January 15, 2019
Out of all the exciting new product that Ibanez is introducing for 2019, the one thing that clearly stands out the most is the arrival of some very striking guitar finishes.
The AZ series AZ242F is offered in Tequila Sunrise Gradation and it’s so easy to look at. Although this model leans towards a more tradition style electric concept, the Dyna-MIX10 switching system allows for TEN different pickup combinations, creating the ultimate tool for both the studio and live applications.
And then there’s the AZ2204 in Ice Blue Metallic. The Seymour Duncan Hyperion pickups (two singles plus a humbucker) can be combines nine different ways and the economics, including the “Super All Access Neck Joint” make reaching those high frets a dream.
Transparent Green Gradation is the name given to the stunning finish on the Luke Hoskin LHM1 signature model. The 2-humbocker setup by FISHMAN is enhanced by a push/pull feature that triggers the Fluence Voicing system. And a hard tail Gibraltar bridge makes this a solid, reliable instrument, built to the highest standards.
Bare Knuckle Aftermath pickups are what you’ll find on the RGA61AL. And if those world-class pickups aren’t enough to get you excited, there’s also the Indigo Aurora Burst Flat finish over flamed maple which makes it difficult to look away. Then turn it over and see that gorgeous Nyatoh body and 5-piece panga panga / walnut neck. Coil tapping allows for 6 different pickup combinations.
And probably the most interesting of these colorful statements is found in the AS63 and AS73 series. There’s Sea Foam Green, Twilight Orange, Mint Blue, Azure Blue Gradation, Green Valley Gradation and many more.
Of course, there are a lot of other models and finishes to talk about that will make a great “part 2” to this list. But you can have a look at many more new 2019 models from Ibanez right here on this site.
If you have any questions about the availability of any new models please feel free to E-MAIL US.Click here to see more Ibanez guitars.
January 03, 2019
Ace Frehley’s Top 20 (plus a few more) BEST Guitar Solos
The inspirational impact that Ace Frehley’s lead guitar playing has had on generations of guitar players should really be of no surprise to anyone with a set of ears.
Always melodic and simultaneously explosive, he doesn’t waste a single note and plays with pure emotion. And, just when you might think that he’s more about feel than technique, you’ll hear something that makes you ask yourself, “How is he doing that?”.
To think that Paul, Gene and Peter started off as a trio and then THIS GUY shows up at an audition - wow! That was, beyond a doubt, a life-changing moment for all four of them.
The following is a list of Ace’s most memorable moments in no particular order. See if you agree with our comments.
Extended longer than the studio version, this solo begins with that signature “Frehley stutter”. Ace had a way of getting some cool percussive sounds from the guitar pick clicking against the strings, exposing a lot of us to our first introduction to “pinch harmonics”.
100,000 YEARS (ALIVE!)
Ace describes this solo as one of the “nuttiest” things that he’s ever written. Maybe so. But those syncopated parts are so cool - nobody else could have come up with anything this unique.
Epic! Cinematic! Classic! This solo has it all. And Jimmy Page would certainly approve.
The message is always the same - play for the song. If the tune calls for Keith Richards, become Keef.
ROCK BOTTOM (ALIVE!)
Next time you’re listening to this one, imagine a saxophone playing those lines, and then it all makes sense - phrasing, breathing and melody are what make it so good.
ALL THE WAY
Showing us once again that you can do a lot within the framework of the pentatonic scale, this solo is the perfect combination of blues licks and phrasing.
WATCHIN’ YOU (ALIVE!)
First, opening with some very cool 3-note open string pull offs, and then it’s call-and-response between the main riff and the lead guitar with some cool syncopation between Ace and Peter Criss on drums.
Let’s just say that if this performance was credited to Lindsay Buckingham, no one would think twice about it.
This one employs a little bit of call-and-response phrasing while taking you on a mini journey.
This was Ace’s debut as a lead vocalist, so a special song like this deserves a special solo and that’s exactly what he delivered here. It’s a long piece which suggests that it was worked out in advance, but with Ace you never know.
SHOUT IT OUT LOUD
Short and sweet. Text book pop rock. If Ace was a hired studio cat, he’d have a gig for life.
LOVE ‘EM LEAVE ‘EM
The recording light goes on and Ace goes off … into space! Pure attitude and spontaneity. Nice ending too, featuring the toggle “kill-switch” trick.
You really have to wonder, had KISS not happened, if Ace would have become a successful studio musician, getting hired to play on everyone else’s records. Perhaps some of those Steely Dan classics might have turned out a bit differently.
We get the feeling that Eddie Kramer hit the record button and Ace just went for it. Total “freight train” mode.
