Check out this clip of guitarist Lenny Hatch demoing his creation, the Guitar Drum.
Here’s some info from the Guitar Drum’s official wbesite:
"The Guitar Drum was created when Lenny needed a cajon but he didn't have one.
"He was also getting into percussive guitar playing and he thought it would be more convenient to have one on his guitar. After looking for one on the Internet, he didn’t find what he was looking for. So he set out to create the drum as you see it today."
The Guitar Drum gives players an elevated pad for bass sounds or can serve as a scratch plate. The device also can serve as a snare mechanism for more consistent snare sounds.
What do you think of it? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook!
Over the weekend, someone asked me about Tennessee guitars and basses—something I'd never heard of. Apparently, the company creates—or created—an 18-string instrument that combines a 12-string guitar with a six-string bass, all on one neck.
Let's just say that, while our research is still ongoing (We don't want to trust and publish everything that turns up in a random Google search), we did track a video or two, plus a link to a 10-string "Tennessee brand" bass that was sold online several years ago—so you can get a look at these things.
The instrument in the video below is the more interesting of the "Tennessee brand" instruments we've turned up online. As stated above, it has 18 strings, combining a 12-string guitar and a six-string bass, all on one very wide neck.
The clip is just under 1.5 minutes long. Enjoy—and let us know what you think of it in the comments or on Facebook. I'm betting these things aren't made in Tennessee! Thoughts?
This summer, Washington, D.C.'s Darkest Hour will celebrate a major milestone in the band's history—their 20th anniversary—with a tour of select dates in North America and Europe.
To commemorate the event, presenting sponsor ESP Guitars—along with director Alex Wohleber and Outerloop Management Creative Director Nikhil Potdar—has put together a brief film, Out of Step, featuring Darkest Hour's Mike Schleibaum.
In the video, which you can check out below, Schleibaum reflects on his early years, his first guitar and other milestones from the past 20 years.
"To say we feel lucky to have been able to pursue this crazy dream of rocking and rolling for so many years would be a tremendous understatement," Schleibaum says. "The honor that it has been to travel the world and make new friends while partying with old ones has not been lost on us. Playing live has always been at the heart of what we do as artists and therefore we felt it only right to commemorate our 20th anniversary as a band.”
Chris Cannella, director of artist relations/product management at ESP Guitars, adds:
“When I started at ESP last year, one of my first goals was to make a connection between ESP and Darkest Hour. There are some bands and guitar brands that you just know will be a perfect fit, and this was one of them. I consider myself a huge fan of Darkest Hour, and even before I started at ESP, I wanted them to be using the guitars and basses that would be the absolute best for their music.
"We first brought on Mike Schleibaum to the ESP artist family, then Aaron Deal quickly followed. Just this month, we’ve added Lonestar. These guys are well deserving of the overdue recognition they’re getting right now, and we are proud they’re all using ESP for their 20th anniversary events."
Speaking of which, you can check out all the band's currently scheduled shows below. The tour will find the band performing their 2005 album, Undoing Ruin, in its entirety.
6/24 - Gramercy Theater @ New York City, NY
6/25 - Worcester, MA @ The Palladium
6/27 - Toronto, ON @ Hard Luck w/Ion Dissonance * no DTF
6/28 - Chicago, IL @ Bottom Lounge
6/30 - Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade
7/01 - Washington, DC @ Black Cat
The "Legendary Licks" series presents the music of a band or artist in a comprehensive play-along package. Each book contains note-for-note transcriptions and detailed performance notes on how to play a multitude of classic licks, fills, riffs and solos, complete with recorded demonstrations.
The CD also features slowed-down versions for the fast and tricky passages, plus info on Bonamassa's gear setup.
This package teaches 13 of Bonamassa's best:
• The Ballad of John Henry • Blues Deluxe • Bridge to Better Days • Dirt in My Pocket • If Heartaches Were Nickels • Man of Many Words • Miss You, Hate You • My Mistake • Pain and Sorrow • Revenge of the 10 Gallon Hat • The River • So It's like That • So Many Roads, So Many Trains
For his new album, A Fool to Care, Boz Scaggs once again teams up with producer Steve Jordan and puts his distinctive spin on a host of classic songs—plus a handful of new originals.
The album, the follow-up to 2013's Memphis, features a guest appearance by Bonnie Raitt, who duets with Scaggs and adds her characteristic slide guitar to “Hell to Pay.” The song, which Scaggs wrote himself, is a knowing indictment of corruption on a personal and political level.
I recently spoke with Scaggs about his new album, recording with Duane Allman several decades ago—and about his 50 years in the music biz.
GUITAR WORLD: How would you describe your new album, A Fool to Care?
That’s an enormous question. It took four days to record and probably 50 years to conceive. When we started talking about doing this album, we considered a theme being the music I was inspired by [when I was] growing up. That led to some discussion about the material. We really wanted to focus on music out of Louisiana and Texas, but then we started talking about other songs we like. Guys like Curtis Mayfield came up. Then the interest broadened and we started picking them out of the air.
There’s a song by the Band on there and others by the Spinners and Al Green. Then there were a few songs that a friend of mine wrote and one I wrote one myself. It’s all styles of music that I love. We had an open ticket to do anything we wanted to do. If it felt good, we took a swing at it.
You mentioned a four-day recording process, which seems like a quick turnaround. Can you elaborate on that?
The rhythm section on this record was the same one we worked with on my last record, Memphis. It’s very high-level and broad-ranging musicians that I had a lot in common with. So it gave us a lot of flexibility.
[Producer] Steve Jordan and I took a good deal of time in pre-production to find the right keys and arrangements. We really try to hit it hard once we’re in the studio. Then I took the songs back to my home studio in California and did some vocal and guitar overdubs and added a few horns and percussion.
