New Stevie Ray Vaughan Box Set

Stevie Ray VaughanIf you’ve never delved into the world of Stevie Ray Vaughan before, or if you’ve only heard a few tracks here and there and you figure that the best way to rectify that is to go totally overboard, or if you’re just a completist, dagnabbit, Sony/Legacy will release a comprehensive box set bringing together all of SRV’s recordings for Epic Records in October. All of the studio albums are represented (not counting stuff like the posthumous The Sky Is Crying or Family Style by The Vaughan Brothers) and there’s plenty of live material too, including the first-ever commercial release of 1983’s A Legend In The Making – Live at the El Mocambo Toronto Concert. Here’s the press release…

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I Miss You, David Bowie

I never had time for David Bowie.

That changed when I was 16 though. I read an article in the newspaper, an interview with Bowie about his then-new album , 1.Outside. It was a concept album, planned to be the first of a series, one to be released each year until 2000 or something like that. (It didn’t quite end up happening like that. 1.Outside was the only disc released from the project). In the interview Bowie talked about his creative process and his assumption of different characters and stuff like that, and as a teenager struggling with his sense of identity and coming to terms with what it meant to be a creative person, I was intrigued. Accompanying the article was a competition: you could win the album by phoning up and answering a trivia question or something. I did, and I won. So my first Bowie album was possibly his most impenetrable, his darkest, his moodiest. The one with a graphic depiction of a disembowled cadaver in the booklet.  Read More …

NEWS: SRV tech René Martinez launches signature line

STEVIE RAY VAUGHAN’S GUITAR WHIZ RELEASES SIGNATURE LINE OF CUSTOM PICKUPS AND TECH TOOLS EXCLUSIVELY WITH MOJO MUSICAL SUPPLY

BURGAW, NC – René Martinez, Texan guitar guru and on-stage life support for acts such as John Mayer, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Prince and Carlos Santana, has released, in coordination with Mojo Musical Supply, a line of signature guitar pickups along with tech tools and care products inspired from his thirty years of experience as “the Guitar Tech to the Stars.” Products to be sold under the René Martinez line include a six way signal splitter, René Martinez Big Core guitar strings, René Martinez GraphitAll ® guitar lube string nut lubricant, a multi-functioning string winder, fret board conditioner, guitar polish and a custom tech tool set.

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NEWS: Stax reissues Albert King & SRV album

Y’know, just last night I was thinking “It’s about time I went through another SRV-listening phase.” Then this morning I found this in my inbox:

On June 30, 2009, the legendary Stax Records label will reissue the digitally remastered version of In Session – the Albert King & Stevie Ray Vaughan 1983 live album that reached #1 on Billboard’s blues album chart, selling more than 300,000 units. The reissue includes three sets of liner notes by Fantasy and Stax Records’ Bill Belmont, and journalists Lee Hildebrand and Dan Forte.

Among blues guitarists and fans of the craft, Albert King was the master. Austin, Texas’ Stevie Ray Vaughan, 31 years King’s junior, exploded onto the scene in 1983, first as guitarist on David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” followed by his own smash hit “Pride and Joy.” When the two met onstage at Antone’s in 1973, they formed an ongoing friendship. This bond culminated with the December 1983 live recording titled In Session. This remastered version of the 1983 performance by two blues legends is the only known recording of them playing together.

REVIEW: Fender Deluxe Lone Star Stratocaster

There have been about a million variations on the classic Stratocaster theme since its 1954 introduction. Some of them have been less than obvious to the casual glance, like changes in neck construction methods and the move to 3 ply pickguards back in the early days. Others have been pretty over the top, like the old Ritchie Sambora signature model with a Floyd Rose bridge and star shaped inlays. The Deluxe Lone Star Stratocaster doesn’t try to be too drastically different from the classic Strat blueprint, so what is it that sets this one apart, and why has Fender decided to reissue the guitar only a few years after discontinuing it?

