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    Sure, we've all suspected it for years, but now a study has pretty much confirmed it: Guitarists' brains are different from everyone else's.

    In a 2012 study conducted in Berlin, researchers scanned the brains of 12 pairs of guitarists, all of whom were asked to play the same piece of music. The researchers discovered that the guitarists' neural networks could synchronize not only while playing the piece — but even slightly before playing.

    According to the study — which you can read here and (in a much more reader-friendly format) here— when a guitarist shreds, he or she temporarily deactivates the brain region that routinely shuts down when achieving big-picture goals, signalling a shift from conscious to unconscious thought.

    When non-experienced-musicians attempt to play a solo, the conscious portion of their brain stays on, which implies that "real" guitarists are able to switch to this more creative and less-practical mode of thinking more easily.

    According to, this research makes it clear that guitarists are spiritual, intuitive people. This sort of intuitive thinking runs all the way to how guitarists learn. Unlike musicians who learn through sheet music, guitarists, according to researchers at Vanderbilt University, get a better grasp of a song by looking at someone playing it rather than reading the notes on paper (Have you seen our LESSONS section, by the way?).

    The intuition might come from one truth every guitarist suspects: Playing guitar transcends simple brain chemistry. Pat Martino, a jazz guitarist from Philadelphia, had 70 percent of his left temporal lobe removed when he was in his mid-30s due to a hemorrhage. When he came out of surgery, he couldn't play guitar.

    Within two years, Martino was able to completely relearn how to play jazz guitar. Scientists have used Martino's brain as an example of cerebral plasticity. For guitarists, Martino represents something else: Playing guitar isn't a skill. It's a way of being, a way of life.

    For more on this topic, visit

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    In the first two installments of Chop Shop, we looked at some arpeggio-based runs that were spiced up with octaves, finger taps, pinch harmonics and behind-the-nut bends.

    This time, as promised, I’m going to talk about the ways in which I’ve employed ideas I’ve learned from guitarists in different genres to my own playing. To start off, I’m going to show you a lick in the key of B that I use on the track “The Nightmare Unravels,” from my latest solo CD, The Art of Malice.

    To perform this lick, I use the technique known as hybrid picking, which involves using the bare fingers to pluck strings in conjunction with a flatpick. The best way to describe the technique and how it sounds is through demonstration, so check out the performance of FIGURE 1 on this column’s accompanying video lesson to hear it in a rock context.

    Note the unique “popping” sound created by the combination of finger picking and flat picking.

    Country guitar great Albert Lee is a master of this technique, and it is used to great effect in a rock context by players such as Steve Morse and Zakk Wylde. While hybrid picking can provide you with another cool way to vary your tone, it also allows you to easily perform string-skipping runs that would be arduous to play using just a pick.

    Some country purists wouldn’t involve the use of a pick, just the thumb and first two fingers of the picking hand (see PHOTO 1). But since I like to incorporate this technique into my rock playing, I often use my pick in conjunction with my middle and ring fingers.

    As you can see in FIGURE 1, with the exception of the very last note (the B at the 19th fret on the high E string), this run is played entirely on the D and B strings. I use my pick to down-pick the D string and my middle finger (marked m above the TAB) to alternately pluck the B-string notes, making the numerous string skips a breeze to negotiate. The open B note is sounded often, which is very useful because, as it is the root note, it clearly anchors the run to the key of B.

    This run may seem a little complicated at first, but when you break it down you’ll see that it’s really just a repeating seven-note fingering-and-picking pattern that is applied to different positions on the neck. This very rhythmic pattern is isolated in FIGURE 2. All that is required to master this lick is to nail this shorter pattern, which includes a hammer-on on the D string, from the index finger to the ring, and an index-finger pull-off on the B string.

    The longer lick in FIGURE 1 is based on this same pattern and shaped-shifted up and down the neck to various positions. Like anything new, start off slowly and build up speed slowly, concentrating first on the fingering and picking pattern and then incorporating some palm muting, which will help keep things neat and tight sounding.

    Also, start with a clean sound and introduce distortion later. Stick with it, and before you know it you’ll be playing FIGURE 1 at speed.

    Additional Content

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    Yes, sometimes we find ourselves checking out guitar forums on other guitar-centric websites. Such was the case earlier today, when we stumbled upon the video below, which is titled "The Best of Betcha Can't Play This."

    For those among you who don't know, Betcha Can't Play This is a Guitar World feature. The videos feature established guitarists who play licks and — in a fun way — challenge readers to play the same lick. Some text, and the tabs, are provided.

