Rotosound signature sets: Amott, Allender, Demus

Rotosound has just announced the release of new signature guitar string sets for Michael Amott (Arch Enemy, Carcass), Paul Allender (Cradle Of Filth) and Mikey Demus (Skindred). I use Rotosound Roto Pink strings a lot – their clear top end and tight lows seem to work especially well with gritty edge-of-drive clean sounds and heavy distortion. Oh by the way, check out my interview with Michael Amott here.


Britain’s premier guitar string manufacturer Rotosound has developed, together with a selection of their metal guitarist endorsees, a new range of signature strings. They can now announce the launch of signature string sets for guitarists Michael Amott (Arch Enemy, Carcass), Paul Allender (Cradle Of Filth) and Mikey Demus (Skindred).

Michael Amott is known for his involvement with a number of death metal/hard rock bands — namely Arch Enemy, Spiritual Beggars and Carcass. These signature strings, influenced by Michael’s own personal style and are excellent for achieving wide vibrato, memorable melodic lead lines and furious sledgehammer riffs. Amott said, “They have great tone, they stay in tune, they don’t break easily. What more do you want? I rely on my MA11 Rotosound strings every night on stage and in the recording studios. Rotosound shreds.”

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REVIEW: PRS SE Paul Allender signature model

Cradle of Filth’s Paul Allender has been a PRS user for a long time, and his signature SE model has undergone a few changes over the years, especially in the finish department. This latest model is in a spooky green (called Emerald Green Burst) and is also available in Scarlet Red Burst, whereas the previous iteration was purple. The body is made of mahogany with a flame maple veneer – not thick enough to have a noticeable impact on the tone, but certainly glitzy enough to have a cool effect visually. It’s not the most out-there piece of flamed maple you’ll come across, so if you’re a flamed-maple fence-sitter like me, you’ll like the look.

Scale length is a nicely in-between 25″, and the fretboard is ebony with jumbo frets. The neck shape is wide and thin, and it reminds me more than a little of the necks on John Petrucci’s Ernie Ball Music Man signature models. This neck is definitely built for speed and comfort, and will appeal just as much to players who have no particular affinity for Cradle of Filth as those who are Allender fans. What might not be so appealing to some, though others will love it is the fretboard inlay: a series of bats flying from the headstock towards the body. It’s a sinister twist on the famous PRS bird motif. They’re well executed and as far as I’m concerned they look freaking awesome, but if you’re not into the whole goth thing you might be a little put off by them.

The first incarnation of the Allender SE model had PRS-designed pickups. This time around Paul has chosen an EMG 89 in the bridge position and an 81TW in the neck, each of which can be split into single coils via the push-pull master tone control. There’s also a master volume and a 3-way pickup selector switch. The tremolo is the SE version of PRS’s distinctive 6-screw non-locking unit, which bares some similarities to the classic 6-screw vintage unit but with more stable saddles and a tension-adjustable arm.

The PRS Allender is a loud, powerful guitar with lots of sonic detail. With every note you play, you can hear and feel that you’re using top-shelf pickups. The EMG 89 in the bridge has stunningly articulate pick attack followed by a thick, crunchy body and almost endless headroom. This makes it famously great for heavy metal rhythms and leads but it’s surprisingly adept at low gain tones too, where you really get the most out of the dynamic range. It tracks very well for high-speed licks, and because the response is so even no matter where you’re playing on the neck, it sounds great when you’re performing wide-interval licks such as string skipping and tapping.

The neck pickup is your classic metal neck tone (think Fade To Black) – almost flute-like, with stooped midrange, full bass and a powerfully clear treble. Again, it’s great for string-skipping licks, and it really seems to sing when you apply vibrato or dig into a screaming bend.

In single coil mode, the EMGs are bright and hi-fi, with that great 80s-era David Gilmour hollow twang. It’s here that the subtler beauty of the guitar comes through, as the pickups transfer even more of the string’s detail through to the amp. The addition of the coil splitting ability makes this guitar a great studio guitarists’ tool, no matter what genre you play.

