INTERVIEW: Story Of The Year’s Ryan Phillips

photoStory Of The Year’s 2003 debut album Page Avenue was a landmark of the post-hardcore genre. Three more albums followed before the band went on hiatus in 2011. Nobody quite knew when the lads would get back together again. Thankfully the break was short-lived and the band returned in 2013 with Page Avenue: 10 Years And Counting, which saw the debut reimagined with new, acoustic-based arrangements which revealed new layers of depth and emotional resonance without resorting to wimpy acoustic stereotypes: this was every bit a Story Of The Year creation, rather than a phoned-in strum-along. The band is returning to Australia in June to celebrate Page Avenue by performing the album in its entirety, including of course the hits “Until The Day I Die,” “Anthem Of Our Dying Day” and “Sidewalks” as well as a bunch of fan favourites and surprises. I caught up with guitarist Ryan Phillips to talk about the tour, the album and guitar nerd stuff. 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 …

COOL GEAR ALERT: PRS Guitars “Stripped” 58

Today I had the huge honour of spending about an hour with Paul Reed Smith himself for a huge interview which will be posted on I Heart Guitar soon. We talked about a lot of very interesting stuff – various PRS pickups, signature artists, the growth of the SE division, PRS’s wood stocks, and much more. One thing I wish we’d touched on but didn’t was this beauty: the PRS Guitars “Stripped” 58 model. Originally offered as a limited run for Experience PRS in 2011, this guitar is based on the popular SC 58, but with some changes which make it more affordable but no less desirable. It has a 24.5″ scale length, 22 frets on a rosewood fretboard, moon inlays (with bird option), mahogany neck and body, plus a curly maple top (with a 10-top option). The pickups are a set of 57/08 humbuckers (which sound amazing) and there’s an individual volume and tone control for each pickup. The guitar also has PRS’s two-piece bridge, which is machined rather than cast, for greater resonance. Just look at that thing. That tailpiece is so chunky that I think I can hear it making my computer monitor more resonant just by being displayed on it.

REVIEW: Paul Reed Smith Signature Limited

Paul Reed Smith has many gorgeous signature models for artists like Carlos Santana, Alter Bridge/Creed’s Mark Tremonti, David Grissom and Al DiMeola, as well as SE models for Orianthi, Dave Navarro, Bernie Marsden, Opeth’s Mikael Akerfeldt and many more. The PRS Guitars Signature Limited is a signature model too, but you won’t find a specific artist named on the headstock. Instead this model has the backing of multiple artists: Howard Leese (Heart/Bad Company), Davy Knowles (when I told Davy I was reviewing the Signature Limited, he offered a few words: “It’s the only guitar I’ve played for ages now. So proud to be a part of it!”), Michael Ault, legendary guitar historian Tom Wheeler and Paul Smith himself. The model was launched at the 2011 Winter NAMM show as a 100-piece run through the company’s Private Stock division, but in 2012 the model has been shifted over to the core production line for a still-limited but much-larger, 400-piece run.

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