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INTERVIEWED: TERAMAZE SHAUN KIRK ANDY IRVINE BAND OF SKULLS ZAKK WYLDE’S BLACK LABEL SOCIETY ROAD TESTED: STERLING BY MUSIC MAN LK100D ELECTRIC DUESENBERG STARPLAYER TV ELECTRIC D’ADDARIO NYXL ELECTRIC STRINGS SENNHEISER EW 100 WIRELESS G3 RANDALL RG13 PREAMP PEDAL YAMAHA MG12XU MIXER GIBSON 1963 ES-355 DBX DRIVERACK PA2 + HEAPS MORE
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NEWS & TOURS
10 THE INDUSTRIALIST
12 PRODUCT NEWS 24 DAN SULTAN 26 KILL DEVIL HILL,
28 BAND OF SKULLS, ZAKK WILDE’S BLACK LABEL SOCIETY 30 STEVE EARLE, SHAUN KIRK 32 DEAN WELLS-TERAMAZE, ANDY IRVINE 34 UNLEASH YOUR INNER ROCK GOD, KEYS 35 ON THE DOWNLOW, BANGIN THE TUBS 36 (D)IGITAL (J)OCKEY, HOME STUDIO HINTS 37 WHAT’S MY RANGE AGAIN, 38 ELECTRIC GUITAR AND BASS SPECIAL 46 ROAD TESTS
“Like sands through the hourglass, these are the days of...” so, when this daytime TV soap opera saying was at its most popular back in the Summer of 1994, an ambitious, gung-ho musician and local str eet press publisher by the name of Robert Furst, decided that he too needed an anthem to inspire the plethora of strung-out musicians lazing about on their couches and watching afternoon soap operas, instead of picking up their beloved instruments. An anthem needed to be written, one which could be referred back to easily, held on to and like a bible, would be used by musicians around the country to f nd all they needed to know about how to cr eate and capture that illusive sound! This bible would be christened Mixdown Magazine and every month since that fateful afternoon, our magazine has hit the streets (and more recently online) for fr ee, entertaining and informing both musicians and music fans alike. Yes folks, we’ve been hitting the str eets for 20 huge, evolving and exciting years! We’ve documented the evolution and many revolutions of music with interviews on the biggest bands and artists in the world alongside a plethora of equipment news and reviews to inform, educate and entertain you for a lifetime. We’ve captured it all and we’d simply like to say thank you to all our supporters and advertisers both past and pr esent, the many locations that stock our magazine, our staf f and many contributors who all work tir elessly to bring you the best magazine possible each and every month. W e do it all for you, all for the love of music and spr eading this message. Thank you for picking us up, your feedback, your support and helping us celebrate this issue with 20 long years under our belt – we look forward to many more! On a personal note: I’ve thor oughly enjoyed publishing the last 40 issues as Editor In Chief and I thank you for your support and look forward to the futur e. Enjoy this issue, tr easure this issue, just look at the cover – it’s a real keeper! Tune in, drop out, Mixdown!
ELECTRIC GUITAR SPECIAL PAGE 38
BAND OF SKULLS SHAUN KIRK PAGE 28
PUBLISHER Furst Media
COVER ART Gill TUcker
EDITOR IN CHIEF Aleksei Plinte email@example.com
GRAPHIC ARTISTS Gill Tucker, Nick Bebbington
EDITORIAL COORDINATOR Matt Sprague
M U UE ISS S
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D’ADDARIO ULTIMATE STRING GIVEAWAY
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For your chance to be one of the first 250 players in the country to shred on the new D’Addario NYXL (10–46 gauge) Electric Guitar Strings — designed to bend faster, sing louder and stay in tune better than any other guitar string on the planet - follow the below steps: STEP 1. Like the Australian D’Addario facebook page www.facebook. com/DAddarioAusGuitars STEP 2. Email your full name and postal address to email@example.com — it’s that easy! When you’re selected, D’Addario Australia will simply send you out your new NYXL strings in gauge of 10–46! W e’d love to hear what you think, so let us know by leaving a comment online under our facebook Giveaway post or our website Giveaway post at www . mixdownmag.com.au In the meantime, be sur e to check out our Road T est section this month, where we r eview the new NYXL strings in gauge 10-46 and learn more about the new design.
PG. 6 / MIXDOWN NO. 240 / APRIL 2014
*Australian residents only and one entry per person. For more awesome monthly Mixdown Giveaways, be sure to LIKE our Mixdown Magazine facebook page at www.facebook.com/mixdownmagazine and check out our Giveaways page on www.mixdownmag.com.au
ULTIMATE STRING GIVEAWAY BE ONE OF 250 PEOPLE IN AUSTRALIA TO SAMPLE A FREE SET OF THE STRONGEST GUITAR STRINGS IN THE WORLD D’Addario is pleased to introduce the next generation of electric guitar strings. D’Addario’s NYXL strings have been re-engineered from the ball end up. The result is something you’ll have to hear to believe. With 6% more magnetic permeability for higher output in the 2-5 Khz range, they have more punch, crunch, and bite. Their newly engineered, break-resistant high-carbon steel core & plain steel alloy deliver more strength and tuning stability. They’ll bend farther, sing louder , and stay in tune better, because they are the strongest electric guitar strings ever made.
To secure your FREE sample set of D’Addario’s new NYXL Electric Guitar Strings visit www.mixdownmag.com.au/category/giveaways and follow the prompts. DECEMBER 2013 / MIXDOWN NO. 236 / PG. 7
NEWS & TOURS MIDLAKE
RECORD STORE DAY AUSTRALIA
Texas psych-folk sextet Midlake are returning to Australia this May. Having started their odyssey way back in 1999 as jazz students indebted to leftfield artists like Radiohead and Jethro Tull, by their 2004 debut album Bamnan And Silvercork Midlake had moved seamlessly into the realm of lo-fi psychedelia. 2006’s follow-up album The Trials Of Van Occupanther saw the band hit their stride, its pastoral-tinged take on classic rock tipped their collective hats to bands such as Fleetwood Mac and The Eagles. It was this album’s lead single ‘Roscoe’ that really dragged the band into the public domain, its cruisy vibe and anachronistic lyrics making it faultless radio fodder. 2010 found Midlake releasing their third album The Courage Of Others, and in late-2013, following a brief hiatus, the current incarnation of Midlake emerged from the wilderness clutching their fourth album Antiphon. It’s an exciting extension of Midlake’s existing aesthetic,
Record Store Day Australia is back on Saturday the 19th of April after a hugely successful 2013 with Dan Sultan, Tim Dalton, Ian Hunter and Marcia Hines announced as the Record Store Day official ambassadors. This day celebrates the local record store and is a fantastic incentive for any lover of music to get down to their local record store, listen to some tunes, talk records with other fans and maybe even get some some suggestions from that all knowing font of wisdom, the record store owner. Record Store Day Australia is run by The Australian Music Retailers Association (AMRA) and has the unqualified support of record companies and Australian music icons who know the importance of supporting all specialist music stores. The website will be
dragging their distinctive brand of folk into thrilling new directions.
TOUR DATES May 23 – Vivid Festival, Sydney Opera House, Sydney NSW May 24 – Corner Hotel, Melbourne VIC
Visit www.recordstoreday.com.au for all the details
STORY OF THE YEAR Story of the Year are returning to Australia in June to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Page Avenue. If you’re a fan of the band, then this is probably one of the most revered and beloved rock albums in your collection. The album will be performed in its entirety, with hits such as ‘Until The Day I Die’ and ‘Sidewalks’. In addition, a slew of fan favourites and a few surprises will be performed in one massive night. Story of the Year have always pushed the boundaries and really have to be seen to be believed. Check out out feature interview to be published next month.
THE SINKING TEETH One of the most hard-working, electric, dynamic and hard-hitting young bands in the country The Sinking Teeth are out on the road again. Following 12 months that has seen a debut EP release and nothing but a string of tour vans and service station sausage rolls, the Melbourne three are back smashing the dusty trail with Calling All Cars and The Love Junkies . The band have been locked in the studio, with heads down recording the follow-up to last year’s muchly-appreciated debut EP White Water, a five-tracker that introduced the world to their post-punk, no holds barred attitude and included a pair of well-received singles in ‘Temporary Living’ and ‘Dead Breeze’. It’s safe to assume that, with a debut of White Water’s calibre, the world can expect something even more impressive to follow up.
updated daily with in-store activities planned around the country.
TOUR DATES Apr 18 – Mynt Lounge, Werribee VIC Apr 19 – The Loft, Warrnambool VIC Apr 20 – Torquay Hotel, Torquay VIC Apr 23 – Karova Lounge, Ballarat VIC Apr 24 – The Corner Hotel, Melbourne VIC Apr 26 – Republic Bar, Hobart TAS Apr 30 – Charles Sturt Uni , Wagga Wagga NSW May 1 – Transit Bar, Canberra ACT May 2 – The Small Ballroom, Mayfield NSW May 3 – Oxford Arts Factory, Sydney NSW
TOUR DATES 26 June–The HI-FI, Brisbane QLD 27 June–The Metro, Sydney NSW 29 June–170 Russell, Melbourne VIC
SCHOOLBOY Q ScHoolboy Q has announced a series of dates across Australia this June, with special guest and fellow TDE label mate, Isaiah Rashad. With his debut album Oxymoron opening at number 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and being one quarter of revered hip-hop group Black Hippy – alongside Ab-Soul, Jay Rock and Kendrick Lamar – ScHoolboy Q has earned his stripes. ScHoolboy Q first drew attention with his guest verse on Kendrick Lamar’s Michael Jordan and his first independent release, Setbacks. The release sheet has since grown in number with considerable collaborations including ASAP Rocky, 2 Chainz and The Alchemist. Isaiah Rashad, TDE’s newest signee, has been making waves internationally with the release his debut EP Cilvia Demo which landed in the Billboard top 40 and has earnt the
newcomer some serious kudos.
TOUR DATES June 5 – Villa, Perth WA June 7 – HiFi, Brisbane QLD June 8 – Enmore Theatre, Sydney NSW Jun 11 – The Forum, Melbourne VIC
THE ALMOST After 3 long years The Almost will be returning to our shores this April. Led by former Underoath drummer and backing vocalist, Aaron Gillespie, The Almost have been making waves since their inception, releasing three critically acclaimed albums and playing to rabid crowds the world over. Fear Inside Our Bones, The Almost’s third studio album, is their most diverse, raw and organic offering with the band recording the album entirely live. Creating a new concoction that is a mix of stadium anthems, aggression, hope and honesty with a touch of southern twang. Joining them on the road will be Brisbane’s Young Lions and Canberra’s Drawing North.
MOVEMENT Sydney band Movement are currently on tour with a string of dates supoprting Darkside and Rufus. The latest single from the strangely psychedelic band Movement, is the slowburning ‘Like Lust’, and is the lead single from their forthcoming self-titled EP to be released on April 25 on the Modular label . The single was recorded and filmed live at Sydney’s Cell Block Theatre (at the National School of Arts), and the clip follows on from the earlier Modular Studio Session for ‘Us’, the band’s breakout 2013 single.
TOUR DATES 2 April–The Hi-Fi, Sydney NSW 4 April–Palace Theatre, Melbourne VIC 9 May–Coolangatta Hotel, Gold Coast QLD 10 May–The Tivoli, Brisbane QLD 11 May–The Tivoli, Brisbane QLD
PG. 8 / MIXDOWN NO. 240 / APRIL 2014
TOUR DATES April 16 – Wrangler Studios, Melbourne VIC April 17 – Plastic, Melbourne VIC April 18 – Easterfest, Toowoomba QLD April 19 – The Factory Theatre, Sydney NSW April 20 – The Small Ballroom, Newcastle NSW April 21 – Fowlers Live, Adelaide SA April 23 – Amplifier Bar, Perth WA
THE MURLOCS Hailing from Victoria’s surf coast, The Murlocs burst onto the scene after winning a competition to play at the 2012 Harvest Festival. Two years later the band have finally completed creating and crafting their debut LP Loopholes which features the bands own blown-out, pungent distorted brand of soulful skuzzy rock. Loopholes will be unleashed to the world on Thursday 17th of April 2014 and the 5 piece will
be celebrating the release by hitting the road on a three date East Coast Tour.
Just a week ago Aussie darling Chela made her US debut at SXSW where she danced up a storm at showcases including IHEARTCOMIX, Aussie BBQ, The Green Room, Kitsuné and of course Vitalic Noise. This follows her second collaboration with Kitsuné on her Zero EP, officially out now. Written and composed by Chela and Le Bruce and produced by Le Bruce, ‘Zero’ is a single for the hopeless romantic in all of us. The full EP features remixes from Keljet, Knuckle G, Nick Lynar, Sable and Clancy and is accompanied by a dark and magical music video, which was premiered earlier this year with This Is Fake DIY. To celebrate the Zero release and a successful SXSW, Chela has announced a string of Australian tour dates kicking off on April 25th in Melbourne.
TOUR DATES TOUR DATES April 17–Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane QLD APRIL 19–Factory Floor, Sydney NSW APRIL 25–Howler, Melbourne VIC
April 25 – Shebeen, Melbourne VIC May 1 – Alhambra Bar, Brisbane QLD May 2 – Rocket Bar, Adelaide SA May 7 – Beach Road Hotel, Bondi NSW May 15 – Mojos Bar, Fremantle WA May 16 – The Bakery, Perth WA May 17 – Civic Underground, Sydney NSW
CLIENT LIAISON Synth pop duo Client Liaison are taking their 80’s Australiana, paisly suits, turtle neck skivvys and sax solos on the road after some incredible success with their first three singles. Given their shared appreciation for story telling and dignified belief in the Australian identity, Harvey Miller and Monte Morgan naturally found themselves writing music together. From the studio to the top end of town, Client Liaison’s sound plays out like a long lunch followed by a round of cocktails. Describing their sonic palate as ‘dance electric’, ‘new jack swing’ and ‘pop ballad’, this multisensory experience will feed any listeners’ appetite. International in flavor, cosmopolitan in style – this is Client Liaison.
TOUR DATES April 20 – Portsea Beach Club, Portsea VIC April 27 – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne VIC May 1 – Alhambra Lounge, Brisbane QLD May 2 – Elsewhere, Gold Coast QLD May 3 – GoodGod Small Club, Sydney NSW May 9 – Cats at Rocket Bar, Adelaide
SUNBEAM SOUND MACHINE Sunbeam Sound Machine is the bedroom recording come live performance moniker of 23-year-old Melbourne musician Nick Sowersby. Written and recorded at Nick’s parents’ Seaford home, first EP One is a raw-sounding, playful collection of bedroom pop songs. The self-titled second EP contains a more insular, washed-out, dreamlike sound and was recorded at his homes in Fairfield and Collingwood. After releasing their debut double EP to critical acclaim and cutting their teeth as a live outfit in the closing months of 2013, Melbourne dream-pop outfit
Sunbeam Sound Machine have been on the road with a few gigs in Sydney including a very special live to air FBi Lunch Break Session at the FBi Social venue. Sunbeam Sound Machine is finishing up this successful interstate jaunt with a couple of gigs in Melbourne at Ding Dong and Liberty Social.
TOUR DATES April 11 – The Ding Dong Lounge, Melbourne VIC April 20 – The Liberty Social, Melbourne VIC
PG. 9 / MIXDOWN NO. 240 / APRIL 2014
THE INDUSTRIALIST MUSIC INDUSTRY NEWS WITH CHRISTIE ELIZER
FOR CONTENT SUBMISSIONS TO THIS COLUMN PLEASE EMAIL TO CELIZER@NETSPACE.NET.AU LANEWAY RAISES $40K FOR CHARITY This year’s Laneway Festival tour raised $40,000 for indigenous charity Yiriman Project. It was through a stage named after the late Dean Turner, guitarist and co-founder of Magic Dirt. Laneway organisers donated 50 cents for every ticket purchased nationally and offered a $2 donation option to ticket buyers to support the charity. The $40,000 goes into programs to help Aboriginal youth in the Kimberley region who face high suicide rates, issues with self-harm, substance abuse and a loss of cultural identity.
SHOCK SIGNS WUNDER WUNDER PIRACY ON THE HIGH C’S: MOST AFFECTED AUSSIE ACTS INXS’s return to the top of the ARIA charts with The Very Best was a double-edged sword. They also became the most pirated Australian band as a result, according to new research from Music Rights Australia. The data was gathered from the top five illegal file sharing sites. Also top of the pops in terms of being downloaded illegally were Keith Urban, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Sydney dance act RÜFÜS, Karnivool, Birds of Tokyo, Bliss N Eso, Bernard Fanning, Boy & Bear and Flume. A surprise addition to the list was contemporary Christian group Hillsong United, which suggests their listeners might go back to that bit about “thou shalt not steal.”
MUSIC VICTORIA: MEMBERSHIP DRIVE, WHITE PAPER Victoria’s vibrant peak music association Music Victoria has issued a White Paper with 19 recommendations that political parties can adopt as part of their policies in the run-up to the state’s November elections. Among the 19 are grants to be quickly decided on if an act gets career-changing opportunity needing an immediate response, a Regional Live Music Office to coordinate regional touring, plaques that highlight rock landmarks, quotas for commercial radio, and A Live Music Hub to be a mix of a performance stage, exhibition space and thousands of hot desks where music businesses can work together and collaborate on ideas. Music Victoria is also holding a membership drive to reach 1,000 to give it more clout to lobby political parties and councils.
MUSOS LAUNCH DIGITAL START-UPS Musicians on both sides of the country have launched digital start-ups to help colleagues. Brad Lyons, formerly with Brisbane bands Ripple Effect and Joseph’s Fables has set up crowdfunding site Panda Crowd (Pandacrowd.com) for music projects only. He tells Mixdown the site takes 4.5% of monies collected and plans a service to put musicians and backers together. Roly Skender of Perth band Stoney Joe has developed an app called Songo for singer/ songwriters and musicians. It’s a chord finding tool allowing its users to experiment and also explore chord progression of famous songs.
MICHAEL CHUGG’S 50TH CELEBRATIONS KICK OFF Celebrations of Michael Chugg’s 50th year in the biz began at the International Live Music Conference in London. Eddie Vedder, Alice Cooper, Robbie Williams, Neil Finn, Luke Steele, Dallas Green, Jason Mraz, Robert Plant and industry associates sent wishes. Festivities moved to South by Southwest in Austin at a showcase of his Chugg Music label with The Griswolds, Lime Cordiale, Sidney York, The Creases, Parade Of Lights and JP Hoe. In Australia there’ll be a charity event and the rerelease of his biography with new chapters. Chugg was 15 when he got into promoting in Tasmania. PG. 10 / MIXDOWN NO. 240 / APRIL 2014
Shock Records signed Los Angeles based Melbourneformed Wunder Wunder aka production duo Aaron Shanahan and Benjamin Plant. After years making electronic music, their two years in Los Angeles has seen them shift to psychedelic 60s and 70s pop, evidenced on new single ‘Coastline’.
FOUR MORE VENUES OPEN IN SYDNEY Sydney punters have three more places to get their rocks off. The Standard in Surry Hills (383 Bourke Street) relaunches first week of April as Standard Bowl. It offers free ten pins, free amusements, DJs and garage / indie bands. The 550-capacity Roller Den (Imperial Hotel) in Erskineville, events company Kingdom Sounds started live music this month. The hip hop club Knowledge debuted on March 22 and indie club night Common People on Friday April 4. The Lewisham Hotel celebrates its return as a live music venue (bookings by Rhythm Section Management). After being closed for 20 years, The Hub in Newtown is set to return as a 1500-capacity live venue after its owners did $500,000 of renovation. These changes come as six more NSW venues went on the market. These included three Lizotte clubs (owners decided on a sea change) The Bat & Ball in Redfern and live pub theatre the Old Fitzroy in Woolloomooloo.
SOUTH AUSTRALIA’S HALL OF FAME LAUNCHES South Australia’s Hall of Fame launched on March 28 at the Goodwood Institute in Adelaide. It was opened by long time radio personality David Day who donated 40 years of his personal music memorabilia. Among items on display are a test pressing of Cold Chisel’s Khe Sanh, a single by The Moonshine Jug and String Band who later became The Angels, Coke bottle tops from 1956 featuring members of Penny Rockets, invoices from Central Booking Agency (including payment to John(ny) Farnham for $120 in the 1960s) and an original brass medallion given out to members of the 1960s Oxford Club music venue – which coincidentally was housed at the Goodwood Institute. The Hall of Fame will be run by by the newlyformed Adelaide Music Collective (AMC) and peak music association Music SA. Set up by international drummer Enrico ‘Mick’ Morena with music industry power-brokers as well as artists as Tasha Coates of The Audreys and John Schumann of Redgum, the AMC is about bringing different generations of SA artists together. It will hold six shows this year at the 212-seater Goodwood, each featuring an emerging solo act, a better known band, and a headlining heritage act. At each show, two pioneers of the SA music industry will be honoured. The March 28 launch, for instance, was headlined by Schumann and Hugh McDonald of Redgum, with John Bywaters (The Twilights) and Peter Tilbrook (The Masters Apprentices) honoured.
PRODUCER ROBIE PORTER LAUNCHES WIZARD COUNTRY Veteran producer Robie Porter has set up a new label Wizard Country. The first signing is Sydney guitarist and singer songwriter Ben Ransome. Porter’s move comes as he revives his own singing career after a 40 year break. Porter notched up hits as Rob E.G. in the 1960s. In the ‘70s, he operated the Sparmac and Wizard labels, and produced hits for Daddy Cool, Rick Springfield, Air Supply, Hush, Marcia Hines and Tommy Emmanuel. “I gave up performing because I was too busy producing and running labels,” he tells The Music Network. His
productions sold about 50 million over the years here and overseas, he estimates. Porter worked in the U.S. after, although forced to take a hiatus from music due to a problem with tinnitus. “That cleared itself up, so I got back into music.” Now based full-time in Sydney, he’s revived his Rob EG monicker, performing with guitarist Phil Emmanuel and planning to launch in May a Behind The #1 Hits show performs his own hits and those he produced.
SPOTIFY LAUNCHES ‘EMERGE’ TO AUSTRALIA
RRR HOLDING APRIL AMNESTY Melbourne’s seminal 3RRR is holding April Amnesty between April 1 and 30, during which time listeners are encouraged to ask their freeloading friends to subscribe. 3RRR is a fully independent non-profit community radio station which relies on sponsorship and listener subscriptions to keep running. To subscribe or renew, call (03) 9388 1027 or visit www.rrr.org.au/
MUSICNT UNVEILS 2014 PROGRAM
Spotify’s two year old Emerge program is introduced in Australia and NZ to find and promote new local acts. Based on its data from streaming and sharing, Spotify has deemed ten local “next big things”. They are The Aston Shuffle, MT, Gang of Youths, Gossling, Max & Bianca, Miracle, Chance Waters and The Acid, and NZ’s Tom Lark and Smashproof. The ten are whittled down to a winner (announced April 27) based on listens, likes and shares. The winning prize package includes a Spotify recording session, a promo pack and $5,000 worth of technology from computer electronics HP. Emerge found Lorde, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Alt-J.
Northern Territory association MusicNT unveiled its 2014 program. Coinciding with National Youth Week on April 9-11 in Darwin are youth music industry workshop series Intune and twoday workshop Saltwater Divas for indigenous females. Other events include the Original Recipe Music Festival (June 21-28), the NT Song of the Year awards (June 28), the Intune Alice music conference in Alice Springs (July 25-27) and the fourth National Indigenous Music Awards (August 15) in Darwin. MusicNT Executive Director Mark Smith said, “The Territory music scene is going from strength to strength, bands are recording, musicians are touring and there’s a lot of talk nationally about what’s happening in the NT.”
AMBASSADORS FOR RECORD STORE DAY
MELBOURNE FOLK CLUB LAUNCHES WEEKLY EVENTS
Three ambassadors for Record Store Day Australia (Saturday April 19) are Dan Sultan, tour manager Tim Dalton (Costello, Faith No More) and Mott singer Ian Hunter. Organized by The Australian Music Retailers Association (AMRA) for the sixth year, the day is to remind fans of the important role that music stores play in finding and selecting new music. According to AMRA, the public still love to browse and buy a physical product as seen by the rise in vinyl purchases over the past 12 months. AMRA Chairman George Papadopoulos points out, “People who don’t know about the resurgence of vinyl ask me who buys it and I usually say anyone who doesn’t have cloth ears. So many true music lovers are turning away from the flattened audio of an MP3 and want a warmer, richer sound and that’s where vinyl comes in. Sales of records are up 77% in the past twelve months, and Record Store Day Australia helps drive that.” See www.recordstoreday.com.au for updates.
The Melbourne Folk Club will launch a weekly concert series in April with top singer-songwriters including Jordie Lane, Grand Salvo, Liz Stringer, Davey Lane, Sweet Jean, Mick Thomas, and Melbourne-based New Zealander Marlon Williams. It runs every Wednesday from April 23 to May 28. See www.themelbournefolkclub.com for program and tickets. The first part of each show is a round of players alternating songs.
TASMANIAN GUITARIST WINS FULBRIGHT SCHOLARSHIP Tasmanian jazz guitarist Josh Dunn has won a coveted Fulbright Scholarship which pays for research and further study in the United States for 10 months. He will focus on acoustic jazz guitar. The 22-year old has a Bachelor of Music with first class honours from the University of Tasmania.
THINGS WE HEAR
• Kate Miller-Heidke has already sung Happy Birthday over the phone to 50 fans, as part of her crowd-sourcing promises, and says she has more to go. • Parlophone Label Group Australia announced James Roberts as Head of A&R – Parlophone. He was Senior A&R Manager at RCA UK in London. Among his signings were Newton Faulkner and Australia’s Lisa Mitchell Bruce Springsteen’s Australian and NZ tour grossed a total $32.8 million, according to Billboard magazine. • Melbourne promoter Laurie Richards received a final packed house and a standing ovation, at his funeral last Friday. Excerpts of his unpublished memoirs were read out, with tales of him running his father’s pool hall in regional Hamilton at age 13, and rigging up an antennae to a tree in the family backyard to listen in to overseas radio so he would know what trends and records were buzzing months before they arrived in Australia. Richards ran iconic venues Seaview Ballroom, Tiger Lounge and Jump Club. • John Martin of Swedish House Mafia will be in Australia in April to promote his debut solo single ‘Anywhere For You’. • Sydney hardcore Hand of Mercy split with singer Scott Bird, and Lord with drummer Damo Costas.
