Rick Nielsen Exclusive Signing at Chicago Music Exchange

PRESS RELEASE: Chicago Music Exchange will be hosting Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Rick Nielsen, at an exclusive in-store event on Wednesday, March 2, 2016, to coincide with the release of the brand new aged and signed Gibson Custom Shop Collector’s Choice Rick Nielsen 1959 Les Paul Standard Sunburst electric guitar, limited in production to 50 instruments worldwide. Select guests have the rare opportunity to meet Nielsen as he signs their new guitar in person, a unique product launch experience like never before. A brief meet and greet will precede a Q&A session with Nielsen and representatives of Gibson. Following discussion, each of the 50 guitars will be signed in store. Food will be provided by FIG Catering, and beer by Flying Dog Brewery.
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INTERVIEW: Tommy Thayer of KISS

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KISS are about to hit Australia on their 40th anniversary tour, and if there’s one thing you can rely on in music, it’s that KISS are going to put on a big, big show. But this time they’re bringing their biggest: their ‘Spider’ lighting rig is coming with them to tower over the band and be even more menacing than Gene Simmons’ famous blood-spewing bass solo. And on stage left you’ll find Tommy Thayer inhabiting the role of the Spaceman as he has done since 2002. In the 13 years since Tommy started donning the iconic makeup and costume he’s gradually added hints of his own character to the icon. You can hear it in a certain confidence to his own solos, and see it in his choice of guitars, which diverge from the three-pickup Les Pauls Ace Frehley used when he was the Spaceman. Read More …

INTERVIEW: Ace Frehley

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Ace Frehley. Just the mere mention of his name is enough to send a jolt through the veins of those with even a passing knowledge of KISStory. Whether you subscribe to the mythology of ‘Space Ace’ being a visitor from the planet Jendel or you tend to go with the less colourful version of the story (he’s from the Bronx), Ace represents a certain combination of earthiness and exoticness. In his days with KISS his iconic Spaceman character brought comic book mystique to established guitar hero tropes. His post-KISS career has seen him explore material that’s generally a little more ‘street,’ with more overt nods to his bluesier inspirations. But that doesn’t mean Ace is averse to an occasional trip back to his home planet: last year he released Space Invader, a self-produced album of mostly original tracks along with a very Ace-ian cover of Steve Miller’s “The Joker” which enjoyed a #9 debut on the Billboard 200 charts – the only time a solo album by any past or present KISS member has hit the US top 10. And Ace returns to Australia in April and May with his triple-pickup Les Pauls in tow. Tickets here. Read More …

REVIEW: Gibson Bill Kelliher Halcyon Les Paul

Bill Kelliher Halcyon Les Paul

Mastodon guitarist Bill Kelliher’s first signature instrument was the Gibson Golden Axe Explorer, a visually stunning instrument that combined classic explorer looks with an eye-catching golden brown sunburst finish and Kelliher’s signature Lace Sensor Dissonant Aggressor passive humbucker pickups. The Golden Axe is already becoming quite hard to find because these limited edition beasts are very much coveted, not just by Mastodon fans – they achieve the rare feat of crossing over to guitar fans in general – and anyone who gets one tends to hang onto it. The new Bill Kelliher Halcyon Les Paul follows a similar track, kitting out a classic Les Paul design with a few of Kelliher’s own personal touches and in the process creating a guitar that will please all sorts of players, whether they’ve heard of Mastodon or not.

Click Here to buy the Gibson Bill Kelliher Halcyon Les Paul

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REVIEW: DiMarzio PAF Master Humbuckers

There are many, many different pickups out there that are inspired by Gibson’s ‘Patent Applied For’ humbucker invented by Seth Lover. Some makers go to incredible lengths to replicate not only the raw materials but also the chaotic, random unpredictability that went into the creation of those original 50s PAFs. DiMarzio’s PAF® Master bridge and neck models are designed with the spirit of those original PAFs in mind but DiMarzio says they’re more about paying tribute to the original sound rather than cloning it. So these pickups use several of DiMarzio’s patented ideas, and the coils are purposely tuned to specific differing frequencies to generate a version of the legendary PAF snarl without compromising the pickup’s ability to hum-cancel (which can be a problem with some of the originals and some of the more randomly-constructed PAF-alikes of the kind you tend to find from some of the smaller builders). See DiMarzio pickups on eBay here. Read More …

7-String Les Paul Makes Life Worth Living

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Uh oh. Don’t tell my wallet but Gibson just released my dream guitar: a 7-string Les Paul with Seymour Duncan JB and ’59 humbuckers (the ’59 is my favourite neck pickup) and a 15dB onboard boost! The Les Paul Classic 7-string has all the stuff you’d expect from a Les Paul – mahogany body and neck, maple top, rosewood fretboard, Tune-O-Matic bridge with stop tailpiece, 24.75” scale length – but it’s also got, y’know, an extra string.

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Epiphone Ltd. Ed. Slash “Rosso Corsa” Les Paul

Epiphone Slash Rosso Corsa Les PaulOne of my favourite Gibsons of all time is a quite recent one: the Slash Rosso Corsa model. Something about that deep red with the zebra Seymour Duncan pickups just really gets to me. I know I’m not alone: I’m told by various folks that the Gibson models sold quite quickly indeed. Now Slash has teamed up with Epiphone to offer a more affordable version of the guitar: the Epiphone Ltd. Ed. Slash “Rosso Corsa” Les Paul. It’s at the high end of Epiphone gear in terms of price and appointments, which I think is cool because if they’d instead gone with a Les Paul Special or something you wouldn’t get the full pop of a carved top or that classic balance between trapezoid inlays and Tune-O-Matic/tailpiece (ever notice how they both lead your eye towards the neck pickup and pickup switch? I love design touches like that). There’s a video below, followed by the press release. Read More …

REVIEW: Gibson Les Paul Melody Maker

Gibson Les Paul Melody MakerThere are certain things we think of when we hear ‘Gibson Les Paul.’ Chief among these are the single cutaway design, two pickups each with their own volume and tone controls, and a carved top. And Gibson’s long-running Melody Maker model differs from this in many key ways, including a slab body, pickguard-mounted controls (most often just single volume and tone knobs), and usually just a single pickup. The Les Paul Melody Maker combines aspects of both designs and it does so in a way that brings out the best elements of each at a price that’s almost unheard of for a US-made guitar.  Read More …