Acoustic Gear Finds June 2021
Don't miss the latest and greatest gear finds for your acoustic!
Cole Clark Guitars CCFL2ECRDBL
The Cole Clark CCFL2ECRDBL Acoustic-Electric Guitar is designed for the guitarist who demands the highest standards in an instrument. The 2 Series FL Dreadnought guitar is the go-to choice for every player looking to have ultimate control of both the acoustic and plugged-in performance environments, with Cole Clark's signature 3-way pickup system and beautiful, sustainably-sourced, natural Redwood and Blackwood timbers.
Walden Guitars B1E Baritone
"I love this thing, I can't put it down. It's kind of like having a piano in your lap, you got all the low end for bass lines, and you got chords that you can strum on top, even alternating simple bass lines. There's all kinds of fun you can have with this thing!" ~ Sean Harkness, NYC
Typically tuned to B, the Baritone provides a clear low end response perfect for soloists, singer-songwriters, percussive finger-style players, or guitarists who crave a walking bass line while comping chords.
With its offset soundhole, side-port, and solid Sitka spruce top with innovative low-mass bracing, the Walden B1E sounds sonically excellent while incorporating the more comfortable Grand Auditorium body shape. A graphite reinforced Mahogany neck contribute to stability and its 27″ scale length and 1-13/16″ nut width contribute to the B1E Baritone's transparent playability.
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PRS SE P20E
The PRS SE P20E is a parlor-sized acoustic with a big voice. Features include all-mahogany construction and PRS hybrid "X"/Classical bracing, which allows the top to freely vibrate, the SE P20E projects with even, bold tone. Its smaller size makes playing for hours fun and comfortable and allows for more convenient transport.
Plug in the Fishman GT1 pickup system, and it delivers dynamic, organic tone. This electronics system features an undersaddle pickup and soundhole mounted preamp with easy-to-access volume and tone controls, which essentially transforms what some may consider a "couch guitar" into a workhorse stage instrument.
Available in three satin finishes with herringbone rosettes and accents. Other high-quality features include a solid mahogany top, ebony fretboard and bridge, and bone nut and saddle. Gig bag included.
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Tanglewood Guitars TWBBOE
Inspired by the guitars made in the 1930s, the Tanglewood Blackbird series evoke traditional values, yet offer the benefits a guitar manufactured in the modern era. These guitars feature hand-selected tone woods and a unique bracing pattern. The Blackbird Orchestra electro-acoustic guitar is carefully braced to environments, with Cole Clark's signature 3-way pickup system and beautiful, sustainably-sourced, natural Redwood and Blackwood timbers.
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Taylor Guitars GS Mini-e Koa Plus
Taylor's popular, compact GS Mini has brought countless hours of guitar-playing joy to musicians of all stripes, and the GS Mini-e Koa Plus takes the fun to a new level with elevated aesthetic details. Back and sides of layered Hawaiian koa pair with a solid koa top for a punchy, bold sound with surprising power and volume for a small-bodied guitar with a scale length of 23-½ inches, while the 1-11/16-inch nut width makes forming chords a breeze. A dusky edgeburst accentuates koa's natural grain and luster around the top, back and sides, while other notable features include nickel tuners, a three-ring rosette, and a genuine West African ebony fretboard. It includes onboard ES2 electronics and Taylor's new AeroCase®, a soft yet sturdy case with all the protection of a hardshell case at one-third the weight.
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Shubb CAPO ROYALE C1G
Adding to the company's line of premium capos, Shubb has introduced the new Capo Royale Series, featuring durable gold finishes that deliver long-lasting beauty.
Available in two lustrous finishes – Gold and Rose Gold – the Capo Royale Series brings a distinctive visual flair to Shubb's famed capo design, revered since 1980 for its ability to provide flawlessly clean fretting while keeping the instrument in tune.
For many years Shubb has received requests for a gold plated Shubb Capo. While gold is undeniably beautiful, it is not at all durable; it will wear off far too easily and quickly. It is also famously expensive. Now, Shubb has developed a high-tech technique for creating a gold-toned titanium finish. It possesses all the beauty of real gold, but is as durable as any metal finish in the world.
