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    U.K. rockers While She Sleeps have just released their second album, Brainwashed, via Razor & Tie. We figured that gave us a fine excuse to pick the brain of WSS guitarist Sean Long. Here are our 10 questions.

    01. While She Sleeps just released their new album, Brainwashed, in the U.S. How are fans reacting to it?

    We couldn't be happier with how people are receiving the record. No one seems to have a bad word to say about it, which is quite amazing for us.

    After having the album with us for so long, working, changing and developing it, it can very easily become quite scary. For example, "Is it just us who thinks it's great and we've lost our minds?" [laughs] So when people finally hear it and actually love it, it is an amazing sigh of relief.

    02. How did the writing process differ on the new album versus your debut, This Is the Six?

    We've always written our music off the back of our latest material, using it as inspiration, among other things, to keep our sound alive. So you could say, in a strange sense, we've been writing for each album since we started creating music. For example, I'm already writing for the next record, so there's never really a stand point to start writing. However, there is a point at which we decide to start to compile all our work together and begin to create block socks.

    The way in which it has differed this time is how staggered the whole song arrangement and writing has been. Due to Loz's [Lawrence "Loz" Taylor] throat problems, it made it difficult to stay on top of the music side of things for me, as I usually feed off of new vocal ideas from him, which makes me flow with the music.

    Also, because of the time we lost, it meant we had to leave a lot of the vocal and melody writing to Mat [Welsh] and Loz to track a lot of it on the day, and it left little room for group writing sessions. As always, it was a blessing in disguise as Mat and Loz really thrive on pressure because it forces you to produce what you really want because time is thin, and it will force out the truth.

    03. What kind of gear did you use on Brainwashed?

    For amps, we used a Marshall JVM205 and a Peavey 6505. Guitars ranged from an Ibanez FR, an Ibanez Roadcore, a Telecaster, a Gibson ES-335, the Epiphone Matt Heavy Signature model and a Les Paul Special. Plus a wide range of acoustics.

    04. How does your gear differ from the studio to the stage?

    I’ve tried my hardest to sound as much like the records a possible. In no way does that mean it’s all polished live, as we love the fact that a live show is completely different every time. But tone-wise, I take pride in trying to make it like the record just so kids can thrive off of our it sound from already listening to the record.

    05. What's the first song you learned on guitar?

    "Damn It" by Blink 182. Aaran [Mckenzie] our bassist used to play guitar when he was younger, and it was the first song he taught me. Blink rule!

    06. Is there a particular style of music or any guitarists that inspired the way you play on the record?

    Not really. Like I said, we like to take inspiration from our own lives and try and make our own vibe from that. But I have to say, introducing the whammy was definitely a blast of Rage Against the Machine, as they were one of the first bands I loved, and I hadn't listed to them in years.

    07. There are plenty of heavy riffs and solos on the new record. What's your favorite song to play and why?

    Either "Brainwashed" of "Life in Tension.""Brainwashed" because of the shred fest at the end [laughs]. I fucking love that riff and have been waiting for a long time to play and watch how it works live! "Life in Tension," on the other hand, is really fast but easy to play live, but then I get to rock a new whammy sort of vibe in the chorus, which is awesome.

    08. The band is known for its DIY work ethic. How has this influenced your guitar setup and the way you play?

    I’ve sort of stopped caring so much about if I have all the best gear, as when in was younger that’s all I wanted and thought that was the way to go. It turns out if you really enjoy playing live, it will shine through your playing. You can have all shiny gear, but really it’s the passion behind the writing that will dictate the power of the presentation.

    09. If you could have any guitarist, dead or alive, join you on stage for a shred session, who would it be and why?

    Tom Morello. Just because I wouldn’t be doing this interview and wouldn't of got hooked if it wasn’t for him. He's an absolute legend!

    10. While She Sleeps will return to the U.S. in June for the Vans Warped Tour. What are you looking forward to the most? Is there anything you know now that you didn't when you played the fest in 2013?

    Yeah; it's fucking hot as shit [laughs] We've all learned a lot about prepping for the tour beforehand and being ready on the first day. It’s a brutal tour for sure, but we're still stoked to get a fire going in the States. We can't fucking wait!

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    You might remember Joey Siler from his videos, “Kitties in Chains ‘Cat in the Box’,” and “Cooking Hostile with Phil Anselmo.”

    Well, he’s back with a new video called “Secret Metal Mysteries,” which looks into the hilarious history of how Korn got their name, and even features an appearance from the Deftones’ Chino Moreno.

    Check it out below and let us know what you think in the comments or on Facebook!

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    Electro-Harmonix has introduced its new Nano POG pedal, which the company calls "the Smallest Polyphonic Octave Generator."

    From EHX:

    The new Nano POG, which expands EHX’s line of polyphonic octave generators (including the POG2 and the Micro POG), delivers flawless tracking and sound in a compact package.

    An advanced algorithm ensures that the most fleet-fingered guitarists will enjoy glitch-free tracking while the sub-octave and octave up deliver the clarity and sound quality EHX’s POG Series is renowned for.

    Separate level controls for dry, sub-octave and octave up let the player create a variety of sounds ranging from a convincing bass guitar to a sweet mandolin-like chime and rich organesque tones. A separate Dry output is included which enables the player to split their signal for greater flexibility and control.

    The Nano POG is equipped with reliable silent footswitching which can be especially useful in various scenarios such as recording sessions or with acoustic musicians whose instruments are mic’d.

    The Nano POG includes an EHX9.6DC power adapter and also runs on 9V battery. The new pedal carries a U.S. List Price of $270.50.

    For more about EHX, visit ehx.com.

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    Twenty-five years ago, two long-haired blond twins set the world on fire with their debut album, After the Rain.

    At a time when glam metal was giving way to grunge, Nelson touched a nerve with the album's hook-laden title track and “(Can't Live Without Your) Love and Affection," a Number 1 single.

