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- 08/07/14--10:51: _Tone Freak: Talking...
- 08/07/14--11:05: _DragonForce Premier...
- 08/07/14--13:14: _Betcha Can't Play T...
- 08/07/14--13:36: _Betcha Can't Play T...
- 08/07/14--13:53: _Robert Plant Premie...
- 08/07/14--14:00: _Foo Fighters Announ...
- 08/07/14--14:13: _Dear Guitar Hero: D...
- 08/08/14--06:33: _John Petrucci Discu...
- 08/08/14--07:05: _Is Eric Clapton's N...
- 08/08/14--08:35: _John Petrucci's 'Wi...
- 08/08/14--08:36: _Guitar World's 2014...
- 08/08/14--08:46: _Mass Effect: The To...
- 08/08/14--08:52: _Frontal Assault: Th...
- 08/08/14--08:56: _August 8, 1966: "Hu...
- 08/08/14--10:04: _Check Out NAMM's Ne...
- 08/08/14--11:40: _State Champs Premie...
- 08/08/14--16:48: _Attend Berklee’s Fr...
- 08/11/14--09:36: _John 5's Uncut Stud...
- 08/11/14--11:58: _Pieta Brown Confirm...
- 08/11/14--12:42: _It Might Get Weird:...
- 08/07/14--10:51: Tone Freak: Talking Gear with Adelitas Way Guitarist Rob Zakaryan
- 08/07/14--11:05: DragonForce Premiere Cover of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” — Listen
- 08/07/14--13:14: Betcha Can't Play This: Tapping and Flexing with Tony Smotherman
- 08/07/14--13:36: Betcha Can't Play This: Fretboard Fingerskating with John 5
- 08/08/14--08:52: Frontal Assault: The Top 10 Guitar-Playing Frontmen in Rock
- 08/08/14--10:04: Check Out NAMM's New "Just Play" Campaign Videos
- 08/08/14--11:40: State Champs Premiere New Acoustic Track
- 08/08/14--16:48: Attend Berklee’s Free Online Classic Rock Guitar Clinic
- 08/11/14--09:36: John 5's Uncut Studio Sessions, "Jerry's Breakdown"— Video
- 08/11/14--11:58: Pieta Brown Confirms Fall Tour and New Album
- 08/11/14--12:42: It Might Get Weird: Gigs Carved Guitars' Dark Side of the Moon
I'm definitely a tone freak. Getting my tone to come out of my amps the way I hear in my head is actually an exciting journey, and a never-ending one! On the road right now, my signal starts from my hands.
The most important part of my tone is how I play, because that's the sound that goes into each of my four guitars:
• Gibson 2011 Wine Red LP Traditional Pro
• Gibson 2012 Black LP Traditional
• Gibson Custom '57 Reissue LP Junior TV White
• James Trussart Custom Steelcaster
I used a lot of Telecaster on our new album, Stuck, and I really dig the Custom Trussart Tele live for songs like "Dog on a Leash" (See the video — and more info about the new album — below), "We Came" and "Stuck." My main guitar is the '57 Junior, and the P90 pickup is a big part of my sound. My Les Pauls are about to be fitted with the new Seymour Duncan Whole Lotta Humbucker pickups, which focus more on the mid-range, Jimmy Page/Angus Young-style bark I'm into.
Moving away from my guitars and into my pedal board ...
My main modulation/filter effects have been Dunlop/MXR from the beginning. Starting off the chain, I use a Polytune into the Dunlop Slash SW-95 Wah, then into some of my favorite little pedals, the EP Booster and the SL Drive from Xotic Effects. They have really killer clean boost and overdrive, derived from classic U.K. guitar sounds.
Next in line is the trusty Fulltone OCD overdrive pedal, followed by the one of best fuzz boxes I've heard, the ProAnalog MK III. That thing is hand built by Scotty Smith, and it's a crushing fuzz/drive pedal made with high-quality vintage transistors.
At the end of the pedal chain are all my colorful sounds, MXR Phase 90, Analog Delay and Micro Chorus. They all sound killer and are super-simple to dial! (Be sure to check out all the photos in the gallery below, by the way!)
All my effects and boosts/drives aren't used the same way every day. I dial in my pedals and amps a little differently for each show, as the same setup can sound "off," depending on the environment I'm playing in.
Finally, all this gets blasted out of two heads I use simultaneously using a Lehle splitter. That sends my guitar to a 100-watt Marshall JCM 800 2210 and a 30-watt Cornford Hellcat. Those are British-built and tube-powered! I love the combination of the Cornford Hellcat with my Marshall. They both come out of straight Marshall 1960BV cabinets loaded with Vintage 30 speakers. This all ends up in someone telling me turn down my stage volume somewhere, but that's rock and roll!
Rob Zakaryan is the lead guitarist in Adelitas Way. Their new album, Stuck, was released July 29 through Virgin Records. Check out the video for “Dog on a Leash” below. For more about Adelitas Way, visit adelitaswaymusic.com. Also be sure to check out Stuck on iTunes!
DragonForce have premiered their cover of Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire." Check it out below and let us know what you think in the comments or on Facebook!
Here's a crazy-sounding video game–type lick that requires flexibility and dexterity to execute accurately.
The object is to move seamlessly across the fretboard, using a wide-stretch symmetrical diminished arpeggio shape with the fret hand’s first, second and fourth fingers, coupled with a right-hand tap, which makes it a diminished-seven arpeggio.
We’re maintaining a minor-third interval between each finger [a three-fret stretch]. The stretch becomes much less arduous the higher you move up the neck. The entire lick is based upon a repeating four-note sequence that skips to a different string on each downbeat and periodically shifts up one fret, gradually moving up the neck.