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Guild's most affordable jumbo yet! The F-240E is a tone cannon at a player's price. Built with a solid spruce top, mahogany sides, and an arched mahogany back, the full-bodied and powerful voice of this Guild Jumbo provides guitarists with historically-Guild acoustic tone and voicing. Guild's signature arched back design allows for enhanced volume and projection, long sustain, and a lush, full sound. The F-240E features Guild's Fishman-designed AP-1 electronics, a pau ferro fingerboard and bridge, bone nut and saddle, mother-of-pearl rosette, period-correct tortoiseshell pickguard, and a satin polyurethane finish.
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Blackstar Amplification ACOUSTIC:CORE30
The Blackstar ACOUSTIC:CORE 30 was designed to give singer/songwriters the ability to get a professional sound without any sound engineering expertise, then share it via live streaming or recording, or live performance. All in a compact easily portable combo with the option of battery power. This take-anywhere acoustic amp is designed for the way you play today: streaming, recording, practice or live.
Santa Cruz Guitar Company: A True Custom Shop
Santa Cruz Guitar Company has made it even easier to order the custom acoustic you've always wanted. They invite you to email them directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to be walked through the design process, where they will take the time needed to answer all your questions about models, tonewoods, structural options and aesthetics to ensure you will receive the heirloom acoustic that is right for you.
Levy's Hemp Vegan Guitar Straps
The New MH8P Series Vegan Hemp Series guitar straps by Levy's come in four new beautiful motifs and measure 2"/51mm in width. These organic straps are cruelty-free using sustainable materials and extend from 37"/940mm to 62"/1572mm via silver-colored tri-glide sliding adjustment. Natural hemp webbing and durable 2-ply cork ends safely support your instrument, along with pinhole stitching on both ends to prevent stretching. To address the issue of pick dropping encountered by almost every gigging guitarist, the MH8P Series comes equipped with a convenient 2.5"/64mm inside pocket to provide quick access to extra picks. Hand-crafted in Novia Scotia.
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LR Baggs Voiceprint DI
The product of nearly 3 years of intensive research and collaboration with a team of PhDs, LR Baggs is thrilled to introduce Voiceprint DI, the next breakthrough chapter in acoustic amplification. Voiceprint DI measures the acoustic response of your guitar by leveraging the processing power of your iPhone® to accurately capture your guitar's one-of-a-kind voice. A Voiceprint is created, transforming your pickup into the most authentic sound we have engineered in our 40+ years.
Henriksen Amps The Bud
Raise your hand if you only own one guitar… that's what we thought. But do you need a different amplifier for each one? The Bud from Henriksen is no ordinary amplifier; it sounds just as amazing with your acoustic guitars as it does with your electric guitars, regardless of style. The Bud is just 13 lbs and 9"x9"x9" but packs 120 watts of power and a pro-grade feature set that you can truly gig with, record, teach, or just practice.
Breedlove Guitars Jeff Bridges’ Signature Oregon Concerto Bourbon CE
Powerful and responsive like a dreadnought, tonally the acoustic electric Breedlove Jeff Bridges' Signature Model emphasizes the unique qualities of myrtlewood, with a deep rosewood-like bass, the fundamental clarity of mahogany and the enchanting shimmer of koa. The Breedlove Jeff Bridges signature "All in this Together" project benefits Amazon Conservation Team, which works in partnership with indigenous colleagues to protect rainforests.
NUX Stageman II (AC-80) Battery-Powered Acoustic Guitar Amplifier
NUX Stageman II Battery-Powered Acoustic Guitar Amplifier features a pure analog preamp with NUX's iconic Core-Image post-effects. It has specific EQ scenes for finger-style as well as strum-style in channel 1, and you can engage built-in Acoustic IRs with a dedicated mobile APP. Acoustic IR is the new trend to make your acoustic sound as natural as micing. Stageman II keeps Drum & Loop, you can control by the original NUX NMP-2 foot-controller. And the built-in rechargeable battery can let you busk on the street for 4 hours.
- 80-watt rich warm sound acoustic amp with 6.5" premium speaker and 1" tweeter
- Rechargeable battery for 4.5 hours outdoor performing
- Built-in Acoustic Impulse Response
- 2 independent channels with routing adjustable post-effects
- Mobile APP for editing and control
- Drum & Loop (60s phrase loop)
- Bluetooth Audio Stream
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Duesenberg Guitars Factory Tour
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the premium guitar maker’s precision processes, from sawing neck blocks to final setup and shipping, as we follow the building journey of a Mike Campbell Alliance Series semi-hollowbody from Croatia to Germany.
