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    This is a compressed version of The Complete Guide to Actually Understanding Seventh Chords, which is published at guitarchalk.com. Both versions contain the same core information.

    We can always memorize new chords. That’s not hard.

    But what if we learned the structure and the music theory behind those chords first? What if we put the time into gaining a complete, academic understanding of what we’re playing?

    People shy away from music theory because it’s hard. And I’m not going to tell you otherwise.

    Quite the opposite, in fact; music theory is incredibly difficult.

    But if you take it one piece at a time, theory isn’t nearly as daunting, and it eventually comes together as you understand why you’re playing what you’re playing.

    It’s a better alternative to raw memorization because it provides structure.

    Learning and memorizing, though they can cross paths, are not the same and certainly don’t benefit the human mind in the same manner.

    So we’ll tackle some real, substantive learning by looking at the theory behind seventh chords. We’ll learn how to build them from the ground up.

    Step 1: Learn the Formal Definition of Chords and Triads

    To begin, we need to know the formal definitions of a chord and, more importantly, a triad.


    Chords are straightforward, either two/three or more notes depending on who you ask. Now, a triad:


    Howard Hanson and Carlton Gamer, 20th-century music theorists, expanded the term “triad” to refer to any collection of three different pitches, regardless of interval. While that definition is more palatable, we need to stick with the formal definition here.

    Thus, our triads are constructed in three parts:

    01. A root note
    02. Third interval (major or minor)
    03. Fifth interval (diminished, perfect or augmented).

    The following is an example of a triad.


    In order to find each interval, we have to count semitones (frets) from the root note. For example, a perfect fifth is seven frets from the root, a major third is four frets from the root and so on. For help counting, refer to this guitar interval chart or the full article at Guitar Chalk.

    If you’re comfy, we’re ready to define and build our seventh chord.

    Step 2: Learn the Formal Definition of a Seventh Chord

    Yes, they have a “bluesy” sound, but what does that mean? A seventh chord is a triad with an added seventh interval from the root. That seventh interval can be either major, minor or diminished, and is typically what makes the chord sound bluesy.

    Thus we need the following components to build our seventh chord:


    When building our seventh chords, we want to focus primarily on the root note and the three additional intervals. To do that, we’ll build two common (tertian) seventh chords:

    01. Major Seventh
    02. Minor Seventh

    We’ll start with a root note, examine the necessary intervals for our chord (available on the seventh chord wiki page) and then build out accordingly.

    1: Major Seventh

    Interval Pattern: Major Third - Perfect Fifth - Major Seventh

    Consider the following root note:


    Per the interval pattern, we can start by adding a major third and perfect fifth. The major third is four semitones above the root while the perfect fifth is going to be seven semitones above the root.


    If you count straight up, seven spots from the second fret on the sixth string, the note you fall on is C#. That means the same C# note at the fourth fret on the fifth string will suffice as our perfect fifth. The same reasoning can be applied to the major third (third string and third fret).

    We can use the same counting tactic to place our major seventh interval.


    Our major seventh interval (an F) falls on the fourth string at the third fret. How did we get there?

    If we know that a major seventh interval falls 11 semitones from the root note (from this graphic), which is an F sharp, we count up 11 frets giving us our F, which can also be played at the fourth string on the third fret.

    2: Minor Seventh

    Interval Pattern: Minor Third - Perfect Fifth - Minor Seventh

    Start with the following root note.


    Per the interval pattern, we add a minor third and perfect fifth.


    The perfect fifth is easy, since it forms a power chord shape (fifth string, seventh fret) with our root note. Since a minor third on the fifth string falls at the third fret (three semitones above the root) we can use the octave of that note on the third string at the fifth fret, to grab our minor third.

    Lastly we add our minor seventh interval, falling ten frets up from the root.


    Ten frets up from the root note (A) would be a G, which can be played by your pinky finger on the second string at the eighth fret.

    Other Chords and Resources

    Some other tertian seventh chords would include the dominant, diminished and half-diminished, all of which are covered in the full article. Now that you know how to build a seventh chord, it’ll be a great deal easier to understand and memorize others.

    Best of luck!

    Robert Kittleberger is the founder and editor of Guitar Chalk and Guitar Bargain. You can get in touch with him here, or via Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus.

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    Ocean Carolina is what happens when a life-long musician stops questioning himself and lets the music unfold on its own.

    Michael Simone left an EDM career as a producer to become the songwriter, guitarist, and vocalist behind the band and Ocean Carolina will release Maudlin Days on June 30 via Old Hand Record Company.

    Last month, we presented album opener "All I Can Do" and this morning, Elmore Magazine debuted "Nobody Wants To Cry" saying, "On the sparse, mellow track with a delicate hint of twang, Simone recounts a bittersweet relationship from his past."

    AXS recently stated, "Ocean Carolina's Maudlin Days is the country record you need to hear" and My Old Kentucky Blog says, "A vibe that approximates Harvest Moon-period Neil Young or the Marks (Eitzel and Kozalek), without getting bogged down in their obsessions and idiosyncrasies. These guys are good. Real good.”

    Listen to “All I Can Do”:

    Maudlin Days is an exercise in giving up control and allowing the music to be what it’s meant to become. Simone has immersed himself in music since he was a teenager, and his varied passions and interests—from Prince to Led Zeppelin, The Cure to Waylon Jennings, and Jeff Buckley to The Smiths, everything has culminated to produce a record that sounds like ‘70s alt-rock while maintaining a timeless story of heartbreak and trying to find one’s place in the world.

    Ocean Carolina will be celebrating their release with a hometown performance at Rockwood Music Hall - Stage 2 on Thursday, July 30. Additional dates will be announced shortly.

    Maudlin Days is the follow-up to the Ocean Carolina debut LP, All the Way Home. The studio band features accomplished New York studio musicians Tony Leone (Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Levon Helm, Phil Lesh) on drums, Jon Graboff (Ryan Adams and the Cardinals, Willie Nelson, Noel Gallagher) on guitar and pedal steel, guitarist Dave Wanamaker (Expanding Man, Loveless) and Simone’s life-long friend, bassist Alex Cox.

    Follow the band on Facebook here.

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    American Opera, the brainchild of NYC singer-songwriter John Bee, will be out on Vans Warped Tour's Acoustic Basement Stage all Summer.

    Bee has also launched a new weekly series titled, 'Warped Wednesday with American Opera,’ which kicks off this week with an acoustic cover of PVRIS'"My House."

    Every Wednesday, American Opera will post a new cover of a song from a fellow 2015 Vans Warped Tour act.

    Bee explains, "“Warped Wednesdays with American Opera is a weekly web series where I cover a different Vans Warped Tour band every week. Vans Warped Tour is a genre-defying festival tour that features a slew of fantastic bands across a wide variety of musical styles."

    Watch the cover here:

    "This summer I’ll be on the Acoustic Basement stage, and in the spirit of that stage and camaraderie amongst artists, I figured I would try to pay homage while putting my spin on the songs. I’m a newcomer to the Vans Warped Tour so I wasn’t too familiar with a lot of the artists, but after checking out the talent I am even more excited to be a part of the tour.”

    American Opera recently released a new single and video for a track titled "Sand & Seed", and for a limited time, the song is available as a free download on Bandcamp. The single is also available for purchase on iTunes.

    "Sand & Seed" will appear on American Opera's forthcoming LP, Small Victories, out later this year.

    American Opera has performed well over 200 shows (both solo and full band) spanning the US and Canada, including dates with The Avett Brothers, Josh Ritter, Cursive, Murder By Death, Owen, and William Elliott Whitmore, as well as featured performances at SXSW and the Vans Warped Tour.

    Follow American Opera on Facebook here.

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    IK Multimedia is pleased to announce that iRig UA, the first digital effects processor and audio interface that gives guitarists, bass players and other musicians everything they need for rock solid performances, is now available at retailers worldwide and from the IK online store.

    When used with its companion app AmpliTube UA, iRig UA provides high-quality sound and zero-latency real-time audio processing for nearly any Android smartphone or tablet (running 4.2 or later, OTG USB mode).

    This is all thanks to its ingenious design that utilizes an on-board digital signal processor (or DSP) to move all audio processing onto the iRig UA, providing zero-latency performance and a truly superior playing experience. In addition, iRig UA can also be used as a digital recording interface when connected to a Samsung Professional Audio compatible device with Android 5.0.

    iRig UA

    Simply put: iRig UA represents a new stage in the mobile music revolution first started by the initial release of iRig and AmpliTube for iOS in 2010. So now for the first time ever, players can plug their guitar or bass into their Android device and rock with AmpliTube tone anywhere, anytime.

    Zero latency

    Speed is the name of the game when it comes to iRig UA. It’s been designed to work with AmpliTube UA, a special version of IK’s powerful guitar and bass multi-effects app. iRig UA’s onboard DSP is able to provide consistent zero-latency operation independent of the make or model of the connected smartphone or tablet.

    AmpliTube UA: whole lotta gear

    That speed comes in handy when playing with AmpliTube UA’s generous and expandable library of meticulously crafted virtual versions of some of the most coveted gear in music history. It comes with 21 pieces of gear right from the get go—no additional purchase necessary. There’s 9 high-quality stomp box effects, 5 amplifiers, 5 matching cabinets and 2 microphones—all the gear needed to get jaw-dropping tone that suits almost every style of music.

