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Articles on this Page
- 10/15/14--08:30: _Joe Satriani and St...
- 10/15/14--09:01: _Capsize: "This Song...
- 10/15/14--09:07: _Review: Lace Pickup...
- 10/15/14--09:10: _Betcha Can't Play T...
- 10/16/14--07:27: _Jack White Cancels ...
- 10/16/14--07:34: _Betcha Can't Play T...
- 10/16/14--07:42: _It Might Get Weird:...
- 10/16/14--08:07: _Glenn Proudfoot Pre...
- 10/16/14--08:24: _Slipknot Premiere N...
- 10/16/14--08:31: _Learn Essential Tec...
- 10/16/14--08:32: _Guitar World's Paul...
- 10/16/14--08:33: _Slipknot's Jim Root...
- 10/16/14--08:41: _Fender Introduces A...
- 10/16/14--09:18: _The Guitarist's Gui...
- 10/16/14--10:38: _Bent Out of Shape: ...
- 10/16/14--13:13: _Jägermeister Ice Co...
- 10/16/14--13:33: _Bill Frisell’s Tele...
- 10/16/14--14:02: _Foo Fighters Premie...
- 10/17/14--06:19: _15-Year-Old Sarah C...
- 10/17/14--07:56: _Theory of a Deadman...
- 10/15/14--08:30: Joe Satriani and Steve Vai Play "Satch Boogie" in 1988 — Video
- 10/15/14--09:07: Review: Lace Pickups USA Ultra Slim Acoustic Sensor Pickup — Video
- 10/15/14--09:10: Betcha Can't Play This with Guitarist Glen Drover — Video
- 10/16/14--07:34: Betcha Can't Play This: Rolling Along with Psycroptic's Joe Haley
- 10/16/14--07:42: It Might Get Weird: The Frirsz Filmocaster Guitar
- 10/16/14--08:24: Slipknot Premiere New Song, "Killpop"— Listen
- 10/16/14--08:41: Fender Introduces Adam Clayton Jazz Bass Guitar
- 10/16/14--13:33: Bill Frisell’s Tele-Portation: 'Guitar in The Space Age'!
- 10/16/14--14:02: Foo Fighters Premiere New Song, "Something from Nothing"— Listen
We love when guitar greats get together to play songs with the word "Boogie" in the title.
And then there's the time Steve Vai and Joe Satriani, Vai's former guitar instructor, shared a stage in 1988 to perform "Satch Boogie." You can check out this full live performance of Satriani's 1987 signature tune in the video below.
As always, let us know what you think in the comments or on Facebook!
Today, GuitarWorld.com presents the exclusive premiere of the playthrough video for "This Song Made Me Think of You" by Capsize.
The song is from Capsize's debut album, The Angst In My Veins, which is available now via Equal Vision Records.
"On The Angst In My Veins, the writing process was focused on the darker and more melodic side of the musical spectrum," says Capsize guitarist Ryan Knowles. "The whole record is played in the same key and tuning (C minor, drop C [CGCFAD]) to keep a consistency throughout the listen that allows all the songs to flow and work together as one cohesive unit."
The album was recorded with producer Jay Maas (Bane, Defeater) at Getaway Recordings in Haverhill, Massachusetts. The San Diego-based melodic hardcore outfit is midway through a full U.S. tour with Being As An Ocean, and they'll be heading overseas for the Impericon Never Say Die Tour with Terror, Stick To Your Guns, Comeback Kid and more.
You can check out all their current tour dates below.
2014 CAPSIZE TOUR DATES
Capsize w/Being As An Ocean, Fit For A King, Gideon, and Wolves At The Gate
Oct 16 Troutville, VA@ Inside-Out
Oct 17 Pittsburgh, PA @ Altar Bar
Oct 18 Buffalo, NY @ Waiting Room
Oct 19 Columbus, OH @ Skully’s
Oct 20 Grand Rapids, MI @ The Stache
Oct 21 Detroit, MI @ The Shelter
Oct 22 Chicago, IL @ Beat Kitchen
Oct 23 Indianapolis, IN @ Emerson Theatre
Oct 24 St. Louis, MO @ Fubar
Oct 25 Shawnee, KS @ Aftershock
Never Say Die Tour: Capsize w/Terror, Stick To Your Guns, Comeback Kid and more
Oct 31 Wiesbaden, DE @ Schlachthof
Nov 01 Wolverhampton, UK @ Wulfrun Hall
Nov 02 Leeds, UK @ Cockpit
Nov 03 Dublin, IE @ The Village
Nov 04 Glasgow, UK @ Garage
Nov 05 London, UK @ O2 Academy Islington
Nov 06 Eindhoven, HL @ Effenaar
Nov 07 Aarhus, DK @ Voxhall
Nov 08 Stockholm, SWE @ Klubben
Nov 09 Oslo, NO @ Betong
Nov 11 Helsinki, FI @ Nosturi
Nov 13 Hamburg, DE @ Fabrik
Nov 14 Berlin, DE @ Astra
Nov 15 Warsaw, PL @ Proxima
Nov 16 Wien, AT @ Arena
Nov 17 Prague, CZ @ Meet Factory
Nov 18 München, DE @ Backstage Werk
Nov 19 Bologna, IT @ Zona Roveri
Nov 20 Pratteln, CH @ Z7
Nov 21 Lyon, FR @ CCO
Nov 22 Barcelona, ES @ Razzmatazz
Nov 23 Madrid, ES @ Penelope
Nov 24 Bordeaux, FR @ Rock School Barbey
Nov 25 Paris, FR @ Trabendo
Nov 26 Esch, LU @ Kulturfabrik
Nov 27 Antwerp, BE @ Trix Zaal
Nov 28 Dresden, DE @ Reithalle
Nov 29 Köln, DE @ Essigfabrik
These videos and audio files are bonus content related to the December 2014 issue of Guitar World. For the full range of interviews, features, tabs and more, pick up the new issue on newsstands now or at the Guitar World Online Store.