What can you tell me about the song you wrote for this album, “Hell to Pay”?
I had been carrying that song for years. When you talk to some writers, they’ll tell you that sometimes a song just seems to fall out of the air and write itself. This was one of those songs that just fell into my lap.
How did Bonnie Raitt get involved with this track?
I really wanted to do a few duets on this record, and Bonnie is one my favorite artists in the world. It just so happened that the opportunity to work with her came up, and it was a great fit. It was a really special session because even though the two of us had known each other for some time, we had never worked together before. Bonnie came to my house with her guitar, and we spent the day together and just worked it out. It was great making music, but just getting to know her well was pretty special.
You also had the pleasure of working with Duane Allman on your sophomore album, Boz Scaggs, in 1969. How did that collaboration come about?
When I was making my first solo record in the States, I was working with Atlantic Records and they suggested I work down in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. I did a lot of research to see what musicians might be available, and Duane’s name had come up time and again as a unique guitar stylist. At the time, he wasn’t working with a section. He had just gone off to go start the Allman Brothers Band.
I remember we asked him if he could come back to Muscle Shoals for a week of recording and he did. Then after I made that record, I went to Macon, Georgia, where he was putting the Allman Brothers Band together. I stayed down there for about six months; during that time, Duane and I got to know each other a little better. I feel really lucky that I was able to work with him at an early point of my career. I can say an awful lot about what a unique and wonderful cat he was. Obviously, his work speaks for itself.
Were you aware that 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of your first album, Boz?
You know? That’s exactly right. That had not occurred to me. I made that first record in 1965.
Is there a word to describe what you feel when you ponder this?
Lucky. Music has been an enormous part of my life. It’s been a personal and passionate journey. Like so many people, when you discover music on your own by listening to the radio and start having choices of what you want to hear, it’s one of the greatest odysseys you could ever undertake. That led me to playing music myself, which became another part of the search.
Then I found my footing and made a career out of it. It’s been a great companion to me and given me a vocation. Along with all of the personal relationships I’ve had over the years, music is right there as one of the most important influences in my life.
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.
In this lesson, I will demonstrate an interesting method of utilizing your index finger on your picking hand, which is traditionally used for two-handed tapping.
The tablature shows a descending legato run in the key of A natural minor comprised of groupings of eight notes.
There are no picked notes whatsoever here, just unassisted hammer-ons and pull-offs. The note that you see notated as being a "tapped" note with the capital "T" symbol is actually fretted with any finger from your picking hand. This allows you to use your fingers on your fretting hand to pull off and hammer onto the "reverse pedal point" (the note being fretted by your picking hand), as I like to call it (for lack of better terms).
In essence, this allows you to cross one hand over and behind the other to create this effect. After every bar (every 16 notes) in this example is when I like to move my reverse pedal point to the next string. The most challenging aspect of this technique is keeping the strings from ringing out around the note being fretted.
With a little trial and error, you can experiment with your own methods and find a specific angle and position for your left and right hand that will allow you to execute this example without much excess noise. This technique also requires considerable strength from your fretting hand, because the notes being generated are created by the momentum of one hand, rather than being picked and fretted by two hands.
Check out the video and figures below.
Cyamak Ashtiani is an award-winning rock/pop guitarist and songwriter who has written, toured and recorded with a multitude of major and indie recording artists. Recently, he has toured with Rockstar: Supernova's Lukas Rossi and country/rap artist Mikel Knight. You can catch his new project with former Dry Cell frontman Jeff Gutt at ShadesOfTheVillain.com and his clothing line at 1251Clothing.com, of which he is a cofounder.
This entry is taken from the Guitar World archive.
Hello there! Welcome to my first Guitar World column.
I'm looking forward to sharing with you in these pages my thoughts on playing, equipment and the music business. Actually, this isn't the first time I've written a column—I used to do one many years ago for an English music magazine called Beat Instrumental.
I did it for about eight months and it was great fun, and I'm sure this one will be too.
NEVER SAY DIE
Although my handicap has received quite a bit of press over the years, a lot of people are very surprised when they find out that I'm missing two fingertips from my fretboard (right) hand. (I'm a lefty.) After all, that is a fairly serious affliction for a guitarist.
Specifically, I lost the tips of my middle and ring fingers in an accident I had at work-they got caught in a piece of machinery. Ironically, the day the accident happened was my last day at that job before turning professional musician, as I was all set to go to Germany on tour with a band. The timing couldn't have been worse-not that there's ever a good time to cut off the ends of two of your fingers!
As you can imagine, it was an awful experience and I went through a terrible period of depression because I was convinced that my guitar playing days were over for good. I went to dozens of different doctors and hospitals and they all said, "Forget it. You're not going to be able to play guitar again."
While I was down in the dumps though, a friend of mine, who happened to be my foreman at work, brought me a record of [world-renowned Gypsy jazz guitarist] Django Reinhardt who, at the time, I'd never heard of before. My friend said, "Listen to this guy play," and I went, "No way! Listening to someone play the guitar is the very last thing I want to do right now!"
But he kept insisting and he ended up playing the record for me. I told him I thought it was really good and then he said, "You know, the guy's only playing with two fingers on his fretboard hand because of an injury he sustained in a terrible fire." I was totally knocked back by this revelation and was so impressed by what I had just heard that I suddenly became inspired to start trying to play again.
I tried playing right-handed for a while but that didn't work out for me so I bandaged my two damaged fingers together and started playing lefty again using just my first (index) and little fingers. I then decided to go a step further by trying to bring my two injured fingers back into the game.
