The Fender Jim Root Jazzmaster V4 is out now!

FENDER® CELEBRATES SLIPKNOT® GUITARIST AND HEAVY METAL LEGEND JIM ROOT WITH ARTIST SIGNATURE JAZZMASTER® COLLABORATION

Jim Root Jazzmaster V4 Showcases Evolved, Full Sound to Compliment Root’s Iconic Heavy Playing Style

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (April 21, 2020)— Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) today released the Jim Root Jazzmaster V4, the latest iteration of Fender’s collaboration with the Slipknot guitarist. The newest model in Fender’s Artist Signature Series captures the eclectic, fast and aggressive yet fluid playing style Root is known for. Now, with the Jim Root Jazzmaster V4, Jim can continue to entertain and inspire countless fans with a guitar that serves both metal and classic rock players at an accessible price point.

“A new decade brings a new opportunity to collaborate with Jim Root and work closely with him to materialise yet another of his artistic visions,” said Justin Norvell, EVP Fender Products. “From the new active EMG pickups to the all-new cosmetic treatment, this model, like its predecessors, offers a very different kind of playing experience for Jim Root fans, Slipknot fans, metal and rock fans who want a guitar spec’d for their playing style but with Fender looks.”

After receiving his first guitar at the age of 14, Root’s style continued to evolve over time. Throughout his 20-year relationship with Fender, Root has expressed his wide variety of inspirations with collaborations on a Telecaster®, Stratocaster®, and Jazzmaster. For heavy, molten metal riffage, the Jim Root Jazzmaster V4 showcases crushing detuned tone with a bold new look, providing players an opportunity to play heavier music while still rocking an iconic Fender guitar. Jim wanted to ensure that he had a accessibly-priced model for his fans that allowed players to boost the volume, cut through, and be heard. Over the course of a multi-decade relationship, Fender worked closely with the towering Slipknot guitarist to create a brutal-sounding signature Jazzmaster model that complements his heavy playing style. With only the crucial essentials on the guitar, the volume control and 3-way switch, this model brings a sleek and striking new look to Jim’s arsenal of tones.

“The Jazzmaster V4 is kind of like an evolution,” Root said. “It is so well balanced and feels so good to play on stage. It is all I want to play right now. It’s all about attitude—taking [a guitar] and making it your own. So much attitude can come from a vibe or a feeling or a notion – that vibe with this instrument is what got me to love guitars.”

New features inspired by the legendary guitarist’s preferences include: Jim Root signature active EMG pickups, a hardtail bridge and a sleek single knob volume control with a 3-way switch for deceptively simple access to crushing tones. The white neck binding with white pearloid block inlays reflects in dark light so players never have to be worried about losing their place. This all new model combines the resonance, authentic and iconic Jim Root tones all while looking sleek and minimalistic.

In true tradition, the Fender’s Artist Signature Series honors iconic musicians through product progression and storytelling, creating instruments inspired by the unique specifications of the world’s greatest guitarists and bassists. Learn more about the Jim Root Jazzmaster V4 and access product descriptions here; images can be found here.   

Learn more about Slipknot guitarist Jim Root as he sits down with Matt Sweeney and talks through his new signature Jazzmaster – featuring a Polar White satin finish, stripped-down controls and signature Daemonum open-coil EMG active pickups for his crushing metal sound in “Jim Root Jazzmaster V4 | Artist Signature Series | Fender”. For additional information on new Fender products or to find a retail partner near you, visit www.fender.com. Join the conversation on social media by following @Fender.

