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    These videos and audio files are bonus content related to the Holiday 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.

    When PRS introduced its SE Series in the late Nineties, SE stood for “Student Edition.”

    Somewhere along the way that changed to “Special Edition,” but with the recent expansion of the SE line to 19 different electric guitar models (in addition to SE acoustic guitars, basses and amps), PRS should consider changing the meaning to “Something for Everybody.” A perfect example of that is the new PRS SE “Floyd” Custom 24.

    Introduced at the same time as flagship PRS Series “Floyd” Custom 24 model, the SE version offers an affordable alternative with a similar general vibe and design for players who can’t afford to drop more than three grand on a guitar.

    Introduced in 1985, the Custom 24 is one of the greatest classic guitars of the past three decades. While many players love the original design of the PRS Tremolo featured on the Custom 24 all of these years, there is a legion of guitarists who are equally devoted to the Floyd Rose double-locking tremolo.

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    Here are two musical titans teaming up for a moving rendition of this Pink Floyd standard.

    It’s Roger Waters with Eric Clapton performing “Wish You Were Here.”

    The clip was originally broadcasted during an NBC fundraising program to benefit those effected by the December 26, 2004, tsunami that struck the Indian Ocean region.

    The tsunami killed more than 230,000 people and is regarded as one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history. In the days and weeks following the disaster, many musicians came forth to encourage donations to the Red Cross.

    This performance is especially special, as it offers the chance to see Clapton soloing over this classic Floyd progression. Thumbs up for the backup singers too!

    “Wish You Were Here” appears on Pink Floyd’s 1975 release of the same name. The band recently premiered the latest song from their new album, The Endless River, and you can listen here.

    Find out more at pinkfloyd.com and ericclapton.com.

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    Is that Blackmore's Night?

    Well, no. It's actually a Belarusian band called Stary Olsa performing a live medieval folk-style cover of Metallica's "One."

    Check out the video below and tell us what you think in the comments or on Facebook!

    For more about Stary Olsa, visit staryolsa.com. For less about Stary Olsa, do not visit that website.

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    Here’s something fresh to add a bit of awesomeness to your day.

    It’s Little & Ashley’s new song “Wrapped in Your Melody” from their upcoming release Dreamy Happy Sexy due out November 18.

    Hailing from Los Angeles, this indie pop duo is comprised of Annie Little and Marcus Ashley, and may be best known from the Amazon Kindle television commercials that featured four of their singles including “Stole My Heart” and “Fly Me Away.”

    Now we’re lucky enough to preview “Wrapped in Your Melody.”

    The vulnerability of the lyric is echoed in the delicate accompaniment and grabbing vocal delivery. The song artfully builds with further instrumentation and fabulous harmonies. This song is like a breath of summer air after a long cold winter.

    Little & Ashley have shared a lovely gem with “Wrapped in Your Melody,” one to cherish and play over and over. It’s the perfect musical valentine.

    Marcus Ashley shares, “‘Wrapped' came from Annie and I just sitting around one day, jamming on the acoustics. She was playing some basic chords and I started noodling with that lead riff. All of a sudden it just locked in - we instantly liked it and knew we had a song there. It's amazing how sometimes the simplest pieces, when you put them together, can just sound so pretty. And it had a real mood, evoking a feeling even without words - the lyrics and melody grew out of that.”

    I just got a chill!

    Listen here:

    Dreamy Happy Sexy will include 12 new songs in addition to re-mastered versions of 3 of the songs Amazon licensed, including “Stole My Heart” which went on to become Amazon.com’s #1 free MP3 download of 2010. The album’s first single “Life Is Beautiful” was released along with a new dance remix of “Stole My Heart” on October 21st, 2014.

    Little & Ashley will be performing songs from their album “Dreamy Happy Sexy” on November 6th at The Hotel Café in Los Angeles.