What I did was this: I melted down a "Fairy Liquid" [an English dishwashing detergent] bottle, made a couple of blobs of the plastic and then sat there with a hot soldering iron and melted holes in them so they'd fit on the tips of my injured fingers, kind of like thimbles. When I got the caps to fit comfortably, I ended up with these big balls on the ends of my fingers, so I then proceeded to file them down with sandpaper until they were approximately the size of normal fingertips.
It took me quite a while to get them exactly right because they couldn't be too heavy or thick but had to be strong enough so they didn't hurt the ends of my fingers when I used them. When I had sculpted my "thimbles" to the right size and tested them I realized that the ends weren't gripping the strings so I cut up a piece of leather and fixed pieces to the ends of them. I then spent ages rubbing the leather pads so they would get shiny and absorb some oils and would help me grip the strings better. I filed down the edges so they wouldn't catch on anything and it worked!
Once I had done this it took me quite a while to get used to bending and shaking strings with those two fingers because I obviously couldn't feel anything. It was difficult to even know where my fingers were and where they were going. It was just a matter of practicing and persevering with it, using my ears to compensate for my lost tactile sense.
In the years since my story was publicized more than a few musicians who have had similar afflictions have told me that my "never say die" attitude has inspired them to keep going. However bad something may seem at first, you've got to try to overcome it because sometimes the "impossible" is possible. It was really depressing at first, but after hearing Django, I just wouldn't accept defeat. I was sure there had to be a way around my problem.
PARANOID: THE RIGHT WAY
Anyway, that's enough about my missing fingertips! Let's finish up this first column with some music. Over the years a lot of guitar magazines and books have transcribed my "Paranoid" main riff but nearly all of them did so incorrectly.
They invariably get the notes right but the position on the neck is always wrong. I saw one recently that made the same old mistake. Nearly everyone (most professional transcribers included) assumes that I play the E5 power chord that the riff is based around on the 5th and 4th strings at the 7th fret. Well, I don't! I play the chord on the 6th and 5th strings at the 12th fret.
I play it here because, to my ears, the E5 power chord at the 12th fret definitely sounds darker and more ominous than the 7th fret grip. (Compare both figures by playing them back-to-back and you'll hear exactly what I mean.) So, the correct way to play the opening riff to "Paranoid" is as shown in FIGURE 1.
Regarding the three grace-note hammer-ons that occur on the 5th string at the very beginning of the riff-they're definitely played by "feel" and will sound wrong if you perform them too quickly or too slowly.
To get them right, listen to the recording carefully a few times until you've memorized the way that part of the riff sounds. Like the saying goes, "if you can hum it, you can play it!"
In this classic Guitar World column, Joe Satriani goes in-depth with understanding modal theory.
A major stepping stone in my musical development was when I was introduced to the study of modes.
Learning how modes work really opened my eyes and ears and gave me a lot of insight into how melodies relate to chords.
The term “mode” refers to a set of notes that can be derived from a specific scale. For example, the C major scale is spelled C D E F G A B; this is also known as the C Ionian mode.
If you were to take this same set of notes and start from the second scale degree, D, and continue up to D one octave higher, the resultant “scale” is known as the D Dorian mode (D E F G A B C) (see FIGURE 1). As you can see and hear, both modes (C Ionian and D Dorian) are composed of the same seven notes, the only difference being the way they’re oriented.
This same modal relativity concept can be applied to each degree of the C major scale: if we begin on the third scale degree, E, and continue through the same note series to E one octave higher, we’d be playing the E Phrygian mode (E F G A B C).
The remaining modes that are built from the C major scale are F Lydian (F G A B C D E), G Mixolydian (G A B C D E F), A Aeolian (A B C D E F G) and B Locrian (B C D E F G A). These seven modes—Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian and Locrian—are all simply different orientations of the “parent” major scale, each beginning on a different scale degree, and are known collectively as the “fundamental modes.”
I used this particular scale to illustrate the theory of the fundamental modes because, unlike the other major scales, it contains no sharps or flats and is easier to “think in.” Realize, however, that this same principle of modal relativity applies to every key, not just C. For example, the G major scale (G A B C D E F#) spawns seven modes, one for each note of the scale.
Though thinking of a mode as being the same as some other major scale is a very useful learning device, it is only when one fully understands and internalizes the sound of each mode’s intervallic structure that one will master the modal concept.
One day, back when was in my first year of music college, I was taking a piano lesson when my teacher and I came to a particular section of improvisation. I said, “This is in the A Dorian mode.” My teacher said, “Well, it’s really the same as playing in G major,” but I disagreed. I said that if I’m playing in A Dorian, I’ll emphasize the notes differently than if I were thinking G major.
As I began to study the seven fundamental modes, I became fascinated with the differences in their intervallic structures and the inherent chord forms that can be constructed out of them. I also liked to compare them by playing them off of the same root note (as parallel modes, as opposed to relative modes). I discovered that certain modes were nearly identical in form, except for a single interval.
An example of this would be the E Phrygian (E F G A B C) and E Aeolian (E F# G A B C D) modes, the former being the third mode of the C major scale and the latter being the sixth mode of the G major scale. Comparing modes this way—back to back, in the same key—helped me understand the differences in their structure and sound.
One of my early mentors, a very open-minded high school music teacher who also taught Steve Vai, once told me that one should not change the way one listens to music in order to understand the theory behind it. He said that the whole point of studying theory and harmony should be to discover more ways to better express one’s own musical vision.
My song “Time” (hear it below) is based on the B Phrygian mode (B C D E F# G A). As illustrated in FIGURES 2a and 2b, this mode is theoretically formed by taking the G major scale and using the third, B, as the root note. FIGURE 3a illustrates the B Phrygian mode in the seventh position. Memorize this fingering pattern by playing it up and down repeatedly.
