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Gear Demo: Positive Grid BIAS FX Desktop


“Positive Grid, creator of the best selling BIAS Amp guitar amp modeler, is proud to announce the release of BIAS FX Desktop: the world’s first and only cross platform guitar amp-and-effects processor for Mac and Windows. For the first time ever, users will be able to record and re-amp integrating BIAS Amp Match models capturing the tone from any real amp in dual amp mode, add ultra-high definition effects configurations in dual signal chains, and share and download thousands of rigs right on ToneCloud, Positive Grid’s tone sharing platform.”

I was so happy when I heard that Positive Grid were porting their awesome iOS app BIAS FX to a desktop plugin and it certainly doesn’t disappoint. In the demo above I am running BIAS FX as a plugin in Cockos Reaper, I plugged my Cilia CGA7 directly into a Focusrite Scarlet 2i4 interface connected via USB to my Mac. The tones you are hearing are all BIAS, no post processing, EQ or extra plugins.

“With its groundbreaking cross platform design, BIAS FX overall operation and presets can be synced all across Mac, Windows and iOS devices for instant access anywhere, any time. For the first time, musicians are able to achieve high quality amp and effects tones in the studio with BIAS FX Desktop, and bring the same exact sound for live performances with BIAS FX Mobile.”

For more info http://www.positivegrid.com/.

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Review: Joe Satriani – Shockwave Supernova

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When I first picked up the guitar many years ago Joe Satriani had just released a live EP Dreaming #11 that featured tracks from his debut album ‘Not Of This Earth’ and the amazing follow up ‘Surfing With The Alien’. I remember being absolutely amazed by ‘Hordes Of Locusts’ and ‘Ice Nine’, I’d never heard anything like this before but at the same time it was exactly what I had been waiting for. The following year ‘Flying In A Blue Dream’ was released, could it get any better than this? Well I’m not sure anyone can follow 3 albums of such epic intensity and groundbreaking guitar playing, except Joe of course who has just released his 15th studio solo album ‘Shockwave Supernova’. Clearly Satch is an incredibly prolific composer.

The interesting thing about Satriani is that listening to a track I can pick the rough era by the style of track, guitar tone and of course by the production. When Joe announced ‘Shockwave Supernova’ he talked about how he had created a complete back story theme and persona. Now Satch’s albums always have a theme but I think this album is the first time he has approached songs with this kind of strong story since Surfing and Flying and it does in fact have more in common with these early albums than the last few releases in my opinion. Joe also mentioned in a recent video that some of these tracks were originally written many years ago which maybe contributes to the “old school” Satriani vibe on some of the tracks.

Many of you will already have heard the track ‘On Peregrine Wings’ which was released on YouTube, this kind of sums up what I was talking about. The guitar tone, exotic scales, harmonised guitars and amazing feedback control all remind me of ‘Not of this earth’ and ‘Flying in a blue dream’ but the live band vibe (Marco Minneman, Bryan Beller & Mike Kenneally) is more reminiscent of the last few Skywalker Sound studio albums. The track ‘Cataclysmic’ is another older sounding track that would have been just at home on ‘The Extremist’ as it is on this album, amazing fat distorted bass riff, keyboards filling the background and Satch at his very best with memorable melodies and outstanding solos.

Joe Satriani has his enigmatic and cinematic style of composition and then he has his groove based bluesy side and there is plenty of both on ‘Shockwave Supernova’. ‘Crazy Joey’ has an incredibly catchy open string & hammer-ons riff (that I have to do a lesson on at some point) over a slow groove with plenty of bluesy riffing and has echoes of ‘Super Colossal’ followed by a track called ‘In My Pocket’ that sees the return of Satch’s harmonica playing that reminded me of ‘Big Bad Moon’ and some awesome funky playing, definitely one of my favourite tracks of the album. There is even a hint of Chickenfoot on the track ‘Scarborough Stomp’ with Joe’s searing solos as a replacement for Hagar’s vocals. 

As a huge Satriani fan I can say that the last few albums haven’t been listened to as much as his earlier work but this album seems to resonated more with me and it made me feel excited about guitar playing again just like I did when I heard Surfing, Flying and The Extremist. Sure there are a few of the 15 tracks that I’ll probably skip over but other tracks such as “Cataclysmic” are absolutely classic Satch tracks that I will never tire of listening to. Can’t wait to catch Joe on tour to see some of these tracks played live!

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Seymour Duncan Dave Murray Pickguard


Dave Murray was one of my first guitar heroes along with his bandmate Adrian Smith, Iron Maiden were one of my biggest musical influences when I picked up guitar at the tender age of 12. What I really love about Dave Murray is that he has always stuck with the Fender Stratocaster for decades as his go to guitar rather than opting for a super-strat option. To make the guitar suit his needs Dave uses Seymour Duncan sized humbuckers for high gain tones without the hum or noise of traditional Strat single coils.

