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    I often get asked about my chord work, particularly about the voicings I use.

    My chord style initially developed as a result of my dissatisfaction with the way traditional guitar voicings, particularly triads, sounded.

    As most of you probably know, I'm a stickler for tone. And when I was starting out, I quickly realized that the garden-variety triad voicings sounded pretty gnarly when played with distortion-they were muddy and lacked clarity.

    To remedy the problem, I would try to figure out ways to voice them where they would sound good even when played using a crunch tone. I quickly realized that open-voiced triads-ones in which the individual notes, or voices, are spread out-lent themselves best to distortion.

    The whole trick to creating open-voiced triads is to take the middle note of a close-voiced triad (named so because the intervals are stacked as close together as possible) and play it an octave higher or lower.

    Let's apply this concept to a root position (where the root is the lowest-sounding note) G chord. Take the third (B) and move it an octave higher, to the E string, and you get the rich-sounding voicing illustrated in FIGURE 1. You can apply this principle to inversions of both major and minor triads.

    As shown in FIGURE 2. I use almost all of these voicings regularly-I really love the way they sound. I often do to spice up my solos using arpeggiate open-voiced triads, that is, play the notes of each chord in succession. The beauty of these chords is that when arpeggiated, they sound even better!

    Play FIGURES 3 and 4, which depict the harmonized C and G major scales respectively, and you'll her what I mean.

    Once you're comfortable with them, check out FIGURE 5, which is similar to a passage I play in the intro solo to "Cliffs of Dover."

    It seems that a lot of guitarists like to focus their energy on their single-note chops, and as a result, they'll play voicings that are not nearly as sophisticated as their single-note lines. However, if you spend as much time working on chords, as you do on single-note ideas, you can come up with not only innovative rhythm parts, but great chordal-based soloing ideas as well.

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    This is an excerpt from the June 2014 issue of Guitar World. For the rest of this story, plus features on Nikki Sixx, Pantera, Carlos Santana, the history of MXR pedals, Nergal, columns, tabs and reviews of new gear from EVH Gear, Dunlop, Randall, Taylor Guitars and more, check out the June 2014 issue at the Guitar World Online Store.

    Crüe Cüt: After more than 30 years together, Mötley Crüe are calling it quits. Mick Mars and Nikki Sixx talk about their past excesses and achievements—and what the future holds for them all.

    “After this, Mötley’s done!” proclaims Mick Mars. He’s talking about Mötley Crüe’s recently announced Final Tour, which will see the band crisscross the globe—with Alice Cooper in tow for the North American leg—for one last hurrah. It’s a farewell celebration of the highest order, and one that is, Mars assures, truly a farewell.

    Indeed, lest anyone think the guitarist and his Mötley mates—singer Vince Neil, bassist Nikki Sixx and drummer Tommy Lee—are, like too many bands before them, merely setting the stage for their next reunion, think again. This past January, the Hollywood-bred foursome staged a press conference under the banner “All Bad Things Must Come to an End,” at which they signed a legally binding “cessation of touring agreement.”

    The document prohibits the band members from hitting the road, individually or in any configuration collectively, as Mötley Crüe after 2015, effectively putting a cap on what has amounted to more than three decades of onstage decadence.

    Why now? According to Sixx, the idea is to end it the way it began, all the way back in 1981. “We want it to be the same four guys,” he says. “We want it to be while we’re still at the top of our game. We want to go out with dignity.”

    Below is an excerpt of the Mick Mars portion of the interview. The entire interview — including the Nikki Sixx portion — can be sound in the new June 2014 issue of Guitar World.

    EXCERPT: Nikki mentioned that the two of you have been working on a new song together. What can you tell us about it?

    This song is for the Final Tour, and it’s about the Final Tour. The working title is “All Bad Things Must Come to an End.” It’s probably about half finished. We have to wait for Vince to sing it, and then I’ll do my soloing and ear candy all over it and stuff like that. But what happens with us after that, music-wise, is kind of vague, I guess. I’m not gonna paint myself in a corner and say, “Oh, yeah, there could be more music coming out,” when I don’t really know. I don’t really have the answers. I know that the contract we signed says that in no way will any of us go out playing Mötley Crüe music as Mötley Crüe. And it’s pretty binding and pretty heavy. So that’s it.

