Twice a year we bring you a slew of guitar-modding projects to sate your DIY appetite. This time around we’ve got an entry-level piece on the dos and don’ts of building a parts guitar, a how-to on optimizing acoustic and electric guitar for lap-slide playing, and experimental builder Yuri Landman’s drone-guitar project for former Sonic Youth axe man Thurston Moore. Plus, we also have our usual gallery of readers’ DIY projects! In our artist section this month we climb aboard the Axes & Anchors rock cruise—which boasts performances by Yngwie Malmsteen, Zakk Wylde, Marty Friedman, Alex Skolnick, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal, and more—to take you behind the scenes on perhaps the most shredding boat ride ever. We also talk to Adam Hann from up-and-coming British neo-New Wave outfit the 1975, American Primitive acoustic guitarist Glenn Jones, and acclaimed Malian songwriter/guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Rokia Traoré. As for gear, our 13 reviews include two cool new reissues—Hagstrom’s Impala, and the Boss VB-2W Waza Craft Vibrato—T-Rex’s remarkable new Replicator tape delay, Vintage’s Jerry Donahue signature T-style guitar, Blackstar’s Artist 15, the Henriksen Bud amp, Line 6’s Helix multi-effector, and the Eastwood Surfcaster bass. We also take a look at unusual gadgets that really deliver—sometimes even saving the day.
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.
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.