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.
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 “Pedal Issue” is one for the record books-literally: At 272 pages, it has been verified by Inquiry Management Systems, an independent publishing research firm, as the largest single issue of a US guitar magazine ever. It’s also the first PG ever to have four randomly distributed covers, each featuring a fully functional custom pedal with the issue’s cover lines printed directly on its face. (The pedals are a JAM Pedals RetroVibe, a DigiTech Whammy, a Diamond Pedals Halo Chorus, and an Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi, and you can enter to win them at premierguitar.com Oct. 19 through Nov. 16.) Inside, the issue is packed with 30+ stompbox reviews, three features-on Rolling Stone Ron Wood, Iron Maiden, and Zakk Wylde-a profile on “5 Boutique Stompbox Builders You Should Know,” a profile on Electro-Harmonix founder Mike Matthews, a wrap-up of Experience PRS 2010, and reviews of three guitars and two amps.