The Mike Campbell Alliance Series signature model is inspired by Duesenberg’s Starplayer TV, which he notably played during the 2008 Super Bowl half-time show.
Founded in 1986 by Dieter Gölsdorf in Hannover, Germany, Duesenberg’s guitars, basses, and lap steels are played by a wide variety of artists including Mike Campbell, Ron Wood, Bob Dylan, Joe Walsh, John Mayer, Vince Gill, Robbie McIntosh, Carmen Vandenberg, Jason Isbell, and Tom Bukovac.
The Making of a Dream Guitar | Duesenberg Guitars Production Tour
In the video “The Making of a Dream Guitar,” we get to see how these stylish music-making machines are built. It’s a never-before-seen look at the company’s production process.
Gölsdorf, who had extensive experience in guitar hardware design, created Duesenberg Guitars with the goal of establishing consistently outstanding tone, roadworthy reliability, and unique design, and the company has successfully followed his vision ever since, becoming a respected maker of high-end instruments.
The Duesenberg Starplayer TV variation made for Heartbreakers and Dirty Knobs guitarist Mike Campbell is the star of the video, and we follow an example on its journey of creation, starting in the Croatian village of Varazdin, which was established in the 17th century.
We begin the tour by looking at the neck of the Starplayer, which is made from a single piece of maple for better clarity and attack. We see raw planks of maple cut to length and then trimmed into neck blanks, which are milled by a CNC machine that creates the truss rod channel and rough headstock shape. Meanwhile, rosewood fretboards are prepared, including the installation of the side dots, fretboard inlays, and binding. Once the neck is ready, a dual-action truss road is inserted, and the fretboard glued on. Then it’s back to CNC, where tuner holes are cut and the neck’s medium D profile is shaped, smoothed, and finalized. After that, the fretboard is sanded to a 12" radius and the frets put in place. Fine sanding is the final step in the neck’s production.
After the neck has been contoured and loaded with the fretboard and other appointments, the final step is fine sanding for smooth playability.
The body of this semi-hollowbody model is next, and in the video you’ll see the center block being routed, the laminated maple sides being heat-pressed into shape, and the contouring of the laminated spruce top and flame maple back. The f-hole and its binding are also part of this process. The pieces are glued together, and when the body is set the channels for the top and bottom binding are inserted and then it is allowed to dry once more.
Next, the neck is inserted into the body, for a seamless, sound-transferring fit, followed by another round of hand-sanding. Then, it’s time for painting.
These Starplayer bodies have already had their neck joints cut, and are waiting to the fitted.
Now a clear base cost of primer, which is sanded after drying, is applied. The next step is masking, to protect the binding during the painting process. We see the process for finishing a Mike Campbell Starplayer model in “The Making of a Dream Guitar,” starting with a white coat that allows Duesenberg to mask the axe’s twin stripes during later stages of painting. Next: a metallic blue color coat, artfully sprayed on. When the masking in removed after the paint is dried, revealing the binding and other appointments, the headstock gets the company’s iconic “D” logo and the final clear coats.
Fine-sanding and polishing comes next, and the high-level of skill required for this task quickly becomes evident. The next stop for this instrument is Duesenberg’s headquarters, in Hannover, where final production takes place.
The in-house CNC and Plek department in Hannover gets the instrument, and the electronics cavities are routed before the Pleking process takes place—cutting each fret to achieve comfortable, low action. The fretboard edges are rounded off by hand, and the frets polished.
Here’s another eye-catching Duesenberg model, the Paloma in Catalina Sunset Rose, with suitably wild west surroundings. Other models currently in production include the Double Cat, Caribou, Falken, Senior, Julia, Starplayer Bass, Lapsteel, and Starplayer III.
