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    AC/DC's Brian Johnson has provided a health update on guitarist Malcolm Young.

    As has been widely reported, the band announced in April that Young would step down from the band due to ill health. The news came via a post on the band's Facebook page on April 16, when it was announced Young would "take a break" from the group.

    During his recent interview with TeamRock Radio, Johnson said Young is in the hospital and added that he's confident the guitarist will eventually return to the band. "We miss Malcolm, obviously. He's a fighter. He's in hospital, but he's a fighter. We've got our fingers crossed that he'll get strong again.

    "Stevie, Malcolm's nephew, was magnificent, but when you're recording with this thing hanging over you and your work mate isn't well, it's difficult. But I'm sure he was rooting for us.

    "He's such a strong man. He's a small guy, but he's very strong. He's proud and he's very private, so we can't say too much. But fingers crossed, he'll be back."

    Earlier this week, Johnson confirmed that band have completed work on their upcoming album, which is expected to be released later this year.

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    This is an alternate-picking run based on an add9 arpeggio shape on the top three strings that’s moved up and down the neck to four different positions and tonal centers, with a slight variation in bar 2.

    It begins in E, moves down to C with a little twist—more on that in a moment—then up to D and finally A.

    The first thing you’ll notice is that the pinkie is the lead-off finger in each bar and that a five-fret stretch is required between it and the index finger for the first two notes. [Fret-hand fingerings are indicated throughout the run.]

    Be sure to ease into these stretches and warm up with them in the upper area of the fretboard before attempting them in the lower positions.

    For bar 2, I felt it sounded more colorful and interesting to alter the basic Cadd9 arpeggio [C D E G] by incorporating the #11, or #4, F#, into it, and in so doing the notes on the B and G strings are played two frets higher than where they would be if I would have simply applied the initial add9 shape from bar 1 to this position. In bar 3, the pinkie does a quick slide up to D, and the initial cell from bar 1 is used again, only a whole step lower.

    Notice the common tones on the B and G strings in bars 2 and 3. The run concludes with a long pinkie slide up to A at the 17th fret—be careful not to overshoot it—and an Aadd9 arpeggio.

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    Earlier this year, Men's Health reporter Will Levith posted a feature called "10 Scientific Reasons You Should Play the Guitar: A Six-String Solution for a Healthier Mind, Body and Libido."

    Obviously, we figured our readers might be interested in this sort of thing.

    The story suggests that the guitar might "be as powerful as anything inside the medicine cabinet. Strapping on a Fender could boost your brainpower, sex life, six-pack and more."

    You can read the entire story right here.

    In the meantime, here are a few of the reasons playing guitar is good for your health, according to the original story:

    01. Feel Serious Pleasure: According to a neuroscientific study from McGill University, hearing music triggers the release of dopamine in the brain, the same chemical released during sex. That’s like musical masturbation.

    02. Wave Away Stress: A dual study from the Mind-Body Wellness Center and Loma Linda University School of Medicine and Applied Biosystems found that stress can be reduced on a genomic level by playing an instrument.

    03. Send Pain Packing: According to a study from the University of Utah’s Pain Research Center, listening to music—in this case, your own guitar playing—can take your mind off, and thereby reduce, pain.

    04. Sharpen Your Mind: A Scottish study says if you play the guitar—or any instrument—you’re more likely to have sharper brain function, which can help guard against future mental decline.

    05. Toughen Your Heart: Researchers from the Netherlands found that patients who practiced music for more than 100 minutes a day showed a significant drop in blood pressure and a lower heart rate than people who didn’t.

    For the other five reasons (and more), be sure to head over to the original story on menshealth.com.

    And stay healthy!


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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 www.theloar.com

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


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    Fourteen-year-old guitarist Ray Goren describes LA Sessions, his new EP, as a unique mixture of everything from Jimi Hendrix to Stevie Wonder. Considering the fact that Hendrix’s producer, Eddie Kramer, worked on the EP, it’s hard to argue.

    Goren’s guitar journey is slightly different from that of most players. He started out on keyboards, playing songs by Thelonious Monk, J.J. Johnson and Miles Davis as early as age 5.

    But it wasn’t until a few years later while searching YouTube that he stumbled upon a video clip of B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Buddy Guy and Albert Collins performing together. That’s when the fuse was lit, and Goren has never looked back.

