- RSS Channel Showcase 2083995
- RSS Channel Showcase 5741748
- RSS Channel Showcase 2598641
- RSS Channel Showcase 5880932
Articles on this Page
- 12/19/14--08:47: _Young South Korean ...
- 12/19/14--09:04: _Bent Out of Shape: ...
- 12/19/14--09:19: _At the Gates Discus...
- 12/19/14--10:11: _Marilyn Manson Prem...
- 12/19/14--10:53: _Sterling by Music M...
- 12/19/14--11:18: _Jazz Guitar Corner:...
- 12/19/14--13:24: _The Enigmatic St. V...
- 12/22/14--09:21: _The Great Kat Previ...
- 12/22/14--10:10: _Paul Stanley's Folg...
- 12/22/14--10:28: _Marty Friedman Prem...
- 12/22/14--10:48: _Seymour Duncan Intr...
- 12/22/14--11:16: _Guitarist Gretchen ...
- 12/22/14--11:24: _Singer Joe Cocker D...
- 12/22/14--11:36: _Goodnight, Texas to...
- 12/22/14--12:49: _'Work': Bon Jovi To...
- 12/22/14--13:43: _Session Guitar: Top...
- 12/22/14--20:46: _Platinum Rush Video...
- 12/30/14--09:01: _Review: EarthQuaker...
- 12/30/14--09:05: _Review: PRS Archon ...
- 12/30/14--09:13: _Review: Reverend Bo...
- 12/19/14--09:19: At the Gates Discuss New Album, 'At War with Reality'
- 12/19/14--10:11: Marilyn Manson Premieres “Deep Six” Music Video
- 12/19/14--10:53: Sterling by Music Man Previews New JP60-MGR John Petrucci Guitar
- 12/19/14--11:18: Jazz Guitar Corner: Melodic Minor Modes Made Easy
- 12/22/14--09:21: The Great Kat Previews New Shred/Classical DVD — Video
- 12/22/14--10:10: Paul Stanley's Folgers Commercial Resurfaces Online — Video
- 12/22/14--10:28: Marty Friedman Premieres "Undertow" Music Video
- 12/22/14--10:48: Seymour Duncan Introduces Lemmy Custom Shop Signature Pickup Set
- 12/22/14--11:16: Guitarist Gretchen Menn to Lead House Band for She Rocks Awards
- 12/22/14--11:24: Singer Joe Cocker Dead at 70 After Long Battle with Lung Cancer
- 12/22/14--20:46: Platinum Rush Video Blog #9 — The Vonneguts
- 12/30/14--09:01: Review: EarthQuaker Palisades Overdrive Pedal — Video
- 12/30/14--09:05: Review: PRS Archon Amplifier Head — Video
- 12/30/14--09:13: Review: Reverend Bob Balch Signature Guitar — Video
Here young South Korean guitarist Sungha Jung digs into a fingerstyle rendition of Michael Jackson's “Billy Jean.”
Jung started playing at age 9, and as you can see, he’s progressed to prodigy level. His YouTube covers collectively have hundreds of millions of views.
Jung was mentored by German guitarist Ulli Bögershausen, whose inspiration and instruction ushered him into pro-level performance.
This performance took place when Jung was 14, and the song appears on his second album, Irony.
Now 18, Jung has five albums under his belt and a signature Lakewood guitar. He says he’s taking drum lessons too!
Jung doesn’t just excel on guitar. Check out this performance on harp ukulele of Kansas’ classic “Dust in the Wind.”
Find out more at sunghajung.com.
Welcome to part 2 of my new series of lessons for guitarists who have spent a period of time away from playing.
"Guitar Rehab" is designed to get you back into playing, and each lesson will help you rebuild your technique.
In the last lesson, we focused on a rhythm guitar exercise to help warm up your picking wrist, build stamina and increase the accuracy of your picking and fret-hand coordination
For this lesson, we're going to focus on building our fretting-hand muscle strength with a series of exercises built around string bends and vibrato. This lesson will mix rhythm and lead playing using the same backing track from part 1.
When I started playing again after taking a few months off, I immediately noticed how weak my fretting hands where when trying to execute string bends and vibrato. These exercises will gradually build up your finger strength and stamina. Each exercise will become progressively more difficult and require stronger technique.
Before we begin, just a quick word of caution: If your hands start to ache or you feel tension/cramp-like feeling in fretting fingers when bending strings, it's time to take a break. You can injure yourself if you try too much too soon. Try to start gradually by practicing for about 30 minutes and then taking a 30-minute break. In the next lesson, I'll talk more about how to schedule your practicing when starting to play again.
This first exercise is the same open-string pedal riff from part 1 with a simple phrase at the end involving two string bends. The first is a unison bend that involves anchoring your first finger on the string above and bending up to that pitch with your second and third finger on the string below. The second is a regular bend. I suggest using your first, second and third fingers to execute it.
Exercise 2 is a unison bend exercise following the bass line of the backing track. You descend through the A minor scale playing unison bends on the B and G strings, ending with the same phrase from Exercise 1.
After that, we combine whole step and half-step bends to create a simple melody. You bend up a full step and hold the note. Then you bend up another half step so you are now three semitones higher than the original fretted note.
The final exercise is another style of bend similar to unison but where you alternate pick each string one at a time instead of playing them both together. On the backing tracking after playing this exercise I have left this section looped for several times so you can improvise a solo at the end. Good luck!
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.
It’s been pouring rain for 48 hours straight when Guitar World wakes up in Gothenburg, Sweden, on the day of our photo shoot with At the Gates.
We’d planned to take the melodic death-metal legends to a few outdoor locations around their home city before sitting down to get the story behind their first studio album in 19 years, the critically acclaimed At War with Reality.
We’ve flown nearly 4,000 miles to complete this task, and we’re cringing at the possibility of being rained out. But as we throw back the curtains in our hotel room overlooking the Göta älv river, we see that the ancient Norse gods have granted us a respite.
The season’s copious rainfall has momentarily subsided, allowing brilliant sunlight to illuminate the river and myriad autumnal colors of the tree leaves throughout the coastal city.
It’s in the crucible of Gothenburg’s brutal climate and breathtaking old-world beauty that a community of young musicians in the early Nineties banded together and forged a new subgenre of extreme metal.
At the Gates—along with contemporaries like Dark Tranquility, In Flames and Dissection—merged the melodic dual-guitar elements of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal with the violent sonic assault of Florida death metal to create a new hybrid of melodic death metal, known now as the Gothenburg Sound.
“Nineteen ninety-five was an important year for all of us,” says Anders Björler, At the Gates’ founding guitarist, when we meet later that day. “We released Slaughter of the Soul, Dissection had Storm of the Light’s Bane, Dark Tranquility released The Gallery, and In Flames recorded The Jester Race. Everyone signed to bigger labels, and we got on U.S. and European tours. It was a groundbreaking year for all of us, and it helped distribute that sound throughout the world. Things really took off.”
But At the Gates were hardly an overnight success. The band—Anders and his twin brother, bassist Jonas Björler, guitarist Alf Svensson, drummer Adrian Erlandsson and vocalist Tomas Lindberg—had formed five year’s prior and released two ambitious death metal records: 1992’s The Red Sky Is Ours and 1993’s With Fear I Kiss the Burning Darkness.
The following year’s exceptional Terminal Spirit Disease further established them in the underground scene and featured Martin Larsson replacing Svensson on second guitar.
But it was with their fourth album, Slaughter of the Soul, that At the Gates found international success and influenced a generation of musicians.
“Coming off of Terminal Spirit Disease, we actually had a sit down where we were focused on creating something special,” Lindberg says. “We were at a bit of a musical make-it-or-break-it point. Either we put all our effort into this and make a great album, or we might as well break up.”
Their hard work paid off. Slaughter of the Soul’s tight thrashing songs were filled with precise dual-guitar work, catchy melodies, furious tones and shredded, howling vocals. The inspired 34-minute album isn’t just one of the best examples of Gothenburg death metal—it also ranks among the most influential metal albums of the Nineties. With Slaughter of the Soul, At the Gates effectively inspired the birth of the entire metalcore genre, which would dominate the extreme metal landscape throughout the new millennium in the hands of such bands as Arch Enemy, Killswitch Engage and Shadows Fall.