You tap the first note on each beat, pull-off to the fret-hand index finger, then hammer on with the middle finger and pinkie. The lick begins with the fret hand in fifth position on the high E string and a tap at the 14th fret, then skips around to different strings, the pattern being high E, G, B, D, G, A. You then shift everything up one fret and play the pattern on the D and B strings only. That completes one cycle, which is two bars long.
The cycle begins again in bar 3, with another one-fret shift up the neck that puts the fret hand in seventh position and the taps at the 16th fret. After a few more bars you’ll see and hear the pattern clearly and will be on your way to mastering the lick.
Practice it slowly at first and concentrate on executing strong taps, hammer-ons and pull-offs. When pulling off, remember to pull the string slightly sideways, toward the floor. Also take care to mute the idle bass strings with the palm of your pick hand to suppress unwanted string noise.
Here's a pretty cool-sounding, fast E major pentatonic-based run that takes you all over the fretboard.
I love runs like this, and I play these types of elongated patterns often. Here, I pick the first note on each string and use hammer-ons, pull-offs and legato slides, at times in combination, to give the notes some variation in attack and create smooth phrasing.
The notes are within the E major pentatonic scale (E F# G# B C#), except for two: the C note at the end of bar 1, which functions as a chromatic passing tone between B and C#, and the A note on beat three of bar 5, which functions as the fourth resolving to the third (G#).
You can also use this run in a minor context by moving all the notes proportionally up or down the neck and/or playing it over a different bass note. For example, if you play the entire run, with the exception of the final chord, over a low C# bass note or C#5 chord, it will sound like it’s in C# minor, the relative minor key of E major.
To use it in an E minor context, move every note up three frets, starting and ending on G (sixth string, third fret), as any G major idea will sound like an E minor idea if played over an E5 chord or E bass note.
Robert Plant has announced a string of fall North American dates with his band, the Sensational Space Shifters. While he was at it, he also premiered a live video for "Rainbow," a track from his new album, Lullaby and... the Ceaseless Roar.
Lullaby and... the Ceaseless Roar is due for a September 9 release, and the band will celebrate the album's release with a handful of shows across North America.
Here are the tour dates (so far)...
September 25 - Port Chester, NY @ Capitol Theater
September 27 - Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Academy of Music
September 28 - Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Academy of Music
September 30 - Toronto, ON @ Massey Hall
October 2 - Chicago, IL @ Riviera Theatre
October 4 - Denver, CO @ The Fillmore Auditorium
October 7 - Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Palladium
Here's the live video of "Rainbow." Enjoy! Note that, since the video can't be embedded into this story, you'll have to click over to YouTube to watch it.
Foo Fighters have announced the premiere date of the Dave Grohl-directed HBO documentary series Sonic Highways.
They've also confirmed that the first single from their new studio album will be released the very same day.
Sonic Highways will premiere October 17 and run through December 5, rounding up the recording of the band's new album, a process that took them to eight U.S. cities. The series will show the band recording their new material with luminaries such as Gary Clark Jr., Joe Walsh of the Eagles and Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen.
The new album is tentatively set for a November release date, though that has not been finalized.
For now, you can check out the trailer for Sonic Highways below.
He's one-fourth of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and owns a sweet collection of rare and vintage axes. But what Guitar World readers really want to know is...
What’s the key to great harmony? — Billy Ray Latham
Listen to Phil Everly. I don’t think there’s any question that the first time I got hooked into harmony singing it was listening to “[All I Have to Do Is] Dream” by the Everly Brothers.
That’s where it starts, but then you have to go to a lot of places besides that. Listen to classical music, listen to Bach. It’ll never hurt you, and if you really listen, it’ll help you a lot. Listen to the first record by the Bulgarian State Television Female Vocal Choir from 1966, Music of Bulgaria: The Ensemble of the Bulgarian Republic, under the direction of Philip Koutev. It is beyond-belief good. Those little Bulgarian housewives can sing rings around everybody. [Graham] Nash and I would credit them with changing our lives. It will rot your brain.
You recorded and toured with David Gilmour a few years ago. How did that connection come about? — Chris Thumann
David knew Graham, and he came to our Crosby & Nash show in London a couple of times and liked our harmonies and our way of going at it, and he asked us to sing on [his 2006 solo album] On An Island. In the process, we got to be pretty close friends. He asked us to sing at his concert in London. We ended up doing, like, eight shows, just singing the songs we sang on the record. I think Fender should erect a monument to Gilmour. He has this tone, and it’s not gizmos. It’s his touch.
Your new album, Croz, is your first solo record in 20 years. Why the long wait? — James Fitze
You’re only looking at solo albums. In between, I did a double album with Graham Nash [2004’s Crosby Nash]. I was working on a covers album with CSN. And we’ve all been working on the CSNY 74 thing for a couple of years [a forthcoming collection of performances from the band’s 1974 tour].
When you hear it, you’re not going to freaking believe it. So I’ve been working on other stuff; I just haven’t done a solo record. I was writing so much with my son, James Raymond, who’s a brilliant writer. We were both having a very good streak of writing on our own, together and with [guitarist] Marcus Eaton. The songs are the key to the entire thing. Do you have a real song? Can you sit down and sing it to somebody? Can you make them feel something? If I have songs, I want to make a record. So we both had these songs. We didn’t really have a choice.
How the hell does your voice sound the same after all these decades? — Lisa Rogers
I don’t really understand it, although I didn’t smoke cigarettes. I may’ve been herbally enhanced once or twice, and I went through hard drugs and all that stuff. I don’t know how I have a throat left. [laughs] But there it is, and as long as it still works, I’m going to work it. I’m pretty happy about how it sounds, but a lot has to do with how my son recorded it on the new album.
