Australia/New Zealand G3 tour dates

In Melbourne? See you there!

03/24/12 Wellington Michael Fowler Centre New Zealand
Tickets on sale November 25, 2011

03/25/12 Auckland Logan Cambpell Centre New Zealand
Tickets on sale November 25, 2011

03/27/12 Canberra Royal Theatre Australia
Tickets on sale November 25, 2011

03/30/12 Sydney Hordern Pavilion Australia
Tickets on sale November 25, 2011

03/31/12 Melbourne Palais Theatre Australia
Tickets on sale November 25, 2011

04/03/12 Adelaide Festival Theatre Australia
Tickets on sale November 25, 2011

04/05/12 Brisbane Convention Centre Australia
Tickets on sale November 25, 2011

04/06/12 Byron Bay Byron Bay Blues Festival Australia
Buy tickets here.

BOSS Loop Station Finals on GuitarTV

BOSS, Musicians Institute and GuitarTV.com will be showcasing the US Finalists of the “BOSS Loop Station World Championship 2” this Saturday, October 22 @ 6 PM PDT on GuitarTV.com!

Six truly talented (and coordinated) guitar players (and other musicians- like a Mountain Dulcimer-ist) will be showcasing their live looping songs & skills at the event. Among the judges are Steve Lukather (Toto, Michael Jackson, solo), Robert “BUBBY” Lewis (Bassist for Snoop Dogg), Michael Lloyd (Record Producer), Jude Gold (GIT Director, L.A. Editor Guitar Player Magazine) & Paul Youngblood (Vice President, BOSS U.S.)

Plus, GuitarTV will be giving away the new BOSS RC-3 to a lucky viewer who is present in the GuitarTV live chat when their name is called. They simply need to RSVP to the event here: http://on.fb.me/BOSSLSWC

REVIEW: Ernie Ball Music Man Luke True Gold


Steve Lukather is unquestionably one of the world’s finest guitarists, from his work with Toto to his countless studio sessions and his brilliant solo work. (He’s also a great interview and a hilarious dude). Luke’s guitar requirements are quite demanding and he swears by his Ernie Ball Music Man signature models. The Limited Edition BFR (Ball Family Reserve) True Gold is only available to dealers within EBMM’s Premier Dealer Network, a select international group of high-end retailers with access to special instruments. This guitar is limited to only 200 instruments, each hand-signed by Lukather himself. The thing abut Premier Dealer Network instruments is you really have to be on the ball (pun not intended but gleefully acknowledged) when it comes to ordering one before they’re all snapped up, but each instrument made available to the Premier Dealer Network is a fine showcase of EBMM’s craftsmanship and designs. For instance, this BFR Luke True Gold gives you a great overview of the Luke model as a series, as well as what you can expect from an instrument sold through the exclusive Premier Dealer Network. So if they’re all sold out by the time you scape together the cash, despair not – use this review as a guide to what to expect from a Premier Dealer Network instrument.

The Luke True Gold’s body is made of alder, with a high-gloss polyester finish bringing out the awesomeness of the finish. The bridge is the standard Music Man floating two-point fulcrum design, made of hardened steel with bent steel saddles. The tuners are Schaller M6-IND locking models. Unlike the first incarnation of the Luke model many years ago, there’s no locking trem: these days Luke feels that a vintage style tremolo bridge and locking tuners are more than stable enough for his whammy needs.

Read More …

FEATURE: RATM scores Xmas #1 – where to from here?

No doubt you’ve heard that Rage Against The Machine’s ‘Killing In The Name’ has been declared the UK’s Christmas Number 1, screaming past X Factor winner Joe McElderry‘s The Climb and bumping X-Factor winners off the top spot for the first time in four years.