ABOUT THE JIM ROOT JAZZMASTER – $2,699.00
For heavy, molten metal riffage, the Jim Root Jazzmaster V4 delivers crushing detuned tone with a bold new look. We worked closely with the towering Slipknot guitarist to create a brutal-sounding signature Jazzmaster model that complements his heavy playing style—right down to its signature Daemonum™ open-coil EMG® active pickups, shred-worthy 12” radius fingerboard with jumbo frets, sparse control layout and more. The Jim Root Jazzmaster V4 dispenses with frivolities such as a vibrato, rhythm circuit, tone control – only crucial essentials remain: a volume control, a 3-way switch and a hardtail bridge. Featuring a mahogany slab body for crushing lows and mids, brilliant Polar White satin finish, maple neck with bound ebony fingerboard and pearloid block inlays, this devastating machine delivers heavy tones with a striking new look

ABOUT FENDER MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS CORPORATION:
Since 1946, Fender has revolutionized music and culture as one of the world’s leading musical instrument manufacturers, marketers and distributors. Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC)–whose portfolio of brands includes Fender®, Squier®, Gretsch® guitars, Jackson®, EVH® and Charvel®–follows a player-centric approach to crafting the highest-quality instruments and digital experiences across genres. Since 2015, Fender’s digital arm has introduced a new ecosystem of products and interactive experiences to accompany players at every stage of their musical journey. This includes innovative apps and learning platforms designed to complement Fender guitars, amplifiers, effects pedals, accessories and pro-audio gear, and inspire players through an immersive musical experience. FMIC is dedicated to unlocking the power of musical expression for all players, from beginners to history-making legends.

NAMM 2020: New Fender artist models including Tom Morello Soul Power guitar!

I can’t be the only one who has utterly craved a production version of Tom Morello’s ‘Soul Power’ Strat as used in Audioslave, right? Or a replica of Eric Johnson’s legendary ’54 Stratocaster named Virginia. And Slipknot’s Jim Root is a man of great taste when it comes to designing new guitars with Fender. So read on!

FENDER® EXPANDS ARTIST SIGNATURE SERIES LINEUP WITH ROCK AND HEAVY METAL LEGENDS, ERIC JOHNSON, JIM ROOT, TOM MORELLO

Eric Johnson “Virginia” Stratocaster® – The First Model Added to Fender’s Stories Collection – Jim Root Jazzmaster® V4 and Tom Morello “Soul Power” Stratocaster® Debut at Winter NAMM 2020

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (January 16, 2020)—Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) today announced three new additions to its Artist Signature Series electrics offering – the Eric Johnson “Virginia” Stratocaster, Jim Root Jazzmaster V4 and Tom Morello “Soul Power” Stratocaster – all debuting at Winter NAMM 2020 in Anaheim, Calif. Developed with rock, blues and heavy metal players in mind, these all-new Artist Signature Series models add performance-ready features and stylistic touches hand-selected by some of the industry’s most iconic players – from Grammy®-winner Eric Johnson and Slipknot guitarist Jim Root to Audioslave and Rage Against The Machine legend Tom Morello. 

For the first time, Fender has replicated and released Eric Johnson’s beloved ’54 “Virginia” Stratocaster, the instrument he used to record hit song “Cliffs of Dover,” the Tones record (1987 Grammy® nomination for Best Rock Instrumental Performance) and the Platinum Ah Via Musicom (1991 Grammy® for Best Rock Instrumental Performance) albums that made him a hero to music fans and guitarists alike. Built in Corona, California, this extremely limited-edition model combines extraordinary history and exceptional tone. Its rare sassafras body, custom switching and special set-up will thrill players and collectors by showcasing its unique silky tone and distinct fine grain appearance. The Eric Johnson “Virginia” Stratocaster will be the first model in Fender’s all-new Stories Collection, a celebration of the guitars that shaped history’s most iconic music and the details that made them unique. 

Both beautiful and beastly, the Jim Root Jazzmaster V4 is the fifth Fender artist signature model for Slipknot guitarist Jim Root; it features active humbucking pickups, a 12″ radius, jumbo frets ideal for heavy playing styles, an ebony fingerboard, block inlays and striking white finish that makes the guitar stand out on stage. Fender worked hand-in-hand with Root to deliver crushing detuned tone with an all-new bold look, culminating in a brutal-sounding signature Jazzmaster model that complements his heavy playing style.

The Tom Morello “Soul Power” Stratocaster is based on the modified Designer Series Strat, which Morello used during his time in Audioslave. Featuring an alder slab body with binding, a recessed Floyd Rose® locking tremolo system, Seymour Duncan Hot Rails bridge humbucker and two Fender Noiseless™ pickups, this Strat delivers powerful and unique effects from gentle rhythms to screaming feedback, chaotic stutters and more.

