Fascinating Facts About Steve Vai’s Passion And Warfare

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Steve Vai’s Passion & Warfare turned 25 years old this past July, and the guitar has never been the same. Part hard rock, part psychedelia filtered through 80s neon, part Looney Toons soundtrack, part Zappa, Passion & Warfare found Vai breaking out on his own with an incredible level of focus and determination. Read More …

IK Multimedia announces AmpliTube 4!

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For many years now I’ve been a huge fan of IK Multimedia’s AmpliTube range of amp/effect/cabinet simulators. AmpliTube 3 is still my go-to plug-in even after years of reviewing anything and everything. In fact, at this very moment I’m getting to know AmpliTube: MESA/Boogie for a review, and it’s once again demonstrating how incredibly flexible and detailed the AmpliTube universe is. And now IK Multimedia has announced AmpliTube 4, with some really advanced new features and a suite of new British-inspired amplifiers, including one based on the legendary Marshall JMP-1 tube MIDI preamp! And something I’ve been hoping for for quite a while: an effects loop insert point between the preamp and power amp. Awesome. Below is the video and press release.

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REVIEW: Yngwie Malmsteen @ 170 Russell

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There’s no question that Yngwie Malmsteen is one of the greatest, fastest and most excessive rock guitarists of all time. But you don’t really get an appreciation for just how good he is until you experience it in person. Yngwie just continues to get better and better, which is no mean feat when you consider how great he was right out of the gate. So, having missed his last Australian tour and his clinic tour, I was really excited to catch Yngwie this time around. Read More …

Universal Audio Marshall Plexi Super Lead Plug-In

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PRESS RELEASE: Universal Audio and Softube are proud to announce the Marshall “Plexi” Super Lead plug-in — the only Marshall-branded amplifier plug-in on the market — coming exclusively to Apollo audio interfaces and the UAD Powered Plug-Ins platform in May 2015. The 100-watt Marshall Super Lead Model 1959, commonly referred to as the “Plexi,” is one of the world’s most celebrated guitar amps. Softube worked with Marshall and recording engineer Tony Platt (AC/DC’s Highway to Hell and Back in Black) to craft a stunningly faithful emulation of Marshall’s own reference Super Lead Model 1959 amp, built in 1967 and captured using an era-correct 1960BHW speaker cabinet in Kore Studios, London. Read More …

Zakk Wylde Introduces Wylde Audio

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Zakk Wylde has long been one of Gibson and Marshall’s most popular artists. The very idea of Zakk leaving either for another company at this stage seems utterly unbelievable. But that’s what’s happened: it’s just that Zakk hasn’t taken his considerable endorsement weight to other guitar and amp brands. He’s created his own instead. Wylde Audio will make guitars, amps, effects and all sorts of accessories. I caught up with Zakk to find out what’s what. Read More …

NAMM: Marshall Woburn Bluetooth Music Speakers

PRESS RELEASE: Named for locations in London that are significant to the history of Marshall Amplification, Marshall Headphones has produced a range of portable music speakers with high quality audio reproduction and the classic look of Marshall amps. Just like the glory days of rock ‘n’ roll the Woburn signifies freedom – the freedom to play your music wherever you want, in multiple ways. The largest in the Marshall music speaker series, the Woburn can really rock the place. It’s built to thrill. Read More …

INTERVIEW: Yngwie J Malmsteen

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Yngwie Malmsteen is the undisputed master of neoclassical guitar. Other players like Richie Blackmore and Uli Jon Roth had explored elements of the style but none pushed it to quite the extremes that Yngwie did. A million guitarists arose in his wake to try to copy what he was doing but none have managed to capture Yngwie’s pure power and dazzling technique. As Yngwie himself puts it when discussing the various Yngwie clones who sprung up over the years, “And that’s why I call myself Yngwie J Malmsteen, not to be confused with all the other Yngwie Malmsteens.” And Yngwie is about to hit Australia for his first concert tour since 2006 (tickets here). Read More …

INTERVIEW: Opeth’s Mikael Åkerfeldt

Opeth Opeth unashamedly alienated some of their fan base with their 2011 album Heritage. While a large portion of their fans were drawn to the Swedesh masters for their progressive death metal leanings, Heritage was primarily inspired by 70s fusion in the style of John McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra – and there wasn’t a single death-growl to be heard anywhere. And now, with Pale Communion, Opeth has moved sideways again, a little away from some of the jazzier moments of Heritage and towards more of a 1970s progressive rock feel, while still a million miles removed from death metal. It’s an album which will challenge some fans while thrilling others, but the overall impression from a chat with frontman Mikael Åkerfeldt is that he’s driven solely by his artistry, and this is what he’s feeling right now.  Read More …