Articles on this Page
- 06/16/15--11:19: _Bret Michaels Band ...
- 06/16/15--12:10: _Jimmy Page Shows Hi...
- 06/16/15--12:58: _Jim James and Carl ...
- 06/16/15--13:09: _Bent Out of Shape: ...
- 06/16/15--14:01: _The Complete Guitar...
- 06/17/15--08:29: _Neal Schon Premiere...
- 06/17/15--08:59: _Guitar Chalk Sessio...
- 06/17/15--09:09: _Weird Science: The ...
- 06/17/15--10:09: _The Top 10 Reasons ...
- 06/17/15--10:19: _Foo Fighters’ Dave ...
- 06/17/15--11:30: _Line 6 Unveils Heli...
- 06/17/15--12:25: _Guitarist Jim Peter...
- 06/17/15--12:38: _Seven Kick-Ass Seve...
- 06/17/15--14:26: _Bedell Expands Home...
- 06/17/15--14:36: _Neil Young Not Happ...
- 06/18/15--11:38: _Review: Vox Custom ...
- 06/18/15--11:43: _Review: John Page C...
- 06/18/15--11:48: _Review: Bogner Burn...
- 06/18/15--12:33: _Time to Burn with M...
- 06/18/15--12:38: _Metal for Life with...
- 06/16/15--13:09: Bent Out of Shape: A Beginner's Guide to Quintuplets
- 06/16/15--14:01: The Complete Guitarist: How to Conquer a Creative Block
- 06/17/15--08:29: Neal Schon Premieres New Double Album, 'Vortex'— Exclusive
- 06/17/15--08:59: Guitar Chalk Sessions: Guitar Intervals Explained
- 06/17/15--09:09: Weird Science: The 10 Strangest Vintage Effects of All Time
- 06/17/15--10:09: The Top 10 Reasons to Quit Playing Guitar
- 06/17/15--10:19: Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl Issues Statement on Leg-Breaking Incident
- 06/17/15--12:38: Seven Kick-Ass Seven-String Guitar Songs
- 06/18/15--11:38: Review: Vox Custom Series AC10C1 Guitar Amp — Video
- 06/18/15--11:43: Review: John Page Classic Ashburn Guitar — Video
- 06/18/15--11:48: Review: Bogner Burnley, Harlow and Wessex Effect Pedals — Videos
Pete Evick is best known as the guitarist and musical director for the Bret Michaels Band, with whom he has played for the past decade.
But his relationship with Michaels extends beyond merely backing up the Poison frontman onstage for his solo work.
The 42-year-old Virginia native also serves as Michaels’ co-songwriter, and he has produced such albums as 2010’s Custom Built and 2013’s Jammin’ with Friends, which featured guests Ace Frehley, Def Leppard’s Phil Collen and Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Gary Rossington and Rickey Medlocke.
But like most working musicians these days, Evick also has his hand in various other endeavors.
He runs his own namesake hard rock band, Evick, is recording a debut solo instrumental guitar effort, produces and mixes for other acts and has started his own all-digital record company, Potomac Records; he even owns and operates an eco-friendly scented-candle company, Shining Sol.
Evick also recently became a published author, penning a self-help book titled The Moments That Make Us.
The tome chronicles his lifelong obsession with music and also takes a hard look at the some of the outcomes, positive and negative, of that obsession. In the latter category would be the dissolution of his marriage, which came as a result of his constant touring schedule. Evick tackles the topic with refreshing candor, in particular in the moments where he unflinchingly turns the critical eye back on himself. It’s an insightful and brave effort, laying bare the realities of what can happen when the rock and roll fantasy life crashes hard into the real world.
Guitar World caught up with Evick while the guitarist was in Nashville with the Bret Michaels Band.
Michaels is riding high on the success of his country crossover hit, “Girls on Bars,” and had just completed a live performance as part of the CMA [Country Music Association] Music Festival. From there, the band is getting set to head out on another summer packed full of live dates.
“It’s like the never ending tour,” Evick says, estimating that they perform upwards of 200 shows each year. He credits the intense schedule to Michaels’ tireless drive. “I’ve been with Bret 10 years now, and he’s as passionate and fierce today as he was the day I met him—and that was already 20 years into his career! But he just keeps going.”
Not that Evick would want it any other way. “I’m constantly amazed and thankful that I get to play music I love for a living, and I get to do it with someone I admire, and for people all over the world,” he says. “It’s just an awesome thing.”
GUITAR WORLD: What led you to write The Moments That Make Us?
The inspiration for this book was the fact that my marriage had broken up. And while I was dealing with how that event was going to affect my children, all I kept hearing over and over from people was, “Oh, don’t worry. Kids are resilient.” That’s all anyone says. And it just started to make me mad, to be honest with you. Because I feel like that’s something adults say to each other to make them feel like what they’re doing to their children is okay. And the more I thought about that, the more I started thinking about my own childhood.
My parents weren’t divorced, and as a kid I always thought I was having this wonderful childhood. But the older I got the more I realized that my family situation was pretty messed up. So the conclusion I came to was, yes, kids may be resilient, but as adults we carry that stuff with us and in the real world that’s where we become screwed up. In fact, the original title for the book was going to be Kids are Resilient…But What About the Adults They Become?
In addition to discussing your relationship with your ex-wife and your children, The Moments That Make Us tells the story of your path into the music world.
Sure. At the beginning of the book I’m five years old, and already I’m crazy about Kiss. And all throughout the book I’m talking about Kiss, Van Halen, all these bands. I was bitten by the rock and roll bug at the earliest stages.
And there’s a chapter in the book where I talk about the differences between being eccentric and strange—because one thing that happened to me early on in life was, I was in the Cub Scouts, and one of the leaders called me strange. And how I dealt with that was by accepting it.
Like, okay, if I’m strange then I’m strange. There was a power in that. And that put me on the path toward being an artist and saying, “I’m allowed to be eccentric.” Because when you let yourself be weird then you can express yourself differently. That was my vindication, and it enabled me start to pursuing a rock-and-roll career as early as elementary school.
And now you’re playing in a band with a guy whose music you listened to as a kid.
The last chapter of the book ends with me hearing [Poison’s 1986 debut] Look What the Cat Dragged In for the first time in my life. I’m a 13-year-old kid riding my BMX bike with a buddy one night, and he puts on the cassette. Now, I love all types of music, but there are only a few bands that have been life changing to me. They are Kiss, Van Halen, Bon Jovi, Twisted Sister and Poison. And when I heard Poison for the first time that evening, riding my bike on the street, it blew my mind.
The song was “Cry Tough,” and over the years I’ve played that song in talent shows, I’ve played it in all my bands. I was a huge Poison fan. I even auditioned for Poison when C.C. [DeVille] left the band in the early Nineties. So the ironic thing is, here I am now and I’ve been playing with Bret for ten years. It’s been a twisted path, and it’s ended up almost right where it started.
So it’s certainly been a unique journey for me. And I’m not saying I would have ever given up, because rock and roll is in my blood, but there is that point in your life where you stop chasing that dream, and maybe I was almost there. You say to yourself, “Okay, I’m never gonna hit the big stages…” And right when I was approaching that moment, the opportunity came to play with one of the biggest heroes I had growing up.
And now we’ve played all over the world together. It’s become so much bigger than I could have every dreamed. I have a friendship with a guy I’ve looked up to my entire life, and we get to write and play music for people everyday.
There’s a lesson in there for aspiring guitarists about never giving up on your dreams.
Yeah. I mean, I started playing with Bret when I was 32 years old. And I did a lot of things in the music business before that. So if there’s anything inspiring I have to say to other guitarists, what I would say without a doubt is don’t give up. Always play music. Always hope. But—don’t lie to yourself. Don’t fake it. For me, as different types of music came in through the years…I mean, I appreciated grunge. I appreciated nu metal. I’m a fan of all that stuff. But I don’t bring that to the party. That’s not what I do. And I could never fake that.
At the same time, I could never do anything but music. So I learned how to produce. I learned how to record. I consulted with other bands. I was an agent. I ran sound. I did anything I could do in the industry. But as a guitar player, I never faked it. And if you stick to your guns and you believe in yourself…at the end of the day that’s what gave me an entire career in music. I’m well into my forties and I am a professional guitar player. That’s what I do for a living.
How do you see your style of music fitting into today’s landscape?
There’s always an avenue for every kind of music. But in the early Nineties I watched an entire generation of my friends switch to the flannel and the combat boots, you know what I mean? All that did was burn them out quicker and end their careers faster. But we go out now, and we’re touring all the time, and I see bands from the Fifties and Sixties, even the old Sha Na Na types of groups, and there’s still an audience for all that.
So for fans of Eighties music, of bands like Guns N’ Roses and Poison and Bon Jovi who together sold 35, 40, 50 million, maybe even 100 million records, those people didn’t just disappear. They’re still there. You just have to change the way you may deliver the music to them. At 21 years old I was all about going into some dingy bar and watching rock bands. At 42, and with two kids, I’d rather to a festival or an outdoor venue. You have to evolve with your genre and your generation. And again, the way you do that is by not faking it.
