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    Musicians, pro light and sound professionals, songwriters and people who love making music can take advantage of all that NAMM has to offer during a one-day Music Industry Day, July 13, at Nashville’s new Music City Center.

    Music Industry Day, which takes place 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday during NAMM’s three-day music instrument and product trade event, invites those in the music and performance industry to soak in the sights and sounds of the iconic show and attend professional enrichment workshops.

    Musicians can meet the artists and engineers designing the equipment of the future, network with other musicians and attend workshops designed to further careers in music or a passion for music making. The latest products and technology will debut at the event, offering a chance to demo in person the music equipment and instruments of the future.

    “Music Industry Day on Saturday will offer a great opportunity for music business pros to access the knowledge and resources of NAMM exhibitors and constituent groups,” said Dave Pomeroy, president of the Nashville Musicians Association. “NAMM is an exciting confluence of gear manufacturers, musicians and enthusiasts, and we are proud to be a part of Summer NAMM's evolution. We look forward to helping fill the new Music City Center with a joyful noise!"

    NAMM’s Music Industry Day features a full slate of workshops designed to further careers and aspirations of musicians, songwriters and recording/sound pros. High-profile panelists and speakers from all areas of the music-making world will host:

    • The Musician’s Marketing and PR Checklist
    • 10 Ways to Get a Magazine to Review Your CD
    • So, You Want to Be a Session Player?
    • Win a Digital Single Deal With Guitar Player Records
    • Practice Personalities: Effective and Efficient Ways to Practice According to Your Personality
    • Top Nashville Songwriters Share Tips for Success
    • The Sessions: Your Path to Success in the Music Industry
    • Making Music Money—How to Write and Market Your Music

    Summer NAMM Music Industry Day tickets are available for purchase online beginning June 3. Admission is $10 if purchased online in advance at NAMM.org/musicindustryday and $20 at the door on the day of event. See the full list of Music Industry Day workshops here.

    Music Industry Day is developed in partnership with Guitar World, Guitar Aficionado, Revolver, Guitar Player, Bass Player, Keyboard and Electronic Musician.


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    Finally, the long-awaited English edition of The Beauty of the 'Burst (Hal Leonard), an historic Japanese book, is here!

    The Beauty of the 'Burst pays tribute to Gibson's magnificent Sunburst Les Pauls made between 1958 and 1960, the most highly prized solidbody electric guitars of all time. The magnitude of their value is directly related to their look (outrageous wood patterns, or figured timber), since non-players are paying top dollar for them.

    The book features lavish full-color photos of these beautiful instruments throughout; the guitars of famous players; a foreword by Ted McCarty; a bio of the author, world renowned collector Yasuhiko Iwanade; and the Science of the Burst section with more than 30 pages of detailed reference facts on every facet of the guitar, including colors, wood figure, pickups, hardware and qualities of voice.

    This may be the closest guitarists will ever be able to get to these incredibly collectible beauties!

    The softcover book is available now at the Guitar World Online Store for $34.99.

    lespaul.jpg


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    Nineteen hundred and seventy-three is one of those rare years — like, say, 1968, 1969, 1971 and 1991— that saw the release of an impressive assortment of seminal rock albums.

    As we wrote two years ago in our 1971 roundup, "Even for a year that falls squarely in the heart of the 'classic rock' era, it was a particularly classic year."

    And while 1973 might not compare to 1971, it was the year of The Dark Side of the Moon, Quadrophenia and Houses of the Holy, albums that are such so iconic that we don't have to tell you who recorded them. We also got Deep Purple's Who Do We Think We Are, Black Sabbath's Sabbath Bloody Sabbath and self-titled debut albums from Queen and Aerosmith.

    In the world of blues, two of the three ax-wielding Kings released new LPs; there was To Know You Is To Love You by B.B. King and Woman Across the River by Freddie King — not to mention Tres Hombres by King's fellow Texans, ZZ Top, and a truly classic album by the Allman Brothers Band.

    The Allmans' release, plus the 1973 release of Lynyrd Skynyrd's debut disc and the Eagles' rootsy Desperado, are reminders of the era's affinity for Southern and country-flavored rock.

    In the land of former Beatles, we got two albums from Paul McCartney (one of which is on this list) and one each from John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr (Starr's 1973 Ringo album includes the Lennon-penned "I'm the Greatest," which features Lennon on piano and backing vocals, Harrison on guitar, Starr on drums and vocals and Billy Preston on keyboards. It's the next best thing to a Let It Be-era Beatles reunion. If only McCartney were there. But we digress ... .)

    Note the strong reggae releases of 1973 — and the fact that we've included Gram Parsons'GP and left off the Byrds' self-titled reunion album, which isn't particularly classic (and doesn't even feature the awesome Clarence White on guitar).

    With that in mind, below is our list of 50 classic albums celebrating their 40th anniversary in 2013. Note that these 50 albums are not presented in any particular order. We'll be asking you to do that for us soon!


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    ''While My Guitar Gently Weeps" is not only one of the best songs George Harrison wrote with the Beatles — it's also one of the greatest songs on the White Album.

    Whether it was jealousy, ego or apathy, the other members of the band didn't seem to care too much for the tune when Harrison introduced it to them and attempted to record initial takes on August 16. After more work on the song on September 3 and 5, he decided he didn't like what he heard and scrapped the recording.

    He and the Beatles then promptly started over again, nailing a new backing track in 28 takes. The initial live backing track featured Harrison on acoustic guitar and guide vocals, John Lennon on electric, Paul McCartney on piano and Ringo Starr on drums.

    Harrison later overdubbed double-tracked lead vocals, and McCartney recorded backing vocals and a bass line with Lennon playing in unison on either a Fender Bass VI or electric guitar.

    Harrison's masterstroke was inviting his friend Eric Clapton to overdub lead guitar, which was recorded on a single track with Harrison's organ accompaniment on September 6.

    Clapton initially refused to participate, saying, "Nobody ever plays on the Beatles' records.""So what?" Harrison countered. "It's my song." Clapton finally agreed to play, but he wanted his part to sound "Beatle-y." Harrison's solution was to process the track containing Clapton's guitar part and the organ with Artificial Double Tracking, varying the speed to create a pitch-wobbling effect.

    RECORDED: September 5 and 6, 1968; Abbey Road Studio Two

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    A while back, I was thinking about the sound of a 12-string guitar, and how much I liked it, but really would like to hear it used on only certain notes and melodic lines within a song.

    When you're recording, you can use all kinds of exotic instruments for embellishing sections of a song. But you probably would like to be able to recreate your recorded performance live. It would be cool to be playing something on a six-string and have certain notes of the melody jump out with a 12-string sound and attack.

