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    L.R. Baggs recently unveiled this video featuring country songwriter Sturgill Simpson.

    The clip showcases Simpson performing his track “Life of Sin” live at legendary RCA Studio A in Nashville, TN.

    According to the video’s description, Sturgill’s guitar was recorded direct with the LR Baggs Lyric Classical internal microphone.

    The track appears on Simpson’s 2014 release, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music, which is being hailed as one of the finest country releases of the year.

    Check out tour dates and more from Simpson at www.sturgillsimpson.com, and visit L.R. Baggs on the web at www.lrbaggs.com.


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    Although all of these classic songs may not have been originally recorded on acoustic, they all are perfect for an acoustic jam.

    These aren’t ranked in any order, just ten great songs that are super easy to play.

    Even if you can’t master the iconic riffs that are part of most of these, they’re all great to add to your fun strumming repertoire.

    In some cases the chord progressions may be simplified, but they'll still sound great, I promise.

    So grab your guitar and check 'em out. And then check out our other ten easy acoustic guitar song lists, too.

    "The Joker"– Steve Miller Band

    Are you a picker and grinner? I know I am!!

    That’s why this laid back song is so relatable. And fun!

    "The Joker" was released by the Steve Miller Band on their 1973 album The Joker.

    The song topped the US Billboard Hot 100 in early 1974. And then topped the UK charts much later in September 1990 when it was featured in a Levi’s commercial (gotta love those jeans!)

    It’s really just three chords. Easy, easy!!

    Intro: //:G - C - D - C ://

    G
    G..........C .....................................D .............C.........G
    Some people call me the space cowboy, yeah
    G...........C..................................D........C.........G
    Some call me the gangster of love
    G..........C ......................D.............C
    Some people call me Maurice
    ................G .................C...................D........ C.........G
    Cause I speak of the pompitous of love

    ......................G
    Cause I'm a picker
    ............C
    I'm a grinner
    .........G
    I'm a lover
    .................. C ........G
    And I'm a sinner
    .................C..................D.........C
    I play my music in the sun

    .........G
    I'm a joker
    ..............C
    I'm a smoker
    ...........G..............C
    I'm a midnight toker
    G..................C.......................D..........D7
    I sure don't want to hurt no one


    "Have You Ever Seen The Rain"– Creedance Clearwater Revival

    CCR has a lot of great easy to play songs. Here's one of them.

    It was written by John Fogerty and released by CCR as a single in 1971 from the album Pendulum, which came out in 1970.

    It peaked at number 8 on the Billboard charts in 1971.

    Check out these chords and then play it to your own groove. It'll stand up, I promise!

    .C
    Someone told me long ago
    .......................................................G
    There's a calm before the storm, I know
    ...................................C
    And it's been coming for some time

    When it's over, so they say
    .....................................G
    It'll rain a sunny day, I know
    .............................C
    Shining down like water
    F................G
    ...I wanna know
    ..............C........Em..........Am
    Have you ever seen the rain
    F ............G
    I wanna know
    ................C......Em..........Am
    Have you ever seen the rain
    F...............G......................C
    Coming down on a sunny day


    "Take it Easy "– The Eagles

    Seven women? Really? No wonder he needs to take it easy!

    "Take It Easy" was written by Jackson Browne and Glenn Frey, and most famously recorded by the Eagles, with Frey singing lead vocals.

    It was the band's first single, released on May 1, 1972. Can you believe it never made it to number 1? It peaked at #12 on the July 22, 1972 Billboard Hot 100 chart.

    The opening track on the band's debut album Eagles, “Take It Easy” has become one of the Eagles’ signature songs, and a theme song of that decade.

    I still dig it. And yes, I DO need to take it easy…!

    .................G
    Well I'm a runnin' down the road try'n to loosen my load
    ...................................D..........C
    I've got seven women on my mind
    G........................................D
    Four that wanna own me, two that wanna stone me
    C .......................................G
    One says she's a friend of mine
    ..............Em ............C..... G
    Take it easy, take it easy
    .......................Am.......................C..........................Em
    Don't let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy
    ...............C........................G
    Lighten up while you still can
    ..................C..................G
    Don't even try to understand
    ...................Am.........................C.........................G
    Just find a place to make your stand, and take it easy


    "I Won’t Back Down"– Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

    Here’s another first of the first! “I Won’t Back Down” was the first single from Tom Petty’s debut album Full Moon Fever.

    Released in 1989, the song was written by Petty and Jeff Lynne, his writing partner for the album.

    It reached number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 and topped the Album Rock Tracks chart for five weeks, starting the album's road to multi-platinum status.

    Gotta love the theme of this song. I’m gonna stand my ground. So go grab your guitar and try it!

    ............Em.......D......G
    Well I won´t back down,
    ........Em.......D......G
    No I won´t back down,
    ...............Em...........D.............C
    You can stand me up at the gates of Hell,
    ..........Em........D ....G
    But I won´t back down.

    ...................Em.......D......G
    I´m gonna stand my ground
    ................Em.......D......G
    Won´t be turned around
    ..........Em...........D..................C
    And I keep this world from draggin´ me down
    .............Em......D....G
    Gonna Ssand my ground
    ..........Em........D ....G
    And i won´t back down

    C.... D

    C..........D..G.D.C.................................D
    Hey, baby, There ain´t no easy way out
    C.......D.......Em......D......G
    Hey, I, will stand my ground,
    ..........Em........D .....G
    And I won´t back down.


    "You Might Think"– The Cars

    "You Might Think" is a single by The Cars from their fifth studio album, Heartbeat City, which came out in 1984.

    The track was written by Ric Ocasek, and produced by Mutt Lange and The Cars. Ocasek sang lead vocals.

    It also hit #1 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart in the US.

    The song had a super cool computer generated video, and "You Might Think" won the first MTV Video Music Award for Video of the Year and was nominated for five more awards (best special effects, best art direction, viewer's choice, best concept video, and most experimental video) at the 1984 MTV Video Music Awards.

    Check out the video below and give it a try for yourself.

    A..................................D.........E.............................A
    You might think I'm crazy, to hang around with you.
    A..................................D............E..........................A
    Maybe you think I'm lucky, to have something to do.
    .........F#m.....E................D.
    But I think that you're wild,
    ......F#m.....E...........D
    Inside me is some child.

    A................................D
    You might think I'm foolish,Oh
    E..................F#m
    Baby it's un-true.
    A.............................D
    You might think I'm crazy,
    E.......................A
    All I want is you.


    "House of the Rising Sun"- The Animals

    This song is actually a traditional folk song.

    Its most well known form is the 1964 recording by the English rock group The Animals, which was a number one hit in the United Kingdom, the United States, Sweden, Finland, and Canada.

    However, it was also recorded by Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, Nina Simone and many more.

    "House of the Rising Sun" was recorded in just one take on 18 May 1964, One take!! Now that's how to do it.