For those of us who dabble on resonator guitars, finding a way to amplify the distinctive sound of these wood- or metal-bodied instruments can be a challenge.
Resonator guitars have traditionally been built without electronics because they are designed to be loud enough for acoustic duties, thanks to their intricate metal-cone soundboards that project the instrument’s uniquely complex tone. But if you’re trying to compete with amplified instruments, you’ll invariably want to add a pickup to your resonator.
Unfortunately, many aftermarket resonator pickups require professional installation, but thankfully, Lace Music makes the process easy with its USA Ultra Slim Acoustic Sensor pickup. Anyone can mount the pickup within seconds on most resonator guitars and enjoy amplified tone that is round and clear, with absolutely no noise.
Check out this Betcha Can't Play This lesson video (and tab) with former Megadeth guitarist Glen Drover.
With this blazing run in B natural minor, Drover shows you how to create striking contrasts between smooth, legato phrasing and intense hurts of alternate picking.
For more Betcha Can't Play This lessons with videos, tab and text, head in this general direction. And — as always — good luck!
Rocker Jack White has canceled his remaining tour dates in Mexico after his keyboardist, Isaiah "Ikey" Owens, was found dead in his Puebla, Mexico, hotel room.
Here's the original notice of Owens' passing from White's website:
"It is with great sadness that we tell the world of the passing of the incredible musician Isaiah 'Ikey' Owens. He will be missed and loved forever by his family, friends, bandmates and fans. Ikey Owens was an astounding keyboard player in Jack White’s backing band. He also played with Mars Volta, Free Moral Agents and many other projects.
"Out of respect for Ikey, the remaining shows of the Jack White tour in Mexico have been cancelled. We will all miss you Ikey. You were and are an incredible artist."
Here's an update that appeared on White's site last night, October 15:
"The coroner has determined that Ikey Owens died from a heart attack the morning of October 14 at approximately 4 a.m. The only drugs found in his room were a small amount of marijuana.
Ikey, born Isaiah Randolph Owens, was a Grammy award-winning artist best known for his work with Jack White, the Mars Volta, De Facto and Free Moral Agents, among others. He was a beloved member of the music community as well as his hometown of Long Beach, California."
For more information, visit jackwhiteiii.com/news.
This is an ascending run that’s fairly typical of my playing style in Psycroptic. I like to come up with lines that flow and roll nicely while making things as easy as possible for me technically, and this run is an example of that approach.
It’s loosely based on the B natural minor scale, or Aeolian mode [B C# D E F# G A], and works nicely in the key of B minor.
I like to play a lot of things legato, using whatever hammer-ons and pull-offs are available in any given position that my fret-hand fingers are in. I’m also inclined to do a lot of hybrid picking [pick and fingers], using picked down-strokes in tandem with upstrokes of the middle finger. This enables me to do a lot of string skipping very efficiently, with much less pick-hand movement and effort than would be required using only the pick.
Bar 3 of this run is a perfect example of this. I don’t really think too much when hybrid picking; I just do what feels the most natural and economical for any given note sequence. On beat two of bar 1 I insert a Gs chromatic passing tone [D string, sixth fret] into a descending line to give it a bit of an "outside" flavor and create a smooth legato feel. When you play the run up to speed, the outside note doesn’t sound "wrong" and actually enhances the intended rolling effect.
I use G# again in bar 2, this time instead of G, in effect changing the mode to B Dorian [B C# D E F# G# A]. You’ll notice I do a couple of finger slides to shift positions in this bar and also incorporate the open D string between two A notes at the seventh fret to get a quirky, wide-interval dip in the line.
Bar 3 features more wide intervals, achieved via the previously mentioned string skips, which create a nice angular melodic contour. The run concludes with another chromatic sequence that again incorporates both G and G#, this time ascending the B string [seventh-ninth frets] and one last finger slide, in this case with the pinkie sliding up to the high B root note at the 12th fret, to
which I apply a nice decorative finger vibrato.
When playing this run, try to make all your pull-offs and hammer-ons clear and strong. Also, be sure to lightly rest the side of your palm on the lower bass strings that you’re not playing on to keep them quiet.
We’ve seen many weird guitars made out of strange materials (a bull’s skull, a girl mannequin and a toilet seat, to name a few), but a film reel is one of the most unusual items we’ve ever encountered used for a guitar body.
What’s even more unusual is that this highly unorthodox guitar, called the Filmocaster, was conceived and built by Nicholas Frirsz, who has specialized in building violins for four decades.
“I’ve made my living building classic violins by hand,” Frirsz says, “so I was surprised by the enthusiastic reaction to these guitars. I sent photos of the prototype to friends, and they sent them to their friends. Now I get emails from all over the world asking about the Filmocaster.”
The Filmocaster’s body is made from a vintage, art deco–style Goldberg Brothers film reel from the Thirties. “I discovered one in an antique shop in Vermont,” Frirsz recalls. “I began to think about saving this little part of film history and bringing it to a brand new audience. This reel reminds me of matinees and audiences that packed cinemas back then. My apprentices found 40 of them in a warehouse, so I’m limiting production to just 40 guitars.”
Frirsz offers the Filmocaster with various options. One has a built-in five-watt amp and speaker, and another has a Korg Kaossilator Pro controller. “Every guitar has a little something special added in,” Frirsz explains. “Some have classic vintage humbuckers while others have handwound hot rods.
The Stetsbar tremolo does not require a recessed pocket for installation, and it’s smooth as silk. The reel is cast aluminum, so the weight is light and the body is completely grounded and shielded, which makes it a good, quiet ax for the studio and stage. This is a functional piece of art with historical significance, and it’s a really smoking guitar.”
The price for a base model Filmocaster starts at $3,000.
For more information, visit frirszmusic.com/filmocaster.
Have you created a custom work of guitar art suitable for It Might Get Weird? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today, GuitarWorld.com presents the premiere of "Now That You’re Gone"—the song and the music video—by guitarist and frequent Guitar World contributor Glenn Proudfoot.