    Musicians can use these great sounding pieces of gear to create virtual guitar or bass rigs that they can save as presets for easy recall. Each rig is comprised of an amplifier, 3 stompbox effects (two pre-amp and one post-amp in the signal chain) and a cabinet with a microphone.

    And while this is more than enough to get started, AmpliTube UA is expandable thanks to an ever-growing selection of purchasable gear from such respected brands as Fender, Orange, Ampeg, Soldano and more. There’s also gear available from IK’s immensely popular AmpliTube Slash and AmpliTube Jimi Hendrix collections.

    In other words, the combination of iRig UA and AmpliTube UA offers the plug-and-play performance that mobile musicians with Android devices crave.

    Superior sound

    In order to provide the best possible playing experience, iRig UA gives musicians everything they need for audiophile-grade sound. Like IK’s other high-end interfaces, it features a 24-bit A/D converter with a 44.1/48kHz sampling rate and a crystal clear low-noise instrument preamp.

    This high degree of sonic fidelity comes in handy when iRig UA is plugged into a Samsung Professional Audio compatible device (with Android 5.0). It can be used as a digital audio interface with Samsung Soundcamp, a full-fledged DAW music studio app that lets musicians record and compose while on the go.

    Comprehensively connectible

    The iRig UA and AmpliTube UA combination is perfect for on-the-go practice and performance. iRig UA features a 1/4” input for a guitar, bass or other line-level instrument, a micro-USB to OTG cable and a 1/8” headphone output with volume control. It also sports a 1/8” AUX input that lets musicians connect any sound source so they can jam along to their favorite tunes with the power of AmpliTube.

    Pricing and availability

    iRig UA is available now from music and electronics retailers worldwide, and from the IK online store, for only $/€99.99 (excluding taxes). The AmpliTube UA app is also available now as a complementary download from the Google Play store.

    For more information about iRig UA, visit irigua.com. For more about AmpliTube UA, visit amplitube.com/ua.

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    Compass Records is pleased to announce the release of Bobby Long’s new record, Ode To Thinking.

    Long has built a dedicated fan base around his hauntingly poetic lyrics and catchy melodies.

    On his new record, Long returns to the basics: a guitar, sturdy songs, and his singularly plaintive voice.

    "Bobby Long is our kind of artist – smart, musical and hardworking, with accessible songs of depth and beauty," says Compass Records co-founder Garry West. "And with his growing fan base and an album as good as Ode to Thinking, we're confident that he is an artist on the rise. All of us at Compass Records are thrilled to be working with Bobby and look forward to what the future will bring."

    The album’s 11 original tracks showcase a hard-won maturity that belies Long’s 29 years. A prolific songwriter who has been compared to his own heroes – Elliott Smith, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan – Long’s vision for Ode to Thinking was honed in a live setting, where each song found its place on the album after being perfected on stage.

    Producer/musician Mark Hallman (Carole King, Ani DiFranco) joined Long at Congress House Studios in Austin, Texas to record the album during a two week period in the fall of 2014. Ode to Thinking was made possible by a hugely successful PledgeMusic campaign. “It is incredibly gratifying that so many people wanted to help me make the new record,” Long says of the support. “This community has been with me for every step of the journey.

    Long first gained international attention in 2008 when he co-wrote a song with musician Marcus Foster that found its way into the first film of the immensely popular Twilight series. The global impact of the film focused attention on him and spurred his move to America. Now writing and touring are a way of life.

    In addition to supporting major artists including Steve Winwood, Iron & Wine, Rodrigo y Gabriela and Brett Dennen, Long headlines his own shows where his music and irreverent sense of humor have earned him steadfast fans and invitations to play high profile festivals like Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits, the Dave Matthews Band Caravan and Bamboozle.

    Aug 1 - McCabe's - Los Angeles, CA
    Aug 8 - Jammin' Java - Washington, DC
    Aug 11 - Club Cafe - Pittsburgh, PA
    Aug 12 - Musica - Akron, OH
    Aug 13 - Rumba Cafe - Columbus, OH
    Aug 14 - Southgate House (Revival Room) - Cincinnati, OH/Newport, KY
    Aug 15 - The Grey Eagle - Asheville, NC
    Aug 18 - Zanzabar - Louisville, KY
    Aug 20 - Rozz Tox - Rock island, IL
    Aug 24 - The Frequency - Madison, WI
    Aug 25 - Firebird - St. Louis, MO
    Aug 28 - Record Bar - Kansas City, MO
    Aug 29 - Blue Door - Oklahoma City, OK
    Aug 30 - Sam's Burger Joint - San Antonio, TX
    Sept 2 - Cactus Club - Austin, TX
    Sept 3 - Poor David's Pub - Dallas, TX
    Sept 4 - Warehouse Live - Huston, TX
    Sept 25 - World Live Cafe - Wilmington, DE
    Sept 26 - The Linda - Albany, NY
    Sept 27 - The Kate - Old Saybrook, CT

    Follow Bobby Long on Facebook here.

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    With more than two hours of instruction, Dale Turner Presents Secrets of the Great Acoustic Songwriters is the ultimate DVD guide for acoustic rock guitar players!

    With this DVD, you'll learn the secrets from great acoustic songwriters like:

    • John Lennon
    • Paul Simon
    • John Frusciante
    • George Harrison
    • Ani Difranco
    ... and more!

    You'll also be taught:

    • Fingerpicking Patterns
    • Bossa Nova Rhythms
    • Travis Picking
    • Smooth Chord Changes
    • Strumming and Flatpicking
    ... and much more!

    Your instructor, Dale Turner, is a teacher at Hollywood's legendary Musicians Institute and a Guitar World magazine columnist. Turner also is the author of more than 50 instructional books, including Power Plucking: A Rocker's Guide to Acoustic Fingerstyle Guitar. You can hear his masterful playing on his album, Mannerisms Magnified, which is available through Amazon.

    Note: This DVD includes a .pdf file with tabs.

    Head to the Guitar World Online Store now!

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    Motobunny are a new, Icona-Pop-meets-Iggy-Pop, American rock and roll band with two dynamic frontwomen and a debut album on Rusty Knuckles Music.

    Led by dual singers Christa Collins and Nicole Laurrene, the band’s aesthetic has as much to do with Laurrene’s Michigan rock roots as the surf sounds and pounding percussion of LA’s punk and garage scenes. Rarely does a rock band present with two such well-matched, intense vocalists, but the rest of Motobunny keep up easily, ripping through songs straight out of a Tarantino film.

    Motobunny inked a sponsorship deal with Roland recently and headed into their studio to film Roland Sessions. You can check out the first video below.

    The Roland folks hooked Nicole up with the custom keytar of her dreams, complete with a beautiful black sparkle finish, while Christa rocks the Roland Interactive Analog/Digital Crossover Synthesizer.

    Motobunny formed after members of two bands, the Love Me Nots and the Woolly Bandits, got on stage together in 2013. After years of sharing green rooms, tour vans and seedy motel rooms, it was the first time they had performed as one band, and the electricity was undeniable. Together they dashed off songs for a dual-frontwomen rock collaboration, enlisted the help of Love Me Nots drummer Jay Lien and headed to Detroit to record a full-length album with Jim Diamond (White Stripes, Electric Six, Dirtbombs).

    Mixed by Bob Hoag (the Format, Dear and the Headlights, Ataris) and mastered by Jason Livermore (Rise Against), the result is 12 tracks of tough rock and roll topped off with a girls-just-wanna-have-fun attitude.

    For more about Motobunny, follow them on Facebook.

    Photo: Frank C. Photography

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    Get your weekend off to a weird, random start with this video of the Peanuts gang performing Led Zeppelin's "In the Light," a standout tune from 1975's Physical Graffiti.

    If the early, Schroeder-centric part of the clip bores you, just jump ahead to around the two-minute, which is when the vocals kick in.

    Happy Friday, everyone!

    Additional Content

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    The EVH Wolfgang USA guitar designed and played by Eddie Van Halen is one hell of a fine instrument, but not everyone can afford its $4,000-plus sticker price.

    Fortunately, EVH recently introduced its most affordable version of the Wolfgang guitar yet—the EVH Wolfgang WG Standard.

    With features that include a Floyd Rose double-locking tremolo and a pair of Wolfgang humbuckers, it offers much of the same vibe as Eddie’s main ax while saving shredders a whole lot of bucks.

    FEATURES The EVH Wolfgang WG Standard is available with a basswood body (gloss black finish version) or basswood body with quilt maple top (transparent black and transparent red finish versions).

    One slight difference between the WG Standard and the USA model is that this version’s lower bass bout is contoured for increased playing comfort as well as tummy cut on the upper back of the body. The bolt-on one-piece maple neck has 22 jumbo frets, a 12- to 16-inch compound radius, 25 1/2-inch scale, comfortable shallow C-shaped profile, oiled natural finish, and spoke wheel truss rod adjuster located above the 22nd fret.

    Electronics consist of a pair of direct-mounted Wolfgang humbuckers, master volume and tone controls, and a three-position pickup selector. Hardware includes an EVH-branded Floyd Rose Special tremolo, EVH brand tuners, and oversized strap buttons. There are a few notable differences between the Wolfgang WG Standard and the Wolfgang USA models, such as the lack of a D-Tuna, nickel frets instead of stainless steel, regular pots instead of low-friction versions, and no multi-layer binding, but the Standard model’s features offer the same basic essentials as the flagship USA version.