    You’ve teased the idea of doing a solo album for years. Now that Mötley-related activity is winding down, will this become a reality?

    Absolutely. I’ve been writing for quite a long time, and I’m going through some of the archives that I have, things I’ve written going back to ’95, ’96. And I think what a lot of people may say—and I have to say “may” because I don’t know—is, “This is crap.” [laughs] Or, they may say, “Wow! I didn’t know Mick could write like that! I didn’t know Mick could play guitar like that!” Hopefully that happens. If it doesn’t, then that’s okay too. I mean, it took 20 years for a lot of the fan base and everyone else to realize how groundbreaking the [1994] Mötley Crüe album with John Corabi was. So you never know.

    There have been rumors that you and John Corabi might also be working together again.

    There’s been a lot of talk about it, but we haven’t gotten together yet. John’s built his name up pretty big here in Nashville, and I would never want him to do something that would take him away from his thing. But to sit and collaborate and write songs together would be cool for both of us, I think. So if it happens, then great. If not, that’s cool too. We’re still friends.

    As far as Mötley’s music is concerned, is there anything you look back on and think, “We could have done that better”?
    Well, there are two albums that aren’t my favorites: Theatre of Pain and Generation Swine, although there’s a couple good songs on each one. Theatre of Pain has “Home Sweet Home,” and on Generation Swine there’s a song called “Glitter” that’s real good. But those are two records where I felt we could’ve done better.

    Guitar playing in the Eighties, especially in hard rock and metal, was heavily dependent on flash and tricks and speed, which was not your style at all. Do you feel your abilities were overlooked as a result?

    Sometimes. Because everybody and their mother was playing all scales, all the time. Like, “Oh, I’m a great guitar player now!” But everyone was just doing the same licks over and over and over. My schooling came from listening to records, and thinking about how I felt about the song and following the melody. My goal was always to play something that fit and something that was memorable, not just a barrage of notes. And because I didn’t play all the scales or do this or that, you know, people thought that I was this crap guitar player.

    After more than 30 years playing with Mötley Crüe, how would you most like the band to be remembered?

    I’d be happy if people thought of us in the top 100 iconic bands that ever came along, like the Stones and Hendrix and Zeppelin and those guys. That’d be nice. If I could get in that category, then yeah, I’d be a happy man.

    Photo: Justin Borucki

    For the rest of this story, plus features on Nikki Sixx, Pantera, Carlos Santana, the history of MXR pedals, Nergal, columns, tabs and reviews of new gear from EVH Gear, Dunlop, Randall, Taylor Guitars and more, check out the June 2014 issue at the Guitar World Online Store.

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    Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Emily King has released the video for her latest single, “Distance.”

    The video, directed by Paul Jung, is King’s first music video since the release of her debut album in 2007.

    Featuring contrasting colors and an eye-catching split screen look, the video delivers the perfect visuals for this soulful, throwback track.

    Combining her roots, pop, soul, and indie influences for carefully crafted compositions, King was raised in Manhattan’s Lower East Side and raised by her singing-duo mother and father.

    She has shared the stage with Alicia Keys, Maroon 5, John Legend, Emeli Sande, Aloe Blacc and many others along the way.

    Watch the video below:

    Keep up with Emily King at emilykingmusic.com.

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    Check out this solo acoustic performance from Wolverhampton, England’s Pete Kent.

    The composition is featured on Kent’s latest album, The Sands Of Time, which is available now.

    Prior to embarking on a solo career, Kent was a sought after session guitarist in the UK, so it's no surprise that his playing style is so fluid and well-rehearsed.

    Through performing his own compositions and fingerstyle arrangements of well-known artists' material, Pete covers many styles and genres ranging from ’60s pop to ’90s dance. The Sands Of Time represents this varied repertoire.

    Lately, Kent is gaining more and more recognition outside of England, receiving plaudits from renowned fingerstyle players like Andy McKee, Joe Robinson and Adam Rafferty.

    Watch “Something About You” below:

    Keep up with Pete Kent here.

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    In episode 7 of Sunday Strum, we’re going to cover something a little different.

    Instead of focusing on rhythm and right hand technique, I thought I’d demonstrate a simple example regarding chord progressions.