But while the guys managed to create the best album of their career, in an ironic twist, At the Gates broke up before they could enjoy any of the spoils from its success.
“I had just had enough,” Anders Björler says of his decision to leave the band in 1996 after touring behind Slaughter of the Soul. “Eight months of touring and we got paid only in alcohol and beer!”
“We were also so young, inexperienced and unused to coping with outside, or internal, pressure,” Lindberg adds. “There’s no real communication when you’re 20. If we were the persons we are today, that would have never happened. But, also, we probably wouldn’t be the persons we are today if that didn’t happen!”
After At the Gates disbanded, the musicians stayed active with other groups: the Björler brothers and Adrian Erlandsson with the Haunted, and Lindberg with Disfear, Lock Up, the Great Deceiver and others. They also pursued vocations and passions outside the music industry. Anders went back to school for filmmaking, and Lindberg became a high-school teacher.
“During the period we weren’t active as a band, everyone did other projects that allowed us to express ourselves without pressure,” Lindberg says. “I tried a lot of things, and we got rid of a lot of stuff from our systems.
”With their internal conflicts laid to rest, the band members were able to entertain the possibility of a reunion. Which is exactly what happened in 2007 when they announced that they were embarking on a run of European festivals and Japanese dates. These shows revealed a reinvigorated group firing on all cylinders, but At the Gates were adamant that no new material was on the horizon.
The band wanted Slaughter of the Soul’s legacy—which by that time had become a landmark in the genre—to remain their final album. But the success of the tours, as well as the band’s revitalized chemistry, eventually softened their position, and the musicians started working on a new album.
“The music just sounded so much better than back in the day,” Anders Björler says of the motivation to write new material. “We had all been playing in different bands, and we all sounded better.”
Now, nearly two decades since their last studio outing, At the Gates are back with At War with Reality, a powerhouse album that reaffirms their musical prowess and genre dominance, and contains the band’s most emotionally heavy performance yet.
“We wanted to have a really honest and emotional touch on this record, not just mechanical and aggressive,” Lindberg says. “We wanted to color it up with a bit with frustration, desperation and melancholy. That was our intention, and I think we succeeded.
At the Gates is synonymous with the term Gothenburg Sound. But I’m curious to know, what does that term mean to you personally?
ANDERS BJÖRLER To me it just describes a small musical scene in the beginning of the Nineties. It means friendship and helping each other out. We were part of this new scene. But later it was a post-construct by journalists to describe this musical scene from Gothenburg, even though all the bands were very different, sound-wise.
LINDBERG We’re friends with all the bands in the [Gothenburg] scene. We hung out and inspired each other to make music and have an open mind about how you can do death metal. But we were all different entities at the same time. I think the Gothenburg sound was actually cemented by other bands afterward. You had stuff in Massachusetts, with Shadows Fall, Killswitch Engage and all these other bands, and also in Sweden with the second generation, like Soilwork and Arch Enemy. These bands emulated all the different aspects of all the Gothenburg bands into one sound.
One distinct aspect of that sound is a heavy melodic sensibility incorporated into death metal. Where do the roots of this melodicism lie for you?
LINDBERG We started out as kids listening to early hard rock and heavy metal. I think our generation was lucky. Our tastes evolved as the music scene evolved. From heavy metal to New Wave of British Heavy Metal, to hardcore punk of the early Eighties, to thrash. Then the death metal thing happened, as we were teenagers and just starting to play ourselves. It was all very natural. When we were eight we were listening to Iron Maiden; 10 it was Metallica and 14 was Morbid Angel.
ANDERS BJÖRLER And when At the Gates eventually formed, the way that things progressed in a more melodic direction had a lot to do with the other guitar player, Alf [Svensson]. He had some very original and weird ideas. He brought in a lot of classical, folk and even opera influences.
You and Jonas also have a connection with classical music, right?
ANDERS BJÖRLER Yeah, our granddad was a music teacher and a violinist in a symphonic orchestra.
When you first started learning music, did you study classical instrumentation or just pick up a guitar and learn Morbid Angel riffs?
ANDERS BJÖRLER I first started practicing the piano back at home. It wasn’t on a professional level. My mother just had a piano and I played around on it. I also started out on a recorder flute, which is a common thing in Swedish schools.
LINDBERG Even I played that! [laughs]
ANDERS BJÖRLER Because it’s a categorically easy instrument to get into. It’s what everyone starts with. [laughs] But for me it turned into playing clarinet for five years and learning a little bit more about music theory. Then I met Tomas and got interested in guitar. I actually found some Metallica and Slayer tablature and learned by playing along with those records. I’m totally self-taught. You are as well, right, Martin?
LARSSON I had classes as well, but I never did the homework. [laughs] My school was also figuring out Metallica riffs in my room.
Jonas, did your journey to playing bass follow a similar path as your brother?
JONAS BJÖRLER Yes, I also played recorder flute. [laughs] Then nothing really happened until I was around 16. I heard some cool stuff like Metallica and Slayer and I wanted to be in a band. There was this crappy band that needed a bass player. They had a bass, so I didn’t need to buy one to join. I think they were called Demolition. They were a really crappy hybrid between AC/DC and Pestilence. It was the worst band you can imagine. [laughs]
Can you talk about how At the Gates’ style progressed from the more experimental early albums to the concise assault of Slaughter of the Soul?
LINDBERG In terms of songwriting, Alf was an influence on the weird stuff that was part of our early career. Me and Alf were both in Grotesque, and we left to form At the Gates with Anders and Jonas. He was the one that had experience of writing songs in a proper band, so we leaned against him.
Did your gear change as your sound evolved?
ANDERS BJÖRLER All our records are examples of the situations in the studio and our finances. It was what we could afford to buy and what was available at the time. Equipment-wise, we got started because of something called Study Circles. It’s state-sponsored financial aid for artists. All the bands got this back in the day. It was a big help to buy equipment, because we were 16 when we started and really poor. They gave us money to buy amps, guitars and drums. That service is still available for people in Sweden to use.
Sweden better get ready for a bunch of American guitarists trying to move there!
ANDERS BJÖRLER [laughs] And it’s not even just music. It’s art in general. If you’re interested in having a book circle, you can get money for that as well.
JONAS BJÖRLER We also have free musical school for kids up until they’re 14 years old. So that’s really good. That’s a huge help.
Let’s step back to Slaughter of the Soul for a minute. That record went on to become a huge hit that influenced a lot of metalcore bands that would achieve success in the 2000s. Did you know you were onto something special when you were cutting those tracks?
LINDBERG We put a lot of effort into making that record, and it was a big step up for us. We were definitely doing things we hadn’t done before. But the scene was going nowhere, we were broke, and it wasn’t like a big career success at the time.
ANDERS BJÖRLER It wasn’t an instant success in any way. Signing to Earache Records was a big step, because it was the first album that had major distribution. It also allowed us to film a high-budget video and got us on U.S. tours.
LARSSON Yeah, the support tours in the U.S playing with Morbid Angel and Napalm Death helped us reach a lot of people.
ANDERS BJÖRLER But the real hype came after we split up.
JONAS BJÖRLER The album’s success didn’t come until much later, like 1999. I mean the term Gothenburg Sound wasn’t even coined until the 2000s.
At the Gates broke up in 1996 after the support tours for Slaughter of the Soul. Were you all just burnt out at the time?
ANDERS BJÖRLER I was the one who left. And I guess the other guys felt it was impossible to continue without me. Like I mentioned, we weren’t super successful at the time. And it was a pretty early stage in our lives, and I wanted to go back to school.
What did you study?
ANDERS BJÖRLER I went to film school for three years. Also, about two months after I left At the Gates, I joined the Haunted. It was the right time and right place for something fresh. Going into the rehearsal room with no pressure was great.
