The vaunted annual Pedal Issue returns! This year it sports an amazing cover by noted French illustrator/guitarist/stompbox-junkie McBess, as well as 33 guitar- and bass-pedal reviews by our astute team of pedal addicts. But that’s not all—we also take you inside the wacky labs where the folks at Union Tube & Transistor, Chase Bliss Audio, Hungry Robot, Fuzzrocious, Mantic Conceptual, Cusack Music, 3Leaf Audio, and Darkglass zap unicorns with shrink rays to put clangorous tones in little metal boxes. Meanwhile, our artist interviews this month include chats with Rage Against the Machine and Prophets of Rage bassist Tim Commerford, Screaming Females’ Marissa Paternoster and “King” Mike Abbate, jazz maestro Charlie Hunter, possessed Australian bluesman C.W. Stoneking, and Deerhoof’s John Dieterich and Ed Rodríguez. We also visit with the brain trust behind Recovery Unplugged, Jail Guitar Doors, and other rehab centers that have found success using guitar and musical activities to help patients overcome substance addiction. And finally, our latest Forgotten Heroes piece recounts the rich life and legacy of the father of free-jazz guitar, Sonny Sharrock.
Looking for your next gear fix? Our cover story this month takes you inside the Winter 2016 NAMM show to give you a look at the most intriguing new guitars, basses, amps, effects, and accessories to keep your eyes peeled for at your local shop. Meanwhile, our review lineup assesses 13 new tone toys, including Fender’s Jimi Hendrix Strat, Warwick’s Adam Clayton signature bass, the MXR Carbon Copy Bright, Allen Eden’s 1987 solidbody, the Radial Headload, Ventura Valve Amplifiers’ VVA50, the Echopark F-1 Dual Germanium fuzz, Magnetic Effects White Atom, Bergantino’s B|Amp, and Tyyster’s Pelti 12-string. Our artist features this issue includechats with Stephen Carpenter and Chino Moreno of Deftones, Ben Harper, Wolfmother’s Andrew Stockdale, Lucinda Williams and Bill Frisell, jazz guitarist Liberty Ellman, and John Jorgenson. We’ve also got a roundtable discussion with Parliament-Funkadelic’s George Clinton and guitarists Michael Hampton (aka Kidd Funkadelic), Dewayne “Blackbyrd” McKnight, and Ricky Rouse about the seminal funk outfit’s history and the gear, techniques, and musical approaches on their R&B masterpieces. To top things off, we offer tips and tricks on how to create quality recordings on the go with your phone, tablet, or laptop.
To kick off our annual Amp Issue, we’ve enlisted Tim Schroeder of Schroeder Amplification (whose clients include Nels Cline and Jeff Tweedy) to show you crucial things to consider before adding a previously owned amp to your arsenal. We also take you inside Hi-Tone Amplification, a Columbus, Indiana, outfit that’s making painstaking handwired clones of vintage Hiwatt amps with the exclusive endorsement of the family of the legendary U.K. brand’s late founder, Dave Reeves. We also review three new guitar amps—the EVH 5150 III LBX, Supro Black Magick, and Laney GH50R—as well as two powerful new bass rigs, Peavey’s MiniMEGA and Genzler’s Magellan 800. Our artist features this issue include chats with J Mascis and Lou Barlow from Dinosaur Jr., Jamie Hince and Alison Mosshart from bluesy avant-garage duo the Kills, Duke Erikson and Steve Marker of electro-pop outfit Garbage, seminal punk guitarist East Bay Ray of Dead Kennedys, and Jeremy Earl and Jarvis Taveniere from psych-folk band Woods. We’ve even got a lesson from senior editor Andy Ellis on how to adapt to the new techniques, tools, and fingerings needed to make a foray into the high lonesome aural wonderland of lap steel. Our review section is rounded out with looks at the PHred DockStar Flame Maple, Matthews Effects’ Astronomer reverb, Walrus Audio’s Vanguard phaser, the Chase Bliss Spectre flanger, Red Panda’s Bitmap, the Gretsch Streamliner G2622T, Fredric’s Deeply Unpleasant Companion, and the Providence Heat Blaster.
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