I WANT YOU
This is one of the few times that Paul Stanley and Ace took turns playing a solo within the same song. Paul, no slouch on lead guitar, goes first, laying down a tasty performance. Then Ace steps in and takes it up a notch while complimenting Stanley’s statement.
LOVE HER ALL I CAN
The first part of this solo would certainly have been worked out in advance, but after that it’s clearly a case of just going for it. Unfortunately this tune never made it into the band’s live set.
I STOLE YOUR LOVE
Another one where Paul goes first and then Ace has a “hold my beer” moment. (Really. Ace very likely had a beer in his hand).
CALLING DR. LOVE
We want to call it “a classic” but they’re ALL classics. This one is all about setting a mood with some nice wide bends and open string pull-offs. Ace reminds us again that he’s always playing to compliment the song.
GOT TO CHOOSE
“Cinematic” is the first word that comes to mind. It’s a story being told; a song within a song. Not too many people can write solos like this.
Vibrato. Intonation. Feeling. Tone. Perfection.
Definitely a fan favourite, the performance here makes it sound like the guitar is talking to you, with a human-like phonetic articulation.
The first song Ace played with the band when he went to that fateful audition at the age of 23. Lots of smooth vibrato and a great arrangement. Definitely a stream-of-consciousness thing happening here - the notes just seem to come out of nowhere.
Now, pick up your guitar and PRACTICE!
December 05, 2018
You have likely seen it. And if enough blinding light is hitting it, you’re not going to see much of anything else for a few days. We are talking about KISS guitarist Paul Stanley’s famous “cracked mirror” Ibanez PS10.
According to Paul, the idea for this concept came after seeing Slade’s lead singer, Noddy Holder, wearing a top hat adorned with circular mirrors. Once on stage, beams of light would be reflect off the hat into different directions, creating a very cool effect.
Getting this effect to work on his guitar required the help of Jeff Hasselberger (Director of Marketing at Ibanez, 1973 - 1982).
The following (originally printed in Vintage Guitar Magazine, September of ’94) is Hasselberger’s recollection of that was involved in taking Paul Stanley’s idea and making it a reality:
"The KISS boys were always good for a challenge or two. Rather than get wrapped up in the minutiae of fret crown shapes and potentiometer tapers, Paul Stanley knew what the important issues were - like should the pickguard be chrome plated or polished stainless?
Paul's legendary Mirror Ball Iceman is a perfect example of how to push the envelope of guitar technology. It started with a phone call from Paul about his idea to have a guitar that resembled a shattered mirror. His exact words, if I recall, were, "I want it to look like somebody hit a mirrored guitar with a hammer right on the pickups."
It sounded easy enough. I got some 1/8" mirror, cut it into the shape of an Iceman and smacked it in the pickup area with a hammer. What I ended up with was about 10,000 bits of mirror dust where the hammer hit and three other pieces. This was obviously not going to work. I was going to have to cut each piece to look like it was shattered. I went out and got a lot more 1/8 mirror and a handful of glass cutters.
Starting with one piece of mirror cut into the shape of Paul's guitar, I thought of drawing a plan and transferring it to the mirror. In the end, I decided to wing it and started to cut out pieces that I thought looked cool. It took a couple of days to do this and as I went around the guitar, I started to get the hang of it. When it was finished, I was glad to still have five fingers on each hand.
As it turned out, cutting the mirror was the easy part. While I was doing the mirror, my trusty partner in crime at Ibanez, Jim Heffner was routing a quarter-inch out of the top of one of Paul's guitars. That's right, the mirrors were a retrofit. Jim left the abalonoid binding around the top and the plan was to slap some epoxy in there and set the mirrors into it.
We routed out twice the thickness of the mirror so we could set each piece at a slightly different angle, Paul's stage concept was to hit the guitar with a Super Trooper spot light and have rays of light shooting out from the guitar at all angles like a mirror ball. We figured a 5 to 15 degree difference between adjoining pieces would do it.
I wrapped dowels with masking tape to keep all the holes from clogging with epoxy and went to town. Since the Iceman has a slightly arched top, I had to re-cut some of the mirror to better fit the curve of the top. This part was tedious and trying to keep ahead of the epoxy cure was not always successful, but all the pieces seemed to fit pretty well.
Late that night, with all the mirrors in place, Jim and I took the axe outside and gave it a test run in the headlights of my pickup truck. Yup, it worked. Shards of light were shooting off every which way. The only problem was that because the mirrors were set at angles to each other, the joints were razor sharp. You could make mountains of tasty cole slaw with this Veg-O-Caster.