The Bret Michaels Band has been enjoying success with a country crossover hit, “Girls on Bars.”
That’s the new single, and I was very fortunate to be able to play guitar on it, as well as engineer, produce and mix the record.
And the thing is, Bret had had a rough winter, man. He was in and out of the hospital a few times, we had to cancel some shows. So for his own soul he was wanting to write a feel-good, take-me-back party song. And Luke Laird, who’s a Pennsylvania guy like Bret, and also the hottest songwriter in Nashville right now, reached out because he was a fan.
So they got together and we all sat around in this room and they wrote the song. I got to watch it happen. And it’s just a fun song. Very “Nothin’ But a Good Time,” in terms of attitude. One of those, you work hard all week, when the weekend hits let’s go have a party and blow off some steam.
So we recorded this song and took it down to Nashville. And Bret made all the calls to people personally. He took it to CMT and Sirius XM and iHeartRadio. He hand-delivered it to everybody. He believed in it that much. And everybody embraced it—all the big DJs down here in Nashville. Satellite radio. When CMT put it up on their website, it became the single most-viewed debut video they’ve ever had. And we just did a Superfan concert here in Nashville yesterday and the song went over great. So it’s been really cool.
You’re also working on a solo album.
I am. It’s called Awakened, and it’ll be out in about six months. But the first single, which is also the title track, will be released June 23. It’s an instrumental solo record, and I’ve never done anything like that. But as a kid growing up it was all about guitar to me. I wanted to be Eddie Van Halen. I wanted to be Randy Rhoads. I wanted to be Steve Vai. But then as you get older you become a singer, a songwriter. You start worrying about songs more and the shred stuff becomes a little less important.
So for a long time I’ve been more focused on just writing a really good pop song. And I don’t know what it was, but about a year ago I was inspired to play guitar again, the way I did when I was a kid. All of a sudden I was listening to a lot of Passion and Warfare. A lot of Eat ‘Em and Smile. A lot of 5150. I just became completely infatuated and excited about the guitar again.
So I started writing this instrumental record. And I would never compare myself to Steve Vai, but I would say it’s most influenced by that Passion and Warfare / Eat ‘Em and Smile era of his playing. And there’s also lot of Van Halen in it, because I live and die for everything Eddie does.
Actually, it might have even been Van Halen’s A Different Kind of Truth record that kicked this whole thing off for me. When that came out [in 2012] I hadn’t sat down and learned to play a record in years, probably going back to when I was young and I had to sit there and lift the needle off the record to figure out the licks. But when that new Van Halen record came out, I just had to know how to play it.
So that might have been the start of it. After that, I just woke up one day and wanted to shred again, and play the guitar in a way I hadn’t in years. And that led to me writing an instrumental record. There’s always new things to get inspired by and excited about, you know?
Here’s a little something from 30 summers ago.
On July 18, 1985, The Guitar Show visited Les Paul’s home in Mahwah, New Jersey, to tape Les and Jimmy Page for an episode. It was five days after Led Zeppelin’s reunion performance for Live Aid in Philadelphia, and Page was paying Les a visit.
In addition to filming the two guitar legends talking about guitars and music, the show’s host, Christian Roebling, got Page to talk about some of the guitars he'd brought with him, including his Gibson EDS-1275 double-neck and his Fender Tele equipped with a B-bender, namely a Parsons/White String-Bender.
The Guitar Show began broadcasting on August 27, 1984. It was taped in New York City and seen 11 p.m. every Monday on Channel 16 on Manhattan Cable TV. The first show featured Les Paul. Subsequent guests included Eddie Van Halen, Paul Gilbert, Danny Gatton and many more.
In the videos below, Page talks about the two guitars and demonstrates the B-bender. Page is clearly in a good mood and makes for an amusing guest, especially when he tries to explain the B-bender to his somewhat confused host.
For more about B-benders, check out Damian Fanelli's B-bender column, The Next Bend.
For the recording of their new and seventh studio album, The Waterfall, Louisville, Kentucky–based rockers My Morning Jacket packed up and headed out west—specifically, to Stinson Beach, a seaside town about an hour outside San Francisco.
There, they found inspiration in their surroundings.
“We got kind of lost out there, to be honest,” says guitarist Carl Broemel. “To get to the studio you had to walk through a forest, down a beach and then cruise up a hill overlooking the ocean. You’d see shooting stars along the way. It was beautiful.”
“It felt like being on the end of the planet,” adds vocalist and guitarist Jim James. “I mean, we were on the end of this planet, but it felt like we were on a different planet, and then at the end of that planet. It enhanced what we were doing in a very strange way.”
The result is that The Waterfall feels as expansive as the environs in which it was created, spanning buoyant, buzzy pop (“Big Decisions”), melancholic psychedelia (“Tropics”), laidback Seventies AM-radio rock (“In Its Infancy [The Waterfall]”), pastoral folk (“Get the Point”) and slow-burning soul (“Only Memories Remain”), among other styles.
And yet, says Broemel, “One of the things I like about it is it’s a pretty cohesive record, based on our history. It’s more of a front-to-back album in the classic sense, like a story.”
Throughout, James and Broemel color the songs with all manner of six-string textures, employing fuzzy electric riffs, gently fingerpicked acoustic passages, weepy pedal steel licks and expressive single-note lead work in the service of the varied songs.
As guitarists, says James, “I love working with Carl so much. We’re not quite opposites in the way we play, but I will say that he’s more educated than I am.” He laughs. “It’s like he’s got his Ph.D and I’m a three-year-old in preschool.”
According to James, My Morning Jacket actually left Stinson Beach with enough material for two albums. As such, The Waterfall might see a follow-up sooner rather than later.
“We recorded something like 24 songs,” he says, “and the hope is that sometime this year we’ll put those songs together. That’s the goal, at least. But I guess it just depends on how busy we get. And, thankfully, it looks like we have a lot on our plate coming up already.”
• GUITARS: (James) Early Sixties Gibson Barney Kessel, early Fifties Martin 000-style acoustic; (Broemel) Duesenberg Starplayer, Gretsch Tennessean
• AMPS: (James) 3 Monkeys Orangutan; (Broemel) Fender Tweed Deluxe and Seventies Vibrosonic; (both) Fender Sixties Princeton Reverb, Gibson Maestro Reverb-Echo
• EFFECTS: (James) Spaceman Sputnik Germanium Fuzz; (Broemel) Roland RE-201 Space Echo, Fulltone Tube Tape Echo, Spaceman Saturn V Harmonic Booster, Ibanez tube screamer
Recently, I've been experimenting with five-note patterns, or quintuplets.
A quintuplet is when you fit five notes where you'd usually fit four. For example, you can fit 20 16th-note quintuplets in a normal bar where you'd play five evenly spaced notes for each beat.
These rhythms can be challenging, so I wanted to give you some exercises and licks that will help you develop a "feel" for them.
When you first try to play quintuplets, you'll most likely find it difficult to evenly space each note. For this reason, when learning quintuplets you must take a very methodical and disciplined approach.
Being able to accurately play quintuplet licks and sequences will add dynamics to your playing and give you more interesting options when composing solos.
The first exercise is to play the first five notes of the A minor scale looped to a metronome. This exercise can be challenging due to the odd number of notes in each grouping. This means your picking hand will have to alternate between starting each beat with a down and up stroke. I suggest using strict alternate picking for this exercise.
Here's a slightly more musical idea using the same A minor scale but playing in different positions along the same two strings. When you've mastered this exercise, try playing the the scale in every possible position on these two strings.
Here's a repetitive idea using an F# minor pentatonic scale. I simply descend through the scale five notes and repeat the same pattern every beat. There are two possible ways to play this phrase. The first is to arrange the notes within a regular pentatonic shape as demonstrated in the first half of the bar. The second is play the final A note on the D string as demonstrated in the second half of the bar. I gave you these two options because you might find one of them easier. Practice them both and see which one you prefer.
Here's a single-string pattern based off the E minor scale. This is very simple but can sound interesting in a solo. I find this lick difficult at higher tempos even though technically it's easier than the previous examples. It's a sort of "tongue twister" for your fingers.
To end, try playing an entire A minor scale sequenced in quintuplets all the way up and down the neck. It will take a lot of practice to memorize each position, but after mastering it,you should have a good understanding and feel for quintuplets.
Will Wallner is a guitarist from England who now lives in Los Angeles. He recently signed a solo deal with Polish record label Metal Mind Productions for the release of his debut album, which features influential musicians from hard rock and heavy metal. He also is the lead guitarist for White Wizzard (Earache Records) and toured Japan, the U.S. and Canada in 2012. Follow Will on Facebook and Twitter.
It's been a long time since I've written a guitarworld.com column. I was in the midst of something known as writer's block.
Writer's block is defined as "the condition of being unable to write or how to proceed with writing." In thinking about how writer's block affected me, I came to realize it's not only writers who are affected. All creative people have, at some point, encountered this.
