Our annual pedalboards of the stars issue gives you an up-close-and-personal look at the coolest stomp stations from Billy Gibbons, Eagles of Death Metal, Slipknot, John Fogerty, Heart, Between the Buried and Me, My Morning Jacket, and Best Coast. We’ve also got a MIDI-guitar primer by Avi Bortnick—who incorporates a laptop into his rig onstage with jazz legend John Scofield—that shows you how to get started with minimal cost and surprising ease. In our interviews section this month we talk to Ben Monder and Tim Lefebvre about the sessions for David Bowie’s farewell masterpiece, as well as speak with Anthrax’s Scott Ian and Jonathan Donais (formerly of Shadows Fall), Gemma Thompson from London-based post-punk outfit Savages, Brad Shultz and Daniel Tichenor from Cage the Elephant, Sun Club’s Mikey Powers and Shane McCord, and Ride’s Andy Bell and Mark Gardener. Gear reviews this month include the Music Man St. Vincent, the PRS SE A15AL Alex Lifeson thinline acoustic, Dr. Z’s Z-Lux, Mesa/Boogie’s Subway D-800 bass head, the Dusky D20 head, ThorpyFx’s Muffroom Cloud, F-Pedal’s Eddie Kramer-designed PhazeVibe Lite, Dr. No’s RoadRunner Octave Fuzz Wah, and more.
This year’s annual Amp Issue features a smorgasbord of invaluable knowledge for guitarists and bassists—from beginners to advanced players. For starters, AmplifiedParts.com’s tube guru Kurt Prange goes deep on power tubes, detailing the crucial tonal characteristics, important historical developments, and quintessential reference recordings for EL34, EL84, 6L6, 6V6, KT88, and KT66 valves. Then Mark Gooday, founder of Ashdown Engineering and former head engineer at Trace Elliot—two of the most influential and highly respected new bass-amp companies of the last 30 years—demystifies power amp classes (A, B, and D), as well as how to read power ratings to ensure you get the tone and oomph requisite for your needs. PG Senior Editor Joe Gore’s The Recording Guitarist column also offers savvy tips for using popular plug-ins to generate stellar tones. Meanwhile, artist interviews this month include chats with former Gov’t Mule frontman and Allman Brothers all-star Warren Haynes, influential British guitarist Richard Thompson (Fairport Convention), fingerstyle acoustic guitarist Ryley Walker, and Ruban Nielson from garage-psych band Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Our latest Forgotten Heroes installment takes a look at the fascinating life and enduring legacy of Pops Staples—an influential gospel guitarist and friend and contemporary of blues gods Charlie Patton, Robert Johnson, and Albert King. Gear reviews this month include guitar and bass toys from Electro-Harmonix, Eden, TC Electronic, Ibanez, Fender, Orange, Aria, Fishman, and more.