When At the Gates reformed in 2007, you were all insistent that no new records were on the horizon. What made you change your minds?
LINDBERG After hearing those songs played live again, we understood how good that style could sound with all of us playing it again, and also how broad our spectrum is with At the Gates. There are probably limits as to how far we can progress within the frame of the band. But we have a very wide-open field compared to other death metal bands. We can do pretty creative stuff within this band. And that’s very inspiring.
Did you feel pressured by your own legacy?
JONAS BJÖRLER No, actually for me it was just important to make it stand out from the Haunted stuff, because I was writing for both bands at the same time.
Did you have to scrap a lot of riffs because they were too similar to the Haunted’s sound?
LINDBERG Jonas didn’t have to scrap them. Anders did it for him! [laughs]
JONAS BJÖRLER [laughs] I did maybe 12 or 13 songs ideas, and we maybe used four or five.
ANDERS BJÖRLER [laughs] I also presented some ideas that Jonas wasn’t into. But our communication was on a much more mature level than it was as kids. Back then we would scream at each other and punch each other, for real.
LINDBERG I remember a cobblestone being thrown once.
JONAS BJÖRLER Now it also helps that we live three hours away from each other. [laughs] But back to the question, in terms of tuning, the Haunted is D and At the Gates is B. So when we tune down three semi-tones [from D] to At the Gates tuning, you get into the feeling of the band. That makes a huge difference when you sit down and start writing riffs. At the Gates is going to be heavier because of those tunings. And the Haunted melodies are different than the ones in At the Gates, which are more melancholic and atmospheric.
LINDBERG I think our viewpoint for this record was different, too. Slaughter of the Soul was a very reactionary, aggressive and angry album based on our experience at the time. It was an angry-young-man record. Even when we were touring on that one, I know Jonas said he was disappointed because that record was too one-dimensional and missing more of the emotional aspects of the earlier albums. So that was something we had in mind this time: we wanted not only dynamics in arrangements but emotional dynamics on different songs.
Slaughter of the Soul was recorded 19 years ago, at a time when Pro Tools wasn’t on everyone’s laptop. How was the recording process different this time around?
ANDERS BJÖRLER Back then we had to learn the song, rehearse it and then record it to a tape recorder and listen back. But it was still sounding terrible, because it was recorded in a rehearsal room. Now you can have a sketch in the computer in 15 minutes, and it sounds awesome.
LARSSON It’s been much more transparent this time. It’s all home demos being bounced back and forth, and you can comment on anything right away.
JONAS BJÖRLER I like that format, but you shouldn’t forget you’re a band. You still need to play together. When we had all the demos together, we met and played through everything.
LARSSON We wanted to make sure the whole album was playable live.
LINDBERG When we’re in the studio, we want to use the new technology, but we had to remember to get good basic organic analog sounds as well. Because we’ll never be the band that sequences everything. So we embrace the new technology, but we had to make sure we don’t rely on it too much.
You recorded in Gothenburg at Studio Fredman with Fredrik Nordstrom, who also worked on Slaughter of the Soul. Did that fact alone make him the obvious choice?
ANDERS BJÖRLER Well, we wanted something in Gothenburg, and there aren’t many studios left. And Fredman was a good choice because Fredrik was very influential on the sound of Slaughter of the Soul. He had many ideas, especially about guitar sounds.
Anders, I read a quote that for Slaughter, you played through a homemade cab that you and your dad built. Did you bring that into the studio this time?
ANDERS BJÖRLER Back then I didn’t have money to buy a cabinet, so I built one. It was basically two 10-inch and two 12-inch Celestions in a big wooden cabinet. It sounded very good and compact. But I sold it a year after we recorded Slaughter of the Soul. Actually, Jesper of In Flames really liked the sound and he wanted to buy it. But I said no. [laughs] But they still got a similar sound on The Jester Race.
LINDBERG Yeah they really tried hard on that one, no? [laughs]
ANDERS BJÖRLER [laughs] My guitar amp was a solid-state Peavey Supreme, and we did Boss Heavy Metal and Metal Zone pedals in serial. I played an Ibanez Maxxus, which I think is the predecessor to the Joe Satriani model. It was a hollowbody and very resonant, with lots of sustain.
You’re back with Peavey again this time, right?
ANDERS BJÖRLER We switched to Line 6 HD500 for live use. It’s the most rewarding. But we usually play Peavey 6505s or 5150s. I play a custom version of the Ibanez Prestige R6 with one Lundgren bridge pickup. They’re a Swedish company that makes pickups for Meshuggah and Scott Ian from Anthrax. It’s the most powerful and aggressive passive pickup I’ve ever heard.
JONAS BJÖRLER It’s a very passive-aggressive pickup. [laughs]
ANDERS BJÖRLER Good one. [laughs] I like active pickups, too. We used EMG-81s in the studio because they were on my new baritone guitar from Ibanez, their new Iron-Label series. It sounds fantastic, and it’s pretty affordable, too, maybe $500. We actually played baritone on the whole album. I even did most of the solos on the baritone as well.
JONAS BJÖRLER It’s just guitarists trying to be bassists. [laughs]
Martin, what are you playing these days?
LINDBERG Copy and paste Anders’ setup. [laughs]
LARSSON [laughs] I’m not so picky. I’ll play whatever I can get my hands on. It’s an Ibanez RG Prestige and the Line 6 as well.
ANDERS BJÖRLER I think he’s got the Seymour Duncan pickups, which are the factory default.
If you’re playing a similar setup, is it just your individual technique that helps distinguish the parts?
ANDERS BJÖRLER The pickups separate the sounds. My pickups are really hot.
LARSSON But our playing styles are very different as well. He has a really unorthodox way of playing.
ANDERS BJÖRLER I start from low, like an upstroke, when I play. I have this alternate triplet picking technique, which I actually wasn’t aware of until Jeff Loomis from Nevermore noticed and said, “You have a weird style!” [laughs] I had no idea. I do up-down-up; down-up-down. I alternate on every pair of triplets so it gets really fast.
Jonas, what’s your setup this time around?
JONAS BJÖRLER I play EBS TD660 amps now. I used to use the 650, but the 660 has a better EQ in bass in mid. I have a new cabinet with 8x10 neodymium speakers, which is really lightweight and great for touring. I also have a Pro-Co Rat distortion pedal, which I set at three or four distortion level at maximum volume. I play a Warwick Corvette for touring, which is really lightweight and not too expensive. I also have a Warwick Streamer Stage I and Stage II. But for the At the Gates record, I actually used the Corvette in the studio.
Anders, you are known for deploying succinct solos that are lyrical, heavy and very well constructed. Can you speak to your process of composing them?
ANDERS BJÖRLER The purpose for solos for me is to basically make a melody that fits with the chord structure beneath it. I like simple notes. A great solo could be just one note. I like finding those powerful melodies that stick in your head. That’s my starting point. Almost like a classical theme in many ways. But there’s no real logic or thought behind it.
Tomas, let’s finish by putting you on the spot. What is your favorite guitar moment on the record?
JONAS BJÖRLER The silence between songs. [everyone laughs]
LINDBERG There’s a lot of great guitar moments on this record. A lot of classic thrashing stuff, a lot of different harmonics from the Russian neoclassicists I guess. I really enjoy our Slayer moment in “Heroes and Tombs.” That intro is very eerie, like “Seasons in the Abyss.”
ANDERS BJÖRLER I bought that riff online at ClassicRiffs.com. [laughs] It was only $19.95!
LINDBERG [laughs] Actually, didn’t that come from the Bolt Thrower riff that I ordered from you, Jonas?
JONAS BJÖRLER It started as my song, but it ended up with zero of my riffs. [laughs]
LINDBERG I asked Jonas for one Bolt Thrower riff, and he wrote one for me and it was perfect! But Anders didn’t like it, of course.
ANDERS BJÖRLER It started as a Bolt Thrower song and ended up as a Slayer song with an Autopsy outro. So anything can happen!
