WOW! NAMM kicks off to a big, big start with this behemoth, the Ibanez RG9 9-string. Now, it’s only a prototype at this stage, but Ibanez hopes to make it a production model and to have them on the streets in the fourth quarter of 2013. Just in time for Christmas, you guys! I really hope that pans out. Of course it depends on if there’s interest from attendees and dealers at NAMM, but as far as I’ve seen, the response has been pretty huge.
It has Lace Deathbar humbuckers (with coil splits): very high-definition, punchy-sounding pickups that are great for djent. It’s a 28″-scale instrument, tuned (low to high) C#, F#, B, E, A, D, G, B, E and the playability is amazing. Note that the bridge is a fully tooled-up piece rather than something assembled out of a few pieces, which is how Ibanez dipped their toe in the water with the initial 8-string prototypes, and as Rich at Ibanez Rules says, they wouldn’t have spent the beans on developing this part if they didn’t plan to do something with it.
Seymour Duncan and Strictly 7 join forces for “The Strictly F#%$#@% Awesome Keith Merrow Signature Guitar Giveaway”
Strictly 7 Guitars recently announced the addition of the Spectral Keith Merrow Signature Guitar to its growing line of 7 and 8 string guitars. This guitar features the Seymour Duncan SH-8 Invader – a humbucker that has a well-earned reputation as one of the most aggressive passive pickups ever. To celebrate the launch of this new guitar, Seymour Duncan and Strictly 7 have joined forces to launch “The Strictly F#%$#@% Awesome Keith Merrow Signature Guitar Giveaway” Between August 20th and September 3rd, everyone in the world will have a chance to enter to win this guitar.
Enter to win the guitar here: http://bit.ly/PozviC
The Spectral Signature Series Merrow is built to the following specs:
Cobra 7 string
Reverse inline headstock
Northern Ash body wings
5 piece flamed maple and walnut neck
26 jumbo stainless steel frets
Black Sperzel tuners
Black original Floyd Rose bridge
3 way switch
Infinity Grey with full black binding finish throughout
Street Price: $2090 with Hipshot bridge or $2290 with Floyd Rose
Just stumbled across this video on YouTube of the fine folks from England’s Jaden Rose Guitars capering at the NAMM Show (including some great shreddage by Tosin Abasi of Animals As Leaders). These guys make incredible guitars that are especially shred and djent-friendly. Six-strings, seven-strings, eight-strings, fixed bridge, Floyd Rose, extended scale, multi-scale, exotic woods, DiMarzio pickups, ridiculously comfortable necks… want!
We all know about djent by now – the metal genre named after a specific guitar tone that sounds like ‘djent djent djent’ – but you need only to look at the wah wah pedal to know that guitarists have long been hip to the joys of onomatopoeia. We also talk about ‘jangle,’ ‘crunch,’ ‘chug’ and ‘chunk,’ all words that sound like the things they’re describing. But I think we should go further. I think there should be an onomatopoeia for every sound a guitar makes. So here are a few suggestions.
It’s the sound of a wah wah being used to hover loosely around a specific frequency rather than rocked back and forth to its extremes. It’s almost impossible to make this kind of sound without also making the appropriate mouth shapes. Joe Satriani is the master of this. Check out the video for “Summer Song” for proof, especially throughout the solo that starts at 1:55.
The pickslide deserves its own name. Sure, ‘pickslide’ is how you achieve the sound, but it’s not what the sound is. If that was how we were going to name guitar stuff, you might as well call the wah wah the ‘foot move’ pedal, or call fingertapping …finger …tapping. Oh. Okay, well I guess we need to come up with a new name for fingertapping too. In the meantime, there are some great kiwws in “Rocket” by Def Leppard.
A downtuned open string, hit at a strategic time, and maybe picked a little too hard or with too light a string gauge for the tuning, so the note kind of drifts into tune after starting a little bit sharp. LIke at :05 in Mastodon’s “Oblivion.” “Dude, that riff’s kinda killer but it’d be really killer if you threw in a goong.
“Wakka,” “Wikka,” “Chikka,” “Kooka”
You can achieve a pretty wide range of sounds from a muted clean guitar and a wah wah pedal, but most of them hinge on a “Ka” sound at the end. You can hear a whole smorgasbord of them, a grand buffet of muted clean wah work, in Trey Spruance’s playing during the intro of Faith No More’s “Evidence.”
Got any more?
A lot has happened since I Heart Guitar last interviewed Misha Mansoor. In the space of a mere year, the djent movement – of which Mansoor’s band Periphery is a central focus – has gone from metal curiosity to fully-fledged phenomenon. The Icarus Lives! Ep has further solidified Mansoor’s reputation as one of the most technically gifted metal guitarists of his generation, yet he maintains an open dialog with fans, continuing to post video and audio of random jammage – new gear, Nyan cat, the list goes on. Periphery are heading to Australia in July for the League Of Extraordinary Djentlemen tour with Tesseract, and I Heart Guitar caught up with Misha to talk about what’s happened in the past year.