    The duo has a unique sound that has been described as mixtape-perfection. Their sound is sunny and flowing, with pop guitar hooks and dreamy textures that make for a windows rolled down, warm weather soundtrack. This description holds true for the album’s first single “Life Is Beautiful,” a song inspired by a drive up the California Pacific Coast Highway. Says co-writer Marcus, “When we wrote the lyrics ‘silver highways / roll away / sometimes I feel so heavy / but not today,' I felt like it captured something and the energy of the music lifts it to a place words alone can't go.”

    Watch their famous Kindle commercial here:

    Their talents extend past their musical partnership. Annie, who is also an actress, is most recognized from the Amazon Kindle commercials along with a variety of TV shows and movies including “Mad Men”, “Desperate Housewives”, and “Dexter”, and can be seen in the Best Picture Oscar winner “Argo”, directed by Ben Affleck. Marcus is sponsored by Gibson Guitars and in addition to Little & Ashley, he has licensed numerous compositions as a solo artist. Marcus is also an actor and has guest starred on TV shows “Justified”, “Bones”, and “CSI: NY.” Annie and Marcus married in 2011 and welcomed their first child in 2013. They live in Los Angeles where they also write and record their music.

    Pre-order Dreamy Happy Sexy here: http://geni.us/littleandashley You're gonna want this. Trust me!

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    Tonight, DIRECTV will air Slash Featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators Live from the Sunset Strip, a 90-minute special that captures highlights of the guitar legend's recent show at the Roxy in West Hollywood.

    Below, you can check out two pro-shot clips from the show. Enjoy live performances of "Nightrain" (top video) and "Bent to Fly" (middle).

    The show, which airs 9 p.m. today (November 7) on DIRECTV (channel 239), brings a rock legend back to the stages where his career began: the Sunset Strip. It was filmed in 4k and 5.1 surround sound and includes songs from his 2014 album, World on Fire, plus a host of classic Guns N’ Roses and Velvet Revolver tunes.

    While we're on the topic of Slash, note that a new documentary titled Slash: Raised on the Sunset Strip, is set to air November 13. The film, which was directed by Martyn Atkins, takes viewers into the studio with the guitarist, combining new and archival footage with interviews from artists and colleagues who influenced his career.

    It features appearances by Dave Grohl, Alice Cooper, Joe Perry, Nikki Six, Duff McKagan, Steven Alder, Matt Sorum, Jerry Cantrell, Lemmy, Dave Mustaine, Marc Canter, Alan Niven and more. You can watch a trailer of the film below (the bottom clip).

    Anyway, enjoy this healthy dose of Slash, and tune in tonight for more!

    "Nightrain" from Live from the Sunset Strip:

    "Bent to Fly" from Live from the Sunset Strip:

    Slash: Raised on the Sunset Strip Trailer:

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    These videos and audio files are bonus content related to the Holiday 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.

    Someone could write a PhD thesis on Mesa/Boogie’s scores of user-interfaced tone-shaping circuits and their permutable effects.

    The simplest, most powerful and iconic of these innovative tools is undoubtedly Mesa’s five-band graphic equalizer. Developed by Randall Smith in the early Seventies, the circuit features a quintet of frequency sliders that lets players morph a Mesa amp’s response far beyond what can be achieved with the tone knobs alone.

    It’s most often utilized to achieve the supercharged mid-scooped tonal curves that have forged the distinctive sound of hard rock and metal guitar.

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    These videos and audio files are bonus content related to the Holiday 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.

    In this month’s column, I’d like to discuss the diminished scale, which is a very useful scale for writing heavy, twisted-sounding riffs.

    In fact, I used it for the primary riffs in the title track from the latest Revocation release, Deathless. There are two forms, or modes, of the diminished scale. One ascends in a repeating pattern of whole steps and half steps (whole, half, whole, half, and so on) and is referred to as the whole-half diminished scale.

    The other form starts with a half step and ascends half, whole, half, whole, and so on, and is referred to as the half-whole diminished scale.

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    Foo Fighters have premiered two more songs from their ever-more-interesting-sounding new album, Sonic Highways.

