Putting the “pow” back in “power trio,” the L.A. proto-punk hesh heathens punch life back into the longhaired punk ’n’ roll sound of yore.

Los Angeles trio Zig Zags builds on a foundation of scuzzy, punk-paced rock ’n’ roll similar to ’70s bands like Bizarros and the Rubber City Rebels. But listen closely to their Ty Segall-produced eponymous debut, and you’ll also hear trace elements of the Alice Cooper Band, early Royal Trux, and the Damned.

While most musicians are reticent to describe their own sound, Zig Zags pretty much nail it in the segment of their bio that reads, “When [Metallica bassist] Cliff Burton wore that Misfits shirt—Zig Zags. When the Emergency Broadcast System interrupts that John Carpenter movie—Zig Zags. When a soggy pile of Thrasher mags and Jack Kirby comics spills out of a dumpster behind the Sunday school—Zig Zags.”

“Brainded Warrior,” the first song off their full-length album, demonstrates the accuracy of this description. It’s a sonic jolt of face-slapping, riff-heavy hard rock played at proto-punk speeds. Guitarist Jed, bassist Patrick, and drummer Bobby share a musical chemistry that pulses like they’re tapped into one cerebral mainframe. Jed’s guitar playing is a relentless attack of distorted punches pushed through a tower of cabs—imagine Johnny Ramone having to share gear with UFO-era Michael Schenker. And despite Ty Segall sitting at the mixing chair, there’s a refreshingly noticeable absence of reverb here and throughout the album. zigzags.bandcamp.com

<a href="http://zigzags.bandcamp.com/album/zig-zags" _cke_saved_href="http://zigzags.bandcamp.com/album/zig-zags">Zig Zags by Zig Zags</a>

A chambered body and enhanced switching make this affordable Revstar light and loaded with tones.

Scads of cool tone combinations. Articulate pickups. Relatively light. Balanced and comfortable. Well built.

Some P-90 players might miss the extra grit the Revstar trades for articulation.

Yamaha Revstar Standard RSS02T
usa.yamaha.com

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While the Yamaha name is famous in circles beyond the guitar world, they’ve made first-class guitars since the 1960s. And while they don’t unleash new releases with the frequency of some larger guitar brands, every now and then they come down the mountain with a new axe that reminds us of their capacity to build great electric 6-strings. In 2015, Yamaha introduced the first generation Revstar. With a handsome aesthetic inspired by the company’s motorcycle racing heritage, the Revstar combined sweet playability and vintage style touchstones. This year, Yamaha gave the Revstar an overhaul—including body chambering, updated pickups, and new switching. What’s impressive is how these alterations enhance the already impressive playability and versatility of the original.

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See a sampling of picks used by famous guitarists over the years.

Marty Stuart

Submit your own artist pick collections to rebecca@premierguitar.com for inclusion in a future gallery.

Misfits guitarist Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein unveils a new line of strings, collaborating with Josh Vittek of Sheptone.

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