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    Is your lifelong dream to own a custom Martin Guitar?

    Then this game is for you!

    It’s also ending on December 31st so don’t just sit there!

    Martin's Dream Inside The Box game gives you the chance to create your own custom Martin Guitar with a retail value of $10,000! Yes, you read that right.

    You can also win other instant game prizes like a 000X1AE, LXM, Martin gear kits, and SP Lifespan strings.

    So how do you play? Head to a participating dealer and purchase a set of SP or SP Lifespan strings. Inside you will find your game piece and instructions on how to play.

    You can find a participating dealer here. Good luck!

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    Are you on the search for your first guitar?

    Or are you searching for a new guitar to add to your ever-growing collection?

    A Martin guitar is always the right answer.

    On the Martin Guitar website, you can narrow your search based on price range, wood, body type or size, and series.

    Once you find your perfect match, you can head over to our “Find A Dealer” section to locate where you can test drive and purchase this oh-so-perfect Martin!

    Whether you are a beginner or guitar aficionado, begin the search for your Martin guitar here.

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    It’s December! Which means the holidays are a few short weeks away.

    If you are one of those last minute shoppers, you most likely still have plenty of friends on your gifting list to cross off.

    So we at Martin Guitar thought we’d give you a hand.

    The Martin book guide is perfect for the guitar enthusiast or history buff. Our stocking stuffers are great for Martin lovers of all ages!

    Our holiday gift bags are perfect for the guitar aficionado or the Martin Owners Club Member on your list. Includes items such as: a guitar strap, keychain, hat, and more.

    To ensure delivery by December 24th, please place your 1833 Shop order by December 11th.

    To view all our holiday gift guides, click here.

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    Martin Guitar’s Vice President of Brand Marketing, Amani Duncan, will be honored at the third annual She Rocks Awards.

    The awards will take place on January 23, 2015 during the NAMM Show.

    The She Rocks Awards pay tribute to women who display leadership and stand out within the music industry. It has been a highlighted event at the last three NAMM Shows.

    Amani is a seventeen-year music industry veteran who has experience in everything from artist relations to visual marketing, campaign creation, and so much more. She currently serves as a Board Director for the ADC Global.

    For more information on the 2015 She Rocks Awards, click here.

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    Volume 2 of Martin | The Journal of Acoustic Guitars is available for download!

    The second volume continues to give a deeper look at what is going on at the Martin Guitar Company.

    It includes: A Word From CEO and Chairman Chris Martin IV on Martin’s partnership with the Nature Conservancy in Africa to #SaveElephants, an interview with Martin Ambassador Jason Isbell, and the Martin 2014 summer models.

    Volume 2 of Martin | The Journal of Acoustic Guitars is available for download only.

    Download Volume 2 of Martin | The Journal of Acoustic Guitars here.

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  • 11/30/14--15:17: Martin Ambassador News
  • Martin Ambassador Jason Isbell is wrapping up one of the most successful years of his career!

    In 2014, Jason Isbell won big at the Americana Honors and Awards ceremony where he took home: Artist of the Year, Album of the Year for Southeastern, and song of the year for “Cover Me Up.”

    The Martin Ambassador also sold out three nights at the Ryman Auditorium and racked up incredible reviews.

    For news on what Jason Isbell has planned in 2015, click here.

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    Martin Ambassador City and Colour made headlines in 2014 when he teamed up with Pink to create the duo You + Me.

    The folk duo debuted their album Rose Ave. on October 14th and has performed on The Ellen Show.

    To learn more about You + Me, click here.

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    Have you tried out Martin’s “180 Years of Music Tradition?”

    It’s an interactive tool for music enthusiasts that highlights Martin’s vast musical influence.

    Users can click and zoom through a variety of artists and see how Martin Guitar was essential in creating history’s most influential sounds.

    Genres include Blues, Contemporary Jazz, Gospel, Rock ‘n Roll, Western Swing, Folk and many more.

    By clicking on an artist, a pop-up box will appear with a brief history and Spotify playlist.

    “180 Years of Music Tradition” is a unique and interactive way to show how music is the result of one generation influencing another. To use the “180 Years of Music Tradition,” click here.

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  • 11/30/14--15:29: Stay Connected With Martin
  • Want to stay up to date on everything #MartinPride? Follow us on social media!

    Martin Guitar Social Media:
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/martinguitar
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/MartinGuitar
    Instagram: http://instagram.com/martinguitar
    YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/cfmartinguitar
    Google +: https://plus.google.com/+martinguitar/posts

    Martin Strings Social Media:
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cfmartinstrings?ref=hl
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/cfmartinstrings

    Martin Owners Club Social Media:
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/martinownersclub?ref=hl

    Receive Our Emails: http://www.martinguitar.com/emailprefs

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    GuitarWorld.com's latest readers poll—the first annual Jim Dunlop Effect Pedal Throwdown—has reached the Final Four!

