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Well deserved. Matt sees his Vic Firth signature sticks released at NAMM this week.

Check out the press release HERE.

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I did this interview a few months ago and I’m just posting it now. I worked with Ryan while I was at The Artery Foundation and watched him blossom into a dude that knew what he wanted and watched him go after it.

Ryan Neff gif

Who are you endorsed by and what models/products do you use?
Fender, Jackson, Groove Tubes, GHS Strings, Darkglass Electronics, Seymour Duncan
I play 2 American custom shop Jacksons, while I also have these in my arsenal:
A Fender Deluxe Active American P Bass, a Fender Marcus Miller Jazz Bass, a Fender pawn shop bass, Fender aerodyne jazz bass, and Jackson John Campbell basses
I use Fender 8×10 Pro Series Cabinets, and Fender 8×10 Neo Cabinets, Fender tb1200 head, Fender Bassman 300 Head
Darkglass B7k, and B3k

What was your first endorsement? Which is your longest? Which took the most work/patience to get?
GHS and Fender are my first personal endorsements, we started working together in 2009, and are my longest standing partnerships.

Any recent changes in your set up in the last year or so? What sparked that change?
Mainly the switch to my custom basses. I wanted an instrument built specifically for me, and I couldn’t be happier with how they turned out. Awesome basses!

What’s your favorite piece of gear?
Gotta be the Jackson basses again. 2 of a kind, made just for me! Can’t get much better in my book!

What are some things you’ve learned about equipment that you have learned while touring and tinkering with your setup that you could relay to bands that don’t have your experience?  How do you make sure everything’s humming day in and day out?
Your rig is only as reliable as you. If you treat it harshly it will break. And that goes for every single piece. I broken bass necks, melted down heads, busted DI inputs on pedals, you name it and it’s been broken in the past 4 years by me. The main thing I’ve learned is a little bit of daily maintenance goes a long way! For instance on the Disarm the Decent tour that MMI just completed this summer I ran my own rig as usual, no techs or anything. Changed my own strings, plugged my own gear in, and did a line check upon setup each day to make sure my tone was exactly where I wanted it both on stage and out front, as well as taking a look at my pedal board and basses daily to check for any problems. I’ve come to realize (more…)

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Meet Artist Relations dude Hugh Gilmartin of D’Addario. One of the best in the business. He has a crazy sense of humor and very honest.

D'Addario Artist Page

You went from being a mushroom gatherer to a quarter horse jockey to AR guy at a couple companies, now you are at D’Addario. How’d you get into the business and how long have you been at it? Do you even play an instrument or are you still trying to make it as a soprano for the Long Island Metropolitan Opera?
I never gathered one single mushroom. I focused on truffles, the mushroom’s often overlooked cousin. While on the ground searching for truffles, I stumbled upon a horseshoe. It turned out that a quarterhorse had been spending time nearby & left me a gift. This piqued my interest & led to my interest in donning satin jockey outfits. Oh, & riding horses, too…

I started off in this industry like many others. I took an entry level customer service rep position with a company in the industry. When my boss quit, (more…)

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Another guy who worked his way up. Taking a lucky break and turning it into a career seems to be what the music biz is about. Here’s an interview with Greg ‘Grizz’ Middleton who is currently out stage managing Dropkick Murphys and has worked as a tech and/or stage manager for Megadeth, Coheed and Cambria, Unearth, Hatebreed, and Dethklok, to name a few. Thanks, Grizz.

With most of the folks I’ve interviewed thus far, I’ve had some history with and saw many start fresh and move up the ranks. One of the first tours (Unearth/Slipknot/AILD) I ever did was with you, and as far as I remember, it was one of your first.  That was the start of something great it seems, because as you look at it, you’ve had a healthy career since. What has been your evolution in this business?
I started teching in 2004 with the band Unearth. A lot of people ask me how I got into the business. I was lucky enough to be from the same hometown as Unearth and I went to high school with drummer. I kept my head down and worked as hard as possible. I sucked at my job for a long time. It actually wasn’t until the Unearth/Slipknot/AILD tour that I actually started to figure out the job. Slipknot’s guitar tech, Sean, made a deal with me.  If I showed up every night after their set and helped them load out, I could shadow him everyday and ask as many question as possible. That tour was truly the turning point for my career.

What do you do to make sure you will always have a job?
“Always have a job” is a tricky one. Because I believe in loyalty and trying to stay within one camp (one band) as much as possible. However, I have found as I have moved up to bigger bands, even though they pay more, they tour less. The most important thing is to be a normal, easy going, adaptable person. You have to remember that we are asked to live in a tour bus with upwards of 15 people. You can be the best tech on the planet (more…)

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Dave Ellefson Interview. Blessed he did this for me.  He was rad working with when at Peavey, but now he obviously has some bigger things on his plate.

On your website, you have a section devoted to gear (http://www.davidellefson.com/gear/gear.aspx).  How did you ‘settle’ on those products?
I use products that enhance my tone and help me put the most into my music and performances. Everything from strings and straps to basses and amplifiers are part of my professional life.  All of these are integral to my music career.

When you were just getting into playing and achieving a certain amount of success, was there an endorsement you coveted? Did you get it?  If so, how did it happen?
Endorsements are funny beast because when you are broke, coming up the ranks and can’t afford anything, it’s difficult to get certain companies on board with you. Then, when you sell a ton of records and have some cash everyone wants to give you things for free to get their logos on your stage!