    Today, Gunnar and Matthew Nelson are still going strong. They perform full-band shows as Nelson, pay tribute to their father with their Ricky Nelson Remembered shows and take part in all-star Scrap Metal performances across the country.

    While Nelson’s upcoming album, Peace Out [set to be released May 19] might be considered the rock band’s swan song, it might also be their best album, ever. Peace Out is an infectious collection of songs showcasing the maturity of the songwriting as well as Gunnar’s guitar prowess.

    Next year, Gunnar and Matthew will begin a new duo project focusing on guitars and vocals. So if Peace Out truly is the end of the rock version of Nelson, Gunnar and Matthew are certainly going out in style.

    I recently spoke with Gunnar about Peace Out and his gear and got his thoughts on the 25th anniversary of After the Rain.

    GUITAR WORLD: How does Peace Out compare to some of Nelson’s previous records?

    Honestly, if I were to recommend a Nelson record to someone who has never heard the band before, it wouldn’t be our first record [After the Rain]. It would be this one. This one features the best of the songwriting, guitar work and vocals. Most of all, the theme of the record is positive, and that’s what this band is 25 years in. When most everyone else is trying to be tough and rock, we want to make people feel good about listening to music.

    Why the title, Peace Out?

    As Nelson the rock band, this will most likely be the last album that will ever be made. Next year, Matthew and I are going in a new direction that focuses more on two guys with guitars. So we really wanted to do an album that punctuates our career in the same way After the Rain heralded it. If this is going to be our swan song as Nelson, I want it to be done on our terms and to the best of our ability.

    What was the songwriting process like for the album?

    For guitar-centric things, most people start off with a riff, but that never worked for me. For me, it’s all about melody. Years ago, I remember reading an interview where Paul McCartney said he wants to write melodies that people can’t get out of their head and ones they can hum in the shower. That really made an impact on me. For this album, the ideas started with the melody first. It’s very organic.

    Let’s talk about a few tracks from the album, starting with "Rockstar."

    Being a rock star is a state of mind. I wrote that song after I pulled up to a stoplight one day. I looked over and saw this guy in the car next to me just blissfully banging his head to AC/DC. He literally looked like he was fresh out of 1985. As far as he was concerned, he was in his limo on his way to play a concert. I thought, “Man, that guy’s got it all!"

    "Let it Ride"

    I remember I was making a comment on something I saw while watching TV. I thought it was ironic that the poker championships were being broadcast on a sports network. Then the more I thought about it, the more I thought it would be cool to make metaphoric reference to a poker game as far as how to live your life. Basically, you can quit halfway through the game or bet all of your chips on your instincts.

    What are your tour plans like for this year?

    This year, we’ll primarily be focusing on Nelson rock band and Ricky Nelson Remembered shows. We also have six shows already on the books for Scrap Metal where we’ll be doing some gigs with Lita Ford and Stephen Pearcy. It’s going to be a lot of fun.

    After the Rain was released 25 years ago this year. When you think about that album and era, what comes to mind?

    I feel two different things. On one hand, I feel grateful that we were able to experience that kind of success so young. That was the end of a musical era. In fact, our record label actually signed Nirvana halfway through our tour cycle. I do wish our record company had released the record two years earlier, because that’s when we turned it in and they just sat on it. Had they have done that, we might have had the opportunity to release a few more records that would have defined our career a whole lot more indelibly.

    What was the inspiration behind the title track?

    It started out just being a typical relationship song, but then halfway into it I realized it had a greater meaning. I wrote a line that I really loved and it dictated my philosophy: “Don’t be afraid to lose what was never meant to be." That’s when I realized the title of the album was After the Rain. It was an autobiographical theme we were going for. The truth is, it doesn’t matter what your past was. You can always dictate your present and future.

    What can you tell me about the song “Love and Affection”?

    The interesting thing about that song was that at one point it was actually dropped from the album. Fortunately, we had some managers at the time who took the demo to David Holman [mixer] who said, “This is really special. Let’s work on it." So we spent a week working on it and giving it a pop level remix, and it became a Number 1 single!

    What’s your guitar setup like these days?

    My number one axe was made for me by John Cruz in the Fender Custom Shop. He made me a Mary Kay Telecaster. It’s got a Jeff Beck-style cutout and a set of Abigail hand wounds in it. It’s a beautiful guitar and matches my Mary Kay Strat perfectly. John also made me a Fender P Bass Mary Kay. My favorite thing to bring out is my Tele and a Mark Sampson DC30. It doesn’t matter if it’s for Ricky Nelson Remembered, Scrap Metal or Nelson. That’s my sound.

    If Peace Out is to be the last go around as Nelson the rock band, how would you like the band to be remembered?

    I would love to be remembered for our uniqueness, the strength of the songwriting and vocalizing and how we used our Southern California influences. Unlike many other artists, we didn’t grow up around the blues. We grew up around the Eagles, the Beach Boys, the Hollies and my dad’s Stone Canyon Band. So when I look back on our career, the thing I’m most proud of is how different we sounded and how unique our trip was.

    For better or worse. Back then, when people mentioned Nelson they’d always say, “Oh, you mean the guys with the long blond hair!” But that was planned too. Now here we are all these years later. The hair’s a lot shorter but I hope the songs are even catchier than when we started out.

    For more about Nelson, visit matthewandgunnarnelson.com.

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    There’s a particular excitement felt at concerts when you notice the guitarist slip his electric guitar off his shoulder, reach for an acoustic guitar, sit down and play an old hit or rarity.

    The complexity of a song broken down into simple chords and strums can totally transform the tone into a special performance, reminiscent of traveling back in time to the demo session of its formation.

    Becoming an electric guitar superstar is often defined by a signature styles; it's easy to recognize a player based on the style, sound and tone they create with their equally famous guitars. Beautiful acoustic performances by these heroes are often overlooked by the general public, because they are not in-your-face jams.