The final stage of building the Starplayer TV is setup and assembly. If you know anything about Duesenberg Guitars, you know the hardware is all proprietary, with a distinctive art-deco vibe. The Duesenberg tremolo bridge works on a unique steel needle and nylon bearing design. The pickups use silver-nickel components, and the tuners conceal the sharp string edges. This process for finishing instrument—including finalizing the neck, adjusting the pickups, and much more—is handled by a single luthier, who leaves a handwritten signature inside each instrument. The last step is playing each guitar, and then they’re moved on the quality control, where they are placed in its case and packed for shipping. Next stop? The guitar’s new owner.
You can learn even more about Duesenberg guitars by going to the company’s website at https://www.duesenbergusa.com/en/ or https://linktr.ee/iduesenberg You’ll find all the models currently in production including the Alliance Series, Starplayer TV, Double Cat, Caribou, Paloma, Falken, Senior, Julia, Starplayer Bass, Lapsteels, and Starplayer III.
Narration By: Nathan Fawley
Music By: Heinz Rebellius
A Film By: Andrej Lillak
Mike Campbell of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers & The Dirty Knobs
Wolfgang Morenz of JORIS
All members of the Duesenberg team for their commitment to the Steel Strings
Covet’s Yvette Young Breaks Free
With the album Catharsis, the unique guitar visionary has reached a new creative zenith. But it wasn’t easy.
A tattoo of the word “resilient” adorns both Yvette Young’s collarbone and the T-shirts and masks that just recently sold out on her website. That’s an apt descriptor for Young’s strong will. It served her well when, even with the meteoric rise to success of her band, Covet, the behind-the-scenes environment turned extremely toxic after a band member’s behavior became erratic. Young is reluctant to say more about the matter, but she felt unsafe and trapped, and she wanted to quit the band she’d started to instead either pursue a solo project or revisit the visual arts. (A former art teacher, she double-majored in fine arts and education at UCLA, and made money painting guitars, including one for WILLOW.)
“I went from a situation where I was afraid of one of my bandmates, and did what I needed to do to free myself from what I felt to be an emotionally, and thus creatively draining, situation,” reveals Young, who parted ways with Covet’s members during the recording sessions for the new album, Catharsis, and had the bass parts re-done by noted touring and session bassist Jon Button.
So, Catharsis reflects the close of an old, painful chapter and the beginning of a new one. “The process was arduous, and decisions were difficult and super daunting, but I’m ultimately so proud I got through. I learned so much about recording and chasing a sound, and I learned about advocating for myself and fighting for what I want,” says Young. “I think it’s an important thing for a lot of creatives to remember: Art must not come at the expense of overall well-being and safety, and the only sustainable way to create is in an environment that you feel free. That’s what this music is to me—my freedom.”
covet - firebird (official video)
Making the album proved to be therapeutic. “I feel like, on Catharsis, some of the songs are a bit darker and it was definitely me having an outlet for some stuff that was painful, but a lot of it is uplifting and very happy and dance-y,” Young says. “Because music is transformative, and if you’re ever feeling in a bad mood, if you write music that sounds really happy, it can uplift you. Writing music that sounds like how you wish you felt can be really helpful sometimes.”
“I’ve always been really fascinated with ‘can you make someone feel something or convince them of something without even saying a word?’”
A public search for new band members would have drawn too much unnecessary attention and Yvette would have had to spend too much time vetting every prospect. Instead, she found her new bandmates via her good friend, composer and pianist Summer Swee-Singh, who recruited bassist Brandon Dove and drummer Jessica Burdeaux. Burdeaux was Summer’s bandmate at the time, but had an opening in her schedule. “Summer is an angel. She knows me. She knows that I’m an overly nice person sometimes. I tend to let people boss me around and then I give up,” explains Young. “She said, ‘You need people that are just as caring and just as hardworking.’”
Dove and Burdeaux’s work ethic was immediately on full display as they learned Covet’s ultra-technical music in just two weeks. To much online gossip and drama, the revamped Covet lineup was revealed on social media in October 2022. But even as the wheels were set in motion, Young’s resiliency was put to another series of tests. Just four days before the first show of their appropriately named Rebirth tour, their van—a 2007 Ford E-350 that Young paid for out of pocket—was stolen. Covet then raised money on GoFundMe to rent a van and get the tour going. But then that rental van was broken into, with the windows smashed and gear stolen. Even with all of these mishaps, the first tour of the new Covet lineup was successful.
