INTERVIEW: George Lynch

George Lynch is one busy dude. Souls of We, Lynch Mob, his new album Orchestra Mayhem, not to mention various gear-designing and art projects. Lynch is heading to Australia soon for an Allans Music clinic tour, and I caught up with him via email for this quick chat:

You’re coming back to Australia soon for Allans Music. You’re quite a regular visitor here now! What can we expect to see and hear at the Allans clinics?
A little bit of everything. Plying along to tracks, improvising with other live musicians, meeting fans and signing my name a lot! lol

What can you tell us about Orchestral Mayhem (CLICK HERE to buy Orchestral Mayhem from How did you approach it?
Very casually. I didnt have to write the material and that takes a lot of pressure off. This record is basically just me blowing over a bunch of tracks over a two-day period

Can you tell us about the Morley Dragon 2 Wah? What do you look for in a wah pedal? The wah lock function is a great idea.
I always liked the idea of having a notched wah selector incorporated into a wah pedal. You can get that Schenker throaty EQ by hitting the switch every time. You don’t have to search around for the sweet spot.

A few questions about Lynch Mob’s Smoke & Mirrors:  The album sounds so powerful and earthy, and it seems to me that there’s a lot of blues or blues-rock influence. Is that what you set out to do, or did it evolve naturally?
Thats just the natural chemistry between Oni and I. I know where he lives melodically and I just naturally gravitate to that place when I’m writing the music.

There’s some very cool slide playing on the title track. Do you play a lot of slide? Who are your slide influences?
I love slide, pedal steel, slack-key …I’m not an accomplished slide player by any stretch of the imagination but i enjoy dabbling. I actually used a 9v battery on the record because I didn’t have a slide. Derek trucks and Duane Allman are two of my faves.

What gear did you use to record the album?
Guitars: ESP Super V and ESP custom Tele for rythms, Tiger and Tele for solos.
Amps: Randall Lynch Box with various modules, 68 Marshall plexi, 65 Fender super reverb, WEM Domintator, Lynch Box cab with super speakers, 71 Hiwatt cab with Fanes
Effects: I used many differant OD pedals; Cusack Screamer, Japanese Boss DS-1, Ting of Tone, Tube Screamers, DOD 250… Lots of vintage MXR Phase 90, morley Dragon Wah and Tripler pedal, Zoom G2G for various fill-in sounds, Fulltone Deja Vibe (old).

Last time I interviewed you, you said you had a guitar design you hoped ESP would build: you described it as “a Lexan body with a carbon fibre exoskeleton and a throbbing rose coloured LED embedded in the body.” Any luck convincing them to do that yet?
No! lol.. I get wacky ideas that are not practical. They’re polite enough to listen to my insane ramblings for awhile then usually tell me no. They learned their lesson when they built the 7-string motorized pickup guitar called the Aardvark which didn’t work very well and went over like a lead balloon.

Any other new guitar designs in the pipeline, either for your own use or available to the public?
I’ve got a signature guitar model I share with a Japanese artist that’s a camo Strat, 24 fret, invader pickups, not for the faint of heart. I’m also working with ESP on a Tele design and I’m working in collaboration with them and hand making Mr Scary guitars as well. You can chek them out

You’ve recently started building/modifying guitars and selling them online. What’s your philosophy regarding these guitars?
The heart of the guitars are the woods that we pick, the radical designs that are very organic, and achieving incredible tone and effortless playability, all in a package that looks 100 years old and feels like you’ve been playing it for 40 years

I was interested to read that you were making your own pickups. Any plans to make pickups available to the public? I think it’d be a very cool limited edition thing.
Seymour Duncan has taken me under his wing and given me hands-on experience building unique pickup designs from scratch.. I’m also recreating the prototype Distortion and Screamin’ Demon models.

You’ve also started selling art online. Is this something you’ve always been into or is it a more recent development? And do you see it influencing designs for your ESP guitar line?

This last year I dived into creating these art pieces which led to carving the guitars. I’ll actually be doing some gallery art showings where well be performing with acoustic instrumentation, banjos, mandolins, percussion … real laid back.