    For the past month, we've been pitting Dunlop, MXR and Way Huge pedals against each other in a no-holds-barred shootout. Now the competition is guaranteed to get even tougher.

    Therefore, we're pulling out all the stomps! Sixteen stompboxes will go head to head — or toe to toe, if you prefer — leading up to the king of Dunlop/MXR/Way Huge pedals.

    You can check out the current bracket — with all 32 competing pedals that starting things off in Round 1 — in the Scribd.com window below (Be sure to click on the "full screen" button in the lower-right-hand corner to expand the bracket).

    The bracket is updated after (almost) every matchup, and matchups will take place pretty much every day, excluding weekends. Each competing pedal will accompanied by a demo video created by the Jim Dunlop company, and you'll always find a photo gallery of the competing pedals at the bottom of each matchup.

    Today's Matchup

    In today's matchup, the MXR M75 Super Badass Distortion goes foot to foot against the Dunlop JHF1 Jimi Hendrix Fuzz Face. Start voting below!

    YESTERDAY'S RESULTS: Yesterday, the MXR M169 Carbon Copy Analog Delay (69.26 percent) defeated the Way Huge WHE 702s Echo-Puss Delay (30.74 percent) to advance to the next round! To see all the matchups that have taken place so far, head HERE. Thanks for voting!

    Meet the Combatants

    MXR Super Badass Distortion

    Designed by the award-winning MXR Custom Badass team, the Super Badass Distortion puts decades of 100 percent analog distortion at your feet. With its highly responsive Distortion control, the Super Badass covers a full spectrum, from early Seventies low gain overdrive to modern “scooped” metal distortion and every shade of dirt in between.

    Once you’ve dialed in your desired amount of crunch, you can use the Bass, Mid and Treble controls to finely sculpt your sound.

    Jimi Hendrix Fuzz Face Distortion Info

    Hendrix was the master of fuzz, an artist with many subtle shadings at his command. His love affair with the legendary Fuzz Face pedal began in the early days of the Experience and continued to evolve throughout his brief but blazing career. The Dunlop Jimi Hendrix Fuzz Face is a meticulously faithful reproduction of the 1969-70 Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face that Jimi used on classic albums like Band of Gypsys. Dunlop's engineering department examined hoards of vintage Fuzz Faces, honing in on a few units which possessed that unmistakable Jimi voodoo.

    The Hendrix Fuzz Face is built around the toneful BC108 silicon transistor. It is authentic in every detail, a handwired brown circuit board with no solder mask and circuitry carefully matched to the original specs. The look is 100% accurate too, that groovy circular chassis with tooled clones of the original Fuzz Face knobs in the rare and vintage turquoise hammertone finish. A truly playable collectable for any Hendrix or Fuzz Face fanatic.

    Vote Now!

    Later Version Sheet1

    Additional Content

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    I’ve been lucky enough to check out this gorgeous track from Joshua Radin’s new album, Onward and Sideways.

    Here Radin pairs with Sheryl Crow for a lovely version of his song “Beautiful Day.”

    An uplifting and inspirational song, Radin truly touches the heart with this one!

    Radin tells the story of traveling to Stockholm to be with a girl he is mad about. He spent the days while she worked lying sideways on his bed writing. He shares, "The motivation was really that when she came home from work, I wanted to have a song to play to her," he says. "That's really where they all came from."

    Radin’s Onward and Sideways is set for release on January 6, 2015 on Glass Bead Music. Known for his precise, gentle vocals and penchant for vivid songwriting, the 13-track LP's dynamic production shines here.

    Love and the complications surrounding it have long proven to be Radin's songwriting forte. Though he never intended to be a live performer, there was little choice when the first song he ever wrote, "Winter," was featured on an episode of "Scrubs."

    The resulting fervor around the song soon led to a record deal, and over the last decade, Radin's toured the world countless times, sold hundreds of thousands of records and topped the iTunes charts, earned raves from Rolling Stone to The Guardian, performed on The Tonight Show, Conan, and more, played Ellen DeGeneres' wedding at her personal request, and had his songs featured in more than 150 different films, commercials, and TV shows.

    For Onward and Sideways, his sixth studio album, Radin enlisted an all-star team of collaborators including drummer Matt Chamberlain (Elvis Costello, David Bowie), pedal steel guitarist Greg Leisz (Jackson Browne, Willie Nelson), keyboardist Patrick Warren (Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris), and producer/guitarist Tony Berg (The Replacements, Lucius).

    Here we talk to Radin about the new album and more…

    You had some great success pretty much immediately. Did you feel pressure to continue that success? Was it hard to move forward?

    I did feel quite a bit of pressure immediately. Most musicians have years and years to develop their sound, where I was thrust into the spotlight a mere one year after beginning to play my first few chords. I'm not complaining at all, but it was a process - i feel like I've grown up musically in front of an audience. They've seen every blemish along the way.

