Welcome to our annual Amp Issue! In addition to great interviews with players like Robert Randolph, John Scofield, the Stooges’ James Williamson, and Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz, Patrick Stump, and Joe Trohman, in this issue we dive into all sorts of amplifier awesomeness. First off, for those of you who’ve always wondered exactly how a tube amp works, we break it down into simple, easy-to-understand concepts using a vintage Vox AC4 as an example. And, since your speakers have such a big impact on your tone, we also bring you a step-by-step DIY project on how to correctly replace speakers in your combo or extension cab. And for those who can’t get enough of vintage amps, Ask Amp Man blogger Jeff Bober from East Amplification takes us on a tour of the North American Guitar Amplifier Museum-a veritable candy store full of Marshalls, Fenders, Hiwatts, Ampegs, Voxes, and other rare amps. Our gear reviews this month include the Charvel Desolation DX1-ST, Cole Clark Angel, Z.Vex Fat Fuzz Factory, Jaguar HC50, Epifani AL 112, EarthQuaker Devices Disaster Transport SR, Nordstrand Shush Puppies, and the Electro-Harmonix Epitome.
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 month we feature interviews with country superstar Keith Urban, jazz-fusion bass legend Stanley Clarke, and the two guitarists and bassist from the mind-bending prog-metal outfit Last Chance to Reason. We also bring you highlights from the 2011 NY Amp Show, and share the touching story of the late British Royal Air Force pilot Alf Binnie and the 1940s archtop that he treasured from the time he was imprisoned in a Nazi POW camp until his final days as a ski instructor in Canada. In addition, the third installment in our Forgotten Heroes series focuses on genre-hopping session legend Cornell Dupree. Reviews this month include the new Gibson Les Paul Studio Baritone, Fernandes V-Hawk Elite, Batson No. 5 acoustic, Anacon Technology Zagray! head, Empress Multidrive, Trombetta Tornita!, Metal Pedals XXX HardCore, Kustom KXB500 bass head and DE115NEO cab, Reverend Thundergun and Justice basses, and Vox TB35C2 Bruno combo.