I’m a big fan of Taylor Guitars. Their 8-string Baritone is one of my favourite instruments ever. Their acoustics are of course incredible. The GS-Mini is a great idea. And Bob Taylor’s book is an entertaining and informative look into what it takes to build your dream into a business.
Well, this week Taylor came to me with an incredible proposal: configure my dream guitar via the Taylor SolidBody Configurator, they will build it, we’ll document the build process (I’m unofficially calling this “The Taylor Project”), and then I will review it, use it and love it! So I’ve picked out my specs, my order is in, and I’m awaiting an ETA. Once I have my mitts on the guitar I’ll review it in text and video form, and I’ll use it in pedal and amp reviews, lessons, in photos with my band, on stage, etc. I really believe in these guitars from the time I’ve spent playing them in review and at NAMM (and at the Taylor factory), so I’m really excited about this project.
So what will my guitar look like? Well, I toyed with a few different options before settling on the design for my guitar.
First off, I let my son (who is almost 5) design a guitar. This is what he came up with:
Hmm, not bad, little buddy, not bad. But daddy doesn’t really dig that colour combo. Let’s see what else we can come up with.
First I messed around with this, which I kinda liked, but as cool as it is, it’s ultimately not flashy enough for what I’m into.
Again leaning towards the traditional, I thought I’d go for something with a groovy transparent red finish. But again, not quite me.
So what about something a little bit Texas?
Naah. Maybe I need something a bit more elegant. Something like…
Not bad. Not bad at all. But then I remembered a particularly sexy SolidBody I saw at NAMM this year and decided to do something very much like that but with a whammy bar…
I do love my single coils, after all. But then again, I also like humbuckers… and I think I prefer black pick guards… so what about this?
All of these would be beautiful guitars, but after a little bit more thought, it hit me.
Taylor’s mini humbuckers.
I loved them when I reviewed a SolidBody way back, and I’ve always loved the middle pickup position on 3-pickup guitars. And for about 12 years now I’ve had a recurring dream about having a green guitar with a quilted maple top. Why not make this into that guitar?
So, ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, I give you…
The Taylor Project.
Isn’t she a beauty? You can follow her build process here regularly, and as soon as I have a second post about this, I’ll create a whole page to keep updates easily accessible via the site menu bar.
Thanks so much to Taylor for suggesting this very cool idea. Also, Jon from Guitar Noize is doing the same thing, and you can check out his idea here. We’ll do some cool cross-promotional stuff over the next few months. I think you’ll dig it.
Just saw this one on Guitar Noize. It appears the Washburn N7 7-string that Nuno Bettencourt was rocking on Australian Idol with Rihanna is now available from the Washburn Custom Shop!
According to the Funky Munky Music forum, The stock N7 will have a Seymour Duncan Distortion humbucker in the bridge, instead of the Bill Lawrence L500 of the 6-string version. It will have an alder body, maple neck and ebony fretboard. Price will be $US2799.
Today is the second anniversary of Guitar Noize, one of the coolest guitar blogs you’ll ever find, and to celebrate, Guitar Noize’s benevolent overlord Jon Bloomer is running a birthday giveaway in conjunction with Ernie Ball.
The prizes are as follows:
2nd winner: 10 sets of Ernie Ball guitar strings and an Ernie Ball strap pack.
3rd winner: 6 sets of Ernie Ball guitar strings, a pack of Wonder Wipes and some Ernie Ball Guitar Picks.
Jon says: “…leave a comment wishing Guitar Noize a happy birthday, or if you prefer, how much you love Ernie Ball products and you will automatically be entered into the draw. Winners will be selected on Sunday July 5 and announced Monday July 6. Good luck and thank you to all of my readers. Thank you to Brian Ball from Ernie Ball for his generosity with the fantastic prizes.”
CLICK HERE to wish Guitar Noize a happy birthday!
