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Eddie Van Halen Hour Long Interview At The Smithsonian

A small crowd were lucky enough to experience an interview with the legend himself and personal guitar inspiration Eddie Van Halen at Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History as part of ‘What it means to be an American‘. EVH fans will have heard many of the stories before but Eddie was open and honest more so than I’ve seen him in many interviews and he also hinted that his son Wolfgang is going to release an album later this year, “It blew my mind”, I hope it is a solo record! though he may be referring to the new Tremonti album that he has just finished recording Bass parts for.

I thought it was particularly interesting hearing how a 16 year old Wolfgang touring with Van Halen inspired Eddie to finally quit drinking, “…he gave me the strength to be able to do that”, says Eddie, “I got sober during that first tour and I was so nervous and everytime I looked at my son I thought ok if my 16 year old son can be kicking ass like that I better suck it up!” I hope that people who keep saying that they want the original VH lineup can now understand exactly what it means to Eddie to have Wolfgang in the band.

EVH Smithsonian

While at the National Museum of American History Eddie donated an exact replica of his original black and white Frankenstein guitar, an EVH Stealth Guitar, and an EVH 5150III Head & Cab during a closed ceremony, which took place right before his speech/interview.

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Ibanez Announce Prestige & Premium Roadcore Guitars

Ibanez RC1320-DBS
Ibanez announced the Roadcore RC320 guitar back in 2012 and it seems it must be popular as they have just announced two new Ibanez Roadcore models, the Prestige RC1320-DBS pictured above and the Premium RC720-CNF pictured below. There is one catch however, I saw these guitars on the Ibanez UK Facebook page and it seems they are showing on the EU Ibanez site, but not on the US site which is still only showing the Roadcore standard, as is the Australian site.

Ibanez RC720-CNF

The Ibanez Prestige Roadcore RC1320-DBS features a Maple neck, Mahogany body, Rosewood fretboard w/Acrylic block inlay, an Ibanez Tight-Tune bridge, a Seymour Duncan® ’59 model humbucker in the neck position and a Seymour Duncan JB Model™ humbucker in the bridge position.

The Ibanez Premium Roadcore RC720-CNF features a 3pc Maple neck, a Rosewood top/back on Mahogany body, a Rosewood fretboard w/White dot inlay, Tight-Tune bridge, an Ibanez Core Tone (H) neck pickup and an Ibanez Core Tone (H) bridge pickup.

So if you are in the UK and you love the Roadcore, you are in luck. Everyone else you might have to import the premium or prestige versions.

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NAMM 2015: Duesenberg Announce The Berlin Amplifier & Cabinet

duesenberg berlin
I don’t understand why I’m not reading more about this amp on other guitar sites, this is the coolest looking amp I’ve seen released in a long time but I have to say I had no idea Duesenberg were even working on a new amp! Now I’m sure you’re all aware of Duesenberg Guitars with their retro cool styling, well they took that design philosophy and created a stunning new amp head and cabinet called the Berlin.

“The frame of this amp is made from wood which we then painted with a thin layer of metal particles. The metal coat is then processed and aged by hand, giving it the distinctive rusty patina which makes each build completely unique.”

The cabinet is made from lightweight multi-ply birch and is painted and processed the same way as the amp itself. It has a semi open back and houses a Celestion Alnico Gold 8 Ohm Speaker with 50W power handling.


Here are the amp specs:

  • 45W tube amplifier (2 x 6L6WGC-STR matched power amp tubes, 2 x 12AX7 preamp tubes)
  • Custom wound transformers (made in Germany)
  • Dual channel amplifier with a cascading gain structure
  • high dynamic clean channel, adjustable in Volume, Bass, Mid & Treble
  • Boost channel extends clean channel, adjustable in Gain, Contour & Level
  • Two preselectable Boost gain levels on the rear pannel (hi/low gain)
  • Passive serial effects loop
  • 4/8/16 Ohm outputs
  • Footswitch for Boost
  • Handmade in Germany

You can see more pics here.

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AxeCrate – Monthly Box Of Guitar Surprises

I think this is a really cool idea, AxeCrate is a company that offer two product services for either electric or acoustic guitarists. By paying a fee of $32.99 or $34.99 respectively you get a box of surprise products delivered to your door.

