It’s about time we seven and eight stringers had some more passive humbuckers designed just for us! There are relatively few ‘extra string’ pickups out there that aren’t based on existing models, but that’s starting to change now that the guitar world really seems to be accepting 7 and 8-strings as part of the musical landscape. Seymour Duncan has launched three 7/8 pickups this year, the Nazgul, the Pegasus and the Sentient. You can hear the Sentient (along with the Nazgul) in this video featuring Keith Merrow and Ola Englund: Continue reading
It’s here! My new Ibanez RGIR28FE! I purchased it from Ibanez Guitar Centre after a few months of research into which model was right for me. So why 8-string? Well, I’ve been playing 7-string for about 10 years now and sometimes it just feels like my music wants to go lower than the 7 is capable of. I like to play basslines and melodies at the same time, and it’s a real bummer when you just can’t reach all the notes you hear in your head. The Iron Label series is designed specifically with metal in mind, with aggressive styling and active EMG pickups on most models (some have DiMarzios), but to be honest I’m probably not going to be playing a huge amount of death metal on mine. The eighth string seems to lend itself to lots of stoner rock and goth ideas, and the occasional Geezer Butler-style bassline, so I can imagine playing a lot of really earthy sounding stuff on this as I become more and more familiar with it. Continue reading
As you probably know if you follow me on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, I work for Seymour Duncan in social media. It’s a really fun job and everyone at Seymour Duncan is just so friendly, knowledgable and downright cool. Something I’m super-excited about on a personal level – since I’m way into my extended range guitars – is the new selection of pickups designed specifically for 7 and 8-string players: the Pegasus, the Sentient and the Nazgûl. The Nazgûl is a passive humbucker specifically created for extreme metal styles, and it sounds brutal. In the best possible way, of course. Here’s the press release:
Funeral For A Friend’s sixth and latest album is Conduit. It’s one of the heaviest records the band has ever done, yet as always the brutality is tempered by some rather complex, almost jazz-like chords. Okay, maybe ‘jazz’ is stretching it a bit but they’re certainly more intricate than the voicings employed by most heavy bands. “It’s funny how other people interpret it,” guitarist Gav Burrough says. “When you’re writing it, it’s organic and it just comes out. So what we try to do is to not think about it. Continue reading
Check out this bad boy from the Jackson Custom Shop: the SL2H Dakota Red. I don’t know if it’s purposely designed to recall that cool Soloist Steve Vai used in the film Crossroads – there are a few differences here, particularly the bridge colour and the electronics layout – but they’re similar enough to make me want to pick one up and wail on Eugene’s Trick Bag. As of this writing there’s one on Amazon.com here, and there’s a list of dealers here. I’m not sure where the rest are hiding or if they’re already snapped up yet. I hope whoever buys them plays the hell out of them. Continue reading
Avenged Sevenfold’s Synyster Gates has done a lot to promote the gloriously fun art of lead guitar. He’s also helped to further the cause of post-Metallica heavy metal riffage, amply demonstrated on A7X’s most recent album, Nightmare. Syn requires a guitar that allows him to flawlessly execute complex lead work as well as ballsy rhythm chunk, and for years now he’s been working with Schecter to achieve this. The Synyster Gates Custom is one of five models for the guitarist, and this particular variant is perhaps the best summary of the line. Continue reading
Although Schecter was initially known for slightly more traditional guitars, they’ve really hit their stride in the past decade-plus as purveyors of fine high-performance axes aimed at the metal market. They still cater to the traditionalists – especially with the new USA Production Series unveiled at NAMM in January), but the SLS Blackjack C-1 FR-S is a great example of how Schecter unifies a whole stack of shred-friendly features that are unashamedly pitched at those who dwell on the dark side.
The SLS has a mahogany body with your choice of Crimson Red Burst or Satin Black finish. The latter is the model on review here: the finish seems particularly well applie, and nicely offset by multi-ply binding. The neck is made of three-piece maple for enhanced stability, and there are 24 Jumbo frets on the ebony fretboard. The headstock is a bound three-tuner-per-side variant featuring Grover Rotomatic tuners with an 18:1 gear ratio for smoother tuning and a higher degree of backlash elimination. The only inlay on the fretboard face of the Satin Black version is a ‘Hell’s Gate Skull’ which looks pretty bitchen’, and definitely positions this as a metal guitar. Personally I think it’d do fine without it, as on the Crimson Red Burst model which has offset dots instead, but it’s not a deal breaker. The set neck is carved into Schecter’s Ultra Access shape, which mimics a neck-thru instrument, and the profile is the Ultra Thin spec, which is 19mm at the first fret and 20mm at the 12th.