    Can you tell me about the recording process for the new album? Did you try anything new?

    I tried to use a bunch of different producers on this album, including myself. There are six producers on twelve songs. That's pretty different for me. I wanted to see if I could write a consistent album, in terms of subject matter, and then get a bunch of different perspectives from different producers to make the album sound more diverse.

    Can you share some info about the guitars and gear that you use?

    I pretty much stick to my 1943 Gibson J-45. It's a classic, it sounds incredible, and it's the workhorse of acoustic guitars. It sounds great when I finger-pick, but also sounds full when I bang away on it in a live setting with a rhythm section behind me.

    Do you write and play in any alternate tunings…or are you pretty straightforward with standard tuning?

    I wish I could say yes, but I never really play with alternate tunings. That's something I'd like to employ in the future. I see it like the final frontier and I know it will affect a lot of my songwriting.

    Check out the gorgeous “Beautiful Day” here:

    I love the song “Beautiful Day.” Did you think of having Sheryl sing with you on it when you wrote it, or did that come later?

    Thank you so much! That song is definitely one of my favorites on this record. I wrote it a while ago, sitting on top of this mountain in Los Angeles, on a little backpacker guitar, and then later on, after releasing it on 'Wax Wings,' I asked Sheryl to sing on it in order to give the song new life.

    Is there anyone else that you’d like to collaborate or perform with that you haven’t had a chance to yet?

    So many artists. I don't even know how to choose, but if I had to pick a few I would love to collaborate with Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Tom Petty. I would love to just sit in a room and get to pick the minds of the best songwriters of the last forty years. I can't even imagine how much I'd learn.

    What has been one of the most surprising things for you to come out of this album?

    I would have to say finding a mentor in Tony Berg, who produced the lion's share of the album (six songs). I've never been fortunate enough to have a mentor since beginning my new life in the music world and Tony is so brilliant. I know I want to work with him on future projects, but he's also become someone I can call when I'm at a crossroad and I need advice.

    And most importantly, did you convince the girl?

    Most importantly, yes, I did.

    Tell us about your involvement with Little Kids Rock.

    It's an amazing organization. I find so much inspiration when I visit the schools in the inner-city where music programs have been cut due to lack of funding. These kids just want to be able to experience music education and so many people don't realize that fostering creativity in children helps them succeed in so many different ways later in their lives. When I bring them on stage at my concerts, and the audience applauds them, the smiles on their faces are so memorable, more memorable than anything I ever experience on tour. You can literally see their lives change in a single moment. How many kids get to have that feeling? An entire theater screaming for them. It's an amazing feeling to be a part of it.

    You’ll be touring extensively through the beginning of 2015…any dates of performances that you’re really looking forward to, and why?

    I'll be on tour promoting Onward and Sideways from January 2015 through May 2015 - all over the world. I always look forward to certain cities, of course, but mostly I look forward to just playing music in front of an audience. I'm jonesing for it at the moment as I've been off the road making the album.

    Find out more at http://www.joshuaradin.com/

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    Jeff Beck has announced a string of solo 2015 dates. The tour will kick off April 16 with a pair of intimate engagements in Huntington, New York, and wrap up April 26 in Greensburg, Pennsylvania.

    Beginning April 30 in Cedar Park, Texas, Beck and ZZ Top will make up their cancelled dates from this past September. The double-bill tour was cut short due to an injury suffered by ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill.

    “We’re so glad Dusty made a full recovery; now we are looking forward to getting back out there and finishing what we started,” Beck said.

    In other Beck news, the guitarist participated in the Poppy Appeal song "No Man's Land," a tribute to the men and women who served in World War I, resulting in four performances, culminating in the NFL pre-game show that was broadcast from Wembley Stadium in London. The song featured Joss Stone on vocals and a gospel choir with vocals arranged by Antonia Wilson.

    The DVD of Beck’s Tokyo concert from April 2014 was released November 25. You can check out "Hammerhead" from the DVD in the video below.

    This coming year looks like a good one for Beck. In addition to the tour dates mentioned above (and listed below), he will complete work on (and release) his new studio album.

    Joining Beck on the solo and double-bill tours are his band—Jimmy Hall on vocals, Rhonda Smith on bass, Jonathan Joseph on drums and Nicolas Meier on guitar. Check out the dates below.

