New Gibson Neon Les Pauls Are The First Good Thing To Come Out Of 2017

If you know me, you probably know that I love both vintage and modern guitar designs pretty much equally. Some days I love nothing more than playing my 50s-style Les Paul Traditional or my ’62 Reissue Strat. Other days I’m all about my headless Kiesel Vader or my Roadflare Red Ibanez RG550. Well Gibson have gone and combined two of my loves in the one guitar: a Les Paul Axcess with Floyd Rose and – gasp! – neon finishes! It’s available in Neon Green, Neon Yellow, Neon Blue, Neon Orange and Neon Pink. Personally my pick of the bunch is the Neon Green. Look at that thing. 

The bodies are Mahogany with a 2-piece Maple top, with a Mahogany neck and Richlite fingerboard. The neck is a Slim C-Shape, and the pickups are a 496R neck humbucker and a 498T in the bridge position, with push-pull pots for coil splitting. 

Pics below, more info here.

INTERVIEW: Stone Sour’s Corey Taylor

Photo by Travis Shinn

Photo by Travis Shinn

If you look in the current issue of Mixdown Magazine you’ll find my interview with Stone Sour’s Corey Taylor about the band’s new album, Hydrograd (released today). We had a great chat about the band’s incredible new album Hydrograd. But we talked about a lot more than could be fit into that article, so I thought you’d like to see some other highlights from the interview.

I Heart Guitar: One moment in the single Fabuless really made me laugh: the ‘motherfucker’ in the chorus. I have a running joke where I insert unnecessary motherfuckers in songs that really don’t deserve it. Steely Dan or the Beach Boys or something. 

Corey Taylor: [Laughs] Thats funny because I do that all the time when I’m in my car, singing. I’m always adding an unnecessary motherfucker to what I’m singing along to, where it just needs a little more, y’know? I mean I’m sure they would have gotten to the motherfucker eventually but they were too busy with the notes, so people like you and me provide the motherfucker for them.

That song is so eclectic. How did it come together? 

That song came together from Tooch (guitarist Christian Martucci) and Roy (Magora, drums) jamming together. It was one of those songs where when we heard the demo we were like ‘Holy shit.’ It took a little arranging because it was all in different spots – it originally had a totally different feel to it – but the riffs themselves all had a great vibe. I took it and did my magic on it and worked it in with the lyrics that were going on in my head and different melodies and stuff, and it came together really quickly. It was a matter of arranging the puzzle so that the song fuckin’ figured itself out.

The first few times you listen to it you don’t quite know what could happen next. 

Exactly. And that’s the cool thing. I feel like a lot of music doesn’t have that feeling any more, and you can anticipate what the next part is. With a lot of bands you can almost write the fuckin’ next riff in your head before you’ve even heard the song all of the way through for the first time. With this song it keeps you guessing right up until the last minute.

HydrogradSo this is the first record written with Christian Martucci and Johnny Chow. 

Working with those two, honestly, was so effortless. The great thing is it all starts with us just getting along. Really getting along. We all hang out, we all love hanging out and talking shit and joking, and we’re all such dorks that it doesn’t really matter. So writing together is the same thing. We just love what we do so much that we get excited when we hear what we’re doing with the music.

How’s the spine coming along after your operation? Has it affected your range? I was thinking about how when Frank Zappa got pushed off the stage and broke his neck, and after he got rebuilt his voice got lower.

Yeah, that didn’t happen to me. It’s really only a physical thing for me. I’m slowly but surely starting to get my mobility back, and that’s even after a year. It’s been pretty crazy. But luckily I didn’t lose any of my range – actually I got some back because I quit smoking over a year ago, and I’m starting to get my range back because of that. God, if I’d know that would happen I’d have quit ten fuckin’ years ago. But I’m still in the process of rehabbing all that shit, and I’m slowing but surely getting my body back. It’s a fucking pain in the ass but I’m getting there.

I don’t think people realise how physical singing is – how much of your whole body goes into it. 

Oh yeah. You can lose your chops really easily. And not only lose your chops but you can let your talent go to fuckin’ shit, and it can take you years to get that shit back. About six years ago I started to really try to keep myself in shape as much as possible, and as long as it’s worth it you just keep trying, keep going for it.

What guitars are you using at the moment? 

On the road I have three guitars that I’m using, really. I have a 2008 Gibson Firebird that has a couple of Seymour Duncan pickups in it. It has a nice chunky edge to it and a really killer clean tone. Those guitars have a great clean tone. I also have a 1987 Gibson SG out with me that smells like the dude who owned it chain-smoked around it for about 45 years! It’s got the colour, but unfortunately it’s also got the smell, so I named it Keith. So I’ve got that out with me and I’ll probably bring that down with me to Australia when we get down there. And I’ve also got a Framus and I’m thinking about working some magic with those guys. I actually have a Stevie Salas Idolmaker model that I’m using right now and they’re fuckin’ pretty dope, dude. I wanna have them use that base and make a custom for me but give it more of a hollowbody vibe, and put a couple of humbuckers in it and see what happens. I think that could be really fuckin’ cool, because it plays amazingly. It’s got such fuckin’ chunk to it. It’s really great. So those three I’m kinda rotating through, just feeling them out every night.