    Check out this easy repeating pattern.

    .........Am.....C..........D............F
    There is a house in New Orleans,
    ............Am......... C......E7
    They call the "Rising Sun",
    ........Am.........C..........D................ F
    It's been the ruin of many a poor boy
    .........Am........E .........Am.......E7
    And God, I know, I'm one.


    "Light My Fire" - The Doors

    I admit it. I thought Jim Morrison was pretty darn hot back in the day. And this song sealed the deal.

    The Doors recorded it in August 1966 and released it the first week of January 1967 on their debut album.

    Released as an edited single on June 1, 1967, it spent three weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in late July, and one week on the Cash Box Top 100, nearly a year after its recording.

    "Light My Fire" was performed live by The Doors on The Ed Sullivan Show broadcast on September 17, 1967. The Doors were asked by producer Bob Precht, Sullivan's son-in-law, to change the line "girl, we couldn't get much higher," as the sponsors were uncomfortable with the possible reference to drug-taking. The band agreed to do so, and did a rehearsal using the amended lyrics, "girl, we couldn't get much better." However, during the live performance, the band's lead singer Jim Morrison sang the original lyric. That's stickin' to the man in true Morrison style.

    Super easy. Now go!

    ...........F..................................Am
    You know that it would be untrue
    ...........F..................................Am
    You know that I would be a liar
    F............................Am
    if i was to say to you
    F......................................Am
    Girl we couldn't get much higher

    G.......................A............D
    Come on baby light my fire
    G.......................A............D
    Come on baby light my fire
    G.......................A............D
    Try to set the night on fire


    "Wish You Were Here" - Pink Floyd

    True story. At one point in my life I was in an all Pink Floyd tribute band. So this list couldn't be complete without a selection by this band.

    "Wish You Were Here" is the title track on Pink Floyd's 1975 album Wish You Were Here.. Its lyrics encompass Roger Waters' feelings of alienation from other people.

    Like most of the album, it refers to former Pink Floyd member Syd Barrett and his breakdown. David Gilmour and Waters collaborated to write the music.

    On June 14, 2013, the song was released as an unofficial promotional single on Spotify and when the fans streamed it one million times, the rest of the band's catalogue was released, which happened after only 4 days. Woo hoo!

    The chord pattern repeats throughout the entire song.

    C ................................................D
    How I wish, how I wish you were here.

    ....................Am..............................................G................................D
    We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year,

    ..........................................................C
    Running over the same old ground. What have we found?

    ........................Am............................G
    The same old fears. Wish you were here!


    "Lonely People" - America

    America is one of my favorite classic bands of all time. I couldn't stop singing their songs in my younger days.

    "Lonely People" is a song written by the husband-and-wife team of Dan and Catherine Peek and performed by America. The track was the second release from America's 1974 album Holiday. "Lonely People" reached number five on the Billboard Hot 100, Dan Peek's only credited song to reach that chart's top 10, and was America's second number one on the Easy Listening chart, where it stayed for one week in February 1975.

    "Lonely People" was written as an optimistic response to the Beatles' song "Eleanor Rigby".

    Em...G...Em...G...Em...A...Em...A...G

    G................Em..................Bm
    This is for all the lonely people
    G.....................Em.......................... Bm........D
    Thinking that life has passed them by
    C...............D.....................G
    Don't give up until you drink from the silver cup
    C ...................D ..................G .......D
    And ride that highway in the sky

    G................Em..................Bm
    This is for all the single people
    G.....................Em.......................... Bm........D
    Thinking that love has left them dry
    C...............D.....................G
    Don't give up until you drink from the silver cup
    C ...................D ..................G .......D
    You never know until you try

    ..............C....G/B..Am
    Well, I'm on my way
    ..............C....G/B..Am
    Yes, I'm back to stay
    ..............C....G/B..Am..D......G.......D
    Well, I'm on my way back home


    "Lola"– The Kinks

    When I was a kid one of the neighbors called me “Lola,” so this song has a special place in my heart.

    "Lola" was by Ray Davies and performed by the Kinks.

    Released in June 12, 1970 in the UK on the 28th in the USA, the single was on the album Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One. It and reached #2 on the UK charts and #9 in the US.

    Does pink champagne really taste like cherry cola? Who cares! Check out the easy chords for this classic:

    .....E
    I met her in a club down in old Soho where they

    A......................................D...............................E
    Drink champagne and it tastes just like cherry cola

    ................A
    C-O-L-A cola

    ........E
    She walked up to me and she asked me to dance

    ......A....................................... D
    I asked her her name and in a dark brown voice she said

    E ....................A ......D.................C .........D........E.......E
    Lola L-O-L-A Lola Lo lo lo lo Lo - la

    ..................B7
    Well, we drank champagne and danced all night

    F#7
    Under electric candle light

    ..........A
    She picked me up and sat me on her knee

    ..........A
    And said "dear boy won't you come home with me?"

    Laura B. Whitmore is the editor of AcousticNation.com and a singer/songwriter based in the Boston metro area. A veteran music industry marketer, she has spent over two decades doing marketing, PR and artist relations for several guitar-related brands including Marshall and VOX. Her company, Mad Sun Marketing, represents Peavey, Dean Markley, MusicFirst, SIR Entertainment Services, Guitar World and many more. Laura is the founder of the Women's International Music Network at thewimn.com and the producer of the She Rocks Awards. More at mad-sun.com.


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    Certain memorable themes, like those of Bill Wither’s “Lean on Me” and Gustavo Santaolalla’s "Brokeback Mountain," to name just two, artfully derive melodies and chordal accompaniment from an extraordinarily useful system called scale harmony.

    While the relationship of chords and scales might seem fairly obvious to you, it is relevant to note that there was a time when harmony was perceived not as a series of freestanding note stocks but as the intersection of simultaneous voices, or melodies.

    J.S. Bach, for example, would likely have honored your request to play a C major chord with a blank stare – even if you said it in German – but could easily improvise contrapuntal melodies adding up to the same thing. What he heard as the sum of independently moving voices, we hear as vertical bundles of notes that are independent of melodies. Scale harmony splits the difference by arranging chording melodically – one primary voice (the melody) is supported by subsidiary voices (the harmony), all built from a single scale.

    Figure 1 shows a one-octave C major scale played on the second string; Figure 2 shows the same scale harmonized in triads, with the root of each chord voiced as the highest note. Keep your ring finger on the fourth string to fret all of the chords except the open C triad – this will make it easier to move quickly around the neck.

    Basic Training - Scaling the Heights1and2.jpg

    While there are seven chords in the series (identified, as is customary, by Roman numerals), there are only three different triad types, or qualities: I, IV and V are major; ii, iii, and vi are minor and vii is diminished. The order of qualities is the same in every key, making transposition relatively easy.