I read about your guitar collection in Guitar Aficionado magazine. What do you look for when buying guitars, and which one is your favorite? — Gil Pender
It’s a complex thing. I don’t collect the way other people do. Some people collect rare guitars, like, “I have a ’54 Strat worth $50,000.” And I don’t collect the way Nash does. Nash has Duane Allman’s guitar and Johnny Cash’s guitar. I bought guitars because they sounded good. I played them, they sounded unbelievably good, and I couldn’t resist. I probably have the best set of acoustic 12-string guitars in the world.
But I’ve gone through an odd change about it. I have a strong room in my house where I keep them. When I go in there and play them, I feel kind of bad that they’re hanging on the wall when they can be in the hands of someone who is desperate to play a guitar that good. I keep getting the urge to give them away. I gave a Collings dreadnought to a young guitar player in the Valley where I live, because he didn’t have a good acoustic and he’s a terrific player. I might do more of that. Or I’ll auction off the whole batch when I run out of money.
What inspired you to play a Gretsch Tennessean with the Byrds? — Clarence LeBlanc
That’s what George Harrison had. And he had that Rickenbacker [360/12], which is what Roger McGuinn got. We went straight for their shit. [laughs] We said, “Okay, that’s how you do it!” And you know, once you play a Gretsch, you find out there are tricks to it. Take a Gretsch and roll the volume all the way up on the guitar and then control it from the amp. Then you get that crunch that Gretsch guitars have got. But they won’t give it to you unless you turn the volume all the way up and control your volume from a pedal or the amp.
Are you always writing new music? — Lucy Sciancalepore
Yes. As a matter of fact, I wrote one of my best songs right after we mastered the new album. How fucked up is that? [laughs] Last night, I played it to an audience for the first time—and they loved it! I’m thrilled and excited, stoked and stuff.
Did you write any CSN songs in Joni Mitchell’s kitchen? — Jody Porter (Fountains of Wayne)
I know we sang a lot there. That’s where we put Crosby, Stills & Nash together. Stephen and I had been singing and we were there with Graham. We sang, “In the morning when you rise” [from “You Don’t Have to Cry”], and Graham said, “Would you sing that again?” So we sang it again.
And he said, “That’s fantastic. Would you do it one more time?” We sang it a third time, and he put the top harmony on it. Right then, we knew exactly what we were going to be doing for a long time. There wasn’t any question. We have very different voices and some kind of weird chemistry. And it definitely was in Joni’s kitchen. Stephen is fiercely sure it happened at Cass Elliot’s, but it didn’t.
You’re friendly with everyone from CSNY, but do you have a relationship with the other Byrds, especially since they kicked you out of the band? — Elijah Hunt
I have a very good relationship with [bassist/guitarist] Chris Hillman. He lives not too far me, so we have dinner together sometimes. I’ll go out to hear him and Herb Pedersen play country music, because they are the real deal. I have a friendly relationship with Roger [McGuinn], and the last message I got from him was very friendly; he said he liked the new record.
Roger doesn’t want to be in a band. He wants to be folkie and work by himself, and that’s frustrating to me and Chris, because we know we could make really good music together. There’s not even a question. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Roger. Half of what the Byrds had was Roger and his ability to arrange and play and his ability to know how to translate a song from the demo of “Mr. Tambourine Man” into what it became. If you heard the demo, you’d break the record. [laughs] It’s terrible! Roger translated it into a brilliant pop record.
What happened to the album Crosby, Stills & Nash were recording with producer Rick Rubin just a few years ago? — Gregory Swedberg
Trying to make an album is a chemistry between people, and the chemistry wasn’t there. And I’m not saying this to slight Rick. He’s a talented guy, and when he does have good chemistry with the people he’s working with, he does good work. But he didn’t have it with us. We didn’t get along.
We didn’t have the same things in mind; we didn’t have the same way of going about things. And you have to understand all those records that were huge that we did, we produced those. We worked with Rick for months and got nothing we thought was worth anything. Then, just to check, we enlisted Jackson Browne’s Groove Masters studio, and we cut, like, five things in four days. So I have to think we can do it our own way and do it pretty easily! We’ll probably finish that record.
Do you have a favorite chord, one that makes you feel comfortable like a warm blanket? — Vin Downes
Yes. I have a couple them. The one I can describe to you is Em9-7. But I have another one that’s in a different tuning. I can play it for you, but I can’t tell you what it is!
Do you practice or play guitar around the house on a regular basis? — Frank Little
I try to do it every day. The muse is out there, and it will come by your house if you leave the door open. But you have to open the door! Pick up the guitar and make space for it to happen. And then it will happen—if it’s gonna happen. But you have to pick up the ax and open the door.
What inspired your open tunings, and can you share a few of them? — Tim Goodwin
I use a lot of tunings because I listen to a lot of jazz. I hear the chords [jazz pianist] McCoy Tyner had to play for John Coltrane. He was asked to play really rich, thick tone-cluster kinds of chords, which he did brilliantly. I would listen to those chords and say, “I want to play that, but I’m not good enough.”
So then I grab my guitar and I can get versions of the chords that were different from what everybody else was playing. And it works. That’s where I got “Déjà Vu,” “Guinnevere,” “Compass” and “Climber.” They are all in really strange tunings because they give me another sound that expands the envelope, gives you more to work with—if you’re willing to take up a whole new set of chords. There is that minor detail. [laughs] You tune the low E to a D and then your D chord sounds really fantastic. That’s the beginning of the slippery slope!
Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images for LUTB
In the newly posted video below, Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci discusses and demos Ernie Ball's M-Steel guitar strings.
Ernie Ball calls the strings, which were introduced earlier this year, "the world's loudest, most expressive strings ever created."