    Below, you can explore "What Did I Do?/God As My Witness," which they recorded during their visit to Austin. Below that, you'll find "Outside," which was recorded at Rancho De La Luna in Joshua Tree, California. The album version of the track features the Eagles' Joe Walsh on guitar.

    Sonic Highways, the band's eighth studio album, will be released November 10. Besides Walsh, the album features guest appearances from Death Cab For Cutie's Ben Gibbard, Cheap Trick's Rick Nielsen and several others.

    "We like the way our band sounds, naturally," drummer Taylor Hawkins told NME. "I want drums to sound like drums, as opposed to a drum machine. We kept it as humanly perfect as possible but nothing more. It's as perfect as we can be, which is not perfect."

    As always, check out the new songs and tell us what you think in the comments or on Facebook!

    FOO FIGHTERS: "What Did I Do? / God As My Witness"

    FOO FIGHTERS: "Outside" (BBC Maida Vale Session)

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    Here's a surprise in the best possible way!

    Jinx's new single "Alive" expertly combines hip-hop, pop, and acoustic guitar for this ebulliently triumphant song. Clappin', slappin', rappin' and acoustic guitar. And some excellently positive lyrics. I simply love everything about it.

    You'll need to wait a few seconds for the awesomeness to kick in. But don't give up!

    This video for the song was directed by Jon Jon Augustavo, who directed Macklemore's "Thrift Shop,""Can't Hold Us," and "Same Love" music videos.

    Derrick Jenkins is a great rapper-but don't let him hear you calling him that. Known by most as Jinx, the Massachusetts native wants you to know that he's never going to limit himself to just one genre.

    Jinx's determination to explore every single type of sound that interests him is apparent from the first time you listen to "Alive." It's an uplifting tune, as its title may reveal, with a catchy guitar intro, soaring gang-vocal-infused chorus, and consistent rhythm throughout. "Alive" marks the beginning of the newest phase of Jinx's long, weaving journey through music.

    For the past two years, Jinx has been hard at work crafting new material, while perfecting his live show. Jinx is no stranger to the road, opening for Allen Stone earlier this year and previously touring in direct support to Wiz Khalifa and Nappy Roots. He takes cues and molds his live show to be as entertaining as possible, based on a diverse array of influences such as Queen, Billy Joel, Michael Jackson and more.

    With the hype surrounding "Alive" at an all-time high, Jinx has plans to keep up the momentum with new tracks set to drop in the near future. The additional releases will lead into Jinx's highly anticipated debut album in 2015.

    Looking forward to his new material, Jinx explains, "I've been doing this music thing for most of my life...I can't imagine a world where I wouldn't want to be doing exactly what I want with it. I just hope people listen, give it a chance and hear the music."

    For updates, please visit: http://www.jinxuniverse.com/

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    Today, GuitarWorld.com presents the exclusive premiere of a new music video from Tampa-based pop-rock band Miggs.

    The track, "Walls Come Down," is from the band's upcoming sixth studio album, which set to release in early 2015.

    Miggs was started just over a decade ago by vocalist/guitarist Don Miggs, who owns around 500 guitars, several of which were used while recording "Walls Come Down."

    "We needed a true Tele sound for the verses so we used my 1961 Fender Tele," Miggs said. "It's the same guitar used to record 'Pretty Woman.' Not the same model — the same actual guitar.

    "When I was doubling the funky verses, I used my 1971 Fender Strat that was owned by Dan Hartman. He used to write 'Free Ride,' which was made famous by the Edgar Winter Group. Fun fact: He claimed no one ever played that riff the way he wrote it.

    "For the choruses, we wanted the guitar lines to cut through, so John used my 1953 Les Paul Custom with Bigsby, made famous by Neil Young. For extra good luck, we added the 1977 Fender Thinline I bought from Pete Klett from Candlebox. For John's epic solo at the end, he chose my 1959 Fender Jazzmaster, which sounds like heaven and hell combined. Perfection.