    But in the video below, someone (who has nothing to do with Guitar World) compiled what he feels is the "best" of Betcha Can't Play This.

    The video has garnered almost 2 million views — so it's time we shared in the fun!

    The video includes Betcha Can't Play This licks by Alexi Laiho, Doug Doppler, Phil X, Fredrik Akesson, Gus G, Jason Hook, Jeff Loomis, Jimmy Brown, Marc Rizzo, Chris Broderick, Mike Campese, Ralph Santolla, Rusty Cooley — and many more!

    As always, enjoy! And if you're in the mood to check out several complete Betcha Can't Play This columns (with video, text and tab), head here.

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    Last night — or was it early this morning? — Zakk Wylde and Black Label Society performed on Late Night with Seth Meyers.

    Check out the official clip of "Angel of Mercy" below. The song is from Catacombs of the Black Vatican, the band's new album.

    "Someone asked me what the difference was between this new record and the other nine," Wylde told us earlier in the spring. "I told them that it’s basically all of the songs we used on the other nine records, except they've got different titles now [laughs]. It's fun and exciting for the whole family!"

    You decide!

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    The all-new June 2014 issue of Guitar World is available now!

    In the new June issue, we interview Motley Crue. After more than 30 years together, the Crue are calling it quits. Mick Mars and Nikki Sixx talk about their past excesses and achievements — and what the future holds for them all.

    Then, Guitar World focuses on Pantera. We go behind the scenes into the making of their Number One hit: Far Beyond Driven. We follow this up with a previously unpublished interview with the late Pantera guitarist, Dimebag Darrell. Our interview was conducted at Dimebag's home in Arlington, Texas, on February 11, 1994 — two months before the release of Far Beyond Driven.

    Later on, legendary guitarist Carlos Santana returns to his roots and rekindles his love for Latino culture on Corazon, his new star-studded Spanish-language album.

    Finally, we celebrate the time-honored, tone-a-licious history of MXR, the effect pedal company that brought you the Phase 90 and a slew of other now-classic stomp boxes.

    PLUS: Marty Friedman, Behemoth, Whitechapel, Demon Hunter and much more!

    Five Songs with Tabs for Guitar and Bass

    • Santana - "Smooth"
    • Motley Crue - "Same Ol' Situation"
    • Pantera - "5 Minutes Alone"
    • Tom Petty - "Free Fallin"
    • Jack White - "I'm Shakin'"

    The June 2014 issue of Guitar World is available now at the Guitar World Online Store!

    Additional Content

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    In this Monster Lick, I'm using a combination of pentatonic scales in the key of E minor.

    All of these scales are based around the straight minor pentatonic, but to get the different effect I simply add a note to create the new variation.

    It's very important to understand what the notes are. They're not just randomly added. The notes in the straight E minor pentatonic are E G A B D. What I do from here is add either the major 3rd (G#), which is called the “major 3rd pentatonic,” or the major 6th (Db) “major 6th pentatonic,” or the flat 5 (Bb), which is called the “flat 5" or "blues scale.”

    There's nothing new to this approach. Blues players have been adding these notes to the basic pentatonic for eons. But the difference here is that I apply this system to a heavy/hard-rock style of playing. I do this with a combination of sweeps and legato, which creates a very hard-edge modern sound while still keeping the blues tonality.

    This approach is fantastic for a jazz/blues style with a clean sound. Once you start playing around with adding these notes, you'll discover some really cool chromatic lines that are great to give you a jazzy feel.

    The secret to being able to pull this off, though, is to understand that all of these notes are actually part of a scale and not just random. When I was first experimenting with this kind of sound, I found that I would get lost a lot of the time on the fretboard. It wasn’t until I mastered each individual variation of the pentatonic scale that I became comfortable combining them.

    If you go back through the previous Monster Licks, you will notice I have licks dedicated to each individual scale, so refer back to hear the difference in tonality between the scales.

    The Lick:

    I start this lick with an arpeggio using the major 6th pentatonic. From there I switch into the flat 5 scale then into a combination of the flat 5 and the major 6th. This has a diminished 7th sound to it. This intro should give you a great indication of how the combinations create a very intense-sounding run.

    From here I move into the “over the top” section where I swing my hand over the fretboard. Please spot the notes marked “T” in the transcription; they are the notes I fret with my thumb to create the pivot to swing my hand over the fretboard.

    I finish the lick with a series of five- and six-string arpeggios combining the major 6th, flat 5 and also the major 3rd scales.

    The important thing is to take note of how you can use all of these scales together. The lick is simply an example of how far you can take the idea. This way of combining scales can be used in a very soulful manner too. I'm just demonstrating the other end of the spectrum.

