There’s a really cool discussion over at the Seymour Duncan User Group Forum right now: if you had a signature guitar, what would it be? Forum member Dr. Vegetable posed the following questions: Which company called you? Which standard model in their product lineup do you base your sig off of? (Need not be in current production.) What specs do you insist upon that make it uniquely yours? What other customizations do you make to the guitar? What special piece of “case candy” goes with it as a collector’s item? I gave it a great deal of thought, because there are a lot of companies I’d love to have a signature guitar through. I replied with one answer, but then I realised I really have two. So below are my responses, the original and the one that hit me after I’d already hit ‘post.’ Continue reading
The Kramer Nightswan is one of those ‘holy grail’ guitars for many players. It was very innovative for its time, and it lives on as the Buddy Blaze Shredder. (Buddy is, of course, one of the finest guitar builders in the world and the man responsible for my killer seven-string). Now Buddy, Floyd Rose and Seymour Duncan have teamed up to give away one of only 25 Vivian Campbell 25th Anniversary Shredder VC-II / LS guitars.
Here’s the press release:
Win A Buddy Blaze Vivian Campbell ’Lightning Storm’ Shredder
Buddy Blaze Guitars has joined forces with Seymour Duncan and Floyd Rose to give away a very special guitar: The Buddy Blaze – Vivian Campbell 25th Anniversary Shredder VC-II / LS modeled after the historic guitar used by Campbell in his Whitesnake days.
In 1987, Buddy Blaze and Vivian Campbell designed the Buddy Blaze Shredder, the guitar that would ultimately become known as the Kramer Nightswan. With a scale length of 24 5/8″, floating Floyd Rose tremolo and a ‘bridge/middle’ pickup configuration (a Seymour Duncan Full Shred and a JB, respectively), the Shredder was a unique take on the ‘superstrat’ concept. When Blaze was drafted by Kramer, Campbell soon followed him. The ‘Lightning Storm’ Nightswan prototype was born, featuring the first appearance of the Full Shred as well as a similar finish to Dimebag Darrell’s Dean From Hell, another famous guitar Buddy is intrinsically linked to.
“I was quite drawn to the idea of working one-on-one with a guy who simply wanted to build guitars, as opposed to a bigger company that was more concerned with marketing,” Campbell says. “I liked the idea of a short scale guitar. I had been playing Charvel/Jackson for a year or two before that, and whilst I certainly appreciated those instruments, there were certain features that were unnatural to me – one of which was the wide, flat and unfinished fretboard. Another was their 25 1/2 inch scale; although I have big hands, I liked the idea of a smaller instrument with a smaller neck as I tend to use my left hand thumb over the top of the neck when playing bar chords and that was difficult to do with larger, wider necks.”
To celebrate 25 years since the ‘Lightning Storm’ prototype was created, Buddy and Vivian have teamed up to offer the Buddy Blaze Vivian Campbell 25th Anniversary Shredder VC-II / LS. Only 25 will be made, each with a unique lightning storm graphic hand-painted by Buddy. They’ll have an Original Floyd Rose tremolo with R1 nut (Titanium Floyd optional), the same Full Shred/JB pickup combination (with each Full Shred signed by Seymour W. Duncan), a Honduras Mahogany body, figured maple neck with 16″ radius ebony fretboard, 24 5/8″ scale length, Buddy Blaze-designed CTS pot, and a certificate of authenticity signed by Buddy and Vivian.
And you could win one. Simply enter on Facebook, and you could own one of these 25 historic guitars! Entries close on March 27th and giveaway is open worldwide.
Click here to enter: http://on.fb.me/Yy93Uq
The guitar has an alder body, a maple neck with ebony fretboard and reverse headstock, double custom DMT Blazebuckers with unique layout, Floyd Rose tremolo, matte black finish with custom red S design, and a 3-way pickup selector switch. Suzanne says it plays like hot loud butter.
By the way, Glyscian’s song ‘Awakening’ will be featured in the upcoming movie Patriot Act.
ARGH! This is so cool! Buddy Blaze (maker of some of the greatest guitars in the world – seriously, you have to play my Blaze seven-string some time) is launching the new 25th Anniversary Shredder VC-II / LS at The NAMM Show on Saturday. It has a Seymour Duncan Full Shred signed by Seymour himself (read my review here) and JB, just like the original Kramer Nightswan further back in its family tree.
Only 25 will be made, each with a unique lightning storm graphic hand-painted by Buddy. They’ll have an Original Floyd Rose tremolo with R1 nut (Titanium Floyd optional), a Honduras Mahogany body, figured maple neck with 16″ radius ebony fretboard, 24 5/8″ scale length, Buddy Blaze-designed CTS pot, and a certificate of authenticity signed by Buddy and Vivian.
If you’re around, meet Vivian Campbell at Buddy’s NAMM booth #2382 from 1:30pm-3:00 Saturday.
One of the really fun things about being a guitarist is that once you’ve figured out how to change pickups, you’ve unlocked a really easy way to completely overhaul your guitar’s sound – or to fine-tune it. Recently I found myself going back and forth between two guitars, each outfitted with a DiMarzio Crunch Lab 7 and LiquiFire 7 set. One was my Ibanez UV777BK, and the other was my Buddy Blaze Sevenator prototype. Both guitars sounded cool, but I found myself wishing for something a little earthier for the poplar body of the Blaze. Something with a bit more hair and rock attitude compared to the very midrangey, slightly boxy quality of the Crunch Lab. Poplar has a similar tone to alder, except it seems to have a slight upper-mid crispness to my ears. I asked the folks at Seymour Duncan what pickup would give me the sound I was after (keeping in mind the poplar body) and they recommended the Full Shred, so I gave it a shot.
