The neo-classical shredder takes an unusually simple approach to his gear.

Tony MacAlpine spent some time with Premier Guitar during his Nashville stop on the 2014 Maximum Security tour. The tour’s namesake album was released over 25 years ago, and the playing is as impressive now as it was then. MacAlpine’s current setup stays true to his past tones while incorporating a few new twists.


Tony uses two custom Ibanez 7-string RG Prestige guitars. Both guitars feature active EMG pickup with a push/pull control for clean and dirty tones.
MacAlpine uses Ernie Ball .009-.052 strings on all of his guitars.


MacAlpine’s amp of choice for several years has been the Hughes & Kettner Coreblade. He loves not only the versatility and reliability, but also the ability to save his settings to a USB drive when traveling overseas. The Coreblade is feeding two 2x12 Hughes & Kettner cabs with Celestion Greenback speakers.


Even after a casual glance at MacAlpine’s pedalboard, you can tell that sometimes it’s not about the number of pedals, but what you do with them. Most of his distortion comes from the Coreblade and he switches presets via the H&K footswitch. Once the signal leaves his guitar, it goes to an Ernie Ball Wah and then a Source Audio Soundblox Pro Multiwave Distortion (which is only used sparingly for octave-based effects). Next up are a Voodoo Lab Sparkle Drive Mod and a Voodoo Lab Giggity. A Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 Plus provides the juice.


Magnatone unveils the Starlite, its new 5-watt amplifier with a vintage look designed for the office, backstage, or the studio.

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Diatonic sequences are powerful tools. Here’s how to use them wisely.



• Understand how to map out the neck in seven positions.
• Learn to combine legato and picking to create long phrases.
• Develop a smooth attack—even at high speeds.

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Knowing how to function in different keys is crucial to improvising in any context. One path to fretboard mastery is learning how to move through positions across the neck. Even something as simple as a three-note-per-string major scale can offer loads of options when it’s time to step up and rip. I’m going to outline seven technical sequences, each one focusing on a position of a diatonic major scale. This should provide a fun workout for the fingers and hopefully inspire a few licks of your own.
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