    I hope you enjoy this Monster Lick! Please join me on YouTube right here! Or contact me at or my Facebook page.

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    Australia's Glenn Proudfoot has played and toured with major signed bands and artists in Europe and Australia, including progressive rockers Prazsky Vyber. Glenn released his first instrumental solo album, Lick Em, in 2010. It is available on iTunes and at His latest album — a still-untitled all-instrumental release — will be available in March 2014.

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    Courtney Love has premiered the music video for her current single, "You Know My Name."

    The video, which was directed by Maximilla Lukacs, shows the singer trashing a room while wearing a white gown. Love released her double A-side single "Wedding Day"/"You Know My Name" on May 4.

    Love recently spoke to Pitchfork about the video, saying:

    "It's typical stuff you would expect from me, directed by my friend Maximilla [Lukacs]—who does super high-femme, surreal videos—and it was total Miss Havisham. What am I wearing? A white dress! Of course! But you know what I'm not wearing? A flower crown. I have to tell you, I've never worn a flower crown, except once, in 1985, before you were born, right before Andy Warhol died. He decided I was going to be a star and put me in Interview wearing a flower crown. It was my first big piece of press.

    "I saw pictures of Coachella and all these girls are wearing flower crowns from Urban Outfitters! Flower crowns have tipped. They might be a little bit done. Max's videos have a lot of flower crowns in them, and I said, "Max, no flower crown." For what the video cost, which was nothing, it might be good. It's not going to get 62 million hits, but it is what it is."

    There's also a behind-the-scenes video featuring Love and her guitarist, Micko Larkin, playing a "punk acoustic" version of the song. You can check it out below.

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    Guitar Center recently started creating "product spotlight" demo videos for gear that happens to be available at their many stores. The week's demo video showcases the 40-watt, all-tube Marshall DSL40C guitar amp, a versatile combo that's great for gigging.

    The video provides a wealth of information about the new model, which boasts a 12-inch Celestion speaker and the same front- and rear-panel features as the DSL100H.

    Note that the Triode (half-power) option drops the DSL40C’s output to 20 watts.

    For more information on the amp, check out the video below and visit this model's page at

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    Jack White has announced the "Ultra" LP release of his upcoming album, Lazaretto, which will be released June 10 through White's Third Man Records.

    "While we were mixing the record, I started to get ideas about the design of the LP and what we could do differently that hadn't been done before," says White in the video below (which also features Third Man Records' Ben Blackwell).

    Each side boasts a unique set of rarities, including two hidden tracks pressed underneath the center label of both sides, played at 78 RPM on Side A and 45 RPM on Side B, making the Lazaretto"Ultra" edition possibly the first three-speed LP.

    Side A plays from the inside of the record until it ends on a locked groove on the outside, while Side B starts with either an electric or acoustic intro for "Just One Drink," depending on where the needle is dropped. Audiophiles will enjoy different mixes without any sort of compression of the album than those used on the CD and digital release and different track sequences.

    Watch below for the full "Ultra" tour and check out the full list features and tracks.

    Ultra LP Features:

    • 180 gram vinyl
    • 2 vinyl-only hidden tracks hidden beneath the center labels
    • 1 hidden track plays at 78 RPM, one plays at 45 RPM, making this a 3-speed record
    • Side A plays from the inside out
    • Dual-groove technology: plays an electric or acoustic intro for “Just One Drink” depending on where needle is dropped. The grooves meet for the body of the song.
    • Matte finish on Side B, giving the appearance of an un-played 78 RPM record
    • Both sides end with locked grooves
    • Vinyl pressed in seldom-used flat-edged format
    • Dead wax area on Side A contains a hand-etched hologram by Tristan Duke of Infinity Light Science, the first of its kind on a vinyl record
    • Absolutely zero compression used during recording, mixing and mastering
    • Different running order from the CD/digital version
    • LP utilizes some mixes different from those used on CD and digital version

    Lazaretto Tracklist:

    Side A:
    01. Three Women
    02. Lazaretto
    03. Temporary Ground
    04. Would You Fight For My Love?
    05. High Ball Stepper
    Side B:
    06. Just One Drink
    07. Alone in My Home
    08. That Black Bat Licorice
    09. Entitlement
    10. I Think I Found the Culprit
    11. Want and Able

    Pre-order here:

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    The latest newsletter from Dean Zelinsky Private Label Guitars has announced a few new models and finishes.

