INTERVIEW: Unearth’s Buz McGrath

Unearth

Unearth have been slogging it out on the metal scene for 15 years now and have proven themselves to be real stayers, helping to remind folks that seven-string guitars can be used for more than just open-string chugging and showing that you can combine the punishing groove of Pantera with the melodic sense of Sweden’s Gothenberg sound and the power of traditional metal, all filtered through an aggressive metalcore lens. New album Watchers of Rule (3Wise) is a consistently brutal chunk of metal by anyone’s standards. But this far into Unearth’s career, it’s almost exhilarating to hear them continuing to release vital albums full of songs that are destined to live on in the setlist. I caught up with guitarist Buz McGrath right after the album’s release.

Want to win a copy of the album? Email iheartguitarblog@gmail.com with ‘Unearth’ in the subject line and I’ll draw five winners! Australia only.

Let’s start with the guitar stuff. What did you use on this album?

We used a Rhodes amp. I don’t know what it is. And I think we used one of Ken’s old custom Ibanez RGs that won the shoot-out. Usually what happens is we go through a stack of about 15 guitars and we record the same piece of music, the same riff, with each guitar, and you go through and listen to which guitar is sounding the best with what you’ve got, and that one won. It was between that one and, Ken had a custom three-pickup Ibanez Iceman with EMGs in it. That thing weighed a fucking tonne but it sounded sick. But the other one just beat it out by a little bit. We recorded with a Kemper via DI, and then [producer] Mark Lewis took it back to his studio and re-amped it through various amps, which I wasn’t a part of the process for. He would send me mixes with different amps and I’d say ‘this one sounds good.’ So I never even saw the amp. It’s a real weird way of doing it but it worked out good. Read More …

ESP Previews New Models, New USA Factory!

espthumbIt’s no secret that ESP has been planning to hugely revamp their line in 2014, with the roll-out of the new E-II brand, new signature models and other fun stuff. They’ve just dropped a whole bunch of new models onto their website for us to drool over ahead of NAMM, and many of them sport some pretty damn tasty Seymour Duncan pickups, like the Mystique FR with a Custom 5 in the bridge position and ’59 at the neck. But some of the biggest news is that ESP is opening its own USA factory this year! It’s in North Hollywood, and here’s what ESP President Matt Masciandaro has to say about it: “This is a significant milestone for ESP. For years there has been a demand for a domestic factory, allowing us to create guitars that are 100% made in the USA. Weʼre very excited about the new opportunities for ESP dealers, and new choices for our customers.” Read More …

INTERVIEW: Buz McGrath on his new LTD Buz-7 signature model

Massachusetts modern metal monsters Unearth are currently here in Australia for the Soundwave festival, and guitarist Buz McGrath is rocking a pretty unique guitar for the shows. Buz was a longtime Ibanez endorser with some of the coolest Ibanez LA Custom Shop guitars in the biz, but although he still has a soft spot in his heart for that company, he recently decided it was time for a change. That led him and his unique custom ideas to find a new home with ESP, who recently introduced the LTD Buz-7 (click here to preorder it from Bmusic). Black bound maple fretboard, Snow White Sunburst finish, reverse headstock, neck-through-body construction, maple neck, alder body, 25.5″ scale, extra thin flat neck contour, 24 extra jumbo frets, EMG 707 active pickups, Grover tuners, Floyd Rose 1000 series bridge… it’s one of the sexiest 7-strings ESP or LTD has ever produced. I managed to grab some time with Buz to ask him what the deal was.

 

You were an Ibanez guy for a million years. What happened?

 

It was about a year ago that I felt like I couldn’t really do much with them. They were very good to me the whole time I was there. They made me some amazing custom guitars. Mike Taft, he was awesome. he would give me whatever I asked for. But I just felt like I needed a change. Part of my motivation was a signature model – not that that should be the be all and end all of a company, but that was part of it, and I saw that with ESP I would at least have a chance to get to that point. Whereas Ibanez has so many great players in much bigger bands than me who don’t even have that on the horizon. I thought that if Oli Herbert from All That Remains doesn’t get one then I don’t think they’re going to give me one. Or Chris Broderick [Megadeth], who ended up leaving for Jackson.

 

But I love Ibanez guitars. They were always good to me, but ESP made some goals of mine happen, and that’s rad. Not to mention I was always a fan of those guitars too, so it was always an easy choice.

