PRESS RELEASE: Line 6 To Be Acquired By Yamaha

line6_logoCALABASAS, Calif. – December 20 2013Yamaha Corporation and Line 6, Inc. today announced a definitive agreement for Yamaha to acquire Line 6, a leading manufacturer of innovative solutions for musicians. The acquisition expands Yamaha’s portfolio of modeling guitar processing products as well as pro-audio equipment, and offers new and exciting opportunities for accelerated growth for both companies. Line 6 products have been at the cutting edge of digital audio development for musicians and audio professionals since the company pioneered the digital modeling guitar amplifier in 1996. Line 6 continues to deliver innovation and excellence across its industry-leading portfolio, including POD® multi-effect processors, digital effects, guitar amplifiers, modeling guitars, a range of professional instrument and microphone digital wireless systems, digital live sound mixers, speakers, as well as iOS interfaces. Read More …

INTERVIEW: Limp Bizkit’s Wes Borland

Limp Bizkit imageLimp Bizkit are stayers, alright? They’ve had their ups and downs, their band member comings and goings, and they’ve ridden out a particularly intense backlash against the genre they helped to define – nu metal – maintaining their attitude and sense of humour along the way. A triumphant Australian return at Soundwave 2012 helped solidify their place within the current metal landscape, and they’re back to do it again this month with a series of headline shows in Australia. “It was redeeming,” guitarist Wes Borland says of the band’s last Australian visit. “And it kind of felt like us resurrecting ourselves, in a way, with what had happened at the Big Day Out, with the young girl’s death, as well as Australia and us.” The sense of sadness in Borland’s voice as he speaks of the tragic 2001 death of Big Day Out concertgoer Jessica Michalik is palpable. “When I think about the two combined, Australia has always been tied to grief in the past, and it was nice to kind of obliterate that and meet Jessica’s family, meet the friends that had been there at the show with her when she died, and in some ways the whole thing has come full circle for us to forgive ourselves and make new memories and have the air cleared. And now this’ll be our first headlining tour of Australia that is not linked to a festival, so it’s nice to kind of hit the reset button, in a way.”  Read More …

REVIEW: Yamaha THR10C Amplifier

YamahaLike the high gain-oriented THR10X, the Yamaha THR10C is a little 10-watt modelling amp which is designed to take the personal-amp concept to a new level of audio fidelity. It uses Yamaha’s exclusive VCM (Virtual Circuitry Modelling) technology to recreate the response and dynamics of tube amps, combined with a bunch of useful effects which are carefully voiced for maximum flexibility with a minimum of control-fiddling. But unlike the THR10X, the THR10C is aimed at players who require more of a boutique amp approach. Instead of a selection of amps voiced for extreme gain, the THR10C is aimed squarely at players who need boutique-vibed cleans and overdrives. Read More …

Most Metal Thing Ever: Giant Screaming Fireskull In Space

screamingskullRemember those great old Yamaha guitar ads with the tagline ‘Naked Girls And Flaming Skulls Don’t Make A Guitar Work Better. Unfortunately’? Well, sure, that may be true, but it certainly doesn’t diminish the awesome metal power of The Screaming Flaming Skull In Space. Or, to be more accurate, planetary nebula Sh2-68. Estimated to be at least 45,000 years old, the diffuse orange emission to the upper right is the result of the planetary nebula’s motion through the disk of our galaxy, while the bluish interior is from energized oxygen atoms. The progenitor star is the very blue star at the center of the bluish gas. But as cool as all that stuff is – and I’m rather into astronomy – it’s nowhere near as cool nor as metal as the fact that there’s a giant screaming flaming skull in space. Read More …

Hilarious Yamaha guitar ads, circa 1992-93

I don’t know who wrote the copy for these Yamaha ads from 1992-93 (which I recently tracked down in some old guitar magazine issues) but they were a marketing genius. These ads are informative and fun, and they lodged themselves in my brain immediately when I saw them as a kid, staying there for the almost 20 years since then.

Observe this brilliant piece for the RGZ (Guitar School, September 1992)

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NEWS: New DiMarzio Billy Sheehan videos

Here are a couple of great new DiMarzio videos featuring Billy Sheehan.

In this one he talks about discovering hammer-ons from under the shadow of Billy Gibbons’ cowboy hat.

And here he shares a secret trick about his unusual picking technique.This one’s pretty freaking amazing.

CLICK HERE to buy Billy’s new CD, Holy Cow, from Amazon.com.


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
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