The mighty DragonForce have always brought the epic energy, triumphant power-metal riffage, anthemic choruses and intense shred to their work, but what makes their new album Maximum Overload stand out a little from the rest of their catalog is their willingness to step outside of their established sound just far enough to keep it fresh. Vocalist Marc Hudson has well and truly settled in now (he joined prior to the recording of previous album The Power Within, and Trivium’s Matt Heafy contributes his vocal power to three tracks as well. And for the first time DragonForce have worked with an outside producer, Jens Bogren, who has also produced, mixed or mastered the likes of Soilwork, Symphony X, Pain of Salvation, James LaBrie, Devin Townsend. Throw it all together and you have Dragonforce’s biggest-sounding album yet. Continue reading
The story of the Seymour Duncan Jason Becker Perpetual Burn humbucker is a very interesting one. Back in the day, a young Jason Becker became taken with the tone of a Gibson Les Paul loaded with a Seymour Duncan JB humbucker. The guitar belonged to Bob Rock, who was producer of David Lee Roth’s A Little Ain’t Enough album, and Jason used it on the title track. He was so intrigued by the tone of the JB that he started talking with Seymour Duncan about this pickup needs. Some prototypes were developing and the project was well on its way when Jason had to call a halt due to his progressively worsening ALS. But recently, while listening to friends play his guitars through prototypes of a possible signature amp, Jason was blown away by the tone of the prototype pickup. So he reached out to Seymour Duncan to finish was started. The Jason Becker Perpetual Burn bridge humbucker is the result.
Across 14 studio albums Joe Satriani has redefined instrumental guitar, led the charge in popularising shred, introduced all sorts of techniques to the guitarists’ lexicon, and spearheaded innovations in gear that have influenced countless luthiers and modders. While Joe is always looking forward – to the next guitar, the next gig, the next album – 2014 finds him also taking stock of how he got to this point, if only for a moment. This year has already seen the release of TThe Complete Studio Recordings, a 15-disc box set which brings together each of his albums (the studio disc of the two-CD Time Machine album is represented) plus a disc of alternate mixes, unheard tracks and rarities. And he has also released Strange Beautiful Music: A Musical Memoir, which explores his creative output album-by-album, offering unprecedented incites into the conception and execution of his albums, the origins of the G3 tour, the success of Chickenfoot and of course those early days teaching guitar to the likes of Steve Vai, Alex Skolnick, Kirk Hammett and Larry LaLonde. With plenty of touring booked for this year already, Joe has just announced a tour of Australia for November, which means it’s high time we had another chat. Continue reading
The other day I had a great chat with Zakk Wylde – look for it here soon – and we got to talking about unusual Gibson models from back in the day. We talked about stuff like the Moderne and RD. But one that we didn’t touch on and that I wish we did was the Victory. This was a very cool guitar and bass line available beginning in 1981, and the ad for the guitar version back in the day pretty much nails its appeal: “Ten different sounds from one great new guitar” and “Sounds like… all of ‘em.” This is the first guitar I can think of that really attempts to combine two distinct guitar schools of thought – basically the Gibson school and the Fender school – into one instrument. There’s the H-S-H pickup layout which beats companies like Ibanez to the punch by several years, as does the off-set dot fretboard inlay style (actually it sort of looks a little bit like an Ibanez Fireman as well, if you turn your head and squint just right). It has a traditionally Gibson 24.75” scale length but the slightly-Gibson/slightly-Fender design pre-dates similar guitars by Paul Reed Smith too. The designs look kinda similar to some guitars by Knaggs too, in a subtle way.
You can win one of Korn guitarist James “Munky” Shaffer’s personal Ibanez guitars by liking his new Facebook Page. You know you want to! Here’s a little video, and there’s a pic of the guitar below. And if you need more of a Munky fix, check out my pics from Korn’s Melbourne show last month, or my 2011 interview with him.
