EVH 5150 III 1 x 12 Combo

Photo Credit: Evhgear.com

Photo Credit: Evhgear.com

Eddie Van Halen is as meticulous with his tone as he is with his playing. While a considerable part of his tone lies within his fingers, his guitars and amps also factor greatly into the equation. Eddie played Marshall amps during the first few Van Halen albums and later went on to use Peavey amps. During the past few years, Eddie has developed his own line of amps that are manufactured by Fender. The EVH series of amps come in 50 and 100watt options for the head and 50watt for the combos. I read that during the testing phase of these amps, Eddie and Fender put these amps through rigorous trials including leaving it on and letting it feedback for a month to see how it held up. I appreciate the type of quality control that has gone into the production of this amp. I am reviewing the EVH 5150 III Combo that features one Celestion speaker and comes in a great ivory color. A four-button footswitch and casters are also included with the amp.

For this demo, I played a Jackson Dominion and a Gibson Dave Grohl 335 plugged straight into the amp. Channel One is the clean channel and while it sounded decent, I feel like it lacked some of the warmth that I prefer in an amp. Don’t get me wrong, the clean channel still sounds good, but just doesn’t have those pristine cleans that other amps may have. That being said, I think if you’re playing an EVH amp it’s for what the other two channels have to offer. My reason for wanting to try out this amp was for its overdriven and distorted options. There is also a switchable reverb that is very natural and sounds great in all channels

Channel Two is great for all around rock and metal playing. You can dial in a number of suitable tones that sound amazing. For this review, I kept all of the Low, Mid, and High settings between 11 and 1 o’ clock. I wanted to get a consistent tone throughout all of the channels for comparison. I also kept the Presence at noon for all channels during this demo. I think if this amp only came with the option for the first two channels it would be great and be better than most on the market. You can easily dial in the classic brown sound in the second channel and that alone would be enough for people.

The third channel of the EVH 5150 III is a beast. It takes all of the elements of the second channel and then adds copious amounts of gain. This is the channel for the modern metal player looking to sonically annihilate and stand out in the mix. I dialed the mids down a bit and got a good, scooped crunch in this setting that didn’t muddy up the sound of my playing. I was able to get note definition without sacrificing any tone.

To anyone looking for a high quality amp for rock or metal, look no further than the EVH 5150 III Combo. This amp also comes in a 2×12 version for those who want that additional Celestion.

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Daily Gear Obsession: I Want You Back Part 1

Today’s Daily Gear Obsession focuses on those special guitars that have gotten away from me by way of trade, sale, or financial necessity. I have owned close to 100 guitars since I began playing in 1997 and there have been a few that I wish I had not gotten rid of. Today I will discuss two of the four that I wish I still had in my collection.

Epiphone Les Paul – The special thing about this guitar was that it was my first guitar. I walked into Guitar Center in Covina, California on Halloween in 1997 (a store where I would later end up becoming the Operations Manager). I was ready for my first guitar purchase and was targeting a Les Paul style guitar because Slash was the whole reason I wanted to play guitar. I remember the first time I entered that store on that fateful afternoon. I was greeted with the sights of guitars everywhere; they were on the wall, on stands on the floor, and in the hands of customers wailing away on a cacophony of competing riffs. The first three guitars I remember seeing was a Music Man EVH model, a Gibson Ace Frehley Les Paul, and a Gibson Jimmy Page Les Paul. These three guitars were all fantastic and all out of my price range. I then found the Epiphone Les Paul, ebony in color with a sign on the neck stating it was on sale because it was a scratch and dent model. There was a little dent in the side of the body, most likely from a customer who wasn’t careful with it when trying it out. The guitar was in my price range and was a Les Paul, albeit an Epiphone, but I was thrilled. I had this guitar for a few months and then traded it for a white Fender Standard Strat…like Jimi had at Woodstock.

Fender Jimi Hendrix Tribute Strat – My Hendrix infatuation lasted for a few years. When Fender announced that they were releasing a Hendrix tribute to his famous Woodstock guitar, I was excited to get my hands on it. This guitar was right up my alley. This wasn’t the Fender that I swapped for my first Epiphone, this was my first American made Strat. One of the coolest feature that I liked about the guitar was that Fender had put the logo backwards on the headstock as a mirror image of Jimi’s original guitar. This guitar allowed a right handed player to see what it was like to play a left handed guitar set up for a right handed person. I had to adjust the way I played this guitar because the controls were flipped, I wasn’t used to the knobs being right under my palm. This allowed the player to experience the same type of set up that Jimi used. This was a great guitar and I regret having to sell it.