    PERFORMANCE Thanks primarily to its maple fretboard, the Wolfgang WG Standard sounds slightly brighter than its USA counterpart, but its fierce tone and expressive responsiveness is virtually identical. The jumbo frets will likely please shredders more than the small vintage-style frets found on the USA model as well. In fact, with its lighter weight and forearm contour, the Wolfgang WG Standard is overall more comfortable to play.

    Attention to detail is quite impressive for a guitar in this price range. The fretboard edges are rounded to maximize playing comfort, and the fretwork is simply perfect. The transparent finish versions add an extra dimension of class with their quilt maple tops with unstained edges that simulate the look of natural wood binding.

    LIST PRICES $733.32 (gloss black); $799.99 (transparent black or transparent red)
    MANUFACTURER EVH, evhgear.com

    A pair of direct-mounted Wolfgang humbuckers provides fierce tones and expressive responsiveness. The flat-top body features a contoured lower bass bout that enhances playing comfort by providing a smooth surface where the forearm contacts the top.

    THE BOTTOM LINE The Wolfgang WG Standard may lack a few of the high-end details of the flagship EVH Wolfgang USA model, but its sound and playability are essentially the same, making this model an incredible bargain.

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    We don’t mean to kick your weekend off on a depressing note, but we just had to share this beautiful acoustic cover of Pink Floyd’s “Hey You.”

    This isn’t the first time we’ve shared the talents of masterful player Kelly Vallaeu on Acoustic Nation. In fact, here he is offering his take on Metallica’s “Fade To Black.”

    Today, however, is all about The Floyd. "Hey You" appears on the band’s 1979 album The Wall, and kicks off the second disc of this double album.

    The sound is killer, and we love the multi-cam effect Vallaeu used to create this video.

    Vallaeu also offers a lesson and tab for his rendition, which you can check out at www.kellyvalleau.com./>

    For now, enjoy this gorgeous cover, and let us know what you think in the comment section below or on Facebook!

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    Nineteen hundred and eighty-five was an endlessly intriguing year for music.

    Hair/glam metal was on the cusp of world domination, with Mötley Crüe exploring the sounds that would make them, and the genre they stood on top of, the biggest in the world in a few years time.

    As for speed and thrash metal, three of the genre's "Big Four" (Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax), released new albums. Though these groups also hadn't fully formed their sonic identity yet, there was definitely a sense that these groups were also gaining quite a bit of momentum.

    And let's not forgot the releases from a trio of now-departed blues legends—B.B. King, Johnny Winter and Stevie Ray Vaughan. BTW, the "star" moment for Vaughan's brother's band, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, was still a year away.

    Rock's underground was an extraordinarily diverse and exciting place.

    The Smiths took over the U.K. with their melancholy, angst-driven jangle-pop. The Meat Puppets fused hardcore punk with healthy doses of laid-back, outlaw country. Sonic Youth turned guitar rock on its head with dark songs that embraced noise, unusual song structures and bizarre guitar tunings. The Replacements embraced the muscle and innocent romanticism of classic rock, while churning out their own thrilling, punk-indebted tales of youth.

    Singer/songwriters of all kinds dotted the musical landscape. Tom Petty released a strange but endearing LP that was half Eurythmics-style pop and half a gritty homage to his Southern roots. The gravelly voice of Tom Waits sang of the downtrodden and the out-of-luck. Nick Cave led the Bad Seeds through a gothic tour of American musical history, providing a darker, more primitive spin on the blues.

    Nineteen hundred and eighty-five was one of music's stranger years, but it had plenty worth remembering. Enjoy the photo gallery below. Remember you can click on each photo to take a closer look!

    NOTE: This list is presented purely in alphabetical order, not an order of worst to best or best to worst. So there's no order of preference. And there might actually be 51 albums on this list; we're not great at math. Enjoy!

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    When learning how to play the seven major modes on the guitar, most of us begin with the Ionian mode then move on to Dorian and progress up the fretboard in this way until we’ve learned all seven positions of the major scale.

    While this can be an effective way of learning modes, in this lesson you will learn a shortcut that will allow you to quickly and easily learn all seven modes by starting with Lydian and simply lowering one note at a time until you can play all seven modes on the fretboard.

    When learning the modes in this way, by changing one note between each subsequent mode, you will practice them out of the normal order.

    Here is the normal order of the major modes for review.

    • Ionian
    • Dorian
    • Phrygian
    • Lydian
    • Mixolydian
    • Aeolian
    • Locrian

    When working them from the one-note changing perspective, you wind up with this order of modes.

    • Lydian
    • Ionian
    • Mixolydian
    • Dorian
    • Aeolian
    • Phrygian
    • Locrian

    Start by learning the modes, memorizing them in the new order so you can use the one-note changing method. From there, you can go back and play them in the original order when putting them together in one key on the fretboard.

    Doing things this way will allow you to quickly learn the modes and then bring them back into normal order, rather than learning them as seven distinct fingerings in normal order from the beginning.

    A quick note about the chord grids below. There are three colors on each grid, here is the legend for those colors.

    Red: Root note for that mode
    Black: Static notes between the last mode and this mode
    Blue: The one note that has been moved from the previous mode to form the new mode you are playing.

    So, now that you know a bit about the concept we're exploring today, let’s take it to the fretboard.

    Lydian Mode

    To begin, you are going to learn the Lydian mode, which contains one sharp in its construction, the #4. This is going to be the base mode for all seven shapes, so make sure to get this shape down comfortably before moving on to the next mode in the system.

    major modes 1.png

    Ionian Mode

    Now you will take the Lydian mode you just learned and alter one note to form the Ionian mode. In this case, you will lower the 4th note of Lydian to produce the Ionian fingering.

    major modes 2.png

    Mixolydian Mode

    Continuing on to the final major-based mode, you will now alter the Ionian mode by one note to form a Mixolydian mode fingering. When doing so, you lower the 7th of Ionian to form the Mixolydian mode.

    major modes 3.png

    Dorian Mode

    We can progress to the minor modes now as you alter one note of Mixolydian to form the Dorian mode. Here, you will lower the 3rd of Mixolydian to form the Dorian mode fingering.

    major modes 4.png

    Aeolian Mode

    To form the second minor mode, you will lower one note of Dorian to produce the Aeolian mode on the fretboard. To do so, you will lower the 6th of Dorian to form the Aeolian fingering.

    major modes 5.png

    Phrygian Mode

    Next, you will lower one note of Aeolian to form the Phrygian mode. When doing so, you lower the 2nd of Aeolian to form the Phrygian fingering on the fretboard.

    major modes 6.png

    Locrian Mode

    Lastly, you will take the Phrygian mode and lower one note to produce the Locrian mode. Here, you lower the 5th note of Phrygian to produce the Locrian fingering.

    major modes 7.png

    As you can see, by starting on Lydian and lowering one note at a time, you can quickly and easily build and memorize all seven modes of the major scale on the guitar. Also, you will be able to see and hear how closely related these modes are, which isn’t always apparent when learning all seven fingerings on their own in the more traditional manner.

    Learning Modes Exercises

    Once you've worked out each of these seven major modes on the note G, you can try out the following exercises to help you solidify these shapes further in your studies.

    01. Play through all three major modes: Lydian-Ionian-Mixolydian from one root note. Repeat in 12 keys.
    02. Play through all four minor-based modes: Dorian-Aeolian-Phrygian-Locrian from one root note. Repeat in 12 keys.
    03. Play all seven major modes in the order presented at the start of this lesson from one root note. Repeat in all 12 keys.
    04. Put on a major chord backing-track, such as G, and solo over this chord moving between Lydian, Ionian and Mixolydian to hear how these modes color a major chord in a soloing situation.
    05. Repeat this soloing exercise but put on an Am backing track and solo between A Dorian, Aeolian, Phrygian and Locrian.
    06. Repeat exercises 4 and 5 in all 12 keys. Then, begin to move between two chords, so G-C or Am-Dm, and work all seven modes over both of those chord progressions.

    Do you have a question about how to learn all seven major modes the easy way? Post your thoughts 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 U.K., where he teaches Skype guitar students all over the world, and is an examiner for the London College of Music (Registry of Guitar Tutors).

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    Who is the greatest guitarist on the planet?

    On the face of it, that question is a no-brainer: It's Hendrix. Or Clapton. Or Page. Or Beck. Or ... is it?

    In 2010, as Guitar World was celebrating its 30th anniversary, we picked 30 guitarists and asked them to name their guitar heroes — and the results will surprise you.

    ANGUS YOUNG by Joe Perry

    Apart from the usual suspects—Page, Clapton, Beck, Hendrix and Peter Green—one of my favorite guitarists is Angus Young. I first saw him when AC/DC opened up for Aerosmith in the Seventies.

    They played about 25 dates with us, and I was just overwhelmed by his energy and ability to do his acrobatics without missing a note. He definitely had an influence on me inasmuch as his solos always had a purpose. Instead of using all the traditional tricks, he found a way to get inside those licks and be inventive. My favorite AC/DC song is probably “Sin City.”

    For me, the essence of a good guitarist is someone who plays what the song calls for. It’s about listening to the music as a whole and then doing what you need to do. Sometimes it’s not even what you play; it’s what you don’t play. Which brings us back to Angus Young.

