The Rush maestro's mega-versatile signature Les Paul at fraction of the price of the original.
Killer axe that offers tons of tones. Amazing value.
Pickups can be susceptible to radio frequency noise.
Epiphone Alex Lifeson Axcess Standard
Gibson's Alex Lifeson Les Paul Axcess was released in 2011. It's a drool-worthy instrument that, with a price tag of $5,500, is unfortunately out of reach for most. But Epiphone's new Alex Lifeson Les Paul Axcess Standard distills the essential elements of Lifeson's signature model into an axe that streets at just $899.
A sonic visionary of the highest order, Alex Lifeson's imaginative guitar work was critical to Rush's ascent to immortal status. He has always been an adventurous player, so it's not surprising that his signature Epiphone has features you don't see too often on a Les Paul. For starters, it has a Floyd Rose–licensed double-locking tremolo. The vibrato system also has Graph Tech Ghost piezo pickups under the bridge saddles, and there are two output jacks that let you run the standard pickups and piezo either simultaneously or mixed via a single output. I've seen both double-locking tremolos and piezo pickups offered separately on special edition Les Paul models but have never seen both on the same instrument.
In addition to the piezo system, the Lifeson Axcess is outfitted with a pair of humbuckers—an Epiphone Ceramic Pro in the neck and a ProBucker 3 in the bridge. Each pickup can be split via the neck and bridge volume knobs. Interestingly, the other two knobs on the guitar aren't the usual neck and bridge tone knobs. Instead, there's one master tone knob for both pickups and a piezo pickup volume knob. This knob is also a push-pull switch that turns the piezo on or off.
Feels So Good
The viceroy brown Lifeson Axcess looks fantastic in its included hybrid EpiLite gig bag/hard case, which, by the way, features a very robust neck support. The mahogany body is capped with a AAA flame maple veneer carved top. And while the guitar isn't particularly light, it's extremely comfortable. It's obvious that ergonomics were prioritized in the guitar's design. A belly carve facilitates a snug fit with the body, and its sculpted neck joint permits excellent upper fret accessibility. The guitar's Indian laurel fretboard with its medium jumbo frets and 12" radius will feel familiar to anyone who's played a Les Paul.
The humbuckers sound great. I compared them to my early '80s Les Paul Standard and, to my ears, they were nearly identical.
The Spirit of Piezo
I tested the Lifeson Axcess through Mesa/Boogie Mark IV and Blue Angel amps with a Line 6 M9 used for modulation effects. I also used a Samson powered PA at various points for the guitar's piezo output. I started my test by turning the volume off for each of the magnetic pickups and listening to the piezo only. Piezos often sound metallic and harsh, but the pickup in the Lifeson is noticeably warmer than other piezos I've known—particularly when using a soft touch and a fingerstyle approach. It was perfect for arpeggio parts like Alex's intro in Rush's "Something for Nothing." Things got magical, though, when I blended in some of the magnetic neck pickup. With the piezo volume around 4 and the neck pickup's volume around 7, I got unique, open-but-substantial tones that maintained articulation—even with a softer, acoustic-like edge around transient notes.
I also used the two outputs to route the guitar to both of my test amps, with the piezo output going to the Blue Angel and the magnetic pickups going to the Mark IV's clean channel. This configuration generated a massive 3-D experience that was beautiful to hear and feel. Using the two outputs/two amps approach with an amp switcher is one way to approximate the gentle-to-powerful dynamic shifts in Rush songs like "The Fountains of Lamneth."
The two outputs/two amps approach is also cool for leads. I engaged the Mark IV's lead channel for the magnetic pickups and turned down the piezo volume slightly for the Blue Angel. This configuration yielded super-interesting lead textures: I could play ultra-long legato lines and still hear almost percussive detail from the piezo side.
Without the piezo, the Lifeson's humbuckers still sound great. I compared them to my early '80s Les Paul Standard, and to my ears, they were nearly identical. They're beefy and powerful with plenty of clarity for low-register riffs like "Tom Sawyer" and "YYZ," as well as "Limelight" power chords. The split-coil tones have bite. They stay loud relative to humbucking mode, and the volume difference isn't nearly as obvious as it is on other coil-splitting instruments I've played.
The Epiphone Alex Lifeson Axcess Standard offers features that you won't find on other Les Pauls. If you're a Rush fan, it's a no-brainer. But even if you're not, you'd be challenged to find a guitar that offers this much versatility for $899. Rumor has it that a lot of Nashville session players scooped up the original Gibson Lifeson model for its utility. If you can find an Epiphone Alex Lifeson Axcess Standard, I'd suggest you grab one while you can.