    I like to use a flat pick held with the thumb and first finger, and use the middle finger for the high-octave sound. This is a good start for rock guitar players to get into branching out into some new sounds and adding some color. You're also in position to play rockabilly-style alternating bass notes on the fly within your rock riffing.

    The 12-string sound works well with all types of amp sounds, from clean to high gain. It works well with a high gain sound because octaves are "perfect" intervals. An example: "A" is 440 cycles per second, and an octave up from that is 880 cycles per second.

    It really helps to grow your fingernails out a bit, so the sound of the octave can sound the same as the picked note, and you can get some nice-sounding attack. I've become so dependent on the sound of this technique, that now, certain songs I write cannot be played without this sound. So to help insure that I could make it through a tour without breaking a nail, and not sound like I'm making a lame excuse for not playing certain songs, I go to manicure shops to get a clear, hard coating put onto just my middle and third fingernails. You rockabilly cats are probably already doing this!

    Give this an honest try, and I think you will be rewarded by the results. To get into this, start with this descending melody. This is in the key of C, starting and ending on G. Some of the fingering may seem odd, but doing it as I've written it helps to make smooth transitions possible:

    Here it is, changing notes on 1/4 notes:

    Fake Twelve String Effect 1

    Here it is, half-time:

    Fake Twelve String Effect 2

    Fretted G on the first string, third fret, use third finger ~ Open G on third string
    Fretted F on the first string, first fret, use first finger ~ Fretted "F" on fourth string, third fret, use middle finger
    Open E on first string ~ Fretted E on fourth string, second fret, use middle finger
    Fretted D on second string, third fret, use third finger ~ Open D on fourth string
    Fretted C on second string, first fret, use first finger ~ Fretted C on fifth string, third fret, use middle finger
    Open B on second string ~ Fretted B on fifth string, second fret, use middle finger
    Fretted A on third string, second fret, use middle finger ~ Open A on fifth string
    Open G on third string ~ Fretted G on sixth string, third fret

    Then try going up using the same fingering as you did going down:

    Fake Twelve String Effect 3

    Here's an example of how I used this technique in one of my songs, "Bird Bone," from the album Into The Blue Sparkle by my band, Slacktone:

    Fake Twelve String Effect 4 - "Bird Bone"

    Guitarist Dave Wronski is one third of Slacktone, a Southern California-based modern surf band that has toured the world and elsewhere. He also has written and recorded music for TV-show themes, commercial soundtracks and films.

    "Bird Bone"© Dave Wronski, Slacksong Music BMI


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    The following content is related to the May 2013 issue of Guitar World. For the full range of interviews, features, tabs and more, pick up the new issue on newsstands now, or in our online store.

    Zoom makes such a wide variety of products these days that it’s easy to forget the company debuted way back in 1989 with the 9002, a tiny, guitar-strap-mounted multieffect processor a little larger than a pack of cigarettes. Now, 24 years later, things have come full circle with Zoom’s new Multistomp pedals, which provide the power and functionality of a sophisticated multieffect processor in a package that’s the size of a standard stomp box.

    The MS-100BT Multistomp is Zoom’s most powerful Multistomp pedal. It offers 100 preloaded effects and amp models, the ability to download new effects and models via Bluetooth and the StompShare app for iOS devices (iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch), and much more.


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    Today, GuitarWorld.com presents the exclusive premiere of a new video featuring Walter Trout.

    In the video, the venerable blues guitarist discusses his new album, Luther’s Blues: A Tribute to Luther Allison, which will be released June 11 by Mascot Label Group's Provogue Records.

    Luther’s Blues was recorded at Hollywood’s Entourage Studios with producer Eric Corne, who worked on Trout's 2012 album, Blues For The Modern Daze. Luther’s Blues is available for pre-order at waltertrout.com.

    Although Trout has released 22 albums in his 25-year solo career, this is his first album of covers — all of which honor the late blues guitarist Luther Allison.

    "I’ve thought about doing this album for years," Trout said. "Luther was one of the all-time greats, and it was just an unbelievably potent thing to watch him perform. Just the energy and commitment that guy had, he was one of a kind. We played together once, and just as we walked offstage, somebody pointed a camera and we hugged and smiled. And that photo is on the cover of the CD [pictured above left]. "When he died [in 1997], the idea of this album was planted in my brain."

    For more about Trout, visit waltertrout.com and his Facebook page.


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    The 2013 Sasquatch! Music Festival took place at The Gorge Amphitheatre in Gorge, Washington, over Memorial Day weekend and featured an eclectic lineup of indie/folky bands: from Mumford & Sons, Sigur Ros and Vampire Weekend to Elvis Costello, Arctic Monkeys, Red Fang, Edward Sharpe and much, much more.

    In the third installment of our four-gallery photo feature, check out shots of Vampire Weekend, Arctic Monkeys, Red Fang, Reignwolf and Sea Wolf.

    All photos by Robert Delahanty.


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    Jason Newsted has announced that he and his new band, Newsted, will release their debut full-length album on August 6.

    The disc, titled Heavy Metal Music, is the followup to the Metal EP, which was released earlier this year.

    Besides Newsted on bass and vocals, the band features Staind guitarist Mike Mushok, guitarist Jessie Farnsworth and drummer Jesus Mendez Jr.

    A press release announcing the album lists and describes a few tracks, including "the throwback Sabbathian strut of 'Ampossible,' the breakneck gallop of 'Long Time Dead' [and] the full-speed-ahead-charge of breakout single 'Above All'.”

    You can check out one of the new tracks — “Heroic Dose” — below.

    Newsted are currently in Europe playing festivals, and they'll be at the Download Festival in England on June 16. They'll return to the US in early July for Megadeth’s Gigantour, which also features Black Label Society, Device, Hellyeah and Death Division. Check out all the Gigantour dates below the video.

    “There is a chance Mustaine and I will bust out some old Metallica that he was a part of. It has been talked about, “ Newsted said. “I’m willing to throw down 'Phantom Lord.' Actually, whatever he calls out, I’m gonna throw down.”

    For more about Newsted, visit the band's official website and Facebook page.

