New Jackson Signature Models

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You may remember Scott Ian of Anthrax discussing his badass Jackson King V in our interview recently. This incredible guitar is now available to the public in two versions, including a USA-built behemoth. Jackson has also announced new signature models for Misha Mansoor, Phil Collen, Mark Morton and Dave Davidson. Read More …

Chris Adler Confirmed For Megadeth Album

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It’s a shame that news of this leaked early because it’s been fun following the official Megadeth site’s drip-feeding of information about the band’s 15th album. They’ve just confirmed – via a memory game on their website where you had to match images of Megadeth album covers, pics of adorable lambs, and images of various film depictions of God (George Burns, Morgan Freeman and Alanis Morrissette). A press release has also been sent out to media and you can read it below. So who will the guitarist be? There are rumours about that too but let’s just wait and see. I’m quite enjoying how the band is choosing to put the information out there.  Read More …

ESP Previews New Models, New USA Factory!

espthumbIt’s no secret that ESP has been planning to hugely revamp their line in 2014, with the roll-out of the new E-II brand, new signature models and other fun stuff. They’ve just dropped a whole bunch of new models onto their website for us to drool over ahead of NAMM, and many of them sport some pretty damn tasty Seymour Duncan pickups, like the Mystique FR with a Custom 5 in the bridge position and ’59 at the neck. But some of the biggest news is that ESP is opening its own USA factory this year! It’s in North Hollywood, and here’s what ESP President Matt Masciandaro has to say about it: “This is a significant milestone for ESP. For years there has been a demand for a domestic factory, allowing us to create guitars that are 100% made in the USA. Weʼre very excited about the new opportunities for ESP dealers, and new choices for our customers.” Read More …

Official statement from Randy Blythe

RANDY BLYTHE OFFICIAL STATEMENT

Greetings. This is D. Randall Blythe, checking in from my beloved hometown of Richmond, VA, United States of America. I was recently released on bail from Pankrác Prison in Prague, Czech Republic, after over a month of incarceration. Now that I am out for the moment, I would like to say a few things.

1.    While in prison, I had minimal knowledge of how my case was viewed anywhere but the Czech Republic. I was told by my attorney that I had a lot support from peers in the music industry, my hometown, fans, and of course my family.  I cannot express how emotional it made me upon my release to read about even a fraction of the voices that were raised on my behalf. From legends in my music community, to fans across the world, and even people who were previously unaware of my existence but sympathized with my plight- I am truly humbled.  I cannot thank you enough for your thoughts and prayers. I would especially like to thank the people of Richmond, VA, for standing by me. In the 48 hours I have been home, many people I have never met before have stopped me on the street, waved and smiled as I passed by, or said hello in a restaurant. All have said “We are glad you are home, Randy”. You all make me proud and grateful that I call Richmond home.

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New Pickup Day: DiMarzio Dominions

This weekend I installed a set of DiMarzio Dominion humbuckers in my Ibanez RG550MMX. These pickups are the signature models for Lamb of God guitarist Mark Morton. I spoke with Morton about these recently for the debut issue of Heavy magazine. Here’s a snippet from the article:

 

Morton describes the pickups as medium-output passive humbuckers with a real creamy, smooth quality to them that’s not brittle or barky at all. “It’s a real tight, silky gain structure that’s really nice, and works well in different situations,” he says. “Again going for something that’s versatile, that will crunch up really nice for a Lamb of God gig but which I can also plug in and play Cream covers with my buddies with. I don’t understand why everybody uses active pickups. I don’t. It’s like the guitar playing itself when you use actives. To my ears it should be all about subtleties and nuance and dynamics, and actives just murder all of those!”

 

You can read more about the Dominion bridge and neck models at the DiMarzio website. A review is coming soon, but below a little clip of me noodling on them using AmpKit on my iPad with a Line 6 Mobile In interface just after I installed them.

 

INTERVIEW: Lamb of God’s Chris Adler

Lamb of God have been around long enough to to be practically considered elder statesmen of modern post-Metallica metal. No, no, it’s true! They formed in 1994, which means they’ve been together for 17 years. That’s five more than The Beatles. Or, to put it in more metallic terms, by the time Metallica were at that point in their career they’d released Kill ‘Em All, Ride The Lightning, Master Of Puppets, …And Justice For All, the Black album, Load and Re-Load. Lamb of God are at the point in their career where they could comfortably settle into a nice rhythm of playing their many classics, maybe throwing in the occasional new song, then going home to watch Letterman. But they’re not like that. With the huge success of Wrath a few years ago, LoG are ready to knock it up a level with Resolution. I spoke with drummer Chris Adler for Mixdown Magazine. The following is an extended version of that interview. I’m sure I Heart Guitar readers won’t mind some percussive insight.