Now, not being from the UK, my main exposure to the phenomenon of the Christmas #1 is through the Christmas iTunes playlist compiled by Mrs I Heart Guitar a few years ago. And while I take great glee in pointing out the irony of thousands of people buying a song that includes the words ‘Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me’ because someone told them too, I take even greater glee in the hope that this win will clear the decks and reset the Christmas #1 tradition to once again be awarded to cheesy Christmas songs by established artists who really should know better, like it was in the mid to late 80s. Observe these particular 80s chart toppers:

1984: Band Aid Do They Know It’s Christmas?
1985: Shakin’ Stevens Merry Christmas Everyone
1988: Cliff Richard Mistletoe and Wine
1989: Band Aid II Do They Know It’s Christmas?
1990: Cliff Richard Saviour’s Day

By the way, it’s not just number one songs that make Christmas in the UK rule. Check out these gems.

But what if this doesn’t reset the great Christmas #1 equilibrium? What if every year becomes a race to the top between the most recent X Factor winner and some other 90s hit? Could we see next year’s winner going up against Mr.Big’s To Be With You? Ministry’s Just One Fix? Primus’s Mr Krinkle? Or could you imagine waking up bleary-eyed on Christmas morning and flipping on the telly to see this?

No, wait, y’know what? I think 2010 should be the year The Christmas Song by Steve Lukather reaches number 1.

NEWS: Steve Lukather’s personal gear on eBay!

Huge thanks to I Heart Guitar reader Sean from San Jose for alerting me to this awesome auction of a whole bunch of Steve Lukather’s personal gear.

Sean says:

Last night I was searching eBay for Ibanez guitars and came across a listing for a Steve Lukather prototype. Well out of my price range, but I went ahead and checked the other items that the seller had. It looks like Steve Lukather is using L.A. Vintage Gear to sell a bunch of his used gear. This is huge for any Toto fan. If it were Paul Gilbert selling his stuff the next auction you would see would be for one of my kidneys.
Perhaps most enticing to an Ibanez geek such as myself is Luke’s Ibanez prototype guitar. I guess the market’s going to be flooded with kidneys pretty soon cos I’d like pretty much all of this stuff too!

Here’s the listing for Luke’s Ibanez Prototype Guitar
Here’s what the listing says:

~ Lukes Ibanez Prototype Guitar ~
If you’re a Steve Lukather fan then this guitar has to be the Holy Grail for you. This guitar was made for Luke in we believe 1983. This is a prototype made for Luke that was supposed to go into production but didn’t materialize. This is THE ONLY ONE made! There wasn’t 2 or 3 made, just this ONE !

Guitar is in great shape. 26 years old now ! Frets are perfect . Comes in it’s original custom case.

There are heaps of photos with the listing. Very cool.

FEATURE: Cool Guitars They Don’t Make Any More, Part 3


Charvel Surfcaster

The Charvel Surfcaster debuted in 1992 and at the time it was a bit of an anachronism. A little too early to cash in on the grunge-inspired attraction to vintage designs, and a little too late for the kind of clean-toned, ‘The Cure’ type tones it excelled at, the Surfcaster’s most notable user was probably Anthrax’s Scott Ian, who used one for the clean tones in the track ‘Black Lodge’ from The Sound Of White Noise and was pictured with one on the cover of a 1993 edition of Guitar World. These semi-hollow, lipstick pickup-toting axes never quite got the respect they deserved, although those who did buy them evidently loved them because it’s quite rare to see them on the used market. When you do find them, expect to pay around USD$1,000. The Surfcaster design lived on until 2005, by which time it had been shifted to sister company Jackson, with production moved from Japan to India. Personally I’d love to see Surfcasters return to regular production under Charvel.

CLICK HERE to see Charvel Surfcaster guitars on eBay.

