Classic lines, quality workmanship, and versatile vintage-style pickups distinguish Eric Krasno’s semi-hollow signature model.
It’s easy to stereotype Ibanez as the creators of the sultry shred machines seen in the hands of Steve Vai and Joe Satriani, but doing so ignores the company’s long history of creating fine semi-hollow axes. George Benson, Pat Metheny, and John Scofield have relied on the Japanese company’s beautifully crafted archtops for decades. Those adventurous sensibilities have been passed down to a new generation of jazz-funk players, including Soulive guitarist Eric Krasno, who collaborated with Ibanez to create his signature EKM10T.
Krasno’s musical ethos is as rooted in the sophisticated blues-bop of Grant Green as much as the hard-driving funk of Sly Stone and Tower of Power. To cover such a broad musical landscape, he needs a guitar equally comfortable with smoky minor blues and ripping “Maggot Brain” leads.
The Chinese-made EKM10T clings to classic style without coming off as a tired rehash. Visually, it’s nearly identical to its pricier predecessor, the EKM100. Its appointments and attention to detail are remarkable for an instrument that streets for under $1,200.
At first grasp, the guitar just feels solid—it’s obviously a tool for hard-working players, not a watered-down version of a marquee signature model. Straight out of the box, it was ready for nearly anything I could throw its way.
As I slipped into a funky East Bay groove, the frets felt smooth and polished. While the neck is a bit larger than I tend to prefer, it’s immensely fast and comfortable—a longtime Ibanez hallmark. Krasno requested an Ibanez VBS80 vibrato for some retro wobble. The bar’s tension is perfect for expressive playing, but not so tough that you need to fight to get some movement. One minor gripe: The excess ringing that emanates from the section of string between the bridge and the vibrato is distractingly loud when unplugged. A bit of foam would be a quick studio fix, but it rings through a bit when plugged in as well.
Sco to Go
Our review model came loaded with Ibanez’s Super 58 humbuckers, also found in the Scofield, Metheny, and Benson models. (It’s testimony to each player’s touch that such a wide variety of sounds have come from the same pickups!)
To hit a variety of tonal touchstones, I tested the guitar with both a reissue Fender Deluxe Reverb and a Vox AC15. Through the Fender, I could get a biting (but not shrill) rhythm sound on the bridge pickup. It had enough presence for a Jimmy Nolen “chicken scratch,” but lost a bit of low-end muscle when I moved to the bass strings. The vintage-style output was a great match for the Deluxe’s blackface 6V6 vibe.
It’s difficult to plug a 335-style guitar into a Vox and not try and cop some Sco licks. I was able to dial in just enough dirt to let the bridge pickup blossom into a clear and robust lead tone. Even complex jazz chords neck-deep in #9s and b13s come through with enough presence to impress the most jaded jazz-rocker.
The neck pickup is the jazzer’s bread and butter. I found the neck Super 58 a bit darker than expected and sought a brighter amp setting for balance. After a bit of tweaking, I obtained a beautifully warm, soft tone that could easily become my go-to for solo guitar brunch gigs. I’ve always admired Larry Carlton’s compressed, singing lead tone, so I added a Truetone Route 66 overdrive/compressor to the mix. With added grit, squish, and EQ, I got pretty close to Mr. 335’s namesake setup.
In an ever-more-crowded field of pro-level guitars under $1,500, the EKM10 stands out as a highly worthy option for players who dig the timeless lines and mojo of the 335. While it doesn’t come with fancy gizmos or over-the-top adornments, it’s a tastefully designed workhorse that can fit myriad situations without seeming dated or out of place. The pickups lean a bit more towards blues and funk than jazz, but even with its slight shortcomings, it’s a hell of an axe for the money.
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Created in collaboration with legendary guitarist George Lynch of Dokken and Lynch Mob fame, the Mr.Scary Mod adds an adjustable tube gain stage and an onboard Deep control, which together are designed to enable an amp to have increased sustain while still retaining note definition and dynamics.
LegendaryTones, LLC today announced production availability of its new Mr. Scary Mod, a 100% pure tube module designed to instantly and easily expand the capabilities of many classic amplifiers with additional gain and tone shaping. Created in collaboration with legendary guitarist George Lynch of Dokken and Lynch Mob fame, the Mr.Scary Mod adds an adjustable tube gain stage and an onboard Deep control, which together are designed to enable an amp to have increased sustain while still retaining note definition and dynamics.
Originally released as the Lynch Mod in February 2021, the updated Mr. Scary Mod features the same core circuit as the Lynch Mod but is now equipped with a revised tube mix combo per George’s preference as well as a facelift in a newly redesigned electro-galvanized steel enclosure. As with the Lynch Mod, each run will be limited and the first run in Pumpkin Orange with Black hardware is limited to just 150 pieces worldwide.
The Mr. Scary Mod adds an adjustable tube gain stage on top of the cathode follower position, keeping note definition and articulation while further increasing sustain. Each Mr. Scary mod is meticulously built by hand in the USA, one at a time, and tuned using high-grade components. Equipped with a single ECC81 (12AT7) in the first position and ECC83 (12AX7) in the second, the Mr. Scary Mod can clean up beautifully when rolling down your guitar’s volume, and still adds scorching gain when you roll it back up. This is a gain stage that’s been tuned and approved by the ears of the maestro George Lynch himself.
“The Mr. Scary Mod excels with dynamics and is incredibly touch-responsive, allowing me to shift from playing clear, lightly compressed cleans to full-out aggressive sustain and distortion –and control it all simply by varying my guitar’s volume control and picking,” said GeorgeLynch. “In many ways, it’s an old-school approach, but it’s also so much more natural and expressive in addition to being musically fulfilling when you can play both the guitar and amp dynamically together this way.”
The Mr. Scary Mod installs in minutes, is safe and effective to use, and requires no special tools or re-biasing of the amplifier. Simply insert the module into the cathode follower preamp position of compatible amplifiers (includes Marshall 2203/2204/1959/1987 circuits) and
immediately get the benefit of enjoying a hot-rodded amp that delivers all the pure harmonic character that comes with an added pure tube gain stage. The handmade in the USA Mr. Scary Mod is now available to order for $319.
For more information, please visit legendarytones.com.
October Audio has miniaturized their NVMBR Gain pedal to create two mini versions of this beautifully organic-sounding circuit – including an always-on gain device.
The NVMBR Gain is a nonlinear amp that transitions gracefully from clean boost to overdriven tones. Volume increases from just over unity to about 10db before soft-clipping drive appears for another 5db of boost. Its extraordinary ease of use is matched by outstanding versatility: you can use it as a clean boost, push a stubborn amp into overdrive or create a just-breaking-up sound at any amp volume.
October Audio’s new family of mini NVMBR Gain pedals includes a switchable version that allows you to bypass the effect: one option features brand logo pedal graphics, while the other sports a fun “Witch Finger” graphic with a Davies knob as the“fingernail”.
The second version in the new lineup is an always-on device featuring the Witch Finger graphic and Davies knob, with the same NVMBR Gain circuit that lies at the core of the switchable version.
- Knob controls gain and clipping simultaneously
- Stunning silver hammertone finish
- Switchable versions are true-bypass, available with classic or witch finger graphics
- Authentic Davies knobs, including the “fingernail”
- 9V center negative power supply required
- Dimensions: 3.63 x 1.50 x 1.88 in
Witch Finger (always on NVMBR Gain) demo
All October Audio pedals are assembled in Richmond, VA, and available for purchase directly through the online shop. Street price is $109 for NVMBR Gain footswitch versions and $89 for the always-on device.
For more information, please visit octoberaudio.com.