New York-based tech death metallers Contrarian have a new album, titled Only Time Will Tell, coming out November 20. Psyched to have another Contrarian album re-arrange the caveman calculus in our lizard brains, we asked guitarist Jim Tasikas to review the Top 3 guitars from his varied and extensive collection (it seems every other week our Rochester death metal bro is unveiling new and wickedly awesome guitars!). Not only did Tasikas provide his most critical and drool-worthy axes as part of his top list in text form, he (and drummer Bryce Butler) filmed a short video so we — and other luthier-nerds — could see them in motion.
3. ESP Custom Shop M-III Deluxe
This a one of kind ESP Custom Shop M-III Deluxe. The intricate natural grain found on this candy coated swamp ash body is quite rare. My hand always reaches for this guitar as it always delivers for me. The blot-on maple neck, which is also rare for ESP guitars, give me the snappy tone needed for nuanced Contrarian riffs. The HSH configuration of the EMG pick-ups is usually not found on ESP guitars. This is truly a distinct guitar built to the highest standards. This guitar will also be featured in Contrarian’s upcoming video for the premiere track off our latest album Only Time Will Tell out November 20th!
2. Charvel San Dimas Trans Gold USA
This is definitely another of my “go to” guitars. In my opinion, 2000-2009 was a golden age decade for Charvel. The guitars made during this specific period are of the highest quality and craftsmanship. Charvel quarter-sawn one piece maple necks are simply magic! The “Trans Gold” HSS configuration is very rare among Charvel collectors. This guitar has been modified with one of Contrarian’s signature “Hellabucker” bridge pick-ups made custom by Bryan Gunther at BG Pups Pickups. The Their Worm Never Dies album was entirely recorded with this guitar.
1. 1991 Ibanez Universe 7-String
This might be the crown jewel in my guitar collection. Very rare 1991 Ibanez Universe 7-string guitar with the ultra-rare ATD swirl. Don’t confuse this ATD UVMC with the cheaper MKR’s you see more often. ATD did Steve Vai’s guitars, and the guitar we all remember from Passion and Warfare was Darren’s (About Time Designs) work. The ATD swirled models were done at the ATD factory by Darren Johansen in Long Island, NY. This is a great example of a guitar that is almost never listed for sale.
** Contrarian’s new album, Only Time Will Tell, is out November 20th on Willowtip Records. Pre-orders are not yet live, but keep your arpeggio-fingers ready by checking the label’s webstore (HERE) frequently.