Hi! We’ve talked before, haven’t we?
Yes we have, about a year ago.
Yeah! I Heart Guitar! I remember that.
Yeah, cool! So the Melbourne stop of your Aussie tour has recently been upgraded to a bigger venue because ticket sales were so good.
Yeah! That was very unexpected. I don’t know how that happened. I don’t know who we paid off to make that happen! But that is more than a pleasant surprise. Australia was one of the most fun tours – it was like a vacation to us. I don’t know what it is, but everyone was so nice and welcoming. And I’m not just saying that. Australians are like some of the nicest people we’ve ever met. It was a treat, and having some of the love come right back to us was really awesome. So seeing that the shows sold out so fast was like icing on the cake for us.
Everyone seems to know who you are and about the whole djent movement now. How are you coping with that? Does it mess with your head? Do you try not to think about it?
I try not to think about it. This whole djent movement thing is very funny and silly to me because it’s appearing out of nowhere, almost parallel to what we’re doing. I think people don’t realise that we’ve just been doing what we’ve been doing. It wasn’t cool to be playing this style of music for the majority of the time that we’ve been writing and playing the music that we do, and we write and play the music that we do because it’s the only thing that we know how to do. It’s just going for it. It’s not like we sat down one day and said “I’m gonna start a new fad or something.” It wasn’t like that at all, it was just doing what we were doing. So it’s just interesting to see how that all happens. It is very surreal. And we focus on it a bit, like we named our tour the League Of Extraordinary Djentlemen. We don’t take it all too seriously, and it’s not all that relevant to me in day to day life or anything. It just is what it is, y’know?
Periphery are heading back to Australia (home of I Heart Guitar and some of the most deadly creatures you ever heard of) with their ‘The League Of Extraordinary Djentlement’ tour with Tesseract, courtesy of Soundwave Touring. More info on the tour here. Check out my interview with Periphery’s Misha Mansoor from May 2010 here.
The League of Extraordinary Djentlemen tour
In just a few short years, PERIPHERY have blazed a trail of originality that has sent a shockwave throughout the metal world.
Exploring the complex uncharacteristic rhythms and technical precision of math rock with the brutality of progressive metal PERIPHERY have defied the boundaries of conventionality. Breathing life into the metal scene, Absolutepunk.net proclaims “From beginning to end, Periphery’s self titled debut is a wonder to behold, and will inspire modern metal for the next decade” paving the way for PERIPHERY‘s meteoric rise to the upper echelons of the metal world.
This July sees PERIPHERY heading to Australia as part of the ‘The League of Extraordinary Djentlemen’ tour and joining the bill are fellow metallers TESSERACT. Embracing their experimental and prog sensibility garnered with a reputation for delivering jaw-dropping live performances has seen them catapulted into the forefront of the metal movement. Their debut album ‘One’, whilst intense, deep and complicated is incredibly transcendent and melodic and “It’s hard to find fault with an album this complete…powerful stuff!” – Rock Sound
PERIPHERY and TESSERACT will be hitting Australia for three extraordinary intimate performances this July.
TICKETS ON SALE FRIDAY 17 JUNE, 9AM
FRIDAY 29 JULY
BRISBANE, THE ZOO – 18+
www.oztix.com.au & Outlets
SATURDAY 30 JULY
SYDNEY, THE ANNANDALE – 18+
SUNDAY 31 JULY
MELBOURNE, NORTHCOTE SOCIAL CLUB – 18+
www.northcotesocialclub.com, 9486 1677
& Corner Box Office (57 Swan St, Richmond)
Periphery mastermind Misha Mansoor is probably like a lot of the dudes reading this article. He’s been working away for years in his home studio, uploading tracks online for everyone to hear, posting on geeky guitar forums, working on his chops. All that hard work and woodshedding is now paying off big-time, with his band Periphery releasing their long-awaited and extremely ass-kicking self-titled debut album. I caught up with Misha to talk Periphery, recording and, of course, guitars.
I understand the band is basically your baby?
Yes, that might be a very good way of putting it! I started the band in 2005 and I’ve been struggling to find the right members for it, and I think we’ve finally got it!
So how long have you been working on this CD?
Pretty much since then! Four or five years if you really take a look at it. Some of the songs that are on the album now were on the original version of the album that we had planned back in 2005, 2006. So it’s been a while, right?
So you always had an idea of where you wanted the band to go?
From the beginning I had sort of a sound I wanted to go for. One thing that was very important to me, and probably one of the big reasons we’ve been through so many vocalists, is I wanted to have really awesome singing vocals or really awesome screaming vocals, because I’m a fan of both. And I feel like with a lot of bands you’re picking either one or the other, or there’s definitely one that’s a lot better than the other, and I wanted to see if maybe, at least to my standards, we could get both of those being very good.