    CHUCK BERRY by Angus Young

    When I was growing up, everyone used to rave about Clapton, saying he was a guitar genius and stuff like that. Well, even on a bad night, Chuck Berry is a lot better than Clapton will ever be.

    Rock music has been around since the days when Chuck Berry put it all together. He combined the blues, country and rockabilly, and put his own poetry on top, and that became rock and roll. And it’s been hanging in there.

    AC/DC’s whole career has been playing rock and roll, and I’m sure you still get a lot of people tuning in to bands like us and the Stones. Younger bands will be plugging into it and taking it into the next realm. There’s always going to be another generation that will take it and give it to a new, younger audience, so I think it will just keep going on.

    STEVE VAI by Tom Morello

    Some instrumental guitar players are lost in a muso fog. Steve Vai is not one of them. He’s an artist, and one of the greats.

    I’ve certainly learned from him, especially from his work ethic. I started playing guitar very late, when I was 17 years old. I felt really behind, and when I read about Steve’s practice regimen it really encouraged me. It also nearly killed me! While doing my college studies I was also practicing eight hours a day to amass the kind of technique that I admired in players like him and Randy Rhoads.

    Once, Steve was doing a presentation at GIT, and he asked me to do it with him. He told me he’d also invited Steve Lukather, Stanley Jordan, Joe Satriani. I said, “No, bro, it sounds like it’s gonna be a shred-off.” But he said, “We’re not even gonna play; we’re just gonna discuss our craft.” So I said, “Okay, I’ll do it.”

    A couple of days before the event, he says to me, “Just bring your amp and guitar along in case we have to demonstrate techniques.” So of course, I get there for soundcheck, and my worst nightmare has come true: it was six of us in a row with our guitars, and it was nonstop shredding the whole time.

    TONY IOMMI by James Hetfield

    As far as being a riff-and-rhythm guy, my favorite guitarist is Tony Iommi. He inspired me to want to play heavy.

    I admired other rhythm players, like AC/DC’s Malcolm Young, who’d just stay in the back and hold it down, and the Scorpions’ Rudy Schenker, who has a lot of percussiveness in his playing. I also liked Rush’s Alex Lifeson—people wouldn’t think of him as a rhythm player, but he comes up with some pretty amazing offbeat things.

    But Iommi is the main man. To me, he seemed like one of those quiet geniuses. At one time he was the frontman of Black Sabbath, and Ozzy was off to one side; at that time, the riff was more important than the vocals. Tony can go from the heaviest minor-key doom riff to a happy mode, and it will still sound heavy. Metallica can’t do happy, but Tony can pull it off. My favorite Black Sabbath track is “Into the Void.”

    ERIC CLAPTON by Eddie Van Halen

    Clapton was it. I knew every note he played. Mammoth—me, Alex Van Halen and a bass player we knew—were the junior Cream.

    Being limited gear-wise forced me to find my own voice on the guitar. That’s why Eric Clapton’s live jams with Cream were such an influence on me. Back in ’68, he was pretty much just using natural distortion on those live tracks on Wheels of Fire and Goodbye.

    I had no money and couldn’t afford a fuzz box or a wah-wah or a ring modulator, or whatever Hendrix had in his whole rig. I just plugged straight into an amp and turned it up to 11. So in order to get a different or unique sound, I had to learn to squeeze it out of the strings with just my fingers. I never had a guitar lesson in my life, except from listening to Eric Clapton records.

    JIM McCARTY by Ted Nugent

    I discovered the most powerful musical influence of my entire life when I played the Walled Lake Casino outside of Detroit. It was either 1959 or 1960. My band the Lourdes opened up for Martha & the Vandellas, Gene Pitney, and Billy Lee & the Rivieras, who went on to become Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels. Their guitarist was Jim McCarty, who played a Gibson Byrdland through a Fender Twin.

    Standing there watching McCarty rip into his leads, I thought, Dear god in heaven, what is that? It was so outrageous, so noisy, yet so musical and so rhythmical. I realized that simply playing a song would never do again.

    After I heard him play, I went on a gee-hah to get a Byrdland and a Fender Twin amp—because of the crispness, the thickness, the style of his playing. It was about using all the fingers, all the strings, all the time.

    That’s where the multi-rhythmic patterns on my song “Stranglehold” come from, with all the grace rhythms, all the counter-rhythms, all the pedal tones that never stop. I’m playing multiple parts on the guitar by using various incremental touches to each string. And that’s because of McCarty.

    KEITH RICHARDS by Steven Van Zandt

    The British invasion of 1964 to 1966 turned Americans on to our own rock and roll pioneers and blues players. I grew up on Keith Richards, and his lead on the Stones’ versions of Chuck Berry songs helped reinvent the guitar for Beck, Clapton and Jimmy Page.

    I always felt that you go through that muso phase and stay there or get out. I went out the other end. I didn’t want to be a virtuoso for a minute. So I came full circle to the fact that the guitar solo must serve the song—that’s more important.

    JIMMY HERRING by Alex Skolnick

    Some may not know Jimmy Herring’s name, but they will know the bands that he’s played with: the Allman Brothers, the Grateful Dead, Widespread Panic, and Jazz Is Dead. He’s a hero of the jam-band scene, which is kind of funny, as stylistically he’s very influenced by jazz.

    Jimmy has his own band called Aquarium Rescue Unit, who operate on a level similar to [jazz-fusion group] Weather Report. Having said that, although people like the Dave Matthews Band and Bruce Hornsby took them out on tour and begged their own label to sign them, Aquarium Rescue Unit never got a decent record deal and eventually disbanded [in 1997]. They reunited in 2005 and have played somewhat sporadically since then.

    Jimmy is an incredible player. He has the bluesiness of Warren Haynes or Johnny Winter and the vocabulary of John Scofield, with an element of Steve Morse thrown in. If that sounds appealing, then track down a copy of Aquarium Rescue Unit’s 1993 album, Mirrors of Embarrassment. Play it, and you’ll wonder why you’ve never heard of him until now.

    RITCHIE BLACKMORE by Phil Collen

    The first gig I ever went to was Deep Purple, during their Machine Head period. They played “Highway Star,” and it blew me away. And that’s when I decided to start playing guitar.

    Ritchie Blackmore was a huge influence because he was flashy. I love really flashy lead guitar playing, and Blackmore’s technique is great. It’s aggressive. When he hit a chord, it was like being punched in the face. I don’t really care about finger picking, and acoustic doesn’t satisfy me. It’s electric, screaming loud rock that I love.

    As far as what he’s doing now [playing Renaissance-style music with Blackmore’s Night], I honestly respect him. The fact that he’s still playing and is passionate about it is great, even if it is a bit wonky and weird. He can take liberties. He’s Ritchie Blackmore.

    GLENN TIPTON & K.K. DOWNING by Zakk Wylde

    When I think of underrated guitarists, I go for some of the guys in really big bands, the ones who get overshadowed by the achievements of their band act. For instance, when Journey is mentioned, you think of great songs and amazing vocals. But who ever praises Neal Schon? And that guy can play up a storm.

    That’s why I pick Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing from Judas Priest. It’s two guitarists, yes, but you always think of them as one. They are the ultimate twin guitarists in metal—they go together. Just listen to the amazing riffs they’ve come up with over the years. And these guys can shred with the best.

    Tipton and Downing have influenced generations of young guitarists, but a lot of the time these kids don’t even realize that what they’re playing all started with Judas Priest. Tipton and Downing have also given metal a subtlety that’s often overlooked. Both appreciate that sometimes you are most effective when you back off the pedal a little. You don’t need to be blazing all the time.

    They’ve worked together for so long that each immediately understands what to do in a song. Sometimes Tipton is soloing and Downing is riffing, and then they’ll change over—it’s not like one does the lead work and the other does the rhythm. This is also what they introduced into metal: the idea of not only being a great lead player but also being prepared to let the other man have the spotlight when it matters to the music.

    Without Tipton and Downing, metal would be very different. That’s why I have such a high regard for them. In my book, they rule.

    LESLIE WEST by Martin Barre

    Leslie West made a big impression on me when Mountain supported Jethro Tull on a long U.S. tour during the early Seventies. In those days, opening acts weren’t too friendly, and it all became a bit competitive, but Mountain were lovely guys, and we really hit it off. They were such a great band. I loved Leslie’s larger-than-life style, they had great songs, and they were so incredibly tight. In that last respect, they taught Jethro Tull a lot about being a band.

    I know of at least three people that were affected by Leslie’s playing style—myself, John McLaughlin and Mick Ralphs [of Mott the Hoople and Bad Company]—but I’m sure there are plenty more. Leslie has such recognizable tone, and I love the melodic way he plays; every note counts. He never resorts to the pyrotechnic approach or feels the need to be overly clever.

    If you want a good starting off point for a beginner, go with Climbing! [1970] or Nantucket Sleighride [1971]. I still love what Mountain did with “Theme from an Imaginary Western.” My goodness, they brought that to life, especially onstage.

    JEFF BECK by David Gilmour

    I’m sort of horribly, pathetically fannish about Jeff. Ever since “Hi Ho Silver Lining” came out [in 1967] when I was 20-odd years old, I’ve revered him and his playing. In many ways he is just the best guitar player. And 40-something years since he came to prominence in the Yardbirds, he is still the only person pushing forward in that way. He’s never retreading old ground; he’s always looking for a new challenge.

