Australia’s biggest metalcore export shares how a streamlined setup of signature ESP guitars and Kemper Profilers give the band a freer platform for high-energy performances.
Parkway Drive, from Byron Bay, Australia, formed in 2003 with a firm grasp and appreciation for American hardcore music. They quickly put out a split EP with pit-provoking countrymen I Killed the Prom Queen before releasing their own EP, Don’t Close Your Eyes, in 2004. Those releases endeared them to American hardcore heavies touring internationally (Shadows Fall, Every Time I Die, Bleeding Through) and put them on many of their Aussie bills. They traveled to the States to record with metalcore poster boy Killswitch Engage’s Adam Dutkiewicz, who produced 2005’s Killing with a Smile and 2007’s Horizons.
They graduated their sound with a wider, melodic attack for their next releases, working alongside Joe Barresi (2010’s Deep Blue) and Matt Hyde (2012’s Atlas). 2015’s Ire saw the band lean more into the middle of the traditional metal lane, garnering the band No. 1 slots in both the ARIA and Billboard US Top Hard Rock Albums. 2018’s Reverence balanced between the band’s classic metalcore sound, iconic British metal à la Priest and Maiden, and the mass appeal of The Black Album, putting them back atop the ARIA chart and No. 2 on Billboard US Top Hard Rock Albums.
Those two records catapulted them to international headlining status, earning them top billing on the 30th anniversary of Wacken Open Air in 2019. The throwback power and continued evolution marks last year’s Darker Still further establishing them as global gainsters.
The only downside to their rise is that it still hasn’t eclipsed their collective first love. As guitarist Jeff Ling said of him and his bandmates during our Rig Rundown, “We’re all crazy surfers. If you put us on the spot and said, ‘Choose music or surfing,”…. Sorry fans, it’s over, the music is done, out the window. We’re all surfers that happen to play music [laughs].” Lucky for all of us, that ultimatum hasn’t been dealt, so let the good times roll (and rock).
Ahead of Parkway Drive’s sold-out show at Nashville’s Marathon Music Works, Ling saddles up to talk gear with PG’s Perry Bean. Ling details both his and bandmate Luke Kilpatrick’s signature ESPs (Luke was unable to hang due to suffering from surfer’s ear) and why the EMG 81 is the pinnacle of PWD’s guitar tone, and explains how downsizing their rigs with a Kemper leveled up their playing experience and connection with the crowd.
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After a longtime friendship was solidified, Parkway Drive cofounding guitarist Jeff Ling and ESP took their relationship to the next level, creating this ESP E-II Jeff Ling JL-1 M-II signature model. Ling was floored by the invitation to work with the Japanese outfit. “For me, it was a wow, no-brainer moment because when I was younger, all my favorite bands were shredding away on ESPs. I couldn’t believe I got the opportunity, and it was a huge win.”
The string-thru, neck-thru, double-cut dynamo is based on ESP’s M-II silhouette and features an alder body. It has a 3-piece maple neck that’s carved down to an extra thin “U” shape and is paired with a 24-fret ebony board. The satin-black bomber has a 25.5" scale length, Gotoh hardware (locking tuners and Tune-o-matic-style bridge), bone nut, and breathes hot fire thanks to a set of EMG pickups (81 and 60)—a Ling preference. Another bit of customization came at the request of having just a master volume knob.
This one rides in drop-B tuning and takes a custom set of Ernie Ball Skinny Top/Heavy Bottom strings, where the standard .052 E string is replaced with a .060.
Ling goes to battle with this ESP LTD EC-1000 Evertune for the band’s most recent rippers off 2022’s Darker Still, which are tuned to E standard. The stock single-cut arrived with a set of Seymour Duncan humbuckers (JB and Jazz), but he’s opted for his favored EMG 60 in the neck and an experiment with the Fishman Fluence Modern humbucker in the bridge slot.
The band’s other cofounding guitarist Luke Kilpatrick found himself in a similar situation to bandmate Ling—what do you do to an instrument you already love? In the case of Kilpatrick, you take an already favored Horizon recipe and give it some zest. Most of the ingredients on his E-II namesake are shared by other Horizons—a mahogany body with a maple top, 25.5" scale length, 3-piece maple neck with thru construction, ebony fretboard, Gotoh hardware, and a bone nut—but his special spiciness shows up in the pickups (EMG 81 and 60), 12th fret inlay (PWD logo), and headstock (pulled from ESP’s Original Series FRX design).
Darker Still requires E standard-tuned guitars, so Kilpatrick hits the stage with the above ESP LTD EC-1000S Fluence. It features a mahogany body with set-thru construction, a 3-piece mahogany neck, Macassar ebony fretboard, TonePros Locking Tune-o-matic-style bridge and tailpiece, and a set of active Fishman Fluence Modern humbuckers (ceramic in the bridge and alnico in the neck).
Cutting Down with Kemper
“We’ve found in the past that the more we incorporate with tube amps, heaps of pedals, guitar changes, and chords going everywhere, the more trouble we had. One piece of the puzzle can take down the whole rig, and then you’re miming while a tech tries to figure everything out. You’re just screwed, so our new mentality is that we’re better off simplifying our setups for the confidence you’ll get knowing that there’s a 99.99-percent chance your shit won’t fuck up. And if it does, you’re only a few switches away from a fix.” The nexus of their streamlined solution is a Kemper Profiler Rack for each guitar-playing member (including bassist Jia O’Connor). Both Kilpatrick and Ling upgraded their Kempers with the GGD All The Gains plugin. Luke deals his dirt through the framework of a 50-watt EVH 5150III, while Ling clobbers crowds with patches built around a Friedman BE-100. The band rocks untethered thanks to Sennheiser EW 100 G4-Ci1 Wireless units.
