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    I remember reading a quote somewhere about taking vinyl home and having to live with it.

    What struck me about the quote was the concept of "living" with what was just basically a vehicle for recorded music. What a strong sentiment.

    You never hear anyone talk about living with their mp3's, CDs, or whatever. It's a romantic notion for sure and it makes sense when you really start to break down what a vinyl record means.

    Vinyl could be your best friend or worst ex. It forces you to engage with it. To pay attention to it. And because you are forced to interact with it, I think people are more acute to the experiences created by it.

    The recordings hold a profound resonance. Sad songs seem sadder. Soul songs seems deeper. How could you not fall in love with that?

    My first vinyl love was Bruce Springsteen's Born in the USA. I still think it's an epic album, which is pretty amazing considering I was two when that record came out. I remember my dad setting that record up for me on his turntable and placing those over-sized brown headphones on my head. That record changed my life.

    The heart break of this story is that I can't tell you where the record is today. I could tell you exactly how the cover looked with all it's wear, creases, and smushed corners. I could even tell you how it smelled. But unfortunately It was loss in the shuffling of moving and growing out of old habits only to fall back in to them years later.

    Today, I have a meager record collection and broken turntable. A combination of lack of space and funds has limited me in my purchases.

    I do have a few choice titles I adopted from my father's record collection. I even have some old 45s from the jukebox we had growing up, even though I don't really have the means to play them (Rolling Stones, Paint it Black. The Doors, Light my Fire. The Troggs, Light my Fire…. To name a few).

    It's silly, but even with no space and a broken record player I still find myself buying records, mainly old blues and soul records. Son House, Robert Johnson, Skip James, they are all waiting for me. And I can't wait to put my headphones on and hear what they have to say.

    Check out this video for The Bones of J.R. Jones "Hearts Racing"

    The Bones of J.R. Jones is the brainchild of Jonathan Linaberry. Linaberry performs and completely inhabits the persona of the early-twentieth-century blues musician, The Bones of J.R. Jones. “For me it’s an outlet more than anything else.” His new EP Dark Was the Yearling, is out now. More at

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    Dressed in cut-off jean shorts and a black crop top with auburn hair, flawless, porcelain skin and bright red lips, Meg Meyers arrived for her Fender Studio Session at Capitol Records looking barely out of her teens.

    But the 27-year-old soft-spoken songstress, who was born in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, packs quite a punch with her confessional lyrics and hard-edged indie rock, reminiscent of Tori Amos or Fiona Apple.

    With vocals that are sometimes breathy and restrained and sometimes venomous, the music literally appears as if it’s coursing through her veins.

    While her lyrics appear deeply personal, Myers admits, “It’s so hard to speak about myself. But from the moment I picked up the guitar or started to play piano, it was just so therapeutic for me.”

    Below, watch Myers perform the acoustic track “Morning After” at the Capitol Records HQ for Fender, along with cellist Ken Oak. The song is featured on her 2014 EP, Make a Shadow.

    Find out more at

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    Progressive rock legends Yes have released a 1.5-minute preview of a new song, "Believe Again," which you can check out below.

    The song is from the band's upcoming album (their 21st), Heaven & Earth, which will be released July 22 via Frontiers Records.

    For Heaven & Earth, Yes teamed up with Grammy winner Roy Thomas Baker (Queen, the Cars, Guns N’ Roses, Foreigner, Smashing Pumpkins, Alice Cooper, etc.), who handled the production, and Billy Sherwood (Toto, Paul Rodgers, Air Supply, etc.), who mixed the album. Also on board is Roger Dean, who again brings his masterful artistic creativity to the album’s cover art and packaging.

    Tracklisting for Heaven & Earth:

    01. Believe Again
    02. The Game
    03. Step Beyond
    04. To Ascend
    05. In A World Of Our Own
    06. Light Of The Ages
    07. It Was All We Knew
    08. Subway Walls

    To coincide with the release the new album, Yes — Chris Squire, Steve Howe, Alan White, Geoff Downes and new singer Jon Davison — announced they’ll launch a 35-date summer tour. As the tour's highlight, they'll perform their 1971 album, Fragile, for the first-time ever, followed by 1972's Close to the Edge and other hits. You can see their current tour dates below the YouTube player.