Short for "maraging steel"—an extremely strong alloy used in high-stress applications for the aerospace and defense industries—M-Steel wound strings are comprised of Ernie Ball's patented Super Cobalt alloy wrapped around a maraging steel hex core, producing a richer, fuller tone with powerful low-end response.
"I hear a really out-front but smooth top end," Petrucci says in the clip. "I guess the overall impression I had is that the strings make the guitar sound really clear, really tight, really present and defined."
For more about Ernie Ball's M-Steel strings, head to ernieball.com.
For still more info, plus a video of a bearded Paul Riario comparing M-Steel strings to regular Ernie Ball Slinkys, head in this general direction.
A forthcoming film of Eric Clapton's 2014 world tour might just be a document of the guitarist's final tour — ever.
The DVD, which is titled Planes, Trains and Eric, documents the Far and Middle Eastern leg of Clapton's tour, intercutting backstage and on-the-road vignettes with full-length performances of songs, including “Layla,” “Wonderful Tonight,” “Cocaine,” “I Shot the Sheriff” and “Crossroads."
Clapton's band includes drummer Steve Gadd, organist Paul Carrack ("Tempted"!), keyboardist Chris Stainton, bassist Nathan East and backing vocalists Michelle John and Shar White.
Recent comments by Clapton raise the likelihood that the 2014 tour could be his last. In June, Clapton told Uncut, “The road has become unbearable. It’s become unapproachable, because it takes so long to get anywhere. It’s hostile everywhere: getting in and out of airports, traveling on planes and in car.
"There are tons of things I’d like to do, but I’m looking at retirement too. What I’ll allow myself to do, within reason, is carry on recording in the studio. I don’t want to go off the boil to the point where I’m embarrassing myself.”
The DVD will be released in November.
Here's the tracklist for Planes, Trains and Eric:
01. Tell The Truth
05. I Shot The Sherriff
06. Little Queen Of Spades
08. Wonderful Tonight
09. Key To The Highway
10. Before You Accuse Me
11. Tears In Heaven
13. Hoochie Coochie Man
14. High Time (Credits – Audio Only)
There's a new Guitar World DVD at the Guitar World Online Store!
John Petrucci's Wild Stringdom is available now for $14.99!
The DVD, which features Dream Theater's guitarist, offers more than 60 minutes of instructional lessons. This master lead guitarist shows you:
• Prog-style shred runs
• Melodic shapes
• Scale and arpeggio patterns
• Unusual fretboard paths
... and much more!
This DVD is an exclusive to the Guitar World Online Store. You won't find this anywhere else! Get your copy today!
About your instructor: Petrucci is best known as the Grammy-nominated guitarist and founding member of the progressive metal band Dream Theater, whose latest, self-titled album is available form Roadrunner Records. He is also the band's producer and main lyricist, as well as an original member of the acclaimed Liquid Tension Experiment with Tony Levin.
John is a long-standing veteran of Joe Satriani's prestigious G3 tours along with Steve Vai, Eric Johnson, and Paul Gilbert. John has received many notable awards in various guitar publications throughout the world, and has been featured in Guitar World magazine many times over the years, offering numerous outstanding lessons to its readers, including this collection of Wild Stringdom columns and other special articles and videos.
In this feature from the August 2014 issue of Guitar World, the guitarists of Avenged Sevenfold, Morbid Angel, Trivium and other metal acts tell how they'll beat the heat and tame the crowds on the season's biggest tours.
For the entire story and more, check out the August 2014 issue of Guitar World at our online store. The issue also is available at newsstands everywhere.
Your sweatiest concert ever?
It was at this place called the Nile Underground in Arizona. It was a room that holds about 250 people, but there were about 400 people there. It was so hot that I sweated into my pickups and they shorted out. Back then I didn’t have a backup guitar, because I couldn’t afford one.
Considerations when playing an outdoor show versus an indoor show?
Nothing at all. We just go out there and have a lot of fun. I mean, the only time you’re ever worried about anything is if there are extreme elements, like rain or crazy wind.
One item you’ll carry with you at all times this summer?
Me and some of our crew guys have trained and learned jiu-jitsu. So my 10-by-10 jiu-jitsu mats, my gi and my yoga mat—those are the essentials.
Your sweatiest concert ever?
Two shows come to mind. The first one was in Paris, France. I have no idea why it was so hot in this venue, but it was a sold-out show and we were headlining, so we had a long set to play. It was just miserable. The other one was Emo’s outdoor stage in Austin, Texas. It just traps heat. It was so hot, I thought I was going to pass out, and at one point my vision starting blurring. It was tough.
Considerations when playing an outdoor show versus an indoor show?
Sound good, obviously. We ended up going out and hiring a sound guy for this tour, because we know from playing a couple of festivals that performing outside is completely different from playing in clubs. You definitely have to make some adjustments.
Your sweatiest concert ever?
The hottest I remember it being onstage was at the 2004 Ozzfest in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I think it may have been 106 or 107 degrees. All I know was it felt like playing on the surface of the sun. We were new to outdoor touring at that time and totally unprepared. I remember after that show, all the white ink in my tattoos raised up because of the sunburn I got that day.
More interviews coming soon! Stay tuned!
Has any piece of musical equipment proliferated more, or more rapidly, than the humble electric guitar effect unit?
Though there is no official tally, suffice it to say that thousands of stomp boxes, effect devices and processors have been created for the electric guitar over the past 60 years (and that’s not including rackmount effects). Conceivably, more than half of those devices are distortion, fuzz and overdrive effects.
So how did we come up with a list of the top 50 electric guitar effects of all time? Actually, it was easy, as most of these stomp boxes and devices turn up in the pages of this magazine on a regular basis every time we ask artists what they use in the studio and onstage.