"Now That You’re Gone" is the third Ineffable track we've premiered in recent months. It follows "Bam!" (featuring Tommy Emmanuel) and "Angel." You can check out the "Bam!" video at the bottom of this story.
"It's a very raw-sounding track," Proudfoot says. "I really wanted capture the essence of my sound in this song. I recorded this track with the Victory V50 ‘The Earl’ head and 4x12 box and my No. 1 Fender Stratocaster. I like to keep my sound as simple as possible when in the studio; this way I can really connect to the track and the guitar.
"Nearly all of my more melodic instrumental music start with the rhythm tracks. I tend to write all of the tracks on an acoustic guitar. As they start to develop, I then migrate them over to the electric and start work on the melodies. Whereas with my heavier stuff, that all tends to develop on the electric guitar straight away.
"I find writing on the acoustic guitar—for the slower, melodic songs—really helps capture very pure emotive ideas as I'm not relying on any external effects to create the emotion. The best stuff always happens when it's just me and the guitar. I really need to connect with the instrument in its purest form to reach the depths I need to in order to truly write from the soul. I spend just as much time writing the rhythm parts as the melody. The rhythm tracks are the key.
"It's easy to get carried away with production on tracks when you're in the studio. "My goal is always to recreate the purity of the electric guitar plugged into an amp. I keep a very clean chain running into the amp. I don’t like putting to many things in between the amp and guitar. It's best to always keep it simple—that way you know you are really getting the most out your sound."
Cinematography by Skunkworks NYC; produced and edited by Peter Reggie Bowman, Screamlouder Productions.
Slipknot will release their new album, .5: The Gray Chapter, October 21. In anticipation, the band has been rolling out new songs from the record for streaming online.
Today, the band released their latest single, "Killpop." Check it out below and let us know what you think in the comments or on Facebook!
Slipknot are featured on the cover of the all-new December 2014 issue of Guitar World! You can read an excerpt from our cover story RIGHT HERE.
Learn the essential lines and techniques of the world's greatest guitarists with The Guitar Lick-tionary, a super-cool book/CD pack from Musicians Institute!
Set up like a dictionary, it provides clear, concise instruction and application tips in standard notation and tab for licks in all styles of music, including rock, blues, jazz, country, pop, acoustic and fusion. The accompanying CD features 99 demo tracks so you can hear how each lick should sound.
In this brand-new video, Guitar World's Paul Riario — armed with a Charvel Jake E. Lee signature model guitar — hits the gritty streets of New York City with D'Addario's new NYXL strings.
The goal? To put NYXL strings into the hands of New Yorkers (and a superhero or two) to see if the strings really do "allow you to strum harder, stay in tune better and bend further."
Several guest stars — from Testament's Alex Skolnick to the Naked Cowboy to Spiderman to guitarist Wayne Krantz — seem to agree the strings hold up to the test!
For more information about D'Addario's NYXL strings, visit nyxlstory.com.
This is an excerpt from the December 2014 issue of Guitar World. For the rest of this Slipknot story, plus features on Slash, Joe Bonamassa, Lenny Kravitz, Paul Gilbert, Motionless In White, Electric Wizard and more, including lessons, tabs and reviews of new gear from D'Angelico, Washburn, Boss, Morley, Lace Music and Carr Amps, check out the December 2014 issue at the Guitar World Online Store.
Shades of Gray: Between the death and departure of various band members, Slipknot have had a rough few years. With .5: The Gray Chapter, they channel the energy of deceased bassist Paul Gray and return with a brutal but multifaceted album.
“The future of Slipknot is always in doubt,” guitarist Jim Root says. “I always prepare for each album as if it’s gonna be the last.”
It’s a minor miracle that Slipknot have lasted as long as they have. They have nine members in their lineup, each of whom lives up to the band’s aggro metal image in one way or another, and thereby contributes to the potential for volatility.
Yet, they have endured since the group formed in Des Moines, Iowa, 19 years ago, becoming one of the heaviest and scariest bands in a genre crowded with heavy, scary acts. Some 13 years have elapsed since the band’s self-titled 2001 debut album placed them at the forefront of the then-burgeoning nu-metal scene.
“With all the different guys in the band and all the different ideas of what’s what, it’s hard to get everybody on the same page sometimes,” Root says. “We are a very tight brotherhood, but we never know what we’re going to do.”
However, nothing in Slipknot’s turbulent history has been as daunting as the death of their longtime bass player, Paul Gray, from a morphine overdose in 2010. The tragedy was compounded by the recent departure—somewhat acrimonious, apparently—of longtime drummer Joey Jordison. Because both Gray and Jordison were key songwriters for the band, Slipknot’s future has hung in the balance these past few years.
But Mick Thomson, Gray’s coguitarist, says he never really considered packing it in.
“Any devastating moment throws you into shock,” he says. “I was just hoping that no one in the band was going to get caught up in the raw emotion of the moment and make any kind of grand statement, like, ‘I will not go on without Paul.’ You say something in the heat of emotion, and sometimes later when you settle down, you think, Maybe I should take that back. Once you can think straight again, what do you do? Obviously, you gotta get on with your life. We all grieve differently. I mean, we still are grieving, every time we think about it. It’s not something you get over. You just find a way to deal with it.”
With Gray and Jordison out of the picture, the bulk of songwriting duties fell to Root on Slipknot’s new album .5: The Gray Chapter. The title pays homage to the deceased bassist, and the music remains true to Slipknot’s disturbing legacy.
Somber, sound-collage intros—generally assembled by Slipknot’s turntablist Sid Wilson, sampling maven Craig Jones and provocateur-in-chief Shawn “Clown” Crahan—lull the listener into a false sense of security. Then all hell breaks loose in a cacophony of car-bomb percussion as Root and Thomson’s down-tuned guitars chug and grind like some diabolic machine and lead singer Corey Taylor does his level best to projectile-vomit his tonsils out over his front teeth.
“Once we get in the studio, it sounds like us,” Thomson says of The Gray Chapter. “Some of it is very classic us. Some of it is slightly more experimental us.”