Emotional Nerd Rock
The songs on Catharsis, with its mix of melancholy and majesty, are the most accurate representation of where Young’s current interests are. “I want to write something that’s catchy. I want people to be able to hum it—like for your average listener who doesn’t understand guitar, who doesn’t listen to music. I want them to be able to enter this music and still get something from it,” she says. “But I don’t want to leave guitar players bored, so I’m going to put some flashiness and odd-time stuff in there, but trick people into dancing to it. That’s really fun for me.”
The current Covet lineup, touring behind the new album, Catharsis, is drummer Jessica Burdeaux, Yvette Young, and bassist Brandon Dove.
Photo by Eli Chavez
On their Facebook page Covet describes themselves as “Emotional Nerd Rock” and Catharsis songs like “Firebird” and “Lovespell,” the album closer that features saxophonist Alex Rose from Minus the Bear, deceptively sneak geeky polyrhythms and metric mind games into the context of feel-good, catchy music. In “Lovespell,” Young explains, “There’s a part where I’m in five, drums are in four, and bass is in three. And you’re dancing to it, and you can’t tell. I play it on tour now, and that’s the song that people dance to the hardest. They don’t even notice it. I feel like I’m in a good place. I have a cool opportunity where I’m writing catchy stuff that moms and dads like and can listen to, but I’m also trying to open people’s minds up to more progressive elements of music that you wouldn’t necessarily find on the radio.”
“Interlude,” Catharsis’ piano-driven track with a nostalgic/melancholic vibe,is similar in mood to some of Young’s previously released solo piano music. “It’s so funny, because my voice on piano is a little bit different than my voice on guitar,” she explains. “When I write, it feels like I’m not even there anymore. Like it feels that who I am doesn’t matter. I just hear stuff and it comes out. I know that sounds crazy, but I feel like I’m just channeling emotions and trying to find ways to express certain abstract feelings without having to use lyrics. That’s the value of instrumental music. I’ve always been really fascinated with ‘Can you make someone feel something or convince them of something without even saying a word?’ Just by the tension of the music, the timbre, the pedals that you use, the way that you phrase something, the key changes, all of that. It’s really fun to try to do that. The piano music and Covet’s music is all storytelling. It’s me trying to transport people to a fantasy place.”
Music on Her Own Terms
Young is among today’s most important young guitarists. Steve Vai named her as one of the five guitarists taking the instrument to the next level and recruited her to teach at his Vai Academy last summer. Ibanez has graced the virtuoso with two signature models: the YY10 and the newly released YY20. So, Young is a now a bona fide guitar hero, but the road to stardom was not easy.
Since the beginning, Young has had a conflicted relationship with music. Born in San Jose, California, to parents from Beijing, China, Young started piano at 4 and was immediately thrown into the fire. Her father, a piano salesman/technician, composed music, and her cousins played competitive piano at a very high level. Little Yvette was next in line—a prodigy in the making. She had to practice four hours a day and played high stakes competitions from age 9 to 18.
Young’s painting for the cover of her new album is a perfect reflection of its sense of uplift and emergence from adversity.
“The classical world was pushed really hard on me. I don’t know if it was my thing when I was younger,’’ recalls Young, who, in her youth, was obligated to practice fragments of 30-minute concertos over and over again until they were memorized and mastered. She also started violin at 7 and later played in her high school orchestra and the California Youth Symphony, where she was concertmaster. While Young delighted audiences with her flawless performances, deep down she hated the competitive aspect of music. It was not fun and Young’s internalized perfection in her musical and academic pursuits (having to be a straight-A student), combined with the intense pressure of the elite classical world’s cutthroat environment, led to anorexia nervosa. This eating disorder saw Young in and out of the hospital during a four-year span in her teens. The condition became so severe that Young would sporadically flatline in her sleep. Miraculously, she survived.
This dark period marked the beginning of Young’s new journey. While in the hospital, she picked up the guitar. It wasn’t a deliberate move; she wasn’t seeking another instrument to conquer and compete with. Rather, the 6-string was therapeutic and empowering. It also helped reignite her passion for music. “One cool thing about guitar, for me, is it was really important that it was an instrument I picked for myself. I don’t let anyone else dictate how I approach it,” says Young, “Music saved my life. I don’t think I’d be here if not for guitar. Guitar helped pull me out of my eating disorder. It made it so I felt like I had a voice, when I don’t feel like I’m the most outspoken person. The most exciting part of it all is that now I have the opportunity to share with people how wonderful of an outlet music, in particular guitar, can be. And how amazing it can be for building up your confidence. I’ve been through a lot. I’ll always be writing music. It’s kind of like my comfort but it’s also my way of expressing joy.”