The exercises depicted in FIGURES 3b-3e are intended to get the unique sound of the B Phrygian mode into your mind. Before playing these patterns, tape-record yourself strumming sustained B5 chords, enough to fill about 5 or 10 minutes of tape. Listening back to the tape while you play these modal exercises will reinforce the sound of the B root note beneath these Phrygian “melodies.”
Improvising with arpeggios is a great way to dig into chord changes, bringing out the exact sound of each chord in your lines.
While scales and modes are great for outlining keys and creating modal colors, when you want to sound each chord in a progression, arpeggios are the way to go.
While they are great for outlining chord changes, arpeggios can often become boring or predictable when you overuse them in a solo. But while they can be bland if played as is, there are plenty of techniques that you can explore in order to create killer licks with these important, four-note groups.
One of the easiest ways to expand any arpeggio is to add chromatic approaches above or below each note in the scale. In this article, we will explore this concept, learning it from a technical standpoint and then creating licks that you can take into your solos.
Before we start, I have used a G7 arpeggio for each example in the article. If you are new to this fingering, take a minute to check it out below and get it under your fingers before moving to the subsequent exercises.
Step 1: Chromatic Approach From Below
Once you have your fingers around the G7 arpeggio, you’re ready to dig into the first chromatic approach technique.
This concept is fairly simple. Play the arpeggio while adding one chromatic approach below each note in that fingering. In the case of G7 you would get the following notes:
You can see this exercise written out below, with the chromatic approaches labeled “C” below each note.
When you have this pattern under your fingers, take it to different keys, different arpeggios (Maj7, m7, m7b5, etc.) as well as to any one or two-octave arpeggio fingering you know or are working on in the practice room.
Step 2: Chromatic Approach From Above
The next step is to add one chromatic note above each of the notes in the arpeggio. When applied to a G7 arpeggio, which you can see in the example below, you get the following interval pattern.
You will notice that the C in this example and the E in the previous example are found in the G Mixolydian scale. Though they are not necessarily chromatic to this key, in order to keep this pattern going, it’s better to think of these notes as half-step approach notes to the B and F than as part of the scale. This will make it easier to apply this technique on the fly when you take it to a soloing situation.
Step 3: Chromatic Approach Licks
The third step is to take the previous two exercises and use them to create licks and phrases in order to expand your soloing vocabulary.
I have written out a ii-V-I lick in the key of C major below, which you can learn as a starting point to see how these two techniques can come together in a practical, musical situation. Once you’ve checked out this lick in a few different keys, write out a few of your own to see what you can come up with by applying chromatic approach notes to different progressions.
Lastly, put on a backing track and practice applying chromatic approach notes to arpeggios on the fly. This is where the rubber really meets the road in the practice room.
Learning to improvise with arpeggios is a great way to outline chord changes throughout a tune, but they can tend to sound boring if we only stick to pure arpeggio in our lines. By learning how to apply chromatic approach notes to basic arpeggios, you can quickly and easily take your chord-tone lines to new and exciting places during your solos.
Do you have a favorite way of using chromatic approach notes over arpeggios? If so, please share it in the COMMENTS section below.
Matt Warnock is the owner of mattwarnockguitar.com, a free website that provides hundreds of lessons and resources designed to help guitarists of all experience levels meet their practice and performance goals. Matt lives in the UK, where he is a senior lecturer at the Leeds College of Music and an examiner for the London College of Music (Registry of Guitar Tutors).
Here's the first installment of Chopin's Piano Concerto in A minor, Opus No. 2. I've arranged it for guitar, and as you can see, it's not for the meek.
But if you've been diligently practicing the chromatic exercises from my past few lessons, you should be ready to tackle it.
This etude is an excellent study in the use of chromatic tones in a melody. I've included chord symbols above the staff to give you an idea of the melody's harmonic context. These chord symbols reflect the basic underlying harmony originally provided by the left hand part on the piano.
Studying classical music, especially pieces from the Romantic period such as this, will give you serious insight into how to use chromatic passages in a composition or improvisation and have them make sense.
You might be wondering, how the hell can you use this chromatic stuff in a rock song? All you have to do is listen to some Dream Theater tunes for the answer.
For example, "Caught in a Web" has an extended chromatic passage [see the complete transcription in the Jan. '95 issue of Guitar School-Ed.]. The chromatic scale offers great material for writing cool riffs, but, more importantly, it gives you options for smoothly weaving in and out of a key center.
After playing this piece for a while, you should be able to pick up a few chromatic ideas to apply to your own solos. You'll start to see how you don't have to be tied to a particular scale or fingering pattern-you'll feel more comfortable playing notes that are out of the key center.
And by intelligently applying chromatic notes to your lines, such as using them as passing tones to connect chord tones that fall on the strong beats, they can become more original-sounding while still retaining harmonic logic. Of course, you can just play random chromatic lines all over the place, but that's a different, more atonal style of music.
Here are a few performance tips:
Notice that there are quite a few position changes. As such, the left-hand fingerings have to be arranged to make shifting positions as easy as possible. That's why, though the music may be the same (as in measures 1-2 and 5-6), the tablature is different on the repeat (use the tablature on the bottom the second time through). Carefully follow the left-hand fingerings provided beneath the tablature-these are the ones that I use.
My arrangement is just for the melody line, but since this is a piano piece, it was originally written so the left hand would play chords and the right hand would play the melody. To truly appreciate the richness and depth of Chopin's melodic and harmonic style, you might want to record yourself strumming the chord changes (or have a friend play them) while you play the melody.