    Here are five great live videos of shredders stripped down to the basics, showing their skills on an acoustic axe.


    This performance of “What Kind Of Nation” comes from an extensive but largely unknown musical collaboration between Buckethead and actor Viggo Mortensen. Listen halfway through for the masked guitar hero playing a familiar Ozzy Osbourne tune.

    John 5

    Fittingly named, “Noche Acosador” takes a break from John 5’s signature industrial metal sound to a brilliant display of flamenco-influenced acoustic instrumental.

    Zakk Wylde

    Wylde revisits his first venture as a frontman from his southern-rock-rooted Pride & Glory album in this soul-filled performance.

    Slash, Tom Morello and Jerry Cantrell

    Three of alternative rock’s greatest guitarists mellow out with some Pink Floyd at Tom Morello’s Justice Tour to raise money and awareness for homeless advocacy groups.


    Neil Young’s annual charity concert for the Bridge School is a great showcase of acoustic performances and has taken place every year since 1986. Check out this awesome acoustic rendition of the Master of Puppets classic, “Disposable Heroes.”

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    In my quest to raise my guitar-playing game to the highest level, I find it essential to devise practice techniques that will push my pick- and fret-hand abilities as far as possible.

    A great way to go about this is to combine the focus on these technical issues with the creative endeavor of writing original riffs and patterns that will hopefully spark new song ideas.

    FIGURE 1 is a 19-bar etude—a musical exercise that sounds like a mini-composition—I came up with that effectively addresses several fret- and pick-hand techniques that I consider crucial to mastering the art of metal guitar playing.

    In bars 1–4, I alternate a series of two-note power chords on the A and D strings against the palm-muted open low E string, which functions as a pedal tone. Notice that the E note on the A string’s seventh fret is common to each of the two-note chord shapes as the higher note on the D string ascends chromatically (one fret at a time).

    In this way, I’ve incorporated a melodic idea into a hard-driving rhythm part. At the end of bar 2, the note on the D string descends in order to set up the restatement of the pattern in a musically satisfying way.

    In bars 5 and 6, I initially accentuate an E5 power chord on the downbeat of beat one, and then repeatedly accent this chord every three 16th notes. The twist here is that, after the initial attack on each E5 chord, I hammer on from B to C on the A string, which creates a subtle grind that makes the riff sound heavy.

    Then, in bars 7 and 8, I switch to a single-note figure played in straight 16th notes across the bottom two strings, palm-muting the low E virtually the entire time in order to enhance the idea’s rhythmic power. In bars 9–12, I bring back the rhythmic approach from bar 1 but with different chords: here, a low E5 power chord is followed by C, Cs and D voicings on the A, D and G strings. Once again, I employ quick hammer-ons as I shift from chord to chord.

    The idea then wraps up in the final seven bars, starting in bars 13–15 with a lick played in steady 16th notes and built around consecutive pull-offs that are performed quickly while rapidly moving across the bottom three strings. I use a different fretting finger on each string—index on the low E, middle on the A and ring on the D—and it will take some practice to master this lick and get it up to the desired brisk tempo.

    The aggression culminates in bar 16 with a fast descending run that also moves across the bottom three strings, starting with 16th-note-triplet double pull-offs that incorporate a four-fret stretch as I move from the pinkie to the middle finger to the index finger. At the end of the pattern—bar 16, beat four—I shift up the neck slightly and switch the fretting fingers to pinkie, ring and index.

    All in all, this is a fun and challenging etude. Be sure to work it up to tempo gradually with attention paid to clear and precise articulation.

    Screen Shot 2015-04-21 at 4.23.46 PM.png

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    “Throughout my whole life, I’ve always enjoyed teaching—sharing the things that I’ve learned and experiences I’ve had,” says Steve Vai.

    The legendary guitar virtuoso will be doing just that for four straight days, August 2–6, at Vai Academy 2015: All About the Guitar, to be held at the Arrabelle resort hotel in Vail, Colorado.

    A live-in guitar camp experience presented by Dreamcatcher Events, the Academy will offer happy campers a chance to study, hang and even jam with Steve Vai and co-teachers Eric Johnson and Sonny Landreth.

    “I always felt that one day I would do something like this,” Vai adds. “Then this came along and everything fell into place more beautifully and naturally than I ever could have expected.”

    This year’s camp will be the second annual Vai Academy. As he did the first time around, Steve has selected an overriding theme for the event. This year, he says, “it’s the guitar itself. How it’s built, why it sounds the way it does, and how you can alter elements of the instrument to find the sound that is intrinsic to you.”

    Vai has convened a panel of renowned experts to lead workshops on the intricacies of the electric guitar. Larry DiMarzio will lead a class on pickups, Sterling Ball will elucidate the finer points of guitar strings and Ibanez guitar honchos will be on hand to collaborate with Vai on building a custom guitar from scratch. Other classes will address topics including tone woods, guitar electronics and the proper way to set up a guitar, adjusting intonation, string height and other crucial parameters.

    And of course there will be classes in playing technique led by Vai, Johnson and Landreth—an opportunity to learn the mysteries of fretboard mastery from some of the masters themselves. But even more exciting is the fact that every single camper will have an opportunity to get up onstage to jam with Vai and his band.

    “Everybody gets to jam, and everybody’s abilities are accepted,” Vai confirms. “Nobody is dismissed. I’ve had people up there who can hardly play a note. But all they had to do was play one note and we worked around that. It gave them a great sense of confidence, enjoyment and independence.

    "And occasionally you get someone who comes up and I’m like, ‘Whoa!’ They’re playing some serious shit. The jams are one of my favorite parts of the whole thing. When you’re in that musical space with another person, it’s a very intimate kind of connection and relationship—a different kind of relationship than you’d have with anyone else in life.”

