INTERVIEW: Testament’s Alex Skolnick

Alex SkolnickAlex Skolnick is one of metal’s great enigmas: he’s ridiculously intelligent, well-read and well-spoken, and he’s a virtuoso of jazz guitar, yet he also plays in Testament, one of the most brutal bands ever to pick up instruments and dish out thrash metal power. There are many who feel that the name ‘Testament’ should be spoken in the same breath as ‘Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax,’ thrash’s ‘Big Four,’ but Testament is about much more than thrash, always pushing their sound onward and into genres such as death metal and extreme metal. Skolnick’s lead guitar is a key ingredient of the classic Testament sound, veering from traditional metal aggression to fusion-influenced intricacy and back again, often within a single phrase. With Testament heading to Australia for the Soundwave festival in February and March (and with a new DVD, Dark Roots Of Thrash, out now), I caught up with Skolnick for a chat about what he’s been up to. Read More …

ESP Previews New Models, New USA Factory!

espthumbIt’s no secret that ESP has been planning to hugely revamp their line in 2014, with the roll-out of the new E-II brand, new signature models and other fun stuff. They’ve just dropped a whole bunch of new models onto their website for us to drool over ahead of NAMM, and many of them sport some pretty damn tasty Seymour Duncan pickups, like the Mystique FR with a Custom 5 in the bridge position and ’59 at the neck. But some of the biggest news is that ESP is opening its own USA factory this year! It’s in North Hollywood, and here’s what ESP President Matt Masciandaro has to say about it: “This is a significant milestone for ESP. For years there has been a demand for a domestic factory, allowing us to create guitars that are 100% made in the USA. Weʼre very excited about the new opportunities for ESP dealers, and new choices for our customers.” Read More …

Alex Skolnick Joins The ESP Family

alexespTestament’s Alex Skolnick has just announced that he’s joined forces with ESP Guitars for a new signature model. Available in January 2014, the ESP Alex Skolnick EC and the LTD AS-600 will be offered in two finishes: Silver Sunburst (SSB) and Lemonburst (LB). Based on ESPʼs popular Eclipse body style, the guitars feature a set-neck design at 24.75” scale, with a full-thickness mahogany body, mahogany neck, a custom headstock, rosewood fingerboard with custom inlays, Grover tuners, TonePros locking TOM bridge with stop tailpiece, and an Alex Skolnick signature Seymour Duncan pickup set.

Here are some words from Alex about ESP: Read More …

NAMM: Budda Alex Skolnick AS Perceptor amp

skolnick

I stopped by Peavey yesterday to gather a bunch of pics and photos, and the first thing to catch my eye was this behemoth: the long-awaited Budda AS Perceptor, Alex Skolnick’s signature amp. It has three channels, a comprehensive floorboard for controlling them, and enough versatility to handle all of the musical situations Alex finds himself in.

PRESS RELEASE:

January 24, 2013 – Today Budda Amplification announces the release of its new AS Preceptor™ Alex Skolnick signature guitar amplifier. This 3-channel amp marries exceptional tonal quality and versatility with superb build construction and unique styling.

Perhaps best known as the guitarist for the multi-platinum band Testament, Skolnick is a stylistically versatile player, performing in a variety of other projects including his jazz trio, The Alex Skolnick Trio, and a forthcoming world music project, Planetary Coalition. The new Budda AS Preceptor suits his demanding tonal requirements. Read More …

NAMM 2009: Peavey NAMM schedule, including Devin Townsend appearance

Are you going to NAMM? If so, I’m insanely jealous and maybe somehow I’ll make it there next year. Peavey has released details of their endorsers’ NAMM appearances, and the press release is below. Most interesting to me is Devin Townsend, who has recently been photographed with a Peavey HP. Devin has used Peavey 5150 amps but most recently was seen using Mesa Boogie. Could he be going back to Peavey for amps? Is he leaving ESP for guitars?

Also of note is that Joe Satriani will be officially launching his new Peavey JSX amp. The one you can read about here.

Anyway, here’s the press release and schedule.

