Post

Issue #2

When I discovered I'd be reviewing a Martin Performing Artist Series electro-acoustic this month, I was excited and intrigued in equal measure. Excited because, well, it's a Martin after all and those who know Martin acoustics know that they are synonymous with quality. Intrigued, because Martin is aiming this series of guitars at electric players who want to dip their toes into the deep waters of acoustic playing and being primarily an electric player myself, the GPCPA3 piqued my curiosity somewhat. The GPCPA3 follows in the footsteps of the GPCPA1 which was introduced at the 2010 NAMM show in Anaheim and subsequently the GPCPA2, which were both well received although they came with a very hefty price tags which potential buyers may have been put off by. Martin has tackled this in the GPCPA3 by using less expensive materials and a slight change in design.

As you would expect, the GPCPA3 is made from solid tone-woods with a Sitka spruce top and East Indian rosewood for the back, sides and headplate. The fingerboard as well as both sides of the guitar is bound with white Boltaron, but it is made of a material called 'Richlite' - which is a fibre-based composite. The new design for the pickguard and bridge coupled with the polished gloss finish really does make this guitar very appealing aesthetically.

Picking the guitar up and playing for the first time it quickly became apparent just how good it is. From lightly strummed chord work through to heavily picked solo lines, the GPCPA3 produced a beautifully warm yet very crystal clear and balanced sound.  Playability is going to be a big factor, especially if you're an electric player, but you needn't be concerned. The GPCPA3 is remarkably easy to play. Whether you are playing fingerpicked patterns or fast legato lines, it is never hard work and the tone is never less than inspiring.

The Martin comes equipped with a Fishman Aura F1 'Acoustic Imaging' preamp which is loaded with a variety of different functions, from three band EQ and compression to onboard digital tuner and a unique 'Anti-Feedback' function, which allows you to get rid of unwanted frequencies. The FI also gives you access to nine different acoustic 'Images', which represent nine different high quality microphone characteristics at the touch of a button. This, coupled with an option to blend the sound of the microphone with the sound of the pickup housed underneath the saddle, make the GPCPA3 a force to be reckoned with in terms of its versatility.

Martin has done an outstanding job in the GPCPA3 and it far exceeded my expectations. With its stunning sound, both acoustically and through the extremely high quality onboard Fishman F1, you would be hard pushed to find such a well made and thoroughly inspiring instrument to play. It's not cheap and purists might wonder about factors like the use of 'selected hardwood' for the neck and Richlite for the fingerboard at this sort of price, but in the end it's results that matter and this is a remarkably good guitar. 

Freshman specialises in offering bang-for-buck acoustic guitars. Unencumbered with big brand' overheads, the small Scottish guitar company designs its own instruments then uses Asian makers to deliver the finished product. The results have been highly praised by reviewers and players alike. We handed an Apollo series Dreadnought cutaÂ

Issue #2

Faith is one of the fastest-growing names in acoustic guitars - with an impressive list of young professional endorsers.

We let our seasoned pro, Michael Casswell, loose on one the latest models to see if he agrees that Faith is something special.

I think there's an unwritten rule if you are serious about becoming an accomplished guitar player. It could be just me, but that rule is.... your first guitar should be an acoustic, not an electric. Far too many players concentrate on getting faster at shredding before they concentrate on the rhythm, touch, dynamics and note production that a good acoustic guitar gives you. For my 11th birthday, I asked for a steel strung Kay acoustic. In fact, I still have that truly awful guitar, because it was officially my first ( you never forget your first!).

I'm now lucky enough to own a selection of acoustic guitars, which have all paid for themselves a few times over with studio or live work - not to mention the tuitional Licklibrary DVDs I've made. If you are serious about guitar, then you should own as good an acoustic guitar as you can afford. Which might not be as much as you think, because I was truly blown away by this Faith Neptune. The sound (both acoustic and DI'd), feel and build quality is comparable to guitars I have played that have cost five times as much. In fact, I simply cannot believe how good it is for the money.

To bring in a quality instrument at a price that means you won't have to freeze and starve for the next five years, manufacturers turn to the Far East for construction. In the case of this new Faith that means Indonesia. But so what?  The details and specifications of this guitar are truly top notch, from the solid Englemann spruce top, solid mahogany back and sides, mahogany neck and a lovely ebony fingerboard, to the very effective onboard Shadow pickup/pre-amp system and even a fantastic plush lined case. It's simply unbelievable for the money.