I was prepared to deal with this by flowing a clear polyurethane finish over the mirrors so the surface would be nice and smooth and safe. Next morning, I mixed up the polyurethane and poured it on. I went about my business for a few hours and when I went back to the shop to check it, my stomach knotted. It was drying cloudy and ruining the whole mirror effect. @#%! Now what?
Before it got rock hard, I took a chisel and began to scrape the finish off. Fortunately, glass doesn't hold finish very well, and by dinner time I had removed nearly all the finish. The finish wouldn't come out from between the pieces, but that proved to be the solution to the problem.
I filled all the joints with polyurethane, but that still left sharp edges. I ended up using a small sanding wheel on a Dremel tool to grind each mirror joint smooth, back filling with polyurethane as needed. This took forever, but it did the trick."
All that remained was to get some glass drill bits and to mount all the pickups and hardware. Paul was anxious to give it a go and damage some corneas as well as some eardrums. When I finally saw it on stage with about a million candlepower blasting into it, the vision was pretty impressive.
Of all the custom guitars we did this one sticks in my mind mainly because I found some old photos to jog my failing memory. The fact that it required a tremendous amount of effort to make and contributed virtually nothing to the universe of guitar technology will endear it to me forever."
November 25, 2018
So, you're about to purchase your first guitar and you are left-handed ... or are you? Jimi Hendrix, Paul McCartney, Elliot Easton - these are a few of the greats that play left handed. But, there are many natural lefties that play the instrument "right-handed" (Are you confused yet?)
When I was about 17 years old I met one of my guitar heroes, Kim Mitchell, and brought along a copy of Kim's debut E.P. for him to sign. When I noticed he wrote with his left hand (Kim plays guitar right-handed) I asked him about it. His reply was "Yeah, when I was a kid, they made me play right-handed". Hmmm, interesting - and I never gave it another thought.
A few years later I was working in a music shop and was discussing guitar playing with one of the store's instructors. At one point he made the "air guitar" pose and I noticed he did it "left-handed". I asked him why he would gesture like a lefty when we all knew that played "real guitar" right-handed? His answer: he is, by nature, left handed; but the guitar is a tool that's designed to be used a certain way and that's how he learned to play the instrument.
So, as the years went on and I eventually became a guitar store owner, I've always remembered to share this idea with new players that approach me about purchasing a left handed guitar. And, let's face it - there are plenty of benefits to learning to play right handed, like the availability and variety of product.
But, the story's not over yet.
I have come to learn that 40% of the guitar instructors here at The Guitar World are lefties that learned to play guitar right handed. And our one (and only) true left handed player/instructor is the biggest advocate of recommending this concept to would-be left handed beginners. So, if you're a left handed individual thinking about learning to play guitar, please give some consideration to becoming a right handed player. If it works out, you're sure to be grateful for your decision down the road.
Thanks for reading.
November 21, 2018
So, you’ve been studying guitar (or piano, or drums) for several years and have your sights set on making a career in music. It’s going to be easy, right? Just put the word out there that you are available and the gigs will come rolling in. Or, will they?
It’s a different world out there than it was a few decades ago and, fortunately for you, there’s a lot happening that’s working to your advantage.
Social media will give you the platform to reach a lot of ears if you utilize it the right way. The problem is that everyone else is taking the same approach so you have to be creative to set yourself apart and get noticed.
Let’s look at YouTube (and let’s hope that YouTube is looking at you). It would be cool to get a call from the band leader who live 2 streets over from you but imagine how much cooler it would be to get the call from ten band leaders located all across the country or even the entire continent. Sounds great but first you need to build an audience; how do you do that? Once you’ve set up your channel, you should immediately pull out your smart phone and shoot your first video about ANYTHING. If you’re a guitar player, do a product review on your favourite guitar pick. Talk about what you love about it. Give a demonstration of what it sounds like when you use it (and what YOU sound like when you use it). Mention the manufacturer’s name, repeatedly. And, be sure to list as many relevant tags as possible. While this first video might be a bit crude from a production stand point, who cares? Your next one will be a bit better, and the next one even better than that. And, soon enough, you start to learn about easy-to-use video editing programs and your content will start looking a lot more professional. While all this is happening, you’re gaining subscribers (let’s call them fans). And these fans, while tuning in to hear what you have to SAY in your product demos, will be hearing what you have to PLAY. And, before you know it you’ve just landed the gig as Journey’s new singer!
It all sounds very exciting and perhaps a little far-fetched, but it’s not. The only catch is that you have to DO IT. And you can share your content across other social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook. When you think about how this can all be done right from your bedroom, it’s quite amazing. Remember that there are no limits to the type of content you can post: gear demos; song reviews; tutorials; advice & tips; the list goes on. But, all of it provides an opportunity to show off YOUR TALENT.