    Jeff’s scarily brilliant. He’s a tightrope walker. I’m not. I like to cover all my bases and make myself secure with a great band, with the music all rehearsed. I just walk out there, and if I didn’t even play anything it would still sound great. Jeff’s different. He’s out there mining that seam.

    JIMI HENDRIX by Joe Satriani

    The first thing that really flipped me out was hearing “The Wind Cries Mary” on the radio. Before that, I was a drummer, and I started from watching the Rolling Stones and the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show. But as soon as I heard Hendrix, that was it.

    What made him great was his choice of notes. When you hear “Machine Gun” from Live at the Fillmore, you have no idea what’s going to happen in the next few minutes. You’re totally unprepared. With “Voodoo Chile (Slight Return),” you can’t believe how perfect a performance it is, and it’s just a blues thing in E.

    Unfortunately, the Seventies were a hellish period for many great players, if you look at Hendrix’s comrades, it was a rough road. But look at someone like Jeff Beck—he just gets better and better.

    I saw him a month ago in Oakland, and I was just in tears standing at the side of the stage listening to him playing “Where Were You.” Nowadays, as a guitarist you want to celebrate what you’ve been able to play, which goes back to quoting other great players, but you also feel a responsibility not to copy those people. In my mind, when I’m playing, my heroes are sitting on my shoulders.

    BRIAN MAY by Steve Vai

    I don’t think enough is really said about the brilliance of Brian May’s guitar playing, in the sense that it’s overshadowed by the greatness of the music itself. The Queen II album was one of those pivotal moments that just nailed me to the wall.

    He’s probably one of the top identifiable guitar players, even more so than Beck, Page and Clapton. They’re all so identifiable, but Brian May had such a tone in his head and in his fingers. It speaks volumes. His contribution to orchestrated guitars is unprecedented. There was nothing like it before him.

    To me, it was like when Edward Van Halen came along and reshaped the sound of electric guitar. That’s what I heard in Brian May’s playing. It’s something that’s inherent in the brain of the guitar player.

    I remember working with Frank Zappa for the first time. I had just moved out to Los Angeles, and nobody knew me. I was 21. I went to the Rainbow Bar & Grill, and Brian May was there. I couldn’t believe it. I mustered up every little bit of courage and went up to him and said, “Thank you so much for everything you’ve done. I play guitar. I’m here in town with Frank Zappa.” He said, “Oh, really? Why don’t you come down to our rehearsal?”

    I went down, and he brought me up on the stage, and he let me play the guitar—the guitar that he built with his dad [the “Red Special”]. I couldn’t even believe that I was touching this instrument! He was so kind and so warm, and for who? This kid, you know? And I played his guitar, and it sounded like Steve Vai. Then when he played it, it sounded just like Brian May. It was very apparent to me that his tone is in his fingers and his head.

    He’s a class act from head to toe, and it shows in his playing. I can listen to any player and pantomime their sound, but I can’t do Brian May. He’s just walking on higher ground.

    MARTY FRIEDMAN by Jason Becker

    When I was 16 years old, I sent a demo tape to Mike Varney of Shrapnel Records. He called me and said I should go and meet Marty.

    I went to Marty’s tiny apartment in San Francisco. We started jamming, without amps. That moment changed my life. What he was doing was so new to me. The unique bends, vibrato, exotic scales, phrasing and timing were fascinating to me. And then it hit me: he was a lot better than I was. I started to sweat. I tried to play my best stuff, but my musical mind had already shifted. I knew I wanted to learn from this guy.

    Marty was very complimentary of my technique and the melodies on my demo tape. He started coming over to record his songs on my four-track. He taught me the second harmonies and counterpoint lines. Once he saw that I was a sponge for learning, he started incorporating some of my ideas. I feel like every day that I jammed or wrote with Marty was like taking lessons for a year. He taught by example, and with his influence I learned how to be my own unique creative artist. Even to this day, when I am composing and I get stuck, I think to myself, What would Marty do?

    EDDIE VAN HALEN by Richie Kotzen

    This is kind of embarrassing, but the first time I heard Eddie Van Halen was on the solo for Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.” I was like, “Man, that’s unbelievable. Who is this guitar player?” I asked around and found out it was Eddie Van Halen. Then I ended up getting some Van Halen records, and after that I just really wanted to play like him.

    He didn’t sound like any other guitar player, but it was more about the way that he played the notes. Everyone talks about Van Halen’s sound, but it really has to do with his timing, his rhythm style and his phrasing. It’s more about that to me than the amp or whatever guitar he’s using.

    The first time I saw Eddie play, I had the best possible seat. Because we had the same guitar tech, I was able to watch him from this little room under the stage, where he goes to change guitars or do whatever. It was pretty incredible.

    YNGWIE MALMSTEEN by George Lynch

    Every little microevolution of the guitar that came along in the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties influenced me. The number of people I didn’t appreciate is probably a much smaller list.

    Yngwie is one of those players that had a huge impact on me. His neoclassical style was just mind-blowing to me. I was raised as a blues player and learned my chops in the late Sixties, early Seventies, so it was all incredibly new to me. Just the ferocity of it was mesmerizing. The ease with which he does it was fascinating, too.

    Ultimately, guitar-driven Eighties music had wound itself to the point of absurdity and inaccessibility. I mean, how many people can actually appreciate that kind of music? It’s just an elitist speed contest. But Yngwie created the trend. On a pure playing level, players that create music that touches people are always viable. And that’s why he’s still around and a lot of the other guys aren’t.

    MICK TAYLOR by Slash

    Mick Taylor had the biggest influence on me without me even knowing it. My favorite Stones records were Beggars Banquet, Let It Bleed and Sticky Fingers. Those three were major to me because I was exposed to those records as a kid when they first came out. Mick Taylor played on a couple of those records and went on to play with the Stones for a couple more. As I got older and started playing guitar, I always gravitated to his style.

    People always mention Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Angus Young…all the obvious ones. But there are guys like Mick Taylor and Joe Walsh that were as important. Mick Taylor had a really cool, round-toned bluesy sort of thing that I thought was really effective.

    One of the greatest Mick Taylor solos is on “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking?” from Sticky Fingers. It’s the kind of stuff that’s almost like old Eric Clapton—it’s very simple stuff, but it’s about how the notes are placed and how you approach them. The new guard of guitarists always forgets about doing simplistic and very effective guitar playing that speaks to you. It’s not all about two-handed tapping.

    RANDY RHOADS by Frank Hannon

    I was always a big fan of Randy. In 1980, when Ozzy’s Blizzard of Ozz came out, some friends of mine went to see him perform in Oakland and came back raving, saying, “Man, we saw this guitarist today, and he was better than Eddie Van Halen!”

    This was a few years before we started Tesla. I was already playing guitar and was a big fan of Eddie Van Halen. So we went down to the local record store and got the album, and I was infatuated from day one. Randy was doing everything that Van Halen did, and more. It was the classical knowledge that he was incorporating into the guitar. The arrangements on “Crazy Train” and “Mr. Crowley” were unbelievable. I think a lot of the soloing on Van Halen tracks were improvised, which is cool. Randy took it a step further. His discipline probably came from his mother who taught him at her music school [Musonia School of Music in North Hollywood]. When I was a kid I would read the guitar magazines, and he would always mention that his mother was a big influence.

    I went to visit the school, and I met Randy’s brother, Kelle, and his mother Delores, who is nicknamed “Dee.” “Dee” was also the title of an acoustic song on Blizzard of Ozz, which was a big influence on me. If you listen to my acoustic solo on “Love Song” it’s really inspired by that. I played that for Dee when I met her recently. She loves meeting fans, and she told me some stories about Randy. She said that his favorite song was [the Big Band swing tune] “Chattanooga Choo Choo,” how he found his first guitar in his father’s closet, and how when he was in London recording Diary of a Madman he would spend all his downtime studying classical music at a university. She just lit up when she talked about Randy. I have a video of that meeting on my web site.

    ZAKK WYLDE by Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal

    I first heard Zakk in 1986, when he was with a New Jersey band called Zyris. The next thing I knew, he was playing with Ozzy. Like Zakk, I had been a huge Randy Rhoads fan, so I was very happy that Ozzy picked Zakk to be his guitarist.

    When you hear Zakk’s playing, you know right away that it’s him, with that distinctive use of harmonic vibrato on the lower string. Before he came along, every time you saw a blond-haired guitarist kicking a Les Paul’s ass you thought of John Sykes. Now you also think of Zakk. In addition, he’s very diverse stylistically, with the southern rock of Pride and Glory [Wylde’s early Nineties group], the singer-songwriter style of his Book of Shadows album [1996] and, of course, what he does with Black Label Society.

    I met Zakk for the first time about a year and a half ago; he was a guest on my friend’s TV show. His visit to the studio was supposed to last for three hours, but he ended up staying for 14. Besides being a phenomenal musician, Zakk’s as good-hearted as I expected. I hope that some day we can do it again.

    B.B. KING by Billy Gibbons

    My favorite guitarist is B.B. King. His album Live at the Regal, recorded in 1964, remains a classic. The electricity, the crackling atmosphere… Plus, it’s a great sound, recorded with a full band, horns and piano, and a rabid audience thrown in.

    B.B.’s distinctive one-note style, his sustain and attack, that kind of call-and-response thing between the vocals and the solos… He’s taken for granted now, which means he’s underrated. Obviously, he’s a maestro entertainer rather than a blues purist, though he can be that too. He’s a former cotton picker, but he remains so self-effacing, plus he has a great sense of humor, lyrically and in life. He’s got class.