    NEWSTED ON GIGANTOUR:

    July 5 Uncasville, CT @ Mohegan Sun Arena
    July 6 Canadalgua, NY @ Marvin Sands PAC
    July 8 Clarkston, MI @ DTE Energy Music Theatre
    July 9 Chicago, IL @ Allstate Arena
    July 10 Youngstown, OH @ Covelli Center
    July 13 Lubbock, TX @ Lonestar Ampitheatre
    July 14 Corpus Christi, TX @ Concrete Street Ampitheatre
    July 16 Oklahoma City, OK @ Zoo Ampitheatre
    July 18 Bloomington, IL @ US Cellular Coliseum
    July 19 Milwaukee, WI @ Eagles Ballroom
    July 22 Winnipeg, Canada @ MTS Center
    July 23 Regina, Canada @ Brandt Center
    July 25 Calgary, Canada @ Stampede Corral
    July 26 Edmonton, Canada @ Rexall Place
    July 27 Dawson Creek, Canada @ EnCana Events Centre
    July 29 Abbotsford, Canada @ Abbotsford Entertainment & Sports Centre
    July 30 Everett, WA @ Comcast Arena
    Aug 1 West Valley City, UT @ Maverik Center
    Aug 2 Broomfield, CO @ 1st Bank St
    Aug 4 Fargo, ND @ Scheels Arena
    Aug 9 Camden, NJ @ Susquehanna Bank Center
    Aug 10 Heavy MTL Montreal, Canada @ Parc Jean Drapeau*
    Aug 11 Toronto, Canada @ Molson Canadian Ampitheatre
    * show is not part of Gigantour

    Photo: Fran Strine


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    Between Paul McCartney’s Out There tour and the reissues of Wings Over America and Rockshow, it seems the former Beatle is once again here, there and everywhere.

    Out There is doing brisk business and garnering fantastic reviews from critics and fans. McCartney has avoided the ticket sales problems his contemporaries, the Rolling Stones, have experienced and has shaken up the setlist — adding "Eight Days A Week,""Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite" and other deep cuts — so that even fans who have seen him multiple times in recent years have come away in awe of his talent.

    There are also two excellent reissues from McCartney’s '70s solo canon.

    Wings Over America is near and dear to most first- and second-generation Beatles fans’ hearts, and rightly so. It’s chock full of energy, great performances and McCartney mostly ignoring his Beatles legacy in favor of a setlist focusing on his then-recent output. The newly remastered version — part of McCartney’s ongoing Archive series — sounds great and includes enough goodies in all of its many configurations to satisfy even the most diehard fans.

    The 2-CD Standard Edition and 3-LP vinyl version (which also includes a digital download) are straight remasters of the original 1976 release. As with previous Archive releases, the team at Abbey Road has tweaked the EQ just enough to clean up the original mix, bringing out the highs and warming and widening the lows, without veering too far from the sound of the original recordings as we have come to know and love them.

    The Special Edition, most readily available at Best Buy, adds a third CD of eight songs from Wings’ show at San Francisco’s Cow Palace. Though the Cow Palace tracks seem cleaned up to some degree, they’re closer to the bootlegs (Wings Over America II or Searching For Us Everywhere, for instance) that collectors have come to treasure over the years and that show Wings in spectacular form.

    Coming from the original multitrack masters, however, means these tracks sound fantastic. The performances are lively and the sound is punchy. McCartney and crew simply seem to be having a great time. At about $15, the Special Edition of Wings Over America is, by far, the best deal of the bunch.

    Finally comes the amazing Wings Over America Deluxe Edition. It includes the two discs that comprise the remastered album, the disc with eight songs from the Cow Palace and a spectacularly clean DVD version of the 1979 Wings Over The World documentary. The set is contained within a beautiful numbered, hardbound slipcase containing a 112-page book written by David Fricke, featuring new interviews and extensive tour photography, a stunning 60-page journal of Linda McCartney’s photos chronicling the bands life on the road, a 136-page replica tour book, itineraries, a tour program, memorabilia like replica tickets and backstage passes, song lyrics and three 8-by-10 photographic prints. The set also includes an 80-page book of drawings by the artist Humphrey Ocean and a 24bit, 96kHz high-resolution audio download of all 36 songs included on the remastered album and bonus audio disc.

    The package is stunning. It seems with each release, McCartney’s team gets better and better at these deluxe versions. If the Band On The Run box set in the Archive Collection series seemed great in its time (only three years ago!), then this set will blow you away. Taking its cue from the recent Ram reissue, which included an extensive assortment of ephemera, the Deluxe Edition of Wings Over America is a tour de force in packaging.

    Whichever version of Wings Over America you choose, though, there’s no doubting that this is an essential part of any McCartney fans’ collection. And considering that this may have been McCartney’s solo peak — and is certainly his peak with Wings — and that he rarely if ever plays most of the songs included, this is an album you will have fun discovering (or rediscovering) and will listen to often for years to come.

    The restored version of McCartney’s concert film Rockshow, on the other hand, was always a bit of an oddity in his canon. It hit screens a very long four years after the Wings Over America tour and album that it documents, long after the Wings’ commercial peak (and not long before its implosion), more than a year after the Wings Over the World companion documentary aired on television and at almost the precise moment John Lennon left us and Beatledom changed forever.

    It’s also rarely been seen in its entirety. The theatrical version ran 125 minutes, but subsequent home video versions (not counting fan-compiled bootleg versions) carved 23 minutes off that running time. Finally, after years of clamoring by the faithful, McCartney is releasing Rockshow on DVD and Blu-ray this month after a brief theatrical run in May.

    The restored version is a treat. Setting aside that the sound has been overdubbed to near-perfection and that 1976 was not fashion’s finest moment (Oh, that satin outfit and mullet!), it’s obvious Wings were a great live band on the Wings Over America tour and that they put on a helluva fun show.

    What’s more, McCartney is out on a limb for much of the concert, playing only a handful of Beatles numbers, instead relying on material that was mostly just a few years old and hardly any of which was — at least at that point — considered hits. “Venus and Mars”/”Rock Show,"“Let Me Roll It” and “Hi Hi Hi” may be beloved in McCartney’s catalog now, but they weren’t so well known in 1976. “Call Me Back Again,"“Beware My Love” and “Magneto and Titanium Man” were oddities even then. And “Soily” — which closed the set each night — was (and still is, as far as a studio version goes) unreleased.

    Rockshow is, at its best, a document of McCartney taking chances and succeeding on a grand scale, a unique and special document of perhaps McCartney’s finest solo commercial moment. This new home video version is a must have for any serious fan and should be top of the list for anyone who’s a fan of McCartney’s 1970s music with Wings.

    Finally, McCartney’s former Wings bandmate Laurence Juber is also active as ever. Juber recently released Catch LJ Live!, a concert CD/DVD combo. Filmed in HD and mixed in 5.1, it captured a fantastic solo show in Los Angeles by the two-time Grammy-winning virtuoso.

    Juber’s latest studio album, Under an Indigo Sky, is a jazz/blues-tinged solo project that was initially launched as a limited-edition audiophile vinyl LP but is now available in CD and digital formats.

    “Digital technology is incredibly convenient, but it filters out some of the mojo,” Juber told me. “Vinyl is the immersive listening experience I grew up with.” To maintain the retro vibe, the album was mixed to analog tape by ace engineer Al Schmitt at Hollywood’s Capitol Studios.

