You asked for it, you got it: Seymour Duncan has launched new 7 and 8-string versions of the Black Winter, the aggressively brootals humbucker set originally designed for extreme metal players of Scandinavia who were looking for more aggression without sacrificing definition and clarity. After consistently being asked to make this pickup available for the rest of the world, Seymour Duncan did so. Now, after being consistently asked to make it available for extended range guitars, here it is! You’ll now be able to get all the heavy saturation, articulation and aggression of the Black Winter in your 6, 7 or 8 string axe. Continue reading
I’m sure we all have those guitars that we’d love to own, but unless we suddenly become ridiculously rich we sadly must resign ourselves to the bleak, grim fact that we’re probably never going to own all of them. So rather than mope about this inside my own head, I figured I might as well write about them here, and maybe hear from those of you who own these guitars, so I may live vicariously through you. So here’s the first, the Washburn N4 Nuno Bettencourt signature model. Nuno Bettencourt was one of my early guitar heroes – not as early as Mark Knopfler and George Harrison, and slightly after Eddie Van Halen and Steve Vai, but certainly before dudes like John Petrucci and Reeves Gabrels. I liked how Nuno’s style was (and is) simultaneously flashy and stripped back: he’s always been able to wring all sorts of nuances and details out of his guitars using pretty much just his bare hands. And that’s also what I like about Nuno’s signature Washburn line. Continue reading
PRESS RELEASE: The Nuno Bettencourt N4 has long been a popular model in the Washburn line. The combination of the Stephens Extended Cutaway with a Floyd Rose has proved irresistible to shredders the world over. Now Washburn ups the ante with the addition of a carbon fiber fretboard and stainless steel frets. The N4CV’s 22 stainless steel frets are silky smooth and will last the life of the owner without needing replacement. The carbon fiber fretboard is extremely fast and slippery so bends and dives never bind your fingers. Continue reading
The story of the Jason Becker pickup starts decades ago when Jason was catapulted to the top of the guitarist world thanks to his work with Cacophony, David Lee Roth and as a solo artist. Jason writes: “I remember Bob Rock bringing in a Les Paul with a Duncan JB in it while I was recording the David Lee Roth song “A Little Ain’t Enough” and I absolutely loved it. After playing with Bob Rock’s guitar, I contacted Seymour Duncan to potentially work on a Becker pickup. We talked about what I wanted and over the course of a few months, they sent about six test pickups.” Continue reading
If you’ve never tried it, the Seymour Duncan Dimebucker is a thing of beauty. Brutal beauty, to be sure, but beauty nonetheless. It’s a very aggressive pickup designed with Dime to help him get that edgy yet thick tone with huge harmonics and plenty of punch. It takes a pretty powerful neck pickup to keep up with the Dimebucker and Dime experimented with quite a few over the years, but according to his tech Grady Champion, Dime used the Seymour Duncan ’59 Model for the longest chunk of time, finding it to be a great match for the Dimebucker. But Dime didn’t use the ’59 neck model: he used the more powerful bridge version instead. Seymour Duncan is now offering the Dimebag Signature Set, which pairs a Dimebucker and a bridge ’59 Model. Here’s the press release.
One of the coolest product lines of 2014 has gotta be the Schecter Blackjack Collection, which is shipping now. Schecter has taken almost a custom shop approach to these instruments: on the surface they appear to be pretty stripped-back, but when you look closer all of the guitars have Crimson Red binding and inlays, combined with Glow-In-Dark Side markers and passive Seymour Duncan pickups. The Avenger and C models each have five variations 6-string with HipShot USA fixed bridge, Floyd Rose or Floyd Rose with Sustainiac, plus fixed-bridge 7 and 8-string models. And there’s also a 6-string Tempest, a very cool Schecter design that I’m glad to see back in the line.
If you hang out at sevenstring.org you’ve probably seen that a lot of folks are starting to get their Schecter KM-7s now. This is the Keith Merrow signature model featuring Seymour Duncan Nazgul and Sentient pickups (with a coil split), Swamp Ash body, Graph Tech Tusq Nut, three-piece Maple neck and Hipshot Hardtail bridge. And you can hear it on the debut album by Conquering Dystopia, Keith’s new band with Jeff Loomis (ex-Nevermore), Alex Webster (Cannibal Corpse) and Alex Rüdinger (The Faceless), which you can get here.
So you’ve seen the new Seymour Duncan Dirty Deed Distortion Pedal, right? Well there’s more where that came from: SD has just officially unveiled the new Vapor Trail analog delay pedal, and it’s a monster. Aside from being a great-sounding analog delay, it’s got some very useful tricks up its sleeve, including a modulation effect with easily accessible Rate and Depth controls, and a TRS insert jack which you can use to add effects to the wet signal, or with a volume pedal to give you foot-operated control of the wet signal level, or to send just your delayed sound to a separate amp to the dry signal. It’s shipping now.
Schecter has really knocked it up a notch in 2014, especially with the KM-7 Keith Merrow signature, which was one of the big hits of the show. Schecter has really reigned in the abalone-trim look that some players were really turning away from, and in its place they’ve unleashed a whole bunch of new guitars with simple-but-deadly finishes. There are also models such as the new Banshees which are available with Seymour Duncan Nazgul and Sentient pickups – even the 6-string versions, which is notable because the Nazgul and Sentient were designed for 7 and 8-string players, and right now they’re only available on these Schecters. Schecter also used NAMM to showcase their USA guitars, including some pretty wild Custom Shop models. Let’s take a look. Settle in! Most of the pics are clickable, either to their respective product pages, I Heart Guitar news stories or the Schecter Custom Shop page. Continue reading
Alex Skolnick is one of metal’s great enigmas: he’s ridiculously intelligent, well-read and well-spoken, and he’s a virtuoso of jazz guitar, yet he also plays in Testament, one of the most brutal bands ever to pick up instruments and dish out thrash metal power. There are many who feel that the name ‘Testament’ should be spoken in the same breath as ‘Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax,’ thrash’s ‘Big Four,’ but Testament is about much more than thrash, always pushing their sound onward and into genres such as death metal and extreme metal. Skolnick’s lead guitar is a key ingredient of the classic Testament sound, veering from traditional metal aggression to fusion-influenced intricacy and back again, often within a single phrase. With Testament heading to Australia for the Soundwave festival in February and March (and with a new DVD, Dark Roots Of Thrash, out now), I caught up with Skolnick for a chat about what he’s been up to. Continue reading
If you haven’t checked out Ben Eller’s YouTube videos, this one is a good place to start. Dude has great taste in guitars and pickups, seriously awesome picking/muting skills, monster metal tones and a sense of humour. Here’s his latest, featuring Seymour Duncan Nazgul and Sentient pickups in a swirled Ibanez RG7421 through a Kemper profiler.