“We send out a package every month with picks, strings, and other accessories. Every AxeCrate will feature new picks and strings along with new guitar accessories every month. Our mission is to show off new and innovative guitar products, as well as delivering the essentials for any guitarist. ”

In the photo above you can see the products that shipped in the first AxeCrate package. Here is a list of exactly what was included:

– Black Smith Electric or Acoustic Strings ($14.00-17.00 Retail Value)
– Iron Age Accessories Exotic Wood Variety Pack Picks ($17.00 Retail Value)
– Rapco Horizon 6 Foot Instrument Cable ($8.79 Retail Value)
– AxeCrate Premium Ultra Plush Guitar Cleaning Towel ($5.49 Retail Value)
– Fender Peg Winder ($2.50 Retail Value)
– Kyser String Cleaner and Extender ($5.95 Retail Value)
– Kyster Red Decal ($3.79 Retail Value)
– AxeCrate Decal ($2.50 Retail Value)

To order an AxeCrate for yourself or as a great gift to a guitarist friend or partner go to

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NAMM 2015: Randall Release New RD DIAVLO Combos

randall rd diavlo
The Mike Fortin designed Randall DIAVLO tube heads and combos were announced at NAMM 2013 and helped to relaunch Randall as a brand. This year at NAMM 2015 Randall have announced an updated version of the 5 watt combo which has been upgraded from a 10″ speaker to a 12″ speaker and also introduced a 20 watt and 45 watt version.

RD45-212 – 2 Channel 45w all tube (12AX7/6L6) 2×12 combo with Tube Boost Mode, Speaker emulated XLR direct output with ground lift, Class A Discrete instrument level FX loop, dual function footswitch, Casters Included.

RD20-112 – 2 Channel all tube (12AX7/6V6) 20w 1×12 combo with Boost Mode, Speaker emulated XLR direct output with ground lift, Class A Discrete instrument level FX loop, dual function footswitch.

RD5-112 – Single Channel all tube 5 watt (12AX7/6V6) 1×12 Combo with Gain, Tone, Master Volume, 3 way ToneStackShift for midrange contour with Class A Discrete instrument level FX loop and Speaker emulated XLR direct output with Dummy load for Silent operation and ground lift.

For more info head over to the Randall website.

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NAMM 2015: Washburn Comfort Series 7 String Acoustics

Washburn brought two new 7 string acoustic guitars to NAMM 2015, the WCD187CEB (Dreadnought) and WCG187CEB (Grand Auditorium). Washburn say that the low B string on these guitars “retains its clarity and punch whether played acoustically or through an amplifier”. These guitars are part of the Comfort Series which have belly and top carves that hug the body rather than digging into it and provide a comfortable playing experience whether you’re sitting or standing.


The WCD187CEB & WCG187CEB models have a Rosewood back, Mahogany sides, Contoured Select Spruce top, Quarter Sawn Scalloped Sitka Spruce bracing, Satin Mahogany neck with 2 way Truss rod and Rosewood fingerboard. The Fishman Isys+ systen included in both models is an integrated tuner/pickup combo for versatile amplified tonal shaping, allowing precise control of bass and treble frequencies.


Suggested retail for the WCD187CEB and the WCG187CEB is $712.90.

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NAMM 2015: Michael Kelly Triad Acoustics

At NAMM 2015 Michael Kelly brought their latest Acoustic range, the Triad series, which is their top of the line collection. Consistent between all four models are the exotic wood three piece backs, a solid spruce top, flamed okoume sides, zero-endpin bridge, the Triad three circle inlay elements, built in Fishman active electronics discretely installed within the soundhole, and two additional ports on the side of each model for extra sound dispersion and audibility to the player.

Pictured above is the Michael Kelly Triad Port which features an offset soundhole placement designed to create a larger resonate surface on the guitar top. As mentioned above the two soundholes on the side of each model add an extra dimension the sound of the guitar by pushing the sound up toward the player which you can see below. Having played a guitar with a side sound port like this I can tell you it is an amazing feature that lets you the player really hear the true sound that the guitar is producing. The suggested retail price is $580.

MK Triad Port

There are 3 other guitars in the Triad Series, the Triad 10E 10 string guitar (suggested retail of $580), the Triad CE (suggested retail of $445), the Triad Entwined E featuring a vine inlay (suggested retail of $525).

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Help Kickstart Stones: a true-life Film of singer-songwriter Alexander McKay

Alexander McKay is an old College buddy of mine, he was a great shredder back in the early 90’s and went on to tour the world with a Metal band but the rock ‘n roll lifestyle unfortunately began to take it’s toll and years of alcohol abuse began to destroy his life. Thankfully Alex managed to turn his life around and started writing acoustic songs, singing and performing again. I never knew what a great voice he had, I just knew Alex as a guitarist but when he played me some demos a few years ago while visiting Sydney I was blown away. I really hope that Alex and the Donroy crew hit their Kickstarter target because I think this will be an interesting film with a strong message and of course filled with Alexander McKay music. Alex has never given up on his dream of making music for a living and I hope he has a long career ahead of him.

