We all know the usual suspects when it comes to amps that bring the heavy, but for those who want something crazier—something more off the combat-boot-beaten path—our cover story takes a look at obscure amps that absolutely destroy. Meanwhile, PG Bass Bench blogger Heiko Hoepfinger takes us inside The Holy Grail Guitar Show, an annual gathering of top luthiers that’s fast becoming the most talked about and respected guitar-gear gathering in Europe. Artist interviews this month include Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine and Dave Ellefson, Shana Cleveland from wicked Seattle surf-rock outfit La Luz, flattop fingerstyle master Mark Goldenberg and jazz guru Eric Skye, Jazzmaster-wielding sonic agitator Ava Mendoza, and Tortoise’s Jeff Parker. Our latest Forgotten Heroes piece celebrates the amazing and irresistibly funky life of Kool & the Gang co-founder and bassist Robert “Kool” Bell. Gear reviews this month include the new PRS SE 277 baritone, the Ibanez Talman TM330, MXR’s new EVH 5150 Overdrive, the Carr Lincoln combo, Fender’s new Acoustic SFX amp, the Catalinbread Katzenkönig, DLS Effects’ RotoSPIN, Ampeg’s PF-50T, Mojo Hand Fx’s El Guapo, Providence’s Bass Boot Comp, the Siegmund Doppler Stereo combo, TC Electronic’s Hypergravity, DryBell’s Vibe Machine, Sire’s Marcus Miller signature 4-string, and a roundup of the latest loop-switchers from Boss, RJM Music, and Carl Martin.
Pedal freaks rejoice! We’ve got info and close-up photos of 10 of the coolest stomp stations from our recent Rig Rundowns—from Pixies to Brent Mason, the War on Drugs, Larry Carlton, Brand New, Jonny Lang, Death from Above 1979, Bring Me the Horizon, the Gaslight Anthem, and Third Eye Blind. Then we’ve got a gallery of your pedalboards, which often give the pros’ boards a serious run for their money. We’ve also got a review roundup of “spring-reverb” pedals—Subdecay’s Super Spring Theory, Mojo Hand Fx’s Dewdrop, and Catalinbread’s Topanga—new photos from our Gwar and Lucinda Williams Rig Rundown video shoots, and a DIY feature with setup and maintenance tips for 12-string guitars. Our artist interviews this month include chats with Robert Pollard, Cancer Bats’ Scott Middleton, and Consider the Source’s Gabriel Marin. Other gear reviews include toys from MXR, Eastwood, Veillette, Tone Bakery, TC Electronic, T-Rex, Schertler, BC Audio, Red Witch, Outlaw, Electro-Harmonix, and Stone Deaf.
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.