    Figure 3 uses these chords to create a harmonized melody similar to that of “Lean on Me.’

    Basic Training - Scaling the Heights3.jpg

    In Figure 4, the inner voice of each chord is replaced with the open G string to create a dreamy drone reminiscent of the one in “Brokeback.” (For simplicity’s sake, the chord symbols reflect the full triads. Also, for reasons that are beyond the scope of this lesson, the C major scale harmony works even though it’s in the key of G).

    Basic Training - Scaling the Heights4.jpg

    You can harmonize any major scale melody the same way – it probably won’t remind anyone of Bach, but it won’t be half bad either.


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    Today, GuitarWorld.com presents the exclusive premiere of "Gates of Reason," the new music video by the Francesco Artusato Project, featuring guitarist Francesco Artusato (Devil You Know, All Shall Perish).

    The album, Our Dying Sun, will be available October 7 across all digital platforms.

    "I'm very excited about this record," Artusato says.

    "I've been working on this second album for a while; it had to be done in between writing and touring with Devil You Know and All Shall Perish, but I wanted to make sure it was exactly the way I wanted it.

    "This album is definitely an evolution from the first one. I focused on the songwriting aspect more than the pure technical aspect of playing guitar this time.

    "Some songs are more fun and what you'd expect from a rock/metal guitar instrumental record; others are just more intense with a darker mood, and others are a little more abstract. The more technical guitar playing is accompanied by a more soulful playing, and I love that. This album is pretty much the portrait of the guitar player I am today.

    "I was very fortunate this time to work with two great musicians like bassist Ray Riendeau (James LaBrie, Star Monarchy, solo) and drummer Danny Handler (solo). That definitely created more the 'trio band' feel. They're like me, fans of heavy music, jazz and fusion, and those influences can make the difference when playing a certain style of music.

    "I still love to layer a lot of guitar tracks and sometimes I go a little crazy with that. Writing instrumental music gives me the freedom to try whatever I feel would sound good. This project is my way to experiment and try different things. Every solo record is probably going to be very different from one to the other, and that’s why I do it.

    "It also was great to have friends and incredible guitar players like Per Nilsson (Scar Symmetry), Ryan Knight (the Black Dahlia Murder) and Wes Hauch (ex-the Faceless) to do guest solos on one crazy track toward the end of the record. That song is pure madness!

    "This song, 'Gates of Reason,' is one of the more 'traditional' and simpler ones, but I had so much fun working on it. It definitely has a progressive/rock vibe, and I think it’s a good introduction to the music on the record, even though there’s so much variety counting all 11 songs."

    Stay tuned to Artusato's Facebook page for updates and more info about the new album. As always, tell us what you think of the song in the comments or on Facebook!


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    Below, check out a recently posted clip of keyboardist Derek Sherinian playing Eddie Van Halen’s acoustic guitar instrumental "Spanish Fly” on piano.

    Sherinian was a member of Dream Theater from 1994 to 1999 and, more recently, Black Country Communion. He also has toured and recorded with Alice Cooper, Kiss, Billy Idol, Allan Holdsworth, Yngwie Malmsteen, Billy Sheehan, Al Di Meola, Steve Lukather, Zakk Wylde and Slash, to name just a few.

    The original version of "Spanish Fly" (which you can hear in the bottom YouTube player) can be found on Van Halen's 1979 album, Van Halen II.

    As always, enjoy!

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    Heartist recently released their full-length debut, 'Feeding Fiction,' via Roadrunner Records.

    Today, the band has teamed up with GuitarWorld.com to premiere a new music video for a track called "Skeletons." Check it out below and let us know what you think in the comments or on Facebook!

    Feeding Fiction is available now via iTunes.

    For more on Heartist, follow them on Facebook and Twitter.


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    In celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Monster Hunter video game, ESP Guitars in Japan has created a (very pointy) guitar inspired by the game.

    The guitar features what can only be called a huge blade with several horns protruding from it, which makes it seem like it might be more than a little painful to play.

    The guitar has a price tag of 2,300,00 yen, which is a little over $22,150.

    Check it out above and in the photo gallery below!

    Because we can, we've also included photos of several other guitars from the ESP Custom Shop, most of which were designed by Master Luthier Masao Ohmuro.


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    Not content with the status quo, industrious young guitar players have endeavored over the decades to make things more difficult for themselves.

    Some have tried playing the guitar behind their back, over their head, with their teeth, with their friends' teeth, etc.

    And then there was the inventive guitarist who, many decades ago, decided to slip a bottle over his finger and slide it along his guitar's strings to produce a magical sound (He probably emptied the bottle himself, if you know what I mean).

    While playing the guitar with your teeth is, was and always shall be a novelty, slide guitar — and slide guitarists — is and are here to stay. They actually started digging in their heels long before Robert Johnson made his haunting Delta blues recordings in Texas in the 1930s.

    Since Johnson's time, players — including guys like George Thorogood, Derek Trucks, Jerry Douglas and Roy Rogers — have built entire careers around slide guitar and its many stylistic varieties.

    Below, we present 10 tracks that represent essential listening in the world of slide guitar. Please note that we're sticking with regular ol' six-string guitar — no lap steel, sacred steel, pedal steel, etc. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.) These songs are presented in no particular order. I repeat: These songs are presented in no particular order.

    Also, if you want to track down any of these tracks, you'll find all 10 original album covers in the photo gallery below. Enjoy!


    The Allman Brothers Band, "Statesboro Blues" (Duane Allman)

    A generation of blues-influenced rockers toyed with slide guitar for several years, slowly bringing it into mainstream music (Check out Jeff Beck's performance on "Evil Hearted You" by the Yardbirds), but no one dragged it into the modern era quite like Duane Allman of the Allman Brothers Band. He used the slide to imitate the sound of a blues harp — not to mention mesmerize countless concert goers who were knocked out by his dexterity and intensity. Perhaps his quintessential slide performance is the Allmans'At Fillmore East version of Blind Willie McTell's "Statesboro Blues." As Rolling Stone put it, it features the sort of playing that gives people chills. Of course, be sure to seek out other live versions of the song, including the one on the band's recently released SUNY at Stonybrook album.




    Sonny Landreth, "Überesso"

    Respected Louisiana-based slide player Sonny Landreth started appearing on music fans' radar in earnest after the release of the 2007 Crossroads Blues Festival DVD. It features a few tracks by Landreth (jamming with Eric Clapton and such), including the uber-exciting instrumental, "Überesso." Landreth's unique slide technique lets him fret notes and play chords and chord fragments behind the slide. He plays with the slide on his little finger, so his other fingers have more room to fret. Check out his performance of "Überesso" from the 2007 Crossroads Guitar Festival below. Yes, he's awesome.