Finally: how on earth are you balancing Souls Of We, Lynch Mob and projects like Orchestral Mayhem?
Thats not even the tip of the iceberg, my friend! But I love playing and being creative, and I promise you it will all make sense when we look back a few years from now.

May 25 – Allans Music – Melbourne
May 26 – Allans Music – Sydney
May 27 – Allans Music – Brisbane
May 28 – Allans Music – Adelaide


INTERVIEW: Marty Friedman

The legendary Marty Friedman is on his way to Australia soon for a clinic tour forAllans Music. Marty is probably best known for his tenure in Megadeth’s classic ‘Rust In Peace’ line-up, where his amazing mastery of exotic melodies and seemingly limitless technical ability balanced out the ‘street-style’ power of Dave Mustaine’s rhythm and lead work. But Marty’s playing has always been about much more than metal, and on such diverse albums as Scenes and Music For Speeding he combines a wide array of influences including classical, new age, and Japanese pop. Now a resident of Japan, Marty took time out from his busy schedule to have a chat with I Heart Guitar.

Is there anything about Western culture that you miss? Or do you get enough of it on tour?

I miss stuff like crazy sweet multi colored cereal and pop tarts, that`s about it. I hope I can get a hold of it in Australia…

What was it like for you moving to Japan? I hear you went there without a guitar which I imagine was a little bit stressful.

I can be without a guitar for a long period of time with no problem, but those long periods don`t come around so much as I`m always doing music in some form or another. Moving to Japan was tough at first because all of my friends were in the International side of the Japanese music business, but I wanted to get into the Domestic music business, which is a completely different and much bigger world. It wasn`t long until I invaded that world though, and I was really glad that I was able to do so.

I saw a few videos of the Rock Fujiyama-show on youtube and it instantly became a new favourite show of mine, any chance of the entire series being released on DVD, maybe outside of Japan too?

I get that question ALL THE TIME! There was an entire team from the network just devoted to getting the television clearances for the music on that show. A DVD for release would be a daunting task, especially given how we butchered famous songs…The show lasted 3 more seasons than originally contracted, and we all loved doing it.

One of my favourite instrumental songs right now is your cover of the song Sekai No Hitotsu Dake No Hana which I think is a really cool song. Any chance of you doing more instrumental covers of Japanese boyband-songs on future records?

Glad you like it! On Tokyo Jukebox I covered lots of Japanese songs, not all by boy-bands though!

What about this new Fanta band? Was that just a very awesome ad-campaign or are you guys going to record something?

That is the mystery. It is a brilliant campaign that will go on strong for the rest of this year, who knows if we will ever write a song… That`s what is cool about it, no one can imagine the sound.

A while back, you had a signature Ibanez guitar based off the SZ-shape. More recently you’ve been photographed playing Les Pauls. Are you still with Ibanez? And what is it about Les Pauls that does it for you?

I will play anything that sounds great and stays in tune. Believe it or not, very few guitars can do that to my scrutiny. I think Les Pauls are great looking and sounding guitars. Lately I have been playing mostly PRS and Gibson, but I play Ibanez and some others too.

What are your thoughts on the Axe-Fx? Where do you see guitar amplification go in the future, do you think that the future is going to be all digital as far as amplification goes?

I never thought about the future of guitar amplification… I like the Axe-FX because it is the easiest way to get unique and quite usable sounds. Believe me, it is SO useful, especially for situations where there is very little setup time, which is often the case doing TV and radio, as opposed to concerts and studios where you have long soundchecks etc.

One thing I’ve always loved about your playing is your clean tone, especially on ‘Scenes.’ What inspires your clean tone?

Thank you so much! If I play a melody with clean sound, I want it to have the same authority as with a dirty sound. It is a matter of interpreting a melody with that in mind, even be it subliminally. It`s hard to put into words, but it`s more about focusing on listening to what you are playing rather than the actual playing itself, which is what most people focus on, I believe.

You left some huge shoes to fill when you left Megadeth. Have you ever had a 2am phone call from Chris Broderick or Glen Drover saying ‘How the hell did you do that lick?’

Haha!! Not yet, I`m sure they will have no problem.

What are your thoughts on Megadeth’s 20th anniversary Rust In Peace anniversary?