• This year’s triple j One Night Stand goes to Mildura on Sat May 17. • Guitarist Elliot Goard of Brisbane band Fox & Fowl took a beating on the forehead by a cardboard drum kit courtesy of an over exuberant drummer while shooting a video on a giant jumping castle for their track ‘The Pilot’ • Sydney’s 5 Seconds of Summer sold out a 10-date US tour in five minutes. • Luke Steele of Empire of the Sun told a paper that the mood of each show is determined by “a word I wait for from God about what the show is about.” • Usually the music press announces tours. But in Tina Arena’s case, it was the Australian Financial Review after it poked through ASIC database and found she’s registered a new company Tina Arena Reset Tour 2014 Pty Ltd. She’s promoting it herself rather than pay promoters and get a larger %. • The dying drought-hit WA town of Carinda (population: 40) had its moment of glory 30 years ago when David Bowie shot much of his ‘Let’s Dance’ video there. Now the new owners of the town’s Carinda Hotel have told the BBC they want to capitalize on the Bowie connection to attract tourists. These include “Bowie tours” of the hotel’s pub and of Warrumbungle National Park, both featured in the video, and a Bowie festival. • AC/DC’s Brian Johnson appeared at Billy Joel’s show at Madison Square Gardens in New York and sang ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’. • Adelaide’s Crown & Anchor had to cut short three bands on a recent Friday: a lunatic set the stairwell and front foyer on fire about 9.30 pm before being carted off to hospital for minor injuries, and the venue was evacuated. Staff doused the fire immediately.
Australian Institute of Music DECEMBER 2013 /4200 MIXDOWN For more information visit aim.edu.au or call Sydney: 02 9219 5444, Melbourne: 03 8610
NO. 236 / PG. 11 CRICOS 00665C
DYNAUDIO BM MKIII SERIES MONITORS
Dynaudio Professional have just upgraded their entire monitor speakers series. The newly revised line now includes the BM Compact mkIII, BM5 mkIII, BM6 mkIII and BM12 mkIII. Also included are the newly revised subwoofers, the BM9S mkII and the BM14S mkII. Re-voiced and based on Dynaudio’s next generation waveguide, the BMmkIII series feature hand-crafted, pure-aluminium voice-coil LF drivers and 1.1” soft-dome tweeters. BM Compact mkIII and BM5mkIII have undergone major changes and now include the class-D amplifier from the DBM50 as well as Volume Box control input.
Dynaudio have partnered with IsoAcoustics to supply all BMmkIII series monitors with ISO-L8R speaker stands. Not only do the stands decouple the speakers from the surface they are on thus extending bass response and presence, but they raise the speakers and allow angle adjustment for optimum positioning. The BMmkIII will begin shipping in April 2014
RADIAL SPACE HEATER TUBE SUMMING MIXER
Warm up your mixes and your studio with Radial’s Space Heater. An 8-channel tube summing mixer in a 1 rack-unit format. It has four, discreet stereo pairs of input channels which can be used independently or sent to a stereo mix bus with left and right output. Each input pair is equipped with a separate “Drive” control to adjust signal level being sent to the 12AX7 tube. A “Level” control adjusts the output from each stereo pair. A “Heat” switch allows the user to select 25, 50 or 100 volts on each tube depending on the fidelity needed. Lower voltages starve the tube causing more distortion where higher voltages produce a cleaner signal. Each stereo pair on Space Heater is equipped with high-
pass filter and all eight channels have a separate insert send / receive. The send jack doubles as a second output from each channel enabling easy parallel processing in tandem with the D-Sub output. The master section of the Space Heater has headphone output, level control and a choice of XLR or TRS outputs. Space Heater is expected to begin shipping between April-Jun 2014.
For more information on the range of Radial products, phone Amber Technology on 1800 251 367 or visit www.ambertech.com.au
For more information on the range of Dynaudio Professional products, phone Amber Technology on 1800 251 367 or visit www.ambertech.com.au
JBL EON600 SERIES PORTABLE PA LOUDSPEAKERS D’ADDARIO NYXL ELECTRIC GUITAR STRINGS
D’Addario claim they have created the strongest electric guitar strings ever made. According to D’Addario Australia the NYXL strings will bend farther, sing louder, and stay in tune better than any string you’ve played before. A newly engineered high-carbon steel core allows these strings to settle to pitch faster with a crunchier, brighter, and more dynamic tone. Their nickel-plated steel windings have also been reformulated, which has resulted in 6% more magnetic permeability and achieving higher output in the 2-5K hz range for more punch, crunch, and bite. And newly PG. 12 / MIXDOWN NO. 240 / APRIL 2014
engineered, break-resistant high-carbon steel core and plain steel alloy delivers more strength and improved tuning stability. The strings will be avialble from May 1st.
Be one of the first 250 players in the country to play the new NYXL’s, see our Ultimate D’Addario String Giveaway on page 6 for entry details. For more information on the D’Addario range of products call D’Addario Australia on (03) 8761 6293, or visit www.daddario.com.au
At Winter NAMM 2013, HARMAN’s JBL Professional announced the latest addition to its legendary EON portable loudspeakers with the new EON600 Series. A complete departure from traditional approaches to affordable, selfcontained and portable PA systems, the EON600 Series was purposely designed and built from the ground up using JBL’s advanced waveguide technology and proprietary transducers. The EON600 Series brings the extraordinary quality of high-end studio monitors to a highly flexible, easy-to-use PA system. The first model in the EON600 Series is the EON615 15-inch 2-way loudspeaker. It features built-in, 1000-watt power amplification, providing exceptional headroom for a variety of applications, from fixed PA to
gigging bands. Custom JBL highand low-frequency transducers deliver massive sound pressure levels with lower distortion throughout the frequency range. Special fluting is designed into the structure that guides the frequencies through the full range of the system, resulting in consistent response throughout its 90-degree coverage pattern. The quality and consistency between on-axis and off-axis response delivers uniform coverage and high intelligibility, which means the EON615’s smooth, transparent sound is the same for the entire audience. These characteristics are the foundation of high-end studio monitor sound and are now available for the first time in a portable, affordable system. Knowing that fine-tuning sound requires sophisticated yet convenient control, JBL engineers developed an iOS and Android supported interface to be paired with the Bluetooth Smart Ready 4.0 for controlling master volume, adjusting the 5-way, userdefinable parametric EQ, and saving and recalling user presets. The interface controls EON’s onboard best-inclass 32-bit, 130 mHz, ultra-low power, audio DSP subsystem, so it’s fast and efficient with superb audio quality. Four strategically placed handles allow easy handling, indexed feet allow secure stacking, transportation and storage, and extrastrong enclosures ensure rugged reliability, a hallmark of all JBL products.
For more information of the JBL range of products phone Jands Australia on (02) 9582 0909 or visit www.jands.com.au
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SHURE SE112 SOUND ISOLATING EARPHONES PRESONUS TEMBLOR T10 SUBWOOFER
Shure has unveiled an addition to its popular SE earphone line with the SE112 Sound Isolating™ Earphones. The SE112 earphones boast Shure’s legendary sound and durability at an affordable price. Scheduled to be commercially available in autumn 2014, the SE112 features a consistent rich sound with deep bass and an optimised nozzle design for unmatched listener comfort. Designed for audio and music enthusiasts of all kinds and at every budget level, the Shure SE112 earphones provide a combination of great sound, noise isolation, and quality in a compact and comfortable design. Designed for everything from live performance to personal listening, the sound isolating sleeves help block ambient noise and prevent outside
noise from interfering with the listening experience. The SE112 comes equipped with a durable fixed 50” cable and three sizes of soft, flexible sleeves that gently contour to ears for a comfortable fit. To further enhance the fit for long-term wear, and to keep cables out of the way, the earphones feature an overthe-ear configuration. The SE112 earphones carry a one-year limited warranty and will be available at a suggested retail price of $75.
For more information of the JBL range of products phone Jands Australia on (02) 9582 0909 or visit www.jands.com.au
THE NEW MATON SOLID 60
Designed to complement full-range studio reference monitors, including the PreSonus Eris and Sceptre, the T10 is intended for serious personal studios and professional music-production environments, offering a tight low end due to fast and accurate transient response and providing user controls not normally available in this price range. The T10 features a 10-inch glass-composite woofer, driven by 250 watts of Class AB power; a front-firing, bass-reflex acoustic port; optimised, resonance–suppressing internal bracing; and internal damping and heat sink. Frequency response ranges from 20 Hz to 130 Hz and the unit offers a range of different input an output options. Extensive user controls include input gain (-30 dB to +6 dB, continuously variable) and a continuously variable lowpass filter (50 Hz to 130 Hz) that allows users to create a seamless crossover transition between their full-range studio monitors and subwoofer for a more accurate
listening environment. A switchable highpass filter removes frequency content below 80 Hz from the full-range signal sent from the T10 outputs to the main monitors, avoiding destructive cancellation and reinforcement in the T10’s upper range. The T10 also features a momentary footswitch (included) that bypasses the subwoofer, highpass filter, and Sub Out. This allows the audio source signal to pass directly through the Temblor T10 to the full-range studio monitors, enabling you to compare your mix with and without subharmonic frequencies to ensure your mix will sound good on a wide variety of systems. The Temblor T10 is available at a recommended retail price of $579.
For more information on the range of PreSonus products, phone National Audio Systems on 1800 441 440 or visit www.nationalaudio.com.au
JIM DUNLOP 7 & 8 GUITAR STRING SETS
Maton have improved the neck geometry, bracing patterns and body construction of their acoustic guitars with stunning results. Improved production methods have made it possible to produce these all solid timber guitars more effectively than ever before and the playability and tonal benefits are amazing. The backs and tops of these guitars are able to resonate more freely and have a huge dynamic range. Scalloped bracing provides a superior bass response and a rich midrange and a bright, focused tone. Improved neck/body geometry produces a PG. 14 / MIXDOWN NO. 240 / APRIL 2014
neck that is a joy to play. Difficult chord shapes and complex single note runs are much easier to execute and increased tonal response improves acoustic projection. A bone nut and saddle ensure maximum tone and sustain. The S60 is finished in Maton’s tuned Satin pre-catalysed Nitro finish.
For more information contact Maton Guitars on (03) 9896 9500 or visit www.maton.com.au
The new Dunlop Electric Nickel Wound Seven and Eight String sets are specifically designed for tonal and tactile balance, with each string carefully chosen for clarity and definition as well as for optimal tension. Like all Dunlop Strings, these sets are crafted with innovative formulas and wrapping techniques so they break in fast, tune up quickly and hold their “sweet” spot for a long time. Every set of Dunlop Strings come packaged utilizing three levels of moisture protection and sealed in a VCI Fresh Technology (Vapor Corrosion Inhibitor) bag to guarantee that
your strings arrive as fresh as the day they were made. Great for standard B, B with dropped A, 1/2 step and B Flat tunings and can also be used with a baritone guitar. Baritone players will feel right at home using the six lower strings of a seven string set for their instruments and saving the high E as a back up for one of their six string electrics. For more information on the range of Dunlop products visit www.austmusic.com.au/Jim-Dunlop
GODIN MONTREAL PREMIERE P90, P90 W/BIGSBY, TRIPLEPLAY AND DLX MODEL GUITARS
MONTREAL PREMIERE SUNBURST P90 WITH BIGSBY TREMELO
Godin’s Montreal Premiere struck a chord with players looking for something new in the thinline, semi-hollow body electric guitar market. They have now expanded their range with the addition of four new models in the line-up. The Montreal Premiere Sunburst P90 HG features a set of Godin Kingpin P90 pickups and custom tailpiece. A Bigsby tremolo equipped model is also available, featuring a roller saddle bridge. Players will now also be able to compose, perform
and record wirelessly with the Montreal Premiere Sunburst TriplePlay featuring a fully integrated Fishman TriplePlay system in the guitar. Also, with hexaphonic saddle pickups in the bridge, players will have access to the Montreal Premiere as a 3-voice guitar (electric, acoustic & synth). Finally, the “crème de la crème” model in the series is the new Montreal Premiere Lightburst HG DLX featuring a highly figured flame top, back & sides, flame maple set-neck with bound headstock and
HAPPY 120TH BIRTHDAY GIBSON!
bound Richlite™ fingerboard with trapezoid inlays. This Deluxe edition also features 2 x Custom Seymour Duncan humbucker pickups and the new Graphtech Ratio™ tuned machine heads. All Montreal Premiere models feature an innovative spruce “breathe-through” carved core. This unique feature promotes free airflow through the interior center block, in turn, making the Montreal Premiere a supremely resonant and vibrant guitar. Other features include a 3-way toggle switch along
with 1 x volume and 1 x tone knob, a 24 3/4” scale, mahogany set-neck with rosewood fingerboard (except DLX model), double-bound binding, highgloss custom polished finish and ResoMax bridge system by Graphtech with stop tailpiece. For more information on the Godin Montreal range of guitars contact Dynamic Music by phone on (02) 9939 1299 or visit www.dynamicmusic.com.au
THE ZOOM G1 AND G1X GUITAR FX PEDAL
To commemorate their 120th Anniversary, Gibson are rolling out new electric guitar and bass models, pushing forward with dazzling innovations while keeping an eye on tradition. Among the new features are the widespread implementation of the Min-ETune™ automatic tuning unit, four new types of pickups (including the new Sidewinder™ humbucker), Supreme Grip speed knobs, undercut fret over binding (allowing players to fly over the fingerboard), a TekToid™ nut, and cryogenic-treated fret wire for longer life and corrosion resistance. A host of brilliant new colors and finishes — along with a 120th Anniversary banner inlay at the 12th fret on all the new models — make this one of the most spectacular roll outs in Gibson’s history.
For more information on the range of Gibson 2014 Guitars call Australian Music Imports on (03) 8696 4600 or visit www.gibsonami.com
ZOOM G1X GUITAR FX PEDAL
MBOX PRO + PRO TOOLS 11 BUNDLE
ZOOM G1 GUITAR FX PEDAL
Mbox Pro is a professional-grade, highperformance audio interface that enables you to capture and create music and audio in the highest quality. The Mbox Pro + Pro Tools hardware/software bundle gives you the best of both worlds — industry-standard Pro Tools software to compose, record, edit, and mix, and a desktop hardware interface that delivers best-in-class sound quality and performance. The entire package has an RRP of $1199 which PG. 16 / MIXDOWN NO. 240 / APRIL 2014
is incredible value considering it ships with a complete version of Pro Tools which would normally set you back $839. Yet, that means you get an 8 x 8 professional audio interface for just $360, wow! For more information on the range of Pro Tools related products, phone Avid on 1300 734 454 or visit www.avid.com
The G1 offers 75 guitar effects, including a variety of distortion, compression, modulation, delay, reverb and amp models. The G1X offers an additional 5 pedal-controlled effects. Up to 5 effects can be used simultaneously, chained together in any way you like. In addition, there are 68 built-in rhythm accompaniment patterns, and you can connect headphones to the output jack and even add portable music players via the auxiliary input jack for silent practice sessions. There’s an onboard chromatic tuner that supports all standard guitar tunings, including open and drop tunings, and a Looper feature that enables you to record up to 30 seconds of CD-quality audio. Loop length can be set either manually or to a preset number of quarter notes (up to 64 beats), and you can loop to any rhythm pattern, with automatic
quantization that ensures seamless start and end times. Programming is simple and straightforward, thanks to a streamlined user interface and the large backlit LCD screen. Advanced features such as Copy and Swap make it easy to organise your patches for live performance. An Auto Save function ensures that your edits are stored automatically, and a Pre Select feature allows you to scroll through patches silently while keeping the current patch operational. The G1X even provides a built-in expression pedal that enables you to control input level, output level, or any selected effect parameter. For more information on the G1 and G1X guitar pedals contact Dynamic Music by phone on (02) 9939 1299 or visit www.dynamicmusic.com.au
CLEAR THE STAGE COMMAND THE SHOW
Clear the stage with the ultimate 3-in-1 professional effects system for awe-inspiring vocals, rich guitar sounds, and powerful multi-track looping. Command the show with amazing presets and intuitive controls to take your performance beyond the next level.
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M-AUDIO M-TRACK QUAD USB INTERFACE
The M-Track Quad from M-Audio is a USB audio interface which offers four flexible inputs to accommodate for any source, from phantompowered microphones to your favorite guitar. Plus, each input comes equipped with its own insert jack for integrating your favorite effects. The unit provides zero-latency monitoring of the input signal for carefree recording and the four outputs deliver versatile playback options. The front panel also offers a headphone output with dedicated level control. In addition to outstanding audio performance, the M-Track
Quad also features MIDI in and out. M-Track Quad also acts as a powered hub with three additional USB ports. Completing this powerful package are two complementary software selections: Avid Pro Tools Express and Ignite by AIR. The M-Track Quad retails for $499.99.
For more information on the range of M-Audio products, contact Pro Audio Group (Australia) on (02) 9521 4844 or visit www.proaudiogroup.com.au
CROSSFIRE ACOUSTIC GUITAR SOUND HOLE TUNER
Introducing the Crossfire Sound Hole Tuner. No headstock required! There are those of us that find headstock tuners a little awkward at times. Firstly, you have to find a good spot on the headstock that the tuner will grip securely to, then hope that you can wiggle the screen into place that you can view it from. The Crossfire sound hole tuner allows for quick easy attachment to the sound hole without any need to remove it when you return your guitar to its bag or case.
The bright LCD readout is easily seen as you peer into the sound hole and activate it with the touch of a button. The unit is available now at an RPP of $22.95.
For more information on the Crossfire Sound Hole Tuner contact Jade Australia by phone on 1800 144 120 or visit www.jadeaustralia.com.au
M-AUDIO PULSAR II PENCIL MICS
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Carefully selected for their nearly identical response, matched pairs of Pulsar II microphones from M-Audio deliver a superior stereo image. The brass bodies are equipped with internal shock-mounts and low-noise transformer-less electronics. Each microphone offers a switchable 10 dB attenuation pad, plus an 80 Hz low-cut filter. Together, these functions allow the Pulsar II microphones to adapt to a variety of applications. The included hardware package allows Pulsar II microphones to be mounted in either an X-Y or ORTF (110ยบ) stereo configuration. While ideal for stereo use, these microphones can
also be used independently in a wide range of recording situations. This complete package includes a stereo mounting bar, hard mounts, risers, windscreens, and cloth bags, as well as a handsome and functional wooden storage/travel case. The M-Audio Pulsar II retails for $419.99 a pair.
For more information on the range of M-Audio products, contact Pro Audio Group (Australia) on (02) 9521 4844 or visit www.proaudiogroup.com.au
TAKE CONTROL OF THE NIGHT The PRX700 Series powered speakers systems are the ﬁrst to integrate JBL's next generation Differential Drive® Technology, delivering 1500 watts of high power, wide bandwidth, low distortion performance in a scalable, ﬂexible format. Perfectly suited for live music, DJ, or ﬁxed installation, they're easy to transport, set up, and control. Versatile connectivity supports simple, one man, speaker-on-a-pole operation, or full-blown systems with mains, subs and monitors. For high quality audio performance and reliability you can trust, the PRX700 series will let you take complete control night after night.
Learn more at jands.com.au/jbl_prx700 Distributed by
APRIL 2014 / MIXDOWN NO. 240 / PG. 19
THE DUESENBERG GUITAR RANGE Duesenberg take their place among the greats and stand second to none in tone, playability and finish. The big names in the guitar world got their names by creating their own original sounding guitars, Duesenberg have done the same. The models range from classic warm tones to super bitey bridge pickup sounds all of which have a depth of colour that has to be heard to be believed. They play superbly out of the case each having been set up professionally before leaving the factory. The neck is setup and completely dressed using the new PLEK computer programmed fret dressing machine so they play and feel perfect. After their arrival on the scene in 1995 Duesenberg have gone from strength to strength with an ever growing list of artists playing their guitars. Their flagship
is undoubtedly the Starplayer TV. The Starplayer 3 was the first guitar in the range which now includes over 20 models of guitars and basses, an effects range and an amp range. It’s not for nothing that the Starplayer TV is Duesenberg’s best selling guitar. Its punchiness, open sound and robustness, the always in-tune Deluxe Tremola and perfect playability make the Starplayer a very versatile instrument. In addition, the Starplayer’s arched top and back bestows the guitar with a very stylish look. Even being such a versatile instrument, it always retains its discreet character and enriches every type or style of music with its distinct Duesenberg sound. This is proven by the many guitarists that come from all corners of the musical spectrum who chose this model. By now, The Domino P-90 neck pickup
THE SIGMA 000R-42 ACOUSTIC GUITAR
and the Grand Vintage Humbucker bridge pickup, an open and transparent sounding PAFType, have given the Starplayer TV its classic sound. Even the most exalted guitar-wishes can be fulfilled by their Special-Models. Whether it be Skai leather covering, piezo bridge, aluminium stop-tailpieces, mother-of-pearl guitar top, Gold-Top or Sparkle finish or even equipping the guitar with Little-Toaster-Pickups – there’s a Starplayer TV guitar for everyone. And lastly, lefties are not left out: there are even two left-hand models in the catalog! For more information on Dusenberg Guitars contact Wright Guitars by phone on (08) 8398 5551 or visit www.wrightguitars.com.au
WARWICK LWA1000 LIGHTWEIGHT BASS AMP HEAD
Warwick have made there entry into the field of lightweight bass amps with a winner. The incredible LWA1000 is a feather-weight to carry, but heavy with low-end tone. This amp uses the latest advances in micro weight technology to offer the fullness in tone loved in traditional bass amps with the weight advantages offered by Class D. Its 2 channel offers bassists a world of flexibility while still being incredibly simply to navigate. It serves up a real 1000 Watt at
4 ohms or 500 Watt at 8 ohms. Its preamp is all Class A for low noise and pure tone. Best of all it weights just 2.7KG and includes a foot-switch for channel switching. Available in Black or Silver. RRP $1399.
For more information contact Dominant Music on (03) 9873 4333 or visit www.dominantmusic.com.au
ERNIE BALL HOSTS SLASH ‘REAL TO REEL SESSIONS’
The Sigma 000R-42 is rapidly becoming one of the flagship guitars in the Sigma range. Boasting a solid spruce top and Indian rosewood back and sides, it uses the classic 000-shape which is well known amongst acoustic players. Its aesthetics are amazing with mother of pearl inlays around the top, fingerboard and rosette and Style 42 Snowflake inlays on the fingerboard. The guitar is finished in high gloss with gold vintage style tuners and the famous volute or diamond behind the headstock. Whilst this guitar is stunning to look at, its tone and playability, like all Sigma Guitars are it’s most attractive features.
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It boasts a rich, resonant projection with a superb balance, very much in the style of American made orchestral and 000 models. Finger stylists will appreciate this instrument, not only for its appearance and tone but its price (RRP $995) which makes it very affordable when compared to similar-styled American made guitars.
For more information on Sigma Guitars contact Jacaranda Music by phone on (08) 8363 4613 or visit www.jacarandamusic.com.au
Ernie Ball is proud to launch “Real to Reel with Slash” a new digital series with the Grammywinning, iconic guitarist and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame artist, Slash, and his band Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators. Once a week, this innovative online series gives you a “fly-onthe wall” look into the entire in-studio recording process of the iconic artist’s forthcoming third solo album, delivering virtually real-time progress of the recording journey, band interviews, and gear talk with Slash, Myles Kennedy, Todd Kerns, and Brent Fitz. “We’re incredibly excited to give music fans an inside look into the recording process of one of the most anticipated Rock albums of the year!” said Brian Ball, Vice President of Ernie Ball Inc. “I love the process of recording live in the studio and the sound of a rock-n-roll band recorded on two-inch tape as opposed to digital. I thought it would be cool to show some footage of us doing exactly that,” said Slash.
Fans can tune in to each episode of ‘Real to Reel with Slash, Presented by Ernie Ball’ at www.slashonline.com
THE BEST OF BLUESFEST SIDESHOWS
GREGG BOOKER ALLMAN GOV’T MULE VALERIE JUNE DEVON
WITH SPECIAL GUESTS
WITH SPECIAL GUEST
SLY & THE FAMILY STONE’S
LARRY GRAHAM & GRAHAM CENTRAL STATION
WITH SPECIAL GUESTS
MATTHEW CURRY DEVON ALLMAN
THE GODFATHER OF FUNK BASS,
ENMORE THEATRE - MON 21 APR THE FORUM - WED 23 APR
THE CORNER - FRI 25 APR THE FACTORY - SAT 26 APR
THE BASEMENT - SUN 20 APR THE CORNER - WED 23 APR
THE FACTORY - THU 17 APR THE CORNER - FRI 18 APR
MEL SYD PER
CENTRE MELBOURNE - MON 21 APR HAMER HALL ARTS STATE THEATRE - THU 24 APR RIVERSIDE TH. - SAT 26 APR
GRANDMOTHERS OF INVENTION
THE CORNER - FRI 11 APR METRO THEATRE - SAT 12 APR
DR JOHN NITE TRIPPERS
BEEFHEART & ZAPPA’S LIVE BANDS!
MEL SYD SYD
& HIS BLUES BAND BLUES BAND
* MELBOURNE ONLY
& HIS BAND
THE PALAIS - MON 21 APR HOUSE - SAT 19 APR CONCERT HALL OPERA THE BASEMENT - WED 23 APR * JAMES COTTON ONLY
BUDDY GUY JIMMIE NEVILLE MAGIC BAND JAMES COTTON VAUGHAN TILT A WHIRL BAND LOU ANN BARTON AARON
WITH SPECIAL GUEST
METRO THEATRE - WED 16 APR THE CORNER - THU 17 APR
APRIL 2014 / MIXDOWN NO. 240 / PG. 21
MC SYSTEMS – DYNAMIC RESPONSE EFFECTS RED WITCH VIOLETTA PEDALS DELAY PEDAL
The new ‘Apollo’ range of effects pedals from MC Systems combines rugged looks with an innovative functional twist. Designed in Australia by electronic music specialist Warren McAlister, MC Systems introduces a new approach to pedal control. Each pedal in the initial release of eight models is fitted with MC Systems’ patent pending ‘V-Switch’ dynamic true bypass switching, which allows the player to enable the effect to a varying degree – dependent on how hard you stomp on it! This dynamic response is applied to the most appropriate parameter for the particular effect e.g. Overdrive–Drive, Chorus
– Depth, Delay – Regen etc. A second footswitch gives fast access to two alternate parameters e.g. Chorus rate, Delay time, Overdrive level etc. The Apollo range includes: Dynamic Drive, Dynamic Distortion, Dynamic Fuzz, Dynamic Phaser, Dynamic Delay, Glass Chorus, Hybrid Chorus and String Reviver. The range will be available in stores from May 2014 and will have an RRP of $245. For more information on the entire range visit www.cmcmusic.com.au
The new Violetta Delay, the first in the Original Chrome Series, offers a myriad of stunning features: 1000m/sec of delay time – from the hip shaking slap back rockabilly passion of Scotty Moore to the breath taking delay drenched sonic landscapes of post rock ambience. Dial in a single repeat or select infinite repeats and disappear into a wonderland of self-oscillation runaway. Utilise an expression pedal output to control the repeats with your foot. Dial in every extreme of modulation – from the shimmering beauty of a gentle lilting mod through to the pitch shifting echoplexian wow and flutter of an old tape echo. Violetta has been voiced in the same manner as the great tape echos – the repeats roll the top end off as they decay. Increasing the delay length will add some analog fur to the sound (like the original BBD analog delays). Run Violetta from your usual 9v DC or use the internal lithium Ion battery – no need for a special charger – she’ll charge whilst you power her from your 9v supply. RRP $199.95
For more information on the Red Witch range of products, contact Dominant Music on (03) 9873 4333 or visit www.dominantmusic.com.au/red-witch
AKAI APC 40 MKII
EVE AUDIO UNVEIL NEW BENCHMARK MONITORS
Following product announcements at the recent North American and European Music Trade Shows, Akai Pro looks set for a massive 2014. The popular ‘MPK’ range has been overhauled, updated and redesigned. The new MPK ‘2’ series features much improved MPC drum pads with RBG back-lighting. The sensitivity of these new pads is a noted improvement. Thankfully street pricing for the new MPK’s remains unchanged, $399 for the MPK225, $499 for the MPK249, $799 for the MPK261 and just $159 for the new MPKMINI2 (which now features an X-Y joystick). Akai Pro’s top-selling APC40 also sees an upgrade, with the APC40MkII (pictured).