    More often than not, we tend to write music in even numbers of measures; for instance, a progression that spans four bars or even a 12-bar blues.

    However, working in odd numbers like three can put a unique spin on your writing.

    In the following video I use a basic harmonic progression to demonstrate this, but feel free to use any chords, time signatures, or odd groupings that you see fit!

    Justin Horenstein is a guitar instructor and musician in the Washington, DC metro area who graduated (cum laude) from the Berklee College of Music in 2006. He plays in Black Clouds, a 3-piece atmospheric/experimental band. Their debut album was recorded by J Robbins (Jawbox, Burning Airlines). Justin’s 18 years of musical experience also includes touring the U.S., a record deal under Sony, starting his own teaching business, recording several albums, and playing club shows with national acts including Circa Survive, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Biffy Clyro, United Nations, Caspian, and more.

    More about Justin at 29thCenturyGuitar.com and BlackCloudsDC.bandcamp.com

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    Below, check out a fan-filmed clip of guitarists Marty Friedman and Gus G performing Black Sabbath's "Symptom of the Universe" May 1 at Klubi in Tampere, Finland, during their joint Guitar Universe 2014 tour.

    "Symptom of the Universe," which originally appeared on Black Sabbath's 1975 album, Sabotage, has been covered by several artists over the years, including Sepultura, Helmet and the Melvins.

    Be sure to check out Gus and Marty's impromptu version and let us know what you think in the comments below or on Facebook!

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    It’s been nearly nine years since the String Cheese Incident released their last album, One Step Closer.

    While the jam band may not have “technically” released any new material during that time, they’ve continued to write and perform new music for fans who’ve been following them since their formation in the Colorado ski towns of Crested Butte and Telluride in 1993.

    The title of the band’s new album, Song in My Head (produced by former Talking Head Jerry Harrison), could be taken quite literally, as the material found on it is sure to spark the imagination of new and longtime fans. Songs such as the title track and “Colorado Bluebird Sky” showcase the talents of all six members of the band, while “Struggling Angel” pays homage to a fallen fan.

    While it might be a long-overdue album in terms of timing, Song in My Head proves the wait was well worth it.

    The String Cheese Incident features Bill Nershi (guitar), Jason Hann (percussion), Kyle Hollingsworth (keyboards), Michael Kang (mandolin, guitar), Keith Moseley (bass) and Michael Travis (drums).

    I recently spoke to Nershi about Song in My Head.

    GUITAR WORLD: What spawned this new record?

    I’ve actually been trying to get the band to make an album for a few years. There’s always an argument to be made against putting out a CD because it’s not the same market as it used to be. But we’ve been accumulating a backlog of great songs and felt the time was right to record.

    How does a String Cheese Incident song come together?

    Our songwriting process runs the gambit from just having a chord progression and bringing it to the band to work on, all the way up to making a complete demo of the song beforehand and bringing that in. There are a variety of different ways but no shortage of ideas. In fact, we just had a session recently where we brought in five new songs. That’s why we decided to call this album Song in My Head, because there are a lot of songs we had been playing that we wanted recorded.

    Let’s discuss a few tracks from the new record. What’s the origin of "Song in My Head"?

    “Song in My Head” was something my daughter used to walk around the house saying. She would always say she had a song stuck in her head that she couldn’t get out and it was driving her crazy [laughs]. I thought, “Wow! That’s actually a pretty good thing that you have a song in your head.” That started the idea for the song, and the band fleshed it out.

    “Colorado Bluebird Sky”

    I wrote that song with my wife, Jillian. We had the same idea to write a song about Colorado. We really missed the spirit we used to have with Colorado and John Denver. So we harnessed that a little bit and took our ideas and put it together.

    “Struggling Angel”

    That’s a song Keith wrote. He wrote it about a good friend of ours who had taken her own life. She was a great friend of the band and a big part of our community of fans and friends. It was a tough thing to deal with, but it’s a song Keith wrote to honor her.

    What was the recording process like?

    This was the first time we worked with Jerry Harrison. He came to Boulder and helped us take the basic tracks and polish them into the songs you hear now. He was great to work with. The thing I like about this new album is that it’s concise and sounds like the band. We don’t try to sound like something else.