    Kramer, who "discovered" Goren, has a resume that includes such giants as Led Zeppelin and Kiss. The legendary producer/engineer was so impressed with Goren that he produced LA Sessions himself and even enlisted some other musical heavyweights, including drummer Able Laboriel, Jr. (Paul McCartney) and bassist Paul Bushnell (Tim McGraw) to lend a hand.

    With guitar prowess that extends well beyond his 14 years, Goren is an explosive live performer. I recently got the chance to speak with Goren about his new album.

    GUITAR WORLD: How exciting was it for you to get to work with Eddie Kramer?

    Oh man, where do I even begin? [laughs]. Eddie is just unbelievable at what he does. He’s truly a master of sound and a very down-to-earth, humble guy.

    How did you meet Eddie?

    I was playing at a club and Eddie just happened to be there. I remember when I got off the stage he came up to me and we started to talk. At first, I didn’t even realize who I was talking to. Turns out, he was Eddie Kramer and I was like, “Oh, wow!” [laughs]. We ended up talking about music for a while and things just blew up from there.

    Did he let you in on any Jimi Hendrix secrets?

    He told me a few Jimi stories but nothing I can tell out loud [laughs]. It’s all kind of secretive. He did show me some pictures he had of Jimi, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Kiss, and for each picture he had a little story to go along with it. It was a really cool music history lesson.

    What’s your songwriting method?

    I don’t write by riffs at all. Usually I’ll write on piano. When I write, I’ll write chords first and then a melody and then the lyrics come last. For the song “Memories,” I had these chords I had worked out on the keyboard. As I was sitting there writing the melody, the lyrics just sort of flowed out of my mouth, and that’s what I ended up singing. It just kind of happened. Most of my songs just come spontaneously.

    Can you tell me a little about the message behind your video for “Stop Waiting”?

    I normally don’t like to talk about what my songs are about, but there was a teen who was shot and killed and I just remember thinking to myself, “Dang, what’s his mom going to think when she finds out that her son got killed by a gun?” I wondered if there was something I could do about it, other than just sitting down and shaking my head.

    What was the moment you realized you wanted to be a guitarist?

    I grew up playing piano and a few other instruments. But then I saw a video of B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Albert Collins and Eric Clapton — all playing together on the same stage! Man, from that point on I just remember thinking, “OK, forget about all of these other instruments. I’m a guitar player now!” [laughs].

    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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    Kyle Cox recorded The Plan, The Mess with producer/drummer Mike Marsh (Avett Brothers, Dashboard Confessional) in Nashville, TN.

    Although this is his debut full length, he is no stranger to great songwriting.

    He has been featured in American Songwriter five separate times, including being the only songwriter in the history of the magazine to have won the American Songwriter Lyric Contest twice.

    Having toured extensively this past year, Cox is very familiar with hard work.

    Possessing a "put your head down & pound the pavement" mentality, Cox has done everything from opening for more established acts in packed out venues to playing for smaller, more intimate living room crowds. But whatever the size of venue or crowd, one thing remains true - Kyle has an innate ability to connect with the listener through his songs in a deep and personal level.

    Take a listen to his track “I Ain’t Been Lonely, Until I Met You”:

    Cox emphasizes the importance of the song with every melody and lyric. He takes pride in being a student of songwriting - drawing inspiration from peers and legends alike, while never letting his unique voice get lost. There is no doubt that his dedication to the art of songwriting shines through on this album, making it something that will last.

    Check out a live acoustic performance of “I Ain’t Been Lonely, Until I Met You”:

    The Plan, The Mess is set to be released September 30, 2014.

    For more on Kyle Cox, click here.


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    Grammy Award-nominated, multi-platinum singer/songwriter Aaron Lewis is joining Brantley Gilbert on the second leg of the Let It Ride Tour.

    Earlier this week, Brantley Gilbert and his sidekick Sylo revealed dates and opening acts for the second leg of his LET IT RIDE TOUR through a special video.

    The announcement also included footage from the first part of the tour, showing fired-up performances from the multiple sold-out shows last spring.

    This round is set to kick off on September 19 in Austin, TX.