    Steve Miller Band, "The Joker" (Steve Miller)

    Although not primarily known as a slide player, Steve Miller put the slide to fun and creative use on his 1973 hit single, "The Joker," playing a hummable, tasteful slide solo for the masses (and imitating a whistle a few times in the process). Although it's no "Überesso" (See above), it shows that slide guitar has been invited to the chart-success party, especially in the early '70s, much like our next selection ...




    George Harrison, "Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)"

    You'll read it in other roundups of great slide guitar songs — comments like, "Although he wasn't a virtuoso like these other players ... ." Yeah, whatever. OK, he wasn't Jeff Beck, Steve Howe or Ritchie Blackmore, but George Harrison, who, as a member of the Beatles, influenced millions of humans to play guitar, suddenly started playing slide guitar in 1969, inventing an entirely new "guitar persona" for himself. What he came up with was a distinctive, non-blues-based style that incorporated hints of Indian music, some pointers he picked up while learning sitar and other Beatles-esque odds and ends. While "My Sweet Lord" and Badfinger's "Day After Day" (featuring Harrison on slide) are better known, 1973's "Give Me Love" perfectly displays his new-found style. For some quality later work, check out "Cheer Down" from 1989 and "Any Road" from 2002.




    Foghat, "Slow Ride" (Rod Price)

    Staying in the '70s for a moment, let us consider Foghat's "Slow Ride," another slide-based song that topped the charts. Perhaps the polar slide opposite of George Harrison, the heavily blues-influenced Rod "The Bottle" Price (Yes, they called him "The Bottle") let it all hang out in his solo near the fadeout of Foghat's signature track. Be sure to also check out Foghat's "Drivin' Wheel" and "Stone Blue." Price, a product of the UK, died in 2005.




    Led Zeppelin, "In My Time of Dying" (Jimmy Page)

    Although the "big three" guitarists who emerged from the '60s rock scene in England — Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page — flirted with slide guitar at different points in their careers, none took it as far, or used it with as much success, as Page. For proof, just listen to "In My Time of Dying" from Physical Graffiti. The recording (the most popular version of a song Josh White recorded in the mid-'40s), features Page sliding away in open A (E / A / E / A / C# / E). Although Page also played slide on "When the Levee Breaks,""Traveling Riverside Blues" and "What Is and What Should Never Be," his distinctive slide style simply defines the powerful and dark "In My Time of Dying."




    Elmore James, "Dust My Broom"

    We've mentioned a few "blues influenced" players, which is basically another way of saying "players who were influenced by Elmore James." James — who was actually dubbed the "King of the Slide Guitar"— is best known for his 1951 version of "Dust My Broom (I Believe My Time Ain't Long)." The song's opening riff is one of the best-known and most influential slide guitar parts ever. Yes, it sounds a lot like what Robert Johnson played on his "I Believe I'll Dust My Broom" several years earlier, but James played his riff on an electric guitar, pretty much claiming it for himself in the process and sending chills down the spine of a new generation.




    Johnny Winter, "Highway 61 Revisited"

    The lanky Texan (and former Brit) simply burns it up in his legendary cover of Bob Dylan's "Highway 61 Revisited" from Second Winter, his second album. Be sure to investigate the acoustic "Dallas" from Winter's self-titled 1969 album. If you can convincingly play these two songs, it's time to hang up your T-square and/or apron and look for session work!




    Derek Trucks Band, "Sahib Teri Bandi/Maki Madni" (Derek Trucks)

    The list takes an exotic turn with this middle-eastern-flavored track by Derek Trucks. With his deep Allman Brothers Band lineage, we know Trucks (and Warren Haynes, of course) can tackle roots rock, extended blues jams and more, but this 10-minute instrumental track from his 2006 album, Songlines, steps way out of those boundaries and truly shows what Trucks is capable of. He makes the guitar sound like an exotic instrument from a distant land and time. Check out this live performance from 2008, below.




    Rory Gallagher, "Want Ad Blues/Wanted Blues"

    For our official acoustic entry, let's not forget the late, great Rory Gallagher, shown here playing a version of John Lee Hooker's "Wanted Blues." It's hard to believe this Irish master of the Stratocaster was also a ridiculously accomplished traditional blues slide player. By the way, in this brief video (Click here), Gallagher explains some slide basics. Be sure to check it out.

    Learn Slide Guitar is the ultimate DVD instructional guide to playing slide guitar like a pro. Designed for beginning-to-intermediate guitar players, this DVD contains more than two hours of lessons that will help you develop such skills and techniques as playing in open and standard tunings, slide scales for soloing in all keys, improvising, open-tuning chord forms, muting, vibrato, Delta and electric blues, plus much more! It's available now at the Guitar World Online Store!

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    So you’ve reached that point in the song; you’ve written two verses and a chorus, and that little voice in your head says “I need to write a bridge.”

    But do you really??? When do you know if a song truly needs a bridge?

    I’ve heard publishers say things to their writers like, “You must write bridges because the last three hits on radio had a bridge.” Personally I have reached the top of the top 40 charts both with and without bridges. Here are a few guidelines I’ve used over the years.

    Have you said everything in your song you need to say? If you have already said everything you wanted to say in the verses and chorus then there is no real need to write more words, you will simply bore the listener. Bridges need to take you to a new place and offer additional insight. If you feel you’ve covered everything in the meat of the song then don’t clutter your song with more lyrics because you feel you have to have a bridge.

    If you decide you don’t need a lyrical bridge then consider other options. Perhaps a musical bridge will serve the song better. Taking the song to a new harmonic or rhythmic place can keep the listener engaged without boring them with unnecessary lyrics. Consider a guitar or instrumental solo over verse chord changes.

    If your song is already fairly complex harmonically then adding an additional harmonic section could sound like overkill and you could be asking too much of the listener to follow what feels like meandering. So consider an instrumental solo over a previous harmonic section of your song. Such as the verse or pre-chorus section of your song.

    And finally if you decide your song could benefit from new words and music, the write a great bridge!

    So these are a few of the guidelines I use when face with the question “to bridge or not to bridge.” Remember a forced bridge will sound just that..forced. But there’s nothing better than a really well written bridge that takes you somewhere both lyrically and musically, if it has a reason and purpose for being in your song.

    Clay Mills is a 11-time ASCAP hit songwriter, producer, and performer. His songs have been recorded by such artist as Lady Antebellum, Darius Rucker, Babyface, Reba McEntire, and Kimberly Locke. He has 2 Grammy nominations for “Beautiful Mess” by Diamond Rio and “Heaven Heartache” by Trisha Yearwood. Follow him here: www.facebook.com/songtownusa, at www.claymills.com, and at www.facebook.com/claymillsii or visit Twiiter@SongTownUSA


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    A Martin acoustic guitar is the beloved instrument of millions of fans and famous players worldwide.

    Starting with the early days in New York circa 1833, this fabled story comes to life in the long-awaited revision of the seminal Martin History book.