The chief difference with the Lone Star Strat is its choice of pickups, all of which have a distinctive Texas pedigree. The neck and middle pickups are Fender’s own Texas Special single coils. These pickups first surfaced on the original Stevie Ray Vaughan signature model in the early 90s. They’re wound hotter than the average single coil for thicker, fatter tone with a higher output for that down and dirty blues sound. They’re especially happy when kicking a cranked valve amp right where it counts. The bridge pickup is a Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates Plus model, which Seymour himself designed when Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top wanted a pickup to make any guitar sound like his beloved 1959 Gibson Les Paul, a guitar which Gibbons named …Pearly Gates. Electronics include tone controls for the bridge and neck pickups, and a 5-way pickup selector switch. Position 2 on the switch combines the full humbucker with the middle single coil. Some companies might split the humbucker into a single too for this setting, but the extra toughness of the full humbucker is in keeping with the Lone Star vibe.

Besides the pickups, appointments on this model include a brown shell pickguard, a vintage-tinted C-shaped maple neck with rosewood fretboard and 21 medium jumbo frets. The fretboard radius is a roundish 9.5”. With this type of radius, a very low string height can sometimes result in choked out notes when bending, but careful maintenance of a good setup can avoid this. The factory setup has the strings at a nice medium height, great for digging in hard for gutsy, tough blues, and for really grabbing the strings for big soulful bends.

The Lone Star Strat has a vintage style synchronized tremolo bridge, and although this is in no way a Stevie Ray Vaughan signature model, it does make me reflect on how SRV never made the switch to guitars with a two-point knife edge tremolo, so it in the spirit of Texas blues it makes sense to see the old six-screw version represented here. The body is alder, a common wood for Stratocasters, with a nice balance of frequencies.

The Pearly Gates humbucker sounds killer on a Strat. The upper midrange response makes this a great axe for those who want a Satriani style tone but don’t want to play a high tech Ibanez to get it, and when driving a dirty, overdriven amp the sound opens up beautifully. The pickup responds especially well to Jeff Beck-style finger picking, and it tracks very well for fast playing.

The Texas Specials have that up-front, punchy sound associated with SRV: tight bass, immediate impact, and open treble. There is a wide range of tonal flexibility available by adjusting the guitar’s volume control, and without too much work you should be able to find a sweet spot with the volume at about 2/3 of the way up where the single coils sound more bell-like, before cranking it back to 10 for more fatness and grunt.

The Lone Star Stratocaster is for those who want a traditional Strat but need a bit more power and flexibility. It’s a Stratocaster for those who like their steak rare or, to partially quote Homer Simpson, people who like their beer cold and their TV loud.

SPECS:
Body: Alder
Neck: Tinted maple
Fretboard: Rosewood, 21 medium jumbo frets, 9.5” radius.
Pickups: Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates Plus (bridge), Fender Texas Special (neck, middle).
Extras: Deluxe padded gig bag.

CLICK HERE to search for Fender Stratocasters on eBay.

WONDERHOWTO: Build an SRV Strat

I’d like to welcome new sponsor WonderHowTo, a very cool site which collates ‘how to’ videos from all over the place. As writer of a whole bunch of ‘how to’ articles for Mixdown (some of which I’ve re-posted on I Heart Guitar), this kind of site is right up my alley and I like the idea of having a resource like this all in one place.

There’s a great video series on the front page at the moment about how to build a Stevie Ray Vaughan-style Stratocaster using recycled parts. CLICK HERE to view the video. 
If your business or band is interested in advertising on I Heart Guitar, email me at iheartguitarblog@gmail.com

NAMM 2009: Radial introduces 4 new pedals

Radial Engineering pedals have been high on my lust-list ever since I heard Eric Johnson using them, but I’ve not had a chance to try them yet. At NAMM this year they’ve introduced four new models, the London, Hollywood, Texas, and Twin City. I wonder if they’ll change the names for Australian release to the Melbourne, Sydney, Dubbo and Albury/Wodonga.

Here’s the press release.

Radial Engineering Ltd. is pleased to announce the launch of four new Tonebone® pedals, the London, the Hollywood, the Texas, and the Twin-City. All of the Bones features dual-mode functionality in a compact enclosure and employ standard Boss-type 9V power supply.