    And for those who can’t make it to this year’s camp, Vai’s new DVD Stillness in Motion—Vai Live in L.A. offers an up-close and personal encounter with the guitarist and his band that’s almost as good as being up onstage and backstage with them yourself. Along with stunning live concert footage culled from an L.A. show, the DVD also takes viewers behind the scenes on the guitarist’s recent “Story of Light” world tour.

    “We went around the world twice, and it was a glorious, amazing tour,” says Vai. “You gotta have the right guys on a long tour like that, and we absolutely loved being with each other and playing together. And I thought, How cool would it be to create a tour diary video, with excerpts from every city that we were in—onstage and offstage? It ended up being three hours and 40 minutes. It took me five or six months of 15- to 18-hour days to put together. But watching it, I feel like it’s one of the greatest things I’ve ever done.”

    Some three decades into his groundbreaking career, Vai continues to find new ways to be creative and share his love of music and the guitar with others. “There’s a proliferation of these music environments today,” he says; “guitar festivals, camps, master classes. This is all part of the evolution of the whole music spectrum. If you keep your radar up, there’s so much more opportunity now than there ever was.”

    Photo: Ari Michelson

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    In this brand-new video below, Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci walks you through the features of the JPBFR6 John Petrucci Ball Family Reserve (BFR) guitar from Ernie Ball Music Man.

    Intrigued? Watch the video and visit music-man.com.

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    Imagine a cruise exclusively planned for guitarists and instrumentalists, featuring performances and lessons from some of the greatest guitar gods on the planet.

    Prepare to learn from the masters on what fans have dubbed the “shredders cruise”—the five-day/four-night AXES & ANCHORS cruise aboard the Carnival Victory, departing from Miami, Florida, February 20, 2016, stopping in Key West, Florida, and Nassau, Bahamas, and docking back in Miami on February 24.

    Witness blazing performances and take lessons from Zakk Wylde (Ozzy Osbourne, Black Label Society), Yngwie Malmsteen, Michael Schenker (Scorpions, UFO, MSG), Alex Skolnick (Testament, Trans-Siberian Orchestra), Traccii Guns (Guns N’ Roses, LA Guns), Dario Lorina (Black Label Society, Lizzy Borden) and more, all while sailing the high seas and visiting exotic locales.

    Passengers can look forward to more than 40 performances, about a dozen free guitar workshops, as well as games and mingling with guitar gods and more. In addition, the cruise plans on featuring gear demos and displays from some of today’s premier guitar and gear manufacturers.

    “For generations now, the guitar has remained a source of creativity and symbol of coolness, defying strange musical trends, poor economic forecasts and more, all the while providing a sonic backdrop to good times and bad," Skolnick says. "I consider it a great honor to be joining Yngwie, Zakk and many other great players as part of AXES & ANCHORS, the very first cruise built around the guitar.”

    Tickets for the cruise start at $899 per person (based on double occupancy), and include all accommodations, meals, concerts, open workshops, games, photo ops and more. Since the ship holds a limited number of passengers, early booking is highly encouraged.

    Sail less-expensively and get more heavy metal bang for your buck on the AXES & ANCHORS cruise! Tickets are on sale now at AxesAndAnchors.com. Monthly payment plans are available.

    “This cruise will surely appeal to guitar players who want to take their skills to the next level in this really fun, unique, and immersive setting,” said Ann Squire, co-owner of AXES & ANCHORS. “Passengers will get to meet their idols and learn from them in between stops at exotic beaches and on-board parties. All of the performers are bringing full bands, and we will be adding some iconic bands to our lineup as well, but as our name implies, the focus now is on guitar-dominated rock.”

    Squire is also thrilled to have fans experience the unique “pool stage” featured on the AXES & ANCHORS cruise. “The pool stage is unique because it was designed as a pool “theatre." Most stages built on a pool deck are the typical raised stage and then a large flat area in front for standing or sitting that goes back but on the same level. This stage is raised with a flat area in front but has tiered levels as it goes back. The different tiers allow for much better viewing for those not as close to the front of the stage. You don’t have to be concerned about the guy in front who is 7 feet tall when you’re only 5’3”.”

    Stay tuned for more artist announcements, various upcoming contests in addition to more workshops and activities (both music and non-music related), and more!

    For more information, visit axesandanchors.com and follow along on Facedbook.

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    We know this isn't exactly a new video, but it seems the 4-year-old clip was randomly "discovered" and shared—several thousand times—on Facebook earlier this week.

    It's a bizarre, brief but nifty cover of Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" featuring actor/comedian Michael Winslow—that guy from Police Academy, Spaceballs and Gremilns.

    Winslow is known as the "Man of 10,000 Sound Effects," and it's easy to see why in this clip.

    The (real) guitar player is a fellow named Odd Nordstoga, and the clip is from a Norwegian talk show called Senkveld med Thomas og Harald. Enjoy!

    P.S.: If you want to see and hear more of this sort of thing, check out Michael Winslow Covers Jimi Hendrix ... with His Mouth — Video.

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    What’s better than a master guitarist pouring his guts out through his strings?

    How about two master guitarists simultaneously pouring their guts out through their strings? You read me?

    Do I hear three master guitarists? Will these questions ever stop?

    Whatever the case, synchronized guitar work—which requires skillful harmonization—can take the multi-guitar lineup to its full potential—that is, make all lead parts sound bigger and badder. Here are some of the baddest.

    10. Racer X, “Scarified”

    That Paul Gilbert and Bruce Bouillet play these stunning neoclassical arpeggios with such apparent ease is enough to make any insecure guitarist closet his ax for good. The fleet-fingered duo speed-pick their way through a cycle of 4ths, sweep-pick across all sixstrings, and tap the fretboard like some four-armed guitar god that worshippers both fear and revere.

    09. Metallica, “Master of Puppets”

    It’s rare for James Hetfield to play lead, but when he does he makes it count. The solo he composed for the gentle middle section of this rager about drug abuse is a true attention-getter thanks largely to the sweet melody and high-register trills. In addition, the harmonies here proved that Hetfield and lead guitarist Kirk Hammett were more than just heavy-handed thrashers.

