If you don't 'get' the phenomenon that is Slipknot, you probably can't see past the scary masks. The more enlightened of us, however, appreciate that Slipknot's music is powered by two of the best metal players of recent years: Jim Root and Mick Thomson.
The MTM1 is the result of a partnership between Thompson and Ibanez and features a solid mahogany body with a thru-neck laminated from five pieces of mahogany and maple.
The rosewood fingerboard is inlaid with the legend 'Seven', just in case you forget who designed this guitar. The neck on the MTM1 runs uninterrupted all the way from the headstock to the strap pin. This allows the pickups and the bridge to be mounted directly to the neck wood, providing sustain that even Nigel Tufnel would go crazy for.
As for the actual body of the MTM1, two mahogany 'wings' are glued to either side of the neck to create the classic Ibanez shape. Figure in the familiar Ibanez headstock profile, this time reversed, black hardware and gallons of blood red paint, and this guitar has as much stage presence as the man himself.
You would expect Mick Thomson's guitar to be packing some serious heat in the pickup department, and the scary behemoth hasn't disappointed with a pair of active EMG humbuckers: a super-hot EMG-81 in the bridge and a EMG-60 in the neck position. There's also a three-way pickup selector switch and a single volume to keep things in check. That's right, there's no tone control - this is a metal guitar!
Before we put this beast through its paces we should mention the bridge. The MTM1 has fine tuners and a locking top nut, so you'd be forgiven for assuming that it was fitted with a whammy. But the MTM1 actually comes loaded with the Ibanez Fixed Edge bridge, basically an Edge trem that's fixed to the body with a pair of hefty screws.
And that's not all that's different here. The MTM1 comes with Mick's preferred string gauge and tuning, drop C# with a low B (low to high: B F# B E G# C#). In practical terms this means you will have to rethink your fingering, but the brutal sounding results you get will make the effort worthwhile. You could, of course, restring the guitar with a standard set of strings and tune it up as normal, but what's the point of that?
If we had to design a guitar that was going to get the hell beaten out of it onstage, night after night, then we would copy the construction of the MTM1. The mahogany body will take anything that a bunch of masked up crazies can throw at it. The laminated mahogany/maple construction of the neck gives it extra strength that not only helps keep the tuning stable but also ensures the neck stays attached to the rest of the guitar, which is always a good thing.
Dialling up a seriously filthy tone on our amp, we find the combination of the MTM1's lowered tuning, thru-neck construction, mahogany body and EMG pickups comes together beautifully and sounds, well, like Slipknot, funnily enough.
The rhythm crunch tone is as big as an elephant and, if you have the ability to pull them off, Thomson's trademark speed of light licks will sound perfectly authentic on this guitar.
You don't actually have to think too much about the tuning once you get into the groove. Simply fretting the three fattest strings with one finger at the same fret sounds awesome! Of course, you could play the MTM1 through your clean channel (it does actually sound quite nice) but thrashing out ultra-aggressive metal is what makes this guitar happy. So, for best reults, keep it dirty.