 

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NAMM 2012: LTD Buz-7 Buz McGrath signature model

Unearth’s Buz McGrath always had some of the freaking coolest custom Ibanez models. So many of us screamed bloody heresy when he switched to ESP. It’s not that ESP guitars are bad or anything – c’mon, they’re amazing – it’s just that Buz’s ideas always worked so well with Ibanii. Would his ideas translate over to the ESP aesthetic? Well get a load of this:

Ooooh yeah. That’s the LTD Buz-7 right there, my friend. I especially like the subtly angled trem cavity (it’s really like that, yeah? It’s not an optical illusion?), the black bound maple fretboard, the Snow White Sunburst finish and the reverse headstock. Other features: neck-through-body construction, maple neck, alder body, 25.5″ scale, Xtra Thin Flat neck contour, 24 extra jumbo frets, EMG 707 active pickups, Grover tuners, Floyd Rose 1000 series bridge. More info here.

NAMM 2012: new ESP models

Lots of cool stuff coming from ESP in 2012, including an entirely new Kirk Hammett signature model shape, ditto for Slayer’s Jeff Hannemann, a Michael Wilton (Queensryche) acoustic, killer sigs for Suicide Silence, Whitechapel and Unearth, and some wild new finishes.

Here are some highlights from ESPguitars.com:

Whitechapel sigs

Nearly everyone in the entire band Whitechapel got new LTD Signature Series models for 2012. The LTD AW-7 (Alex Wade) is a 7-string model based on the M Series, with a neck-thru-body design, alder body with flamed maple top with a Blood Red Sunburst finish. The guitar also features DiMarzio pickups and a fixed bridge with string-thru-body and locking tuners. The LTD BS-7 (Ben Savage) is a 7-string custom version of the MH Series guitar, with a neck-thru-body design, a See Thru Black finish on an alder body with flamed maple top, a teardrop-shaped headstock, maple fingerboard, EMG active pickups, Floyd Rose bridge, and locking tuners. Zach Householderʼs new signature model, the LTD ZH-7, is also a 7-string guitar based on the MH Series. It features a mahogany body with quilted maple top with a See Thru Black Satin finish, large block inlays, EMG active pickups, a Tonepros bridge, and locking tuners. Bassist Gabe Crisp also gets a signature model with the LTD GC-4, a customized Viper bass with neck-thru body design, a mahogany brown finish, ebony fingerboard and an EMG pickup set.

New Kirk Hammett models

Celebrating his 25th year as an ESP player, Metallicaʼs Kirk Hammett has three new models for you. The ESP KH-DC and LTD KH-DC are a brand new double-cutaway body style based on the Eclipse/EC, with a set neck design at 24.75” scale, and an attractive STBC (See Thru Black Cherry) finish on its flamed maple top. Like other EC models, the guitar offers a mahogany body and mahogany neck, with a rosewood fingerboard. The KH-DC features gold hardware, including gold-covered EMG 81 (bridge) and EMG 60 (neck) active pickups, and a Tonepros locking TOM bridge and tailpiece. The ESP version of the new Kirk Hammett model includes Sperzel locking tuners, while the LTD version offers ESP locking tuners.

The limited-edition LTD KH-25 has black distressed finish and graphics designed to emulate Kirkʼs famous KH-2 Vintage model. The KH-25 has bolt-on construction at 25.5″ scale, with a basswood body, maple neck, and a Floyd Rose Special bridge. The guitar also features ESPʼs new ALH-200 active pickups.

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NEWS: Unearth – Darkness In The Light

PRESS RELEASE

UNEARTH: Darkness In The Light Album Art + Track Listing Revealed New Song Stream Available
Pit-churning, melodic metal pioneers, UNEARTH, are currently readying to unveil Darkness In The Light, their fifth full-length in a discography that’s placed the band among the most prolific and plainly ravaging modern metal acts to come out of the U.S. Set for North American release onJuly 5 via Metal Blade Records, the 11-track long player — their most conceptually personal offering to date — was recorded at Zing Studios in Westfield, Massachusetts with producer (and Killswitch Engage guitarist) Adam Dutkiewicz and mixed at Audiohammer Studios in Sanford, Florida by Mark Lewis (The Black Dahlia Murder, Whitechapel, Trivium, et al). Sitting in on drums during the recording was Justin Foley of Killswitch Engage/Blood Has Been Shed. View the cover art HERE.