Hutchinson Guitar Concepts Viking LP

HGC Viking LPHutchinson Guitar Concepts has just released its third Viking concept, based on a Gibson Les Paul Custom. With detailed knotwork carved into the top and arching shiplap style panelling, it looks ready to invade the shoreline. The Zakk Wylde EMG 81/85 pickups feature engraved knotwork and a worn metal finish matching the Evertune bridge. As with all HGC designs, the weight and tone of the original guitar is left unaffected. More designs are available through the Hutchinson Guitar Concepts website, which feature a portfolio of finished instruments inspired by wide ranging themes and executed through hundreds of hours of intricate wood carving, masterful finishing and state of the art electronics. Read More …


The EHX Tortion uses JFET overdrive for tube-like response and tone, has a Boost switch with independent Volume and Gain for two-channel flexibility, and features a four-way Pre-Gain selector plus Treble, Middle and Bass for complete sound control. It also has a balanced XLR output with cabinet emulation if you wish to use it as a preamp.  More info here.

REVIEW: Epiphone Black Royale Dot & ES-399 PRO

Epiphone-Black-Royale-collectionBlack Royale Dot: The Epiphone Dot may have been conceived as a more affordable alternative to the Gibson ES-335 but it quickly established itself as a great guitar line in its own right. It has a certain classic rock swagger about it but is also great for jazz, blues, country and indie styles. The large body really lends an air of ‘serious guitar,’ and the styling just makes you feel good about yourself, dammit. The version on review here is part of Epiphone’s Limited Edition Black Royale line, which brings together some of the company’s most well-known guitar designs all kitted out with a Black Pearl fine metallic color finish with silver sparkle binding. The full line-up includes this Dot, the ES-339 PRO reviewed below, the radical and super cool Riviera Custom P93 with three P-90R pickups, the groovy Emperor Swingster with SwingBucker Plus Humbuckers, series parallel wiring, and Bigsby tremolo; the ground-breaking Wildkat with P-90s and Bigsby tremolo, and of course, because no Gibson line-up is complete without one, the Les Paul Standard with Alnico Classic Plus humbuckers. Read More …

Positive Grid Launches Final Touch For iPad

final touchPRESS RELEASE: Positive Grid, leading innovator in music technology and maker of #1 selling mobile apps BIAS and JamUp, proudly announce the release of Final Touch – Complete Mastering System for iPad, a professional mastering suite that combines nuanced techniques of mastering with Positive Grid’s expertise on mobile design, offering the highest mastering control, precision and flexibility possible on an iPad. “Final Touch allows musicians, producers and engineers to master audio recording with the industry’s standards: maximizer, pre and post equalizer, multiband dynamics, stereo imaging, reverb and dithering controls are all just one finger tap away”, says Positive Grid Marketing Manager Jaime Ruchman. Read More …

REVIEW: Marshall Handwired Series 2245THW

Marshall 2245THWIf you’ve never plugged into an old-school tube amp with no master volume control, dude, you’re missing out. If the closest you’ve ever come to blasting through a cranked Plexi is a digital model, you’ve never experienced the majesty and power of rock. There’s a special kind of alchemy that occurs when you put some hurt on those power tubes and really push some air through those speakers. But first, a little history lesson: the 1962 has its roots in the JTM45, the first amp Marshall ever made. It was first produced in 1962, inspired by the Fender Bassman but with various changes related to the differences in parts available in the UK compared to the USA. Released in 1965, the Model 1962 was basically the bass version of the JTM 45 (Model 1986), and the basic design underwent various revisions over the years, partly in an effort to improve the Tremolo circuit. This version, from Marshall’s Handwired Series of authentic all-valve amp reproductions, is based on the 1962HW ‘Bluesbreaker’ combo, itself a recreation of a 1965 version of the amp. Read More …

The Seymour Duncan James Hetfield Invader Mystery

Hetfield and Hammett
A little while ago I got my paws on a Schecter Synyster Gates Custom guitar with Seymour Duncan Invader pickups, and I was pretty impressed by how easily it was able to capture classic 80s thrash tones. In fact, I found myself chugging out on the riff to Metallica’s “Disposable Heroes” for way longer than anyone would care to hear, just because it sounded so damn chunky.

“But wait,” I thought. “I feel a sense of deja vu here… something to do with the Invader …and Metallica…” It wasn’t until a little while later that I made the connection during one of my frequent excursions down the Google rabbit hole: it has been reported that James Hetfield used the Seymour Duncan Invader humbucker on Kill ‘Em All, Ride The Lightning and Master Of Puppets, in his Electra Flying V copy as well as his white Jackson King V. Interviews from back in the day seem to be very hard to come by (i.e. I can’t find any, dammit), but below are some pics from a Google image search that seem to support these reports, and there’s some other cool info here.

In the Electra pic in particular, you can make out the smaller logo and larger pole pieces of the Invader – and there are rumours that the pickup in the KV1 King V is a Seymour Duncan Allan Holdsworth model, which seems possible since the pole pieces in the pic below look more like the Holdsworth’s double screws than the huge hex poles of the Invader.

Either way, if anyone has any clearer pics I’d love to see ’em! Of course, even as a huge Seymour Duncan geek it’d be wrong of me to omit that Papa Het has long used EMG pickups and now has his own signature Het Set.

Hetfield Electra

Hetfield Jackson V