I guess this guitar is up against the higher quality Yamahas pricewise, which are also good guitars in my experience, but the particular Faith we were sent for review resonates and vibrates in your hand in way that the Yammys I've tried don't seem to. Maybe this was just a particularly good one? I don't know, because its the only one I have played. But I hope some of the tone and sound comes across in our video.

Take my word for it. This is a very tasty guitar. Go find one, and try one.

Faith is one of the fastest-growing names in acoustic guitars - with an impressive list of young professional endorsers.

We let our seasoned pro, Michael Casswell, loose on one the latest models to see if he agrees that Faith is something special.

I think there's an unwritten rule if you are serious about becoming an accomplished guitar player. It could be just me, but that rule is.... your first guitar should be an acoustic, not an electric. Far too many players concentrate on getting faster at shredding before they concentrate on the rhythm, touch, dynamics and note production that a good acoustic guitar gives you. For my 11th birthday, I asked for a steel strung Kay acoustic. In fact, I still have that truly awful guitar, because it was officially my first ( you never forget your first!).

I'm now lucky enough to own a selection of acoustic guitars, which have all paid for themselves a few times over with studio or live work - not to mention the tuitional Licklibrary DVDs I've made. If you are serious about guitar, then you should own as good an acoustic guitar as you can afford. Which might not be as much as you think, because I was truly blown away by this Faith Neptune. The sound (both acoustic and DI'd), feel and build quality is comparable to guitars I have played that have cost five times as much. In fact, I simply cannot believe how good it is for the money.

To bring in a quality instrument at a price that means you won't have to freeze and starve for the next five years, manufacturers turn to the Far East for construction. In the case of this new Faith that means Indonesia. But so what?  The details and specifications of this guitar are truly top notch, from the solid Englemann spruce top, solid mahogany back and sides, mahogany neck and a lovely ebony fingerboard, to the very effective onboard Shadow pickup/pre-amp system and even a fantastic plush lined case. It's simply unbelievable for the money.

I guess this guitar is up against the higher quality Yamahas pricewise, which are also good guitars in my experience, but the particular Faith we were sent for review resonates and vibrates in your hand in way that the Yammys I've tried don't seem to. Maybe this was just a particularly good one? I don't know, because its the only one I have played. But I hope some of the tone and sound comes across in our video.

Take my word for it. This is a very tasty guitar. Go find one, and try one.

If there has ever been someone who has embraced the guitar in all its depths it has to be Steve Howe. Jamie Humphries

Steve Howe is a guitarist's guitarist, with a formidable technique. Both as part of the pioneering Yes and as a solo artist, he holds a unique position among his contemporaries. Jamie Humphries met-up with Steve shortly after the debut of Yes's new album Fly From Here for our video interview. Here Jamie presents a brief profile of the great man to go with an exclusive style analysis in our Tech Sessions.

If there has ever been someone who has embraced the guitar in all its depths it has to be Steve Howe. His technical prowess, understanding of a multitude of styles and genres, plus his unorthodox equipment choices, have helped him explore the guitar sounds in his head for nearly four decades. He has won countless awards from both the record industry and the guitar industry for his contributions to guitar and modern rock music. As Yes embarked on yet another tour, I was lucky enough to spend some time with Steve and chat with him, for this issue's video interview.

Born in North London in 1947, as a young boy Steve was drawn towards the music of Bill Haley and the Comets, Les Paul, Jimmy Byant, Chet Atkins, and Speedy West, all of whom fuelled the 12 year old's passion for guitar. His first instrument was an f-holed acoustic, which inspired his later choice of hallmark guitar, the Gibson ES175. Steve began playing pubs and dance halls and joined the Syndicats in the early '60s releasing three singles and working with legendary producer, Joe Meek. Later, Steve began working as a session guitarist, both in the studio and touring with a number of different artists.

1970 was the turning point in this long career, when Howe joined the newly formed band, Yes. He had been approached by two other major fledgling Prog Rock bands, the Nice and Jethro Tull, but it was in Yes that he found the perfect vehicle and partnerships to push his musical boundaries and experiment with odd time signatures, extended arrangements that didn't conform to regular three minute popular music arrangements still being demanded by most record labels. The music composed by Howe and Yes took on the form of pieces more like classical compositions than Pop. Steve even had the chance to embrace his love of acoustic fingerstyle guitar, with his solo piece 'Clap'

Issue #2

Former aviation electronics guru, Andrew Rothwell, has received great acclaim for his high quality, low noise pedals. But how do they perform on take-off? Jamie Humphries is our test pilot.Andrew Rothwell has been making high-end guitar pedals since 2007, and has already created a stir in the industry. Rothwell has attracted such high profile uses as Mike Scott of Justin Timberlake's band and the late Gary Moore. The pedals are hand-crafted in the UK and are built to the highest spec, using low noise components and rugged, hard wearing switches and cases, meaning that Rothwell pedals will stand up to some serious punishment. For our video demo I checked out the F1 Booster and the Tornado Overdrive, and was pleasantly surprised with what I heard.