According to Tonebone President Peter Janis: “Today, the trend with guitar players is all about using effects pedals… they want to access all kinds of tones and make creative decisions on the fly. They also want to use pedalboards and eliminate the problems associated with batteries. This is what the Bones are all about.”

Bones™ Hollywood Distortion
The Hollywood is a dual channel distortion pedal that features three drive settings for low, medium and high drive tones. At low distortion settings, the sonic signature is reminiscent of old American made amplifiers while at higher gain levels, it encompasses the type of tones reminiscent on would expect from Carlos Santana and Steve Lukather. The Hollywood is very dynamic which means that it cleans up just like a real tube amplifier when the guitar level is turned down. Each channel features separate level settings for rhythm and lead and is enhanced with a mid control called ‘cut’ designed to cut through the mix and increase sustain for solos. Requires standard 9V power supply.

Bones™ London Distortion
The London follows the tradition of the British half stack by employing three gain stages to produce huge bottom end and fat sizzling tones. Even when driven to extreme, the bottom end stays clean and distinct. It features a variable drive control with independent level control on each channel for crunch rhythm and lead. A very powerful EQ, combines with the ‘bite’ switch that sets the overall character plus a ‘kick’ switch that adds midrange to produce a huge array of tones than span 40 years of British rock. Requires standard 9V power supply.

Bones™ Texas Overdrive
The Texas is high-performance overdrive pedal that delivers ‘vintage’ style TS9 tones reminiscent of Stevie Ray Vaughan all the way up to the ‘metal madness’ of today’s extreme players. Because of the dual channel configuration, one can set the first channel for a smooth rhythm and the second to extreme scream for soloing by setting the bite switches to suit. Each channel features individual tone control and level controls. Like having two pedals in one! Requires standard 9V power supply.

Bones™ Twin-City ABY Amp Selector
The Twin City is a superior quality ABY amp selector that allows the player to select between two amplifiers and combine them without any loss of signal or without any of the clicking or popping switch noise that is common in most pedals. This starts with Radial’s unique Drag™ control load correction circuitry which counteracts the effect of the internal buffering circuit to deliver a natural tone. To eliminate buzz and hum from ground loops, output B is transformer isolated and equipped with a ground lift switch. To ‘phase align’ the amplifiers, output B also features a 180° polarity reverse switch. Easy to see bright LEDs make amp selection easy. Requires standard 9V power supply.

For more information, contact Radial Engineering:1588 Kebet Way, Port Coquitlam, BC V3C 5M5. Tel: 604-942-1001 Fax 604-942-1010

For more information, visit their web site at www.radialeng.com.

INTERVIEW: George Lynch

Mr Scary. That muscly guy from Dokken. The dude with the cool kamikaze print and 3D carved skull guitars. George Lynch has been cranking out warm-toned, complex riffs and impossibly catchy-yet-flashy guitar solos for over 25 years with various bands including Lynch Mob and Lynch/Pilson, as well as eclectic solo works like his 1993 classic ‘Sacred Groove.’ Lynch was in Australia for a clinic tour in 2006 and he’s returning in December with the reactivated Lynch Mob, who are demoing a new album before George goes back to work with his other band, Souls Of We, an altogether darker project whose album ‘Let The Truth Be Known’ is out now (click here to buy it from Amazon.com).

PETER: Who is in the Lynch Mob line-up now?

LYNCH: Oni Logan is back on vocals. We have Marco Mendoza (Whitesnake) on bass and Scott Coogan on drums.

PETER: From Brides of Destruction?

LYNCH: Yeah. Scott also played with Oni in a band called Violet’s Demise, which an amazing record.

PETER: Are you guys recording anything now?

LYNCH: Yes, we have about 3/4 of the album done. We reconvene in late November to finish it, and will continue finishing it til the end of the year. But I’ve got a Souls of We record coming out, which has been five years of work. I’m not sure when that’s going to be released in Australia – actually I’m going to have to look into it. But it’s being released in Japan, the United States and Europe.

PETER: And how far along is the new Lynch Mob stuff? Do you have a label yet?