NEWS: Zakk Wylde to visit Allans in Sydney

The other day I was in Allans on Bourke St (and hello to whoever picked up the I Heart Guitar printed pick by Grover Allman that I ‘accidentally’ dropped, hehe), and I noticed a Gibson Zakk Wylde Les Paul BFG Buzzsaw (above). ‘Cool,’ I thought. ‘It’s great to see Gibson running with the BFG concept and giving Zakk some more well-deserved signature guitars.’ Well it turns out lucky Sydneysiders will get the chance to meet Zakk in person at Allans while they check out several new Gibson and Epiphone Zakk Wylde models.



In the two decades since Ozzy Osbourne hired him away from his job at a New Jersey gas station to become his new guitarist, Zakk Wylde has established himself as a guitar icon known and revered the world over.

And so it is with great pleasure that Gibson announce the return to our shores for a special in-store appearance & signing on December 3rd at Allans Music in the Sydney to coincide with the release of not one, but three new models – Les Paul BFG Bullseye and Buzzsaw plus the Graveyard Disciple.

To attend the Zakk Wylde in-store appearance & signing fans are encouraged to pre-register online at

Full details are as follows –

Zakk Wylde Instore Event

Allans Music Sydney

228 Pitt Street, Sydney

Date: Thursday December 3

Time: 4.00pm – 6.30pm

Please note: Zakk Wylde will NOT be performing on the day.

Zakk Wylde is coming. Don’t say we didn’t warn you…


So I was just down at Allans Music on Bourke St here in Melbourne and I noticed in the window this beauty: A new Ibanez PGM100RE, the first of two Paul Gilbert models reissued by Ibanez this year (the other being the not-too-long-ago-discontinued PGM300). The pink of the painted F holes is a little lighter than the original, but these are such stunning guitars that while I was looking at it, a grandma who looked like she had no interest whatsover in the guitaristic pursuits strolled over to admire it. One of the things I dig about this model is that it’s very similar in overall design and colour to my beloved RG370, which I wrote about on the Jemsite blog.

One thing I don’t like though is the price tag – AUD$5,495. With an exchange rate of 1 AUD = 0.80 USD at the time of writing, that puts this axe at US$4,400. OUCH. Granted, the chaps at Allans would probably be open to a little friendly haggling if you asked nicely, but still, the US list price is $US2,665, which would put the street price at… well, I don’t know, but a lot less than five and a half grand AUD.

Then again, these are pretty hard to find in Australia and there are a lot of factors involved in setting the price here, so it’s simply not practical to convert the US list price into Australian dollars and expect that to be the local price. So before any Aussies decide to buy a PGM100RE from overseas instead, I’d like to urge them to support the local industry and buy locally – otherwise we’ll see less and less of these cool reissues and limited editions on the racks of our local stores. I’ve had a lot of great dealings with Australian Ibanez importer Australis over the years (they went absolutely above and beyond the call of duty in helping me get my hands on a Jem7VWH – thanks Scott!) and I’m sure they’re keeping the price as low as can reasonably be expected. Plus they brought Paul Gilbert down here on a clinic tour last year which gives them extra awesome-points in my book.

If you’re reading this and you happen to run an Australian guitar store that has the PGM100RE in stock, email me at and I’ll update this post with a list of stores where Aussies can find these awesome axes.

More info on the PGM100 here.

NEWS: Mixdown issue 181 out now

If you’re in Australia, get to your nearest musical instrument store, studio, CD store or wherever you find Mixdown (for me it’s my local Blockbuster but I digress) and check out issue 181. As well as my ‘Unleash Your Inner Rock God’ and ‘What’s That Sound? – Tony Iommi’ columns, this issue has my reviews of:

Sterling by Music Man AX20
Sterling by Music Man Silo20
Schecter Hellraiser Solo-6
Schecter Classic Solo-6
Randall G3 amp
Ampeg J-20 amp

There’s also a great interview with former Guns N’ Roses drummer Steven Adler, who is heading to Australia to do some drum clinics for Allans Music.


