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    Since REO Speedwagon’s arrival on the scene 40-plus years ago, the band has seen a lot of musical changes. Touring relentlessly through the Midwest in the 1970s, they finally broke through, scoring a pair of No. 1 hits in the 1980s. They also had the bestselling rock album of 1981, Hi Infidelity.

    Some might even say they were the originators of the term “power ballad."

    And although the band also has gone through a few personnel changes over the years, they never cease to bring their lineup of hits to eager fans every year.

    The band, which includes Kevin Cronin (vocals, rhythm guitar), Dave Amato (guitars), Bruce Hall (bass), Neal Doughty (keyboards) and Bryan Hitt (drums), performed 96 shows last year and are on pace to do an equal amount in 2014, including a summer co-headlining tour with Chicago.

    I caught up with Amato, who recently celebrated 25 years with REO Speedwagon. I asked him to reflect on his career with REO and his affection for guitars and vintage gear. He also told me about an important lesson he learned from his early years working with Ted Nugent.

    GUITAR WORLD: Twenty-five years with REO Speedwagon. What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think about that?

    I think brothers. We've been together for 25 years, and these guys are my friends and my brothers. It's great playing with them every night.

    Can you tell me the story of how you joined the band?

    My friend Jesse Harms was a keyboard player in Sammy Hagar's band and was also writing songs with Kevin [Cronin]. Gary [Richrath] wasn't with the band anymore and they were looking for a guitar player. They didn't want to put out a “cattle call” for people in LA, so Jesse mentioned me to Kevin and they gave me a few songs to see what I could do with them. I remember I went in on a Friday around 1 p.m. We played a few of the songs together and then played a little basketball. Then we went back in and jammed again until around 5. That was when they offered me a spot in the band. It’s a good story and was just meant to be.

    Did you ever imagine you'd still be doing this 25 years later?

    My span of doing things with someone had always been about two or three years. With Ted Nugent, it was three and a half years, and I thought that was a pretty good run. I remember thinking that if I could do that with REO it would be great, then I might go on to do something else. But here we are now 25 years later and it's still just as exciting as day one.

    What can you tell me about the band’s upcoming tour with Chicago?

    We’ve never toured with them before so it's going to be great. We’ll each be doing our own sets and then we're all going to go on stage together and do three of their songs and three of ours. We're really excited about it.

    Let’s talk a little gear. In particular, your new Murphy Les Pauls.

    They're shiny, brand-new Les Pauls and I just love them. Tom Murphy is contracted by Gibson and he just ages them to look like they're about 50 years old. They appear distressed and beaten up and just have a killer look. I know Joe Perry, Brad Whitford and my buddy Derek St. Holmes all own a few as well.

    You have close to 100 vintage guitars in your collection. What do you like most about vintage instruments?

    I love the vibe of the old guitars. There’s just something about the pickups, the sound and the aging of the wood that makes them so cool.

    You’re also a big fan of the vintage Marshall JCM800 series.

    I started using them in the mid-Eighties and have never looked back. There’s nothing like them. I used them all with Nugent, Cher and [Richie] Sambora. I think I have about 15 heads, it's crazy [laughs]. About the only thing that comes close to the 800’s are the Joe Satriani heads Marshall makes.

    Has there ever been a turning point moment in your early career?

    It would have to be my first show with Ted Nugent at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. We were on the bill with Bon Jovi, Deep Purple, the Scorpions and Night Ranger in front of 91,000 people. I remember we didn’t even do any shows beforehand, all we did was rehearse. I even remember asking Ted if we were going to do any shows: a little club, anything, just to warm up. But he said, "No! I like to break my boys in right!" [laughs]. Ted likes to challenge you, and for us, it was either make it or break it. For that particular moment in my career, I knew I had to make it.

    I remember being so nervous but I got through it and it was a great show. Then afterwards I just said, "You know what? I can do anything now!" I learned a lot and was happy to be there. It was a big moment in my career.

    What excites you the most about being part of REO Speedwagon?

    Our friendship. It's a good friendship and we make really great music together and it shows. We're working on new material and getting excited about new things every day. We don't just want to lay on the past. We want to go forward. There have been many hills and valleys over these last 25 years, but we're still here and better than ever. It's been a great ride, and it's nowhere near over.

    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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    It's no secret that Joel Hoekstra is one the hardest-working musicians you're ever likely to meet. The Night Ranger guitarist, who just celebrated the release of the band's new album, High Road, also performs regularly as part of Broadway's Rock of Ages and tours every fall with Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

    Hoekstra also has unveiled a brand new project, VHF, which stands for the initials of band mates Todd "Vinny" Vinciguerra (drums), Joel Hoekstra (guitars) and bassist Tony Franklin (the Firm, Kenny Wayne Shepherd).

