Your Daily Dose of Guitar News & Reviews
Win a Set of Seymour Duncan Alnico II Pro Slash Pickups
Press Release – From the very first time we heard the echoed riff introducing "Welcome To The Jungle," music fans everywhere recognized Slash was a guitar hero in the making. Since then, Slash has relied on Seymour Duncan pickups for his innovative guitar tone and now Seymour Duncan honors this living legend with his own set of signature pickups, the Alnico II Pro Slash.
To help celebrate Slash's new, upcoming solo album, Seymour Duncan is giving away 10 sets of Alnico II Pro Slash pickups. Fans can go to www.seymourduncan/slash/web on or before June 15, 2010 and enter for a chance to win. Ten first prize winners will receive their very own set of Alnico II Pro Slash pickups. A host of second prize winners will receive promotional items or merchandising fr om either Slash or Seymour Duncan.
Solid construction featuring an Alnico 2 magnet, single-conductor cable, long-legged bottom plate, and even an old school wooden spacer (like they used in the '80s) were all designed to meet Slash‘s personal specs. The Alnico II Pro Slash is available in black, zebra, or reverse zebra, and can be purchased individually or in a zebra/reverse zebra set. Recommended for jazz, blues, and classic rock, this pickup works well in any well-balanced humbucker-equipped guitar including hollow and semi-hollow body guitars and of course Gibson® Les Pauls® just like the legend plays. The Alnico II Pro Slash is hand built in Seymour Duncan’s Santa Barbara, California workshop and includes all mounting hardware.
Roland AC-33 Acoustic Amp Now Available
Press Release - Los Angeles, CA, March 16, 2010 — Roland is pleased to announce that the AC-33 Acoustic Chorus Guitar Amplifier is now shipping. Designed for both high-quality sound and supreme portability, the AC-33 is the world's first battery-powered amp designed specifically for the acoustic guitar. It features instrument, XLR microphone, and AUX inputs, along with built-in digital effects, an anti-feedback function, an onboard looper, and an integrated tilt stand for enhanced sound projection.
With the ability to run on eight AA batteries (including NiMH rechargeable types) or AC power, the AC-33 is the perfect amplifier for acoustic performers on the go. The high-efficiency 30-watt stereo amp and dual 5" speakers provide excellent sound coverage for any intimate performance situation, including restaurants, coffee houses, open mic nights, street busking, and more. The multiple inputs allow the AC-33 to function as a portable PA, amplifying a guitar, vocal, and backing track from a music player all at the same time.
The AC-33 comes equipped with Roland's famous stereo chorus effect, as well as easy-to-use reverb and ambience effects. For worry-free playing in high-volume situations, the unique anti-feedback function automatically detects acoustic instrument feedback and eliminates it before it starts. The onboard looper allows users to record and play back up to 40 seconds of on-the-fly musical backing, with the ability to capture unlimited "sound on sound" style overdubs. The looper and effects can both be controlled with optional foot switches.
The AC-33 is now available with a suggested retail price of $558.50.
Gibson Introduces SLASH APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION Les Paul
In what seems like a no-brainer move that should have been undertaken eons ago, Gibson has finally produced a signature Slash Appetite For Destruction model Les Paul. Featuring a Grade AAA maple top and weight-relieved mahogany body with a pair of Seymour Duncan Alnico II Pro Slash zebra humbucking pickups, it's one beautiful axe. And compared to the extremely bloated prices on other signature LPs, Gibson is offering this at the relative "bargain" MSRP of $4,728.
In many circles, the Guns N' Roses guitarist is credited with bringing the Les Paul back to glory, in an era dominated by point-headstock super-Strats with Floyd Rose whammy systems. But in an ironic twist, that iconic guitar slung low over the mad hatter wasn't a Les Paul at all! In fact, it was a late-'50s Les Paul replica custom-built by a luthier named Chris Derrig. During the Appetite sessions, GN'R manager Alan Niven bought the guitar and gave it to Slash, who then used it for much of the album's recording and subsequent tours. You can read more about it here.
To see guitar repair guru Andy Brauer with Slash's original Derrig LP along with the new Gibson prototype, click here.
In other Slash news, the guitarist has announced the first single, "By the Sword," from his upcoming eponymous solo album. The track, featuring Wolfmother's Andrew Stockdale on vocals, can be heard here via streaming audio at AOL's Spinner.com.
"'By The Sword' is a favorite of mine off the album," Slash tells Spinner. "I really enjoyed meeting and working with Andrew Stockdale. It was a solid collaborative effort and his voice is fantastic."
Slash will be released in North America on April 6. In addition to Stockdale, the album also features vocals from an all-star slate of musicians including: Ian Astbury, Chris Cornell, Rocco DeLuca, Fergie, Dave Grohl, Kid Rock, Lemmy Kilmister, Adam Levine, M. Shadows, Ozzy Osbourne, Iggy Pop, and touring vocalist Myles Kennedy.
Slash also unveiled his touring band:
Slash and his band will play at Ohio's Rock on the Range festival in May, with more dates to be announced soon. Check in at Slash's MySpace page for the latest info.
Win a Gig at the Crossroads Guitar Festival
Press release - Beginning today (March 15), unsigned musicians can enter the Ernie Ball Play Crossroads contest at www.playcrossroads.com to compete for a chance to perform live on the Ernie Ball Village Stage at the 2010 Eric Clapton Crossroads Guitar Festival (presented by T-Mobile), Saturday, June 26 at Toyota Park in Chicago.
The day-long festival benefits the Crossroads Centre Antigua and will feature music from the legendary Eric Clapton and friends, including The Allman Brothers Band, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Jeff Beck, John Mayer, Sheryl Crow, Steve Winwood, Vince Gill, ZZ Top and more (Read more and find guitar tab here).
