Jeffrey Phillip Wielandt or Zakk Wylde as most of the world knows him, was born January 14th 1967. Zakk Wylde is the lead guitar player and co-songwriter for the legendary Ozzy Osbourne. Additionally, Zakk is the founding member of the bluesy southern metal band Black Label Society. Let that sink in for a minute… this man’s list of accomplishments is a little ridiculous. Oh wait, did I mention the fact that he has his own guitar brand, Wylde Audio. Oh yeah, and they carry some unique looking and sounding axes. So yeah, needless to say if you are into heavy metal you have undoubtedly heard Zakk shred.
Zakk began his guitar journey at the age of 8 years old, but didn’t become too serious about it until his first year in high school. Zakk grew up in the lovely garden state in the town of Jackson. At the ripe age of 14 Zakk worked at a music shop called Silverton Music in the Silverton section of Toms River. He can attribute his chops to the fact that he has admitted to practicing upwards of 12 hours per day in high school, and would often times play the guitar almost non stop from the time he left school to the time he had to wake up the next morning. He would then sleep through the school day, and I mean come on, who can honestly say they didn’t catch some ZZZ’s in class from time to time.
From Stone Henge to Osbourne
Wylde started his musical career with his first band Stone Henge. He later moved onto another local Jersey band called Zyris. Ultimately he would later audition to play with Ozzy Osbourne. Well suffice to say, he got the gig. He has played with Ozzy over the years on and off since 1987. This would be a HUGE deal for almost any guitarist, but in this instance it was especially amazing. You see, Zakk’s foremost influence and favorite guitar player is Randy Rhoads. This offered Zakk the opportunity to step into his hero’s shoes and honor his legacy and music alike.
Perhaps one of the most famous or iconic aspects of Zakk Wylde, aside from the music he makes of course, is his Bullseye Gibson Les Paul Custom. The Grail, as it is dubbed is a cream colored Les Paul with the black bullseye graphic, stocked with EMG active pickups. Originally Zakk set out to differentiate himself from Randy Rhoads who also played a cream colored Gibson Les Paul. The origin of that bullseye is actually a funny story. The bullseye paint job was originally supposed to look like the spiral from the classic Hitchock film Vertigo. But when it came back from the shop, it looked like the famous guitar you see today. But in the end he liked the result and decided to keep it.
Wylde Audio is Zakk Wylde’s own guitar company that produces awesome and unique guitars that are distributed through Schecter. This was the next logical step for Zakk. He has played with his idols, he has signature models from both Gibson and Epiphone. it just made sense to start his own guitar line. These guitars are the embodiment of stability and consistency, with a scorching sound and bold sense of bravado that you’ve come to expect from Wylde’s own style of playing. The visuals are striking – his distinct Bullseye and Buzzsaw design elements are just a few of the larger-than-life complements you’ll see paired with the solid mahogany bodies and vivid tops. Armed with EMG pickups and anchored with rock-solid hardware, Wylde Audio guitars are ready and waiting to make a statement with you on stage!
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