Issue 210's (on sale 24 December) Rocked & Rated section contains the first UK review of Gus G's new signature LTD. Gus has been using the guitar onstage with Ozzy since its announcement earlier in 2010, and we caught up with Gus – one of the most envied guitarists in rock – to get the skinny on his new axe.
What made you go for the Eclipse shape?
"For my role in Ozzy's band I thought it'd be cool to go a bit more old school with the Eclipse shape. Obviously, there's a big history there with Zakk and Randy playing Les Pauls, but I didn't want to be just another guy that plays a Les Paul shape, you know? I've had my own thing for about the last six years with my ESP Random Star shape – it's very identifiable – so I thought I'd do something a bit more unique."
And what about the finish?
"My friend from Sweden, Patric Ullaeus, he's a top video director and has done videos for Dimmu Borgir, Arch Enemy, Lacuna Coil, but he's also been Firewind's director and official photographer for the last six years or so. He originally got into art with another guy called Bjorn Johansson. They started doing all of these paintings and galleries, and they call it rock art, and that's what it is. Very dynamic and very strong. Patrick sent me one of his designs and I was like, 'Hey, that's my guitar finish right there!'"
Gus G (centre) with his Greek power metal band Firewind
You've switched to Seymour Duncan Blackouts for the Eclipse…
"I'm not normally an active guy. I hated it until I played these, but there's something that Seymour Duncan does that means they still maintain a passive sensitivity. You can hear the wood and hear the tone, and you can control each note as you want. It's not just one f***ing sound like other active pickups usually are. They're much louder, but at the same time there's about 12dB less noise than other pickups.
The guitar's volume/tone controls are quite sparse. Is there a reason for this?
"The reason is because I never use them, really. I'm quite minimalistic when it comes to that stuff. I never really use the tone knobs, and I've never needed a five-way pickup switch. I just switch between the pickups and use a couple of sounds, you know?"
Do you use the kill switch for effects, or is it more functional?
"Yeah, I have the kill switch in there to give some of those cool effects that Randy used to do. I use it pretty rarely, but it's cool for songs like 'Crazy Train' and stuff like that."
What made you go with the 25 ½-inch scale length?
"You know, it's one of those things that becomes part of who you are. I've always played these necks, and I asked ESP for the same neck as my Random Star. I need to be able to switch guitars mid-set and play the same way. Obviously, switching guitar shapes can be a bit of a shock at first, so I wanted the necks to be the same."
As with your other guitars, there's no vibrato…
"I had a Random Star with a vibrato, but I very rarely used it onstage and we discontinued it. All of my guitars have stop-tail bridges. I've always felt more in control with the tone and sound with a standard bridge, so I want to keep going that way. I've never really felt comfortable with a Floyd Rose. You can play much heavier with a stoptail bridge, and you can control the notes better with more sustain."
Have you used the guitar with Firewind yet?
"I haven't actually used it onstage for Firewind yet, but it's my signature guitar, man, so I may do. I'm still in love with my Random Stars, too. I'll always play them, but my Eclipse is a cool guitar. I'm really happy to be doing something different, and people like it. It's not like the other guitars out there!"
You can catch Gus on tour with Firewind at the Relentless Garage, London on 7 January. For the full review of the LTD Gus-600 EC, check out Total Guitar issue 210 (on sale 24 December - 20 January).