I’ve read about E-Bows for years – stretching back to when Eddie Van Halen used one for the intro to ‘Spanked’ on Van Halen’s For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge – and when the Australian government decided to kickstart the economy with a $900 cash bonus to 7 million or so taxpayers, I figured it was time to splash out on some goodies. So yesterday I marched into Allans Music on Bourke St and let Australia buy me an E-Bow.

If you haven’t seen one before, an E-Bow is an electronic bow for guitarists which uses ‘direct string synthesis’ (otherwise known as some sort of sorcery involving magnets) to make the note sustain forever – or at least until the 9v battery runs out. You place it directly over the string and let it do its thing. There’s a standard mode as well as a harmonic mode which creates a heavenly overtone.

I’m still learning to use the E-Bow so I’m not going to sully this post with a poorly performed demonstration. But go to the E-Bow website and check out this page for some cool demonstration files which show that the E-Bow can be used for a lot more than just holding notes.

One limitation of the E-Bow is that it only works with single notes. If you wish to sustain chords, you might want to check out the Fernandes Sustainer or the Sustainiac.

Sustaining devices on eBay:
Fernandes Sustainer

NEWS: News for March 26, 2009

Hammond-Suzuki G37 And G27 Guitar Leslies shipping

Hammond-Suzuki USA today shipped the first production units of their G37 and G27 Leslie speakers designed especially for the guitar. Hammond executive VP Dennis Capiga said “Today marks the fulfillment of a dream, and several years of hard work. I can’t wait to hear the music guitarists will make with our baby.”

The G37/G27 is roughly one third the size and weight of a traditional keyboard Leslie Speaker, but has many of the same components. Unlike the last Leslie designed for guitar in the late 60’s; the G37 and G27 have a ‘real’ horn spinning on the top and the traditional Leslie rotor on the bottom. A 100 watt channel-switching guitar amp with “tube pre” powers the G37 while the G27 is powered by the user’s own amp.
MAP pricing for the G37 is $1495.00, and the G27 is $1325.00.

Listen to the new Queensryche album now!

I got a copy of this to review the other day, but you can check it out for yourself now at the VH1 website! 
Source: Queensryche.

Three quarters of Soundgarden reunite

Here’s one that’s bound to put the wind up Chris Cornell and his attempts to become the next Justin Timberlake or whatever: Soundgarden with Tad Doyle on vocals and Tom Morello on second guitar, rocking Spoonman at the Seattle stop of Morello’s Axis of Justice tour.


Bruce Kulick to release limited edish EP

Former KISS guitarist Bruce Kulick will make a “BK3” limited-edition EP available at his upcoming clinics for Allans Music in Australia. The CD features guest appearances by TOTO’s Steve Lukather and John Corabi.

The songs included are:

* No Friend Of Mine (feat. John Corabi on vocals)
* And I Know (vocals by Bruce Kulick)
* Between The Lines (feat. Steve Lukather)

The EP will be available to the general public in mid-April after Kulick’s Australia trip.

Bruce Kulick’s Australian Allans Music clinic schedule:

April 01 – Melbourne – 7:00pm
April 02 – Brisbane – 6:30pm
April 03 – Adelaide – 7:00pm
April 04 – Sydney – 5:00pm

NEWS: Bruce Kulick Australian clinic tour

Just saw this one on

Former KISS guitarist Bruce Kulick has scheduled the following in-store appearances/clinics in Australia in conjunction with Allans Music.

April 01 – Melbourne – 7 p.m. (soundcheck 5 p.m.)
April 02 – Brisbane – 6:30 p.m. (soundcheck 4:30 p.m.)
April 03 – Adelaide – 7 p.m. (soundcheck 5 p.m.)
April 04 – Sydney – 5 p.m. (soundcheck 3 p.m.)

Kulick has been back in the studio working on his next solo CD, tentatively titled “BK3”. The album will feature guest appearances by a number of acclaimed rock and heavy metal musicians, including TOTO’s Steve Lukather, John Corabi (MÖTLEY CRÜE, UNION, RATT, ESP), Gene Simmons (KISS) and Tobias Sammet (EDGUY, AVANTASIA).

Cool! I haven’t been to a Kulick clinic before, but I hear they’re quite worthwhile, even for non-guitarists who are just going because he was in KISS.