    "There's lots of guitar history in that track. Here's hoping the magic rubbed off!"

    For more about Miggs' guitars, head here. For more about Miggs (the band), visit miggsmusic.com.

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    Los Angeles-based human comic Dan Braswell recently created and posted an entertaining three-minute video called "Too Many Guitars," and, well, here it is!

    Our take on it? It's not without its charm!

    The video stars Braswell (the main guy with the blue Strat-type thing) with Mark Sipka, Seth Allison, Ben Leddick, Michael J. Sielaff and Corey Taft (One wonders if Taft is related to full-figured former U.S. president William Howard Taft. Maybe Braswell can let us know).

    The music in the video is by Braswell with help from Jeff Braine and Sielaff, who also appears in the clip.

    As we usually say at this point in the story, check it out and let us know what you think in the comments below or on Facebook! Either way, buy more guitars!

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    Last night, rock legend Jimmy Page appeared on Late Show with David Letterman to discuss his new book, simply titled Jimmy Page, his double-neck Gibson guitar and the latest batch of Led Zeppelin reissues.

    You can check it out below.

    While we're on the topic ... Page appears on the cover of the all-new Holiday 2014 issue of Guitar World magazine. This time around, Page discusses the new versions of Led Zeppelin IV and Houses of the Holy, both of which were released late last month and are climbing the charts as we speak. You can check out the new issue of GW right here.

    On November 12, Page will appear at the Theatre at Ace Hotel in Los Angeles for "An Evening with Jimmy Page In Conversation with Chris Cornell." If you'd like to try your hand at snagging tickets, step right this way.

    For more on Page's new book, head in this general direction.

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    As part of their effort to create an official documentary about guitarist Shawn Lane (1963-2003), husband-and-wife filmmakers Scottie and Loren Mack have launched a crowd-funding campaign through indiegogo.com.

    Lane, who was known as "the Memphis Monster," possessed an amazing combination of technique and musicality, and his influence is still being felt among modern shredders around the world.

    This project has the full backing and approval of the Shawn Lane estate and family, all of whom want to see Lane’s story told properly.

    The film will provide a behind-the-scenes look at Lane, his music and his life, as detailed by his family, friends and a host of guitarists and other musicians, including Jason Becker, Nita Strauss, Dave Reffett, Glenn Proudfoot (See Proudfoot's Lane-inspired lessons under RELATED CONTENT), Rusty Cooley, Annie "Shred" Grunwald, Per Nilsson, Todd Duane, Milan Polak, Xander Demos, Alex Masi, Jasun Tipton, Kelly Sundown Carpenter and more.

    An email address, shawnlanedoc@gmail.com, has been set up for anyone (and that means you) to submit stories, photos or videos with some sort of Lane-related content.

    This is a film with ambitious goals. It will not be simply about Lane’s playing; it also will feature some of the greatest modern shred guitarists in the world offering their perspectives on Lane, his place in history and his impact. Everyone who has agreed to appear in the film has been gracious, humble and eager to pay tribute. They believe the time has come to preserve Lane's legacy.

    While the project is long on content, stories, family, friends and talent, it is short on funding. To that end, the filmmakers are hoping their Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign can help make this film a reality.

    To contribute to the project, see the various levels of perks and learn more about the film, visit its page on indiegogo.com.

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    (Old-guy impersonation) Back in the day, when I'd walk 20 miles in 5 feet of snow to a session ...

    Things have changed a bit. Not much. But that little bit can really get to you.

    In the Seventies and Eighties, sessions were booked using a service. The service had access to musicians. The service called/beeped the musicians, who'd call back the service to find out when and where the session was to see if they were available. If not, it didn't always mean you couldn't do the session and would be replaced, but many times it did. That's how we were booked for sessions.

    Move up 30 years. Here's how you get a call for a session: You check your email, phone and texts. Facebook Messenger. Even Twitter. And my website. Recordings come in most often from clients you've previously worked with. But new ones are always being referred.

