NAMM: Jackson Enters The Multiscale Arena

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Jackson has picked up the challenge thrown down by the likes of Ormsby, Strandberg, Carvin, Ibanez and others by releasing their first production muliscale guitar. The X Series Soloist Archtop SLAT7 FF is a 7-string with 25.7-27″ scale lengths (the press release is worded weirdly on that front but I’m sure if you’re reading this you know what that means) with EMG 808 humbucking pickups and individual staggered bridge saddles. There’s also an 8-string version, the SLAT8 FF, with 25.5”/28”” scale length. There are other new models too: here’s the press release.  Read More …

David Bowie’s Custom Steinberger

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I just spotted this on the Juliens Auctions website last night while cruising for cool old auctions to geek out about: David Bowie’s custom Steinberger, serial number 7712, which sold at auction for $12,500 in 2009. Bowie seemed to like his headless guitars – you can see him playing a red Hohner in the video for “Valentine’s Day” from The Next Day just a few years ago – and this one has a particularly interesting story which, like a lot of great Bowie-related guitar stuff, has a lot to do with Reeves Gabrels. Read More …

Aristides Instruments 080 8-String

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PRESS RELEASE: After many requests, Aristides Instruments releases the eight string 080 guitar. The new 080 continues Aristides’ tradition of using a one piece body and neck construction, integrally layered with Arium. This model is also the first Aristides Instrument to be constructed of 100% man-made materials and features no wood – not even the freatboard. The new model made its first appearance at Musikmesse in Frankfurt Germany this month. Customers can place orders now through authorized dealers or direct from the factory.

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Zakk Wylde Introduces Wylde Audio

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Zakk Wylde has long been one of Gibson and Marshall’s most popular artists. The very idea of Zakk leaving either for another company at this stage seems utterly unbelievable. But that’s what’s happened: it’s just that Zakk hasn’t taken his considerable endorsement weight to other guitar and amp brands. He’s created his own instead. Wylde Audio will make guitars, amps, effects and all sorts of accessories. I caught up with Zakk to find out what’s what. Read More …

REVIEW: Epiphone 1984 Explorer EX

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The Gibson Explorer was ahead of its time when it was released in the 50s, and still seemed like a bit a quirky anachronism in the 70s. But in the 80s it found itself at the centre of a revolution in guitar: thrash. This highly technical, highly aggressive new form of music required a guitar that could have plenty of punch, was playable, and looked badass. Certain players took the Explorer and popped a set of EMG pickups in it, and went on to create history. The 1984 Explorer EX pays tribute to the meeting of Explorer and EMG that helped to define the future of heavy music.

Click here to buy an Epiphone 1984 Explorer EX in Ebony or here to get one in Alpine White.

Or click here to see Gibson Explorers on eBay.

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Jackson Phil Demmel Demmelition Pro

Jackson Phil Demmel Demmelition Pro

PRESS RELEASE:  Jackson is pleased to announce the latest addition to its popular Pro Series, the Phil Demmel Demmelition Pro guitar. Jackson’s Demmelition Pro model puts Machine Head guitarist Phil Demmel’s devastating style and double-cut King V™specs right in your hands. Features include a three-piece through-body maple neck with graphite reinforcement, compound-radius (12”-16”) bound ebony fingerboard with 24 jumbo frets and pearloid piranha inlay at 12th fret, EMG® 60 (neck) and 81 (bridge) humbucking pickups with three-way toggle switching, Floyd Rose® locking nut and recessed double-locking tremolo, and black hardware. Now available in Black Tide Fade and Red Tide Fade finishes.

For more information and to find a dealer near you, go to www.jacksonguitars.com.

INTERVIEW: Unearth’s Buz McGrath

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Unearth have been slogging it out on the metal scene for 15 years now and have proven themselves to be real stayers, helping to remind folks that seven-string guitars can be used for more than just open-string chugging and showing that you can combine the punishing groove of Pantera with the melodic sense of Sweden’s Gothenberg sound and the power of traditional metal, all filtered through an aggressive metalcore lens. New album Watchers of Rule (3Wise) is a consistently brutal chunk of metal by anyone’s standards. But this far into Unearth’s career, it’s almost exhilarating to hear them continuing to release vital albums full of songs that are destined to live on in the setlist. I caught up with guitarist Buz McGrath right after the album’s release.

Want to win a copy of the album? Email iheartguitarblog@gmail.com with ‘Unearth’ in the subject line and I’ll draw five winners! Australia only.

Let’s start with the guitar stuff. What did you use on this album?

We used a Rhodes amp. I don’t know what it is. And I think we used one of Ken’s old custom Ibanez RGs that won the shoot-out. Usually what happens is we go through a stack of about 15 guitars and we record the same piece of music, the same riff, with each guitar, and you go through and listen to which guitar is sounding the best with what you’ve got, and that one won. It was between that one and, Ken had a custom three-pickup Ibanez Iceman with EMGs in it. That thing weighed a fucking tonne but it sounded sick. But the other one just beat it out by a little bit. We recorded with a Kemper via DI, and then [producer] Mark Lewis took it back to his studio and re-amped it through various amps, which I wasn’t a part of the process for. He would send me mixes with different amps and I’d say ‘this one sounds good.’ So I never even saw the amp. It’s a real weird way of doing it but it worked out good. Read More …