    Aaron Lewis as direct support 9/19 through 10/25 and Tyler Farr as direct support 10/30 through 12/6. Chase Bryant will be opening all dates. For tickets and more info on the Let It Ride Tour, visit: brantleygilbert.com. For more info on Aaron Lewis, visit: aaronlewismusic.com.

    “I'm very excited to be hitting the road with Brantley Gilbert on the Let It Ride Tour in September,” said Lewis. “This is gonna be a good one!!”

    Watch Gilbert’s special video right here:

    LET IT RIDE TOUR dates with special guests Aaron Lewis & Chase Bryant:
    09/19 – Austin, TX (Cedar Park Center)
    09/20 – Tulsa, OK (BOK Center)
    09/26 – State College, PA (Bryce Jordan Center)
    09/27 – Worcester, MA (DCU Center)
    09/28 – Bangor, ME (Cross Insurance Center)
    10/09 – Cincinnati, OH (US Bank Arena)
    10/10 – Southaven, MS (Landers Center)
    10/11 – Jackson, MS (MS Coliseum)
    10/16 – Madison, WI (Veterans Memorial Coliseum at Alliant Energy Center)
    10/17 – St. Louis, MO (Chifetz Arena)
    10/18 – Moline, IL (iWireless Center)
    10/23 – Des Moines, IA (Wells Fargo Arena)
    10/24 – Cape Girardeau, MO (Show Me Center)
    10/25 – Kansas City, MO (Sprint Center)


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    When it comes to evaluating a musician, individuality is the characteristic that I hold in highest regard. We all have our heroes and favorite players from whom we’ve learned a great deal through trying to emulate their playing styles.

    In rock, for example, most players list Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page as major influences, and in metal it’s not uncommon to hear the names Eddie Van Halen, Randy Rhoads, Zakk Wylde or Dimebag Darrell mentioned as primary influences.

    In that sense, many of us have learned from the same sources. The trick is to take those influences and push yourself in your own unique and distinct direction. Though it may be easier to learn other people’s solos—which is fine if that’s the goal you’re pursuing—I believe it’s much more rewarding to go out on a limb and take some musical chances, just to see what new and different sounds you can discover in the pursuit of forming a style that you can eventually call your own.

    For example, playing fast is not the be-all and end-all of anything. In fact, it’s utterly unimportant. But if you are like most guitar players, you’ll want to be able to play fast, because everyone wants to play fast. So to my mind, you might as well try to do it in a way that’s cool and different from everyone else.

    The first step to playing fast in a unique way is to find things that are easy for you to play. For this, I suggest using patterns rather than things that you hear on recordings or have found in a book or magazine. FIGURE 1 is a pattern built from four notes—D Cs Bf A—that is played between the B and G strings quickly, using hammer-ons and pull-offs, and can be thought of as something one might play over an A chord.

    Notice that the order of the notes is altered slightly as the lick progresses, which gives it its “unpredictable” sound. Just the fact that this phrase is not constructed from an identifiable repeated pattern makes it appealing to me right away.

    If we use this type of idea as a jumping off point, we can move it up the fretboard and change one of the notes in the pattern. FIGURE 2 is played in fifth position and can be thought of as working over a C chord, Am or even A7. The one twist I add here is to alternately change one of the notes on the B string from F to G. My penchant is to constantly change the order of the notes to create a random feeling and sound.

    In FIGURE 3, I elaborate on the idea of using F to E and Df to C by playing lines based on the C Phrygian-dominant mode (C Db E F G Ab Bb). In FIGURE 4, I take a simple idea based around a B7 arpeggio (B D# F# A) and add a few passing tones to make the phrase more interesting.

    It’s fine to copy other players just to learn about the guitar and to see how things tick. Ultimately, though, what’s most important is to find your own musical identity. Hopefully, these examples will help get you on your way.



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    We've already checked in with 1984, so let's fast forward exactly one decade.

    The year in question — 1994 — was incredibly varied. It was a year of discovery and tragedy, innovation and resurrection.

    It was the year when rock's long-festering underground finally collided full force with the mainstream. Though Nirvana had broken through in a massive way in 1992 with Nevermind, they (along with Pearl Jam) were the only punk-rooted bands to find big-time mainstream success during the first few years of the decade.