    Did you always know that music was going to be your calling?

    I never really had dreams. I just enjoyed doing it. What I did in Telluride for a long time was just to try and find a partner to do a duo gig with, or get a few friends to make a little extra money. I never really looked to get into bands. I just loved being able to express myself.

    Who were some of your early musical influences?

    I went through a lot of different stages. Growing up, I had older brothers who listened to everything from the Moody Blues, Beach Boys and Beatles to King Crimson, Pink Floyd and Yes. In high school, I started listening to bluegrass and Southern rock like Marshall Tucker and the Allman Brothers. Two of my favorite guitar players are Doc Watson and Dickey Betts.

    What are you most looking forward to in terms of releasing Song in My Head?

    For me, putting out the new album is priming the pumps. We had a back log of material we never recorded. Getting this down and out to the people has given us new life, and now we’re ready to come out with more new ideas. As we saw from our last rehearsal session, we’ve already brought in five new songs. There’s a new creative burst in the band and it feels good. I don’t ever want to be that band that just plays the same old material.

    For more on the String Cheese Incident:

    Official Website: stringcheeseincident.com
    Facebook: facebook.com/stringcheeseincident

    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.

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    Did Han Solo play guitar solos?

    We may never know.

    What we do know is that Brian Fisk of Missouri has made his very own Millennium Falcon guitar.

    "It's one of a kind because of all the features I added to it," Fisk told the Southeast Missourian. "It has a custom-made headstock based on R2-D2 from the movie. It also has working sounds and lights. The sound effects were part of the toy and there were a couple of lights as well. I added lights on the back for the engine, some stuff like that.

    "I worked on it in my spare time for probably about three months," he said. "Part of it was because I was getting a little bored — I wanted something to do around the house."

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    Yamaha has been making instruments for quite some time. Well over a century in fact.

    So they know firsthand how age enhances the tone of the wood.

    In fact, the company has done a variety of tests to determine what those age-enhanced tonal characteristics are.

    And now with that knowledge, Yamaha has taken the next step to create a way to accelerate that wood aging process so that new woods can have that sweet, vintage-instrument tone, too.

    Cool, right?

    This revolutionary wood reforming technology is called Acoustic Resonance Enhancement (A.R.E.). Within a short period of time, new wood matured with this technology produces a tonal richness like that of well-used vintage instruments.

    A.R.E technology uses specialized equipment that precisely controls temperature, humidity, and atmospheric pressure to transform the wood. But best of all it uses no chemicals in the treatment process.

    The origins of A.R.E. technology date back to the late 1990s and arose from the research Yamaha conducted to commence the manufacture of violins.

    Famous violins made 200 or 300 years ago are well known for the wonderful tones they produce. Yamaha researched why the wood in old violins makes such a sweet sound and made it their mission to figure out how to create those conditions purposefully.

    This video shows the enhanced resonance of wood treated with A.R.E. Use headphones if you want to really hear the full effect.

    Yamaha now uses wood that’s gone through the A.R.E. process in their new L Series guitars.

    All new models in the series now include solid Engelmann spruce tops that are treated with A.R.E. (Acoustic Resonance Enhancement), resulting in outstanding tonal balance and eliminating the harsh edge common with younger guitars.

    Take it from us, these guitars do sound SWEET!

    The Yamaha L Series also features redesigned bracing, including a lower bracing height and shape that improves the vibration of the top board and tonal transference throughout the guitar, creating a balanced low end and crisp top end characteristics.

    LS26 ARE.jpg
    The guitars also include a refined, thinner neck profile, lower string action and wider string spacing. A new five-ply neck design adds stability and additional tone enhancement.

    The L Series models come with an unobtrusive passive under-saddle Studio Response Technology (S. R. T.) pickup for live applications that does not affect the unplugged sound or detract from the gorgeous finishes of these guitars.

    Find out even more detail about Yamaha’s A.R.E. technology and more here>>

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    Below, check out a recently posted clip of Soundgarden performing "Rusty Cage" for Guitar Center Sessions.

    Soundgarden's episode aired last night, May 4, kicking off the show's eighth season.

    The session was filmed on a rooftop in Austin, Texas, during the band's first-ever trip to SXSW. It was presented by JBL and hosted by Nic Harcourt.