    Co-produced by Joe Floyd and Tommy Kessler (Blondie, Rock of Ages), VHF's debut release, Very High Frequency, which was released June 20, isn't a shred record by any means. It's full of trippy, groove-inspired rock that's been built from the ground up.

    I recently caught up with Hoekstra and got an update on Night Ranger, VHF and the secret to mastering his two-handed technique.

    GUITAR WORLD: High Road reminds me a lot of the classic Night Ranger sound. Was the intent going into this album to pay homage to those early records?

    We just wanted to be ourselves and were able to find a nice balance of sounding like the classic Night Ranger while giving ourselves the leeway to express some our influences. We’re still a rock and roll band who likes to create new music and give our fans something they’ll appreciate. It’s an honor for me to be a part of it.

    What else can you tell me about the new album?

    There’s really something for everyone on this record, and a lot of it starts with Jack [Blades], Brad [Gillis] and Kelly [Keagy] together. "Knock Knock Never Stop" is really a good example of that. It's got that signature Brad Gillis riff in it. "Rollin On" is another song that started out with a bluesy-sounding riff. I think you can hear a little bit of Brad’s Hendrix influence on that one. Eric Levy and I are involved as well. Eric came in with the ballad “Only For You Only” and I came up with the riffs for “I’m Coming Home."

    What's your live setup going to be like for this summer’s Night Ranger tour?

    I’ve been using EVH III amps for quite some time. I also have a built in AKG Wireless system into my guitars that were installed by Atomic Guitar Works. They did a phenomenal job. They literally build the transmitters right into my guitars. All I need to do is press it on or off. It goes directly into the receiver and straight into the amp. From there, I just use a Line 6 DL4 for delay on the loop when I go to solo.

    How did the VHF project come about?

    I've known Todd since the two of us were roommates in Hollywood back in the Nineties. He recently hit me up and told me he had some drum tracks Tony Franklin had played on and wanted to know if I’d be interested in playing on it as well. He sent them over to me and basically said to do whatever I wanted on it. The cool thing about it was that we built the song from the drums up, which is a pretty backwards songwriting concept. But the results that came from it were really unique. We ended up with a hybrid mix of cool playing along with some really trippy stuff. For instrumental music, it focuses more on the vibe of the song instead of just the chops.

    That first song went so well that I asked Todd about doing an EP. We ended up doing five more songs like that. Then Todd and Tony did a bass and drum song called "All Is Within” and I did a conceptual guitar piece ("Conception to Death") where I improvised on a track and then wrote seven more to it. It’s basically all of the stages of life condensed within a minute and a half. Everyone can check out the video for the song “Whispers of the Soul” online right now. It’s a very cool, unique project and we're happy to have it out there.

    Do the three of you have plans to do any live shows?

    Right now there's a lot going on with our other projects, so we’re not sure what’s going to happen next. But you never know. When you enjoy what you do and work hard at it, sometimes things can surprise you. I never thought I would be in Night Ranger or in a Broadway show that features Eighties hard rock. There are all kinds of things that can happen over the course of your career. You just have to ride the wave.

    Can you tell me how you developed your two-handed technique?

    I was really lucky that another one of my first guitar teachers taught theory and soloing and was really into the eight-fingered technique. His name is T.J. Helmerich. He’s an amazing player who has a lot of rock/fusion albums out with that style of playing. I remember I was 14 when he first taught me the eight-finger part for "Rock in America." I used to sit up in my bedroom practicing it over and over and even tried to do it with my eyes closed. So it’s kind of an ironic thing for me to now be in the band. Some of the things that I was working on at that time just seemed to have come full circle.

    Do you have a piece of advice for someone who wants to learn it?

    It’s a unique solo technique and I always liked having that as something I could spend time on. But it’s just like anything else - it’s about finding where your passion lies and then putting in the time. My advice is to find what you dig and then go after it as hard as possible. You'll always get back what you put in. It’s all about hard work.

    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.

    Additional Content

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    Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Four represented an interesting crossroads in music.

    Classic rock giants of the Sixties and Seventies had strayed far from their roots. Speed and thrash metal were on the rise, waiting in the background to storm the parapet.

    In the underground, there was a fascinating musical stew brewing. Black Flag had turned their back on the ultra-influential, hyper-speed hardcore that had made them famous and turned to sludge metal. Husker Du were writing pop songs buried in layers of noise. Minutemen were a politically conscious funk-punk band with songs that frequently skirted under two minutes.