    Originally published in 1975, this new edition is completely updated and re-designed by well-known industry experts. Part of a two-book set, The History: Book 1 covers the people, the places, and the stories of an American icon. Richly illustrated, this book covers the story right up to the fifth-generation president Chris Martin IV.

    Because the original and revision authors had complete access to authorized archives, this version is the most accurate and detailed reference on the topic. Leading up to the re-vitalization of the 1990s and the remarkable sustenance of its legacy, hundreds of photographs and documents effectively show the people and the guitars that made the company famous.

    The book is available now at the Guitar World Online Store for $30.


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    With styles ranging from rock and blues to jazz and soul, Richie Kotzen has built an eclectic career as guitarist, singer and songwriter.

    Over a period of 20 years, Kotzen has accumulated a loyal fan base and has consistently sold out shows throughout the world.

    Still, there are many who question what Kotzen is capable of musically. Kotzen’s new Essential package is sure to answer that question.

    The Essential Richie Kotzen— which is slated to be released September 2 — contains material curated from Kotzen’s entire career (which has spawned 18 solo albums), not including his work with Poison and the Winery Dogs.

    The new package was purposely designed to give listeners the most comprehensive, concise introduction to Kotzen’s extensive body of work.

    The Essential Richie Kotzen includes two CDs of classic Kotzen material as well as two new songs, along with a DVD of music videos, acoustic performances and bootleg material. It’s the ultimate collection of music for Kotzen fans.

    I recently spoke with Kotzen about the Essential package, his upcoming solo album and some of the most memorable moments of his career.

    GUITAR WORLD: What spawned your new Essential package?

    It was an idea that actually came from the record label. I have a very nice fan base that's been great to me over the years and has allowed me to tour around the world. But there's also a huge community in the rock world that knows my name but has no idea what it is that I do musically. I remember when I was on tour with the Winery Dogs, people would often come up to me and say, "Man, I didn't know you sang like that and I just found out that you also have a solo career. What record should I get?"

    I never knew what to say. I wrote my first record when I was 17 (and recorded it at 18), so a lot of time has passed. What we decided to do was make one package that would answer the question. I went through and picked out songs I like to play live and still represent who I am today. So for someone who is curious about what it is that I do, now there's an answer.

    The package also includes two new tracks (“War Paint” and “Walk With Me”). What can you tell me about them?

    Those were songs that would have eventually ended up on a solo album or maybe a Winery Dogs record. When I made this package, I knew I wanted to include two new songs, so I decided to put them on.

    What made you decide to use a Theremin on “Walk With Me”?

    When I was writing the song, I literally heard the sound of a Theremin playing in my head. So I went online and I bought one. At first, I couldn't do anything with it musically and it was the noisiest two weeks at my house [laughs]. Eventually, it got to a point to where I could play some melodies, so I set it up and ultimately got out what I was hearing in my head.

    “Fooled Again” has always been one of my favorites. Can you give me a little back story on it?

    That song definitely came from the riff. I know that when I recorded it, I really wanted that Curtis Mayfield kind of feeling. I love the way it turned out. It exceeded my expectations and a big part of it was because of Franklin Vanderbilt’s drumming and Arlan Schierbaum’s keyboard performance. They really brought the song to life.

    Another cool thing about the package are the demo and acoustic performances. Particularly, the track “Until You Suffer Some (Fire and Ice)." Not many people realize your contribution to Poison. What can you tell me about that experience?

    It was such a sideways move for me. Two years before I joined the band, my contract with Shrapnel was bought out by Interscope. That’s what brought me to California, and I spent about a year writing songs for what I thought was going to be my solo record. We really wanted to make this R&B, soul/rock record and even got the budget approved. Then at the last minute, the label said, "Wait a minute. I didn't sign you to do this kind of music. I need you to be a hard rock guy." I remember just losing my mind and insisted on being dropped — which they did.

    At the same time they were dropping me, the A&R guy said, "You know, Bret Michaels just called me. They're interested in you. I think you should do it and then circle back after the album cycle." So I went out and met Bret and really liked what he had to say. They brought me in as a band member and writer and that song that you mentioned was one of the songs I brought in that would have been on that solo record. I never really played the song live and thought it made sense to do a version of me singing it. That's what's on the record.

    Can you give me an update on your tour plans?

    I'm going to Europe in September and then to South America and will spend the rest of the year touring the U.S.

    What do you remember most about your Shrapnel experience?

    As a teenager, getting into Mike Varney’s column became an obsession for me [laughs]. I had a four-song demo that I sent in a few times but never heard anything back. Then I thought maybe it was because Mike was listening to it for only 30 seconds and didn't hear anything that he liked. So I kept sending it to him but changing up the order of the songs.

    I still never heard anything until finally one day my friend called me up and said, "Dude, what's wrong with you? You're in the column and you didn't tell me?" I was convinced he was lying until I ran to the newsstand. Sure enough, there was my picture along with a profile.

    Shortly after that, I got a call from Mike saying that he wanted to do a record with me. Originally, the thought was to do an album with me and another guitar player, similar to what Jason Becker and Marty Friedman had done.

    During the process, I started writing a lot and for every song that I would write with my partner, there would be five I would send to Mike that I had done on my own. Eventually, it got to the point where Mike started liking my own material and signed me.

    What was it like opening for the Rolling Stones in 2006?

    It was pretty surreal. There were six shows on that run and I remember purposely not telling anyone about it at first because in Japan, it’s not normal to have an opening act and from what I was told the Stones never had an opening act when they toured Japan. So I knew there might be a chance that it wouldn’t happen — but it did! After that first show I could say I opened for the Rolling Stones! It was an amazing experience!

    What can you tell me about your new solo album?

    It will be out by the end of January. The new CD is called Cannibals and will have 10 songs. One of the ones I'm really excited about is one I wrote with my daughter called "You." It’s a piano/voice piece where I actually play a little bit of Theremin again as well.

    The song came about in a very interesting way. My daughter is 17 now but back when she was 14 she would often play this piece over and over at the piano. Finally, I asked her what it was she was playing and she said, "I don't know. It’s just something I wrote." It sounded really cool so we recorded a version of it and I filed it away. When I went back and started looking into the archives, I found it and decided to sing something over it. I wrote some words, sang it and it came out really cool. It’s something we did together and one of my favorite tracks on the album.

    We’ve already mentioned a few memorable moments of your career. Are there any others that really stand out for you?

    It would have to be the moment when I auditioned to join Stanley Clarke's band. I remember he put a sheet of music in front of me and I just started laughing. It was a funny moment. He asked me what I was laughing at and I told him that I hadn't read since I was a teenager. But then he sat down at the piano and proceeded to show me one of his songs and we spent the better part of the next three hours jamming together.