    The broadcast included performance footage, plus an interview about the band’s career and the upcoming June 3 reissue of Superunknown.

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    Black Label Society's Zakk Wylde got some good news over the weekend. His Pelham Blue Bullseye Gibson Les Paul Custom guitar — which was stolen March 14 from his tour bus in Chicago — has been found.

    The guitar, which was valued at $10,000, turned up in a Chicago pawn shop called Royal Pawn (on South Clark Street). The store was the setting of truTV’s Hardcore Pawn: Chicago reality TV show.

    The Chicago Tribune reports that a man came into the store to sell the guitar on March 24. The shop had been alerted about the theft immediately after it happened, said Randy Cohen, who owns the store with his brother Wayne.

    "I forgot about (the alert)," Cohen said. "That happens every day. To be honest, I can't remember (expletive)."

    But the seller's information was recorded as part of the transaction and the guitar's serial number and description was entered into an online database accessible by law enforcement across the country. The guitar then sat in storage at the shop for the 30-day period required under Chicago ordinance, Cohen added.

    Cohen said an employee originally paid around $50 for the guitar. But as the brothers took a closer look, they said they started to realize the guitar might be more valuable.

    "I said you know what, let's get this thing checked out," Wayne Cohen said.

    A Chicago police spokesman confirmed that detectives recovered the guitar Friday. Police were at the pawnshop Saturday to retrieve information about the seller.

    "All I need to know is that it was found," said Wylde's manager, Blasko, told the Tribute. "That's good news."

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    The Black Keys have premiered another portion of their upcoming album, Turn Blue, sharing a moody new track — "Bullet in the Brain"— via BBC Radio 1.

    You can hear it via the YouTube player below.

    If fact, you can hear the duo's entire Zane Lowe BBC session HERE. Let us know what you think of the song, and, for that matter, the other two songs that are available for your listening pleasure. There's "Fever" and "Turn Blue."

    Turn Blue will be released May 13, following the band's May 10 performance on Saturday Night Live.

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    Announcing Songwriter Sessions: Live! Enter for your chance to not only perform your song on the Acoustic Nation stage, but to also have it critiqued and discussed by #1 hit songwriter and Songtown USA founder, Clay Mills and Acoustic Nation editor, Laura B. Whitmore.

    That's right! We're taking submissions for five singer/songwriters who will have the opportunity to perform live in front of the exclusive NAMM crowd of industry luminaries on Saturday, July 19, 2014 at 12:00pm at the Music City Center in Nashville, TN.

    But this isn't just about performance, it's about songwriting. And that's why multi-platinum songwriter Clay Mills and Acoustic Nation editor Laura B. Whitmore will also talk about why they selected the winning songs, tips on improving their composition and delivery.

    They'll also take questions from the audience and the entire session will be taped live and shared on AcousticNation.com and GuitarWorld.com.

    It's a chance for you to share your songs with a music industry crowd, and learn more about what makes great songs tick.

    Three songs will be personally selected by Clay Mills and Laura B. Whitmore, and the other two will be voted on by fans and friends.

    So submit your songs today! Submissions close June 6, 2014. Travel and lodging is the responsibility of the winner and is not provided. Winners will also receive a free pass for the 2014 Nashville NAMM show.

    Find out more and enter here>>

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    I first learned about guitarist Gary Hoey outside of a Robert Randolph show at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, New Jersey.

    A friend offered me an extra ticket to Hoey's show the following night. I watched him play everything from instrumentals to classic rock covers, heavy metal originals, even Christmas carols.

    It’s tough to put Hoey in a box, but Rocktron by GHS has done it. The Intimidator is Hoey’s signature distortion pedal.

    The Intimidator offers five knobs to twist every which way but loose: Bass, Treble, Level, Gain and Punish. Punish acts mid scoop or boost. You can run the pedal on a 9-volt battery or external power supply. The switch is True Bypass.

    If the name "Intimidator," the camouflage motif or a Punish knob wasn’t enough of a tip-off, this is a seriously high-gain distortion pedal. It doesn’t clean up well, it doesn’t return phone calls, it doesn’t whisper, it screams!

    Check out the three clips below.

