Learn how the company dug up a design from 1964 and modernized it for its new line of affordable, American-made acoustics.
A new generation of artists have arrived, and Gibson--the iconic American guitar brand--has completed a new evolution in sound for acoustic guitar players, originally conceived in 1964. From the Gibson Lab, Gibson presents the new Gibson Generation Collection of Acoustic guitars. Inspired by a 1964 blueprint from the Gibson archives and continuing Gibson's iconic history of innovation, the Gibson Generation Collection offers a new sonic experience to HEAR MORE OF YOU, featuring balanced tone woods, and a slim comfortable neck at accessible price points.
The Gibson Generation Collection is handcrafted in Bozeman, Montana, by the highly-skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustic guitars. Comprised of four models, G-00, G-45, G-Writer, and the G-200, the Generation Collection is equipped with the Gibson Player Port on the upper bout: an original 1964 Gibson concept refined today by the Gibson Lab. The Gibson Player Port delivers a truly unique and immersive sonic experience by projecting sound to the player.
The Gibson Player Port allows players to hear more of themselves as the audience hears it. With a tone that is crisp and resonant, all of the Gibson Generation Collection acoustics are designed to be comfortable to hold and play for long periods of time. All Generation Collection guitars feature the Gibson Player Port, slim, lightweight bodies, a flatter fingerboard radius, Walnut back and sides, Sitka spruce tops, and a stunning Natural finish. The G-200 and G-Writer are equipped with LR Baggs Element Bronze pickup systems which amplify deep bass and crystal-clear highs.
One guitar (with no knobs), one amp, and one pedal is all this punk-rock papa needs to command the stage.
It's pretty astonishing that a sophomoric band of misfits and outcasts have chiseled a 40-plus-year legacy of punk rock, but that's what the improbable Descendents have been doing since 1977. Their brand of snotty, snarling, snarky, succinct songs have endeared them to rock titans like Dave Grohl.
"[They have] this shameless, love-song aesthetic—none of the other bands had the balls to do that," proclaimed Grohl in 2013's documentary Filmage: The Story of Descendents/All. "Everyone was screaming about Reagan or whatever."
Additionally, through their blending of hardcore, drag-strip tempos, and melodious harmonies, they designed a vehicle for the '90s pop-punk explosion—paving the expressway for bands like Green Day and Blink-182 to crash into the mainstream. "They're like the punk-rock Beach Boys," said Blink-182's Mark Hoppus in Filmage.
And don't forget their iconic, line-drawn mascot Milo, patterned after lead singer Milo Aukerman. That nerdy caricature's singular outline comically defines the Descendents' simplicity, humor, subtle brilliance, and everyman appeal. It also reflects the persona of Aukerman, who stated in Filmage, "I have this dichotomy of desires. I wanna rock out. I wanna be a punk-rock guy, but I also have this really strong ambition to be a scientist."
The band's redlining riffer Stephen Egerton welcomed PG down to Birmingham, Alabama's Avondale Brewing Company, where he blasted through his punk-rock-approved, simplistic-yet-seething setup.
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No Knobs, No Problem!
Descendents' guitarist (since 1987) Stephen Egerton holds his only axe—an Ernie Ball Music Man signature StingRay, with no knobs or switches. In a 2016 PG interview, Egerton explained his pragmatic reason for removing everything from his namesake instrument: "Years ago, I just wired the pickup straight to the jack. It was really a practical matter, because I tend to play harder than I probably should and there was the issue of me slamming my hand into the volume knob or pickup selector switch when I played, and those electronics tended to rust out on me, so it was helpful to have them removed."
Ready for Your Close-Up
Other appointments of the streamlined 6-string include an okoume body, a maple neck paired with a rosewood 'board, 22 high-profile medium frets, a custom-wound Music Man humbucker, and a striking charcoal frost finish.
For strings, Egerton stays loyal and locks in Ernie Ball Power Slinkys (.011–.048), while he opts for custom-made Dunlop Celluloid Shell Heavy picks featuring a portrait of himself done by his young son.
