The Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Nick Zinner
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Walrus Audio Pedal Play: Melee: Wall of Noise Distortion + ReverbThe Walrus crew took over the FlashBack RetroPub in Oklahoma City for a few hours to play some games, work on our high scores and even film a video for the M...
We give you the two most quintessential effects that yield unruly amounts of power and influence to an instrumentalist: reverb and distortion. They have been harnessed and woven together for an eternity of ethereal power with The Melee: Wall of Noise. The Melee unapologetically uses a joystick to meld reverb and distortion into one massive blaze of sound. With the flip of the order switch, run the distortion into the reverb or reverb into distortion; signal chain is your call now. For the explorer, the Melee can run one of three different reverb programs Ambient, Octave, and Reverse. In a less is more approach, we’ve intentionally decided on controls that are fun to use and will inspire a wealth of creative output. Use the joystick to control the amount of distortion by moving it up and down. Moving the joystick left and right will adjust your reverb mix. The tone and decay toggles have low, medium, and high settings. Modulation can be added to the wet signal by holding down the bypass switch and moving the decay toggle. The left position is no modulation, the middle is a slight modulation, and the right is a high modulation.
The new guitars feature a hand-painted tobacco sunburst top, firestripe faux tortoiseshell pickguard and 4mm Italian acrylic dot fretboard inlays for a rootsy, vintage look.
The award-winning American Dream Series was first introduced in 2020 during the pandemic. The solid-wood, U.S.-made acoustic guitars were designed to deliver all the essentials of a premium acoustic guitar, with a thoughtfully streamlined appointment package to make the guitars more accessible during a time of economic uncertainty and increased consumer demand. Each American Dream guitar is voiced with Taylor’s tone-enhancing V-Class® bracing system (and new C-Class® bracing for the AD11e-SB). Appointments on the new sunburst American Dream guitars support the rootsy, organic vibe, with black top purfling, a black/maple/black rosette, black satin tuners and a thin matte finish. Chamfered body edges add additional playing comfort alongside Taylor’s ultra-playable necks.
The all-new AD11e-SB features the new Taylor Grand Theater (GT) body shape, which sports a comfortably downsized frame and scale length. Tonally, it’s voiced with C-Class bracing (a variation on V-Class bracing) that enhances the low-end response to give the guitar the tonal depth of a full-size guitar. The new model includes a special 24-1/8” scale length and is strung with light-gauge D’Addario XS coated phosphor bronze strings. Starting at $1799.
The AD12e-SB brings the first spruce-top Grand Concert to the American Dream Series. Powered by V-Class bracing, the clarity, responsiveness, and note-to-note definition of the compact body makes the AD12e-SB perfect for fingerstyle guitarists, nimble flatpickers, and recording applications. The guitar is strung with light-gauge D’Addario XS-coated phosphor bronze strings. Starting at $1999.
The AD17e-SB features Taylor’s Grand Pacific body shape, a round-shoulder dreadnought inspired by classic acoustic guitar recordings. With a 25-½” scale length and medium-gauge, D’Addario XS coated phosphor bronze strings, this guitar is a midrange powerhouse that serves up seasoned tone without sacrificing balance or articulation. Starting at $1999.
Introducing New Sunburst American Dream Acoustic Guitars
The new sunburst American Dream guitars include Taylor’s onboard ES2 electronics and a brown or gray AeroCase for convenient transportation.
For more information, please visit taylorguitars.com.
The silky smooth slide man may raise a few eyebrows with his gear—a hollow, steel-bodied baritone and .017s on a Jazzmaster—but every note and tone he plays sounds just right.
KingTone’s The Duellist is currently Ariel Posen’s most-used pedal. One side of the dual drive (the Bluesbreaker voicing) is always on. But there’s another duality at play when Posen plugs in—the balance between songwriter and guitarist.
“These days, I like listening to songs and the story and the total package,” Posen told PG back in 2019, when talking about his solo debut, How Long, after departing from his sideman slot for the Bros. Landreth. “Obviously, I’m known as a guitar player, but my music and the music I write is not guitar music. It’s songs, and it goes back to the Beatles. I love songs, and I love story and melody and singing, and there was a lot of detail and attention put into the guitar sound and the playing and the parts—almost more than I’ve ever done.”