    08. Steve Vai and Billy Sheehan, “Shy Boy”

    How does David Lee Roth make himself look good after parting with Van Halen? Well, he hires two Eddies. Sure, Sheehan is a bassist, but he plays the thing like a six-stinger. The breakdown at the song’s end, though short, displays some truly terrifying, ultra-meticulous two-hand tapping. The section functions much like a dangerous high-speed stunt—where a good deal of the audience’s thrill derives from a secret, morbid desire to see the stuntmen fall.

    07. Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, “Three Guitar Special”

    As the hired guns for Wills’s Western swing band, electric guitarist Eldon Shamblin, pedal-steel man Herb Remington, and electric mandolin player Tiny Moore held down three-part harmonies as though they were a horn section from a big band, all the while shredding through sophisticated jazz-based chromatic passages and arpeggios. Check out the ballsy amplification, especially of the mandolin. And this is 1947!

    Note: We can't find "Three Guitar Special" on YouTube, so we've included the audio of "Twin Guitar Special" from 1941:

    06. Ratt, “Round and Round”

    Of those hair-farmin’, lip-poutin’, pantyhose-wearin’ pop-metal bands from the Eighties, this combo—featuring guitarists Warren DeMartini and the late Robbin Crosby—has the distinction of scoring a dual-guitar hit that wasn’t just a sappy ballad. After DeMartini takes a Halen-esque lead, Robbin Crosby joins in for the sustained string bends and descending scales that steal the spotlight from vocalist Stephen Pearcy.

    05. Thin Lizzy, “The Boys Are Back In Town”

    The trademark sound of the Scott Gorham–Brian Robertson tandem became the prototype for virtually every twin-ax metal band that followed. This sound is immortalized in this Top 40 hit, in which the guitarists' singing lines, adept phrasing and gradual ascension of the fretboard took the song to a dramatic climax above and beyond that of the final chorus.

    04. Slayer, “South of Heaven”

    Love them or hate them for pioneering a style of metal lead that is more noisescape than it is either tuneful or technical, the team of Kerry King and the late Jeff Hanneman created some of the most instantly recognizable harmony leads around, owing mostly to intervals that will creep the hell out anybody within earshot. If the chromatic descent on this unusually slow pounder doesn’t make you crap your pants, you’ve earned the right to join the Freemasons.

    03. Boston, “More Than a Feeling”

    When Les Paul pioneered multitrack recording, it was inevitable that someone like Tom Scholz would take it to the limit—by recording a solo six times over. Armed with pristine distortion, this one-man guitar army launched with this song what is perhaps the most evocative melodies in rock. Eventually, the consistent string bends, slurs and vibrato start to feel almost like a synthetic string section on the recording—a fact that would have disqualified Scholz from this list had he not hired Barry Goudreau and Brad Delp to help him reproduce the harmonies live.

    02. The Allman Brothers Band, “Jessica”

    This joyous tune recorded shortly after the death of superhuman slide guitarist Duane Allman, with Dicky Betts and Les Dudek on electric guitars. They followed this theoretical formula on one of the most famous rock instrumentals of the Seventies: simple, catchy melody times two equals mondo hooks. The countrified harmonies that constitute this instrumental’s “verse” section are, arguably, the most lyrical in all of classic rock.

    01. The Eagles, “Hotel California”

    Californian country-rock? Yeah, right. But throw in former James Gang guitarist Joe Walsh with Don Felder and Glen Frey and you’ve got a dreamy and dramatic chorus of electric guitars stacking arpeggios over a quasi-Spanish chord progression. Ah, you can almost detect the warm smell of “co-lee-tas” in the air…

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    Rock music went to college in the Sixties. First it started pilfering from classical music and theater. Then someone had the psychedelic-induced idea to carry a single story over an entire album, just like in opera.

    And thus the genie was unleashed: the concept record, simultaneously emblematic of rock at its most ambitious and its most pompous.

    Some damn musicologist determined these to be the best examples of this form.

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    As the main "guitar lesson editing and posting guy" here at Guitar World, a lot of lessons—tabs, videos, pointers, tips, etc.—fly past me on a daily basis.

    Sometimes I actually pause and think, "I'd like to try that," as in really try that.

    But to be honest, I don't really have loads of spare time—the time required to fully dedicate myself to something new, at least to the point that I'd master it and be willing to show my new skills to the world via YouTube.

    Guitarist Marco Dela Torre doesn't seem to have that problem! In the fast-paced video below, you can watch his progress over 100 days as he learns to sweep pick.

    In his own words: "I've played guitar for many years. Now I want to learn a new technique: sweep picking. Not sure if 100 days is enough, but I'll try ... ."

    The video follows his progress from Day 1 to 9 to 13 to 34 to 82—and then finally (in truly dramatic fashion) Day 100.

    Check out the results! P.S.: The video was posted by Give It 100. Feel free to check out the link if you'd like more info.

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    Stephen Stills’ status as a rock legend stems just as much from his singing and songwriting contributions in Buffalo Springfield, Crosby, Stills & Nash (and Young) and his own solo work as it does from his innovative acoustic and electric guitar offerings.

    A hybrid stylist steeped in rock, blues, gospel, Latin, country and folk, Stills’ unique acoustic approach mixes a variety of fingerpicking techniques, a distinctive tone, and assorted odd tunings—one of which comprises only the notes E and B! He counts Joe Bonamassa, Ray LaMontagne and Kenny Wayne Shepherd (with whom Stills recently collaborated on the Rides’ Can’t Get Enough) as some of his many guitar celebrity fans.

    Let’s dig deep into this ax man’s bag of finger tricks.