Other effects got the nod for being the first of their kind (like the DeArmond Tremolo Control, which dates back to the Forties and was the first optional effect device) while a few passed muster for being undeniably cool or influential — even if they’re so rare that it will cost you a few thousand bucks to score one on eBay.
Popularity also was a critical factor in our choices, although we generally passed over a few best-selling reissues or boutique clones in favor of the real deal. So even though the Bubba Bob Buttcrack Tube Overdrive may sound more soulful than an original Tube Screamer, if it’s little more than a copy with slightly upgraded components, it didn’t make the cut.
If you love effects like we do, we hope you'll find this top-50 list a useful guide to discovering the classic effect boxes that have shaped the guitar sounds of rock, metal, blues, punk and many other styles. And if you're like us, it will undoubtedly compel you to plunk down a chunk of cash for a collectible pedal or two on eBay. Don't say you weren't warned.
Even though Metallica's James Hetfield makes it look all too easy, there are countless guitarists who find it challenging to sing while doing anything on the guitar — besides strumming.
Some players (myself included) even get bent out of shape when they're asked to provide the simplest of vocal harmonies while playing solos or semi-challenging riffs.
Which is why Guitar World has decided to honor the 10 worthy guitarists/singers named below. We feel they are — or were, since we're honoring some artists who have passed away — 10 of the best (if not undoubtedly the best) guitar-playing frontmen in rock history.
The criteria is simple: They must have outstanding voices — either technically impressive or pleasingly "warm," unique or offbeat — and a heapin' helpin' of distinctive six-string badassery. Of course, since we're talking about frontmen, they also need a touch of charisma, maybe a spot of quirkiness and/or what is commonly called "stage presence."
Note that, while we don't like to exclude such players as Pink Floyd's David Gilmour, this is a list of guitarists who don't/didn't share the frontman spotlight with anyone in the band. This is also why you won't find the Beatles' John Lennon or Paul "guitarist before he was a bassist" McCartney on this list.
With that in mind, here are our 10 choices. If you disagree with our picks or would like to suggest other players, let us know in the comments below. Note that these names are presented in no particular order. Once again, the names are presented in no particular order!
Frontman: Stevie Ray Vaughan
Band:Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble
With his electrifying prowess, the late Stevie Ray Vaughan refocused attention back to the essentials — guitar, bass and drums in a basic 12-bar format.
He had no light show to speak of, no dry ice, no fog, no lasers. He didn't go in for leather-and-studs macho posturing. A longtime local hero in juke joints throughout Austin, Houston, Dallas and Fort Worth, Stevie Ray waved the Texas flag all over the country in one sold-out concert venue after another.
His secret? A soft-spoken, laconic man, Vaughan summed it up in three little words: "I just play."
Of course, there's more to it than that. Along with his unquestionable prowess on the guitar, Vaughan, who died in August 1990, had one hell of a voice, a voice that still makes every "SRV bandwagon" blues-er sound, well, incomplete. Although you wouldn't have wanted to sit through a concert titled "SRV Sings Verdi" (or "SRV Sings Freddie Mercury"), there's no denying SRV had his own thing, a voice that oozed authenticity and confidence.
Frontman: James Hetfield
Well, we mentioned Hetfield in the intro to this story, so his inclusion can't be much of a surprise, can it?
Besides supplying the instantly recognizable voice of one of the most accomplished heavy metal bands in history, the Metallica frontman has always been lauded for his hard, fast and precise rhythm playing, a style that has had a massive impact on several generations of guitar players.
Hetfield, who often is said to have the best right hand in metal, once told Guitar World, “I’d much rather talk about guitar playing. I hate it when people ask me about my lyrics. I always feel like telling them to just go and read them.”
And who can resist a mid-song Hetfield grunt?
Frontman: Jimi Hendrix
Bands:The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Band of Gypsys
When Jimi Hendrix first exploded onto the scene, attention was riveted on his radical reinvention of guitar-soloing vocabulary, technique and sound, which was inspired by a now-familiar roster of great blues soloists.
But Hendrix had another musical asset that set him apart from similarly influenced British blues-rock contemporaries: undeniable charisma and a voice that clearly stood out from the pack. In that sense, he was the complete package.
Although he wasn't the most powerful singer in the world, his voice had a pleasingly warm tone and plenty of soul, as can be heard on "Bold as Love" and "Castles Made of Sand" (and so many other songs). He also added plenty of what could best be described as fun ad-libs ("Dig this, baby...") that would be exploited by future generations of singers in every genre of popular music. Bootsy Collins, anyone?
Frontman: Jack White
Bands:The White Stripes, The Raconteurs, The Dead Weather, Jack White
It's pure magic when Jack White ascends to the vocal register of vintage Robert Plant — while adding AC/DC-style riffs with his depth-charge guitar playing.
“I always look at playing guitar as an attack," White told Guitar Player. "It has to be a fight. Every song, every guitar solo, every note that’s played or written has to be a struggle. It can’t be this wimpy thing where you’re pushed around by the idea, the characters, or the song itself. It’s every player’s job to fight against all of that.”
White, who now tours and records under his own name, was (of course) once the more vocal half of the White Stripes. In the July 2002 issue of Guitar World, he explained how stage presentation plays a major part in a band’s success:
“Anything involved in presenting yourself onstage is all a big trick. You’re doing your best to trick those people into experiencing something good, something they haven’t thought about before or haven’t thought about in a long time. I’m doing my best to be that vaudeville trickster, to help that happen.”
Frontman: Dave Mustaine
Dave Mustaine's story is something a good portion of our readers can relate to: He became his band's singer by default after a series of unsuccessful auditions for vocalists.
