If you’re itching to mod your axe, you’ll find tons to dig in this issue. Our cover story is an in-depth interview with BilT Guitars’ Tim Thelen on the technical minutiae of installing effects in your guitar—as well as the musical epiphanies that await open-minded adventurers who walk this path. On the flip side, ace Nashville luthier Tony Nagy walks us through 10 mundane-seeming—but no less-impactful—ways to drastically alter the sound and responsiveness of your guitars for less than a hundred bucks. To round out the mod section we’ve even got a gallery of PG readers’ own guitar mods. Other features this month include interviews with the always-entertaining Noel Gallagher, prog-rock veteran Mike Rutherford, and Awolnation’s Adam Bruno. We’ve also got a Forgotten Heroes piece on late Chili Pepper Hillel Slovak, and acoustic troubadour Pete Huttlinger’s advice on gigging with your flattop. Gear reviews this issue include guitar and bass products from Dunlop, Taylor, Danelectro, Korg, Supro, Engl, Relish Guitars, Xotic, DV Mark, JHS, Keeley, and more.
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.
We all know the usual suspects when it comes to amps that bring the heavy, but for those who want something crazier—something more off the combat-boot-beaten path—our cover story takes a look at obscure amps that absolutely destroy. Meanwhile, PG Bass Bench blogger Heiko Hoepfinger takes us inside The Holy Grail Guitar Show, an annual gathering of top luthiers that’s fast becoming the most talked about and respected guitar-gear gathering in Europe. Artist interviews this month include Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine and Dave Ellefson, Shana Cleveland from wicked Seattle surf-rock outfit La Luz, flattop fingerstyle master Mark Goldenberg and jazz guru Eric Skye, Jazzmaster-wielding sonic agitator Ava Mendoza, and Tortoise’s Jeff Parker. Our latest Forgotten Heroes piece celebrates the amazing and irresistibly funky life of Kool & the Gang co-founder and bassist Robert “Kool” Bell. Gear reviews this month include the new PRS SE 277 baritone, the Ibanez Talman TM330, MXR’s new EVH 5150 Overdrive, the Carr Lincoln combo, Fender’s new Acoustic SFX amp, the Catalinbread Katzenkönig, DLS Effects’ RotoSPIN, Ampeg’s PF-50T, Mojo Hand Fx’s El Guapo, Providence’s Bass Boot Comp, the Siegmund Doppler Stereo combo, TC Electronic’s Hypergravity, DryBell’s Vibe Machine, Sire’s Marcus Miller signature 4-string, and a roundup of the latest loop-switchers from Boss, RJM Music, and Carl Martin.