    Prince broke boundaries and records with Purple Rain, an album that merged funk, R&B, soul, disco and rock into one irresistible combination. Bruce Springsteen turned to synthesizers and simplified messages for his own blockbuster album, Born In the USA, a record that sawed off the more difficult-to-grasp edges of his previous masterpieces.

    Pink Floyd had essentially fallen apart (so David Gilmour and Roger Waters released solo albums), the Rolling Stones were at a creative low point, while Led Zeppelin and the Who had called it quits earlier in the decade. Their struggles left a gaping chasm at the center of rock, and bands of all kinds from a myriad of increasingly splintered sub-genres raced to fill it in.

    Meanwhile, Stevie Ray Vaughan released his second album, and Johnny Winter was burning up the fretboard over at Alligator Records.

    Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Four didn’t bring the sort of apocalyptic world promised by George Orwell, but it did bring a year of absolutely fascinating music! Enjoy the photo gallery below. Remember you can click on each photo to take a closer look.

    NOTE: As we say every year, this list is presented in no particular order. Once again, it is presented in no particular order. None.

    Enjoy! (P.S.: There might actually be 51 albums in the gallery. Hope you don't mind!)


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    O.A.R. is having quite a month.

    On June 3, they were the house band for the Today Show with Kathie Lee & Hoda, which included a performance of their single “Peace” accompanied by the Mt. Carmel-Holy Rosary School of East Harlem (check it out below).

    Later that week, the band visited with the famed Staten Island elementary school chorus at PS 22 in a rendition of “Peace.”

    O.A.R. also kicked off a national concert tour with Phillip Phillips this month. View the dates below.

    Plus, the band’s new album The Rockville LP is available now. Inspired by their hometown of Rockville, Maryland, The Rockville LP showcases a much more introspective and personal side to the band.

    Watch the band’s Today Show performance right here:

    O.A.R. Performs "Peace" on The Today Show from Vanguard Records on Vimeo.

    The band announced earlier this month that they have partnered with Habitat for Humanity, donating $1.00 from every ticket sold to the organization.

    Pick up the new album now at http://ofarevolution.com.

    Summer Tour Dates:
    June 27 Indianapolis, IN Farm Bureau Ins. Lawn at White River
    June 28 Cincinnati, OH Riverbend Music Center
    June 29 Milwaukee, WI Summerfest
    July 2 Lewiston, NY Art Park
    July 5 Gilford, NH Meadowbrook
    July 6 Mashantucket, CT Foxwoods Resort Casino
    July 10 Boston, MA Blue Hills Bank Pavilion
    July 11 Wantagh, NY Nikon at Jones Beach Theater
    July 12 Holmdel, NJ PNC Bank Arts Center
    July 13 Raleigh, NC Red Hat Amphitheater
    July 16 Charlotte, NC Uptown Amp at the NC Music Factory
    July 18 Philadelphia, PA Festival Pier at Penn's Landing
    July 19 Columbia, MD Merriweather Post Pavilion
    July 20 Portsmouth, VA nTelos Wireless Pavilion
    July 24 Glen Allen, VA Innsbrook After Hours
    July 25 Charleston, SC Family Circle Magazine Stadium
    July 26 Atlanta, GA Chastain Park Amphitheatre


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    The Fender Collector's Wine Bottle Holder is available now at the Guitar World Online Store!

    Fender's Stratocaster wine holder is a sleek and stylish way to ensure that your favorite wine sustains all the right notes.

    Constructed from actual alder Stratocaster guitar necks from Fender's factory, the wine holder secures the bottleneck horizontally within its headstock to maintain proper corkage and prevent exposure to outside air.

    Order yours today!

    It's available now at the Guitar World Online Store for $29.99.


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    Some of you might remember we posted a story (with video) about a device called the Hammer Jammer.

    The Hammer Jammer is a percussive device that fits onto electric or acoustic guitars, producing a different-sounding attack — something in the ballpark of a hammer dulcimer on speed.

    Our story and its video went viral, which led Ohio-based Big Walnut Productions, maker of the Hammer Jammer, to believe its product is, to say the least, ready for the guitar market.

    As a result, the company has launched a Kickstarter program to raise $50,000, which would enable them to manufacture the device. You can check out the Kickstarter progam right here.

    Here's some info from the company:

    The Hammer Jammer was invented in the Nineties, with about 2,000 samples produced at that time that were never pushed into the mainstream guitar market for a number of reasons. However, Ken McCaw, inventor of the Hammer Jammer, who is also a film composer, used the Hammer Jammer on a trailer for a feature film released in Europe about five years ago. From that, interest for this invention began to grow around the world.

