Do you spend a lot of time on guitar forums? I do. They can be a great resource for information, networking and secondhand gear deals.
But there’s a downside too: forumitis.
This is when you spend so much time on one particular forum that you begin to develop an unnaturally skewed view of the guitar scene.
If you spend 100% of your guitar forum time on The Gear Page you might start to feel a bit inadequate if you don’t happen to have a 50s Goldtop, a Suhr, or at the very least a Tim Shaw Gibson humbucker that you removed in the 80s and reinstalled years later when players realised they were actually pretty good. But go to Jemsite and you’ll want to hurl yourself off a bridge if you haven’t got a Jem77FP and a Darren Johansen swirl. Tell those folks that you’re thinking of putting a Shaw in your guitar and you’ll probably hear crickets. It’s just not something that comes up very often in discussions among fans of superstrats.
Is it the fault of the forums? Hell no! Each of these sites (and the hundreds of others like them) are great locations for fans of particular types of gear to discuss their passions with like-minded individuals. But if you ask the folks on TGP for advice on Ibanez Jems or some other kind of 80s-style superstrat, you’ll probably get a bit of gently anti-superstrat sentiment (and sometimes even a friendly suggestion to check out Jemsite – TGP is cool that way). Ask a question about Les Pauls on Jemsite and you’ll get a few replies from folks who love LPs but certainly not as many as if you’d asked about when the Jem 7VWH switched from ebony to rosewood fretboards.
These are just examples, of course. There are plenty of other great forums out there too, and you should join several to get a real sense of what’s actually happening in the guitar world. What’s important is that you use these forums to learn and discuss what’s important to you. It can be very easy to slip into the trap of thinking you need a particular piece of gear or that you have to set your guitar up a certain way just because that’s the prevailing trend on whichever forum you spend the most time on. If you spend a lot of time on Jemsite you’ll start to believe that the only acceptable neck size is ‘paper-thin,’ and that anything else is a design flaw. And y’know what? To players who love that kind of guitar, that’s absolutely true. But it’s equally true that for some players there’s nothing better than a humungous neck, fat strings and single coil pickups. Neither style is better or worse than the other, and the most important thing is “What’s right for me?” Don’t go cleaning out your PayPal account in pursuit of amassing a collection that makes you feel like ‘one of the guys.’ Play what you love, love what you play, and never forget that guitar is meant to be fun.
It’s always tough on fans when a singer leaves a band. Sure, Van Halen did fine with Sammy Hagar, and AC/DC didn’t exactly flounder when Brian Johnson joined, but there’s always that moment of “Oh jeez, will this work?” Post-Lane Warrant, heck, even post-Hagar Van Halen – there’s lots of scope for a misstep. Well the new Dragonforce album, The Power Within, will immediately shut up anyone who expects the band to lose some of its edge following the departure of ZP Theart. About a year after Theart walked, Dragonforce announced they’d enlisted Marc Hudson as their new voice. And what a voice. Dragonforce still sounds like Dragonforce, but even more musical, more powerful and more exciting. For a band who dishes out killer riffs and impossible guitar licks as easily as walking, kicking it up a notch is quite a feat. But The Power Within delivers.
Hi Herman! We haven’t met before but I remember you kicking around on the Jemsite forums back in the day.
Oh yeah! I still go to Jemsite. It’s got good information.
It’s been great to see forum regulars like you and James McIlroy (Cradle of Filth) going on to such big things.
Yeah! Actually James gave me the contact with Ibanez to get my deal!
Well, first question: What did the switch to Marc bring to the creative process?
With the switch of singer we definitely turned the whole recording process, the rehearsing, the whole band thing upside down and changed everything around. I think it was going to happen anyway, because after we finished the last album I wanted to really look back at the ten years we’d been doing the band – y’know, how we did it, how we wanted to change things, how we could make it better. So for this album and the recording process, I suppose I can almost say it’s completely different from the last album, the last two albums.
In a posting on Jemsite, Matt from Matt’s Music Center says:
“There are lots of options available so you can get exactly what you want. Delivery would be in February or March, get in touch with me if you’re interested in owning one of these!”
For more info contact Matt’s Music Center.
Now, I’m not a fan of flame maple finishes (I just feel it’s been kinda overdone ever since PRS cornered that market in the late 90s/early 00s) but even I, in my cynicism, can’t help but be freaked out in the best possible way by this axe. I love how unnecessarily over the top it is. All the bling is just so… superfluous.
Neck 5pcs Maple/Bubinga neck-thru
Neck Shape Asymmetric Super Wizard neck shape
Body Figured Maple top/African Mahogany wing body
Fingerboard Ebony fingerboard
Bridge Edge-Zero bridge
Neck P.U DiMarzio® Air Norton™(H) neck P.U
Bridge P.U DiMarzio® The Tone Zone®(H) bridge P.U
Just a heads-up, there’s an interview with me over at the always-awesome Jemsite blog. You can see the interview HERE. In the interview we talk about topics such as my first guitar, my favourite players, when and why I started playing, and some other fun stuff. Check it out, it was really fun to do.
