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- 12/11/14--09:35: _From Bach to Rock: ...
- 12/11/14--12:51: _Bent Out of Shape: ...
- 12/11/14--13:02: _Seymour Duncan Rele...
- 12/11/14--13:35: _Gear Review: Donner...
- 12/11/14--14:26: _'Lost in the City':...
- 12/11/14--14:47: _Guitarist Tom Kauli...
- 12/11/14--15:03: _Glenn Proudfoot Sha...
- 12/12/14--07:31: _Slipknot Premiere "...
- 12/12/14--07:49: _12 Days of Holiday ...
- 12/12/14--08:10: _Guitar Chalk Sessio...
- 12/12/14--08:29: _Joe Perry Premieres...
- 12/12/14--08:33: _Jimmy Page and Aero...
- 12/12/14--09:06: _Meet the Bojotar, C...
- 12/12/14--12:45: _It Might Get Weird:...
- 12/12/14--12:57: _Paul Gilbert and Bi...
- 12/12/14--13:17: _Dear Guitar Hero: L...
- 12/13/14--13:58: _12 Days of Holiday ...
- 12/14/14--10:13: _12 Days of Holiday ...
- 12/15/14--06:18: _Louise Goffin to Re...
- 12/15/14--07:43: _Marilyn Manson Prem...
- 12/11/14--12:51: Bent Out of Shape: Guitar Rehab, Part 1 — Picking-Hand Warmups
- 12/11/14--15:03: Glenn Proudfoot Shares Transcription of New Song, "Fractals"
- 12/12/14--07:31: Slipknot Premiere "The Devil In I" Behind-the-Scenes Video
- 12/12/14--12:45: It Might Get Weird: Blind Buddha Vintage Box Guitars
- 12/15/14--07:43: Marilyn Manson Premieres New Song, "Deep Six"
When first learning to play guitar, transitioning between chords and playing a few progressions can allow you to play hundreds of songs.
While this can keep you entertained for quite a while, you might find there is a large amount of the fretboard that is lacking your attention.
One of the many tools that can be used to learn the higher positions is the CAGED system. Though the application can be very useful, aspects of it can be simplified and studied in a more musical approach. Doing this might help you have a better understanding of chord voicing and harmony.
The CAGED system uses five guitar chord shapes — C, A, G, E and D — to create barre chords for playing in higher positions. The problem with this system is that its functionality has nothing to do with music itself. It is simply a physical device that works based on the tuning of the strings. It cannot be applied to music in general and is specific only to the guitar.
These five chords are all root-position chords, meaning the letter name of the chord is the lowest-sounding note. But music does not always consist of root-position chords, so why should it on the guitar? In this column, I’ll demonstrate another approach for expanding your fretboard knowledge using triads and their inversions.
First of all, what is a chord? If you’re asked to play a G chord, what really does that mean? Sure, it can be a shape from a chord diagram, but why that shape? And if it’s different from one diagram to the next, is one of those wrong?
As guitarists, we often think about chords as shapes, and we have “go-to” shapes for certain chords. But that’s not thinking musically. So that we can develop a stronger sense of musicianship, we need to understand how chords are constructed. To demonstrate, I’ll use a simple I-V-vi-IV progression in the key of A, so the chords will be A, E, F♯m and D.
First, we need to know what notes are in the key of A.
The basic chord is called a triad and consists of a root, a third and a fifth. The chords in this progression will have these notes:
A: A, C♯, E
E: E, G♯, B
F♯m: F♯, A, C♯
D: D, F♯, A
Your “go-to” shapes for these chords might look something like this:
When first learning to play a chord progression, we’re typically using our basic “guitar” chords. I use quotations because many guitarists think of a chord as a certain shape. That may suffice for a beginner, but to make those root-position chords even more musical, we need to take advantage of the rest of the fretboard. We can do so by learning different chord inversions.
As there are three different notes in a basic chord (triad), there are three basic forms for these chords. These forms are presented only on the top four strings. The reasoning for this is twofold: 01. Historically, the developing guitar was a four-string instrument until the Baroque era, when a fifth string was added, and then a sixth. Therefore, chords had to be formed on fewer strings. 02. Chords formed on the top four strings involve a systematic, musical approach to triadic harmony and the use of chord inversions.
Form I Voicing: 1-3-5-1 (root, third, fifth, octave)—“root-position.”
Form II Voicing: 3-5-1-3 —“first inversion.”
Form III Voicing: 5-1-3-5—“second inversion.”
There is a clear pattern of intervals with this system of chord inversions. While the official term is “inversion,” using form numbers can help to identify where the root of the chord is. For example, the root in Form I is on the first string, it’s on the second for Form II, and the third for Form III. This applies to both Major and Minor Forms.
Applying these forms to the chord progression, A, E, F♯m, D, will give us three different fretboard locations, with each of these having a different sound because of the different chord voicings. The transition from one form to the next is designed so that common chord tones may be used where applicable, and shifting is kept to a minimum.
Each of these examples systematically moves through the different chord inversions, and they create sounds very different from the basic, root-position shapes.
Learning these six total forms can be much easier than the learning CAGED system. With its musical approach, the focus is on specific chord voicing rather than just root-position chord shapes. Through using these, you can expand your fretboard knowledge in a musical way and gain a better understanding of how chords function. Sonically, if you’re playing the same progression with another guitarist, each of you can play the same chords, but in different positions, creating a wider spectrum of sound.
This method of learning chords is presented in my new iBook, Beginning Guitar Method, which is available in the Apple iBookstore.
Matthias Young teaches online guitar lessons at FreeGuitarVideos.com and is the Head of Guitar at Callanwolde Fine Arts Center in Atlanta, Georgia. His book and DVD, Metal Guitar Method, has sold thousands since its publication in 2012. His most recent release, Beginning Guitar Method, is available in the Apple iBookstore. You can follow Matthias on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+.
Welcome to my new series of lessons titled Guitar Rehab.
If you follow my column, you might've noticed that I haven't written any new lessons in the past few months. I had a problem with my arm that required surgery. As a result, I was unable to play guitar for three months.
Now that I'm able to play again, I'm excited to get back to writing and have many new lessons planned for the following weeks.