It’s great that each of the pickups has such finely honed detail, because the neck really lets you shred. The big frets make hyperspeed fretting a snap, while the neck shape itself will allow you to reach even the low E as easily as the higher strings.

The PRS SE Paul Allender model is a great choice for hard rock, prog and metal players looking for a fast, high quality guitar with killer pickups and an unstoppably fast neck. Not being particularly into CoF these days (unlike my goth days back in the late 90s – yes I wore eyeliner and black nail polish, no there aren’t photos), I wasn’t prepared to be so taken with this axe, but it really brings everything to the table that you could want in a rock or metal axe – provided you dig the bats.

LINK: Paul Reed Smith

Though well executed (and decidedly awesome to this reviewer), the bat inlays may not be for everyone.

EMG 89 and 81TW pickups, and PRS's legendarily stable non-locking bridge.


NAMM 2010: PRS SE sigs: Opeth, Orianthi, Cradle of Filth, Shinedown, Black Label Society

Here’s a run-down of the new Paul Reed Smith SE models released at NAMM this year. I got to see these axes close-up and I really dig the Opeth model and the Zach Myers one. But perhaps the coolest news of the show for me was that Orianthi told me her SE model will also be released with a Floyd Rose not too far down the track.

PRS Announces Signature Artist SE Models at Winter NAMM 2010
January 14, 2010

PRS Guitars is proud to announce that Orianthi, Zach Myers of Shinedown , Paul Allender of Cradle of Filth, Mike Akerfeldt of Opeth and Nick Catanese of Black Label Society will have their signature SE models unveiled at the 2010 Anaheim NAMM show. Built in Korea to signature artist and PRS’s specifications by skilled craftsmen, the SE series offers an unmatched combination of incredible quality, sound and price.
PRS has worked closely with each artist to present a guitar that identifies with their style, both musically and visually. Although they have worked with PRS for years, these are debut signature models for Orianthi, Myers, Akerfeldt and Catanese. EMG pick ups as well as old school birds, an appointment that up until this year has been reserved for Maryland made PRS guitars, come standard on several of these new artist models.
SE Orianthi

A classic PRS sound with white pearloid birds and red sparkle finish, the Orianthi SE model is the very first signature model instrument bearing the guitar goddess’ name. It comes standard with a Korina back and maple top, 24 fret wide-thin maple neck with 25″ scale length and an ebony fretboard featuring white pearloid birds and an “O” at the 12th fret. The model also features PRS designed Tremolo and PRS designed tuners with nickel hardware and two humbucking pickups to give new and seasoned players alike a shiny new ax to grind.

“This PRS is perfect for anyone who wants an awesome quality, versatile rockin’ lookin’ guitar – at an affordable price – I love it. Try it out.” Orianthi

SE Zach Myers of Shinedown
As the lead guitarist of a band with more than six million albums sold worldwide, Zach Myers is certainly no stranger to hard rock licks. In support of his blazing guitar skills, PRS and Zach designed his very first signature model. Silver Sparkleburst and white binding on top edge of body, fretboard and headstock, the SE Zach Myers also features a Singlecut mahogany body, flamed maple veneer, wide-fat mahogany 25″ scale length neck and an ebony fretboard with a Fleur-de-lis inlay at 12th fret. Additional features include an adjustable bridge (with large caps on the height adjustment screws), three humbucking pickups with two volume and two tone controls, 3-way toggle.

“When I was approached about doing a signature model with PRS, I knew that in my career I had reached every goal I had wanted to reach. This model is based off of my two favorite PRS guitars, one being the first PRS I ever owned. This SE model holds up to both of those guitars as a players guitar that can take a beating….I have put everything I am into this guitar and can’t wait for you to hear it.” Zach Myers

Mikael Akerfeldt of Opeth

As the lead vocalist and guitarist for the acclaimed death metal band Opeth, Mikael traverses the musical terrain with sounds that are “subject to savage punctuations of death metal fury at any given moment.” Akerfeldt once commented on the diversity of Opeth’s music. His new model follows suit with a singlecut mahogany body, maple top and flame maple veneer, maple neck with ebony fretboard, 24 jumbo frets, original PRS bird inlays, PRS designed tremolo bridge, gold hardware, HFS and Vintage Bass pickups, volume, tone, 3-way toggle. A Tortoise Shell finish with a Opeth “O” logo on body give this guitar a unique look to compliment a unique voice.