As guitarists and musicians, we've all felt unable to write new material, take our playing to the next level, be more creative with our playing, etc. So, in order to conquer writer's block, I decided to write about it.
See what I did there?
For this column, we'll call it a "creative block," and I'll discuss a few things that worked for me in terms of getting my mojo back. I'm confident they'll work for you.
First, I want to make an observation about having a creative block: It's not as if you aren't practicing or playing. I was doing both as per my normal routine. What defined the creative block for me was the feeling that nothing I played or wrote was good enough to see the light of day.
Since we're all unique individuals and players with unique styles, I'd assume everyone experiences a creative block in their own unique way as well. My struggle isn't the same as yours.
BLOCK BUSTER 1: ACCEPT AND UNDERSTAND
We need to grasp the concept that all-creative minded individuals go through this at one time or another. Some of the greatest guitar players, songwriters, musicians and composers have dealt with this. Accept this as part of the creative journey.
The frustration crept in when I didn't accept it and fought against it. That's when I didn't turn on the computer and write. That's when I felt nothing I was writing was good enough. That feeling even crept into my lessons with my students for a while. I felt like I had nothing new to offer them, which certainly is NOT the case.
Have you been there? Have you ever been in a creative block where you didn't want to show a fellow band mate a new song you wrote because you felt it wasn't up to snuff? Have you ever declined an invitation to an open jam or an audition because you felt your guitar ideas just weren't where they should be? Maybe you thought you'd reached a wall with your playing and blew off practicing. It's possible you're fighting the normal part of the creative process as I was.
Welcome to the club, my friend! Remember: Storms don't last forever—and neither do creative blocks. This too shall pass.
BLOCK BUSTER 2: FINISH THE THOUGHT
Even though it might be frustrating, sit down and finish that musical thought you were working on, whether it's a new lead idea, a new song, a new lyric, a new recording, a new practice regimen. Fight through the frustration. If you've ever worked out and lifted weights, you know it's very easy to plateau and not see any progress after a while.
One technique body builders use is the principle of muscle confusion. This is based on the concept of "shocking your system" by an uptake in intensity and/or weight, a new workout regimen, change of workout schedule, etc. Most bodybuilders have a hard time changing their routine for fear of losing the progress they've worked so hard for. In short, they're in a block! The same can be applied to guitarists and musicians. Don't be afraid to finish the thought or musical project you're working on. This is an essential action to conquer a creative block.
BLOCK BUSTER 3: SURROUND YOURSELF WITH INSPIRATION
There's an old saying: "If you're the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room."
The same can be applied to musicians. If you want to grow as a guitarist and musician and conquer a creative block, you need to be around inspiring musicians. This means musicians who possess more knowledge than you. This means being around guitarists who have forgotten more about the guitar than you have yet to learn.
We can do this in a number of ways. We can expand our minds and ears by listening and experiencing different genres of music. When I was going through my block, I'd listen to classical music, symphonies and operas and even take in a ballet for inspiration. It worked! Just being around something creative, new and fresh out of my usual element broadened my musical tastes and eventually inspired me enough to sit down and write.
Maybe listening to a master violinist or pianist instead of your favorite rock band is what you need to break though the rut you are experiencing. Secondly, we can play with creatively inspiring people. Recently, I had the pleasure of playing with some of the most talented individuals I've ever encountered. Their talent level forces me to get my act together—to a whole a new level.
Rehearsals are a breeze. They are easy, with no egos and a very positive, supportive vibe. They also can play and sing anything thrown at them. Just being around such super-talented people in a positive environment inspired me to practice more and gave me the confidence to sit in front of the computer and write. If you need some quick rut busters and maybe some inspiration, check out some of my older columns. I have a few titled "Rut Busters."
P.S: This group of musicians also inspired me to maybe get back into playing in bands again somewhere down the road if my schedule will allow it. Surrounding yourself with such individuals and environments will help you though a creative block.
Thank you, as always, for taking the time to read this column and checking out my space here at guitarworld.com. Comments and feedback are always welcome and encouraged. Now get off this internet thing and pick up that guitar and PLAY, just like yesterday!
Richard Rossicone is a veteran of the New York City and Long Island original and cover band scene. He's been playing since he was 8, when he attended his first concert (Kiss) and saw Pete Townshend smash a guitar. He has studied with various instructors, which led him to a career in music therapy. He began his educational journey at Queensboro Community College, where the faculty introducing him to classical music. He received his associate's degree in fine arts in 1997 and went on to receive his bachelor's in music therapy in 2001 and his master's in music therapy from New York University in 2004. He's been Board Certified as a music therapist since 2002. Richard continued his studies at C.W. Post University, pursuing a second master's degree in classical guitar performance and music history, studying under Harris Becker. He's been teaching guitar, piano and theory since 2002 and in 2006 started his own company, Rossicone Music Studios. Richard is the co-lead guitarist in Bad Habits, NYC's premier Thin Lizzy tribute band. In addition to his busy teaching, working and performing schedule, Richard plays on the Worship Arts Team at the Journey Church in NYC. Visit him at Axgrinder.com
Photo: Joseph Triano Photography
Today, GuitarWorld.com presents the exclusive premiere of Vortex, the new all-instrumental studio album by founding Journey guitarist Neal Schon.
You can stream the album—which will be released June 23 via Mascot Label Group's Music Theories Recordings—below.
While Vortex is rock-based, its 18 songs incorporate elements of jazz, classical and world music.
"This is an evolutionary album for me," Schon says. "I’ve always aspired to be a better player and push musical boundaries. And sure, I’ve sold 80 million records with Journey, and I’m proud of that, but this album is really me—all based on my guitar, which is my ‘voice.’ It’s bold. There’s love, and there’s definitely fire and an element of danger. And the energy level is off the hook.”
Among the album's guest stars is keyboardist Jan Hammer, whose many accomplishments include charter membership in Mahavishnu Orchestra. “Schon & Hammer Now” is a furious jam between the guitarist and Hammer.
"Jan is all over this album," Schon adds. "I wrote the material to give Jan room to stretch. There are not many three minute ditties. It’s all huge, epic, bombastic…futuristic.”
Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness. — Maya Angelou
Intervals are simple, useful and helpful bits of knowledge.
They’re a priceless musical commodity, being one of the most fundamental and applicable building blocks of scales and lead sequences.
Yet, despite the simplicity, the related theory can get fairly involved.
In fact, much of it is outside the scope my own guitar playing. Therefore, I don't need to know it all. So this guitar interval lesson is limited to information I’ve found to be the most useful and relevant to my instrument of choice. In other words, it’s just what you need to know and nothing more.
Note that this is an abridged version of a larger lesson. You can check out the full article on Guitar Chalk and download the PDF lesson outline.
Definition: What Is an Interval?
On guitar, it's simply space between any two notes on the fretboard.
Take for example, the following tabbed interval:
Both notes are separated by two semitones (also called a “half step” or one-fret jump), which are equal to a whole tone or “whole step.” But what if the two notes don’t occur on the same string?
Consider the following:
How does this work?
Even on different strings there's still a linear line of frets separating any two notes. We still count it the same way. More on this later.
What Are the Parts of an Interval?
An interval on the guitar is only two parts:
1. The Root Note
2. The Interval(s)
Intervals are always understood in relation to some root note.
For instance, the open G in a C chord is not the interval of the note that falls on the second or first fret in the same chord. Rather it’s the interval of the C that falls on the fifth string at the third fret.
Why? Because that C note is the chord’s root.
A Guitar Interval Chart
There are a total of 11 different intervals before you get to your first octave, which doubles the frequency of the original note. Therefore each interval should have a “Number of Frets” and an “Interval Quality.”
You’ll identify intervals by associating the number of frets with the corresponding interval quality and vice-versa. Here’s a chart displaying this information for all 12 intervals:
So how do we read this chart and translate it to the fretboard? Let’s start with something simple.
You’re in music class and the teacher wants you to draw minor second interval in guitar tab form. What do you do? First, recall from our chart that a minor second is a one semitone interval. That means you’ll have a note that falls one semitone from its root.
Since you can choose the root, you’ve got plenty of options.
The root note is at the third fret (G) while the interval falls on the fourth fret.
What About a Major Second?
To create a major second, we refer back to our chart, again, which tells us there are two semitones separating our interval and root note. You're probably beginning to see a pattern.
Behold, our major second:
You can continue through the chart in a similar manner.
The Major Third: Notes on Two Different Strings
What’s happening when we have intervals with notes on two different strings? We mentioned earlier that the same principles apply. Using the major third interval as an example, let's draw one up on a tab sheet with the two notes on separate strings.
What do we do first?
Per the chart, there are four semitones separating the interval from the root note in a major third. So this tab would qualify:
However, it’s problematic.
The jump from the third to the seventh fret is doable, but lengthy and inefficient.
There's a better way to play it.
Per the fretboard notes, we know the note at the seventh fret is a B. To get a more optimal interval, simply find another B note on the fifth string that's closer to our root.
