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    This Freak of the Week is one of the very first Musicvox Spacerangers ever produced.

    The seafoam green model was part of the original 10 prototypes designed and commissioned by Musicvox CEO, Matt Eichen.

    The New Jersey-based Musicvox was the first modern company in the Nineties to embrace freakish retro designs of Wandre, Teisco Del Rey and countless no-name brands that graced the walls of music stores in the Sixties.

    Let me just say this seafoam green Spaceranger prototype is a real freak!

    All Musicvox Spacerangers sorta look like a single cutaway guitar that was designed by the Toxic Avenger and mutated by nuclear waste. The cutaway horn and headstock are shaped like amoebic globules. I own several modern Spacerangers and love the way the weird body fits into my lap when sitting down. They’re the most comfortable guitars I own.

    This seafoam green prototype, however, takes those aesthetics and adds several freakish designs. First off, all electronics are housed in a bizarre top-mounted compartment that doubles as a pickguard.

    The compartment also serves as an attachment to the floating jazz pickups. In other words, the body of the guitar is one big slab of un-routed mahogany and the pickups and electronics are placed on top. Eichen told me the inspiration for the design was from an old Supro Ozark electric guitar from the late Forties.

    Musicvox was one of the first guitar companies to spur the retro guitar design movement in the Nineties. In 1996, Eichen designed the Spaceranger as his flagship model and took the sketchings to Jim Jameson of Exotic Woods/Musikraft in Buena, New Jerset. Jameson digitized the drawing and made the first 10 maple necks and mahogany bodies on a CNC machine. The parts were then delivered to a Philadelphia-based guitar tech who installed the pickups, tailpieces and electronics.

    The trapeze tailpieces used were 1967 new-old-stock parts from the defunct Kay guitar factory in Chicago. Pickups are Bill Lawrence floating jazz types that you would see on an archtop guitar.

    Note: These pickups float 3/8th of an inch above the body! (Lawrence became good friends with Eichen after seeing his pickups in the prototypes. He got a kick out of them!) Each of the 10 prototypes were finished in a vintage relic style nitro lacquer. With the raised pickguard/electronics compartment, the entire thing has the appearance of a prop from an Ed Wood movie.

    So let’s talk tone. The Spaceranger prototype is the jazziest-sounding guitar I’ve ever owned. It has the sound of a fine archtop jazzer because of the floating pickups. The light coated mahogany body sings with a purr and the maple neck adds the right amount of snap to pull it together.

    Alas, the top-mounted electronics and floating pickup design were abandoned after the first 10 prototypes in order to facilitate a bigger production. Musicvox Spacerangers are still produced today and can be seen in the hands of Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo, Mark Pirro of Tripping Daisy/Polyphonic Spree, Matthew Sweet and Keith Urban. Find out more about Musicvox at Musicvox.com.

    One extra note: In addition to my ever-growing Musicvox guitar collection, I crank my electric cigar box guitars through Musicvox amplifiers in my band, Shane Speal’s Snake Oil Band. The volume knobs are printed so they go to 12!

    Shane Speal is "King of the Cigar Box Guitar" and the creator of the modern cigar box guitar movement. Hear the music, see the instruments and read about his Cigar Box Guitar Museum at ShaneSpeal.com. Speal's latest album, Holler! is on C. B. Gitty Records.


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    This is an excerpt from the all-new March 2015 issue of Guitar World, which features an interview with Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler. For the rest of this interview, plus our guide to the 30 greatest classic Black Sabbath songs, plus gear views, tabs, lessons and more, check out the March 2015 issue of GW at the Guitar World Online Store.

    It’s rare that a band emerges and, with one inspired release, simultaneously launches and perfects a genre of music.

    Such is the singular case of Black Sabbath. Their 1970 self-titled debut, which celebrates its 45th anniversary this year, took the heavy blues and hard-rock idioms that came before and infused them with anthemic tritone riffs, doom-laden drum tempos, maniacal vocals and diabolical lyrics.

    Black Sabbath’s pioneering sound would later be christened heavy metal, and in many people’s minds that album still reigns supreme as the best representation of the genre. Many influential bands in their own right have come along and made contributions to heavy music, but all of them—from Judas Priest and Van Halen to Metallica and Soundgarden—hail the supremacy of Black Sabbath.

    Below, enjoy an excerpt from Guitar World's new interview with Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler. Interestingly enough, Butler—who was arrested in California this past Tuesday for assault and vandalism—discussed fighting, including a brawl with skinheads that took place several decades ago.

    GUITAR WORLD: Geezer, you’ve mentioned before that “Fairies Wear Boots,” [from 1970’s Paranoid] was inspired by a confrontation you guys had with skinheads. Being a longhair yourself, did you run into a lot of problems in England back then?

    GEEZER BUTLER There used to be fighting all the time. I used to be a football [soccer] fan—well, I still am—and I’d go down to watch the [Aston] Villa [Football Club]. I had long hair at the time.

    Then this one day, the skinheads, or hooligans, turned on the people with long hair, even though we were fans too. So after that I couldn’t go down there. This other time we did this gig in the seaside town of Weston-super-Mare [in North Somerset, England], and we had a fight with all these skinheads. I think that’s where the lyrics for “Fairies Wear Boots” came from.

    Do you remember what kicked off the fight?

    BUTLER We didn’t get paid! [laughs] I was the one that used to go collect the check. We’d had this problem where we’d go collect our money and the guy would go, “Oh no, we sent the check in the post [mail].” We were promised that we’d get the money on the night, so I went to the promoter to get it. And he said, “Oh, I already sent it to your manager.”

    I went outside to the telephone to make a call to the manager and I got surrounded by all these bloody skinheads, going, “Kill him! Kill him!” So I had to time it right so I could throw the phone at them and leg it back into the gig. [laughs] I told Tony, and of course he said, “Come on, let’s go.” And he grabs a microphone stand and we went out for a battle with them. Fucking nuts.