“We are excited to continue to work with such legendary players to help share their story through music,” said Justin Norvell, EVP Fender Products. “Whether it is their first Artist Signature model, or fifth, we continue Fender’s legacy by helping artists showcase the versatility of our instruments. Each Artist Signature model that we reveal at Winter NAMM this year will showcase a variety of exceptional, legendary tones that made music history.” 

Product Details: 

Eric Johnson “Virginia” Stratocaster – $4,999 (Launching February 2020) joins the Fender Stories Collection. Eric Johnson already had his 1954 “Virginia” Stratocaster when he recorded Tones and the Platinum Ah Via Musicom, groundbreaking albums that made him a hero to music fans and guitarists alike. To this day, Eric continues to release brilliant music, tour constantly and is, to the electric guitar community, a savant and widely followed tastemaker. In 2020, for the first time, Johnson’s 1954 “Virginia” Stratocaster will be replicated by both Fender Custom Shop and the Fender Corona Production line in limited numbers. With its rare sassafras body, lacquer finish, custom wiring and more, the Eric Johnson 1954 “Virginia” Stratocaster will thrill players and collectors alike with its distinctive look and exceptional tone. 

Jim Root Jazzmaster V4 – $2,699 (Launching March 2020) delivers detuned tone with a bold new look. Fender worked closely with the towering Slipknot guitarist to create a brutal-sounding signature Jazzmaster model that complements his heavy playing style—right down to its signature Daemonum™ open-coil EMG® active pickups, shred-worthy 12” radius fingerboard with jumbo frets, sparse control layout and more. The Jim Root Jazzmaster V4 dispenses with frivolities such as a vibrato, rhythm circuit and tone control. Only crucial essentials remain: a volume control, a 3-way switch and a hardtail bridge. Featuring a mahogany slab body for pronounced lows and mids, brilliant Polar White satin finish, maple neck with bound ebony fingerboard and pearloid block inlays, this powerful machine delivers brutal tone with a striking new look.

Tom Morello Stratocaster – $2,699 (Launching March 2020) is based on the modified Designer Series Strat used during his time in Audioslave and features an alder slab body with binding and a Deep “C”-shape maple neck with 9.5″-14″ compound radius rosewood fingerboard and 22 medium-jumbo frets. Other features include: a recessed Floyd Rose® locking tremolo system; Seymour Duncan Hot Rails bridge humbucker; two Fender Noiseless™ pickups in the neck and middle positions; a chrome pickguard; kill-switch toggle; locking tuners; matching painted headcap and iconic “Soul Power” body decal, and a black Fender case.

In true tradition, the Fender’s Artist Signature Series honors iconic musicians through product progression and storytelling, creating instruments inspired by the unique specifications of the world’s greatest guitarists and bassists. Learn more about the Artist Signature models and access product descriptions here; images can be found here.  

For technical specs, additional information on new Fender products and to find a retail partner near you, visit www.fender.com. Join the conversation on social media by following @Fender.

NAMM 2014: Fender Jim Root Jazzmaster

Jim RootFor a few years now, Slipknot/Stone Sour’s Jim Root has been appearing onstage with a Jazzmaster-based Fender kitted out with his preferred pickup combination of an EMG 81 in the bridge position and a 60 at the neck. Now, finally, you’ll be able to get your hands on one of your very own! The Fender Jim Root Jazzmaster is a very stripped-down take on what a Jazzmaster is: the pisition markers, chrome bridge, dual tone circuits and controls have been jettisoned, replaced by a hard-tail Stratocaster bridge, a master volume control and a 3-way pickup selector switch. The body is mahogany with a comfortable contoured neck heel, satin-finish maple neck with “modern C” profile and large headstock, compound-radius ebony fingerboard (12”-16”) with 22 jumbo frets, staggered deluxe locking tuners, black hardware and pickup bezels, and a Flat Black satin-nitro lacquer finish. Includes black tweed case with red plush interior, strap and strap locks, cable and polishing cloth.