    Jeff Beck Solo Dates; all solo shows on sale December 5:

    April 16 The Paramount Huntington, NY
    April 17 The Paramount Huntington, NY
    April 18 The Capitol Theatre Port Chester, NY
    April 19 Orpheum Theatre Boston, MA
    April 21 Ulster Performing Arts Center Kingston, NY
    April 22 Bergen Performing Arts Center Englewood, NJ
    April 24 Count Basie Theatre Red Band, NJ
    April 25 The Strand – Capital Performing Arts Center York, PA
    April 26 The Palace Theatre Greensburg, PA

    With ZZ Top:
    April 30 Cedar Park Center Cedar Park, TX *
    May 1 Winstar Casino Thackerville, OK
    May 2 Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion The Woodlands, TX
    May 3 Concrete Street Corpus Christi, TX
    May 7 MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre Tampa, FL
    May 8 Cruzan Amphitheater West Palm Beach, FL
    May 9 St. Augustine Amphitheatre St. Augustine, FL
    May 10 Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre Alpharetta, GA
    *On-Sale Date TBD

    Additional Content

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    When learning how to play the seven major modes on the guitar, most of us begin with the Ionian mode then move on to Dorian and progress up the fretboard in this way until we’ve learned all seven positions of the major scale.

    While this can be an effective way of learning modes, in this lesson you will learn a shortcut that will allow you to quickly and easily learn all seven modes by starting with Lydian and simply lowering one note at a time until you can play all seven modes on the fretboard.

    When learning the modes in this way, by changing one note between each subsequent mode, you will practice them out of the normal order.

    Here is the normal order of the major modes for review.

    • Ionian
    • Dorian
    • Phrygian
    • Lydian
    • Mixolydian
    • Aeolian
    • Locrian

    When working them from the one-note changing perspective, you wind up with this order of modes.

    • Lydian
    • Ionian
    • Mixolydian
    • Dorian
    • Aeolian
    • Phrygian
    • Locrian

    Start by learning the modes, memorizing them in the new order so you can use the one-note changing method. From there, you can go back and play them in the original order when putting them together in one key on the fretboard.

    Doing things this way will allow you to quickly learn the modes and then bring them back into normal order, rather than learning them as seven distinct fingerings in normal order from the beginning.

    A quick note about the chord grids below. There are three colors on each grid, here is the legend for those colors.

    Red: Root note for that mode
    Black: Static notes between the last mode and this mode
    Blue: The one note that has been moved from the previous mode to form the new mode you are playing.

    So, now that you know a bit about the concept we're exploring today, let’s take it to the fretboard.

    Lydian Mode

    To begin, you are going to learn the Lydian mode, which contains one sharp in its construction, the #4. This is going to be the base mode for all seven shapes, so make sure to get this shape down comfortably before moving on to the next mode in the system.

    major modes 1.png

    Ionian Mode

    Now you will take the Lydian mode you just learned and alter one note to form the Ionian mode. In this case, you will lower the 4th note of Lydian to produce the Ionian fingering.

    major modes 2.png

    Mixolydian Mode

    Continuing on to the final major-based mode, you will now alter the Ionian mode by one note to form a Mixolydian mode fingering. When doing so, you lower the 7th of Ionian to form the Mixolydian mode.

    major modes 3.png

    Dorian Mode

    We can progress to the minor modes now as you alter one note of Mixolydian to form the Dorian mode. Here, you will lower the 3rd of Mixolydian to form the Dorian mode fingering.

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    Aeolian Mode

    To form the second minor mode, you will lower one note of Dorian to produce the Aeolian mode on the fretboard. To do so, you will lower the 6th of Dorian to form the Aeolian fingering.

    major modes 5.png

    Phrygian Mode

    Next, you will lower one note of Aeolian to form the Phrygian mode. When doing so, you lower the 5th of Aeolian to form the Phrygian fingering on the fretboard.

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    Locrian Mode

    Lastly, you will take the Phrygian mode and lower one note to produce the Locrian mode. Here, you lower the 2nd note of Phrygian to produce the Locrian fingering.

    major modes 7.png

    As you can see, by starting on Lydian and lowering one note at a time, you can quickly and easily build and memorize all seven modes of the major scale on the guitar. Also, you will be able to see and hear how closely related these modes are, which isn’t always apparent when learning all seven fingerings on their own in the more traditional manner.

    Learning Modes Exercises

    Once you've worked out each of these seven major modes on the note G, you can try out the following exercises to help you solidify these shapes further in your studies.

    01. Play through all three major modes: Lydian-Ionian-Mixolydian from one root note. Repeat in 12 keys.
    02. Play through all four minor-based modes: Dorian-Aeolian-Phrygian-Locrian from one root note. Repeat in 12 keys.
    03. Play all seven major modes in the order presented at the start of this lesson from one root note. Repeat in all 12 keys.
    04. Put on a major chord backing-track, such as G, and solo over this chord moving between Lydian, Ionian and Mixolydian to hear how these modes color a major chord in a soloing situation.
    05. Repeat this soloing exercise but put on an Am backing track and solo between A Dorian, Aeolian, Phrygian and Locrian.
    06. Repeat exercises 4 and 5 in all 12 keys. Then, begin to move between two chords, so G-C or Am-Dm, and work all seven modes over both of those chord progressions.

    Do you have a question about how to learn all seven major modes the easy way? Post your thoughts in the COMMENTS section below.

