Premier Guitar

August 2010 Staff Picks

July 20, 2010
We at Premier Guitar are feeling confessional this month, so this time around Staff Picks is focusing on the gear we love to hear but can’t help making sound, well, like hell. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Jason Shadrick -- Associate Editor
What am I listening to?
Wolfgang Muthspiel and Mick Goodrick, Live at the Jazz Standard. These two jazz masters explore every possible nook and cranny of the fretboard, and their rapport breathes new life into this collection of standards and originals.
What piece of gear do you love hearing others play but can’t make sound good yourself?
A thick-neck Les Paul is something I can’t get my hands around (literally). Some of my favorite players get amazing sounds out of them, but I haven’t found one that’s comfortable.


Shawn Hammond -- Editor in Chief
What am I listening to?
Tiger Army, The Power of Moonlite. Thirteen great psychobilly tracks powered by raging Gretsches and thundering upright bass. However, "In the Orchard," with its lap-steel wailing and throbbing tremolo, is the highlight.
What piece of gear do you love hearing others play but can’t make sound good yourself?
Although I have some metal proclivities, I have a tough time making active pickups and a high-gain amp sound great—it’s just not me.


John Scofield -- Guest Picker
What am I listening to?
Maurizio Pollini playing Schoenberg’s The Piano Music. Schoenberg’s music is 100 years old but definitely the music of the future!
What piece of gear do you love hearing others play but can’t make sound good yourself?
I love the sounds I get from Strats, and I often start a set on one, but I feel restricted. There are certain things that are harder to execute, so I always end up on my trusty AS200.


Joe Coffey -- Editorial Director
What am I listening to?
I’ve had "First Flash of Freedom" from Tom Petty’s new album, Mojo, on repeat for a few days now. Amazing tones. Great playing. It’s like a Ruffles chip. Betcha can’t listen to it just once.
What piece of gear do you love hearing others play but can’t make sound good yourself?
Pedal steel. John Hughey’s stuff could make you cry. Now that’s talent. Interestingly enough, I can make people cry when I play that instrument, too.


Jordan Wagner -- Associate Gear Editor
What am I listening to?
Shiner, The Egg. Amazing, avant-garde riffing, unique songwriting, and a rhythm section with one of the most underrated drummers ever, Jason Gerken.
What piece of gear do you love hearing others play but can’t make sound good yourself?
I’m a huge fan of Adrian Belew, who has made Stratocasters scream with otherworldly tones, but I just can’t quite gel with Strats as much as I’d like to.


Andy Ellis -- Senior Editor
What am I listening to?
Kenny Burrell, Midnight Blue. Ever since high school, I’ve spun this when I need to ground myself musically or spiritually. It’s a potent mix of hipster blues, bebop, and Latin percussion, with some of the most soulful guitar I’ve ever heard.
What piece of gear do you love hearing others play but can’t make sound good yourself?
Seven-string guitars—that extra string always befuddles me. (However, my Dano seven-string did push me toward baritone guitar—which I now perform on exclusively.)


Chris Kies -- Associate Editor
What am I listening to?
Eric Clapton, Slowhand. It’s his quintessential solo album—Top-40 songwriting with "Wonderful Tonight" and "Lay Down Sally," dirty rockin’ blues with "Mean Old Frisco," and some of his best guitar playing ever.
What piece of gear do you love hearing others play but can’t make sound good yourself?
Single-coils and I don’t mesh. I’m better off dialing back the volume on my guitar and sticking with humbuckers or Filter’Trons.


Adam Moore -- Senior Editor
What am I listening to?
Wolf Parade, Expo 86. After 2008’s mediocre At Mount Zoomer, I briefly lost hope. But the Canadian indie sensation has returned with an album full of raucous tones, angular riffs, and uber-danceable beats.
What piece of gear do you love hearing others play but can’t make sound good yourself?
I’ve always had a tough time getting the most out of delay pedals. I can dial in a decent slapback, but anything beyond that seems to throw my brain—and, by extension, my hands—for a loop.


Steve Ouimette -- PG Reviewer/Web Columnist
What am I listening to?
Ozzy Osbourne, Scream. Not only does Ozzy sound deliver his best studio performance, but the songs are amazing, the production is on fire, and Gus G proves there’s life after Zakk.
What piece of gear do you love hearing others play but can’t make sound good yourself?
Teles. I love their look, love their tone, and a lot of my favorite players make them seem easy to play. Not sure why, but I fight them and get caught up in the string tension. It’s a mystery to me—one that I hope to solve one day!