To make life easier for those wishing to have the same kind of setup Seymour Duncan have created a preloaded Pickguard which is available in Pearloid, Black and White versions, each pickguard comes pre-loaded with the Hot Rails bridge and neck pickups plus a JB Jr. in the middle position, as well as high-quality Bourns volume and tone pots and a 5-way pickup selector switch, and it uses the 11-hole style which fits most post-1964 Stratocasters®. Each set comes personalized with special stickers as well as pickguard installation instructions.

Seymour Duncan Dave Murray Pickguard

“My Seymour Duncan pickups give me everything I need to get the maximum gain and versatility out of my guitar, but still with that classic Strat look,” Murray says. “The SD Hot Rails give a huge output on the neck and bridge, but without losing the clarity, and having the option of the lower output JB Jr. in the center gives a perfect option for clean tones”

http://www.seymourduncan.com

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Summer NAMM 2015: Electro-Harmonix introduces The Silencer Noise Gate/Effects Loop

EHX Silencer
Press Release
Responding to the needs of pedalboard users and players whose high gain effects create difficult to control hum and noise, EHX has developed The Silencer, a sophisticated noise gate that can tame a single pedal or an entire effects loop.

The Silencer’s three-control layout provides precise fine-tuning to fit your system, instrument and playing style. Threshold adjusts how much level is required to open the noise gate and allow a signal to pass thru. Reduction regulates the degree to which the gated signal is reduced and is variable between -70db and +4db. Release controls how long the gate remains open after the signal drops below the Threshold. Release time is variable between 8ms and 4 seconds.

I/O includes ¼ inch Input, Output, Send and Return jacks. The footswitch selects whether the Silencer is engaged or in bypass mode; buffered bypass allows the effects loop to remain in your signal path when the gate is bypassed. A built-in AC jack accepts an EHX9.6DC power supply (optional) and the pedal ships with a 9V battery.

The Silencer has a $76.80 MSRP and will be available this August.

http://www.ehx.com/

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Summer NAMM 2015: Electro-Harmonix introduces the 22500 Dual Stereo Looper

ehx 22500
Press Release
The brand-new EHX 22500 Dual Stereo Looper is flexible, extensively-featured pedal looper that allows for easy operation of two loops at the same time. Expanding upon EHX’s looping legacy, the 22500 employs two high-quality, uncompressed audio tracks that can be played in parallel or series to enable the player to punch in and out harmonies and rhythms, or use each loop as different sections of a song. The pedal is capable of recording up to 12 hours with the supplied 8GB SD card.

The 22500’s user interface is intuitive and in depth. Loop A and Loop B footswitches engage recording and toggle between playback and overdubbing for each loop with a single tap or double tap to stop. A third footswitch can be programmed to function as a master Stop, Tap Tempo or Rhythm Start/Stop switch. Control sections for each loop include individual level control knobs and Reverse and Octave buttons to expand creative possibilities. Three loop status LEDs include Record, Playback and Memory. The multifunction Mode knob gives access to 100 loop banks, control over rhythm options and operational functions of the pedal including Series/Parallel looping, rhythm Quantized/Free Form looping and much more. Input Gain knob controls the level of input. Rhythm button engages the built in drum loops.

The 22500 is completely stereo/mono capable. The Left/Mono Input is switchable between ¼” and XLR MIC inputs with selectable phantom power and a separate microphone gain knob. SDHC memory card slot supports 4GB to 32GB cards. The included 8GB memory card holds up to 12 hours of total recording time. Included USB port enables backup/restore to a PC or MAC. An optional Bank-Up/Bank-Down Foot Controller is available for increased onstage ease (sold separately).

The 22500 Dual Stereo Looper expands EHX’s looper legacy in both form and function. The new 22500 comes in a rugged die-cast chassis and comes standard with an EHX 9.6-Volt/DC200mA AC adapter and carries a U.S. list price of $359.97. The 22500 Foot controller is powered by the main pedal and has a U.S. list price of $117.15.

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PRS Guitars SE 30th Floyd Custom 24

PRS 30th se floyd
Not as hard to remember as one of Ibanez’s long winded codenames but it certainly is a mouthful, the PRS SE 30th Floyd Custom 24! This guitar is available in a number of finished including Black Cherry, Grey Black, Santana Yellow, Trampas Green but I thought that the Whale Green was the most classy looking. I think the SE colours are just a bit too bright which, in my opinion, looks a bit cheap. But that’s just me, this Whale Green finish looks amazing especially with the curly Maple top.

“The 30th Anniversary SE Custom 24 features the striking 30th Anniversary commemorative bird inlay package, quilt maple veneer, SE HFS and SE Vintage Bass pickups and a push/pull tone control for coil-tapping with 3-way blade switch in a gig-ready package. The guitar also comes equipped with a “1000 Series” Floyd Rose tremolo, which is made to the exact specifications and with the same high-quality materials as the “Original” Floyd.”

For more info head over to http://www.prsguitars.com/.