“Art must not come at the expense of overall well-being and safety, and the only sustainable way to create is in an environment that you feel free.”
Young learned some chords by watching videos, and while she understood music theory, that didn’t factor at all into how she approached the instrument. Young explains: “Honestly, because of my classical upbringing, I feel like I have a good ear. I would listen to songs and—I didn’t even really read tabs at that point—I would just figure them out meticulously, note-by-note, and then teach it to myself.” The first song Young learned was Creed’s wistful ballad “One Last Breath” (referred to as “Six Feet From the Edge”), and she listened to Radiohead, and folk artists like Cat Stevens and Sufjan Stevens. While she first learned everything in standard tuning, Midwest emo bands like American Football and math-rock bands like Toe were major influences and led her to the world of alternate tunings, which she has built her style around ever since.
In 2013, while working as an art teacher, Young found fame accidentally after posting guitar videos on Facebook. One of her students created an Instagram page for her, and suddenly she became very famous. “I didn’t expect to have one of my videos go viral. The one video that went viral was this tapping fast thing, and I got contacted by a bunch of companies to do videos for them,” recalls Young. “At the time, I was a teacher, I was working in a school, and music was just this fun side thing—this outlet I get to do after I work my 9 to 5, to feel better. I had no idea that these videos would pop off like that, so it was exciting.” In 2014, Young formed Covet, and the trio has since been at the forefront of the math-rock scene.
Yvette Young’s Gear
Young’s new bandmates, Jessica Burdeaux and Brandon Dove, learned Covet’s ultra-technical music in just two weeks.
Photo by Sarah Phung
- Ibanez YY10
- Ibanez YY20
- Vox AC30
- Vox AC10
- Roland JC-40
- Yamaha THR10
- D'Addario NYXL (.011-.056)
- DigiTech Whammy Ricochet
- Walrus Audio Julianna
- Caroline Guitar Company Somersault
- Boss DD-3 Digital Delay
- MXR Carbon Copy Deluxe
- Earthquaker Devices Avalanche Run
- Earthquaker Devices The Warden
- Dirge Electronics Slowly Melting
- Moreland Magnetics 707 Fuzz
- DigiTech FreqOut
- Hologram Electronics Microcosm
- ZVEX Mastotron
- Ground Control Audio Noodles
- Boss OC-5 Octave
- Meris Mercury 7
- Electronic Audio Experiments Longsword
- Strymon Zuma
A 6-Stringed Piano
Young is part of a new generation of virtuoso guitarists that have created a new language far removed from the vocabulary of legacy, boomer guitar heroes. You won’t hear Hendrix, Slash, or even Yngwie-inspired licks. The omission of these influences wasn’t deliberate, however. “I just wasn’t exposed to it. It’s like when you grow up more sheltered. I didn’t really consume any pop culture, to be honest. I wasn’t even allowed to listen to rock rock when I was younger because my parents were more traditional, and they were like, ‘classical music is the way.’ I’m a late bloomer, man. I just discovered rock like, last week,’” she jokes. “I started out listening to indie music/post rock. Post rock really appealed to me because it was a lot like classical music in the way that it progresses. It’s very dynamic and it’s emotional. For me, music has always been less about virtuosity and more about its emotional appeal.”
Still, there’s no doubting Young’s virtuosic abilities. Her ultra-technical style is inspired by the piano’s polyphonic capabilities. She views the lower strings as the left-hand accompaniment register of a piano and will use it to play implied bass parts and harmonies. The upper strings of the guitar are used as the right-hand melodic side of the piano. Both hands may cross over into the other register if the music calls for it. Pianistic effects are achieved by her use of uncommon tunings, fingerstyle moves, and right-hand tapping.
“Now I have the opportunity to share with people how wonderful of an outlet music, in particular guitar, can be.”