Lack of inspiration, time commitments such as work, medical problems, loss of interest, even video games are all valid reasons people take a break from playing guitar.
For that reason, I decided to start this series of lessons for anyone who has spent a period of time away from playing. These lessons will help you get back into playing regularly and give you some useful exercises to help rebuild your technique. When I started playing again, the first thing I noticed was how stiff my fingers felt and how uncoordinated my picking had become. My stamina was also very bad and my hands felt tired after only an hour of playing.
This first lesson will focus on a rhythm guitar warmup, which is primarily geared toward your picking hand. The goal is to warm up your picking wrist and gradually increase your alternate-picking accuracy.
For this series, all of the exercises will be played to a backing track, which I think will make them more enjoyable as opposed to just playing to just a click/metronome.
This first exercise is a 16th note pedal rhythm. You begin on the open A and play straight open notes. Try to relax your picking wrist and rest your palm on the bridge to mute the strings a little. Your alternate picking should sound smooth and flow with the music.
I'm going take a short break from the lesson to give my personal opinion about pedaling. I've read many lessons where they tell you to develop your alternate picking technique to a point where your down and up strokes sound identical. In my opinion, that’s good advice if you want to sound like a robot.
Humans will naturally play the down stroke slightly heavier to create a slight dynamic within alternate picking. Again, this is only my opinion, but I prefer to hear this dynamic as opposed to playing each note identically. Pedaling will groove much better to the music if you have this dynamic.
Back to the lesson! After the straight 16th note pedaling of the open A string, you will begin to play notes in sets of four across two stings (Exercise 2). You will play a descending pattern through the A minor scale with the open A between each note. This doesn't require too much coordination between picking and fretting hands but advances the exercise from a single string.
The next step is to move from sets of four to sets of two across three stings (Exercise 3). This does start to get challenging, especially when changing stings. For this exercise I move away from A minor and play the same pattern in the keys of B minor, D minor and E minor.
The final stage of the lesson is 16th notes, where you change note with every pick (Exercise 4). For this exercise, we just move through the common progression of A minor, G major and F major. I looped this chord progression of this exercise at the end of the backing track for you to improvise some solos over when you've finished.
As you can see, with each stage of the exercise it becomes slightly more challenging and requires more accuracy between the fretting and picking hands. I've made a video demonstration and also given you the backing track to practice along to. Cheers!
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.
Seymour Duncan has released its Dino Cazares Retribution active pickups.
From the company:
The Retribution pickups were designed with Dino Cazares of Fear Factory and Divine Heresy to provide the essential attack, clarity and increased headroom that 7- and 8-string players like Dino have been asking for.
They feature a specially tuned preamp with just the right amount of gain, enhanced attack definition and maximum string clarity. Like the standard Blackouts series and Mick Thomson EMTY Blackouts, they maintain an organic open sound that isn't sterile but instead is huge and powerful with a lower noise level and an increased dynamic response compared to other active pickups.
Dino Cazares says of the Retribution, "It has a richer tone that's more evenly voiced so the low string is not fighting with the high string. It's a very crunchy sound, great for low tunings. It has more articulation in the pick attack and the distortion has less unwanted noise and compression.”
These pickups were designed with extended range players in mind by maintaining definition on the low B and F# strings. The Retribution is the same pickup that is featured on the new Dino Cazares signature Ibanez DCM100 7-string.
Like the Blackouts active pickups series, Retribution comes with wiring schematics and all necessary mounting hardware including pots, stereo jack, and battery clip. They are available separately as neck and bridge models or as a complete calibrated set for 7 string guitars (passive and soapbar sized) and 8 string guitars (soapbar sized). Each Retribution is wound and assembled at the Seymour Duncan factory in Santa Barbara, California.
For more information, visit seymourduncan.com.
Alchemy is Donner’s latest offering for working guitarists. The handy pedal features eight modulation effects packed into one box.
Yes, you’ve probably seen something like this before, but the Alchemy doubles its eight effects with Deluxe or Normal mode and boasts stereo inputs and outputs. At a mere $43, it costs less than a major U.S. city parking ticket.
What are those eight effects? Chorus, Flanger, Phaser, Tremolo, Pan, Rotary, U-vibe and Vibrato.
There’s a three-way toggle switch labeled Deluxe, T. Lock and Normal. Normal offers a clean subtle version of each effect. Deluxe gets a bit funkier paying tribute to older analog effects with deeper delays and de-tuning variables.
T. Lock stands for Tone Lock, which stores and locks your tone setting. When engaged it turns off the knobs, preventing any change to your sound if you accidentally bump a knob. It will save the setting, even after the pedal is turned off. It's a great feature if you’ve dialed in a tone at home that you want to use later on a gig.
The pedal is powered either by a supplied 9-volt battery or an external Boss-style power supply. Switching is true bypass.
The clips below were recorded with a Gibson Les Paul Studio in stereo with a Fender Blues Jr. on the left and a Taurus Stomp Head 4 on the right.
You can't believe everything you read on the Internet, but Billy Voight is a gear reviewer, bassist and guitarist from Pennsylvania. He has Hartke bass amps and Walden acoustic guitars to thank for supplying some of the finest gear on his musical journey. Need Billy's help in creating noise for your next project? Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fresh off tours with such bands as Sevendust and the Pretty Reckless, Boston-area rockers Crash Midnight are preparing a new sonic assault for the new year. It begins with the release of their debut album, Lost in the City.
Songs like "151" (which pays tribute to the notorious high-proof alcohol of the same name) and “Diamond Boulevard” have infectious energy and riffs that conjure memories of classic rock albums of old—but with a modern, 21st-century twist.
I recently spoke with guitarist Alex Donaldson about the new album, his technique and gear.
GUITAR WORLD: From a guitar standpoint, how would you describe the sound of Lost in the City?
We were really going for that classic rock kind of sound. One with the double-track rhythm guitars, the left and right panning and quite a lot of blues-influenced solos. For me, this entire album was pretty much just a Les Paul, a JCM800 and a cord [laughs]!
What was the recording process like?
We did a lot of Pro Tools sessions and tracking at my studio in Columbus as well as some sessions up in Boston. Kenny Lewis is a fantastic producer. He had the right idea with our sound and it was a treat recording with him.