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Day 2: The AfterNAMMth

Friday was another good day at NAMM. There seemed to be fewer people than Thursday which made it a little easier to get from booth to booth. The layout at the Convention Center is so spread out that it’s not uncommon to walk 4 to 5 miles a day.

I started at the Dean booth and was very excited to see they had Dimebag Darrell’s original Dean from Hell ML guitar. The guitar, housed in a thick glass case, showed every bit of road use and it was an honor to see such a historic instrument up close. Dean also had some impressive Dave Mustaine models, including the new Trans Blue Limited V.

The next stop was the Gretsch booth. They make some very iconic guitars like the White Falcon, Duo Jet, and Penguin. I was delighted to see an update to the Brian Setzer series of guitars. Gretsch has updated the Hot Rod series of his guitar to include a flame maple body, new colors like Harbor Blue, and his signature TV Jones pickups.

I then made my way to the EVH booth to see what goods Eddie and the EVH team had on display. The Wolfgang Customs look phenomenal, as did the famous Circles guitar. I was able to speak with one of their reps and learned that Eddie signs each prototype in gold or silver Sharpie. He showed me the latest Star guitar with Eddie’s approval on the back. As an owner of an EVH 5150 III combo amp, it was nice to hear how meticulous his approval process is across the full line of EVH products. I guess when your initials are the brand’s name, you want to make sure everything’s right.

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New Fender Steve Harris Precision Bass

Photo Credit: Fender.com

Photo Credit: Fender.com

I’m very happy to hear that this model is being produced. It’s such a cool looking bass and is more current to what he is actually using than the previous model. Some may not care for the West Ham logo, but that isn’t stopping me. Need. This. Now!!!!!!


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.  (January 22, 2015) – Fender is proud to announce the release of several new artist signature bass guitars at the 2015 NAMM Show.

Steve Harris’s galloping fleet-fingered basslines have turbocharged U.K. metal titans Iron Maiden for decades and have made him the most influential metal bassist alive. Harris has stayed true to his battle-hardened Precision Bass® over the years, and his signature Steve Harris Precision Bass now comes in his famously regal gloss White finish with special pinstriping, mirrored pickguard and West Ham United F.C. crest. Other ironclad features include a single powerful Seymour Duncan Steve Harris signature model pickup, Fender High Mass bridge, Rotosound Steve Harris Signature flat-wound strings and Harris’ signature on the back of the headstock. Available February 17, 2015.

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Day 1: The AfterNAMMth

Today was a busy and tiring day. I clearly did not do enough pre-NAMM training in preparation for what was ahead. I arrived at the Anaheim Convention Center shortly before 9 a.m. and waited somewhat patiently for the doors to open at 10. Once the doors opened, there was a mad dash of every other impatient person trying to find the first of their many booths of the day.

I checked out the Ibanez booth and saw the new Paul Stanley Iceman models they had on display. The cracked mirror one is so cool …and also so expensive. They also had three of the Joe Satriani Art Series models, which all looked very cool and very unique.

The people and products at Earthquaker Devices are really awesome. I had a chance to talk to a couple employees about their new pedals and am eager to try out a few. It’s a bonus when Andy Summers of The Police is checking out pedals right next to you.

I stopped by the Ernie Ball Music Man booth and was welcomed with a number of new colors for the John Petrucci Majesty Artisan Series. They also had a new JP15 model that features a sahara burst and a roasted neck. They were all very cool.

I went upstairs to check out the new Kramer Satchel signature Pacer guitar. This is a great looking guitar and has a very strong “hair metal” vibe.

The Fender booth was very crowded, but I was able to check out some of the offerings from the Fender Custom Shop. Wow, those master builders do not disappoint! I have included some images of their handy work and will post more when I get back tomorrow. I was also happy to see the updated Steve Harris Precision Bass. This new bass is white and features the graphic of his favorite team, West Ham United.

My next stop was the ESP booth which was filled with some crazy looking guitars. A few of the guitars I saw were more art piece than instrument and were priced out at $75,000! I was also impressed by the new Gary Holt signature series. Gary was previously with Schecter Guitars and this is his first signature line with ESP.