At that moment, the former Metallica and Fallen Angels lead guitarist became the frontman for Megadeth, one of the world's most important thrash metal bands.
The rest, shall we say, is history.
"I actually enjoy [singing] a lot of times, but it's not my strong point," Mustaine told Colorado classic rock station 103.5 the Fox in 2013.
"I've been working really hard at it the last few years. I wish I would have given it as much attention in the beginning as I do now ... It's definitely a unique voice sound. You know, you hear people like Axl [Rose] or myself or [James] Hetfield or some of the other people that are really easily identifiable, it's scarce. Like Chris Cornell, you hear Chris, you know it's him."
Frontman: Steve Marriott
Bands:Small Faces, Humble Pie
We've read your pro-Steve Marriott comments on GuitarWorld.com "list" stories for quite a while now: "How could you possibly leave out the great Steve Marriott? He was one of the most talented singers of all time!"
First of all, we agree. We love Marriott, and there was pretty much no chance in hell he'd be left off this list.
We'll get to his legendary voice in a minute. First we'll briefly mention his stripped-down but aggressive guitar playing, the steam engine that propelled a slew of Small Faces and Humble Pie tracks, including "All or Nothing,""Tin Soldier,""E Too D,""Get Yourself Together,""What'cha Gonna Do About It" and so many more.
Marriott was the Small Faces' Roger Daltrey, but he also was the band's Pete Townshend, using a host of guitars, including an arguably too-big-for-his-body Gretsch White Falcon, to powerfully make his point in so many Sixties masterpieces.
And then there's his voice, a voice that is still considered one of the greatest in classic rock. Can words do it justice? Why not just listen to "Afterglow" below? And below that, you'll find Marriott in action on "What'cha Gonna Do About It" with the Small Faces.
Marriott, who would later front Humble Pie — where he joined guitar forces with Peter Frampton — died in a fire in 1991.
Frontman: Kurt Cobain
“We’re just musically and rhythmically retarded,” Nirvana's guitarist, vocalist and chief songwriter, Kurt Cobain, told Guitar World in 1991. "We play so hard that we can’t tune our guitars fast enough. People can relate to that.
“We sound like the Bay City Rollers after an assault by Black Sabbath,” continued Cobain. “And we vomit onstage better than anyone!”
So imagine how comical he'd find it to see the mark he's made on popular music. As Vernon Reid of Living Colour put it, "Cobain changed the course of where the music went … . There are certain people where you can see the axis of musical history twisting on them: Hendrix was pivotal, Prince was pivotal, Cobain was pivotal.”
Cobain, with his raw emotion and mélange of untuned metal, drunk punk and Seventies pop, slayed the beast called stadium rock. And no, he wasn't a guitar virtuoso by any stretch, but his creativity, his crunch, his off-beat chugging and droning charm made him unique. It's yet another reminder to create your own thing, your own sound, people!
Frontman: Eric Clapton
Bands:Derek and the Dominos, Eric Clapton
What else can be said about the amazing six-string gifts of Eric Clapton, one of the most lauded guitarists in the universe, 1966's blues-breaking virtuoso who went on to blow minds in Cream, Blind Faith and Derek and the Dominos?
Still, If you need to read more, be sure to pick up the March 2014 issue of Guitar World magazine, which counts down his 50 greatest guitar moments — but doesn't mention a word about his voice.
It's a voice first heard on the Bluesbreakers' 1966 version of Robert Johnson's "Ramblin' on My Mind," a song Clapton was actually reluctant to sing because he didn't think he was good enough.
He eventually shared the vocal duties in Cream with bassist Jack Bruce and went on to sing an endless stream of hits and classic-rock staples, starting with 1970's "After Midnight,""Let It Rain" and "Layla," coasting through the Seventies with "Cocaine" and "Lay Down Sally," kicking it up a notch in the Eighties with "Forever Man" and toning things back down again in recent years.
As he told Rolling Stonein 2010, these days Clapton is pretty fond of his voice. "It's taken me to be an older guy, an old man, to have an old man's voice. Because I only liked old men's voices. As a kid, I didn't like pip-squeaked singers. It was always someone with authority. And for a singer to have authority, they have to have some kind of social standing. Otherwise, it's fake."
Frontman: Trey Anastasio
Bands:Phish, Trey Anastasio Band
It just stands to reason that a band with an undying cult following has one hell of a frontman. Such is the case for Phish, whose guitar-slinging (and singing) Trey Anastasio — like the rest of the band — has built a magnetic rapport with the band's fans.
Anastasio's fluid lines are often wonderfully mind boggling — and can lead a 38-minute version of "Tweezer" to all kinds of new and exciting places.
"Musical inspiration can come from just about anywhere," Anastasio told Guitar World in 2000.
"For me, so much inspiration comes from the rhythms of the natural sounds in the air. Walking out in the country, you’ll hear certain sounds — a train, a boat, or maybe a horse walking on the road — and each of these sounds has a rhythm. If your mind is open, the simple rhythms of those sounds can inspire you and spark new musical ideas."
Frontman: Matthew Bellamy
As Guitar Playerput it in 2010, Muse frontman Matthew Bellamy is on a quest for futuristic guitar sounds—to the point of designing his own guitars with built-in effects, wireless MIDI and synth capabilities.
Not surprisingly, he’s a huge fan of Tom Morello and Jimi Hendrix, and he tries to channel the spirit of their sonic explorations into technology-fueled approaches that work for him and his compositions.
Head on over to YouTube (Or just watch the two impressive clips below) to see how everything seems to come together for Bellamy: technology, composition and serious guitar chops:
Forty-eight years ago this summer — in late July and August 1966 — the Beatles found themselves in a touchy situation.