    Buffalo Springfield’s roots trace back to Stills’ and songwriting guitarist Richie Furay’s early stints with the Au Go Go Singers (a nine-voice harmonizing group); a tour took them to Canada, where they met Neil Young. By 1966, the three converged in California, added bassist Bruce Palmer to the mix and quickly became the Whisky a Go Go’s “house band,” issuing Buffalo Springfield by year’s end.

    But it was Buffalo Springfield Again that contained breakout hits like “Rock & Roll Woman,” Stills’ signature drop-D-tuned double-stop riff informing FIGURE 1. This song was the result of a jam at Byrds member David Crosby’s house, an interesting fact given that months later, tensions within the Byrds, Hollies (with Graham Nash) and Buffalo Springfield camps would lead to the formation of Crosby, Stills & Nash.

    During this “band turmoil,” Stills, on April 26, 1968, took matters into his own hands and recorded a songwriter demo. Previously considered “lost,” these gems were commercially released in 2007 as Just Roll Tape, a guitar-and-vocal-only demo containing many future classics. Among these is the double-drop-D-tuned “Treetop Flyer,” akin to FIGURE 2, a nod to Stills’ Chet Atkins influence. Ray LaMontagne has continuously cited this track (first officially released on 1991’s Stills Alone) as the inspiration for his musical career path.

    In 1969, Crosby, Stills & Nash released their self-titled debut, showcasing their unique three-part vocal harmonies and layered acoustic guitars—the polar opposite of the era’s blues-based “loud guitar” rock, as popularized by bands like Cream, Led Zeppelin and the Doors. CSN contains many of Stills’ best-known songs, among them “Helplessly Hoping,” a standard-tuned gem propelled by fingerpicking similar to what you see in FIGURE 3.

    CSN also introduced the world to “Bruce Palmer modal tuning” (low to high: E E E E B E), which Stills learned from the former Buffalo Springfield bassist and used in “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” as well as Déjà vu (CSN’s follow-up album with Neil Young) cuts like “4+20,” “Carry On” and “Word Game” from Stills’ 1971 solo album, Stephen Stills 2.

    Detune your A string to match the low open E, raise the D string one whole step to E, then detune the G string to match the open fourth string; this creates unison E notes on the bottom two and middle two strings. FIGURES 4-5 show a mix of moves in this tuning, inspired by the aforementioned Stills songs.

    Screen Shot 2015-04-21 at 4.48.52 PM.png

    Musician’s Institute instructor and author/transcriber Dale Turner played all the instruments/voices on his latest CD, Mannerisms Magnified. Visit intimateaudio.com for more information.

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    If being surrounded by talented songwriters of all genres sounds good to you, you might want to check out the ASCAP "I Create Music" Expo.

    Aimed at arming songwriters with tools for success, the Expo takes place in Hollywood from April 30 to May 2.

    A highlight of the event is the She Rocks Showcase, a free performance event taking place on Friday, May 1, from 9pm to 12am. It's open to the public with no Expo badge required.

    Featuring four outstanding female performers, the She Rocks Showcase is hosted by the Women's International Music Network and takes place at Tinhorn Flats, right across the street from the Expo.

    Performers include the fabulous Dia Frampton, who you might have seen on the first season of The Voice, plus Alyse Black, Elle Winston, and Kate Diaz. Coming from all over the country, these four talented ladies are sure bring a bit of their own magic to the event.

    Check each of them out below and then come on by!

    Dia Frampton

    With six number-one singles across Asia as a solo artist, Frampton has established herself as a prolific songwriter, collaborating with distinguished artists from around the world, including Lindsey Stirling, The Crystal Method, M83, and Singto Numchok. Currently, Frampton is working with her band ARCHIS, which pairs her with renowned film composer Joseph Trapanese, the musical mastermind behind Tron, Oblivion, and The Raid. In February, ARCHIS released a self-titled EP through Nettwerk Music Group. The band is now writing their debut album, to be released later this year. Find out more about Frampton at www.archismusic.com.

    Alyse Black

    Alyse Black started out belting Billie Holiday tunes a cappella on the streets of Pike Place Market in Seattle. Since then, she’s performed on Seattle’s NPR station, recorded a commercial for Target, moved to Austin, won Billboard’s Annual Songwriting Contest, had several songs placed in movies and TV shows, and toured the country playing over 600 clubs, theaters, festivals, television shows and radio stations. She recently won The Recording Conservatory of Austin’s Top Singer-Songwriter Contest and ran a successful Kickstarter to fund her long-awaited next album. Learn more at www.alyseblack.com.

    Kate Diaz

    Kate Diaz is a songwriter/guitarist/singer who has released four acoustic albums and three singles, including award-winning songs and songs for various causes. Over the past five years, she has booked her own gigs and performed more than 150 solo acoustic shows at Chicago venues and national festivals, notably at Lollapalooza, Milwaukee Summerfest, Midpoint Music Festival, Taste of Chicago, and National Mall Earth Day Festival. Kate graduated high school at 17 and moved to Boston, where she continues songwriting and performing while going to college at Berklee and Harvard. Visit www.katediazmusic.com for more information.

    Elle Winston

    Elle Winston (Brooklyn, NY) is a singer-songwriter who spent most of her life growing up in the southwest sun of Phoenix, Arizona before moving to Brooklyn. Her sound might best be described as a meeting of folk-legend James Taylor, the songstress Erykah Badu and the classical great Elly Ameling. Winston earned her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from the Herberger College of Music at Arizona State University. Learn more at www.ellewinston.com.

    Click here to find out more about the ASCAP "I Create Music" Expo, and for the latest on the Women's International Music Network, click here.

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


    Tuning a guitar down a whole step or more puts players in the fast lane of the heavy highway, but the downside to down-tuning on a standard guitar is that the strings can get overly floppy and proper intonation can be difficult to attain.

    Using heavier strings or a baritone guitar with a longer scale length can be a solution, but heavy strings don’t really make it easy to shred on solos.

    Jericho Guitars offers a variety of models that solve these dilemmas. The necks of these guitars have longer scale lengths but they are set up to accommodate standard light string gauges.

