Winter NAMM 2013

Seymour Duncan Releases Whole Lotta Humbucker Set


Back in the day, when Seymour Duncan was working at the Fender Soundhouse in London, he developed a pickup modification that added output and high-end frequency response to the typical humbuckers of the day. He’d rewind them, change the magnets and basically awesomize these pickups for players like Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton and others. The Whole Lotta Humbucker set is based on these modifications, and it’s no longer just a UK exclusive: these bad boys are now worldwide!

Press Release

Seymour Duncan Announces Worldwide Launch of Whole Lotta Humbucker

Over a year ago Seymour Duncan launched the Whole Lotta Humbucker set as a limited edition UK exclusive. This set was based off Seymour’s experience working at the Fender Soundhouse with artists like Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and many others. Seymour recalls, “When I’d work on one of those great old guitars for a client, I liked to rewind the pickups with 42-gauge plain-enamel wire. I’d also insert sand-cast Alnico magnets with a better-balanced magnetic field, which made the B and high E sound as powerful as the other strings. This modified pickup had more output and a higher frequency response. The Whole Lotta Humbucker set is a replica of these special pickups with 8.78k DC resistance for the bridge pickup, 8.20k for the neck, custom winding pitch, and a calibrated sand-cast Alnico magnet. I have such great memories of living in London, so I’m thrilled to be producing this pickup once again.” Guitar players around the world who are looking to capture the tone of an era will now be able to get Whole Lotta Humbucker at their local store or favorite online dealer.

For more information, visit: http://www.seymourduncan.com

The Taylor Grand Orchestra Series

Taylor Grand Orchestra

Taylor’s big news at NAMM this year was the Grand Orchestra shape, a completely new model designed by master luthier Andy Powers. It’s a curvaceous, downright sensual instrument designed to blend power, detail and balance across the tonal spectrum. It’s also Taylor’s biggest body shape, and when you see one in person it has that kind of presence and gravity… if you’ve ever pressed your nose against in the window of a guitar shop as a kid you know the kind of presence and gravity I mean.

“We’d been reconsidering our Jumbo guitars,” Powers tells I Heart Guitar, “and we finally got to the point where we said “Okay, well, let’s stop. If we completely re-conceive what we want to do with an acoustic guitar, with no constrictions, no preconceived notions of what it should be, what it could be used for, how it could be made, what would it be like? I literally started with a sheet of fresh paper on my drawing board. I thought about what I wanted and started connecting the dots. So I started drawing curves I knew would sound good, and combined them with bracing ideas and construction elements. This is a new, fresh voice that’s unusually responsive for a bigger guitar. It sounds good if you play heavy-handed and you end up with this huge, powerful voice that’s really linear up to the higher registers. It’s an entirely fresh, original new design that’s got its own unique, expressive voice. It’s not a revamping of something that’s already been done.”

There are currently three models: the 518e, the 618e and the 918e.

Andy Timmons on the Ibanez Premium AT-10P


Andy Timmons discusses the Ibanez Premium AT10P at Winter NAMM 2013:

“I was on MTV with Danger Danger, and I met the artist relations guy and I said “I think Ibanez is a company I’d like to deal with. That’s where I imagine myself being.” And he basically said “We love you but we hate your band. We want to work with you!” That was the beauty – that complete honesty. That honesty prevails in my relationship with Hoshino to this day. It’s all about quality, and that’s really important to me.

timmons“Once we came up with a guitar that I felt was home, back in 1994, I felt like I’d found a guitar that was for me. Several years later, when I was heading in more of a solo direction, we developed the AT-100. And the main thing for me on that guitar that was so important was that I wanted it to be exactly like my guitar. I thought there was no point in having a signature model if it’s not what I play. So along the way we were developing it, and I of course chose the most expensive option at every turn! But it was more about integrity. The neck had to feel right, it had to have the versatility and it had to sound like my guitar. And I still pick up production models of the AT-100 and some of them sound better than my old guitar. But I just won’t let that one go until it falls to dust. My luthier has suggested that if I have a few of these guitars, I should start playing them because that one’s going to fall apart! Continue reading

NAMM: Marshall Custom Pin Up Range

Custom Pin UpDid you see my earlier post about the Marshall Custom Pin Up Range unveiled at NAMM? These amps seem to be very popular, judging by the reaction on social media. And with good reason: they embody everything that’s cool about Marshall: tone, elegance and …sexiness. Hehe.

