Mastodon guitarist Brent Hinds gets the Flying V of his dreams. By Peter Hodgson
Mastodon guitarist and vocalist Brent Hinds has an instantly recognisable style and sound. He’s used a variety of different means to achieve it over the years, but his new Epiphone Flying V Custom signature model – announced last year and now hitting stores – is the most direct way yet for you to achieve that same sound and attitude.
Ever since Tool’s Adam Jones popularised the use of silverburst, it’s come to symbolise low riffs and crunchy tones – sort of like a semiotic cue or visual shorthand of what to expect from a guitar. Hinds’ signature model looks great, and is immediately identifiable. It has a mahogany body with a mahogany neck, carved to a “1958” rounded profile which feels chunky and solid in the hand. The neck is glued in and features an ebony fingerboard with pearloid block inlays, which are matched by a pearloid headstock inlay. The body is bound in seven-ply black/white, the headstock in five-ply and the fingerboard in one-ply.
The hardware includes an imitation bone nut, 22 medium jumbo frets at a 22” radius, Epiphone LockTone Tune-O-Matic bridge and traditional V string-thru tailpiece, and Grover Rotomatics tuners with an 18:1 turn ratio. The electronics consist of Hinds’ signature Lace USA Hammer Claws humbucking pickups connected to individual volume controls and a master tone knob. There are no coil splits or any trickery like that to be found here.
The Hammer Claws are powerful pickups, with the bridge clocking in at 18.3k inductance and the neck at 12k. They’re very much full-range pickups, a lot broader and more even-toned than co-guitarist Bill Kelliher’s ignature Lace set, which is quite pokey in the upper mids (the Hammer Claws also have a mid bump, but a less harsh one that still allows for great high-end attack). Even so, these pickups have plenty of body and sustain thanks to that extra power, and 12k is pretty powerful for a neck pickup.
If your idea of ‘clean’ is sparkling clear, this isn’t the guitar for you, but if you’re into edge-of- dirt clean tones, this V has plenty of character. It also handles low tunings very well, and although shredders might not get along with the fatter neck in the same way as, say, an Ibanez Wizard neck, it’s still very playable.
THE BOTTOM LINE
If you’re a Mastodon fan, this guitar is a no-brainer. But it also has applications outside of just, “I wanna sound like Brent.” It’s great for metal, doom, classic rock and even punk, with plenty of attitude and character.
TOP 5 FEATURES
• Lace USA Hammer Claw pickups
• 1958 neck shape
• Ebony fingerboard
• Mahogany body
• Seven-ply binding
• Very unique tones
• Great look
• Chunky neck
• Doesn’t do sparkly cleans
• No coil splitting
Australian Musical Imports (AMI)
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