Exciting times ahead for prestigious German studio monitor manufacturer, EVE Audio, as they unveil their new flagship monitors – the SC3010 and SC3012. The monitors are designed and assembled in Germany and serve as main monitors, making them especially well-suited for large recording studios, mastering suites and audio post-production studios for film and television, including cinema applications and in-wall installations. The SC3010 utilises a new 10” low frequency driver while the SC3012 (pictured) houses a 12” low frequency driver. Both models are equipped with a 5” Rohacel sandwich diaphragm woofer that has been specifically designed to reproduce midrange frequencies very clearly and with utmost detail. The SC3010 and SC3012 are the only monitors in the EVE Audio range that feature the newly
PG. 22 / MIXDOWN NO. 240 / APRIL 2014
Adding to the APC series, is the APC Mini and the APC Key25 – the world’s first Ableton controller with keyboard. Rounding out the new products are the MPX16 sample recorder and player, EWI5000 wind instrument/synth, RPM500 monitors , RPM800 monitors and one of the most hotly talked about products; the Rhythm Wolf analog drum machine coming in at just $299.
For more information on the full range of AKAI Professional products contact Electric Factory on (03) 9474 1000 or visit www.elfa.com.au
developed RS6 Air Motion Transformer. Its larger geometry and increased folded diaphragm area are designed to achieve a higher sound pressure levels and serve a wider frequency range, with a crossover point as low as 1800Hz. These new monitors are certainly targeted towards professional engineers, producers and the like – and are priced accordingly. The SC3010 carries an RRP of $3699 per monitor, whilst the bigger SC3020 is $5499 RRP. These monitors are expected to be hitting our shores in the latter part of the year, to compliment the already impressive EVE Audio lineup.
For more information on the full range of EVE Audio Professional products contact Electric Factory on (03) 9474 1000 or visit www.elfa.com.au
AIM MELBOURNE INFORMATION EVENING
On the 1st of May the Australian Institute of Melbourne (AIM) are hosting an information evening at their brand new Melbourne Campus in the heart of the city’s CBD. Speak with their industry-savvy staff and current students about how AIM can help you create a career in the music and entertainment industries. Presentations and performances from YouTube sensation and AIM’s own Sam Westphalen will showcase the institutes diverse range of Diploma and Bachelor Courses available. You can also mingle and chat with staff and guests over canapés and drinks before hearing from AIM ambassador and industry legend John Foreman!
ALESIS CORE BREAKOUT RANGE
APPLICATIONS OPEN FOR THE SECOND TRIMESTER OF 2014 Fancy yourself a career in the music industry? The Australian Institute of Music is on the top of cutting edge education, professional and industry-savvy staff with the best industry standard facilities. With a diverse student body and strong industry connections, AIM students receive quality education through a range of diploma, degree & graduate programs . AIM Trimester 2 kicks off May 19, 2014 and the time to apply is now! Both Sydney and brand new Melbourne campuses will be holding auditions and interviews throughout April. Let’s discover what opportunities AIM can provide you to build a career in music and entertainment. Apply now!
WHEN: 6pm – 8pm Thursday the 1st of May WHERE: 120 King Street, Melbourne TICKETS: FREE Entry – Bookings Essential For more information visit www.aim.edu.au/events/2014/ melbourne-information-evening
For more information on enrolment visit www.aim. edu.au/future-students/sydney-melbourne-campus
There’s big things happening in the Alesis camp, as was evident at the recent NAMM and Messe Music Trade shows. With Nate Lane now heading up the legendary brand, Alesis introduced us all to a tonne of new products from their two main disciplines. Studio production gear and electronic drums/percussion. Mid 2014 is going to see the arrival of entire new range of controller keyboards, dubbed the ‘VI’ (Advanced) and ‘V’ series – all of which run 25, 49 and 61-key configurations. Awesome industrial design and a strong feature set are the hallmarks here, with
Since ’74 A brief history. ’78
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For more information on the full range of Alesis Professional products contact Electric Factory on (03) 9474 1000 or visit www.elfa.com.au
Scan QR to view the MXR Legacy Trailer
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the ‘VI’ series featuring 16-multi colour drum pads with RGB back-lighting as well as a spread of assignable rotaries and faders and a fantastic key action. Also new to the lineup is a group of three interfaces; the Core 1, Core 2 and Core 8 ( pictured) - with the numeral signifying the number of channels on each interface.
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APRIL 2014 / MIXDOWN NO. 240 / PG. 23
DAN SULTAN FLYING HIGH Dan Sultan is something of a rarity in the Australian music scene, let’s admit it: a dude with charisma, talent and opinions who isn’t afraid to use all three. Often the dreaded ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’ gets in the way of letting artists truly express themselves but Sultan seems to just go for it with a purity of will and utterly without pretence. He doesn’t feel the need to talk himself up, but he doesn’t talk himself down either. That makes him a pretty damn refreshing interview. And it also makes Blackbird, his new studio album, something very special. Named after Black Studios in Nashville where it was recorded, it’s Sultan’s first album in five years and the follow-up to his acclaimed Get Out While You Can. A lot can happen in five years, especially when you carry the burden of expectation on your shoulders, but Sultan is taking it all in his stride. With producer Jacquire King (Tom Waits, Kings Of Leon), Sultan has crafted a varied and expressive album which sounds at once brand new and comfortable. It’s familiar and yet exciting. And its’ loaded with great guitar tones. “I used a 1956 Les Paul Goldtop with P-90 pickups,” he says. “And also a nice ’58 with PAF humbuckers. Another one I took over was a nice ’69 Tele which is unbelievable - I love that guitar. It’s all thrills, no f lls. But the main one was the ’56 Goldtop. It was amazing how many times we’d be trying things out, like we had this great Silvertone plugged into a gr eat 70s Maestro fuzz pedal fr om the 70s, but also with more modern stuff like the Earthquaker Devices Ghost Echo and the EHX Holy Grail reverb… but the number of times we’d be trying something and not quite getting it until we picked up the Goldtop, man, it was just perfect. Y ou can hear the gold, man, you can!” he laughs. “But P-90s in particular, I love those pickups. Pickups are an incr edible thing. It’s something I’ve been getting into a little more recently. I think the studio did a lot of that for me as well: in a studio like that you get to sit and
try a lot of things. The pr oducer and engineer as well, they wer e plugging shit in for me and I didn’t have much of an idea of what was going on until we’d get this sound that was just crazy . We used this cheap plastic Line 6 pedal, but we actually used it on quite a few things because it sounded like ther e was this or gan happening in the backgr ound, this big ghosty chur ch organ, but it’d just happen. It was just an incidental, accidental sound of the frequencies of that r everb banging up against each other.” That’s just one of the ‘ear candy’ moments on Blackbird. Listen close and you’ll hear banjo, hor n parts - all sorts of little touches that make it a gr eat headphone album. “With the horns we didn’ t want to go too over the top,” Sultan says. “With Jacquire and his production, he just eats that shit up. So we didn’ t want to go too full-on. W e were thinking about strings at one point but then we had that Line 6 pedal again, doing this high-end jangliness
that sounded like a cross between strings and a the morning for ‘The W ind Cries Mary,’ mate. horn section, and then we’d have the hor ns in, So we lear ned ‘Sunshine Of Y our Love.’ Sultan and due to the arrangements and they way that says the drive to be a pr ofessional musician has it was mixed it comes up like strings. Little things always been with him. “It was never gonna be we learned along the way…” any other way,” he says. “But I was always given In a more nebulous way, the environment in the a lot of support. I had a couple of teachers at studio was enhanced by some rather interactive school who wer en’t that good (laughs) who I mood lighting designed to allow musicians to don’t need to mention. They know who they are. get into the mood. “I’m not just talking about But I was always given a lot of support. I think I a dimmer switch,” Sultan says. “Ther e’s a whole was pretty cocky growing up. I can still be a bit lighting rig in the studio, and we’d change cocky. So maybe there were a couple of teachers it from time to time to see if that’d make any when I was a kid that I might have rubbed up the difference. Most of the vocals I got pr etty lucky wrong way, but I was a child, y’know?” with, because we’d get them within f ve takes. Sultan is hitting the road for an expansive - okay, But there were a few other songs wher e I’d just friggin’ huge - Australian tour , hitting up way leave it and come back at the end of the whole more towns than the average run by the average deal, within the last few days of me being there. artist. “We’re gonna give it a good crack,” he But we were so excited to be there. There was a says. “It’s the largest tour I’ve done and the most lot of emotion and it was a long time coming for full-on tour I’ve done. But they’ve been good to us to be making another record in the f rst place. me. It’s four shows in a row and then maybe four So once we were there it was pretty exciting and or f ve days off. And I haven’t got it right in front we had a lot of adrenaline. We’d record the song of me, but basically it’ s June, July and August all day and then we’d do the vocals at the end playing a lot of r egional areas and a couple of the day. So by that time I was tired and wasn’t of capital cities. Just giving it a good nudge, I inspired by what we’d come up with throughout guess!” Sultan says his material typically changes the day. But Jacquir e was r eally cool and very on the road, but that’s not likely to happen with understanding. He could tell when I was feeling the new stuf f. “I feel it out a lot, y’know?” he it or not feeling it and he was very nurturing says. “It’s def nitely changed in the past, and either way.” that’s really me saying I wanted it to be bigger Sultan f rst picked up the guitar at ar ound the and more grandiose. I guess when I haven’t had age of four , learning ‘Wild Thing’ on a single that control in the studio I’ve had mor e of that string, then moving on to as much of AC/DC’ s control on stage. But with this r ecord I don’ t ‘Thunderstruck’ as he could manage. “I’ve had a think it’s going to change as much because I had lot of great teachers, and even people I played a lot more control this time around and we were with who wer en’t off cially teachers.” he says. able to make it as big as I wanted.” “Scott Wilson, who I used to play with, he’ s an amazing guitar player . I lear ned a lot playing BY PETER HODGSON with him for many years. And a teacher that I had when I was a kid was Louis McManus, who’s no longer with us, but he was TOUR DATES in the Bushwackers and was a gr eat June 26 – The Venue, Townsville QLD inspiration early on. I r emember rocking up to his house, 2 o’clock on June 27 – Tank Arts Centre, Cairns QLD June 28 – River Sessions Festival, Mackay QLD a Saturday or Sunday, I was about 8 July 2 – Solbar, Maroochydore QLD or 9 or something. He’d just taught July 3 – Spotted Cow, Toowoomba QLD me ‘The Wind Cries Mary’ the week July 4 – Soundlounge, Gold Coast QLD before - I love Jimi Hendrix, grew up July 5 – Eatons Hill Hotel, Brisbane QLD listening to Hendrix - and I rocked up July 8 – The Northern, Byron Bay NSW and he looked like he’d had a largish night. He’s like ‘G’day, come in. What July 9 – Port Panthers, Port Macquarie NSW July 10 – Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle NSW do you wanna lear n today?’ and I July 11 – Metro Theatre, Sydney NSW said ‘I’d like to learn the solo to ‘The Wind Cries Mary,’ and he just looked July 12 – Waves, Wollongong, NSW July 17- The Forum, Melbourne VIC at me then went ‘…it’ s a bit early in July 18 – The Wool Exchange, Geelong VIC July 19 – Westernport Hotel, San Remo VIC August 1 – Settlers Tavern, Margret River WA August 2 – Astor Theatre, Perth WA August 8 – Wrest Point Showroom, Hobart TAS August 9 – Country Club Showroom, Launceston TAS August 14 – The Gov, Adelaide SA August 16 – Roebuck Bay Hotel, Broome WA Blackbird is out now through Liberation Records.
PG. 24 / MIXDOWN NO. 240 / APRIL 2014
KILL DEVIL HILL BACK WITH A VENGEANACE With Pantera, Rex Brown has created a legacy which serves as a sort of ‘how to’ on heavy metal bass playing. His heavy attack and his ability to simultaneously lock in with Dimebag Darrell’s guitar and Vinne Paul’s drums, is as good an education on playing bass in a heavy band that you’re ever gonna get. Rex further showcased his sense of groove and power during his long tenure with Down, but it’s with his new band Kill Devil Hill that he really gets to shine as a bass player - without even trying. Rex’s playing in KDH is no Billy Sheehan-esque shredfest: rather it’s a tour de force of playing perfectly in the pocket and yet never being lost within the mix or underneath the arrangement. And with material that bobs and weaves through hard rock, heavy metal and grunge and even something close to blues-rock, Kill Devil Hill calls on Rex to be more musically flexible than ever while still maintaining his own musical voice. Kill Devil Hill are touring Australia in April with Killswitch Engage. It’ll be the first time Rex has toured with Killswitch Engage, at least in such a tight, one-two punch of a line-up. “I’m sure we’ve played before in a festival setting or something like that but that would have been a while back,” he says. “I’m sure we’ve crossed paths before and I hear they’re really nice guys so I’m looking forward to meeting them.” The tour will be the live debut of Kill Devil Hill’s new drummer, Johnny Kelly, formerly of Type O Negative, who is stepping in after founder Vinnie Appice (Black Sabbath, Dio) decided it was time to move on. “We have our first rehearsal with Johnny tomorrow in Los Angeles and then we’re playing the very next day! He’s really bringing in some fresh air. Nothing against Vinnie, we just parted ways, y’know? It wasn’t working out with the scheduling and he basically didn’t want to tour any more. Look the rest of the band, we just have to do this. This is what being in a band is! You play out. That’s the whole point.” Appice was quite diplomatic in his public statement about leaving the band,
giving them his blessing to continue the band that he essentially started. This doesn’t feel like one of those “background fighting” situations. “Yeah, he’s just got a lot of stuff on his plate. We’ve got a lot of respect for him and it was fun. With scheduling it just didn’t work out like it should have. But the band, it’s smokin’ hot, dude. It’s as solid as it gets. I’m blessed with all these killer cats I get to jam with.” The band’s new album Revolution Rise gets its official Australian release on April 11, and it finds the band building on the power of its self-titled debut but with more attitude and more of a unified band sound. “The way we recorded things was kind of monotonous because of the scheduling. We used Jeff Pilson (Dokken, Foreigner) but he was on the road a lot. And in hindsight it gave us more time to focus on the songs. The first album was kind of raw and we thought we’d like to get back to that raw kind of sound. This is a little more polished but at the same time the songs really take on their own life. It’s a little
badder, a little bolder than the first one. It’s just one of those records that came out at a really good time and look, you can put genres on it, but what it comes down to is it’s rock n’ roll, man. That’s the way I look at it. Hard rock, metal, whatever, it’s just a good fuckin’ rock n’ roll record. I’m pleased to death with it.” Rex is a Spector bass endorser, with a whole line of signature models, including a Telecaster-based version. “The first signature model is something Stuart and I came up with back in the days of rolling fax paper! He would send me designs and I’d just curve around it and we came up with this crazy shape. And I had another design which is like a Telecaster. It’s just a bigger version of a Telecaster for bass, and I’ve got a couple of new ones coming in. I really like those. And I switched over to Hartke amps this past year and I’m really digging on that tone. It’s something different. It’s solid state. I’m always
used to tube amps but my thing with Ampeg went a little south, Hartke were pursuing me for about a year. I still have my tone, it’s still me, but it’s different, y’know? Playing with a solid state amp is totally different to the millisecond delay before you get that punch with a tube amp. So I’m getting used to it but it’s stompin’, man, it’s stompin’ hard.
things over the years. I mean, a bass is a bass. And it plays really well, it’s well balanced, and it’s comfortable for me. It’s really all I play.” Vincent says he needs a particularly strong bass to cope with his heavy playing technique. “I’m pretty heavy-handed,” he says “I always put my action higher than spec and I retard the intonation a little bit because I bend things out of tune a little bit so that’s the only way to counteract that. My setup is a little different. For whatever reason I’ve always been heavy-handed.” But unlike recent pics circulating of Billy Sheehan’s blistered, messed-up fingertips after some heavy bass practice, Vincent finds that his fingers hold up just fine despite the demanding nature of Morbid Angel’s material. “I find it’s the opposite: on guitar the strings are so small that it’s different callouses you develop between bass and guitar. When I sit down with an acoustic guitar my fingers are very
sore after playing for an hour or so. I guess I have to work on that.” Amp-wise Vincent uses custom amplifiers by Brazilian company Meteoro. “I guess the best way to describe it is ‘Ampeg-ish’ but with more power. Unfortunately it’d be cost-restrictive to bring them to Australia. I can use others. When I’m in the States or Europe I have a Meteoro back line, but when we come to Australia, because you have to fly in between shows it’s just not cost-effective to bring them.”
BY PETER HODGSON
TOUR DATES April 11 – Eatons Hill, Brisbane QLD April 12 - UNSW Roundhouse, Sydney NSW April 13 – The Palace, Melbourne VIC April 15 – HQ, Adelaide SA April 16 – Metro City, Perth WA
MORBID ANGEL IT’S SHOWTIME! Not that it’s a competition, but if it was, Morbid Angel could be the winners of the title ‘most significant band in death metal history.’ They could have earned that title on the strength of their songs, their musicianship and their attitude, but their status as legends was solidified with the release of their third album Covenant in 1993. For Covenant was the very first death metal album to be released by a major label, selling over 130,000 copies in the United States alone and breaking the door down for heavier genres - and also achieving the rare feat of packing a major label album full of occult and satanic lyrics (and without the sense of theatre that accompanies bands like Ghost BC). To celebrate the 20th anniversary of this landmark album last year, Morbid Angel hit the road for a few months to play Covenant from start to finish, followed by a selection of classic cuts. And now they’re bringing the show to Australia to play a handful of dates in April. “Word got around about the Covenant shows,” explains bassist/vocalist David Vincent. “And we’d been getting lots of calls to do that same thing around the globe. So it’s a good excuse to come down and visit with you guys for a while.” Vincent notes that the album seems to have weathered the years quite well. “It feels good to play it,” he says. “Thankfully I’m in a band with some very good musicians, so it sounds good and feels good. And even more importantly the reaction we’ve been getting from fans has been wonderful. It’s always good when a plan comes together.” So where does Vincent see the album’s legacy? Did the band realise 20 years ago that they were recording something that nobody else could, for want of a better word, ‘beat’? “Well I don’t know about ‘beat’,” he says. “We never thought of it as a competition. We always did what we wanted to do and we weren’t looking at what other people were doing to set a course for what we were going to do. We always looked inward for inspiration. I’m thankful for that. Probably at the time we were all very PG. 26 / MIXDOWN NO. 240 / APRIL 2014
determined and we were confident in what we were doing but I don’t know that we knew that it would do what it ended up doing But again, I’m thankful for it.” So what was it like to be the first death metal band on a major? “Well opportunities like that are hard to come by. There are a lot of great musicians out there and we just happened to be a part of a really good scene and there were a lot of label folks behind us. Vincent’s bass of choice is a Dean signature line of instruments which seem to occupy a space somewhere between an Explorer and a Jazz Bass but with added evil. “It’s really cool. I’m really happy with it. I love the instrument. It was not something that was in the line that I just said ‘Oh I’ll take this one.’ I was very hands-on in developing it with their head luthier. They were only ever going to make a couple of one-offs for me but when the president of the company saw the finished thing he said ‘Man, can we put this in the line?’ and I said ‘Sure, why not!’ And it’s done well. There are different colours, limited editions, and we’ve done a few different
BY PETER HODGSON
TOUR DATES Apr 22 – The Hifi, Brisbane QLD Apr 23 – The Hifi, Melbourne VIC Apr 24 – The Metro Theatre, Sydney NSW
photo by Rick Clifford
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DECEMBER 2013 / MIXDOWN NO. 236 / PG. 27
BAND OF SKULLS MOUNTAIN HIGH One of the few exponents of heartily satisfying rock riffs left standing, Band Of Skulls have steadily planted themselves on the same page of many of British rock’s forebears through a dogged touring regiment and inventiveness within their three-piece formation, leading towards their justreleased third full-length offering, Himalayan. Speaking from the band’s hometown of Southampton, bassist Emma Richardson runs us through the Himalayan voyage. When did you start to put together the pieces for Himalayan? We got together toward the end of 2012, after we came off tour. We usually have a bit of time off and then get back together to find a good place to write, to start the process. This time around, we changed it up again, starting to write in a rehearsal space in London, which made a bit of a difference for the sound of this album. We wrote for most of 2013, really, then started recording last summer. It has that ‘based in the city’ energy to it that comes across. Most three-piece bands eventually concede to adding a supplementary musician onstage or in the studio, but Himalayan still feels like your three respective instruments. It’s the best challenge to have, for a band like ours. Finding out what the best way to work with those colours, and then progress as a band. Trying things we haven’t tried before. We recorded it all live, then did quite a few overdubs – which was new territory for us. We’re rehearsing at the moment, getting the live show together. It’s amazing what you can do with a few pedals and tweaking the arrangements. We won’t be adding any other musicians, that’s for sure. It’s fun trying to figure out how to do it live. Do you find yourself in the position of de facto rhythm guitarist? It’s an interesting challenge to have, with rhythm guitar overdubs and lead. Russell’s playing three different parts on some of these songs. But we’ve
come up with a sort of solution with me playing though a bass amp and a guitar amp and using certain pedals to work with frequencies and tones, making sure we’re filling the gaps and getting the sounds from the record. It’s doable, but we were a bit worried about it. It’s the first time in the recording process where we haven’t thought, “Alright, we need to play this live.” We were a bit more free with it, but it turned out alright, actually. What pedals are you using to fill out that space? I’ve still got the Bass Big Muff, which has been my trusty companion over the first few years. It’s just a great tone. Then I’ve got my B:ASSMASTER pedal, which is quite attacky and gives the new stuff a bit of an edge. We used it quite a bit in the recording process, and that tone comes across live really well. Then I’m using the POG2 through a guitar amp, that’s how we’re getting a bit of extra volume, filling out certain parts. That’s about it really, it’s fairly simple. I don’t like to have thousands of pedals. Russell’s another story . But I like to have big moments of stepping up on my rhythm section. A third LP is a bit of a landmark in this climate. Why do you think you’ve reached that level where other bands have failed? I think it’s playing live a lot, playing as many places as we can. Keeping with our sound and developing that. You change as a person throughout each year, then you write about your
experiences, then find different ways to record. Not sticking to the same formula. Yeah, we’re a three-piece band, but we can do quite a lot with that. We’re not just a rock band, there are other sides to us. When people buy our record they’re not just going to get 12 songs that are big slabs of rock riffs. There is that, but it’s a variation. A lot of touring, a lot of promotion, and sticking at it. I think a lot of bands, they get together and expect things to happen straight away. We’ve never expected anything. We’re lucky to be releasing our third record. It feels really good, and to be coming back to Australia. When I think of British rock, I think of all those post-Libertines acts of the 2000s. When I hear your music, I don’t necessarily identify it as British-sounding, but then I remember the biggest British rock band of all time. Do you think you’re a British-sounding band? I think it’s subconscious. We did sit there and say “Alright, let’s write a British-sounding track”.
We’re influenced by all sorts of music. Obviously Led Zeppelin, the amazing British band who broke America back in the day. It’s a weird label. But we are a British rock band through and through. I don’t think there are many other people that sound like us, which is good. There’s not much else coming out, that sounds like us, so we are kind of unique in that way. BY LACHLAN KANONIUK Himalayan is out now through Electric Blues/ [PIAS]. Band Of Skulls return to Australia this June.