    MALCOLM YOUNG by Scott Ian

    Malcolm Young has got to be the most unsung, underrated guitar hero of all time. He’s the backbone of AC/DC, the greatest rock band ever, and has written some of the most amazing riffs you’ll hear. This is the man responsible for more great rock moments than any other guitarist you can name. Is Malcolm Young the greatest rhythm guitarist in the world? No contest.

    I recall being given one of his guitar picks recently after a gig on the band’s current tour, and it was half worn down. But you know what’s astonishing? Apparently that pick was used on just one song during the band’s set that night. Malcolm gets through a pick for every song because he hits the strings so hard. It’s amazing. The man is truly a one-off.

    When I first started to listen to AC /DC, it was Angus who caught my attention. He was the lead guitarist and got all the glory. But in about 1979, when I began to get into guitar playing in a serious way, I gravitated toward Malcolm. I was listening to what he did, because he was the guy writing the music. I now appreciate just how incredible he is. He’s a songwriter, not a shredder, but without him what would AC /DC sound like?

    If you’ve never heard him play—and can there be anyone on the planet who hasn’t heard Malcolm Young?—then go and listen to the opening chords of “Back in Black.” If that doesn’t move you, then you have no soul. The other songs I’d strongly recommend are “Riff Raff” and “Beating Around the Bush.” The way he takes straight blues riffs and siphons them though the AC/DC sensibility is a lesson to all guitarists.

    GEORGE HARRISON by Elliot Easton

    I was 10 years old when the Beatles played the Ed Sullivan Show [in February 1964], and I was already playing a little guitar. To see George Harrison there, standing off to the side, looking down at his guitar while he played his licks—to my impressionable mind it defined what a lead guitarist was.

    I knew right then what I wanted to do with my life: I wanted to be like the guy in the middle—the guy looking down at his guitar and playing all the little fills and solos. Harrison taught me about short solos and hooks, and what a hook is. All those mid-Sixties Beatles tracks—whether it was “Day Tripper” or “Ticket to Ride” or whatever—they all start with a guitar lick that you wait to come around again in the chorus. That’s where I learned to do that.

    ULI JON ROTH by Kirk Hammett

    Around the time of Metallica’s Death Magnetic sessions, I began listening again to some of the rock music of my teens, and it inspired me all over again. I’d forgotten how much those guitarists meant to me.

    Uli Jon Roth is one of those players. When I started listening to him again, I realized that I can still learn a lot from him. I love his choice of notes, the attitude behind his playing and the way his solos “up” the level of his songs. He took Scorpions to a totally different level. After his solos, you’re left there shaking your head. It’s like being sideswiped by a truck.

    The track I love the most is the one I play every night, “The Sails of Charon,” from Taken by Force. The opening motif is just great. It’s spooky sounding, exotic. It’s very old-school heavy metal. People in the audience who know the song recognize that I’m flying the flag for that old-school metal, and they come to me and say, “Bro, ‘Sails of Charon’ rules!” There are a lot more Uli Roth fans out there than I expected.

    NEIL YOUNG by Nancy Wilson

    Neil is identifiable whether he’s playing acoustic or electric guitar. For acoustic he has a completely unique type of tuning, detuning, attack and release. He plays a song called “Bandit,” from the Greendale album, and there’s a live version of it that’s incredible. He chooses a specific guitar that can be detuned on the low string down to a C and picks the particular gauge of string that will rattle in the perfect way. It sounds so wrong that it’s right. I think nobody in the world would do that on purpose except for Neil Young.

    He has a monstrous electric guitar sound, too, and on “Cinnamon Girl” he recorded what is probably the best one-note guitar solo ever. He puts more feeling into one note than anyone else. It shouldn’t work, but it does. Of course, it’s his tone that makes all the difference. Touch sensitivity accounts for about 90 percent of everything. Neil has such expressive playing that he can play a onenote solo and make it memorable for decades, for generations.

    FRANK ZAPPA by Dweezil Zappa

    I was never intimidated by my father’s technique. I think most guitar players are just excited to see somebody do something they didn’t think was possible. We’d sit and play together, but what Frank was doing was musical. I couldn’t grasp it at a young age—it was too sophisticated for me. He’d show me inversions of chords and composition devices—moving triads around the neck and stuff. It sounded neat, but I didn’t always understand what was happening musically.

    I do the Zappa Plays Zappa tour because I want to get Frank’s music more into the public eye. I want him to be better understood. I think there are a lot of misconceptions about his music and him as a person. First of all, Frank was really a composer who used a rock band like an orchestra. He could hear stuff in his head and just write it down. I didn’t have a musical background; I was just a guy who learned things by ear—more a guitar player than a musician. The first thing I learned was the incredibly fast passage toward the end of “The Black Page.” It took me a good five or six months, and I had to totally change my picking technique in order to play this thing. I’d have to play it really slow for hours and hours and hours. I definitely think Frank would enjoy that we go to such great lengths to get it right with Zappa Plays Zappa.

    PETE TOWNSHEND by Ace Frehley

    I got all my rhythm work from listening to Pete Townshend and Keith Richards. I think Pete is a wizard when it comes to chords. He can play the same chord in, like, 20 different positions, doing inversions, suspensions… Just listen to Tommy. I’m a huge fan.

    Pete has a great right hand as well as a great left hand. “Tattoo” is a great picking song, but of course he’s known best for his power strumming, like on “Pinball Wizard,” and his power chords, like on “My Generation” and the chord that opens “I Can See for Miles.” His rhythm work was just amazing.

    The first time I saw the Who was the same day I saw Cream for the first time. They were both performing at a Murray the K show in Manhattan. [The revue-style show, presented by disc jockey Murray Kaufman, was called Music in the Fifth Dimension and presented at the RKO Theater from March 25 to April 2, 1967.] I was cutting school, and a friend and I snuck into the show and got down in front. It was the Who’s first New York show. I think the headliner was Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels.

    I saw the Who perform again, at the Fillmore East, in 1968, the day after Martin Luther King got shot. [The civil rights leader was assassinated on April 4, 1968.] The Who weren’t going to play because they were worried about riots, and I believe they ended up doing a short show. Ironically, Paul Stanley [Frehley’s former Kiss coguitarist] was there too, but we didn’t know each other at the time.

    ALVIN LEE by Mick Mars

    Sometimes I feel I should’ve been true to myself as a guitar player and stuck with the blues. All bullshit aside, George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, Paul Butterfield, Mike Bloomfield, Alvin Lee, Jimi Hendrix…that stuff was the total shit for me. I was brought up on those players, and they all influenced me in one way or another.

    When Bloomfield started getting too countrified for my liking, that’s when I discovered Alvin Lee and Ten Years After. Alvin brought a real explosive side to the blues. Some people said they couldn’t handle it, but I thought he was great.

    PETER GREEN by Rich Robinson

    Growing up in America, you couldn’t help but hear Fleetwood Mac’s [mid-Seventies breakthrough albums] Rumours and Fleetwood Mac on the radio all the time. And it was by getting into these records that I started to explore the Peter Green legacy. Obviously, he’d left Fleetwood Mac long before these were done, but I was influenced enough by them to want to know more about what the band had done before. And that’s when I discovered the amazing talent of the man.

    His playing is just so moving. Listen to what he achieves on “Oh Well” and “Rattlesnake Shake,” and it is stunning. What he does is so interesting because he doesn’t overplay. Green understands that simplicity could hold the key to the blues.

    It makes him so authentic. To my mind, Peter Green is the finest white man I’ve ever heard playing blues guitar. That’s a bold statement when you consider some of the other greats, but I genuinely believe this to be true. His playing has the soul and passion of the blues. And yet he never seems to get the recognition enjoyed by people like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton or Jimmy Page. Perhaps that’s because he’s so understated. If you check out something like “I Need Your Love So Bad,” what you hear is a guitarist prepared to submerge his own ego for the sake of the song. He gets the mood exactly right. He was never flamboyant like the others I just mentioned. As a result, he’s often overlooked in the list of guitar greats.

    He also has such an incredible range. You can’t ever claim that one particular song defined him in the way that you can with Hendrix.

    When the Black Crowes recorded and toured with Jimmy Page, he told us so many Peter Green stories. It was clear that Jimmy loves the man’s talent. And if he’s good enough for a giant like Jimmy to acclaim, then it reinforces my adoration.

    RON ASHETON by Kim Thayil

    It was the Seventies when I first heard the Stooges. By then, all the albums by the New York Dolls, the Stooges and the MC5 were out of print. You could only find them in used-record stores, and the nearest was six miles away. I’d check out their racks, and once in a while I got lucky.

    The Stooges’ Funhouse album was one that I found. There’s some crazy stuff on side two—some really great, aggressive rock solos. Ron has a particular gritty, sleazy sound with the groove that he lays down. And the dueling improvisations with saxophone made for some cool jazz noise rock.

    The Stooges didn’t do as much of that 12-bar blues stuff. They just hit a groove and then hypnotically beat you over the head with it. They just stayed with that riff for a long time. Of course, there is a lot of blues in what Ron did, but there’s something a lot looser, too, and it was freer and it utilized chaos. It was something that was definitely not present in FM rock or Top 40 at the time. “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” “TV Eye,” “Loose,” “Down on the Street”…

    They’re all amazing. If rock should be about anything, it should be about freedom and rebellion, and not the stupid requirements that would be imposed upon you by the record company—like professionalism. I mean, it’s good for a person to know their damn instrument, or else you can’t come up with inventive ideas, but not to be bound by the patterns on the fretboard.