    Clip 1: I tuned a Telecaster down to D and dialed in the manual’s suggested setting, titled "Metal Rules High Gain."

    Clip 2: With the Gain rolled back and more mids added, or should I say, “I cranked up the Punish,” I was able to get a fizzy power pop distortion I really liked.

    Clip 3: Once again I referenced the manual. Here’s Hoey’s favorite lead setting. I’m playing a Les Paul with the bridge pickup selected.

    Web: rocktron.com.
    Street price: $120.99

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    London's Savages have released a live performance video — directed by Giorgio Testi — for "Fuckers," one of two new songs to be released as a 12-inch single (and digital download). The B-side is “Dream Baby Dream,” a Suicide cover.

    These songs are the first bits of new music from the band since 2013′s Silence Yourself album.

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

    Savages are Jehnny Beth, guitarist Gemma Thompson, Ayse Hassan and Fay Milton.

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    Jeff Beck has released a new three-track CD — Yosogai— in Japan. Don't bother looking for it on iTunes in the U.S. — it's not there, although some of the songs might wind up on his much-anticipated 2014 album.

    Beck, who has been touring for several weeks and is scheduled to tour throughout the summer with ZZ Top, has been performing one of the songs from the new EP, "Why Give It Away," as a treat for fans.

    Below, you can check out a (somewhat annoying) fan-filmed video that kicks off with "Cause We've Ended As Lovers" and shifts into the funky "Why Give It Away" at the 3:46 mark.

    Yosogai is rounded out by two more songs, "Loaded" and a live version of "Danny Boy," which features Imelda May on vocals. Incidentally, the studio version of "Why Give It Away" features Sophie Delila on vocals. At the April 8 Tokyo performance shown below, bassist Rhonda Smith sings. The rest of Beck's current band includes Jonathan Joseph on drums, Lizzie Ball on violin and Nicolas Meier on guitar.

    To see all of Beck's current tour dates, head here. To order Yosogai, head here.

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    It’s always a pleasure to combine two loves into one project.

    For Sinner Sinners’ that goes double.

    French married couple Steve and Sam Thill write and perform together, and in this video they incorporate their love of skateboarding, with a musical bent.

    Singer Sam Thill says, “Since we started the band, this is only the second time we’ve played anything acoustic. The beach is also the most contradictory setting to film a video for a song called “Darkness Forever,” so we felt it would be a nice contrast.”

    Steve Thill adds, “There’s a skatepark in Venice Beach, so we decided to shoot this video there. Most of the band members are avid skateboarders, so this place acts as a magnet for us.”

    Check out the video for “Darkness Forever” here:

    Sinner Sinners recently released their brand new album, XI, via their own independent label, Cadavra Records.

    Happily married couple Steve and Sam Thill met in a small town in the center of France at the age of 15 and fell fast in love. Eight years later in 2009, the couple started Sinner Sinners out of their mutual love of rock music and desire to be at each other’s sides throughout all aspects of their musical careers.

    Since their inception and relocation to Los Angeles, Sinner Sinners have pushed their forceful punk-influenced rock n’ roll out to the controlled masses, but see 2014 as a figurative launching pad designed to hit the big time.

    As with their 2011 release Cardinal Sins, the band enlisted producer Nic Jodoin (Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Amusement Park On Fire, The Morlocks), and recorded at the Glory Hole in Hollywood, CA (the previous album also featured production duties from Pascal Mondaz). Interesting fact, Sinner Sinners recorded with Nic at the same time as Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, actually trading places in the studio throughout the course of the process.

    Sinner Sinners keeps busy outside of the studio as well, boasting recent performances with Black Flag, The Sonics, The Lords of Altamont, The Morlocks, The Creepshow and many more.

    To learn more about the band, please visit www.sinnersinners.com

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    This run is heavily inspired by the great gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt.

    I begin by highlighting an Am6 arpeggio, with many chromatics and flat fives thrown in. I then move to Dm6 in bar 2, adding similar chromatic ornamentations.

    Next up is a B fully diminished seventh (over E7b9) with notes from the B half-whole scale thrown in for some percussive and melodic flavor. Finally, I end on what I would barely call an altered E dominant seventh, over which I actually play an A whole-half scale, before finally ending the entire thing on E.