“It’s a love story that grows from the trenches of booze and desperation, with an original soundtrack written and produced by Alex, making it an experience to be seen and heard. Stones is a true story, a real story, and an opportunity to give a talented musician the chance to re-launch his career. Because we all deserve one last chance, don’t we?”

The film is being produced by Donroy Independent Films, Writer, producer Don Macnab-Stark and director, producer Roydon Turner joined forces in 2011 to form this unique independent film company.

Check out the video for the song Stones by Alexander McKay:

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The Gibson Les Paul: The Illustrated History of the Guitar That Changed Rock Review

byline pic By Pappy

Do you like Les Pauls?  Of course you do – we all do to some degree or another.  To say that you don’t like Les Pauls would be like saying you don’t like the third leg of a barstool: It may not be your thing, but you’d be hard-pressed to live without it.

The Les Paul is one of the electric guitar’s base guitars that so many of our heroes took up as their own and made incredible music with.  It was pictures of them that adorned our walls as young teens and it’s because of those pictures none of us would turn down a Les Paul if someone offered.  I mean, come on: It’s a Les Paul for crying out loud.

The history of the Les Paul is fairly significant, and people have tried to tackle it in the past, but those people weren’t Dave Hunter.  Hunter lives in the guitar world, writes for guitar magazines, and has even released a string of successful books about the guitar – most memorably one about MY favorite electric guitar: the Telecaster.  He’s a guy who found the magic formula for writing a fantastic guitar history book, and he did it again with the Gibson Les Paul: The Illustrated History of the Guitar That Changed Rock.


Step 1: Make it big.  This book is sizable in length and height.  One COULD say it’s a coffee table book, but I like to think of it as a history textbook instead.

Step 2: Make it lengthy, not TOO lengthy.  Look, history – particularly of a guitar model that was there in the formative stages of the electric guitar – is long.  If you cut too much out, it will be a laughable attempt to gloss over important details, but if it’s too long, you’ll bore the audience.  Hunter walks that fine line well and the book is 217 pages (not counting the index).

Step 3: Make it interesting.  Hunter basically wrote two books that revolved around the Les Paul and jammed them both between two covers.  One is about the history and construction of the guitar, one is about the biggest names who play(ed) the Les Paul and little stories about them.  Rather than put one after the other, he breaks up the history with a few bio pieces, then slides the history back in, basically peppering the book with the two sections so any readers who may not want to stay on one track for too long don’t lose interest.

Step 4: Lots and lots of beautiful pictures.  The electric guitar is art that appeals to almost all of your basic senses.  The reason there are so many shapes, sizes, colors, and styles, is because we like to look at them.  Beautiful photographs on high-quality paper means that you can ogle the guitars until the cows come home.

Step 5: Make it durable.  Durability to a guitarist is key and a nice hardcover book with stitched binding means that it will last for a long, long time with minimal protection.

Hunter did a great job (again) with this book and I’m glad to add it to my collection of his. You can purchase The Gibson Les Paul – The Illustrated Story of the Guitar That Changed Rock as well as lots of other awesome guitar and music oriented books from

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JamTrackCentral presents: The Guitar Solo Contest 2015

Jam Track Central, the home of virtuoso guitar improvisation, has announced the launch of its first ever guitar solo competition, anticipated to be one of the biggest ever! There are prizes worth over £10,000, including gear, endorsement deals with major sponsors and the grand prize of becoming a ‘JTC Artist’. The winner will join the JTC artist roster alongside some of the world’s best guitarists such as Guthrie Govan, Alex Hutchings, Jeff Loomis, Kiko Loureiro, Marco Sfogli, Jack Thammarat, Andy James and many more!”

The contest is free to enter and all you have to do is film yourself playing a solo over one of five selected JamTrackCentral backing tracks. The backing tracks will be free downloads available from the JTC site. The competition is aimed at all players, with backing tracks in Rock, Metal, Jazz, Blues and Funk styles.

Round One – Anyone can enter; all videos will be displayed on the JTC website.
Round Two – Ten finalists will be chosen. They then have to record and film an original composition. Finally the JTC judges will choose the winner and two runners up!

“The finalists will be selected by the JTC celebrity judging panel, featuring 10 of JTC’s top artists. These will include Jack Thammarat, Martin Miller and Marco Sfogli. All finalists will receive prizes from a prize pool worth over £10k, which includes products from Fractal Audio, ToonTrack, EMG, Blackstar, Roland, D’Addario and Andertons Music!”

The winning composition will be released as a selling product at, and the winner will have the opportunity to become a regular JTC contributor. This will bring regular worldwide exposure and a guaranteed income from JTC’s artist royalty scheme.

The competition is due to launch in March 2015, keep checking or the JTC Facebook page for more info.

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