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.

INTERVIEW: Dragonforce’s Herman Li

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!

No way! 


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.

Read More …

NEWS: Tom Anderson 7-strings!

Tom Anderson Guitarworks is doing a one-time run of 7-string Pro Am and Drop Top guitars. This could be the one and only time these instruments will ever be available. Check them out!

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.

NEWS: Ibanez RG9670Z FRO makes life worth living

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.

Of course, you’re not likely to see an Ibanez this gaudily spectacular outside Japan, so it’s all the more reason to hurry up and finish my CD so I can get famous in Japan and go on a guitar buying spree… Maybe not this one, because I’d rather look at it and think “I can’t believe they actually made that” than actually own it, but seriously, have you seen some of the J.Custom stuff out there? I’d lose my mind if I was turned loose in Japan with a wad of money and a translater with a gift for haggling.
BUT WAIT! It gets better/worse (depending on your point of view and tolerance for outrageousness):

Anyway, here are the specs:

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

Mid P.U DiMarzio® True Velvet™ middle(S) mid P.U
Bridge P.U DiMarzio® The Tone Zone®(H) bridge P.U

NEWS: Interview with me at Jemsite

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.

Save Up to 90% on Almost Everything at (exp: 8/31)

NEWS: Infamous ‘Hulk’ Ibanez Universe hits eBay

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.

You can see the original Jemsite thread here, but the original poster has removed all their posts and photos. Still, reading this thread will at least give you an idea of the kind of reactions you can expect if you take this guitar out in public!

According to the listing:

We started this custom Universe project by purchasing three beat-up player UV7BK’s, we sound tested necks, pickups and bodies to find the best combination that gave the sound Ben was looking for. The body he chose had a huge chunk out of the bottom horn, deep into the wood, this is what inspired the creating of the 3D HULK finish.

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 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.

CLICK HERE to see the Hulk on eBay.

NEWS: Guest post on Jemsite

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.

You can also see my first guest post on the Jemsite blog here.