliant music, tour constantly and is, to the electric guitar community, a savant and widely followed tastemaker. In 2020, for the first time, Johnson’s 1954 “Virginia” Stratocaster will be replicated by both Fender Custom Shop and the Fender Corona Production line in limited numbers. With its rare sassafras body, lacquer finish, custom wiring and more, the Eric Johnson 1954 “Virginia” Stratocaster will thrill players and collectors alike with its distinctive look and exceptional tone. 

Jim Root Jazzmaster V4 – $2,699 (Launching March 2020) delivers detuned tone with a bold new look. Fender worked closely with the towering Slipknot guitarist to create a brutal-sounding signature Jazzmaster model that complements his heavy playing style—right down to its signature Daemonum™ open-coil EMG® active pickups, shred-worthy 12” radius fingerboard with jumbo frets, sparse control layout and more. The Jim Root Jazzmaster V4 dispenses with frivolities such as a vibrato, rhythm circuit and tone control. Only crucial essentials remain: a volume control, a 3-way switch and a hardtail bridge. Featuring a mahogany slab body for pronounced lows and mids, brilliant Polar White satin finish, maple neck with bound ebony fingerboard and pearloid block inlays, this powerful machine delivers brutal tone with a striking new look.

Tom Morello Stratocaster – $2,699 (Launching March 2020) is based on the modified Designer Series Strat used during his time in Audioslave and features an alder slab body with binding and a Deep “C”-shape maple neck with 9.5″-14″ compound radius rosewood fingerboard and 22 medium-jumbo frets. Other features include: a recessed Floyd Rose® locking tremolo system; Seymour Duncan Hot Rails bridge humbucker; two Fender Noiseless™ pickups in the neck and middle positions; a chrome pickguard; kill-switch toggle; locking tuners; matching painted headcap and iconic “Soul Power” body decal, and a black Fender case.

In true tradition, the Fender’s Artist Signature Series honors iconic musicians through product progression and storytelling, creating instruments inspired by the unique specifications of the world’s greatest guitarists and bassists. Learn more about the Artist Signature models and access product descriptions here; images can be found 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.

NAMM 2020: Fender launches, well, pretty much everything!


Fender is absolutely smashing it this NAMM with their new product launches, including the return of the venerable HM Strat, an affordable Lead model in the Player Series, and some really cool stuff in the Parallel Universe series. Let’s dig in, shall we?

FENDER® SPOTLIGHTS RECENTLY-LAUNCHED AMERICAN ULTRA ELECTRIC GUITAR SERIES, REVIVES MODELS FROM THE PAST AND BRINGS BACK PARALLEL UNIVERSE AT WINTER NAMM 

Fender Introduces HM “Heavy Metal” Strat, Lead II and III models, Reveals All-New Parallel Universe and American Original and Player Series Guitars Now Available In New Models and Finishes

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (January 16, 2020)—Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) today debuted its extensive electric and bass offerings for traditional and modern players alike at Winter NAMM 2020. In addition to showcasing American Ultra – the brand’s most modern and advanced electric guitar series, Fender is bringing back models from its past, including the Lead, which will be added to the Player Series. The HM Strat also returns with the same unique look and specs as the original ‘88-‘92 models. Joining Fender’s limited-edition offerings are refreshes of fan-favorites including cult classic Parallel Universe Volume 2 and the highly-acclaimed American Original Series – now offering new models and finishes. 

“We’re excited to present an incredible linup of new instruments at Winter NAMM,” said Max Gutnik, VP of Fender Electric Guitars, Basses & Amplifiers. “Our leading focus for 2020 is our new flagship electric line, American Ultra. Ultra is a great example of the continued evolution of Fender’s classic instruments in a way that remains true to Fender’s original creation yet advances the instrument to serve modern players of all generes. While we look to the future with American Ultra, we are also celebrating our past with the re-release of the all-new HM Strat and Player Lead II and III guitars. The HM Strat and Lead series represent a wonderfully innovative time at Fender and a historic era in music, when musicians and their instruments were changing rapidly, and we’re thrilled to debut them here at NAMM.”

Launched in November 2020, the American Ultra Series is the most advanced guitar from Fender. The series has all-new modern features, state-of-the-art craftsmanship and nuanced design. With 44 SKUs, the American Ultra Series offers many options for players looking for modern advancements, including the Stratocaster®, Telecaster®, Precision Bass®, Jazzmaster®, Jazz Bass® and Jazz Bass® V with an assortment of all-new colors in the $3,899 – $4,499 price range. The Ultra Series is a pivotal moment in Fender history as it offers new body design and contours – marking the first time in decades since the last significant alteration was made to the iconic Fender Stratocaster of Telecaster body shapes. Embracing artist and player feedback is a core driver for Fender’s design process, leading to decades of subtle yet crucial innovations. For more information, click here.