    Parental groups and decency nags always bemoan the satanic and occult allusions in Black Sabbath lyrics. But Geezer, you were also writing about current social issues, too, on the track “War Pigs.” Were you following the Vietnam War, Civil Rights movement and political unrest going on at the time in the United States?

    It was actually being covered more [in the press] in England than in America. They had this program on in England, and it showed all the stuff that wasn’t being told to the American people. Stuff like how the president [Lyndon Johnson]’s wife, Lady Bird Johnson, had this road-building company. The Americans would go in and bomb all these roads [in Vietnam]. Then her company would go in and rebuild them and get the money. They weren’t saying all that in America. We wrote “War Pigs” because many American bands were frightened to mention anything about the war. So we thought we’d tell it like it is.

    In 1971, you released Master of Reality, which saw the band experimenting a bit more with tracks like “Solitude” and the acoustic instrumental “Orchid.” Tony, had you always played acoustic or did you pick it up around that time?

    TONY IOMMI No, I never played acoustic that much at all really. I don’t even remember where we did that track, to be honest. I think the idea on the album was to have a bit of light and shade and relax it from the heavier stuff.

    Speaking of heavier stuff, what were you coughing on during that intro to “Sweet Leaf”?

    IOMMI [laughs] I choked me bloody self! It wasn’t intended to happen, and it wasn’t supposed to be on the track. We were in the studio tracking that song, and Ozzy gave me a joint and I nearly choked myself. The tape was on, so of course they wanted to use it to begin the track.

    BUTLER You couldn’t have gotten anything more appropriate for a song called “Sweet Leaf.” [laughs]

    That’s the truth. But the title “Sweet Leaf” was actually inspired by a different type of smoke, right?

    BUTLER Yeah the name “Sweet Leaf” came from the [Irish brand of] cigarettes called Sweet Afton. I’d just come back from Dublin. Everyone smoked back then, so I’d be offering them all cigarettes. You’d open the top of the package and it said something like, “It’s the sweet leaf.” I thought, Hmmm, That’s a good title.

    The following year, Sabbath headed to Los Angeles’ Record Plant Studios to track Vol. 4, on which you broke new ground with “Changes.” It’s a piano ballad, and the lyrics are quite touching, which makes it a very unusual track for Sabbath.

    IOMMI It was a sad track as well. We were staying in this house and there was a ballroom with a piano in it. It was back in the days of doing a bit of blow and staying up late. And I just started playing and coming up with this idea. We had a Mellotron and Geez started to play the orchestrations. It fit well and came about pretty quickly, considering we’d never done anything like that before.

    Photo: Ross Halfin

    This is an excerpt from the all-new March 2015 issue of Guitar World, which features an interview with Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler. For the rest of this interview, plus our guide to the 30 greatest classic Black Sabbath songs, plus gear views, tabs, lessons and more, check out the March 2015 issue of GW at the Guitar World Online Store.

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    It's been a while since we've shared one of these videos!

    Here's some official "fly on the wall" footage of Metallica rehearsing and performing at a private Salesforce.com party February 9 in San Francisco.

    The footage includes the band warming up in the Tuning Room, plus a live performance of "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)" from the actual show. This comes to us courtesy of MetallicaTV.

    Thoughts?

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    Today just might be a good day to learn a new easy acoustic guitar song!

    Here’s our first in a series of song tutorials from Ian of Learnguitarfasttips.com

    This song is “Say Something,” is by A Great Big World. A poignant, lovely and easy tune.

    If you have trouble with chord changes, replace the D, Em and C chords with Dsus4, Em7 and Cadd9 respectively.

    Using these chords make chord changes much easier for beginners and in some cases even makes the song sound better than if you just used the normal chords.

    The original key of the song is D so capo the 7th fret and use the chords below if you want to play in the same key as the original song.

    Here are all the details!

    —————————————-
    CHORDS USED (4): G C D Em

    Easier Chord Options (4): G Cadd9 Dsus4 Em7

    Tutorial Song Key: G
    Original Song Key: D (Capo 7th fret)
    —————————————-
    STRUMMING PATTERN

    Down Strokes Only: (Recommended for beginners)

    down down down
    Up and Down Strokes:

    down (down up)(down up)

    Lesson:

    Ian runs through the song:

    More at Learnguitarfasttips.com


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    Sending your dry guitar signal to a sound man is a bit like that team-building exercise where a blindfolded individual is instructed to fall backwards into a group of people who might (or might not) catch him or her.

    GMF's Ai1 offers guitarists more control over their DI tone, with a preamp and headphone amp to boot. If GMF sounds like a new brand to you, the CEO also happens to be the founder of Ultrasound Amps.

    Let’s take a look at the controls: Treble, Bass, Level and Gain. Toggle switches include a Ground Lift, Phase In/Out and a Shape On/Off. Shape is a mid-scoop when engaged. The ins and outs are ¼-inch jacks, a balanced XLR out, ⅛-inch headphone jack and a pair of stereo RCA in/out. The Ai1 can be powered by 9-volt battery or a power supply.

    With the RCA ins and the ⅛-inch headphone jack, I was able to jam along with music on my phone. Measurements are roughly 4-by-4-by-2 inches, which fits comfortably into most gigbag or case pockets.

    Let's go to the audio clips!

    For all the clips below, I used a Taylor 314 I borrowed without asking. Thanks, Dad!

    Clip 1: Is the Ai1 straight ahead with a little onboard EQ’ing.
    Clip 2: The same as Clip 2, but with the Shape function on.
    Clip 3: Some fingerpicking to show off the Ai1’s clarity without harshness.

    Web:gmfamps.com
    MSRP: $199

    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 thisguyonbass@gmail.com.


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    Sony Music Entertainment and Legacy Recordings have signed Steve Vai to a new multi-album agreement that includes plans to issue two new Vai sets in 2015, beginning with Stillness in Motion: Vai Live in L.A. on April 7.

    The 2CD/2DVD was recorded October 12, 2012, at Club Nokia in Los Angeles. It was the 49th show from Vai's Story of Light World Tour.