It’s tricky because Devin Townsend’s already taken!
Oh my god, if only we could clone him, right? That’s the perfect example, right there, of that mix I want: a guy that just rules. I’m not going to pretend we’ve got the next Devin Townsend in the band but we’ve got a guy I’m very happy with. At the same time, just developing over the last four or five years the album has become very different to what I originally expected but I think for the better, y’know? I think my tastes have changed, and hopefully that has played a role in how the band has changed. I really wanted it to cover as much ground as possible.
What gear did you use?
I used the only thing I could really get away with: I live in an apartment and I have to record silently for the most part. Fractal Audio Axe-FX Ultra saved the day. That piece of gear is the single most revolutionary thing ever. If there’s one single piece of gear that I’d take to a deserted island, other than a guitar because it’d be useless without a guitar, it’s that! Absolutely just saved our album, made sure that the guitar tones on there would fit the standard that I wanted, without going to a crazy studio, without having to mic amps. And the Axe-FX on the album has no processing on it whatsoever. You’re hearing exactly what’s coming out of it. There are a few parts that we quad-tracked for effect, but for the most part it’s just one track per side. It’s amazing how transparent the unit is.
Other than that, for the 7-string stuff I used my Ernie Ball Music Man JP7 with the stock pickups. It’s the pre-D Sonic version, so it has that custom Petrucci pickup that you can’t get any more, and I absolutely love it. That guitar is magical on recording. For all the 6-string stuff I use a small company called Blackmachine, made by a guy in the UK called Doug Campbell. It’s an absolutely amazing custom instrument called the B2. It’s my all-time favourite guitar ever, and it sounds ridiculous. It sounds so ridiculous in fact that I re-cut all the 7-string parts I could get away with on the 6-string, because of the clarity and how amazing it was at cutting through. That guitar is just phenomenal. All the solos on the album are that guitar as well.
I’m a big fan of John Petrucci’s DiMarzio Crunch Lab and LiquiFire pickups. Have you tried those?
I haven’t, but I will be trying them very soon because we’ve just signed a deal with Ibanez and those are the pickups that will be in my 6-string. I’m getting a stock Ibanez RGA420Z in Devil’s Shadow finish, and the only modification I asked for was to get those pickups in there. You can’t really go wrong with John. He’s a huge influence of mine, obviously known for being a tone guru, so I have to at least try everything he comes out with. That being said, I wasn’t absolutely crazy about the D Sonics for my purposes, but from what I’ve heard of the Crunch Lab I think that’s more in line with what the tones that I want. And his neck pickups have always been ridiculous. I’ve always liked that Air Norton kind of sound where you can really hear the pick attack coming through. I really like those pickups. On the album, the pickups in the Blackmachine are a Bareknuckle Cold Sweat for the bridge and a Painkiller for the neck, and the Cold Sweat in especially is a very medium output pickup but it has this clarity that’s just insane.
So are you going to be strictly an Ibanez guy now?
Yeah, at least in a live context I will be, because as much as these guitars excel in the studio I really wanted some guitars that could be built for me that would be great live guitars, and I really think Ibanez might be the perfect company for the job. They’re building me an RGA7 custom as we speak and the goal of the two guitars I’m getting from them is to stay in tune as well as possible! That’s my biggest problem: I pick really hard live, especially when I get into it, and nothing withstands it! So I’m getting the Edge Zero bridge on one guitar, and the other one is the more Lo Pro style, and they’re blocking them. The whole guitar is just going to be based around being a fixed bridge with fine tuners and a locking nut, and locking tuners for quick string changes, so hopefully I shouldn’t have to tune the guitars once during the set.
So last question: Have you started writing for a new CD yet, or is that way too far off?
That’s a very good question. We have this Soundclick site where I’ve been posting my demos for the last five years. There’s a lot of material on there that’s planned for use in the future. I’ve got the next three albums planned out to some degree. Obviously they’ll change especially as I keep writing new stuff, and I’m going to one day integrate really new stuff with some older ideas I want to flesh out, but there’s definitely no shortage of material on our end. Ideally if things work out and we have enough time I’d really like to get an EP done before the end of the year. I’d be really happy if I can get that done. Hopefully Sumerian and Roadrunner will be down with that! I just want to get more music out to the public. So there’s plenty of music on the way if the label will release it! We could put out a lot of material if we had the time!
You can catch Periphery live with the Dillinger Escape Plan and Sons Of Disaster. Dates are:
May 16 – The Capitol – Perth, Australia
May 18 – Fowlers – Adelaide, Australia
May 19 – The Palace – Melbourne, Australia
May 21 – The Metro – Sydney, Australia
May 22 – The Metro – Sydney, Australia
May 23 – The Hi-Fi – Brisbane, Australia