Yamaha SGV

I love these retro designs. The SGV series was probably a bit to wild for most players, with its slight upside-down melted Rickenbacker bass look and unconventional whammy bridge which worked great when you gave it a little TLC but was maybe a little too high maintenance for some. The SGV-800 (and the more upscale SGV-1200) had a pair of P90-style single coils which were fat and growly. The SGV-700 (and lower-priced little buddy the SGV-300) rocked a smaller single coil and a very unique humbucker. The retro/modern look wasn’t lost on Meegs from Coal Chamber, who used a black custom shop SGV with twin humbuckers, a fixed bridge, drop-tuning lever on the low E string, and number-shaped fretboard position markers, Jason Becker-style. You can find SGVs on eBay and in pawnshops pretty regularly and while they were underappreciated in their day, a little set-up know-how makes them a bargain well worth seeking out today.

CLICK HERE to see Yamaha guitars on eBay.

Washburn Steve Stevens

These models were advertised somewhat heavily in the guitar magazines when Stevens was a member of Motley Crue singer Vince Neil’s solo band circa 1993. I remember seeing the truss rod adjustment at the base of the neck, as well as the 2-humbucker, 1 volume, 1 tone control layout and thinking “Dude’s trying to make a Strat-style guitar out of an Ernie Ball Music Man Edward Van Halen.” Funnily enough, by the time the Vince Neil tour rolled around, Stevens was playing… Ernie Ball Music Man Edward Van Halens. There were three versions of Washburn’s Steve Stevens signature guitar: two Chicago custom shop-built models (the SS80 and SS100) and the Korean-made SS40. The SS100 had a white front with a Frankenstein graphic and black back and sides, while the SS80 was solid black. Pickups were a set of slanted Seymour Duncan JBs, and the body wood was poplar. Check out this old-school Washburn advertisement.

CLICK HERE to see Yamaha SGV guitars on eBay.

Fender Tommy Emmanuel Telecaster

Tommy Emmanuel is well known for his amazing acoustic playing, but those who started following Tommy’s career in recent years might be surprised to know he once had a signature Fender Telecaster. Very similar in design to Fender’s Nashville Telecaster, this Mexico-made axe was made exclusively for the Australian market, and it added a Strat-style middle single coil to the traditional Telecaster layout. It also had a six saddle bridge with old-school saddles (not those big flat ones like you see on Deluxe series Fenders), and a blue finish which recalled, without directly copying, Tommy’s blue Fender Custom Shop Telecaster, which had three black Bartolini single coils and white body binding. Tommy’s main Telecaster squeeze though was a gorgeous 66 Custom, also with Bartolonis. See that one here. (Fender Tommy Emmanuel Telecaster photo from the Fendertalk forums).

CLICK HERE to see Tommy Emmanuel stuff on eBay.

Ibanez Steve Lukather (SL1010SL)

Steve Lukather’s current Ernie Ball Music Man signature is so kickass a guitar that it’s easy to forget that in the early-mid 80s he had a signature Ibanez. Part of the Roadstar II series, Luke’s model featured a carved birdseye maple top on a basswood body, a maple neck with ebony fretboard, two Ibanez humbuckers (a Super 58 in the neck and an SL Special – essentially an overwound Super 58 – in the bridge position), 22 frets, subtle cross inlays, coil splitting performed via the volume and tone pots, and the much-maligned Pro Rock’r bridge, which had a locking nut and fine tuners but wasn’t as stable as Ibanez’s later Edge series models.

CLICK HERE to see Ibanez Steve Lukather guitars on eBay.

Futher reading:

Cool guitars they don’t make any more
Cool guitars they don’t make any more 2
Cool guitars they don’t make any more 4

INTERVIEW: Derek Sherinian

I Heart Guitar is, of course, a guitar site, but part of being a well-rounded guitarist is listening to what the rest of the band is doing. And the keyboard playing of Derek Sherinian is at times so guitaristic that sometimes during intense harmony workouts during his time in Dream Theater it was hard to tell where John Petrucci ended and Sherinian began. He’s also surrounded himself with great players over the years including Tony MacAlpine, Yngwie Malmsteen, Allan Holdsworth, Al DiMeola and Steve Lukather, and his new album, Molecular Heinosity (InsideOut) is full of powerful compositions, heavy grooves, and some amazing musicianship. I caught up with Sherinian to discuss the new CD and the guitarists he’s worked with.

