SMG Weekly Round Up: News from Pantera, Jeff Loomis, Gibson Guitars and More!


It’s been a pretty eventful week in the world of guitars, the headlines haven’t been dominated by new guitar releases, but rather new releases from guitarists.

In the life of a guitar blogger, music news is just as important as news of new gear or guitars, as without new releases from guys like Jeff Loomis and Pantera (we waited so long!) there would be nobody purchasing guitars with which to play Youtube cover versions of the aforementioned artists.

If you do have some videos on YouTube, then please feel free to share them with me, it’s always nice to see how much better people are at guitar than I am.


The biggest news by far for me this week was definitely the release of the new (old) Pantera song. Bizarrely I found out from infamous connoisseur of internet awesomeness, Maddox, who posted this statement on his Facebook profile:

“F YEAH!!! Unreleased Pantera song from “Vulgar Display of Power” era just released. I’m going headbang until I hemorrhage a disc and die (sic)”

It wasn’t long until people were saying how much better the song, entitled ‘Piss‘, is than Justin Bieber’s songs, generally just lowering the tone of metal by even comparing the two. There was also an entirely unsurprising call to try and get the song to number one, which I do approve of much more than I approve of comparing Pantera to anything that has ever existed musically.

Number one or not, the song kicks so (so so so) much butt. I stupidly listened to the song for the first time whilst drinking a cup of coffee at work, as most people will know, it’s a scientifically proven fact that it’s impossible not to headbang to a Dimebag riff. The coffee went everywhere, and I got fired immediately.


Lava Cable released an awesome video this week, showing the company’s story so far. Mark Stoddard, the owner of the company, actually started making Lava Cables when he was serving in Afghanistan with the special forces battalion. Mark served in the army for 28 years, and now focuses on his business full-time.

Cables are a part of our signal path that we sometimes overlook as guitarists, when you’re looking to improve your tone the smart money is on new pickups, or a new pedal. Getting the right cable is massively important in terms of the fidelity of the sound, and Mark takes that job seriously. Lava cables come in a variety of prices, so it’s definitely worth looking into them as an option, even if you are on a budget. I’ve heard the difference between a Lava Cable and other cables in A and B switching tests and I must say, it is surprising how much a cable can alter your sound.

Check out the video below:


It seems to be an almost weekly occurrence that the folks at Gibson release a new signature Les Paul, but this one does deserve an extra special mention, as it’s set up for one of my favorite things – slide guitar.

Lee Roy Parnell is a sizzling slide guitarist on the Nashville scene, and this re-release of the vintage ’57 Gold Top looks absolutely stunning.

The guitar is designed to give easier access to the higher frets, which is going to be a popular decision with most guitarists. The obvious reason for this is that it gives you better reach with a slide, but it also just means that lead guitar work will be a little bit easier than on a standard Les Paul.


“The Lee Roy Parnell Signature ’57 Les Paul Goldtop starts with the classic Les Paul body woods of a two-piece carved maple top and one-piece, unchambered lightweight mahogany body back.

“While it follows the traditional lines of the ’57 Goldtop, however, it encorporates several design innovations to make it a more toneful and comfortably playable guitar.

“A Big Block™ cavity design achieves more mass in the pickup cavities for greater resonance and tonal depth, while extended pickup pole clearances also are accommodated for enhanced tonal adjustments.

“The body includes new Player’s Cut™ elements designed for enhanced access to upper fret positions: a 7-degree back-angled cutaway contour for exceptional reach, and a smoothed neck heel joint for improved playing comfort, making the Lee Roy Parnell Signature ’57 Les Paul Goldtop a breeze for both slide and lead work.”


Jeff Loomis has released a new album called Plains of Oblivion. It has some mind blowing shredding, and if you download it from certain places you will also get full tab for a couple of the songs on the album – there’s a guy who knows his audience.

Marty Friedman has a guest appearance on the album, and in Loomis’ first solo release since Nevermore, it really is a reminder of Jeff’s ability to combine shredding ability with some downright brilliant melodic work.

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