Thanks to Guitar Noize for the heads-up on this one!  Read More …

Stone Sour hit the studio

Great to hear that Stone Sour have returned to the studio to record the follow-up to Audio Secrecy. I gave that album the ‘drag it out after about a year and see if it still holds up’ test last week, in fact, and found myself drawn to it pretty strongly (read my interview with guitarist Jim Root about it here). So I can’t wait to hear what they come up with next.

Here’s the press release.

STONE SOUR ENTER THE STUDIO TO RECORD FOURTH ALBUM

BAND RECORDING WITH PRODUCER DAVID BOTTRILL IN IOWA, USA

ALBUM TO BE RELEASED LATE 2012

Stone Sour, the Gold-certified, Grammy-nominated rock band, are proud to announce that they will begin recording their fourth album in March for longtime label Roadrunner Records. With most of thenew album already written, the band will soon head into Sound Farm Studios just outside of their native Des Moines, Iowa with producer David Bottrill (Tool, Muse, Staind). The album is expected in the Australian spring of 2012, two years after the band’s most recent long player Audio Secrecy, which debuted at No. 6 on the Billboard chart, No. 1 on the U.S. iTunes Rock Album chart, and scored the highest international debuts of the band’s career including Top 5 charts in Germany, Japan and Austria, and Top 10 in the U.K. and Australia.

Read More …

NAMM 2012: Squier Jim Root Telecaster and more!

Oh now this is neat! The Fender Jim Root Telecaster is an incredible instrument and it’s great to see a Squier equivalent.

PRESS RELEASE

SQUIER® BY FENDER® PROUDLY PRESENTS ALL-NEW SIGNATURE MODELS

Models honor pop-rock star Avril Lavigne, metal stalwart Jim Root, alt-rock bassist Mikey Way, and Biffy Clyro’s Simon Neil and James Johnston 

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (Jan. 9, 2012) – Squier is excited to introduce three new artist signature models, the Avril Lavigne Telecaster®, the Jim Root Telecaster®, and the Mikey Way Mustang® Bass. The three signature models promise star-like vibe and tone at incredible Squier value.

The new lavish, black-on-black Avril Lavigne Telecaster joins Lavigne’s chart-topping signature Tele, and features several striking touches, including a three-ply pickguard, knurled black flat-top volume control knob, a black headstock with die-cast turners, and a distinctive 12th-fret skull and crossbones logo.

Designed in cooperation with Slipknot/Stone Sour guitar speed demon Jim Root, the Jim Root Telecaster boasts several foreboding features, most notably an elegant satin-matte finish in black or white, starkly simple single-knob/single switch control layout, black die-cast tuners and other black hardware, and two pulverizing passive humbucking pickups with black covers.

Read More …

CD REVIEW: Stone Sour Audio Secrecy

Let’s get this out of the way. Yeah, two members of Stone Sour are in Slipknot. No, it’s not a Slipknot side project – Stone Sour dates back to 1992. And no, Audio Secrecy as an album isn’t as radio-friendly as a few of its lighter tracks would have you believe. Unlike Nickelback, the hard rock band that it’s okay for pop fans to like, Stone Sour is the hard rock band that it’s okay for dedicated metalheads to like.

That much is evident about two milliseconds into Mission Statement (which comes after the atmospheric, piano-driven 1:43 instrumental title track that opens the album). This track is worthy of Slipknot in quality and heaviness, and it sets the tone for the rest of the album. Corey Taylor’s voice surges from clean melodicism to raging Slipknot scowl and back, while the band explores all sorts of feels – double time, half time, from chugging riffs to big open chords. Check out the tag-team shredding guitar solos too. It’s a killer album opener and it leads perfectly into Digital (Did You Tell), which is all octave riffage and Devin Townsend-esque strumming. Actually it’s not a million miles removed from Devy’sAccelerated Evolution Devin Townsend Band album.

The first single, Say You’ll Haunt Me, is one of the album’s big highlights, heightened by a killer drum performance. It’s here that the magic touch of producer Nick Raskulinecz is revealed – dude couldn’t record a bad drum sound if he tried. The interplay between Jim Root and Josh Rand is really on display here, as is a cool wandering bass line. Check out the video below. (By the way, check out my interview with Jim Root here).