The Pearly Gates is one of my favourite Seymour Duncan pickups. Designed with Billy Gibbons, its voice is vintage and sweet but with a slight edge to it. (Joe Satriani liked this pickup so much that he had them installed in one of his chrome Ibanez JS signature guitars and named it ‘Pearly’ – unfortunately that guitar was stolen in 2002). Many years ago, Billy asked Seymour if a pickup could work under water. They decided to try it by submerging a very early Pearly Gates pickup into a pickle jar and testing it to see if it still had a signal. It still worked – so they decided to put a lid on the jar and test it again some other time. That was almost 30 years ago. It lives in Seymour’s office and he and Billy still take the jar out every now and then to test the pickup. It looks pretty damn gnarly by now, covered in gross brown stuff, but it still works perfectly. Below are some pics of MJ from the Seymour Duncan Custom Shop testing the pickup a couple of weeks ago when I was at Seymour Duncan HQ. Continue reading
One of my big ’causes’ is to remind players that 7 and 8-string guitars don’t just have to be for djent – you can play all sorts of styles on these instruments. Classical guitars with extra strings may not be super common but they’re nothing new. Yet when Ibanez makes them, it’s big news. Ibanez knows probably better than anyone how to make extended-range instruments, and these guitars are bound to inspire new musical styles and explorations. At NAMM this year Ibanez showed three extended-range acoustics: two 7s and an 8. Here they are: Continue reading
This year Paul Gilbert celebrates 25 years of being an Ibanez guy, and to celebrate Paul and Ibanez are releasing the FRM250MF, a new version of Paul’s signature Ibanez line featuring an HSH pickup configuration (the other current Fireman is SSS), a Flamed Maple top on a three-piece Mahogany body, a set neck joint, and a cool cherry red back which contrasts nicely with the yellow of the top. The pickups are a DiMarzio Air Classic in the bridge and neck positions with an Area ’67 noiseless single coil in the middle. Interestingly, the pickup wiring has no setting to select the single coil by itself: available options are neck humbucker, middle and inner neck single coils, both humbuckers, middle and inner bridge single coils, and bridge humbucker. Here are some pics! Continue reading
There was a prototype on display last year, now it’s here: the Ibanez 9-string RG. Oh wait, did I say ‘it’s here’? I meant ‘they’re here’ because Ibanez is launching TWO 9-strings this NAMM: the affordable RG9 with Ibanez pickups, and the Prestige RG90BKPISH in Invisible Shadow finish, which features Bare Knuckle Canine humbuckers. Release date is yet to be confirmed but I’ll keep you posted. These are really beautiful guitars and I can’t wait to hear the music people make on them! Pics below:
Friday January 24th
12:15pm – Jake Bowen (Periphery), Tosin Abasi (Animals As Leaders), Kiko Loureiro (Angra)
1:00pm – Paul Gilbert (Mr. Big, Racer X)
1:30pm – Munky, Fieldy, Head (Korn)
Saturday January 25th
3pm – Coy Bowles (Zac Brown Band)
I was recently asked to participate in a cool article for Musician’s Friend’s The Hub. I was asked about my acoustic guitar, and until I can afford a nice Taylor my main acoustic is an Ibanez Charleston acoustic that I’ve had for nearly 15 years. I’ll leave it to the article to tell you about the guitar, but this is a pretty unusual model for Ibanez that you don’t see very often. Mine needs a new bridge saddle (it was a victim of one of my early experiments in acoustic guitar setup – hey, better to practice on my own guitar than a customers’, right?) but otherwise it’s quite a nice guitar with an unusual tone: soft and sweet, not particularly loud but very musical.
Hey folks. Well, Christmas is over (along with its general pressures and stresses), my massive magazine deadlinepocalypse is now behind me and I can get back to working on the fun stuff. Like music. This week I recorded a track using solely my Ibanez Iron Label 8-string with Seymour Duncan Pegasus and Sentient pickups. In this case I wanted to just use the Sentient so I could show off just how versatile it is, so that’s all you here here, on every guitar part. Even the ‘bass’ is actually the 8-string with the lowest string tuned down to E. I used IK Multimedia’s AmpliTube 3 for amp sims and T-Racks Custom Shop for EQ and dynamic processing, in Presonus Studio One for recording and mixing. The drums are Drumkit From Hell Superior by Toontrack. And here’s the song, with a little more info about it afterwards…