Fender created the Lead model in 1979, featuring a new solid-body design, hard-tail bridges and cool new wiring options. Paying homage, Fender is releasing the Player Lead Series for the unconventional, offbeat, and most importantly, undefined players. The series offers the choice of the Player Lead II (an homage to the late `70s models) and the Player Lead III (a tribute to the original 1982-only model), which both incorporate era-correct Lead Series specs with a blend of the modern Player Series specs offering style, power, and versatility in comfortable, easy-to-play models. For more information, click here. For images, click here.

A true Fender fan favorite and cult classic will also be reborn at WNAMM, the limited-edition HM (Heavy Metal) Stratocaster originally designed and launched in the late-`80s with metal heads and technical players in mind. Built in the same factory as the original, the HM Strat will be available in four original era-correct Day-Glo colors: Frozen Yellow, Flash Pink, Ice Blue and Bright White. For product images and more information on this model, click here.

Also debuting at WNAMM are all-new limited-edition models that make up Parallel Universe Volume 2 ($3,999 – $4,999). Offering even more unique models in the second iteration of Parallel Universe, these combinations of Fender design elements, body shapes and parts are for players looking for the most exciting and rare instruments Fender will come out with this year. For product descriptions, click here; and product images, click here. The following models will be released in 2020: 

  • The Troublemaker Custom w/ Bigsby ($4,999) 
  • Troublemaker Tele Custom ($4,899) 
  • Strat Jazz Deluxe ($4,699) 
  • Maverick Dorado ($4,999)
  • Spark-O-Matic Jazzmaster ($3,999)
  • Jazz Strat ($3,999)
  • Tele Mágico ($4,999)
  • Uptown Strat ($3,999)

Also, new this NAMM season are two new models for Fender’s American Original series, including the `60s Telecaster Thinline and `70s Telecaster Custom. For product images and more information, click here. Lastly, Fender is adding to the Player Series to further expand entry level offerings within the Fender brand. The new models include the Duo Sonic, Mustang, Mustang Bass PJ and Mustang 90. 

Fender’s new electric guitar and bass offerings will be available at local dealers and on www.Fender.com. 

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. 

NAMM 2020: AmpliTube Joe Satriani

IK Multimedia’s AmpliTube has been my desktop modeller of choice for, what, a decade now? It’s a great system, especially when combined with the right audio interface to truly get the most out of it. Y’know who also thinks so? Joe Satriani, which is why he’s hooked up with IK to release AmpliTube Joe Satriani to capture his legendary tones in one easy application, including models based on his signature Marshall head and the legendary Scholz Rockman – the latter of which is enhanced with Stereo mode and Cabinet Modelling.

Here’s the press release from IK Multimedia.

The NAMM Show, January 16, 2020 – IK Multimedia, in partnership with rock icon Joe Satriani, presents IK’s newest artist signature collection, AmpliTube® Joe Satriani. Available for Mac/PC, iPhone and iPad, it offers users a convenient way to play, practise and record – anytime, anywhere – using precise models of the guitarist’s amps and pedals that were created alongside Satriani himself.

AmpliTube Joe Satriani reflects the guitarist’s reputation as a tone and gear connoisseur, featuring models of both classic and artist signature pieces, along with some fan favourites. Each model was created to Satriani‘s exact specifications, for an authentic user experience.

Inside AmpliTube Joe Satriani
Available as a desktop app and plug-in for any DAW, AmpliTube Joe Satriani features five stompboxes and three amps, including:

Pedals:
Satch Wah – modelled after a Vox® BBW Wah; Satch Dist – modelled after an early ’80s, Japanese-made BOSS® DS-1; Satch Overdrive – modelled after an early ’80s, Japanese-made BOSS OD-1; Tube Overdrive – modelled after a mid-80s Chandler® Tube Driver; Satch Octave – modelled after a Fulltone® Ultimate Octave.

Amplifiers:
Satch VM, modelled after Satriani‘s Marshall® JVM410HJS signature head and SJ50, modelled after a ’93 Peavey® 5150, both with matching cabinets; and Boston 100, an expanded version of the ’82 Scholz® Rockman model with stereo mode and cabinet modelling.

Also included are song presets covering Satriani‘s discography that allow users to dial up their favourite Joe Satriani tones for instant inspiration.

The Joe Satriani Collection (iPhone and iPad version) is available via in-app purchase from within AmpliTube CS for iPhone or iPad, and features the same amp, cab and stompbox models and presets.

Groundbreaking Modeling Technology
IK’s latest Dynamic Interaction Modeling™ was used to deliver the highest level of ultra-realistic sound when modelling Joe Satriani‘s gear. The product of 20 years’ experience modelling analogue gear, DIM™ models the behaviour of every component in the circuit all the way down to its smallest nuance and character. Applied to Satriani‘s rig, it delivers the same sound and feel as his real gear.