LYNCH: No, it’s too soon, we haven’t even shopped the record yet. We’re just writing songs. I don’t think these songs are even in the form they’re going to be on the record. We assumed it would be, well, we were aiming for a Wicked Sensation vibe, but I’m hestiant to say it’s more of a Fleetwood Mac, Bon Jovi vibe. It has elements of it, but of course it gets heavier.

PETER: What is the setlist like for these Lynch Mob gigs?

LYNCH: It’s a mix of the first Lynch Mob record, and sprinkled with a few Dokken tunes. Plus whatever we feel like jamming on that night!

PETER: A lot of my friends would kill me if I didn’t ask if you have any new ESP signature guitars in the works.

LYNCH: I’ve always got stuff in the pipeline. Right now I have a weird design on the table that will probably never be produced. It’s a Lexan body with a carbon fibre exoskeleton and a throbbing rose coloured LED embedded in the body. Maybe ESP will agree to build one as a NAMM showpiece. I’m hoping. Right now the newest model that I play is the ESP GL57, a vintage-y, beat up lookin’ copy of a vintage Strat, which I had a VG control built into. It’s like an extreme rock guitar for a Stevie Ray Vaughan.

PETER: How do you go about designing a guitar with ESP?

LYNCH: I start with a sketch. I studied mechanical drawing in school and I have a small design studio. I’ll start with a freehand design then move the shape over to a graphic program like Graphite. Then eventually to a full-blown CAD program like Maxicam. I also work with luthiers and finishers on the construction and selection of the components. I’ll work with Seymour Duncan on the pickups, and a machine shop on metal parts design. I designed a custom “V” tailpiece for the high end ESP Super V, but we never finished it.

PETER: You now have a few Seymour Duncan pickups, including the new Super V. What is the creative process in making a new signature pickup?

LYNCH: We usually start with something existing. PAF always a nice start. I’m working on using different kinds of wire and windings, different gauge windings for each bobbin, different diameter and length pole piece screws, potting, etc.

PETER: What is your philosophy on distortion?

LYNCH: Less is more.

PETER: How do you generate your distortion?

LYNCH: I’m always switching out overdrive pedals. Right now I’m switching between Analog Man King of Tone, Naked OD, Keeley hand-wired point-to-point time machine boost (Lynch Model) and a Cusak Tube Screamer.

PETER: Tell us about the Lynch Box amp with Randall. How does it adapt to your different musical personalities?

LYNCH: Dave Freeman, Bruce Egnator and I worked from the bottom up, designing modules that matched some of my favorite amps: early Boogie Recto’s, Marshall Plexis, Vox AC30s, etc. I started out with Randall in the very early 80’s. I worked with Gary Sunds on the RG 100. So I’ve come full circle with them by getting on board again 25 years later. We plan on re-releasing the RG 100 amp in the next couple years. It was a very unique amp with a signature sound, and it was all transistor!

CLICK HERE to buy George Lynch’s Souls of We – Let the Truth Be Known from Amazon.com
CLICK HERE to buy the Randall MTS Series Lynch Box 100W amp head with modules
CLICK HERE to buy the ESP George Lynch M-1 Tiger electric guitar
CLICK HERE to buy George Lynch: The Lost Anthology on CD from CDJapan.co.jp

CLICK HERE to buy George Lynch’s instructional guitar DVD from Sheet Music Plus

Lynch Mob Australian Tour Dates December 2008

PERTH – Monday 8th December – Capitol, Perth
Tickets: http://www.justsayrock.com.au/, BOCS tickets, http://www.moshtix.com.au/

MELBOURNE – Wednesday 10 December – The Hi Fi Bar
Tickets: www.justsayrock.com.au, Metal Mayhem: (03) 9621-1666, http://www.thehifi.com.au/

SYDNEY – Thursday 11 December – The Metro Theatre (All Ages)
Tickets: www.justsayrock.com.au, http://www.themetrotheatre.com.au/

BRISBANE – Friday 12 December – The Arena
Tickets: www.justsayrock.com.au, http://www.oztix.com/, The Arena Box Office