So, for me I’ve found it best to pursue (more…)

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Check out the interview with Marc Musselman, COO of Live Wires. If you are looking for in-ears at a reasonable price, hit them up!

There are only a few in-ear makers and I’ve only recently come across your products via a band that had inquired.  Can you tell me a little bit about the company and your involvement?  
My family has been making custom fit devices for the ear since the 1950′s.  We got our start in hearing aids and over the years have added other custom fit products such as hearing protection, communications headsets, and Bluetooth to name a few. Matrics has been making custom in-ear monitors for about 5 years now under the brand names myfones and LiveWires.

You make two models of LiveWires, a dual driver and a triple driver.  Does anyone need any more than that?
Musicians need what ever helps them deliver a kick ass performance.  If they can get that done with duals or trips then yeah, that’s all they need. We make and price LiveWires as a high value, low cost entry into custom in-ear monitors. We have a lot of (more…)

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I’ve had the pleasure of working and hanging out with Darren a few times. The dude knows how to hang and get his work done. If you want to be a tech, you can learn a few things from Darren.

Who have you toured with throughout the years?
Started out with a little Atlanta band called Four Hour Fogger… A 4-piece crazy punk rock band that my brother Troy and Brent were in. That got me hooked. They toured with The Casualties until Mastodon started. Since then- Behemoth, 3 Inches of Blood, Megadeth, Testament, Job For a Cowboy, Anthrax, The Damned Things, Mastodon, Hell Yeah, High on Fire, In Flames and probably a few that I’m leaving out.

How did you get into the business of teching and how have you evolved since your early days?
I LITERALLY fell into it. I was a merch dude forever.  I would always help out with backline because there was no one else to help out with it! It wasn’t until Masto was opening for Slayer that everything kind of fell into place. (more…)

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Dave’s a monster drummer that played with the Mars Volta and he loves to teach. Check out what he’s doing at davidelitch.com

What is your current set up and what are your endorsements?
Well my set up varies almost on a daily basis, but as of now I’m using 10,12,15,16, 22 and the snare du jour. I’m about to switch over to 12,13,16,18,24 for some stuff I’ve got coming up where I’m going to be needing a bigger drum sound. I play DW drums, Sabian cymbals, Vic Firth sticks, Remo heads, Protection Racket cases and Puresound snare wires.

What was your first endorsement?
The first endorsement I got was with DW Drums in 2007 when I started playing with Daughters Of Mara on Virgin/EMI. It’s kind of a funny story actually. I kept running into Garrison ( DW A&R guy) all over the place. ( all over the country actually) Finally, it got to a point we ended up tearing down Billy Ward’s drum kit together (more…)

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Funny man. Heavy band. Greg’s the bassist for Mass band The Red Chord. Never had a drop in his life.

Let’s just get down to it.. How the hell do you have a signature bass? Your contribution to music seems to be limited to a song about your mustache and a couple van tours. How did that transpire and what were the circumstances that led to that? Have you sold any?
As you have so kindly pointed out my net worth in the music industry may not add up to much but here I stand with not one but two signature bass models from two different companies. It started when I got involved with a bass company called Traben around 2006. The more I worked with them the more I made a connection with the people who worked there. One day my artist rep Dana asked if I wanted to have my own model and I was completely taken aback. I of course said yes and that led to the GW signature Traben. The company then moved to Kentucky from Florida and is now housed in the same place as B.C. Rich. Dana left and my new artist rep became a feisty little lady by the name of Debrah Malave. After a few more years with Traben, Deb asked if I would like to switch over to B.C. Rich. I agreed and now I have a GW signature model with them as well. The main difference between the two models is that the B.C. Rich helps you do better Karate. Check it out here if you want. http://bcrich.com/models/guitars-and-bass/Eagle/Greg-Weeks-Signature-Eagle/159. To answer you last question the Traben sold pretty well and this is the first year for the B.C. Rich so I’m still waiting to see how it’s doing.

What are your other endorsements and your current live set up?
D’Addario is another big one we have. Those guys are super great people and I love their gear. Planet waves as well. I play a Kustom Deep End bass head sometimes with an Ampeg v-4 or an Orange AD200 through a Kustom 8×10. Another great piece of equipment I have (more…)

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If you get a chance, go see Kazuma at NAMM in 2013. Once of the nicest and most passionate people on the planet. Fujigen makes some great gear, and if you haven’t seen some of your favorite artists playing it, the way this kid works, you’ll be seeing everyone playing a FGN.

How did the earthquake affect the Fujigen family at large?  How has the recovery been?

Luckily, Our factory had no damage after the massive earthquake and tsunamis. However, because of the shortage of some guitar parts made in Japan, the delivery date of our guitars was delayed around few month unfortunately.  Now it was recovered and now we’re still making around 2,500pc of high-end electric guitars including OEM products per month. Also we hope we can recover the disaster areas and tough economic situation of Japan very soon!!

Tell me a little bit about Fujigen’s history and the recent push toward global dominance.

We established the Fujigen Inc. in Nagano, Japan in May 1960. Our company is 51-years old. We have long experience and great skills about manufacturing high-end electric guitars.

From 1982, We started to work with CBS Fender Corp. and we had made all Fender Japan guitars until 1985-1986. Besides, In 1883, our OEM production capacity was max 14,000pcs/year, the (more…)