    The demonstration video in this Kickstarter program was posted on YouTube in January 2014 and went viral. It became obvious that this unique invention is now ready for the guitar market. All Hammer Jammer samples were sold within a couple of weeks, to players in 60 countries, many of them young guitarists. This Kickerstarter program is for the purpose of building new tools for the device, which will include some requested modifications that will provide additional instrument applications.

    It has also been learned recently that the Hammer Jammer provides a legitimate and highly useful device for handicapped people and players with arthritis and other issues that make finger picking and standard picking technique prohibitive.

    For more info, visit Big Walnut Productions here and check out the company's Kickstarter program here.


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    Pro Music Marketing Inc. has announced the release of its Pykmax High Performance Guitar Picks.

    The pick, the result of a multi-year design and engineering effort, features a patented ergonomic design that fits the hand comfortably and eliminates traditional muscle pressure associated with gripping traditional picks.

    “The guitar pick has always been somewhat of an obstacle for many beginning and intermediate players," says Jeremy Milikow, CEO of Pro Music Marketing.

    "Pykmax enables those players to concentrate more on playing great music and less on gripping the guitar pick.”

    According to the company, guitarists of all skill levels — who chose to participate in a pre-market trial — agreed that Pykmax "dramatically increases comfort while enhancing picking speed and precision."

    Pykmax was conceived and developed by Noam Sander, president of Pro Music Marketing, when he was a student at Berklee College of Music. Sander was exploring new tools and techniques that could help advance his playing level. He felt the guitar pick should be redesigned so that it could fit more firmly and comfortably, which could lead to greater speed and control and new techniques.

    Pykmax is available in two right-handed body sizes, small and medium.

    From the company:

    "The small size is perfect for children up the age of approximately 15 and for adults with small hands. The medium size is great for most adult players. Three plectrum gauges are offered for each body size. 0.60mm, 0.88mm and 1.00mm. Pykmax plectrums are precision injected molded from Delrin. Standard Pykmax packaging includes one body and one plectrum mounted on the body."

    The standard retail price is $15. Pykmax is available in the U.S. on Amazon.com.

    For more about Pykmax, visit pykmax.com, check it out on Facebook and watch the two videos below. The top video explains Pykmax; the bottom is a Pykmax demo featuring a cover of Dream Theater's "The Best of Times" by Bar Bitran.


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    Shovels & Rope, the husband and wife duo of Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent, has announced a tour in support of their sophomore album Swimmin’ Time (out August 26 via Dualtone Music).

    The tour will kick off on August 20 in Raleigh, NC with stops scheduled in Atlanta, Nashville, Boston, Detroit, Chicago, New York and many more.

    Shovels & Rope has rarely been off the road over the last two years plus.

    Swimmin' Time is the follow up to the band’s 2012 breakthrough debut O’ Be Joyful, which received fantastic support in the press, from great reviews to major features to TV appearances to year-end lists.

    Watch the new clip of the album’s lead track “The Devil Is All Around,” featuring in-studio and live performance footage below:

    Shovels & Rope took home two of the top honors at the 2013 Americana Music Awards; Song of the Year (“Birmingham”) and Emerging Artist of the Year.

    Swimmin’ Time features 13 new songs that maintain a subtle aquatic theme throughout. New sounds, instruments and characters are introduced in progression while the signature Shovels & Rope songcraft and kindle that fans have come to adore is maintained, albeit a little darker. The album was recorded in the band’s Charleston, SC home studio and produced by Trent.

    Shovels & Rope Tour

    7/4 & 7/6 - Ottawa, ON - RBC Blues Ottawa Festival
    7/5 - Toronto, ON - Toronto Urban Roots Fest
    7/10-12 - Oakbank, MB - Winnipeg Folk Festival
    7/13 - Morrison, CO - Red Rocks Amphitheatre #
    7/26 - Newport, RI - Newport Folk Festival
    8/20 - Raleigh, NC - Raleigh Amphitheater **
    8/21 - Charlotte, NC - Uptown Amphitheater **
    8/22 - Alpharetta, GA - Verizon Wireless Amphitheater **
    8/23 - Nashville, TN - The Woods Amphitheater at Fontanel **
    8/27 - Louisville, KY - WFPK Waterfront Wednesday
    9/18 - Wilmington, NC - Ziggy’s %
    9/20 - Charlottesville, VA - Jefferson Theater %
    9/24 - Philadelphia, PA - Union Transfer
    9/26 - Boston, MA - Royale %
    9/27 - Boston, MA - Royale %
    9/28 - Montreal, QB - Corona Theatre %
    10/1 - Detroit, MI - St. Andrew's Hall %
    10/2 - Chicago, IL - Vic Theatre %
    10/3 - Minneapolis, MN - First Ave %
    10/5 - Madison, WI - Barrymore Theatre
    10/7 - Bloomington, IN - Bluebird %
    10/8 - Knoxville, TN - Bijou Theatre %
    10/10 - Athens, GA - Georgia Theatre %

    # - with The Avett Brothers
    ** - with Old Crow Medicine Show
    % - with John Fullbright

    Find out more at shovelsandrope.com.


