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.
Gear fanatics rejoice! Our cover story this month details the droolworthiest guitars, basses, amps, and effects from Musikmesse—Europe’s biggest show for new music toys. On top of that, we’ve got 18 guitar and bass reviews—including gear from G&L, Alvarez, Mesa/Boogie, Moog, TC Electronic, Greer, Matthews Effects, Mastro, Taurus, and Function f(x)—as well as a six-pedal overdrive roundup featuring stomps from J. Rockett Audio, Way Huge, T-Rex, SviSound, Visual Sound, and Sonic Fusion. Meanwhile, our totally stacked feature section includes interviews with Faith No More’s Billy Gould and Jon Hudson, Courtney Barnett, JD McPherson, Built to Spill’s Doug Martsch, Torche’s Steve Brooks and Jonathan Nuñez, and Alabama Shakes’ Brittany Howard and Heath Fogg. Plus, we’ve got an eye-popping excerpt from celebrated photographer Jay Blakesberg’s new book, Guitars That Jam: Portraits of the World’s Most Storied Rock Guitars.
Our cover feature this month taps the craniums of some of the most knowledgeable and esteemed pedal builders in the industry to serve up the story and gory visual glory on rare, weird stompboxes that inspired them. For both recording newbies and tracking vets, we survey the market of new and upcoming studio gear that’s specifically well suited to helping guitarists capture stellar audio at a variety of price points—from interfaces to apps, mics, and more. Artist interviews this month include Baroness frontman John Baizley, Dweezil Zappa, Mutoid Man’s Stephen Brodsky, DJ Williams, Caspian’s Philip Jamieson and Calvin Joss. We also take you inside Les Paul’s Big Sound Experience, a travelling exhibit making stops around the country. Gear reviews this month include Reverend’s Descent RA Baritone, the Jackson SLATXMGQ 3-6 Soloist, Faith’s Neptune acoustic, the Nace Amps Pro-18, Analog Outfitters’ Scanner, the Jordan Fuzztite, Fulltone’s 2B, Malekko’s Scrutator, the Demeter Bass 400, the Danelectro Baby Sitar, Wampler’s Low Blow, the Red Witch Zeus, and the Soundtwirl iOS app.