Troubleshooting advice, speaker basics, in-depth tips from Celestion and Weber gurus, and a look at seven vintage “sleepers” that rule.
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Gear fanatics will find a lot to love in this issue. For starters, our cover story details 44 new instruments, amps, and effects that wowed us at the Winter 2015 NAMM show. And our reviews start out with a roundup of four face-melting metal and hard-rock amps—Randall’s Ola Englund Satan, Engl’s Invader II E642/2, Mesa/Boogie’s Mark Five:25, and Friedman’s Double J Jerry Cantrell signature model. We also take a look at new gear from Ibanez, Demeter, Fender, Free the Tone, Radial Engineering, Dawner Prince, Acoustic, GreenChild, Phil Jones, and Slick Guitars. Rounding things out, we’ve got an in-depth feature on the history of steel guitar, as well as interviews with a wide array of players—from Imagine Dragon’s former jazzbo Wayne Sermon to avant-gardist Ben Chasny, experimentalist Oliver Ackermann from A Place to Bury Strangers (and Death by Audio pedals), tone alchemist Reine Fiske from Sweden’s the Amazing, and globetrotting acoustic adventurer Sir Richard Bishop.
This month our gear reviews include a killer array of acoustic tone toys—from Martin’s D Jr. to the Cole Clark CCFL2EC, Taylor’s 562ce, and parlor flattops from Fender and Ibanez, and DiMarzio’s new Black Angel soundhole pickup—as well as Marshall’s JCM 25/50 2555X Silver Jubilee head, the Ethos Clean-Fusion preamp, L.R. Baggs’ Stadium bass DI, Schroeder Amplification’s SA9+, the Keeley ME-8 Multi-Echo, SolidGoldFX’s Horizon, and Mike Lull’s TXB4 bass. Meanwhile, in our interviews section, famed record producers Zeuss (Rob Zombie, Hatebreed), and Steve Evetts (the Dillinger Escape Plan, Every Time I Die) offer tips and tricks for recording crushing guitar tones, while Paul Gilbert, Nigerian Tuareg guitarist Bombino, Lukas Nelson (country icon Willie Nelson’s son), neo-bluegrass renegade Michael Daves, genre-spanning veteran Gary Lucas, Jeremy Earl and Jarvis Taveniere from folk-rock outfit Woods, and world-music guitar guru Adam Rudolph dissect the songwriting, recording, and gear behind their latest albums.
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.