Dying is probably my least favourite track on the album, and the one most likely to draw comparisons to more straightforward FM radio rock. It’s not bad – in fact it’s really good, but it feels out of place after the crushing riffage of the previous three tracks. Let’s Be Honest features another killer octave-based riff and a cool stop-start drum/bass groove leading into a monster half-time chorus and a huge Sabbath-like middle section.Unfinished continues the minor key Sabbathy vibe – actually it reminds me of the band Heaven & Hell – while some carefully placed vocal harmonies keep it from sounding too heavy yet never quite become too pretty either.

Hesitate is another radio-friendly track with a nice droning guitar part and a big chorus. Nice melodic guitar solo too. Nylon 6/6 brings back the heavy, Slipknot vibe and some Perfect Circle-like vocal vibe. Miracles has some nice bright semi-clean guitar tones and atmospheric melody lines, while Pieces kinda reminds me of a heavy version of something from Eric Johnson’s Venus Isle album.

The Bitter End kicks off with another killer metal riff which will absolutely slay live, while some textural interludes add to the tension in a similar way to Bowie’s Hallo Spaceboy. It’s a cool effect that you don’t hear in metal so often. Some great soloing here too.

Imperfect is another acoustic-based ballad, this time with a very restrained, sparse vocal performance in the first half which is augmented with overdubs and harmonies later on. Some great David Gilmour-ish guitar soloing too.

Finally the album closes with Threadbare (dig that great Geezer Butler style bass tone). This track is acoustic-based too but is much darker and heavier than Imperfect, and it kicks into a big melodic heavy chorus. Then everything gets all doomy and heavy in the middle, with some intense delay effects and overdubs before the chorus returns and lifts the whole freaking song into the stratosphere. It’s a show-stopping ending to a very diverse album, and the ideal way of tying together the heavier, lighter and moodier aspects of the band into a neat package.

Thanks to Roadrunner Records Australia

 

INTERVIEW: Stone Sour’s Jim Root


Jim Root is one of the most versatile guitarists in rock. He gets to explore the darkest corners of metal – thrash, death, grind – in Slipknot, and he stretches out even further in Stone Sour. The band was formed in 1992 by future Slipknot vocalist Corey Taylor –Root joined in 1995 – and after a four-year hiatus it was reactivated in 2002, quickly establishing huge critical and fan acclaim. The new Stone Sour album, Audio Secrecy, was produced by Nick Raskulinecz [Alice In Chains’ Black Gives Way To Blue, Deftones’Diamond Eyes, Rush’s Snakes & Arrows], and is released by Roadrunner in September (September 3 in Australia and Germany, September 6 in the UK, and September 9 in the US).

I understand you and Josh Rand recorded most of your guitar parts at the same time?

Yeah, about 90% of the songs were recorded at the same time. We record what we call ‘stripes,’ which is basically the entire band with the exception of [drummer] Roy Mayorga, playing to a click track. Then Roy can play along to these tracks and play around them. He kind of pushes and pulls around the click track a little bit anyways. We wanted a polished but still live-feeling record. When me and Josh started tracking live next to each other it was cool because we would kind of lock in with each other a little bit tighter rather than me going first and then him trying to lock in with the way I play or vice versa. You can hear everything that’s going on, I play a little bit more like him, he plays a little bit more like me, and it’s all very organic.

I’ve noticed in the last couple of years, a lot of the bands I’ve interviewed have gone back to more traditional ways of doing things – making an actual recording rather than a production.

And that’s the thing that freaked me out a little bit when we were working with [producer] Dave Fortman. I saw him and his engineer cutting and pasting stuff and I just about fucking freaked out! ‘What are you doing!?! No, we’re not doing that!’ I’m a guitar player. That means I play guitar, you know what I mean? You’re not going to get one good round take of a measure then stretch it out over eight bars, you know what I mean? That’s not how we’re doing this.

Nick Raskulinecz has produced a great albums for Alice In Chains and Deftones lately, and he did Stone Sour’s last album, Come What(ever) May. What’s he like to work with?