To enter the contest—also hosted by Ernie Ball partners Premier Guitar, Guitar Center and Reverb Nation—musicians register at www.playcrossroads.com by creating a profile including 1-5 MP3 files, photos and a bio. The winning artist or band will receive roundtrip airfare to Chicago, hotel and a 30-minute performance slot on the Ernie Ball Village Stage, which will also feature inspirational master-class sessions from Joe Bonamassa, Robert Randolph, Otis Taylor and more. The winning artist will also receive a full Ernie Ball Music Man endorsement, a feature in Premier Guitar and prizes from Guitar Center.
"We're tremendously honored to be associated with Eric Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival. Supporting the Antigua Foundation, in addition to Eric Clapton's charitable efforts is very important to Ernie Ball," notes Brian Ball of Ernie Ball Inc. "Offering an unsigned band this tremendous opportunity to play live alongside the collection of legendary guitar players is also something we're very excited about."
Fans have the opportunity to help choose the winner by voting for their favorite artists at www.playcrossroads.com. The 500 bands/artists with the most votes will be reviewed by a panel of judges comprised of Ernie Ball representatives and contest sponsors. The judges will select the winning artist/band based on criteria including musicianship, originality, authenticity and songwriting.
The winner of the first Ernie Ball Play Crossroads contest—who performed at the last Crossroads Guitar Festival, held in 2007—was then 16-year-old prodigy Tyler Dow Bryant. Bryant went on to work with Paul Simon, Edie Brickell, Chris Duarte, Brent Rowan, Albert Lee, Steve Lukather, Don and Donnie Nelson, Sean Neff, Wes Jeans, Alan Haynes, Dickey Betts and many others.
Score One For Pink Floyd and Artistic Integrity
In this age of digital singles, ring tones, and other abbreviated media like text messaging and Twitter, Pink Floyd has scored one for the artistic integrity of complete albums (I know ... "what's an 'album?'"). As reported by the BBC, the prog-rock pioneers won their lawsuit against EMI, effectively banning the sale of the band's individual songs as digital downloads.
The decision is based on the terms of the band's last record deal with EMI, which was signed in 1999—before iTunes and other digital retailers came into existence. In that contract, Pink Floyd included language stating their songs could not be sold outside the context of their original albums. The band's publisher, EMI, argued that the agreement pertained only to the sale of physical packages such as vinyl 45s, cassettes, and CD singles. The court found in favor of Pink Floyd, and in his ruling, Chancellor Sir Andrew Morritt (the judge) said that the 1999 contract contained a clause to "preserve the artistic integrity of the albums."
Although this court decision appears to put an end to the digital sale of the band's individual songs, EMI issued a statement that summarily claims the judgment does not require them to stop selling Pink Floyd songs as single track downloads.
As you can see, this looks to be far from over.
10 Most Influential Rock Guitar Albums of All Time
In this modern era, when the concept of an "album" has been distilled to 2-3 hit singles and 6-7 filler tunes, it's nice to show appreciation for the timeless works of art that have inspired guitar players for the past 40-plus years. Here are our top 10 most influential rock guitar albums, in chronological order. Let us know which ones we missed!
Revolver The Beatles (1966)
On Revolver, guitarist George Harrison's newly emerging explorations of dissonance and Eastern sonorities meshed perfectly with John Lennon's layered wall-of-sound approach.
Blues Breakers John Mayall's Blues Breakers (1966)
Quite possibly the greatest British blues album ever recorded, it marks Eric Clapton's breakout disc, featuring killer tone and ferocious phrasing.
Are You Experienced? Jimi Hendrix (1967)
Arguably the single most important guitar album in history, it's almost unfathomable that this was also Hendrix's debut!
Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin (1969)
Even from the outset, guitarist Jimmy Page displayed a command of composition and dynamics rarely heard in hard rock.
Blow by Blow Jeff Beck (1975)
Jeff Beck's first instrumental album, Blow by Blow is also the high watermark by which all other instrumental guitar albums are measured. Combining rock with funk and jazz, Beck created a fusion sound that was neither self-indulgent nor stiff, like so many other rock fusion projects.
Van Halen Van Halen (1978)
If Are You Experienced? isn't the most important guitar album of all time, Van Halen is. All Eddie Van Halen did on this record was redefine what rock guitar sounded like and how it was played.
Kill 'Em All Metallica (1983)
This groundbreaking album marked the birth of thrash metal, as well as its many modern offspring like death metal, power metal, metalcore, and beyond.
Rising Force Yngwie Malmsteen (1984)
The birth of "shred." Malmsteen did things on a Strat that previously had only been achieved on a violin, and then only by the world's finest virtuosi.
Appetite For Destruction Guns N' Roses (1987)
In an era of self-indulgent (if technically brilliant) noodling, guitarist Slash brought a raw, gritty swagger back to rock guitar not seen or heard since the heyday of Aerosmith's Toxic Twins era in the mid-'70s.
Win An 8-String Ibanez RG2228GK Guitar From Ibanez and Meshuggah
Swedish math-metal extremists Meshuggah have teamed with Ibanez to give away an 8-string Ibanez RG2228GK to celebrate the release of their first ever live DVD, Alive (Nuclear Blast). The DVD, which features well-produced and engaging vignettes between songs, is more concert film than it is simply a live performance, but those performances are downright crushing. And to create their thunderous sound, Meshuggah guitarists Fredrik Thordendal and Mårten Hagström rely on their very own Ibanez 8-string guitars.
The contest runs through March 31, 2010, and is open to all U.S. residents. To enter, click here. Good luck!