    How accessible are you? I check all the above-mentioned contact areas frequently throughout the day. Why? Why not limit your availability and check them all once in the morning and once at night? Competition, that's why! Allow me to explain.

    I recently did a session for a Canadian client in India. He used musicians from many parts of the world. I somehow got called to play guitar. I know there were at least two other guitarists used on the project. He was just looking for something else for a few songs. I was contacted through my website; he sent a track and a chart, and off I went. He liked it enough to send another. And another. I ended up playing on six songs.

    Then he asked about vocalists I might know who could add backing vocals to a song or two. I am called "the Ronettes" in a few circles. I'm not sure about my lead-vocal tone, but I'm a killer backing vocalist! I learned by listening to Todd Rundgren and knowing theory. Anyway, I sang on a few and even added keyboards to two songs. All done. Project and artist fly to Canada to mix with a Juno-winning mixer.

    Here's where things get interesting; it's the part about being ready for anything.

    They start working, and the mix engineer isn't happy with some guitar tracks. They weren't laying in the pocket the way he would've liked, and the artist didn't hear it while he was tracking. The tracks belong to a different guitarist. He liked my tracks on other songs, so they called me to fix and replay the parts. But I'm in the middle of other recordings, totally swamped, with a vacation looming. But they have the big-money mixer and studio booked and working. What do you do when the text comes in and you can't even see straight? Say no to a four-time Juno-winning producer who never heard of you but likes your playing? He wants you to save the day, and the only answer is "sure"!

    I ended up playing on an additional few songs and adding backing vocals to a few more. I also was asked my opinion on the mixes. Of course, by day three of sneaking in all this work (approximately 17 hours), I was pretty spent ... but happy. Saying no in this situation wasn't going to happen. I knew there were other guitarists available. Competition.

    Here was someone new and established, and I was able to prove myself. I also had some technical problems half way through, but I had backups. You need your backups: amps, guitars, mics, entire recording setups. I have a laptop and a small converter all ready to go in case my studio goes down.

    You need to be ready for anything and willing to put your life on hold ... and able to deliver the goods well played, well recorded and fast.

    Got it?

    Ron Zabrocki is a session guitarist from New York, now living in Connecticut. Says Ron: "I started playing at age 6, sight reading right off the bat. That’s how I was taught, so I just thought everyone started that way. I could sight read anything within a few years, and that helped me become a session guy later in life. I took lessons from anyone I could find and had some wonderful instructors, including John Scofield, Joe Pass and Alan DeMausse. I’ve played several jingle sessions (and have written a few along the way). I’ve “ghosted” for a few people who shall remain nameless, but they get the credit and I get the money! I’ve played sessions in every style, from pop to jazz.

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    Vocalist/guitarist Michael Sweet of Stryper and guitarist George Lynch of Lynch Mob/Dokken have teamed up to form Sweet & Lynch.

    Joining them are bassist James Lomenzo and drummer Brian Tichy. The band will release their debut album, Only to Rise, in North America January 27 via Frontiers Music SRL.

    Sweet & Lynch recently launched a pre-order for the new album via PledgeMusic. The pre-order features various bundle packages for fans and is live at pledgemusic.com.

    "When I was approached to help put together an all-star lineup, instantly I thought of George Lynch,” Sweet says. “George is one of the most talented guitarists out there and a ‘bucket list’ player for me. George wrote riffs/basic ideas and I wrote melodies, lyrics and arranged and completed the songs.

    "I knew that we would compliment each other's style. When you add the amazing rhythm section of Brian Tichy and James Lomenzo, you just can't go wrong with this lineup. It really is a special project and I'm honored to be a part of it!"

    Plans are being worked out for Sweet & Lynch to play a few live shows in the spring. More information will be announced in the near future. If the past records of these four musicians are any indication, no fan will want to miss these shows.

    For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/SweetLynch

    Only to Rise Track List:

    01 The Wish
    02 Dying Rose
    03 Love Stays
    04 Time Will Tell
    05 Rescue Me
    06 Me Without You
    07 Recover
    08 Divine
    09 September
    10 Strength In Numbers
    11 Hero-Zero
    12 Only To Rise

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    In this cool video Mark Knopfler shares some insight into his flat picking and finger style techniques.

    Knopfler takes the time to go through his motions step by step and make suggestions for players that might want to follow in his footsteps (or finger-plucks?).

    He patiently shares a few gems of wisdom, and, of course, plays for a bit, too!

    Knopler, is perhaps best known as the lead guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter for the rock band Dire Straits. With hits like “Sultans of Swing,” “Money For Nothing,” and “Walk of Life.”

    Since Dire Straits disbanded in 1995, Knopfler has recorded and produced seven solo albums, and, as with his previous band, produced many hit songs.He has composed and produced film scores for eight films, including Local Hero (1983), Cal (1984), The Princess Bride (1987), and Wag the Dog (1997).

    See what he’s up to now at www.markknopfler.com

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    Today we’re happy to give you an exclusive song premiere from Bay Area folk band, Great Spirit.

    “Pretend With Me” contains all the ingredients for folk-rock greatness with an old-timey appeal.

    The band calls their sound “Cosmic Mountain Folk Grass,” and after a listen to this track you can hear why.

    Banjos, acoustic guitars and light percussion swirl beneath lyrics that touch on what guitarist/vocalist Tom Conneely describes as “leaving what you have always known and moving on toward the unknown.”

    He continues, “The initial phrase ‘pretend with me’ shot through my head while driving down 101 south on my way toward LA to meet up with a friend. It developed from there on my bedroom floor days later. I can only hope it means many different things to the listener.”

    The band’s upcoming release, Front Porch to Frontier, is out January 13, 2015. Until then, enjoy “Pretend With Me”!

    Find about more about the band here.

    Great Spirit is a unique culmination of a wide-variety of musical influences, from The Flaming Lips to Tony Rice and beyond. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Great Spirit combines poetic lyricism with equal parts folk-rock, bluegrass and funk to form a genre uniquely its own and reflect the pervasiveness of the Northern California landscape in which all three members of Great Spirit were raised.

    Their debut album Front Porch to Frontier readily touches on the archetypal nature of the landscape – in homage to the greater mystery that encompasses it. Front Porch to Frontier combines tasteful blends of musical ability with distinctive, original songwriting showcasing an honest portrait of the people that compose the band itself.

    Tom, Will, and Peter laid out a rough plan to record an album while attending a Bluegrass festival. Days later the group emerged from the studio with Front Porch to Frontier and followed up the recording session with a run of shows up and down the California coast. What started as a short run of five shows in three days, snowballed into an ongoing tour through the West Coast.

    Great Spirit is composed of Tom Conneely, Will Durkee and Peter Domenici. Together they share a common musical ground with each drawing from a wide range of unique influences, including Bluegrass and spirit animals; Compassion triangles and Lone Ranger. With Front Porch to Frontier on the way on (out January 13, 2015) and plenty of shows on the horizon, Great Spirit will be seeing you soon.

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    Here's a behind-the-scenes video from our fun 2015 Guitar World Review Guide photo shoot!

    The hot new Review Guide is available now at the Guitar World Online Store.

    "Every year since we began putting together the Review Guide, we’ve kept mental notes on some of the most popular Playmates who nail it every time they handle the incredible amount of gear we throw at them," says Paul Riario, the Review Guide's editor-in-chief. "For this issue, we thought it would be a novel idea to bring back some of our favorites.

    "Now, if I had a choice, I’d have assembled a small army of these lovely ladies, but alas, necessity required that we narrow our choices down to a few.

    "After poring through countless pictures, we picked Raquel Pomplun, Playboy’s Playmate of the Year 2013, Pamela Horton, Playboy’s Miss October 2012, and Jaclyn Swedberg, Playboy’s Playmate of the Year 2012, as the attractive all-stars who would come out to play for our 2015 Guitar World Review Guide.