    The 2DVD configuration of Stillness in Motion also includes a bonus disc featuring "The Space Between the Notes (Tour Mischief)," a video diary comprised of more than three and a half hours of footage, filmed around the world on-stage, off-stage and behind-the-scenes during the Story of Light World Tour.

    "To say this tour was a powerful life experience would be like saying the sun is hot," writes Vai in the Stillness in Motion liner notes.

    Following Stillness in Motion, Sony/Legacy will release an album of new Vai material.

    This multi-album deal marks a homecoming for Vai, who set the standard for rock instrumental music across a series of albums released through Relativity and Epic Records, from 1990's Passion and Warfare through 2007's Sound Theories, Vol. I & II.

    Vai will host his second Vai Academy August 2 to 6 in Vail, Colorado, at the Arrabelle at Vail Square. Attendees will spend four days and nights discovering the intricacies of the guitar while enjoying clinics, workshops and jams from Vai and his guest instructors, including Eric Johnson and Sonny Landreth. For more information, visit vaiacademy.com.

    Stillness in Motion 2CD Edition:

    Disc 1
    1. Intro/Racing the World
    2. Velorum
    3. Band Intros
    4. Building the Church
    5. Tender Surrender
    6. Gravity Storm
    7. Weeping China Doll
    8. John the Revelator
    9. The Moon and I
    10. The Animal
    11. Whispering a Prayer

    Disc 2
    1. The Audience Is Listening
    2. Rescue Me or Bury Me
    3. Sisters
    4. Treasure Island
    5. Salamanders In the Sun
    6. Pusa Road
    7. Frank
    8. The Ultra Zone (CD Version)
    9. Build Me a Song L.A.
    10. For The Love of God
    11. Taurus Bulba

    Stillness in Motion 2DVD Edition:

    Disc 1
    1. Intro/Racing the World
    2. Velorum
    3. Band Intros
    4. Building the Church
    5. Tender Surrender
    6. Gravity Storm
    7. The Trillium’s Launch
    8. Weeping China Doll
    9. John the Revelator
    10. The Moon and I
    11. The Animal
    12. Whispering a Prayer
    13. The Audience Is Listening
    14. Where Are We
    15. Rescue Me or Bury Me
    16. Sisters
    17. Treasure Island
    18. Beastly Rap
    19. Salamanders In the Sun
    20. Pusa Road
    21. Earthquake Sky, Drum Solo
    22. I’m Tired
    23. The Ultra Zone
    24. Frank

    Disc 2
    1. Build Me a Song L.A.
    2. For the Love of God
    3. Taurus Bulba

    Story of Light Tour: The Space Between the Notes (Tour Mischief)
    4. Leg 1 (Rehearsals/USA)
    5. Leg 2 (Europe/Eastern Europe)
    6. Leg 3 (Vegas/Netherlands/Russia/Ukraine/Europe)
    7. Leg 4 (Australia/NZ/Indonesia/China/S. Korea/Japan/Taiwan/Thailand)
    8. Leg 5 (Europe...again)
    9. Leg 6 (USA...again)
    10. Leg 7 (Mexico/South America/China)
    11. Leg 8 (Vegas/Singapore/Malaysia/Israel/Europe/Russia/Ukraine)
    12. Leg 9 (USA/St. Barths/Japan/France/Poland)

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    Over the Oscars- (and snow-) filled weekend, Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci made his debut appearance on That Metal Show.

    You can check out a pro-shot clip of Petrucci's shred-packed performance, a highlight of the series' Season 14 debut episode, below.

    You'll notice that the on-stage onlookers include Rush frontman Geddy Lee. As he admits in the show, Petrucci has always been a huge fan of Rush; he even brought in his old Rush-themed denim jacket from when he was a kid. (You can watch the full episode below.)

    As we reported earlier, Season 14 of That Metal Show consists of (a total of) 12 new episodes and will be shot at Metropolis Studios in New York City Tuesday nights for broadcast the following Saturday on VH1 Classic. Audience tickets for upcoming tapings are available via Gotham Casting.

    Upcoming guests will be announced in the near future.

    Season 14 marks the return of several fun segments, including “Metal Modem,” “TMS Top 5,” “Rank” and “Take It or Leave It.” The “Stump the Trunk” segment, where audience members go out of their way to test host Eddie Trunk’s knowledge, is also returning for the new season.

    Fans can watch previous episodes and other bonus clips at ThatMetalShow.VH1.com and on the new VH1 app.

    For more information about That Metal Show, visit vh1.com and follow That Metal Show on Facebook.

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    I was recently speaking to a friend, a drummer in a touring metal band.

    He said the band he plays for downsized its lineup from two guitarists to one. They weren't sure how their sound was going to be affected, because (in theory) one few guitar would mean a weaker sound.

    Upon my friend’s recommendation to have the remaining guitarist play the metal parts with a bigger, more aggressive, "open rock" feel, the guys in the band realized things are actually sounding pretty good and have, so far, continued to tour as a four-piece.

    Another truth of great guitar tone lies that example.

    I consider myself a full-on heavy metal guitarist. However, as I was growing up, I developed a taste for all kinds of rock and metal. I enjoyed everything from Whitesnake to Motley Crue to Fates Warning to Loudness to Judas Priest to Megadeth and Slayer. You get the idea.

    I was scrutinized in high school for that. as many might remember, if you liked "real" metal, you stuck to a particular band (and heavier). It didn’t matter to me; I thought that was stupid.

    I never learned a boatload of songs while learning to play guitar, but one thing I definitely worked on is hearing the way the guitars sounded in a particular band. I quickly learned to distinguish how Mick Mars from the Crue “hits” the chords versus someone like Akira Takasaki from Loudness and how the band’s sound changes because of that. I learned how punk-inspired aggression works in a band like Slayer and how K.K Downing and Glenn Tipton let their early psychedelic-rock roots influence the sounds on the early Judas Priest albums.