About AmpliTube guitar and bass tone studio
AmpliTube is the world’s most powerful guitar and bass tone studio for Mac/PC/iPhone/iPad. Available in both free and paid versions, it recreates the entire guitar/bass signal chain from instrument to recording device in a hyper-realistic and intuitive way. Users can also browse and purchase collections of gear models from top gear manufacturers plus signature artist gear.

Easy connection to AmpliTube
AmpliTube connects seamlessly with AXE I/O, IK’s premium audio interface with powerful guitar shaping tools. AmpliTube is also compatible with IK’s iRig Stomp I/O, iRig Micro Amp, iRig HD 2, iRig Pro I/O and other iRig portable audio interfaces for fast connectivity and on-the-go convenience.

Options, pricing and availability
AmpliTube Joe Satriani (for Mac/PC) runs inside AmpliTube Custom Shop, a free download available to all. The new models will be released in February 2020 as a bundle from within the Custom Shop, the IK Multimedia online store and from IK authorized dealers worldwide for $/€99.99*, and are now available for pre-order.
*Price excluding taxes

No previous purchase of AmpliTube is required. These new models will show up as an optional purchase for existing users of AmpliTube upon updating to the latest version.

The Joe Satriani Collection (iPhone and iPad) will be available via in-app purchase from within AmpliTube CS for iPhone or iPad for $24.99. Individual models may also be purchased à la carte.

For more information about AmpliTube Joe Satriani and the Joe Satriani Collection, please visit:
www.ikmultimedia.com/satriani

To see AmpliTube Joe Satriani in action: www.ikmultimedia.com/satriani/video

For the official Joe Satriani website, visit: satriani.com

NAMM 2020: Jackson released David Ellefson 30th Anniversary ‘Rust In Peace’ bass

Megadeth’s David Ellefson used a very special 5-string Jackson Concert Bass on the tour for 1990’s thrash classic Rust In Peace. David has a lot of great Jackson models that really suit who he is as a player now, but a lot of fans have an emotional connection to that particular 5-string Concert Bass. Well good news! From Jackson:

“The poplar body features ergonomic contours that provide the perfect platform for launching a musical assault—the upper contour provides a comfortably stable anchor for pick or fingerstyle playing alike while the lower contour provides perfect balance when propped on a knee for monitor stands. The through-body quartersawn maple neck features a scarf joint and graphite reinforcement rods that protect against extreme environmental and climate changes. Built for highly technical lightspeed playing, the 12”-16” compound radius laurel fingerboard flattens out as you move up the neck for increased playing comfort and speedy articulation.

Earth-shaking EMG® P and EMG J pickups in the neck and bridge positions provide plenty of girth and cut. Dial in your thunderous bass tone with a three-way toggle switch, single volume control and two-band EQ to boost treble and bass. The Jackson HiMass™ 5-string bridge sharpens your notes’ attack for extra punch and clarity, granting enhanced sustain without significantly altering the bass’ fundamental tone.”

More info here. And you can see that original bass at the very beginning of this here video:

NAMM 2020: Earthquaker Devices Afterneath V3

EarthQuaker Devices Third Version of Afterneath Enhanced Otherworldly Reverberation Device

V3 Offers Nine New Modes, Voltage or Expression Control Over the “Drag” Parameter, “Tails”/No Tails Switching and New Price Point

Midwest Earth, January 16, 2020 — For centuries (or maybe just years), EarthQuaker Devices’ Afterneath creation has been the innovative go-to reverberation contraption for artists looking to create a lush and novel enchanting sounds befitting an axe-wielding wizard of the highest order. Unwilling to rest on their laurels, the alchemists toiling away in EarthQuaker Devices’ Akron, Ohio stronghold, have conjured, and are set to unleash, the Afterneath V3 and their creation becomes available for purchase at the brand new price point of $199 on April 15, 2020.

More information is available at http://www.earthquakerdevices.com/afterneath.

About New Afterneath V3 Features:

Afterneath V3 continues to offer the celebrated “Drag” feature and now it can be put under voltage or expression control using the “EXP” jack located on the side of the device. It operates in nine different modes, which are selected by a small “Mode” control located directly underneath the “Drag” control. These modes are as follows: Unquantized with slew, Unquantized volt/octave, Chromatic scale, Major scale, Minor scale, Penatonic scale, Octaves and Fifths, and Octaves. These modes drastically transform the operation of the “Drag” control functions.