I Heart Guitar: What is your writing process like?

Derek Sherinian: It goes differently each time. A lot of it is influenced by who I decide to collaborate with. Most of the time I’m collaborating with either Simon Phillips, your fellow Australian Virgil Donati, or Bryan Tichy on drums. For some reason I gravitate towards drummers who are musically inclined, and I seem to work better in that environment. So the sound of the overall album is always gonna go in the direction of who I collaborate with at the time.

IHG: How much of the album features Virgil Donati?

Sherinian: Virgil and I co-wrote the trilogy that opens up the record. Virgil is just amazing as a writer. We first met during my first solo record, Planet X, in 1999, and we enjoyed the collaboration so much that we formed the band Planet X, and later recruited Tony MacAlpine. But Planet X hasn’t made a record in a couple of years and I really wanted to work with Virgil on my solo record, so it was cool to work with him again.

IHG: Do you have your own studio?

Sherinian: I own my home studio, it’s called Beechwood Manor, and it’s in my house. I make all my records there. I have a separate room where I have all my studio gear, and all my keyboards. It’s nice to have the studio in your house, because if you want to take a break you can go up and watch TV or just chill out, and just work as you’re inspired. It’s good. There’s no clock ticking.

IHG: When you’re composing, especially for this album, do you come up with things out of jamming, or do you write it down on paper first? What do you do?

Sherinian: I never write it on paper. Some songs come from jamming, a lot of songs start with a riff or one person will come up with something and you just keep expanding and developing it, and then before you know it you have a full song. You just keep putting ideas down and eventually you have an album’s worth of material. And you keep refining it, and you do overdubs, and usually after a year it’s done.

IHG: So Brian Tichy is playing both drums and guitar on the album?

Sherinian: He’s playing drums on five songs, and he’s playing some rhythm guitars.

IHG: So who else is involved in the album?

Sherinian: There are two new guitar names that I’ve never used in the past: Rusty Cooley – he’s known in the guitar community, but he hasn’t played in any famous bands or anything. He and I worked on a song called Frozen By Fire that’s on my record, and I think Rusty sounds amazing. I can see myself doing a lot more work with him in the future. And also a Japanese guitar player named Taka Minamino, who is featured on two songs. I think he’s a great talent. He has beautiful vibrato, and bending a la Yngwie, and I think he’ll have something special once he develops his own style more.

IHG: Are you planning to tour on this album?

Sherinian: No, it’s very difficult, and very expensive to do an instrumental tour, but every once in a while an opportunity will come up where I’m able to play some shows. But as of right now my solo career has been pretty much limited to just the studio.

IHG: Yeah, it sucks with the economy the way it is now: it seems nobody can afford to tour at the moment.

Sherinian: I know, and it’s unfortunate. I love playing in Australia. When Planet X played down there we made a live album, and it’d be great to go down there and play again.

IHG: So I thought we could talk a little about how guitarists influence your playing. Like I hear some things and I think, ‘Oh I recognise that!’

Sherinian: Who do you hear? Lemmie hear it from your perspective, what do you hear?

IHG: I kinda hear a bit of Van Halen in some of the stuff.

Sherinian: Great!

IHG: Especially in some of your rhythms.

Sherinian: Cool!

IHG: And I think I hear a bit of Al DiMeola.

Sherinian: Okay! Yeah! Cool! Anyone else?

IHG: Well that’s all I’ve picked out so far.

Sherinian: Oh okay. Cool!

IHG: So have you actively studied guitar players?