    As indicated above and below the tab, I use a mixture of alternate and economy picking and some quick position shifts to get through the passage smoothly. When economy picking, rather than thinking of it as successive down-strokes or upstrokes, simply rest your pick on the adjacent string and push with the joints of your fingers.

    Instead of having your wrist do most of the work, it becomes more of a guide for the pick, and movement becomes minimized or economized. The object is to be able to play the lick smoothly and in time. As always, practice with a metronome and start out slowly!

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    Today, GuitarWorld.com presents "Suit Up," a new song by A. Sinclair. The song is from their new album, Pretty Girls, which will be released May 20.

    “At this point in my life, music just keeps me sane,” says A. Sinclair frontman Aaron Sinclair when asked about the inspiration behind the new album.

    “I get inspired by the people I play music with. We’re all lifers and we all just keep going. These songs are about everyday life and trying to navigate the real world. Being creative and making music while still trying to be a sort of functioning member of society.”

    Sinclair sings like he has nothing to lose and no one to impress, slurring his way through gut-wrenching lyrics about life and pain with burnt-out, deadpan indifference. Roaring guitars cut through the fog like harsh morning sunbeams during a bad hangover. Stellar musicianship brings it all together.

    The former Frank Smith frontman has honed his sound as a guitarist and drummer for countless bands since he got his start playing dive bars in Boston before relocating to his current hometown of Austin, Texas. His band’s last album was a turning point for Sinclair, earning him some much-deserved attention from outlets like Paste, Magnet and MTV Hive.

    “I’ve been wanting to make music that slaps you in the face, whether it is big and loud or soft and quiet. It doesn’t matter,” Sinclair says. “If I can creep anybody out, that’s cool too.”

    For more about A. Sinclair, visit asinclairmusic.com.

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    Hey, everyone! Long time, no see. In some of my previous columns, I've discussed arpeggio inversions, but in this installment I'd like to discuss chord inversions and how they can add some color to a typical chord progression.

    First, we need to define what a chord inversion is — in case we don't know already. An inversion is a chord in which a different note is at the bottom of the chord besides the root.

    Chords are built from the bottom up, usually from the root note; and like my old theory professor Dr. Austin once told me, "Richard, the bass is the boss." So let's take a look at a C major 7th chord. Spelled from the bottom up, this chord would be C E G B.

    This would be root position because the C is the lowest note in the chord. But if we placed the E at the lowest note of the chord, which is the 3rd, this would be called first inversion. If we placed the G at the bottom of the chord, which is the 5th, this would be called second inversion. Lastly, if we place the B at the bottom of the chord, which is the 7th, this would be called the third inversion.

    So, in a nutshell, this is how we define inversions:

    Root note is root position, 3rd on the bottom is first inversion, 5th on the bottom is second inversion and 7th on the bottom is third inversion.

    In this example, we are inverting a C major 7th chord all over the fretboard starting on the G on the 3rd fret of the 6th string so the first chord is, you guessed it, in second inversion. The next chord starts on the B at the 7th fret of the 6th string and is in third inversion. The next chord starts on the C at the 8th fret of the 6th string and is in root position and the last chord in the first measure starts on the E at the 12th fret of the 6th string and is in first inversion.

    You get the picture. Some of these inversions have some long stretches are can be challenging to play but they are definitely unique and bring a great deal of color to the chord itself which in turn can add some spice to an otherwise dull chord progression.

    My favorite is the C major 7th chord in first inversion found on the first beat of the third measure. It doesn't sound like a typical major 7th chord which is the whole point of this blog and my whole blog space for that matter; to find your own unique voice on the guitar.

    These inversions are moveable chord structures so you can use them all over the fretboard for all major 7th chords. Here's an assignment: try and figure out all the inversions of a D major 7th chord using these structures. Quite challenging for your fingers and brain to say the least.

    Thank you all for taking the time to read my blog. Now pick up that guitar and play. Just like yesterday. As always, any feedback and comments are welcome.


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    Guitarist 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 over the years, 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. Visit him at Axgrinder.com and his Complete Guitarist Facebook page.Check out Richard's new book, 'The Complete Guitarist Handbook: Vol. 1,' which is available at Amazon.com.

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