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    GuitarWorld.com is revisiting Steve Vai's classic mag column, "The Ultra Zone," for this crash course in ear training.

    I could never overstate the importance of a musician’s need to develop his or her ear. Actually, I believe that developing a good “inner ear” — the art of being able to decipher musical components solely through listening — is the most important element in becoming a good musician. Possessing a healthy imagination is a necessary ingredient for creativity.

    But without the ability to bring those imagined sounds into the real world, one’s creative aspirations will remain crippled. Training one’s ears to understand and recognize musical sounds and concepts is one of the most vital ways to fortify the connection between the musical ideas in one’s mind and the musical sounds created on one’s instrument.

    All musicians practice ear training constantly, whether or not they are cognizant of it. If, when listening to a piece of music, a musician is envisioning how to play it or is trying to play along, that musician is using his or her “ear” — the understanding and recognition of musical elements — for guidance.

    This is also true when trying to emulate a piece of music, or transcribe it, or even just finding inspiration in it. No matter what one is playing, one’s ear is the navigational device that steers the musical ship where it will go. Without a good ear at the helm, you could find yourself musically adrift at sea.

    I have always been fascinated with looking at music written on paper. When I was in college, I took a class called solfege, which entailed learning how to sight-sing. Sight-singing is the art of looking at a piece of written music and singing it. First, you identify the key center, and then you sing the written pitches, using the “doe-ray-me” phonetic structure, just like that song in the movie The Sound of Music. “Do-Re-Mi-Fa-Sol-La-Ti-Do” (pronounced “Doe-ray-me-fa-so-la-tee-doe”) represents a major scale; there are other monosyllabic sounds that represent the other pitches that reside within a 12-tone octave. These solfege classes in college were difficult courses, but they were well worth the time invested. A thorough study and analysis of solfege within the confines of this column would be impractical, so I can only encourage you to investigate it on your own.

    I’ve always considered transcribing to be an invaluable tool in the development of one’s musical ear and, over the years, I have spent countless glorious hours transcribing different kinds of music, either guitar-oriented or not. The most well-known example of my guitar-based transcribing labors is The Frank Zappa Guitar Book (Hal Leonard), for which I transcribed, among other things, the entire Shut Up and Play Yer Guitar series of recordings. Many musicians, however, do not have the ability to pull the sounds — guitar solos, rhythm parts, melody lines, etc.—off the records that they love. Transcribing is an art that takes a lot of practice and a study that I encourage everyone to experiment with.

    But fear not: you do not need to have the ability to sight-read or transcribe in order to practice ear training exercises. If you are just sitting there with a guitar, there are still a great many ways to develop your ears, in the quest to strengthen the connection between your head and your fingers. Below, I have outlined some of the ways a guitarist can work on ear training exercises using just the guitar.

    As guitarists, there are certain things that most of us do that are simply part of the program: we learn some scales, develop some exercises intended to improve our physical abilities, work on chord forms on different parts of the neck, etc. I believe it is extremely important to put aside some time dedicated solely to focusing on ear training.

    One of the easiest ways to begin working on ear training is to sing what you play. For example, you can play a C major scale (C D E F G A B) in any position — preferably one that is physically comfortable for you—and sing each note of the scale as you play it, being very careful to sing on pitch as accurately as possible. Start with one note: play the note, sing it, and then play and sing the note simultaneously. Then go to two notes. Once you feel comfortable, take a little piece of that scale, say, the notes C, D, E and F, and create a very simple melody with these notes for you to sing simultaneously, à la jazz guitarist George Benson.

    This is an easy way to get your ear in sync with the sounds your fingers are creating. Whether you’re soloing over a rhythmic vamp or are playing alone in free time, you have to really stick with it, and don’t allow yourself to slip up or drift into something else. The idea is to endlessly improvise and sing what you are playing, using any key.

    Another good thing to do is to record a simple one-chord vamp to play over. First, only play/sing notes that fall within the key, staying within a basic note structure of a five-, six- or seven-tone scale. Don’t start wandering off into your favorite guitar licks to play; save that for another time, when you’ve developed your ear to the point where you can sing just about anything you can play. This is an exercise in discipline: do not play anything that you cannot follow perfectly with your voice. Whether you stay within one octave of the guitar, or you sing the notes an octave lower than the sounding pitches, or you use falsetto to hit the high notes, you must be able to recreate all of the notes played on the guitar with your voice.

    If you work on this every day, you’ll find yourself getting better and better at it, and it will become easier to do. The cool thing that happens is that you’ll begin to hear music more clearly in your head, allowing you to formulate musical ideas—write music—within your head, without the aid of a guitar. When you finally do pick up the instrument, you will discover that you will instinctively be able to play these ideas that have taken form in your mind.

    To take this a step further, try this exercise: without a guitar at your disposal, picture the guitar’s fretboard in your mind, and then envision playing something so that you will “hear” and “see” the notes as they are played. It may be helpful to sing the notes as you imagine them being played. This is an excellent exercise that will fortify your mind-fretboard relationship and actually improve your ear by strengthening the acknowledgment of “pitch relativity” (how one pitch relates to another, in terms of sound and placement) on the guitar’s fretboard. You may discover some cloudy areas in your mind’s eye/ear, but if you work through it, the picture will soon become clearer and clearer.

    These techniques do not address the act of playing one thing on the guitar and singing something completely different. Someone like Jimi Hendrix had the uncanny ability to play very complex rhythm parts and single-note riffs while singing complementary parts. This technique requires a whole different set of brain muscles and is very difficult for many players. Playing one thing while singing another must be worked on as an independent field of study. If I could play the guitar and sing at the same time, hey, I might have a career! I’ll be back next time with some more effective ways to help you to develop your ear.

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    YouTube view-getter Rob Scallon has just posted another bizarre but intriguing Metallica-centric video.

    This time around, you can watch Scallon, a skilled multi-instrumentalist, play part of every song from Metallica's classic 1988 album, ...And Justice for All, on bass—and only on bass—creating an intoxicating bottom-end medley.

    The clip shows him playing an assortment of basses, including an upright model and ... well, just watch the video.

    If you like what this Scallon fellow is doing with the internets, you can support his ongoing video projects right here.

    Oh, and, for a random video where guitar legend Steve Vai gives you solid advice on pedal order, head in this general direction.

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    Musicians Institute, the College of Contemporary Music in Hollywood, has announced the Joe Bonamassa Torch Bearer Scholarship, offering $35,000 in tuition credit to support the educational growth of a newly enrolling MI Guitar Program student.

    Sponsored by Bonamassa’s own non-profit Keeping the Blues Alive Foundation, the scholarship will be awarded to a student who demonstrates overall outstanding musicianship, advanced skills and the potential for developing a unique sound on the guitar.

    “Sometimes you are fortunate enough that an opportunity presents itself to change someone else's life,” Bonamassa said.

    “Musicians Institute has great programs—not for just guitar, but for other instruments and music industry subjects. When it all boils down, sometimes a kid can only afford either the tuition or the room and board, not to mention guitar strings and picks. So we have taken the tuition off the table and are sending a kid to school for a year. To whoever gets the scholarship, I hope that he or she uses it to change the trajectory of their lives! Good luck and keep playing loud!”

    “Joe Bonamassa absolutely ‘walks the walk’ when it comes to supporting music education and inspiring the next generation, all while blazing a trail as a bonafide blues guitar legend,” said Beth Marlis, vice president of industry and community relations at Musicians Institute. “We are proud of our ongoing partnership with Joe, and we’re confident this amazing scholarship opportunity will excite the talents of aspiring guitarists around the world.”

    The scholarship is available to guitarists who will be enrolled in an associate of arts or bachelor degree guitar performance program at MI beginning in fall 2015.

    Applicants are invited to submit a DVD recording of themselves performing three songs in any genre (two live ensemble performances and one unaccompanied solo guitar performance) on the electric and/or acoustic guitar. The deadline for fall 2015 applicants is August 28.

    For details, visit mi.edu/admissions-financial-aid/scholarships.

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    Carlos Santana performed “The Star-Spangled Banner” last night prior to Game 2 of the 2015 NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers at Oakland’s Oracle Arena.

    The longtime San Francisco Bay Area resident performed the national anthem on his signature PRS model guitar and was accompanied by wife and fellow bandmate, Cindy Blackman Santana, on drums.

    As you can see in the video below, Carlos played a pretty much note-for-note version of the anthem, unlike his fellow Sixties legend Jimi Hendrix, who delivered the first and most famous rocked-out version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Woodstock in 1969, the festival at which Santana’s group had its breakthrough performance.

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    Perhaps you’ve been toying around with the idea of playing classical guitar, but don’t quite know where to start.

    Maybe you think getting started is daunting, or that playing guitar is simply “something other people do.”

    That other person could be you.

    This beginner’s guide to classical guitar will provide you with the knowledge you need to jump-start your classical guitar journey.

    By the end of this article, you’ll realize getting started really isn’t that difficult!