I'd like to get your thoughts on a few tracks from the album, starting with "151" [See the video below].
Obviously, it's an homage to the strong liquor. But from a guitar standpoint, the song has a “Night Train" [Guns N' Roses] kind of vibe to it, with riffs everywhere. The solo is very Chuck Berry influenced with a lot of double stops. I'm a really big fan of doubling and tripling the lead parts.
That's probably one of my favorite riffs on the album and one that our vocalist, Shaun Soho, wrote. It has almost a half-time feel to it. A lot of time when I lay down a track the idea is to play as fast as possible. But for this solo I was able to go off a little bit and do my thing.
What was it like touring with Sevendust, Pretty Reckless and Adelitas Way this year?
It was amazing. Sevendust was one of the very first concerts I attended, so being on the road with them was pretty special. Touring with the Pretty Reckless and Adelitas Way was also a lot of fun. Taylor Momsen is the total rock star, and every guitarist on that tour really kicked ass and pushed each other every night.
Do you have plans to tour in support of Lost in the City?
We took a little time off for the holidays, but we'll be hitting radio hard in January. From there, we have a few options for touring that we'll be confirming over the next few weeks. No matter what it is, it's going to be great.
Can you tell me a little about your musical upbringing?
I started playing guitar when I was in my early teens, and the first thing I got into was punk. I started out playing in a Dead Kennedys-influenced band that played some cool shows but really pissed off our parents [laughs]. After that, I started getting more into the blues. I live in Columbus, Ohio, and the Columbus Blues Alliance really nurtured my love for it. When it came time to go to college, I really wanted to take it to the next level so I went to Berklee.
Were you one of those players who would lock themselves in a room and practice for hours and hours?
When I was in high school I took lessons and practiced a lot. But I think once you reach a certain point in your playing and get comfortable with it, there's not much of a need to practice eight hours a day every day. But having said that, there's still a guitar in my hand that many hours a day anyway. I may not be practicing, but I'm always playing.
Who were some of your early influences?
As far as blues influences, I'm a huge fan of theatrical guys: Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix and [Fleetwood Mac's] Peter Green. You can also hear Slash and Joe Perry coming out in my playing. Berklee also turned me on to some great jazz players like Kenny Burrell and Al Di Meola.
What can you tell me about your live setup?
I use zero pedals live. I literally plug my Gibson into a Marshall, and that's it. I used a little wah on the album and actually tried using it for half of a show while we were on the Sevendust tour but just couldn't stand the compromised signal. I love the straight sound of a Les Paul going into the Marshall.
Why a Les Paul and Marshall?
When you're younger, you sometimes try to imitate the people you see. I started using a Marshall amp because East Bay Ray of Dead Kennedys played one. Then when I saw Slash I knew I had to get the Les Paul. Now I've found I can't play anything else. The sustain on the Les Paul is really unmatched from any other guitar I've ever played.
What excites you the most about this next phase of your career?
I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to get this music out. We've been a band for 10 years, so every show that we do is special. I'm just trying to enjoy everything that we do. I'm excited to take it all in.
For more about Crash Midnight, visit crashmidnight.com.
James Wood is a writer, musician and self-proclaimed metalhead who maintains his own website, GoJimmyGo.net. His articles and interviews are written on a variety of topics with passion and humor. You can follow him on Twitter @JimEWood.
Following the success of Tokio Hotel’s 2005 debut album, Schrei, twins Bill and Tom Kaulitz—along with bassist Georg Listing and drummer Gustav Schafer—became the most successful German rock band of the last 20 years.
Tokio Hotel have built a huge fan base and sold more than 7 million albums worldwide.
But in 2009, after years of relentless recording and touring, the band decided to take a break and relocated to Los Angeles to find new inspiration. The result is the band’s third album, Kings of Suburbia.
From the propulsive and sensual “Love Who Loves You Back” to the catchy, guitar-driven “Girl Got a Gun,"Kings Of Suburbia combines songwriting maturity with polished production.
I recently spoke with guitarist Tom Kaulitz about Kings of Suburbia, his musical upbringing and more.
GUITAR WORLD: A few years ago, the band made the move to Los Angeles. What was the reason behind it?
We recorded our last record in 2009 and afterwards decided we needed to take a little bit of a break. We wanted to go to a different city to find inspiration and also start a little bit of a private life. We had been on the road since we were 15, putting out records constantly and being out on the road touring. So we decided to go to LA and produce the new record there.
How would you describe Kings of Suburbia?
It's a little more electronic than the albums before. We played a lot with new sounds and programming, which was something we had never done.
Our whole songwriting process changed a little bit when we started to write for this record. For the first time in our career, we really had the time to do things the way we wanted. It was a development for us. We built a home studio and I started to program and lay down some riffs. Then we met up with a few producers and songwriters and said, "OK, let's see where this goes." It turned out amazing. We're really proud of this record.
You mentioned the songwriting process. Can you tell me a little bit more about it?
It changes all the time. In In the past we would usually take our acoustic guitars, sit together and jam and then take it from there. For this record, we really wrote on track. Most of the time I would have a demo that was pretty far along and the others would then come up with melodies.
Do you have plans to tour in support of the new album?
Yes. We're already planning on touring most of next year. We'll start out in Europe and then we're going to play the U.S. We already have a few dates set for early next year and the summer. We'll be playing all over the Asia, South America and Europe.
What can you tell me about your musical upbringing?
We grew up in a small town in East Germany and always had music around us. From the time I was able to play three chords on guitar, we went on stage right away to present it. We've always knew that we wanted to do it professionally but grew up in an area where there was no real music scene. So we went to school with the idea of possibly taking on a different job, but things just took off. We've been doing this now for 14 years, and it’s been amazing.
Who were some of your musical influences?
I was always a huge fan of Joe Perry and Steven Tyler. The first record I got from Aerosmith was Big Ones, and I remember listening to it all day, every day! [laughs]. My stepfather was also into music and played guitar and introduced us to AC/DC. AC/DC and Aerosmith were the bands we grew up with and loved. We recently met them [Tyler and Perry] at a concert, and it was a dream come true.