    "It probably goes without saying, but this was one very happy reunion. As you’ll see in the guide (and in the behind-the-scenes video below), the girls dressed in shredded concert tees and taught us a thing or two on how to rock out with some of the newest guitars, coolest basses, one-of-a-kind acoustics, trippy effects, loud amps and so much more.

    "As always, the Review Guide includes plenty of sneak previews of upcoming gear, along with concise reviews of the best guitars, amps, effects, recording hardware and software and accessories, all of it selected from the pages of Guitar World. With all this information at your fingertips, you’ll find it easier than ever to make the right choice about your next gear purchase.

    "In addition, we also feature our biannual Model Search Contest with our three winners— Nikki Stringfield, Tatyana Kalinicheva and Yvi Wylde—who are not only beautiful ladies but accomplished guitarists as well."

    The 2015 Guitar World Review Guide is available now at the Guitar World Online Store for $7.99!

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    The limited-edition Eddie Van Halen Guitar World Box Set includes all four Guitar World February 2009 issues, each of which has a unique cover photo featuring Eddie Van Halen with a different version of his new EVH Wolfgang guitar.

    The issue contains an in-depth feature in which Van Halen talks about the lengthy process of designing and building the guitar. The box set also comes with a CD-ROM that includes a video interview with Eddie, plus two EVH picks -- all presented in a collectible envelope.

    You won't find a box set like this anywhere else. This rockin' package is a $40 value, but we're giving it to you for the low cost of $22.49!

    These won't last long, so ORDER NOW! It's the perfect collector's item or gift for Van Halen fans.

    The box set is available now at the Guitar World Online Store.

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    Just as an overworked John Lennon and Paul McCartney came up with an overnight masterpiece in 1964 with "A Hard Day's Night" amid a stressful filming and recording schedule, the Beatles responded to time constraints in 1965 with another monumental step forward called Rubber Soul.

    When the band finished recording Help! in mid-June (after filming yet another feature film), they took off on a tour of Spain, France and Italy that lasted till early July, followed by a show in Blackpool and another tour of the U.S. and Canada in August.

    Their U.S. trip included another Ed Sullivan Show appearance, their first Shea Stadium show and a return to the Hollywood Bowl — not to mention mingling with Bob Dylan, the Supremes, Elvis Presley — and LSD (although McCartney waited another year before giving in to the drug). The band returned to England in September and had about a month to prepare material for a new album, which had to hit the record shops in time for Christmas.

    They had help from several new instruments that had found their way into The Beatles' camp. These included Harrison's new 1965 Rickenbacker 360-12 with updated, rounded-edge cutaways, which he had acquired during a tour stop in Minneapolis and used on "If I Needed Someone," and George Harrison and Lennon's matching Sonic Blue 1961 Fender Stratocasters with rosewood fretboards. These two Strats marked the Beatles' entry into the world of Fender.

    "I decided I'd get a Strat, and John decided he'd get one too," Harrison said. "So we sent out our roadie, Mal Evans … and he came back with two of them, pale blue ones. Straight away we used them on the album we were making at the time, Rubber Soul." Although the Strats can be heard throughout the album, they are most noticeable on "Nowhere Man." The serial number on Harrison's Strat is 83840, which dates it to late 1961.

    McCartney had turned to his latest acquisition, a Rickenbacker 4001S bass, as his main bass for the Rubber Soul sessions. He had received the bass when Rickenbacker's Francis C. Hall, who had visited the band in New York in 1964 with several models for the band to choose from, visited the band in Los Angeles in August 1965 with his son John and only one model — a left-handed Fireglo 4001S for McCartney.