    Matt Warnock is the owner of mattwarnockguitar.com, a free website that provides hundreds of lessons and resources designed to help guitarists of all experience levels meet their practice and performance goals. Matt lives in the U.K., where he teaches Skype guitar students all over the world, and is an examiner for the London College of Music (Registry of Guitar Tutors).

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    Many people believe that possessing talent alone is enough to guarantee an artist success in the music business. Nothing could be further from the truth. In a perfect world, the best musicians — the best guitarists — would be amply rewarded for their abilities. The music business, however, is far from perfect.

    And unless you're one of the blessed few (such as Eddie Van Halen) who can single-handedly change the course of guitar history, the harsh reality is that killer chops and perfect time impress only other guitarists, not the people who hire you or buy the records.

    Talent, of course, is any artist's basic bread and butter, but whether you're a fingerpicker or a two-handed tapper, in order to survive the music business and distinguish yourself from the thousands of other guitarists who are after your gig, you must boast some other essential qualities. These range from good people skills to practical, common-sense approaches to your business (Fact it, that's what it is), both of which will help you stand out from the pack — and believe me, there's nothing more frightening that a pack of hungry, feral guitarists.

    For your edification, I have crunched these qualities — the many do's and don'ts of guitar existence — into 25 hardheaded, clearly wrought maxims. Learn them, memorize them, master them and imbibe. You'll be a better person for it, a better guitarist, and you just may make your way from the garage to the arena stage.

    01. Nobody likes an asshole

    Reality check: Most musicians don't give a damn whether you're the second coming of Jimi, Eddie or Buck Dharma. They just want someone with a good attitude who will play the parts correctly. And since most of your time is spent offstage, relating with the other musicians on a personal level becomes as important as relating to them musically. Remember-no one is indispensable. Just ask David Lee Roth.

    02. Having a great feel is your most important musical asset

    No one will want to play with you if you have bad time. You must have a great feel-it's that simple. By "great feel" I mean the ability to lock in with the rhythm section and produce a track that grooves. If there's one thing I would recommend you to constantly work on, it's developing your groove. Listen to the greats to learn how grooves should be played: from rock (Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" to 16th-note funk (James Brown's "Sex Machine") to blues shuffle ("Pride and Joy" by Stevie Ray Vaughan). Tape yourself (with a metronome) playing them-you'll be able to isolate and work on your problem areas. Or pick up the excellent JamTrax series (Music Sales), a series of play-along tapes covering everything from blues to alternative to metal, to stay in shape. This is the one area where you should be most brutal in your self-assessment. You'll be a much better player for it.

    03. Develop your own sound

    There's no better way to learn how to play than to cop licks from your favorite guitarists. The problem to watch out for is when you start sounding too much like your favorite player. Remember, rules, especially musical rules, are made to be broken.

    04. Be on time

    You wouldn't believe how many musicians don't believe that punctuality is important. It is crucial.

    05. Listen, listen, listen!

    When you're on stage or in the studio, don't be in your own world-listen and interact with the other musicians you're working with. React to what they're playing. Don't play too loud or get in the way when someone else is soloing. Put their egos ahead of yours-your number will always be called if the other musicians feel that you made them sound better.

    06. Know what you want to be

    The most successful people in the music business are totally focused-they have specific goals in mind and do whatever is necessary to achieve them. The simple realization that you don't have to be a musician to be a rock star and don't have to be a rock star to be a musician can spare you years of cynicism and bitterness.

    07. Play for the song, not for yourself

    It's imperative to play what's idiomatically correct. For example, don't play Yngwie licks on Bush's "Glycerine" or a noodly jazz solo on Soundgarden's "Outshined," no matter how much it impresses you. I learned this the hard way while auditioning for a punk singer. I thought I'd show her what a good, well-rounded musician I was and ended a thrash song in A with an Am(add9) chord, instead of a more appropriate A5. I was promptly shown the door.

    08. Play with musicians who are better (and better known) than you

    There's no faster way to improve and jump up to the next level than to play with great musicians. You'll learn the tricks of the trade, and pick up on their years of experience in the trenches, as well. But if you want to be a star, there's no better way to kick-start your career than by ingratiating yourself with someone famous and be seen sycophantically swilling drinks with him or her at the coolest bar in town.

    09. Less is more

    Most players you hear or read about pay lip service to what has become the guitardom's ultimate cliché. The fact is, though, what's glibly easy to say is not necessarily easy to do. I learned this on a gig backing up a singer on a cruise ship (It was the actual "Love Boat!"). Back then, I couldn't read music or play over changes very well, so during the first show, in abject fear, I played very sparsely-only what I was sure would work. After the show, the singer told me she had never worked with so sensitive an accompanist.

    10. Image does matter

    This is one of the sad truths about the music business. The good news, however, is that not every musical situation calls for the same image. So use some common sense-if you're going to be auditioning for a wimpy jangle band, don't come dressed like a Marilyn Manson cast-off.