Marilyn Manson dropped the single, "Deep Six" from his forthcoming album, The Pale Emperor, which will be released January 20 via Loma Vista.
Now he's released the video for the track.
Watch the weirdness unfold below:
If you read the Ernie Ball forum, you'll already have noticed the company has sort of announced the new Sterling by Music Man JP60-MGR guitar.
If not, check out the recent post about the new John Petrucci model right here:
"Here's a quick preview of the new-for-2015 JP60-MGR: Mystic Green finish!
"It's our first SBMM 'Chameleon' finish, and was selected by JP himself earlier this year between DT tours. Needless to say, it's probably our most requested finish since day one, and we searched high and low for something that could be our counterpart to EBMM's Mystic Dream finish. John personally selected this out of several samples we sent him.
"This finish will only be available on JP60, and will be hitting stores in late January. $619 USA Street Price!
"I'll be unveiling the entire New for 2015 SBMM lineup right here on the forum from now through New Year's."
Stay tuned for more. Again, remember the Winter NAMM Show is coming up!
When learning how to play jazz, and other improvisational genres of music, learning how to play the seven modes of melodic minor is an essential skill any guitarist should have in their soloing tool belt.
While we know that learning the seven modes of melodic minor is important, sometimes it can seem like a tough task, and we feel we have to start from scratch when learning these seven modes.
But that doesn’t have to be the case.
In this lesson, you will learn how to simply change one note of each major mode in order to quickly learn all seven modes of the melodic minor scale.
If you are new to the major modes, check out my previous lesson,
Melodic Minor Mode 1
To begin, let’s take a look at how you can alter one note from the Ionian mode to create the first mode of melodic minor, otherwise known as the melodic minor scale itself.
In order to do this, you play an Ionian mode but lower the third note of the fingering to form the first mode of melodic minor. Because of this alteration, you can think of the MM 1 fingering as being an Ionian b3 shape.
Here is how those two interval patterns compare.
Ionian: R 2 3 4 5 6 7
MM 1: R 2 b3 4 5 6 7
Here's how that interval pattern looks on the fretboard, with one note difference between the two being indicated by the blue highlight in the MM 1 shape.
Once you have learned the MM 1 shape, you can practice applying it to a minor family chord, such as m7, m6, m9, or mMaj7, in order to bring this shape to your improvisational practice as well as technical.
Melodic Minor Mode 2
Let’s now take a look at how you can alter one note from the Dorian mode to create the second mode of melodic minor. In order to do this, you play a Dorian mode but lower the 2nd note of the fingering to form the second mode of melodic minor.
Because of this alteration, you can think of the MM 2 fingering as being a Dorian b2 shape.
Here is how those two interval patterns compare.
Dorian: R 2 b3 4 5 6 b7
MM 2: R b2 b3 4 5 6 b7
Here's how that interval pattern looks on the fretboard, with one note difference between the two being indicated by the blue highlight in the MM 2 shape.
Once you've learned the MM 2 shape, you can practice soloing with this mode over a 7th chord, bringing out a 13susb9 sound, in order to apply this shape to your improvisational practice as well as technical.
Melodic Minor Mode 3
We’ll now move on to altering one note from the Phrygian mode to create the third mode of melodic minor, otherwise known as the Lydian augmented scale.
In order to do this, you play a Phrygian mode but lower the root note of the fingering to form the third mode of melodic minor. Because of this alteration, you can think of the MM 3 fingering as being a Phrygian b1 shape.
This may seem funny, lowering the root note, but it makes it very easy to turn a Phrygian mode into the third mode of melodic minor on the fretboard from a fingering standpoint.
Here's how those two interval patterns compare.
Phrygian: R b2 b3 4 5 b6 b7
MM 3: R 2 3 #4 #5 6 7 (or bR b2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 when compard to Phrygian)
Here's how that interval pattern looks on the fretboard, with one note difference between the two being indicated by the blue highlight in the MM 3 shape.
Once you have learned the MM 3 shape you can practice soloing with this mode over a maj7th chord, bringing out a maj7#5 sound, in order to apply this shape to your improvisational practice as well as technical.
Melodic Minor Mode 4
Let’s now alter one note from the Lydian Mode to create the fourth mode of Melodic Minor, otherwise known as the Lydian dominant scale.
In order to do this, you play a Lydian mode but lower the seventh note of the fingering to form the fourth mode of melodic minor.
Because of this alteration, you can think of the MM 4 fingering as being a Lydian b7 shape.
Here's how those two interval patterns compare.
Lydian: R 2 3 #4 5 6 7
MM 4: R 2 3 #4 5 6 b7
Here's how that interval pattern looks on the fretboard, with one note difference between the two being indicated by the blue highlight in the MM 4 shape.
Once you've learned the MM 4 shape you can practice soloing with this mode over a dominant family chord such as 7th, 9th or 13th, bringing out a #11 sound, in order to apply this shape to your improvisational practice as well as technical.
Melodic Minor Mode 5
Moving on, you can now alter one note from the Mixolydian mode to create the fifth mode of melodic minor. In order to do this, you play a Mixolydian mode but lower the sixth note of the fingering to form the fifth mode of melodic minor.
Because of this alteration, you can think of the MM 5 fingering as being a Mixolydian b6 shape. Here's how those two interval patterns compare.
Mixolydian: R 2 3 4 5 6 b7
MM 5: R 2 3 4 5 b6 b7
Here's how that interval pattern looks on the fretboard, with one note difference between the two being indicated by the blue highlight in the MM 5 shape.
Once you've learned the MM 5 shape, you can practice soloing with this mode over a dominant family chord such as 7th, 9th or 13th, bringing out a b13 sound, in order to apply this shape to your improvisational practice as well as technical.
Melodic Minor Mode 6
Let’s now alter one note from the Aeolian mode to create the sixth mode of melodic minor, otherwise known as the Locrian Natural 2 scale. In order to do this, you play an Aeolian mode but lower the fifth note of the fingering to form the sixth mode of melodic minor.
Because of this alteration, you can think of the MM 6 fingering as being an Aeolian b5 shape.
Here's how those two interval patterns compare.
Aeolian: R 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7
MM 6: R 2 b3 4 b5 b6 b7
Here's how that interval pattern looks on the fretboard, with one note difference between the two being indicated by the blue highlight in the MM 6 shape.
Once you've learned the MM 6 shape, you can practice soloing with this mode over a m7b5 chord in order to apply this shape to your improvisational practice as well as technical.
Melodic Minor Mode 7
Lastly, you can alter one note from the Locrian mode to create the seventh mode of melodic minor, otherwise known as the altered scale. In order to do this, you play a Locrian mode but lower the 4th note of the fingering to form the seventh mode of melodic minor.
Because of this alteration, you can think of the MM 7 fingering as being a Locrian b4 shape.
Here's how those two interval patterns compare.
Locrian: R b2 b3 4 b5 b6 b7
MM 7: R b3 b3 b4 b5 b5 b7
Here's how that interval pattern looks on the fretboard, with one note difference between the two being indicated by the blue highlight in the MM 7 shape.
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).
The first truly 21st century guitar hero? A post-modern chops monster?
Annie Clark, a.k.a. St. Vincent, is an enigmatic artist on many levels. As a player, her influences are all over the map. The niece of new agey jazz guitarist Tuck Andress, Clark had some of her earliest professional experiences as a roadie and, later, opening act for his duet Tuck and Patti.
But Clark, born in 1982, is also a fully fledged child of the alt Nineties. One of the biggest honors of her career to date was being chosen to perform the Nirvana song “Lithium” at the 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.
Sporting a funky, thrift-shop Harmony solidbody, she joined surviving Nirvana members Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear for a gig that implicitly positioned her as some kind of new, female incarnation of Kurt Cobain.
“I can’t possibly put into words how much that meant to me,” she says, “and how grateful I feel to even be part of that history in the smallest of ways. Nirvana changed the world. You can’t say that about many bands. They changed my life. They changed millions and millions of people’s lives.”