TOUR DATES June 17 – The Hi-Fi, Melbourne VIC June 20 – The Hi-Fi, Sydney NSW June 21 – The Hi-Fi, Brisbane QLD
ZAKK WYLDE’S BLACK LABEL SOCIETY SHRED OR DIE TRYING Zakk Wylde’s 25-year career as shred master supreme is signposted by landmark works like Ozzy Osbourne’s No More Tears, his own bands Black Label Society and Pride & Glory, and even brief stints with The Allman Brothers Band (filling in for a gig) and Guns N’ Roses (joining Slash and co in the last days of that particular era). But Catacombs of the Black Vatican, the latest album by Zakk Wylde’s Black Label Society (as they must be referred to in Australia), does what any artist would strive for but so few achieves: it stands out as a masterwork two and a half decades into Zakk’s career, when many artists would just start to coast. With Catacombs Zakk has forged an album that pays tribute to his various influences - Sabbath, Zeppelin, Alice In Chains, the Allmans - and filters it through his own massive musical personality to come up with his most varied, complete collection of songs ever. And his guitar playing is utterly ferocious, as usual. So far everyone who’s heard the album - this journalist included - has commented that this is their favourite ZW/BLS album yet. “Cool, brother… actually me too!,” Zakk laughs. “We just went in with the mindset of ‘We’re just gonna steal everything from all our favourite bands.’ Black Sabbath, Les Zeppelin, The Eagles, The Allman Brothers, Bob Seeger, Creedence, Elton John, the Stones. We just put a grocery list together and said we’d steal each one of ‘em. It’ll be a good formula because we know at least they were successful. I mean, instead of stealing ‘Stairway To Heaven’ we just changed it to ‘The Stairway To Heaven.’ If you use the title ‘The’ in it, it usually alters it completely. Look, if we’ve gotta give ‘em ten percent of the publishing, fine!” Slipping into serious mode for a second though, Zakk elaborates: the album took about 25 days to write, sandwiched in between tours. “I remember asking my wife when I got off the
PG. 28 / MIXDOWN NO. 240 / APRIL 2014
road after Gigantour, rolling with Megadeth and all the guys. It’d been four years between records but I’m not on the road stockpiling riffs and song ideas for four years. I mean, Led Zeppelin’s whole career was twelve years. If Jimmy Page actually sat around writing for four years you’d have Led Zeppelin I and then a whole bunch of song ideas up to In Through The Out Door. ‘And it’d be, well, what songs are you going to put on the record?’ ‘Well I’ve got this ‘Stairway To Heaven’ song…’ ‘Yeah but it’s pretty old now though, man. You wrote that ten years ago.’ I’m just saying that if you ask anybody, it doesn’t matter if you’re a hit songwriter, if you’ve written something five years ago you’re already onto the next thing. What you get the most excited about is what you’ve most recently written or recorded. I don’t demo anything. I have a home studio, The Black Vatican, so if I’m gonna record something I’m gonna do it for real. Just do it
the first time! When you get married it’s not a demo, you just get married, y’know what I mean? This is for real, let’s go!” Aside from the usual Gibson Les Pauls with Zakk’s signature EMG pickup set, the main guitars for the album included his 1958 double-cutaway Les Paul Junior as well as a ’57 Junior that was a gift from Ozzy Osbourne. “I’ll use those on all the clean stuff on songs like ’Scars’ where it’s just a clean guitar, straight in through a Marshall Bluesbreaker or something. “Guitars are like crayons,” he says. “You know what sounds you can get out of them and which would work best for what. Or it’s like food ingredients. Like if we’re making Chicken Piccata you’re like ‘Zakk, gimmie some of the lemon juice,’ or whatever. Whatever cooking
ingredients or crayons you need, I’ve got ‘em all at the Vatican. We just pick and choose what colours I’m going to use. But the bulk of it is my Marshall JCM800s and I just doubletrack ‘em. Just two guitars.” So what does the rest of 2014 have in store for Zakk and co? “April starts the Black Label armada and the first crusade,” he says. “The Nobel Peace Prize and the end of world hunger. Good luck with that!” BY PETER HODGSON
Catacombs of the Black Vatican is out now via Bullet Proof AU / Universal
W O R K S H O P S w i t h A N DY I R V I N E Live performances, Technique & Demonstrations, Jams, Q& A and More! May May May May May May May May May May
1 - Allans / Billy Hydes - Southport , Gold Coast (QLD) 2 - Allans / Billy Hydes - Gawler Pl, Adelaide (SA) 3 - Better Music - Canberra (A .C.T) 5 - Allans / Billy Hydes - Pitt St , Sydney (NSW) 6 - Muso’s Corner Newcastle (NSW) 7 - Box Hill Institute - Box Hill (VIC) 7 - GH Music, Flemington (VIC) 8 - Allans / Billy Hydes - Blackburn (VIC) 9 - Bassed In Hobart - Hobart (TAS) 10 - Bassed In Hobart - Hobart (TAS)
PA S S I O N & AC T I O N w i t h A N DY I R V I N E An intimate and inspirational insight into Andy ’s life as a touring musician. Covering a huge range of helpful ‘Real World’ topics. May 2 - JMC Brisbane (QLD) May 3 - Box Hill Institute (VIC) May 11 - Bassed In Hobart - Hobart (TAS) RSVP & MORE INFO AT W W W.WARWICKBASS.COM. AU OR CALL: (03) 9873 4333
HUGE BASS GIVE A WAYS AT EV ERY E VE N T! APRIL 2014 / MIXDOWN NO. 240 / PG. 29
STEVE EARLE THE HIGHWAY LESS TRAVELLED Singer, songwriter, storyteller and actor Steve Earle has been a mainstay within the contemporary folk canon, following the path trailblazed by the likes of Dylan in the early ‘60s. Much like his hero Townes Van Zandt, Earle endured a life of addiction, hindering his creative potential – most notably during a stint in jail and rehab in the early ‘90s. He survived, emerging into a fertile, multi-faceted stage of his career, authoring novels and appearing in acclaimed television series The Wire and Treme. Before his return to Bluesfest, this time with his band The Dukes, Steve looks back on his storied life of recovery. Hi Steve, where do I find you today? New York City, in my house, my apartment. How long have you been in New York now? Over half a decade, yeah? It’s nine years next month. Do you feel like a New Yorker, or a Texan in New York? Well I was a Texan in Tennessee for 33 years. I left Texas when I was 19 for Nashville. You’re always a Texan, there’s no cure for that. I was part of a group of Texans in Tennessee, and we were very loud and proud of being from Texas. It became a part of my identity. Life throws up challenges, big and small, no matter what your age. Are you better equipped to tackle these challenges at this point in your life? Hopefully you get smarter as you get older. It doesn’t always work out that way. I think I’m a lot smarter than I was. I’m 59, and I’m alive. That’s because I had to change the way I did things, pretty radically. It’s been a long time, 19 and a half years since I made that change. That doesn’t mean I do everything perfect. I still have a hard time coexisting with people under the same roof. Kids I do fine with, adults I have trouble sharing a space with sometimes. Overall, I seem to get more things done. I’ve done a lot of stuff over the past 19 years, writing a couple of books, working on another one now, writing this memoir. I’m hoping to finish it this summer and publish it next year. It
didn’t feel like it was going to happen a month ago , but it feels like it’s going to happen now. If you’re a songwriter – and I am, it’s still my day job – you get spoiled by how quickly songs can come together. Sometimes they take a while, but it’s a matter of them sitting there waiting for you to finish them. Books and plays – though plays are way shorter than novels – it’s hard to write things without music. Everything about it is hard. I don’t type well, the hours and hours of sitting. To do what I’m doing and trying to make my pub’ date, I’m working on it on the road while touring. I don’t have the luxury of saying I like to write in the mornings. I do like to write in the mornings, and after I hang up on this phone call I’m gonna get to work because I have to be on a plane on Monday to go to Hong Kong, just to hang out there for a day and eat wiggly things for the hell of it, on my way to Australia. That’s another thing, I have that luxury in my life where I can do things like that now. The first time I came to Australia I barely saw a fucking kangaroo. My touring this summer is based on lifestyle. I really wanted to bring the band to Australia because I haven’t done it in a while – and I’m excited about Cairns, I’ve never been north of Brisbane before. I’m gonna do one run with the band in Europe for festivals. But before that, I’m gonna go over with a guitar and mandolin and tour on trains, do some shows in London and make some money, then go to Italy and make not that much money – nobody makes money there – but I’ll be in fuckin’ Italy. I’m not ready to let those territories out of my life.
The standard for folk singers’ memoirs was set with Woody Guthrie’s Bound For Glory. Do you have something like that in mind? Or will it be more in line with your annual reflective poetry you recite at St Marks? It’s a literary memoir, not an autobiography, in three acts. It’s largely about mentors. I didn’t realise this when I started, but it’s about recovery. It doesn’t surprise me, it’s a big part of who I am. Being a person in recovery is a bigger part of me than being a person who took drugs, it’s been a long time now – almost as long as when I took drugs. The first part’s about Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark, the songwriters I was lucky enough to know when I was growing up. The second part is about two guys who happen to be first cousins who sorta had my back at the darkest point in my life, on the street and in jail. But not because they loved me, but because I was a commodity – they were drug dealers. But without them, I wouldn’t be here. The third part is about my grandfather – my mother’s stepfather – who died in 1966 when I was eleven years old. When I got clean, I got clean because I went to jail. I didn’t go voluntarily, I just decided I didn’t want to die. I had a minor moment of clarity, I just got a piece of the puzzle, and that piece was ‘I don’t want to die’. I knew I was going to die. But at that point, it became apparent to me who all these guys were that were sleeping on my grandfather’s couch when I was growing up. He started all the original 12-step programs in north-east Texas in the late ‘40s and early ‘50s. He got sober in New York City after World War II, which meant he knew [Alcoholics Anonymous co-founders] Bill
W. and Dr. Bob. The book’s going to be called I Can’t Remember If We Said Goodbye.
went over budget, but I think it was well worth it, with the calibre of players on this record. We’ve got keys, we’ve got Hammond organ, we’ve got drums and bass, which I’ve never recorded before! It’s previously just been solo stuff with maybe a little something here and there. There are back-up singers and percussionists and all kinds of stuff on the record, so I definitely tried to create that ‘working together’ kind of idea. As for Grant and Danny, it was such a cool experience. I’ve never played with a band before until they came into the studio and started jamming with me. And it made me realise as a solo artist just how bad my timing was! I was so used to creating the timing by myself with my feet that when you get into the studio with ridiculously talented musicians like that, it puts things into perspective!” Guitar-wise, Kirk is a fan of Australian-made Cole Clark instruments, including a Hollow
Baby electric. “But there was a whole heap of other guitars in the studio that I grabbed as well. At some stage I think I was playing a $5,000 Fender Telecaster which was one of the most amazing instruments I’ve ever played. I was like ‘Holy crap, these are cool.’ And I don’t know what kind of amp we had but we got this really disgusting sound that worked well in certain places. But mainly I used the Cole Clark Hollow Baby.”
Do you see yourself as a torch-bearer for Townes Van Zandt and his music? I always was. I would talk about Townes to anybody who would listen. After I started making records and became semi-famous myself, I would talk about Townes constantly. Then I got outta jail and discovered that people like Jay Farrar and Jeff Tweedy, that generation of Americana musicians that came about while I was gone – they all knew Townes Van Zandt chapter and verse, and maybe I had something to do with that because those guys also have my records. By the time I made my Townes record, there was an interest in it because of Townes, not me. Some people came to it because it was the next Steve Earle record, but there were people who hadn’t heard of me and came to it because they were Townes Van Zandt songs. BY LACHLAN KANONIUK
TOUR DATES April 13 - West Coast Blues’n’Roots Festival, Fremantle WA April 15 - Tivoli Theatre, Brisbane QLD April 16 - Tanks Art Centre, Edge Hill QLD April 17,18 - Byron Bay Blues Festival, Byron Bay NSW April 20 - Deni Blues’n’Roots Festival, Deniliquin NSW April 23 - Enmore Theatre, Sydney NSW April 24 - The Forum, Melbourne VIC
SHAUN KIRK NEW SCHOOL BLUES Shaun Kirk has come a long way since his debut album in 2010, rapidly rising to the forefront of Australia’s modern blues movement. His first record scored Best Debut Album at the 2010 VIC/TAS Blues Music Awards, whilst his second, Thank You for Giving Me the Blues, shot to number 1 on the Australian Blues/Roots Airplay Charts. New crowd funded album Steer The Wheel is a marked departure for Kirk, bringing in some big-name collaborators from the Australian music industry to add a new dimension to the material and to present the best album possible to existing and prospective fans, all with the aim of using his music to help as many people as he can through the support of charity. The album debuted at #1 on the Australian iTunes Blues chart, and is currently in an arm-wrestle with Russell Morris’s Sharkmouth. “The whole idea behind this albums was not just to put out another album and hopefully propel myself to the next level but it was very much personally about going in a direction that I’ve been interested in since I began playing music, and that was to use my music to raise money for charity,” Kirk explains. “So I pretty much had this vision that this album would do that, and I wanted to do it I mean I’m not earning bazillions of dollars or anything, I’m still just an underground musician - but I thought that if I could get some kind of assistance that would take some of the financial pressure off myself which meant that I could donate a higher percentage of the album profits to this little charity that I’ve hooked up with called Orphfund.” Orphund is a volunteer based organisation working within remote communities in some of the world’s poorest countries, with projects aimed to reach out to vulnerable children who have been abandoned or orphaned and help provide them with shelter, education, care and support. “Orphfund operates on a 100% donor promise meaning that every cent donated is effectively PG. 30 / MIXDOWN NO. 240 / APRIL 2014
handed straight to a child in need,” Kirk says. “I am so glad I came across this amazing charity and I am not only excited, but honoured to begin working with them.” The agenda of helping others is stated quite clearly on the album’s first track, ‘Give To The Needy’ - after all, it’s in the damn title! That’s pretty much what brought it all about. That was probably one of the first tracks that I started writing, because I’ve been writing this album for two years. I remember when I finished that track I went ‘Yep, this has to be the album where I take that step.’” This is Kirk’s first album to be driven by artistic collaboration rather than being more of a solo endeavour. An ARIA Award winning rhythm section comprising of Grant Cummerford (Bass Guitar) and Danny McKenna (Drums) join in, along with some of Kirks heroes, such as Mia Dyson and Jeff Lang.“I didn’t want this album to be all about me. If I was going to get crowd funding involved, I wanted the whole vibe of the album to be creative. It was going to require that ‘working together’ kind of vibe. So I gave it everything and ignored budget - almost! - and
BY PETER HODGSON
TOUR DATES Visit www.shaunkirk.com for a list of full April, May and June tour dates.
DEAN WELLS TERAMAZE You wanna talk dream job? How about getting to zip around the country playing beautiful Ernie Ball Music Man guitars for fellow guitar lovers? Dean Wells gets to live this dream, and maintain a pretty freaking awesome prog band at the same time; A band who are releasing their new album, Esoteric Symbolism, a masterwork of post-Dream Theater modern progressive rock/ metal, and full of soaring melodies, world-class production and plenty of kickass guitar work. Wells was a Music Man fan long before he became an official ambassador for the company, picking up his first - a Steve Lukather model in 1998. “I didn’t even really know who Steve Lukather was. I just remember sitting in the store going ‘This is it.’ Everything just felt perfect. They’re just comfortable guitars and they don’t fall out of tune. Everything’s built right on them without having to spend seven or eight grand!” So how did the gig come about? “A couple of years ago I did some session work with a poprock band touring in support of John Farnham and we did some stuff on TV. I got into contact with Music Man through that, because I had the other guy use Music Man on TV. I was like ‘Use this! They’re such good-looking guitars!’ One day CMC Music Australia approached me and said Music Man wanted to endorse me. It was straight from Music Man in America, and I almost cried! If I was never an endorser I’d still always play them because there’s so much that appeals to me. Especially doing progressive music, I need guitars that aren’t just strung for metal. It needs to have that depth.” Esoteric Symbolism is a finely crafted slab of modern prog in a post-Dream Theater world, and while it’s pretty much impossible to play in that style without at least alluding to the existence of that particular group of virtuosi, Teramaze maintains their own identity even during the “Yep… they listen to DT” moments. “Well, they are one of my favourite bands,” Wells says. “And it’s a conscious effort to try not to sound like them! I think it leaks in there
a little bit but overall I don’t think we sound like anyone. I mean, there are influences but my idea as a musician is to write stuff that’s original. I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel but I’m trying to write something that you can’t say ‘that sounds like this’.’” Wells produces bands for a living and he has a pretty well kitted-out home studio where the majority of the album was recorded. “These days what you can do at home …I’ve got pretty decent equipment but it’s still at home!” he says. “I mixed the last album there as well, and I’ve been doing a lot of bands around Australia, like Vanishing Point. I took my time and got all the parts right. The vocals probably took the longest. We already had an album of music preproduced in demo form that sounded almost like an album, so we knew exactly what it was going to sound like. It was just a matter of recording it properly.” The album was recorded with a few samples from Wells’ veritable flotilla of Ernie Ball Music Man guitars loaded with Seymour Duncan pickups. “For the rhythm guitars I used a BFR Luke with Seymour Duncans in there - I used the SH-10 Full Shred for the rhythms on the whole album. Someone mentioned it might be cool for what I’m doing, because the last album’s guitar tone was a little more aggressive but on this one I wanted the vocals to sit out a little more so I had to find something that was tight but not too abrasive in the high end. I used the SH-1 ’59 Model in the neck, JB Jr. in the middle, and solos
were spread out amongst all my guitars. I used the SH-6 Distortion, which I used to use live, and the Pearly Gates in the neck.” Wells took an interesting approach to amplification on the album. “I wanted to try a few different amps. “I recorded it with a DI and I used the Fractal Audio Axe-FX to get a sound while tracking. I wanted to try a few different amps. Usually I use a Peavey JSX. They don’t even make that any more. But I needed something that was not as top-endy but thick because we don’t quad-track the guitars. So I used a guy in Germany who does re-amping. He re-amped a few amps and I chose one, a new Diezel Hagen prototype. It was just a new one that he didn’t even know what it’d sound like! It’s really quick but still quite defined. I probably would have gone with something with a bit more midrange but overall I think it works with the sound that lets the vocals and drums stand out. I wanted a bit more of a hi-fi sound
rather than a standard metal production. And the rest was the Axe-FX. All the leads. And that’s for convenience. I could spend days just writing leads. Sometimes when you’re producing yourself you can get sterile - I mean, I could do solos for ten years and still never be happy - and sometimes I just wanted to improvise and listen back to it and see if anything had some sort of vibe. Most of the solos were sort of written but a lot of them were played on the spot start to finish. I know it sounds better if you play a solo from start to finish without dropping in instead of chopping together a few takes. So that was conscious, having the Axe-FX going the whole time so I could throw things down.” BY PETER HODGSON
Esoteric Symbolism is out on April 15.
ANDY IRVINE SLAYING THE BASS Andy Irvine is passionate about bass: playing it, teaching it, talking about it and living it. He tours the world demonstrating Warwick gear, when he’s not writing books like Passion And Action, A Musician’s Journey with noted journalist Joel McIver, or recording with everyone from Tiny Tim to GG Allin. With Andy about to hit Australia on his Sound Of Bass World Workshop Tour we thought it’d be fun to have a chat about what’s what in the world of bass. What kind of format do your workshops take? For my workshops I have a relaxed and casual vibe about all things I do, I usually tell some history about myself and how I came to be where I am in my musical journey. I talk about touring , recording, composing and now taking an educational path for the past five years. I also talk about musicianship with my own experience based concepts and avoid the standard academic subjects with too much focus on technique and music theory. Rather, I focus on developing the art of musical conversations and evolving our own voice in the language of music, collaboration, groove, healing with music, inspiration, creativity and more. I invite open topic discussion and interaction, both talking and in some cases playing too. Are there any particular questions, problems or issues that you find players coming to you with more often, and what do these things say about the state of bass right now? The topic of earning a living as a musician seems to come up a lot, so I share several experiences and career path outlines that have worked well for me, it’s really just a matter of deciding what it is we are going to do, creating a well written plan, then engaging, and moving into the action phase towards success. With equal parts versatility, tenacity, and gratitude all things are possible PG. 32 / MIXDOWN NO. 240 / APRIL 2014
What gear will you be using in Australia? Warwick basses and amps, the new LWA1000 head is killer!!! I really love it, it’s made my life so simple. I only play Warwick basses because they are truly perfect for me, I’m a player whose musical language has dozens of dialects and my Warwick basses are the portal that delivers my every muse to the world in the tangible and listenable, their versatility equals that of my own musicality so it’s a perfect fit. Are there any bass techniques that you feel are under-used , cool tricks that would help players get closer to the music they hear in their head? To me “licks and tricks” have a place in most music, and certainly bring great enjoyment to the player, and hopefully the listener. I’m a proponent and ambassador of taste and honouring each song as an individual entity, treating it with the bass parts which provide, first and foremost, function and purpose. Then, the matter of perhaps getting cute here and there can be considered should it find a tasteful place. Where has this tour taken you so far? The Warwick Sound Of Bass Work Shop Tour was born three years ago when Warwick owner Hans Peter Wilfer and I came together first as friends, then with a long term plan based on some some proposals I presented
in Buenos Aires, and I in turn attended his him to involve inspirational music education and brand marketing together. I’ve done show, and again we had a nice chance to visit, he pulled me on the stage to snap a photo over 150 events so far, and have done tours throughout: USA, Canada, Portugal, with the roar of 40,000 hearts beating behind Hungary, Peru, Argentina, Chile, China, us. It was exhilarating! Japan, Poland, Germany, England, The Ukraine, this year ten more countries are in BY PETER HODGSON place including New Zealand, Australia,The Philippines, South TOUR DATES Africa, Bulgaria, Romania, Spain, WORKSHOPS Canada, Thailand, and more. May 1 - Allans Billy Hydes, Southport, Gold Coast QLD May 2 - Allans Billy Hydes, Gawler Pl, Adelaide SA We saw the pic of you onstage May 3 - Better Music, Canberra A.C.T with Rob from Metallica the May 5 - Allans Billy Hydes, Pitt St, Sydney NSW other day. May 6 - Muso’s Corner, Newcastle NSW Rob and I are buddies, it’s May 7 - Box Hill Instritute, Box Hill VIC was a great surprise when he May 7 - GH Music, Flemington VIC discovered we we’re both touring May 8 - Allans / Billy Hydes, Blackburn VIC in South America at the same time May 9 - Bassed In Hobart, Hobart TAS and gave me call, as fate would May 10 - Bassed In Hobart, Hobart TAS have it, he was open and free on the night of my workshop, he attended and jammed with me and had a great visit. Then, I also was coincidentally open on the night Metallica played to 40,000,
PASSION & ACTION May 2 - JMC, Brisbane QLD May 3 - Box Hill Institute, Melbourne VIC May 11 - Bassed In Hobart, Hobart TAS
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©2014, PreSonus Audio Electronics, Inc, All Rights Reserved. Sceptre and CoActual are trademarks of PreSonus Audio Electronics, Inc. Fulcrum Acoustic is a registered trademark of, well, Fulcrum Acoustic. Temporal EQ and TQ are trademarks of Fulcrum Acoustic. Some of the most common side effects of using good monitors include trouble sleeping, as well as vivid, unusual or increased dreaming.
12 1 27 M 27 Me err rrin rrin nda dale le Drriive, ve, Cr ve Croy oy o ydo don Viict V c or oria ia a, Au Au ust ssttrra a aliliia 3136 3136 31 TT:: +6 61 1 (0 0))3 87 8756 8756 56 260 600 0`` F: +61 F: 6/1 MIXDOWN (0) 0)3 87 8756 56 2 269 699240 / PG. 33 699 69 APRIL 2014 NO.
UNLEASH YOUR INNER ROCK GOD TEN REASONS ELECTRIC GUITARS RULE
Of course acoustic guitars are beautiful, brilliant instruments that help us express our deepest thoughts, most cherished desires and most unspeakable urges. But for the past few weeks I’ve all about the glory of plugging into a box of glowing tubes and quaking speakers, and thus causing my neighbours to curse the very evolution of mammalian auditory ossicles as set in motion by developments in the noble tetrapods in the Upper Devonian some 365 million years ago which led to hearing as we know it. Unless you’re a creationist, in which case God gave rock n’ roll to you. Anyway, here are ten reasons why electric guitars are better than their acoustic counterparts. 10. FEEDBACK When feedback happens to an acoustic guitar, it’s a bad thing. It’s screechy, uncontrollable, and the only real ways to solve it involve either sucking out the offending frequencies and probably taking some good ones with it, or using feedbackresistant technologies like piezo pickups which make your beautiful guitar sound like a bunch of rubber bands stretched over a frying pan. Whereas when an electric guitar is coaxed into feedback it’s a thing of beauty. Just think of the beginning of “Magic Carpet Ride” or “I Feel Fine” or “Foxey Lady” or “Flying In A Blue Dream.” 9. INFINITE SUSTAIN Nigel Tufnel wasn’t kidding when he bragged about the joys of infinite sustain, although his legendary ’59 Les Paul Standard is probably one of the few instruments capable of achieving it unaided. Late ‘50s bursts are imbued with the power to do that. But electric guitars can be coaxed into unending sustain by gadgets like the Fernandes Sustainer, the Sustainiac, the handheld E-Bow and simple good old-fashioned volume. Ever try to use an E-Bow on an acoustic? It ain’t pretty (with the one exception of David Gilmour’s use of it on Pink Floyd’s “Take It Back.” 8. NAKED FLAMING GIRL SKULL PAINT JOBS Unless you’re playing really depressing fire-and-
brimstone country, there probably isn’t much scope in your music for an acoustic festooned with images of naked girls, grim reapers, flaming skulls and greasy car parts. But no selfdisrespecting electric is complete without those things. All of them. At once! 7. WHAMMY BARS There have been some attempts to create whammy bars for acoustic guitars. None of them are as cool as the Floyd Rose, which allows you to make whale noises, race car noises, motorbike noises, horse noises, Wile-E-Coyote-sailingover-the-cliff noises, and occasionally even some stuff related to actual music. 6. EFFECT PEDALS Technically you can run an acoustic through whatever effect you like. But then it’ll just come out sounding like an electric guitar. Listen to Alice In Chains’ 'Down In A Hole,' a beautiful if supremely depressing tune which features Jerry Cantrell playing acoustic guitar through a bunch of amps with inbuilt vibrato. Sounds like an electric with a chorus pedal, right? 5. MICHAEL ANGELO BATIO Michael Angelo Batio is a supremely talented shredder who owns a quadruple-necked guitar which he uses in all sorts of Vetruvian Man-like
ways to conjure unholy sounds. If he did this with a four-necked acoustic he simply wouldn’t be able to get the kind of compression needed to maintain that kind of business.
it’s really cool. If you tried it with an acoustic you’d risk it catching a breeze and drifting off. Do you really want to contribute to air pollution? You monster.
4. CHANGING PICKUPS Changing pickups is one of the most fun things in the world. You get to inhale toxic chemicals without getting high, you get to burn your fingers without picking up fresh pizza, and you get to curse and scream at an inanimate object without having to sit in traffic.
1. DISTORTION Again, you can use distortion with an acoustic guitar. And a small number of guitarists have even been able to do so with great results. But then there’s also Wheatus. And frankly, if you’re not Wheatus, do you really want to risk sounding like them?
3. VAN HALEN I ‘Nuff said.
BY PETER HODGSON
2. CHUCKING THE GUITAR UP IN THE AIR AND CATCHING IT When Yngwie Malmsteen does this with his Strat,
Check out our Electric Guitar and Bass Special starting on page 38.