    11. It's essential to have a great touch, or vibrato

    There are players who say it took them 10-15 years to develop a great vibrato. They're the lucky ones-most never find it. Your touch is like your fingerprints-it's what distinguishes your blues playing, for instance, from that of countless other guitarists. Think of B.B. King or Jimi Hendrix-they are instantly recognizable. There are two main types of vibrato: one generated by the wrist (a la Hendrix and B.B. King) and the other from the fingers (favored more by classical guitarists). To determine which type works for you, check out your favorite guitarists' vibratos and try to imitate them. You can also pick up B.B. King's video Bluesmaster (Volume 1) to see his unique "bee-sting" vibrato demonstrated in-depth.

    12. Get your sound/tone together

    I can't emphasize enough how important this is. Know your gear well enough so that it works for you, not against you. For example, if you're looking for a Stevie Ray tone, you won't get it with a Les Paul going through a Marshall. You'll need a Strat running through a Fender Bassman (with an Ibanez Tube Screamer for extra punch). Unless you're a studio tech-head, a great guitar and amp (with an overdrive or chorus pedal) will probably sound 10 times better than a refrigerator full of rack-mounted shit (believe me, I've been there).

    13. Practice what you don't know, not what you do know

    In order to improve, you must practice. That sounds frightening, but let me reassure you that good practicing doesn't necessarily entail sitting grimly in a basement (while the other kids are outside playing), mindlessly running scales and arpeggios-you can get all the technique you need by learning licks from your favorite guitarists. For example, Eric Johnson's intro to "Cliffs of Dover" is a veritable lexicon of minor-pentatonic ideas. Here are the three axioms of good practicing:

    A. Master small bits of music first (no more than four to eight notes at a time), then connect them to form longer passages.
    B. Start out playing new ideas at a slow tempo (this builds muscle memory), then gradually work up to speed. It's much better to play slow and clean than fast and sloppy.
    C. Always practice with a metronome

    14. Get your business chops together

    Business chops are just as important as musical ones, if not more so. If you want to make money as a musician, you have to start seeing yourself as a business and your music as a product. Acting against the stereotype of a musician (you know — stupid, drunk and gullible), as hard as that may be, will show club owners and record execs that you're not a pushover.

    15. Be fluent with both major and minor pentatonic scales

    In rock, pop, blues or country situations, knowing these scales will enable you to get by 80 percent of the time. I heartily recommend my book Practical Pentatonics (Music Sales)-a nifty little volume that covers just about all you need to know to be comfortable using the pentatonic scale in real-life gigging situations.

    16. As soon as you learn something cool, apply it immediately to a real-life musical situation

    Many guitarists learn tons of licks that sound great when played in the practice room. But the minute they get on stage, they have a hard time integrating this new material into their playing. Before you learn something new, you should have an idea where you could fit it in.

    17. Learn as many melodies as you can

    Not only does learning melodies to tunes (any tunes) increase your repertoire, it also (subconsciously) gives you an incredibly distinct edge in developing your phrasing. Ideally, you should be able to duplicate any melody you hear.

    A. Listen to how singers interpret melodies and try to mimic their phrasing on the guitar.
    B. Try to play back any, and I mean any, melody you hear-be it a TV commercial, nursery rhyme or the Mister Softee ice cream truck theme.
    C. Always learn a melody on more than one place on the guitar neck. You want to play the melody, not have the melody play you.

    18. Know your place

    When a bandleader asks you to play something a certain way, smile and do it! Don't argue. Don't pout. Don't think you know better. Don't be an asshole. You'll have plenty of time to be in charge when your three-disk epic rock opera adaptation of The Jeffersons gets picked up.

    19. Contrary to popular belief, taking lessons and listening to other styles of music doesn't hurt

    It never hurts to broaden your scope, no matter how great a player you already are or how much you think you've already learned all there is to know. Opening your mind to other styles and techniques makes you a better, more well-rounded musician. Period. A great teacher can inspire and enable you to develop as a creative, exciting player.

    20. Learn as many tunes as possible, from start to finish

    It doesn't matter what style you like to play in, the more tunes you know, the easier it is to get a gig or kick ass on a jam session. And there's no excuse for not doing it-even if you're not at the point where you can learn tunes off the recording, you can avail yourself of the hundreds of transcription books out there. Heck, you can learn five new tunes a month just by reading Guitar World!

    21. Develop authority as a player

    You have to get to the point where you feel as creatively comfortable in front of hundreds of people as you do in front of your sister and the dog. And the only way you can attain that authority is by putting in the time. Playing at home only gets you so far-it's imperative that you play out as soon as you can. Attend jam sessions. Take less-than-ideal gigs, just for the experience. Take any gigs, for that matter-it's the experience that counts!

    22. Hang out with other musicians

    The best way to get contacts and gigs is to be seen and heard. How can anyone recommend you if they don't know who you are? As unpleasant and greasy as this may sound, do your best to befriend other guitarists. Though there's intense competition amongst players, most of your work will come as a result of recommendations made by other guitarists.