I've long been a fan of boosters against overdrive pedals, and was keen to hear how the F1 would perform. The F1 Booster is a clean boost that basically adds up to 20dB and can be used to either boost your signal, or send an amp that is slightly driven into a searing overdriven lead tone, or crunchy rhythm sound. The control layout is very simple, featuring just two knobs - volume and tone. The F1's tones circuit will enable you to craft the EQ of your sound and is something that sets this pedal part from many other boosters on the market. The pedal also features a mid switch. In the down position gives a scooped mid sound, while in the up position it gives a subtle mid-boost.

In use, the F1 is capable of producing vintage blues tones to high gain scooped modern tones and everything in between. Another interesting application for this pedal is that you can set it for the opposite of what a booster is often used for. If you have your amp set for a great full crunch tone, the F1 Booster can also be used for cutting the signal and cleaning up the amp. Try setting the level of the pedal lower, so that the signal drops when you kick in the pedal. You can also use the mid function to scoop out frequencies and help clean up your crunchy amp tone - great for using single channel traditional valve amps! I used the F1 Booster on our special Gary Moore tribute, running it into a four input Marshall Plexi head. As you can hear in this issue, the results were very authentic. The price is pretty good for a high quality boutique pedal, too!

The second Rothwell pedal we had to try was the very retro-looking Tornado Overdrive. As with the F1 Booster, the controls are very basic, yet very effective, with three knobs: volume, gain and tone. Like the F1 Booster, the Tornado also features a tone shift button. This pedal is a Class A, single-ended overdrive that uses JFET circuitry. JFETs work in similar ways to valves, which basically makes the Tornado not dissimilar to a traditional valve amp in both sound, and the way it reacts. Running the Tornado into a clean amp will produce a thick, authentic, valve like tone, with a rich bottom end. Wind up the gain to produce more saturation, and a natural compression and, again, it's very valve amp like. If you then press in the shift button, you can use the tone control to scoop the mids, and produce more modern high gain tones.The Tornado can also be used as a clean boost to send a crunching amp into a full, rich, sustaining overdrive, by simply dropping the level of the gain and pushing the volume. One of the things that impressed me about this pedal is that even when it was set to a thick rich distortion, it would clean up when the volume of the guitar was backed off; again very akin to a valve amp.

Both of these pedals get my thumbs up, and I have even taken the F1 out on a gig to give it a real test. So if you're looking for a versatile clean boost, or a "stack in a box", both of these pedals should be at the top of your 'must try' list!

Michael Angelo Batio - who joins Gi this month as a guest columnist - is one of shred's founding fathers and leading exponents. Gary Cooper

Michael Angelo Batio - who joins Gi this month as a guest columnist - is one of shred's founding fathers and leading exponents. Guitar Interactive celebrates a remarkable career, as Stuart Bull talks technique on video with MAB and Gary Cooper discovers there's a lot more to Michael than just fast guitar!

When a player has won awards ranging from "the fastest guitarist of all time" (Guitar World magazine) to "No. 1 shredder of all time" (Guitar One) you wonder what you might be up against when you set out to interview him. It's not that you automatically expect shredders to be Neanderthals, but there's the look, the obsession with speed and... well, you don't necessarily expect a thoughtful interview with an articulate, educated man who has piloted his career with considerable skill, over and above displaying virtuoso talents with his musical weapon of choice.

But Batio is a million miles from the stereotypical metalhead and he has had a pretty remarkable career. Not so very long ago to make your life as a major league professional player you usually had to have been in a top band for a long time. Some broke free - Eric Clapton springs to mind, Jeff Beck, too - but many guitarists, even household names, have been associated with just one or two bands in their careers and more than a few have seen their careers dwindle when they have left those bands. Hence so many of reformed '70s giants, trying to revive their fortunes. But Batio - known just as MAB to many of his fans - is known in his own right and for what he does best - playing guitar.

Stuart Bull's video interview in this issue covers Batio's technique far better than I ever could in words, so instead of asking about his playing, I began by asking him about his early days. Batio started guitar at 10 and took to it quickly, he recalls.

