The Week In Guitar: pedal hate, EVH’s lowbrow humour, a Guild returns and er, ice cream
The essential stories and most interesting goings on from across guitar culture this week.
Image: Scott Legato / Ross Marino / Getty, Guild, Elightened
Welcome once again to The Week In Guitar – don’t have time to keep up with all the going on in guitar culture every week? Fret not, time poor reader – it’s quite literally Guitar.com’s job to keep up with this stuff, and distill the most important bits into something you can read in about the time it takes you to to finish off your morning cup of whatever. Let’s dive in…
For the last couple of years, Guitar.com has tried and failed to get Mac DeMarco to speak to us, which we always found a bit strange – most guitar players love the chance to talk about the nerdy shit we all love instead of doing yet another boring cookie-cutter interview about their new album… but if his recent chat with our sister title MusicTech is anything to go by, maybe he’s been turning us down ’cos he doesn’t wanna hurt our feelings.
Yep, Mac absolutely hates pedals you see – seemingly because the signal obsessive sees them as “crap in the path” because they’re not made to the same hi-fi standards as his vintage mics and preamps are. Plenty of Guitar.com followers on Instagram were quick to point out that Mac is seemingly a big fan of chorus and vibrato judging by his music, while before long the effects big-hitters were weighing in. Josh Scott tried to stay out of it, while being unable to resist pointing out that Mac uses several JHS pedals, while Adrian Thorpe – who designs pedals with the rigour and precision of someone whose previous job was literally as an explosives specialist in the British Army – tried to be conciliatory, at least at first, saying, “Well if he’s happy and inspired then that’s all that matters really I guess. Still… he’s definitely wrong.”
We’ll leave it to Joe Bonamassa to have the final word, however – Joe, as many will know, has some experience when it comes to earning the ire of pedal fanatics, so it was from experience that he posted, “He should have called me before this interview.”
Eddie Van Halen loves Big Balls
A nice unexpected byproduct of Wolfgang Van Halen hitting the interview trail hard in support of the latest Mammoth WVH album is that people invariably ask him about his dad, and as a result we’re getting plenty of fun little insights into what EVH was like when he wasn’t being an epoch-defining guitar god.
One such little nugget of extremely silly information came out this week when Wolf spoke to Louder, he revealed his dad was absolutely not above some lowest common denominator humour, in this case his love of AC/DC joke track, Big Balls. Wolfgang recalled a family trip to the Grand Canyon when he was a kid – his mother had popped into a gas station and while she was away, Eddie took the opportunity to the track on in the Winnebago. “He was laughing so hard,” Wolf recalled. “Which made me laugh so hard. Dad loved that song. Every time he heard the bit where Bon goes: ‘Ooooh…’ he just cracked up.”
If you were under any illusions that Van Halen were a band with a high-brow sense of humour – and if you were, have you not listened to Hot For Teacher? – this should lay that firmly to rest.
Guild revives the S-100 with Kim Thayil
The Guild S-100 is a unique but much-loved curio in the Guild canon – along with the Thunderbird it’s probably the most famous solidbody the company famed more for acoustics and semis makes, and has nearly 60 years of history and heritage under its belt. And yet despite all that, with its chunky SG-derived appearance and interesting electronics, its never really captured the attention of many artists.
One notable exception is of course, Kim Thayil of Soundgarden, and so it makes all the sense in the world that Guild would tap him up to front their revival of the S-100 – though eyebrows have certainly been raised that the guitar exists now exclusively as a Thayil signature model, complete with Soundgarden logo’d backplate. Still, given that the guitar hasn’t been a part of the Guild range for several years, S-100 fans will probably just be glad to see it back at all – and offering both an expensive US version and a very reasonable sub-$1,000 import version keeps everyone happy, right?
Gibson’s Cesar Gueikian has a habit of ‘leaking’ new projects on his Instagram, and the CEO was at it again this week, debuting a very metal-looking Les Paul design with a dark grey tinted quilt top, black hardware and uncovered humbuckers. Could it be a future signature model for a heavy artist with an affinity for Les Pauls? Probably not, it’s much more likely to be Mark Morton of Lamb Of God, but it’s always interesting seeing what the company is up to.
Speaking of Metallica, they’ve launched their own guitar-shaped ice-cream bar. Look, don’t pretend that you didn’t pick up the guitar all those years ago in the hope that one day you’d have a signature model that could itself be then replicated in chocolate-covered ice cream form. It’s the classic rock ‘n’ roll dream!
There’s a 15-page thread on The Gear Page about whether or not PRS’s bird inlays suck or don’t, like it’s 1999 all over again.
Quote of the Week
“My dad doesn’t have a lot of money, so it was amazing that he’d buy this SG for me. He believed we could go really far, and he wanted me to have the best tools available. At that time we’d played one school fair… I’m about to play that same guitar with the Foo Fighters in December, so dad was right,”
Teen Jesus & The Jean Teasers guitarist Scarlett McKahey shares an uplifting and touching tale of her dad believing in his daughter’s potential so much that he bought her a 70s SG after their first gig – and she’s used it all the way to playing stadiums with the Foos later this year.
Look, we all did it, and there’s nothing wrong with a black Strat… but we are begging you, learner guitarists of the world – try something a little more interesting? You have options now – embrace them!