The note we’re looking for is at the second fret (in red).
Any B note on any other string will qualify as a major third interval of the root G. For example, the following note is also a B:
Despite being an octave higher, the interval property doesn’t change.
What About the Perfect Fifth?
“Perfect fifth” might be a familiar term to you. If so, that’s good news since it’s one of the most important intervals you can learn.
Think two-note power chord:
Power Arpeggio Form
Power Chord Form
We have our interval note (D) seven semitones above the root (G). The seven-semitone spread gives us the perfect fifth.
This might seem like a lot to digest for such a simple topic. But keep mind, it's not even close to a comprehensive look at intervals, in a music theory sense. It's just enough for us guitar players to be dangerous. So best of luck to you and be sure to keep learning.
You can print this lesson out or download the Guitar Intervals PDF Outline for teaching it yourself or quick review.
Flickr Commons Image Courtesy of Kmeron
It’s probably not a coincidence that effects such as wah pedals and fuzz boxes started appearing en masse about the same time that recreational drugs like marijuana and LSD became popular with rock musicians.
Indeed, it would take the mind of an incredibly stoned individual — someone deprived of exposure to the sun’s rays, fed a diet of lukewarm Mountain Dew and stale frozen pizza and kept awake for days by snorting lines of Instant Maxwell House — to even conceive of the idea for some of the music industry’s many audio oddities.
In salute to effect innovators like Electro-Harmonix’s Mike Matthews and Zachary Vex of Z.Vex (both of whom may be as straight and unpolluted as an Iowa highway, for all we know), we present to you our selections for the strangest and most wonderful guitar effects ever unleashed upon the unsuspecting public.
Plugging into one of the following effects is like discovering an ancient Mayan city of gold on the tip of your fingernail while your cat pontificates, in Lebanese, about Proust. Or whacking yourself in the head really hard with a sledgehammer.
Note that, since it's unusual to come across two or three of these effects, let alone all 10, we do not have consistent photos or videos of the effects presented below. Luckily, there's this thing called YouTube.com. We tried to find the most to-the-point and least-annoying video for each effect. (We admit we really love the video for Number 5, the Maestro Rover!)
What could possibly be weirder than a guitar synthesizer pedal made in the early Seventies by a drum company? Like many so-called guitar synthesizers from this era, the Ludwig Phase II is not a synth but actually several effects, including fuzz, voltage-controlled filters and gating, combined in a box that unfolds to reveal a rocker pedal, several oversized mushroom-shaped footswitches and a control panel placed at a height only Verne Troyer would find comfortable.
With a little patient tweaking, the Phase II can produce the sound of anything from alien conversations to spaceship landings—the kind of weirdness that’s made it a favorite of Sonic Youth (Washing Machine), Primus’ Larry Lalonde (Pork Soda) and Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready (Binaural).
Ampeg is best known for its big ’n’ beefy bass amps, but the company also attempted to exploit the pedal market in a few rare instances. Ampeg’s first effort, the Scrambler, bewildered even acid casualties upon its introduction in 1969, but today’s bizarro stomp box aficionados consider it the Holy Grail. Although these pedals are rarer than Paris Hilton’s brain cells, they were built to withstand nuclear war, so units that turn up are usually in fine working condition. Its two controls (texture and balance) generate a mutated rainbow of fuzz tones ranging from metallic ring modulation with buzzing octave-up overtones to the flatulence of a 400-pound chili cook-off judge.
Tremolo effects aren’t particularly strange, but this early Fifties contraption, the first mass-produced external effect device for the electric guitar, earns distinction for its primitive design and clunky aesthetics. (And it was manufactured in Toledo, Ohio — isn’t that weird?) Instead of employing components like transistors, resistors and diodes to generate its on/off effect, the Tremolo Control used a motor to rock a glass tube filled with mercury (the original heavy metal) back and forth across an electrical contact to open and close the circuit. Unfortunately, mercury deteriorates over time, but Windex makes a safe alternative (and it provides “clean” tone). This effect is a favorite of Billy Gibbons, Ry Cooder and Duane Eddy.
Another so-called guitar synthesizer from the Seventies, the EMS Synthi Hi-Fli was mounted on a waist-high stand and looked like a prop from Dr. Who (EMS actually made the synths used to create sound effects for the show). Originally (and appropriately) called the Sound Freak, the Hi-Fli was essentially an early multi-effect unit that combined fuzz, octave shift, ring modulation, phasing and resonant filters to generate synthlike tones. David Gilmour used a Synthi Hi-Fli on The Dark Side of the Moon, and other fans include Steve Hackett (when he was with Genesis) and the Chemical Brothers.
Someone must have spiked the water coolers at Maestro with Blue Sunshine — how else to explain sonic oddities like Maestro’s Bass Brassmaster, Filter Sample and Hold, Ring Modulator and the world’s first fuzz box? The Maestro Rover is a rotating speaker unit that not only looks like a UFO but sounds like one, too, as the speaker can rotate at exceptionally high speeds to create watery, warbling Doppler effects. A built-in crossover routes low frequencies to a guitar amp while it directs treble frequencies to the Rover’s rather low-powered internal amp, which isn’t loud enough to irk even a Ladies’ Auxiliary tea party. That’s why David Gilmour’s Rover is, uh, house trained.
You know those bizarre, dissonant metallic boinks on ZZ Top’s “Cheap Sunglasses” and the closing theme of South Park? That’s the sound of a ring modulator. Electro-Harmonix and Maestro unleashed this atonal beast of an effect on unsuspecting musicians during the early Seventies, and guitarists have been struggling to tame them ever since. By moving the controls while you play (the EHX Hotfoot makes a handy “third hand”), you can imitate the sounds of extraterrestrial radio transmissions, drunken calypso steel drummers and screaming robot elephants. Who hasn’t wanted their guitar to sound like that?
One of the finest pedal flangers ever made, the ADA Flanger generates a wide variety of impressive effects, from jetlike whooshes to shimmering chorus. But spend a little extra time tweaking the controls and some truly bizarre sounds emerge, such as ring modulator–like percussive metal overtones and ghostly moans. Its best (i.e., weirdest) effect is a sort of “auto whammy” that is coaxed out of the pedal by turning the enhance control all the way up. Engage the effect and your guitar’s pitch will rise and fall dramatically and uncontrollably, even if you aren’t playing anything at all. How cool is that?
Perhaps the most appropriately named pedal of all time, the Roland Funny Cat sounds like a feline that has huffed a spray can of Rust-Oleum and downed a bottle of Jäger — and is being whipped. Kind of a fuzz/envelope-follower combination, the Funny Cat spews and mews unpredictably, with the effect often becoming more pronounced the softer, or the higher up the neck, you play. Considering how hard it was to get killer buds (an essential part of good pedal design) in Japan during the early Seventies, the Roland engineer who designed this probably smoked a lot of catnip instead.
These pedals are identical in every way except for their paint jobs. Controls consist of knobs for range (depth) and sample-and-hold speed, and a switch that engages either the sample-and-hold random-filter effect or an envelope follower, for autowah effects. Even with this limited feature set, the pedals can generate a surprisingly vast palette of strange but wonderful tones, ranging from juicy, drippy envelope-follower funk to guttural auto-arpeggiator stutters. Frank Zappa used one on “Ship Ahoy,” “Black Napkins” and several other songs, so if it’s weird enough for the man who wrote “Poofter’s Froth Wyoming Plans Ahead,” it’s certainly weird enough for you.
While honorable mention must be made to the Heil Talk Box (which provides guitarists with a tube that they stick in their mouths to duplicate the sound of a stomach being pumped and other barfy delights), the Electro-Harmonix Talking Pedal enables your guitar to speak through purely electronic means. Actually, it only produces “A-E-I-O-U” vowel sounds, but it does give a guitar an uncanny vocallike tonality that is reminiscent of Yoda speaking Cantonese.
First things first: We don’t want you to stop playing guitar. After all, Guitar World is a magazine for (and by) guitarists, so playing guitar is something we promote (understatement of the year).
Pursuing a special interest, however, has its hazards!
For one, approached with the wrong outlook, your hobby/vocation could lead to pathological behavior. Indeed, much like "The Force," the guitar, once mastered, can be used either for good or for evil.
Consider yourself warned.
10. Guitar Lingo Cramps Your Game: Convinced that strapping on a guitar is akin to bathing in Spanish fly, you get the idea that mentioning you are a guitarist is a tremendous pick-up line. See how her interest wanes as you wax eloquently about the Spanish Phrygian scale, the scale of love. Keep this up and you will spend the rest of your life alone.
09. You Can Make More Money Selling Lemonade: What, playing the guitar isn’t making you rich? But those rock magazines made it look so easy—as though any dunce with a savant-like talent for plagiarizing Zeppelin riffs could make a down payment on a new Jag. Yeah, right. Unless you can diversify your talents, you’re better off busking by slapping beef tongues together. At least that way you might actually catch the attention of passersby.
