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

by John Katic
Posted Jun 12, 2012 at 10:33am

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 now.

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 and85 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. Very pleased to be back with Dean Markley. They are a great company to work with.

What are you using for effects?

I am 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

Add a Comment

Similar Guitar News

Monster Energy’s Aftershock Festival Announces Lineup, Including Rob Zombie, Mastodon, Black Label Society, Weezer (5/29/2014)
The third annual Monster Energy’s Aftershock Festival returns to Discovery Park near downtown Sacramento, California, September 13 and 14. Its massive lineup will include Godsmack, Weezer, the Offspring, Rob Zombie, Five Finger Death Punch, Limp...
Zakk Wylde on recording Black Label Society's Catacombs Of The Black Vatican (5/8/2014)
Read more about Zakk Wylde on recording Black Label Society's Catacombs Of The Black Vatican at
Dean Markley USA Releases New Acoustic Pickups (3/11/2014)
Achieving true, transparent acoustic tones through amplification has always been a struggle. Dean Markley’s new XM Series acoustic pickup is specifically designed to deliver true acoustic sound while eliminating the common problems of other amp...
Listen: Black Label Society Streaming New Song, "My Dying Time" (2/26/2014)
Black Label Society are streaming a track from their upcoming album, Catacombs of the Black Vatican. Check out "My Dying Time" below and tell us what you think! The album will be released April 8 via Mascot Label Group. "Someone asked me what th...
Monster Energy Carolina Rebellion Announces Lineup, Including Avenged Sevenfold, Black Label Society and Motörhead (1/29/2014)
The Monster Energy Carolina Rebellion has announced the festival's lineup as they return to Rock City Campgrounds at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carlonia, May 3 and 4. The daily band lineup for the fourth annual show is: Saturday...
Zakk Wylde Talks New Black Label Society Album, 'Catacombs of the Black Vatican' (1/16/2014)
Zakk Wylde has announced the next chapter in the Black Label Society story, Catacombs of the Black Vatican. The album, the first disc of all new material from the band since 2010’s Order of the Black, will be released April 8. The band also ha...
Lizzy Borden Guitarist Dario Lorina Joins Black Label Society (1/2/2014)
As we reported exactly a month ago, Black Label Society recently parted ways with longtime guitarist Nick Catanese, aka "the Evil Twin." It turns out the band has replaced Catanese with Lizzy Borden guitarist Dario Lorina. Yesterday, Lizzy Bord...
Contest: The Cordoba, Dean Markley and Ultrasound Acoustic Prize Pack Giveaway! (12/2/2013)
To help ring in the holidays, we’ve teamed up with Cordoba, Dean Markley USA and UltraSound Amplifiers to bring you our December giveaway – the ultimate acoustic prize pack! Enter before December 31, 2013 for a chance to win! Go here>> The...
Black Label Society Part Ways with Guitarist Nick Catanese (12/2/2013)
According to announcement released today, Black Label Society have amicably parted ways with longtime guitarist Nick Catanese, aka "the Evil Twin." The band, who "wish him the very best in his future musical endeavors," added that a replacement ...
Dean Markley Announces New Signature Series Guitar Strings (8/21/2013)
Dean Markley has announced the release of its new Signature Series strings. The Signature Series utilizes a nickel-plated steel, slowly wound over a hex core with a unique core-to-wrap ratio. The new series is available in an assortment of gau...
Dean Markley USA Launches New Website (2/27/2013)
Dean Markley USA unveiled its new website today. The new site includes extensive information on the entire product line and allows for secure orders to be placed directly online, 24 hours a day. Dean Markley will continue to expand on the new d...
Interview: Killinger Guitarist Kevin Morin Discusses Tour with Black Label Society and His Other Day Job (10/10/2012)
This is shaping up to be a healthy year for the band Killinger. The Canadian quartet picked up the People’s Choice trophy at the Edmonton Music Awards and has seen their song “We Are Here” featured as part of FOX Sports MLB programming. The ban...
Win a Set of Dean Markley Helix Bass Strings! (9/27/2012)
Teaser Content: 
Dean Markley USA Introduces Nick Catanese Signature Strings (8/22/2012)
Dean Markley USA has teamed up with Black Label Society guitarist Nick Catanese to create Nick Catanese Signature Strings. The collaboration offers select gauges from Dean Markley's Helix line of strings, as used by the Black Label Society guita...
Dean Markley Releases The Carl Verheyen Balanced Bridge Helix Electric Strings (7/23/2012)
Santa Clara, CA (July 24, 2012) – Dean Markley today announces the release of the new Carl Verheyen Balanced Bridge Helix Electric strings. This partnership brings a unique string set intended to balance the six screw and two screw Strat-style ...