    Other instruments included a cheap sitar Harrison bought at a London shop after being intrigued by the Indian musicians on the set of "Help!"; it is most famously heard on "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)." Harrison and Lennon's Gibson J-160E models returned, as did Lennon's 1964 Rickenbacker 325 Capri, Lennon's Framus Hootenanny acoustic (which was mostly played by Harrison at this point) and Harrison's Gretsch Tennessean.

    McCartney used his 1962 Epiphone Casino and Epiphone Texan acoustic, both of which he still performs with today, and his 1963 Hofner 500/1 bass. McCartney played through a Vox AC100 amp and a Fender Bassman while Lennon and Harrison played through Vox AC30 and AC100 guitar amps.

    As it turned out, the song-hungry band already had one song in the can, "Wait," a leftover from the Help! sessions that was recorded on June 17. Actual sessions for Rubber Soul began October 12 with "Run For Your Life," a hastily written rockabilly number by Lennon, which borrows two lines from Presley's "Baby Let's Play House" and features at least one out-of-tune guitar.

    Things improved the next day with McCartney's "Drive My Car," the product of the first Beatles session to extend past midnight. The song's bottom-heavy American R&B feel is the result of Harrison's infatuation with Otis Redding's 1965 hit single, "Respect" (later covered by Aretha Franklin). Harrison plays a Donald "Duck" Dunn-esque bass line on his Strat while McCartney doubles him on the Rickenbacker bass. McCartney also plays his first lead guitar break as a Beatle, delivering a funky slide solo via his Epiphone Casino.

    Just as he did on Help!, Harrison contributed two songs to Rubber Soul— "If I Needed Someone" and "Think For Yourself." The former features Harrison playing his 1965 Rickenbacker 360-12 with a capo on the seventh fret, with Harrison borrowing heavily from Jim McGuinn, who played a similar figure on the Byrds'"The Bells of Rhymney" and "She Don't Care About Time," although such a figure also gives the song a droning effect, common to Indian music, which Harrison was discovering.

    McCartney's bass line foreshadows his brilliant bass work on Revolver and "Rain"; the composition leaves the door open to many bass possibilities, but McCartney chooses to arpeggiate upward through a twelfth, as heard on the verses. The bass' solid maple body gives it a punchier, clearer tone, which can be heard on this song and the rest of the album.

    "Think For Yourself" is notable for its two bass parts, both played by McCartney. One is played through the Vox AC100 bass amp; the other — credited as a "fuzz bass" on the album sleeve — was recorded direct through a distortion box. Ken Townsend, a former Abbey Road technician, has stated that EMI, which owned the studio, built their own distortion devices, which the Beatles would often use. However, it is possible McCartney was using a prototype Vox Tone Bender, which Dick Denney of Vox said were delivered to the Beatles in early 1965.

    With Rubber Soul, the Beatles seriously broadened their sound, responding to their diverse influences and thinking well outside the box instrumentally.

    The album also featured homespun recording innovations, including George Martin recording the "harpsichord" solo on "In My Life" at half speed — on a piano, then speeding it up when mixing. Other innovations include the use of electronic sound processing, especially the compressed and heavily equalized piano part on "The Word."


    Recorded: June 17, October 12-13, 16, 18, 21-22, November 3-4, 8, 10-11, 1965

    Location: Abbey Road Studio Two

    Released: December 3, 1965

    Track Listing:

    Drive My Car
    Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)
    You Won't See Me
    Nowhere Man
    Think For Yourself
    The Word
    What Goes On
    I'm Looking Through You
    In My Life
    If I Needed Someone
    Run for Your Life

    Yeah, Yeah ...

    "Girl": This beautiful, continental-sounding track (Lennon's answer to "Michelle," perhaps?) features Lennon's Gibson J-160E capoed at the eighth fret to make it sound like a bazuki, thus adding to the song's European flavor.

    … No

    "Run For Your Life": This simple — in almost all respects — and hastily written Lennon tune would've been more at home on Beatles For Sale or Help! Lennon wasn't exactly fond of it, either.

    Damian Fanelli is the online managing editor at Guitar World.

    Photo: thebeatles.com

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