Epiphone Alex Lifeson Les Paul Axcess Standard Demo - First Look
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Kick off the holiday season by shopping for the guitar player in your life at Guitar Center! Now through December 24th 2022, save on exclusive instruments, accessories, apparel, and more with hundreds of items at their lowest prices of the year.
We’ve compiled this year’s best deals in the 2022 Holiday Gift Guide presented by Guitar Center.
Looking for a compact, “noiseless” way to plug in and play guitar? Check out the brand-new Gibson Digital Amp, available only in the Gibson App.
The new Gibson App simplifies the learning process and brings guitar playing to life for the current and next generation of guitarists in a modern, comprehensive, and intuitive way. The Gibson App is the place to take your guitar playing to the next level. New to the Gibson App is the Gibson Digital Amp, the ultimate starting amplifier for beginners and a flexible amp on-the-go for intermediate players and pros to get their sound anywhere. The Gibson Digital Amp is an accessible amplifier for both acoustic and electric guitars, and is currently available for Apple/iOS users--an Android version will debut next year.
Use the Gibson Digital Amp’s jamming guide to get started and transform your sound with built-in effects and pedals, jam to backing tracks, or use it in lessons and songs. The Gibson Digital Amp only requires your phone, and wired headphones for the best playing experience, no cables are needed. The amp features 3 acoustic mic presets, 4 electric amp presets, and 6 effects pedals.
The Gibson Digital Amp is the ultimate starting amplifier for beginners and a flexible amp on-the-go for intermediates and pros.
The Gibson App uses a unique two-way, interactive platform to teach guitar students how to do everything from playing their first note to shredding loads of songs. The Gibson App features interactive lessons with thousands of lessons and songs. Learn the songs step-by-step with video tutorials from superstar artists and pro guitarists in the “Gibson App Guide.” The Gibson App also includes the new Digital Amp, a built-in tuner, a metronome, Gibson TV, and new songs are added every week. New Gibson App Guides are added regularly and include Tommy “Spaceman” Thayer’s favorite iconic KISS guitar solos, Richie Faulkner’s (Judas Priest) “Guide to Metal,” Jared James Nichols’ “Guide to Blues,” CELISSE’s “Guide to Songwriting,” and more.
The Gibson App uses “audio augmented reality” to provide dynamic feedback to students as they learn and play. As you pluck a note or strum a chord, the Gibson App listens to your guitar and gives you real-time feedback on your playing. It also gives students a more contextual learning experience: Instead of learning chords and scales in a vacuum, you’re able to practice on a scrolling tablature that lets you hear how you sound with the backing of a virtual band. That means you can load up “Hurt” by Johnny Cash, “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison, “American Girl" by Tom Petty, “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica, “Where is My Mind" by Pixies, “Country Roads” by John Denver, “I Hate Myself For Loving You" by Joan Jett, “Heaven” by Kane Brown, “Shape Of You” by Ed Sheeran, “Killer Queen” by Queen,“ Sweet Child O’ Mine,” by Guns ‘N Roses, “Run to the Hills” by Iron Maiden, “Roxanne” by The Police, and “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “The Man Who Sold the World” by Nirvana, “Are You Gonna Go My Way” by Lenny Kravitz, and “Don't Look Back In Anger” by Oasis and hundreds more songs in a wide range of genres, to see how your play matches up with such seminal tracks.
As you’re playing, the Gibson App gives you feedback on timing and tone, ensuring that students are getting active input on how their play is developing. The Gibson App appeals to players of all levels, it’s not just for beginners looking to learn a few chords; the app can assist seasoned guitarists who are working their way through difficult riffs, want to learn their favorite songs, or polish their advanced techniques.
Players can also challenge themselves by speeding up or slowing the tabs. Like having a full-time guitar teacher, the Gibson App keeps track of all your progress and adjusts lesson plans accordingly. The Gibson App released a “backing track mode” which supports both lesson and song playback without headphones, so users can self-select what works best for their current environment. And that’s not all: the Gibson App also packs in a fully-featured digital tuner for guitar first-timers, there’s even a detailed lesson on how to tune your instrument, a multi-function metronome, players can connect to free one-on-one consultations with Gibson’s Virtual Guitar Tech team, and to direct links to the Gibson, Epiphone, and Kramer online stores for easy shopping for guitars, gear, apparel, and accessories.