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    Whole Lotta Dulcimer! (Insert your own Led Zeppelin dulcimer puns here.)

    Below, check out a new video of Led Zeppelin's classic "Whole Lotta Love" performed on a three-string electric mountain dulcimer by Sam Edelston.

    Here's an edited version of the info Edelston posted with his video:

    "The dulcimer can be a very sweet, tender instrument — but it's also great for rocking out. Tuned 1-5-8, it's loaded with power chords. Through a stack of Marshalls ... hmmm ... that would be fun!

    "Note to dulcimer players: This arrangement doesn't require extra frets. I've got a single high C at 8+, in the break, which could be replaced or played elsewhere."

    Edelston is playing a Robert Force model "Black Wolf" hollow-body electric dulcimer built by Rod Matheson, tuned DAd. (Yes, all that sound is coming from just three strings.) Capo on the first fret, played in Am.

    One pickup is running through an octave pedal, overdrive and chorus. The second pickup is running through a phase shifter, compressor-sustainer and Blues Driver distortion pedal. The two channels merge in a digital delay, and there's a volume pedal at the end.

    Instrumental break: 1:29; third verse at 1:52; beginning of the ending at 2:28.

    If you enjoyed this and want to hear more, check out Edelston's YouTube channel.

    Additional Content

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    Robert Plant has premiered a new song, "Rainbow," and you can check it out below.

    The song is the first taste of Plant's new album, Lullaby.... & the Ceaseless Roar, which is set for a September 9 release on Nonesuch Records.

    The album is Plant's first with his new band, the Sensational Space Shifters.

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

    Additional Content

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    Jeff Beck has canceled the second leg of his European tour.

    Beck, who turned 70 on June 24, has been instructed by doctors to stop performing for six weeks. He also will "undertake a short hospital procedure."

    We are unsure of the nature of Beck's condition, a condition that recently was the result of "emergency medical attention." We hope to update this story when we have more information.

    The announcement was made earlier today, June 26, via a news item posted on Beck's official website, jeffbeckofficial.com. You can read the complete post below:

    "It is with the greatest regret that Jeff Beck has been forced to cancel the forthcoming European dates of his worldwide tour, set to begin in Austria on June 27.

    "Following many months of international touring and after seeking emergency medical attention, Jeff will now undertake a short hospital procedure, and his doctors have instructed a complete break from performance for a total of six weeks. Following the treatment, Jeff will fulfill his U.S. tour commitments beginning in Missoula, Montana, on August 8.

    "He sends his profound apologies to those fans who had bought tickets for the European concerts and very much looks forward to playing for his American audiences after he has completed his treatment."

    UPDATE: 3 p.m.

    Guitar Player magazine's Jennifer Bergeron found this May 5 report at contactmusic.com that might shed some light on Beck's condition.

    Apparently, Beck experienced discomfort during his tour with Brian Wilson last year and had an endoscopy (an internal examination done with a camera at the end of a flexible tube) on an undisclosed body part or organ while in Chicago.

    At the time, Beck gave the following statement to the U.K.'s Mojo magazine: "What I didn't realize was that the tour bosses wanted me to spend the whole afternoon doing promo to prop up ticket sales. So we did this meet-and-greet stuff where audiences pay good money to watch rehearsals, which robbed me of my afternoon nap. I ended up in Chicago University Hospital having an endoscopy. They still had me playing the next night. It was a bit blood and guts, but I had fallen in love with the idea of playing with Brian Wilson."

    In Other Jeff Beck News

    In February, Beck announced that his next studio album, which is still expected to be released later this year, will be a "very important" release. In an interview with Rolling Stone, he discussed the timing of — and process of creating — his upcoming release.

    “I think I’ve drawn attention. I’ve worked, worked, worked for the last three years. Now is the time really. My [70th] birthday is coming up, if you get me. I thought it was time for a really good studio album I had control over and time to do properly instead of a budget problem. Even though I do have budget problems!”"

    Guitar World wishes Jeff a speedy recovery!

    Additional Content

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    Jeff Beck has canceled the second leg of his European tour.

    According to a June 26 post on Beck's Facebook page and website, jeffbeckofficial.com, the guitarist, who turned 70 earlier this week, had been instructed by doctors to stop performing for six weeks. It also said he would "undertake a short hospital procedure."