    23. Know the fundamentals

    Being able to hear common chord changes will help you learn tunes off the radio faster. Knowing a little basic theory will help you with your songwriting and your ability to intuitively come up with rhythm parts. For example, knowing that the harmonic structure of most blues tunes is I-IV-V (C-F-G) and that early rock ballads were usually built on I-vi-IV-V progressions (C-Am-F-G) will help you to play just about any tune in those genres or compose one of your own. One more plug: you also might want to check out my book The Advanced Guitar Case Chord Book (Music Sales) to get an idea of how to apply cool chord voicings to common progressions in all types of music.

    24. Be careful out there

    As soon as you or your band become somewhat popular, all sorts of characters are going to start crawling out of the gutter with designs on you. Have fun, but don't go overboard. And always keep an eye on your equipment-it's your life's blood. And try to save some cash.

    25. Don't shit where you eat

    Don't fuck the singer. Don't fuck the drummer's girlfriend. Don't fuck the drummer's dog. Don't fuck the drummer. Don't backstab your bandmates. Don't pocket tips. Don't be an asshole!

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    It’s time once again to take part in Guitar World magazine's annual readers poll!

    Should Ace Frehley take the MVP crown — and not Angus Young?

    Was Judas Priest the year’s best live act? Or was it Jack White? Will Marty Friedman reign over Gus G in the Best Shredder category? What about this year's best blues guitarist and rock album?

    It’s up to you to determine the winners of these matchups and more (There are 16 questions in all), so get voting now and help us determine the best of 2014!

    As always, the results will appear in a future issue of Guitar World magazine. Thanks for another great year!

    You can access our 2014 poll RIGHT HERE.

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    Are you thinking about bidding on—or flat-out buying—a guitar autographed by one of your musical idols ... including a dead member of Pink Floyd?

    Before you do, check out this new video by Inside Edition. They did a bit of snooping around and found that, well, people lie!

    Best line: "Sir, Tammy Wynette died in 1998, and this guitar was manufactured in 2013. How do you explain that? Did she come back from the dead?"

    P.S.: We're sorry about the commercial you'll probably have to watch before the actual video starts.

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    I'm relatively new to touring overseas, but, in the past few years, I've learned a lot about building a guitar rig that's going to work in any scenario imaginable.

    That’s the main motive for me when it comes to designing a rig: the ability to integrate and adapt to any situation. You know the feeling when you get on stage and your gear doesn’t cooperate? You have to scramble to come up with a makeshift solution just to get through the night.

    I've experienced technical difficulties on too many occasions, and each time I've learned from these occurrences. We're all trying our best to avoid Murphy’s Law, and I think I've found some great solutions.

    First off, I use a Rocktron All Access MIDI Foot Controller to control my program changes. I always have the same patch layout on the pedal board, and this keeps patch-changing consistent. No matter how crazy I want the signal path to be, it will always sum up to a specific, corresponding number on the MIDI controller.

    I also have a Voodoo Lab Control Switcher that allows MIDI signals to switch amplifier channels, settings, etc. This is key when we travel overseas or when any situation when I'm using a different amplifier. Using these in conjunction, I can always have my MIDI controller layout the same. Now I can stop fretting about all the switching systems of some amps and just spend more time playing them.

    Also, for those of you who love to use some pedals for different flavors, I recommend using a patch bay, along with your MIDI controller, of course. With the ability to switch different pedals in/out, you always have the shortest, cleanest signal path for each preset sound you want. Having your pedals in a patch bay is also a good way to diagnose problems within your rig.

    If you’ve ever had a bunch of pedals cabled together in series, you know how mysterious and elusive the problem can sometimes be. When I am using the patch bay, I can isolate each pedal (and cables linked to it) by pressing the buttons that correspond to each pedal. This way you can quickly and efficiently detect which piece of gear is truly at fault. This method of checking has saved my performance countless times, because it takes only a few seconds to diagnose, rather than minutes, which could mean cutting songs for time and wasting the audience’s time as well.

    If you’ve had it with technical difficulties and are in need of a new modus operandi, having all your custom gear in a nice box that can be integrated with all other parts of the rig is the best solution I can think of. This goes double for traveling via plane, or when you might be renting other gear you might not be used to.

    I hope this helps those of you who are in the same boat, because I know it has influenced me to write this column. It is so much more fun to hear the different colors that there are out there, rather than the same thing every time. So, ladies and gentlemen, get out there and start becoming familiar with the world of guitar gear!

    Cameron Maynard plays guitar in the Contortionist. For more about the band, follow them on Facebook.

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    Earlier this month, Guitar World and Supro Amps got together to launch the Led Zeppelin Guitar Solo Video Challenge.

    Below, you can check out the entries we've received so far! In fact, if you DON'T see your video here, please send it again!