Arguably the most amazing guitarist to walk the face of the earth, Steve Vai is set to release his groundbreaking new DVD IN September but until then check out this innovative piece of Vai! Get ready to get naked! ‘Naked Tracks’ is housed in a special limited edition digipak box set. This series of play-along CDs is designed to help create an atmosphere of focus so you can shred yourself into a personally-induced inspirational nirvana.
Included in the set are 5 CD’s featuring backing tracks from the following albums: ‘Passion & Warfare’, ‘Sex & Religion’, ‘Alien Love Secrets’, ‘Fire Garden’, ‘The Ultra Zone’, ‘Alive in an Ultra World’, & ‘Real Illusions: Reflections’!
Previously only sold on www.vai.com and iTunes. Steve Vai is one of the most influential guitarists of our time. An excellent practice tool for any guitarist. A must have for the Steve Vai collector. World tour late 2009-2010.
Great news huh? I bought them from an online store a while ago and I …hey wait a minute… you catch that last bit?
Let’s look at that again:
World tour late 2009-2010.
Anyway, back to the Naked Tracks: Here’s Jon from Guitar Noize rocking his cover of Answers.
Follow I Heart Guitar on Twitter! For more on Twitter, check out this great article on Jason Shadrick’s guitar blog, another Twitterer mentioned in the Premier Guitar story.
As many of you probably know I write for a few magazines here in Australia – Mixdown (where I also have an instructional column called Unleash Your Inner Rock God), Australian Guitar, and Australian Musician Magazine – but this is the first time I’ve seen my name in an American magazine, unless you count the time Guitar Player printed my letter about a million years ago, hehe. So I’m hella excited. Thanks Premier Guitar!
Premier Guitar’s email newsletter sums up the new issue perfectly, so here’s what they said:
Welcome to the May issue of Premier Guitar! We’re bringing you a genuine ‘plexi fest’ this month with our exploration of that classic Marshall JTM45 tone via an original (1965!), a reissue and five boutique brands that pay tribute in their own way. We also have interviews with Thin Lizzy’s Scott Gorham and jazz maestro Martin Taylor. The issue is also packed with a tone-dripping array of reviews—Louder & More, Genz Benz, Michael Tobias Designs and Xotic, to name a few. Plus, some of you have asked us to throw a little more of the less expensive gear into the mix so we’re responding with reviews of an Atomic Guitar Works STD1 ($895), a Danelectro Dead On ’67 ($399), an Eastwood Airline Tuxedo ($849) and Fender’s Road Worn Series ($949).
Here are some more sweet ESP/LTD models unveiled at MusikMesse. While ESP does a great line of vintage-inspired designs, there’s nothing particularly old school about these new models.
First up are LTD Okkultist and LTD Shadow models for the Guitarists of Dimmu Borgir.
ESP says: Taking the darkness of black metal to profound new depths, the guitarists of Dimmu Borgir join the legendary ranks of ESP artists with their new ESP Signature Series models: Silenoz’s Okkultist and Galder’s Shadow. These guitars scream with metal attitude, equally good at shining in the spotlight or dwelling in the deepest of shadows.
Next is the LTD FL-600 Bass from Frédéric LeClercq of DragonForce.
ESP says: As the thunder that holds down the bottom end of DragonForce, Fred LeClercq is a force to be reckoned with on his own. His innovative bass playing spans the realm from ultra smooth to chainsaw harsh, and his new ESP Signature Series LTD FL-600 bass allows him to combine melody, power, and speed into an unmistakable sound.
Then there’s the monstrous LTD Hex-7 from Nergal of Behemoth, which I wrote about here.
ESP says: If you like your blackened death metal extra dark, there’s no better place to turn than Behemoth. Their founder and frontman Nergal has designed his ESP Signature Series LTD Hex-7 to be about as extreme as a guitar can be.
Finally there are three new Graphic Series Models.
