Reviewed: Fender American Original ‘50s Stratocaster
Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain and Albert Hammond Jr., it seems so many of the music masters of the past century have wielded a Fender Stratocaster throughout their best works. While Fender have done a pretty good job at keeping the Strat alive over the years with various signature models and modified versions, it’s blaringly obvious by now that if something’s already good, it really doesn’t need to be fixed. Thus, Fender has given us the American Original ‘50s Stratocaster – a faithful tribute to the original guitars of the era that reshaped the course of popular music forever.
Reviewed: Paul Reed Smith Guitars SE SVN Guitar
I’ve always seen seven string guitars as the weird cousin someone unwittingly invited to the party, standing in the corner in an ill-fitting suit and Rush t-shirt talking to anyone who will listen about flat earth theories and what not. Whether or not you’re into djent at all, it becomes clearer and clearer that sevens have started to bring some life back to an industry that was in danger of going stale, particularly now that a house of such high standing as PRS has chimed in.
Reviewed: Jackson Guitars Pro Series Demmelition King V
The Jackson King V is an absolute classic. It personifies so much about metal guitar culture and has been a staple in the industry for decades. It’s bold, pointy, attention grabbing and perfect for any player who needs to riff or belt out a wailing solo. The Demmelition King V is the newest signature model from Machine Head’s Phil Demmel. It has all of the characteristics of the classic King V with a few special features to give a new take on the original.
Reviewed: Fender EOB Sustainer Stratocaster
Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien is possibly the most overlooked guitarist in music history. Despite being wedged between the enigmatic persona of Thom Yorke and the mad musical genius of Jonny Greenwood, O’Brien’s effects-driven, ethereal guitar style is possibly one of the most important aspects of Radiohead’s sound. When Fender and Ed O’Brien announced the EOB Sustainer Stratocaster, a model fitted with a unique Fernandes Sustainer pickup system used by the guitarist for close to 20 years, it caught the attention of musicians around the world. Instead of a stock Stratocaster with a huge price tag and an autograph scrawled on the headstock, the design of the EOB Sustainer offered guitarists an entirely new way to create unorthodox textures and intuitive soundscapes – but does the guitar live up to the hype that preceded it?
Reviewed: Jackson Guitars Misha Mansoor Juggernaut HT6
Periphery’s Misha Mansoor is one of those true guitar trendsetters, like Eddie Van Halen and Slash: even if you’re not into their playing, you’ve seen their influence on the gear industry, both in their own signature gear and in the competing products of other manufacturers in their wake. EVH spawned a legion of superstrats. Slash revived the Les Paul at a time when everyone played, well, superstrats. And Mansoor’s influence on guitars, pickups, amps, processors and effects has reached players in genres far outside of Periphery’s progressive metal.
Reviewed: Sterling by Music Man John Petrucci Signature JP160
What can I say about John Petrucci that hasn’t been said a million times before? His technical prowess knows no bounds. As the main brain behind prog-metal pioneers Dream Theater, he has trod a path that few axe-men dare (or bother depending on who you ask) to tread and his reputation as proprietor of one of the finest beards in music history definitely precedes him. One fact that many overlook is his discerning taste and eye for detail when designing a guitar for shredders who want to follow in his footsteps. His long-standing relationship with Ernie Ball and Music Man has given rise to no less than ten, if not dozens of variations on the JP theme, each with its own nuance to offer where speed and agility are the chief concern. Interestingly enough, the JP160 I see before me plays and feels like the least ‘out of this world’ of any of the JP branded builds I’ve laid my mitts on. This is by no means a negative.
Reviewed: Jackson Guitars X Series Kelly KEXM & KEXQ
The Jackson Kelly shape is well and truly iconic. It was designed and named by Bradford Kelly from the Australian metal band Heaven in the early 80’s, and found its biggest fame in the hands of one Mr. Marty Friedman during his time with Megadeth. But Marty’s use of the shape didn’t narrow its appeal to just Megadeth fans; it’s one of those designs that stands on its own. Far pointier and more aggressive than the Explorer that clearly influenced it, the Jackson Kelly shape is easily adaptable to a variety of styles.
REVIEWED: JACKSON GUITARS X SERIES & JS SERIES SIGNATURE GUS G. STAR
Last month we looked at the unashamedly metal Jackson USA Custom Shop Gus G. Star. It’s a beautiful guitar but – how do we put this – it costs about as much as a used car. If you’d like to tap into Gus’ vibe without spending a jillion dollars, Jackson offers two more models in the X series and more affordable JS Series.