Learn Guitar With The Gibson App
The Gibson App is more than a pocket-sized guitar teacher, it’s loaded with an archive of exclusive content and original programming from its premium and accessible award-winning online network, Gibson TV, featuring music icons telling their best guitar stories, with more episodes and installments added regularly. Users can watch Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi share insights and tales from his decades-long career on the series “Icons,” dive into Joe Bonamassa’s assortment of legendary Les Paul guitars on “The Collection,” or see how Gibson’s iconic instruments are made in their Nashville factory from body to binding on “The Process.” There’s even a series called “The Scene” that focuses on backstage stories from hallowed music venues from coast to coast like The Troubadour and Grand Ole Opry.
The Gibson App free version features a few lessons a day; the premium version of the Gibson App offers full access and a 14-day free trial, then costs $19.99/£16.49 monthly or $119.99/£98.99 yearly.
For more information, please visit gibson.com.
This pickup captures the clear, bell-like single-coil chime of a classic P-90 when played clean and retains the tight mids and articulate low-end vintage growl and smooth sustain saturation when pushed into overdrive.
Belltone Guitars, as part of their Custom-Select System curated offering of pickups, has partnered McNelly pickups to create a one-of-a-kind retro-vibe P-90 pickup in the standard Filtertron size format. This pickup captures the clear, bell-like single-coil chime of a classic P-90 when played clean and retains the tight mids and articulate low-end vintage growl, and smooth sustain saturation when pushed into overdrive.
The McNelly P-90 Foil-Coil comes housed in a ‘raw’ nickel outer casing with a dull nickel foil face with metal mount screw gromets to complete the ‘new-vintage’ aesthetic, making it a perfect choice for your signature Belltone custom build. Available exclusively through Belltone Guitars.
Check out the Custom-Select System belltoneguitars.com to preview the McNelly P-90 Foil-Trons and all our standard and selectable components available to create your own signature Belltone. Then visit the Dream Lab on our website and select either model B-Classic ONE with its top binding or B-Classic TWO with its arm and body contours select your body color from our wide range of offerings, select your neck profile of either standard ‘C’ or thicker ’59 Round Back and either Maple or Rosewood fingerboard followed by your tuners, pickguard, and strings. Finally, review our curated custom-designed, and unique pickup selection to locate the McNelly P-90 Foil-Trons to complete your signature build.
Builds start at just over $2,300.00 with a custom case and shipping included.
For more information, please visit belltoneguitars.com.
McNelly P 90 Foil Tron video Sep27
Belltone P-90 Foil-Tron Pickup
DiMarzio, Inc. announces the Relentless P (DP299), the Relentless J Bridge (DP301), Relentless J Neck (DP300), and the Relentless J Pair (DP302) for 4 string basses.
DiMarzio, Inc. announces the release of the Relentless P (DP299), the Relentless J Bridge (DP301), Relentless J Neck (DP300), and the Relentless J Pair (DP302) for 4 string basses. The new Relentless P and Relentless J series pickups feature the Relentless cover designed in collaboration with Billy Sheehan.
As with the Relentless pickups, we removed all the hard edges from the standard P Bass and standard J Basspickups, and added an arch to the top of the pickups to bring the sensing coils and pole pieces closer to the strings. These improvements increase the dynamic range and make active circuitry unnecessary.
The Relentless P and Relentless J pickups incorporate Neodymium magnets and produce 70 percent more output than traditional passive pickups, and they’re dead quiet due to the incorporation of metal covers and foil-shielded cables. To dial in (or fine-tune) the individual string output, the Relentless P and Relentless J include eight adjustable pole pieces. These pickups also have a broad magnetic field so you can even bend notes without volume dropout.
DiMarzio’s extra shielding makes the Relentless P and Relentless J better for both recording and stage performances. We’ve mounted them onto robust .09375” thick circuit board base plates to eliminate the annoying protruding mounting screws — ultimately creating a more comfortable and consistent foundation to rest your fingers on.
The new Relentless P steps beyond the traditional P-Bass sound and can only be described as massive. It has more of everything: more volume, beefier lows, a growling midrange, and crispy highs with better individual string definition.
The Relentless J incorporates a new invention, (patent pending) parallelogram-shaped coils, offering an expanded mid-range punch, snappy highs, precise lows, and a new dimension to the sound of the Relentless series pickups.
Relentless P and Relentless J pickups will breathe new life into any bass, increase playability, and work well for any style of music from Motown to metal.
DiMarzio’s Relentless P, Relentless J Bridge, Relentless J Neck, and Relentless J pair are made in the U.S.A. and may now be ordered for immediate delivery.
Suggested List Price for the Relentless P is $169.00 (MAP $119.99).
Suggested List Price for the Relentless J Bridge and Relentless J neck is $155.00 (MAP $109.99).
Suggested List Price for the Relentless J Pair is $296.00 (MAP 209.99).
For more information, please visit our website at dimarzio.com.