    We took a look at Jericho’s Fusion model, which is designed to appeal more to traditional-minded players who prefer the look and features of a classic guitar over those of a modern hot rod.

    FEATURES Jericho describes the Fusion as “a modern hybrid of all classically built American guitars.” The single-cutaway body shape, mahogany body with flame maple top, contoured cutaway, and recessed controls are obviously inspired by certain American guitars, but the sum of these parts is a distinctive and different guitar.

    Of course, the most distinguishing feature is the neck’s long 26.9-inch scale, which allows players to comfortably tune down to C or even drop the lowest string to Bb (for a drop D-equivalent tuning) while maintaining ideal string tension for playing and perfectly accurate intonation.

    For the rest of this review, including FEATURES, PERFORMANCE, the BOTTOM LINE and more, check out the June 2015 issue of Guitar World.

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    I’ve become a student of songwriting. The more I have tried to teach songwriting, the more I realize that I can only teach what I’ve learned, so I’m continually studying and trying to learn.

    Whether you are trying to write songs for the commercial market or are just writing songs for your own pleasure, here are some things that I think make a song “better.”

    1) Your song communicates what you are trying to say. Unless you will literally be the only one to ever hear your song, the song will be “better” to the extent that it communicates your intent most clearly.

    2) Your song makes a connection with people. It somehow connects to people’s hearts and minds. If the listener “buys in” to your song, then it’s a better song than one that people don’t connect to.

    3) Your song elicits a response in the listener. It makes them want to laugh, dance, cry, etc. They should feel SOMETHING when they hear your song. Songs that make people respond are better songs.

    4) Your song gets stuck in people’s heads. Songs that are better songs stay with us. The combination of words, rhyme, melody and rhythm get’s in our brains and won’t leave. That’s a better song than one you can’t remember!

    Check your songs out. Sometimes a small re-write addressing one or more of those issues can make all the difference in the world.

    Write on. And write better.

    Marty Dodson

    Marty Dodson blogs daily on Facebook at www.facebook/songtownusa and on www.songtown.com. You can check out his music at www.martydodson.com. Marty plays Taylor Guitars and Batson Guitars.

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    Today, GuitarWorld.com presents the exclusive premiere of a new music video from Glenn Proudfoot.

    The song, "Gatton," a tribute to the late Danny Gatton, features a guest appearance by Johnny Hiland. The track be found on Proudfoot's new studio album, Ineffable.

    "This is a really special track for me," Proudfoot says. "Danny Gatton’s playing has been such a huge source of inspiration over the years. A lot of people probably don’t realize it, but I studied bluegrass and country guitar; Danny Gatton and Johnny Hiland where my two biggest country influences and heroes.

    "Once I had written this track, I reached out to Johnny and told him it was my little tribute to Danny Gatton. He was very enthusiastic about being a part of it. We really had some fun recording it—great vibes all round.

    "Johnny’s playing is simply incredible; he makes everything look so easy, and he totally rips! I'm humbled that he took part in this. It makes it all the more special for me, and I hope for you too."

    Proudfoot is playing his Number One Strat through a Victory V100 head and 4-by-12 cabinet. The amp is set on the clean channel, and you're hearing nothing but the guitar.

    Ineffable was recorded at Screamlouder Productions in Melbourne, Australia. The video was shot, edited and produced by Peter Reggie Bowman of Screamlouder Productions.

    Follow Proudfoot on YouTube, at glennproudfoot.com or on Facebook. Order Ineffable on iTunes right here.

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    On the eve of In This Moment's latest round of U.S. tour dates, we tracked down guitarist Randy Weitzel and gave him the "eight questions" treatment.

    GUITAR WORLD: What got you into playing and made you think about doing it for a living?

    Ever since I was a kid, all I ever I wanted was to be a crazy guitar player in a rock band. You can blame that on Ace Frehley and Angus Young.

    You've been with In This Moment for about four years. In that time, the band has come into their own and grown pretty huge. Is there anything in particular you attribute the rise to?

    When I came into the fold, they were down a couple members and had no management but still had one last album commitment for their label. There was a real "do or die" vibe in the air. They were just so focused on making something happen with that album.

    I remember Maria [Brink] and Chris [Howorth] playing me a few rough mixes from what was to become [2012's] Blood, and it sounded brutal. It sounded hungry, something I could relate to at the time, having struggled as a musician in my own career. Sometimes when doors close, new ones open, and In This Moment suddenly had a new album, new management, new members and a new fire. I think that's just what the band needed at the time to punch it into high gear.

    Coming into the band, replacing Blake [Bunzel], did you have to alter your playing style or were you able to do your own thing?

    When I got the call to do Shiprocked 2011, I had to quickly learn material from their first three albums, and Blake was cool enough to get me on the right track by letting me in on some of the effects and techniques he was using. Blake is a very unique player and definitely added his own flavor to In This Moment. Although my style is different from Blake’s, Chris and I discovered on that Shiprocked gig that our styles totally blended and sounded great together.

    Chris and I are cut from the same cloth. We were both raised on classic metal and we have the same guitar heroes. As we continued to tour and add songs from Blood to the show, I had the opportunity to translate my guitar parts from the studio to stage. Eventually, some of the older material was replaced with new songs like “Whore,"“Burn,"“Adrenalize,” “Blood,"“Beast Within” and “The Blood Legion.”

    In This Moment obviously has a very important visual and theatrical element. Was that something you were prepared for?

    It's something I've always wanted to do, but the timing was never right. I grew up completely obsessed with Kiss, so this level of showmanship seems completely normal to me. I developed my guitar style from Eighties guitar heroes and very visually oriented metal bands. I've always had that theatrical side, but when I actually started gigging I was heavily influenced by bands like Metallica and Pantera, which had very heavy but visually stripped-down stuff. I feel like now with In This Moment, I'm lucky to be playing a mix of the two influences, the visual aspect of the early stuff and the heaviness of the later stuff. “The Sick Like Me” and “Big Bad Wolf” videos from Black Widow are perfect examples.