Here’s some more info about the amps. They’re tonally inspired by the Marshall Class 5 (you can read my review of that little bruiser here), and cosmetically inspired by the pin-up models of the 1940s. The range is strictly a one-off limited edition offering. Each C5 Custom Pin-Up product comes complete with a Marshall Custom Shop embossment, and a certificate of authenticity. Featuring EL84 valve power, These 5 watt amps have controls for volume, bass, middle and treble, and there are 8 and 16 ohm speaker outputs and a headphone output. Along with the Custom Pinup Head, there are three different speaker cabinet options to choose from, each with the same custom covering and G10F-15 speaker, but with different graphic options.

Sets are currently clearing production and should be available within the next couple of months. Continue reading

NAMM: Kramer 84 With A Familiar Paint Job

Check out this ‘For Display Only’ Kramer 84 on show at NAMM. Seymour Duncan JB humbucker, Floyd Rose, lone volume knob… oh and that finish, which reminds me of an album cover for some reason…


NAMM: EVH Striped Series & 5150III Combo Release Nears




Here it is: the official launch of the EVH Striped Series and 5150 III Combo. These puppies drummedup some serious interest at NAMM, and they’re bound to be an even bigger hit when they start appearing at your local music store in northern Spring 2013.

From EVHgear.com:

EVH is proud to release the EVH Striped Series guitars, which feature basswood Stratocaster®-style bodies decked out in Eddie Van Halen’s famed striped graphics. The three versions are red/white/black, black with yellow stripes and white with black stripes. This series also has a quartersawn maple neck with a hand-rubbed oil finish and thumbwheel truss rod adjustment, compound-radius maple fingerboard (12”-16”) with 22 jumbo frets and black dot inlays, plus a single ferocious direct-mount Wolfgang® humbucking pickup. Other premium features include a single volume control knob (labeled “tone”), single-ply black pickguard (on the white and black striped model only), bar string retainer and Floyd Rose® locking nut, EVH-branded Floyd Rose® locking tremolo with EVH D-Tuna®, EVH die-cast tuners, chrome hardware, vintage-style strap buttons and EVH neck plate. Available Spring 2013 Continue reading

NAMM: John Lennon Signature Series by Fargen


Amp builder Ben Fargen has a reputation for creativity, quality and originality, and you’ll find all three qualities in spades in the new John Lennon Signature Series. There are two amps available: the JL-15 and the Artist Series.

Fargen says of the JL-15:

The John Lennon JL-15 amplifier is a truly unique design out of the Fargen Custom Shop. Leave it to Ben Fargen and his amplifier mastery to capture Lennon’s tone in a one-of-a-kind technical marvel of a design.


Enjoy Lennon’s 60′s Liverpool and 70′s Plastic Ono Band tones through the use of the two-way Decade Switch and play through the warmth and depth of boutique amplifier engineering at its best. The rich black tolex provides the perfect frame for John Lennon’s beautiful self-portrait in black-and-white … Lennon’s iconic music and visual art come together.

We use a specially designed grill cloth on which the drawing is printed, and the cabinet’s dovetail-jointed Baltic Birch sides and rear panels, combined with a speaker baffle and incredibly accurate voicing, results in a rich, vintage experience.

As for the Artist Series, it follows the lead of the JL-15 but features select Lennon drawings, and each is available in a limited, numbered edition of eleven.

More info and plenty of sound clips here.


NAMM: GJ2 Guitars 7-string Arete


Now how did I miss this! Just saw on the GJ2 Guitars Facebook page, then dug through my files from NAMM and found a pic of it (below). Whoops! This is a 7-string Arete with Floyd Rose tremolo, active EMG humbuckers and all-mahogany construction. Nice! If you want it, it’s at Drum City Guitarland right now for $2599.

gj2 7 string jpg

NAMM: Washburn Time Traveler Series


Still have a couple of bucks left over after buying up a crate of KISS ice-cream? Well this guitar is probably the greatest KISS-related tie-in ever, and it’s the kind of thing that you don’t need to be a huge mega KISS fan to appreciate: the Washburn Limited Edition Time Traveler series. Taking some cues from the Gibson Firebird but going in a different direction, the Time Traveler, features Seymour Duncan mini humbuckers, Buzz Feiten Tuning System and very impressively applied ageing. These guitars attracted a lot of attention at NAMM, regardless of their connection to KISS and Paul Stanley: folks were just digging the fact that they were killer guitars.


Here’s the press release.