    But with Nine Inch Nails'The Downward Spiral, Soundgarden's Superunknown, Stone Temple Pilot's Purple and Smashing Pumpkins'Pisces Iscariot, the hazy, vague anger of grunge exploded into the mainstream. Rock was no longer about having a great time; it was about wallowing in confusion and self-doubt, looking inside yourself and seeing a muddy pit of emotions rather than simple rebellion or hooliganism.

    Hair metal, for so long rock's dominant force, seemed entirely stale and out of date. Bon Jovi moved to adult contemporary, Guns N' Roses were still successful but found themselves battling with intra-band turmoil, while Motley Crue dealt with extensive drug abuse within their ranks. Hair metal had virtually died, and in its place battled numerous, increasingly small metal sub-genres.

    The emergence of black metal showed the genre's more extreme side, while "alternative metal" used elements of progressive rock that formed interesting musical hybrids.

    But all of these disciples of harder rock achieved increasingly great commercial success, mostly on the back of one artist, who lost his life in 1994. Kurt Cobain changed rock forever, a frontman with incredible charisma and a unique vision that would change America's musical taste buds forever.

    Meanwhile, guitar heroes of old were still a force to be reckoned with in 1994. The list below features contributions from Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton. Keith Richards, David Gilmour, Tony Iommi — plus Texans Dimebag Darrell and Jimmie Vaughan, not to mention Yngwie Malmsteen and Richard Thompson.

    Nineteen hundred and ninety-four was a year of transition, but much of the music made during this period continues to stand the test of time.

    Below, check out our guide to 50 (OK, 51) albums that defined 1994. Remember you can click on each album cover to take a closer look!


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    For the very first time, Eastman Guitars will debut two pairs of instruments designed to inspire the eclectic sounds of the Music City.

    During the Summer NAMM Show later this week in Nashville, Eastman Guitars will display the VB95 Eastman Pro Bass and VLF2 Eastman Fiddle Pro Outfit at booth #1016.

    VB95 Eastman Pro Bass // MSRP $4,310
    The VB95 Eastman Pro Bass combines all the beauty and tone needed for a professional bassist with the strength and durability for the touring player or weekend warrior.

    This exceptional upright features a fully carved spruce top with gamba corners, solid laminate back and ribs, solid ebony fingerboard, and a gig ready setup with adjustable bridge and Spirocore strings. The solid brass, German tooled tuning machines and hand-applied amber/chestnut antique varnish, compliment the bold, natural wood tones for artists ranging from country and bluegrass, to jazz and rock.

    The adjustable bridge and Spirocore strings setup sounds great for pizzicato, but also has the responsiveness needed for bowed playing styles. The BB301 strong carbon fiber bow is fitted with traditional nickel mountings, ebony frog, and can easily withstand percussive rock techniques. The VB95 also comes with a CB50 deluxe padded bass bag featuring a Cordura cover and heavy-duty zippers.
    eastmanupright.jpg
    VB95 Eastman Pro Bass

    VLF2 Eastman Fiddle Pro Outfit // MSRP $1,375
    Excellent playability, mellow tone, subtle response, and dynamic projection make the VLF2 Eastman Fiddle Outfit a perfect fit for the professional fiddler or emerging artist. Entirely hand-crafted from select tonewoods, the VLF2 features a solid spruce top with flamed maple back, ribs and scroll.

    The hand-applied antique style amber/chestnut spirit varnish offers a traditional aesthetic at home with country, bluegrass, jazz, rock and beyond, alongside the quality and craftsmanship only hand carved instruments can offer. Thomastik-Infeld Superflexible strings provides the steel string sound popular in fiddle traditions and the Wittner tailpiece offers subtle performance tuning options on stage.

    The BL301 strong carbon fiber bow is fitted with traditional nickel mountings and ebony frog. The slim, oblong CA1402 case features a velour interior with matching blanket, accessory compartment, music pocket, two bow spinners and durable cloth exterior cover to make this outfit gig ready.
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    VLF2 Eastman Fiddle Pro Outfit

    Schertler STAT Pickup // MSRP $549.99
    The Schertler STAT-V (violin) or STAT-B (bass) pickup & STAT-PRE (preamp with volume control), may be added as a pre-installed option to either outfit. The bridge-mounted STAT pickup is designed to accurately reproduce the warm sound of the instrument’s strings and is impressively resistant to feedback.