“We’re still evolving as a band,” Root adds. “I think that’s really important for a band to do, especially after being around for so many years. Paul, before he passed away, really wanted the band to experiment a lot more, musically, with the direction of where we’re going. We’d done Slipknot. We’d done Iowa. I think the closest thing we’ve done to a record that Paul was very excited about was probably The Subliminal Verses. It’s very diverse. It had a little bit of everything in it. And we’re still trying to find our way. For me, and for Paul’s legacy, it’s important that we continue to evolve.”
In Gray’s absence, Root and Thomson handled the majority of bass duties on the new album, although the band did some early work with Slipknot’s touring bassist Donnie Steele. “Donnie’s a great guy,” Root says. “We brought him in to help us out in the studio for a while. But it wasn’t really jivin’. He wanted to go home and get married and do all that stuff. It’s just better off for us to kinda move on from Donnie.”
The identity of the drummer on The Gray Chapter, as well as that of the bassist who will take Gray’s place once Slipknot hit the road, was still a closely guarded secret at press time.
“We’re not saying who the new drummer is,” Root confirms. “Even if people find out beyond a shadow of a doubt who the new drummer is, I think we’re always going to deny who it is. He might not last. He might tour with us a year and figure out we’re all insane and he can’t handle being around us. Or we might shut him out. Who knows? For Slipknot, I’d say drumming is only 50 or 60 percent of the job. The rest of it is who you are and what your personality is. Will you clash with guys like me, Mick, Clown, Corey, Craig and Chris? We all have these strong alpha-male personalities.”
Photo: Sean Murphy
This is an excerpt from the December 2014 issue of Guitar World. For the rest of this Slipknot story, plus features on Slash, Joe Bonamassa, Lenny Kravitz, Paul Gilbert, Motionless In White, Electric Wizard and more, including lessons, tabs and reviews of new gear from D'Angelico, Washburn, Boss, Morley, Lace Music and Carr Amps, check out the December 2014 issue at the Guitar World Online Store.
Fender has introduced its Adam Clayton Jazz Bass guitar.
From the company:
Throughout the entire phenomenal history of the band, the music of U2 has been underpinned by the gracefully muscular bass work of Adam Clayton. His impeccable groove and expansive tone form the sonic foundation of one of the biggest bands in the history of rock music, never more powerfully than today.
Fender’s Adam Clayton Jazz Bass guitar puts his rock solid sound and style in bassists’ hands, with elegant appointments and elemental tone, including two potent Fender Custom Shop pickups and a beautiful Sherwood Green Metallic gloss finish with matching headstock.
Other premium features include a maple neck with a custom “C”-shaped profile and vintage style heel truss-rod adjustment, 9.5”-radius rosewood fingerboard with 20 medium jumbo frets and white pearloid block inlays, four-ply white pearloid pickguard, vintage-style black plastic Jazz Bass control knobs, vintage-style high-mass bridge (combination string-through-body/top-load), vintage Style “lollipop” tuners and a deluxe black hard-shell case with orange interior.
“I played (my Sherwood Green 1965 Jazz Bass) a lot on the ‘All That You Can’t Leave Behind’ tour and I really love it,” said Clayton. “It had a great sound and the pickups were really, really punchy. I got Fender to clone the bass I had, but rather than make it an exact replica of my beat-up Sherwood Green bass, I said, ‘Let’s make it pretty; let’s make it as beautiful as we can and make it all new.’ So, they put this together for me. … This is a great bass. I’ve been using it on the new album and I’m going to be playing it live.”
For more information regarding the bass, visit fender.com.
Bass is more than just a guitar with two fewer strings. It has a different tone, scale length, feel and musical role, and in many cases it requires a different conceptual and technical approach.
Guitarists who are new to playing bass will often double the guitar part one octave lower. There is certainly a place for lockstep octave doubling—just listen to Aerosmith’s “Sweet Emotion,” Led Zeppelin’s “The Ocean” and Pantera’s “I’m Broken.”
But there is so much more that can be done with the bass guitar.
As a bassist who later took up guitar, I have developed 20 general guidelines that I live by when I play the bass. Apply them to the instrument, and hear your playing improve as they help you to think and play like a real bass guitarist.
1. PLAY FOR THE SONG
More often than not, solid bass playing requires that you exercise restraint and subtlety rather than showcase your technique and slick moves. In many situations, it’s best to work mostly with the root notes of the chords and lock in with the drummer’s kick and snare drums.
2. LEARN TO WALK
“Walking bass” originated in jazz and blues, but it has since been adopted in other styles. The term refers to a way of playing in which the bass line remains in perpetual motion as opposed to staying on or reiterating one note. The line “walks” from one chord’s root note up or down to the next, mostly in a quarter-note rhythm, with the occasional embellishment.
To achieve this, you use “transition notes” to smoothly connect the dots and bridge the gap between different root notes as the chords change. The transition notes can be any combination of chord tones (arpeggios), scale tones that relate to the chords, or chromatic passing tones.
In general, chord tones are the musically safest bet, as they sound harmonically consonant, while scale tones add a touch of light dissonance when heard against an underlying chord. The more chromatic notes that are used, the more dissonant the line becomes, as these notes momentarily clash with the prevailing chord. Whether this is a good thing or not is up to your discretion and instincts.
FIGURE 1 shows a stock blues walking bass line. Although the line is rhythmically animated, with staccato (short, clipped) swing eighth notes and a triplet fill at the end of each bar, it is fairly tame harmonically, as it uses mostly chord tones (the root, fifth and dominant seventh) with a brief chromatic run-up to the fifth.
By contrast, FIGURE 2 illustrates a jazz-style walking bass line played over these same two chords for which chromatic passing tones are liberally employed. Note the difference in contour between these two examples, the first being very angular and the second being smooth and rolling. Also note the use of “dead” notes (indicated by Xs in the notation), which help propel the line. These are performed by picking the string while lightly muting it with the fret hand.