Chopin was a master of melody, harmony and voice leading--the art of smoothly moving from chord to chord. Though the melody of this piece is mostly chromatic, notice how he targets a chord tone on the first 16th note of each beat. Let's look at the first measure: although it's written using an ascending chromatic scale starting on A, notice how, when the chord changes from Am to Dm, the melody lands on F, which is the third of Dm. Over the E7 chord in the third measure, Chopin targets the third of that chord (G#). If you follow along, you can see other prominent examples of this harmonic device, such as targeting the lowered fifth of F7b5 (B) and the lowered seventh of B7 (A). This is what I referred to earlier as the logic of writing chromatic lines. This should give you plenty to work with. Next time, Part 2!
This column originally appeared in Guitar World as part of John Petrucci's "Wild Stringdom" column.
This week’s column is all about bonding. By that, I mean we’re going to talk about glue.
If it seems that it’s taking a while to get to the actual process of filling and re-cutting the nut slots, then there’s a method to my apparent procrastination.
As in any guitar maintenance and repair job, every step of this task is equally important. One silly mistake and you could damage your guitar’s finish or yourself. In the many (Man, there were so many) years I worked in a music store, I saw countless guitars damaged by the inappropriate use of glue. Take your time, follow the steps, and do a good job. You’ll feel so much better about your abilities. So bear with me ...
Last time I dropped the bombshell that there are different types of superglue available. The notion of squirting glue into the slots of your guitar’s top should be enough to give you sleepless nights. For a start, you’re not going to be squirting the glue anywhere. We’re going to learn how to "feed" the glue safely and steadily into the slot so that it doesn’t run and damage your guitar’s finish.
Obviously, this is a task you should approach with caution and a steady hand. Yeah, and there’s other stuff you need to remember. Whenever you uncap any solvents, you need to be in a well-ventilated area. That means you need to open a window or be outside. Wear safety glasses, too (See photo 1 in the photo gallery below).
You might get glue on your fingers, get distracted and rub it in your eyes or something equally dangerous; and it's embarrassing to explain to the nurse at your local hospital, natch. Like I said, superglue is available in different "viscosities" or thicknesses. The stuff you find in your local supermarket can be too runny for filling slots. I can make it work, but the job is a bit more awkward.
Guitar repair supplies company Stewart-McDonald offers its superglue in a range of three main viscosities: thin, medium and thick. You can actually use superglue to repair lacquer chips. Some glue is so thin, it can be painted on with a brush. The thicker stuff is the best for filling slots, in my humble opinion, because it pretty much stays where you leave it. You’ll just have to make sure you give it plenty of time to cure.
You can order your glue from the likes of Stew-Mac (It's up to you; I don’t work for or endorse them!) or try a model-making store. They usually have different types of glue to choose from.
Armed with the righteously sticky stuff, you next have to decide how to apply it to the slots in the nut. I use plastic toothpicks or pieces of card, depending on the size of the slot. I squirt the glue onto a piece of scrap cardboard (See photo 2) then dip the toothpick or card into the sticky heap. That makes the glue easier to control and apply than attempting to squirt it into the nut slots straight from the tube. That’s just crazy.
We’re going to cover protecting the guitar’s finish around the nut (See photo 3) and loading the slots with glue in detail next time. So open a window, put on your glasses, get your glue; and bring a steady claw.
See you then.
If you simply can't get enough of Ed and his Shed, click here!
The capo is to guitars what sugar — or Stevia, if you prefer — is to food.
It makes everything sweeter.
Musicians started noticing the capo's inherent sound-sweetening properties in the early 17th century, when primitive versions of the handy accessory were employed to raise the pitch of a host of fretted instruments.
The point of a capo is, of course, to be able to perform a song in a different key while using the same fingerings and chord formations you'd use in an open position. This enables performers to stick to positions they're more comfortable with and to enjoy all the benefits — including ringing, open strings — high up on the neck.
Capos also facilitate or create alternate chord voicings and help performers accentuate certain melody lines in a song. Of course, the higher up the neck you go with a capo, the more you change the voicing of the guitar — to the point that you can even imitate a mandolin, as demonstrated by music editor Jimmy Brown (our own "Capo Crusader") in the May 2014 issue of Guitar World.
Former Eagle Don Felder says it best in the top video below, which he created for Guitar World:
"When I originally wrote ['Hotel California'], it was in the key of E minor, which is a really great guitar key to play in and write in. We recorded the whole track in E minor, and then Don Henley went out and tried singing it ... and it was way too high for him ... . So I took a guitar, went out in the studio and said, 'OK, let's move it down to D minor.' Still too high ... C minor, a little bit too high; A minor; no, that's too low. It wound up being in the key of B minor, which is on the seventh fret."
The seventh fret is exactly where Felder's capo wound up; the song is played as if it were in E minor.
Below, members of the Guitar World staff — including Jimmy Brown, tech editor Paul Riario and online managing editor Damian Fanelli — have rounded up 15 essential "capo songs"— out of hundreds of worthy choices — that show off the benefits of, and alternate voicings created by, the capo. We tried to make sure no bands are repeated (although three bands are, indeed, repeated); we also set out to create a well-rounded, diverse list.
Note also that we've chosen videos that aren't necessarily vintage or classic — or that don't even show the "classic" lineups of certain bands; they do, however, show the capo'd guitar being played (in most cases, at least).
Feel free to suggest other capo songs in the comments below or on Facebook!
"Hotel California" The Eagles | Capo 7
As stated earlier, to play the Eagles'"Hotel California" in its original key, try using a capo on the seventh fret. The song is played as if it were in E minor, the song's original key, as explained by Don Felder above (and in the top video below). This makes the song "sound" in B minor. Note: The capo is used on the acoustic guitar part that starts the song.