1. Unquantized: Smooth, unquantized response over the operating range
2. Unquantized with Slew: Smooth, unquantized response over the entire operating range, but with a musical slew that is reminiscent of turning the varispeed knob on a vintage British tape delay. The “Drag” will lag behind the knob or voltage changes, but then quickly catch up
3. Unquantized Volt/Octave: Smooth and unquantized, yet scaled to align with the 1v/octave curve to allow melodic modulation of audio in the buffer, or control the frequency of self-oscillation like a voltage controlled oscillator.
4. Chromatic Scale: Quantized 1v/octave to the chromatic scale
5. Major Scale: Quantized 1v/octave to the major scale
6. Minor Scale: Quantized 1v/octave to the minor scale
7. Pentatonic Scale: Quantized 1v/octave to the pentatonic scale
8. Octaves & Fifths: Quantized 1v/octave to omit all but octaves and fifths
9. Octaves: Quantized 1v/octave to omit all but octaves

The device features a completely analog dry signal path, totally digital delay path, buffered bypass with Flexi Switch Technology, and a “Tails”/”No Tails” option on bypass.

Additionally, Afterneath V3 offers the following features:
· Enhanced otherworldly reverb algorithm built from an adjustable cluster of short delays
· Ranges from scattered individual delays to an immersive wash of atmospheric reverb
· Silent relay-based switching
· Lifetime guarantee
· Current Draw: 100 mA
· Input Impedance: 1M Ohm
· Output Impedance: 500 Ohm
· Boxed dimensions: 5.5” x 4.25” x 3.25”
· Out-of-box dimensions: 4.75” x 2.50” x 2.25”
· Weight: 14 oz

NAMM 2020: The Ibanez PIA is here!

Some lo-res pics of this guitar leaked last week and they didn’t look great. Well guess what! Turns out leaking crappy photos of a sophisticated design doesn’t do the design justice because the new Ibanez Steve Vai model, the PIA, looks a lot cooler than those pics indicated. Especially of note: the new DiMarzio Utopia pickups with really interesting covers designed by Mike Mesker, colour-matched ‘Pia Blossom’ inlays (except for the white model which has all white inlays) and a little scoop above the handle in the body.

Here’s Steve to tell you all about the new guitar, including all the subtle differences compared to a Jem, like a new forearm contour, repositioned volume knob, new super high access sculpting on the inside of the treble side cutaway, and more. Seriously, if you’re one of the people who trashed this guitar last week because of those dodgy photos, you really need to watch this video to see how much thought and elegance has been put into this design.

We’re talking Stainless Steel frets, switchable high pass filter, magnetic back plate, redesigned contours, new neck shape, Luminlay glow-in-the-dark side dots, Ultralite carbon fiber tremolo bar… basically it’s a Steve Vai guitar for 2020 instead of 1987.

As for the Utopia pickups, they use the DiMarzio Evolution as a starting point but with softer highs and mids and more output. That sounds pretty damn cool to me.

Bridge – https://www.dimarzio.com/pickups/high-power/utopia-bridge
Middle – https://www.dimarzio.com/picku…/standard-strat/utopia-middle
Neck – https://www.dimarzio.com/pickups/medium-power/utopia-neck

And I think the pink version seen in this pic of Steve is particularly cool.

Here are the other three colours available. The Envy Green, Panther Pink and Sun Dew Gold are limited edition while the Stallion White (which is a pearl white finish) is the standard model.

 

NAMM 2020: Orange Terror Stamp pedal-sized amp!

Okay first of all I really hope my suspicions are correct and the name is a tribute to actor Terence Stamp, but secondly and most importantly THIS IS AMAZING.

Orange Amplification Launch The Terror Stamp

Orange Amplification is proud to launch the Terror Stamp, probably the most portable class A/B, 20 Watt amp ever. It is a pocket sized powerhouse, packing all the punch of the miniscule Micro Terror and Micro Dark into a small pedal format. Masses of Terror tone at the stamp of your foot

The tiny Terror Stamp floor amp can fit on a pedal board and is packed with features including 8/16Ohm Speaker Output, Fully-buffered FX Loop, CabSim/Headphone Output, Shape Control and Foot Switchable Master Volume. Its diminutive, robust case measures only measures 6.1 x 13.4 x 9.9cm (2.4 x 5.4 x 3.9in) and weighs 0.38Kg (0.84lb). A minute amp with a massive sound and a tiny stage footprint that fits neatly in a coat pocket!

The amp’s hybrid valve / solid state design offers guitarists the best of both worlds. The ECC83 valve based preamp has all the harmonics, dynamics and feel expected from a full size Orange amp and offers crystal clean tones through to thunderingly high gain. By combining this with a 20W Class AB Solid State power amp, Orange has succeeded in creating a devilishly small, dependable amp which sounds great at any volume, and can even be used to power a 4×12 cab.

With the Terror Stamp, Orange continue to prove that the biggest sounds can come from the tiniest packages. Typical Orange simplicity, with that unmistakable Orange British tone.

Check it out at the Orange Amplification booth #4644, Hall D where all the other Orange products can also be seen. www.orangeamps.com

– Ends –