"A musical epiphany to me was when I listened to the radio - AM and mono in those days - and I remember hearing  a song and I knew the chords to it. I was only 10 or 11 and I could picture those chords in my head. That's when I felt I had talent for it. Music seemed very easy for me to grasp. I'll never forget my first guitar lesson. My teacher showed me four chords: G, G7, C and D7 and then I made a song from them. I played a measure of G, G7, then C then back to D7 cadencing back to G - I tried to make it musical. I didn't know, he just showed me the four chords and I put it into a song. He also showed me exercises using my fourth finger, so I've always used my four fingers, right from the very beginning."

Batio had taken to music like a duck to water and he comes from a school of players for whom theory is more or less second nature. But this isn't universally the case for Rock guitarists, even if it is more common now than it once was. In fact his musical knowledge goes deeper than most, as he has a BA in music theory and composition from Northeastern Illinois University. But does he believe such a background is actually necessary to be a great guitarist?

"To be honest, no. If you take someone like Yngwie Malmsteen, I probably know a hundred times more about the theory of music but that doesn't mean he's not an incredible guitar player and I really think at the end of the day that all the knowledge in the world isn't going to help you if you don't have any talent. But it does help if you have. For example, just yesterday I had the radio on and the song Killer Queen came on. I remembered that song from when I heard it for the first time in the 1970s when it absolutely blew my mind. I couldn't comprehend it. I couldn't comprehend the chords and what I did was what I always do when I hear something that sounds foreign or different to me - I switch on my theoretical brain and analyse what I'm listening to. I find that I understand it much better as a result and that Queen song taught me that. It was so radically different from anything that I'd ever heard."

Using the 540 as a starting point, the team slowly evolved towards a guitar that would allow this astonishing virtuoso to do everything he could do.

"If it makes the guitar sound like some other guitar, then forget it," Satriani says and the Ibanez JS series is certainly a unique family - a quality helped by his choice of pickups. Though not all models share the distinctive characteristics of the DiMarzio 'Fred' Alnico humbucker in the bridge position, with a DiMarzio PAF-PRO at the neck, as has the classic JS1000 reviewed this issue, they will all allow players to get somewhere close to his artist's palette of tonal effects. Key, too, is the Ibanez take on floating trem systems. The dedicated Satriani fan may save-up for the JS1000 but if price is a problem, Ibanez has introduced less costly models that will help you get close, like the JS100 which we also review in this issue.

Once you've got a guitar and amp you then need to start looking at your pedal board. Your amp needs to have huge headroom and dynamics to handle the transients, but essentially needs to be clean. Your guitar needs a huge output and an advanced trem system - but effects are your key. In the past, a Satriani array might have called for a Cry Baby wah, a Digitech Whammy and a clutch of Boss pedals including a DS-1, CH-1, CE-2, DD-2 and DD-3, but these days Satch has made it easy for his fans by teaming-up with Vox to introduce a range of four endorsed pedals which - as you'd expect - we have also reviewed in this month's GI.

Still not content in your quest for the perfect Satriani ensemble? Fear not - the great man uses and endorses D'Addario strings and a host of accessories like straps and picks from D'Addario's Planet Waves accessories brand. All you need to add is that blistering musical talent.

Chord ExtensionsThough Joe Satriani's fame is based on his blistering solo work, he's also a master of chords. Danny Gill demonstrates a neat way of following in Joe's footsteps.

A great way to add on to your chord vocabulary is through the use of chord extensions. A chord extension is when we add a scale tone to a basic chord shape in order to create a more colourful sound. If we analyse Always With Me, Always With You', the intro is basically a I, IV, V in B. The three chords are B, E and F#. Through the clever use of chord extensions Joe has taken these basic shapes and created the following chords; B maj (add11), Emaj13, F#sus4 and F#.

Let's take a look at the theory and see why this works so well.

The B major scale has the following notes:

B(1), C#(2), D# (3), E (4), F# (5), G# (6) and A# (7).

The 8th note is the octave B. We can continue this counting game using the odd numbers. This means there are three possible extensions:

The 9 (same as the 2nd scale step)The 11 (same as the 4th scale step)The 13 (same as the 6th scale step)

In this first chord B major (add 11) Joe has taken a B major triad (B,D# and F#) and added the 11th (E)

The E maj13 is an E major 7 chord with an added 13 (C#)

The F# sus4 consists of the 1, 4 and 5 from an F# major scale.

The F# chord is the 1, 3 and 5 from the F# major scale.

