Wednesday, 3 February 2016

The Guitar Issue

 Each year there is a little guitar competition that goes by the name of Guitar Gods, its catch line is "Do you have what it takes to be the next Guitar God?" The winner gets the chance to play with legendary axe slingers Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vai, and even Nicko McBrain the drummer from Iron Maiden.

Well, this year non other than the Finnish virtuoso Elmo Karjalainen is entering the fray, and will be playing in Miami on Feb 19th, 2016. All I can say is I hope the others are practicing day and night because Elmo is bringing the full might of Finnish Metal Thunder to the stage. Tickets are available!

I would love to see nothing more this year than to see Elmo Karjalainen on stage playing side by side with my ultimate guitar idol the majestic mad man Yngwie Malsteen.

So if you love your Metal and want to see the next Guitar God check out the video below. Godspeed Elmo and may the Metal Gods bless your talented fingers.



Tech 21

My favorite bass player Doug Pinnick from the epic Rock band King's X revealed at NAMM 2015  that he has collaborated with Tech 21 to produce his own signature bass amp.

King's X have been highly respected by fellow musicians for years. Take for instance that Jeff Amnet the bassist for Pearl Jam stated in an interview that King's X was the inventor of grunge, or that Mike Inez from Alice In Chains said that Doug Pinnick is the most inspirational bassist ever.

No one in the music world has a bass sound like Doug/dUg. It is deep, growling, and edgy, so you can see why I am very enthused about a bass amp that is dedicated to his sound.

The Tech 21 dUg Pinnick Signature Bass 1000 is a 2-channel, all-analog bass amp head. Essentially it is a guitar amp and bass amp put together in one head to produce Doug's iconic distorted sound.

This amp is very high on my wish list of guitar accessories that I want to get. I guess if  I'm going to invest in it than I should add in the Schecter Model-T bass that Doug plays also.



A Canadian Amp manufacturer, Revv out of Winnipeg Manitoba demoed several of their products for the NAMM show. What caught my eye about them was the lime green Dynamis combo. It has a 1950's classic look about it, and I found out it is a great sounding amp for blues. It is a 2 channel and 740W amplifier with several effects and can be attached to a foot switch that is made for the amp, and it sounds as bright and smooth as it looks.

Revv also displayed their Generator series that is made for heavier styles of music. Their Generator 7-40 is a hand built tube amp that has a great dirty distorted sound. It has a clean and a crunch channel with 3 "aggression" levels. You can read the rest of the specs on their web site. 

Either of the amps would make excellent accessories for your studio, stage, or garage.



Wood Guerilla

If I am going to talk about guitars, than I have to bring up Alek Darson's girls. They are Wood Guerilla axes that are as much works of art as instruments. Hand crafted and sweet sounding, they augment Alek's incredible talent on the guitar.

Puffy, his first custom guitar that Alek had Wood Guerilla make for him was based on the Halo Guitar shape. "Her 5-piece mahogany and wenge neck, with a zirikote fretboard, runs through a beautiful 4-piece body of (top to bottom) poplar, wenge, curly maple and mahogany in a wonderful neck-through-body style.

Custom made Electrosonic SBS pickups in a H-S-H configuration give her that warm Gibson Les Paul feel, with a strong personality and massive sound."

As you can see, on the right, it is wonderfully designed with a Metal edge to it. It's much a work of art as a playable instrument.

Someday I would love to get a six string version of this lovely wooden axe.

You can hear her on Alek's album Panopticon which is definitely worth picking up. Hell, I even paid for it.

Gibson Les Paul

Canadian Bluesman J.W. Jones, who I have had the pleasure of meeting last year, plays a beautiful gold Gibson Les Paul. The tones he gets out of that wonder allows him to play any style you can possibly think of; you'll know I'm not bullshitting you if you ever saw him live.

When looking for an appropriate picture to base some artwork of J.W. Jones, he said that he wanted to make sure he was shown with his gold Gibson in tow.  You can see why, it is a beautiful instrument.

From Hard Rock to Jazz and all across the popular music map talented axemen have chosen the Gibson Les Paul to be their guitar of choice: Led Zeppelin's Iconic Jimmy Page; that top hatted Rocker Slash; and non other than Eric Clapton have stated their reputation on the Les Paul.

From its beautiful hourglass shape to its incredible ability to adapt to any genre smoothly I can see how professionals like J.W. love the Les Paul.

If you ever want to see and hear the amazing range of this gorgeous beast make sure to catch J.W. Jones and his band.

I encourage you to also read a bit more on Les Paul’s Revolutionary “New Sound” in Reverb's article on the man and the legend.


I do not consider myself an accomplished guitarist at all, but I thought you may like a bit more of a personal review. Thanks alot to my wife I have a nice collection of guitars; you know, birthdays and such. As soon as I got my first one I knew I wanted more.

As you can tell from my blog my music taste can vary greatly, but my staples are Metal and Rock. That is why for quite a while I wanted a Fender.

The Fender Stratocaster is the guitar choice for my favorite guitarist of all time Yngwie Malmsteen. He was the reason I wanted to get a guitar and the reason I never did for quite a long time. I saw his effortless lightning fingers soloing through seamlessly and thought that I could never do that. 

Later in life I decided to endeavor to make my own music and hence the small collection I have now. Two years ago a Fender-less me found a used Starcaster for sale for a cheap price. Now I had not seen one before and assuming it was a starting model of the Strat I was interested.

After a good couple hours drive in the country side I returned home $150.00 poorer and with a very well maintained Fender Starcaster.

Once I tried it I found out why so many of my friends that played guitar swore by Fender. The guitar was smooth and easy to play. It was light, comfortable, and looked good. It came with a very small amp that sounds best when you put it face down on the floor and crank the volume all the way up, but I was going to plug it into my Line 6 anyway.

The sound that it produced was crisp and clear, full of pleasant memories of times long gone. I still want to get a Stratocaster but for now I am quite content with my Starcaster.

A good friend of mine  Drew Clementino Aguiar the frontman for the kick ass Rock group Return For Refund, made my Fender decisions much more difficult. He plays a Fender Telecaster, and manages to crank out some damn fine Rock and Roll out of that axe.

I realize it is not just about the guitar you play. It has a lot more to do with the skill of the player. I can not count how many times I have seen Drew sitting in some corner practicing away.

The rich variety of tones that you can get out of combining a Fender with a half decent amp is phenomenal. If you love Rock and Roll and want to play you can not go wrong with playing a Fender.


Thanks for reading. Hopefully this at least opened your ears up to some good music, if not gave you some ideas for your next purchase.

Keep the Rock and Roll coming.
Kevin Sweeney

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