Take a look inside the incredible Rickenbacker instrument archive and at some of the most visually striking, influential, and groundbreaking instruments in modern music. Our artist interviews this month run the gamut from Nashville session ace Brent Mason talking about his new instructional DVD to former AC/DC bassist Mark Evans discussing his new tell-all book to shredmeisters Tosin Abasi and Javier Reyes giving us the lowdown on the new Animals as Leaders album. We also visit with Top Hat Amps’ Brian Gerhard about his vintage Vox- and Marshall-style designs that are used by such renowned players as Steely Dan’s Walter Becker and Los Lobos’ David Hidalgo and Cesar Rosas. Reviews this month include the 3 Monkeys Virgil, MJ Guitars GrooveMaster, Hartke Kilo bass head, Mesa/Boogie Mini Rectifier Twenty-Five, Hagstrom Viking, Mario Guitars Serp, David Allen pickups, Spaceman Gemini III, Visual Sound Dual Tap Delay, and Two-Rock EXO 15.
This month we bring you the industry’s fastest and most comprehensive summary of the world’s biggest gear show-more then 30 of the coolest new guitar and bass toys from Musikmesse in Frankfurt, Germany. We also talk to avant-jazz mastermind Bill Frisell about his new Floratone album, and then chat with riff-rocker Billy Duffy about using his Gretsches and multi-amp setup on the Cult’s new Choice of Weapon. We also take you to New York City’s theater district to talk to the guitar gurus who bring 6-string glory to three of Broadway’s hottest numbers-Book of Mormon,Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark, and Rock of Ages. We also shine the spotlight on the astonishing career of Forgotten Hero Johnny “Guitar” Watson-a funk icon whose groovin’ lines have been sending aftershocks through modern music for 30+ years. Then, for both novices and vets, we delve into the oft-overlooked tonal implications of steel strings and picks with two in-depth features that explain archaic terminology and suggest new ways to approach your sound. Reviews this month include the new Gibson Jeff Tweedy SG, Jackson Ampworks Newcastle, Ibanez Gerald Veasley 6-string bass, Taylor 710ce Rosewood, Alairex H.A.L.O. overdrive, Jason Z. Schroeder Chopper T-Pine, Mojo Hand Nebula IV phaser, Orange OR50H reissue head, Rivera Sustain Shaman, and Peavey Headliner bass head and 4×10 cab.
In addition to talking to Gene Baker about his involvement with the boutique consortium of designers at Premier Builders Guild, we go back in time to look at the rise of B.C. Rich-one of the most iconic guitar brands of the 1980s. Dream Theater’s John Petrucci and John Myung talk about thriving after the apocalypse of founding drummer Mike Portnoy’s departure and their subsequent epic, A Dramatic Turn of Events. We also interview Primus’ bass-and-guitar freak show-Les Claypool and Ler LaLonde-to find out how friendship and new tone toys resurrected the most bizarre power trio of the last 25 years. And then we talk to mind-boggling classical guitarist Matt Palmer about his evolution from learning Yngwie tunes to redefining classical guitar with an incredible new nylon-string picking technique. We also take you way outside the box with Avant Guitar 101: Alternate Attacks-a how-to feature that explores the unorthodox playing approaches of iconic experimentalists Keith Rowe and Fred Frith. In the gear-review room this month, we take a look at the new Line 6 POD HD, the Collings 290 DC, the Dingwall Z3 bass, the Blackstar HT-5R, the Amptweaker TightMetal, the Yamaha A3M acoustic, the DV Mark DV40 212, the MXR M87 Bass Compressor, the Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister 18, and the Gretsch G6128T-GH George Harrison Signature Duo Jet.