    My guitar riff bible comes from early Megadeth records where there was just enough precision and attack to make the riffs come alive. Those records really pulled in a nearly perfect mix of an early Priest-like sound and a pissed-off, frienzied, "machined" metal assault. I dug it. It was perfect. You were able to hear the notes, the overtones and the attack while you were allowed some air to enjoy it all.

    It's a good idea to listen to bands that might not fit into the particular genre you might be into. As I said, I dug the uber-heavy down-tuned sludge of Carcass but also could appreciate the looser Aerosmith-inspired riffing of Tom Keiffer of Cinderella and took note of Dimebag Darrell’s surgical precision when it came to riffing. I suppose it's about being open to learn from others while you shape your sound.

    I believe the art of great guitar sound is slowly slipping away in heavy metal. The recording medium is partly to blame, as is the way guitars are edited.

    I don't hear the “aura” of guitars like I did on records of old. You knew which band it was by the sound of the guitars. You knew “Some Heads Are Gonna Roll” was a Judas Priest song even before Rob Halford’s vocals came in. Did anyone question the identity of the band when they heard the riff and guitar tone in Pantera's “Walk”? Who knows, maybe our uncles felt the same about their music versus the stuff we grew up on (whichever generation that might be).

    It's important to listen how bands achieve sounds and how this information can ultimately shape your own tone. All great guitarists have been known to have a solid guitar sound and a particular way they play or attack the chords.

    Without getting too technical, you can play metal while injecting good movement in your picking hand to let the notes breathe. Many people try to copy Yngwie Malmsteen’s licks and sound, yet not many realize the space between the notes is where the answer might hide. I see guitarists just “play” chords and hear them come out on the other side through the speakers, but we can do better than that.

    I hope you can take a piece of what I've written above and see how it can work for you.

    Polish-born Metal Mike Chlasciak has recorded or performed with heavy metal greats Rob Halford, Sebastian Bach, Bruce Dickinson and Axl Rose. Mike is the long-time guitarist for Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford's solo endeavor, Halford. Mike's new album, The Metalworker, is available at metalmike.net. For more info, check out his official website and visit him on Twitter.


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    Not content with the status quo, industrious young guitar players have endeavored over the decades to make things more difficult for themselves.

    Some have tried playing the guitar behind their back, over their head, with their teeth, with their friends' teeth, etc.

    And then there was the inventive guitarist who, many decades ago, decided to slip a bottle over his finger and slide it along his guitar's strings to produce a magical sound (He probably emptied the bottle himself, if you know what I mean).

    While playing the guitar with your teeth is, was and always shall be a novelty, slide guitar—and slide guitarists—is and are here to stay. They actually started digging in their heels long before Robert Johnson made his haunting Delta blues recordings in Texas in the 1930s.

    Since Johnson's time, players—including guys like George Thorogood, Derek Trucks, Jerry Douglas and Roy Rogers—have built entire careers around slide guitar and its many stylistic varieties.

    Below, we present 10 tracks that represent essential listening in the world of slide guitar. Please note that we're sticking with regular ol' six-string guitar—no lap steel, sacred steel, pedal steel, etc. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.) These songs are presented in no particular order. I repeat: These songs are presented in no particular order.

    Also, if you want to track down any of these tracks, you'll find all 10 original album covers in the photo gallery below. Enjoy!


    The Allman Brothers Band, "Statesboro Blues" (Duane Allman)

    A generation of blues-influenced rockers toyed with slide guitar for several years, slowly bringing it into mainstream music (Check out Jeff Beck's performance on "Evil Hearted You" by the Yardbirds), but no one dragged it into the modern era quite like Duane Allman of the Allman Brothers Band. He used the slide to imitate the sound of a blues harp—not to mention mesmerize countless concert goers who were knocked out by his dexterity and intensity. Perhaps his quintessential slide performance is the Allmans'At Fillmore East version of Blind Willie McTell's "Statesboro Blues." As Rolling Stone put it, it features the sort of playing that gives people chills. Of course, be sure to seek out other live versions of the song, including the one on the band's recently released SUNY at Stonybrook album.




    Sonny Landreth, "Überesso"

    Respected Louisiana-based slide player Sonny Landreth started appearing on music fans' radar in earnest after the release of the 2007 Crossroads Blues Festival DVD. It features a few tracks by Landreth (jamming with Eric Clapton and such), including the uber-exciting instrumental, "Überesso." Landreth's unique slide technique lets him fret notes and play chords and chord fragments behind the slide. He plays with the slide on his little finger, so his other fingers have more room to fret. Check out his performance of "Überesso" from the 2007 Crossroads Guitar Festival below. Yes, he's awesome.




    Steve Miller Band, "The Joker" (Steve Miller)

    Although not primarily known as a slide player, Steve Miller put the slide to fun and creative use on his 1973 hit single, "The Joker," playing a hummable, tasteful slide solo for the masses (and imitating a whistle a few times in the process). Although it's no "Überesso" (See above), it shows that slide guitar has been invited to the chart-success party, especially in the early Seventies, much like our next selection ...




    George Harrison, "Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)"

    You'll read it in other roundups of great slide guitar songs—comments like, "Although he wasn't a virtuoso like these other players ... ." Yeah, whatever. OK, he wasn't Jeff Beck, Steve Howe or Ritchie Blackmore, but George Harrison, who, as a member of the Beatles, influenced millions of humans to play guitar, suddenly started playing slide guitar in 1969, inventing an entirely new "guitar persona" for himself. What he came up with was a distinctive, non-blues-based style that incorporated hints of Indian music, some pointers he picked up while learning sitar and other Beatles-esque odds and ends. While "My Sweet Lord" and Badfinger's "Day After Day" (featuring Harrison on slide) are better known, 1973's "Give Me Love" perfectly displays his new-found style. For some quality later work, check out "Cheer Down" from 1989 and "Any Road" from 2002.