On July 29 of that year, a teen magazine called Datebook published segments of a nearly 5-month-old interview with John Lennon. Among the republished segments was this quote by Lennon:
"Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue with that; I'm right and I will be proved right. We're more popular than Jesus now; I don't know which will go first — rock 'n' roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me."
The quote, which originally appeared in a March 1966 London Evening Standard story by Maureen Cleave (a reporter who was friendly with Lennon and the other Beatles), didn't cause much of a stir in the UK or the rest of the world when it was originally published. After all, the Jesus line was just a tiny part of a lengthy piece full of tidbits like:
In the sitting room are eight little green boxes with winking red lights; (Lennon) bought them as Christmas presents but never got round to giving them away. They wink for a year; one imagines him sitting there till next Christmas, surrounded by the little winking boxes.
However, with its publication in Datebook, the quote reached a wider audience — including the American South. On Sunday, July 31, a disc jockey in Birmingham, Alabama, kicked off a drive to ban the Beatles from the airways. He said their radio station would no longer play records by the Beatles, who "grew wealthy as the music idols of the younger generation."
By early August, deranged knuckleheads began hoisting "Ban The Beatles" signs and burning Beatles albums, even establishing pickup points where "Beatles trash" (including records, photos and other memorabilia that would've been worth a lot of money today had they not been destroyed by deranged knuckleheads) could be dropped off, stomped on — and burned, of course.
Forty-eight years ago today (August 8, 1966), The Daily Gleaner of Birmingham published the following notice:
"Hundreds of Beatles records are to be pulverized in a giant municipal tree-grinding machine here because of what Beatle John Lennon said about Christ, a disc jockey revealed today. 'After going through the "Beatle-grinder" borrowed from Birmingham City Council, all that will be left of the records will be fine dust.' A box full of the dust will be presented to the British pop stars when they arrive in Memphis, Tennessee, not far from here, for a concert Aug. 19, said local disc jockey Rex Roach."
That summer, the London Evening Standard piece and its Datebook excerpt grew more notorious as the storm of controversy escalated. Lennon was forced to apologize, which he did at a Beatles press conference during the band's final tour in August.
EPILOGUE: With its nearly 36 million fans, the Beatles' Facebook page is much more popular than any single Jesus-related Facebook page. Hey, I'm just pointing it out! Please don't pulverize this website in a giant municipal tree-grinding machine!
As you contemplate all this nonsense, check out a a spoof of this interesting slice of the Beatles' history. It's a scene from All You Need Is Cash, a 1978 made-for-TV film about a fictional band called the Rutles. The film was written and narrated by Eric Idle of Monty Python:
Damian Fanelli is the online managing editor at Guitar World. He uses big words with uncertainty.
NAMM — the folks that bring you the twice-yearly gearfest known as the NAMM Show — has created a couple of Public Service Announcement videos to encourage more people to start playing music and fewer to stop.
These are playing nationwide, and Spanish and Portuguese versions are playing in South America.
As all musicians are in the "business" of spreading the joy of playing and performing music, what do you think of these videos? Effective? Ineffective? Awesome? Could have been better if they did this or that?
Share your views below in the Comments section of this page.
State Champs have premiered a new song titled "Leave You In The Dark" from their upcoming EP The Acoustic Things.
The release of the song celebrates the announcement of their co-headlining Pure Noise Records Tour.
VIP tickets are also now on sale for the tour with general admission tickets to go on sale today.
To purchase tickets, please click here.
VIP bundles for the upcoming fall tour include an exclusive copy of The Acoustic Things 12" as well as the CD, State Champs shirt, Pure Noise shirt, Pure Noise Tour poster and a general admission ticket. VIP purchases will be the first chance for fans to pre order State Champs' new EP. Regular pre orders will begin through the Pure Noise website next week.
Listen to "Leave You In The Dark" right here:
The Acoustic Things will be available everywhere October 7 on Pure Noise Records. The EP features re-worked versions from their critically acclaimed debut The Finer Things as well as two brand new tracks, including "Leave You In The Dark."
The Pure Noise Records Tour 2014 Tour Dates:
10/3 – Bogies – Albany, NY
10/4 – Revolution Bar – Amityville, NY
10/5 – The Palladium – Worcester, MA
10/7 – La Sala Rossa – Montreal, QC
10/8 – Hard Luck Bar – Toronto, ON
10/9 – The Waiting Room – Buffalo, NY
10/10 – Agora – Cleveland, OH
10/11 – The Shelter – Detroit, MI
10/12 – Bottom Lounge – Chicago, IL
10/14 – The Garage – Burnsville, MN
10/15 – Gabe’s – Iowa City, IA
10/16 – Fubar – St. Louis, MO
10/17 – Jackpot Music Hall – Lawrence, KS
10/18 – Marquis Theatre – Denver, CO
10/19 – Loading Dock – Salt Lake City, UT
10/20 – The Shredder – Boise, ID
10/22 – El Corazon – Seattle, WA
10/23 – Hawthorne Theatre – Portland, OR
10/24 – Oakland Metro – Oakland, CA
10/25 – Chain Reaction – Anaheim, CA
10/26 – House of Blues – San Diego, CA
10/28 – The Nile – Mesa, AZ
10/29 – The Gasworks – Albuquerque, NM
10/30 – Red 7 – Austin, TX
10/31 – Walter’s – Houston, TX
11/1 – Tomcats West – Ft. Worth, TX
11/2 – The Conservatory – Oklahoma City, OK
11/4 – The End – Nashville, TN
11/5 – Woodland’s Tavern – Columbus, OH
11/6 – Altar Bar – Pittsburgh, PA
11/7 – Jammin Java – Vienna, VA
11/8 – The Barbary – Philadelphia, PA
11/9 – Webster Hall – New York, NY
Find out more from the band here.