    Gear-wise, Juber has been recording and touring with a super-limited edition version of his signature Martin guitar with koa back and sides. “I’ve worked with Martin to incorporate vintage concepts into a modern performance guitar and this is the latest evolution. It’s really too cool to be taking on the road, but it sounds so good that I couldn’t resist.”

    I’ve known Juber for about five years and have worked with him in the studio where I got to play the mahogany version of his signature Martin and recently performed with him in New York City, where I got to see the koa model up close. They are stunning guitars, with warm, even and super-clear notes across the spectrum and superb tone. The koa model may just be one of the finest guitars I’ve ever heard in person.

    Juber performed last week at New York City’s new Cutting Room and brought the house down with fingerstyle versions of Wings and Beatles classics as well as “The Pink Panther Theme” and the Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again.”

    "It was a blast to play the new Cutting Room,” Juber said. “It's definitely a step above the old venue and a great addition to the Manhattan rooms, like Iridium, that are suitable for acoustic guitar shows.” Juber also reunited with former Wings bandmate Steve Holley when he joined my band, Birds of Paradox, later in the evening for the close of our set.

    “It was great to strap on a Les Paul, sit-in with Jeff Slate's Birds of Paradox and rock out with my old band mate from Wings, Steve Holley," Juber said of the evening’s closing jam of Wings classics.

    Juber also is working on a large format book, Guitar With Wings, which showcases previously unpublished pictures taken during his time playing lead guitar with McCartney and follows his career as a concert performer, studio musician and composer.

    Jeff Slate is a NYC-based solo singer-songwriter and music journalist. He founded and fronted the band the Badge for 15 years beginning in 1997 and has worked with Pete Townshend, Earl Slick, Carlos Alomar, Steve Holley, Laurence Juber and countless others. He has interviewed and written about everyone from the Beatles and Kiss to Monty Python and rock musicals on Broadway. He is an avid collector of rock and roll books and bootlegs and has an encyclopedic knowledge of all things Dylan and the Beatles. For more information, visit jeffslate.net.

    Additional Content

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    The all-new July 2013 issue of Guitar World magazine is available now! This month's cover stars are Tony Iommi and Ozzy Osbourne of Black Sabbath.

    The new issue features Black Sabbath's amazing comeback, and Tony Iommi opens up about his fight with cancer and the struggle to make 13, the group's new record with Ozzy Osbourne and Geezer Butler.

    Guitar World's July 2013 issue also features Led Zeppelin's official photographer, Neal Preston, who reveals what went on behind the scenes in Led Zeppelin: Sound and Fury, his new, innovative digital book featuring more than 100 previously unpublished images of the band.

    We've also got everybody's favorite guitar virtuoso, Joe Satriani, who lets his imagination and fingers run wild on his new album, Unstoppable Momentum. Satch also reveals the inspiration behind some the new album's key tracks.

    Plus, Ghost B.C. on their new album, Infestissumam, Joe Don Rooney of Rascal Flatts, an Anthrax set list, Dear Guitar Hero with Mick Jones and much more!

    Gear reviews include new products by Strymon, Ibanez, Bugera, Traynor, Electro-Harmonix and Musicvox. Check out the July 2013 VIDEOS PAGE right here.

    Four Songs with Tabs for Guitar and Bass!

    • Jason Becker - "Perpetual Burn"
    • Black Sabbath - "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath"
    • AC/DC - "Girls Got Rhythm"
    • Jason Aldean - "My Kinda Party"

    The July 2013 issue of Guitar World is available now for $7.99 at newsstands and the Guitar World Online Store.

    july 620_0.jpg

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    Today, GuitarWorld.com presents the exclusive premiere of the new music video for "Tall Boogie" by heavy roots rockers Moreland & Arbuckle.

    The track is from the band's upcoming album, 7 Cities, which will be released July 30 by Telarc.

    "We filmed the video in the old Woolf Bros. Clothing Company building in downtown Wichita," says singer/harmonica player Dustin Arbuckle. "It was a department store years ago, but was closed down for a long time. Now the bottom floors have been remodeled into offices, but the upper floors are still creepy and dilapidated. It ended up being a super-cool setting for the video."

    Guitarist Aaron Moreland adds: "This tune is cool because it showcases the cigar box guitar's great strengths. I play the straight-up bass line during the verses, and then I utilize all four strings to rock out on the song's 'B' part. It truly does sound like two different Instruments."

    7 Cities, which was produced by Seattle-based Matt Bayles (Mastodon, the Sword), tells the tale of Spanish explorer Coronado and his search for the seven cities of gold, which came to an end in the Kansas plains, not far from where the band lives. The album, which features new drummer Kendall Newby, was recorded at Stone Gossard’s (Pearl Jam) studio.

    “It’s definitely our strongest work,” Moreland says. “We’ve always produced our own records, but this time, Matt took things to a new level sonically and brought out our best performances.”

    7 Cities is available for pre-order at amazon.com.

    Moreland & Arbuckle will tour the US this summer and fall. For more about the band, visit their official website and Facebook page.


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    Schecter’s designers make no bones about their dark leanings, giving their guitars names like Hellraiser, Damien and Omen. Sleek in hand, tricked for high-gain performance and famous for their perfect out-of-the-box playability, these guitars are favorites of budget-conscious shredders.

    The Blackjack SLS is the latest addition to this brood. Available in 11 variations, it features a body of solid mahogany to create a heavy midrange and powerful lows. But to lighten the load, Schecter’s SLS bodies feature a reasonably thin depth, bulk-reducing contours and a sculpted top. As a result, they weigh no more than the average alder or ash body.

    The neck is set into the body and heavily sculpted at the heel for an easy grip in the upper registers. Schecter has given the neck a brand-new profile geared for those who prefer a very thin and fast neck that delivers comfort and speed. Each is created from three strips of maple, ensuring greater overall stability and practically eliminating the possibility that it will twist or warp. The necks are topped with bright and hard ebony fretboards that feature 24 jumbo frets and the Blackjack’s mother-of-pearl “Hell’s Gate Skull” inlay at the 12th fret. For this review, I looked at the Sustainiac-loaded Blackjack SLS C-1 FR-S and the traditionally outfitted Blackjack SLS Solo-6.

    BLACKJACK SLS C-1 FR-S

    The C-1 FR-S is built for shredders who want a full arsenal of metal weapons at their disposal in a package that looks as fast as it is functional. The guitar’s double-locking Floyd Rose 1000 Series whammy is recessed into the body for upward or downward pitch acrobatics, and Grover’s famous Rotomatics tuners let you quickly dial in the strings before locking them down. Incidentally, the stiff, multipiece maple neck sustains notes well and helps keep them true when the whammy’s use alters string tension.