    Afterwards, I remember saying, "I know that there's no way I'm going to get this gig but it's been an honor to play with you and I just wanted to thank you for your time." I left and went to a concert that night and when I got home there was a message on my answering machine saying that I got the gig.

    That's a strong memory for me because it was so outside the realm of what I normally do. It educated me musically and I was really able to grow from the experience.

    For more about Kotzen, visit richiekotzen.com.

    James Wood is a writer, musician and self-proclaimed metalhead who maintains his own website, GoJimmyGo.net. His articles and interviews are written on a variety of topics with passion and humor. You can follow him on Twitter @JimEWood.

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    In this exclusive Guitar World lesson, watch Living Colour guitarist Vernon Reid talk about the band's The Chair in the Doorway album and teach you how to play their classic 1988 hit "Cult of Personality."

    Speaking of 1988, here's a piece of Guitar World's interview with Reid from 1988, where he discusses "Cult of Personality" and more.

    GUITAR WORLD: How were your solos recorded, and is there a personal favorite?

    "Cult Of Personality" was a first take, as was "Funny Vibe.""Desperate People" wasn't a first take, but none of the solos were stitched together. I purposely had our producer turn off my rhythm tracks and just send bass and drums when I recorded my solos. I wanted to keep a raw edge.

    I like the "Cult" solo because I felt I was able to connect with the lyrics and feel of the song. I like "Funny Vibe,""Memories Can't Wait" and "Which Way To America" because there's something out of control about them. I'm not an every-hair-in-place kind of player.

    How have non-guitar influences like Eric Dolphy affected your style?

    Well, I don't play like Eric Dolphy, but technically, his incredible use of interval skips is something I try to apply, specifically in the "Cult Of Personality" solo. I have a book by Joe Diorio called Intervallic Design which addresses how to use interval skips smoothly.

    When I studied with Rodney Jones, Bruce Johnson and Ted Dunbar, they had me play with a metronome on 2 and 4, which exposed me to the concept of swinging. I still practice with a metronome. Right now, a lot of people are playing very diatonically and modally. Even the arpeggios sound diatonic. I incorporate that, as well as pentatonic, chromatic and whole-tone ideas, and I like to experiment with moving tonal centers which I learned about while working with the Decoding Society.

    How do you approach soloing?

    My best solos come when I get into a stream of consciousness and there are no stylistic considerations like, "Now I'm going to use some two-handed tapping technique or play a hip bebop phrase."

    There are times when you can feel yourself thinking things out, but for the most part, if you're in touch with your capabilities, ideas will begin to flow. What musicians don't realize is that as you play over a long period of time, you pick up a lot of things. If you could unlock what you've learned from the time you started playing, you would be amazed.

    To read the rest of this 1988 Guitar World interview, head here.

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    The blues is ripe for endless and constant reinvention.

    Through the decades, it has developed in many different incarnations.

    These include plantation field hollers; the acoustic guitar playing and songwriting mastery of Charlie Patton, Blind Blake, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blind Willie McTell and Robert Johnson; the Chicago, Memphis and Texas blues of Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and T-Bone Walker; and the mid-to-late-Sixties blues-rock revolution spearheaded by Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience.

    Today, bands such as the North Mississippi All-Stars, the Black Keys and Alabama Shakes continue to explore new ways to navigate the dark, swampy sounds honed through this long tradition of blues interpretation. In this edition of In Deep, we’ll be taking a look at the guitar work of two essential early blues guitar masters: John Lee Hooker and Lightnin’ Hopkins.

    John Lee Hooker was born in 1917 in Coahoma County, Mississippi, and learned to play guitar from his stepfather, Willie Moore, who, conveniently for John Lee, was friends with Blind Lemon Jefferson and Charlie Patton. Hooker went on the road at age 14, joining legendary bluesman Robert Nighthawk in Memphis.

    In 1948, Hooker began his recording career in style, cutting two incredible tunes—“Boogie Chillen’ ” and “Sally Mae”—at his first sessions, cut in Detroit. The songs were released on the Modern label, owned by the Bihari Brothers (who also recorded B.B. King’s earliest sides), and Hooker’s ascent to blues superstardom was underway.

    Hooker performed and recorded a great many tunes on both acoustic and electric guitar in open A tuning (low to high, E A E A Cs E), oftentimes using a capo at the first, second or third fret to perform in different keys. He picked with his fingers, primarily using his thumb to strike the bass strings and index finger to pluck the higher strings, and achieved a warm and very percussive sound, often performing alone or with another guitarist for accompaniment.

    FIGURE 1 illustrates a rhythm figure along the lines of “Boogie Chillen’.” Though written in 4/4, this figure is played with a triplet, or swing-eighths, feel, which means that notes indicated as pairs of eighth notes are actually sounded as a quarter note followed by an eighth note within a triplet bracket.

    Throughout this passage, the thumb and index finger alternate striking the lower and higher strings, with a quick, rolling double hammer-on occurring at the end of each bar. In bar 1, the hammer-on begins on the fourth fret and moves chromatically (one fret at a time) up to the sixth fret. In bar 2, the hammer-on starts on the second fret and moves up chromatically to the fourth fret. In bar 3, rapid slides up to the third fret are executed with an index-finger barre across the top two strings.

    One of the fascinating aspects of Hooker’s open A playing was that he often used only two primary chords, the “I” (one) and the “IV” (four), forgoing the use of a “V” (five) chord that is common to the majority of blues music. In open A tuning, Hooker would use a standard C “cowboy” chord grip as his four chord, which yields an unusual Dadd9/C sound, as illustrated in FIGURE 2.

    Another interesting aspect of Hooker’s solo work is that he would often shift from a swinging triplet feel to the use of even, or “straight,” eighth notes, which provides great rhythmic contrast and tension. As shown in FIGURE 3, I begin with straight eighths on a sliding A7 chord voicing and then move back to the swinging feel when the initial riff is restated in bars 5–7.

    Hooker also often used the D7/A voicing shown in FIGURE 4 for his four chord: with the index finger barred across the top three strings at the fifth fret, the pinkie is added and removed from the high E string’s eighth fret. Robert Johnson often used this pattern to great effect as well.

    Hooker devised some great and very distinct licks in open A tuning, a few of which are presented in FIGURE 5. Following index-finger slides on the top two strings, different A and A7 voicings are followed by great single-note and double-stop licks played on the middle strings using a bit of rhythmic syncopation. You can hear Hooker play riffs like these on his classic song “Sally Mae.” ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons is a Hooker fanatic, and you can hear many of these kinds of licks on Top classics like “La Grange” and “Jesus Just Left Chicago.”

    Combining open strings with single-note riffs is a central element of Hooker’s style, made more effective with fingerpicking. FIGURE 6, inspired by “Crawling Kingsnake,” and FIGURE 7, a nod to “Tease Me,” offer a few more examples of how Hooker would combine a catchy melody with an insistent root-note, open-string pedal tone.