On Wednesday, August 20, you can attend a free, in-depth online clinic with Berklee Online course author and instructor Joe Musella.
Joe's rock quartet performs internationally, and his recent collaborations include recording with members of Crosby, Stills & Nash.
Attendees will learn about the guitar techniques employed by classic rock legends like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and Jimmy Page.
Topics for this clinic will include:
- The value of the pentatonic scale
- Classic rock guitar legends and their gear
- How to tone match to fit a song
- And more!
WHO: Joe Musella, Berklee Online course author and instructor
WHEN: Wednesday, August 20 @ 4:00pm EDT
LENGTH: 30 minutes
Sign up to attend this free event here.
Today, we're going behind the scenes with John 5 at Doghouse Studio in Los Angeles as he records his upcoming studio album — courtesy of Uncut Studio Sessions!
In the just-posted video below, you can watch John 5 — plus Dylan Wilson on bass and Rodger Carter on drums — run through their cover of Jerry Reed's "Jerry's Breakdown," a track from John 5's new album, Careful with That Axe, which will be released tomorrow, August 12.
This clip was produced and directed by Jonny Coffin. Be on the lookout for more from John 5 and Coffin; they're working on a horror miniseries called Tales from the Crossroads, filming tales of guitars and gore!
Singer Pieta Brown has confirmed a fall U.S. tour which promises to see her performing songs from her enthralling new album Paradise Outlaw (September 30, Red House Records).
Scroll down for complete dates.
Along with the tour announcement, Brown has premiered a new video for her cover of Mark Knopfler's "Before Gas and TV.”
Kicking off with an early full band show at Rockwood 2 on New York's Lower East Side on August 26, Brown will perform solo in Ohio, Michigan and Illinois supporting Iris DeMent.
A tour of the Midwest will follow in October with her backing trio "The Sawdust Collective." In November, Pieta will play dates with her father Greg Brown on the East Coast.
Watch the video for “Before Gas and TV” right here:
Produced by Pieta, with frequent collaborator and partner, Bo Ramsey, Paradise Outlaw was recorded in four days at Bon Iver mastermind Justin Vernon's April Base studio in Wisconsin with a supporting cast that includes Vernon, Amos Lee, Brown's legendary troubadour father, Greg Brown and various members of an experimental group of players she calls the Sawdust Collective.
The album boasts some of Pieta's most emotionally resonant compositions, and some of her most expressive performances, to date.
PIETA BROWN TOUR DATES:
# with Iris Dement
* with Greg Brown
08/26 – New York, NY – Rockwood 2
09/19 - Cleveland, OH - Music Box Supper Club #
09/20 - Ann Arbor, MI - The Ark #
09/21 - Chicago, IL - City Winery Chicago #
10/03 - Cedar Rapids, IA - CSPS
10/10 - Minneapolis, MN - The Dakota
10/11- La Crosse, WI - The Root Note
10/17 - Stoughton, WI - Stoughton Opera House
10/18 - Chicago, IL - Schuba’s
10/23 - Nevada City, CA - Miner's Foundry #
10/24 - Berkeley, CA - Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse #
10/25 - Napa, CA - City Winery Napa #
11/14 - Cambridge, MA - Passim’s
11/15 - Northampton, MA - Parlor Room,
11/16 - Portland, ME - One Longfellow Square
11/19 - Vienna, VA - Jammin' Java *
11/20 - Sellersville, PA - Sellersville Theater *
11/21- Wilmington, DE - World Cafe Live @ The Queen - Upstairs *
11/22 - Beacon, NY - Towne Crier Cafe *
11/23 - New York, NY - City Winery NYC *
12/13 - Iowa City, IA - The Englert (co-bill with The Pines)
Visit Pieta Brown online at www.pietabrown.com.
Probably 99 percent of the guitars built with graphics inspired by Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon feature the album cover’s iconic prism design.
Mark “Gig” Goldstein’s Dark Side of the Moon guitar also includes the prism, but it is just one small detail in a larger tableau that he carved into the front of a Gibson SG—a scene that tells the album’s entire story.
Here the prism is incorporated into the pyramid seen on the back of the U.S. dollar bill (a nod to the album track “Money”), surrounded by various images that depict a solar eclipse (“Eclipse”), a rabbit running while holding a shovel (“Breathe”) and many other details, including the grave marker of Floyd founder Syd Barrett.
“The idea for the guitar originated with a Pink Floyd fan who lives in Alberta, Canada,” Goldstein says. “He wanted a design based on the album’s lyrics. I was actually quite nervous about doing this, because I had always done carvings based on existing visual themes and not subjective ideas.
"The most challenging part for me was taking the lyrics and turning them into tangible visual representations of their written forms. My representations were generally literal but still abstract enough to allow the viewer to interpret them in their own way. ”
Goldstein started carving wood about 15 years ago when his first attempt at chainsaw carving was a success. From there he moved to smaller, more detailed objects, and soon he started selling wooden fish figures. When a guitarist friend dropped by one day to view his work and asked if Goldstein would carve one of his electric guitars, a whole new world opened up to him. Since then he’s carved more than 20 guitars for customers in the U.S. and Canada.
“I always start my design by placing two or three main subjects in the large, open areas of the guitar’s body. From there, I keep add- ing smaller subjects as I move along. I never have the entire design worked out before I start. I begin with a basic vision and let the rest come together.
"The owner of this guitar gave me free reign on the entire project, which normally makes the end result turn out better. I feel this is one of my most interesting guitars.”
For more information, visit Gigs Carved Guitars on Facebook.