08. To Curb Your Flagrant Ego: Caught up in the fiercely competitive (yet small) world of guitar hotshots—where the main objective is to play faster than the dude sitting next to you at Guitar Center—you have forgotten one thing: in the big scheme of things, relatively few people on the planet care if you are the alpha dog of the Strat. And yet, operating with an inflated sense of self-importance, you have broken up good bands and destroyed friendships. What’s worse, the old-time guitar teacher with a love for folk, who can no longer compete with you, has gone out of business and is living on the street. Thanks, arsehole. Widdly, widdly, widdly …
07. You’re Worshiping False Gods: Clapton is not God. In fact, it’s possible the pressure put on him by the mere suggestion that he was God drove him to booze and drugs—well, that and the endless line of stalkers looking for parables about string bending. Have you been tempted into this sort of zealotry by your favorite soloist? If so, you are a fanatic. Please stop before your lust for guitar playing destroys the world, as predicted in Revelations.
06. You’re Running Out of Floor Space: Apparently, the latest trend in home decorating is clutter. Yeah—some long-winded yuppy showed it to me in one of those glossy lifestyle magazines. I’m kidding. Hey, pack rat, try selling some of that gear—the various stompboxes, 14 wah pedals and busted A.D.A.—you’ve been collecting since high school, and you just might have enough room to invite some people over. As a bonus, you may be left with enough cash to pay rent for another month.
05. Because You’re Bumming Us Out: Hey, guitar is great therapy. No doubt about it. But keep in mind that personal sessions are subject to instrument-patient confidentiality. Setting your personality disorder to Am–C–G–D and inflicting the depressing results on a captive audience is not only embarrassing—it’s downright cruel. Either refine your craft or invest in a sense of humor.
04. A Professional Injury: In your pursuit to be the ultimate string-stretching guitar hero, you have now damaged the tendons in your wrist. Technical term: carpal tunnel syndrome. You’ve tried awkward wrist braces. That didn’t work. Now your thumbs have curled in on themselves. You are less than human. If this hasn’t happened to you yet, don’t sue us or the guitar shop when it does. Oh yeah, and be careful with those pointy heavy metal guitars.
03. The Malmsteen Effect: You’ve hit an existential crisis. You’ve seen Yngwie … and Van Halen, and Buckethead, and Paul Gilbert, and Michael Freakin’ Angelo Batio. You’ve tried to play like them. But no matter how you train your fingers and study your theory, you never get it right. As your eyes become voids of despair, you ponder whether it’s worth continuing with this guitar, this … monstrosity. Despite that, your chops are in fine form.
02. There’s Nowhere Left to Go: Hell-bent on taking yourself to the top of the guitar heap, you’ve secretly developed techniques and products that are sure to get you noticed: things like using six amps on stage (one for each string), playing a five-neck, putting alligator clips on your strings, and swallowing a pack of D’Addarios and playing them internally. In short, your fixation has driven you mad.
01. Thou Shalt Not Covet: Remember the scene from This Is Spinal Tap where Nigel Tufnel shows off his guitar collection, including the one that has never been played? Is this you? Do you keep your guitars in plastic and sleep with the Blue Book of Guitars under your pillow? Guitars are meant to make music, not to be bought and stored. Have a heart: Some Third World countries are experiencing guitar shortages.
In addition, your obsessive habit has driven up the price of common used guitars. Quit now before you single-handedly collapse the economy.
Awesome iPhone photo (top): Damian Fanelli
As you might've heard, over the weekend, Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl broke his leg onstage at a show in Sweden (see the video below)—and returned to the stage in a cast to finish the show.
The singer/guitarist/drummer recently issued a statement on what exactly happened as well as tour date cancellations. You can read it below.
Your old pal, Dave here. Been a while, eh? It’s been one hell of a year, that’s for sure. Looks like we’ve got some serious catching up to do! Hmmm, let’s see…..where do I begin?
The funniest thing happened to me the other day in Sweden!
Two songs into our set at Ullevi Stadium in Gothenburg, I made a mad dash to the right of the stage during MONKEY WRENCH to shred some tasty licks for the kids up front. It was a beautiful night, beautiful stadium, 52,000 screaming people….dream gig! Well….wait for it….I definitely shredded something (ZING!) Wound up feet first over the Edge (pun intended), dropping about 12 feet, dislocating my ankle and snapping my fibula like an old pair of take out chopsticks. Whoopsie daisy. Not good. Without realizing the extent of my injuries, I stood up to get back onstage and crumbled like a sack of Joe Theismanns (look it up, kiddies). That shit was B-R-O-K-E.
As I lay there on my back, I just thought, “Are you kidding me? We haven’t even gotten to the screamy bit of the song and the gig is fucking OVER?” So, I asked for a microphone and told the audience I’d get fixed up and come right back to finish the show ASAP. Shock? Probably. But, I couldn’t stand the thought of such a perfect night going to waste! I looked at our drummer Taylor and said, “Bust out some Chevy Metal covers while they fix me up!” So, as the band kicked in to “Stay With Me” by The Faces, the medics poured me onto a stretcher, took me off to the side, cut my favorite pants off (so bummed) and popped my ankle back into place. I asked if I could get back onstage to finish the show, but they said I needed a cast (which was 20 minutes away at the hospital) to hold my ankle in place. So I looked my EMT, Johan in the eyes and said “Well, then you’re coming up there with me right now and holding it in place until they can bring the cast here. Ready?” He stared at me wide-eyed for a second and said, “OK, lets’ go…”
I don’t know who was more scared, me or Johan. 5 minutes later, I don’t know who was having more fun, me or Johan. (I actually looked at him in between songs and said “This is pretty fun, isn’t it?” He smiled and nodded yes.)
Like clockwork, the cast arrived, I walked offstage for a song or two as they put it on me, and then came back to finish the gig. Let’s just say that singing our song “Walk” with a straight face was pretty goddamned hard. “These Days” was a good one, too. (Easy for you to say! Your leg has never been broken!) All in all, it was without a doubt the single most bizarre Foo Fighters show in the entire 20 years of being a band. Hands down. What seemed like a tragedy at first turned into a triumph, and we all walked away with a new sense of appreciation for what we’ve got…
Straight to the hospital for x-rays, where we finally saw the extent of the damage. That’s when things got really real. I was told I needed surgery to fix the break. I decided to fly back to London and find a doctor that could see me ASAP. (Thanks for the recommendation, Paul!) An MRI and a few x-rays later, we set a date and prepared for the operation.
Operation went well. Had a great team and nice stay in hospital. Good curry, too! Thank you to everyone involved.
So….here I am, recovering with 6 metal screws in my leg, thinking about a lifetime of holding up TSA lines from here to Kalamazoo….damn.
Here’s the not so witty bit…….My doctors have advised me to lay low for a while. The most important thing now is for me to recover from the surgery, to keep my leg elevated so as to keep swelling down and prevent any infection/complication that could do long term damage. I’m not out of the woods yet, folks…
Which means, and it kills me to say it…..the doctors have told us to cancel shows. I’m really so sorry, guys. You know I hate to do it, but I’m afraid it’s just not physically possible for me at the moment. We’re doing our best right now to work out a plan, so bear with us. You know we’re good for our word. But for now, I need to make sure we have YEARS of gigs ahead of us….
You have always stood by our band, and we will always stand by you. Like I say at every show, we wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you guys. And I mean that. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. And I will do everything I can to come back and give you a night to remember for the rest of your lives AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
Until then…my sincerest apologies.
Your friend, Dave
PS…….Kanye…..Imma let you have this one…"
Line 6 has unveiled Helix, its new flagship tour-ready guitar processor.
From the company:
Helix represents a giant leap forward in guitar processing, as well as a new way of thinking about guitarists and their relationship to technology.
Every hardware and software component has been meticulously designed and works together to accurately recreate the dynamic feel of tube amplifiers and lush sonic footprint of classic effects pedals.
The breakthrough HX modeling engine uses dual-DSP processing to deliver a level of realism that hasn’t been previously attainable from modeling, and brings along with it an entirely new playing experience.
“Helix is the start of a new chapter in the way guitarists relate to technology,” said Marcus Ryle, Line 6 President. “Line 6 has spent over twenty years refining and evolving modeling technology. With Helix, we’ve created a next-generation platform with all-new HX models that are the culmination of all our past experience. We are confident that Helix will sound and feel amazing to both analog purists and tech savvy players alike”.
With 12 touch-sensing footswitches, each with a multi-color LED ring and dedicated graphic display, plus a large color LCD and a revolutionary hands-free editing mode, Helix sets a new standard for making tremendous power astonishingly easy to use. Add in professional MIDI and hardware control capabilities and four assignable effects loops, and it’s also the most comprehensive master controller for guitar systems ever built.
Helix will be available as a floor pedal and rack version, with the same audio and control capabilities. To bring the touch sensitive footswitches and display capabilities of the pedal board version to Helix Rack, there will also be an optional foot controller.
Pricing and availability
The Helix floor pedal will begin shipping at the end of summer 2015 and will have an MSRP of $1,499. The rack version (MSRP $1,499) and foot controller (MSRP $499) will arrive in the fall. All models will be available through select dealers worldwide.