Lollar Staple P-90

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PRESS RELEASE: “It was the mid-80s,” Jason Lollar recalled. “Someone loaned me an original late-‘50s Les Paul® Custom for a gig. Ever since then, I’ve been fascinated with the sound of the original P-90 staple pickup. We modified the design of the original Gibson P-90 staple pickup so it fits most soapbar routes with no modification to the guitar. Though the design is updated, I voiced it to sound just like the legendary Les Paul Staple pickup that was loaned to me.” Read More …

Mastodon’s Bill Kelliher Switches To ESP

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Whoa, didn’t see this one coming. Mastodon guitarist Bill Kelliher’s Gibson signature models have been some of the coolest guitars Gibson has released in years, but now Bill has switched to ESP with two new sigs, the ESP Bill Kelliher and the LTD BK-600. ESP writes; “We’re proud to announce that Bill Kelliher of world-renowned American metal band Mastodon has joined our family of endorsed artists. But equally big news is that we’re also announcing the introduction of two new Signature Series models: the ESP Bill Kelliher and the LTD BK-600. Visitors to our booth at the Summer NAMM Show in Nashville later this month will be able to check out Bill’s new signature guitars in person. They will be available at ESP dealers later this year.” Read More …

Gibson Makes The Two Best Flying Vs Ever

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Okay, that headline might be a bit hyperbolic but what the hell, I’m gonna own it: these are the two coolest Flying Vs ever. Just look at them. Look at them! The Flying V Standard and Flying V Custom take cues from the Les Paul Standard and Les Paul Custom respectively (duh) and they both look fantastic. Or as Gibson says:

Flying V Standard

Gibson Custom’s Flying V Standard takes its design cues from the the late-’50s “futuristic” design that took the guitar world by surprise. From that starting point, we’ve complemented the now iconic Flying V design with Les Paul-inspired aesthetics including a two-piece, figured-maple top, single-bound body and neck, as well as a lightweight, solid mahogany back tastefully finished in cherry red. The Flying V Standard’s undeniably Gibson tone comes from a matched set of Custom Bucker pickups.CSFVSITNH1_MAIN_HERO_01

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Flying V Custom

Gibson Custom’s Flying V Custom reflects the kind of “what if” thinking that is the luxury of being the world’s most recognized guitar brand. At its heart, the Flying V Custom is the “futuristic” design of the late ’50s, when it was first released to a world obsessed with space, science and forward thinking. From there, we’ve taken liberties and additional design cues from the stately aesthetics of the original “Black Beauty” Les Paul Custom. What results is a wonderfully balanced guitar with real vintage V tone, dressed to its best for a look that exudes style and distinction.
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The World’s First 24-Fret 7-String Shred Machine?

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I was just scanning some recent guitar auctions, as I am wont to do, and I saw something super cool at a Guernsey’s auction from February 27: Tony Mottola’s 1952 7-string, 24-fret Gibson Custom Super 400CES. Mottola was a legendary session musician who played with Frank Sinatra and Perry Como. He also played in the Doc Severinson Orchestra on The Tonight Show. This guitar has a carved spruce top with maple back and sides, and custom P90 pickups with seven pole pieces. It was offered for auction with its original hard case and a copy of the production ledger for March 1992. The serial number is A 9934. What an amazing piece of history. Following are some more guitars – including instruments belonging to Eddie Van Halen and Richie Sambora – but first here are some more pics of the 7-string: Read More …

My Five Favourite Semi-Hollowbody F-Hole Guitars

fholesWhen I was a kid I was obsessed with semi-hollowbody guitars. I blame The Beatles, The Cure and Ratcat. Basically if it had F-Holes or similarly-shaped soundholes, I wanted it. These days I tend to either play Les Pauls, Strats or Superstrats but I’ve always had a fondness for big boxy guitars with F-holes and Bigsby vibratos. I still don’t own one but if I did it’d be one of these… Read More …

INTERVIEW: Ace Frehley

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Ace Frehley. Just the mere mention of his name is enough to send a jolt through the veins of those with even a passing knowledge of KISStory. Whether you subscribe to the mythology of ‘Space Ace’ being a visitor from the planet Jendel or you tend to go with the less colourful version of the story (he’s from the Bronx), Ace represents a certain combination of earthiness and exoticness. In his days with KISS his iconic Spaceman character brought comic book mystique to established guitar hero tropes. His post-KISS career has seen him explore material that’s generally a little more ‘street,’ with more overt nods to his bluesier inspirations. But that doesn’t mean Ace is averse to an occasional trip back to his home planet: last year he released Space Invader, a self-produced album of mostly original tracks along with a very Ace-ian cover of Steve Miller’s “The Joker” which enjoyed a #9 debut on the Billboard 200 charts – the only time a solo album by any past or present KISS member has hit the US top 10. And Ace returns to Australia in April and May with his triple-pickup Les Pauls in tow. Tickets here. Read More …