When crafting a walking bass line, it’s best to land on the root note whenever there’s a chord change. If you’re staying on the same chord for several bars, it’s a good idea to play the root on the downbeat of every other bar or every fourth bar, depending on how grounded you want the line to sound.
The walking bass concept isn’t just for swing grooves and can be also employed with great results in a rock context with an even-eighths feel. Inspired by Herbie Flowers’ tasteful bass work on David Bowie’s 1974 hit, “Rebel Rebel,” FIGURE 3 is a fairly straightforward example of a great way to use scalar passing tones and fills to spice up a bass line over a repeating two-chord progression.
3. LOCK IN WITH THE DRUMMER
In a rhythm section, part of the bass guitar’s role is to function as a liaison between the drums and the rest of the band. In most cases you want to make the bass and drums sound like one entity, and a great way to do this is to craft bass lines that fit like a glove with the drummer’s kick and snare drums. Using octave root notes is often an excellent way to do this, the low octave corresponding to the kick drum and the high octave hitting with the snare, typically on beats two and four, which are also known as the backbeats.
Octaves allow you to create an active bass line with an interesting, angular melodic contour without clashing harmonically with the underlying chords, as the octave root note “agrees” perfectly with the chord.
“Grooving” doesn’t necessarily mean playing the same thing over and over. John Paul Jones’ playing throughout Led Zeppelin’s “The Lemon Song” is a perfect case in point, as he embellishes the groove and stays within the bass’ role as a support instrument for six solid minutes without repeating himself once.
4. USE OCTAVES AND FIFTHS
After the octave root, the fifth is the most harmonically agreeable note you can play. Many classic bass lines have been constructed using mostly roots, octaves and fifths as the framework. The great thing about this approach is that it allows you to create a bass line that is interesting and melodic, locks in perfectly with the drums and doesn’t clash harmonically with the underlying chords. FIGURE 4 is an example of this kind of approach, inspired by John Paul Jones’ nimble playing on Led Zeppelin’s “Thank You.”
5. TONE IS IN THE HANDS
This old adage could not ring truer for bass playing. Plucking the strings hard and near the base of the fretboard (FIGURE 5a) like Black Sabbath’s Geezer Butler makes them slap against it; plucking the strings near the bridge with just the very tips of your fingers (FIGURE 5b) lets you get that punchy Jaco Pastorius/Rocco Prestia machine-gun 16th-note attack. (Be sure to check out the video demonstrations for these musical examples on GuitarWorld.com to hear the difference in tone between them.)
You can go from a dull thud to a sharp, funky punch simply by choosing where along the string you pick it and how aggressively you hit it. Between that, your pickup selector (if your bass has one) and tone controls, you have a considerable range of tonal possibilities before the signal even hits the amp.
6. TO PICK OR NOT TO PICK?
Not all bassists use their fingers to pluck the instrument. Megadeth’s David Ellefson, Rex Brown of Pantera and Down, Yes’ Chris Squire and Paul McCartney use a pick, and John Paul Jones, the Who’s John Entwistle and Michael Anthony in his Van Halen days were known for switching from fingers to pick depending on the song. If playing with a pick works for you, go for it. I recommend the large, non-celluloid kind, such as Dunlop’s Tortex Triangle, with a thick gauge (at least 1mm).
The large surface area of the big triangle picks is well suited to the wide spacing of bass strings and will help you keep a grip on the pick. Tortex (or Delrin, depending on the manufacturer) is also sturdier than celluloid and less likely to break, and the thick, unbendable gauge will allow you to get more volume and power out of those thick strings, with less effort.
7. SINGLE-FINGER TECHNIQUE
Some record producers actually prefer having bass players use a pick because the attack is more even. But if you’re a fingerstyle player and want to achieve a more consistent attack, try using only one finger, such as the index (instead of alternating between the index and middle fingers) as much as possible. John Paul Jones copped this technique from Motown bass legend James Jamerson and made great use of it on several classic Led Zeppelin tracks, such as “Good Times Bad Times” and “Ramble On.”
8. GET YOUR TIME SOLID
Someone has to keep the tempo steady, and if the drummer can’t, than the bassist has to. The pocket depends on you, so learn how to be your own metronome. Don’t just count in 4/4—you should also feel in 8/8, especially when playing ballads, where the tendency to rush the tempo is greater. To help you land on the beat more accurately, listen to the drummer’s hi-hat or ride cymbal, not just his kick and snare drums.
9. TO FILL OR NOT TO FILL?
Fills are the little pieces of ear candy that embellish a solid bass line and help propel a song. Listen to how other bass players set up a new section, and shamelessly jack anything that grabs your ear. Playing fills that conclude one section of a song (such as a verse) and lead into the next (such as the chorus) is a great way to break monotony in a bass part and set yourself apart from whatever the guitarist is doing.
Filling is an art form in and of itself, in that there’s a fine line between adding to the song or groove and obscuring it and detracting from it. In keeping with the “bass-and-drums-as-one” concept, make your fills coincide with a drummer’s so that they sound like the same person’s idea being expressed. If a drummer plays a fill, it’s usually at the end of every second, fourth or eighth bar, so listen to the drums and pick your spots to fill accordingly. Of course, all your playing decisions should depend on the style of music you’re playing, and some styles, such as hip-hop or club music, are more about maintaining a relentless groove, with very little variation.
For examples of great fills, check out R&B/soul session players such as James Jamerson (countless Motown hits), Chuck Rainey (Aretha Franklin, Steely Dan) and Nathan Watts (especially on Stevie Wonder’s “Do I Do”), or rock players such as Rex Brown, Stone Temple Pilots’ Robert DeLeo (another Jamerson disciple) and Duff McKagan of Guns N’ Roses. And don’t let genre get in the way—just because it’s a “Motown” fill doesn’t mean it can’t be used in a rock context, and vice versa.
10. OCTAVE APPROPRIATE
Are you playing in the right register (octave)? Perhaps that cool part you came up with sounds badass played down low but may be too heavy for the mood of the song. Or perhaps it’s too high and is interfering with the vocal or guitar part. Make sure your note-range choices are right for the situation.