    1 – Classical guitar

    First things first (and this is quite obvious) – you can’t play classical guitar if you don’t have one. Even if you have a steel-string acoustic, that doesn’t count because you need a nylon-string guitar to truly play classical. To get started, you don’t need anything fancy. There are great entry-level options for classical guitarists, such as the Yamaha C40 classical guitar, designed with the beginner in mind. It’s a minimal investment and a smart purchase to determine if it’s something you really want to stick to.

    2 – Foot stool

    A foot stool (or foot rest) is essential for proper posture. If you don’t use one, not only will your technique be affected, but you could also end up having back or neck pain. Foot stools are adjustable and serve to elevate your leg so that you don’t have to bend over or twist while playing guitar. There are many different models out there, but most don’t exceed $15 bucks. This video explains how a foot stool works:

    3 – Long nails

    Wait – this is not a deal breaker. While you can certainly play with your fingertips alone, the tonal qualities of your guitar will be grossly underutilized if you don’t grow out your nails (and when I say long, I don’t mean Guinness World Record long). Basically, long nails produce a crisp, bright tone, and playing only with the flesh gives you a dull sound (there’s a lot more to it). You have several options, and a lot of it depends on personal preference. Here’s a good video explaining your options: https://youtu.be/rUjV0X1-I_o

    4 – A comfy chair with no arms

    Yup, it doesn’t get more simple than a chair with no arms. You need a chair with no arms because as you saw in the videos above, the arms would interfere with your posture and your ability to hold the guitar properly. Make sure you’re not using a bar stool, though, as that would not allow for proper posture either.

    5 – A good teacher or support system

    A good teacher is of the essence, and nowadays even if you live in a remote village, you can find a teacher online! But let’s say you don’t have access to one – you can still find several communities or discussion forums online to help as a support system when you’re ready to throw in the towel. If you are really serious, though, it is worthwhile investing in lessons, even if you meet once a month – the key is to practice.

    So there you go! Getting started isn’t too hard, is it?

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    This video dates to 2013, but we think it’s definitely worth a share, so here goes!

    While visiting an empty Walmart at 3 a.m. one day, musician Clay Shelburn and his buddy Zac Stokes performed this impromptu version of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Pride and Joy” on a toy guitar.

    We’re sure neither of them ever thought the video would reach 1.6 million views, but it’s no surprise that it did, as Shelburn’s licks (and singing!) are pretty on point.

    If you want to hear what Shelburn sounds like full-voiced and on a regular guitar, we’ve included another version of his “Pride and Joy” cover below. Enjoy!

    You can keep up with Clay Shelburn on Facebook here.

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    Musicians can still be a little fuzzy when it comes to describing the sound of fuzz.

    Some guitarists will tell you it sounds like a 2,000-pound bee trapped in a sturdy metal box—perhaps with a potentiometer installed somewhere behind the wings. And while many fuzz guitar tunes and tones did (and do) make the most of the original fuzz "buzz" sound, fuzz actually has many facets, many sides, many fuzz faces, if you will.

    Here are 10 songs—compiled by several members of the Guitar World staff—that we feel represent a wide spectrum of fuzz sounds and cover a lot of stomping ground. These songs are presented in no particular order. I repeat: These songs are presented in no particular order!

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

    For more fuzz box info, check out Chris Gill's Guitar World feature on "How to Buy a Fuzz Box: A Guide for the First-Time Buyer." And if you've still got stompbox fever, check out our guide to "The Top 50 Stomp Boxes, Devices and Processors of All Time." Enjoy!

    The Ventures, "The 2000 Pound Bee"

    Let's start at the beginning, namely "The 2000 Pound Bee," a 1962 track by the Ventures, the best-selling instrumental band of all time. While no one (including us) wants to make the claim that this is the first song to feature intentional fuzz guitar (as in, fuzz as the result of an effect pedal, as opposed to a busted speaker cone), it is commonly accepted to be exactly that (Although we must mention that it's not necessarily true). The Ventures were always ahead of the curve when it came to weird effects, as best demonstrated by their very "out there" 1964 album, The Ventures In Space. That's Nokie Edwards playing the fun, fuzzy riff, by the way.

    The Yardbirds, "Heart Full of Soul"

    And to think these guys originally tried to play this classic guitar riff on a sitar! Seriously, why bother? Jeff Beck's tone on this mid-1965 hit single pretty much exemplifies the still-much-sought-after mid-'60s "fuzz" and/or "buzz" tone. Oddly enough, Beck used a fuzz box to recreate the tone of a sitar, the very instrument that didn't cut it in the first place. Beck is playing an MKI Tone Bender pedal on this track.

    The Doors, "When the Music's Over"

    Back to California we go, with the Doors' 11-minute-long "When the Music's Over," a standout track from 1967's Stange Days. "Fuzz distortion was all we had," Doors guitarist Robby Krieger has said in past interviews. "We didn't have overdrive on our amps." In a Guitar Player magazine interview, he added that the fuzz was created by recording direct and cranking the gain/overdriving tube input on the mixing board. Regardless of how he achieved the fuzz tone on this track, it is beautiful, bizarre and creepy all at once!

    Iron Butterfly, "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida"

    Let's stay in the Sixties a bit longer with an extended visit to the garden of life, aka "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" from Iron Butterfly's super-psycho 1968 album of the same bizarre name. Yes, that sentence was a mouthful—and this 17-minute-long track is an earful of pretty much every late-'60s psychedelic-rock cliche. You have the lengthy drum solo, the spooky church-organ-style keyboards, the arguably meaningless lyrics and, of course, the fuzz guitar. This time, the fuzz is courtesy of an original Mosrite Fuzzrite—and teenage guitarist Erik Braunn. For more about the Fuzzrite, check out this site.

    The Guess Who, "American Woman"

    Don't worry—we'll return to Sixties (We have to; we haven't mentioned Jimi Hendrix and his Fuzz Face yet). However, let's take a brief detour to early 1970, and up north to lovely Canada, home of the Guess Who, a band that scored a major hit with this tune about women from "south of the border." The song is noteworthy for Randy Bachman's unique, creamy, sustaining, neck-pickup tone (or "cow tone," as Ozzy Osbourne might say). For more about Bachman's adjective-laden "American Woman" tone (and how it came to be that way), check out this website.

    Jimi Hendrix, "Foxy Lady"

    You knew this was coming! "Foxy Lady"—or pretty much any track from Jimi Hendrix's debut album, Are You Experienced?—is a prime example of Hendrix playing his Fender Strat through a germanium Fuzz Face pedal (a Fuzz Face using germanium transistors.) Most germanium pedals simply reflect the qualities of a vintage tube amp, but in super-cranked mode, providing a warm sound when the speaker breaks up. It's a "rounder" distortion, as heard on "Foxy Lady." It's not at all what you hear on the Yardbirds'"Heart Full of Soul" or "Over Under Sideways Down." These days, Jim Dunlop makes a faithful reproduction of a slightly-later Hendrix pedal—his 1969/'70 Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face, which was built around a BC108 silicon transistor. For more about the new Hendrix Fuzz Face, head here.

    Jeff Beck, "Beck's Bolero"

    Yes, it's Jeff Beck again, this time as a solo act, still fuzzing away. "Beck's Bolero"—released in March 1967—was the B-side of Beck's first single, "Hi Ho Silver Lining" (which features the mop-topped guitarist on vocals—a true rarity). The brief but powerful instrumental features Beck and Jimmy Page on guitar (Beck on lead, of course), John Paul Jones on bass, Nicky Hopkins on piano and Keith Moon on drums. It was recorded in mid-1966, before there was a Led Zeppelin—and before Beck had even left the Yardbirds. Although we'll try to verify this the next time we speak to Beck, it is widely believed he used a Mk.II/Supa Fuzz pedal on this song.

    Smashing Pumpkins, "Cherub Rock"

    We haven't mentioned the Big Muff yet! Enter "Cherub Rock" by Smashing Pumpkins, a killer song in general and a perfect example of the sound of an early Big Muff. The rest of the Billy Corgan's recording chain is most likely a Strat and a Marshall amp; but the Big Muff is doing the talking here.

    Beastie Boys, "Sabotage"

    Here's a curve ball for you, direct from New York City! It's "Sabotage" by the Beastie Boys, which makes this list on the merits of its fuzz bass sound, which is absolutely killer—and nearly as cool as the song's mustache-heavy music video. As heard in other fuzz-bass-centric tunes, including the Beatles'"Think for Yourself," the bottom end gets a bit lost, but the gains (no pun intended) are many. The bass was played through a Black Cat Superfuzz unit, which was based (again, no pun ...) on a 1970s Univox Superfuzz. Like its inspiration, the Black Cat truly pounces and shrieks! Insert your own cat-related puns here.

    The Rolling Stones, "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction"

    We'll wrap things up with a classic from 1965: "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" by the Rolling Stones. The famous fuzz riff with the almost-trombone-like tone is played by the maestro, Keith Richards, who happens to be playing through a Maestro Fuzztone FZ-1, a pedal made by Gibson/Norlin. The Maestro, which had a tone and fuzz potentiometer, plus a push on/off footswitch, was probably the best-known early commercial distortion circuit. The massive success of "Satisfaction" led to increased interest in fuzz pedals and sound research — not to mention stories like the one you're just finishing reading now.

    Damian Fanelli is the online managing editor at Guitar World. Here he is playing a Fender Nashville Tele through a Tone Bender clone on the Blue Meanies' version of "Heart Full of Soul."

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