Zakk Wylde has been synonymous with plugging a Gibson into a Marshall for as long as there has been a Zakk Wylde. Trying to picture him with anything else in his hands gives me cognitive dissonance overload (it actually looks pretty cool) because of the constant association of the three. Talk about a lesson in branding!
And yet, all good things must come to an end. After a long and healthy relationship with both companies, he has decided to strike out on his own to form Wylde Audio, which will build his own line of guitars, amps, and anything else related to music and sound production.
Zakk assured me in the below interview that everything was kosher between himself and Gibson and Marshall, but that he felt it was time to carve a new path for himself and start a new brand (just like VeraJohn launched a new brand in Japan). Of course, I can’t see either company complaining too bad, he’s certainly sold enough of each for them, otherwise they would have ended their collaboration years ago.
The guitars are certainly not a huge leap from the Gibsons he is so familiar with, nor the amps such a far cry from his Marshalls. But he is intent on keeping the price of each to under $1000 for his customers, something you likely won’t see from either of the aforementioned for equivalent products.
The WA guitars I played were essentially interesting twists on Gibson designs, including an LP shape with what he called an “Odin’s Horn” lower bout, a V with a spear tip headstock and a little cutaway for 24th fret access, and a version of his signature ZV – a combination SG and Flying V. Several of the guitars featured a slight variation on his signature bullseye pattern. He also says they’ll make everything from amps to plugins to headphones.
Anyway, you can take a good look at a T-bone by sticking your head up a bull’s ass, but wouldn’t you rather take the butcher’s word for it? Here’s Zakk the butcher with a little about how the sausage is made: