The prog-metal juggernauts discuss how their signature axes cranked through Axe-Fx units create their brutal live tone.

Earlier this year Waggoner moved on from PRS and developed a signature guitar with Ibanez—the PWM100 Paul Waggoner signature model that has a Wizard III neck and comes with Mojotone PW Hornet signature pickups. Waggoner describes the sig axe: “It’s like the S-series guitars Ibanez has been putting out for years, but a little thicker than a stock S-guitar. It has a super lightweight swamp ash body. It’s a pretty bright-sounding wood. I designed some pickups with Mojotone that we’re calling the PW Hornets. They highlight the brightness of the guitar without overdoing it. The bridge pickup has a ceramic magnet that gives me that punch I need for the high gain stuff. The neck pickup is a totally opposite approach: It has an alnico magnet and a friendlier sound. The guitar will come stock with those pickups. They sound good in other guitars, too—we put them in mahogany guitars, and they sounded great. It just so happens that when we were trying to dial them in, we were using my swamp ash Ibanez as the reference. It’s a very bright-sounding guitar, and you can’t just throw any pickups in there. Mojotone did a good job of dialing in the perfect balance.”