Just in time for your holiday wish list, we bring you the best gear of the year. We also talk to Joe Satriani and Michael Anthony about the new Chickenfoot album, and interview Vince Gill about his new LP, Guitar Slinger-as well as his amazing vintage-guitar collection. In addition, we take you inside the new Chet Atkins exhibit at Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame, bring you an exclusive excerpt from photographer Neil Zlozower’s new book, Eddie Van Halen, and serve up a how-to on installing replacement pickups. To top it off, we profile Trev Wilkinson-designer of the Wilkinson tremolo and the new ATD HT440 self-tuning bridge-and look at how Paul Bigsby became one of the most innovative and revolutionary builders in modern guitar history. Gear reviews this month include the Egnater Tweaker-88, Perri Ink Protostar Custom, Carr Sportsman, Moog Moogerfooger MF-108M Cluster Flux, Traynor YBA300 and TC810, Rainsong S-OM1000N2, ESP James Hetfield Snakebyte, Electro-Harmonix Ravish Sitar, Peavey Session, and Bootleg Dawg Bass 4.
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.