    In later years, Hooker relied more often on standard tuning, while still using the capo on the first few frets for changing keys. A great example of his playing style in standard tuning can be heard on “Boom Boom Out Go the Lights.” FIGURE 8 offers an example in this style, marrying a repeated melody, based on E minor pentatonic (E G A B D) to an alternating bass line.

    Lightnin’ Hopkins was born in 1912 in Centerville, Texas. Like Hooker, he learned directly from encounters with Blind Lemon Jefferson. He began his recording career in 1946 and went on to become one of the most influential blues guitarists ever. Elements of his style are clear in the playing of Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Stevie Ray Vaughan and just about everyone that played or plays blues guitar.

    Hopkins often performed unaccompanied acoustic guitar (or amplified acoustic), picking with his fingers in a manner similar to Hooker but with the use of a thumb pick. FIGURES 9 and 10 offer examples of a mid-tempo swinging 12/8 blues played in his style, akin to his take on the blues classic “Goin’ Down Slow.”

    Part 1

    Part 2


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    The viral video below shows a 10-year-old blind boy, Felix St. Hilare of Quebec, Canada, performing a bit of Robert Johnson-style Delta blues on acoustic guitar, which he plays flat on his lap, much like the late Jeff Healey.

    Felix, who speaks French, has the coolest pajamas and clearly knows his way around a blues turnaround. He even does a fine job singing in English, capturing the feel of an "ooooooh-ing" Johnson in a few choice spots.

    Felix was born blind, a result of his premature birth. His mother, Marie-Eve Soucy, said her son was always fascinated by music and used to play with tam-tams in his high chair as a baby.

    For more information about Felix, check out this CTVnews.ca story.

    Be sure to enjoy this brief open-tuned masterpiece!

    The top video embed code below is from Cifras' post on Facebook. We hope it works for you! If it doesn't, and you merely see the word "Post," click on that; it will take you to the video.


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    Guitarist Nita Strauss, who joined Alice Cooper's band earlier this summer and promptly hit the road with Cooper (teaming up with Motley Crue on their Final Tour), recently checked in from the road.

    "The past two months on the Motley Crue Final Tour have been unreal," she said.

    "Every time the curtain drops to start our set and I feel the crowd roar wash over me, it's amazing to look to my right and see the legendary Alice Cooper. We have made so many great memories on this tour playing to sold-out amphitheaters and arenas all over North America and meeting tons of new fans.

    "[It's] hard to believe we only have a week left of the first leg of this tour. Motley has been a blast to tour with. The band and crew have been so great to us, and they put on a hell of a show every single night."

    Strauss also has announced her new website, nitastrauss.com.

    "I'm really excited about partnering up with All Axess for the launch of my site," she said. "Not only is it going to be the place to get any and all news about what I'm up to; it also has tons of exclusive photos, videos and merchandise you can only get there. Look for a slew of new instructional video lessons and photos over the next few months as I will constantly be keeping the site updated. Thanks for the support and hopefully see you all soon."

    Below, we've included two new Strauss videos. The top clip is a quick "Descending Run" lesson from her website. Below that is a high-quality video of Strauss and the band performing Cooper's "Eighteen" August 10 in Toronto.

    For more Strauss videos, news and photos (which we are fond of), visit nitastrauss.com.


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    Here's a topic that is often discussed in music circles: the pros and cons of being a self-taught musician.

    There's a certain level of pride many musicians feel when they claim they are self-taught, and I can understand why. They get a kick out of the fact that, by not taking “lessons,” they discovered the ins and outs of playing an instrument on their own time, their own way, through their own skills.

    On the surface, this seems to make sense, but I don’t buy it.

    Right off the bat, the topic is silly since I don't think anyone is self-taught. Let me explain.

    If you think about it, a self-taught musician would have his or her own way of tuning and holding the instrument. He or she would play unique scales and have their sense of meter. They wouldn't even know how to pluck the strings or how to string a guitar so that chord patters and scales can fall into place.

    In a nutshell, we all learned it from somewhere. It could be from a video, a friend, a music school or a combination of several outlets. Even if you saw someone strum a guitar and learned a few chords on the spot, you initially got them from somewhere. Even listening to music can help you learn about rhythm, melody and song construction. If you really were self-taught, your guitar playing would make Jimi Hendrix sound like a Julliard professor.

    Think about this. This is great news. By knowing this, you could open up the previously shut doors to the idea of studying your instrument with great teachers.

    The point is, if you're going to pick it up from somewhere, you might as well go to a great source. Allow the teacher (private or at a school) to guide you, bring out your strengths, save you time and accelerate your playing.

    Will studying with a teacher or being formally trained stifle your creativity? Not from my experience.

    Think of it this way: Imagine you decide to brush up on your English. You study it from a reputable source and become great at it. You learn new words, new ways to put together sentences, etc. Can you still forget it all and talk like a caveman if you want to? You sure can. This is always your choice. No one is going to pull words out of your brain. Would it make it easier to know several ways to express a thought with the new words you've learned? Of course it would.

    By learning more, you have more choices, not to mention possibilities you didn't know existed. This is what learning about music theory (and how music works) is all about. Even if you refuse to learn music theory, merely studying with a teacher or jamming with someone better than you will open many doors. A new riff you picked up from someone can inspire you to write the greatest song of your life. What you do with it is completely up to you.

    The idea is to take new information and suck out the juice that is applicable to the way you want to play the instrument. When you do that, the new information is super valuable. Don’t close your eyes to new info and ways to absorb it. Embrace it. The rest is up to you.

    Polish-born Metal Mike Chlasciak has recorded or performed with heavy metal greats Rob Halford, Sebastian Bach, Bruce Dickinson and Axl Rose. Mike is the long-time guitarist for Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford's solo endeavor, Halford. Mike's new album, The Metalworker, is available at metalmike.net. For more info, check out his official website and visit him on Twitter.

    Readers can check out Metal Mike's online guitar lessons, camps, workshops and more at MetalHeroesAcademy.com.


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    In this new video (posted to YouTube by DiMarzio August 22), guitarist Paul Gilbert demos and discusses DiMarzio's PAF Master pickups.

    Lucky for us, Gilbert plays a lot of guitar in the clip, sticking to some heavy, throaty bluesy licks that, we have to say, sound awesome in this video.

    For more about DiMarzio's PAF Master Bridge pickup, head here. For more about the PAF Master Neck model, head in this general vicinity.

    In the clip, Gilbert also mentions his new album, Stone Pushing Uphill Man. You can hear two songs from the disc, which was released earlier this month by Shrapnel, right here.

    In other Gilbert news, Mr. Big recently released the details of their upcoming studio album, …The Stories We Could Tell, which will be released September 23 via Frontiers Music. More info can be found right here.

    But wait, there's more! Late last night, Gilbert announced the birth of his first child.