    New models include the Set Neck Z-Glide StrettaVita and Zenyatta (See photos in the gallery below). The Tagliare Z-Glide Custom is now in available in new finish options, including Cherry Sunburst, Trans Wine and Retro Blonde (Again, check out the photos below).

    The company also is now shipping left-handed models.

    For more information on all the above and more, visit

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    Carr Amplifiers has introduced the Skylark 1-12-inch Combo guitar amplifier.

    From the company:

    The Skylark idea began with our love and appreciation for classic home/student Sixties American amps such as the Harvard. These small/student amps deliver organic tube juice and vibe at real-world volumes, making them super-usable and super-satisfying.

    Our Skylark takes this fun utility a giant leap forward. Reverb, a built-in power attenuator, a Hi/Low gain switch and the extended range presence control offer an incredible pallet of tones from the Skylark’s dove-tailed cabinet.


    • 12 Watts full output - (Brilliant Power)
    • Built-in switchable variable attenuator 1.2 watts down to zero - (Ultra Useful)
    • Low/High Gain switch – mid-60s to Hot Rod - (Macho)
    • All tube Reverb - (Aquatic)
    • Extended range Mid control - (from Double Scoop to Bark)
    • Extended range Presence control - (Polite to Crystalline)
    • All NC yellow pine cabinet with floating baffle - (Solid Tone)
    • New Celestion A-type 12” American voiced speaker – (Dynamic)
    • Analysis Plus cable - (Super Conductive)
    • 100% Point to Point wiring - Solen Aerospace Satellite power supply capacitors
    • Selected mixed resistor types - Custom Carr power/output transformers
    • Local made saddle leather handles – Cabinets built in house

    Retail/Street: $2,390

    Carr Amplifiers began in 1998 with an irresistible passion for hand-wired vacuum tube guitar amplifiers. We take inspiration from the classics of the Fifties and Sixties then imagine new features, refinements in tone, reliability and ease of operation.

    For more about Carr, visit


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    There's a certain Je ne sais quoi about a guy holding a guitar.

    Or so says a new study from France, which suggests that a man is perceived as more attractive to women if there’s a guitar in his hands. The study's results are similar to the findings of a 2012 study from Israel.

    France, Israel, Hoboken or Bumpass, Virginia — it doesn't matter where the guitarist is from. The point is, male guitarists are generally viewed as promising mating material (as if we didn't all know that already)!

    The French study, which was conducted by researchers at the Universite de Bretagne-Sud (University of South Brittany) and published in Psychology of Music, was centered around a 20-year-old man “previously evaluated as having a high level of physical attractiveness.”

    One day, this fellow approached 300 women ranging in age from 18 to about 22. He said hello and added, “I think you’re really pretty” (which sounds very nice in French) and asked for their phone numbers. During a third of the encounters, he was carrying a guitar case. For another third, he was holding a sports bag. For the last third, he wasn't holding anything.

    When he was carrying the guitar case, 31 percent of the ladies gave him their phone number. Only 14 percent gave him their number when he was empty-handed, and that figure dropped to an unhealthy 9 percent when he was holding the sports bag.

    In the Israeli study, which was published in Letters on Evolutionary Behavioral Science, 100 single female students at two universities received a Facebook profile of a single guy accompanied by a "friend" request and the words, “Hey, what’s up? I like your photo.”

    Half of the women saw a photo of the man playing a guitar. The other half saw a photo of the man looking like a "regular" person, as in, devoid of a guitar.

    “While five of the 50 women responded positively to the friendship request that was sent by the profile without a guitar, 14 of the 50 women (28 percent) responded positively to the friendship request that was sent by the profile with the guitar,” wrote the research team.

    Once again, the guitarist got more chicks! Bottom line, grab your guitar case and your little black book and hit the streets of Paris! Or Bumpass, Virginia!

    Or, in the words of the French study: "This experiment tested the assumption that music plays a role in sexual selection. Results showed that holding a guitar case was associated with greater compliance to the request, thus suggesting that musical practice is associated with sexual selection."

    Of course, you can just walk around with a guitar case and be a phoney, or you can actually take guitar lessons or buy a quality instruction book. We suggest Guitar World Presents the Best Instruction Book Ever, which is available at the Guitar World Online Store and iBooks!

    paulwith1 copyNEW.jpg

    Special thanks to Paul Riario for posing for these two breathtaking photos.

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    Earlier this week, D’Addario introduced its NYXL electric guitar strings — what the company considers the next generation of strings.

    To celebrate the occasion, D’Addario hosted a star-studded launch party May 1 at the Carle Place Guitar Center in Long Island, New York.

