Maybe You Missed This...

Graph Tech participated in the "virtual" NAMM Show, January 18-22, and debuted three cool new products. While it was bittersweet not to see friends and associates face-to-face, experience the horrors of long lines at NAMM hotel eateries, or even subject ourselves to the cacophony of instruments being banged on every minute of the day, the online NAMM provided many opportunities for learning, meeting, and sharing news. Here's a "replay" of the 2021 products we unleashed upon the virtual NAMM hordes... 


Valery Gaina

Valery Gaina is the guitarist for the Russian metal band, Kruiz — a group with quite a story. Kruiz began as a government-sanctioned pop act during the Cold War-era USSR in 1980, but as relations with the USA soured, the band's permission to record and perform was withdrawn due to the suppression of Western culture in Russia. Happily, the crackdown was relatively brief, and Val has able to re-engineer Kruiz as a metal band in 1985, bringing them international recognition, a million-selling album (Kruiz-1, 1987), and constant rotation on Canadian TV's Pepsi Power Hour. Today, Val remains a technically awe-inspiring player who deploys whammy moves, wide string bends, and speed to thrill audiences.

"Until I came to know Graph Tech, I could not imagine guitar hardware could be of such high quality," says Val. "Since then, all of the hardware on all of my guitars has been replaced with Graph Tech parts. Now, I've obtained better sound, sustain, and separation, as well as a welcome change in the sensation of playing."

Feel the Kruiz Onslaught!



TUSQ or NuBone?

You can't really lose with either. In fact, NuBone is derived from Graph Tech's proprietary TUSQ material. Like TUSQ, NuBone will improve the tone of your guitar, increase volume and sustain, and deliver a more balanced s ound from string-to-string — especially when compared to plastic, bone, or Corian. NuBone produces a slightly mellower sound than TUSQ, which is made from a harder material and delivers a little bit of a brighter tone. 


5 Rock Classics Performed Symphonically 

Symphony orchestras and rock bands seem like matches made in hell, but that hasn't stopped rockers and classical musicians from exploring the stylistic hybrid. Sometimes, the most fun in these endeavors is less about creating overblown, symphonic epics — Journey to the Centre of the Earth, anyone? — and more about expanding the glories of a classic-rock tune you'd hear on the radio back in the day. Here are five examples of "classic classical." Enjoy.

"Smoke on the Water," Deep Purple 

Deep Purple shocked the tuxedo and gown set in 1969, when it became one of the first rock bands to compose a classical piece, Concerto for Group and Orchestra, and perform it with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. (Guitarist Ritchie Blackmore hated it, BTW: " The orchestra was very condescending towards us, and I didn't like playing with them, so it was one big calamity onstage.") There must have been no hard feelings, however, as Deep Purple rejoined the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 1999 to perform the Concerto again.

Hear It


"Kashmir," Led Zeppelin 

The Chancay Peru Symphonic Orchestra takes on Led Zeppelin's dreamy epic, and cellist Ghislaine Valdivia does an amazing job interpreting the song's haunting melodies. She's a fiery performer, and the orchestral backing is powerful and uplifting.

Hear It


"Fire," Jimi Hendrix

Blues guitarist Leszek Cichoński co-founded Wroclaw, Poland's annual "Thanks Jimi" Festival (now Guitar Guinness World Record Festival), and it was his dream to arrange Jimi Hendrix's music for orchestra. The dream came true in 2016, when the Wroclaw Philharmonic performed Leszek's rockin' Thanks Jimi Symphonic to a sold-out audience at the city's National Forum of Music.

Hear It


"Thunderstruck," AC/DC

Russia's Sound Bliss Orchestra obviously had a ton of fun performing its interpretation of the AC/DC classic. The orchestra swells and punches along with Marshall stacks, a bass rig, a drummer, and a charismatic lead violinist. The breakdown interlude before the rock-and-roll noise blasts back is like a Tchaikovsky meets Angus Young mashup.

Hear It


"For Whom the Bell Tolls," Metallica

While not performed by a "designated" classic-rock act, this Metallica collaboration with the San Francisco Symphony is nonetheless equal parts Spinal Tap and delightfully bombastic. Full of rock posturing and classical players absolutely shredding on their instruments, call it "Herbert von Karajan's Nightmare," or just... "Awesome."

Hear It



How to Find the Right Nut

There aren't so many options that your head will explode, but there are enough nut choices at Graph Tech to make things a little, um, confusing. Is TUSQ the right sound and feel for you? What about TUSQ XL? Or how about Black TUSQ XL or NuBone XB? But don't fret (sorry about the silly pun, there), Graph Tech support specialist Gray Bramwell can help you find the best nut for your instrument. Be happy...


JHS Vintage Guitars 

This month, we're saluting England's JHS company, which distributes a lot of groovy brands, including Vintage Guitars. This guitar maker crafts affordable, vintage-style instruments, and we're happy to report the company is a long-time user of Graph Tech parts. In this recent Graph Tech Guitar Spotlight, Justin pops open a few boxes of Vintage models, plugs 'em in, and lets you hear the roar.

Learn More




Here's a little history lesson on the pre-COVID-era of NAMM shows, where people actually traveled to a huge convention center and mixed together in large, surging crowds down narrow aisles. In 2019, Justin was noticeably rattled by his pre-NAMM workload, but he still managed to answer questions on recommended glue for Black TUSQ nut installations, the correct saddle for an Epiphone Hummingbird, the right pre-slotted nut for a PRS SE Custom 22, and more!


"Sunny Days" by Lari Basilio

Lari Basilio's supple melodicism, compositional chops, and cagey technique has zoomed her to the top of the world's "hot guitarist" lists. The Brazilian musician was just honored with a signature-model Ibanez, the LB1, and if you want to play along with "Sunny Days" and add your own thing, you can download her backing track at https://www.laribasilio.com/store/sun... 


Smarten Up Your Guitar or Bass for the New Year

Many fingers across the globe are crossed that 2021 will see the return of touring, club dates, and other live shows. Wouldn't you like to step into a revitalized music industry with a truly kick-ass instrument? It's very possible you haven't shown your guitar or bass much love during lockdown, so it's time to do a few simple mods to enhance your stringed partner's tone and playability. Click the link to see some awesome upgrade options!

Make It Happen




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