    Speaking of sustain, the C-1 FR-S is loaded with an active Sustainiac system, which doubles as a neck pickup. An intensity knob and two mini toggles control the system: one toggle turns it on and off, and the other is used for selecting the pickup’s three modes: Normal, Mix and Harmonic. Normal mode infinitely sustains any note, with no coloration, while the Mix mode sustains the note and sometimes morphs the sound into the second or third harmonic. The Harmonic mode sends a sustained note into fifth or seventh harmonics, like a beautiful natural feedback. I like to keep the system in Normal mode and then slam the switch anytime I need a quick jolt of harmonic feedback. A Seymour Duncan Full Shred pickup handles the bridge-position sounds, and master volume and tone knobs control both pickups.

    PERFORMANCE

    I wouldn’t recommend the C-1 FR-S for a Beatles revival gig, but it’s a stellar piece for nu-metal and contemporary power rock. Tones through the Full Shred pickup are impressively clear, even in drop-tuned setups. There’s superb bass extension, flat mids (ideal for extreme gain and pedal-heavy rigs) and plenty of bite. Engaging the Sustainiac opens the door to a new world of sounds and techniques, and it’s worth noting that the Sustainiac neck pickup has the low-end tightness that you want for rhythm, and a unique, howling lead voice.

    BLACKJACK SLS SOLO-6

    Schecter designed the SLS Solo-6 for players who have no desire to fool with tremolos and electronics but need a stable, predictable-sounding platform for unapologetic shredding. My test model included the optional flamed maple cap, which adds a small amount of extra edge to each note. The large headstock, TonePros bridge and wide body dimensions work in unison to create loads of natural sustain and thumping low mids. These tones are funneled through a pair of active Seymour Duncan Blackouts, known for their unique midrange blossom, dynamic attack and warm bass hues. There are individual volume controls for each pickup and a master tone. Schecter’s own 19:1 ratio locking tuners are some of the smoothest and most accurate that I’ve used and never slipped during heavy bending or abusive power-chord riffing.

    PERFORMANCE

    Acoustically, the Blackjack SLS Solo-6 displays an upper-mid accent across the spectrum and the harnessed but generous lows that metal players require in a high-gain rig. The Duncan Blackouts bring out midrange details and overtones while maintaining the guitar’s naturally tight presentation. The resulting energy feels controlled and balanced, allowing players to sweep without heavy palm muting and achieve the same tones no matter how hard or soft the attack.

    THE BOTTOM LINE

    Schecter’s Blackjack SLS Solo-6 and SLS C-1 FR-S have everything you need, whether you want to plug in and rip or go wild with whammy tricks and active sustain circuits.


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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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    Many people believe that possessing talent alone is enough to guarantee an artist success in the music business. Nothing could be further from the truth. In a perfect world, the best musicians — the best guitarists — would be amply rewarded for their abilities. The music business, however, is far from perfect.

    And unless you're one of the blessed few (such as Eddie Van Halen) who can single-handedly change the course of guitar history, the harsh reality is that killer chops and perfect time impress only other guitarists, not the people who hire you or buy the records.

    Talent, of course, is any artist's basic bread and butter, but whether you're a fingerpicker or a two-handed tapper, in order to survive the music business and distinguish yourself from the thousands of other guitarists who are after your gig, you must boast some other essential qualities. These range from good people skills to practical, common-sense approaches to your business (Fact it, that's what it is), both of which will help you stand out from the pack — and believe me, there's nothing more frightening that a pack of hungry, feral guitarists.

    For your edification, I have crunched these qualities — the many do's and don'ts of guitar existence — into 25 hardheaded, clearly wrought maxims. Learn them, memorize them, master them and imbibe. You'll be a better person for it, a better guitarist, and you just may make your way from the garage to the arena stage.

    01. Nobody likes an asshole

    Reality check: Most musicians don't give a damn whether you're the second coming of Jimi, Eddie or Buck Dharma. They just want someone with a good attitude who will play the parts correctly. And since most of your time is spent offstage, relating with the other musicians on a personal level becomes as important as relating to them musically. Remember-no one is indispensable. Just ask David Lee Roth.

    02. Having a great feel is your most important musical asset

    No one will want to play with you if you have bad time. You must have a great feel-it's that simple. By "great feel" I mean the ability to lock in with the rhythm section and produce a track that grooves. If there's one thing I would recommend you to constantly work on, it's developing your groove. Listen to the greats to learn how grooves should be played: from rock (Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" to 16th-note funk (James Brown's "Sex Machine") to blues shuffle ("Pride and Joy" by Stevie Ray Vaughan). Tape yourself (with a metronome) playing them-you'll be able to isolate and work on your problem areas. Or pick up the excellent JamTrax series (Music Sales), a series of play-along tapes covering everything from blues to alternative to metal, to stay in shape. This is the one area where you should be most brutal in your self-assessment. You'll be a much better player for it.

    03. Develop your own sound

    There's no better way to learn how to play than to cop licks from your favorite guitarists. The problem to watch out for is when you start sounding too much like your favorite player. Remember, rules, especially musical rules, are made to be broken.

    04. Be on time

    You wouldn't believe how many musicians don't believe that punctuality is important. It is crucial.

    05. Listen, listen, listen!

    When you're on stage or in the studio, don't be in your own world-listen and interact with the other musicians you're working with. React to what they're playing. Don't play too loud or get in the way when someone else is soloing. Put their egos ahead of yours-your number will always be called if the other musicians feel that you made them sound better.


    06. Know what you want to be

    The most successful people in the music business are totally focused-they have specific goals in mind and do whatever is necessary to achieve them. The simple realization that you don't have to be a musician to be a rock star and don't have to be a rock star to be a musician can spare you years of cynicism and bitterness.

    07. Play for the song, not for yourself

    It's imperative to play what's idiomatically correct. For example, don't play Yngwie licks on Bush's "Glycerine" or a noodly jazz solo on Soundgarden's "Outshined," no matter how much it impresses you. I learned this the hard way while auditioning for a punk singer. I thought I'd show her what a good, well-rounded musician I was and ended a thrash song in A with an Am(add9) chord, instead of a more appropriate A5. I was promptly shown the door.

    08. Play with musicians who are better (and better known) than you

    There's no faster way to improve and jump up to the next level than to play with great musicians. You'll learn the tricks of the trade, and pick up on their years of experience in the trenches, as well. But if you want to be a star, there's no better way to kick-start your career than by ingratiating yourself with someone famous and be seen sycophantically swilling drinks with him or her at the coolest bar in town.

    09. Less is more

    Most players you hear or read about pay lip service to what has become the guitardom's ultimate cliché. The fact is, though, what's glibly easy to say is not necessarily easy to do. I learned this on a gig backing up a singer on a cruise ship (It was the actual "Love Boat!"). Back then, I couldn't read music or play over changes very well, so during the first show, in abject fear, I played very sparsely-only what I was sure would work. After the show, the singer told me she had never worked with so sensitive an accompanist.

    10. Image does matter

    This is one of the sad truths about the music business. The good news, however, is that not every musical situation calls for the same image. So use some common sense-if you're going to be auditioning for a wimpy jangle band, don't come dressed like a Marilyn Manson cast-off.


    11. It's essential to have a great touch, or vibrato

    There are players who say it took them 10-15 years to develop a great vibrato. They're the lucky ones-most never find it. Your touch is like your fingerprints-it's what distinguishes your blues playing, for instance, from that of countless other guitarists. Think of B.B. King or Jimi Hendrix-they are instantly recognizable. There are two main types of vibrato: one generated by the wrist (a la Hendrix and B.B. King) and the other from the fingers (favored more by classical guitarists). To determine which type works for you, check out your favorite guitarists' vibratos and try to imitate them. You can also pick up B.B. King's video Bluesmaster (Volume 1) to see his unique "bee-sting" vibrato demonstrated in-depth.

    12. Get your sound/tone together

    I can't emphasize enough how important this is. Know your gear well enough so that it works for you, not against you. For example, if you're looking for a Stevie Ray tone, you won't get it with a Les Paul going through a Marshall. You'll need a Strat running through a Fender Bassman (with an Ibanez Tube Screamer for extra punch). Unless you're a studio tech-head, a great guitar and amp (with an overdrive or chorus pedal) will probably sound 10 times better than a refrigerator full of rack-mounted shit (believe me, I've been there).

    13. Practice what you don't know, not what you do know

    In order to improve, you must practice. That sounds frightening, but let me reassure you that good practicing doesn't necessarily entail sitting grimly in a basement (while the other kids are outside playing), mindlessly running scales and arpeggios-you can get all the technique you need by learning licks from your favorite guitarists. For example, Eric Johnson's intro to "Cliffs of Dover" is a veritable lexicon of minor-pentatonic ideas. Here are the three axioms of good practicing:

    A. Master small bits of music first (no more than four to eight notes at a time), then connect them to form longer passages.
    B. Start out playing new ideas at a slow tempo (this builds muscle memory), then gradually work up to speed. It's much better to play slow and clean than fast and sloppy.
    C. Always practice with a metronome

    14. Get your business chops together

    Business chops are just as important as musical ones, if not more so. If you want to make money as a musician, you have to start seeing yourself as a business and your music as a product. Acting against the stereotype of a musician (you know — stupid, drunk and gullible), as hard as that may be, will show club owners and record execs that you're not a pushover.

    15. Be fluent with both major and minor pentatonic scales

    In rock, pop, blues or country situations, knowing these scales will enable you to get by 80 percent of the time. I heartily recommend my book Practical Pentatonics (Music Sales)-a nifty little volume that covers just about all you need to know to be comfortable using the pentatonic scale in real-life gigging situations.


    16. As soon as you learn something cool, apply it immediately to a real-life musical situation

    Many guitarists learn tons of licks that sound great when played in the practice room. But the minute they get on stage, they have a hard time integrating this new material into their playing. Before you learn something new, you should have an idea where you could fit it in.

    17. Learn as many melodies as you can

    Not only does learning melodies to tunes (any tunes) increase your repertoire, it also (subconsciously) gives you an incredibly distinct edge in developing your phrasing. Ideally, you should be able to duplicate any melody you hear.

    A. Listen to how singers interpret melodies and try to mimic their phrasing on the guitar.
    B. Try to play back any, and I mean any, melody you hear-be it a TV commercial, nursery rhyme or the Mister Softee ice cream truck theme.
    C. Always learn a melody on more than one place on the guitar neck. You want to play the melody, not have the melody play you.

    18. Know your place

    When a bandleader asks you to play something a certain way, smile and do it! Don't argue. Don't pout. Don't think you know better. Don't be an asshole. You'll have plenty of time to be in charge when your three-disk epic rock opera adaptation of The Jeffersons gets picked up.

    19. Contrary to popular belief, taking lessons and listening to other styles of music doesn't hurt

    It never hurts to broaden your scope, no matter how great a player you already are or how much you think you've already learned all there is to know. Opening your mind to other styles and techniques makes you a better, more well-rounded musician. Period. A great teacher can inspire and enable you to develop as a creative, exciting player.

    20. Learn as many tunes as possible, from start to finish

    It doesn't matter what style you like to play in, the more tunes you know, the easier it is to get a gig or kick ass on a jam session. And there's no excuse for not doing it-even if you're not at the point where you can learn tunes off the recording, you can avail yourself of the hundreds of transcription books out there. Heck, you can learn five new tunes a month just by reading Guitar World!


    21. Develop authority as a player

    You have to get to the point where you feel as creatively comfortable in front of hundreds of people as you do in front of your sister and the dog. And the only way you can attain that authority is by putting in the time. Playing at home only gets you so far-it's imperative that you play out as soon as you can. Attend jam sessions. Take less-than-ideal gigs, just for the experience. Take any gigs, for that matter-it's the experience that counts!

    22. Hang out with other musicians

    The best way to get contacts and gigs is to be seen and heard. How can anyone recommend you if they don't know who you are? As unpleasant and greasy as this may sound, do your best to befriend other guitarists. Though there's intense competition amongst players, most of your work will come as a result of recommendations made by other guitarists.

    23. Know the fundamentals

    Being able to hear common chord changes will help you learn tunes off the radio faster. Knowing a little basic theory will help you with your songwriting and your ability to intuitively come up with rhythm parts. For example, knowing that the harmonic structure of most blues tunes is I-IV-V (C-F-G) and that early rock ballads were usually built on I-vi-IV-V progressions (C-Am-F-G) will help you to play just about any tune in those genres or compose one of your own. One more plug: you also might want to check out my book The Advanced Guitar Case Chord Book (Music Sales) to get an idea of how to apply cool chord voicings to common progressions in all types of music.

    24. Be careful out there

    As soon as you or your band become somewhat popular, all sorts of characters are going to start crawling out of the gutter with designs on you. Have fun, but don't go overboard. And always keep an eye on your equipment-it's your life's blood. And try to save some cash.

    25. Don't shit where you eat

    Don't fuck the singer. Don't fuck the drummer's girlfriend. Don't fuck the drummer's dog. Don't fuck the drummer. Don't backstab your bandmates. Don't pocket tips. Don't be an asshole!


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    Today, GuitarWorld.com presents the exclusive premiere of "Sick Of It," the new music video by Skillet.

    The song is the lead single from the band's upcoming album, Rise, which will be released June 25 by Atlantic/Word.

    Rise follows the Grammy-nominated band's 2009 album, Awake, which was certified platinum for sales in excess of 1 million copies in the US. Skillet were the only active rock band to achieve platinum certification in 2012, and they were one of three rock bands (with Mumford & Sons and the Black Keys) to strike platinum that year.