What excites you the most about this next stage of your career?
I'm most excited about touring next year. Music has changed so much over the years. Today, it's all about touring. We love being up on stage and are looking forward to playing. We've been pretty much everywhere in the world except Australia. So we're hoping to get chance to play there as well. Touring is the thing that keeps us going!
For more about Tokio Hotel, visit tokiohotel.com.
James Wood is a writer, musician and self-proclaimed metalhead who maintains his own website, GoJimmyGo.net. His articles and interviews are written on a variety of topics with passion and humor. You can follow him on Twitter @JimEWood.
Last month, GuitarWorld.com posted the exclusive premiere of "Fractals," a new instrumental track by guitarist and frequent Guitar World contributor Glenn Proudfoot.
Today, we have the sequel, if you will. It's the official transcription of the song, courtesy of Proudfoot.
"Experimenting with chordal shapes can really take your music to another place," says Proudfoot about the brief, tapping-filled track. "I don’t have any rules when it comes to writing or creating, and neither should you. Just keep searching until you find the sound you're after.
"I knew the soundscape I wanted to express here. My focus was to maintain space with this piece while keeping the flow and technicality. This is achieved by the wide intervalic chords and the tapped notes/melody higher up the scale. It creates a real piano-style sound with an ethereal flavor.
"This song was recorded with the Victory 30-watt 'The Countess’ head into a 4x12 box. The amp has such a beautiful, clean sound for such a small wattage. It's incredibly articulate, and the notes just jump out."
The video and track were recorded and produced by Peter "Reggie" Bowman at Screamlouder Productions in Melbourne, Australia.
Check out some in-depth behind-the-scenes footage from the making of Slipknot's "The Devil In I" music video below.
The band released .5: The Gray Chapter earlier this year.
You can expect a great new deal every day, including today's deal:
Get Revolver's Hottest Chicks in Hard Rock 2015 calendar for only $10!
Revolver's exclusive Hottest Chicks in Hard Rock 2015 calendar is back! The 2015 edition stars cover girl Lzzy Hale of Halestorm. This year's calendar is featuring 13 of the loveliest ladies in hard rock and heavy music.
The 2015 lineup includes:
• Taylor Momsen from the Pretty Reckless
• Cristina Scabbia from Lacuna Coil
• Ash Costello from New Years Day
• Jill Janus from Huntress
• Carla Harvey & Heidi Shepherd from Butcher Babies
... and many more!!!!
Power chords, once your fingers are comfortable with the stretching, are mind-numbingly simple.
That's not a bad thing and I wouldn't say that power chords are "cheap" or "too easy."
Because they get the job done, right? So why wouldn't we use them? They’re functional and adequate to the task.
In the right context, power chords are a beautiful thing. When music demands a heavy, smooth and easy-to-digest chord progression (like in modern rock, pop, metal, etc.), a root note, a consonant interval (perfect fifth) and perhaps an octave thrown in for good measure, are all you really need.
We can play as many chords as we want all using the same shape; just shift frets or strings.
But what if we wanted to dress things up a little bit? What if we wanted to make our power chords more dynamic and melodic?
Adding some flavor and variety to your power chord progressions can really take your playing up a notch and set you apart. It's an especially handy technique for those who fill the role of both a lead and rhythm guitar player.
There are two primary techniques you can use to do it; intervals and dyads. Let’s cover intervals first.
First Technique: Add Major or Minor Intervals
Assume you're lucky enough to be playing a chord progression that is entirely in a major key. Even better, let's just say you're going from D to A. Tabbing it out would look like this:
What if you wanted to add some melody or even just variety? We can use major intervals to do so, since we're theoretically dealing with two major chords. So where do we put these intervals?
You'll need to target areas where you have long pauses or holds on a single chord. So in this situation, we can assume (for illustrative purposes) that the D chord gets held for a short few beats, while the A chord is held longer.
That means the A chord is where we can move a bit more and add some creative intervals.
Use the open A note to play your second A chord (bracketed).
We can now start adding intervals to our A chord. Here are a few options:
It's a simple, but effective, strategy.
You can employ the same interval shifts with any other power chord. Say we don't have an open chord to work with, like in the case of this G:
We can still add intervals by shifting the note at the fifth fret, currently a perfect fifth, in relation to the root note at the third fret.
Here's what I came up with.
As you can see, the only note that needs to change is the interval of the root. The root note itself doesn't move.
That means you can use this tactic as often as you want within any power chord in any given progression.
If the progression contains minor chords, you'll have to make sure to hit notes that resolve to a minor tune. But that will come with habit, muscle memory and time.
Second Technique: Add Octave Dyads
A second strategy is to use simple, two-note dyads to add short melodies over power chords. This has become a widely used technique in the post-grunge era and has been typified by many modern guitarists.
To illustrate this example, I find it best to start with an open D chord in drop-D, like the following tab:
Start with your D root note on the second string (fifth fret), add its corresponding octave (third string, seventh fret) and reapply some of the intervals we already covered by simply moving the octave shape up the fretboard.
We can apply the same principle with the G chord as our base and the 2-3-5 fret climb is our melody.
Once you get comfortable, start planting these runs in between chords. Like this:
Not only does this break the monotony of a chord progression, but it adds some melodic flavor to what is otherwise a one-dimensional and linear sound.
Because sometimes a guitar player needs to handle both rhythm and lead, especially today when many groups employ only one guitarist. Being able to play heavy, while also having enough skill and musical awareness to add melody and variety to your chord progressions makes you a far more valuable musician.
And while they aren't all you need to accomplish that, dyadic octaves and intervals can give you a lot of mileage as they're excellent tools to work with.
If you play a lot of power chords you shouldn’t feel bad about it.
Just learn how to make them count.
Flickr Commons Image Courtesy of maury.mccown
Just in time for the holidays, Joe Perry has released his recordings of four Christmas classics. Joe Perry’s Merry Christmas features “White Christmas,” “Silent Night,” “Santa Claus Is Back in Town” and “Run Run Rudolph” with Johnny Depp on rhythm guitar.
You can check out the brand-new music video for “Run Run Rudolph” below.
The EP is available now at Unison and on iTunes. The release follows on the heels of Perry’s autobiography, Rocks: My Life In and Out of Aerosmith, published this past October.