And in 2021, he found himself equally expressing his yin-and-yang artistry by releasing two albums that represented both sides of his musicality. First, Headway continued the sultry sizzle of songwriting featured on How Long. Then he surprised everyone, especially guitarists, by dropping Mile End, which is a 6-string buffet of solo dishes with nothing but Ariel and his instrument of choice.
But what should fans expect when they see him perform live? “I just trust my gut. I can reach more people by playing songs, and I get moved more by a story and lyrics and harmony, so that’s where I naturally go. The live show is a lot more guitar centric. If you want to hear me stretch out on some solos, come see a show. I want the record and the live show to be two separate things.”
The afternoon ahead of Posen’s headlining performance at Nashville’s Basement East, the guitar-playing musical force invited PG’s Chris Kies on stage for a robust chat about gear. The 30-minute conversation covers Posen’s potent pair of moody blue bombshells—a hollow, metal-bodied Mule Resophonic and a Fender Custom Shop Jazzmaster—and why any Two-Rock is his go-to amp. He also shares his reasoning behind avoiding effects loops and volume pedals.
Brought to you by D’Addario XPND Pedalboard.
Blue the Mule III
If you’ve spent any time with Ariel Posen’s first solo record, How Long, you know that the ripping, raunchy slide solo packed within “Get You Back” is an aural high mark. As explained in a 2019 PG interview, Posen’s pairing for that song were two cheapos: a $50 Teisco Del Rey into a Kay combo. However, when he took the pawnshop prize onstage, the magic was gone. “It wouldn’t stay in tune and wouldn’t stop feeding back—it was unbearable [laughs].”
Posen was familiar with Matt Eich of Mule Resophonic—who specializes in building metal-body resonators—so he approached the luthier to construct him a steel-bodied, Strat-style baritone. Eich was reluctant at first (he typically builds roundneck resos and T-style baritones), but after seeing a clip of Posen playing live, the partnership was started.
The above steel-bodied Strat-style guitar is Posen’s third custom 25"-scale baritone. (On Mule Resophonic’s website, it’s affectionately named the “Posencaster.”) The gold-foil-looking pickups are handwound by Eich, and are actually mini humbuckers. He employs a custom Stringjoy set (.017–.064 with a wound G) and typically tunes to B standard. The massive strings allow the shorter-scale baritone to maintain a regular-tension feel. And when he gigs, he tours light (usually with two guitars), so he’ll use a capo to morph into D or E standard.
Another one that saw recording time for Headway and Mile End was the above Fender Custom Shop Masterbuilt ’60s Jazzmaster, made by Carlos Lopez. To make it work better for him, he had the treble-bleed circuit removed, so that when the guitar’s volume is lowered it actually gets warmer.
"Clean and Loud"
Last time we spoke with Posen, he plugged into a Two-Rock Classic Reverb Signature. It’s typically his live amp. However, since this winter’s U.S. run was a batch of fly dates, he packed light and rented backlines. Being in Music City, he didn’t need to go too deep into his phone’s contacts to find a guitar-playing friend that owned a Two-Rock. This Bloomfield Drive was loaned to Ariel by occasional PG contributor Corey Congilio. On the brand’s consistent tone monsters, Posen said, “To be honest, put a blindfold on me and make one of Two-Rock’s amps clean and loud—I don’t care what one it is.”
The loaner vertical 2x12 cab was stocked with a pair of Two-Rock 12-65B speakers made by Warehouse Guitar Speakers.
Ariel Posen’s Pedalboard
There are a handful of carryovers from Ariel’s previous pedalboard that was featured in our 2021 tone talk: a TC Electronic PolyTune 3 Noir, a Morningstar MC3 MIDI Controller, an Eventide H9, a Mythos Pedals Argonaut Mini Octave Up, and a KingTone miniFUZZ Ge. His additions include a custom edition Keeley Hydra Stereo Reverb & Tremolo (featuring Headway artwork), an Old Blood Noise Endeavors Black Fountain oil can delay, Chase Bliss Audio Thermae Analog Delay and Pitch Shifter, and a KingTone The Duellist overdrive.
Another big piece of the tonal pie for Posen is his signature brass Rock Slide. He worked alongside Rock Slide’s Danny Songhurst to develop his namesake slide that features a round-tip end that helps Posen avoid dead spots or unwanted scratching. While he prefers polished brass, you can see above that it’s also available in a nickel-plated finish and an aged brass.