WHAT’S THAT SOUND MOOG ETHERWAVE THEREMIN
Alright, so technically this is not a keyboard. In fact, this is not a keyboard at all, so I may hear you wondering why the Etherwave Theremin eremiin is to be found here in this column. But, I try to consider all instruments nts that that fall into the realm of the synthesizer, even if the means of triggering g the e sounds is not through an actual keyboard itself. So, for those of you who ho kn know now of and have seen a Theremin in action, you will understand why it iss maki making ing its way to these pages. For those of you who do not know the Moog oog Etherwave E Theremin, or any other Theremin for that matter, let me give you y a little background. SOVIET STARTER Back in 1920, after the Great War, a government sponsored project in Russia with dubious intent led to the development of what is nowadays known as the Theremin. This musical instrument was the brainchild of the then young physicist Leon Theremin who later took his patented invention to the Unites States where it was more widely developed by RCA and later recreated by a range of manufacturers. In a strange series of events which involved the KGB, Leon Theremin left New York to return to Russia and was detained in a prison camp in Siberia. He did not return to the United States until 1991, after a thirty year disappearance. However, in that time, developers like Bob Moog had taken his original idea and furthered it to become a workable performance instrument. Moog originally started releasing kits for customers to build their own Theremin and although the Etherwave Theremin is the popular choice today, these kits are still available. HOW IS IT SO? Two metal antennas, which are not used to receive or broadcast radio waves, act as plates for
PG. 34 / MIXDOWN NO. 240 / APRIL 2014
e dista nce the hand a capacitor and measure the distance o is placed away from each. With one hand and plitude and the other one antenna controlling amplitude ghtest movement m controlling volume, the slightest on ve a profound prrofound effect the operator’s behalf can have is amplitude ampllitude control, on the sound. Because of this lso be weary to play the Theremin player must also es. Taking Takiing the hands the rests as well as the notes. ea does does not shut away from the control area er off the sound and requiress furthe further e in a attention to create a silence piece. LIVE eremin When watching a Theremin performer, it almost looks ass if theyy are plucking hout physical physical contact the notes out of the air without s the with the instrument itself. This separates er instrument Theremin from just about any oth other ection between the in that difference of connection v different artist and instrument. It is a very esonates with connection and one that truly re resonates he inner inn ner workings those who understand the what su urreal musical of the music. The somewhat surreal ta ake both the journey that the Theremin can take er on is what has performer and the listener
attracted so many artists to experiment with it. From Shostakovich to the Beach Boys, Led Zeppelin to Armen Ra, the Theremin has featured in a wide range of popular and classical music over the last 60 years and continues to do so. BY ROB GEE
ON THE DOWNLOW LOCKING IN ON GRACE NOTES
A lot of the time, a bass player’s role is to hold down a solid foundation while the other guys go a bit nutso. It’s all about maintaining a steady rhythm and providing a bridge between the drums and the guitar, keys, vocals, whatever your band plays. But there’s much more to it than simply being a reliable rhythmic anchor. Truth be told, a lot of the time you’re going to be called on to provide 75% ‘rhythmic foundation,’ 25% ‘harmonic information.’ Ah but that’s not always going to be the case! Sometimes you’ll need to match the little nuances of a guitarist (usually) who has a more flexible idea of what pitch is. Now, that can be a polite way of saying “a guitarist whose intonation sucks,” but in this case we’re talking about bends. If you’ve ever listened to Pantera closely you’d hear a lot of little microtonal bends, where Dimebag Darrell and Rex Brown sync up and bend their strings at pretty much exactly the same tempo and to exactly the same pitch. And sometimes those pitches aren’t as straightforward as ‘from G to G#’ or “From A to B.” Sometimes it means getting seriously microtonal: i.e.: bending to notes that are ‘in between’ the conventional twelve notes we’re all used to using. So here are a few exercises to help you fine-tune these skills. A couple of them are designed to get you fretting one note and then another, then bending one of those two notes up to the pitch of the other one. Eh, it’ll make sense in a second. Just make sure that when you’re bending a string, you reinforce it with an extra finger or two. For instance, it’s a good idea to fret a note with your ring finger while placing the middle and index fingers on the previous two fret positions to give you a bit more grip and traction.
Figure 1 is a simple, bluesy little riff which uses whole-step (i.e. the distance between two frets) bends. You’ll notice that in the second and fourth bars it’s not just a bend but rather a bend-andrelease. This gives the riff a little more movement and a nice sense of continuity. Figure 2 is a similar idea based on half-step (i.e. a single-fret distance) but instead of holding the last note of each bar for two beats, we’ll hold it for one beat and then slam the open string an octave below, to fill out the low end a little more. Figure 3 employs quarter-step bends, which means you’re bending the string slightly but not quite hard enough to reach the next full note: you’ll be bending the F note on the low E string up to an area midway between F and F#. Depending on how you approach this one it could either be a bluesy, groovy riff or a filthy, ultra-distorted Pantera-esque groove-metal onslaught. Figure 4 involves a few slides to launch the first and third bars, as well as half-step bends on the seventh fret of the A string at a few opportune moments. If you have a guitar or a friendly guitarist laying around, try playing these in octave unison. Each will sound pretty bad-ass, especially that last one. BY PETER HODGESON
BANGIN’ THE TUBS SUPER USEFUL DOUBLE STROKE FILLS
I’m not a huge double bass drum player. I guess, the gigs you do determine the kinds of things you practice. That said, I like doing flashy fills just as much as the next guy. It was the thing that got me interested in drums as a kid and I still get excited by a drummer with monster chops. But what if you don’t have a double bass drum pedal on your kit? It was with this question in mind that I thought that I would share a cool, flashy-ish and useful fill/sticking technique with you.
Fill as 16th Notes
I like using this idea in a couple of different ways. The first method is to play the fill in the right hand/bass drum as mentioned while your left hand alternates between the hi-hat and snare drum and outlines a groove and backbeat. So effectively, you get a basic rock beat happening from the hats and the snare drum, but the floor tom and bass drum are being fancy. The second way is to the use the fill on its own, thrown in between a groove. As you’ll see in the notation provided, you can play a beat and make the fill a little feature on it’s own in the middle of it all. I’ve seen a lot of R’n’B and Gospel drummers do this. Both these options sound cool. Depending on where you are with your playing there could be some challenges with this. These could include: 1. Double stroke with your hands – making the second stroke as clear as the first on a surface with less rebound such as a floor tom. 2. Double stroke with your feet – the endless battle every drummer faces. Use whatever
3. Coordinating the left hand to play over the fill – left hand (if you’re right handed) doesn’t traditionally play the roll of the right hand in a groove, so getting this to play ball can take some encouraging. LEFT HAND RIGHT HAND
Within a groove Within a groove with Left foot HiHat on back beat (optional)
BY ADRIAN VIOLI
technique works for you – heel up, heel down, slide, heel/toe etc.
Should you wish, you could reverse the fill and use your left hand and left foot (have fun with that one!) or even just alternate your hands. Either way, there are options so have a go and see what happens.
Fill as 32nd Notes R R
The concept is easy. A double stroke with the right hand on the floor tom and a double stroke with the bass drum. That’s it. How fast you can get that happening is up to you.
See the following notation for a working example of double stroke fills as 16th Notes, 32nd Notes, within a groove and in context.
Example in Context
R R R R R L R RR
PG. 35 / MIXDOWN NO. 240 / APRIL 2014
(D)IGITAL (J)OCKEY EXPANDING YOUR LIVE CONTROL
Many of you will have grown up using Akai’s range of MPC and S series samplers to create and perform with. Akai have come a long way since those humble beginnings and their ability to not only present modern software and app ideas, but also create hardware designed to integrate with the most common DAWs keeps them at the forefront of live DJ and production performance. With the APC range, Akai has taken a few ideas from their competitors, mixed them in with elements from their original designs and presented us with a very workable selection of controllers specifically designed to make better use of Ableton Live. APC40 Mini PERFORMANCE CONTROL The latest of fering in this range is the APC40 MkII which goes a few steps beyond the original APC40 and according to AKAI addresses 5 years worth of user feedback into its new design. The MkII is a thinner and mor e lightweight design, has some clever new contr ols and like its predecessor it is specif cally designed to integrate seamlessly with Ableton Live. That said, you can use both devices as generic MIDI controllers and ther efore use them with just about any DAW you wish. It features a 5×8 RGB LED clip-launching matrix, assignable A/B crossfader, 8 r otary knobs, 8 channel faders, and a send button for quick access to send busses. LIVE VS STUDIO I really loved the mor e simplif ed idea in the MkII version. Sur e, it doesn’ t offer you quite the range of button, knobs or other contr ols over the software, but it doesn’ t need to. What the MkII delivers is the essential selection of faders, knobs and buttons to take car e of your most pressing needs in a live situation and not over complicate the matter with too many dials. In this way, I can see a r eal case for someone wanting to own both the original and the later
released MkII. It would work quite well to use the original design in the studio when compiling and producing your music, giving you a wider range of controls when you have the time to get mor e in depth with your editing. But, when it comes to performance, the leaner design of the MkII really speeds up your ability to become one with the software and takes away a lot of the unnecessary distractions and confusion that ar en’t necessary up on stage. ` SIZE MATTERS Additional designs like the APC20 and the APC Mini further r educe the size and weight of your controller if you r eally want to minimalise your travel needs. The APC Mini simply pr esents you with a selection of faders, buttons and an 8 x 8 bank of pads. This is great for when desktop space is at a pr emium, but if you use the APC40 MkII just once, you will really miss the range of added features and f nd the Mini somewhat prohibitive. ALL BASES COVERED Akai have just about got it all cover ed with their range of pad based MIDI contr ollers and whether you ar e using Ableton or any other software, you need to consider what functions
are going to best suit your pr oduction and performance needs. Ultimately, I always f nd that a selection of dif ferent controllers is needed to meet all my requirements and for me settling for just one is really never an option, but mor e of a compromise. BY ROB GEE
For more information on the Akai range of products contact Electric Factory on (03) 9474 1000 or visit www.elfa.com.au
HOME STUDIO HINTS
TWENTY YEARS OF COMPUTING IN THE STUDIO
In celebration of Mixdown’s 20 anniversary edition, I thought it would be a good time to look back at how my home studio has changed. Aside from the multiple relocations, growing stacks of gear and the endless amount of red wine spilt on the carpets during late night sessions, there is one item that is in a constant state of flux, the hub of my studio, my computer. THE EARLY DAYS My f rst introduction to a music computer was the 1985 breakthrough home computing system the Atari ST, this was soon upgraded to a far more modern DOS compatible PC which was powered by an Intel 486. However , what I was really looking for in a musical computer was the ability to r ecord directly onto har d disk and in 1993 the W indows compatible Pentium (P5) was released (remember those old babies) and I along with thousands of other home producers worldwide took home recording and production into the 20 th century. But this was in the 90’ s and it came at a cost. I can r emember having to shell out over f ve hundred dollars to get a MIDI interface card for one of my early computers. No audio, no digital conversion, just a single MIDI input and a single MIDI output, however I was soon to discover that my computer’ s motherboard was not compatible. So, my bank account took another big hit and I upgraded a whole new motherboard. LEAPS AND BOUNDS These days, a one hundred dollar MIDI keyboard will connect to your computer via USB, it will be compliant, work straight away and it will of fer more controls than what I had on my expensive stage piano that was being integrated in as a MIDI master keyboar d. When I consider the machine that I had built for me in 1997 as an audio computer it really does pale in comparison to what is on of fer today, but at the time it was monster. I had it put together specif cally as an audio multi-track recorder. The guys in the shop couldn’t understand my need for a har d drive that was more than 20 GB. Yes, they thought 20 PG. 36 / MIXDOWN NO. 240 / APRIL 2014
GB was ample and I had to specially r equest an extremely expensive 40 GB drive to be installed. Given that you can get a lar ger USB f ash drive today for fewer than f fty dollars, it is frightening to think of what I paid for that har d drive back then. THE NEED FOR SPEED As computing power and capabilities increased, as did the complexity of the software that ran on them. Soon hardware synths and drum machines were being replaced with VST’s, analogue gear and rack based ef fects were being r edesigned as plug-ins. Although this softwar e empowered the home pr oducer and wer e far cheaper than their hardware brethren they had a dif ferent cost, hardware space and processing power. The advances in audio software technology continue unabated and I wonder whether we will ever get enough power in the machines we ar e running. My custom built PC in 1997 served me well. It handled the workload I threw at it and rarely gave me issues with track count or lack of memory . Which is surprising because it only had a modest 2 GB of RAM to work with. It isn’ t uncommon to see 10 times as much RAM in a computer today, or 100 times the hard disk space. But, the modest design of the DA W I was using along with the advancement of all the plug-ins and VST instruments that wer e available meant that my old dinosaur of a workstation could mor e than meet my needs and only rarely froze up. THE HERE AND NOW The PC I had built for me about 5 years ago was a revolutionary advance on the pr evious model. It gave me more than three times the processing
power, four times the memory and about 20 times the har d disk space. But, it also allowed me to use a mor e modern DAW, with mor e powerful plug-ins and VST instruments that e r ally took their toll on the system. So, even though I found myself with a new machine that was really quite impressive, the workload I expected of it left the system struggling somewhat mor e than my older machine. All the excitement that had built up in the delivery of my new workstation and the adventur e into new softwar e realms meant that I was actually slightly behind as far as spare power went. So, as I look into the futur e, I have to wonder how the next advancements in computer technology will meet the new software I will inevitably want to run with the system. These days so much more processing is completed within the computer as opposed to using external processors, which has seen the rise of the DSP processor card and external systems to further power VST needs. I think that the latest swing towards tablet systems and app based
recording software has had developers consider the workload their products place on the hosting system. With this consideration, it could be that as our computers become even mor e powerful in the next few years and we should f nally see some headroom in processing power to allow us to go even further with our cr eative needs. I’d always recommend researching new technology and try staying ahead of the curve when it comes to your workstation. V isit your local music and studio retailers and ask questions of engineers that you know to ensure you keep your computer ‘upgrade budget’ in check. The ability to increase your pr ocessing power and it’ s overall compatibility with new softwar e and har dware will ensure you get solid mileage out of your computer and workstation. Ask questions, stay informed, stay in budget and build a system that actually suits your studio needs.
BY ROB GEE
WHAT’S MY RANGE AGAIN? TOURING PREPARATION
In Australia playing a tour could mean just playing the five or 6 major cities. However if you are also going to include a rural tour this could make it a 30 date tour, which is massive! Beyond that it is every bands dream to do a North American tour which could easily include 40 to 50 dates with the bulk of these dates done back-to-back. In this weeks vocal column we give you a few helpful hints to survive the rigours of touring. 2 MONTHS’ PREPARATION A full two months before a long tour begins you should start preparing the your voice, body and mind. VOCAL FITNESS You should be gradually building up your scales and with song practice and rehearsal to build strength and stamina before the tour starts. Starting off from scratch I would recommend doing 15 minutes worth of scales and then 15 minutes worth of singing every day for the first week. Then increase both of these by five minute increments for the next 7 weeks. For the last two weeks before the tour starts you should be singing through your whole entire set. Three days before you start touring you want to bring your scales and songs work out down to about half of that (roughly 15-20 minutes of scales and songs) so that you are fresh for the start of your tour. BODY FITNESS Your fitness and cardiovascular regime should consist of some sit-ups, crunches or bridges and also any physical activity that will get your lungs working a few times a week e.g. Jogging, swimming, martial arts. Eat well and get good amounts of rest during this time so that you are at your peak vocal, mental and physical plateau at the start of your tour. MENTAL FITNESS You should be rehearsing everything that you are going to be performing on stage! Everything
from the very moment you walk on stage until you walk off stage. Practice everything from your movements, stage presentation, crowd interaction, audio visuals, guitar changes, sound and lighting etc. Everything needs to be rehearsed so that everything is seamless. Once you have everything nailed down continue rehearsing until your tour begins. THE DAY OF YOUR PERFORMANCE It’s always a good idea to try to get to the venue an hour or two before show time. To find where you can park, where the stage entrance and backstage areas are. Give yourself plenty of time to set up and to do your vocal warm ups. I usually try to have of light meal containing complex carbohydrates such as rice, pasta, or grains, along with a salad 3 to 4 hours before my performance. This type of meal will give you a lasting energy that kicks in within 2-4 hours, right when you need it on stage. I also try to stay well hydrated the entire day of the show by regularly drinking room temperature water. If I’m feeling a bit hungry just before a performance I generally snack on a piece of fruit or a light sandwich. Avoid eating anything too heavy or spicy as you don’t want to inhibit your breathing or irritate your throat during your performance. ONE TO TWO HOURS BEFORE THE SHOW We’re now at the business end of everything that you have worked so hard for. It’s time to get in the right mental state and start preparing for the performance. Everyone has their own way
VOCALS KILL DEVIL HILL
of doing this. About one hour before the show I would try to find your own space. I would do scales to warm up specific parts of the voice that I will be using in my performance. For instance if you were the lead singer of Coldplay, you would warm up the lower to middle part of your true voice and your falsetto voice. If you were the lead singer of Metallica you would warm-up your entire range but finish up your scales warm-up by doing some husky scales. Personally, I don’t do any scales or singing on the day of a performance as I want to keep my voice as fresh as I can until the very last note I’ll sing on stage. However, if you are a bigger touring band, you’ll most likely need to warm up before sound check in the afternoon. Again, try not to do too much during sound check as you want to save your voice for the real thing. TEN MINUTES BEFORE THE SHOW Just before I go on stage I do a light limbering and stretching of my body. Then, and this is very important, I would proceed to sing the first half of the first song that I am going to perform so that I will have complete confidence in what I am about to do in a few minutes when I am on stage.
SHOWTIME Now, it’s time to get on stage and have some fun. In the end that’s what it’s all about! Having fun, sharing your talents and art and enjoying what you’re doing. AFTER THE SHOW Immediately after the show, do a light body stretch, vocal cool down and drink plenty of water. From there you can proceed to eat and do whatever you wish! However, If you have continuous shows or a show the next night it would be best to go home, take it easy, and try to find some time to get some vocal rest. 4 POINTS TO ALWAYS REMEMBER WHEN TOURING 1: Try to get good amount of rest and sleep. 2: Be sure to eat and drink well. 3: Try to do some physical exercise whenever you can, even if it is just a brisk walk through town. 4: Always warm up and cool down correctly before and after your sound check and performance. BY PETER VOX
EXCEPTIONAL DIGITAL CLARITY MEETS SEAMLESS OPERATION. GLX-D Wireless Systems Debuting Next Generation Wireless A ground-breaking offering, GLX-D Wireless Systems combine revolutionary LINKFREQ Automatic Frequency Management and battery rechargeability with world-renowned Microphones, and the rst Shure pedal-mounted guitar option. GLX-D Wireless Systems dene the newest standard for seamless ease of operation and exceptional digital audio clarity.
PG. 37 / MIXDOWN NO. 240 / APRIL 2014
Electric Guitar & Bass Special
CMC MUSIC P/L DYNAMIC MUSIC ELECTRIC FACTORY JADE AUSTRALIA
6 ee Page AYs
D’ADDAR IOU L
YXL STRING GIV N E T EAW A TIM
PHONE: (02) 9905 2511 PHONE: (02) 9939 1299 PHONE: (03) 9474 1000 PHONE: 1800 144 120
Welcome to our annual Mixdown Magazine Electric Guitar and Bass Special, where we present a range of the latest and greatest electric guitar and bass models for your choosing. From f ngerpickers and strummers through to shredders and string slappers, you’re bound to f nd an axe in this special that will appeal to your playing style and budget. Our expert team of writers have summarised each model and looked at all the key features, with the included spec section helping you get down to the nitty gritty details of each model. A buyer’s guide, these reviews will help point you in the right direction and no doubt conjure up questions to ask your local music retailer when looking to pick up your next 4, 5, 6 and 12 string weapon. Plug in, strap up and most importantly get ready to shred, it’s time to get electric!
WWW.CMCMUSIC.COM.AU WWW.GODINAUS.COM.AU WWW.ELFA.COM.AU WWW.MUSOCITY.COM.AU
MUSIC MAN ARMADA
NATIONAL AUDIO SYSTEMS YAMAHA MUSIC AUSTRALIA MATON GUITARS AUSTRALASIAN MUSIC SUPPLIES
PHONE: 1800 441 440 WWW.NATIONALAUDIO.COM.AU PHONE: (03) 9693 5111 WWW.YAMAHABACKSTAGE.COM.AU PHONE: (03) 9896 9500 WWW.MATON.COM.AU PHONE: (03) 9549 1500 WWW.AUSTMUSIC.COM.AU
MUSIC MAN GAME CHANGER
DISTRIBUTOR: CMC MUSIC P/L GUITAR TYPE: 6 STRING THROUGH NECK ELECTRIC GUITAR
DISTRIBUTOR: CMC MUSIC P/L GUITAR TYPE: 6 STRING ELECTRIC GUITAR WITH GAMECHANGER PICKUP SYSTEM
RECOMMENDED FOR: Adventurous souls who aren’t afraid to use something non-traditional. With this guitar’s lack of visual clues about what it should sound like, you’re really free to use it for whatever you like!
RECOMMENDED FOR: Studio guitarists, sonic adventurers and the technologically excitable. You’ll need a computer and some patience to get the most out of it but hang in there, it’s worth it! SOUND/TONE/VERSATILITY: This guitar and its electronics are specifically designed to be quite literally the most versatile guitar that ever existed. You can program its digitallycontrolled analog signal path to give you a near infinite number of sound options, so if you can imagine it then this guitar can do it.
SOUND/TONE/VERSATILITY: The tones lean towards vintage clarity and warmth, with an airy but never-brittle treble quality that lends itself well to country and rock, but stay smooth enough to give you beautifully expressive, fusion-esque solo tones. The neck pickup is juicy and rounded like a vintage PAF but with a little more compression.
PLAYABILITY: Brilliant Music Man playability as always. The neck is very comfortable and the controls are easy to reach, which is crucial for selling an advanced concept such as this one.
PLAYABILITY: It’ll take a few minutes to get used to the unusual curves of the body but you’ll soon find that it’s a very ergonomic guitar which feels very playable and very wearable.
CONSTRUCTION: Bulletproof construction as always. If you’ve never tried an Ernie Ball Music Man with its ultra-secure neck joint, you have no idea how great a bolt-on neck can be. And the fret work here is a thing of beauty.
CONSTRUCTION: Ernie Ball Music Man have mastered guitar construction, they’ve really shown that they can make an unconventional guitar exceptionally well. It’s really a work of art and the soapbar pickup version released at NAMM this year further adds to the classiness factor. OVERALL: This one won’t be an easy sell for Music Man because it’s unlike anything else out there, but that’s what makes it so cool and so adaptable to whoever takes one home. Judging by the forums, folks either love or hate the look– but one strum and you’ll be sold.
PG. 38 / MIXDOWN NO. 240 / APRIL 2014
SPECS NECK: HONDURAN MAHOGANY FRETBOARD: ROSEWOOD BODY: MAHOGANY W/BOOKMATCHED TOP PICKUPS: 2 x MM90 SINGLE COILS BRIDGE: TUNE-O-MATIC WITH GRAPH TECH TAIL PIECE TUNERS: SCHALLER M6-IND LOCKING CASE INCLUDED: HARDSHELL SKB MADE IN: USA
OVERALL: This isn’t the easiest guitar to learn, since the Game Changer pickup changing system is so flexible and capable that it can take a while to wrap your head around it. But the guitar is topshelf, and the electronics are limited only by your imagination and your ability to figure ‘em out.
SPECS NECK: SELECT MAPLE FRETBOARD: SELECT MAPLE OR ROSEWOOD BODY: CHAMBERED BASSWOOD/ MAPLE TOP/MAHOGANY TONE BLOCK PICKUPS: DIMARZIO HH OR CERAMIC HSH BRIDGE: STANDARD OR MUSIC MAN® VINTAGE TREMOLO. PIEZO OPTIONAL TUNERS: SCHALLER M6-IND LOCKING CASE INCLUDED: HARDSHELL SKB MADE IN: USA
STERLING BY MUSIC MAN S.U.B SERIES AX3
STERLING BY MUSIC MAN S.U.B SERIES SILO3
DISTRIBUTOR: CMC MUSIC P/L GUITAR TYPE: 6 STRING ELECTRIC GUITAR
DISTRIBUTOR: CMC MUSIC P/L GUITAR TYPE: 6 STRING ELECTRIC GUITAR
RECOMMENDED FOR: Rockers, bluesrockers, grunge-rockers, alternativerockers, rock-rockers… basically this is a rock axe no matter which way you look at it.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Rock, blues, country, punk, classic rock and fusion. SOUND/TONE/VERSATILITY: The unidentified ‘hardwood’ body isn’t going to give you tones as complex as a primo piece of alder but this Music Man Silhouette-inspired axe will definitely give you a respectable range of voices from hard rock edge to twangy country and zippy blues. You might want to upgrade the pickups eventually but the stock units will do for most.
SOUND/TONE/VERSATILITY: With surprisingly adaptable pickups and coil-splitting 5-way switching, this guitar covers a lot of bases, most of them while cranking up the gain and blasting out some riffs. The clean tones are not as distinctive but that doesn’t matter. Nice neck pickup lead tones too.
PLAYABILITY: Very easy and the tuning stability holds up quite well under heavy whammy abuse. It’ll take a few songs or some serious twang-bar freakout action to jostle this one out of tune. The frets feel a little sharp and the neck isn’t quite as comfortable as an actual EBMM Silhouette though.
PLAYABILITY: Inspired by the Music Man AXIS model (and the EVH before it), this guitar is exceptionally well balanced whether on your lap or on a strap, and that helps to effectively get the guitar ‘out of your way’ and let you concentrate on rocking. The fret ends can be a little rough but that’s about the only downer.
CONSTRUCTION: Quite well made, with a few rough spots here and there that drop a few hints as to the lower price point of these guitars, but it’s still a very nicely made guitar with no obvious flaws, just little finishing stuff.
CONSTRUCTION: Aside from the aforementioned fret ends and the occasional rough pickup cavity route on the examples we’ve checked out, these are very well-built guitars for the price and you could happily take them on stage pretty much anywhere and not have to sweat it. OVERALL: Okay, so it’s not an actual AXIS or EVH but the AX3 is a surprisingly great guitar for the money. Beginner, intermediate, pro looking for a costeffective backup to put only minimal upgrades into, most players would really benefit from adding one of these to their collection.
OVERALL: A great alternative to the glut of ‘copy guitars’ around this price point. It’s an actual authorised representation of the Silhouette concept, okayed by a company who has been notoriously hard to please when it comes to allowing budget versions of their instruments.
SPECS NECK: MAPLE FRETBOARD: MAPLE BODY: JABON PICKUPS: H/H BRIDGE: VINTAGE TREM TUNERS: SEALED CASE INCLUDED: N/A MADE IN: INDONESIA
DISTRIBUTOR: DYNAMIC MUSIC GUITAR TYPE: SOLID BODY ELECTRIC
RECOMMENDED FOR: Rock, pop, metal, fusion, loopers, synth guys, live triggering and whatever you can dream up thanks to the electric, acoustic and 13 pin outputs on the guitar.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Rock, blues, heavier styles and pop. S style players wanting something a little more hot rodded and those looking for USB output to compliment their standard setup.
SOUND/TONE/VERSATILITY: As an electric you can cycle through the 5 way switch including humbuckers in the neck and bridge positions, for the acoustic piezo pickup there’s a 3 band graphic EQ and volume control and then of the course the synth access to whatever you want to hook the xtSA up to! For versatility this Godin gets full marks and with enough tweakability to make any of the three output types more than usable.
SOUND/TONE/VERSATILITY: Single coils in the neck and middle get you warm, spanky round tones and that strat type quack. Move to the bridge and you’ve got a Godin custom humbucker for edgy rock tones with a little added girth. On top of these sounds Godin have again employed the HDR switch for active tones on each pickup with extra bite and dynamic range. USB connectivity also lets the Progression Boutique plug straight into your PC be it in the studio or on the road.
CONSTRUCTION: Godin really sit under the radar as their guitars look like they should be priced much more than they actually are. A beautiful flamey translucent finish on this particular axe (and a range of other colours available too) the timber choice, action and setup are all top notch. OVERALL: An interesting guitar from the Godin camp that combines some beautiful woods with added electronics and tonal versatility.
SPECS NECK: MAPLE OR ROSEWOOD FRETBOARD: MAPLE BODY: JABON PICKUPS: H/S/S BRIDGE: VINTAGE TREM TUNERS: SEALED CASE INCLUDED: N/A MADE IN: INDONESIA
GODIN PROGRESSION BOUTIQUE USB
DISTRIBUTOR: DYNAMIC MUSIC GUITAR TYPE: SOLID BODY ELECTRIC GUITAR
PLAYABILITY: The single cut design and weighty body leans more towards the LP side of things but its still a balanced all round guitar that shouldn’t cause any problems. Whether bashing out chords, fingerpicking or hammering out lead lines the xtSA feels solid, the deep cutaway allows plenty of upper register access and once you’ve got your head around the control layout you’ll be switching tones with ease.
PLAYABILITY: Very much in the S camp of electric solid body guitars in both shape and feel the Progression Boutique plays like a dream with good body/neck balance and body weight. Add in the ease of use with the USB output and you can smash out tunes almost anywhere.
SPECS NECK: MAHOGANY BOLT-ON FRETBOARD: EBONY BODY: SILVER LEAF MAPLE CENTER WITH POPLAR WINGS PICKUPS: H-S-H, TREMOLO BRIDGE WITH RMC TRANSDUCERS BRIDGE: TREMOLO BRIDGE WITH RMC TRANSDUCERS FOR ACOUSTIC AND SYNTH SOUNDS TUNERS: GODIN, 3 A SIDE CASE INCLUDED: DELUXE GIG BAG WITH NECK SUPPORT MADE IN: CANADA
CONSTRUCTION: Maple and Rosewood are the woods of choice with this trans black example having a great quilted top with dark edges. OVERALL: A super strat type deal from Godin with boutique features such as a slick finish, hot rodded bridge humbucker, HDR function and USB output. Besides all the bells and whistles it’s also a really nice playing solid body that comes in way cheaper than you’d expect!
SPECS NECK: ROCK MAPLE BOLT-ON FRETBOARD: MAPLE OR ROSEWOOD BODY: SILVER LEAF MAPLE BODY WITH POPLAR WINGS PICKUPS: 2 x SINGLES, 1 x HUMBUCKER BRIDGE: TRADITIONAL TREMOLO TUNERS: GODIN, 6 A SIDE CASE INCLUDED: DELUXE GIG BAG WITH NECK SUPPORT MADE IN: CANADA
APRIL 2014 / MIXDOWN NO. 240 / PG. 39
GODIN ICON TYPE 3
DISTRIBUTOR: DYNAMIC MUSIC GUITAR TYPE: SOLID BODY ELECTRIC GUITAR
RECOMMENDED FOR: Predominantly jazz, blues and rock but also anyone wanting some warm archtop vibes or jangly bridge pickup tones.
SOUND/TONE/VERSATILITY: Unplugged you get a round, smooth tone with quite a lot of sustain. Then with three Lollar P90’s and Godin’s HDR switch you get a host of versatility for warm round tones, creamy edge of breakup and fat rock sounds.
SOUND/TONE/VERSATILITY: Warm round hollow body tones with a nice jazzy plasticky pick attack on the front pickup. You can then run more 50s and 60s R&B and almost early rock and roll tones on the bridge. Plenty of sustain and body unplugged too which often indicates a nice clean tone plugged in.
PLAYABILITY: Although a little weighty the Icon Type 3 still feels balanced and the chambered body still feels lighter than many other electrics in a similar style. The neck is nice and manageable, not too chunky and with a lovely round heel joint for those hanging around the 12th fret and beyond.
PLAYABILITY: I really like the single cut jazz body shape coupled with the thinline body depth which means that it’s not as bulky as a lot of typical rock and roll and jazz hollow body axes, but it still has that inherent tone and essence in its sound.
CONSTRUCTION: Like a lot of the Godin gear the construction seems great, looks a treat and is much more affordable than you’d think! The finish, paintjob and edges are all on the money and the body shape sits somewhere in the ‘modern take on a classic look’ camp.
CONSTRUCTION: Again, Godin have mastered quality in craftsmanship at an affordable price. It’s gorgeous semi hollow body design and finish is stunning. It’s all about attention to detail from the headstock to the lower bout of the guitar, and the Montreal Premiere semi hollow passes with flying colours.
SPECS NECK: MAHOGANY SET-NECK FRETBOARD: EBONY BODY: CHAMBERED SOLID MAHOGANY BODY WITH CARVED MAHOGANY TOP PICKUPS: 3 x LOLLAR P90’s BRIDGE: GRAPHTECH RESOMAX TUNERS: GODIN, 3 A SIDE CASE INCLUDED: DELUXE GIG BAG WITH NECK SUPPORT MADE IN: CANADA
OVERALL: A great jazz, blues and rock roll guitar at a super price. Solid construction and a nice finish make it a looker as well as a good player. Semi hollow and thinline contribute to the smooth tone and light body weight for comfortable playing for hours on end. Absolutely killer guitar at the price, this one will be timeless.
DISTRIBUTOR: JADE AUSTRALIA GUITAR TYPE: LP 6 STRING ELECTRIC GUITAR
RECOMMENDED FOR: Jazz players, pretty much exclusively. It’s clear from the looks and the tone that you ain’t playing Meshuggah on this bad boy.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Classic rockers, hard rockers, blues-rockers, fusion players. We all know what this looks like and what this kind of guitar is great for!
SOUND/TONE/VERSATILITY: With only a single pickup and volume and tone controls you’re going to be able to get plenty of tones out of this if you have great control in your hands. Not so much otherwise.
SOUND/TONE/VERSATILITY: Tokai has long been known for the quality and sonic faithfulness of their guitars, and this one is no exception. Everything you’d want is here: the tone, the sustain, the articulation. And of course it sounds great under high gain. Coil splits would be nice though to add an extra dimension.
PLAYABILITY: If you’re used to jazz boxes, this is one of the most playable and comfortable out there. if you’re not you might feel a little confronted by this one at first. But it’s a beautiful guitar any way you look at it, and as playable as you could possibly hope for, given its large size.
PLAYABILITY: If you’re used to carvedtop electrics with this kind of neck pitch, this is going to feel instantly comfortable to you. The neck feels great and the fretwork is pretty nice too. CONSTRUCTION: This one diverges from the standard specs by featuring a Basswood body with Flamed Sycamore laminated top and Maple set neck. Build quality is quite good and the binding is nice too.
CONSTRUCTION: Construction is very good but not quite flawless. The frets are finished smoothly but some seem to have been tapped in at a slightly off angle, and some of the binding is a little spotty. But for the money these are quite acceptable quirks.
PG. 40 / MIXDOWN NO. 240 / APRIL 2014
SPECS NECK: MAHOGANY SET-NECK FRETBOARD: ROSEWOOD BODY: CANADIAN WILD CHERRY TOP, BACK & SIDES WITH A “BREATHETHROUGH” CARVED SPRUCE CORE PICKUPS: HUMBUCKERS BRIDGE: GRAPHTECH RESOMAX OR OPTIONAL BIGSBY TUNERS: GODIN, 3 A SIDE CASE INCLUDED: DELUXE GIG BAG WITH NECK SUPPORT MADE IN: CANADA
TOKAI LOVE ROCK ALS-48
DISTRIBUTOR: JADE AUSTRALIA GUITAR TYPE: JAZZ 6 STRING ELECTRIC GUITAR
OVERALL: A beautiful playing and sounding guitar with very minor finishing issues that you won’t even notice after the guitar has broken in properly. Also, one of the most beautiful flamed mapleeffect backs you’ll ever see.
DISTRIBUTOR: DYNAMIC MUSIC GUITAR TYPE: THINLINE HOLLOW BODY ELECTRIC GUITAR
RECOMMENDED FOR: Rock, blues and players wanting something beefier than single coils, but that isn’t in that super fat humbucker territory.
OVERALL: If you’re after something P90 ish in the LP sorta style,v the Icon Type 3 ticks a lot of boxes. The chambered body adds some sustain and the Lollar pickups are a great choice. Some will be able to take or leave the High Definition Revoicer switch but either way the Icon Type 3 pulls out some warm, smooth rocky blues tones.
GODIN MONTREAL PREMIERE SEMIHOLLOW
SPECS NECK: MAPLE FRET BOARD: ROSEWOOD BODY: MAPLE ARCH TOP PICKUPS: 1 x FLOATING MINI HUM BUCKING BRIDGE: ROSEWOOD FLOATING TUNERS: GOLD DIECAST-NEW YORK STYLE CASE INCLUDED: HEAVY DUTY GIG BAG MADE IN: CHINA
OVERALL: It may not feature the same woods as the original but the majority of the tone is still intact despite the changes. This is a nice cost-effective way of getting most of that tonal mojo and all of that classic look.
SPECS NECK: MAPLE SET NECK FRETBOARD: ROSEWOOD BODY: BASSWOOD PICKUPS: LSC-F x 2 BRIDGE: TUNAMATIC STYLE TUNERS: DIE CAST TULIP BUTTONS CASE INCLUDED: HEAVY DUTY GIG BAG MADE IN: CHINA
MATON 503 CLASSIC
DISTRIBUTOR: MATON GUITARS GUITAR TYPE: SOLID BODY ELECTRIC GUITAR
DISTRIBUTOR: MATON GUITARS GUITAR TYPE: SOLID BODY ELECTRIC GUITAR
RECOMMENDED FOR: Rock, pop, indie, blues, heavier styles. Pros, semi pros, amateurs, players looking for a different take on the double humbucker solid body.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Rock, indie, progressive, pop, blues. SOUND/TONE/VERSATILITY: Big round chords and on the edge bluesy breakup on the neck pickup. It’s super useable and you can also brighten it up by flicking to the bridge. Switch the coil tap in the bridge position for a single coil vibe or you can also enjoy the neck and coil tapped bridge combo for a big fat vintage tone.
SOUND/TONE/VERSATILITY: Featuring Maton’s own MVB0 and MHN0 pickups the 503 Classic is round and full on the neck pickup and fat and gnarly at the bridge. The 3 way switch also gets you the in between sound whilst the coil tap on the bridge opens more doors for brighter S styled tones.
PLAYABILITY: Light and shorter scale make the MS500 a fun axe to play. Smaller hands will love the neck and those sick of playing back breaking electrics will cancel those chiropractor appointments. Easy to handle but still a serious instrument.
PLAYABILITY: A medium kind of C shaped neck is easy to handle and the 12” fingerboard radius lets you whip around with ease. The deep cutaway and angled heel joint also allow plenty of access to the higher frets. Quite light in weight it’s also great for those who steer clear of heavy axes. CONSTRUCTION: Maton’s 503 classic has some beautiful touches that conjure up vintage instruments whilst the design is definitely their own. Body shape, headstock shape, switches, pick guard all look great and the guitar feels top notch too. This particular example came in a cherry red finish that looked a treat and added to that vintage/modern vibe. OVERALL: Well known for their acoustic guitars Maton’s electric offerings such as the 503 classic really kick some butt. With distinctive looks at a more than reasonable price they’re definitely worth a look if you’re after a guitar that veers slightly from the classic shapes.
CONSTRUCTION: Vintage vibes and quality aussie craftsmanship here utilising Silkwood, Queensland Maple and Rosewood. The finish is sweet and Maton’s own pickups add to the old school feel, not to mention the control knobs and rotary pickup selector switch which feels and looks like something out of an old hot rod.
SPECS NECK: QUEENSLAND MAPLE FRETBOARD:ROSEWOOD WITH WHITE BINDING, PEARL DOTS BODY: SILKWOOD DOUBLE BOUND PICKUPS:MATON MVHB HUMBUCKER (BRIDGE–COIL TAPPED) MATON MVSC (NECK–SINGLE COIL) BRIDGE: FINISH–MAHOGANY BACK AND SIDES WITH HONEY FACE TUNERS: GROVER ROTOMATIC MACHINE HEADS CASE INCLUDED: YES MADE IN: AUSTRALIA
OVERALL: A great Australian brand that needs no introduction. Possibly better known for their acoustic guitars, Maton’s electric range should soon reach the same heights with distinctive designs and shapes paired with classic tones. I’ve seen plenty of these guitars up close and live and they don’t disappoint. Worth checking out if you’re after something a little different in a solid body electric guitar.
DISTRIBUTOR: MATON GUITARS GUITAR TYPE: SEMI HOLLOW BODY ELECTRIC GUITAR
RECOMMENDED FOR: Blues, roots, country, rock, pop. Although aimed initially at the country and country rock market the T-Byrd would be a great blues, rock, pop instrument too. Also handy as that ‘something slightly different’ axe when you need to mix things up a little.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Rock, alternative, blues, pop, jazz and almost everything in between. Players of all styles and levels.
NECK: BOLT ON QLD MAPLE FRETBOARD: ROSEWOOD BODY: SILVER SILKWOOD PICKUPS: MVHB (COIL TAPPED) BRIDGE: CHROME TAILPIECE & BRIDGE TUNERS: CHROME GROVER CASE INCLUDED: YES MADE IN: AUSTRALIA
SOUND/TONE/VERSATILITY: The semi hollow design adds some nice body and sustain to clean tones. Both humbuckers can be split into single coils so you can work through fat and round tones to bright, sharper sounds with ease. I love the ability to change between woody almost jazz tones on the front pickup to grindy rock and roll on the bridge.
SOUND/TONE/VERSATILITY: A telecaster bridge, bridge pickup and control layout make for some very T styled tones in the middle and back pickup positions. The Lollar Super T can do sharp and jangly or chicken pickin. Then move to the neck pickup and the cool addition of the Lollar Charlie Christian pickup will open up some big rounder tones–think rock and roll or blues. Makes for an interesting take on the Maton T type sound.
PLAYABILITY: Made for Josh Homme (of QOTSA fame) the JH is a hollowbody electric in Maton’s classic double cut style. A comfortable playing weight this BB1200 is lightish thanks to its hollow body but still meaty and solid enough to bash out loud chords and riffs without feeling like you should tone it down a touch.
PLAYABILITY: Bashing out chords or playing lines up the neck the T-Byrd feels pretty darn nice all over the fret board. Slightly more D shaped than some of Maton’s other electric offerings, the neck will suit quite a lot of players and the guitar is balanced and comfy overall.
OVERALL: A kind of cross between a tele, semi hollow chambered electric and classic Maton double cutaway the T-Byrd definitely has its own thing going on too. Whilst I can see the appeal for country, roots, rock ‘n’ roll players there’s no reason it won’t also fit into a heap of other musical settings.
MATON BB1200 JH JOSH HOMME
DISTRIBUTOR: MATON GUITARS GUITAR TYPE: CHAMBERED ELECTRIC 6 STRING
CONSTRUCTION: Great to see Maton developing new ideas such as the T-Byrd. The build quality is up there with many pricier brands and it feels and looks like a serious player. Beautiful!
SPECS NECK: ROCK MAPLE FRETBOARD: ROCK MAPLE BODY: QUANDONG WITH ROCK MAPLE CAP PICKUPS: LOLLAR CHARLIE CHRISTIAN/ LOLLAR SUPER T BRIDGE: TRAPEZE TAILPIECE & BRIDGE TUNERS: GROVER MINI CASE INCLUDED: YES MADE IN: AUSTRALIA
CONSTRUCTION: I love the look, feel and tone and the satin Blackwood finish is earthy and natural with a dark, mysterious hint to it – perfect for Mr, Homme I’d imagine! The trapeze tailpiece adds some vintage feel to the guitar and the whole instrument feels great from a quality point of view – smooth edges, no marks, good intonation etc. OVERALL: Thanks to its feel and range of tones it would suit players of all standards and styles. This is not one of those signature guitars that only appeals to a tiny section of the population, the BB1200 JH really deserves some attention no matter what your musical bag consists of!
SPECS NECK: SET ROCK MAPLE FRETBOARD: ROSEWOOD BODY: BLACK WOOD TONE CAP/ BLACK WOOBACK BINDING IVORY PICKUPS: JHB (BRIDGE – COIL TAPPED) JHN (NECK–COIL TAPPED) BRIDGE: TRAPEZE TAILPIECE & BRIDGE TUNERS: CHROME GROVER CASE INCLUDED: YES MADE IN: AUSTRALIA
APRIL 2014 / MIXDOWN NO. 240 / PG. 41
DEAN DECEIVER X
RECOMMENDED FOR: In one word: Metal. This is a classic black machine that takes no prisoners and will go low when you want to, but also holds its own ground for rock solo work too.
RECOMMENDED FOR: This is a hybrid guitar that is going to not only suit blues and jazz players, but will also do well in the hands of many indi and rock players. It’s truly versatile and shouldn’t be placed into one specific genre or style.
SOUND/TONE/VERSATILITY: If you like it loud and in your face, the Deceiver X is going to tick all the boxes. The highly compressed tone gives you the high output you would expect from this beast.
SOUND/TONE/VERSATILITY: As a hollow body guitar, this instrument has a great jazz tone with a great range of sounds as you move through the pickup selection options and ride the tone control to suit your sound. The solid wood block running through the centre gives it a really thick and rich tone that puts it halfway between a solid body and a true hollow body sound.
PLAYABILITY: Straight out of the box, the Deceiver X just felt great. I only needed to adjust a couple of strings to bring them into tune and it was ready to go. The fret work was really smooth, matching the unfinished neck that just slid through the hand effortlessly.
PLAYABILITY: Like butter, that’s how she plays. The larger body comes into play as far as the tone goes, but it goes completely unnoticed as far as playability. This feels like a much smaller guitar, with a weight and a neck feel that is just right.
CONSTRUCTION: Without being too heavy, you still get a lot of timber in this guitar, so it has a solid, familiar feel. The bolt on neck has a great contour that really sits well in the hand as both a lead and rhythm guitar and the string through body construction goes a long way to continuing the sustain of this instrument.
CONSTRUCTION: Like any Yamaha guitar, there is no cutting corners in the production stage. The finish is superb, the inlays and binding add a great completion to the look of the guitar and the hardware balances it all out nicely. OVERALL: You really cannot go wrong with the SA2200. It looks stunning, it feels great and it has a sound or two hidden within it, for just about any player. As usual, Yamaha have raised the bar with this instrument.
SPECS NECK: BOLT ON MAPLE C FRETBOARD: EBONY BODY: BASSWOOD PICKUPS: DMT DESIGN BRIDGE: FLOYD ROSE TUNERS: GROVER CASE INCLUDED: NO MADE IN: CHINA
PRS SE CLINT LOWERY
DISTRIBUTOR: ELECTRIC FACTORY GUITAR TYPE: CLINT LOWERY SIGNATURE SE MODEL
PRS S2 CUSTOM 22
RECOMMENDED FOR: Rockers, bluesrockers, jazz players… anyone who wants a true US-built PRS but can’t quite stretch the budget to the really deluxe-looking stuff.
SOUND/TONE/VERSATILITY: This one is designed to sound aggressive and big and yet tight and punchy at the same time, which is crucial given that Lowery’s preferred tuning is Drop B. Interestingly, this has a regular 25.5” scale length, not a baritone length. The pickups are PRS’s SE HFS and SE Vintage Bass models, which give you a lot of range beyond ‘GRAAARR.’
SOUND/TONE/VERSATILITY: This guitar is dripping with all the warm midrange goodness you’d expect from a PRS. It’s a great sound which sits really well in a band mix whether onstage or in the studio, and it just makes you want to play and play.
PG. 42 / MIXDOWN NO. 240 / APRIL 2014
NECK: PREMIUM MAHOGANY FRETBOARD: EBONY BODY: LAMINATED FIGURED MAPLE PICKUPS: 2 x ALNICO V HUMBUCKER BRIDGE: T-O-M CASE INCLUDED: YES MADE IN: JAPAN
RRP: CALL FOR PRICING
PLAYABILITY: Playability is very nice here, from the gentle body contouring to the smooth fret work. And the controls are nice and easy to reach. It’s also very well balanced, and the vibrato system returns to and maintains pitch quite well.
PLAYABILITY: The neck shape is an unusual combination of ‘rounded’ yet ‘not super fat.’ This makes it great for intricate lead work and complex chord shapes. And the body carve is nice and ergonomic too.
OVERALL: The stylised inlays might put some players off, but the logo isn’t so singular as to be distracting or too identifying: most people will just see it as a cool design choice rather than an indication that it’s a signature guitar. You don’t have to be a Sevendust fan to love this guitar, but it helps.
DISTRIBUTOR: ELECTRIC FACTORY GUITAR TYPE: SOLID BODY 6 STRING CUTAWAY
RECOMMENDED FOR: Well, specifically, Sevendust fans, but beyond that anyone who is interested in a low-tuned, aggressive, heavy rock or metal guitar with cool styling.
CONSTRUCTION: PRS SE guitars have come a long way since the first batch back in the day. These days they’re every bit as good as the main line of most other companies. The construction here is so tight and well-executed that it’s almost unfair! The intonatable combined bridge/ tailpiece is a nice touch.
DISTRIBUTOR: YAMAHA MUSIC AUSTRALIA GUITAR TYPE: SEMI-HOLLOW 6 STRING GUITAR
DISTRIBUTOR: NATIONAL AUDIO SYSTEMS GUITAR TYPE: 6 STRING SOLID BODY
OVERALL: Although the simplest model in the Deceiver range, Dean have got it right with the Deceiver X. It feels, plays and sounds like a whole lot more than what it actually is. You rarely get guitars in this price range that play like this one does, so Dean must be doing something right.
CONSTRUCTION: This is a well built guitar with nice fretwork, good clean lines and nice reliable controls. OVERALL: This is a really beautiful guitar which suits all sorts of musical situations, looks great, and is extremely playable.
SPECS NECK: MAHOGANY WITH WHITE BINDING FRETBOARD: BOUND ROSEWOOD BODY: CUSTOM ‘CL’ MAHOGANY WITH 3 PLY BINDING PICKUPS: SE HFS TREBLE, SE VINTAGE BASS BRIDGE: PRS ADJUSTABLE STOPTAIL TUNERS: PRS DESIGNED TUNERS CASE INCLUDED: GIGBAG MADE IN: KOREA
SPECS NECK: MAHOGANY FRETBOARD: ROSEWOOD BODY: ASYMETRIC BEVELED, BOOKMATCHED FIGURED MAPLE PICKUPS: S2 HFS TREBLE, S2 VINTAGE BASS BRIDGE: PRS S2 TREMOLO TUNERS: PRS S2 LOCKING TUNERS CASE INCLUDED: GIGBAG MADE IN: USA
DANELECTRO DC59 12 STRING
DANELECTRO 56 SINGLE CUTAWAY BASS
RRP: CALL FOR PRICING DISTRIBUTOR: AUSTRALASIAN MUSIC SUPPLIES (AMS) GUITAR TYPE: 12 STRING ELECTRIC GUITAR
DISTRIBUTOR: AUSTRALASIAN MUSIC SUPPLIES (AMS) GUITAR TYPE: 4 STRING BASS
RECOMMENDED FOR: Indie, alternative, classic rock, country–anyone who requires a nice jangly electric 12-string tone but either can’t stretch their budget to Rickenbacker extremes, or simply loves that stylish, straightforward Danelectro vibe.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Those with an appreciation for the old-school, in both looks and tone. Also great for those with back problems, as we’ll see in ‘playability.’ SOUND/TONE/VERSATILITY: This one isn’t going to give you modern slap and pop tones but it excels at rubbery, articulate-but-woody vintage tone. It’d be great for Beatles-style material or a retro-inspired neo-country band, a blues band–really anyone who needs a nice honest no-frills bass tone with nice attack, and isn’t fussed about having an overly slick, ‘LA Studio’ tone.
SOUND/TONE/VERSATILITY: The bridge pickup is noticeably less powerful than the neck one, which overpowers it either when used alone or in combination. But the tones themselves are beautiful and very usable whether you’re running a clean tone, gobs of gain, or 60s-approved heavy compression. PLAYABILITY: The string spacing might be a little too close for some players, especially if they’re not used to 12-string guitars, but you’ll adapt soon enough. It does take a little bit of retraining of the brain muscles to wrap your head around what you can and can’t do on a 12-string but this little “Dano” does its best to make it easy for you. CONSTRUCTION: Danelectro’s are, by their very nature, constructed from very hardy yet relatively inexpensive materials. They may not be crafted of the rarest most beautiful woods but when was the last time you saw a busted Dano? Never, right? They hold up really well and this is no exception. OVERALL: A great entry into the 12-string market and for any player be they a folkie, a classic rocker, an indie or alternative janglemeister, or even a heavy rock player looking to add some extra shimmer and shine to some atmospheric overdubs.
PLAYABILITY: This bass is surprisingly light, which makes it an ease to play. The neck is also very comfortable, and not at all neck-heavy despite how it might look. The fretwork isn’t perfect but it’s not sliceyour-fingers bad either, and the controls are easy enough to reach.
SPECS NECK: MAPLE BOLT-ON FRETBOARD: ROSEWOOD BODY: MASONITE AND LAMINATED WOOD PICKUPS: 2 x CHROME ALNICO LIPSTICK TUBE PICKUPS BRIDGE: FULLY ADJUSTABLE HARDTAIL BRIDGE TUNERS: GOTOH CHROME SEALED CASE INCLUDED: NO MADE IN: KOREA
MUSIC MAN CLASSIC SABRE
DISTRIBUTOR: CMC MUSIC P/L GUITAR TYPE: 4 STRING BASS
OVERALL: This is a really intriguing bass because it has a sound that’s all its own; recognisably a bass, of course, but nothing like a P-Bass, a StingRay or anything like that. Maybe you can compare it to a more punchy Hofner ‘Beatle’ bass in tone. Whatever you call it, it sounds great and plays wonderfully.
SPECS NECK: MAPLE BOLT-ON FRETBOARD: ROSEWOOD BODY: MASONITE AND LAMINATED WOOD PICKUPS: 2 x CHROME ALNICO LIPSTICK TUBE PICKUPS BRIDGE: ROSEWOOD SADDLE BRIDGE TUNERS: KLUSON STYLE WITH VINTAGE IVORY BUTTONS CASE INCLUDED: NO MADE IN: KOREA
STERLING BY MUSIC MAN S.U.B SERIES RAY4 RRP: $595
RECOMMENDED FOR: Rock, blues, punk, funk, jazz, metal and soul players looking for a straightforward but affordable take on the venerable Music Man StingRay. SOUND/TONE/VERSATILITY: Like the classic StingRay, the 2-band active EQ (Treble and Bass) really helps to open this one up, from reliable ‘regular bass’ to a hi-fi slap-and-pop one. It’s deceptively flexible, even though the looks might suggest something a little more meatand-potatoes.
SOUND/TONE/VERSATILITY: The two humbucker pickups–16-pole neck and 8-pole bridge–offer plenty of sounds from the deep and boomy to the edgy and cutting, and the Silent Circuit keeps everything nice and quiet no matter how distorted you like your sound. And the 2-band active preamp (Treble and Bass) gives you extra scope to shape your sound.
PLAYABILITY: The neck shape will seem a little broom-like to some players but it definitely aids in playing for long periods, especially if the material calls for lots of steady eighth notes that require endurance rather than zipping around the neck like a caffeinated marmoset.
PLAYABILITY: A very sturdy, rock worthy, road worthy bass that stays out of your way and lets you either dig into rhythm parts or really get intricate with jazzy solos. It’s also great for slap/pop techniques. The lever pickup selector is a nice touch too, so you don’t have to deal with push-pulls or mini-switches for single coil modes.
OVERALL: A good solid all-rounder, capable of shifting genres as fast as you can. The look as also suitably adaptable and it’d be at home on pretty much any stage you can think of, which is awesome!
CONSTRUCTION: Danelectros are hardy buggers, and this one is built in a very solid way with a neck joint that seems like it will never shift. The control knobs do feel just a little bit filmsy but not enough to get worked up about.
DISTRIBUTOR: CMC MUSIC P/L GUITAR TYPE: 4 STRING BASS
RECOMMENDED FOR: Rock, punk, country, blues and top 40 bass players who want a top-quality bass with simple but flexible electronics and who don’t want to deal with the buzz and hum when rocking single coil sounds.
CONSTRUCTION: The six-bolt neck joint ensures nice efficient energy transfer from the string to the neck and body, and the fretwork is characteristically perfect.
RRP: CALL FOR PRICING
SPECS NECK: BIRDSEYE OR FLAME MAPLE FRETBOARD: FRETTED - MAPLE OR ROSEWOOD BODY: ASH PICKUPS: HH 16 POLE AND 8 POLE WITH PATENTED MUSIC MAN “SILENT CIRCUIT” BRIDGE: TOP LOADING HARDENED STEEL w/ MUTE PADS TUNERS: SCHALLER BM, WITH TAPERED STRING POSTS CASE INCLUDED: HARDSHELL SKB MADE IN: USA
CONSTRUCTION: Quite well built for the price, with a few rough edges here and there but nothing to chuck a strop about. Surprisingly faithful to an actual StingRay, getting the ‘little details’ right such as a neck-base truss rod adjustment and the look of the bridge. All the little things help! OVERALL: No, it’s no actual pricey StingRay–the tone isn’t as complex, the woods aren’t as nice and the fret work isn’t as finessed–but it captures the essence of the classic StingRay so well that it’s certainly worth a look.
SPECS NECK: MAPLE OR ROSEWOOD FRETBOARD: MAPLE BODY: BASSWOOD PICKUPS: SINGLE HUMBUCKER BRIDGE: FIXED TUNERS: OPEN CASE INCLUDED: N/A MADE IN: INDONESIA
APRIL 2014 / MIXDOWN NO. 240 / PG. 43
DEAN EDGE 1-5 BASS
YAMAHA TRBX174 BASS
DISTRIBUTOR: NATIONAL AUDIO SYSTEMS (NAS) GUITAR TYPE: 5 STRING BASS
DISTRIBUTOR: YAMAHA MUSIC AUSTRALIA GUITAR TYPE: 4 STRING BASS
RECOMMENDED FOR: The bass player who wants to take his or her tone lower than normal should take a look at the Edge 1-5 bass. It offers a classic design with a darker edge that will appeal to both fans of Dean Guitars and bass playing purists as well.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Beginners and intermediate players or part timers that want a good playing bass for not a lot of cash. SOUND/TONE/VERSATILITY: Although sitting at the entry level end of Yamaha’s bass range the TRBX174 still has a solid range of tones on tap. With its P/J pickup setup you can dial in clear, big neck pickup tones when you need to fill out your sound or more bridge for a little extra zing if brighter and edgy is your thing. Classics to modern, slap, funk, pick and a whole lot more!
SOUND/TONE/VERSATILITY: With pickups that have some real grunt to them, you can make a statement with your bass sound with the Edge 1-5. It delivers a high output tone that still has plenty of life when you pull out the higher frequencies to get extra power. PLAYABILITY: I loved the feel of the neck on this instrument. Even though it seemed fairly wide at first, the flat contour makes it easy to play and really has you feeling like you are playing a four-string rather than a five-string neck.
PLAYABILITY: At this price point and general intended audience you don’t want to be fighting your instrument– and Yamaha have put together an easy playing neck, simple to understand and operate controls and a light weighted body that will withstand plenty of abuse.
CONSTRUCTION: It is all pretty simple with the Edge 1-5. The bolt on neck has a smooth gloss surface that feels great and the bridge is solid without adding unnecessary weight to the end of the body. It’s simple and understated, yet it just works. OVERALL: With a neck that is wide enough to still play slap bass on, this 5-string bass offers a wide range of possibilities and still feels great to play. It isn’t fancy to look at. It is just black. I like that. It delivers in tone and feel and doesn’t try to compensate for any lacking with fancy looks.
CONSTRUCTION: Tough with all the right appointments. Solid bridge, accurate vintage styled tuners, an option of 3 different colours and a bass that’s fine to take to school for lessons, chuck in the car for rehearsals, record, jam and practice til the cows come home.
SPECS NECK: BOLT-ON MAPLE FRETBOARD: ROSEWOOD BODY: BASSWOOD PICKUPS: DMT DESIGN BRIDGE: DIE CAST TUNERS: SEALED DIE CAST CASE INCLUDED: NO MADE IN: CHINA
YAMAHA TRBX504 BASS
OVERALL: Yamaha sell a tonne of these and it’s easy to see why. The perfect beginner instrument backed by Yamaha’s know how brand name. Super competitive at this price, check out the TRBX174 if you’re in the market for a entry level bass.
DISTRIBUTOR: YAMAHA MUSIC AUSTRALIA GUITAR TYPE: 4 STRING BASS
RECOMMENDED FOR: Rock, pop, metal, progressive. Players wanting a quality instrument from a well known brand name on a smaller budget.
RECOMMENDED FOR: This is a great all-rounder that will suit a variety of bass players from beginners to advanced. While it works well as a rock bass, it can easily be used for jazzier works as well.
SOUND/TONE/VERSATILITY: Some classic rounder type tones through to sharper slightly aggressive tones when winding in the bridge pickup. Yamaha have added the ability to switch between active and passive mode with the TRBX504’s H5 pickups so you can also dial in extra ‘oomph’ if needed. Either way the TRBX504 is flexible and can pull a range of tones quite easily.
NECK: MAPLE FRETBOARD: SONOKELING BODY: AGATHIS/MAPLE/MAHOGANY PICKUPS: SINGLE COIL AND SPLIT BRIDGE: VINTAGE TUNERS: COVERED CASE INCLUDED: NO MADE IN: INDONESIA
SOUND/TONE/VERSATILITY: The dual humbucking pickups and selector switch that is reminiscent of the previous TRB range offer a variety of tones that are all very usable. With a gritty rock punch when driven hard, to a mellow blues tone when wound back, there is something for everyone in here. PLAYABILITY: Like the previous RBX374 this is a bass that feel like it is above the actual price range that it sits in. The ergonomic body is easy to work around and the smooth neck just glides through my left hand. With a well-spaced nut, there is plenty of scope for this to be played as a slap bass too.
PLAYABILITY: Super slim neck on this baby means getting around the fretboard shouldn’t be an issue. The body is also nicely weighted and the curved edges allow you to nestle in comfortably. Great for younger players or those with small hands. CONSTRUCTION: Typical Yamaha goodness here–clean and slick with some nice touches. The translucent finish looks great with its almost matte appearance and the top sided fret markers give a fresh modern look to the instrument.
PG. 44 / MIXDOWN NO. 240 / APRIL 2014
YAMAHA TRBX304 BASS
DISTRIBUTOR: YAMAHA MUSIC AUSTRALIA GUITAR TYPE: 4 STRING BASS
OVERALL: Tough to beat at the price the TRBX504 is another welcome addition to Yamaha’s existing bass line-up. Players on a budget, beginners, intermediate, bedroom bashers or gigging folk could all rustle some sweet tones from the TRBX504 and do so without spending their life savings. Also suited to those modern, techy type players that love to whip around the neck and dial in a range of active and passive tones on the fly.
CONSTRUCTION: Being a combination of both the TRB and RBX models, this bass draws a little from both in the body and the neck. It is finished very nicely, it has a great balance to the weight and it feels like it is going to take just about anything you can throw at it, making it ideal for stage use.
NECK: 5-PIECE MAPLE/MAHOGANY FRETBOARD: ROSEWOOD BODY: MAHOGANY PICKUPS: ALNICO V HUMBUCKERS WITH QUAD POLE-PIECE DESIGN AND ACTIVE/PASSIVE SWITCH BRIDGE: DIECAST TUNERS: DIECAST CASE INCLUDED: NO MADE IN: INDONESIA
OVERALL: I have always enjoyed playing Yamaha basses and this one is no exception. As an entry level bass, you are getting so much more bang for your buck than with similar priced instruments. Beyond that, the TBX304 is a bass that will carry on with you as you develop as a bass player and will not necessarily be replaced when you advance, but should stay in your collection for years to come.
SPECS NECK: 5-PIECE MAPLE/MAHOGANY FRETBOARD: ROSEWOOD BODY: MAHOGANY PICKUPS: CERAMIC HUMBUCKERS WITH OVERSIZE POLE PIECES BRIDGE: DIECAST TUNERS: DIECAST CASE INCLUDED: NO MADE IN: INDONESIA
Developed with DJs. Built with passion. The new Pro DJ series carries a legendary sound into a new decade. Everything that DJs love about the HD 25 lives on in specialised versions for live or studio environments â€” with
a slightly extended bass line and even clearer highs. What we reinvented is the design: unmatched exterior shielding and attenuation. Resonance-absorbing frames.
Circumaural ear pads that pump your mix directly into your ear. And their wearing comfort allows you to drive the crowd for hours and hours.
For more information, freecall 1800 648 628, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.sennheiser.com.au
APRIL 2014 / MIXDOWN NO. 240 / PG. 45
AVID FAST TRACK SOLO AND FAST TRACK DUO USB AUDIO INTERFACES FAST TRACK DUO
FAST TRACK DUO FRONT AND BACK PANELS
FAST TRACK SOLO FAST TRACK SOLO FRONT AND BACK PANELS
AVID’s range of audio interfaces and softwar e has never been mor e comprehensive than what is curr ently available. This range begins with the Fast Track interfaces which aim to give users exactly what they require to fast track their production and meet their specif c demands. FAST TRACK SOLO This is about as bar e bones as you can get for a professional audio interface. The Fast T rack Solo is designed to keep it simple and allow a solo artist to r ecord their own music, one track at a time. With an XLR and a TRS input, you can record with microphones, line level instruments and guitars. A simple unbalanced RCA ster eo
output, along with a headphone output keeps it all together. You don’t need much mor e in a compact interface, just a little bit of cr eativity. I rarely record more than a single channel at any given time in my home studio, as is the case with many others. So, the Fast Track Solo doesn’t try to impress with unnecessary inputs and outputs. FAST TRACK DUO The Fast Track duo has been designed to carry a little more of a workload when it comes to digital conversion and physical interfacing. W ith two combination inputs, you can now r ecord a pair of microphones should you wish. For line inputs, you can connect additional instruments into two
further inputs on the rear of the device, in a nice touch that allows you to switch between the front and rear connections. This means you can have up to four devices connected for recording, you just need to select the two that you are going to use for any given take. Also, the Duo benef ts from TRS outputs for higher quality connection to you studio monitors, r educing unwanted noise in your monitoring. Both interfaces come bundled with Pr o Tools Express so you can get set up and get recording straight away. It took me no time at all to have both interfaces set up and r eady to use on my computer . There were no headaches with stubborn drivers or complicated install
procedures. AVID have focused on the ease of use with both of these interfaces and they have followed that right thr ough with the installation of the included software.
all the models in the MBox range is the way it helps with your navigation of the softwar e monitoring. You don’t just get a headphone output and a volume knob to adjust the level. No, the main volume is contr olled by a lar ger knob that makes small adjustments easy . There is also a Dim featur e to dr op the volume to a f xed level allowing you to hear how your mix sounds at lower levels with an A/B comparison to your standard listening level. Y ou also get a Mono switch to allow you to positively hear how your stereo imaging is or isn’ t working within your mix. Put this hardware together with AVID’s Pro Tools Express software and you have an extremely versatile and solidly engineered audio recording setup. The software offers you 16 track audio recording that is essentially a r educed version of Pr o Tools 10. You still get plenty of audio production and cr eation tools to ensur e
you are able to put together a r eally impressive recording. I know most of you will want to upgrade straight away to Pr o tools 11 software, but I would recommend giving Pro Tools Express a go f rst. You might just be pleasantly surprised and soon r ealise that this softwar e offers you everything that you need already.
BY ROB GEE
RRP: $209 (SOLO), $359 (DUO)
DISTRIBUTOR: AVID AUSTRALIA PHONE: 1300 734 454 WEBSITE: www.avid.com
AVID MBOX WITH PRO TOOLS EXPRESS
Those of you who know me will know that it is no secr et that I still hang onto my original Digidesign MBox for use with one of my older Pro Tools systems. Let’s face it, when the MBox f rst came out, it r eally revolutionised the way many of us r ecord and interact with Pr o Tools software. These days the new A VID MBox is somewhat further advanced fr om the original design, which is why I also use one on another system at home. INTO THE NOW Without reminiscing too much about the old grey and blue box that so many of us used or still do use, the curr ent MBox, now in its thir d generation has not only r emained a similar compact device, but has also been impr oved in ways other than just looks. Firstly , gone is the plastic casing, the new MBox is housed PG. 46 / MIXDOWN NO. 240 / APRIL 2014
in a tough metal chassis that isn’ t overly lar ge considering all that is squeezed into it. Y ou still get two high quality micr ophone preamps on combination XLR/TRS connections, but AVID has also included two guitar inputs on the front panel that can be engaged at the pr ess of a button. So, although this still operates as a two input interface like the original, you get more physical connections to plug everything into with. The S/ PDIF connections are still there too, for those of you who still make good use of digital outboard and require connectivity. The one major addition that was very much lacking fr om the original is MIDI in and out on the r ear of the unit, making this an all-in-one interface that really requires no further help from other devices. CLEVER INTERACTION What I do like about the fr ont panel of this and
BY ROB GEE
RRP: $599 DISTRIBUTOR: AVID AUSTRALIA PHONE: 1300 734 454 WEBSITE: www.avid.com
DBX DRIVERACK PA2
Anyone who has invested in their own PA system needs to pay attention to what I am about to tell you all. If you have spent your hard earned dollars on a mixer, amplifiers and speakers in order to have your own sound, you are really only half way there and missing a very important piece of the puzzle. That is where DBX steps in to solve the problem with the release of the all new DriveRack PA2, the latest generation of speaker management and PA tuning in one simple and easy to use unit.
You could spend a lot of time listening to the room and dialling in the right settings on each device. You could lug around a couple of rack cases to house all this gear. Or you could cram all that into a single rack unit, just 1RU worth of rack gear and you can save yourself a lot of time and money too. As well as being an entire rack of gear in just one unit, the DriveRack PA2 is really easy to integrate into your PA system. It takes only a minute to plug in and can be set up within a few minutes for basic operation.
SAVINGS You could spend a lot of money investing in several racks worth of EQs, compressors, limiters, crossovers and a range of other devices in order to get the most from your PA system.
IN TUNE It’s all well and good for you and your instruments to be in tune, but if your PA is not tuned to the room you are operating it in, it just ends up sounding like a cacophonous mess. So, for
those of you who do not know how to properly tune a PA to a room, the solution is simple. Get the DriveRack in place and get in tune. It takes care of feedback issues and early reflections around the room to ensure your PA works at its optimum. You get the EQ you need, as well as limiting compression and crossovers that will protect your speakers and ensure they sound their best as well. The newest model in the DriveRack range sees the addition of wireless control coming through an iOS or Android device. You can adjust the settings with a more intuitive interface that allows you a visual representation of what is going one. This if so much tidier than trying to edit the features in original device that meant you had to be where the unit was located, scrolling
through menus on the front panel. Now you can place yourself out in the room and hear how your changes to the system sound within the space. This is a big advance in speaker management and really is one device that every person who owns a PA should invest in. If you really want to hear what your speakers can do, have a listen to them through a DriveRack PA2. BY ROB GEE
DISTRIBUTOR: Jands PHONE: (02) 9582 0909 WEBSITE: www.jands.com.au
ALTO TS112A POWERED SPEAKER Those of you who have been paying attention may think you have seen this unit gracing the Mixdown pages already. Well you are almost right, but not quite. A number of months back I looked at the TS112W wireless unit that incorporated Bluetooth connectivity for wireless input. Well, this month I got to test drive the standard TS112A powered speakers to see just what power you can get in a portable pair of powered bins at a very different price point, I wasn’t disappointed. DON’T PAY FOR WHAT YOU DON’T NEED Basically, these speakers are just the same as the more expensive model but lack the Bluetooth input. So, if you don’t intend on remotely playing music through your mobile phone, but instead prefer to stick with the time honoured method of plugging a mixer into your speakers, then the TS112A powered speakers are going to be the better option. VERSATILITY Obviously, plugging a mixer into a pair of these gives you plenty of control and input options, however you can just run them by themselves as there are two inputs that can run line or microphone level through the combination XLR/ TRS inputs. You could use the TS112A as a single unit for a guitar and vocal in a tight space if you
needed to. That said, you could even play music from your mobile phone by simply plugging it in to one of the speakers and chaining the rest from the XLR linking output. PORTABILITY These speakers are fairly light and easily portable due to their cabinet design. Sure, they don’t sound like solid wooden cabinets, but then again, they don’t come with the added weight of wooden cabinets. They pack a solid punch for the size and deliver a decent amount of low end, especially given that they are using a 12” speaker and not a 15”. Because of this, you may well find that a pair of the TS112A speakers deliver enough volume and enough bass to meet your needs, so there will be no further need to build on the PA by adding a sub and therefore maintain the portability of the units. BY ROB GEE
RRP: $549.99 DISTRIBUTOR: Pro Audio Group (Australia) PHONE: (02) 9521 4844 WEBSITE: www.proaudiogroup.com.au APRIL 2014 / MIXDOWN NO. 240 PG. 47
TANNOY REVEAL 402 AND 502 STUDIO MONITORS
REVEAL 402 Tannoy is a name that is synonymous with audio reproduction and amplification. They have been a household name for over 80 years when it comes to PA speakers and for as long as I can remember, they have been a brand to look to when seeking inspiration in studio monitors. Having used a range of Tannoy studio speakers over the years, from their large concentric design mid-field monitors to some of the various compact near-field Reveal models that have come and gone. So I was quite intrigued and delighted to see some new life breathed into the Reveal range with the introduction of three new models of varying sizes. Although the new Reveal monitors have a slightly more modern look to the colour tones of the cabinet, drivers and the LED, the units have and instantly recognisable Reveal shape to them and the 402, 502 and 802 all have a place in the modern music making environment. Along with the classic Tannoy Reveal look, the monitors
REVEAL 502 have that classic Tannoy sound and feature the delightful articulation in audio reproduction that this range of speakers has been known for over the years. REVEAL 402 A 4” driver is not everyone’s cup of tea and there will be a lot of people who will simply overlook this model without taking it on its merits. First, understand that these are not designed to be big bass boxes, nor are they intended to be used to host a party. Nothing could be further from the original intent of their design. Tannoy has delivered these smaller near-field monitors for use at both low volumes and in confined workspaces. This is typical of many home studios and so fits the bill nicely. The deliver a clear and concise mid-range and high frequency response with a crisp transient attack and a subtle but by no means lacking bottom end. Used at close proximity, the Reveal 402 monitors can give
you a different perspective to another pair of monitors, or as your sole reference will remain true within their audible abilities. REVEAL 502 When looking for a little more volume and a greater frequency response, the Reveal 502 is going to be the go to monitor for a lot of people. This unit features a 5” woofer and a 1” soft dome tweeter to ensure the best of your material is reproduced in a manner that is true to what is created. The front ported design is integrated into the cabinet very nicely, allowing air to be expelled without any audible chuffing and allows the monitors to be used close to walls in smaller rooms without affecting the reference point of the lower frequencies. A simple three position EQ switch is supplied to allow you to sculpt the sound to suit your needs, but after a short listen, I found that it was best left flat for the room I was working within. The result was
a more natural sound that didn’t come across like it was trying to compensate at one end or another of the frequency range. They offer a different response to the Reveal 402, as would be expected due to the variance in size, but they still share similarities in tone. When you hear these or any other Reveal models, you know you are listening to a Tannoy and they sound great. BY ROB GEE
RRP: Call for pricing
DISTRIBUTOR: Amber Technology PHONE: 1800 251 367 WEBSITE: www.ambertech.com.au
STERLING BY MUSIC MAN LK100D ELECTRIC GUITAR Steve Lukather is one of Ernie Ball Music Man’s greatest ambassadors. He’s been playing his signature line on stage and in the studio for decades now, on G3 tours, with Ringo Starr, as a solo artist and of course with his legendary band Toto. Luke’s EBMM models are all incredibly playable and they all have a rich, rounded tone–especially the most recent iteration, the LIII line featuring Luke’s new signature DiMarzio Transition passive humbuckers. Now Luke’s design is more accessible thanks to the Sterling By Music Man LK100D, which includes his signature pickups as well as much of the LIII’s distinctively smooth vibe. LUKE AT THIS The body is made of Basswood, with plenty of slinky and well-executed curves. The classic Vcontoured neck features a 12” radius Rosewood fretboard with 22 not-too-fat-not-too-thin frets and the distinctive Music Man 4+2 headstock with chrome locking tuners, and it’s anchored to the body with EBM’s 5-bolt pattern. The bridge is a floating unit featuring vintage-style saddles and a slightly more modern two-point fulcrum anchor point. It’s set up to Luke’s personal preference which allows up to a full 1 1/2 steps of up-pull, so you’ll be able to pull off those cool Jeff Beck-style whammy tricks with ease. The electronics consist of a pad of Transition humbuckers, Master Volume and tone controls, a special five-way pickup selector switch, and a push-push feature on the volume pot to engage a custom SBMM-designed active preamp which engages a gain boost. The pickup selections are a little unusual: position 1 is the bridge humbucker in series mode. Position 2 is the outside coils of each pickup in parallel. Position 3 is both humbuckers together. Position 4 is the inner two coils of each pickup in parallel, and position 5 is the neck pickup in parallel.
PG. 48 / MIXDOWN NO. 240 / APRIL 2014
JUDGEMENT DAY I plugged the LK100D into my Marshall DSL50 head for testing. Compared to an EBMM LIII, the L100D sounds very similar–maybe a little more compressed in response and resonance, and the playability is a little tighter than the EBMM (although a personalised setup and a little extra fret polishing would probably make it feel even more like an LIII). The Transition pickups are very ‘round’ in tone, with a smoothed-off high end, big fat mid-range and tight low end. Even with a bright amp setting the treble is quite under control, which means this is a great rock guitar but might not have the teeth that you’d need for extreme metal. But that’s not what this guitar is for: it cuts extremely well within a mix and would really jump out on stage too, since it seems voiced so perfectly to hit those frequencies that aren’t eaten up by kick and hi hat. It’s kind of interesting that there’s no series option for the neck
pickup, but honestly the guitar doesn’t suffer for it. The parallel option sounds great. HOLD THE LINE The LK100D is eerily similar to an EBMM Luke III. The finishing isn’t quite as finessed and the neck wood isn’t as nice, but in terms of looks and more importantly tone, it definitely captures what’s great about its more expensive big brother. If you’re a Luke completist you’ll want this, and if you’re a Luke fan who can’t afford an LIII you’d want it too, but this is a guitar that will also please those who don’t have any particular interest in doing what Luke does. It’s great for blues, rock, progressive, fusion … it’s hard to think of a genre that this guitar wouldn’t be applicable for, aside from the aforementioned ultra-doomdeath-core. Top job by Music Man! BY PETER HODGSON
DISTRIBUTOR: CMC Music Australia PHONE: (02) 9905 2511 WEBSITE: www.cmcmusic.com.au
D’ADDARIO NYXL (10-46) ELECTRIC GUITAR STRINGS After what seems like decades of relative stability in the guitar string world, it now seems like strings are making rapid leaps in technology. Every company appears to have some kind of high-tech string offering now, and D’Addario has really put a lot of work into theirs: the NYXL series. NYXL strings feature the strongest proprietary steel formula available on the market, and D’Addario augments this with a reformulated nickel plate steel wrap, precision-wound on their state-of-the-art machines to create a string with an incredibly high break point–D’Addario claims it’s the highest break point in string history. NEW YORK, NEW YORK There are only two gauges available at launch, 9-42 and 10-46, perhaps the two most common gauges. If these strings take off – and I’m already guessing they will – I’m sure we’ll see more gauges. D’Addario’s famous coloured ball ends are used here, giving the strings a sense of familiarity despite their physical differences from standard XLs. By the way, the packaging deserves a special mention. D’Addario has gone for a sparse, modern look – and the New York City skyline integrated within the bar code is a nice touch too. The strings are held in D’Addario’s corrostion-intercepting plastic envelope to keep them protect-
been on the guitar since arriving for review they’ve performed admirably under a variety of musical settings, none of them have broken and none of them have started to exhibit slips in tuning stability. But the real test will be longterm. Can these strings buy you a little more time between string changes? Can they hold up to the kind of over-enthusiastic picking that would turn other strings to dust? I guess we’ll find out as players start trying these strings out, but I’ve always trusted D’Addario and when they tell us their new strings are the strongest ever, I take them at their word because they’ve always backed up their claims before.