Jemsite Blog also mentioned I Heart Guitar HERE a few weeks ago, and I’ve written two guest posts: I Want Candy about my Ibanez Talman, and I Was A Teenage Ibanez Geek, about, well, the title pretty much explains it.
This now-legendary Ibanez Universe created quite the stir on Jemsite when it was first posted last year. Now it’s for sale. Many see it as a hideous disfigurement of a relatively rare and collectable guitar. Others think it’s pretty cool. What do you think about it? Post your comments here.
According to the listing:
The HULK UV project developed as Inspiration came along the path of trying idea’s to create an original character within a Universe 7 string. During this process, we posted step by step pics on Jemsite.com. The intensity of the feedback was one of the elements that drove Ben to drive this guitar through a long project of enduring the Blood, Sweat & Tears to create what the guitar is today.
I’ve just written another guest post for the Jemsite Community Blog. This post is about my awesome Ibanez Talman, named Candy. I’ve talked about Candy a little bit on I Heart Guitar but not in nearly as much depth as this new Jemsite article. Check it out here.
Just a heads-up about a new guitar blog, Me and Mace: Japan Guitar Journeys by Lewis. You may know him as Kotornut or Fettsnextbounty – he’s been a huge supporter of I Heart Guitar since the very beginning, and has contributed some great articles to the Jemsite community blog, so it’s cool to see him start his own blog.
Make sure you bookmark the blog and make it part of your regular reading!
I’ve had a few people ask me about the gear I used for the ‘How To Do Satch-Style Harmonic Squeals’ video I posted on the weekend. Here’s an edited version of a response I wrote to a user on Jemsite.
* Ibanez RG550 20th anniversary reissue with stock pickups.
* Marshall JCM2000 DSL50 amp
* AxeTrak isolated speaker cabinet
* MXR/CAE Boost/Overdrive pedal
* MXR Carbon Copy analog delay.
About the guitar: A lot of people change these pickups straight away without even giving them a chance, but I think they’re great. There’s a little 30-second shred video on my YouTube channel www.youtube.com/iheartguitarblog which is the same exact amp and effect setup but using the neck pickup instead. The neck pickup reminds me of Andy Timmons.
I fully expected to change out the stock V2 pickups, but after playing them for a few days I decided they were fine (although the single coil is a bit microphonic so if I’m using that I turn the boost pedal off). I never really liked the V8s – too barky for the sound I’m going for. The V2s sit very nicely in the mix and they’re great for either alternate picking or legato. They seem to emphasize everything you do, so if you have your phrasing together it really shows.
About the amp: The guitar is recorded directly from the AxeTrak into my Digidesign M-Box with no processing. For the recording I used the amp’s lead channel (in normal mode, not ‘Ultra’). Gain at 5, master at 6, through an AxeTrak isolated speaker cabinet. All of the tone controls on the Marshall are turned up to 10, although when using a regular Marshall cabinet instead of the AxeTrak I reduce the treble and presence to 5 to get the same sound. The AxeTrak sounds great but you just have to learn to compensate for its natural tone a bit. Once you do it sounds very similar to a Marshall 1960A cabinet. In the interests of full disclosure, I bought my amp on endorsement terms by arrangement with the distributor. I shopped around and tried out a bunch of different amps by many different brands, but the DSL50 was the one for me. I bought the exact amp that I’d been using at World of Music to test guitars when I was working there.
I’ve found that the balance of a medium amp gain, combined with a cranked boost, seems to make all these cool harmonics come out which would otherwise be squashed with too much preamp gain. My theory is that when you increase the amp’s own gain, you increase the harmonics so much that they all start fighting for attention. Doing it the way I do seems to emphasize only the best ones. Think of it like increasing the contrast and brightness controls on your TV, where the boost pedal is the contrast and the amp gain is the brightness. If you turn them both all the way up, you’ll just get a white screen, whereas if you turn up the contrast and find the sweet spot with the brightness, you’ll get that glowing, David Lee Roth video kind of look. I also use the boost on the amp’s Rhythm channel. I set the channel’s gain at about 6, then use the pedal to increase it to around the same level as the lead channel’s halfway point. It sounds a bit Nuno Bettencourt like this, and gives me just the right individual gain levels for rhythm and lead, while allowing me to set different volume levels for each channel. The end result is that it pretty much sounds like I’m on the lead channel all the time, but increasing the gain and volume when switching channels. If I want a clean sound, I just turn off the boost when on the rhythm channel, and maybe roll the volume control on the guitar down a little if I’m using high output pickups.
About the boost: For the recording I had only the boost side engaged, turned up to full volume. This pedal is designed by Bob Bradshaw of Custom Audio Electronics, and his amps have been used by guys like Steve Lukather and Eddie Van Halen, who used a CAE preamp on ‘The Dream Is Over’ from Van Halen’s For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge album back in 1991. The overdrive part of the pedal sounds cool too but I don’t use it very often.
About the delay: The Carbon Copy’s repeats are a little muffled, which seems to add a little bit of warmth to the overall tone, although I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s one of the key elements. I’d say the biggest contributing factors to the tone are the stock Ibanez bridge pickup and the effect of using a clean boost to increase the gain of the Marshall, instead of cranking the Marshall’s own gain.
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