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Summer NAMM 2015: Return of the Ibanez Talman

ibanez talman 1702
Well I know one man who will be very happy about this (although these Talman’s don’t quite have the bling factor of Peter’s). ‘

At Ibanez’s return to Nashville for the first time in a while for Summer NAMM they introduced the new Ibanez Prestige 1702 series Talman which features two single coil pickups and the Prestige 1730 series Talman which features 3 single coil pickups.

I couldn’t find anything on the Ibanez website as yet but I keep getting redirected to the Aus version of the site so maybe I’m missing something, http://www.ibanez.com/.

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Summer NAMM 2015: Yamaha Debuts New SLG200 Silent Guitar Series

Yamaha have announced the release of the new SLG200 Silent Guitar Series at Summer NAMM 2015 equipped with special SRT (Studio Response Technology) preamp and pickups, which models studio quality tones created with high-end microphones and top-quality Yamaha acoustic guitars to create the sonic illusion of playing a full-bodied acoustic guitar.

SLG200 guitars are available in both a steel and nylon versions with three color options. They all include ear buds and a headphone jack for near-silent playing, making them perfect for dorm and apartment dwellers. A ¼ inch jack provides connectivity with an amplifier, loudspeaker, PA system, audio interface or mixing board. The removable top bout design allows the SLG200’s to collapse into a slim, sturdy gig bag, which makes for the ultimate on-the-go guitar, see photo above.

“Other upgraded features include a new satin mahogany neck profile, all-wood (Rosewood/Maple) top bouts, a reconfigured easy-access control panel, an on-board tuner and a redesigned battery cavity powered by two AA batteries for longer life. In addition to the proprietary SRT pickup and preamp system, the SLG200 series also comes with a 6-crystal under-saddle piezo pickup that can be blended with the modeled SRT sounds along with onboard reverb and chorus effects to dial in just the right tone. The design eliminates feedback in a live performance setting.”

The SLG200S (steel string) and SLG200N (nylon string) have an MSRP of $1,015 and will ship in September 2015.

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PRS Add 2 New Metalic FInishes To S2 Range

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PRS are celebrating the 2nd Anniversary of the S2 Series of guitars with 2 new metallic finishes, ‘Egyptian Gold’ and ‘Ice Blue Fire Mist’. While this is nothing really ground-breaking I thought that the Egyptian Gold in particular was really nice so wanted to post this nice group photo above. The new finishes have been added to the all-mahogany guitars in the S2 line, including the S2 Mira, Mira Semi-Hollow, Singlecut Standard, Standard 22, Standard 24, Starla and Vela.

“Each model offers the fit, feel and attention to detail the craftsmen of PRS are known for in a more accessible price point: $1,179 – $1,579 USD”.

http://www.prsguitars.com/

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Rivera Venus Recording Rack Tube Amp With Built-in Rockcrusher

This is an interesting development from Rivera Amps, a couple of years ago Rivera introduced a power attenuator/load box/speaker emulator called the Rockcrusher which has the unique inclusion of an EQ to tune the speaker emulation tone. Now Rivera have created an all in one recording 2 channel 6V6 powered 25 Watt tube amp with the Rockcrusher built into it called the Rivera Venus Recording.

rivera-venus4

There’s a lot of features built in to this rack amp but here is a brief overview from Rivera, click on the link at the end of the description for more in-depth details:

Channel 1 can go from super spanky clean to a hot blues overdrive or classic rock tone. The combinations of the Treble “pull Bright” and Middle “pull Notch” can give you 4 different clean voicings and allows you to get tweed or blackface tones. Crank up the Volume knob for more gain and get “Clean Sustian” giving all those Gilmour, EJ and Carlton tones.

Channel 2 lead channel can be voiced for either classic rock, hard rock, metal or progressive shred. You can also adjust the interaction of the 3 band passive tone controls with the Voicing control to give you a wide tone range from our knucklehead series, tweed 2 knob Fender champ, to a vintage 60’s Marshall top, JTM-45 Combo, Vox AC-30 or classic blackface Fender.

The 11 bands of EQ frequencies in the onboard EQ are all in the guitar speaker range and were chosen to allow you to mimic most of the common guitar speakers used for classic, vintage and modern tones. The 11 band EQ can be positioned before the internal power amplifier-after either channel and pre-effects loop, allowing fine tuning of guitar tones and heard through the speaker, and also through the recording output.

The Venus Recording has 2 effects loops, one fully buffered between the pre & power amp and the other after the power amp for maximum versatility. There are two recording outputs provided, a balanced and transformer isolated XLR, and a unbalanced phone jack output. Both can be used simultaneously. Also included are 2 speaker outs, 4/8/16 impedance switch, High and Low power switch (25watts or 7watts) and a Silent (internal load) or External (cabinet) load switch.

This sounds like a serious piece of kit for silent recording that also has the ability to power speaker cabinets. For more details check out the Rivera website.

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