    Yes on Tour 2014:

    Tue 7/8 Boston, MA Blue Hills Bank Pavilion
    Wed 7/9 New York, NY Radio City Music Hall
    Fri 7/11 Wallingford, CT Toyota Oakdale Theatre
    Sat 7/12 Westbury, NY NYCB Theatre at Westbury
    Sun 7/13 Newport, RI Newport Yachting Center
    Tue 7/15 Washington, DC Warner Theatre
    Wed 7/16 Hampton, NH Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom
    Fri 7/18 Salamanca, NY Seneca Allegany Casino
    Sat 7/19 Philadelphia, PA Tower Theater
    Sun 7/20 Munhall, PA Carnegie Music Hall
    Tue 7/22 Rochester Hills, MI Meadow Brook
    Wed 7/23 Northfield, OH Hard Rock Live Northfield Park
    Fri 7/25 Madison, WI Overture Hall
    Sat 7/26 Chicago, IL Copernicus Center
    Mon 7/28 Nashville, TN Ryman Auditorium
    Tue 7/29 Louisville, KY Louisville Palace
    Wed 7/30 Atlanta, GA Symphony Hall
    Fri 8/1 Hollywood, FL Seminole Hard Rock Live
    Sat 8/2 St. Petersburg, FL Mahaffey Theater
    Sun 8/3 Orlando, FL Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre
    Tue 8/5 Houston, TX Bayou Music Center
    Wed 8/6 Grand Prairie, TX Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie
    Thu 8/7 Kansas City, MO Arvest Bank Theatre at The Midland
    Sat 8/9 Denver, CO Paramount Theatre
    Mon 8/11 Tucson, AZ Rialto Theatre
    Tue 8/12 Mesa, AZ Ikeda Theatre at Mesa Arts Center
    Wed 8/13 Albuquerque, NM Legends Theater at Route 66 Casino
    Fri 8/15 Las Vegas, NV The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
    Sat 8/16 Anaheim, CA City National Grove of Anaheim
    Mon 8/18 San Diego, CA Humphrey’s Concerts By the Bay
    Tue 8/19 San Jose, CA City National Civic
    Thu 8/21 Tulalip, WA Tulalip Amphitheatre
    Fri 8/22 Grand Ronde, OR Spirit Mountain Casino
    Sat 8/23 Lincoln, CA Thunder Valley Casino Resort
    Sun 8/24 Los Angeles, CA Greek Theatre-

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

    In the new July issue, we sit down with guitarist and producer Jimmy Page as he prepares to release newly remastered recordings and rarities from Led Zeppelin's vault. Read how Page remasters his band's brilliant catalog and takes the opportunity to open and share their personal archives. Plus, GW explores the numerous package options and formats in which the new Zeppelin remasters are available.

    Then, Guitar World features Ace Frehley. The legendary Kiss guitarist is clean, sober, engaged to a pretty blonde and enjoying life- much to the chagrin of some of his former bandmates. He speaks with GW about his healthy attitude, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame debacle and his upcoming solo album, Space Invader.

    Later, we ask 26 guitarists — including Kirk Hammett, John Petrucci, Mikael Akerfeldt and Yngwie Malmsteen— to tell us about the album that changed their life and put them on a musical fast track.

    Finally, we focus on the history of Taylor Guitars. Forty years ago, Bob Taylor and Kurt Listug built their idea of what an excellent acoustic guitar should be. Today, Taylor Guitars is the definition of excellence for players everywhere.

    PLUS: Sean Ono Lennon, Down, the Strypes, Albert Lee and much more!

    Five Songs with Tabs for Guitar and Bass

    • Led Zeppelin - "How Many More Times"
    • Ace Frehley - "Rip It Out"
    • OneRepublic - "Counting Stars"
    • Avicii - "Hey Brother"
    • Born of Osiris - "Follow the Signs'"

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

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    Slash is streaming the title track from his new album, World On Fire, and you can check it out below. Be sure to let us know what you think in the comments or on Facebook!

    The song, which is credited to Slash featuring Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators, hit radio today and will be officially released June 16.

    World On Fire, Slash's third solo album, will be released September 15 via his own label, Dik Hayd International, distributed through Roadrunner Records. Seventeen songs, including an instrumental, were recorded for the follow-up to 2012's Apocalyptic Love.