    For more information please visit online: www.EastmanGuitars.com.


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    Three-time Grammy Award winner Lucinda Williams has announced the September 30 release of her first-ever double studio album, Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone.

    The new album will be released on Williams’ new independent label Highway 20 Records, via Thirty Tigers.

    Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone is one of Williams’ most ambitious and adventurous projects to date. That is saying a lot, considering that her four decade, celebrated career was built on taking chances and never compromising her art.

    Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone features 20 new songs, with 18 written solely by Williams. The album’s opening track, “Compassion”, was originally a poem by her father, the poet Miller Williams, in which she wrote the music and additional lyrics. This is a personal milestone for Williams as it marks the first time she has composed music for one of her father’s poems, and it is from that song that the album title was taken.

    The only true cover is the JJ Cale penned “Magnolia”, which receives a gorgeous and haunting treatment by Williams that fittingly closes the album and leaves the listener breathless.

    Williams challenges herself vocally throughout the album, exploring new dynamics with her instrument and even incorporating improvisational elements to some of her songs. As expected from Williams, there are poignant intimate moments that cut to the core. However, the breadth of the music on Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone is unlike any album Williams has recorded.

    There are extended performances by an incredible list of guests that include guitarists Bill Frisell and Tony Joe White, Faces keyboardist Ian McLagan, Elvis Costello’s famed rhythm section of Pete Thomas (drums) and Davey Faragaher (bass) and Wallflowers guitarist Stuart Mathis. Jakob Dylan adds harmony vocals on the beautiful “It’s Gonna Rain”, while Williams’ longtime rhythm section of Butch Norton (drums) and David Sutton (bass) make significant contributions. Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone was produced by Williams, Tom Overby and Greg Leisz.

    At 61, Lucinda Williams is in the middle of the most prolific point of her career, with no signs of slowing down. After 10 acclaimed studio albums, she is still evolving and pushing forward creatively. She refuses to rest on her laurels. Then again, the best artists never do.

    Find out more at www.lucindawilliams.com


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    A song containing a few as one or two chords can be just as well-crafted as a far more intricate composition. Of course, the world is full of guitarists who play a D-to-G strum pattern ad infinitum, rhyme “fire” with “desire” and declare that they’ve written a song. You goal as a songwriter is to not be that person.

    The Who kept their two-chord masterpiece “My Generation” interesting by changing keys every couple of verses. The same trick rescues Sublime’s “Wrong Way,” another two-chord gem. You might imagine that a one-chord song couldn’t possibly be interesting, yet Bob Marley’s “Get Up, Stand Up” works because of its provocative message and a cool band arrangement, while Harry Nilsson’s “Coconut” became a hit on the strength of his memorable lyrics and vocal performance.

    Clearly, if you’re going to limit yourself to one or two chord when writing a song, you should strive to give your composition a fresh angle, something special that’ll transcend its inherent limitations. As a guitarist, you have a distinct advantage in this regard because there are many things you can do with your instrument to make those one, two or however many chords you choose sound fresh.

    One effective way to put a twist on otherwise plain chords is to combine open-string drones with fretted chord shapes. A simple approach, illustrated in Figure 2, is to play a single open-string bass note while different chords are played over it.
    2_0.jpg

    Or try having open treble strings ring over shifting chords (Figure 3).
    3_1.jpg

    Using open-string drones sometimes involves having to find different ways of fretting common chords; in Figure 4, the open G string rings out against unusually-voiced C, Em, and D chords.
    4_1.jpg

    An even easier way to spice up the sound of a run-of-the-mill chord is to use a capo to produce a brighter or more colorful voicing. Figures 5A and 5B illustrate how this simple little accessory can give a chord progression a different texture.

    Play the conventional E, F#m7 and A chords depicted in Figure 5A. Now apply a capo at the second fret of your guitar and play the D, Em7, and G grips shown in Figure 5B. Since the capo has transposed everything up by one whole step, the actual pitches of these chords are now E, F#m7 and A, respectively. While the chords are the same as in Figure 5A, the overall vibe is different.
    5a and 5b.jpg

    Many guitarists use altered tunings to breathe new life into chords and progressions; Joni Mitchell, Stephen Stills, Nick Drake, and Ani DiFranco are among the world’s most notorious de-tuners.