11. AVOID LOW-B OBSESSION
If you’re playing a five-string, don’t just play sub-E notes, as it can become annoying. It’s one thing to hit a low B or C every now and then for dramatic effect and to show everyone who’s boss, but unless you’re in a Korn or Type O Negative tribute band, don’t live there.
12. SUBSTITUTE DIFFERENT CHORD TONES
Occasionally playing the third or fifth of the underlying chord instead of its root note can radically change the whole feel of a chord progression, and when done tastefully it can add warmth or tension. This device has been used for centuries by great classical composers like Bach and Beethoven and creates what are known as chord inversions. Master pop songwriters such as Elton John and Paul McCartney use inversions, via bass line substitutions, to build their chord progressions to a harmonic climax.
Realize that the ear reckons harmony from the ground up, so as a bass player you have the power to dictate how the chord is going to sound and fundamentally change its character. FIGURE 6 is an example of a common rock chord progression for which the bass line takes a left turn (in bars 2 and 3) to create chord inversions. In the second and third bars, instead of playing the roots (shown in cue-size notes and tab numbers), the third or fifth of the chord are substituted, creating a continually ascending and more melodic bass line in the process.
It’s that grimy, funky stuff that oozes between the beats. With all due respect to hardcore prog-rock bands, for which precision is key, rock and roll has always been more about attitude and spirit.
This isn’t an excuse to be sloppy and unmusical, but more an exhortation to make low, rumbling noises and revel in it. Listen to John Paul Jones’ low-end grumble during the “Hey baby, oh baby, pretty baby” chorus section of Zeppelin’s “Black Dog” (played with a pick) or Black Sabbath’s Geezer Butler on pretty much any song. For a more modern take, check out session legend Pino Palladino’s work on D’Angelo’s Voodoo album. In some situations, it’s perfectly okay to make excessive fret noise, be a little behind the beat or slide out of a note perhaps a bit longer than you should, as long as it’s not disruptive to the music and contributes to the intended vibe.
14. SHAKE IT
I’m not talking about a long trill or extreme vibrato but literally shaking a pitch. Fret the note, pick it, then quickly slide, hammer on or pull off to another fret and back, as demonstrated in FIGURE 7. Regardless of what style you’re playing, the resulting sound is funky and adds a little extra kick to the sound of the rhythm section. Sure, guitarists can do this too, but it just doesn’t sound the same (or as good) on that little instrument.
15. USE DEAD NOTES AND RAKES
Just as you might mute the strings on your guitar with your fretting hand while you strum “chucka-chucka,” the same principle and function applies to bass, whether it’s funk (FIGURE 8) or hard rock (FIGURE 9). Rakes on a bass are executed a bit differently than on guitar: you perform them by dragging a picking finger across the strings in an upstroke, usually in a specified rhythm, as demonstrated in FIGURE 10.
16. ARTICULATION VARIATION
As a guitarist, you employ all sorts of techniques to convey your musical statements, and you can do that on bass, too. Check out session legend Will Lee’s work in Dionne Warwick’s “Déjà Vu.” Lee makes use of rakes, palm muting while picking with his thumb, slapping, and finger slides in addition to plain-old conventional fingerstyle playing (FIGURE 11). And he does it without ever interrupting the groove or getting in the way of the vocal.
17. IT’S ALL BASS
A cool bass part is a cool bass part, regardless of what instrument it was played on, be it electric bass, synth or piano, so be open to hearing new ideas. Next time you’re at that bar and hear house or club music blasting over the sound system, listen to the bass lines. No matter how far-flung it is from your preferred musical style, you can translate it to your own bass playing.
18. LESS IS MORE
Take “September,” one of Earth, Wind & Fire’s most enduring tunes. Bassist Verdine White is capable of playing so much more, but in this song his bass line is almost rudimentary. Even so, it’s funky as hell, making great use of rests and staccato phrasing—space between notes—and, without fail, people get up and move as soon as that bass line kicks in. For a more modern example, listen to Branden Campbell of Neon Trees. His lines never get more complicated than eighth notes with the rare fill, but his fat tone and solid playing more than adequately complement drummer Elaine Bradley’s grooves and help propel the songs.
19. MORE IS MORE
A master groove monster like Juan Nelson from Ben Harper’s band can lull you into a groove, then hit you with a fill like the one heard at 4:30 in “Faded,” from The Will to Live album. The groove and lick shown in FIGURE 12 draws its inspiration from this approach.
20. LET IT ALL HANG OUT
What do you want people to hear in your playing? Anger? Joy? Whatever it is, get in that zone and play it like you mean it. Whether you’re a shredder or a “feel” player, express yourself. Because if you’re not connecting with people, what’s the point?
When soloing, I try to use a balanced mix of scales, intervals and arpeggios.
Something I always struggle with is trying to incorporate arpeggios into my solos without having them sound too generic.
A lot of the common arpeggio shapes are difficult to use without sounding "cliche" or like a bad Yngwie Malmsteen clone. It might come as a surprise to players to hear that you don't have to use a sweep-picking technique to play arpeggios!
Here's an easy arpeggio shape that can be learned and incorporated into your playing relatively easily. The goal is that harmonically it's clear I'm playing the same basic arpeggio — but hopefully in a more creative way. It basically involves playing arpeggios as separate intervals "stuck together."
For example, an A minor arpeggio (A-C-E) could be viewed as a minor third interval (A - C) stuck to a major third interval (C - E). Example 1 maps out an A minor arpeggio across three octaves. Learning this example will demonstrate how to play a simple minor arpeggio in broken intervals.
When you factor in the root octave, you end up with the following interval sequence: minor 3rd (A - C), major 3rd (C - E), perfect 4th (E - A). When you play Example 1, it's easy to hear the harmony of an A minor arpeggio, but to me it sounds a lot more interesting than a straight-forward arpeggio.