    "World On Fire" track listing:

    01. World On Fire
    02. Shadow Life
    03. Automatic Overdrive
    04. Wicked Stone
    05. 30 Years To Life
    06. Bent To Fly
    07. Stone Blind
    08. Too Far Gone
    09. Beneath The Savage Sun
    10. Withered Delilah
    11. Battleground
    12. Dirty Girl
    13. Iris Of The Storm
    14. Avalon
    15. The Dissident
    16. Safari Inn
    17. The Unholy

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    Hello, and welcome to my new GW instructional column. It’s good to be back! I hope the ideas and concepts I present here in the coming months will give you inspiration and insight into your own path to musical creativity.

    The most important thing I can say is that you should always strive to make your own distinct musical statement with what you play on the guitar.

    Once you’ve learned from the examples I present in this column, I would like you to completely disregard the examples themselves and retain only the techniques contained within them.

    As soon as you get the idea of where I’m coming from with a certain lick or phrase, I want you to change it into something of your own invention and tap into your own creative curiosity as quickly and fully as possible.

    The overall idea is to try your hardest not to sound like everyone else. We all basically play the same stuff, and it is your responsibility to change things around so that you can find your own musical voice. I’m going to start with some basic licks and patterns that everyone knows and plays, and demonstrate a few ways one can add twists and turns in the pursuit of musical phrases that are unpredictable and ultimately unique.

    A key concept for me when playing the guitar is to avoid looking at the fretboard as a big block of space across which you need to know dozens of scales and modes. I prefer to view the fretboard in smaller pieces, thinking of just a group of a few frets as a roadmap to little side streets and alleyways, and to concentrate on those little places. Let me demonstrate this concept for you.

    FIGURE 1 illustrates a common lick, based on the A blues scale (A C D Eb E G), that you’ll typically hear in metal, rock, blues, jazz and country. There are about five billion different things you can do with just these five notes. FIGURE 2 represents a lick that we have all heard a million times. There’s nothing particularly wrong with the lick, but I’d prefer to
    make it more interesting and unpredictable by simply changing the order of the notes slightly, as I do in FIGURE 3.

    Notice that I’ve moved the initial hammer/pull on beat one to the 11th and 12th frets (as opposed to the 10th and 11th) and then, on beat two, I added the 12th fret high E note to the beginning of the legato phrase to end up with a five-note shape. To my ears, this lick sounds more interesting than the “standard” lick shown in FIGURE 4.

    We can now easily switch a few notes around and end up with FIGURE 5, which is a bit more complex and interesting. If we move the hammer/pull up one fret, we get FIGURE 6, another nice variation on the original idea. Let’s look at another example. We can start with a predictable lick like FIGURE 7 and twist it up to get FIGURES 8 and 9. Similarly, FIGURE 10 presents a standard phrase, and FIGURES 11 and 12 offer twisted deviations.

    As a rule, try to avoid anything you’ve heard anyone else play before, unless it’s something you really like and want to play out of choice. This is how to carve out your own niche when you are creating improvised solos.

    Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 10.00.28 AM.png
    Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 10.00.46 AM.png

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    The following is a classic Guitar World column by Yngwie Malmsteen.

    When I was first getting into the guitar, I played it incessantly. I lived it, breathed it, ate it and slept it. I was also extremely self-critical, so from early on, I made sure to develop good playing habits — I constantly strove to sound in tune and have a great tone, and to play cleanly and in time.

    But I was also very hard on myself. If I played something incorrectly, I whipped myself mercilessly. Whenever I made a mistake, I made sure that I would never allow myself to repeat it.

    Every guitarist wants to play well. But in reality, if good intentions were all it took, then everyone would be great. The simple truth is that in order to become good, you have to be obsessed. You have to put in an awful lot of time and hard work, and couple that with desire and unflagging perseverance.

    Now I can’t give you the burning desire to become a great player. That has to come from within you (but believe me, the rewards that come from all the years of hard work are worth the effort). What I can do, however, is give you some pointers on how you can make better use of your practice time.

    For starters, whenever you encounter a new or difficult technique, don’t learn it half-assed, and don’t rush through it. It’s essential that you be patient and take the time to break down the mechanics required to master it.

    Here’s a good example: last month we talked about arpeggios, an area that gives a lot of guitarists problems. Now, most guitarists can get away with playing the two- and three-string arpeggios we covered last month using just about any picking technique, but when you have to play arpeggios spanning over five or six strings, the technical challenges become magnified. The only way to really get any speed when playing these kind of arpeggios is to use sweep picking—picking three or more strings in the same direction with a single stroke.