Nick, he’s cool, man. I’ve worked with a few different producers and Nick’s like a combination of a few different guys. He’s not like ‘my way or the highway.’ He’s very hands on. He’s very involved with everything from the beginning until the end. Sometimes he can be a little disorganised, but it’s rock and roll, you know what I mean, we’re not punching a clock. We just figure out what we’re gonna do that day. He’s a little bit like Ross [Robinson] in the fact that he gets you pumped up and he gets you excited about what you’re doing, and he’s a little bit like [Rick] Rubin in that he’s a little bit precise and if shit isn’t sounding good we’ll go back and do it and do it until it does. And he’s really involved with pre-production too, which is a cool thing, especially for us because we don’t have a whole lot of time for that type of stuff. Corey and I are juggling Slipknot and Stone Sour so it’s basically right off the road and into the studio.

So your approach to guitar in Stone Sour – obviously you have a lot of room to throw in different styles and things.

I kinda get to do a lot of everything in both bands. I don’t really go into a record with a certain goal, like I’m going to do this, or I’m going to play this certain way. I just live in the moment as it comes, and it’s a lot more natural and organic. If there’s a tune we’re working on that someone else has written, I like to approach that song – like, I’ll learn that song in preproduction, obviously – but when it comes to laying different guitar tracks and coming up with different melody lines and stuff, I like to hit that on the spur of the moment, because usually what happens is, nine out of ten times, the first thing you come up with right off the top of your head ends up being the best thing. And then you’re chasing that the rest of the time. You can always take that first thing, as long as it’s been captured on the computer – I was going to say tape but you don’t use that any more! As long as it’s captured and it’s there, even if there’s a clam or a bad not you can be like, ‘That’s the vibe of what it is,’ and you can build on it from there. To me that’s where the most natural and hookiest stuff comes from.

I notice that too. If I improvise a solo it’s always way better than if I try to write it.

I’m the same way too. I never write solos out. I’ll have a general idea of what I want to do: I’ll have a melody line hummed out in my head, and I’ll have to find it on the fretboard, and I’ll just go from there. Nick hates that. He wants everyone to write everything out, and Josh is that way. He’s a writer. I’ll ad lib my solos live. To me that’s a little bit more edgy and punk rock and flying by the seat of your pants, and it keeps people wondering. For me it’s a million times more interesting than watching a guitar player that plays a solo note for note like it is on the record. Unless you’re going to see a band like Dream Theater or something like that.

Plus you always surprise yourself, like, ‘Hey, I’m better than I thought!’

It’s true, man! The more you play and the longer you’ve been touring and the longer you’ve been playing the songs, the more fluid you become – I call it liquid. You don’t even think what you’re doing, it just flows out as soon as something pops into your head. It’s almost like the Force takes over! Something will pop into your head a nanosecond before you’re going to play it or before the beat happens. You just find yourself doing it. That’s a great feeling. I love that feeling, man. It’s second to none. To me that’s way more interesting than ‘Here’s your solo, it starts on the 22nd fret and you’re going to do this arpeggio, and the third, and blah blah blah.” I like to change the shapes up a little bit, y’know? Or throw a delay on. Fuck it! (Laughs).

That was something I was going to ask about a little later, actually: the MXR Carbon Copy analog delay you use. I have one and I love it.

I have two of those in my rack right now, on the same pedalboard. I’ve got one set a little bit faster than the other one. I love those pedals, man. When we’re with Slipknot, at the beginning of the set I’d come up while the intro tape is rolling and I’d play with the rate and it would repeat all over itself and you’d get some really cool sounds. And it’s never the same thing twice.

I like to use it as a dirty reverb kind of sound.

Yeah you can do that, you can get really good rockabilly sounds out of it. It’s just a great pedal, and it doesn’t colour the tone. There are so many of those pedals out there, the analog delay pedals, that make everything a little bit leaner-sounding. The Carbon Copy sounds very analog, and it’s a cool little green pedal. It’s awesome.

What’s it like having your own signature Fender Strat and Telecaster?