“I have wanted to do a Christmas CD with Aerosmith for years, but it seems we never have the time to record one,” Perry says. “When my Rocks book tour ended, the timing was right—we were in L.A. with access to a studio with some really talented friends, and it all fell together. I was finally able to record some Christmas classics for the fans.”
Two of the songs—”Silent Night” and “White Christmas”—are treated as instrumentals, while the others feature vocals.
“The two instrumentals are among the 10 most popular Christmas songs,” Perry explains. “Almost everyone knows the lyrics to ‘Silent Night’ and ‘White Christmas,’ so we treated them as songs that people could sing along to, while staying close to the classic versions everyone knows. The two vocal songs, ‘Santa’s Back in Town’ and ‘Run Run Rudolph,’ are rockers made famous by Elvis and Chuck Berry. They are probably less well known, so you would have to hear the lyrics to know they are Christmas songs. They are two of my favorite holiday songs.”
01. A shirtless Joe Perry and Steven Tyler of Aerosmith discuss their set list while backstage at their August 18, 1990, Monsters of Rock show at Donington Park in England.
02. Jimmy Page — wearing a shirt — walks in and asks for his cue during "Train Kept A-Rollin'," a song he performed with the Yardbirds during his tenure with the band and which, of course, Aerosmith covered in 1974.
03. After a few minutes, Perry and Tyler give Page the required information. Page leaves.
04. Page joins Aerosmith on stage for a strong version of "Train Kept A-Rollin'." Perry, Brad Whitford and Page take turns playing solos, with Page getting an extra solo at the end.
The Bojotar is a new stringed instrument developed by guitarist Bow Thayer in collaboration with Joey Leone for Eastwood/Airline Guitars.
The instrument, which is demoed by Thayer in the video below, should be available December 15 and can be pre-ordered here.
The instrument has a chambered guitar body with a resonator, two pickups (a humbucker by the neck and a piezo under the resonator's biscuit) and a three-knob blending system that allows for many different varieties of tone.
Thayer removed the low E string of a standard guitar by cutting the neck down to the fifth fret and replacing it with a drone string like a banjo, leaving it with an extra-low note that a five-string banjo doesn't have.
This hybrid can be tuned to an open G, just like Keith Richards, or any other open tuning you want to explore. Thayer plays it with a flat pick and two finger picks on his middle and ring finger, but the sky is the limit.
The Bojotar can be played with a banjo roll, strummed or as a single note pick. Or with a blues finger style and a slide riff, all in one tune. Thayer also plans on adding a B-bender to, as he puts it, "get into the world of some pseudo-pedal steel licks."
When Brian Carrier started building and customizing guitars 15 years ago, he toyed with the idea of making cigar-box guitars but wanted to make something more durable and long lasting.
“I wanted to make something that a touring musician could play and tour with,” Carrier says.
“First and foremost, it had to be a great-sounding and -playing instrument, but it also had to be beautiful enough to hang on the living room wall. I found a small antique walnut box, and on a whim, I put a very old banjo neck on it. I was astounded by the tone and projection. My concept of the Vintage Box guitar grew from there.”
Since the late Nineties, when Carrier made his first instrument, he has sold more than 150 Blind Buddha Vintage Box guitars. “They have gone all over the world to all types of players, from beginners to recording pros,” he says.
“The different size, shape and wood of each box make for a very unique tone. No two are alike, and they each have their own personality. I offer a choice of four- or six-string, electric or electric-acoustic, resonator, built for slide only or slide and fingers, and a selection of box, neck and parts if I haven’t already put the guitar together.”
Each Blind Buddha Vintage Box guitar is crafted almost entirely from found and repurposed parts. “Everything I use, with the exception of the tuners, pickups, resonators and strings, must be at least 50 years old,” Carrier says.
“I do a lot of legwork to locate vintage and antique parts, which can include Victorian drawer pulls and clockworks. I can’t just call Allparts or Stewart-MacDonald and order parts. I have to track down wooden boxes that are suitable for conversion. The old guitar and banjo necks that I use must still have years of playability ahead of them.”
Surprisingly, Blind Buddha guitars are affordably priced, from $295 to $695. Carrier will build instruments on a custom-order basis, but the less patient may want to visit the Ralph Lauren Polo store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, which just started selling Blind Buddha guitars.
For more information, visit blindbuddhaguitars.com.
Have you created a custom work of guitar art suitable for "It Might Get Weird"? Email us at email@example.com.
It’s been just over 25 years since virtuoso guitarist Paul Gilbert and bassist Billy Sheehan formed Mr. Big with singer Eric Martin and drummer Pat Torpey.
At the time, Gilbert was just out of shred-metal act Racer X, and Sheehan was fresh off a two-album stint with David Lee Roth’s band. Mr. Big had huge success in little time with instrumentally dazzling pop-metal songs like “Addicted to That Rush” (from 1989’s Mr. Big) and the smash acoustic ballad “To Be with You” (from 1991’s Lean Into It).
Today, they’re still going strong despite a past lineup change (Gilbert left in 1997) and a hiatus from 2002 to 2009.
They’ve just released their eighth studio album, …The Stories We Could Tell, their second since reuniting, and it boasts the band’s characteristic mix of vibrant, hi-octane melodic rockers (the grinding opener “I Forget to Breathe,” the syncopated funk workout “Monster in Me”) and soaring ballads (the harmony-laden “Fragile,” the acoustic “The Man Who Has Everything”).
As always, the music is filled with Gilbert and Sheehan’s nimble and mind-boggling guitar and bass interplay.
It’s a thoroughly enjoyable and highly accomplished hard-rock record, which, like the band’s best work, manages to be instrumentally vigorous without sacrificing melody and songcraft.
But while the Mr. Big formula has remained true all these years, there were significant differences in how the band approached the making of …The Stories We Could Tell. Some had to do with the fact that, these days, the members are busy with individual musical endeavors.