ed from environmental factors before you start sweating on ‘em. Also, major props to D’Addario for being so active in protecting their copyright: there are fake D’Addario strings out there which are nowhere close to the quality of the real thing. But true D’Addario strings include a code in the packaging which you can scan or enter online to check if you’re getting a real set. If you’re found to have an invalid code, i.e. you’ve been ripped off by a scammer – D’Addario will send you an authentic set of strings for free! STRINGS ATTACHED I strung up my Taylor Solidbody with the 1046 set, I like to use different gauges for different guitars, and this particular axe comes alive with this gauge. The D’Addario has voiced these strings with a full-frequency kind of tone which is nice and balanced, rather than emphasising any particular range too strongly over the others. That makes them great for really nicely balanced guitars but it also means they can restore some fullness to a Strat that is too brittle with trebleheavy strings. They also seem quite loud when unplugged, which gives you a hint as to how they’d sound when plugged in: with that extra volume they’re going to hit your pickups especially hard, so you’ll get a slightly more powerful output than with most other strings too, and with
BY PETER HODGSON
extra harmonic content as well. My Taylor’s mini humbuckers seemed to take on an extra level of grit – musical grit, not ‘gritty strings’ grit – thanks to the extra punch and clarity. STRENGTH BEYOND STRENGTH Now, the thing that really makes these strings stand out is their endurance and strength, and this is something that we simply haven’t had enough time to test. In the short time they’ve
Check out page 6 for your chance to be one of the first 250 players in the country to shred on the new D’Addario NYXL Strings in our massive giveaway! RRP: $24.99
DISTRIBUTOR: D’ADDARIO AUSTRALIA PHONE: (03) 8761 6293 WEBSITE: www.daddario.com.au
YAMAHA LL6 AND LL16 ACOUSTIC GUITARS Being able to consistently produce quality guitars is very high on most instrument manufacturers agenda these days. And whilst a lot of brands can churn out guitars at a rapid rate of knots often the standard doesn’t continue throughout their entire range. Yamaha however seem to have quite an impressive line up of acoustic guitars at a range of price points and also the ability to pump them out constantly to a good level. With a couple of acoustics coming from the low to mid end of their L series the Yamaha LL6 and LL16 share some similar design features – bracing patterns, neck profile etc, but also incorporate some variation throughout the rest of the L series to give the guitar buying public a range of options to suit themselves. LL6
THE LL6 A jumbo dreadnaught acoustic towards the entry level side of things the LL6 has an Engelmann Spruce top, Rosewood back and sides and a Mahogany neck. The whole package feels solid, looks clean and neat and came set up with good intonation and action. Our demo model had no rough edges, marks or blemishes to be found and came in a funky sunburst finish (there are also natural and tinted versions also available if that’s more your thing). Even as a jumbo/dreadnaught shaped guitar the LL6 feels light and comfortable to play sitting or standing. The Engelmann spruce top adds some nice resonance to the guitar and you can dig in for some extra jangle or back off for more mellow tones. Remembering that this is a lower priced Yamaha acoustic the guitar is equally at home to finger style and plectrum players and the medium neck has enough to hold onto but won’t kill you after extended playing time. Rock, pop, country, blues, bedroom bashers through to intermediate players would all be in the sights of the LL6 and at very reasonable price point you’re getting a much nicer playing guitar than some of the competitors! THE LL16 Stepping up a notch the LL16 adds a little razzle with its bound headstock, gold tuners and indented headstock design yet overall feel is still very understated and quite traditional. With Engelmann Spruce, Rosewood, Mahogany like its little brother and the addition of Padauk for the neck Yamaha have also incorporated their 5 ply neck design on the LL16 with Mahogany and Rosewood plies combining for a ‘strong, stable neck that resists twisting and warping’. Marketed as a ‘high comfortable traditional neck profile’ it’d be fine for finger pickers or plectrum players and also for those players that strain a little after thrashing out chords for a while. Body wise the Jumbo shape is balanced and strong. And yes, the Jumbo body adds some size in the lower bout of the guitar but this doesn’t feel awkward and the body depth is still very manageable and easy to get your arms around. Tone wise the LL16 is quite balanced. Not overly bright or bass heavy the LL16 seemed responsive to both pick and fingers and the mid
focussed acoustic tone sounds even and would work well for the singer/guitarist type with the further ability to plug in for live gigs/rehearsals. Realistically though anyone from amateurs wanting something a little more flash, through to serious players looking for a nice guitar without the bigger price tag would be attracted to the LL16. And for pop, folk, country or rock you’d be getting a solid instrument that could handle tonnes of playing. JUMBO VALUE More solid examples from Yamaha highlighting
their consistent construction and production techniques. I like the jumbo shaped body and the new comfortable neck profile will be a drawcard for a lot of players that want something easier to manage be it the absolute beginner or weekend warrior who’s likes to crack out their favourite classics in the lounge room on a Friday night. Bottom line is that these lower/mid priced Yamaha acoustic guitars seem really good value for money. Well built, clear and balanced they offer good playability and tone for not a lot of dinero. Warm and round through to zingy and brighter bashing gives both the LL6 and LL16 an
edge over quite a lot of less lively guitars in a similar price range. BY ROB GEE
RRP: $749.99 (LL6) $999.99 (LL16)
DISTRIBUTOR: Yamaha Music Australia PHONE: (03) 9693 5111 WEBSITE: au.yamaha.com APRIL 2014 / MIXDOWN NO. 240 PG. 49
RANDALL RG13 PREAMP PEDAL I have seen, hear d and tested a wide range of Randall amplif ers in the last ten or so years. They have always been big, loud and packing plenty of gain. So, when I had the new Randall RG13 delivered to me this week, it came as somewhat of a surprise to see the compact box placed on my desk. Randall seems to have changed a lot of things in the design stage of their amp building and bigger is now being r ecognised as not necessarily better. With the new ideas coming out from Randall, the RG13 sur ely is the winner as far as innovation and cool factor . Let’s take a look. FALL AT YOUR FEET Preamp pedals ar e by no means a new idea, but Randall have taken it to a new level with the RG13. Essentially what the unit does is give you the sounds you would expect fr om a Randall amp, without the volume. Y ou get thr ee foot switchable channels to choose fr om, along with a pedal that can be used as either a boost or for engaging the effects loop. Instantly, you have a fair bit of contr ol on a unit that is about the size of most Randall footswitches. The difference here is that there is no added amp required. It is all within the footswitch. GAIN, GAIN AND MORE GAIN In typical Randall style, you can expect to get a fair slogging of high gain tones fr om this unit. But it isn’t all just high gain. Starting with the frst channel you actually get a good clean sound that starts to br eak up as you wind up the gain knob. The bass boost on this channel almost has the effect of switching over to a humbucker from a single coil pickup, especially when you start to get a little break-up. The second channel delivers a classic crunch tone that will most likely have many Marshall fans wanting to get their hands on one of these. Then, when you get into the third channel and start winding it up, you get to the real high-gain area that signif es you are playing a Randall. So, what about the amp? Y ou don’t really need one with the RG13. It has a balanced speaker
emulated output on and XLR connection so you can run directly into a PA if you want without the need to even use an amplif er. But, if you want some stage sound, or for use when practising, there is a built in 1 watt solid state amplif er that allows you to connect a speaker cabinet with surprisingly solid r esults. I ran it into a closed back single 12” cabinet loaded with a V30 and
it sounded mighty. So, small is now the new big as far as Randall are concerned. It is easy to see why this product got so many people talking at recent trade shows and I imagine this little unit is going to be the talk of the town.
OPEN BACK AND LOUD Many open back banjos can tend to lack a little in volume compar ed to resonator models, but this is wher e the B6 steers away fr om the trend. These instruments ar e loud. Not only for the person playing the instrument, as the sound swells back towa r ds them, but also for those in front of the player too. Ther e is simply an unnatural amount of pr ojection from the B6, it almost seems wr ong. And this is straight out of the box without any adjustments to the head or the strings. This is a r eally good thing. I have been able to adjust the B6 to sound even more like a banjo and a little less like a guitar by dropping the gauge on the two heaviest strings. The E and A string on any 6-string banjo ar e
much thicker than any string you would f nd on a 5-string banjo and so don’ t tend to r esonate as well with the tone ring and banjo head. They just sound a little of f. So, by shifting to lighter strings and tuning these two an octave above, you still get the same chor ds and voicing ass you would expect from a guitar, but with a much more traditional banjo tone. The B6 allows this to be done so well because it complements the lighter strings with its added volume.
DISTRIBUTOR: Dominant Music PHONE: (03) 9873 4333 WEBSITE: www.dominantmusic.com.au
BY ROB GEE
WASHBURN B6 BANJO
Washburn is a brand we all know well not only for their electric guitars, but their acoustic guitars too. Further to this, W ashburn are also a well-respected manufacturer of bluegrass instruments, especially banjos, with a long history of these behind them. It is not surprising then that such a wide range of Washburn banjos are available here within Australia and with such popularity at the moment. But, the r eal surprise packet in the W ashburn range is the new B6 banjo that delivers the look, tone and feel of a banjo, but with 6 strings and the typical tuning of a guitar. Now, just about any guitarist can take to the banjo without even needing to consider different tuning or chord shapes.
PG. 50 / MIXDOWN NO. 240 / APRIL 2014
SLIM AND TERRIFIC The neck on these instruments feels a little like a tree trunk when compar ed to a 5-string banjo, but as far as a guitar neck goes, it is pr etty good. The instrument itself is pretty lightweight given the
open back design and the timber is f nished in a stained satin that glides easily beneath the hands. This is a player’ s delight and is going to inspir e guitar players and banjo players alike. I urge you to play one and experiment with the tuning too. You don’t have to grow a beard or own a rocking chair, you just have to enjoy yourself. And that is exactly what I know you will do with a Washburn B6 banjo. BY ROB GEE RRP: $419.95
DISTRIBUTOR: Dominant Music PHONE: (03) 9873 4333 WEBSITE: www.dominantmusic.com.au
DECEMBER 2013 / MIXDOWN NO. 236 / PG. 51
GIBSON 1941 SJ-100 ACOUSTIC GUITAR
The Gibson SJ-200 is humbly known as ‘King of the Flat-Tops.’ It’s an imposing instrument and it’s blinged out with all sorts of flashy features like an elaborate sweeping bridge with pearloid inlays, an intricate floral motif on the oversized pickguard, and some equally showy fretboard inlays. The SJ-100 is the cousin of that model, and it’s nowhere near as flashy. It doesn’t have the inlays, the bridge or the pickguard of the SJ200, replacing each of these features with more restrained accoutrements. But it’s still every big a Gibson jumbo. COUSIN OF THE KING The SJ-100 features a sitka spruce top with mahogany back and sides. The biding is multi-ply with a single ring rosette and round sound hole– not super-flashy, but not boring and plain either. The terraced pickguard in fire stripe nitrocellulose is a replica of the first SJ-100s from 1939.
The neck joins the body at the 14th fret with a compound dovetail joint and is held in place by ‘hide glue’ for authenticity, is made of mahogany with a rounded profile, and the action is consistent and low across the neck. The fretboard is Rosewood with 20 frets and a 25.5” scale length, using Gibson Acoustic Standard fret wire and a 12” radius, and there are simple dots in place of the SJ-200’s more elaborate fretboard inlays. The headstock features a beautiful mother of pearl Gibson script logo and a larger headstock than we’re all used to seeing on a Gibson these days, but certainly consistent with the old classics. The white button vintage tuners are nice and authentic too, and there’s an L.R’ Baggs element in the bridge for amplification, but you’ll want to run it through a preamp to get the most out of it, with a guitar this beautiful you’ll just
want to mic it up! The Rosewood bridge is inspired by the originals from 1941 and found on only a few models from that time. By the way, have you ever noticed how great a new Gibson smells? Just thought I’d mention it. TONE TIME1 The SJ-100 instantly reveals itself to be a great fingerpicker. There’s a clarity to the note separation which really allows each note to sing, and there’s also a brightness and edge to the heavier note attacks which allows you to select particular notes for emphasis by picking harder or softer. It’s an almost orchestral effect which is quite addictive. And when you dig in with a pick, the clarity and punch remain but there’s a great natural compression which rules over the note once you pass a certain threshold. And the tone is consistent no matter where you play on the neck, as is the action. This is definitely a guitar that urges
you to explore the whole neck rather than staying down at the first few frets. JUST PLAY This is definitely not the flashiest Gibson acoustic but it’s an extremely tuneful instrument with a lot of history, and perhaps most importantly of all the playability is so incredibly effortless that it’ll get out of the way of you and your musical muse. BY PETER HODGSON
DISTRIBUTOR: GIBSON AMI PHONE: (03) 8696 4600 WEBSITE: www.gibsonami.com
GIBSON 50TH ANNIVERSARY 1963 ES-335 ELECTRIC GUITAR
Gibson unveiled the ES-335 in 1958 and it was an instant success, but the model underwent a few changes in 1963 which led to it becoming a bona fide icon. Those changes are often referred to as ‘Clapton-spec’ and the most obvious is the move from dot inlays to big chunky blocks. Gibson Memphis pays tribute to this revision with the 50th Anniversary ES-335. This version of the ES-335 is available in two period-correct finishes: ‘60s Cherry or Historic Burst, each of which is finished in hand-sprayed nitrocellulose lacquer and given Gibson’s VOS treatment for a gently aged look. This isn’t a ‘relic’ guitar by any means: rather it looks like it’s accumulated a few decades’ worth of natural ageing while being kept totally safe from dings and scratches. BLOCK-ROCKIN’ The 50th Anniversary ES-335 features a semihollow arch-top body made of laminated maple with a solid, lightweight maple centre block PG. 52 / MIXDOWN NO. 240 / APRIL 2014
along with spruce braces and cedar rim liners. The neck is carved from a single solid chunk of quarter-sawn mahogany with vintage-style binding and cool tortoiseshell side dots which almost catch the light like little gems – an illusion which is further sold with the tinted lacquer that covers the vintage-style binding. It’s cut to an authentic ’63 profile, which is not quite as chunky as a ‘50sstyle neck but also not quite as slim as the ‘60s necks we’re familiar with on current Gibson models. There are 22 frets on the dark rosewood fingerboard, featuring those iconic pearloid block inlays. The fretboard radius is 12” and the nut is made of nylon. The nut and frets are treated with Gibson’s PLEK system. Electronics consist of the traditional Gibson twin volume and tone controls and a three-position pickup selector switch controlling a pair of Alnico 2-loaded Gibson pickups, a Burstbucker 1 in the neck position and a slightly hotter Burstbucker 2 at the bridge. The only flaw to be found any-
where at all on the entire guitar is that the treble side of the nut feels a little sharp if you jam into it too hard. And calling that a flaw is really stretching it. Basically, this is a really beautiful guitar with great fretwork and authentic workmanship. IT’S LIKE PLUGGING INTO 1963… There’s a certain magic that’s invoked when you plug this guitar in. It sounds smooth and round, and is extremely responsive to picking and fretting dynamics. What ever you do, seems to be enhanced: pick loud and it seems really loud; pick soft and it seems really soft. All three pickup selections complement each other and yet are sufficiently different to each other, and the guitar sounds equally great through a clean or overdriven tone. You probably wouldn’t want to ping it through a high gain amp – at least not at stage volume – because that semi-hollow body would risk feeding back. But if you play blues-rock, alternative, alternative country, classic rock, jazz, country… there are all sorts of genres that can
work with this guitar. It’s a true pleasure to play and it really feels like a part of you. DO YOURSELVES A FAVOUR! There’s a reason why the ES-335 is considered a true classic. It might not always be easy to pinpoint what those reasons are… is it the tone? The feel? The responsiveness? The looks? The smell? Yes! It’s all those things and more. I strongly urge you to seek one of these bad boys out and give it a try for yourself, because then it’ll all become clear. BY PETER HODGSON
DISTRIBUTOR: GIBSON AMI PHONE: (03) 8696 4600 WEBSITE: www.gibsonami.com
DUESENBERG STARPLAYER-TV ELECTRIC GUITAR Duesenberg Guitars was founded in Hanover, Germany in 1991, but if you were to look at their guitars without knowing this fact, you’d be forgiven for thinking they’re a classic American brand from the 50s. Their designs have that retro-futuristic cool, like something from an Eisenhower-era science fiction movie about rock n’ rollers from 2014. This vibe is enhanced somewhat by the branch that the company opened in Fullerton, California in 2004. Their designs are augmented by Art Déco motifs including a recurring ‘three step geometry’ vibe which you can see in the headstock, pickguard, pickup surrounds, selector knob and of course the ‘D’ of the Dusenberg logo itself. No matter the model, when you see a Dusenberg you know exactly what it is. HOLLOW THERE The particular model on review here is a Starplayer TV, essentially Duesenberg’s flagship model. The semi acoustic body is made of laminated Flamed Maple back and sides with a laminated Spruce top, with gold sparkle pickguard offsetting the cream binding and expertly-cut F-hole. The neck is glued in and is made of a single piece of Maple, and there are 22 jumbo frets on the 12” radius Indian Rosewood fretboard. The scale length is 25.6”, which is a little longer than you’d expect from an instrument like this, and it’s noticeably longer than my Les Paul (24.75”). This seems to translate into a snappier attack, but more on that later. The tuners are Dusenberg Z-Tuners which feel very efficient and stable, and although the bridge is a fairly
standard Dusenberg steel saddle model, the tailpiece is a Dusenberg Deluxe Tremola which is very Bigsby-like in operation but with a cool (and again three-step) cap on the bar. The electronics consist of a pair of Dusenberg’s own pickups: a Grand Vintage humbucker in the bridge position and a Domino P-90 at the neck. Controls consist of a volume control, a tone control and a three-way lever switch for selecting bridge, neck or both pickups. CRUISING FOR ‘BERGERS First up, whoever set this guitar up tuned it perfectly to a fourth below standard, although it’s not specifically listed as a baritone (and the scale length, though slightly longer than even a Strat, isn’t exactly baritone-sized). And whoever did this is a genius: this tuning brings out the punch and warmth of this guitar in beautiful detail,
showing off its pick attack and its ‘wallop’ note envelope quite nicely indeed. Chords sounded rich and full but not too boomy - in fact the low frequencies are quite attenuated here, and both pickups seem focused on the midrange rather than the lows or highs. The neck pickup is especially characterful, but there are no bad settings anywhere on this guitar. Roll the tone knob all the way back and you’ll be greeted with an almost oboe-like sound which is great for blues, alternative and indie melodies and solos. Oh and when you wind it up to standard tuning this babe still has plenty of punchy and snap, as well as very respectable tuning stability especially considering the nature of its vibrato tailpiece. UH, CAN I KEEP THIS? Look, this is just a beautiful guitar that would be at home in almost any musical setting. It’s got
enough cut for country, enough roar for rock, enough attitude for bluegrass, enough expressiveness for blues, and enough edge for alternative and even vintage metal styles. The construction quality is flawless and this is a guitar that won’t fight you and challenge you to play your best: it’ll simply sound so damn good that you will play your best. Sure, the price might seem quite steep, but it’s absolutely justified in every curve, carve and coil. BY PETER HODGSON RRP: Call for pricing.
DISTRIBUTOR: Wright Guitars PHONE: 08 8398 5551 WEBSITE: www.wrightguitars.com.au
YAMAHA MG12XU 12-CHANNEL MIXER I have seen Yamaha mixers change and develop over the years and it is always nice when a product takes a small step back to an earlier design idea that we all knew was right to begin with. So, it was with great joy that I got to look at some of the new MG range of mixers from Yamaha to discover they are back in a metal chassis once again. The good just got better, and with that, I took the MG12XU Mixer for a test run. SIMPLE SOLUTIONS When people talk about mixers, they generally want one that’s portable, yet loaded with options as well. The MG12XU 12 Channel is just that and is a really tidy stage, studio and personal live mixer which is actually loaded with great ideas and can solve a lot of audio routing problems in a variety of scenarios. With 6 mic and 12 Line Inputs available (4 mono and 4 stereo), there is definitely a range of input options on offer. What Yamaha have presented in this unit is a real handy tool that will work well in any engineer’s bag of tricks and as an accompaniment to just about every performing musician’s needs if they wish to take it stage bound. The mono channels feature the D-Pre preamps that are gaining popularity
in Steinberg’s latest interfaces. They are a clean, crisp sounding microphone pre that offers plenty of usable headroom without audible distortion. FILLING THE ROOM The MG12XU also acts as an effects processor, with a range of SPX reverbs and delays that allow your sound to fill the room with body and depth, 24 programs in fact. Each channel has a dedicated effects send and each effect has adjustable parameters. One the output side of things, you get a stereo headphone output with its own dedicated volume control, two auxiliary outs, two group outs, two monitor outs and two pairs of stereo outputs on the master bus. The real treat is that the pair of outputs are supplied on balanced XLR connectors, a monster selection of outputs which will make studio and live use a dream for you or your engineer. So, you now have a very professional solution for integrating this device into a PA system, be it into a larger mixer or straight into your powered speakers with the aid of some microphone cables at whatever length you desire.
FUNCTIONALITY As you can see, I found the MG12XU mixer ticking all the boxes with a multitude of uses, especially in the studio coming with 24-bit / 192kHz 2in / 2out USB Audio functions, +48V phantom Power and including Cubase A DAW software as a free download version. At this pricepoint you could easily purchase the MG12XU for your band and have a full functioning, high quality and compatible mixer at your fingertips to track with, record demos and get ideas down clearly and with ease. I’m looking forward to seeing the range being embraced in both live settings via onstage and behind the desk applications as well as in home studios. At a great price point, it’s fantastic value for money with its build quality. All in all, Yamaha have really hit the nail on the head here with this new range, but as always visit your local retailer check them out for yourself! BY ROB GEE RRP: $529.99
DISTRIBUTOR: Yamaha Music Australia PHONE: (03) 9693 5111 WEBSITE: www.au.yamaha.com
ALTO BLACK 15 SUB WOOFER Having been delighted with the performance of the Black12 last month, and having moved those heavy boxes back away, this month I got to give the matching sub-woofer a good punishing to see just how much weight it can push around. Given the great results I got from the Black12, I was naturally expecting good things of the Black15 sub-woofer and I can tell you this, I was not disappointed. My neighbours, on the other hand, were not that impressed. PACKING SOME WEIGHT Like the Black12 speakers, the Balck15 subwoofer is by no means a lightweight option to getting your sound reinforcement sorted out. Although it is one of the most compact 15” subwoofers on the market today. At first, I thought it may even have been a 12” box that was over performing, but there is indeed a 15” driver in there. Given that its compact design keeps it low to the floor, it not only stays out of the way, but fills the room with low end from the ground up. The wooden cabinet does add to the overall weight of the unit, but it also ensures you get a natural sound that can be heard and not just felt around the room.
THUMP I can see just how this is going to be a very popular choice for DJs who want to ensure they have plenty of bottom end in their sound. This Black15 has a lot of punch to the way it delivers a kick drum sound. It really is a powerful amplifier driving the 15” cone and you feel this in each and every kick drum thump. That is what 2400 watts is supposed to sound like. The attack is definitely sharp and the low frequencies are in no way lacking, but the overall sound that comes from the sub is nicely rounded too. You don’t end up with just a dull droning thud that doesn’t really bring any life to your mix. The Black15 ensures that no matter what speakers you match it up with, it is going to bring some added tonal characteristics to the party and you will know just what I mean when you hear one of these. Try it up against a slightly lighter plastic cabinet sub-woofer and then, once you have heard the difference, ask yourself whether the light weight option is really worth it. Go all out, get the extra weight and you will get to enjoy the extra tone as well. BY ROB GEE
DISTRIBUTOR: Pro Audio Group (Australia) PHONE: (02) 9521 4844 WEBSITE: www.proaudiogroup.com.au APRIL 2014 / MIXDOWN NO. 240 PG. 53
SENNHEISER XSW72 WIRELESS GUITAR SYSTEM I know that many of you will have used a Sennheiser Freeport wireless system at some stage or another. For the many years that they were available, the Fr eeport proved to be an excellent value-for-money option when it came to wireless transmission. Now that we have said goodbye to this range, Sennheiser has pr oven to us that their XSW range mor e than f ts the bill as a r eplacement. Not an upgrade, but a completely new idea and product line that takes the place of Freeport. XSW delivers high quality digital transmission at an amazing price. So, for guitarists and bass players who want to br eak free, the XSW72 wir eless instrument set should be the f rst place you should look. FREQUENCY RESPONSE Many guitar players and bass players especially, are loathed to step into the wir eless realm do to the compr ession you used to get fr om the transmission process. In the past, the fr equency response was squeezed to such a point that bass players lost most of what they wanted – the bottom end. But, the XSW’ s digital convertors retain not only the quality of the signal, but its integrity too. If your instrument delivers plenty of low end, or sparkling high fr equencies, that is what the XSW’ s receiver will deliver to you amplif er. I ran a 5-string bass thr ough the XSW72, then, with all the same settings on the instrument and amp, ran it with a 20’ guitar cable. The difference was just about inaudible. In fact, I would say the XSW actually sounded a little better given that there was no long unbalanced cable in the signal chain adding a touch of noise and interference. TOUGHER BUILD Those of you who r emember the Fr eeport range will no doubt r emember the somewhat lightweight build of not only the transmitters, but the r eceivers as well. The good news is that this is now a thing of the past. W ith XSW, Sennheiser have raised the bar and pr esented new users with a professional product that is very much ready for the rigours of the road. And, let’s
face it, that is where a wireless system is going to be put through its paces. So, the belt pack has seen an overhaul with a much tougher build and a greatly improved clip that isn’ t likely to br eak off on your guitar strap. The r eceiver is now housed in a solid metal casing that be converted to f t within a rack, should you desir e, making
this a true touring system. Sennheiser have got it right with XSW. They have given guitar players a budget option for a wir eless setup without having a drop in quality. BY ROB GEE
RRP: Call for pricing.
DISTRIBUTOR: Sennheiser Australia WEBSITE: www.sennheiser.com.au PHONE: 1800 648 628
SENNHEISER EW100-935 G3 WIRELESS SYSTEMS
I can still remember using the f rst generation of Sennheiser Evolution wireless systems and even know a few guys who ar e still going with them, even as the stop date for their fr equency range is coming up. So, I can tell you in no uncertain terms that Sennheiser wir eless technology is built to last. That is for sur e. This is why I was really excited to get to have a hit on the EW100935 G3 handheld wir eless microphone this month. DIGITAL CLARITY With all the curr ent models now available complying with Australian digital transmission laws, the EW100-935 G3 is primed to give you the best possible digital audio transfer in its class. PG. 54 / MIXDOWN NO. 240 / APRIL 2014
The range is mor e than enough to suit pr etty much any venue in this country and you get crystal clear transmission every step of the way . There is no br eakup or degradation of quality as you move further away fr om the r eceiver. The unit will cut out when you move beyond its transmission range, so it is easy to test this range before your perfor mance and simply set you limits. Once you know wher e the boundary is, you can be sur e of perfect transmission right up until that point. And let’s face it; the point of transmission loss is probably going to be outside the venue, across the road and down the street. So, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.
CAPTIVATING CAPSULE The EW100 G3 series has the option of changing out capsules on the handheld transmitters. I was lucky enough to be pr esented with one pr eloaded with a 935 capsule, so it was sounding good for me. Boasting a gr eater frequency range, with a noticeably higher top end r oll-off than the 835 capsule, the 935 br eaths extra life into your vocals and allows a wider range of voices to better work with it. The added increase in gain fr om the 935 capsule also means you get a better signal to noise ratio, lower handing noise and far greater feedback suppression. You really need to be doing something wr ong, like standing right in fr ont of the PA in order to get this one to feed back.
HEARING EVERYTHING As far as wir eless microphones in this price range, there isn’t one I would rather use in any environment. Given the choice, I would go straight for the Sennheiser each and every time and the added bonus of the 935 capsule is just icing on the cake. Y ou will hear the dif ference. You are able to hear everything you want to with this unit; that’s the point. Top job Sennheiser! RRP: Call for pricing.
DISTRIBUTOR: Sennheiser Australia WEBSITE: www.sennheiser.com.au PHONE: 1800 648 628
APRIL 2014 / MIXDOWN NO. 240 / PG. 55
SWEET PRICE NEW MODEL
5W Valve Combo
100W/50W Valve Head
40W/20W Valve Combo
15W/ 7.5W Valve Head
15W/ 7.5W Valve Combo $899
www.elfa.com.au Electric Factory Pty Ltd 188 Plenty Road Preston VIC 3072 03 9474 1000 email@example.com PG. 56 / MIXDOWN NO. 240 / APRIL 2014
Electric Factory Pty Ltd 188 Plenty Road Preston VIC 3072 03 9474 1000 firstname.lastname@example.org