What’s better than a wall of Marshalls? Nothing. The Marshall display never disappoints. It’s a towering behemoth of sound and it looks so damn cool. In looking at my pictures from last year, I realized that I took the same shot this year, but from the other side.

A stack of Orange cabs was really sweet and I was impressed with the layout of their booth. They have a wide variety of products ranging from the aptly titled Rockerverb to the new Crush series of amps.

I also got to meet some fantastic musicians throughout the day. First was the great bass player, Marcus Miller, who was very gracious with his time and demoed a couple pedals at the Dunlop booth. Next was Devin Townsend, who is another nice guy that loves to talk gear. While waiting in line at the Music Man booth for John Petrucci, Uli Jon Roth walked by and I got a picture with him.

Warning: If you find yourself in Hall E of the Convention Center, do not walk to the end of the hall unless you’re a drummer or really love cymbals. The amount of noise and overall sonic chaos left me looking for the quickest way back up the escalator.

…also, if you’re ever walking next to Rickey Medlocke and Gary Rossington of Lynyrd Skynryd, make sure you don’t have a slice of Sbarro pizza, 2 breadsticks, and a Coke in your hand. It makes it really hard to approach them to say anything. I didn’t get a chance to meet them, but I did pay $10.25 for the above mentioned combo.


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Gretsch and Bono Partner on New Signature Guitar



Photo Credit: Eoin McLoughlin

Photo Credit: Eoin McLoughlin

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (December 9, 2014) – Gretsch and Bono join forces once again for a new signature guitar model, the (GRETSCH)RED. Bearing the special (RED) logo adorned on the pickguard and truss rod cover, every guitar sold will raise money for the Global Fund to AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

The double-cutaway (GRETSCH)RED G5623 Electromatic® Center-Block Bono “Signature” Model puts Bono’s personalized stamp on Gretsch’s new thinline spruce center-block design, which delivers “high gain-friendly” tone and greater control over the kind of feedback players want.

Other premium features include a bound arched maple top with bound sound holes, maple sides and arched back (also bound), maple neck, 22-fret bound rosewood fingerboard with Neo-Classic “thumbnail” inlays, dual “Black Top” Filter’Tron pickups with three-position toggle switching, and master volume and tone controls, anchored Adjusto-Matic bridge with “G”-cutout tailpiece, Grover® deluxe tuners, chrome hardware and deluxe case.

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Bridge of Sighs

What type of bridge do you prefer?

Floating, hardtail, stoptail, I don’t care just let me play

Based on my experience, I think it has a lot to do with the type that was on your first guitar. My first guitar was an Epiphone Les Paul and 18 years later, I still prefer a stoptail bridge over anything else. I feel more comfortable with a Gibson in my hands than a Fender. I have friends who started with Strats and will not pick up another guitar. They, like others complain about the extra weight of a Les Paul, but I don’t really notice it. While I think that there are more tonal varieties contained within a Strat, I find that it takes some work to play one. I would rather have a guitar that is effortless to play, even if it does weigh a few more pounds.

I like playing Floyd Rose equipped guitars, but if I had to have just one guitar, I wouldn’t pick one of those. I don’t care for the hassle involved of having to make the adjustments when you need to change from standard tuning to a drop D or lower. I lovethe pitch manipulations that can be done on a Floyd and I’m wondering why I don’t have a guitar with one on it right now? I should probably add a new guitar to the collection…

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Fender Dee Dee Ramone Precision Bass

Dee Dee Ramone_Photo by Ed Perlstein

Photo by Ed Perlstein

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.  (December 9, 2014) – Fender is extremely proud to announce the Dee Dee Ramone Precision Bass guitar, based on the instrument Dee Dee played with seminal punk rock band the Ramones.

The bass guitar, which is debuting at the “Dee Dee Ramone Exhibition” located at New York City’s famed Hotel Chelsea from December 10 – January 1, will be available for sale at authorized Fender dealers and on www.fender.com on January 22.

Punk bass starts with Douglas “Dee Dee Ramone” Colvin. As the pounding heart of the Ramones, he pioneered a no-frills sound and style that left a permanent mark on rock music. On a white Fender Precision Bass slung impossibly low, he defined punk bass with simple but breakneck bass lines delivered with such pulverizing sound, speed and conviction that he singlehandedly set the template for generations of punk bassists to come.

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