The Kramer Nightswan is one of those ‘holy grail’ guitars for many players. It was very innovative for its time, and it lives on as the Buddy Blaze Shredder. (Buddy is, of course, one of the finest guitar builders in the world and the man responsible for my killer seven-string). Now Buddy, Floyd Rose and Seymour Duncan have teamed up to give away one of only 25 Vivian Campbell 25th Anniversary Shredder VC-II / LS guitars.
Here’s the press release:
Win A Buddy Blaze Vivian Campbell ’Lightning Storm’ Shredder
Buddy Blaze Guitars has joined forces with Seymour Duncan and Floyd Rose to give away a very special guitar: The Buddy Blaze – Vivian Campbell 25th Anniversary Shredder VC-II / LS modeled after the historic guitar used by Campbell in his Whitesnake days.
In 1987, Buddy Blaze and Vivian Campbell designed the Buddy Blaze Shredder, the guitar that would ultimately become known as the Kramer Nightswan. With a scale length of 24 5/8″, floating Floyd Rose tremolo and a ‘bridge/middle’ pickup configuration (a Seymour Duncan Full Shred and a JB, respectively), the Shredder was a unique take on the ‘superstrat’ concept. When Blaze was drafted by Kramer, Campbell soon followed him. The ‘Lightning Storm’ Nightswan prototype was born, featuring the first appearance of the Full Shred as well as a similar finish to Dimebag Darrell’s Dean From Hell, another famous guitar Buddy is intrinsically linked to.
“I was quite drawn to the idea of working one-on-one with a guy who simply wanted to build guitars, as opposed to a bigger company that was more concerned with marketing,” Campbell says. “I liked the idea of a short scale guitar. I had been playing Charvel/Jackson for a year or two before that, and whilst I certainly appreciated those instruments, there were certain features that were unnatural to me – one of which was the wide, flat and unfinished fretboard. Another was their 25 1/2 inch scale; although I have big hands, I liked the idea of a smaller instrument with a smaller neck as I tend to use my left hand thumb over the top of the neck when playing bar chords and that was difficult to do with larger, wider necks.”
To celebrate 25 years since the ‘Lightning Storm’ prototype was created, Buddy and Vivian have teamed up to offer the Buddy Blaze Vivian Campbell 25th Anniversary Shredder VC-II / LS. Only 25 will be made, each with a unique lightning storm graphic hand-painted by Buddy. They’ll have an Original Floyd Rose tremolo with R1 nut (Titanium Floyd optional), the same Full Shred/JB pickup combination (with each Full Shred signed by Seymour W. Duncan), a Honduras Mahogany body, figured maple neck with 16″ radius ebony fretboard, 24 5/8″ scale length, Buddy Blaze-designed CTS pot, and a certificate of authenticity signed by Buddy and Vivian.
And you could win one. Simply enter on Facebook, and you could own one of these 25 historic guitars! Entries close on March 27th and giveaway is open worldwide.
Click here to enter: http://on.fb.me/Yy93Uq
My friends at Seymour Duncan (where I help out in the social media department, as you may have seen in my bio to the right of the page there) have just launched seymourduncanstyle.com, a web store where you can purchase all sorts of SD goodies, from T-shirts and pickup-inspired necklaces to straps, pots and pickup covers.
I particularly like the Invader shirt and the Invader necklace, both of which you can see me modelling in this awkwardly posed Instagram photo taken while I waited for my buddy to show up for lunch.
I’ve noticed a lot of love for the Invader lately as I cruise around guitar forums and generally talk guitar with folks, and I got stopped more than a few times at NAMM by folks wanting to know where they could get this shirt. Well, now ya know!
Back in the day, when Seymour Duncan was working at the Fender Soundhouse in London, he developed a pickup modification that added output and high-end frequency response to the typical humbuckers of the day. He’d rewind them, change the magnets and basically awesomize these pickups for players like Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton and others. The Whole Lotta Humbucker set is based on these modifications, and it’s no longer just a UK exclusive: these bad boys are now worldwide!
Seymour Duncan Announces Worldwide Launch of Whole Lotta Humbucker
Over a year ago Seymour Duncan launched the Whole Lotta Humbucker set as a limited edition UK exclusive. This set was based off Seymour’s experience working at the Fender Soundhouse with artists like Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and many others. Seymour recalls, “When I’d work on one of those great old guitars for a client, I liked to rewind the pickups with 42-gauge plain-enamel wire. I’d also insert sand-cast Alnico magnets with a better-balanced magnetic field, which made the B and high E sound as powerful as the other strings. This modified pickup had more output and a higher frequency response. The Whole Lotta Humbucker set is a replica of these special pickups with 8.78k DC resistance for the bridge pickup, 8.20k for the neck, custom winding pitch, and a calibrated sand-cast Alnico magnet. I have such great memories of living in London, so I’m thrilled to be producing this pickup once again.” Guitar players around the world who are looking to capture the tone of an era will now be able to get Whole Lotta Humbucker at their local store or favorite online dealer.
For more information, visit: http://www.seymourduncan.com