    This morning, however, we noticed the "official statement" is gone from both sites — and his entire website is down. Visitors are greeted with the message, "Error establishing a database connection."

    Here is the full message that appeared on his website:

    "It is with the greatest regret that Jeff Beck has been forced to cancel the forthcoming European dates of his worldwide tour, set to begin in Austria on June 27.

    "Following many months of international touring and after seeking emergency medical attention, Jeff will now undertake a short hospital procedure, and his doctors have instructed a complete break from performance for a total of six weeks. Following the treatment, Jeff will fulfill his U.S. tour commitments beginning in Missoula, Montana, on August 8.

    "He sends his profound apologies to those fans who had bought tickets for the European concerts and very much looks forward to playing for his American audiences after he has completed his treatment."

    Yesterday, Guitar Player magazine's Jennifer Bergeron found a May 5 report at contactmusic.com that could shed light on Beck's condition.

    Apparently, Beck experienced discomfort during his tour with Brian Wilson last year and had an endoscopy (an internal examination done with a camera at the end of a flexible tube) on an undisclosed body part or organ while in Chicago.

    At the time, Beck gave the following statement to the U.K.'s Mojo magazine: "What I didn't realize was that the tour bosses wanted me to spend the whole afternoon doing promo to prop up ticket sales. So we did this meet-and-greet stuff where audiences pay good money to watch rehearsals, which robbed me of my afternoon nap. I ended up in Chicago University Hospital having an endoscopy. They still had me playing the next night. It was a bit blood and guts, but I had fallen in love with the idea of playing with Brian Wilson."

    In Other Jeff Beck News

    In February, Beck announced that his next studio album, which is still expected to be released later this year, will be a "very important" release. In an interview with Rolling Stone, he discussed the timing of — and process of creating — his upcoming release.

    “I think I’ve drawn attention. I’ve worked, worked, worked for the last three years. Now is the time really. My [70th] birthday is coming up, if you get me. I thought it was time for a really good studio album I had control over and time to do properly instead of a budget problem. Even though I do have budget problems!”"

    Guitar World wishes Jeff a speedy recovery!

    Additional Content

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    There was no dearth of great guitar music in 1984.

    From Van Halen and Judas Priest to Yngwie Malmsteen and Stevie Ray Vaughan, the world had caught the guitar bug and there were plenty of landmark albums to feed the fever.

    In addition to these great albums were some really great tours. Van Halen's 1984 and Monsters of Rock tours saw the band at their peak and were the last chance to see the group perform with David Lee Roth for 23 years. Kiss recaptured some their Seventies glory on the Animalize tour and Iron Maiden's World Slavery tour would be the band's longest and most expansive to date.

    There were a handful of further noteworthy music moments in '84, such as the Deep Purple Mark II reunion and, of course, Menudomania reached Asia.

    But enough about that! Back to the albums. Below are the ultimate guitar albums of 1984. Vote your favorite and check in next week to see who won the coveted number one spot.


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    In this lesson, I’ll be showing you a relatively unknown picking technique used by my favorite guitarist, Eddie Van Halen. It can be heard in countless Van Halen songs, including "I’m the One,""Spanish Fly" and "Jump."

    This technique is based on a combination of hammer-on notes and alternate-picked notes. Eddie likes to take a fingering pattern and hammer on the notes on one string, then alternate pick the same pattern on an adjacent string.

    This creates the illusion that he’s picking every note, when he’s really not. It allows him to rip up and down the neck with minimal effort from his picking hand. The technique is shown in EXAMPLE 1 below and is demonstrated as a simple pattern in the key of B minor.

    Now, let’s take a look at EXAMPLE 2. This example takes the picking approach from EXAMPLE 1 but extends the scale up the neck in the key of B minor. This time, the pattern utilizes only the B and E strings. This scale pattern allows you to quickly transition up and down the neck and not get caught in complex fingerings or picking. Even though a few notes are not completely diatonic, they provide color and sound great in many musical contexts.

    EXAMPLE 3 is the exact same pattern as EXAMPLE 2, just moved down an octave to the D and G strings. This is a great trick that every guitarist should know. Whenever you have a lick on the B and E strings, you can move it down an octave simply by sliding it down three frets and playing it on the D and G strings. For precision, make sure to use the same left-hand fingering so that it feels the same in both octaves.

    Expanding on this idea, EXAMPLE 4 is the same pattern as EXAMPLE 3 just moved down two more frets to the E and A strings. Remember to use the same EVH picking pattern: three hammer-on notes on the E string followed by three notes using alternate picking on the A string. Once you have the scale down on one grouping of strings (EXAMPLE 2), you should be able to play the scale at the same speed on the other two groupings of strings. (EXAMPLE 3, EXAMPLE 4)

    Finally, in EXAMPLE 5, we’re going to move back to our original position and play a run that combines patterns from all of our previous examples. This illustrates how you can take these patterns that move vertically up and down the neck and use them to create runs that stay in one position. If you play it quick, you’ll notice it sounds eerily similar to EVH.