    The event featured performances by Vernon Reid, Robben Ford, Oz Noy, Earl Slick, Alex Skolnick and Guthrie Trapp — and you can check out a video from the event below. Attendees got the chance to meet the artists, hear from Jim D’Addario, win prizes, re-string their guitars and more.

    “There have been only two meaningful generations of round wound electric guitar strings,” D’Addario says. “The original formula, originating in the 1950s, used pure nickel, creating a characteristically mellow sound. In the early sixties, my father, John D’Addario Sr., introduced a brighter-sounding, second-generation nickel-plated steel string, which became the industry standard for the next five decades. Today, 80 percent of all electric guitar strings are based on his formula.”

    From the company:

    D’Addario NYXL electric guitar strings have been re-engineered from the ball end up. No string has ever offered this level of stability. Torture tests prove that NYXL strings stay in tune 131 percent better, so guitar players don’t waste time tuning and can start playing sooner.

    Starting with the selection of new high-carbon steel alloys, D’Addario engineers completely re-imagined the wire drawing process and revolutionized the corrosion-resistant tin coating application. The result is unprecedented strength and pitch stability.

    In addition, these strings have been designed to bend farther and sing louder. The reformulated nickel-plated steel alloy boosts amplitude, modernizing the overall tone without losing that well-loved nickel-plated steel feel. With 6 percent more magnetic permeability for higher output, NXYL electric guitar strings offer more punch, crunch, and bite.

    “The name of these strings, NYXL, is also an important distinction for us; our family and company have a rich history in New York,” adds Mr. D’Addario. “Our new steel wire has been formulated, created, crafted, and perfected here in the Empire State. We are proud of our New York legacy, and even prouder that all of our strings originate at our Long Island home.”

    For more information, visit And, of course, check out the three videos below!

    Videos, from top to bottom:

    • Video from the May 1 NYXL launch event featuring guitarists Vernon Reid, Robben Ford, Oz Noy, Earl Slick, Alex Skolnick and Guthrie Trapp.

    • D’Addario's official product video about NYXL strings

    • Jim D’Addario is interviewed on Bloomberg TV.

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    On this date in 1984, Pink Floyd's Roger Waters released his first solo album, The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking.

    The album abounded with something that Eric Clapton’s early Eighties albums sorely lacked: screaming guitar solos — played by Eric Clapton!

    The title track — "5:01 AM (The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking)"— features a mini masterpiece of a solo, a composition within a composition, much like his work on Cream's “Badge,” another blues-driven pop gem.

    For the album’s most generous serving of Clapton, check out “4:41 AM (Sexual Revolution),” which finds the guitarist dishing out a nonstop array of blues riffs in E minor using a compressed, crystal-clear Strat tone. You can check out videos of both songs below.

    Clapton’s contributions to Pros and Cons and George Harrison’s Cloud Nine stand out as highlights of his bountiful Eighties session work. Enjoy!

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    Steve Stine, highly sought-after guitar educator, teaches live online group and private classes at His live online beginner guitar course, "Maymester Guitar 101," starts this Saturday, May 10, 2014. Head here for more information.

    This month, I’m going to show you a really easy way to expand your pentatonic major and pentatonic minor into what we refer to as diatonic scales, the "do re me fa so la ti do" scale, which in turn becomes your modes.

    The goal this month is not to talk about the theory behind them, although I will be doing that in the next month or two. It’s to get you adding the pitches and exploring these notes, aurally, as well as using them in your phrasing.

    So let me show you what I’m talking about!

    Let’s go to the fifth fret of the sixth string, for the A minor pentatonic and the C major pentatonic.

    When I was growing up, in my mind, minor was always starting with my first finger, and major was always starting with my pinky. So if we think about it in this one position, we’re playing in A minor pentatonic and C major pentatonic. They’re the same thing, the difference being the notes you’re going to emphasize in your solo that make it sound A minor and/or C major. I’m going to treat this like minor pentatonic to begin with.

    I will go to the A and play A, C, D, E and G. Those are my five notes that create a pentatonic — penta meaning five, of course. The pentatonic is a great scale, because pretty much any note you hit is going to fit anywhere. But the downside to pentatonic for a lot of people is that it doesn’t function very well melodically. The notes we’re going to add today will make a huge difference to the way things sound.

    Take the first two strings of the pentatonic scale, the A minor pentatonic, and play 5, 8, 5, 8. Then I’m going to add in the sixth fret of the second string, and then the seventh fret of the first string. So you’re taking the 5, 8 and you’re simply expanding it to add the 6, and the first string, the seventh fret.


    In adding those, the first thing that happens is you get half steps. In the pentatonic scales, you never get a half step. And those half steps begin to sound very melodic.

