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.
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.