Gilbert recently released a solo album, Stone Pushing Uphill Man, and teaches a web-based guitar course, Online Rock Guitar School with Paul Gilbert, among various other undertakings. “My life is a glorious tornado of musical projects!” he says with a laugh. Sheehan, meanwhile, has his hand in several ventures, most notably playing in the power trio the Winery Dogs, which also features drummer Mike Portnoy and guitarist Richie Kotzen, who spent several years in Mr. Big in the late Nineties and early 2000s when Gilbert exited the group.
Additionally, prior to making …The Stories We Could Tell the band was hit with the sobering news that Torpey had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. The symptoms, which the drummer had been battling for the past few years, were advanced enough that Gilbert and Sheehan ultimately wound up recording their parts to a click track, which was later replaced by programmed drums.
“We had to do a lot of stuff backward and inside-out,” Sheehan says. “It took extra work on our part, but we were happy to do it. And the drums really do sound a lot like Pat’s playing. He was there with the programmer, and they did a lot of moves that Pat does. So I was pleasantly surprised when I heard it. But right from the beginning of discussions with this record, when we first found out about Pat’s situation, all of us said, ‘Pat is still the drummer, and Pat is gonna be our drummer, no matter what.’ We did what we had to do, because this is the band.”
It’s a camaraderie that perhaps was not always so evident in Mr. Big. Back in the early Nineties, even as they were gaining fame in the U.S. and becoming superstars abroad—particularly in Japan where, Gilbert says, “We couldn’t walk in public. It was Japandemonium!”—the members weren’t always on the best of terms.
“I remember one time we headlined three sold-out nights at Budokan [in Tokyo],” Gilbert says, “and we all had our separate backstage areas, didn’t want to talk to each other. And I just thought that was a shame. We should have been having the best time in the world.”
In 1997, Gilbert had finally had enough and left the band to pursue a solo career and reignite Racer X. A few years later, after a dust-up that resulted in Sheehan being relieved of his position, Mr. Big called it quits. Says the bassist, “That animosity happens in bands because there’s a lot of passion. Everybody wants it to be awesome. And it’s inevitable you’re gonna step on someone else’s toes with your awesome idea and their awesome idea vying for position.” However, Sheehan says that since reuniting in 2009, the group has been reinvigorated. “We’re older and wiser. Now it’s a blast.”
And judging by …The Stories We Could Tell, there are still plenty of awesome ideas to go around. The key to the band’s continued success is that, despite the abundance of instrumental acrobatics—and one only need listen to the first few bars of a song like “Monster in Me,” or the tandem guitar-and-bass lead-riffing in “Light of Day” to hear a sampling of them—the emphasis has always been on the songs.
“And that was a conscious thing,” Sheehan says. “Both Paul and I, as much as we love to do wild-ass playing, the real people we try to play for are the non-musicians. Because I think it’s in every musicians’ best interest to have your expertise applied to something that has great appeal. We didn’t think it through philosophically like that back in the day, but we knew that’s what we were going for.”
Gilbert concurs. “The band that made me want to be a musician in the first place was the Beatles. And I think John Lennon used to say something like, ‘We’re just a singing group,’ when he talked about the band. So that’s what I say about Mr. Big—we’re a singing group! And that’s a side of us that you can hear on the new album, and that certainly isn’t overlooked by the average Mr. Big fan. They know that we have big melodies and lots of vocal harmonies, the whole thing.”
Gilbert laughs. “Of course, at the same time there are always those people that are going, ‘Yeah, yeah, melody, sure. Now, what fret is he hitting there?’ ”
The Stories We Could Tell Axology
GUITARS Ibanez Fireman FRM250MF and FRM25, Ibanez PGM401 modified with Wilkinson tremolo
AMP Marshall 2061X with THD Electronics Hot Plate power attenuator
EFFECTS TC Electronic MojoMojo and Corona Chorus, MXR Distortion+, Dunlop Cry Baby 535Q Multi-Wah and Jimi Hendrix Signature Wah, Fulltone Mini-Dejavibe, A/DA Flanger
STRINGS Ernie Ball RPS-8 and RPS-9
PICKS Dunlop Tortex T3
BASS Yamaha Attitude
PREAMPS EBS Billy Sheehan Signature Drive, Avalon VT-737sp
PEDAL MXR M87 Bass Compressor
STRINGS Rotosound Billy Sheehan Signature Set (.043–.110)
Photo: William Hames
He’s a vintage-gear-loving gunslinger whose mom starred in The Jeffersons. But what Guitar World readers want to know is…
You’ve said that your new album, Strut, is a very “raw” album. What do you mean by that? — Judah Kershner
I mean it’s raw in its execution as well as in the way it was recorded. All of my records are done very organically, on real instruments and with beautiful vintage gear. But this one also came together very quickly. I actually didn’t even realize I was making a record.
I was shooting a movie by day [The Hunger Games: Catching Fire], and the music was all coming to me at night. I wrote it very quickly, recorded it very quickly and refrained from putting too many overdubs on there. It’s really just a guitar-bass-and-drums record. So it was a very raw experience, and a very spontaneous one, too.
Your new single, “The Chamber,” has an almost early Eighties disco sound to it. What was the inspiration for that song? — Chris Kaysen
What I like about that track is it’s got a very groovy feeling, but it’s still based in guitars. As for what inspired it, my inspirations are always based on my life, my experiences, my feelings, things I’ve observed.
But I can’t really say what it was, exactly. It just came. I had nothing to do with any of it. That’s how I work. I wait for it to come. But it is a little bit of a different sound. You couldn’t really base the sound of the rest of the album off of that song. It would throw you. The record is all over the place, even though there’s a thread throughout it.
For years you’ve been talking about a “very funky” album that you already have recorded called Negrophilia. Strut sounds like it has a lot of funk elements on it. Is this it? — J. Goodman
This album is not that. Negrophilia is a very psychedelic, cool funk album. Very, very loose, and very free. Very free. It’s something I’ve been holding onto for a long time, and it’s almost time to have it see the light of day. In fact, I’m most probably going to release it right after this one.
What gear did you use on Strut? — Josh Lind
It was very simple. I only used two guitars. One was a ’59 Les Paul “Goldtop” that’s really muted and faded and has the most brilliant-sounding PAFs I’ve ever heard. Then there was a three-pickup black Les Paul Custom from the late Fifties. For amps, I used a modded Fender Super that has the most amazing sound. That’s the only one on the entire album, except for on the song “Strut,” where I played one guitar through a Fender Bassman.