    In This Moment are set to release their first greatest-hits collection, Rise of the Blood Legion: Greatest Hits (Chapter 1). How does it feel to get to that milestone?

    I'm very proud to be a part of this. Travis [Johnson] and I were in a band that played with In This Moment on their very first show years ago. I've been friends with them ever since. Our bands toured together and I've done graphics and artwork here and there for them, but to be able to come in as a band member, perform and help take In This Moment to the next level is a very fucking cool opportunity. I'm blessed to be a part of the rise of the Blood Legion, and we really feel like this is only just the beginning.

    You're quite an artist in your own right—with more than just a guitar. Tell us about your your work with acrylics.

    I've always been the guy in every band I've ever been in who designed the logos and fliers. I've been able to do some spider designs for Black Widow, which I'm very proud of, as well as quite a few other designs for different things the band uses. At one point during the Blood tour cycle, we all started painting Tom's drum heads and selling them at the merch booth.

    Lately it's really taken on a life of its own and I've been getting a lot of side work doing rock and roll and horror-movie-type stuff: Kiss, Judas Priest, Friday the 13th and other slasher-movie-type drum heads and canvas work. I've done some pieces for charity events as well, like Ride for Dime and some others and was honored to paint a piece for Rob Halford honoring the 30th anniversary of Defenders of the Faith. Talk about a childhood dream coming true! Painting is my place of zen.

    In This Moment is a Schecter band. Can you talk about your weapons of choice?

    Schecter is amazing to us, and I love their Flying V7s. I have a few Hellraisers equipped with dual EMG 707 active pickups and Floyd Rose tremolos. I like to customize some of my guitars myself. I add the Weitzel touch with bolts and paint, then give them names like “War Machine,"“White Cell” and “Atomic Beast." I just received a custom V made to my specs for the Black Widow tour with black with gold hardware that the fans named “Widow Maker."

    You're hitting the road very hard for the remainder of April and all of May. Anything firm for the rest of 2015?

    We have a couple of super-cool tours coming up in the fall, but I can't say what they are yet, since they haven't been officially announced. I can say that the Black Widow Headline tour will continue into the summer months. We are encouraging fans to put on their war paint and "Become the Show" with us.

    In This Moment’s current batch of U.S. dates runs through early June. See all the dates at inthismomentofficial.com. Follow Weitzel on Facebook and Instagram.

    John Katic is a writer and podcaster who founded the Iron City Rocks podcast in 2009. It features interviews with countless rock, hard rock, metal and blues artists.

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    In this new video posted by Ernie Ball, Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci demos and discusses the John Petrucci Majesty electric guitar from Ernie Ball Music Man.

    "The Majesty guitar symbolizes the very reason why I am so proud to be a Music Man artist," Petrucci says. "I had the idea for this guitar a couple of years ago, but it is because of their innovative spirit and dedication to the art of guitar building that it is now a reality.

    "I am so grateful that I am able to collaborate with the best guitar company on the planet and so incredibly proud that together we have created what is to me, the perfect musical instrument for guitar players. I really hope you get a chance to play one and am confident that you will feel the same!"

    For more about the Majesty, visit music-man.com.

    Ernie Ball Music Man Majesty Specs:

    Size: 6 string: 12" wide, 1-3/4" thick, 37" long (30.4 cm wide, 4.5 cm thick, 94.0 cm long) 7 String: 12" wide, 1-3/4" thick, 38" long (30.4 cm wide, 4.5 cm thick, 96.5 cm long)
    Weight: 6 string: 6 lbs, 12 oz (3.06 kg) - varies slightly 7 String: 7 lbs, 8 oz (3.29 kg) - varies slightly
    Body Wood: Basswood with maple top and mahogany through neck
    Body Finish: Matte
    Body Colors: Polar Noir, Glacial Frost, Iced Crimson, Siberian Sapphire, Arctic Dream, Copper Fire, Goldmine, Silver Lining
    Bridge: Custom John Petrucci Music Man® Piezo floating tremolo, made of black pearl plated (chrome for Precious Metal Series), hardened steel with stainless steel saddles.
    Scale Length: 25-1/2" (64.8 cm)
    Neck Radius: 17" (43.2 cm)
    Headstock Size: Angled & Only 5-7/8" (14.9 cm) long
    Frets: 24 - Medium Jumbo profile, Stainless Steel
    Neck Width: 6 string: 1-11/16" (43.0 mm) at nut, 2-1/4" (57.2 mm) at last fret 7 String: 1-7/8" (47.6 mm) at nut, 2-7/16" (61.9 mm) at last fret
    Neck Wood: Honduran Mahogany
    Fingerboard: Ebony
    Fret Markers: Custom JP Majesty Inlays
    Neck Finish: Matte
    Neck Colors: Color matches body
    Tuning Machines: Schaller M6-IND locking with black pearl buttons (Chrome on Precious Metal Series)
    Truss Rod: Adjustable - no component or string removal
    Neck Attachment: Through neck design
    Electronic Shielding: Graphite acrylic resin coated body cavity and aluminum control cover
    Controls: Custom Music Man active preamp; push/push volume for gain boost, 500kohm push/push passive tone for custom 2 pickup configurations - .022µF tone capacitor
    Switching: three-way toggle pickup selector, with custom center position configuration; three-way toggle piezo/magnetic selector, momentary mono/stereo output knob (Piezo Volume)
    Pickups: HH - DiMarzio Illuminators; Piezo bridge pickup
    Left Handed: No
    Strings: 6 String: 10p-13p-17p-26-36-46 (RPS 10 Slinkys #2240) 7 String: 10p-13p-17p-26-36-46-56 (RPS 10 Slinkys #2240 with added P01156)

    Additional Content

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