Watch Paul Reed Smith’s TED Talk

prsPaul Reed Smith is an innovator and a really great ambassador for the guitar in general. If you’ve ever been lucky enough to meet him in person, you’d know that he has this really contagious combination of enthusiasm and knowledge. Put a guitar in his hands and he seems to instantly become about 16 years old, and yet if you ask him to explain a design principle or a spec choice, he’s incredibly eloquent. You’ll see a great example of the latter in his TED talk, embedded below (or here if you’d like to open it in another window). Read More …

INTERVIEW: Steven Wilson

theravenRegarded as a visionary and one of the driving forces behind the modern progressive rock/metal movement, Steven Wilson, the man who created Porcupine Tree, is an eclectic and prolific artist who is able to tap into the pure emotional heart of his music as well as the intellectual side without compromising either. Witnessing a Steven Wilson live performance is to be engulfed by mind-bending visuals and a bombastic aural surroundscape. His latest album, The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories) is perfectly built for the live stage. Actually, scratch that: the album is so ambitious and enveloping that it requires a special stage setup in order to pull it off in a way that’s true to Wilson’s vision. So when Wilson tours Australia this month, he’s brought with him a quadraphonic PA system as well as multimedia visuals for a truly immersive experience. Accompanying Wilson is a collective of world class calibre musicians:  Guthrie Govan on lead guitar, Adam Holzman on keys, Theo Travis on flute and sax, Nick Beggs on bass guitar and Chapman Stick, and Frank Zappa drummer Chad Wackerman – drums. I caught up with Wilson on the eve of the tour to talk surround-sound, the guitar, the creative process and the shifting musical landscape. Read More …

PRS Introduces Affordable US-Made S2 Range

cu_mcAin’t no way around it: US-PRS guitars are pricey. And with good reason: they’re made to very high standards and their quality control is legendary. Not to mention the playability, the tone, the looks… you know you’re getting your money’s worth when you buy a PRS. The SE line does a great job of putting affordable instruments in the hands of players, but there was still a bit of a gap there in terms of an affordable US-made PRS. Well no more! The S2 series offers three models (Custom 24, Starla and Mira) which are made alongside their pricier brethren in Maryland, USA but with a few concessions made to lowering the price, such as clever use of bevelling instead of the more labour-intensive top-carving process.  Read More …

Orianthi PRS Guitar Auction

Laura-Whitmore-and-Orianthi-with-guitar-to-the-rightThe WiMN (Women’s International Music Network) are giving you the opportunity to bid on a rare piece of rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia: a Paul Reed Smith Orianthi Signature guitar and autographed by the queen of shred herself. This beautiful scarlet red guitar was graciously donated by Paul Reed Smith and comes with a padded case. Orianthi’s autograph reads: “Peace, Love & Rock, Orianthi.” As seen in the photos below, Orianthi signed this guitar at the 2013 She Rocks Awards, where she was honored with the Inspire Award. Read More …

Orianthi ‘Heaven In This Hell’ Video

orianthi-heaven-in-this-hell-coverOrianthi has just released the video for her single Heaven In This Hell, which you can view below. In the video Orianthi uses a PRS JA15, which I asked her about recently. “That’s a new guitar I’ve totally fallen in love with,” she said. “It’s amazing. The pickups, everything about it, it’s just incredible. I play Custom 24s and 22s and my own model a lot, and when I was out at their headquarters in LA I played a black one, then I had a video shoot coming up for Heaven In This Hell and it’s all in black and white, and I wanted something that was going to pop and look kind of ‘classic rock.’ So I reached out to PRS and I was like, ‘Hey, I’m looking at using a PRS that’s really different and I really dig the JA15 I was playing before…’ then after that I didn’t want to give it back. I love it! It just sounds so good. And I’m really fussy with guitars. They all have different personalities. Some you really take to, and when you hit a chord or play a melody it’s just right. And this guitar is so great, plugged in or not plugged in.”

Here’s the video:

 

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INTERVIEW: Tommy Emmanuel

Tommy Emmanuel is one of the world’s greatest guitar treasures. He’s on the road pretty much constantly in the US, Europe and Asia; Chet Atkins famously conferred upon him the title of CGP (Certified Guitar Player); and he’s generally regarded as the finest fingerpicker in the world. But his skills were developed from an early age as a child star playing all over Australia in the Emmanuel family band, and he proudly plays Melbourne-made Maton guitars. And Tommy never forgets where he came from, returning home regularly to thrill audiences with his acoustic and electric brilliance. Tommy toured Australia 18 months ago with his brother Phil, and that tour featured plenty of electric guitar playing and a full band. But he’s back right now to play a run of acoustic dates, with special guest Frank Vignola.

Tommy was something of an underground guitar hero in the 1980s but he came to the attention of the Australian music world at large with the release of his album Determination in 1992, and its 1993 follow-up The Journey. The associated tours took Tommy and his band all around the country, playing to regional audiences not often visited by instrumental guitar acts. “That’s right,” Tommy says. “Half the guys still don’t go to Perth because it’s so far to get over there and it’s hard for them to make the kind of money they’re looking for. But I always do Perth, no matter what. You’ve got to!”

Read More …