While tapping is a big part of Young’s style, its modern-era pioneer, the late Eddie Van Halen, wasn’t even in the equation when Young started doing it. Rather, she picked up the technique from listening to bands like TTNG and other acts in the obscure art/indie scene that she grew up with. She’s recently gotten into Van Halen’s playing, though, and has also started incorporating more conventional guitar-isms, like bending.
“I don’t really know how it happened. One day I was just like ‘Instead of this slide up one fret, what if I bent to that?’ I was like, ‘Ooh, I love the way this sounds with delay.’ It sounds really cool. I checked out a bit of Van Halen, too. I wanted something that had a lot of energy. I was running and I was listening to that, and was like, ‘Okay, yeah, like the way Eddie plays is really cool.’ I think subconsciously I probably just digested all of that and spat it out in the form of my own writing.”
Another part of her distinctive sound is muting. “I’m muting with my right-hand palm and with my left hand,” she explains. “My right hand will mute the lower strings and I’ll sometimes use the pointer finger on my left hand to stop the high strings from ringing out. I’m also doing whammy bar stuff. This is new to me. I feel like I had a little bit of a breakthrough and I downgraded to .011s now because I need to be able to bend. I was using .012s before and I had a dark era where I was at .013s.”
“In order to stay passionate at what I do, to not have it feel like how I felt in the classical world—doing things for other people or trying to impress other people—I really have to be my own fortress and I have to really stay in tune with what excites me.”
So, Young’s new Ibanez YY10 and YY20 models come with .011s. “First I did the YY10, Strat style, then YY20 Tele style, orange finish,” she says, explaining their genesis. “There’s no Wilkinson tremolo system. There may or may not be a new one in the works, but I’m really excited because [if it happens] it’s gonna be a higher end one.”
These signature guitars are tuned (low to high) F–A–C–G–B–E when they are shipped. “I wanted to just kind of challenge people to try it,” she relates. “I’ve been talking to a bunch of students and they’re like, ‘I never tried open tunings because I’ve always been scared of tuning it to something different.’ I was like, ‘Well what if it just came that way?’”
Young’s own musical voice is ever evolving and, despite making a name for herself as a virtuoso, the self-described “people pleaser” resists pressure to cater to any expectations. “As I matured in my craft, I was like, ‘I feel like this isn’t even what I’m excited about,’” she says. “I’m sitting here live, playing these technical songs, sweating bullets, not feeling the music, just really worried ’cause everyone has their phone out and all eyes are on me, and I better not mess up this run or else it’s gonna end up on YouTube. I hated that. In order to stay passionate at what I do, to not have it feel like how I felt in the classical world—doing things for other people or trying to impress other people—I really have to be my own fortress and I have to really stay in tune with what excites me. The direction I go in becomes really clear when I focus on what gives me goosebumps when I’m playing, what makes me jump up and down ’cause I’m so excited about it.”
Yvette Young wasn’t raised on legacy guitar heroes and, as a result, her approach is fresh and highly personal. “I truly discovered it like an outsider. I was working on guitar and was like, ‘I guess you could play it like this.’ That definitely contributed to me sounding the way I sound,” says Young. “But I also consumed and listened to a wide variety of music. I was trying to take all the things I find exciting about different genres and just blend them into one sound.”
“Shibuya” sees Young—tuned to D–A–D–F#–A–E (low to high) with a capo on the 2nd fret—using her unique approach with plucks, taps, slaps, and slides to create a mesmerizing musical experience.
These are instruments based on the custom specifications of some of the world’s most influential musicians, but they appeal to a wide variety of players, far beyond those who are fans of these artists’ respective bands. Many people find their perfect guitar in our Signature Series based on the qualities of the guitar itself.
ESP Guitars (NAMM Booth 208A/B) had heads turning at their booth with the introduction of 12 new Signature Series guitars. In addition to three new Kirk Hammett (Metallica) LTD KH-V models and a new Olympic White finish for the James Hetfield (Metallica) Vulture guitar, the company chose the NAMM Show to debut new guitar models for Bill Kelliher (Mastodon), Gary Holt (Exodus), Javier Reyes (Animals As Leaders), Lars Frederiksen (Rancid), Nergal (Behemoth), and Stephen Carpenter (Deftones).