In this lesson we're going to learn some new chords in E minor. The seven basic chords in E minor that you should know are:

Em, F#dim, G, Am, Bm, C and D.

If we add scale tone extensions (9, 11 or 13) we can create some new chords yet remain diatonic to our key centrd of E minor.

In the video lesson you can see that each of these new shapes will have the top two strings open. Follow along closely and you should get the hang of these chords. The names can be scary!

Em9, F#m11, G maj 13, Am9, Bm11, C maj9, Dmaj (add6/9).

Issue #2

Gary Moore's career spanned a wide territory, from classic Blues to Pop/Rock to Metal. Exclusively for Guitar Interactive readers, Jamie Humphries offers a set of unique insights into the style that made Gary Moore one of the all-time greats. For this tribute I have recorded two 'in the style of'

First offered in1963, the early Firebirds (produced up until 65) earned the nickname reverse' because the protruding bottom horn made them look as if the body had been put on upside down. Gary Cooper

Gary Cooper sings the praises of a sometimes overlooked Gibson masterpiece.

By the late 1950s and early '60s those upstart Californians at Fender had made such inroads into the electric guitar market that even the mighty Gibson had begun to worry. Stratocasters and Telecasters were everywhere and Gibson's offerings were starting to look dated and expensive compared with the brightly coloured, easy to handle, affordable products of Leo Fender's team at Fullerton.  

Gibson wasn't about to take the challenge lying down, of course, so their legendary President Ted McCarty set about creating a new generation of Gibsons that would be, well, somehow a little more Fender-like, yet still recognisably Gibsons. His first attempts, the Moderne, Explorer and Flying V didn't quite manage to do the trick, so McCarty thought again.

His masterstroke was to call in the doyenne of US car design, Ray Dietrich, who applied golden-age spaceship tail-fin styling to an Explorer, resulting in the Firebird - a guitar like no other before. And few since.

First offered in1963, the early Firebirds (produced up until 65) earned the nickname reverse' because the protruding bottom horn made them look as if the body had been put on upside down. But that was far from the extent of the FireÂ

Issue #2

Bo was making a guest appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show - and Rock and Roll would never be quite the same again. Gary Cooper

Chuck Berry may have been the father of a thousand licks - the inspiration for more Rock and Roll guitar solos than any other player in history - but if it's the raw feel of Rock and Roll you're after, there's another American R&B legend with at least as good a claim to fame - Bo Diddley.

It was Bo Diddley's, swampy, sexy rhythms that thudÂ

One thing to bear in mind with playing in Zakk's style is the conviction with which he plays the guitar. Every note is really grabbed hold of and his vibrato has a very definitive style. Andy James

Zakk Wylde is a force of nature. He also happens to be one of the most talented and charismatic guitarists of his generation. Gary Cooper analyses the master's career. Stuart Bull Andy James provide the interviews

It's all too easy to write-off Zakk Wylde as 'the Wylde man' - the shredder par excellence, but not much more than that. And, to be fair, he doesn't do a lot to play the myth down. The beard, the hair, the physique, the clothes, all shriek metal - even the trademark bullseye Les Paul. It's right in your face. And then there's a career that encompasses well documented problems with drink and subsequent 'health issues' and - possibly an even greater risk to life, limb and sanity - a large chunk of his career spent with Ozzy Osbourne.

Born in 1967 in New Jersey, Zakk (he was christened Jeffrey) abandoned his early guitar studies and didn't pick up the instrument again until he was 14. It's worth noting the year there - 1981, long past Rock's 1970's golden days, but close enough for him to have been immersed in the influences of that era - Jimmy Page, Jimmy Hendrix, Clapton and later guitar gods, like Gary Moore and Randy Rhoads. Read the standard biographies and it all fits neatly into place. Wylde (his real name is Wielandt) went on to slay his local contemporaries with material from Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Rush. So far, so very predictable. But also inaccurate. If Zakk Wylde was just another fast metal guitarist, he'd probably still be in New Jersey. The fact is, Zakk Wylde is a very much more accomplished guitarist.

Listen closely to Wylde's playing and you'll hear not just the straight-ahead Blues influences of so many of his contemporaries, but Jazz influence and, perhaps even more surprisingly, some extremely accomplished Country picking. True, it's played at ear-splitting volume and somewhere close to they speed of light, but it's there - and it makes Zakk Wylde an individual stylist and instantly recognisable - one of the least appreciated reasons why some guitarists make the big time and some don't.