Renowned UK-based artist Mister Sam has once again created the ultimate hybrid of man and machine with his custom artwork on the new limited edition Clockwork Zombie Graphic Series guitars for LTD. The EC-CZII, EX-CZII, and Viper-CZII combine skeletal remains with metal cogs, flywheels, and gears on these sinister and unique instruments.
Kudos to Jon from Guitar Noize for bringing this to my attention via this article.
The reason I chose the JS over say a JEM or an RG was due to a couple of reasons, firstly the neck profile is like nothing else Ibanez make. I used to own an early 90′s RG550DX which had a wizard neck which while I liked at the time doesn’t feel as comfortable in my hands as a Fender style of neck. My Patrick Eggle Berlin which I’ve had since ’94 always felt quite small in my hands whereas the JS feels a little wider and fills my hand. The second reason was because of the body profile, it is so incredibly comfortable and seems to wrap itself around your body. It is also quite light in weight even though the tone from the Basswood body is very thick in my opinion and almost has as much bass response as my Eggle which is solid Mahogany with a set Mahogany neck! I’m also a big Satriani fan and have always thought that they look really cool when Joe plays them, they always sound amazing both on record and live and you don’t see a lot of people playing them which is strange considering how versatile they are, but I suppose some people like a nice figured Maple top instead, the very reason I may get a J-Custom at some point ;)
As you are probably aware Joe Satriani is a big fan of Whammy bar antics and most of his signature models over the years have had a Floyd Rose style trem on them. The Edge Pro on the JS is perfect for his signature divebombs and flutters and yet is also capable of very subtle vibrato and bends a la Jeff Beck. I remember the RG500DX had an Edge Lo-Pro which was my first guitar with a double locking trem and I loved it, finally a guitar that stayed in tune no matter how much whammy abuse! Ever since I sold that guitar I have wanted that tuning stability and control back, my Wilkinson VS100 just doesn’t cut it on the Eggle, in fact I might block it because it kind of sits somewhere in between a floating and fixed bridge when I think fixed would suit better. The Edge Pro is a little more OFR looking than the Lo-Pro which was a very sleek unit and I’ve already rubbed off the black paintwork in places where my palm rests but that just adds character in my opinion! The good thing about the Edge Pro is that you don’t have to cut off the ball ends on your strings if you don’t want to, something that bugged me with the Lo-Pro. I do like the fact that you are supplied with little plastic clips that go on the whammy bar to adjust the stiffness, you can go from Eddie Van Halen style swinging loose bar, to Steve Vai style point the whammy bar backwards for crazy reverse flutters and it stays there!
The tonal range from this guitar is amazing, the neck humbucker is a DiMarzio PAF Pro a medium output pickup which is incredibly musical and almost inspires me to play blues licks similar to my Eggle’s Seymour Duncan SH-2, but it also sounds great when you add some overdrive and retains the clarity you sometimes lose with the neck position pickup. I don’t think I had noticed before how much Joe uses this pickup, but it is a major part of his recording tone. The bridge pickup is a DiMarzio Fred which although replaced recently on the JS1200 by the Mo Joe which is slightly higher output the Fred humbucker has been a part of Joe’s sound for many years and records. I always wondered when I listened to “Flying in a Blue Dream” how he got that incredible sound where every touch of the pick seemed to produce amazing harmonics, apparently this was an accidental discovery when creating a prototype for Joe. The Fred started out as a PAF Pro with boosted midrange which maintains its precision and articulate tone when you add some distortion, as if Joe Satriani would want anything less? Some people don’t like this guitar because it is really tailored to create Joe’s Solo sounds so has less bass response than say a Les Paul but I have my Eggle if I ever really need an extra bit of depth to my rhythm sound.I personally feel that I can get a very wide range of Rock and dare I say Metal tones from these pickups and yet with the flick, or should I say pull, of the tone pot I have very usable Single Coil tones. This is further enhanced by the high pass filter which you engage by pulling the volume pot, I actually never split the coils without also engaging the high pass filter it cleans up the sound by cutting out some of the muddy bass frequencies inherent in Humbuckers.
