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Blackstar to announce new Artist Series on Nov 2nd 2015

blackstar artist 30
I am genuinely relieved to see this news because I think Blackstar are a great amplifier company and great innovators but they seem to have concentrated on modelling and low powered amps for a while now. On November 2nd 2015 at 7.30pm BST Blackstar are hosting a webinar to launch a new “Blackstar Artist Series”, you can visit their website to tune in. From the image I have posted above it would appear this series are true tube amps and in this case a 30 watt 2 channel Combo with Reverb. What is not clear is what the difference is between the Artist and the Artisan or Series One amps at this stage. More updates to follow.

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Misha Mansoor Meet & Greet In Sydney

Misha Mansoor
With Periphery heading to Australia in a couple of weeks there have been a couple of announcements from the band. The first was the announcement of the Mark Holcomb Sydney & Brisbane guitar clinics which I reckon will be pretty awesome and now Jackson Guitars have announced a Misha Mansoor meet & greet at Big Music in Crows Nest, Sydney (which is a great shop/studio/rehearsal space).

“Come along and have a chat, and get yourself a signature or a photo with the man himself. You can also check out his new Jackson signature model ‘Juggernaut Bulb HT7’ while you’re there.”

For more info on the new Misha Mansoor signature model Jackson guitars –

More info about the event can be found here.

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Ibanez PWM100 Paul Waggoner (Between The Buried And Me) Signature Model Guitar

Ibanez PWM100
Between The Buried And Me’s Paul Waggoner has developed a beefed-up S Series Ibanez guitar for his Ash bodied signature model featuring Mojotone signature Pickups, the Mojotone PW Hornet (H) neck pickup (Passive/Alnico) and the Mojotone PW Hornet (H) bridge pickup (Passive/Ceramic). The neck on the PWM100 is 5pc Maple/Bubinga with a Rosewood fretboard with offset White dot inlays and Jumbo frets with Prestige fret edge treatment. The PWM100 also features an Ibanez Lo-pro Edge tremolo bridge in Cosmo black (as is all the other hardware). Other features include a 3 way pickup selector and a separate coil split mini toggle switch.

For more photos and info check out the Ibanez PWM100 product page.

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MannMade USA’s Intonatable Stoptail Bridge

MannMade USA have created a no modification necessary, intonatable stoptail bridge that can easily be retrofit on PRS and Gibson stoptail guitars.

The Stoptail Bridge is precision CNC machined from aircraft grade aluminum and is available in the following colors: Natural Aluminum, Gold Anodize, Black Anodize. Choice of Polished or Satin finish. The saddles, screws, studs and stud wells are all machined from solid brass billet and left unplated for better tonal transfer. These are also available in Nickel, Gold or Black plating.

According to John Mann, founder of MannMade USA and designer of the innovative bridge, “Many PRS guitars are equipped with non-adjustable stoptail bridges, and it seems like a lot of owners want to have an intonatable solution. Our bridge offers a number of benefits for these folks.”

“With the new MannMade USA Intonatable Stoptail Bridge, there is no need for locking studs, because they are machined to exacting tolerances. As a result, they couple solidly with both the bridge and the guitar, which improves tone transfer. Plus, they won’t flop around or fall off and ding the top of the guitar when changing strings.”

Get more information at

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Mark Holcomb of Periphery Australian PRS Clinics Announced

mark holcomb
Well this is a bit exciting, except if you are a Periphery fan and happen to live outside of Brisbane and Sydney… sorry. Mark Holcomb recently announced a signature PRS Custom 24 7 string Guitar which is very tasty and loaded with his new signature Seymour Duncan Alpha Omega pickups. As Mark is about to descend upon little old Aussie-land with a certain band of his a couple of Music shops have thankfully managed to shoehorn a couple of guitar clinics into his busy diary.

The first is 12:00 PM October 22 at Music Express Brisbane (2048 Logan Rd. QLD, Brisbane) and the second is October 24 in my home town of Sydney 12:00 PM at Guitar Factory, 255 Church St, Parramatta. No idea why Parramatta!? ah well you’ll all have to get the train out there. It will be worth it though.

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Positive Grid Announces BIAS Distortion Beta Program

BIAS Distortion
Positive Grid recently released BIAS FX which is the perfect compliment to BIAS Amp as it contains a plethora of perfectly modelled stomp and rack effects to use for recording or performing. In true Positive Grid style they have taken this idea a step further by creating a new product called BIAS Distortion which allows you to create your own distortion pedal by designing the circuit and down to a transistors level!

BIAS Distortion also includes the ability to tone match any real life analog distortion pedal which is an awesome idea as hopefully you will be able to download tones from other users which means you get access to the sounds of a huge range of expensive stomp boxes, woo! Of course you will also be able to integrate BIAS Distortion with BIAS FX dual signal chains, and seamlessly transfer distortion pedal creations between iPad and Mac/Win devices.