    Once you have these examples down, try using this approach to create runs and different scale patterns of your own. Combining the EVH picking technique with these scale fingerings will hopefully open up some new doors for your playing, creativity and technique. Cheers.

    Screen Shot 2014-06-27 at 2.16.54 PM.jpg

    Sammy Boller is the guitarist for the Detroit rock band Citizen Zero. They’re touring and recording their first full-length album with Al Sutton and Marlon Young (Kid Rock, Bob Seger, Uncle Kracker). In 2012, Boller was selected by Joe Satriani as a winner of Guitar Center’s Master Satriani competition. He studied music at the University of Michigan. For more about Boller, or to ask him a question, write to him at info@sammyboller.com or follow him on Twitter.


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    Today, GuitarWorld.com presents the exclusive premiere of "Haunted Factory," the new music video by Megafauna.

    The track is from the band's new album, Maximalist, which was released April 15 through Danimal Kingdom.

    Megafauna’s guitarist and vocalist Dani Neff is featured in this psychedelic, creepy and sexy video.

    The Austin shredder co-choreographed and danced in the video, which splices modern dance movements and heavy garage riffs as it explores themes of psychosis, loneliness and personal transformation.

    “It’s about losing your identity to the factory of modern society, but losing your fears at the same time,” Neff says. Neff danced for 20 hours straight for the video, which was shot in the broken-down boiler rooms and peeling laundry facilities of Texas’ oldest psychiatric hospital."

    The video was directed by Brad Linton. Check it out below and let us know what you think in the comments or on Facebook!

    For more info about Megafauna, head HERE and follow them on Facebook.


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    I have a beautiful recording setup, but there’s a problem; I have to set it up!

    This means running cables, plugging in things and figuring out why I’m not getting sound. Next I’ll mull over recording my idea on a cell phone, but I always forfeit that thought knowing I’ll get lackluster results.

    The Nessie by Blue is a USB plug-and-play microphone. There are no drivers to download, no access codes to enter; just plug it in, click on your recording software and you’re recording.

    There are three presets on the mic to help capture the best audio quality: Voice, Music and Raw. Voice is a custom setting for singing or spoken word. Music is best for acoustic instruments with a little bit of presence added. Raw is a flatter response, which I used when recording speaker cabinets or loud amps.

    The Nessie has a mute button, a headphone out and a playback volume knob to monitor playback at a safe volume. Other features include an internal shockmount and pop filter. Its sample rate is 48kHz, and it has a frequency response of 20Hz-20kHz. The head of the mic angles up and down to accommodate sound capture. When powered on, the base of the Nessie lights up; when muted the base blinks.

    Let's get to the clips!

    Clip 1 is a 12-string guitar with the Nessie set to Music mode. I had the mic about 10 inches away from the guitar centralized between the neck and the sound hole.

    Clip 2 is a Les Paul cranked up with Nessie on Raw mode. I doubled and panned the track to give it a deeper stereo sound.

    Clip 3 is a P-bass with the Nessie still set on Raw mode. I had to move the mic back about 18 inches to avoid overdriving the mic.

    Web:bluemic.com
    Street Price: $99.99

    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 thisguyonbass@gmail.com.


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    Guitarist and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Dave Mason was a founding member of Traffic (along with Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi and Chris Wood). He's also recorded and/or toured with the likes of George Harrison, the Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac and Michael Jackson.

    Then there’s also the little matter of his historic performance on Jimi Hendrix’s iconic version of Bob Dylan's “All Along the Watchtower."

    Mason’s new album, Future’s Past, pays homage to those early years by featuring new versions of songs from his Traffic days and solo career, including new interpretations of “As Sad and Deep As You” and “World In Changes." Rounding out the nine-track album is a new song, “That’s Freedom."

    Mason is on the road with the Traffic Jam Tour, which pays tribute to his former band and his solo years. I recently spoke with Mason about Future’s Past, his days with Traffic and his experience with Hendrix.

    GUITAR WORLD: How did the Future’s Past project begin?

    There wasn't really a plan. I have a huge collection of material I've recorded over the last few years. Some of the songs applied to my Traffic Jam show (“Dear Mr. Fantasy,"“You Can All Join In.") Then I had “World in Changes," which was from my Alone Together album but sounds absolutely nothing like the original. My original intent was to use these tracks for an EP of about four songs, but since I also had a few other tracks and everything sounded so good, I decided to just put them all on there. The thing I like is that the album doesn't sound dated. It all sounds fresh and new.

