Archive for the ‘Gear News’ Category

Check Out New Joe Satriani Tune “Energy” Featuring Chad Smith and Glenn Hughes

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017

Guitar Superhero Joe Satriani announced his new album recently.  “What Happens Next” is slated to be released January 12.  He’s discussed a bit of what we can expect from the record with his new single “Energy”

Energy is a straight ahead rock track and won’t sound unfamiliar to Satriani fans.  “The son ‘Energy’ shows the power, fun and excitement of true and spontaneous musical chemistry,” Satriani says.  “Chad Smith, Glenn Hughes and me rockin’ out, not holding back, reveling in the moment.”  Keeping things simple on this record is important for Satriani, who adds, “I said to Chad in an early text, ‘No odd time signatures, no progressive stuff, pure rock and soul.  The last two records really showed that I was enjoying playing with progressive elements, and when I reached the end of Shockwave Supernova, I said, ‘I think I’ve done it.  For some reason, I don’t feel like going back over that anymore.”

Satriani also announced the lineup for the next G3 tour in which he will be joined by Dream Theater’s John Petrucci and Def Leppard’s Phil Collen.  Listen to the new singer “Energy” Below and pre-order What Happens Next HERE………

“What Happens Next” track listing:

01. Energy
02. Catbot
03. Thunder High On The Mountain
04. Cherry Blossoms
05. Righteous
06. Smooth Soul
07. Headrush
08. Looper
09. What Happens Next
10. Super Funky Badass
11. Invisible
12. Forever And Ever

 

Metallica Rig Rundown from the “WorldWired” Tour

Friday, September 22nd, 2017

Metallica released a nineteen minute video with guitar techs Chad Zaemisch and Justin Crew doing a walk through of not only James Hetfield’s and Kirk Hammett’s guitar rigs but also some of the hurdles and solutions for providing wireless on huge tours.

The rigs prominently feature the Fractal Audio Axe FX II XL’s  as well as Matrix amplification.  Check it below.

 

 

 

Line 6 Helix Rack High Gain Demo and Patch Download

Thursday, November 24th, 2016

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Here is my first quick recording with the Line 6 Helix Rack. All sounds were recorded with the Helix. If you dig it and want to try out the patches I used, click the link below and give them a shot. Included are the high gain patch I used, as well as the lead and clean. Make sure to subscribe on my YouTube and keep an eye out for my podcast on iTunes. I’m just getting ready to start posting some episodes talking more Helix stuff.

Line 6 Helix Patch Download Here!!!!

Sensaphonics Namm 2016 Interview With Michael Santucci

Monday, February 1st, 2016

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Every year I attend at least the winter Namm show if not winter and summer. And every year I leave with something that has me talking, something that on the trip back I keep going back to how cool that product was. And it’s generally not an amp or guitar I see tons of those and in general I think that we have those types of things pretty much figured out. Small things here and there will change your experience but we pretty much know what we’re getting into from instrument to instrument. And obviously not to discount any instrument manufacturer but the improvements from piece to piece are generally small modifications. Such as different woods or no woods, different type of pickups or change in drums heads.

In Ear Monitor (IEM) technology however, while great still has a lot of things that could be done to improve the experience for the user. In my conversation with Dr. Michael Santucci of Sensaphonics a few things became clear in short order. First, not only does he really know his stuff but also knows exactly what struggles you’re having with monitors. He has a great understanding of using IEM’s and all the downsides of them. And after doing some research you will find that not only is he a well-respected audiologist but also genuinely interested in musicians and creating a product to help make their lives better and safer. Part of what piqued my interest was they are set on solving problems associated with using IEM’s not just kicking out another ear hole filling sound device. It’s great to see a company that looks at a problem and really sets out to find a way to fix it. Think like anti lock breaks. Breaks worked pretty good before ABS for a lot of years. Cars stopped but ABS made breaks way better and has probably saved countless lives. The things Sensaphonics are doing in short looks at all the things we dislike about using IEM’s and tries to make them better.

I personally use a competitor’s product and I must start with a disclaimer. I love my in ears and I would buy from them again. My vendor has been great and helpful to me but I still have various issues with my molds and fit. In talking with the company I use they are more than willing to help me make things better but I have yet to take those steps. Mostly because I haven’t wanted to be without my molds for an extended period and I wasn’t certain if the steps taken were going to really fix my problems. In short I have a fit issue, once I get them inserted and comfortable they will only stay sealed as long as I really don’t move my mouth. The minute I smile the seal breaks and then disappears the bottom end and a chunk of my volume. My vendor discussed building up my molds and working on a solution but after talking to many that also use hard acrylic molds I found that for many this is just the way it goes. Enter my bass player…