    Diatonic scales, which are the major scales, are the catalyst for all music. When we add these two notes, we get a diatonic scale. I also can start on C. So if you think about it, what I’m doing is playing an A minor pentatonic, but I’m emphasizing the note C, so it gives me the C major pentatonic. So I’m starting on C, and I’m playing the same notes, but all of a sudden it gives you that "do re me fa so la ti do" sound. Whether you’re in minor or major pentatonic, if you add in those two notes, it’ll be functional to give you a diatonic kind of sound.

    Let’s label these notes. In pentatonic, we had five notes, which we called 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. But now that we’re in diatonic, we’ll count all the way to seven. I’m going to start on the C, on the fifth fret of the third string, and I’m going to play all of those notes, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and then 1 all over again.

    What’s cool about the diatonic scales is when we talk about chords, and chord theory, which again we will be getting into in the next couple of months, chords are built off of what we would call a root fourth and fifth. What’s neat is that you can physically see the root, the third and the fifth, sitting right there. When people talk about seventh chords, they’re talking about the seventh note. So pentatonic is great for jamming and that sort of thing, but music theory is built off of the diatonic scale.

    I want you to really start to be comfortable with moving through this. And just explore the sounds. Try it playing off of C. We’re adding 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. If we were looking at this major pentatonic scale sitting in C, and we added those two notes, we’d be adding the fourth and the seventh.

    If we were looking at it from the minor perspective, come down here to A — so in the same position, but looking at A as the root, we’ll add in the sixth or the ninth. In order to show you that, I’m going to need to show you another octave. I’m going to take the seventh — the seventh fret of the first string — and I’m going to add it on the third string on the fourth fret. So I’m just lowering it down so you can see how it works. So I’m going to go to the A, and then the next few notes, ending on A again.

    If I count it, I have 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 1.


    The notes I’ve added to my pentatonic are a 2 and a 6. Remember, when you play C major and A minor pentatonic, you’re playing the same notes. If you were in A minor you’d be calling A "1." If you’re playing C major you’d call C "1." Again, I’m just giving them labels. When I’m adding it in again, you may call it a 9 — which is the same note as the 2.

    What I want you to do is to start using the meandering we’ve been talking about (See the previous parts of this ongoing series under RELATED CONTENT above). And I want you to start using some of these notes. If I were playing an A minor — using A as my emphasis pitch — you’ll see that adding these notes makes it sound a lot more melodic. And, of course, you can use hammer-ons, pull-offs and slides, but really explore seeing the pentatonic and expand the pentatonic adding these two new notes.

    A great exercise is to take a jam track, and even just record yourself playing a C chord — take your C. Or whatever — you start exploring the sound that makes. Record yourself playing an A minor, same thing. Just start exploring how that sounds. It’ll start sounding a lot less like blues. Can’t the sixth be a major sixth, or the ninth a flatted ninth? Yes, and that’s where the modes come from. That’s going to be further down the line.

    Say you’re in a situation today, and you wanted to start using this, but you start playing all these notes and it starts sounding like too much – it almost sounds too melodic. A common thing people start to do in this kind of situation is to leave the second string note out, which is the sixth in minor, (or the fourth in major). We leave that note out and we just use the seventh. That’s a real nice way to apply this to a rock or metal situation, when you’re not exactly sure what to do. Just expand your pentatonic at this point by adding the ninth (if minor) or seventh (if major).

    So, explore that, and next month we’re going to start expanding on the theory behind this. Take your jam tracks, and add those over the A major or C minor.

    As you do it, use your meandering skills to add those in seamlessly and flawlessly. And then start taking the sixth (for A minor) or fourth (for C major) out, and see how that works over your jams.

    "Maymester Guitar 101" with Steve Stine starts this Saturday, May 10, 2014. Click here for more information and to enroll.

    Steve Stine is a longtime and sought-after guitar teacher who is professor of Modern Guitar Studies at North Dakota State University. Over the last 27 years, he has taught thousands of students, including established touring musicians, and released numerous video guitar lesson courses via established publishers. A resident of Fargo, North Dakota, today he is more accessible than ever before through the convenience of live online guitar lessons at

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    Black Sabbath covers are nothing new — but a new cover of "The Wizard" that was premiered by is unique enough to merit a listen or nine.

    The band, Brownout, is an eight-piece Austin outfit that respects Sabbath's melodies and big sound, but they also add a bit of funk to the mix.

    The band's new album, Brownout Presents Brown Sabbath, reinterprets the songs with a horn section, Latin percussion and more. Check out "The Wizard" below — and let us know what you think in the comments below or on Facebook!