Washburn Guitars Presents the Limited Edition Time Traveler Series

Chicago, February, 2013 – Washburn Guitars is proud to introduce the Time Traveler series with the model PS2012R, a classically inspired guitar for the ages. Designed in conjunction with Paul Stanley of Kiss, the Time Traveler guitars are hand crafted and aged to look, feel and play as if they’re 40 years old.

Continue reading

Get Yer Ibanez J.Custom 8-strings Now

Remember the Ibanez JCRG813 Limited Edition 8-String announced at NAMM? The model available in Brown Garnet Shadow or Black Opal finish? Well you can already get your hands on one! Here are some shopping links for ya, courtesy of Musician’s Friend. I’ll note that if you buy anything from Musician’s Friend after clicking on one of these links, I Heart Guitar gets a small commission which helps with site costs like web hosting and beer.

Ibanez J.Custom JCRG813 Ltd Edition 8-String Black Opal


Ibanez J.Custom JCRG813 Ltd Edition 8-String Brown Garnet Shadow


I like these guitars a lot, even though I’m not a huge EMG or flamed maple guy. There’s just something about them, that indefinable mojo. So I’m adding them to my wish list of 2013 Ibanezes I’d Buy The Hell Out Of. That list so far includes the RGIR28FE Iron Label 8-string, RGIR27E Iron Label 7-string, the 30-fret RG550XH, the UV70P Premium Universe, the JS2410 Joe Satriani model with new DiMarzio Satch Track neck pickup, the AT10P Premium Andy Timmons model and the ATK805E bass.

Here’s the press release about the JCRG813:

For the most demanding guitar connoisseurs, sometimes, even Ibanez’s top of the line Prestige series isn’t good enough. These players demand custom-shop instruments hand crafted by the top luthiers, and for them, Ibanez proudly offers the limited-availability j. custom instruments. Continue reading

NAMM: Buddy Blaze Suzanne Slair V


Buddy Blaze (builder of my killer 7-string) launched several cool new guitars at NAMM this year, including this signature V for Canadian singer/guitarist Suzanne Slair of Glyscian.

The guitar has an alder body, a maple neck with ebony fretboard and reverse headstock, double custom DMT Blazebuckers with unique layout, Floyd Rose tremolo, matte black finish with custom red S design, and a 3-way pickup selector switch. Suzanne says it plays like hot loud butter.

By the way, Glyscian’s song ‘Awakening’ will be featured in the upcoming movie Patriot Act.

Continue reading

NAMM: G&L Tom Hamilton ASAT Signature Bass


Aerosmith bass player Tom Hamilton hinted at this one when I interviewed him recently: a new signature ASAT bass from G&L. He didn’t really spill any details at the time, but when I asked if he’d ever thought of having a signature bass, he said:

“I am! With G&L! I actually went down to the company, which occupies the same buildings as way way in the past, and I was allowed to go and hang around in Leo Fender’s lab, where he used to come up with his stuff. He has all these bizarre mock-ups of basses that are just planks of wood with strings on them, and it’s all chaotic and sloppy and everything’s all over the place. It was awesome to just sit in his chair, because I’m always worried about what a disorganised person I am, and here I was in his office and it was just chaotic. I was like, “Okay… I guess it’s okay!”

From the G&L website:

Putting the Punch in the Aerosmith Sound

Aerosmith’s Tom Hamilton has been playing G&L ASAT Basses for nearly twenty years since he bought his first blue metal flake ASAT Bass at 48th Street Custom Guitars in New York City. Since then, G&L has built several more ASAT Basses in a variety of finishes, but there’s something about G&L’s over-the-top metal flake finishes that keeps him coming back for more. Continue reading

Merchant City Music

Peter Hodgson Hi! I'm Peter Hodgson. I write for Gibson.com, Australian Guitar, Australian Musician, Mixdown Magazine (including my instructional column, 'Unleash Your Inner Rock God,' which has been running since 2007), BluntBeat (including their weekly hard rock/metal column Crunch) and The Brag. And I'm Assistant Social Coordinator with Seymour Duncan. I've been playing guitar since I was 8 years old, and I've been writing for magazines since I was 18. I've also worked as a guitar teacher (up to 50 students a week), a setup tech, a newspaper editor, and I've also dabbled in radio a little bit. I live in Melbourne, Australia, and my hobbies include drinking way too much coffee, and eating way too much Mexican food. You can check out my guitar playing at Bandcamp or on YouTube, and feel free to email me at iheartguitarblog@gmail.com If you'd like to support the site, feel free to kick in a couple o'bucks using this donation button.

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