What got me interested in talking with Sensaphonics was my giddy bass player who attended a presentation at Namm 2016 titled “In Ear Monitor (IEM) Fundamentals and Hearing Conservation. The speaker was Michael Santucci. After the presentation my bass player meets back up with us and says “I think I’m gonna buy these” after he talked about what was discussed I decided I wanted to see for myself as well as see if they would be kind enough to discuss with us on camera. In short he did order a set from them. He did not order the 3D active ambient which actually have mics built into them allowing you to blend ambient sound with your monitor mix. He just order a set of IEM’s in hopes that it would take care of his current issues he has with several pairs of IEM’s. I myself love the idea of the full package but the price tag is high, around 2k if you want the 3D’s with a single full range driver. $2500 should you want dual drivers. I’m by no means knocking the price they are great pieces of equipment and their list of artists speaks for itself. But I gotta get a few more pennies rattling around in my jar before I can pull the trigger on these. So for now I will just deal with problematic molds 🙁

Below is my video with Michael where he is covers everything from materials used in their product to how the brain perceives sound. As well as their 3D Active Ambient technology option. He covers a lot of information in this video but they have even more details on their site. For further info check out www.sensaphonics.com

Guitar Center LayOffs A Musicians Perspective

Friday, February 6th, 2015

I wanted to take a minute and write an article about all the press that Guitar Center has been receiving in regards to layoffs of high level executives. Initially posted at Geargods.net was an email sent to all employees at the corporate and field-supervision level detailing the situation GC is in. It’s been no secret that GC is in trouble. They have been going through executives, some stores are actually becoming union stores, the Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating them, as well as unfair labor practices. The list goes on and on. Just after the Namm show, CEO Darrell Webb who has also held executive and board positions at companies like The Sports Authority, Jo-ann Fabric and several others sent this email to the aforementioned employees….

After a comprehensive evaluation of our staffing levels, including a detailed benchmarking of staffing levels by function and department compared to similar size specialty retailers, Guitar Center’s leadership team made the difficult decision to reduce corporate and field supervision staff. The reduction included less than one percent of the overall workforce and consisted of reductions at the corporate offices in Westlake Village and field management positions. This action was designed to create a more effective and efficient organization and was based on functional area. Despite this reduction, we continue to actively recruit for a variety of positions in Westlake Village that are matched with the needs of our ongoing growth plans.

Guitar Center thanks these individuals for their dedicated service and we all wish them the best in their future endeavors.
There are no plans to reduce staff at our 260+ stores. Our customer base is strong and for them business will continue as usual. Our store opening and remodeling program continues, as does our ongoing dedication to the opportunities we offer musicians — unparalleled inventory and selection, clinics, lessons, repairs, our nationwide searches and competitions and unmatched service every day. In spite of how difficult these decisions were to make, and the challenges that these reductions present to some of our dedicated associates, this restructuring was made to put us in a more positive position to serve our customers and vendors.

Now I don’t want to go into the corporate issues deep in the belly of Guitar Center. But I would like to discuss part of why they’re financially in trouble. As big box stores go Guitar Center has been able to stick around longer than many huge names with broader appeal. Think Circuit City and Montgomery Wards for example. Selling gear is a huge business, if you’re reading this you probably have some gear close to you. But where Guitar Center fails on a MASSIVE scale is they don’t understand music, musicians what people need/want to have. Honestly, GC your stores suck. You know who loves them?? My kids. And that is what these stores are geared for. People that don’t really take music seriously. It caters to the school kid wanting his first guitar, or the 40 year old man that really wanted a kick ass Stratocaster or Les Paul when he was younger and couldn’t afford it until adulthood. What they don’t cater to is the serious musician. Guitar Center needs someone to steer this ship in the direction of its customers and that’s all customers.

My amount of travel has picked up a lot of the last few years. I’m trying to grow this blog into something I can do forever and maybe even make a living at. I attend the Namm shows and interview gear manufacturers, I make demo videos of equipment and while doing all this, I visit music stores. A lot of those are Guitar Centers when I can’t find anything else.

My actual market is a small one. Guitar Center is fairly new to us maybe 7 years or so. Before that a good friend of mine and I used to take weekend trips up to Minneapolis to hit Guitar Center and what was a much better chain Mars Music. I still miss Mars Music as it was the super-mega center for musicians built by former Office Depot CEO Mark Begelman. . Giant stage in the middle, INCREDIBLE selection of gear. Whatever you needed. It was geared for musicians. Unfortunately, due to rapid expansion, lack of capital, huge stores and a recession they were unable to keep the franchise above water closing all stores in 2002. Which I’m sure plays into the Guitar Center format. But here’s the real problem with GC.

