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: Black Veil Brides signature BC Rich models

Black Veil Brides guitarists Jake Pittz and Jinxx both have new BC Rich guitars and they’re both pretty freaking cool! I checked them out at NAMM 2012 and was most impressed. These two axes tap into the essential sig guitar criteria of being attractive to people who aren’t fans of the band as much as to those who are (BVB inlays notwithstanding, but even then they look kind of cool).

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REVIEW: VHT Special 6 Ultra

The VHT Special 6 is a very fine little amp indeed, which I’ve reviewed before and developed quite an attachment to. Any time I see one I remember those glorious few weeks I that the Ultra 6 was kicking around the house, and I get all wistful and nostalgic. It’s a 6 watt, boutique-style hand wired amp rocking a single 12AX7 preamp tube and a 6V6 in the output stage. The control options are pretty limited: just a single tone pot, a volume control with a gain boost, and a low/high power switch. One of VHT’s goals with that amp is to make something simple to serve as a platform for modders to work their magic on its minimal circuit. And it worked. If you go online you’ll find all sorts of mods for the Special 6. Different speakers, upgraded caps, bright switches, gain mods… it’s a tinkerer’s dream.

But y’know who else wanted to tinker with the Special 6?


Think of the VHT Special 6 Ultra as a factory-modded Special 6. Read More …

NAMM 2012: Jim Dunlop Zakk Wylde Rotovibe

Zakk Wylde has been a great ambassador for the Rotovibe for many, many years now – it steals the show at several points on the one and only Pride & Glory album – and he has now been honoured with his own signature Rotovibe courtesy of Jim Dunlop. The ZW357 is a limited run which features the same intensity and speed controls and rotating speaker sound as the classic Rotovibe but in Zakk-approved livery. And frankly it looks freaking cool. “I’ve had a Dunlop Rotovibe on my pedalboard since 1988,” Zakk says. “Whether it’s to spice up a solo, add an overdubbed colour, or just as a sound to inspire songwriting.” And I’ve gotta agree – it’s one of those effects where once you turn it on it’s hard to force yourself to turn it off again.

EVENT ALERT: MMF Metal forum, featuring …me

Hey! I’ll be one of the panelists at the MMF Metal forum on February 8 in St Kilda. This event, by Music Managers Forum Australia, is part of the St Kilda Festival and it’s a great opportunity for anyone interested in metal, but especially those who play it, to pick the brains of some very knowledgable experts. And me [boomTISH]. Now, it’s free but you need to book. Tickets are available here. Come along, participate, and let’s have a beer afterwards.

There are plenty of other forums and masterclasses run by MMF as part of the Festival. Check out this schedule for more.

Here are the details of the metal forum.

MMF METAL FORUM Wed. 8 FEB. 2012, 8 PM

WHAT: Tips and Tricks, How to get a better Gig, where to tour, Local and International Markets, Trends. Hear it from the experts.

VENUE: Alliance Francaise De Melbourne, Side Entrance, 51 Grey Street, St Kilda, Victoria 3182


Ben has been at Roadrunner Records for 4 years as General Manager, Australian/NZ territory. Roadrunner is internationally renowned for its roster of rock, hard rock and metal artists and is famous for such bands as Slipknot, Nickelback, Sepultura, Machine Head and more. Prior to working at Roadrunner Ben was Head of Labels/A&R at Stomp Entertainment where he worked for 8 years. Ben has also managed the following labels in Australia over his career – Victory, Metalblade, Sub Pop, Saddle Creek, Sanctuary, Rykodisc/ADA, Tooth & Nail, Equal Vision, Southern Lord, Mans Ruin and more.

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Jeff Skunk Baxter with the Roland/Fender G5 VG Stratocaster

GuitarTV has an awesome video of Jeff “Skunk” Baxter showing off the Roland/Fender G5 VG Stratocaster. Check it out here, and read more info about the G5 here. I particularly like the bit where Baxter demonstrates the Strat’s actual and modelled Strat tones.

One thing that’s super-cool about this video for me is that the first time I ever saw a Roland guitar product demoed, it was Baxter with the old VG8 way back in the day. It was the first modelling system to use a hex pickup, at least that I’m aware of, and it’s great to see Baxter showing the latest evolution of the concept about 15 years later.

Check out Guitar TV’s cool new redesign too!