In the top lesson video below, Fender also shows you how to play part of the guitar solo (Note that Felder plays "Hotel California" in A minor now because he sings it when he performs it, and it works better with his vocal range). Below that, you'll find a clip of Felder performing the entire song with his band (Remember, we sought videos that best display the capo and fingering).
"Aqualung" Jethro Tull | Capo 3
This classic 1971 Jethro Tull tune features a capo on the third fret — for the acoustic guitar part, that is, which is performed by Ian Anderson in the vintage live video below. The acoustic part is played as if it were in E minor, but it "sounds" in G minor. Don't worry, we'll have more classic Tull for you later in the list!
"Midnight Rambler" Rolling Stones | Capo 7
In this classic Stones song Keith Richards employs a capo on the 7th fret with his guitar in standard tuning. Released in 1969, the song appeared on Let It Bleed.
"Wonderwall" Oasis | Capo 2
Jumping ahead to the height of the Britpop-dominated mid-Nineties, we bring you one of the songs Oasis will be remembered for — "Wonderwall," which was composed by Noel Gallagher. To play the song in its original key (as thousands of wide-eyed kids of all ages sing along with you), put a capo on the second fret and play the song as if it were in E minor. It, of course, "sounds" in F# minor.
"The Real Me" The Who | Capo 3
Although this one doesn't normally leap to mind when one thinks of "popular capo tunes," this rocking Quadrophenia track from 1973 was recorded by Pete Townshend using a capo on the third fret. The song, which is played as if it were in a power-chord-friendly A, "sounds" in C.
"Here Comes the Sun" The Beatles | Capo 7
George Harrison was fond of sticking a capo on the seventh fret of his guitar and playing songs in the "D" formation that sound like they're in A. He did it on the Beatles'"If I Needed Someone" and followed it up a few years later with 1969's "Here Comes the Sun," one of his greatest compositions.
You'll find two videos below. The first one is a "Here Comes the Sun" lesson by Jimmy Brown. Below that, you'll find a clip of Harrison playing the song live. Although we tried to find the superior two-guitar performance from the Concert for Bangladesh, this much later video below shows Harrison's fingering nicely.
"The Chain" Fleetwood Mac | Capo 2
This classic Fleetwood Mac song is played in drop-D tuning — the studio version, that is — with a capo on the second fret. The song, which emphasizes a "swampy stomp" groove, incorporates an octave bass line on the guitar and some greasy finger picking.
"Free Fallin'" Tom Petty | Capo info below
"Free Fallin'," the most popular track from Petty's first "solo" album, 1989's Full Moon Fever, was played like so:
• Capo 1 main, low guitar part and second, higher guitar part (played as if the song were in E; sounds in F.) • Capo 3 third guitar part (played as if the song were in D; sounds in F.)
In this song in particular, we hear the capo truly "sweeten up" the beefy chords.
"Fire and Rain" James Taylor | Capo 3
This beautiful song by James Taylor is played as if it were in the key of A. It "sounds" in C. It features open-chord embellishments and sliding chord shapes.
"Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" Bob Dylan | Capo 4
When we spoke to Ed Sheeran a few months ago, we asked him to name a few acoustic guitar songs every guitarist should know how to play. He named this one, a bouncy track from Bob Dylan's 1963 album, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan. At least John Mayer knows how to play it — and we've included his live video below.
Note that there aren't many (or any) videos on YouTube that show Dylan playing this song the way he played it in '63. There is, however, an interesting clip of Dylan performing the song with Eric Clapton. By the way, "Blowin' in the Wind" is another fine capo tune by Dylan (capo 7).
Almost forgot: For "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right," it's capo 4; play a C chord; "sounds" in E! There are some fun changes in this tune.
"No Sugar Tonight" The Guess Who | Capo 4
This classic Guess Who tune — which is performed with a capo as a straight chord melody — is played as if it were in D. It "sounds" in F#. Note: We're talking about the original version. In the video below, you'll notice the capo doesn't play a huge role in the song in modern times.
"Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)" The Beatles | Capo 2
This late-1965 Beatles song is played as if it were in the key of D, but it "sounds" in E, with a capo on the second fret. Right-hand-wise, it's a "strum-picky" chord melody — not quite picking, not quite strumming. Because there are no videos of the Beatles performing this song live (because it never happened), we've provided a basic (non-Guitar World) lesson video that shows everything clearly, including the capo on the second fret, the chords and embellishments.
"Cat's in the Cradle" Harry Chapin | Capo 8
This 1974 Harry Chapin tune is played as if it were in the key of A but "sounds" in F. It's another example of a "chord melody" piece.
"Thick As a Brick" Jethro Tull | Capo 3 (acoustic guitar)
This classic Jethro Tull tune is played as if it were in D, but it "sounds" in F. It is packed with rolling arpeggios that make non-stop — and awesome — use of the capo.
"Landslide" Fleetwood Mac | Capo 3
We don't like to repeat bands in our lists (OK, we've already done it with the Beatles and Jethro Tull), but it's difficult to leave out this Fleetwood Mac tune. The song, which highlights a form of Travis picking, is played as if it were in the key of C. It "sounds" in Eb.
"I Am a Pilgrim" / "Soldier's Joy" Clarence White | Capo 2 ("Soldier's Joy," 3:47 in the video)
Here's a curve ball for you — a selection from the world of bluegrass. Here's Clarence White (on the left, with the beard) performing a medley of "I Am a Pilgrim" and "Soldier's Joy" with his brother, Roland, on mandolin and Bob Baxter on second guitar (later joined by Byron Berline on fiddle and Alan Munde on banjo for "Soldier's Joy").