For more information, visit line6.com/helix.
To many Eighties music fans, Jim Peterik will always be the maestro behind classic songs like “Eye of the Tiger,” “I Can’t Hold Back” and “Burning Heart."
But prior to launching Survivor in 1978, Peterik was the front man for another successful group—the Ides of March—whose signature 1970 song, “Vehicle,” is still played regularly on the radio and in TV shows and films.
This year, the Ides of March are celebrating their 50th anniversary. In honor of the occasion, Peterik and company have released a new five-disc set, Last Band Standing: The Definitive 50-Year Anniversary Collection.
The box set includes four Ides albums: Vehicle,Common Bond,World Woven and Midnight Oil. Also included are early singles like “You Wouldn’t Listen” and “Like It or Lump It,” plus random tracks the group recorded after reforming in the Nineties, not to mention three brand-new songs.
The fifth disc is a DVD that features a 2014 Ides show from the House of Blues in the band’s native Chicago. It features songs that span the band’s career, plus re-arranged versions of Survivor songs and hits Peterik wrote with 38 Special and Sammy Hagar.
I recently spoke with Peterik about the Ides of March's 50th anniversary box set, his new project with Marc Scherer and more.
GUITAR WORLD: When it dawns on you that this is the 50th anniversary of the Ides of March, what comes to mind?
There are so many thoughts. We always used to think we had an identity crisis. I remember we started out as a British invasion wannabe band, emulating bands like the Kinks, Zombies and Beatles. Then we got enamored with brass and started a Memphis/soul thing.
Then the big moment came when we had the whole brass section and went in and cut “Vehicle” and toured the country with groups like Cold Blood and Janis Joplin. We threw out all of these different incarnations. When I listen to it now as a whole, it all hangs together. There’s a group personality and a positivity that really shines through the music.
Where did the idea for the 50th anniversary box set begin?
It was time. The number “50” is a landmark, so we thought, what can we do? I’ve always respected the format of a box set and really like the solidity of it. It’s like a block of granite. But it was also lot of work. A lot of the RCA material had never been transferred from analog to digital. So they had to get these big, special ovens in just so the oxide wouldn’t flake off. To hear the original masters again the way they sounded in the studio was a revelation.
What else can you tell me about the set?
When you listen to the songs on this set, including the three new ones, it’s like traveling down memory lane. When we were compiling songs for the collection, some of them we hadn’t heard since the day we recorded them. But if you listen to the songs back to back, the development of the band is just amazing.
One of the treasures on the collection is the DVD of the Ides playing the House of Blues in Chicago. What was it like performing in that room?
That’s one of my favorite venues, and this was one our first headline show there. We selected it because of the vibe of the room. It’s built to be like an old theater. It’s the real deal, and we knew it was going to be the right choice.
When you wrote “Vehicle,” did you have any idea of how big it would be?
We never saw it as a single. To us, it was just a song people liked to dance to. I remember we put it as the fourth song on a demo we sent to Warner Brothers. They listened to it, and the first three songs they passed on, but they told us the fourth one was going to be a smash. We just couldn’t believe they thought it would be this big record. But as soon as we heard it on the radio, we said, “Holy shit! They were right" [laughs].
With the Ides you got to tour with a bunch of great groups in their early years. Did any of them stand out to you as special?
We saw something special in a lot of bands, one of them being the Allman Brothers. After “Vehicle,” we were on stage with them many times. Once was in New Orleans where we opened for them and I got to know Duane. I remember watching him and just couldn’t believe what he could do with the slide. But the thing we were most astounded about were the jams. They always had a structure, but every night it was something totally different. It was amazing to watch.
What can you tell me about Risk Everything, your new project with vocalist Marc Scherer?
I had been dancing around with Marc for about 20 years. I remember being in the studio with Survivor once and heard him singing in another studio with this band called H.P. Lovecraft. Another time I was with the Ides of March when he was in the studio next door. Both times I got his number and lost it. Then two years ago, I bumped into him again in the studio and knew it was finally time to do something together. This is a special album.
A song from the new album, "Cold Blooded,” has a special cameo appearance. Can you tell me how that came about?
“Cold Blooded” is probably the most “Survivor”-esque song I’ve written since I left the band in 1996. It has that “Broken Promises” kind of toughness to it. I remember when it came time to make the video, I had the idea of getting in touch with Lee Ann Marie, who was the girl from our “I Can’t Hold Back” video in 1984. I found her, and she still looks the same as when she stepped on to that L train. I asked her if she’d like to reprise the role and she said, “Absolutely!” It was a great full-circle moment.
How would you like Jim Peterik to be remembered?
For my spirit of positivity. I always look at the glass as being half-full instead of half-empty. I’d also like to be remembered for passing the torch. I like to pass along some of what I’ve learned to young musicians to give them shortcuts on how to avoid some of the pitfalls I’ve seen and lived.
James Wood is a writer, musician and self-proclaimed metalhead who maintains his own website, GoJimmyGo.net. His articles and interviews are written on a variety of topics with passion and humor. You can follow him on Twitter @JimEWood.
Look around you.
There seems to be a seven-string renaissance happening at the moment.
Actually, eight-string guitars seem to be going pretty strong, too. But there's something particularly satisfying about plugging in a seven and riffing out in between the traditional ranges of the guitar and bass.
Don't get me wrong; eight strings are great for getting right down into low-end territory and really shaking the walls. But if one thing really stood out to me at a recent Winter NAMM show, it was the sheer number of companies delving into sevens for the first time, or really embracing them in a big way.
First-time models from Parker, Buddy Blaze and even some one-off Charvel Custom Shop sevens join new models by established seven-string purveyors, such as LTD's new Whitechapel, Suicide Silence and Unearth sigs, some pretty hot Schecters and DBZs and, of course, new models by the company that started the seven-string rock guitar trend, Ibanez.
A lot of great music has been made on seven-string guitars over the past 22 years or so since Ibanez released the Universe at Steve Vai's behest. During the first era of the seven-string, Vai was pretty much the only guy exploring the instrument's potential.
It fell out of favor until the mid- to late Nineties, when a bunch of guys picked up secondhand Universes and built their sound around the lowest string. Then detuning a regular six became all the rage and everyone forgot about the seven for a while. And now it's back.
There's a lot of history behind the seven-string now, and here are a few of my personal favorites. Please feel free to share some of your own in the comments or on Facebook.
Steve Vai, "I Would Love To"
There are other Steve Vai songs that make use of the seven-string, sometimes quite obviously ("The Audience Is Listening,""The Riddle,""Ya Yo Gakk") and sometimes quite subtly ("For the Love of God"; listen really closely to see if you can spot where Vai lands on the low B).
But "I Would Love To" was the most radio-friendly, MTV-visible track from his breakthrough solo album Passion And Warfare, and the song makes a great case for the seven-string's use as a wide range guitar, rather than just an excuse to play really, really low notes.
Dream Theater,"A Change of Seasons"
Much like "I Would Love To," John Petrucci's work on "A Change of Seasons" is a great example of how to use the seven-string guitar to play things you couldn't play on either a regular six-string guitar in standard tuning or on a baritone.
He zips all around the neck, making full use of the seven-string's range in clean and distorted settings, on supportive rhythms, blindingly intricate passages, wailing solos and crushing riffs. Yet at no point does the choice of instrument distract from the song itself.
Strapping Young Lad, "Skeksis"
Oh, so standard seven-string tuning's not low enough for you? How about Devin Townsend's GCGCGCE tuning? You can hear this used to great and guttural effect on "Skeksis" from Strapping Young Lad's Alien album.
Progressive, exhilarating, intense and ridiculously heavy, the sheer technicality of this song foreshadowed the djent movement. I'm sure I can hear this song's influence when I listen to Periphery's Misha Mansoor.
Fear Factory, "Descent"
Fear Factory's Dino Cazares was an early pioneer of applying low tunings to thrash-influenced metal, but by the late '90s he was going the other way, using seven-string guitars to increase his range upwards rather than downwards.
A perfect example is "Descent" from Obsolete, where Dino combines a low bassline with higher arpeggios.
The riff itself isn't too tricky from a technical perspective, but it served as a timely reminder to guitarists of the era that there was much more to be done with a seven than just low riffage.
Joe Satriani,"Hands in the Air"
Satch isn't the first guy who comes to mind when you think of seven-string guitars, but he gets a pass on this list, thanks to the riff in "Hands In The Air," one of the most fun riffs you'll ever play for an hour straight. Or maybe that's just me.
Joe has had other seven-string songs over the years, including one called—get this—"Seven String."
Korn, "Freak on a Leash"
Korn kickstarted the second wave of seven-string use in the Nineties, and they inspired a lot of less-creative copycats who just ran with the low-end aspect of what the band were known for, but the interplay between guitarists Head and Munky on "Freak on a Leash" offers a great lesson in a more atmospheric use of the seven-string.