    This also should serve as a reminder to the rest of you: Enter this contest now! The winner will get a new Supro 1624T Dual-Tone guitar amp (MSRP $1,459)!

    The winner also will receive a Fender Classic Series '60s Telecaster, a copy of Guitar World Editor-in-Chief Brad Tolinski's latest book, Light & Shade: Conversations with Jimmy Page (signed by Tolinski), and the Guitar World instructional DVD, How to Play the Best of Led Zeppelin!

    NOTE: This contest is open only to residents of the United States. You must submit your video to Guitar World by December 10, 2014.

    Here's what's involved:

    Film yourself playing your own version of Jimmy Page's iconic "Good Times Bad Times" guitar solo! Use the studio version of the solo as your guide (You can hear it below), but feel free to put your own spin on the solo. You might get special consideration for originality! You can hear both original solos via the YouTube players below.

    Next, upload your video to YouTube and send the link — along with your FULL NAME and COMPLETE U.S. ADDRESS— to Guitar World at guitarchallenge@guitarworld.com. Note that you will not be considered an entrant unless you include your name and U.S. address with your video.

    The videos will be viewed by members of the Guitar World staff, plus celebrity judges who will be named later. We'll pick a winner by December 25, 2014!

    Good luck!

    Additional Content

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    It's that time of year again! Get the Play Christmas Songs on the Guitar DVD now at the Guitar World Online Store!

    Play Christmas Songs on the Guitar is your ultimate DVD guide to playing holiday songs. It teaches you eight classic holiday tunes: "Silent Night,""Oh Come All Ye Faithful,""Deck the Hall,""Jingle Bells,""The First Noel,""Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,""Jingle Bell Rock" and "Auld Lang Syne."

    Plus, as a bonus, you'll learn a Christmas medley for the electric guitar featuring "Little Drummer Boy,""Silent Night" and "Auld Lang Syne."

    With more than 80 minutes of lessons, Play Christmas Songs on the Guitar will let you evoke the holiday spirit with your playing, and teach you valuable skills along the way!

    The Play Christmas Songs on the Guitar DVD teaches you:

    "Silent Night" (See the video below)

    • Adding Bass Line "Walk-Ups"
    • "Willie Nelson Style" Melody Playing
    • Tremolo Picking and Pick-Hand Anchoring
    • Fingerstyle: Accompaniment in C, Instrumental Solo in G, and Solo with Chord Substitutions

    "Oh Come All Ye Faithful"

    • Using Capo with Key-of-C Chords
    • Instrumental Duet in D
    • Instrumental Solo Arrangements: Key of D, Capo 7, Key of C

    "Deck the Halls"

    • Basic Strum Accompaniments: Key of C, Key of G, Capo 5
    • Instrumental Duet in G
    • Picking Tips

    "Jingle Bells"

    • Country-Style Strum Accompaniments: Key of C, Key of E, Key of G, Key of D
    • Using A Capo with Key-of-G Chords

    "The First Noel"

    • Chord-Melody Solo in G, Capo 7
    • Instrumental Duet in D

    "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing"

    • Muted-Sting Chords
    • Alternative Voicings
    • Instrumental Duet in G

    "Jingle Bell Rock"

    • Intro and Ending Licks
    • Lead Guitar Chord "Stabs"

    "Auld Lang Syne"

    • Strum Accompaniments: Key of C Basic and Added Chords, Key of G Basic and Added Chords, Key of D Basic
    • Instrumental Chord-Melody in C

    …and much more!

    Head to the Guitar World Online Store now!

    Additional Content

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    These videos and audio files are bonus content related to the January 2015 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.

    Last month, I introduced the two different primary forms of the diminished scale, which I use as the basis for the riffs heard on the title track of the latest Revocation release, Deathless. This month, I’d like to go over the song’s pre-chorus and chorus sections.

    The two primary forms of the diminished scale are very similar. In essence, they are exactly the same, except the second form simply starts from the second note of the first form.

    One of the forms is often referred to as “whole-half,” or “W-H-W-H,” etc., which signifies the pattern of ascending a whole step, then a half step, then a whole step, then a half step, etc. If we were to instead start from the second degree of this pattern and make that note the root note, the result would be “half-whole,” or “H-W-H-W,” etc.

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    These videos and audio files are bonus content related to the January 2015 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.

    Last month, I presented an original 16-bar solo played over the chord changes to tenor saxophonist John Coltrane’s jazz standard “Giant Steps.”

    With it, I demonstrated some melodic devices Coltrane employed to outline the tune’s quickly changing chords. These include the application of four-note “cells,” or tetrachords, and the tried-and-true use of arpeggios, scales and chromatic passing tones to target chord tones and “connect the dots.”

    This month, I offer a second 16-bar chorus of single-note soloing that introduces another cool melodic device, arpeggio substitution, or superimposition, which can be used to modify the sound of the underlying chord qualities and make them sound more “modern” and “fusion-y.”

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