    One of the highlights on the record is the version of “As Sad and Deep As You.”

    That's basically a live cut. It has such a strong emotion and mood. To me, it's better than the original. That's why it's on there.

    You also have a new song called “That's Freedom." How did that track originate?

    A piano player who used to play live with me would always play this line when we were going into the slowdown/play-out of the song "Look at You Look at Me." I thought it was a cool line so I built the song around it. Lyrically, it's my own take on the State of the Union.

    What can you tell me about your current tour?

    Since the beginning of the year, I've been out doing my Traffic Jam show. The first part of the show is where I do some Traffic material from the early days, and then the second half of the show is my own stuff. We'll be out for about 120 shows this year.

    How did Traffic originate?

    Jim Capaldi and I had bands together when we were kids. We only lived a few miles apart and were both big fans of Spencer Davis and finally met up with Steve at a club and we all just started hanging out together. Over time it eventually got to the point where Steve wanted to do something new, and that's basically how it started.

    Can you tell me the story of how you met Jimi Hendrix?

    I was aware of Jimi when he first came to London, even before he had ever made a record. London was a conglomeration of great people all in one place. There were only so many studios and a few good engineers around at the time, so it was inevitable that people would run into each other from time to time.

    I met Jimi at a late-night club one night and just started talking to him. He was a Traffic fan and I remember he got up and played with the band that was there that night and I just said, "Wow!" [laughs].

    How did you end up playing on his version of “All Along The Watchtower"?

    One night, Jimi and I were at a party listening to John Wesley Harding [Bob Dylan’s latest album at the time] when Jimi got it into his head that he wanted to do “All Along the Watchtower." I remember he said to me, “That’s the coolest song! I’m gonna go and record it! You want to come and do it with me?” That's basically how it started. He was just amazing.

    You’ve worked with so many great artists and sat in for historic musical sessions. Were you aware at the time of the impact those experiences would have on people?

    I knew they were great tracks that created attention, but it's hard to say what people would really think because at the time, I was living it. Looking back now, I was very fortunate to have ended up playing with so many great artists, even just for a moment.

    Do you ever foresee something akin to a Traffic reunion?

    Unfortunately, Jim Capaldi and Chris Wood have passed away, so the only ones left are myself and [Steve] Winwood. But I'll give you the same answer that I give to everyone, “You're asking the wrong person.” Yes, of course. There's a great audience out there who would love to see it happen. But that's really a question for Steve.

    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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    Below, check out a new video about the history of Louis Electric Amplifiers, a respected New Jersey-based boutique maker of hand-wired guitar amps.

    Louis Electric has been building tube amplifiers since 1992.

    Since the very beginning, Louis Rosano has been building signature sounds for musicians of all genres, including Keith Richards, Duke Robillard, Ronnie Wood, Hubert Sumlin, Warren Haynes, Jackson Browne, Danny Gatton, Robben Ford, James Burton and a whole tot more.

    The company recently launched a new website, which features 13 amps from Rosano’s portfolio over the years, including standard and brand-new models.

    For more information about the company, check out the video below and visit its official website and YouTube channel.

    Also be sure to check out Louis Electric on Instagram, Google+ and Pinterest.


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    Brian Setzer has premiered a new song — "Let's Shake"— from his upcoming all-rockabilly album, Rockabilly Riot: All Original.

    The album will be released August 12 via Surfdog Records.

    “Yeah, ‘Let’s Shake,’ how come no one has thought of that title yet?" Setzer says. "We’ve been making rock and roll now for 60 years and no one has come up with ‘Let’s Shake?’ And I came up with it and I went, ‘Wow…Let’s Shake!’ You know, oh god, it’s just so simple it’s magic!

    "It’s got a really great guitar solo in it, just rock and roll sounding…it’s not really ‘billy’ sounding, it’s more rock and roll… again, it’s the simplest songs that are the hardest to write.”

    On the new album, which was recorded in Nashville and produced by Peter Collins, Setzer is backed by Mark Winchester (bass), Kevin McKendree (piano) and Noah Levy (drums).

    Additional Content

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    This morning we stumbled upon an old forum (from a random website) with the headline "White Knuckles" vs. "Eruption."

    We know which guitar performance we'd pick, but — just in case some of you aren't all that familiar with the late Gary Moore's solo-guitar shred showpiece, we thought we'd let the two ancient tunes duke it out in the space below.

    Just leave your comments and/or votes on Facebook!

    P.S.: "White Knuckles/Rockin' and Rollin'" is from Moore's 1980 album, G-Force.


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