Classical is another big influence on Wylde's style - perhaps not so surprising when you realise Randy Rhoads was his idol and that Rhoads was also influenced by classical techniques and style.

And then there's the missing link - Southern US Rock. Wylde says that, though he was aware of Lynyrd Skynyrd and other Southern/Country influenced bands when he was young, Sabbath had been his main thing and it wasn't until after he joined-up with Ozzy, in 1987, that the Country bug bit - intriguingly, Wylde has said, deeply implanted in his brain by having listened to the great Albert Lee. And, before you could say 'how about the real devil's instrument?' Wylde was soon starting to perfect his fingerpicking - on a banjo!

It all came home to roost in 1993, when he depped for The Allman Brothers' Dickey Betts. It was just one gig, but it was a signpost in Wylde's career.

Jumping back in time, Wylde's big break with Ozzy meant stepping into Randy Rhoads's gigantic shoes and, with the greatest respect to Rhoads fans, Wylde managed the transition with aplomb, for all that he had never played in a world class band before. He may have joked that he put a bullseye on his trademark Gibson Les Paul to help the Rhoads lovers take aim at him, but only the most bigoted would have failed to recognise Wylde's own prodigious talent.

Product News

Dean Guitars Select Series “Play To Win'

Collen isn't just a great guitarist - in common with the rest of the band he has serious vocal skills, too - one of the features that sets Def Leppard apart from run of the mill Metal outfits. But it's as a guitarist that Phil Collen made his mark - first with bands like Girl, then stepping into the troubled Def Leppard, as Pete Willis departed. The band's rocky career continued, with the untimely death of fellow Leppard guitarist, Steve Clark, in 1991, but with Vivian Campbell on board and Collen seriously cleaning-up his act, the band has gone on to greater and greater strengths since those days, culminating in the current album and tour.

Collen's a hardcore Jackson user, with as impressive a collection of pointy headstock guitars as you could hope to find - including a signature model of his own - the PC1, which he discusses with Stuart Bull in our video interview. His collection isn't quite all Brand J, though, as it also includes an Ibanez Destroyer, a late 1970's Telecaster and an SG - but Jackson seems to be his first love. Stage amps with Def Leppard are Marshall all the way (with some help from an ancient Randall power amp), though Collen has also been spotted using Fender Cyber Twin combos on clinics and smaller gigs.

As if Def Leppard duties weren't enough to keep one man busy, super-fit Collen has another band too - the three-piece Man Raze, which has a new album due this summer.

Issues 2-13 are only available in PDF format, currently the videos and internal downloads are unavailable at this time. The download is available via the 'read issue' icon above.

iGuitar Magazine Issue 2 featuring Joe Satriani. In Issue 2 we interview Joe Satriani. Learn how to play like Joe Satriani with our Joe Satriani free guitar lessons. We review all of Joe Satriani pedals, amps and guitars. We demo and review the Ibanez JS1000 & the JS100, Marshall JVM Marshall 410 Head, Tascam GB1O & LR10, Dave Galileo All Valve Head, Rothwell Pedals F1 Booster Pedal, Vigier Excalibur Guitar, Line 6 POD HD 500, Orange Crush 35, Blackstar HT1 Amp.

We have acoustic guitar reviews , we review the Taylor GS8-e Electro Acoustic, Martin Performing Artist GPCPA3 and Faith Electro Acoustic.

Johnny Marr's multi-layered guitar parts on his '80s recordings with the Smith's influenced and inspired a new generation of guitarist that fell slightly left-field with their styles. Jamie Humphries

Jamie Humphries pays tribute to Johnny Marr - the legendary UK guitarist, and unlikely guitar hero..

Often when we hear the term 'guitar hero' it calls to mind the flash and technique of the archetypal Rock lead guitarist, hurling blistering solos into the ether. But there are other players with their own distinct voices on the instrument that fall into other musical categories. Nile Rodgers, The Edge, Andy Summers, Mick Ronson, Steve Cropper, Jonny Greenwood, Bernard Butler, and Noel Gallagher - all carved their own sound in guitar history. Another candidate for Guitar Hero status - often given the label of 'Indie's first Guitar Hero' - is Johnny Marr.

Marr's multi-layered guitar parts on his '80s recordings with the Smith's influenced and inspired a new generation of guitarist that fell slightly left-field with their styles. He is also said to be one of the guitarist that helped start the 'Manchester' sound. Johnny's blend of Bo Diddley and Marc Bolan inspired riffs, Roger McGuinn's jangly chords (from the Byrds), plus his use of layering and effects, have been hailed as some of the most important and influential guitar recordings of the 80's and although Johnny's career with the Smiths was over by the late 80's, his legendary guitar playing has made him an in-demand session guitar celebrity, as well as him embarking on new musical projects, ever since.