I’ll tell you what, man, it’s a big honour, you know what I mean? In a million years… I mean, I put off doing a signature model for so long because there are so many things I wanted to achieve out of a guitar and it really took me eight or nine years to troubleshoot guitars. I went through a few different companies, then I kinda went back to what I learned to play on as a kid which was Charvels. I went through the PRS thing, I tried Jacksons for a while, and they’re all great guitars, but there are so many different things that I wanted to achieve with a signature model. I wanted it to be a workhorse live, and very road-ready, something that’ll stand up to months and months – if not years and years – of being on the road. For instance, my number one Tele that I use on stage is the number one prototype, the white one. It has an ebony board on it. That thing, I’ve had on tour with me since [Stone Sour’s] Come What(ever) May and it looks like it’s a 30-year-old guitar, and it’s the best sounding one. It’s all over the [Slipknot] All Hope Is Gone record. It’s all over this new Audio Secrecy record, and it’s our sound guy’s favourite guitar because it’s got such a rich, thick, bold sound to it. But I wanted them to be a workhorse live and I also wanted them to be a tone machine in the studio. I really wanted to record with them and that’s why I chose mahogany. That’s the wood. Over the years, the more records we did, I found a lot of the guitars we would pick, me and producers or me and first engineers, whether it’s Ross Robinson or Greg Fidelman or even Nick, we would always go to Gibsons and mahogany guitars, so I’m like, ‘Okay, so why don’t we do a mahogany guitar with a rock maple neck?’ And I’m on the fence between maple and ebony – I love the feel of both of them. Different days I like the feel of different ones. So Fender was cool enough to let me do two different colours and give you the option of a maple board on one and an ebony board on the other. I wasn’t really able to make up my mind, but now that I’ve had the guitars for a few years and I’ve been touring with them for quite a while, and even the Strats, I’m starting to favour the darker boards, the ebonys and rosewoods. If you see me playing a guitar that should have a maple board on it but it’s got an ebony board, that’s why: I’ve had the guitar tech swap the necks on them.

They’re very stripped down and refined guitars – they’re so simple but there must have been a lot of work to getting them to be that simple.

There really was. Honestly,there was a good six or so years of going back and forth between Charvel and Fender, and I even took the Flathead, and that was the basis of what the model was going to be: it was going to be based on the Custom Shop Flathead. And that’s what they were trying to push me towards in the beginning, and then the Charvels came out and I started to play those, because they were the USA San Dimas’s just like the ones I used to play when I was 13 or 14. They’re really cool guitars and I used them for the Subliminal Verses tour, but when it came time to design one, I don’t know, it just didn’t feel right. I crawled on my hands and knees back to Alex at Fender and said ‘Please, just let me do a Tele. Please, please, please,’ and he was like, ‘Okay, but it’s probably not going to be a Custom Shop model with the specs that you want. It’s probably going to have to be a Mexican one to keep the price down.’ My big thing at the time was to keep it under $1,000, which was extremely hard to do. Now they’re well above that which is a shame, but I did everything in my power to keep it around a thousand. I definitely wanted it to be something that anybody who wanted a good quality guitar could get their hands on, and I didn’t want to load it up with tribal S’s, number fours, or SS logos from Stone Sour, or bleeding-eye angels or whatever. I wanted it to be a little bit ambiguous. If you’re playing one, you wouldn’t really know it’s my model.

Last thing before our time is up is, you guys are coming down to Australia for the Soundwave festival – that’s going to be pretty kickass.

Any chance we get to come to Australia, especially a tour like Soundwave! We did the Big Day Out a few years back, and that was one of the funnest tours we’ve ever done. Everyone on the tour called it the Big Day Off because it’s three days off, play a show, then three days off. And Australia’s such a friendly place, everybody is so awesome and everybody just wanted to have a great time and good fun. It’s a pleasure to be coming back down there and I hope we do more than just Soundwave.

And Soundwave’s really overtaken the Big Day Out these last few years, especially for heavier music. This one’s got Slayer, Iron Maiden, Primus, Slash, Queens of the Stone Age…

It’s going to be killer.

Thanks to Roadrunner Records Australia