Hey there, Ibanez MSM100.

Often on Twitter I’ll post little ‘Guitar Crush Of The Day’ pics. I figured I’d do a little blog post about today’s one because what the hell. It’s the Ibanez MSM100 signature model for Marco Sfogli, who I first heard through his incredible work with Dream Theater’s James LaBrie. Marco’s style is a little similar to John Petrucci – not enough to sound like a clone, but enough to serve as a really strong bridge between LaBrie’s identities in Dream Theater and as a solo artist. His Ibanez signature model is based on the AZ series but with plenty of unique twists. It has a DiMarzio Air Norton in the neck position and a Tone Zone in the bridge, a classic combination that gives you big chunky power chords and plenty of overtones and gorgeous mids on single notes. This guitar is rocking a Petrucci-esque wiring scheme where the middle position is coil-split, and it has a distinctive Fabula Green Burst finish that looks even better in person than it does in pics.

More info here.

DiMarzio’s new John Petrucci pickups are out now

Mr. John Petrucci of Dream Theater has a heck of a pair of ears on him for designing pickups. His DiMarzio Crunch Lab and LiquiFire set is one of my favourite combinations ever, and the Illuminators are no slouches either (I haven’t tried his Sonic Ecstasy set but I’m sure they’re badass too). His latest collaboration with DiMarzio is the Rainmaker neck and Dreamcatcher bridge humbucker set, which DiMarzio describes like this:

“The Dreamcatcher™ Bridge reflects John Petrucci’s continuing process of refining and expanding his sound. Although designed specifically for John’s neck-through signature Ernie Ball Music Man Majesty guitar, the basic performance shows the overall direction John said he wants to follow in pursuit of his personal sound. This pickup has an increased sensitivity to pick attack and more dynamic range overall. The Dreamcatcher™ Bridge focuses more power on the low mids to allow the bridge position to cut through the mix without brittle highs or muddy lows. The Rainmaker™ Neck has an interesting blend of both warmer highs and more open mids to blend classic and modern approaches to the neck pickup.”

And:

“The Dreamcatcher™ Bridge is a heavyweight pickup that’s also light on its feet. It has power but is not ultra-high output. The power is concentrated on the low mids, and there is a small scoop in the upper mids to keep the overall sound both warm and defined. The split sound is both full and very focused for the middle position neck and bridge split combination that John Petrucci is known for.

Although it may seem odd, John Petrucci has recently requested more of a blues-based tone without sacrificing his signature Dream Theater sound. The Rainmaker™ Neck achieves this with a broader EQ than John’s other models, with open mids and a bit less output. The result is a sweet overdriven sound that can clean up when the volume is rolled down and remains solid and articulate with high gain.”

The pickups are available in six and seven-string configurations in a huge variety of colours, and you can learn more about them on Petrucci’s Artists Page on DiMarzio.com, along with the various other pickups he’s used over the years.

New Richie Kotzen song ‘Venom’

Here’s Richie Kotzen’s new single and video, ‘Venom.’ Love the guitar sounds on this one, and the guitar/bass doubling. And who wouldn’t want a red Kotzen Strat, eh? If you want some of that Kotzen tone yourself and you can’t get your paws on his signature Strat, check out the DiMarzio Richie Kozen Strat Replacement Pickuguard. The pickups are three medium-gain Alnico 5 single coils (actually they’re able to be wired as humbuckers if you wish but Richie has them running in single coil mode), all with the same output, classic-Strat-style, and you can hear them up-close in this video (the Strat section kicks in at about 4 minutes):

New Premium Ibanez Jem Brings Back Ebony Fretboard

The Ibanez JEM7VWH has been Steve Vai’s main instrument since it was released at the time of the Sex & Religion album in 1993. Upon release it had a Lo Pro Edge tremolo, an Ebony fingerboard and Vai’s new DiMarzio Evolution humbucking pickups. Since then the VWH has undergone a few changes, including the switch to an Edge Pro tremolo and then to an original Edge, but by far the biggest change that really riled up the Jem community when it happened was the decision to move from an Ebony fingerboard to a Rosewood one in 2004. Sure, this gave the Jem a slightly warmer tone (which helped to cool down those very aggressive Evolutions) but many players preferred the more direct tone and smooth feel of Ebony. 

Now Ibanez is releasing a Premium version of the JEM7VWH, the JEM7VP, which brings back that sweet sweet Ebony fingerboard. There are a couple of other key differences between this and the Japan-made VWH though: it has Jumbo frets and a 5-piece Maple/Walnut Wizard neck instead of the JEM neck shape and narrow/tall 6105 frets, and the Premium’s fingerboard radius is a little more subtly rounded than the VWH.

I can imagine a lot of players being very happy with this model. A) It’s more affordable than the VWH which is a seriously-priced piece of kit; B) Yay Ebony; C) The smaller frets and flatter radius of the WVH just don’t feel as Ibanezzy to players who are used to the RG neck. One point to note: it does not have scallops on frets 21-24.

This is also pretty smart marketing by Ibanez. It gives players something in between the top-of-the-line JEM7VWH and the budget JEM Jr, a guitar that a lot of folks buy to upgrade to more VWH-like specs. 

I used to have a VWH and while it was a phenomenal guitar, eventually I traded it for a Strat because it just never really felt like ‘mine.’ But I’m certainly tempted to get the JEM7VP because there will always be a place in my heart for the white Jem, and I think I would like this model’s neck a little more. What do you think?

New Jackson Signature Models

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You may remember Scott Ian of Anthrax discussing his badass Jackson King V in our interview recently. This incredible guitar is now available to the public in two versions, including a USA-built behemoth. Jackson has also announced new signature models for Misha Mansoor, Phil Collen, Mark Morton and Dave Davidson. Read More …

Rare Green Ibanez Universe On eBay

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Hey folks! Happy 2016! Thought I’d kick the year off with this beauty: a 1991 Ibanez Universe UV777 GR Loch Ness Green 7-string. These are super-rare, and this one is on eBay right now with a Buy It Now price of $US4,499. These came out at a time when bright guitars with Floyd Roses were about to dip from favour amid the rise of grunge, and only a small number were made. I’ve never seen one in person but I hope Ibanez reissues them one of these days. I feel like this model would have a much better chance of catching on today than it did back in its day. Check it out on eBay here.

From the description: Read More …

Kiko Loureiro​ Joins Megadeth

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Congratulations to Kiko Loureiro​ on officially joining Megadeth! Dave Mustaine officially broke the news a few hours ago, saying: “I first met Kiko around 8 years ago for a cover shoot for Burrn! magazine. I had no idea who he was, other than the fact he was tremendously talented and that the staff from Burrn! held him in high regard. Since then I’ve come to see what a guitar virtuoso he is, and I’m deeply encouraged by his depth and talent. Very few Megadeth alumni have had the same feel and ability as Kiko. As Frank Sinatra says, “the best is yet to come!”

If you’ve never heard Kiko play, check this out: Read More …

Oakland Axe Factory Headless 6/7/8-String Line

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PRESS RELEASE: Following the Oakland Axe Factory SS8 and SS7 models, the new headless guitar model, Falcon, is available with the same open selection as aforementioned models, which lets players put together their own ideal version of the instrument. Read More …