Born in Manchester, England, in 1963, the young Johnny was mesmerised by the songs of Del Shannon, T Rex, Johnny Cash, as well as the anthemic sounds of Phil Spector's galaxy of artists. Even from an early age, he recalls having a wooden guitar-shaped toy that he painted to look like a guitar and stuck beer bottle caps on to look like the controls!

Coming from an extended Irish family, there were often parties, weddings and birthdays, and at these family events the same band would play. The guitarist has a red Fender Strat and from the moment he took the guitar out of its case Johnny was transfixed. He felt a calling to play guitar, he had no thoughts of fame or making money, just a drive and passion to play, he says.

This passion blossomed in the summer of 1982, when an 18 year old Marr sought out reclusive poet Morrissey and formed the Smiths. Although they only released four albums in their five year life span, the partnership of Marr and Morrissey forged some of the most influential and important material of the '80s. Although critics were quick to label Marr's style as 'Jingle Jangle', guitarists knew better, instantly recognising that the complex layering of intricate parts was like the work of an artist painting a picture.

Issue #2

Wah seems to be the effect that will not die. When it first appeared, back in the 1960s, you might have thought it a gimmick that wouldn't stand the test of time. As it is, wah has gone on to be one of the classics - and this pedal is Joe Satriani and Vox's take on it.

Essentially, a wah is a pretty simple device but Vox has decided, once more, to make this a fairly versatile unit. The Big Bad has two modes, the traditional Vox sound (they made one of the very first wah pedals, so know whereof they speak) plus a hot-rodded setting that is altogether more Joe.

The controls on offer are a Drive knob, Voice toggle switch, an Inductor switch and a Wah 1-2 switch.

You might, or might not, enjoy having so much versatility on tap from a wah- there are two schools of thought, after all. One is that 'more is less' and that all you really want is a simple pedal that you can stamp on and get a great sound, with nothing to go wrong on stage. The other view is that having a pedal you can set to precisely your chosen settings is the ideal. Your money - your choice.

We liked this Vox a lot. As Danny says, it's a very versatile unit with old and new sounds - even unique sounds of your own. Danny's view? Well worth the asking price, though he did feel it wasn't quite as sturdy as some he's played. But for tone? It's just fine.

Some say Bill Collings and his team currently produce the world's finest production acoustic guitars. To go with our visit to the Collings plant in Austin, Texas, GI borrowed a Collings C10 - perhaps the perfect Collings acoustic for electric guitar players temptÂ

Eventide Audio Releases Blackhole Reverb, UltraTap Delay and MicroPitch for iPhone and iPadThree incredible iOS plug-ins and standalone apps for music and sound design in every genre

Eventide Audio is proud to release three new iOS music creation and live performance effects apps from their legendary catalogue of studio hardware and software: Blackhole Reverb™, UltraTap Delay™, and MicroPitch™ for iPhone® and iPad®. Blackhole Reverb, a reverberation effect for sound design and creating out-of-this-world ambiance on instruments and vocals, is available for just $19.99. UltraTap Delay, a rhythmic audio effect for stylistic glitchy delays on drums, pads, vocals and guitars, while also featuring on-board modulation for all styles of music and performance, is now available for just $14.99. MicroPitch, a pitch-shifter capable of deep pitch dives, slap-backs, and unparalleled detuned delays, is available for just $9.99. Eventide's Blackhole Reverb, UltraTap Delay and MicroPitch are all available now as standalone apps and as AUv3 plugins for use in popular iOS DAWs, ready for download from the App Store®.

'Entering into the iOS music creation ecosystem is an exciting new horizon for Eventide! Beginning years ago with our Factor' series of guitar pedals, our mission has been to put studio-quality performance effects within the grasp of all artists. A decade ago audio production techniques evolved from the exclusive world of the recording studio and expensive consoles to working in the box.' Eventide is now focused on partnering with Apple to help take the next step - moving music creation and audio production from in the box' to in the hand.' We also believe that each effect should be a playable' instrument in its own right and so we've developed our innovative Ribbon' control to unleash a new level of instant creative control. Our first three releases for iPhone and iPad - Blackhole Reverb, UltraTap Delay and MicroPitch - offer just that, playable effects processors and sound design tools for mobile musicians and producers, in every genre, from beginner to professional.'