    Foghat, "Slow Ride" (Rod Price)

    Staying in the Seventies for a moment, let us consider Foghat's "Slow Ride," another slide-based song that topped the charts. Perhaps the polar slide opposite of George Harrison, the heavily blues-influenced Rod "The Bottle" Price (Yes, they called him "The Bottle") let it all hang out in his solo near the fadeout of Foghat's signature track. Be sure to also check out Foghat's "Drivin' Wheel" and "Stone Blue." Price, a product of the UK, died in 2005.




    Led Zeppelin, "In My Time of Dying" (Jimmy Page)

    Although the "big three" guitarists who emerged from the Sixties rock scene in England—Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page — flirted with slide guitar at different points in their careers, none took it as far, or used it with as much success, as Page. For proof, just listen to "In My Time of Dying" from Physical Graffiti. The recording (the most popular version of a song Josh White recorded in the mid-Forties), features Page sliding away in open A (E / A / E / A / C# / E). Although Page also played slide on "When the Levee Breaks,""Traveling Riverside Blues" and "What Is and What Should Never Be," his distinctive slide style simply defines the powerful and dark "In My Time of Dying."




    Elmore James, "Dust My Broom"

    We've mentioned a few "blues influenced" players, which is basically another way of saying "players who were influenced by Elmore James." James—who was actually dubbed the "King of the Slide Guitar"—is best known for his 1951 version of "Dust My Broom (I Believe My Time Ain't Long)." The song's opening riff is one of the best-known and most influential slide guitar parts ever. Yes, it sounds a lot like what Robert Johnson played on his "I Believe I'll Dust My Broom" several years earlier, but James played his riff on an electric guitar, pretty much claiming it for himself in the process and sending chills down the spine of a new generation.




    Johnny Winter, "Highway 61 Revisited"

    The lanky Texan (and former Brit) simply burns it up in his legendary cover of Bob Dylan's "Highway 61 Revisited" from Second Winter, his second album. Be sure to investigate the acoustic "Dallas" from Winter's self-titled 1969 album. If you can convincingly play these two songs, it's time to hang up your T-square and/or apron and look for session work!




    Derek Trucks Band, "Sahib Teri Bandi/Maki Madni" (Derek Trucks)

    The list takes an exotic turn with this middle-eastern-flavored track by Derek Trucks. With his deep Allman Brothers Band lineage, we know Trucks (and Warren Haynes, of course) can tackle roots rock, extended blues jams and more, but this 10-minute instrumental track from his 2006 album, Songlines, steps way out of those boundaries and truly shows what Trucks is capable of. He makes the guitar sound like an exotic instrument from a distant land and time. Check out this live performance from 2008, below.




    Rory Gallagher, "Want Ad Blues/Wanted Blues"

    For our official acoustic entry, let's not forget the late, great Rory Gallagher, shown here playing a version of John Lee Hooker's "Wanted Blues." It's hard to believe this Irish master of the Stratocaster was also a ridiculously accomplished traditional blues slide player. By the way, in this brief video (Click here), Gallagher explains some slide basics. Be sure to check it out.

    Learn Slide Guitar is the ultimate DVD instructional guide to playing slide guitar like a pro. Designed for beginning-to-intermediate guitar players, this DVD contains more than two hours of lessons that will help you develop such skills and techniques as playing in open and standard tunings, slide scales for soloing in all keys, improvising, open-tuning chord forms, muting, vibrato, Delta and electric blues, plus much more! It's available now at the Guitar World Online Store!

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    These videos and audio files are bonus content related to the March 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 going to an open jam, it’s important to be prepared to improvise over any one of the dozens of standard blues-type songs that are routinely played at jams all over the world.

    Along with the typical 12-bar and eight-bar blues forms, there are a few specific songs that feature their own distinct patterns and forms.

    One of these tunes is the Albert King classic, “Born Under a Bad Sign,” a track covered brilliantly by Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker on the essential Cream album, Wheels of Fire.

    Cream played the song in the key of G, but it was originally recorded by King in the key of C#. The following examples are played in the song’s original key of C#.

    For the rest of this column, including the tabs, check out the March 2015 issue of Guitar World.


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    From the Archive: This column was originally published in Issue 53 of Guitar World Acoustic. The audio examples in this lesson were performed by Guitar World's Jimmy Brown.

    I’d like to acquaint you with some great slide licks I like to play in open A tuning.

    These riffs and runs are super-versatile. You can use them to hop up your own blues pieces, employ them as solos in a classic blues song or even just entertain yourself with them on a back porch in the middle of a scorching heat wave.

    Before taking on the licks, let’s take the time to briefly discuss the proper slide-playing technique. The slide should sit with even pressure across the strings, parallel to and directly above the indicated frets.

    If you wear the slide on your pinky (like I do), lightly rest your index, middle and ring fingers across the strings behind the slide (toward the headstock). Muting the strings behind the slide with your fingers like this will help eliminate unwanted string noises and overtones.

    Now let's look at open A (low to high: E A E A C# E). In this tuning, the low E, high E and A strings remain at standard pitch, while the D, G and B strings are each raised one whole step, to E, A, and C#, respectively (FIGURE 1).

    figure 1_0.jpg

    FIGURE 2 shows the single notes that are most often used in open A tuning licks and solos played within the first five frets. These notes are all derived from the A minor pentatonic scale (A C D E G), and in this example the scale is spread across two octaves.

    figure 2.jpg

    You’ll notice some of the notes are indicated twice, on two adjacent strings. This is because they are commonly played in more than one position. Practice playing these notes, first without the slide, then with it, ascending and descending until you’ve memorize their locations on the fretboard.

    Now let’s play some licks using these notes in this position. FIGURES 3a-e illustrate a handful of open A slide licks that I use all the time; many of them are staples of the “country” blues style.

    figure 3a.jpg

    figure 3b.jpg

    figure 3c.jpg

    figure 3d.jpg

    figure 3e.jpg

    You can hear me play licks along these lines on my recordings of songs like “Come On in My Kitchen” (Best of Johnny Winter), “Feel Like Going Home” (Muddy Waters: Blues Sky) and “Sittin’ in the Jailhouse” (Johnny Winter: A Rock N’ Roll Collection).

