Interview: Black Label Society's Nick Catanese Discusses Signature PRS SE Guitar and Dean Markley Artist Series Helix Strings

Guitarist Nick Catanese — or the “Evil Twin” as he is known to the legions of Black Label Society fans — has been a member of the band for 16 years.

What started as a side project of sorts for Zakk Wylde has grown into an extremely successful machine. Catanese has the task of keeping up with Wylde’s guitar pyrotechnics night in and night out on stage.

At the 2012 Winter NAMM show, Paul Reed Smith debuted the second incarnation of the PRS SE Nick Catanese guitar. The original SE model featured a black finish with red binding and Catanese’s trademark “ET” logo.

GUITAR WORLD: What can we expect from the new SE PRS? Is it structurally different from the original model?

The new guitar has a scarlet red flamed maple top on top of mahogany. The hardware this time is all chrome. I still use the EMG 81 and 85 pickups. It has the jumbo frets. The guitar has a black binding with white fret markers on the side. We went with an ebony fret board with no inlays on the neck. We also have the TonePros adjustable tailpiece.

It is really interesting to see an ebony fret board on an import guitar.

Even though this is not American made, this is the exact guitar I play. I can walk into my Guitar Center in Pittsburgh and use it off the rack.

You very recently made the move back to Dean Markley, and they will be releasing Nick Catanese Artist Series Helix Strings. What is new with those?

My original signature series of Dean Markley strings were .10 to .60 and were probably a little too thick for many players. These are .10-.13-.17-.36-.46-.56. They will be available later this summer. I'm very pleased to be back with Dean Markley. They are a great company to work with.

What are you using for effects?

I'm a Dunlop guy. I use a wah, of course. I have the Rotovibe, a chorus, overdrive pedal and I use their picks as well.

You are now using Marshall amps live?

Yes. I have two JCM800 amps and two of the Zakk Wylde Signature JCM800 that I use live.

Black Label Society are on the road supporting their latest studio release, The Order Of The Black. For more information on Catanese, visit

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