    I think most guitarists have a general idea of how to approximate the sweep picking technique, but only a few truly play it correctly. That’s because most players simply don’t put in the time and effort necessary to master it.

    Whenever a guitarist can’t execute sweep arpeggios properly, it’s usually because he holds down a barre chord while articulating each note (and the notes end up ringing into each other), or he tries to play very fast, and in the process sacrifices the precision and clarity needed to make this technique sound good. Either way, it sounds like shit.

    The only way to correct these problems is to break down the right- and left-hand components of sweep picking, master them separately, and then coordinate them. Of course, it’s not easy. You’ll have to put in a lot of practice time to get it right.

    To get a feel for the right-hand picking technique, you have to let the pick “fall” from string to string as if you were strumming a chord. It’s important that you don’t separate the pick strokes. When executing an upward sweep, drag the pick upward over the strings in one fluid motion. Again, it’s imperative that you don’t use individual upstrokes.

    The left-hand component is just as important. You need to mute each string with the left hand immediately after picking it (by lightly lifting—or “rolling”—your fretting finger) to keep the notes from running into one another and sounding like a strummed chord.

    I’ve written out some of my favorite arpeggio patterns for you to practice. FIGURE 1 depicts an A minor arpeggio played in three different positions, while FIGURE 2 covers three A major patterns. You should work on them until they become second nature to you, because only then will you be able to apply them comfortably in real-life soloing situations.

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    Used to be, it was always about the headstock with me. Specifically, those that carried the names of the great American makers Gibson, Fender, Martin, Guild, Rickenbacker, et al.

    Those were the golden names of my youth. The ones my heroes played. They were aspirational guitars and I dreamed of having one of each someday.

    I was a headstock snob, and it showed.

    When I went shopping, I might as well have put on Gucci sunglasses and stuck a Chihuahua named Sprinkles in my tote bag. I was one of those bedroom guitarists who are the delight of the high-end guitar store. I would not even think of buying a budget instrument made overseas.

    But one day I had to take a different approach. With only $100 to spend, I told myself I wasn’t exactly slumming, just going to the guitar store to buy an electric guitar I could leave on the couch, take to the park or bring on the bus to jams without worrying about it getting banged up or stolen.

    Without planning it, this let me abandon my preconceptions about what—or rather who—makes an acceptable guitar. So off I went to the store. Just inside the automatic doors, blocking my view of the “real” guitars, was a display of Squier Bullet hardtail Strats.

    This was definitely not the kind of guitar I’d normally look at. It was bad enough that Squier was Fender’s diffusion brand, but its Bullet line was the beginner’s range, something for youngsters who someday aspired to the kind of wealth that would enable them to buy an actual Squier, without the Bullet caveat.

    I sorted through the Squier Bullets to find the one I liked best. That gave me my first two surprises: my favorite of the bunch was not only extremely lightweight; it also had a nice neck. Then I plugged it in and played. That surprise was even bigger: Each position on the five-way switch instantly recalled the familiar sounds I like about really good Strats.

    Which, of course, wasn’t possible. Not in a bottom-of-the-line guitar that had been mass-produced in Indonesia.

    I decided to benchmark it right there in the store. I switched from the ’65 Deluxe Reverb reissue I’d been using and fired up a ’59 Bassman LTD reissue. Down from the wall came a basic American Strat to pit against the Bullet. The Bullet was more to my liking. Something was wrong here.

    I tried successively higher-end Strats. I still preferred the Bullet. Not that the Fender Strats were bad. Not at all. Other players might well have chosen them over the Bullet. Certainly the Fenders were made with higher-quality components. But now that I didn’t care about the name on the headstock, I was judging based on how I wanted to use the guitar and what I wanted to hear from it.

    The result was a very low-end instrument I was really enjoying playing. My view of the immutable hierarchy of electric guitars had just taken a significant hit.

    Clearly I was having one of those dreams that occasionally come to guitarists—the one about wandering into a guitar store and finding a great guitar stupidly cheap. Except that the salesman didn’t look like Scarlett Johansson.

    Dream or not, I bought the Bullet. The price out the door for my new guitar from Indonesia? $70 plus tax, about the cost of a guitar pedal.