The clip is rare in that it shows White's fingering and fretwork up close. Second, there's White unusual sense of timing in the first tune ("I Am a Pilgrim"); it's as if he's throwing in chord substitutions like a jazzer, while Roland plays it straight on mandolin. It can be a little disconcerting and confusing (but I love it). But pay close attention to the second tune (starts at 3:47), which is a traditional fiddle tune adapted to guitar. It is almost always played with a capo on the second fret, in D, although played with a C chord.
If you'd like to download recordings of White playing "Soldier's Joy," check out the following albums on iTunes: Long Journey Home by the Kentucky Colonels; A Potpourri of Bluegrass Jam by Muleskinner; Live in Holland 1973 by the New Kentucky Colonels; Live at Royal Albert Hall 1971 by the Byrds.
Damian Fanelli is the online managing editor at Guitar World. Follow him on Twitter.
Last Monday, 2 a.m.: I was driving home from a gig when l felt the adrenaline finally leave my chest. It was at that moment that I realized how difficult this show was.
The room was almost impossible to command: People were constantly talking over the music, the PA mix was the worst, and I had to be downright combative just to keep their attention.
Yet, when we left the stage, we owned the audience.
We fought tooth-and-nail to keep their attention … to get the women dancing … to have them sing along during choruses. It wasn’t “art” tonight. It was work!
I hadn't played that pub in a while and forgot what the atmosphere was like. This was, after all, the same little smoky pub my band cut its teeth on when we first formed. We had played there every Wednesday night for almost two years. I guess after being away for a while I forgot what a challenge it was to play that room.
Driving home, I got a glimpse at a key element of my band's success. Shane Speal's Snake Oil Band is known for our take-no-prisoners live show. We're combative, insane and we fight for every minute of your attention. If the music doesn't get you, the washboard player’s antics will. If that fails, we always have our arsenal of confetti cannons and toilet paper guns*.
Yes, we shoot confetti cannons and spray lines of toilet paper at the crowds.
What we didn't know at the time was that our entire live concert style was created by fighting for the attention of the impossible crowd in that one damn bar. When we perform our bombastic show at other clubs with “normal” crowds, we destroy the place and make legions of new fans.
Bar owners tell us they've never seen such an energetic show.
Truth be told, it developed when we were just trying to make that original crowd shut up.
Are you working toward something big but feel like you’re getting your ass kicked? Don’t give up. Keep honing your craft. Don't let the bastards get you down.
At the same time, let me tell you it might take a lot longer than you expected. It might take years ... even a decade or more. (Trust me.)
Most people give up after getting knocked down a couple of times. You're not gonna give up, right?
Right now in that time of waiting, you are developing in ways that could enable you to command any stage, anywhere. You won't see it until much later.
Probably in a moment of clarity after the adrenaline has rushed out at 2 a.m.
Have a great week.
*Toilet paper gun: Get a cheap leaf blower and a paint roller. Duct tape the paint roller to the end of the blower nozzle so that the roller is about 8 inches away from the nozzle. Load a roll of 1,000-feet single-ply toilet paper. Turn on the blower. It’ll unleash an insane toilet paper blanket over the crowd, blowing the entire 1,000 feet in about 25 seconds.
Photos by Kevin Stiffler
Shane Speal is the "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.
The incredible speed and consistency of his take on this technique has been a source of fascination for 35 years.
In Van Halen’s approach, the picking hand hangs suspended in mid-air, with no anchoring or muting at all, and uses a middle-index pick grip to generate positively giant picking movements. It really seems to break all the rules.
But given Van Halen’s obviously natural gifts for mechanical efficiency, maybe that just means we should re-examine what the rules really are.
Troy Grady is the creator of Cracking the Code, a documentary series with a unique analytical approach to understanding guitar technique. Melding archival footage, in-depth interviews, painstakingly crafted animation and custom soundtrack, it’s a pop-science investigation of an age-old mystery: Why are some players seemingly super-powered?
<strong><em>Guitar World</em> and <em>Revolver</em> are teaming up to give away a pair of tickets to see Sixx:A.M.—with special guests Apocalyptica and VAMPS—April 11 at Club Nokia in Los Angeles!</strong> The prize also includes a meet-and-greet with the band.
Guitar World and Revolver are teaming up to give away a pair of tickets to see Sixx:A.M.—with special guests Apocalyptica and VAMPS—April 11 at Club Nokia in Los Angeles!
The prize also includes a meet-and-greet with the band.
Show: 9 p.m. April 11, 2015 Venue: Club Nokia, 800 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, California, (213) 765-7000 Doors: 8 p.m. Ages: All ages
NOTE: The prize is for two concert tickets (and the meet-and-greet) only, NOT travel and hotel!
For more information about this April 11 event, visit axs.com. Good luck!
All entries must be submitted by April 10, 2015.<p><a href="/official_contest_rules">Official Rules and Regulations</a>
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"Flight of the Bumblebee" has become a popular piece to play to show off technical prowess on the guitar.
Originally written for violin, there are many different versions you will find for guitar. There is no, single, master version for guitar, since it wasn't written for the instrument. Learning a few different versions would be a good idea. The different approaches will present varying techniques and interpretations.
Most, if not all, of the videos you see of "Flight of the Bumblebee" are performed at lightning-fast speeds. This was the intention of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, the composer of "Flight of the Bumblebee." He wanted to write a piece of music that painted a musical picture of a bee buzzing around, which he very successfully accomplished.
That said, if you cannot play the piece at a fast tempo at this time, you shouldn't be discouraged. Even if you're never able to reach your goal, you will have at least gained something from trying and maybe discovered something new in the process. It’s completely up to you to choose to be discouraged or inspired when trying to accomplish something.