    "'The Wizard' was the first song we jumped at when we brought the Sabbath idea to life," Brownout's Adrian Quesada told "It fit Brownout like a glove. You can hear that energy and excitement on the recording."

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    One of the things I enjoy about metal lead guitar is that most of the time I’m soloing over power chords, which consist of a root note and a perfect fifth above it (for example, an E5 power chord is comprised of the notes E and B above it).

    With no thirds, sevenths or other notes included in the backing power chords, I have the freedom as a soloist to inject minor or major thirds and sixth and sevenths into my solo lines without them clashing with the chords.

    In this month’s column, I’d like to focus on two of my favorite scales for soloing that include the above-mentioned intervals: harmonic minor and its fifth mode, Phrygian dominant.

    The harmonic minor scale comes from the classical music tradition, and its interval formula is spelled 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 7.

    FIGURE 1a illustrates the A harmonic minor scale (A B C D E F G#) played in one octave in fifth position, with each note’s function, or scale degree, indicated below the tab. FIGURE 1b shows the scale played up and down through two and a half octaves, starting in fifth position and gradually moving up to seventh position and back. Practice this scale pattern repeatedly, striving for clear articulation, while memorizing the note sequence and fingering pattern.

    In the same way that musicians learn the major scale’s seven modes—by starting on any of its given notes, thinking of that note as the root, or “one,” and playing up one octave and back through the notes of the “parent” scale—one can also generate seven modes from the harmonic minor scale (and melodic minor too). In my studies, I look at the major, harmonic minor and melodic minor scales as being three unique formulas of whole steps and half steps, from which one can devise seven different permutations.

    Harmonizing a scale to form three- or four-note chords is a great way to get acquainted with the scale’s unique quality. Doing this with the first note of A harmonic minor gives you what’s called an A minor–major seven chord (Am-maj7).

    FIGURE 2 shows this chord played in 12th position. FIGURE 3 illustrates an A harmonic minor single-note run that begins with eighth-note triplets and gradually works its way up through the scale. I then switch to eighth notes and finish the phrase with a descending melodic pattern based on thirds.

    FIGURE 4 offers a sweep-picked arpeggio run that incorporates the use of a “tap-and-slide” at the top: using the edge of the pick, I tap the high E string at the 19th fret, slide up to the 20th fret and then back to the 19th, followed by pull-offs.

    Let’s wrap up with a couple of neoclassical shred–style runs based on A harmonic minor’s fifth mode, E Phrygian-dominant (E F G# A B C D), which is formed by starting on the fifth scale degree of A harmonic minor (see FIGURES 5 and 6).

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    I thought I’d use this week's post to tell you about some silly episodes that prove that we don’t all know what we’re doing.

    I worked in a music store in Glasgow, Scotland, for almost 20 years. Anyone who has ever worked in that kind of environment will tell you they’ve seen some pretty weird stuff. Factor in that I was the guitar-repair guy, and the potential for weirdness rockets into the stratosphere.

    Here's exhibit A to kick things off:

    There was the young guy with a silver-sparkle Charvel — a Model 375, if I remember correctly. Anyway, bored with his guitar’s finish, he decides to strip it off. He dips the guitar in a vat of paint stripper before thinking, "Oh, maybe I should have taken the hardware and pickups off first."

    By the time I saw it, all of the guitar’s plastic bits had melted and the black hardware was way past its best.

    B. Fella brings in a guitar he’s put together himself. It looks good. He tells me he’s wired up all the components correctly but the guitar doesn’t work. I take a look inside the control cavity and all the wires and capacitors are indeed connected in the right places ... with Plasticine modelling clay and sticky tape. There’s not a drop of solder in sight.

    C. Fed up that his guitar was going out of tune — probably needed to stretch the strings — a novice player comes up with a genius idea. He gets the guitar in tune, then coats each machinehead with Superglue. If it can’t move, it can’t go out of tune, right? Then he broke a string. Er ... (See the main photo at the top of this post.)

    D. Angry customer approaches one Saturday morning with a Squier Strat he bought the previous week. "It’s not working," he barks. I take a look and spot the problem immediately. He’s only gone and fitted his new guitar with a set of classical strings.

    He tied huge knots in the end of each string to stop them slipping through the vibrato. That should have been his first clue. Electric guitars don’t cope too well with plastic strings, I tell him. He stops shouting.

    E. This one is terrifying. Man is buying a guitar cable. He says it’s for his daughter, who has just got her first electric guitar. He’s about to leave when he says, "So, I just snip the end off one end of the lead and fit a wall socket, then?"