To sign up for the beta testing program head over to

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Fractal Audio AX8 Amp Modelling Floor Unit Imminent

The L.A. Amp Show last weekend saw the debut of the much anticipated Fractal Audio AX8 which is the floor unit version of their flagship Axe-Fx product and follows in the footsteps of the multi effect Fractal floor unit FX8. The AX8 is not exactly the same as it’s rack mounted big brother however, it apparently has the same amp and cab modeling but it features a stripped down effects section and smaller grid (4×8 vs 4×12). The two 450 MHz DSPs are for amp modeling and the other for effects/housekeeping. The same silent switch technology as the MFC-101 Mark III and FX-8 are used and the switches are assignable per patch via a new “Switch Assign Matrix” feature.


Here are some more details from the Fractal forum: “…the switches are multi-function. They operate as preset, scene, looper or bypass switches. There are four expression pedal inputs. There is a stereo effects loop. The dedicated knobs control only those parameters for which they are indicated. There are five soft knobs under the display that are used for adjusting other parameters.”


Apparently the AX8 will cost just $1399 which is just over half the price of an Axe-FX II XL rack unit (without a floor controller).

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EVH 5150 III LBX vs Peavey 6505 Mini Head

The EVH 5150 III has been immensely popular among Eddie Van Halen fans as well as Metal fans who have been using the 5150 since the Peavey days. Not too long ago EVH Gear (Fender) released smaller 50 Watt 5150 head and combo for those looking for something a little tamer than the 100 watt Behemoth. In what seems to be a reaction to Peavey’s latest minification efforts EVH Gear are also releasing a lunch box version of the 5150 III called the LBX. The 5150 III LBX is currently available to pre-order at various online outlets but I just stumbled across this video in which Phillip McKnight compares the EVH 5150 III LBX with the Peavey 6505 MH (Mini Head).

As you may be aware the Peavey 6505 is the re-badged Peavey 5150 (after Eddie split to join forces with Fender) so it is very interesting to hear a direct comparison of tones. However as Phillip points out in the video if you are looking for real bang for your buck the Peavey has way more features including a Tube Status Indicator, Mic Simulated Direct Interface with a speaker defeat switch to turn off your cabinet for lower stage volume (or for silent practice with headphones). And finally footswitchable channels, crunch, reverb, and effects loop. The 5150 LBX in comparison has an effects loop, Crunch and Full Burn channels from it’s bigger brothers, a power switch taking the amp down to 4-watts but no reverb and the price is about $200 US more.



From a visual perspective if you like the old 5150 you’ll probably quite like the miniaturized version but personally I think the LBX looks much nicer. Also Phillip mentioned that one amp is made in Mexico and one in China, personally I don’t really think that the quality of these amps should be significantly different, let’s face it both are under $700 US so you can’t expect too much. From Phillip’s demos the LBX has a bit more meat to the tone but they are very similar so if you wanted to save those $200 you could at least rest assured you aren’t losing anything really in terms of tone. Both amps are powered by a pair of EL84 power tubes and both amps’ preamps are powered by 12AX7 tubes but the difference between the two is that the 6505 has three while the LBX has five!

I think it is a tough choice between the two without playing them myself but being a simple person I do like the front panel of the LBX over the somewhat busy 6505MH, however the individual channel pre & post gain controls are a huge bonus on the 6505MH.

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Orange Amplification Creates The Orange Micro Dark By Popular Demand

Orange Micro Dark
Orange Amplification have responded to thousands of requests and created the Orange Micro Dark Amplifier. The miniature valve/solid-state hybrid head joins the high gain Dark Terror and Dual Dark amps with their distinctive black appearance and sports a single 12AX7 to produce 20 watts of output. The Micro Dark also features a full buffered effects loop and Orange’s CabSim loaded headphone output which is also perfect for recording.

Check out more info at the Orange Amps website –

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3D Printing Solutions Australia – 3D Printed Guitar

3D Printing Solutions Australia, the official distributor for Polymaker filaments in Australia, have created a fully functioning 3D Guitar using Polymaker’s PolyMax filament. Check out some audio samples in the video above and I have included a couple of photos below that show how the 2 parts of the guitar come together.

Printed Guitar 2

Printed Guitar 4

The design incorporates the four suits in a standard deck of playing cards in which each is individually embossed into the body. Tyson used an UP Box 3D printer to create the body of the guitar in four pieces, which were then fused together using an epoxy resin, and finally cleaned up in post-production for a seamless finish. The completed product is a brilliant blue “hybrid” wood and PolyMax guitar featuring a maple neck and mahogany block fitted in the body to provide a deep tone and consistent sustain, assuring that the instrument sounds as good as it looks.

According to Tyson, 3D Printing offered considerable advantages over conventional woodworking techniques particularly when it came to the intricacies of the four-suit playing card motif found in the body. By adjusting the parameters in the computer program connected to the printer, a designer can easily create different 3D printed bodies, which can be interchanged to the guitar in under 45 minutes. This provides one instrument that can take on a different look and style with little time and effort.

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