    If someone else had told me this story, I would have explained to them that they were merely having a brief, initial positive reaction to the excitement of finding a shiny new guitar for under a hundred bucks that looked and played vaguely like a Fender Stratocaster.

    But I made that purchase in 2007. I’ve had years since then to play my Bullet through my own amps and side-by-side with vintage Strats. And the Bullet still holds up just fine. It has that famously warm yet detailed clarity that remains articulate without ever sounding harsh.

    For the record, my two pre-CBS Strats sound better, more organic, leaving at least some of my presumptions intact, thank goodness. And I’ve played other Bullets since then that didn’t strike me as anything special in terms of feel or sound. But my 2007 Bullet is the electric I reach for most these days. So my ego, though whole, is maybe just that tiny bit smaller than it was before.

    And thank goodness for that too.

    William Baeck is a writer, photographer and hack guitarist living in London. You can check out his webpage at and reach him on Facebook and Twitter.

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    Judas Priest are streaming another new song from their upcoming studio album, Redeemer of Souls, which will be released July 8 via Epic Records.

    Check out “Dragonaut” below and be sure to tell us what you think in the comments or on Facebook! Note that the clip also features commentary by Judas Priest guitarist Richie Faulkner. Redeemer of Souls will be the first Priest album to feature Faulkner.

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    In the video below, Whitechapel guitarist Alex Wade plays the title track from Our Endless War, the band's latest album.

    Our Endless War was released in April via Metal Blade Records.

    For more about Whitechapel, check them out on Facebook.

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    Guitar World presents a previously unpublished interview with Dimebag Darrell, conducted at his home in Arlington, Texas, on February 11, 1994, two months before the release of Far Beyond Driven.

    Far Beyond Driven is much heavier than anything Pantera has released so far.

    We’re into topping ourselves. Cowboys was Cowboys, and everybody thought that was real heavy. Then we did Vulgar and they said, “No way!” Now you’ve got Far Beyond Driven. Just for us to feel good about what we’re doing we need to top ourselves with each record. With most bands it’s usually the opposite. Every new record they come out with gets lighter and lighter. Then the fans are stuck with the first record, wishing and dreaming. That ain’t what we’re about.

    Did the band write any songs while you were on tour?

    The songs were all written in the studio. Everybody was like, “Hey man. You got a bunch of riffs?” and I was like, “No.” I had a couple of ideas, but mainly I had a vision of what this album was going to be. I think we all did, and we were all in the same vibe. We got together, had a good time, drank some beers, smoked some weed and wrote some songs. That’s exactly what happened. We knew what this album had to be, and that’s all it took.

    We’d write the song, take a break, and as soon as we could make it through the whole passage, we’d get the tape rolling. A lot of times when we first go through it, we’ll say, “That’s cool.” We needed to go through a few songs again to tighten them up, but I pretty much kept my original guitar track that I played along with the drums on most of the tunes. Then I went back and recorded a double of that. Then we’d go write another song.

    This is the third album you’ve recorded with Terry Date as the producer. What do you like about working with him?

    Terry is a great overseer. He doesn’t tell us how to write our songs or how to play our instruments. He understands how we are and how we see our instruments and our music. All he does is get behind us and reinforce what we do. He doesn’t fuck with you or get in the way. He gets the best performances out of us. Terry focuses on what we’re after and helps us get it. He works with us. We weren’t tripping out on what he was doing to our sound. That’s the best thing. He’s a great dude and always an inspiration to be around. He and Vinnie do a lot of the production. When we’re getting tones and doing the final mixdown, the two of them are unbeatable.

    It sounds like you recorded several layers of guitar tracks.

    Believe it or not, it’s pretty much just doubled guitars panned to about three o’clock and nine o’clock. Some of the tracks are hard left and right with a triple up the center. That’s as thick as it got. I do some three-part harmonies on “Throes of Rejection” and “Hard Lines, Sunken Cheeks,” but I didn’t go overboard with it. Whenever I record more than two or three layers, it starts to get cluttered up and you can’t hear the cut of the guitars as good. It’s hard to get four guitars to hit at exactly the same time and keep the attack tight.

    You are a big fan of solid-state amps. What do you like about them?