    There are far too many popular open tunings for us to examine here, so let’s start off with a simple one: Tune your high E string down to D and try playing the chords illustrated in Figure 6. Even changing the tuning of a single string can open up a world of new harmonic possibilities.
    6.jpg

    There are many other ways to spruce up ordinary chords and progressions with your guitar. One is to vary your pick hand technique to create dynamic and rhythmic contrast. Particularly adept at this is Paul Simon, who alternates between fingerpicking and strumming in many songs, including “The Boxer,” “The Sound of Silence,” ‘Duncan” and “American Tune.”

    Perhaps the most important lesson to be gleaned from our discussion is that a songwriter needs not know lots of theory or even chords to be successful. Disparate artists like Chuck Berry, Neil Young, John Fogerty and Simon have created many enduring classics using simple chord progressions, which they jazzed up, so to speak, with some memorable but hardly complicated guitar playing.

    None of them began as a genius. All started out with a guitar, a few chords, and their fingers. You’re all set.


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    We first came across Mike Dawes a few months back and had a blast with him in the Acoustic Nation studio.

    His amazing percussive technique and adventurous guitar explorations are amazing to experience. Who knew he could take it even further?!

    But he's gone one or 80 steps beyond with this fun video of him performing in sync all over the world.

    Dawes shares, "This past year I took a GoPro camera and an iPhone all over the world to capture my 'What Just Happened?' world tour. I wanted to document the tour in a way that captured the diversity of the places and people I had the fortune of meeting and working with, but at the same time sharing the universally present atmosphere of fun, spontaneity and a little bit of quirkiness.

    "I took a click track with me, and after visiting four continents on around 70 flights I synced the footage to my oldest original composition, 'Boogie Shred.' This was my first tour, in support of my first album and the response could not of been warmer." This percussive guitar track has always been a regular feature of Dawes' set. He picks, taps, slaps and generally abuses his guitar in a way that has raised smiles and dropped jaws all over the planet.

    He continues, "There are also several cameos in this clip, guest musicians I had the pleasure of working/goofing around with over all corners of the world. Gotye in Melbourne, Andy Mckee backstage in London, Sungha Jung in Seoul, many lovely people who share the same love of music and travel. Thanks to all who got involved with the project. I hope you enjoy watching this as much as I/we enjoyed making it :)"

    This video also features the wonders of the world such as the Acropolis of Athens and the Great Wall of China, as well as some more unusual locations including the streets of Lebanon, the frozen north of Finland and a scorpion infested desert in Arizona!

    Check it out here and find out more about Mike Dawes at mikedawes.co.uk/


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    These videos and audio files are bonus content related to the September 2014 issue of Guitar World. For the full range of interviews, features, tabs and more, pick up the new issue on newsstands now or at the Guitar World Online Store.

    The thinline double-cutaway may be the most versatile electric-guitar design ever conceived. It works well for many styles of music, from jazz and country to hard rock and punk.

    Two new thinline models from Epiphone—the Casino Coupe and Riviera Custom P-93—prove there is still room for innovation without sacrificing the basic look and sound of classic examples.

    These new Epiphone models are so outrageously affordable and appealing that they deserve a closer look from anyone who wants to add a thinline guitar to his or her arsenal.


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    These videos and audio files are bonus content related to the September 2014 issue of Guitar World. For the full range of interviews, features, tabs and more, pick up the new issue on newsstands now or at the Guitar World Online Store.

    Many so-called dual pedals are really just compromised combinations of full-featured pedals.

    The Visual Sound V3 Series H2O Liquid Chorus & Echo is different. It provides the full functionality of two separate pedals in a single box, and it is one of the few dual pedals that delivers more than the sum of its parts.

    The H2O has entirely independent hybrid analog/digital echo and analog chorus circuits, each of which sounds fantastic on its own. But the pedal’s true magic is how it organically blends both effects in a way that two separate stomp boxes rarely replicate.


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    These videos and audio files are bonus content related to the September 2014 issue of Guitar World. For the full range of interviews, features, tabs and more, pick up the new issue on newsstands now or at the Guitar World Online Store.