But Clark also has a serious metal side. Growing up in Texas, she delved deeply into the music of bands like Slayer, Metallica and Pantera. Dimebag Darrell is one of her all-time guitar heroes. Then again, she also spent three years at the Berklee School of Music mastering harmonic theory and other learned topics. Despite these antecedents, however, her music is devoid of wanky jazz chords or lengthy bouts of virtuoso shredding. She can do all that in her sleep but prefers to employ her considerable talent to create arty, minimalist pop music, as heard on her fourth and most recent album, St. Vincent.
“It’s funny that you would categorize it as minimalist,” she says. “In the context of guitar rock, I could see what I do as being minimal. But in the context of pop music, it’s pushing the level of muso—pushing the limits of what people are hearing in pop music.”
Fair enough. St. Vincent’s robotic, yet oddly vulnerable, post-modern pop songs are packed with subtle complexities, spiky discordant horn charts, polyrhythmic dance grooves and moments of Bowie-esque alien grandeur. In an overtly electronic landscape, she deploys her guitar as a stealth device, a heat-seeking missile. It sneaks up on you, and startles you at times. What seems like a synth line might turn out to be a guitar. What seems like a guitar might just be the sound of your own imagination. Like a ghost in some Orwellian machine, her guitar is very much an extension of her disarmingly dispassionate, yet somehow highly expressive vocal style.
With impeccable underground and alternative cred, Clark is eminently qualified to do this kind of stuff. Before debuting as a solo artist with her 2007 album, Marry Me, she was a member of the Polyphonic Spree and toured with hipster icon singer/songwriter Sufjan Stevens. She’s also performed with one of New York avant-garde composer Glenn Branca’s guitar armies.
One of her most visible projects to date has been her 2012 album, Love This Giant, with former Talking Head David Byrne. And there’s a clear connection between that band’s subversive Eighties pop and St. Vincent tracks like “Digital Witness,” although Annie insists she was thinking more of Tupac on that one.
She is, as stated initially, an enigmatic artist. Even her chosen stage name introduces an element of gender confusion—a young woman with the name of a male saint. Officially, the pseudonym St. Vincent is an oblique reference to a song by post-punk songwriter and novelist Nick Cave, not to mention the middle name of Clark’s great-grandmother.
But while her nom d’artiste may not arise from any sense of Catholic piety on Clark’s part, St. Vincent’s lyrics are indeed laced with Christian imagery, which coexists uneasily alongside images of brute violence, quiet tenderness and digitized dystopian ambivalence.
You’ll never figure out St. Vincent on a first listen, or over the space of one interview. But it sure is fun to try.
GUITAR WORLD: To my knowledge, you’re one of the few guitarists employing techniques like two-handed tapping in a context other than shred, metal or any of the other genres where you’d expect to hear that kind of thing.
[laughs] Yeah, that’s just a little bit of a party trick.
Isn’t that all it ever is?
It’s a little more like showmanship for me than pure sound. I mean, I like it; I’m into it. It’s not like I’m doing it for laughs. But it does make me smile, because it reminds me of being 13, being in the guitar store and picking up the Dimebag signature guitar and trying to figure out how he gets that crazy sound from “Cowboys from Hell.”
What is that? I’d watch tutorials on YouTube. So tapping makes me smile a bit because it is that super-athletic zone of guitar playing that I totally love. But sometimes you have to do a delicate dance to put everything together in a way that doesn’t just feel like too many notes just for notes’ sake. That’s a big thing that I’ve learned in life. In order to serve the song, maybe it’s best to strip it back as opposed to adding more.
Do you always play fingerstyle? Do you never use a pick?
No, I’m using a pick more and more. In certain songs like “Cruel” [from 2011’s Strange Mercy], there’s a riff that’s kind of “Ali Farka Toure lite” and it needs that sort of African-style double picking. And there are a lot of other songs, like “Bring Me Your Loves” and “Huey Newton” on my new album, that I definitely use a pick for. I mean, I could play these things with fingers, but sonically it doesn’t read as well.
How concerned are you with getting away from any kind of obvious or clichéd guitar tones?
Well, I’m not precious about what I write on. I’ve written some of my favorite guitar passages on a computer. Or sung them first as a vocal line and then decided, “Oh, maybe that would be better as a guitar part.” The more you can get out of lizard-brain muscle memory—like the fast-blues idiom we all know as guitar players—the better it is. Because we all learned the same pantheon of rock music, so we all know the same pentatonic scales and riffs. And that’s amazing stuff, but it’s important to get away from it as much as you can. Get away from muscle memory and just let your ear be your guide.
What were some of your main guitars for your most recent album, St. Vincent?
I was playing this guitar that [producer] John Congleton had, the Thurston Moore edition of the Fender Jazzmaster. It’s super chopped—just a volume knob. You either like the way it sounds when you play it, or you don’t. I really like that on/off kind of thing. You don’t mess around with a million permutations. So I was using that a lot on the record, but I don’t play it live. For live work, I play the Music Man Albert Lee model a lot. I’m not a very large person, so even though I love the sound of a Seventies Les Paul, there’s no way in hell I could ever play one live unless I wanted to have a chiropractor on tour.
There’s a lot of functionality in my choice of instruments, especially for playing live. I’m using a Kemper modeling amplifier for live work. Originally I was bringing out vintage ’66 Kalamazoo kind of small amps—the kind of little guy that you could ram a lot of signal through and get a nice breakup and saturation and all of that. But I just stopped.
Those weirdo custom and vintage amps need a lot of attention on the road, and I didn’t want to make my guitar tech’s life a living hell. So I decided to go with straight-up Kemper. Which really works well, because my entire show is programmed, in terms of effects. I program my pedal board, and my keyboard player uses Ableton to send cues to switch programs, so I don’t have to look down at my pedal board. So both [co-guitarist/keyboardist] Toko [Yasuda] and I use Kemper modeling amplifiers, because they’re consistent.
How did you discover the Kempers?
I got turned on to them by my guitar tech, who was on the Nine Inch Nails tour, and that’s what they were using. So I gave them a shot and really liked them. I don’t know if they’d be my go-to amp in the studio, but they’re definitely my go-to live. Hey, if they’re good enough for Trent…
Okay, so what are some of the army of small vintage amps you use in the studio but could never bring on the road?
Oh, things like a little Sixties Dan Electro. I use a lot of effects, but there are some amps where I just really love the sound of their distortion. I have a couple of little Kalamazoo amps with the built-in tremolo. I never use the tremolo, but the amp is nice. I have a few custom TRVR amps as well. It’s sort of like a boutique silverface Champ, and another one is kind of like a Sixties Deluxe.
A lot of effects, you said. Any must-haves?
The people at Eventide have been really rad to me over the years, and I’ve been using their H9. I have a couple of those going. I have all the Eventide effects at my disposal with those. So I just program those for synth sounds, tremolos, delays, reverbs…
In your song “Regret,” there’s a nice harmonized solo guitar section. Is that some kind of harmonizer, or are you playing the lines?
I play them. You couldn’t get a harmonizer to do that particular harmony.
I guess it’s too interesting to be a preset, you’re right.
Yeah, it would take too much time to program what that harmony is. It’s easier just to play it.
There’s a lovely distortion tone on that song as well.
I believe that’s a [Bixonic] Expandora that John [Congleton] had in the studio. I liked it so much I bought one of my own. It’s a Japanese distortion pedal. John said that’s what Billy Gibbons used.
You get this amazing sustain on some tracks. Is that the amp? Are you using any kind of sustain device?
I think I was using an Electro-Harmonix Micro Synth. The new generation of Micro Synth has a lot of sustain. I used sustain on the record for things like the solo in “Rattlesnake,” which is all on one string. Just a big slidey thing. I was trying to cop the style of a Turkish instrument called the saz. I was listening to a lot of Turkish music, and you know, they just overshoot the note and slide into it. It’s a really sexy approach. I spent a lot of time trying to play different melodies on just one string. And I have a slice in my finger to prove it! I remember, in the studio I cut my finger on my left hand really bad trying to do the “Rattlesnake” solo.