Example 2 expands on this idea by combining multiple arpeggios in the key of A minor to create a more musical-sounding lick. This example outlines the following arpeggios: A Minor - G Major - F Major. Use this as a starting point and then experiment with your own ideas using my method to make your own unique sequences.
The final clip on the audio is an example of a similar lick used in an actual solo from one my own songs. I play a straight-forward E minor arpeggio, which leads into a basic pentatonic descending lick. It's simple but effective!
Will Wallner is a guitarist from England who now lives in Los Angeles. He recently signed a solo deal with Polish record label Metal Mind Productions for the release of his debut album, which features influential musicians from hard rock and heavy metal. He also is the lead guitarist for White Wizzard (Earache Records) and toured Japan, the US and Canada in 2012. Follow Will on Facebook and Twitter.
A gigantic Iceberg has been turned into the most unlikely of gig venues in the Greenland Sea, as U.K. metal band the Defiled (Nuclear Blast Records) performed on top of the floating platform for the Jägermeister Ice Cold Gig, which sees artists put to the test as they perform in unconventional, ice-cold conditions.
Braving freezing temperatures and fast-flowing ice, the group performed the special set to a host of locals from the nearby town of Kulusuk, who ventured out to the ice field to watch this once-in-a-lifetime experience from fishing boats and leisure craft.
As an internationally touring band and part of the Jägermusic program, the Defiled are used to spending long stretches on the road together, which helped prepare them for the unusual nature of this tour. Flying from the U.K. to Iceland, the group then transferred to the island town of Kulusuk, Greenland, before trekking over-land and sea to their base on the neighboring island Tasiilaq, which has a population of just over 2,000.
Prior to taking to the icy stage, Frontman Stitch D, along with keyboard player The AvD, bassist Vincent Hyde and drummer Needles spent time getting to meet local musicians and watching them perform their own traditional music, before inviting them and other residents to come and witness their unique one-off performance.
Renowned for their distinctively dark and imposing on-stage dress, which provided a stunning visual contrast to the bright white ice cold surroundings, the Defiled played a 30-minute set featuring tracks from their latest album, Daggers.
Stitch D said, “This has to be one of the most insane gigs we’ve ever played! You see these things on TV documentaries but it’s not until you get to see them in real life that you realize just how big and amazing icebergs are. Although it was cold, I don’t think any of us noticed once we got started as the stage location literally takes your breath away."
To see pictures of the Defiled taking on the Jägermeister Ice Cold Gig Challenge, visit facebook.com/JagerMusicUK.
"To you I shall put an end, then you'll never hear surf music again."— Jimi Hendrix, “Third Stone From The Sun”
Oh, Jimi … you would’ve loved this. Surf music? I’ll say! Straight from the valleys of Neptune.
With Guitar In The Space Age!, Bill Frisell and his talented friends (drummer Kenny Wolleson, bassist Tony Scherr and fellow string wizard Greg Leisz) turn the collars up on their pressurized black leather space suits and head back to the future.
The controls are set for the tunes of Frisell’s youth; the quartet’s sonic filters process the music and turn it into something very familiar and very new. As soft-spoken as Frisell is in conversation, he’s some kind of fearless adventurer with a guitar in his hands.
There’s funked-up blues (“Messin’ with the Kid”), there’s Brylcreemed sneer (“Rumble”), there’s classic twangorama (“Rebel Rouser”) and happy burble (“Cannonball Rag”). But as recognizable as it all is, there’s plenty of new ground broken as well.
Consider the band’s take on the Kinks’ “Tired of Waiting for You”; the original melody is offered up gently and wistfully … slightly psychedelicized, but straight enough for church. And then things begin to get a little glazey-eyed about three-and-a-half minutes in, wandering way off into the field of flowers as Wolleson and Scherr slo-roll-and-tumble their way along and Frisell and Leisz explore the inner soul of a tie-dyed raga.
Sure, you’ve heard “Turn, Turn, Turn,” “Surfer Girl” and “Telstar” before, but you’ve never heard them quite like this. Amongst the classics are two newly penned Frisell originals — “The Shortest Day” and “Liftoff” — totally kindred spirits.
And you know what the coolest thing of all might be? Frisell covers all this wild-ass sonic territory with a very humble and familiar vehicle … but I’ll let him tell you about it.
GUITAR WORLD: I’m pretty sure I already know the answer to this, but I want to hear the story from you. Folks might listen to this album and expect that you used an arsenal of guitars for all the ground you cover, but …
Yeah … [laughs] I ended up playing just one guitar for the whole thing. It's a Telecaster made by J.W. Black. I can't remember if I’ve told you about him before, but I met him a long time ago. He used to work for Roger Sadowsky in New York back in the Eighties, before moving out to California. He was around in the early days of the Fender Custom Shop … one of the first guys who made those relic guitars, you know? J.’s incredible … his knowledge of Fender stuff is outrageous. He’s restored many, many Fifties and Sixties vintage guitars, and I don’t think I’ve ever met anybody who knows them inside and out the way he does.
When he puts something together, it's like you’re getting to play one of those real old guitars … but everything is working right. [laughter]
J only builds for customers in Japan these days, but I’m very fortunate to have a few guitars he’s put together. The Tele I used on this album is special because it has a Bigsby vibrato on it, which is so great for this kind of music. And it has a bridge that’s made by a guy named John Woodland.
Oh, Woody. The Mastery bridge, right?
You know about them?
I put a Mastery bridge on my Esquire last year after you mentioned it to me.
Oh, cool! [laughs] I’d forgotten we’d talked about it.
It was the same thing; it seemed like the perfect bridge to try after I installed a Bigsby.
Yeah, exactly. Woody makes a Tele bridge with the Mastery saddles on it that’s open in the back so it works with the Bigsby. It’s great.
How about pickups?
Those came from a guy named Jeff Callahan in Eureka, California — Callahan Pickups. He was another guy J. hooked me up with. I’m really liking Jeff’s pickups. I have them in this Tele, and I have some in a Strat, too.