Legendary guitarist Joe Satriani will introduce his new signature Peavey JSX guitar amplifier during a special press conference during the NAMM (National Association Of Music Merchants) show on Friday, January 16, at 1 p.m., in the middle of the Peavey exhibit (5740) at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California. Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Gary Rossington and metal legends Max Cavalera (SOULFLY, SEPULTURA), Alex Skolnick (TESTAMENT), David Ellefson (MEGADETH) and Greg Christian (TESTAMENT) are also slated to appear during the show.

Peavey NAMM artist schedule:

Friday, January 16:

* 11:00 a.m. – Rudy Sarzo (DIO, BLUE ÖYSTER CULT) autographs
* 12:00 p.m. – Max Cavalera (SOULFLY, CAVALERA CONSPIRACY) autographs
* 1:00 p.m. – Joe Satriani press conference, middle of booth
* 1:00 p.m. – Alex Skolnick and Greg Christian (TESTAMENT) autographs, rear of booth
* 3:00 p.m. – BLACK STONE CHERRY autographs
* 3:00 p.m. – Shagrath (DIMMU BORGIR, CHROME DIVISION) autographs, rear of booth

Saturday, January 17:

* 11:00 a.m. – David Ellefson (F5), Devin Townsend (STRAPPING YOUNG LAD) and Rudy Sarzo autographs
* 1:15 p.m. – Joe Satriani autographs
* 3:00 p.m. – Flynnville Station autographs, rear of booth
* 4:00 p.m. – Gary Rossington (LYNYRD SKYNYRD) autographs

Schedule subject to change; please visit exhibit to confirm dates and times

CLICK HERE to buy Devin Townsend albums on Amazon.com.

CLICK HERE to see Peavey JSX items on eBay.

NEWS: ADA returns!

Those of us with a fondness for the, let’s just say, larger-haired corners of the rock guitar world will be excited to know that the long missing-in-action company ADA (Analog/Digital Associates) is on the way back after about a decade or so of inactivity.

ADA’s famous midi-controllable tube preamp, the MP-1, was used on a lot of recordings around the late 80s/early 90s, especially paired with the power section of a Marshall JCM800 or JCM 900 head. Notable MP-1 users included Steve Vai, Extreme’s Nuno Bettencourt, White Lion’s Vito Bratta, and Paul Gilbert. On the bass side, Primus’s Les Claypool used a modified MP-1, while Victor Wooten and Steve Bailey used the dedicated bass version, the MB-1. To this day, Gilbert uses a modified ADA flanger tweaked to create a whammy-like divebomb effect, and other notable flanger users include Pat Travers and Testament’s Alex Skolnick.


The new website is at www.adaamps.com and it shows the classic Final Phase and Flanger pedals, so we can assume these will be among the first products to be reissued. Could a reissued MP-1 be on the horizon?

A member of the ADA Depot forum posed some questions to ADA, and got this answer:

“Hello,

We’re in the storming and forming phase and usually send out a canned response, but your questions are intriguing and deserve an answer.

David Tarnowski, head engineer and inventor of all things A/DA, continues to be majority owner of A/DA and chief engineer of the new A/DA. He still owns all rights to the A/DA electronic designs and trademark. A group of us have convinced him that the time is right to come out of retirement and resurrect the A/DA legacy. We’re starting with stomp boxes, most notably the Flanger and Final Phase, which will be re-released in late 2008/2009. We’ll continue soon thereafter with other legacy effects such as Battman and the Seamoon line, as well as the Rocket Amp series. We’re currently working with suppliers to source original parts so that these releases can be as “original” as possible – we’ve gone over the designs and have decided that the original designs were best. We’re in the early stages, but are confident that we’ll have a full line of products to present at NAMM 2009.

Of particular interest to the ADAForum board would be our introduction of the all new MP3. Still on the drawing board, the digital potential is enormous and we’re still hashing out potential functionality prior to full design. As you well know, the fight starts trying to decide what goes into a future MPx and doesn’t stop until the prototype has been demo’d and agreed upon by all. As of now, there is no release date for the MP3.

We appreciate your interest and would ask that you help pass the word that the original A/DA is back!!

Cheers – the A/DA staff”