You usually play all the instruments yourself on your albums. Why record that way rather than with a band? — Rick McDough
That way, when I’m writing and recording, I don’t have to explain anything to anyone. I don’t even have to talk about it. I just do it. So I’ll usually lay down drums first, then guitar, and then bass last. But really, more than anything, I think I do it because I just love to play.
I love the guitar tone on your early albums, like Let Love Rule and Are You Gonna Go My Way. What was your setup in the studio on those records? — Grayson Malloy
On Let Love Rule, it was primarily a tweed Fender Deluxe cranked to 10. When you turn that amp all the way up, it compresses itself and makes this beautiful tone. That’s pretty much the dirty sound on the album. I think I also had a Fender Twin Reverb for the cleaner stuff.
The guitar, for the most part, was actually an Epiphone Sorrento. I used a Telecaster for some of the clean stuff, and that was it. Are You Gonna Go My Way was a little different. There were so many amps on the album that it’s hard to remember all of them. But on that song [“Are You Gonna Go My Way”] in particular I used a Gibson Skylark, a little tiny amp that has the most brilliant sound. And the guitar was a Les Paul—not the Flying V that’s in the video. Oddly enough, I’ve never used a V in the studio, even though I’m so associated with that guitar.
When you came out with Let Love Rule, it sounded so different from what was going on at the time. Did you feel like you were going against the grain of what was popular? — Elias Kaplan
I knew I was going in the complete opposite direction that everybody else was going. It was 1989 when it came out, so I was making it in 1988. And everybody back then was doing this really sort of Eighties sound, very effected, very bombastic, big drums. So I went the other way, to a very organic space. A very intimate space. And I used all this amazing vintage gear. So yeah, I was quite aware of it. But since I made the record on my own before I had a record label, I didn’t have anybody trying to tell me anything different, thank god.
Do you feel like you get pigeonholed as “retro”? — Jenny Gray
Not anymore. It was kind of the catchphrase at the time, but I make music, that’s it. Whatever color is required, I use. I don’t relate to any labels.
What was your first guitar, and can you remember the first song you learned to play on it? — Mike Hannon
It was a Yamaha acoustic with a pickup in it and two knobs on the front. My parents got it for me from Manny’s [in New York City] for my ninth birthday. The first thing I learned to play? What’s that song? “Country roads, take me home…mountain mama…West Virginia…” The John Denver song [“Take Me Home, Country Roads”]. That was it!
You and Slash attended Fairfax High School in L.A. at the same time. Were you friends? — Clark Daniels
Not really. We knew each other from the hallway, like, “Yo, what’s up, dude? What’s happenin’?” But that was the extent of it. We met later on when he was in Guns N’ Roses and I had come out with Let Love Rule. We started talking and I went, “Wait a minute. I know you, man. You look so familiar. Oh my god! We went to high school together! You were that guy!” So that’s how it happened. Because he pretty much looked the same.
A few years back there was a rumor that Velvet Revolver wanted you to fill the singer slot after Scott Weiland. Was there any truth to that? — Cooper Abraham
They reached out to me, but it wasn’t something that I could do at the time, because I was in the middle of my stuff. So we never actually jammed. But I was flattered. I love those guys.
Is it true you have some of the recording gear the Beatles used at Abbey Road in your studio in the Bahamas? And if so, how did you get it? — Gord Engber
Yup, I have the mixing board [the REDD.37] that they used. [The group used the REDD.37 console throughout 1963 and again in 1969 during the recording of tracks for Let It Be.] Right after I made Let Love Rule, that stuff came up for sale, and at that time nobody really gave a shit about that kind of gear. Then, all of a sudden, a couple years later, vintage gear was “it.” Everybody was using it, everybody was buying it, everybody was trying to find it.
Fairchild compressors started going for $25,000. All these things were desired. So I was lucky enough to get it early. I have the board in my place in the Bahamas, but it moves around. Sometimes it’s in Paris. In general, though, I don’t buy gear anymore. I’ve got so much stuff that I don’t even see. I have a great collection of about 200 guitars that are all amazing. I have great drums and keyboards and synths, orchestral instruments and basses, and then recording equipment. So I’ve got enough for a lifetime. I’m good!
Are there any new artists you’re currently digging on? — Dave Fasciano
There’s a lot of stuff out there. I was talking about these kids today that I’ve been enjoying called the Strypes. They're from Ireland. A great band.
I read that you were named after your uncle Leonard, who was killed during the Korean War, and that earlier this year he received a posthumous medal of honor. What did he receive it for? — Pete DeLucie
That’s correct. He saved an entire platoon in Korea and sacrificed himself. In fact, the bill that got all the gentlemen their awards—because there were 24 given out that day, to people who should have gotten it already but didn’t—they were calling it loosely the Leonard Kravitz bill, because it was his example that kind of started the whole thing. [The medals were primarily given to Jewish and Latino servicemen who had been overlooked, due to discrimination.]
A friend of his petitioned and worked hard to help make this thing happen. So it was a real honor to go to the White House and receive this award, knowing that he deserved it back when he passed. Because out of the original 24, there were only three who were still alive. But there was a whole ceremony, and President Obama gave out the medals. It was beautiful.
Do you have words of advice for musicians just starting out? — Jack Felton
Be yourself. We all have our gifts that we were given, and there’s nothing like being authentic to what you were created to be. So don’t follow the crowd. Follow what’s inside of you.
Looking back over your career, is there anything you would change? — Aaron Mitchell
No. You can always think of things you could have done differently and probably would have, if given another chance. But what I’ve done makes me who I am, and I take in all the lessons I was taught as a result. So I take the ups and the downs. I take all of it, and I accept it and I do my best to grow from the things you might call mistakes. But I’ve been quite happy with my journey, and I continue to be happy with it. I thank God for it.
Photo: Greg Kadel
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“For years I’ve been hearing the phrase, ‘The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,’” says Louise Goffin.
Essentially bound by DNA to be a singer/songwriter, Louise is the first-born daughter of Gerry Goffin and Carole King, two of the most successful songwriters in American history (with more than 50 hit songs to their credit), so she was pretty much destined to hear the “apple/tree” comment from the instant she began playing piano at age six.