If you are into extreme Metal then I would have to say this guitar may not be for you with the stock pickups, but a set of Actives and a hi-gain amp would no doubt change the character of this amazing instrument, I mean it has more wood in the body than an S Series and I’ve just seen a photo of Chris Broderick playing one of those! If you don’t think that this guitar is suitable for blues I beg to differ I have managed to get everything from BB King cleans to Tube Screaming Stevie Ray Vaughan, if you don’t believe me check out my YouTube channel! I think that this is a guitar than can do almost everything which makes it a very good investment!
Peter: One song I really enjoyed was ‘Come On Baby.’ It reminded me a lot of your self-titled album, that kind of open, almost dry guitar sound. Are we hearing single coils on that song?
Satriani: It’s funny you should ask that because I’ve done a lot of interviews and no-one really asked me about that particular technical aspect, but I was just using my usual JS1000 with the coil split feature, just lifting up the tone control. You can hear me shifting pickups during the solo. I swear, you can even hear the switch as I go between, not only the single coil, but I’ve also got the high pass filter engaged by lifting up the volume control. So I’m playing with starving the amplifier, which is set up to give me a ‘classic rock’ level of gain, but I’m starving it of information. I’m using the single coil, which lowers the output and gives it a less midrangy sound, and by using the high pass filter in there I’m stealing more low end from it, so the amp isn’t really breaking up that much and I get a smoother tone. And that’s all I was using. It’s funny, I did the first clean guitar in the left channel, one pass, then on the second pass I did the right channel, then I went back on the left and put the gains up a little more, then I did guitar number 4, then I did a guitar for the middle, and I didn’t really change much, I was just playing around with the volume control and the high pass filter.
Peter: It’s such a lost art, I think people get so bogged down with all these effects and things, that you forget you have these controls on your guitar which do these amazing things.
Satriani: Yeah. I was playing through a prototype amp which an older style, with 6V6 tubes in it, so it’s a vintage style smaller head. Those things are basically Class A designs, and they really react to what’s coming to the input. In other words, what you’re sending into that input jack, which means, as you said, playing with the volume control really changes the nature of the amp, and you can get hundreds of tones just by playing with the volume control.
Here are the specs of the JSX 50.
Two independent channels, Clean and Crunch
2 x 6550 power amp tubes (can also use EL34)
5 x 12AX7 preamp tubes
Global Presence and Master Volume controls
Global Master Volume Boost with switch and level control
Six-way attack control on Crunch channel
Pre-gain Boost switch on Crunch channel
Built-in MSDI™ microphone-simulated direct XLR output
Line out with level control
Active effects loop with send and return level control
Rear-panel impedance selector (16, 8 or 4 ohms)
Tube bias adjustments on back panel
Four-button footswitch included
Made in the U.S.A.
U.S. MSRP $1499.99
The amp will be available in the third quarter of 2009.
Cheers to Jon from Guitar Noize for posting this video on Twitter.
So this morning I noticed I was getting a whole lot more Twitter follower notifications than usual. I was wondering why, before finally realising that the Shadrick Guitar Blog (the blog of Jason Shadrick from National Guitar Workshop) had posted a great article entitled Top 10 Guitar Related Twitter Users. Among the names were yours truly, as well as my buddies Guitar Noize and Mad Stratter, not to mention Living Colour’s Vernon Reid.
Head over to the article for the rest of the names and all of the Twitter IDs, and CLICK HERE to follow me on Twitter. I have a feed set up to publish my headlines and story links automatically, but I also post random things such as what articles I’m working on at the time, and stuff like that. Recently I called for readers to submit questions for my forthcoming interview with Dimarzio pickup designer Steve Blucher (There’s still time to submit questions, I might add).
Don’t forget to vote for the Guitar Noize blog in the music category of the 2008 Weblog Awards. Jon from Guitar Noize is a great supporter of I Heart Guitar and he deserves your vote!