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    This guitar-centric video comes to us courtesy of the Los Angeles Times.

    Find out about the Skate Guitar project, the brainchild of three friends from Argentina who transform beat-up skateboard decks into unique, one-of-a-kind guitars.

    The project promotes the trio's combined passions of recycling, rock and roll and skateboarding.

    For more information about (or to support) the Skate Guitar project, follow along on Facebook.


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    NOTE: This story was updated Monday, February 23, with a new video!

    To celebrate the release of Jimmy Page’s new photo book, Jimmy Page by Jimmy Page, the guitar legend appeared with Chris Cornell, guitarist and singer for Soundgarden, at the Theater at Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles for a relaxed question-and-answer session that spanned the entirety of Page’s 50-year career.

    Sponsored by Genesis Publications, Gibson Custom, Guitar World and Guitar Aficionado, the hour-and-a-half event, which took place last November, enthralled a packed house of 1,400 fans as Cornell quizzed Page about the rare photos and memorabilia—many drawn from Page’s personal archives—which were projected on an enormous screen hovering above both men.

    The 70-year-old Page, with his silver hair, scarf and black leather jacket, looked as sharp as a James Bond super villain, while Cornell, in thick-rimmed glasses, evoked a hipster newsman.

    The subject matter ran the gamut from extremely light and frothy to the serious matter of drummer John Bonham’s untimely death, of which Page commented, “when we lost 25 percent of the band, we really lost the whole thing.”

    Among the more humorous moments was when Cornell took note of a photo of Page wearing a bright—but very tight—red sweater emblazoned with his “Zoso” symbol. Page explained that a friend’s girlfriend had knit it for him, but when he sweated onstage, it immediately started to shrink.

    Below, we present parts 1, 2 and 3 of this Guitar World video series. Be sure to check back every week for the next episode! Don't worry, we'll remind you.

    PART THREE (Posted February 23):




    PART TWO (Posted February 16):




    PART ONE (Posted February 9):

    Additional Content

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    Public Relations, better known as PR. That holy grail of message distribution.

    I once had someone tell me, “I don’t believe in PR.” My reply was, “What do you mean, like it’s the tooth fairy?”

    Well-done PR can get you massive amounts of interest, YouTube views, interviews, and so much more. Of course, all with the hope of your efforts leading to sales.

    Poorly done PR is just frustrating for everyone involved.

    As an editor I get loads of news releases and pitches every day in my inbox. Your goal should be to interest me, provide me with well-written information in a format that I can use with almost no editing, and all the assets I need to get your news out there quickly.

    If you’re a musician or fledgling publicist that wants to spread the word about your projects, here are some tips for making the most out of your efforts.

    1. Make sure your news release is factual…and actually news
    News releases are generally written in the third person, so avoid the use of “I” and “we.” They give a run down of the who, what, when, where, why, how and then elaborate in each paragraph, scrolling out a logical progression of facts. Typically editors don’t want to see words like “the best,” “amazing,” “fabulous,” and the like. Leave it to editors to aggrandize about you. You should be factual and fairly humble.

    2. Keep it short
    If you have so much to say that your release is longer than a page or a page and a half, you are probably going to confuse me. Edit, edit, edit. Make sure you are concise and to the point. Have someone else read your release to confirm that it is easy to understand.

    3. Include a photo
    I literally cannot publish a story without a photo. If you make me search for a photo online I might a) pick one that you’ve always hated or b) just give up and publish someone else’s news release. Include a low res (but not tiny) photo with your release and a link where I can download a larger version if I want. You can use Dropbox or Google drive for a photo link. You can include several photo options for download, too. DO NOT include a large photo in your email. My mailbox is always overflowing and this makes me a bit crazy.

    4. Include a link
    You would not believe how many people, even professional publicists, do not include a band or artist website link with the news release. Don’t make me go look for that! Similarly, if you want me to link to somewhere in particular, please include the actual URL in your news release. Do not put GO HERE and have those words be a hotlink. That means that I have to literally click on your link, grab the link and then code it on my site for you. It’s much easier if you just provide me with the link in the first place.

    5. Include music
    Look, we’re in the music industry. Sometimes I see something and it might be right, but I can’t know until I listen. Plus, it’s so much nicer to post news that’s not just a whole bunch of text. So if you have a video you like, or a Soundcloud link that I can include with the news, that is really great. If you just want me to hear it but not post, you can say so. Editors are used to getting audio and video links for their ears only. It also helps if you just say what kind of music you play somewhere toward the top of the release or in the subhead.

    6. Please proof read — and don’t double space!
    I’ve seen this happen. You make a mistake in a news release and suddenly that mistake is everywhere! Proof read your copy. Try all of your links. Don’t rely on editors to catch that stuff, although some do. Also, double spacing between sentences went out with the typewriter. When you double space between sentences I have to search and replace that for a single space every time.

    7. Have a great subject and headline
    The first few words of your subject are the only thing that I see in a preview. Make them count! If something is urgent, say so. If it’s news for today, say Today only! Make your subject concise and indicative of what’s inside. Be careful to not be sensationalist, as sometimes spam filters may filter you out if you are the BEST, MOST AMAZING or it’s the LAST CHANCE! Similarly, keep your headline concise and in Title Case, and your subhead can elaborate.

    8. Build your lists
    Ah, lists. The real gold here. Every time someone reports about your music or your product, you should be a) sharing it on your socials because every reporter wants as many views as possible of their material, b) keeping track of who posted your news so you can pitch them again in the future, and c) categorizing your data so that when you do reach out you are sending relevant information. I report on acoustic music. Not metal. Sorting through news release that are irrelevant to me is exhausting and gives me less time to find and post the news that matters.