November 13, 2018
The following rant addresses the first-timer’s guitar buying dilemma. None of the points mentioned should be an issue to the experienced player.
Over the more than two decades in the guitar retail business, I have encountered the never-ending endorsement of nylon strings over steel, supported by one simple assumption; that nylon is “easier on the finger tips”. While this statement may be true to some extent, it is hardly reason enough to abandon the rich, booming tone of a steel-string acoustic guitar. And, no, adding “my instructor says …” doesn’t give the claim any extra weight.
Let’s break it down point by point.
Nylon strings have an elastic quality which lead to tuning problems - strings are constantly stretching out, losing tension and thus going flat. It takes multiple corrections before the strings finally settle into place and hold their tuning. Steel strings, on the other hand, require less stretching and settle into place much quicker. Definitely something that a novice would appreciate.
Secondly, most nylon-string guitars are classical guitars. Classical guitars traditionally have a wide fretboard, something that the beginner student would find challenging. The slimmer dimensions of the steel-string neck would be much more forgiving.
When you’re learning, you want to hear everything loud and clear. As beautiful as a classical guitar can sound, especially when played by an experienced musician, the tone and volume of a steel-string is notably crisper and louder.
And, let’s face it, authenticity is everything when it comes to tackling your favourite songs. Steel strings will work with blues, rock, funk, disco, jazz, country and heavy metal. Nylon strings sound great when you’re playing classical music. The choice is clear.
One important consideration is the set-up of the instrument. Has the guitar been maintained properly for forgiving playability? Nobody wants a guitar with high, uncomfortable action. As long as this factor is addressed, the entry-level student is going to get the most out of a steel string guitar.
So, when you’re thinking about that first guitar (unless your plan is to study classical music) steel wins over nylon.
Consider the ALVAREZ ARTIST AF30 ARTIST 30 SERIES FOLK IN NATURAL SATIN FINISH when learning guitar for the first time.
November 13, 2018
The Guitar World has been in the music lesson business, along with music retail, for a long time, and we’ve noticed a common theme when it comes to the expectations of new students, specifically adults. They ask questions like “How many lessons will it take before I can play?”, or make statements like “I’ll just teach myself on YouTube.”
Today we’d like to take a little time to go over some reasonable expectations for anyone out there who is thinking about learning to play a musical instrument.
First of all, it takes time and repetition. Building up muscle memory is probably the most important goal at the beginning. You could have a deep understanding of all kinds of music theory but without the physical ability to execute what you’re hearing in your head, it’s a non-starter. So be prepared to get those hands busy! Your music instructor will provide you with exercises - do them over and over again. Soon enough, it will become second nature.
There are many sources that you can learn from, like YouTube, but there’s no substitute for real feedback from another human being. A good instructor will be monitoring your progress, providing direction and preventing the development of bad habits. And the musical interaction between student and teacher cannot be achieved from viewing an instructional video.
Beyond one-on-one instruction everything else is considered a bonus. Books and videos are great and have been around forever. And interaction with other players is an excellent (and unavoidable) way to supplement your musical education. Once you try playing with another student or jamming in a band situation you’ll be opening yourself up to an unlimited learning experience.
Finally, there’s ear training. That’s where you try listening to a piece of music and reproducing it on your instrument without the help of anyone else. It may seem impossible at first, but with the development of that muscle memory and some time and repetition, you’ll realize that your ears have been paying attention. The ultimate satisfaction as a student of music is when you can hear something and have the ability to play it back on your instrument.
So, if you’re about to purchase that first guitar, start thinking about signing up for lessons at music school near you. Are you listening?
November 09, 2018
Joe Di Taranto is a man who knows guitars - especially fine looking electric metal machines. When The Guitar World first became a Schecter dealer a few years back, we brought in what we thought were the most popular choices that our customers would be most interested in. And we did just fine, as those models would sell as expected and we’d re-order and fill up the hooks again.
But one day Joe walked over to our sales counter, held up his smartphone and said (referring to the photo on his screen) I’d like you guys to get me THIS! It was the Schecter Sun Valley Super Shredder FR in Sea Foam Green; a sexy looking guitar featuring a mahogany body, maple neck, two EMG Retro Active HOT 70 pickups and a Floyd Rose 'Hot Rod' locking tremolo system.
About a week later a package arrived that was quickly unpacked and, faster than you can say Yngwie Van Friedman, we heard a sonic celebration of riffs and licks that went on for days.
Needless to say, we have sold “a few more” of the Super Shredder models since then and, once you finish watching the demo video below, we’re sure to sell a few more again.
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