    Solid-state to me is more in your face, while tube sounds like it’s surrounding your body. I’m not going for a soft sound. I ain’t lookin’ for a warm sound. My sound is warm, but I don’t need tubes to do it. The Randall RG-100 is the best amp for what I do. Randall made a tube amp that they sent out to me.

    It sounded killer, but it wasn’t solid-state, so I’m going to stay with solid. To this day, when people find out that I use solid-state they’ll come up to me and go, “Are you sure? That sounds like tubes, dude.” The Randall has the warmth of tubes, but it has the chunk and the fuckin’ grind right in your face.

    What are you listening to these days?

    I love Dogman by King’s X and Living Colour’s Stain. I’ve been listening to Blues Saraceno too, but most of the time you’ll catch me listening to my old records. I’m old-school, dude. I’m into the new stuff, but I still listen to fuckin’ Van Halen to this day, old Kiss, Judas Priest, Ozzy with Randy Rhoads. I don’t have free time like I used to, where I could put on a record and not get bothered. People are always calling me or coming to my house. I’ve lived in the same spot too long and everybody knows where I live.

    I also listen to things I’ve recorded myself. A lot of the stuff I do is bullshit on a four-track recorder. It’s usually an ongoing cycle of what’s happening in my life. If somebody catches on fire I’ll go out there and write a quick song about it. I’m always into layering guitars and putting sounds together and seeing how they fit with each other. I’ve got a killer system in my truck, so I’ll listen to a lot of those tapes when I’m driving around.

    Pantera has recorded all of its albums at your dad’s studio. What is the advantage of doing that?

    We feel real comfortable there, although we didn’t like the experience of the studio being in Nashville now and having to fly there. The people in Nashville are nice. They didn’t look at us funny, because they’re used to musicians with long hair, although maybe not ones with purple goatees. It was cool that we didn’t have a bunch of our friends coming to the studio sessions and hassling us, but we were living in a fuckin’ hotel. Fuck that shit. We do that on the road when we’re on tour. It wore a little thin on us, so we bailed out of there and came back to Dallas to finish guitar tracks and whatever else needed to be finished. We mixed the album at Dallas Sound Lab, and that was a breath of fresh air. We’re real happy with the album.

    The grooves on this album are unlike anything else out there. Pantera has really developed its own sound.

    Everybody is progressing. That’s what you’re supposed to do. We know what we’re doing. We don’t sit around and tell each other what to do. We might walk in and say, “What do you feel like today?” “Like shit. I’m fuckin’ hungover.” And then the song comes out like “Good Friends and a Bottle of Pills.”

    That’s how we wrote that. We’re pretty spontaneous about most things we do. A lot of people always want to know why we do what we do, but we don’t plan anything. We just jam. That’s the bottom line when you listen to Pantera. If it ain’t jammin’ we’re wasting time.

    Photo: Joe Giron

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    The Monster Energy Roast on the Range with Corey Taylor took place May 15 at the LC Pavilion May in Columbus, Ohio.

    Nearly a dozen musicians and comedians — led by Sebastian Bach — honored (and yes, bashed) the Slipknot and Stone Sour vocalist.

    Below, we will highlight some of the best moments from the hilarious event, starting today! Check out the first official "Roast of the Day," which features comedian Brian Posehn roast of Sebastian Bach.

    Of course, we'll add a new roast video every day — so stay tuned!

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    The folks over at MetallicaTV have posted official footage from Metallica's June 4 concert in Hamburg, Germany.

    The 20-minute video features footage of the pre-show meet-and-greet, the band tuning and warming up and finally, encore performances of "Fuel" and "Seek & Destroy."

    Check out the video here!

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    Former Pantera bassist Rex Brown joined fellow Pantera alumnus and current Down frontman Philip Anselmo on stage at the Download festival on Sunday at Donington Park in Leicestershire, United Kingdom. They performed the Pantera classic "A New Level."

    Anselmo performed at this year's Download with his backing band, the Illegals, featuring guitarist Marzi Montazeri (ex-Superjoint Ritual), drummer José Manuel Gonzales (Warbeast) and bassist Steve Taylor.

    Check out fan-filmed footage of the performance here:

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    JBE Pickups has announced the addition of the HB Mini to its line of dual-blade humbucker pickups.

    From the company:

    The HB Mini is a small-footprint humbucker that fits into instruments with traditional mini-humbucker pickup routes.