That came from this super-luxurious situation … [laughs] I went to J. Black’s place, and he had this guitar set up so I could switch out the pickups. He’d made it so that he could just slide the pickguards in and out. I tried about eight different Strat pickups that day. It was a total blind test. I didn't know what I was listening to or anything … just a couple hours of going back and forth and trying to figure out which ones I liked. The Callahan pickups just stood out like crazy.
You know … J., Woody, Jeff … I’m so lucky to know people like that.
How about amps on this album?
I had this one amp that I really like. It’s an old Gibson … oh, boy … I think it's called an Explorer. It’s real low power and one 10-inch speaker. I used that and a Carr Mercury that was in the studio. That was the thing: we recorded it in Portland, Oregon. Usually I can't even use my own amps and stuff.
You were home, then … almost. [Bill lives in Seattle.]
Yeah, almost. [laughs] It was weird, because usually it would be, “Now’s my chance,” you know — fill my car with guitars. But this time I ended up with just that Tele.
I love it. I’m a longtime champion of the versatility of the Telecaster and the Esquire … both of which are often labeled as limited in their sound.
And Greg was on a beautiful old Jazzmaster?
Yeah, he played that through the whole thing, along with pedal steel on some stuff. He played a 12-string on one song … I’m trying to think …
Oh, Lord, it had to be “Turn, Turn, Turn,” didn't it?
Yeah, just a little part in there.
Before I heard it for the first time, I wondered what the guitar voice would be on that song. The obvious was a take on Roger McGuinn’s 12-string Rick jangle, but you had very little of that.
There’s not many overdubs on the record; 99 percent of what you hear is just the four of us playing, but Greg did overdub the 12-string in a few places. It’s the only part of the record that was done in the computer age. [laughter] Some of what you hear on “Turn, Turn, Turn," though, is just our two guitars — his Jazzmaster and my Tele together.
Undoubtedly you’ve burrowed into some of these songs over the years, but were there ones that you’d never actually played before?
That was part of the thing about it: when I think back to when I first heard that music, I think, “Wait a minute. Between, say, 1963 and 1968 — a five-year period — the amount of music I was moving through and moving past … wow.” [laughs] I mean, like, going from the Ventures to Miles Davis in five years … there’s no way I could play all of those songs.
I kind of played some of it, but I had barely figured out how to push down the strings and then I’d be moving onto something else … push it away and move on to the next thing … really quickly.
So now it’s like, “Oh, wait a minute — I want to look harder at this stuff that got me going in the beginning.” Like “Pipeline” … or “Baha” by the Astronauts? Those were songs that got me super fired up about the guitar way, way back — and I could never play them then.
Now I’m trying to play “Baha,” going “Whoa, whoa, wait a second … this is a lot harder than I thought it was.” That happened with a lot of these songs.
When I did the John Lennon album, that was another revelation: “Wait a minute … I don't know these songs at all.” There’s all kinds of stuff in there that you start uncovering and, man …
I think that’s the same thing with, say, Duane Eddy’s playing. You listen to “Rebel Rouser” and, on the surface, I think some folks think it’s relatively simple. But it's the tone and phrasing … not a million-notes-a-minute.
Yeah, there’s so much more than just whatever the notes are. And we didn't even do “Rebel Rouser” the way Duane Eddy does it; he’s changing keys every time through and we didn't do that. [laughs] That would’ve made it way harder. [laughter]
There’s so much in this music. For me, it just keeps on going and going and going …
A former offshore lobsterman, Brian Robbins had to wait a good four decades or so to write about the stuff he wanted to when he was 15. Today he’s a freelance scribe, cartoonist, photographer and musician. His home on the worldwide inner tube is at brian-robbins.com (And there’s that Facebook thing too.)
Dave Grohl & Co., also known as Foo Fighters, have premiered "Something from Nothing," the first song from their new album, Sonic Highways.
The album, which will be released worldwide November 10, was recorded in eight studios in eight different American cities. It will be previewed in a new HBO documentary series, directed by Grohl, called Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways that will premiere tomorrow night, October 17.
"Something From Nothing," which you can hear below, was recorded at Steve Albini's Electrical Audio studio in Chicago.
The TV series chronicles the making of Sonic Highways through interviews and collaborations with local artists in each city (Chicago, Austin, New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Nashville, New Orleans, Washington, D.C.). Artists such as Fugazi/Minor Threat's Ian MacKaye, Beastie Boys' Mike D, Public Enemy's Chuck D, Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme, the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, Willie Nelson and Joan Jett are interviewed.
Check out the song below and let us know what you think in the comments or on Facebook!
Here’s a fun slappin’, tappin’ acoustic performance by 15-year-old guitarist Sarah Command.
She's playing “Tight Trite Night” originally by Don Ross.
Hailing from Alberta, Canada, Sarah is one half of the duo the Command Sisters. We were introduced to them earlier this year when Sarah covered songs by Joe Satriani and Andy McKee.
The song was originally on Ross' 1999 Passion Session album 1999. It also has been covered by McKee.
The Command Sisters were winners of the John Lennon Bus Songwriting Contest (“Take Me Home"/"The Alberta Song”) and were asked to perform at the Main Stage at NAMM in Anaheim in 2014.
While there, the Sisters performed at the She Rocks Awards (honoring Sheila E, Janie Hendrix and other women in music). They were seen at the Sundance Film Fest in January; Charlotte and Sarah also were honored to be chosen to perform for Jowi Taylor's 6String Nation in February.
Summer festivals included Boots & Hearts, Cavendish and Blueberry. The Commands have just announced that they are finalists in the Canada's Walk of Fame Emerging Artists Mentorship program and have been invited by the Canadian Consulate and Shanghai International Arts Festival to perform five shows in Shanghai CHINA this month.
Find out more at thecommandsisters.com.
Canadian hard-rock band Theory of a Deadman released their latest album, Savages, earlier this year via Roadrunner Records.
Today, the band has teamed up with RevolverMag.com and GuitarWorld.com to premiere their new music video for the title track, which features a guest appearance from Alice Cooper.
Check it out below and, as always, let us know what you think in the comments or on Facebook!