“I’m a writer, a rhythm, lead and acoustic player. I try to be as versatile as possible, that’s why I needed a guitar that can match those ambitions both live and in the studio. On top of things, it is proper eye candy too.” Mike Akerfeldt

SE Nick Catanese of Black Label Society

Nick Catanese and PRS have created a signature model SE worthy of Nick’s “Evil Twin” moniker. Starting with an extra-thick Singlecut mahogany body, the guitar tops off with a Gloss Black finish with red binding on body, neck and headstock, and and “Evil Twin” logo on body. The model also features a mahogany neck, ebony fretboard, 22 jumbo frets, no inlays, TonePros adjustable stoptail bridge, and EMG 81 and 85 pickups with red pickup rings. Other appointments include volume, tone and 3-way toggle on upper bout.

“I have a home that knows how to make an elegant weapon. PRS is a guitar players home.” Nick Catanese

Paul Allender of Cradle of Filth

Cradle of Filth guitarist’s ever popular model is updated with new pickups and new colors for a filthy new take on Paul Allender’s namesake ax. Now available in available in Emerald Green Burst or Scarlet Red Burst, the double-cutaway mahogany body still has a flame maple veneer and a special arm carve. Additional features include rounded edges on the body, maple neck with ebony fretboard, 24 jumbo frets and the bats in flight inlay. New EMG 89 and 81-TW pickups with coil tapping give the guitar an updated sound, and a tremolo bridge, nickel hardware, push-pull volume, push-pull tone and 3-way toggle switch are also featured.

“More metal than your gran’s left hip.” Paul Allender


NEWS: New releases 27/10/2008

Click on any title to buy the album.

Living Colour: CBGB OMFUG Masters: August 19 2005 CBGB Records
This live set captures Living Colour about a month after I saw them at the Metro in Melbourne, as the band toured off the back of its reunion album, Collideoscope. This set features a few songs from that album as well as a lot of classic material, mainly drawn from the first two albums, which honks me off slightly because my favourite LC CD is ‘Stain,’ which is only represented by ‘Ignorance Is Bliss’ here.

Megadeth – Rust in Peace (Vinyl reissue) Capitol
Another one of those ‘if you don’t have this, you can’t call yourself metal’ albums, Rust In Peace features the Megadeth debut of Marty Friedman, fresh from Cacophony and eager to fill every available corner of this album with exotic phrasing and unusual melodies.

Cradle of Filth – Godspeed On The Devil’s Thunder (Special Edition 2 CD) Roadrunner
This is a concept album telling the story of Gilles De Rais, the world’s first serial killer and a good buddy of Joan of Arc. This one’s being hailed as the band’s most ‘aggressive and chilling’ album to date, and is a must for anyone who spends as much on white facepaint as I do on lattes.

Exodus – Let There Be Blood Megaforce
Thrash pioneers Exodus rerecord their classic Bonded By Blood with their new line-up, to bring the album’s sound up to date with their later recordings, and with a slightly less terrible cover. Produced by Exodus’s Gary Holt and mixed by can-he-do-no-wrong producer Andy Sneap.

Steve Vai – Passion and Warfare (Vinyl reissue) Sony Legacy
What is it with vinyl reissues? Not that I’m complaining, cos here’s another one I never had the chance to buy on vinyl when it was first released, and there’s a good chance I’ll probably buy this just for the sentimental value – I really wanted this on vinyl when it first came out (I was 12) and had to settle for the tape. Anyway, another classic of the genre, if you’ve never heard it you suck, etc etc etc.

The Cure – 4:13 Dream Geffen
The 13th album by The Cure, rearranged from the original plan to release a double album. This one contains the ‘light’ tracks, and the dark moody stuff will be released at a later date. The Cure is now down to just four members – Robert Smith, Simon Gallup, Porl Thompson and Jason Cooper – and this album is suitably stripped back.