    The HB-Mini uses a shielded four-wire hookup cable for wiring flexibility. Wire the HB Mini to a push/pull pot or mini switch and get on-the-fly tone changes.

    Phaselus SA, a Swiss manufacturer of custom guitars, has selected the HB Mini as a recommended option for their Lengardo and Torino models of HSS, HSH or HH pickup-configured instruments.

    For more information, visit JBE at


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    We are excited to give you not just one, but TWO chances to win a small body The Loar LO-16 acoustic guitar.

    Have you noticed that many players prefer a small body? Great tone and portability make it the perfect touring companion (and great for pretty much anywhere of course!)

    The Loar LO-16 takes the traditional L-00 shaped body style and updates it for today’s players. If you want authentic front porch blues-box sound, you can’t do much better than the LO-16.

    The LO-16 begins with a hand-selected solid spruce top. The mahogany back and sides give it the warmth that players have come to know and love in small body instruments.

    Mother-of-pearl headstock inlay and Grover tuning machines add class and precision to these great-sounding guitars.

    Available in traditional natural finish, and classic black finish with ivory-colored body binding and a vintage-style white pickguard. The black finish is their nod to historic blues guitars and looks like no other guitar out there.

    We're giving away one of each finish - sorry, you don't get to pick, but they are both fabulous!!

    Combining solid top, small-body style with a vintage vibe, this guitar will be the perfect new addition to your collection.
    Oh, and we're including a vintage style hardshell case too, so the value per guitar is MSRP $720.98

    You can find out more about these special guitars at

    We know you want one (we do too!). So click here to enter now!!

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    I call this month’s column “The Riff Welder” because in it I demonstrate a variety of ways you can bring more melodic content to your power-chord-driven ideas through the use of single-note lines and small two-note chord voicings, often referred to as “diads.”

    I will take a few fairly “stock” chord progressions and, by moving a few notes and voicings around, show you how to devise much more interesting and effective rhythm parts.

    Let’s start with a basic chord progression built from mostly open power chords, as illustrated in Figure 1A. The first three chords used in the progression—E5, D5 and A5—are all played in first or second position and include as many open strings as possible. For C5, I simply barre my index finger across the D and G strings at the fifth fret, and end the progression with a second-position B5 power chord.

    Now let’s embellish this rhythm part with a few subtle tweaks to the chord voicings, as shown in Figure 1B. I begin with the same E5 power chord, but I replace the standard D5 power chord used in Figure 1A with a two-note diad played on the bottom two strings, consisting of the notes F# (sixth string, second fret) and D (fifth string, fifth fret), which produce the chord D/F# (described as “D over F#,” or “D with an F# in the bass”). In this voicing, the major third of the chord is the bottom note, and the root note is played three frets higher on the next higher string.

    I then take this same“third-in-the-bass” shape and move it over to the A and D strings and up two frets to sound the next chord, A/ Cs, which takes the place of the A5 power chord used in the original example. I then use the same C5 and B5 power chords as in Figure 1A but move from B5 into B/D# by placing the major third of B, D#, on the A string’s sixth fret under an index-finger barre across the D and G strings at the fourth fret.

    Now let’s take this “third-in-the-bass” idea and expand on it with a faster, slightly more intricate example. As shown in Figure 2, the rhythm part is driven by the insistent use of palm-muted 16th notes on the open low E string, punctuated by two-note chord stabs.

    In bars 1 and 2 of this figure, I quickly alternate between D5 and A/C# by simply moving the note on the A string down and up one fret while keeping the same A note fretted on the D string with my pinkie. In bars 3 and 4, I switch the idea around by changing the note on the D string, raising it and lowering it one fret, while keeping a constant note on the A string. This is a simple but effective way to make a standard chord progression more interesting by creating an “internal melody.”

    Our last example, Figure 3, is played at a slower tempo and works a series of two-note voicings against the open A string. I begin with an index-finger barre across the D and G strings at the fifth fret, sounding C5/A, then drop the note on the D string down one fret to produce D7/A.

    In bar 3, this note is dropped an additional fret, yielding Dm7/A (this can also be thought of as F5/A). I wrap things up by dropping this note one more fret to sound Am, with the fifth of A, E, played on the D string and the minor third, C, fretted on the G string.