Just from sliding up and down on one string.
Yeah. My uncle Tuck Andress talks a lot about this kind of thing. You always have to have a contingency plan. If you blow a generator or something, you have to have a backup. So I just used my other finger to do it. But it was a painful process, that’s for sure.
You mentioned that Thurston Moore Jazzmaster. Are you very influenced by the New York avant-noise kind of thing—Sonic Youth, Marc Ribot, Arto Lindsay…
Yeah, absolutely. Marc Ribot is definitely one of my favorite guitar players. Nels Cline is incredible too.
So it’s Marc Ribot and Dimebag, eh?
Yeah, there’s a riff on my song “Bring Me Your Loves” that’s so “Cowboys from Hell” that I feel like I’m going to be sued…just in my mind.
If I didn’t know that, I never, ever would have guessed that you listen to that kind of music.
But that’s what’s really cool. You utterly transform your influences.
That’s the goal, right? The goal is to have your own voice as much as possible. For instance, there are plenty of people who can and should play the blues. But I’m not one of them. I had this period where I was super into Albert King and really trying to cop some of those licks.
There’s a section in the live show where we stretch out and jam a bit, and I was trying to throw some of those licks into the song. I listened back to a recording of the show and I apologized to my band. It was like the worst white-blues hell! It was really bad. Not because it was poorly played—it was played well enough—but it felt so corny. It felt like I was trying on somebody else’s clothes. And that’s not a great way to go. I mean, it’s one thing to stretch and pull things from different influences. I try to do that everywhere, and with everything. But this was just like, “Ooh, maybe not.” That suit didn’t fit me quite right. And that’s fine.
If you want to play like Albert, you have to play upside down and tuned to some kind of open, dropped minor tuning anyway.
Which brings up the question, do you always play in standard? Do you use alternate tunings or anything like that?
Yeah, I use a lot of alternate tunings. I never play in standard E. I drop everything down a whole step, so it’s D G C F A D. That just ends up being better for my voice. And for songs like “Regret” and “Birth in Reverse” I was playing around with some tunings—and I honestly can’t remember exactly what they were now—that had multiple strings tuned to the same note.
When I played with Glenn Branca a million years ago, what made it so interesting was that he has a lot of guitars and they’re all tuned to the same note. And there’s a whole other section of 10 more guitars tuned to another note. So I was really liking the sound of that natural chorus and I tried to approximate it with one guitar. Alternate tunings are also a great way to get out of your lizard brain. It’s a great tool for me if I’m feeling stuck, like my fingers are wanting to travel down the same old roads. It’s like, “Okay, you can travel down the same roads, but I’m gonna mess with the map a little.”
What are some of the important things you learned from working with David Byrne?
Oh, um, gosh. I just saw him last night. I think the collaboration worked well because he brings so much buoyancy and fun to his music, and I brought a little more of the melancholy side. We met somewhere in the middle. That’s what I think was fruitful.
And also, he’s just such a wonderful showman and so good at constructing shows that are both entertaining and touching, but also strange. So I just sort of watched how he worked—the nuts and bolts of how he put the show together. And what I was able to bring to the show was a sonic palette.
Sonically, there’s kind of analogy between your work with him and the time when he was working with someone like Adrian Belew, who really brought an interesting guitar palette to the expanded version of the Talking Heads.
Yes, I love Adrian Below! And Robert Fripp is another one of my absolute favorite guitar players.
A lot of your own music employs a very contemporary digitized palette to critique digital culture in a way.
Well, I think it’s any artist’s job to take in the world, filter it through their lens and comment on the times that we’re living in now. But I don’t mean comment in some big, sad, moralistic kind of way. I’m a person just like everybody else, trying to sift through the big question of where are we now? And so I was finding myself being very Pavlovian about technology. I was salivating at the sound of a text message. And I wanted to ask, “Okay, what is this? Where are we now?”
We’re living our lives so performatively. We take a picture of our food. We have to tell everybody about every experience we have and post a picture to show for it. And that drew me to the issue of, “Okay, it’s all performance, but very little of it is art.” But also, are we living for ourselves? Are we able to self-choose? Or are we living in order to project an image of life on the wall? Are we becoming a digital version of ourselves?
Photo: Chris Casella
Longtime shredder (on both violin and guitar) the Great Kat has released a brief preview of her upcoming shred/classical DVD—and you can check it out below. The DVD is expected to be released in 2015.
Mind you, the video is only 16 seconds long (Note: There's not a whole lot of Great Kat footage available on YouTube).
The DVD will feature the Great Kat's shred take on Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons,” Rossini’s “William Tell Overture” and more.
In the preview clip below, Kat plays Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons." We've also thrown in a bit of Paganini's Caprice #24. Enjoy! And remember the clips end abruptly.
For more about the Great Kat, follow her on Facebook.
In 2000, Kiss guitarist Paul Stanley appeared in a commercial for Folgers coffee.
Although the commercial never aired, audio from the ad has circulated in recent years. But now—thanks to the wonders of YouTube—you can watch the entire ad.
As Ultimate Classic Rock points out, the long-lost commercial was finally uploaded onto YouTube recently. In the clip, which you can watch below, Stanley walks around a circus where a trapeze artist is practicing her craft.
"This is your wake up call / Time to reach and go for it all / Folgers stirs inside of me and I know what I can be," Stanley sings, mug in hand. "Limit is the sky / Hey world, watch me fly / The best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup."
Earlier today, guitarist Marty Friedman released his a new music video for “Undertow,” a track off his 2014 solo album, Inferno.
You can check it out below.
“The video features an unsullied look at Japanese culture," Friedman said. "'Undertow’ gives you a look at the Japan not usually seen by the typical Japanese exports like crazy TV shows, ultra-cute singers and anime. It shows a day in the life of Japan as the Japanese see it, not the stereotypical Western ‘Japanophile’ view of it.”
As always, tell us what you think of the video in the comments below or on Facebook!
The sound of Motörhead is defined by the high-output fat tone and midrange grind Lemmy Kilmister has delivered for decades with songs like "Ace of Spades” and "Iron Fist,” combined with a fast pick attack on his Rickenbacker bass.
Seymour Duncan started with carefully analyzing the pickups in his bass and then made them even ruder—that's right, even more attack and punch—while also making sure they had plenty of clarity under heavy distortion.
The results are three unique pickups, each hand-built in the Seymour Duncan Custom Shop and available in individual neck, middle or bridge models, or as a complete set. The pickups are available in either a direct mount for Lemmy Signature Basses or pickguard mount for traditional Rickenbacker basses.
You can also get your choice of nickel or gold. (Jack Daniels sold separately.)
The pickups are available directly from the Seymour Duncan Custom Shop.
The Women’s International Music Network announced that the house band for the 2015 She Rocks Awards will be led by acclaimed guitarist Gretchen Menn, and include Zepparella members Angeline Saris on bass, Clementine on drums, and guest keyboardist Jenna Paone.
The House band will back some of the guest performers and provide interstitial music for the award ceremony, held on Jan. 23, 2015, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Anaheim Hilton Hotel during the NAMM Show. Get tickets here>>
“I am beyond thrilled to have this amazing group of performers as our house band for the 2015 She Rocks Awards,” said WiMN founder and awards co-host Laura B. Whitmore. “These powerhouse players will bring incredible energy to the event and serve our other guest performers well.”
Guitarist Gretchen Menn is a fabulously flexible and talented guitar force. She heads her own Gretchen Menn Trio, handles lead guitar duties for the all-female Led Zeppelin tribute band Zepparella, and is currently working on a new solo album. Her prior release, Hale Souls, features bassist Stu Hamm. Menn also recently graced the cover of Guitar Player magazine’s Buyers Guide.
Bass player Angeline Saris’ résumé includes work in an amazing array of styles, including jazz, rock, fusion, funk, R&B, pop, hip hop, and even flamenco/speed metal. She recently toured with Narada Michael Walden, and has joined forces with reggae and ska legend Ernest Ranglin. She’s played on numerous albums and recorded a series of instructional DVDs for Hal Leonard.