    Practice makes perfect, as the saying goes, but having a practice amp that always inspires you to play can be a make-or-break proposition for any guitarist’s path to success.

    Blackstar’s new ID:Core combos are based on the company’s awesome ID:Series stage amps and provide incredible sonic power in a compact practice amp format.

    The ID:Core Stereo 10 is the smallest ID:Core combo, but what it lacks in size it more than makes up for in sound and versatility.


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    These videos and audio files are bonus content related to the September 2014 issue of Guitar World. For the full range of interviews, features, tabs and more, pick up the new issue on newsstands now or at the Guitar World Online Store.

    One of the most commonly addressed topics with my students is how one goes about connecting scale positions while playing an improvised solo. Many guitarists learn licks that are played on certain strings in specific areas of the fretboard.

    As great as these licks may be, connecting them into a unified solo statement remains, for many players, a mystery, or at least a challenge. In this lesson, I’ll demonstrate how to use chromatic passing tones to connect scale positions up and down the fretboard and how to introduce some unusual and unexpected melodic twists and turns.

    Last month, our focus was on how to build rhythm patterns over a static, unchanging harmonic environment, such as Am or Am7. Using the A Dorian mode (A B C D E F# G) as our basis, we formed chord voicings built from stacked fourths and moved up and down the fretboard, all the while remaining diatonic to (within the scale structure of) A Dorian.


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    These videos and audio files are bonus content related to the September 2014 issue of Guitar World. For the full range of interviews, features, tabs and more, pick up the new issue on newsstands now or at the Guitar World Online Store.

    An essential element of guitar soloing, one that to me separates the grownups from the kids, is the player’s ability to interpret single-note melodies in a musical way, with emotion and expression.

    There are countless ways in which one could play a note or series of notes on the guitar, and if you do not focus on being in control of how each note sounds, you’re wasting an opportunity for expression, via articulation, which is the one of the most important tools that is available to you as a soloist.

    The little details in the manner by which you choose to play each note in a melody is what will give you the opportunity to sound different than any other guitar player and develop a unique sound and musical “voice.”

    Using articulation as an expressive element is the one thing I concentrate on the most when playing live or recording, simply because there are so many options. The way in which you ultimately interpret a melody is the way you reveal your musical personality, which, to me, is the whole point in making music in the first place!

    Additional Content

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    These videos and audio files are bonus content related to the September 2014 issue of Guitar World. For the full range of interviews, features, tabs and more, pick up the new issue on newsstands now or at the Guitar World Online Store.

    Last month I introduced the dark-sounding minor-seven flat-five (m7b5) chord and demonstrated a few ways guitarists can incorporate it into the writing of thrash-metal rhythm-guitar riffs and ideas.

    This month, I’d like to continue with more examples of how to use this unusual sound in a variety of cool, effective ways within thrash metal.

    To review, let’s start with a normal minor-seven chord, such as the Cm7 shown in FIGURE 1. Play each note individually, starting with the root, C, then the fifth, G, the minor, of “flat,” seventh, (b7), Bb, and then the minor, or “flat,” third (b3), Eb. Then strum the entire chord, making sure all the notes ring clearly. Let’s now lower, or “flat,” the fifth, G, (D string, fifth fret), down one half step, to F# (fourth fret). The result is Cm7b5, as shown in FIGURE 2.

    Again, pick out the notes individually, then strum them together. The intervallic structure of this chord voicing is, low to high: root (C), b5 (Gb), f7 (Bb), f3 (Eb). The sound of the b5 creates a really cool kind of tension that is fun to explore within metal music.


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    These videos and audio files are bonus content related to the September 2014 issue of Guitar World. For the full range of interviews, features, tabs and more, pick up the new issue on newsstands now or at the Guitar World Online Store.

    Within the genre of heavy metal, the art of rhythm guitar can sometimes seem a bit predictable—either root-fifth (or root-fifth-root) chords shifted up and down the fretboard on the same strings, or open low-string pedal tones played against two-note power chords, and little else.

    In this column, I’d like to demonstrate a few different ways that metal guitarists can open up their approach to rhythm guitar by utilizing some less-common chord voicings and those that include open strings.


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