Don’t compare your progress to someone else’s; that's the surest way to fail. I used to compare myself to my peers and it did nothing for me, except wasted a lot of mental energy when I should have just relaxed and gone with the process of progress. Everyone develops and learns at different rates. If you see something you think at the time is unattainable, don’t be discouraged. Be inspired and know that with enough hard work, you will be able to do it or better one day. There's no reason to not be inspired 100 percent of the time!
The best way to approach learning how to play "Flight of the Bumblebee" is to work on memorizing bits of it at a time. A lot of the piece is essentially a main theme with leadups and outs of that theme, chromatically. Work on the main theme separately as a daily exercise, gradually increasing the tempo.
Here's an instance of the main theme:
The best fingering for this would be: 4-3-2-1 1-4-3-2 4-3-2-1 1-2-3-4. Compositionally, this is a cool call-and-response phrase.
At bar 12, I threw in some hybrid picking. Obviously, this wasn't in the original, but since it wasn’t written for guitar, almost anything goes, as I said earlier. I put this part in to help my students work on their hybrid picking as well as being able to quickly transition from standard picking to hybrid picking. To get into the hybrid phrase, I threw in a short legato line, which will allow you to set up your right hand for the hybrid picking.
Practice "Flight of the Bumblebee" slowly and memorize it. Eventually you can use it as a warmup “exercise." The best exercises are the most musical ones. If any part of it gives you trouble, isolate that one part and work on it slowly until you get it. You might find yourself working on independent parts of the piece as separate exercises.
The tempo I played it at in the video below is 180 bpm. Do your best to play it at whatever tempo sounds good to you. It could be slower than mine or faster. The most important thing is that it sounds good and you are relaxed while playing it at all times. If you begin to tense up, slow it down. It’s a long piece, so you will have to build up endurance to play it at challenging tempos. Have fun with it and good luck!
Steve Booke is a composer for film and TV from the New York area. His compositions range from orchestral to metal to world styles from every corner of the earth. A graduate of Berklee College of Music, Steve has played guitar for more than 27 years. He has recorded 10 albums of his own and has played on countless others. He plays gigs in the NY area and tours the East Coast with a variety of bands. He has performed with Ben E. King and members of Mahavishnu Orchestra. He endorses D'Addario/Planet Waves, Larrivee Guitars, Levy's Leathers, Peavey, Stylus Pick, Finale PrintMusic, Pigtronix, Tech 21, Toontrack, Graph Tech, Seymour Duncan, Waves, Studio Devil and L.R. Baggs. His music is available on iTunes and Amazon. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit stevebooke.com.
Soulful and straightforward, this song is artfully written and starkly beautiful in its delivery.
It’s “Things Will Never Be The Same” by Sam Lewis from his upcoming album, Waiting On You, due out April 27.
And here’s a fabulous acoustic video premiering today!
With touches of Bob Dylan laid over a steady strum, Lewis knows how to draw us into his story and leave us breathless.
He shares, “‘Things...' came to me when thinking about a number of different moments from my childhood. My sisters and I come to mind when I hear the 'lightening in a bottle' line. The memories in the chorus I think are my father's whom might be telling the story, though I'm still not certain. Tag lines like 'stretch marks and purple hearts' and'New Orleans and Southern Rock' are these searing images that give the story an 'Americana-esque' back drop. I wrote it with a more 'folky' progression though that changed once the song told me it needed to be driving; which makes perfect sense considering my family and I were constantly on the move. Proof that sometimes the writer really isn't in the driver's seat.”
With his compelling songs, stirring melodies, and preternaturally soulful voice, Lewis has quickly established himself as one of Nashville’s most talented new tunesmiths. Waiting On You– his sophomore album via Brash Music and follow-up to 2012’s self-titled debut – reverberates with earnest emotion and restless energy, rich with the intimate lyricism of folk, country’s raw integrity, and a lived-in muscularity born of Lewis’ captivating vocal timbre.
Lewis and his band united at Southern Ground, the site of classic recordings by Kris Kristofferson, Tony Joe White, and Lewis’ beloved Roy Orbison. As on his previous recordings, the band played together live on the studio floor, tracking a dozen songs in just two and half days.
“It’s a bit of a blur,” Lewis says, “but I just wanted to make a record with people I knew. My first record, I didn’t know any of those people and there was something in that without a doubt, but this time around, I wondered what it would sound like if I was a lot more relaxed.”
Safe in the solid foundation provided by his own band, Lewis added accent to his songs via contributions from some of Music City’s most celebrated sidemen, among them guitarist Darrell Scott (Steve Earle, Guy Clark, Robert Plant), harmonica legend Mickey Raphael (Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Neil Young), guitarist Will Kimbrough (Rodney Crowell, Jimmy Buffett), keyboardist Gabe Dixon (Paul McCartney, Supertramp), and Nashville’s favorite vocal group, The McCrary Sisters (Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Buddy Miller, Patty Griffin).
The cast of iconic players ably adds texture and filigree while never overburdening Lewis’ elemental ballads and finely etched character studies. Darrell Scott’s haunting lap steel on “Never Again” lends a lingering last-leg spirituality while Kimbrough’s inventive addition of reverbed electric mandolin to “3/4 Time” “put that song on its side and kicked it in the ass.” “Texas” – which hearkens such heroes as Guy Clark and Willie Nelson – practically demanded the “big color” that could only be provided by Mickey Raphael, a true blue icon whose indelible harmonica sound is among country music’s most familiar.
“I’m just making friends, man,” Lewis says. “I’ve been really lucky. I have people that believe in my material. I have songs that they think the world needs.”
Lewis sees himself as a link in a lineage, a continuum of truth-tellers and troubadours like Hank Williams, Fred Eaglesmith, and John Prine, singer/songwriters who utilized diverse elements of American music to create their own unique canons.