Hence the “apple” portion of the name of her new EP, Appleonfire (Majority Of One Records, February 3, 2015).
“The choice of the word ‘fire’ is in reference to passing the torch, the creative fire, so to speak,” Louise notes, “which for me is an existential need to create in order to feel meaning in this world, and the drive and purpose that comes with honoring that need.”
With Appleonfire Louise invites the world to hear touchstones of her father’s lyrical inspiration, as she includes four songs for which he wrote the lyrics, including one song that she wrote with him, and two that she co-wrote with others.
“His instrument was a spiral notebook” says Louise of her dad, “and he played it masterfully with his brilliant mind and an ordinary pen.” Like father, like daughter, that inspiration is evident in the way Louise continues Gerry’s penchant for approaching lyrics as collaborative healing, a musical bridge from father to daughter that was built when she was still quite young.
“I was in the studio with him when I was around eight,” she reminisces. “I have a recording of him on the talkback mic and me playing songs of mine and Beatles songs. He was exacting, always trying to up the level and speed of success, even with me as a little girl.”
Coming mere months after her sixth CD, the widely heralded Songs From The Mine, Louise’s new EP will certainly surprise her longtime fans who know that, like most musicians these days, she typically goes years between releases.
Appleonfire, in fact, got its genesis following Gerry Goffin’s June 19, 2014, passing—even before Songs From The Mine was released. “Two days after his passing, I performed a song he wrote called ‘It’s Not The Spotlight.’ Singing his lyrics made me feel like he was still with me. When I saw Barry Goldberg, who wrote ‘It’s Not The Spotlight’ with Gerry, I told him I had just played it live,” Louise recounts. “His response was, ‘We should cut it.’ A few weeks later this EP began in a Santa Monica studio as a celebration to Gerry’s spirit.
Appleonfire EP is ripe with six mid-tempo songs that harken back to the deep, ’70s California-rock well of her youth, including four with lyrics by Gerry Goffin himself. Four songs are produced by Louise and Barry Goldberg, “It’s Not The Spotlight;” the Goffin/King nugget “Take A Giant Step” rounded out by two new Louise tunes, “Higher Than Low” and “Everything You Need," both co- written at Steelbridge Songfest last June, the week before Gerry’s passing.
Louise produced two additional songs for the EP, a long-lost Goffin/King tune called “If I’m Late;” and “I’m Not Rich But I’m Not Poor,” a heretofore unrecorded gem written by father and daughter. A guest list of musicians appearing on the record are Jim Keltner, Bob Glaub, Val McCallum, Barry Goldberg, Wally Ingram, Stevie Blacke, Billy Harvey, Butch Norton, Johnny Lee Schell, Joseph Arthur and Jakob Dylan. Jackson Browne generously contributed a day of studio time which, serendipitously, was available the one day the tracking band musicians’ schedules aligned.
“I started off agreeing to record ‘It’s Not The Spotlight’ and then figured while I had this amazing band I’d also record two songs I’d recently written,” she explains. “And because earlier in the year I had sung a duet of a Goffin/ King song at MusiCares with Jakob Dylan, it made sense to invite him to sing on ‘Take A Giant Step.’ In one day we recorded those first four songs.
“The father theme called out, so I recorded two additional songs after that first day: ‘I’m Not Rich But I’m Not Poor’ hung around quietly until I recently considered ‘what else shall I record on this EP?’ Gerry told me the title was a phrase his father used to say to him,” she says of the co-write with her dad, “which meant however humble your financial resources were, it wasn’t a reflection your quality of character.”
“The other one (“If I’m Late”), was a gem I’d never heard before. Someone posted a demo of the song on YouTube the day Gerry passed away. Not only was it a find of an undiscovered song, but it had the added rarity that he was singing lead vocal and my mother was harmonizing with him on it. I recorded it and then took the master to Brooklyn to sing it with Joseph Arthur, who captured the energy my father had on it, while bringing a unique and appealing musicality of his own. I don’t know how that song slipped through the cracks all these years.”
Born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in LA’s Laurel Canyon during its music halcyon days, Louise Goffin released her first album at the age of 19. Along the way she’s released six well-received albums of her own; she produced a Grammy-nominated record for Carole King, “A Holiday Carole” and some who have recorded her songs include Paul Thorn, Shawn Colvin, Terry Reid, John Parish, Lindsay Lohan and Carole King herself.
For many who grew up with The Gilmore Girls hit TV show, Louise’s voice can be heard with Carole’s on the duet in the opening theme “Where You Lead”. Tony Award winner Jessie Mueller and the cast of "Beautiful - The Carole King Musical”, recorded a seasonal song Louise wrote with Guy Chambers, “New Year’s Day” for Carols For A Cure, originally written for "A Holiday Carole." A multi-instrumentalist, Louise has also toured the world on electric guitar in Tears For Fears, and played banjo with Bryan Ferry.
Louise’s own recording career long ago transcended the shadow of expectation that goes with being the daughter of elite members of the Songwriters and Rock and Roll Halls of Fame, proven here in the way that her own tunes appear triumphantly on Appleonfire alongside the ones her dad and mom penned. The poignant, subdued blues testimonial “Higher Than Low” (written with James Hall and the late Chris Aaron) and the elevating piano ballad “Everything You Need,” which Louise authored with Kim Manning and Susan Howe, would make any parent proud—even ones named Goffin and King.
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Marilyn Manson has premiered a new track, "Deep Six," and you can hear it below.
The song is from his new album, The Pale Emperor, which will be released January 19 via Manson's own label, Hell, etc.
Here's the track listing:
01. Killing Strangers
02. Deep Six
03. Third Day Of A Seven Day Binge
04. The Mephistopheles Of Los Angeles
05. Warship My Wreck
06. Slave Only Dreams To Be King
07. The Devil Beneath My Feet
08. Birds Of Hell Awaiting
09. Cupid Carries A Gun
10. Odds Of Even
11. Day 3 (deluxe edition only)
12. Fated, Faithful, Fatal (deluxe edition only)
13. Fall Of The House Of Death (deluxe edition only)