 

Part of the Premium line of guitars, the RG721FM sits squarely in the middle of Ibanez' product range, below the Prestige and J-Custom lines concerning price, and above the affordable Standard range and the no-nonsense Iron Label series.

Nick Jennison

Pros:

High end looks and feel
Competitive price
Superb (if divisive) neck
Wide range of tones
Excellent build quality and finish.

Cons:

Lack of colour options
The neck profile will turn some players off
Ibanez RG721 Premium
Ibanez has been producing the RG range now for 30 years, however,  with every new modification, this model continues to remain fresh.  Nick Jennison reviews the RG721FM.

The Ibanez name (and particularly the RG series of guitars) conjures up strong images in the minds of guitar players of a certain age. If like me, your musical upbringing happened between the late 80s and early 90s, I'm pretty sure that you're imagining a hairy young individual tearing up and down an impossibly thin neck with wild abandon. The guitar is menacingly pointy, the licks are bombastic, the whammy bar abuse is plentiful, and perhaps some ill-advised trousers are involved. Considering I've just described myself at 18, I don't need to imagine too hard. The trousers were snakeskin, by the way

In 2017 however, the RG is a somewhat different animal. You might say it's grown up. Embraced by touring metal players and fusion luminaries alike and sporting the kind of elegant appointments one would normally associate with high-end American-made instruments, today's RGs have an aura of class that's distinctly modern. Clean, sharp lines and premium materials with a focus on functionality and playability over retro stylings. If a '62 Strat is a  Jaguar E-type, the modern RG is a Tesla.

Part of the Premium line of guitars, the RG721FM sits squarely in the middle of Ibanez' product range, below the Prestige and J-Custom lines concerning price, and above the affordable Standard range and the no-nonsense Iron Label series. Made in Indonesia, the build quality and fit-and-finish are superb; reminiscent of the J-Customs made in the early 2000s in both style and quality but at a much lower price point. Boasting an American basswood body and flame maple top (not a veneer as seen on many guitars at this price point) and finished in a matte satin black, this guitar is as pleasing to hold as it is to look at.

As with so many Ibanez guitar, the neck is the star of the show. Slick and eminently playable, with a super sturdy 5-piece maple and walnut construction and a thin satin finish. While the neck profile is a hair thicker than the Wizard necks of yesteryear, it's still remarkably thin and fast, with a profile that's just round enough to be comfortable with a 'thumb over the top'

If one thing is for certain, it's that Wolf Hoffmann is a man who knows how to achieve the goals he sets for himself.

Jonathan Graham

German metal pioneers, Accept are back with a brand new album, 'The Rise of Chaos'. To mark the occasion, lead guitarist and co-founder, Wolf Hoffmann took some time out during his recent visit to London to chat exclusively to Jonathan Graham about the new studio release, their Wacken Open Air 2017 performance and more in this issue's cover feature.

If one thing is for certain, it's that Wolf Hoffmann is a man who knows how to achieve the goals he sets for himself. As a teenager, he quickly developed his skills on the guitar and dreamt of establishing a band that would help take him around the world. By his mid-twenties, those dreams would granted (and exceeded) as Accept would become household names in their native Germany and circle the globe multiple times over. Later, during Wolf's break from music he would even become a successful and well-respected photographer. So when he decided in 2009 to reform Accept and planned to make the band even bigger and better than ever before was there ever going to be any doubt?

Accept's beginnings can be traced back to the late 1960s but was officially formed in the mid-1970s by Wolf Hoffmann, former vocalist Udo Dirkschneider and bassist Peter Baltes. Although moderately successful in Germany from the outset, it was during the early to mid-1980s when the band shot to fame thanks to the release of their fifth studio album 'Balls to the Wall' (1983) which earned them critical and commercial success worldwide.

The band split in 1997, and apart from a very short-lived reunion in 2005, Accept lay dormant until reuniting again in 2009 with new frontman, Mark Tornillo. Since then, the band have released their three highest charting albums to date; 'Blood of the Nations' (2010), 'Stalingrad' (2012) and 'Blind Rage' (2014). The latter would mark a first for the band, as they reached the number one spot on the album charts in Germany.

Their latest album, 'The Rise of Chaos', will be released on August 4, 2017, via Nuclear Blast, making it Accept's fourth collaboration with the independent record label as well as respected producer Andy Sneap.

The cover artwork was created by the Hungarian artist Gyula Havancsák and portrays the band's previous stage set-up destroyed. "Like After a catastrophe", explains Hoffmann.

Right from the opening track, 'Die By the Sword'

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