Buddy Blaze is a legend in the guitar world. Y’know Dimebag Darrell’s ‘Dean From Hell’ guitar? It was Buddy who acquired that guitar in its original state, then modded the iconic axe with its Floyd Rose and distinctive look before giving it back to Dime. The Kramer Nightswan signature model for Vivian Campbell? That started life as a Buddy Blaze Shredder. Throw in tech work for the likes of Nine Inch Nails and Great White among many, many more, and Buddy has earned a rightful place in metal and hard rock guitar history. Buddy has been making killer rock and metal guitars for years now (the Shredder, the Makani, the Evanator, the K2), and a seven-string version has been high on fans’ wish lists. Buddy displayed two seven-string prototypes at the the NAMM Show in Anaheim, California this January.
The seven-string’s outline is similar to Blaze’s K2 model, although if I had to liken it to any other guitar it would be a Washburn N4 Nuno Bettencourt signature. Both seem to have slightly undersized outlines, along with H-H pickup configurations and a single volume knob paired with a three-way pickup selector. But the Blaze is still a world away from the Washburn in all but the most general of ways.
Check out my latest for Guitar World, about the glory of 7-string guitar. This is my personal list of favourites – what are yours? Comments below or on the Guitar World post!
By the way, that pic is my newest 7-string, a killer Buddy Blaze prototype with DiMarzio Crunch Lab and LiquiFire pickups and a Floyd Rose bridge. You may have noticed me drooling over it at NAMM. Well it’s all mine and it’s incredible! Review coming soon, along with plenty of video. I’ve already written a buttload of songs with this guitar!
2013 Update: A new ‘Lightning Storm’ version was released at Winter NAMM 2013. Check it out!
Yesterday Vivian Campbell stopped by for a signing to launch his Buddy Blaze Shredder VC 25th Anniversary model, based on the Shredder he used in his Whitesnake days. That’s the original on top in the pic above, and the new version below. Only 25 will be made, with Seymour Duncan pickups including a Full Shred humbucker which will be signed by Seymour Duncan himself. A Titanium Floyd Rose is an option. Buddy’s about to relaunch his website but you can hit up his social media links for more info or to get your hands on one.
Buddy Blaze owns NAMM this year. Not only is he introducing the 25th Anniversary Vivian Campbell Shredder on Saturday (posted about earlier today here), he’s also introducing his first ever 7-string model. Check it out! Premium poplar body, Floyd Rose, 24 frets with incredible upper fret access, single volume knob and 3-way pickup selector, and it plays like a dream. Buddy has two prototypes on show at NAMM: a blue one with ebony fretboard and DiMarzio Crunch Lab and LiquiFire pickups, and an orange one with a maple fretboard and DiMarzio Blazes – although he has DMT Blazebucker pickups with Alnico 8 magnets available too. Dig those cool heptagonal inlays! Get to NAMM and check them out if you can. The blue one rocks my socks off. I’ll have more from the Blaze booth in the coming days including – good lord – the actual original shredder Vivian Campbell used in the 80s!
One of the coolest things to come out of NAMM this year will no doubt be the 25th Anniversary Vivian Campbell Shredder by Buddy Blaze. The original version of this guitar became the Kramer Nightswan, one of the greatest mass-produced shred guitars ever. To commemorate 25 years since the original guitar, Buddy and Vivian have teamed up to create a limited edition of 25 pieces. Buddy and Vivian will unveil the guitar at the NAMM Show in Anaheim, California on Saturday at 2:30pm. Vivian was kind enough to answer some questions about the Shredder.
How did you first meet Buddy?
Buddy and I met in Dallas TX in early ’87. I was there for a guitar clinic for LaBella strings. Buddy had some of his guitars on display in the store and we got to talking about them. One thing led to another and Buddy offered to make me a guitar to my specs. The original blue polka dot guitar was the result.
At the time, there must have been millions of guitar companies chasing you. What was it about Blaze guitars that stood out?
I had actually just ended a disastrous relationship with B.C. Rich guitars – one that I was talked into by a slimy A+R rep with whom I had previously worked with at Charvel/Jackson. Having the fresh but bitter taste of ‘big-guitar-company-politics-gone-bad’ in my mouth, I was quite drawn to the idea of working one-on-one with a guy who simply wanted to build guitars as opposed to a bigger company that was more concerned with marketing.
The Shredder/Nightswan design was very innovative. What were the main design features you requested?
I liked the idea of a short scale guitar of 24 3/4 inches. I had been playing Charvel/Jackson strats for a year or two before that, and whilst I certainly appreciated those instruments there were certain features that were unnatural to me, one of which was the wide, flat and unfinished fretboard. Another, as mentioned, was the 25 1/2 inch scale; although I have big hands, I liked the idea of a smaller instrument with a smaller neck as I tend to use my left hand thumb over the top of the neck when playing bar chords and that was difficult to do with larger, wider necks.
Did you test many different pickups before settling on the final ones?
It was so long ago that I don’t recall the specifics of how many different pickups we may have tried. I vaguely remember going back and fourth with Seymour Duncan about the Full Shred and tweaking that. Perhaps Buddy’s memory is in better shape than mine!
Where’s the original Shredder today?
Buddy has been the custodian of the original guitar.
I see you with Les Pauls a lot (and that cool gold top Yamaha) – do you ever pick up the old Superstrat-type guitars and reminisce? Think they’d ever make an appearance at a Def Leppard show?
As a teenager, I started out on a Les Paul with my first band, Sweet Savage. It seems fitting to have come full-circle after all these years and having played so many different instruments. Nowadays I feel a lot more comfortable playing a fixed-bridge guitar and I could never see myself going back to playing a strat style tremolo guitar other than as a one-off experience. With Def Leppard, Phil plays strats, so the Les Paul (or Yamaha) is a good contrast – as indeed is our differing styles of playing.