With Pantera, Rex Brown has created a legacy which serves as a sort of ‘how to’ on heavy metal bass playing. His heavy attack and his ability to simultaneously lock in with Dimebag Darrell’s guitar and Vinne Paul’s drums is as good an education on playing bass in a heavy band that you’re ever gonna get. Rex further showcased his sense of groove and power during his long tenure with Down, but it’s with his new band Kill Devil Hill that he really gets to shine as a bass player – without even trying. Rex’s playing in KDH is no Billy Sheehan-esque shredfest: rather it’s a tour de force of playing perfectly in the pocket and yet never being lost within the mix or underneath the arrangement. And with material that bobs and weaves through hard rock, heavy metal and grunge and even something close to blues-rock, Kill Devil Hill calls on Rex to be more musically flexible than ever while still maintaining his own musical voice. Kill Devil Hill are touring Australia in April with Killswitch Engage (read my interview with KSE’s Joel Stroetzel here). Continue reading
PRESS RELEASE: In celebration of the 5th Anniversary of the venerable Rocket Fuel pedal and their association with guitarist Doug Aldrich, Majik Box begins shipping the RF-LTD5 today. Sonically identical to the original Rocket Fuel, the RF-LTD5 features a special anodized treatment that Majik Box developed together with a Los Angeles area hot rod shop. This special process conforms to the Mil-A-8625, ASTM , military and automotive standards, and is known for its durability and beauty. The special finish chosen for this special run pedal is called Atmospheric Blue. Continue reading
PRESS RELEASE: The Fender Custom Shop is proud to introduce the two latest collections of handcrafted instruments, the Artisan Series and Master Designed Series. With the Artisan series, the Fender Custom Shop pulls out all the stops for high-end instruments of remarkable tone, look and feel. In a first for the Custom Shop and inspired by Master Built instruments created for the 2013 Tokyo Guitar Show, this series is built to spotlight fine woods with distinctive figures, hand-rubbed stains and gloss finishes. Team-built for a limited time only, Artisan series instruments are also outfitted with a wealth of special appointments and features that contribute to their striking sound and style. Continue reading
If you missed out on Pro Tone Pedals’ limited edition Misha Mansoor Bulb Deluxe overdrive, good news! Thanks to overwhelming demand this pedal is back! But now the Attack switch has been changed from a little toggle to a foot switch, so you can kick it in and engage more definition and tightness during opportune moments. They’re available at the special price of $225 until Sunday April 13, after which the price will be $275. The pedal also sports a snazzy new look as well, and there will be a few knob options including black, red and white.
Below is a video of the first iteration of the pedal. The circuitry of the new version is the same with the exception of the move to a footswitch for Attack, so these tones are still perfectly cromulent. Continue reading
PRESS RELEASE: IK Multimedia, the leader in mobile music-creation apps and accessories for iOS devices, is pleased to announce a new iPhone, iPad and iPod touch app that will delight Orange Amplifier fanatics around the globe: AmpliTube Orange for iPhone/iPod touch and AmpliTube Orange for iPad. Officially licensed and developed in close partnership with Orange Amps, AmpliTube Orange is a real time mobile Orange Amplifier and effects studio featuring digital models of 5 classic and modern Orange guitar amplifiers and one Orange bass amplifier. Each amp and cab model has been meticulously recreated in both looks and sound to deliver spot-on Orange tone any time, everywhere. Continue reading
Ernie Ball has been around for 52 years now – can you believe it? – and in that time they’ve spearheaded some pretty revolutionary innovations in the string world, such as the Slinky range and the brilliant Cobalt series. The latter are incredibly strong, powerfully-voiced strings that pretty much refuse to die. So what does Ernie Ball hope to achieve with the new M-Steel line? Well, they feature new patent-pending technology based on a defence-grade alloy known as Maraging Steel in order to keep the strings stronger. By the way, before we get into the review: to celebrate the introduction of M-Steel strings, Ernie Ball is launching “M-Steel Madness.” Starting April 1st, fans will be asked to post videos or photos of themselves with their newly purchased M-Steel strings using the hashtag #msteel. One lucky winner will be chosen at random on July 1st, and receive a prize package of exclusive musical gear.
Zakk Wylde’s Black Label Society release the frigging excellent Catacombs of the Black Vatican on April 11.
I’ve been thinking about getting into the guitar equipment biz for a long time and it’s never quite happened. Everything’s already been done, so what’s the point, right? But I recently struck on an idea that nobody has ever done before, and it’ll surely be my ticket to guitar gear superstardom alongside names like Les Paul, Leo Fender, Ted McCarty, Seth Lover, Seymour Duncan and Yahoo Serious. So without further ado, I’d like to introduce the first innovation from Hodgson Pickups: the Zero Tolerance. While most pickup companies are pushing the boundaries in terms of high-output pickups, the Zero Tolerance goes the other way: it’s designed to provide a signal so imperceptible that it’s effectively muted. That’s right, the Zero Tolerance is the very first pickup designed to give you an automatic ‘mute’ function when you select it. Use it to kill your signal between songs or to get that cool Randy Rhoads ‘stutter’ effect: it’s up to you!
The Zero Tolerance is available in single coil and humbucker configurations. Versions are available with ceramic, Alnico II, Alnico III, Alnico V and Alncio VIII magnets, but whichever model you go for, each coil features only a single wrap of 42AWG wire: not enough to create a perceptible signal.
Now, the Zero Tolerance is not cheap: it’s hand-made and it takes a really precise hand and a lot of patience to wind a single wrap of copper wire around a bobbin. So it’s a bit of an investment. The humbucker version is $250 (Additional $25 per bobbin for custom colours), and the single coil version is $190 (Additional $190 for custom colours). I haven’t looked into it but that’s probably cheaper than just installing a killswitch or simply disconnecting one pickup from your toggle switch, right?
Available after April 1 right here at I Heart Guitar.
PRESS RELEASE: From now on, all “Made in Germany“ Framus guitars will be equipped with Graph Tech Ratio tuned machine heads. The only exception to that rule is the Framus ES-model, which will still come with Framus Vintage mechanics. Graph Tech Ratio tuned machine heads offer a decisive advantage: For every string, the gear ratio is adjusted individually, ranging from 20:1 to 39:1. This means that with every turn, the pitch level changes by one tone on all strings. You will no longer need to turn all strings at different ratios to tune them – as is the case with conventional tuning mechanics. Tuning the high strings, in particular, is now quicker and easier than ever before. Continue reading
Sometimes it’s nice to treat yerself (even if it means living on ramen noodles for a few weeks), so to celebrate two years of my super-awesome job I’m treating myself to a Squier Vintage Modified Bass VI. I’ve had a crush on these things ever since they were announced, but my lust for the Bass VI goes back to when I first saw Spinal Tap and became curious about the surf-green guitar that Nigel Tufnel wouldn’t let Marty Di Bergi touch (or even look at). The Bass VI is a relatively obscure and definitely interesting instrument which looks almost like a Fender Jaguar but is tuned a full octave below a guitar. It can be played like a bass, like a guitar, or like its own instrument, which is really what it is. You can hear the Bass VI in music by The Cure (seriously, it’s all over so much Cure stuff that it’s hard to imagine their sound without it) and plenty of stuff by Placebo too. Continue reading