    The band maintains momentum with Rise, their first concept album, though lead singer/bassist John Cooper says it wasn’t premeditated. The album tells the story of an American teen coming into adulthood and trying to figure out who he is in a world riddled with problems within and outside his control.

    “The narrative idea happened after we had 10 or 11 of the songs chosen,” Cooper says. “As we recorded them, we started to realize there was something going on, that the album was really telling a story. Realizing that, I knew we needed to make it as powerful as we could.”

    Skillet (Cooper, guitarist/keyboardist Korey Cooper, drummer/vocalist Jen Ledger and guitarist Seth Morrison) recorded the album in Los Angeles, where they re-teamed with producer Howard Benson (My Chemical Romance, All American Rejects), who helmed Awake.

    Skillet are direct support to Shinedown on the upcoming Carnival of Madness Tour. For more about the band, including tour dates, visit their official website and Facebook page.


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    Check out "Came Back Haunted," the first song to be released from Hesitation Marks, the upcoming new album by Nine Inch Nails.

    Hesitation Marks will be released September 3 by Columbia.

    “I’ve been less than honest about what I’ve really been up to lately," said NIN frontman Trent Reznor in a press release. "For the last year, I’ve been secretly working non-stop with Atticus Ross and Alan Moulder on a new, full-length Nine Inch Nails record, which I am happy to say is finished and frankly fucking great.

    "This is the real impetus and motivation behind the decision to assemble a new band and tour again. My forays into film, HTDA and other projects really stimulated me creatively and I decided to focus that energy on taking Nine Inch Nails to a new place. Here we go!”

    The current touring lineup of Nine Inch Nails features Reznor, Adrian Belew of King Crimson and Josh Eustis of Telefon Tel Aviv, as well as previous NIN collaborators Robin Finck, Alessandro Cortini and Ilan Rubin.

    Besides the new song, Reznor & Co. also have announced a 31-date North American tour that kicks off September 28 in St. Paul, Minnesota. Tickets go on sale June 14 through Live Nation. Be sure to check out the complete itinerary below the Soundcloud player.

    "Came Back Haunted" is already available on iTunes. Stay tuned for more Nine Inch Nails updates!

    Nine Inch Nails Tour Dates:

    9/28 St. Paul, MN – Xcel Energy Center
    9/30 Kansas City, MO – Sprint Center
    10/1 St. Louis, MO – Chaifetz Arena
    10/3 Montreal, QC – Centre Bell
    10/4 Toronto, ON – Air Canada Centre
    10/5 Cleveland, OH – Wolstein Center
    10/7 Auburn Hills, MI – The Palace of Auburn Hills
    10/8 Pittsburgh, PA – Petersen Events Center
    10/11 Boston, MA – TD Garden
    10/14 Brooklyn, NY – Barclays Center
    10/15 Newark, NJ – Prudential Center
    10/18 Washington, DC – Verizon Center
    10/19 University Park, PA – Bryce Jordan Center
    10/21 Raleigh, NC – PNC Arena
    10/22 Nashville, TN – Bridgestone Arena
    10/24 Atlanta, GA – Philips Arena
    10/30 Sunrise, FL – BB&T Center
    10/31 Orlando, FL – Amway Center
    11/5 San Antonio, TX – AT&T Center
    11/8 Los Angeles, CA – Staples Center
    11/9 Phoenix, AZ – US Airways Center
    11/11 El Paso, TX – Don Haskins Center
    11/13 Broomfield, CO – 1stBank Center
    11/15 Las Vegas, NV – The Joint
    11/16 Las Vegas, NV – The Joint
    11/18 Portland, OR – Rose Garden Arena
    11/19 Spokane, WA – Spokane Arena
    11/21 Vancouver, BC – Rogers Arena
    11/22 Seattle, WA – KeyArena
    11/24 Edmonton, AB – Rexall Place
    11/25 Calgary, AB – Scotiabank Saddledome

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    Dream Theater have officially announced their new studio album — Dream Theater— which will be released September 24 by Roadrunner Records.

    The album was recorded at Cove City Sound Studios in Glen Cove, New York, with guitarist John Petrucci producing and Richard Chycki (Aerosmith, Rush) engineering and mixing. The album is the band's first to have been written and recorded with drummer Mike Mangini wholly integrated into the creative process from the start.

    “I see every new album as an opportunity to start over,” Petrucci says. “To either build or improve upon a direction that has been evolving over time or to completely break new ground. This is the first self-titled album of our career and there is nothing I can think of that makes a statement of musical and creative identity stronger than that. We’ve fully explored all of the elements that make us unique, from the epic and intense to the atmospheric and cinematic. We’re incredibly excited about Dream Theater and can’t wait for everyone to hear it.”

    Dream Theater follows 2011’s A Dramatic Turn of Events.

    Dream Theater will tour in support of Dream Theater, and full details will be announced soon. Stay tuned for updates as we get them!

    Dream Theater is John Petrucci (guitar), John Myung (bass), James LaBrie (vocals), Jordan Rudess (keyboards and continuum) and Mike Mangini (drums).

    For more news and info, visit dreamtheater.net and the band's Facebook page.

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    Is it enough to be an Extreme Snowboarding National Champion? An on air TV host? A professional fly fisherman?

    Not for Greta Gaines. This multifaceted woman also has just released her fifth studio album, Lighthouse & The Impossible Love, and what a rollicking ride it is. Dripping with vintage tone and sultry but gritty vocals, Gaines' latest effort is a study in tension and release. Sweetness and sorrow. A good old-fashioned stomp juxtaposed with a bluesy narrative.

    And you know what? It’s all good.

    For Gaines, overachieving started early. She became the first Women’s Extreme Snowboarding Champion in 1992. She’s hosted a plethora of sports-related shows, including the Big Air Snowboard Competition on the first MTV Sports and Music Festival, and FREERIDE with Greta Gaines, a half-hour show on the Oxygen Network.

    She’s played Lilith Fair and toured as the opening act for Sheryl Crow, Alanis Morissette, The Mavericks, Tori Amos and DJ Phillipe Solal in Europe. She performed at the 2003 Farm Aid. She was a correspondent on ESPN2's BassCenter and The New American Sportsman, and she's still a competitive, professional fly fisherman.

    Her music has been licensed by ESPN, MTV, Oxygen Network and more as well in the soundtracks for The Hottest State and Virgil Bliss. And yeah, a few other things that we’ll get to later.

    Despite all this energy, Gaines took her time in releasing Lighthouse & The Impossible Love, the followup to her 2008 release, Whisky Thoughts. Why? Because she wanted to do it right. And, oh yeah, she had a few other things going on, like a kid or two!

