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.
The Pearly Gates is one of my favourite Seymour Duncan pickups. Designed with Billy Gibbons, its voice is vintage and sweet but with a slight edge to it. (Joe Satriani liked this pickup so much that he had them installed in one of his chrome Ibanez JS signature guitars and named it ‘Pearly’ – unfortunately that guitar was stolen in 2002). Many years ago, Billy asked Seymour if a pickup could work under water. They decided to try it by submerging a very early Pearly Gates pickup into a pickle jar and testing it to see if it still had a signal. It still worked – so they decided to put a lid on the jar and test it again some other time. That was almost 30 years ago. It lives in Seymour’s office and he and Billy still take the jar out every now and then to test the pickup. It looks pretty damn gnarly by now, covered in gross brown stuff, but it still works perfectly. Below are some pics of MJ from the Seymour Duncan Custom Shop testing the pickup a couple of weeks ago when I was at Seymour Duncan HQ. Continue reading
One of my favourite things about NAMM this year was that Charvel was up in the Fender room, where it belongs, instead of downstairs tucked away into a weird little area that was hard to see until you were inside it like last year. This meant it was much easier to see beautiful new instruments like the Guthrie Govan, Joe Duplantier and Jake E Lee signature models as well as plenty of beautiful Charvel Custom Shop creations and of course the San Dimas Style 1 that will never, ever stop being awesome. Join us as we take a peek, won’t you? Continue reading
PRESS RELEASE: Montreal based Godin Guitars is getting ready for the upcoming New Year with the introduction of a number of exciting and versatile guitars at this year’s Winter NAMM show, from January 23rd to the 26th in Anaheim California. Introduced in 2013, the Montreal Premiere certainly stuck a chord with players looking for something new in the thinline, semi-hollow body electric guitar market. This has further expanded with the addition of four new models to the Montreal Premiere line-up. The Montreal Premiere Sunburst P90 HG features a set of Godin Kingpin P90 pickups and a custom tailpiece. Continue reading
Seymour Duncan had some really cool new stuff on show at NAMM, though you won’t find them on the SD website or social media pages yet - the formal, official announcements will take place a little closer to the products’ respective release dates. But how’s this for cool: SD is releasing a Jason Becker signature humbucker, the Perpetual Burn. It’s a bridge humbucker with a relative moderate output, and it’s based on pickups that Jason was developing with Seymour Duncan back in the David Lee Roth A Little Aint Enough era before ALS took his ability to play. But Jason was very involved in the prototyping process of the new pickup, with Michael Lee Firkins playing the pickups and Jason giving feedback. It’s a 12k Alnico V pickup which fits in there somewhere between the ’59 and JB. Continue reading
Now here’s something interesting that will rile the traditionalists. Fender has unveiled the Fishman TriplePlay Stratocaster HSS, which combines a Fishman TriplePlay system – which wirelessly transmits MIDI data to your computer – along with traditional magnetic pickups. In this case those pickups are a pair of Fender Vintage Noiseless single coils and a Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates humbucker. The guitar comes with a USB flash drive with Fishman® TriplePlay, IK Multimedia SampleTank 2.5 and AmpliTube Custom Shop, and Native Instruments Komplete Elements, while additional software such as Notion Progression and PreSonus Studio One Artist available for free download with product registration). Here’s a bunch more information from Fender’s website, followed by a video of the guitar in action. Continue reading