Blasting Off With Blackstar
Stephen packs a punch with a pair of 100W Blackstar HT Stage 100 heads. (One is hot, while the other is a backup.) Each head has its own Blackstar HTV-412 cabinet that is stocked with a quartet of Celestion Seventy 80s.
As you can see, Egerton dials in a punk-rock platform that eases off the gain to retain note clarity for his furious right-hand hammering.
The Punk’s Preamp Pedal
Since the punk-rock papa doesn't have any knobs on his guitar and relies on varied attack for dynamics, he enlists a MXR Echoplex Preamp Mini for the singing sustain he needs for soloing. And because punks still gotta tune, he's trusted a Boss TU-2 Chromatic Tuner for keeping the StingRay in line.
The legendary Texas Blues slinger professes his love for the blues, the Stratocaster, flatwound strings, Nile Rodgers, and the "wild guys."
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Jimmie Vaughan and Cory Wong Talk Strats | Wong Notes Podcast
Still devoted to the Strat at 70, the Texas Blues slinger bonds with Cory over their mutual devotion to Leo's "cool-looking" creation.
With its cascading Marshall-meets-Boogie tones, this Danish dirt box is a simple, oft-transformative delight.
Powerful variety of responsive high-gain tones. Makes small amps sound huge!
Decay can sound unusual at low-gain settings. Could benefit from a more powerful EQ.
LunaStone Deep Metal
With its oversized, comfortingly luminescent red lamp, dark finish, and diagonal control array, the latest from Danish stomp outfit LunaStone—the Deep Metal—is simple and handsomely evocative of WWII-era military electronics. And like said devices, its aesthetics belie the mayhem it unleashes. Innards consist of two PCBs that nearly run the length of the enclosure and face inward, thus concealing a view of the analog circuit's primary tone generators—a combination of clipping diodes and an op-amp driven by JFETs and BJTs (bipolar junction transistors). Designer Steen Grøntved says the goal of the Deep Metal was "an old-school heavy metal 'square sound.'" LunaStone certainly succeeded.
To test the manufacturer's claim that Deep Metal will make riffs and solos "sound huge" though a small combo, I employed an ESP LTD SN-1000FR with Fishman Fluence humbuckers and an Eastwood Sidejack Baritone DLX with Curtis Novak JM-WR pickups through a 2x10 Fender Vibrolux Reverb (sometimes along with a Fender Rumble 200 bass amp), and a 1x8 Fender Vibro Champ, in addition to Jaguar HC50 and Sound City SC30 1x12 combos.
Huge, But How?
Deep Metal's simple control set features just a soft-touch footswitch and level, tone, and gain knobs. As you might guess from its name, Deep Metal's lowest gain output is still fairly aggressive. And it's at minimum dirt that the pedal's most unusual characteristic—a slightly pulsating decay as notes fade—is most obvious. In most players' experience, this will likely feel quite unlike the response from tube amps. But the good news is that this somewhat industrial-sounding (for lack of a better term) characteristic in the decay sits well in the background—far enough to avoid being distracting. At minimum gain, Deep Metal also yields surprisingly dynamic, mellower sounds as you rein in your guitar volume.
Satisfying as the low-gain sounds can be, Deep Metal isn't about mellow. And, fortunately, as you increase the LunaStone's gain, the slight anomaly in the decay fades away, leaving in its wake a range of cascading, highly saturated classic-, thrash-, death-, and black-metal tones that cranked Marshall and Boogie fans will be at home with. To test how transformative Deep Metal can be, I began with the Fluence-outfitted ESP and my silver-panel Vibrolux Reverb set to clean tones and a middle-of-the-road EQ. Even with the cleanish Fender combo, Deep Metal facilitated everything from soaring, effortless legato runs to deep, chunking dissonance. But I was most impressed when I switched to the even smaller Vibro Champ and my Eastwood Sidejack, whose Jazzmaster Widerange pickups sounded both brutal and crystalline through the LunaStone. With a good mic, you could track an album's worth of evil through a rig like this, and the average player might never be wise to the fact that you didn't use big heads and 4x12s.