    We caught up with Gaines in her Nashville home to get the scoop on the making of …

    GUITAR GIRL'D: Tell me about the creation of this album. It’s been a little while, right, since you released something.

    Yeah. You know, I started this album in 2008 when Whiskey Thoughts came out, and I think there was a level of frustration from when that album came out. From the record label to my friend, who invested in me and the album, and just kind of left me at the altar — freaked out, closed the label and disappeared.

    So it was this feeling like I just put so much into that one. But I’m gonna start over, and this time I’m going to make this album for no one but me. I always let the men around me, whether they’re producers or my bandmates, or whatever, control things. I’m confident in a lot of areas in my life but musically, I’m completely self-taught, like, a late bloomer. I just would sort of hand over things a lot and as soon as someone puts their little paw prints on it, it changes it. And that’s just the game. This process of me saying I wanna make an album that’s really personal, with no one else besides my bandmate Eric, who’s been with me for 15 years, and he co-produced the album with me.

    We got into this thing where we just started writing and recording the live tracks right away, keeping the live vocal and the live guitars and live drums. And then spending time going over them and adding all this nuance and layering. But we kept the kernel of this style of recording. And we would go out, and we would tour a little bit, and we’d come back.

    So it was a process.

    Yeah, we started performing with the tracks with just the two of us, like the White Stripes. But Eric would be triggering from the drums all of the background vocals and stuff. Then that process of going out and playing it, and hearing the tracks played back live. We would go back and cut it a little differently. So it was basically peeling away all of other layers of artifice and crap, and getting them down to the actual kernel. I feel satisfied that finally, after 20 years, I’ve made a piece of art that I’m really happy with.

    I kind like how the album has this sort of vintage-y vibe to the guitar tone. What gear did you use?

    My bandmate, Eric Fritsch, is a kind of insider here in Nashville. Genius. He has a hand-made studio with all these incredible amps, incredible gear. He has old analog stuff. He was in my band for years as a B3 player. And then I discovered he was a great guitar player, actually guitar-majored in college, and a great drummer. Every single track on the album was tracked with a 1950s Duotone Kay guitar with flat-wound strings, and we pumped it through different kinds of distortion pedals. And then I would sing. I would take old vintage-y mics and there are some haunting background vocals in “The Quickening” and “Pining Away” where you hear these swirly like la-la-las. All of those were sung through pedals and through vintage mics.

    Then I would play through one of his vintage Fender amps and, that Kay guitar has stayed the signature guitar. That’s what we play live. He just made me buy the exact same one on eBay. I think he was sick of me playing his. And now we have two! Oh, you should’ve just seen the wacky stuff he played. I mean, accordions, or he got a lot of weird Moog sounds and weird synthesizer sounds. We would process and re-process, so it was combined with the rawest beginnings.

    So it’s just the two of you playing everything?

    Yes!

    I feel like even when you seem to be singing about something that might be considered happy, your songs still have this dark feel.

    Yeah, it’s just a pure longing. I don’t mean it to be dark. I’m not really in control of that tone, but it’s supposed to be that place where it’s kind of in the gray but the sun is just about to come out. And that’s the longing. It’s me feeling stuck in these middle years in marriage, in motherhood, when part of my being wants to just be purely in the light doing what I want to do. Nothing like motherhood to give you wanderlust. My wanderlust is just purely coming out in this record.

    Well, my favorite song is “Good Side” and it keeps running through my head.

    Oh, good! That song’s just about sex. It’s sulky and it’s ... Holly Gleason, who’s a writer here in town, she’s doing a little something on me for a local magazine, and she used this word, which I think is great. She goes, “There’s just so much humidity.”

    Ha! Right. You’ve been involved with a lot of diverse things — sports and TV. Are you still involved?

    Well, I am. My husband is working for ESPN, and I was just writing a jingle for him. And he’s working on something called ESPN-W and ESPN films for women. I’m at the point now where I’d like to really make a documentary about an extreme sports athlete. I’m also still really involved actively as a fisherman. I still have goals for myself as a professional angler. I still wanna break world records on that!

    I kind of did everything I wanted to do in snowboarding, you know? But now I’m teaching my kids! Now I’m teaching them the love of snowboarding.

    The thing that keeps me the busiest lately, though, is I’ve moved into the last frontier for me in terms of my extremism, if you wanna call it that. I started the NORML Women’s Alliance Foundation, and I'm working on getting marijuana legalized. I ran the Wild Women Snowboarding camps for years, and I’ve always been a feminist. I feel like this is my new frontier for helping patients and really scared women who don’t want to feel like freaks anymore because they prefer smoking a J to Adderall and two Chardonnays or whatever every other chick in the world does.

    You typically have wrestled your way into areas that have been a boys' club. Do you do that intentionally? Is there just something that makes you say, “Get out of my way?"

    I think I do it intentionally. I’m the middle girl with two brothers. So I’ve been a scrapper since day one. But most importantly, I think, was my father’s influence on me in this regard, because I was more like him than my brothers were. So he was like, “I think women who can fish and hunt are the most appealing women, and you will learn how to fish, and you will learn how to hunt. And if you wanna spend time with me, you better be good, ‘cause this is where we’re going.”

    But I also really love women’s company. That’s why I love being in the NORML Women’s Alliance, because we have so much fun. We have a different way of doing things. And right now, for this particular moment in the cultural history, women are just going to start taking and not asking. I think it’s really required to save the planet. I just think America and the world, if they don’t wake up and kind of embrace the female energy; we’re just completely doomed.

    Are you going to be touring to support the album?

    I am all about being with my boys. So my priority is this summer, I’m going to do the July 11 NORML benefit in Nashville, and then everything that’s cool that’s happened to me in music, I’ve been asked to do. So, a band will say, you know, “Greta, come out and open for us.” I’m kind of waiting for some opportunities, and we’ve put out to a bunch of festivals. So hopefully I’ll do the Americana Festival. But I’m going to really take it slow and keep working this album. And then my goal would be maybe next summer to go out for a month with Ziggy Marley. Let’s just put that out there.

    Yeah! Put it out there ‘cause that’s how stuff happens.

    Put that out there: I’m available! I’m available.

    Take a listen and find out what’s next for Greta Gaines at gretagaines.com.

    Laura B. Whitmore is a singer/songwriter based in the San Francisco bay area. A veteran music industry marketer, she has spent over two decades doing marketing, PR and artist relations for several guitar-related brands including Marshall and VOX. Her company, Mad Sun Marketing, represents Dean Markley, Agile Partners, Peavey, Jammit, Notion Music, Guitar World and many more. Laura was instrumental in the launch of the Guitar World Lick of the Day app. She is the founder of the Women's International Music Network at thewimn.com, producer of the Women's Music Summit and the lead singer for the rock band Summer Music Project. More at mad-sun.com.


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