    9. Use a mailing service
    There are loads of email services that you can use to send really great looking news releases. Companies like myemma, Mail Chimp, iContact and more let you keep track of your mailing lists for a reasonable cost. You can also see who opened your email, whether they clicked on any links, and more. These are great tools for distributing news. And BTW, do not send your news release in a JPEG or PDF format. Make sure it’s text that editors can easily copy and paste. Putting it right into the body of the email is just fine.

    10. Target your pitch
    And that leads to this. Research journalists that report on the kind of music or products that you produce. Individualize your pitch to their specific needs. Look, editors need content. But they need the right content. If you go to them with something that fits like a glove, it’s a no-brainer. There are several publicists who totally get what I do. I love them. They make my job a pleasure.

    11. Follow up
    I can’t tell you how many times someone has come to me and asked me to do something, I’ve said yes, and then I never hear from them again. You got me to say YES! You should be the most diligent person on the planet at following up. Also, FYI, editors are crazy busy. Sometimes silence does not mean no. If you really truly believe that what you are doing is a perfect fit, be persistent without being annoying. Find new ways to reach them. Even pick up the phone.

    12. Build relationships
    This is the real secret to excellent PR. Great publicists know editors personally. They know what they need. They hang out and have drinks. They invite editors to shows. They are easy and fun to work with. When you can build relationships like that with the media then everyone wins. Especially you!

    Laura B. Whitmore is the editor of AcousticNation.com and a singer/songwriter based in the Boston metro area. A veteran music industry marketer, she has spent over two decades doing marketing, PR and artist relations for several guitar-related brands including Marshall and VOX. Her company, Mad Sun Marketing, represents Peavey, Dean Markley, MusicFirst, SIR Entertainment Services, Guitar World and many more. Laura is the founder of the Women's International Music Network at thewimn.com and the producer of the She Rocks Awards. More at mad-sun.com.


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    Dion DiMucci helped define rock music, from his initial doo-wop hits with the Belmonts in the late 1950s, to solo work in the ’60s with smashes like “Runaround Sue,” “The Wanderer,” “Ruby Baby,” and the iconic “Abraham, Martin, and John” in 1968.

    Such is the reverence for this artist that the Beatles even featured his photo on the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (he’s next to Tony Curtis, above John Lennon’s head).

    Omnivore Recordings will release Recorded Live at the Bitter End, August 1971, an unissued live performance recording, on April 7, 2015.

    Armed with only his pure voice and an acoustic guitar, Dion moves through his catalog flawlessly, making listeners feel like they were in the club that night. This is Dion at his best, at the beginning of his third decade as a star.

    In addition to the aforementioned hits, Dion presents his then-new material, such as the singles “Your Own Back Yard,” “Sunniland,” and “Sanctuary,” while classics like “Too Much Monkey Business,” a stunning version of the Beatles’ “Blackbird,” and Leonard Cohen’s “Sisters of Mercy,” plus Bob Dylan and Lightning Hopkins covers round out the set.

    Produced with conjunction with Dion himself, Recorded Live at the Bitter End, August 1971 is an essential, and previously unheard release in the Dion canon. The package features rare photos and memorabilia, as well as quotes from an in-depth interview with the singer himself.

    View the trailer:

    Music had changed since his first release in 1958, and this recording proves that Dion was not only an innovator, but also an artist who could transcend genres while still staying true to what made him a legend. You’ll hear Dion, a guitar, his voice and an intimate crowd.

    Dion, in an interview with album annotator Dean Rudland, said of the Village folk scene: “Hanging out in the Village, everyone seemed to be a singer-songwriter. I was having fun; it was helping to keep me young, keeping me very interested and engaged in music.”

    According to Rudland, “Recorded Live at the Bitter End, August 1971 encapsulates Dion as a performer at this time. The music shows an artist who is aware of his own legacy and is intent on molding it into something new.”

    And as Lou Reed said while inducting him into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: “Who could be hipper than Dion?”

    Track Listing:
    1. Mama, You’ve Been on My Mind 

    2. Brand New Morning


    3. Too Much Monkey Business


    4. Abraham, Martin and John

    5. One Too Many Mornings 

    6. Blackbird

    7. Sisters of Mercy

    8. Your Own Back Yard
    9. You Better Watch Yourself (aka Driknin’ That Wine)

    10. Don’t Start Me Talking 

    11. Sunshine Lady 

    12. Sunniland

    13. Sanctuary

    14. Willigo

    15. The Wanderer

    16. Ruby Baby

    17. Harmony Sound

    Find out more at http://omnivorerecordings.com


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    No, this May 2012 video is not new.

    But, as is often the case, it happens to be new to me; I found it in my inbox over the weekend—and I didn't mind it.

    It's basically an enjoyable lesson on "guitar faces," courtesy of a guitarist named Jesse Phillips. Note that this is "part 2;" you'll also find parts 1 and 3 on YouTube (neither of which has as many views as part 2).

    We appreciate the section on "smelling the skunk."

    "You have to pretend that the notes you're playing have physical odor," Phillips says. Well put!


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    In the past month, Eddie Van Halen donated a replica of his Frankenstein guitar to the Smithsonian—and Les Paul’s Black Beauty sells for $335,500 at auction.

    Both guitars are iconic and have created legendary music. And both guitars look like they’ve been hacked at with chisels, cut with coping saws and fitted with mismatched parts.

    They’re sound searchers. For them, a guitar is a tool that sometimes needs to be modified … vintage status be damned.

    Like Les and Eddie, I’ve modded and destroyed more collectible and vintage guitars than many people have ever owned…and these zombified creations have been used in concert, on albums and provided inspiration for other instruments that I’ve built.

    My Pizza Dobro is a perfect example.