    "Please welcome to Earth Marlon Kanzan Gilbert," Gilbert wrote on his website. "He's got long fingers and a loud voice. This is my first time to be a dad. I'm pretty excited. And much love to my wife, Emi, for doing the hard work."

    Congratulations!

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    Today, Guitar World checks in with Jethro Tull and pinpoints what we feel are the legendary British band's 10 greatest guitar moments.

    As always, our list digs deep into the band's six-string artistry (a staggering amount of which was provided by the great Martin Barre and, of course, Ian Anderson), while taking historical importance and other factors into account.

    Barre, the axman behind "Cross-Eyed Mary,""Locomotive Breath" and so many more, holds a special place in Guitar World history; his solo on "Aqualung" comes it at Number 25 on our list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Solos of All Time."

    "That guitar solo was totally improvised, and I did it in one take,"he told Guitar World."Luckily for me, that solo turned out well, because if it didn’t there would’ve been a flute solo in its place."

    For more about Barre, including his recent projects, visit martinbarre.com. Also be sure to read our recent "Dear Guitar Hero" interview with Barre. For more about Jethro Tull and Anderson's recent solo work, visit jethrotull.com.

    Check out our guide to Jethro Tull's 10 greatest guitar moments below! (Just as you have already started doing) Be sure to leave a comment below to recommend other songs. We are NOT OPPOSED to turning this into a Top 20!

    "With You There To Help Me"

    This opening track from Jethro Tull’s third album, Benefit (1970), announced that the rock world had a distinctive new guitar hero, and his name was Martin Barre.

    With Les Paul in hand, Barre sliced through Ian Anderson’s echoing flute like a battle axe through butter, adding bursts of dangerous excitement to this rather fabulous piece of melancholy.




    "To Cry You a Song"

    Another great guitar-driven track from Benefit. The opening harmonized riff is as strong as anything off Black Sabbath’s Paranoid, which was recorded that same year, and the dueling guitar solos scattered throughout the song’s dynamic construction are all knockouts. This is the song Opeth wishes they wrote.




    "Aqualung"

    Who would’ve thought one of the greatest guitar solos in the classic rock era would be the centerpiece in song about a horny British hobo?

    Guitarist Barre remembers that while he was recording this great guitar track, Jimmy Page stopped by and waved to him through the studio glass. He almost stopped playing his Les Paul Jr. mid-solo to wave back. Damn good thing he didn’t.




    "Life Is a Long Song"

    It would definitely be wrong not to acknowledge a guitar contribution or two from front man/flautist Anderson. A masterful acoustic guitarist, his l playing can be heard throughout Jethro Tull’s entire catalog.

    “Life Is a Long Song” from Living In the Past is just one fine example of his gift, along with favorites like “Mother Goose” from Aqualung or the iconic opening to their classic Thick As a Brick album.




    "Thick As a Brick"

    Speaking of Thick As a Brick, in 1972 Tull had the unmitigated audacity to release an album comprised of a single 43:46-minute-long song. That was even ballsy by progressive rock standards, so thank god the song was good!

    The guitar fireworks are subtler than on previous albums, but there are still plenty of pleasures to be had. No, we won’t make you listen to the whole album…the first five minutes will do just fine. The real guitar excitement, however, kicks in at the three-minute mark.




    "Pibroch (Cap in Hand)"

    This tune from Songs From the Wood begins with one of the gnarliest, fuzziest, fattest guitar riffs ever committed to tape. Granted, the song takes a number of weird left turns down some disturbingly frilly medieval roads, but they all come back this gargantuan bastard of a guitar line.




    "Steel Monkey"

    Somewhere around 1980, Jethro Tull began to get a little too synthesizer-happy for their own good, and with every album it seemed harder for Barre to bust loose and burn down the house like he did in the early part of the band’s career. But every so often, bandleader Anderson would let the poor boy off his leash and let his guitar roar.

    This rocker from their 16th album, 1987’s Crest of a Knave, was one of those welcomed occasions.




    "Cross-Eyed Mary"

    This is as funky as Tull gets—a surprisingly lascivious song about a cross-eyed prostitute, featuring an equally dirty guitar riff. Guitarist Barre was often called upon to go toe-to-toe with a flute, and he definitely shows who's boss as he takes control of this edgy classic from the band’s biggest album, Aqualung. This is the song Electric Wizard wishes they wrote.




    "Passion Play (“Magus Perde”)"

    After having incredible success with the complex 1972 concept album Thick As a Brick, Jethro Tull did what any self-respecting prog band would do: follow it with an even more complicated concept album.

    Like Brick, the primary focus of 1973’s Passion Play was on the overall arrangement, but if you really listen to the guitar playing throughout, you’ll be amply rewarded. No fancy soloing on this section that comes, oh, about 40 minutes into the title song, but the rhythm work is wonderful and the riff is unlike any other.




    "Conundrum"

    This instrumental from the live 1978 Bursting Out demonstrates the deadly precision of Barre's picking and his wicked way with odd time signatures. One wishes he would’ve extended his solo at the two-minute mark, but if you’ve ever wanted to know what the fuss about Barre was all about—without a bunch of flutes buzzing around—this isn’t a bad place to start.

    Photo from jethrotull.com/press

    Brad Tolinski is the editor-in-chief at Guitar World. Christopher Thumann contributed to this story.

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    As we reported over the weekend, Jason Becker challenged Eddie Van Halen, David Lee Roth and John Mayer to take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

    Although we don't know where Van Halen and Roth are in the process, Mayer has accepted Becker's challenge. The guitarist posted his own Ice Bucket Challenge video last night.

    In the clip, he re-nominates Van Halen and Roth and plays along to Becker's "Air," a track from Perpetual Burn (1988). You can check out the video below.

    "I was nominated for the ice bucket challenge by Jason Becker, a phenomenal musician who has ALS," Mayer writes. "Though he can no longer play guitar because of the disease, he still continues to compose beautiful music. I thought I'd play along with one of Jason’s old guitar recordings before I went for the bucket."

    For more about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, visit alsa.org. To donate directly to Becker, visit jasonbeckerguitar.com/donation_information.

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    Slipknot have premiered a new song, "The Devil in I," and you can hear it below. It's the first official single from their upcoming fifth album.

    As always, give it a listen and let us know what you think in the comments or on Facebook!

    Earlier this month, the band streamed "The Negative One,"which you can check out here.

    Corey Taylor has described the musical direction of the new album as "a great mesh" of 2001's Iowa and 2004's Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses).

    "You've got the gorgeous melodies and the artistic direction of Vol. 3, and then you've got the absolute brutality of Iowa," he said. "And I think people are gonna lose their minds when they hear it."

    After recently returning with the song ‘The Negative One,’ Slipknot have now unleashed ‘The Devil in I,’ the official first single from their forthcoming fifth album. Take a listen to the track above!

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