In addition to handling drumming duties for Zepparella, Clementine has laid the groove for a variety of projects including the bands Bottom, AC/DShe and Stars Turn Me On. In 2014, Clementine released The Collection, a compilation disc of various songwriting endeavors with guitarists Gretchen Menn, Jude Gold and Justin Caucutt.
Hailing from Boston, guest keyboardist Jenna Paone just released her debut solo album Hammers and Strings in October 2014. Paone boasts 25 years of training and education in classical and contemporary piano, voice, ballet, and theater. Paone recently was selected to perform in Nashville, Tenn., as part of the She Rocks Showcase at Summer NAMM.
The WiMN recently announced the 2015 She Rocks Awards honorees. Grammy award-winning, multi-platinum artist Colbie Caillat; Grammy award-nominated saxophone player and singer/songwriter Mindi Abair; iconic, platinum-selling all-female pop band The Bangles; as well as industry leaders Gayle Beacock, Debbie Cavalier, Amani Duncan, Katie Kailus, Paula Salvatore and Craigie Zildjian will be recognized at this year’s event. Americana band SHEL will open the show.
The 2015 She Rocks Awards will be co-hosted by platinum-selling guitarist and solo artist Orianthi and the Women’s International Music Network founder and writer/editor Laura B. Whitmore. Now in its third year, the event pays tribute to women who display leadership and stand out within the music industry, and has become a standard at the NAMM Show.
With featured performances, food and beverages, giveaways, a silent auction, networking opportunities and more, the She Rocks Awards brings together industry professionals, music icons, artists, fans, and media to celebrate women in music. A portion of the proceeds of the event will go to benefit the Girls Rock Camp Alliance.
This event has sold out for the past two years and does not require a NAMM badge to attend. The She Rocks Awards will take place on Jan. 23, 2015, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Pacific Ballroom at the Anaheim Hilton Hotel.
The She Rocks Awards is sponsored by The Gretsch Company, Guitar Center, Seymour Duncan, The Avedis Zildjian Company, C.F. Martin & Co, Weber Mandolins, Fishman, 108 Rock Star Guitars, Casio, PRS Guitars, Yamaha, Berklee Online, Roland, Kind, LAWIM, International Musician, Making Music Magazine, 95.5 KLOS, OC Weekly, as well as NewBay Media, and their publications Guitar World, Guitar Player, Acoustic Nation, Bass Player, Electronic Musician and Keyboard Magazine.
Purchase tickets and find out more about the She Rocks Awards at www.sherocksawards.com.
Singer Joe Cocker, who might be best known for his 1969 cover of the Beatles'"With a Little Help from My Friends," has died at age 70 after a long battle with lung cancer.
The singer, who was born in England, died at his home in Colorado.
"John Robert Cocker, known to family, friends, his community and fans around the world as Joe Cocker, passed away December 22, 2014, after a hard fought battle with small cell lung cancer," Sony Music wrote in a statement via iTV.
“It will be impossible to fill the space he leaves in our hearts,” his agent, Barrie Marshall, told the BBC.
Cocker rose to fame in 1964 and recorded 40 albums during his lengthy career. His powerful, down-tempo cover of the Beatles' 1967 track, "With a Little Help from My Friends," sent him to Number 1 on the singles charts and made him a star.
His performance of the song (which you can watch below) is one of several highlights of the 1970 Woodstock film. His recording of the song also was used as the theme for the popular U.S. TV series The Wonder Years.
Known for his gritty voice and odd movements while singing (as parodied on Saturday Night Live by John Belushi in the Seventies), Cocker began his singing career in the pubs and clubs of Sheffield, England, in the 1960s before hitting the big time. His 1982 duet with Jennifer Warnes, "Up Where We Belong," hit Number 1 and went on to win a Grammy and an Academy Award.
Besides "With a Little Help from My Friends," Cocker also found success with his cover of the Beatles'"She Came in Through the Bathroom Window." His other Beatles covers include "I'll Cry Instead" and "Come Together," not to mention George Harrison's "Beware of Darkness." (One bit of Beatles trivia: Henry McCollough, Cocker's guitarist at Woodstock, would go on to be the first lead guitarist in Paul McCartney's Seventies band, Wings.)
Cocker was honored with an OBE (Order of the British Empire) in 2007.
Starting Feb. 12, Goodnight, Texas are packing up their banjos for the West Coast, bringing what The Boston Globe has coined as a “garage roots Appalachian collaboration” on the road supporting Wild Child.
The band has toured with Shakey Graves, Rusted Root, played two sold out shows at the Fillmore in San Francisco, the first with Nicki Bluhm & the Gramblers and the second with Bombay Bicycle Club.
Last fall, they joined the Bristol Rhythm & Roots festival with artists like Tweedy, Emmy Lou Harris and Sturgill Simpson, leaving a crowd favorite from their memorable live set.
Their sophomore album, Uncle John Farquhar debuted in the top 100 on the iTunes country chart, and was an iTunes Editors Pick on the Singer-songwriter genre page. Relix Magazine said of the album that " ...the sparse instrumentation and haunting words will linger with you long after the album ends," Ear to the Ground called the album a "masterclass in Americana music."
The San Francisco Bay Guardian said that the record contains “...seriously smart, cinematic songwriting” and Jambase who premiered Uncle John Farquhar said "Vinocur and Wolf's passionate vocals and spot-on harmonies are impeccably captured on Uncle John Farquhar as is the band's throwback instrumental work." The album has been featured by Guitar World, CMT, Bluegrass Situation and more.
The album found itself on several best of the year lists including a spot on Pop Matters Best Americana albums of the Year, and the UK’s Digital Fix where Uncle John Farquhar was a top pick alongside artist such as Lucinda Williams, Eric Church and Kenny Chesney.
“Vinocur and Wolf have touched brilliantly here on a rich, weird vein of American folk nostalgia, and one can only hope that that they find more ghosts out there to channel.” – Pop Matters
Here's the video for "Button Your Collar"
Goodnight, Texas got their start in San Francisco with the core songwriters Patrick Wolf and Avi Vinocur, where the two bonded over a love of wooden instruments and the American South. Patrick moved to Chapel Hill but the duo continued their cross country musical collaboration and decided to name the project after a tiny Texas panhandle town of Goodnight, which is the exact midpoint between their two homes (San Francisco and Chapel Hill).
With this second album, the band has written their next installment of their musical anthology that is making it's way through chronologically and westward through our Nation's history. The first album (A Long Life of Living) was inspired by Industrial Revolution era stories from the Northeast and Appalachian Mountains. This new record (Uncle John Farquhar), which was conceptualized as a scrapbook, takes the journey a bit further south and a bit further along in time, inspired by stories from the Civil War and Reconstruction era. All the songs and stories told through these records are based on real life accounts.
2/12 Seattle, WA @ The Tractor
2/13 Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios
2/14 Eugene, OR @ Wow Hall
2/17 Sacramento, CA @ The Catalyst
2/18 San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall
2/21 San Diego, CA @ The Casbah
2/22 Santa Barbara, CA @ SoHo Restaurant and Music Club
Find out more at http://www.hiwearegoodnighttexashowareyou.com
The first concert I ever attended was a Scorpions show in 1984. I remember this event because, at the time, I was excited about checking out the openers, a young, up-and-coming band called Bon Jovi.
Little did I know I'd also be bearing witness to what would become one of rock’s biggest juggernauts.
Tour photographer David Bergman has spent the last three and a half years working as Bon Jovi’s official tour photographer. With carte blanche access, Bergman has been able to travel the world with the band and document their activities—as well as their shows—with his camera.
Bergman has combined a collection of his photographs into one masterful coffee table book that's appropriately titled Work. The book, an over-sized, 5-pound, 210-page hardcover tome, offers a behind-the-scenes look at one of the world's top touring bands.
In addition to being an in-demand touring and sports photographer, Bergman also runs tourphotographer.com, which lets fans go online and buy high-quality image prints shot at the shows they’ve attended.
