Gear Spotlight is going to be a new way for me to show off some cool gear and let you all into the so called vault of gear I have. Its not an insane amount of stuff but I'm a strong believer that every piece of gear has its own story. So without anymore bullshit, here's the story about how this guitar came to be.
Back in 2013, the band I was in had just broken up and I was ready to call it quits when it came to music. A couple months later, Pat from FFAA called me up and asked if I wanted to jam and possibly play in Fit. I'll be honest, I wasn't into the idea because I felt so jaded by the prior 6 years of touring. Pat sent me a couple pre-pro songs from Hellbound and I was sold. I had never played 7 strings in a band so I kinda had to scramble and grab a new guitar ASAP. The company I had been working with didn't have much in the 7 string world at the time and the small amount of stuff they did offer, they didn't have in stock. Pat at the time had already been an Ibanez artist for around 2 years and he brought up the possibility of being able to bring me on board as well. I scooped up a cheap 7421(which you'll find out about soon enough) from Sweetwater and used it for my first couple of runs with FFAA.
The first FFAA tour that hit California was with The Acacia Strain. It was also my first Full US with the band. While in California, we had the opportunity to stop by the Ibanez office and I got to meet Mike. Mike at the time was working with smaller artists and we got to talking. It turned out, he hailed from Long Island as well so we immediately hit it off. The seed was planted and we went our separate ways. Pat worked out the details with Mike after the tour and I officially received my first Ibanez contract in October of 2013. The following month, we headed back out to the west coast with Thy Art Is Murder on their first US headliner. I had told Mike prior to this tour the guitars that I wanted so that Ibanez Custom Shop could hook them up and pop new pickups in them and give them some TLC.
My first contract was for 2 Iron Label RGs and they were basically twins. The Iron Label series was extremely new and there weren't many options as far as finished and/or body styles. After a couple of months, I wondered how I could customize these and really make them my own. I had seen someone making leather pickguards for Telecasters and thought it would be insane if i made my own. I sent one of the guitars back so that the Custom Shop could cut me out a template for me to use. Once I got it back, I slapped the template on a roll of leather and chopped it out. I didn't do too much tooling for the first one but again, it was my first try. Once I got the hang of it, I decided to go all out. I featured my initials under the pickups and half of my company's logo between the two. I figured using a distressed brown would looks cool so I used an gel antique as a finish.
As for the guitar itself, It features a Basswood body, Maple/Wenge neck, Nitro Wizard neck profile, Rosewood board, and Mick Thompson Blackouts from Seymour Duncan. I've used this guitar on a shitload of tours and it will forever be in my possession. I recently replaced the old Gibraltar block bridge with the low profile Gibraltar II. I'm getting ready to use it for our shows in Mexico this weekend and I'm stoked to have it back in the arsenal. I know most of you arent used to me using a black guitar since its been a while but I'm bringin it back! Scope out some cool pictures below and Ill see you guys soon!