“The Signature Series has long been a hallmark of the ESP brand,” says Tony Rauser, ESP Director of Artist Relations. “These are instruments based on the custom specifications of some of the world’s most influential musicians, but they appeal to a wide variety of players, far beyond those who are fans of these artists’ respective bands. Many people find their perfect guitar in our Signature Series based on the qualities of the guitar itself.”
Two new models have been announced for Bill Kelliher, the respected guitarist for award-winning American metal band Mastodon. The LTD Bill Kelliher BK-600 is now available in a distinctive Vintage Silver Sunburst finish. This single-cutaway guitar features traditional full body thickness and no waist cut, with set-thru construction at 24.75” scale. A major update on the BK-600 is its set of Bill’s signature Mojotone Hellbender humbucker pickups. Both the bridge and neck pickups may be split with push-pull controls on the volume and tone knobs. Other professional features on the LTD BK-600 include LTD locking tuners and a TonePros locking bridge and tailpiece. Bill’s LTD Signature Series Sparrowhawk is also being offered in an outstanding copper-tinged Vintage Silver Sunburst finish. Built with set-thru construction at 24.75” scale, it also includes a set of Bill’s signature Mojotone Hellbender humbucker pickups.
Last year, ESP Signature Artist Gary Holt hinted about a new “very pointy” Signature Series guitar that was in development. That guitar is the LTD Gary Holt GH-SV. Built at 24.75” scale, the GH-SV offers neck-thru-body construction, with a Black finish that’s accentuated by multi-ply red binding, red pickup covers, and a special red scripted LTD logo. Its Macassar ebony neck is highlighted by pearloid split block inlays and 22 extra-jumbo stainless steel frets. Components on the GH-SV include a double-locking Floyd Rose 1000 tremolo system, Grover tuners, and a set of direct-mount active pickups including the EMG 89R (neck), with reversed coils to keep the single coil side closer to the neck to capture the sweet spot and a push-pull control to split the pickup, and an aggressive EMG 81 in the bridge position.
The LTD Signature Series JRV-8 is the new signature model for Javier Reyes from the acclaimed instrumental progressive metal trio Animals as Leaders. An 8-string guitar with a 27” baritone scale, it offers bolt-on construction with an alder body, and a five-piece maple/walnut neck with a thin flat contour. Its maple fingerboard includes double-bar abalone inlays and 22 extra-jumbo frets. It’s also one of the few production guitars to include an 8-string double-locking Floyd Rose tremolo. The JRV-8’s sound is powered by a H/S/S pickup configuration featuring a Fishman Fluence 8 String Javier Reyes Classic Open Core bridge pickup, delivering three voices that are selectable with a mini-toggle switch. The middle and neck pickups are Fishman Fluence Single Width 8.
A new Signature Series guitar is being debuted for Lars Frederiksen, the influential guitarist of the legendary punk rock band Rancid. A lighter, more streamlined version of the ESP Viper, the LTD Volsung-200 is built with set-neck construction at 24.75” scale. Components on the Volsung-200 include LTD tuners, an LTD tune-o-matic bridge and tailpiece, and a set of acclaimed, punchy ESP Designed LH-150 passive pickups in the bridge and neck positions that feature custom black chrome covers and exposed pole pieces. Unlike most Viper models, the Volsung-200 offers three control knobs, with individual volume controls for each pickup plus tone control and pickup selector.
Two new Signature Series guitars have been announced for Nergal, the frontman of respected Polish metal band Behemoth. The LTD HEX-6 offers a symmetrical V-shaped body, built with neck-thru-body construction at 25.5” scale. Other features include 24 extra-jumbo frets, a TonePros locking TOM bridge with string-thru-body, LTD locking tuners, and a set of direct-mount Fishman Fluence Modern Humbucker active pickups. The LTD HEX-200 is a more affordable version of this guitar, with bolt-on construction and a set of ESP Designed LH-301N (neck) and LH-301B (bridge) passive pickups.
A popular finish has returned for the LTD SCT-607 Baritone model of longtime ESP artist and influential guitarist Stephen Carpenter (Deftones). Available once again in Black, the LTD SCT-607 Baritone has 7- strings and a 27” baritone scale. Built with neck-thru-body construction, it features Stephen’s own signature Fishman Fluence pickups as well as a TonePros locking TOM bridge with string-thru-body design.
For more information, please visit espguitars.com.