    "No!" I replied. He thought that the guitar was plugged directly into a wall socket. Imagine that! His daughter could have been fried. I explained the whole concept of electric guitars and sold him a practice amp. Disaster averted, I hope.

    I’ve got countless more stories like this. The young lad staying up for hours the previous night trying to screw the vibrato arm into his Stratocaster’s jack socket is just another one.

    The message is, if you’re not sure what you’re doing, get some advice first. There’s no shame in admitting you don’t know something. If you’re one of those guitarists that has been round the block and knows a thing or two, share it with those less experienced.

    That’s exactly what I’ll be doing next time when I’ll be looking at the problems that can be caused by top nuts. See you then!

    Got a gear-related question for Ed Mitchell? Add a comment below or on our Facebook page.

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    Around the release of his eponymous debut solo album, Slash took the time out to show us how to play some of his favorite riffs, both new and old.

    In the Guitar World video below, Slash talks about writing the classic Guns N' Roses tune "Paradise City." He also shows you how to play the key parts of the Appetite for Destruction track.

    Slash's new studio album — which is still without a title at this point — will be released later this year. You can watch Slash at work on the new album (courtesy of Ernie Ball) right here, in a series of seven behind-the-scenes videos.


    Photo: Robert John

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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 Mick Mars, 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.

    Marty Friedman makes his return to the American market with Inferno, a blazing-hot disc featuring collaborations with Alexi Laiho, Jason Becker and a cast of metal firebrands.

    Most fans of heavy music and hot-shit guitar playing are well aware that virtuoso shredder Marty Friedman has been for many years living—and for the most part, working exclusively—in Japan.

    But here's something people may not know: not only does he call the Asian nation his home but, most of the time, he speaks and thinks in Japanese.

    To that point, during a conversation with Guitar World about his new PRS signature model SE guitar, Friedman stumbles mid-sentence, then apologizes, explaining that he was considering his words in Japanese, rather than English.

    “Truthfully, I speak Japanese about 99 percent of the time,” he admits with a laugh. “The only time I really don't is when I'm doing interviews with people in other countries or talking with my family.”

    In fact, the 51-year-old Friedman has been quite comfortable in his adopted homeland, where he has released several successful solo instrumental albums, recorded and performed with famous Japanese pop artists and become a popular television personality, serving as a host on shows like Hebimetasan (Mr. Heavy Metal) and Rock Fujiyama.

    But since he left Megadeth 15 years ago, the thing that most of his American fans tend to talk about when they talk about Marty Friedman is to question when-or if-he'll ever make a return to the U.S. music scene. Now, he finally has. Inferno, Friedman's newest solo effort, is his first worldwide release in roughly a decade. Because of this, it is also an album that, for the first time in a long time, he “conceptualized with his American brain.”

    What follows is an excerpt from our interview with Friedman. For the entire interview, check out the June 2014 issue of Guitar World

    Do you feel that in America people still tend to focus overwhelmingly on your past work?

    Sure. But I totally get it. I mean, I haven’t done a tour in America in 10 years. And people get caught up in their own countries—people in the U.S. don’t really look outside of the U.S. for their music. It’s the same in Japan, and maybe more so. Eighty percent of the music that is sold in Japan is made in Japan.

    The remaining 20 percent includes artists like Lady Gaga, U2, Maroon 5, Metallica. All those big names are part of the minority. I’m part of the domestic scene in Japan, which is great. But I just do the music that I do. If people want to join the party, that’s fantastic. If not, that’s fine too. But this is the music I want to make, and I make it completely on my own terms.

    One high point is “Horrors,” your collaboration with Jason Becker. Jason, as guitar fans know, suffers from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and can no longer play guitar. But you actually brought in another guitarist to perform his parts?

    Yes. There’s a little acoustic interlude in the song, and it’s one of those Jason specialty-type things. And Jason wrote the part, because he writes with his eyes and with the computer. It was a really wonderful piece of music, and then I wrote a part to that.

    Then I had a guy named Ewan Dobson come in and actually play the parts on acoustic guitar. And he really nailed it. It’s just like Jason is there on the album. It sounds like his phrasing, it sounds like his playing. It fits in exactly as we would have done it in Cacophony. And actually, this is the first “cacophonic” collaboration we’ve done since we were in the band together. So it’s definitely one of the most intense moments on the record. The song stinks of Jason and myself. Or maybe it just stinks. [laughs] But it was an absolute pleasure to work together again.

    For the rest of this story, plus features on Mick Mars, 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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