    The Pizza Dobro is mashup instrument I built from yard sale parts, thrift store finds and a pizza pan:

    · The body is from an old Sixties Teisco ET-200 "tulip" guitar. I love the shape!
    · The ¾ scale neck was taken from a broken First Act kids guitar.
    · The Pizza Dobro gets its name from the shallow pizza pan I embedded in the body, creating a poor man’s version of a Dobro cone. I simply cut a hole through the entire guitar body that was big enough for the pan. A lid from a cigar box provides the backplate. Oh, and there’s no worries on having the body buckle under pressure. These Teisco bodies were made of industrial-grade plywood!
    · An old Stella trapeze tailpiece holds the strings, and a bolt I found at a flea market is the perfect bridge.
    · Topping it off (pun intended) is a C.B. Gitty lipstick tube pickup screwed right into the pizza pan and hard-wired to an upside-down Strat jack. (At less than $18 each, the lipstick pickups are deliciously under-priced. I buy ‘em by the dozen.)

    I have the Pizza Dobro tuned to a dizzying open D tuning (A, D, A, F#, A, low to high), and the metal pan gives a bit of banjo snap. It’s pretty and delicate sounding and the perfect guitar for some Appalachian blues.

    For all the online discussions I see about fitting necks perfectly into the pocket and upgrading electronics for perfect tones, I bask in the glory of this guitar’s shittiness. The pickup wire is exposed. The bridge is nothing but a bolt sitting on a piece of wood. Hell, even the string spacing isn’t perfect. Yet this guitar kicks butt! I’m actually proud of the sneers I get from people when they comment on this. Yes, I destroyed a vintage Teisco tulip body. So what? There are thousands more still out there. There’s no other guitar on the market like this, and it only cost me $50 in parts.

    The Pizza Dobro is definitely a keeper and will probably have my future grandkids scratching their heads when they divvy up my estate after I die. Then again, they might see this guitar-with-personality as more valuable than the store-bought axes in my collection.

    I WANT TO SEE YOUR FRANKENSTEINS FOR A FUTURE COLUMN! Send two to three photos and a two-paragraph description of your hacked/chopped/zombified guitar to shane@shanespeal.com. Tell me what you did to it and why you love it so much. Send your submissions before March 1, 2015. My favorite submission will get featured in this column, and I’ll even send the builder a handmade Shane Speal cigar box guitar as a thank-you.

    Oh…one more thing: If you haven’t watched Eddie Van Halen Plays Guitar (and Discusses Innovation) at the Smithsonian — Video | Guitar World, budget one hour of your time this week and do so. It’s friggin’ awesome.

    Shane Speal is "King of the Cigar Box Guitar" and the creator of the modern cigar box guitar movement. Hear the music, see the instruments and read about his Cigar Box Guitar Museum at ShaneSpeal.com. Speal's latest album, Holler! is on C. B. Gitty Records.


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    To some people, shred guitar is about one thing, and one thing only: the need for speed. The yearn to burn. The desire for fire.

    Just the word itself can conjure glorious images of long-haired, pointy-guitar-wielding metalmen, fingers scaling fretboards with dazzling dexterity and furious speed, melody and musicality by damned. And indeed, during the shred zeitgeist of the 1980s, it seemed as if guitarists built up bpms the way Russia and the U.S. stockpiled nukes.

    But in fact shred was around well before the Eighties, and it has continued to thrive in the decades since. Because shred guitar is about more than just velocity, or how many notes you can squeeze into a bar of music. And it doesn't necessarily require the use of distortion, electricity or, is some cases, even a pick.

    In the following gallery, we present 30 great players from the Golden Era, the Old-School Era and the Modern Era of shred, along with the album and song that best exemplifies their shredding skills.

    As these entries attest, shred is about pushing boundaries, exploring the great guitar unknown and, basically, doing really cool stuff that's never been done before. Of course, a bit of sheer, unadulterated fret-burning speed doesn't hurt either.

    NOTE: Once again, the photo gallery below is divided into three eras — the Golden Era, the Modern Era and the Old School era — each of which contains 10 albums. The gallery is arranged in that order.

    Enjoy!


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    Who else but the Louisville Leopard Percussionists could so successfully translate Led Zeppelin into a xylophone-and-marimba opus?

    The video below shows a rehearsal session for the group, all of whom are between the ages of 7 to 12.

    In fluid succession, they cover Led Zeppelin's “Immigrant Song,” “The Ocean” and “Kashmir.”

    Even Jimmy Page was impressed, writing, “Too good not to share” on his Facebook page last week.

    The Louisville Leopard Percussionists began in 1993. They’re a performing ensemble of approximately 55 student musicians living in and around Louisville, Kentucky. Each student learns and acquires proficiency on several instruments, including marimbas, xylophone, vibraphone, drum set, timbales, congas, bongos and piano. Enjoy!

    Additional Content

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    Tomás Pagán Motta is a DC-based songwriter rooted in the traditions of Americana and folk.

    Previously recording under The Petticoat Tearoom, Motta is stepping out from the pseudonym to release his self-titled debut.

    The resulting record highlights Motta's move to the foreground, placing his impassioned vocals and expressive lyrics at the center of each warm and orchestral arrangement.

    Tomás Pagán Motta is out next week on 8 Gang Switch, and as of today, the album is available to stream in full as an exclusive premiere with HypeMachine.

    Of the record, HypeMachine writes "Motta infuses rootsy Americana with the Carribbean folk of his childhood on this eponymous debut."

    Motta was born in Maryland of Caribbean heritage and was raised for some time in Puerto Rico. He started his exploration into music playing the trumpet, in an attempt to emulate Cuban multi-instrumentalist Arturo Sandoval. As a young adult, a thirst for expression began to overwhelm him. Motta spent many years as a journalist, but his most vital creative outlet remained songwriting.

    He formed The Petticoat Tearoom in Baltimore and began showcasing his music, releasing two records under the moniker. After catching the attention of 8 Gang Switch, label home to the acclaimed fellow D.C.-based roots enthusiasts The Deadmen, Motta is now prepared to make a name for himself with his self-titled debut.

    Tomás Pagán Motta is out March 3rd, 2015 via 8 Gang Switch.

    Upcoming Tour Dates:

    3/13/2015 - Washington, DC @ The Rock and Roll Hotel (w/ The Deadmen)
    3/15/2015 - Baltimore, MD @ The Ottobar Upstairs

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


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