 

What was the goal for Resolution?

“It’s a really special record. It’s a difficult thing to do, to continue doing what we’re doing at this point. Well, I guess it’s easy for some people. We’ve had some success and it would be easy to just copy what we’ve done, but to stay relevant and to stay important and to stay internally happy and satisfied it’s really essential to kind of kick it up a notch. One of the things that came into my mind with the process was, this is our seventh record. Obviously we’re very lucky to have a career that’s lasted this long. Who knows how long it’s going to last? A lot of people don’t get to be there this long, so we’re very lucky. And let’s take note of the fact that as a fan of many different types of music  – metal, rock, – I’ve never, ever said “Oh I love that band. Their seventh record is the best one.” Nobody ever says that! So I in the back of my head this was very important for me. It may not be that, but it was important for me to come up with a way to create a very record that, in a legitimate way, could be as good if not more important than our first, second, third record, whatever the case may be in the fan’s minds. So I wanted to push myself as a player and not rest on what we’d done before, not go for the cash grab or the label money or whatever. We don’t have to make metal records. We’re in a very fortunate spot and we don’t have to do this. We want to do this. But there’s no reason – because we don’t have to do this – to repeat ourselves, and there’s no reason to not try to step it up and do something that’s more than what we’ve done before.

 

Read More …

REVIEW: Jackson Mark Morton Dominion


The other day I bought Lamb of God’s new CD, Wrath, and it’s got some killer old-school thrash moments on it. Lamb of God played at the Soundwave festival the other day but unfortunately they were scheduled to play at the same time as Nine Inch Nails, and a decision had to be made, so NIN won out and I’ll catch Lamb of God next time. Anyway, here’s my review of the Jackson Mark Morton Dominion signature model.

This made-in-Japan metal machine looks a little unassuming at first. The body outline almost resembles an amoeba or a melted Fender Jaguar, but structurally the guitar has more in common with Gibson’s classic designs than Fender’s. (Interestingly, Fender Musical Instrument Corporation owns Jackson, after reportedly trumping an offer to buy Jackson by Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine a few years ago).

Buy the Jackson Mark Morton Dominion from Musician’s Friend.

The Dominion is available in five transparent colours: Wine Drunk, Primer, Bourbon Burst, River Bed and Old School Burst. It features a chambered mahogany body with a quilt maple top – yep, chambered. It’s almost unheard of for a metal guitar to be chambered or hollow (with the exception of the weight relieving in later Les Pauls), because some feel that such construction techniques would invite uncontrollable feedback to burst through the door and stomp all over your guitar tone, but that doesn’t seem to be an issue with this axe, and I’m sure it plays more than a little role in helping to give this guitar a tone all its own.

Construction is of the neck-through-body variety, with the mahogany neck reinforced with graphite rods for stability. The bridge is a Schaller 456 fully adjustable bridge with anchored tailpiece. The neck has 22 jumbo frets on an ebony fingerboard, a wood prized for its solid, consistent tone, tight grain, and blacker-than-black looks.

Pickups are a pair of Seymour Duncan ’59 models in the bridge and neck. Each pickup has dedicated volume and tone controls, as well as a coil tap switch for single coil sounds.

I tested the Dominion out by using it to record some rhythm tracks for a song I had kicking around. First up was a chunky rhythm part which combined palm-muted pedal tones and ringing chord stabs. I selected the bridge humbucker for the first take, and switched it to single coil mode for the second. This allowed me to blend the two sounds during mix down to get the best of both worlds. The Dominion’s tone is loud and bold, no doubt aided by the chambering inside the body. Every strum or pick sets off a palpable resonance within the body, and single note lines blossom with harmonic complexity. Although Morton uses this axe in a band with two guitars, it sounds fat enough to fill up more than enough space in a single guitar band, and it covers enough ground for rhythm and lead styles.

Playability is not what you would expect from a metal guitar. It’s not a firey-fingered shred monster, and if you’re more at home with Gibson-style designs you’ll feel comfortable with this guitar. It’s not hard to play at all, but it does expect you to do most of the work, unlike most metal axes which seem to play themselves.

While there are signs this is Morton’s signature guitar – his signature on the truss rod cover, the distinctive gothic headstock outline, the shark eye inlays – the Dominion has enough common appeal to transcend the signature axe stigma and be seen as a unique guitar in its own right.