Creepy high melodies and muddled low chords build tension, then the chorus riff shifts and snakes in a really unique way before the creep sets in again.
Jeff Loomis, "Jato Unit"
Loomis' seven-string skills are put to great use on this monster.
Big octave melody lines, low palm-muted riffage, wide arpeggios, whammy bar dives, syncopated rhythms—this one is a great song to sharpen your skills, and, if you're a proficient six-string player making the transition to seven for the first time, it's a great one to cut your teeth on.
Make it to the end and you can truly call yourself a seven-string guitarist.
John Petrucci photo: Marty Temme, johnpetrucci.com
Peter Hodgson is a journalist, an award-winning shredder, an instructional columnist, a guitar teacher, a guitar repair guy, a dad and an extremely amateur barista. In his spare time he runs a blog, I Heart Guitar, which allows him to publicly geek out over his obsessions. Peter is from Melbourne, Australia, where he writes for various magazines (including Guitar World) as well as for Gibson.com.
Bedell Guitars is pleased to introduce the Bedell Wildfire Series of acoustic guitars—part of the Bedell Homegrown Collection—built with all American-grown tonewoods with stunning, handcrafted detail and sound.
Available in Dreadnought, Orchestra and Parlor body shapes, the Bedell Wildfire Series combines solid Adirondack spruce and gorgeously figured bigleaf maple tonewoods to deliver the sound that made the guitar our country’s most popular musical instrument.
The Bedell Wildfire Series is the most soulful, native series of instruments Bedell crafts.
The beauty of the flamed bigleaf maple and the power of sturdy Adirondack spruce are accentuated by exquisite appointments and a breathtaking Fire Burst gloss finish. As much a visual art piece as a musical instrument, your Bedell Wildfire instrument won’t be adorning your walls, but rather coming to life in your hands with every note you play.
Bedell craftspeople have carefully paired these two American-grown tonewoods to expose the musical gifts each offers, hand-tuning every top and customizing the tone bars for sonic balance, then matching it to a hand-tuned back. The result is a liveliness that simply must be experienced. Eastern hard rock maple is used for the neck, with a walnut fretboard and bridge rounding out this collection of the finest American woods. And like all Bedell instruments, clear-cut trees are never used as source materials.
Additional features of the Bedell Wildfire Series include K&K Pure Mini electronics, maple binding, beautiful figured maple peghead veneer, mosaic pin inlays and deluxe hardshell case.
The Bedell Wildfire Dreadnought, Bedell Wildfire Parlor and Bedell Wildfire Orchestra guitars are available now through Bedell dealers, with a retail price of $3,990. As with all Bedell instruments, the Bedell Wildfire Series guitars are handcrafted at the company’s Bend, Oregon, workshop.
Find out more at bedellguitars.com.
Donald Trump announced that he's running for president yesterday, July 16.
At the event, which took place at Trump Tower, Trump played Neil Young's 1989 song "Rockin' in the Free World" nice and loud—as you can hear in the video below—over the public-address system.
This is something Young is none too pleased about.
A brief statement from Young's longtime management company, Lookout, read: "Donald Trump was not authorized to use 'Rockin' in the Free World' in his presidential candidacy announcement. Neil Young, a Canadian citizen, is a supporter of Bernie Sanders for President of the United States of America."
The Trump campaign says it used the song legally through a licensing deal with ASCAP. But as Rolling Stone pointed out, ASCAP's rules are different when it comes to using music as part of political messages. When someone is running for office, he or she needs to reach out to the song's owners.
Check out the video below; "Rockin' in the Free World" plays at the very beginning of the clip.
The original, single-speaker Vox AC10, introduced as early as 1959, had undergone several cosmetic changes before it was finally discontinued in 1965, but what mostly remained intact was its distinct circuit, found in many of the company’s flagship line of amplifiers.
Having more power than the diminutive, practice-sized AC4 and being more compact than the influential and gig-ready AC15, the AC10 occupied a desirable space between those two popular amplifiers that were recognized for their harmonically rich overdrive and jangly clean tone.
Now, Vox has revived this classic all-tube amplifier with the Custom Series AC10C1, which brilliantly reproduces Vox’s legendary Top Boost sound in a lower-wattage amp with the addition of an onboard studio quality reverb for even more versatility.
FEATURES: The AC10C1 foregoes the original’s square shape for a more portable, rectangular housing, similar to the AC15 Custom. With this extra length, the amp has more low-end resonance and greater projection in volume. Considering it feels lighter than its stated 27 pounds, it’s an ideal candidate for a personal stereo rig when using two. Dick Denney’s original design of normal and vibrato channels has been replaced with a single input to accommodate this model’s built-in Top Boost circuit. The AC10C1 features top-mounted “chicken-head” controls for gain, bass, treble, reverb and master volume, along with an external speaker jack, two 12AX7 preamp tubes and two EL84 tubes pushing 10 watts of output power. The single 1x10-inch Celestion VX10 speaker is evenly voiced, providing the bell-like tone of Celestion’s blue alnico speaker at lower volumes and the bark of their Greenback when cranked.
PERFORMANCE: As the owner of three AC30s from different eras, I’m obviously a sucker for the Vox sound. Fortunately, the AC10C1 lets me get that tone in an amp that’s both portable and loud enough for gigging. What makes it impressive is how detailed and focused its Top Boost tone is no matter what guitar is plugged into its input. The bass and treble EQ knobs deliver precise tone shaping, and the even taper of the gain and master volume knobs allows for enough clean headroom before blossoming to complex overdriven crunch. Turning up the treble produces sparkling cleans that have razor-sharp top-end sheen. For more muscular tones, the bass knob provides ample body to shape the amount of heft. The reverb has an expansive splash but doesn’t overwhelm the sound because it lacks the noisy digital artifacts found in most built-in reverbs.
LIST PRICE: $599.99
MANUFACTURER: Vox Amplification, voxamps.com
The studio-quality reverb adds incredible dimension and ambience considering the AC10’s portable size.
At 10-watts, the AC10 has plenty of volume and nails all the ringing clean jangle and chunky overdrive that Vox is famous for.
THE BOTTOM LINE: The compact VOX AC10 packs all the legendary Top Boost character of the flagship AC30 and is cleverly voiced for more headroom, versatility and chime.
PLATINUM AWARD WINNER:
If you read guitar magazines anytime during the late Eighties through late Nineties, you’re probably already familiar with the name and work of John Page, who was one of the co-founders of the Fender Custom Shop.
If you don’t know John Page’s name, you probably know his work from guitars like the prototypes for Fender’s Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck signature models to various limited-edition models like the Harley-Davidson, Marilyn Monroe and Hendrix Monterey Strats.
Page left building guitars in 1998 to be the Executive Director of the Fender Museum for several years before breaking from guitars altogether, but in 2006 he made a comeback with his own company, John Page Guitars.
Page initially focused entirely on custom instruments, but earlier this year he teamed up with HRS Unlimited to start the John Page Classic brand and offer his first production model guitars. The Ashburn is the first John Page Classic model, which the company describes as the industry’s first “custom production” guitar.
FEATURES: With its asymmetrical double cutaway body shape, contoured body, and three single-coil pickups, the Ashburn represents Page’s evolution of the original 1954 Stratocaster design. Refinements include a neck that attaches to the body via machine screws with threaded inserts to enable greater tone transfer between the neck and body, Gotoh staggered vintage-style tuners that eliminate the need for string trees, and Bloodline JP-1 pickups, with the bridge pickup mounted at a reverse angle with the low E string polepiece located closer to the bridge. Controls are streamlined to a set of master volume and master tone knobs and a five-position pickup selector, and the bridge is a high-performance Gotoh 510 tremolo. The output jack is side-mounted.
The body and neck are the classic combination of alder and maple (respectively), and the materials are carefully selected for performance. The neck has 22 nickel-silver medium frets, a 25 ½-inch scale, comfortably rounded C profile, 12-inch radius, and is available with a maple or rosewood fretboard.
PERFORMANCE: Right out of the box, the Ashburn sounds and plays incredible. The pickups deliver rich, harmonically complex tone with percussive punch and bodacious midrange usually only found in the most desirable vintage Strats. If you want Stevie Ray’s shade of blues, it’s here, but so is Uli Jon’s hard rocking drive, Jimi’s snarl and Jeff’s howl. The neck is as comfortable as a velvet couch overstuffed with Siberian goose down, and the deep cutaway makes it as easy to play at the 22nd fret as it is at the first.
LIST PRICE: $1,499
MANUFACTURER: HRS Unlimited, johnpageclassic.com
The neck attaches to the body via machine screws with threaded inserts to provide greater tone transfer between the neck and body.
Three Bloodline JP-1 single-coil pickups provide rich, harmonically complex tone with fat midrange and powerful punch.
THE BOTTOM LINE: The John Page Classic Ashburn delivers the modern evolution of the classic Strat design by combining numerous refinements with carefully selected tonewoods and meticulous attention to detail.
PLATINUM AWARD WINNER
Names like Leo Fender, Jim Marshall and Ted McCarty are rightfully revered in the guitar community.