    Part 1

    Part 2

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    Ted Nugent is now offering a stream of "Never Stop Believing," a track off of his new album, Shut Up & Jam! The album, due for release on July 8 through Frontiers Records, is Nugent's first collection of new material in seven years. You can check out the song below.

    On Shut Up and Jam!, Nugent handles guitar and vocal duties, while bassist Greg Smith, drummer Mick Brown and longtime musical cohort/guitarist/vocalist Derek St. Holmes are also along for the ride. Sammy Hagar guests on the track "She's Gone."

    Here's the tracklisting for Shut Up and Jam!

    01. Shut Up & Jam!
    02. Fear Itself
    03. Everything Matters
    04. She's Gone
    05. Never Stop Believing
    06. I Still Believe
    07. I Love My Bbq
    08. Throttledown
    09. Do-Rags And A .45
    10. Screaming Eagles
    11. Semper Fi
    12. Trample The Weak Hurdle The Dead
    13. Never Stop Believing (Blues)

    Additional Content

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    With its hand-carved grim reaper figure standing upon a field of skulls next to a cluster of gravestones, Ben Bauer’s Death of Decency guitar gives one the impression that it was made in prison by some tattooed Danny Trejo lookalike.

    However, a closer look reveals that the gravestones are not marked with the names of victims awaiting vengeance but rather words like love, hope, trust, honor and courtesy.

    “I was going through some tough times,” Bauer admits. “I remembered how our parents tried to teach us these important values, but later in life you hardly if ever see them anymore. It’s as if everything decent has died. So that inspired the theme of this guitar.”

    Bauer says that he had only limited experience as a woodcarver and guitar builder before taking on this ambitious project. “I’d done a few relief carvings and customized every guitar I’ve owned, but the Death of Decency is the first guitar that I’ve completely built on my own,” he says. “I made the body from several pieces of basswood and bought the neck and parts from various places, like Allparts, Musician’s Friend and Stewart-MacDonald. The most difficult part was getting the routs for the control, pickup and neck cavities right. I eyeballed my work with my Squier Telecaster.”

    The guitar’s concept started as a small, one-inch drawing that Bauer scribbled at work. “I later made a full-scale drawing of my concept,” he says. “After I made the body, I transferred the drawing onto it as a guide for the carvings.” Bauer carved every detail of the graphic design—the field of skulls, grim reaper, tree and gravestones—entirely by hand, using an inexpensive woodcarver’s knife, razor blade and a four-piece set of Flexcut gouges.

    Death of Decency is the first of what he hopes will be many hand-carved Bauer guitars. He’s currently working on an Ásatrú/Viking-themed Les Paul Junior and is offering the Death of Decency for sale on eBay. “I welcome custom orders,” he adds. “I’d love to do this as a career.”

    For more information, visit


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    Maybe your instrument’s telling you it wants cup holders, GPS and a sunroof, but you're more concerned with safety, comfort and how it’ll hold up on the road long term.

    Reunion Blues just released its RBX series of guitar and bass bags. The goal is to be light in weight — and light on the wallet! Standout features include a neck cradle to stabilize the neck during transit and an end-pin cushion to distribute weight evenly while your instrument is resting upright.

    The quilted exterior is water resistant. The feel and texture reminds me of something between a canvas backpack and a track jacket. What I like about this is if anything gets on it, you can wipe it right off with a wet cloth and not worry about damaging the bag. The backpack straps are fully adjustable. Right above the straps is a triangular handle, referred by Reunion Blues as “the subway grip.”

    Some familiar Reunion Blues features are included in the RBX series, such as the Zero-G weight distributing handle and the Velcro loop cable holder inside the no-nonsense front pocket. I was able to stash some pens, gum, a tablet and a magazine in the front pocket. The interior is a plush blue fabric with thick padding in all the necessary spots.

    RBX-B4 is the specific model I checked out. It's the company's electric bass bag. My Fender P-bass and Fender P5 both fit comfortably in it. Not a bass player? The RBX line also covers acoustic, electric, semi and full hollowbody guitars. Each bag comes with Reunion Blues’ limited lifetime warranty.

    Street Price: $119.95

    You can't believe everything you read on the Internet, but Billy Voight is a gear reviewer, bassist and guitarist from Pennsylvania. He has Hartke bass amps and Walden acoustic guitars to thank for supplying some of the finest gear on his musical journey. Need Billy's help in creating noise for your next project? Drop him a line at

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