Go into a Guitar Center and pick a guitar off the wall. Is it set up? Are you holding a $1500 Strat that plays terrible? Ask one of the employees a real question. Can they answer it? Can they even come close? Go in and look for accessories do they have what you need? Go into pro audio and ask a question period.
Guitar Center staffs their stores with people that are wet behind the ears musicians. Not in 100% of the cases but largely you will be talking to a kid that couldn’t tell you squat about anything in the store. They’re programmed to cram their promotions down your throat like String Club…. “Hey Bro, have you heard of our string club”??? No, because I don’t buy strings here. I just had to buy 2 separate sets in an emergency to cover my 7 string because you guys have no string options…. “Ohh well I could tell you about it if you want”…… As a drummer it’s just as bad.

They’re missing out on the used market even as they have knocked out a lot of second hand music stores. While they have a small section of used generally they’ve taken no time to make sure those instruments are playable. So what you’re stuck with is a tiny section of a wall with uninteresting used pieces. If amps are your thing forget about it.

My store pretty much has 1 head. The Peavey 6505. Don’t get me wrong, I personally love that head but that’s about it. Plenty of small combos, plenty of guitars on the bottom end of the spectrum. And a wall of Strats. If you’re an Ibanez fan like myself your selection will be generally in the $499 and below range, extended range instruments are not really stocked. The bottom of the line 7 and 8 string models will be there but nothing someone that actually plays will want. But what’s really shocking is that it’s not just the one in my market. Over Namm I stayed near the store in Orange and it was the same thing. No selection. I honestly would buy a lot (A LOT) more gear from Guitar Center if I could touch it. Or if I could ask a question and get a real answer about it from a knowledgeable person in their field.

They don’t want to pay for talent in the stores they kind of want to be the fast food of music retail. But to be honest being a musician is a personal experience. The music retail can survive but that path must be examined. When my kids go into a music store and they have that magic look in their eyes, to them it’s a dream. The excitement of being around all that cool stuff is what tattoos the thought of being a rock star on their brain. But if they start to truly play the $399 Ibanez is probably not going to be what they want to play. Maybe they want to play and Orange or a Bogner or an Engl. And when the minimum wage kid tries to fill them full of nonsense about the gear, well that’s only going to work as long as they’re naïve.
I didn’t mean for this article to be this long but retail is just another part of how screwed music is in general right now. No if you’ll excuse me I need to order some new pickups for an old Ibanez RG I picked up. I need to order them because I can’t get them locally, and I need to order strings to cuz well… Same thing. Till next time, keep your head up and keep working those strings , sticks or keys!!

GearZombiee

Line 6 Variax Standard Guitar and Firehawk FX Demo

Monday, January 26th, 2015

Here is the demo presentation that was put on by Line 6 covering the new Variax Standard Guitar and the Firehawk FX.

Scott Dixon Cases Demo

Monday, January 26th, 2015

Here is a great interview with John from Scott Dixon guitars at Namm 2015.

Jason Becker Carvin Guitars Kiesel Guitars Namm 2015

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

Ken Susi ESP Guitars: (Unearth) Signature LTD KS-7

Monday, January 5th, 2015

ESP Guitars has a Ken Susi Signature model and it looks bad ass if for no other reason it comes loaded with an EverTune bridge.  I actually got to meet Ken at Namm last year (2014) and he’s a super cool dude to.  Congrats to him getting his own signature ESP.  Certainly deserves it just out of chops alone. 

The guitar looks super cool it’s a Neck-thru 25.5″ scale seven string with a Mahogany body, quilted maple top, maple neck and ebony fingerboard. For pickups it’s loaded with EMG 85-7H Chrome in the neck and the EMG 91-7h Chrome in the Bridge.

If you’re not familiar, check out the video that ESP released.  And Ken has a bunch of stuff all over youtube so google the dude he’s a champ.

Ibanez Announces Guitar Lineup Namm 2015

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

For Gearzombiee Namm is the event.  Like the superbowl of gear.  As a guitar player and an Ibanez fanboy it’s the first booth I want to hit when I get there, and then I hit it again like 30 times more over the next couple days.  The second booth??  Well since i’m a drummer also it’s the Tama booth, normally located right next to Ibanez.  So Hoshino is my day 1 Namm warm up.  So the musicradar.com post announcing the lineup for this years Namm show tickled me more than normal for one reason.  The Ibanez Jem 77P.

I have always wanted a blue floral but finding the original in any kind of shape has been tough.  And if you do find a decent one it’s the price of a nice used car!  If the musicradar.com post is correct it’s going to be a Jem Premium so the price wont be terrible.  And if you’ve played any of the premiums you know that they’re decent guitars.  Are they full blow Jem quality??  No.  Will you care???  No.  I think for the most part they’re killer guitars and for me a Jem while a beautiful guitar, the price to quality ratio isn’t there for me personally.

Musicradar posted 27 items in total, one of them being a mini tube screamer which was kinda cool.  But below are the guitars that grabbed my attention, please go to musicradar.com to check out the full listing!