Rupert Neve is another luminary whose name belongs in that company, but he’s not as well known because his contributions and influence have more to do with recorded guitar sound than the usual day-to-day playing or performing.
His Neve 1073 and 1081 mic preamp/EQ modules introduced in the Seventies are probably responsible for more classic guitar recordings and tones than any other single other piece of gear short of perhaps the Shure SM57 mic.
Reinhold Bogner, a modern-day legend who has made his own significant contributions to guitar tone, recently joined forces with Rupert Neve to produce a trio of pedals—the Burnley, Harlow and Wessex—that take an entirely different approach to overdrive and distortion.
These pedals are inspired by the dynamic and detailed sounds of classic Neve mixing consoles, which featured custom transformer-coupled inputs and outputs. Neve designed special custom audio transformers for these pedals, which deliver studio-quality sound, dynamics and tonal dimension that transcend the typical performance capabilities of a standard stomp box.
FEATURES: Each of the three pedals offers its own distinct personality provided by unique transformer designs for each model. The Bogner Burnley is a dedicated distortion pedal with level, gain and tone controls and a Fat/Tight switch. The Wessex is an overdrive pedal featuring level, gain, treble and bass controls and an Enhance/Normal switch. The Harlow is described by Bogner as “Boost with Bloom” and provides level, tone and bloom controls.
All three pedals share a variety of common characteristics and features. A “jewel light” indicator illuminates red when the pedal is engaged and turns progressively bluer depending on playing dynamics and the guitar’s output level. Other common features include true bypass switching, mono inputs and outputs and battery or 9VDC power (50mA or more). The compact housings are built like tanks, and an optional bubinga hardwood top panel is available for an additional $60.
PERFORMANCE: The sound quality and performance of all three pedals is on another level compared to the average overdrive and distortion pedal. Whereas many overdrive and distortion pedals boost everything going into it, including noise, these pedals kept the noise from a particularly troublesome single-coil guitar at bay while increasing the level of notes played quite impressively. Each pedal has its own tonal personality, but it’s a personality that complements the sound of your guitar and amp rig rather than dominating it.
The Wessex offers the widest variety of tones and textures thanks to its individual treble and bass EQ controls. Clean boost is produced by cranking up the level and keeping gain at low settings, and as the gain control is turned up the personality changes from slight grit to aggressive crunch, ending up just shy of full-on high-gain distortion. The Enhance setting boosts both bass and treble without scooping out mids to maintain full-boded tone and expressive midrange. This is the most versatile pedal of the bunch, and I recommend it as a first purchase for guitarists who can only afford one.
The Burnley is a very aggressively voiced distortion pedal that can boost both gain and output level quite significantly, but the tone never gets over the top and remains musically useful throughout its entire range. The Fat setting produces fat, rich, slightly compressed lead tones, making the Burnley a great choice for a solo boost pedal, particularly for players who love smooth, singing sustain. The Tight setting is better for rhythm playing and single note lines where a little more dynamic edge and responsiveness is preferred. The Tone control thickens up lower midrange frequencies to give the overall tone more heft.
The Harlow boost pedal provides the most distinctive effect of the group. With the bloom control rolled all the way off, it produces a range of overdrive tones from clean boost to crushed glass crunch, but as the bloom control is turned up the tone becomes more aggressive. The effect is similar to a combination of tube amp sag and a compressor pushed until it begins to breathe, but it is much more dynamic, responsive and detailed. It’s almost like extreme fuzz, but the notes are much more musical and refined.
LIST PRICE: $269.99 (each, $329.99 for bubinga front panel)
MANUFACTURER: Bogner Amplification, bogneramplification.com
Each model features its own unique custom transformer designed by Rupert Neve to provide incredibly dynamic and detailed boost, overdrive and distortion effects.
The Burnley includes a Fat/Tight switch that provides a selection of slightly compressed lead tones or dynamically responsive rhythm and solo textures.
The Harlow’s bloom control radically changes the personality of clean boost and overdrive crunch to aggressive fuzz- and compressor-like sag.
The Wessex’s treble and bass tone controls and Enhance/Normal switch deliver a wide variety of textures from clean boost to hard rock distortion.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Bogner’s Burnley, Harlow and Wessex are studio-quality pedals that greatly expand your rig’s tonal and textural range, providing incredibly expressive overdrive and distortion tones with impressive dynamics and noise-free performance.
As useful as sweep picking can be for playing an ascending or descending arpeggio over a single chord, developing the ability to seamlessly transition from one arpeggio shape to another within a lead phrase will greatly aid in one’s complete understanding and ultimate mastery of the technique.
With this in mind, this month I’d like to demonstrate how to apply the sweep picking techniques I presented in the previous two columns to playing arpeggios over moving chord progressions.
As a brief review, sweep picking, or sweeping, entails dragging the pick across a group of adjacent strings in a single direction and stroke, i.e., downward or upward, with only one note picked per string.
A downstroke sweep is used to play an ascending arpeggio, moving from lower strings to higher strings, and an upstroke sweep is employed to perform a descending arpeggio, moving from higher strings to lower strings.
Let’s envision a four-chord progression in the key of A minor that moves from Am down one whole step to G, then down one and a half steps to Em and finally down another whole step to D. As shown in FIGURE 1, I use downstroke and upstroke sweeps across the top five strings to perform an ascending and descending arpeggio over each chord, picking mostly one note per string, the exceptions being on the high E string, where I change the direction of the sweep (followed by a pull-off), and when I briefly alternate pick two notes on the A string on the Em and D arpeggios (an upstroke followed by a downstroke in each case).
FIGURE 2 illustrates a pattern wherein each of the ascending and descending arpeggios from FIGURE 1 is repeated before moving on to the next arpeggio in the progression. Notice that, when repeating the Am and G arpeggios in bars 1 and 2, I “double pick” the lowest note with a quick up-down sequence. When playing the Em and D arpeggios, however, the notes that were hammered onto the A string are included in the upstroke sweep during the descent.
Another useful twist on this approach is to focus only on the top three strings, as demonstrated in FIGURES 3–5. FIGURE 3 begins with what’s called a first-inversion Am triad, for which the third of the chord, C, is the lowest note, played on the G string. In FIGURE 4, I move up the fretboard to a second-inversion A minor triad shape, for which the fifth of the chord, E, is the lowest note, again played on the G string.
In FIGURE 5, I likewise move up the neck again to the next chord tone of Am sounded on the G string, which is the A root note, resulting in what’s called a root-position A minor triad. Be sure to memorize all of these shapes and patterns, then try transposing them to other string groups and keys and areas of the fretboard.
Most of us are familiar with at least a few of the modes, which are various reorientations of the notes of a standard scale, such as the major scale, around a different root note.
To review, the major scale’s minor modes are Dorian (intervallically spelled 1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7), Aeolian (1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7), Phrygian (1 b2 b3 4 5 b6 b7), and Locrian (1 b2 b3 4 b5 b6 b7), and its major modes are Ionian, which is the major scale itself (1 2 3 4 5 6 7), Lydian (1 2 3 #4 5 6 7) and Mixolydian (1 2 3 4 5 6 b7).
The great majority of metal music is based on the Aeolian mode, and in this month’s column I’d like to show you a simple, effective way to take any Aeolian line and change and mutate its character, which entails altering only one note.
FIGURE 1 is a single-note run based on the A Aeolian mode (A B C D E F G), which is comprised of the same seven notes as the C major scale but rooted on A instead of C. The line is performed with alternate picking (down-up-down-up) throughout, so strive to maintain an even and consistently precise articulation.
The line’s melodic contour begins with four ascending notes, followed by three descending notes, then five ascending notes, and then 11 descending notes, after which the pattern of five ascending notes followed by 11 descending notes repeats.
In FIGURE 2, I use essentially the same structure but move the minor, or “flatted,” seventh, G, up a half step to the major seventh, G#, which mutates the scale to A harmonic minor (A B C D E F G#), intervallically spelled 1 2 b3 4 5 6 7. Using a similar melodic approach, I begin by ascending through one and a half octaves of the scale, followed by a three-note descent and then an eight-note ascent.
Using this pattern, the phrase gradually works its way up the fretboard. Notice how, by simply changing the flatted seventh, G, to the major seventh, G#, the musical character and mood of the line is altered in a very distinct way, illustrating how one can easily substitute one note in any Aeolian melody to transform it into a harmonic-minor melody.
Now let’s try doing this same sort of thing in E minor. The first three bars of FIGURE 3 consist of a long, descending line played in steady 16ths and based on E Aeolian (E F# G A B C D), played in 15th position.
In bar 5, I switch to ascending eighth notes based on the same scale, but then, in the next bar, I substitute the major seventh, D#, for the minor, or flatted, seventh, D. The reason this note stands out from the rest is it functions as a brief allusion to the major five chord, B, as D# is that chord’s major third.
Try taking any other E Aeolian-based melody you know and changing the D notes to D# to transform it to an E harmonic minor melody.