Sherinian: I’ve never transcribed people’s solos, but there are certain guitar players who have always moved me since I was young, and the first one who really made the biggest impact was Eddie Van Halen. He had such an identifiable style, and it was so heavy, and everything was so cool, that he was my first real musical hero. I had the pleasure of playing a gig with him at a private party at his house in 2006. That was the highest point of my career, playing with my hero. The coolest thing he said to me was that there’s only 12 notes, do what you want with them. I thought that was a really cool thing. Also Yngwie was a big hero of mine when I was a kid, and I’ve played on two of his records and he’s played on two of mine – and I was in his band over the last eight years, on and off, so a part of him has come through in my style. I was also into guys like Al DiMeola, Allan Holdsworth, Jeff Beck. These are my main guys.

IHG: How would you say guitar influences your keyboard sound?

Sherinian: Definitely in the soloing, I always have a little bit of overdrive, and the phrasing is very guitaristic. I hear that all the time. I like more aggressive keyboard sounds. One thing I always try to avoid is, I think a lot of keyboard players use sounds that remind me of video games or are very cheesy. I always try to make sure there’s no cheese factor, and everything has balls, and it supplements the sound and brings heaviness. It’s always gotta be coming from a place of heaviness and no cheesiness.

IHG: Yeah, one thing I’ve always loved about your playing is that it has a lot of personality, it’s not stuffy.

Sherinian: Yeah, it’s very hard to do for a keyboard, and that was one of the things that was important to me in listening to Van Halen. You knew as soon as you heard it who it was. You know Al DiMeola, you know Yngwie. You know Allan Holdsworth. And on a keyboard you have to work a little harder to distinguish yourself from the pack. And I think I’m one of the few guys that, if you’re familiar with my style, if you hear it you know it’s me. Individuality should always come before technique, and if you’re able to have both, then that’s really cool. I would rather be like Jeff Beck, who can’t play a million notes but has such beautiful sound and style. Style will always come first.

IHG: So let’s talk about some of the guitarists you’ve worked with. Zakk Wylde is on this album, and he adds some cool Ozzy-meets-Alice In Chains vocals to the last track. Tell us about working with Zakk.

Sherinian: Zakk is amazing. He’s been a friend of mine for the last 20 years, and he’s played on my last five solo records. We always have a great time working together, and we both share the influences of Van Halen, Randy Rhoads, Yngwie, DiMeola. I think it’s a cool departure for Zakk when he plays on my records, because he can be himself but he’s playing over a completely different musical backdrop than he would playing with his own band or Ozzy. Zakk is always welcome to play on my stuff, and I’m very appreciative of the relationship. He’s a great guy, he really is.

IHG: Al DiMeola.

Sherinian: That was one of the high points of my career. I was in Miami working with Yngwie on my Black Utopia record in 2002 and I wrote this epic song called Sons of Anu where Yngwie laid down his tracks, but I ran out of time with Yngwie but there was still this acoustic part that needed to be laid down. Then someone told me Al DiMeola lived in Miami, so I got his number, called him, and got Al in the studio. It turned out amazing, and it’s the first time ever with Yngwie and Al DiMeola on the same song.

IHG: Yngwie.

Sherinian: He’s great. He’s really a maestro, a total natural. He’s the real deal of a guitar hero. The guy is just incredible. When he was in the studio doing the tracks for Sons of Anu, watching him do his thing and how fluid and effortless it is, it’s pretty amazing to watch live.

IHG: And finally, Steve Lukather.

Sherinian: Lukather is amazing. I met him through Simon Phillips. Simon called him up to come and play on the Inertia album that Simon and I co-wrote and co-produced in 2001. Lukather is just such a pro. He can hear a song and listen phrase-by-phrase, and he just takes care of business. He’s in and out of there in two or three hours, and he’ll lay three songs and make it sound like he’s been playing the song for twenty years. He’s a funny guy and I’m honoured to be on record with him.

Look for Molecular Heinosity on RiotAct.com.au soon, and thanks to Riot! for arranging this interview.