I recently spoke with Bergman to find out more about Work and his time spent on tour with Bon Jovi.
GUITAR WORLD: How did this book project come about?
Since the beginning of 2011, I’ve photographed every single Bon Jovi live show, which is quite a lot when you think about it. Last year alone, they did 102 shows on six continents. After every show, I would do an edit and narrow it down to the best of the best from each performance.
Over time, I started to develop this massive archive, somewhere in the range of 800,000 images, many of which no one had ever seen. So I brought it to the band. The idea of doing a book was something we had been talking about for quite a while. They've done book projects over the years but nothing quite like this. By the end of this last tour, we decided the time was finally right and started putting it together.
Jon has said your photos are works of art. How would you describe your style of photography?
That’s a tough question. I've always considered myself an action photographer because of my sports/action background. Some of my favorite photos are of Jon when he's in mid-jump, those unplanned action shots that are mixed with the journalistic, “fly on the wall” moments. I take it seriously that I get to be the eyes of the fans and show them what I get to see.
One of the interesting sections of the book deals with Jon’s knee injury and subsequent surgery. Can you tell me a little about that series of photos and why you decided to include them?
I'm really proud of that chapter. Jon actually tore the meniscus in his left leg during a show; at first we weren’t sure how serious it was going to be. All we knew was he couldn't put any weight on his leg, but somehow he was able to power through the pain and finished the show. I remember when he came off stage and they started working on him, everyone had left except for a few of us, and it was really quiet. At that point, I went into instinctive photo journalism mode and just started documenting it.
The band didn't cancel a single show, and while we were in Ireland Jon decided to have surgery instead of waiting for the end of the tour. At the time, I remember asking him if it would be OK to take pictures of the surgery and he was fine with it. We figured no one would ever see the photos. But once we started putting the book together and Jon came up with the title Work, it all seemed to make sense.
The theme of the book is about how hard the band works and how their work ethic is second to none. I told Jon that the knee story really embodies what he's all about. He understood and said, "You know, if this inspires one kid to work through the pain and come out on the other side of an injury stronger than before, it's all worth it."
You began your career in music. What prompted your decision to transition into photo journalism?
While most of my friends were performance majors, I spent my freshman year of college at Berklee majoring in music production. So whenever they would perform, I would go along with them and take pictures. I later transferred to the University of Miami for music and one day walked into the school paper on a whim. The photo editor there handed me a roll of film and told me to go shoot, and if he liked what he saw, maybe he’d give me an assignment. From there, I started working regularly and eventually changed my major to photo journalism. That was the end of my music career and the beginning of my photo career.
How did you get involved with tour photography?
About half way through my stint at the Miami Herald I realized I could start generating my own assignments. So I pitched the idea of going out on tour with Gloria Estefan. It was something I had never done before. The Herald went for it and I spent an entire week on the road with Gloria and her family and just fell in love with tour photography.
Are there any other projects you’re currently working on?
Right now I'm now on a quest to bring respect back to the field of tour photography. It's become so democratized now; where we see a lot of images just come and go online that don't seem to have the impact they should. One of the things I've discovered with tourphotgrapher.com is that when people hold a real quality photo in their hands, there's a visceral reaction you don't get when something just flashes by on the screen. It’s something many of the younger artists who didn't grow up in the physical print world missed out on. The prints, and obviously this book, have so much value. My goal is to bring it to as many artists as I can.
What would you like people who read Work to take from it?
At the end of the day, this book is really about the quality of the band's work and their work ethic. The fact is, Bon Jovi have been around for 30 years. There are a lot of other bands that started out with them that have fallen by the way side, but these guys have continued to put out new music and stay relevant and at the top of their game. That doesn’t happen by chance. I've seen it day in and day out. They're all professional, organized and really know what they're doing.
Jon has often said he's the CEO of a multi-million-dollar corporation. It just so happens that company is a rock band. But he runs it just like any other big company. Every time Bon Jovi tours, they're the top-grossing act of the year, and it was a pleasure for me to be a part of that whole experience.
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.
I'd like to address a very meat-and-potatoes bit of info that very rarely gets mentioned.
Who should you emulate in order to be a session guitarist?
The answers and the reasons for each might very well surprise you. Also, you might assume you know how to play like these guys, but, until you really try it, you do not know how!
I'm not kidding here; I guarantee you don't know how. And not a week goes by when I'm not asked to imitate at least one of these guys.
So now, in the photo gallery below (in no particular order), I give you a list of players you'd better become intimately aware of and learn at least a few of their licks! It will start, save and prolong your "studio guitarist" career.
One more thing before I start: These names are used in the way "Kleenex" means "tissue." If someone asks you for a Kleenex and you give them an off-brand tissue, it's the really same thing. So if someone asks for EVH, you know they want some tapping, whammy bar, bluesy, fast playing. Get it?
One final note! Learn the history of popular music as seen through the eyes of a guitarist. Play in a wedding band. Play in a show band. Play in a cover band. You will thank me.
Ron Zabrocki is a session guitarist from New York, now living in Connecticut. Says Ron: "I started playing at age 6, sight reading right off the bat. That’s how I was taught, so I just thought everyone started that way. I could sight read anything within a few years, and that helped me become a session guy later in life. I took lessons from anyone I could find and had some wonderful instructors, including John Scofield, Joe Pass and Alan DeMausse. I’ve played several jingle sessions (and have written a few along the way). I’ve “ghosted” for a few people who shall remain nameless, but they get the credit and I get the money! I’ve played sessions in every style, from pop to jazz.
We're on tour" has a seductive ring to it.
That is until you actually do it.
The excitement of an independent artist (no financial support from a record label) traveling from city to city, gaining fans along the way soon enough will get eclipsed with the reality of being broke.
Motel rooms, gas and food add up very quickly! What's a band to do?
I was driving down Broadway in Nashville when I saw 3 guys with drumsticks bashing out a beat while the 4th guy was stringing his electric guitar. Confused and curious, I pulled over and found the secret to touring for a struggling artist in 2014!
Meet The Vonnugets from Detroit!
These videos and audio files are bonus content related to the February 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.
In the beginning, Ibanez created the TS-808 Tube Screamer.
Tone-starved guitarists rejoiced, for it was good. Then the TS-808 was gone, and guitarists roamed the barren tone desert for many years until dedicated believers brandished soldering irons and resurrected its spirit.
However, many interpretations of the “one true tone” eventually scattered the masses in confusion, with some dedicated to the JRC4558D, others to the MC1458, and heretics singing the praises of the TL072.
For many years, the tone disciples at EarthQuaker Devices sought their own path to tonal enlightenment, but eventually the force of the 808 became too strong to resist.
Their answer was the Palisades Overdrive, which is not a clone but rather a sort of Unitarian approach that embraces many interpretations of the spirit of the supreme tone being.
These videos and audio files are bonus content related to the February 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.
When PRS introduced its first tube amps a few years back, the products earned praise and acceptance from the company’s core customer demographic of classic rock, blues and even country guitarists.
However, the numerous hard rock and metal guitarists that PRS attracted in recent years—thanks to endorsers like Frederik Åkesson, Marty Friedman, Clint Lowery, Zach Myers and Mark Tremonti—might have felt a little left out by the company’s initial amp offerings.
With the introduction of the PRS Archon Series, PRS has delivered a line of high-gain amps that will satisfy not only its current hordes of metal guitarists but also a new generation of players who may not have considered PRS products in the past.
These videos and audio files are bonus content related to the February 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.
The Reverend Bob Balch Signature is not named after some rockin’ preacher.
Rather, it’s a Reverend brand signature model made for guitarist Bob Balch of the iconic Southern California stoner rock band Fu Manchu.
The model is based on Reverend’s popular Sensei model, but Balch suggested a few mods that make the guitar the equivalent of one of the sweet custom rides often pictured on Fu Manchu album covers.
While the guitar is designed to deliver when dealing down and dirty fuzzed-up grooves, it’s as ideal for straight-edge players as much as it’s sure to please those who walk on the wild side.