Apart from that odd decay at low gain, the LunaStone Deep Metal's only other slight shortcoming is its simplicity. While it delivers on the promise of making smaller amps sound big and mean, without a 2- or 3-way EQ, it's harder to get the balance of cut and body you might need when routing Deep Metal to a thumping 4x12 or both a guitar amp and a bass amp. Even so, Deep Metal puts forth a healthy range of big tones with no need for a menu or interface deep dive. For many of us that's a huge, huge plus.
Overflowing overdrive options—without option fatigue.
Fantastic sounds throughout. Compact and convenient.
Pricey. Some learning curve if you want to get the most out of the pedal.
RJM Music Overture
I usually keep three dirt pedals on my main board. You might have more. Lots of dirt options are fun! But what we gain in tonal variety from such set ups, we lose in valuable pedalboard space. The RJM Overture, an all-analog, digitally controlled programmable overdrive pedal with six distinct modes, offers a viable solution to this problem that doesn't skimp on the sounds.
Six Slick Drives
As varied as the Overture can be, the main control layout is pretty straight ahead. There are knobs for gain, volume, bass, treble, and pre-boost. Just below those knobs you can select from the Overture's modes—clean boost, classic, boutique, versatile, smooth, and crunch—by using a small button. The two footswitches are on/off and solo. The latter switch, which is called "bank" in the newest production run, lets you select from preset banks 1-4 when disengaged or 5-8 when engaged. The bank switch effectively lets you switch between two presets in the two different banks.
The Overture's programmability is a big part of its convenience. The unit allows up to eight presets. And if you really want to geek out and stretch the Overture's potential, you can use the pedal's MIDI functionality and, with an external controller, can store up to 100 additional presets and control parameters. The programmable aspect of the Overture isn't immediately intuitive and I had to consult the manual to get up and running. But in general, it's fairly simple once you learn how it works.
I got rounder, slightly softer transients, but a big buttery sound that was more than a little Dumble-like.
To access presets 1 though 4, you have to press the on/off and solo buttons simultaneously to scroll. To access presets 5 through 8, you press the solo button again to select that bank of presets, then scroll with the on/off and solo buttons. To save changes, you hold down the overdrive mode mini-button for three seconds, and it will save to the selected preset location.
To access a specific preset within a bank, you have to scroll through all the presets sequentially in ascending order. So you can't quickly switch from, say, preset 2 to 1. You have to scroll all the way from 2 through 4 before reaching 1 again. To get the most out of the Overture, it's worth looking into integration with one of the excellent MIDI foot controllers in RJM's product line.
While space in this review doesn't permit covering all six Overture modes in depth, there are distinct highlights. Three of the modes—classic, boutique, and versatile—are based on TS and modified TS circuits. In classic and boutique mode, the bass knob is inactive and the treble knob functions like the single tone control on a TS. With the gain around 11 o'clock and the treble knob at noon, classic mode generates very sweet lead voices that are open and refreshingly robust in the low end for Tube Screamer-style stomps, which are famous for their midrange. It also sounded more articulate and spacious than many original Tube Screamers I have heard. The versatile mode is similar to the boutique mode, but its active bass control permits more tone-shaping flexibility. Switching to smooth mode with the same settings (and the bass control active and set at noon), I got rounder, slightly softer transients, but a big buttery sound that was, surprisingly, more than a little Dumble-like.
Engaging the clean boost with pre-boost at noon (the pre-boost control allows up to 12 dB of pre-overdrive boost) and gain set low coaxed stinging bluesy tones from single-coils. At the same settings, bridge humbuckers generated beautiful clean rhythm tones. And even a basic open-position G chord sounded majestic and responded dynamically to extra pick attack, with rich overdrive breakup.
It's hard to find a bad sound in the Overture. Even at lower gain settings, the pedal shines—lending a bright, lively edge to basic guitar tones. If all you need is a single overdrive pedal, this might be overkill. But if a single OD leaves you wanting, the Overture can make a lot of high-quality overdrive sounds without taking up a ton of space.