In our cover story this issue, we talk to Tal Wilkenfeld, the young bassist who gained worldwide attention backing Jeff Beck, about her stunning stylistic development as singer-songwriter, guitarist, and bandleader. Other artist features include chats with recent Rock Roll Hall of Fame inductees Rick Nielsen, Tom Petersson, and Robin Zander of Cheap Trick, as well as jazz virtuoso Julian Lage, Asking Alexandria’s Ben Bruce and Cameron Liddell, world-music-bass-goddess-turned-vocalist/songwriter Esperanza Spalding, and former Hüsker Dü frontman Bob Mould. The latest in our Forgotten Heroes series looks at the ongoing, astonishingly prodigious career of studio ace Reggie Young—whose credits include stints with Elvis, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Jerry Lee Lewis, and countless other legends. Meanwhile, DrowningInGuitars.com’s Frank Meyers—one of the world’s foremost experts on quirky vintage gear—takes us back in time to the 1960s amp-in-guitar craze. Our gear reviews include a roundup of six new dirt boxes—Mojo Hand Fx’s Sacred Cow, J Coloccia’s Id, Oddfellow’s the Bishop, the Zen Zero Red Crown, and Pettyjohn’s PettyDrive—in addition to reviews of Fender’s new Bassbreaker 45 and American Elite Precision bass, the Electro-Harmonix Super Pulsar, IK Multimedia’s iRig Acoustic, Cusack Music’s Reverb SME, Strymon’s Dig, the Dean Zelinsky LaVoce Z-Glide Custom, Blackstar’s Artist 15 combo, the Darkglass Microtubes B7K Ultra, the Pigtronix Echolution2 Ultra Pro, and 3Leaf Audio’s WonderLove envelope filter.
This incredibly diverse issue includes features on famed U2 producer and pedal-steel guru Daniel Lanois, drone-metal duo Sunn O))), alt-surf outfit the Mattson 2, British metal newcomers In Search of Sun, studio legend John Siket, and a look at the first-annual Holy Grail Guitar Show in Germany. We also talk to acoustic badasses Daniel Bachman, Cian Nugent, Chuck Johnson, Tashi Dorji, and Adam Miller. To top it off, we spotlight intriguing new recording gear, and serve up four lessons from Brendon Small, Mike Stern, Greg Koch, and Shane Theriot. Our gear reviews this month include Schecter’s PT Fastback II B, the Park P45 head, Dunlop’s Clyde McCoy wah, the PRS SE Kingfisher bass, Electro-Harmonix’s 360 Nano Looper, the Yamaha LL16D ARE acoustic, Tech 21’s Fly Rig 5, Mission’s V-Boost pedal, ValveTrain’s Brandywine bass head, Kleissonic’s Tremulant, Flex Waves’ Flex EQ 7, Killer Guitar Components’ Killer Compensated Claw, and Shredneck’s Z-Series travel bass.
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.