Capcom and Kramer both wanted a piece of this South American shredder and mash-up master. Travel below the equator to see his studio setup.
Facing a mandatory shelter-in-place ordinance to limit the spread of COVID-19, PG enacted a hybrid approach to filming and producing Rig Rundowns. This is the 26th video in that format.
Since starting his YouTube channel in 2008, Peruvian guitarist Charlie Parra Del Riego amassed over 800k subscribers and totaled up 160 million views. In 2010, he wowed millions with his “metal” rendition of his homeland’s national anthem. Sure, like most guitar-dominated channels, he has the typical gear demos and reviews, but Charlie’s magnetism as a player and content creator shined in his renditions of popular themes songs and mash-ups from video games, pop music, and iconic TV and movie themes. (His YouTube popularity and absolutely geekery of video games elevated his profile enough that Capcom hired Charlie to work on soundtracks for games and preview trailers.) The best part of his videos isn’t his lightning-fast fretboard sorcery, but Parra’s engaging charisma and positive energy. (It’s even evident and palpable to non-Spanish speakers.) And at the beginning of 2020, he was honored with a dream for many gearheads—his own signature guitar. Parra’s 6-string namesake is a modern take on the sharp Vanguard features an extended cutaway, EMG 57/66 alnico V pickups, a satin maple neck, and an ebony fretboard with owl inlays.
In between making more content for his own channel, Parra virtually welcomed PG’s Perry Bean into his studio in Lima, Peru. In this Rig Rundown, the outgoing and upbeat YouTuber opens up about creating his ultimate shred machine, making the jump to digital amps and effects, and being a Peruvian punk rocker pigeonholed as a power metal purveyor. (Spoiler: he’s okay with it.)
New offerings include signature sets from Jim Root, Robert Trujillo, and an update on their 57/66 set.
Santa Rosa, CA (January 18, 2020) -- EMG Pickups announces the highly anticipated Signature Set of Slipknot guitarist and longtime EMG Artist, Jim Root. The Jim Root Daemonum Signature Set will be released at NAMM 2020 and available for pre-order starting Friday January 10th through the EMG Pickups website.
Root, a long time user of the EMG 81/60 combo, began the process of developing a signature set well over three years ago. After trying various prototypes, Root was inspired by a set of modified Retro Active pickups to tailor his tone. He settled on a set that gave him everything he loved about the 81/60 with the added benefits and versatility of the Retro Active design.
Unlike traditional open coil pickups, both the bridge and neck pickups utilize stud poles in both coils. The fingerboard pickup uses ceramic studs giving it a clean high-end tone and percussive response. The bridge pickup has black steel poles and features a ceramic magnet, similar to the EMG 81. Both pickups feature custom Retro Active preamps exclusive to the Root set.
The Jim Root ‘Daemonum’ Set features EMG solderless wiring that is manufactured in California and will be available in both Zebra & Black. The Zebra ‘Daemonum’ set will also be featured in Root’s 2020 Fender Signature Jazzmaster.
MSRP: $319.99 MAP: $229.00
Watch the Jim Root Signature ‘Daemonum’ Pickup Set video demo:
EMG Pickups announces the Robert Trujillo Signature ‘Rip Tide’ Set. For the first time in pickup history, EMG and Robert Trujillo are bringing stainless steel, black chrome caps to the world of the jazz bass.
Trujillo has been using the EMG J Set since before his days in Metallica. Now he is truly metal, trusting his original tone combined with a modern, new look. Because of the custom stainless steel caps, these pickups maintain their original sound that’s been used in the industry for decades.
The pickups are designed for traditional 4 string jazz bass spacing but are suitable for narrow 5 string instruments as well, due to the utilization of bar magnets instead of pole pieces. They come with EMG’s solderless wiring harness for a standard volume/volume/tone setup. Pre-Order yours Friday, January 10 th at www.emgpickups.com.
MSRP: $309.99 MAP: $219.00
Watch the Robert Trujillo ‘Rip Tide’ Signature Pickup video demo:
In 2010 EMG Pickups introduced the 57/66 Set. Now, 10 years later, they are releasing the dual mode versions of one of their most popular sets. These pickups feature selectable single and dual coil sounds using EMG’s proprietary three coil design.
The 66TW neck pickup features its popular humbucker design, while the single coil selection gives the player brilliant fluidness. The 66TW is a true hybrid in design using both ceramic and alnico magnets. By utilizing both magnet types, the tone from the single coil position is clear and powerful.
The 57TW bridge pickup uses a combination of alnico and steel making it a true rocker in both single and dual coil positions. The single coil selection is smooth and seamless and the high resonance of the pickup carries the tone with unequivocal clarity.
This being the extension of the popular 57/66 Set, EMG has taken this set to a whole new level. The 57/66 TW Set includes EMG’s solderless wiring harness with a push pull potentiometer for each pickup along with two standard tone controls to fit any configuration. Available for Pre-Order Friday, January 10 th and available in Black, Chrome, Black Chrome, Brushed Chrome or Brushed Black Chrome.
Starting at MSRP: $359.99 MAP: $269.00
Watch the 57/66-TW Dual Mode Set video demo:
For more information: