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    Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci chooses (and discusses) the record that changed his life.

    2112 (1976)

    “If I had to pick a favorite band of all time, it would be Rush.

    "As a teenager, I was already familiar with the group and its albums like Moving Pictures and Signals. But once I discovered 2112, it opened me up to this whole concept that rock music could be bigger than just a tune—that it could be used as a vehicle to tell a story or to transport you to some other world.

    "The idea of a big piece like that being broken down into numbered sections like they were chapters in a book was just unbelievable to me, and it’s a technique that I continue to use to this day.

    “I have so much respect for [Rush drummer] Neil Peart, especially as a lyricist. And 2112 was the first time I heard something where, lyrically, it didn’t have to just be about the typical rock and roll topics, that it could be about something more heady or esoteric, something that makes you think. That really influenced me as a lyricist.

    “I was also blown away by how a three-piece band could sound so majestic and huge and play in a style that’s inherently rock and roll yet still pushes the boundaries of what they’re doing musically—this idea of being experimental, using different time signatures and not really being concerned about song length and traditional constraints. I can’t tell you how huge of an impact that had on me. 2112 basically set the course for my musical career and how I approached Dream Theater.”

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    In this new feature from the August 2014 issue of Guitar World, the guitarists of Avenged Sevenfold, Morbid Angel, Trivium and other metal acts tell how they'll beat the heat and tame the crowds on the season's biggest tours.

    TODAY: Miss May I Guitarist Justin Audemkampfe — MAYHEM FEST

    Your sweatiest concert ever?

    It was in Louisville, Kentucky, at this place called Uncle Pleasant’s, back in 2010. The show was amazing and there were a lot of people inside this small place, so the combination of the heat outside, the heat coming off people inside, the lights, and the fact that the ceilings were eight feet high just trapped the heat. I specifically remember, about mid set, I was so hot that I thought I might pass out. I ran out of water about halfway through playing, so I just had to tough it out. After we played the last note, I darted for the back door. I was beyond dizzy at that point and getting outside was such a godsend.

    Tips for playing in extreme heat?

    Sometimes when it’s really humid outside and there’s a lot of condensation, wrapping your in-ear monitor pack and guitar wireless pack in plastic can help protect them from moisture. If those things go out, I can’t hear what I’m playing or my guitar signal will go out.

    One item you’ll carry with you at all times this summer?

    Sunglasses. I get headaches if I squint for too long. The combination of a headache and being dehydrated is the worst feeling, so sunglasses and a water bottle are a must in the summer heat.

    Considerations when playing an outdoor show versus an indoor show?

    One of the biggest problems I ran into playing on Warped in 2011 and 2012 was the dust getting into my gear. I really like my guitar rig and guitars to be clean. Almost every day there was some sort of dirt on both of them, and it’s something you cannot help. The wind carries it, and it can be a real pain in the ass for you or your tech.

    Primary gear you’ll be playing this summer?

    I recently started playing EVH 5150 III heads, which I’m falling in love with more and more with every tour that passes. I’ll be running a pretty standard pedal setup at the front of the stage as well: a Boss TU-3 tuner into a Maxon OD808 Overdrive pedal to an ISP Decimator noise-reduction pedal and after that to a Boss DD-7 Digital Delay. All of these are in my guitar chain and run straight into my head. We’ll be using Orange cabs too. We’ve been using them for a couple of years, and they’re really the only things in my rig that have stayed the same. As far as guitars, I’ll be using the Charvel San Dimas Style guitars for all of the festivals this summer.

    Tips for winning over a tough crowd?

    Sometimes it’s as simple as one song or one thing your singer says between songs that gets a crowd going. When I went to shows as a kid, it always made me more comfortable when I saw the guitarist moving around onstage. It let me know that I could just let loose and have a good time. So now, at every show, I give my all for the fans that have paid to see our band play, but even when playing in front of the worst crowds, I try to move around as much as possible. Playing in front of a bad crowd actually fuels me.

    Highlight of your band’s set list?

    My favorite songs to play are “Hey Mister,” “Refuse to Believe,” “Our Kings,” “Relentless Chaos” and “Echoes.”

    Advice for a band just starting to play live?

    Just go up there and have as much fun as possible. I was so nervous at Miss May I’s first show seven years ago, which was also my first show. I kept thinking, Do I remember my parts? What am I going to look like in front of people? Am I going to mess up? I ended up having one of the best experiences of my life. When I walked offstage, I said to myself, I could do this for the rest of my life.

    Check out the video for "Hey Mister" here:

    Photo: Julien Esteban Pretel

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    In this new feature from the August 2014 issue of Guitar World, the guitarists of Avenged Sevenfold, Morbid Angel, Trivium and other metal acts tell how they'll beat the heat and tame the crowds on the season's biggest tours.

    TODAY: Crown the Empire Guitarist Bennett Vogelman — WARPED TOUR

    Your sweatiest concert ever?

    The sweatiest concert we ever played was at the Speak Easy Lounge in Lake Worth, Florida, on our first headlining tour. It was so hot, you could literally see everyone’s perspiration in the air. We walked into the venue before our set and within maybe 30 seconds, we were completely drenched in sweat. By the end of the set, all of us could barely breathe.

    Tips for playing in extreme heat?

    The obvious one is to make sure that you have water onstage for each person. Wear short sleeves, and depending on how hot it is, you might want to tone down how intense you play onstage—which is something we never do.

    One item you’ll carry with you at all times this summer?

    My phone and a water bottle. That’s about it.

    Considerations when playing an outdoor show versus an indoor show?

    Basically, the deal with outdoor shows is there are no lights in the afternoon, so you have to make up for it with how you interact with the crowd. You also have to account for any weather that you might encounter, like rain, lightning, thunder, wind and dust storms. Plus, with some outdoor shows, you’re really far away from the crowd because of the barricade, which makes it a little hard to get up close and personal with the fans.

    Primary gear you’ll be playing this summer?

    Right now we’re actually looking into switching over to running things all digital. We'll have a computer that runs a standalone guitar plug-in—probably Line 6’s POD Farm—that emulates a guitar tone very similar to the one used on the actual song.

    Tips for winning over a tough crowd?

    That’s tricky. We’ve had our fair share of tough crowds over the last few years, and it’s really a different animal every time. What we normally do is make sure we’re confident. We’re at that show playing it for a reason, and understanding that helps keep our morale high, even when the crowd sounds like crickets chirping. We talk to the crowd and tell them we need to see more action and then make sure we give it our all so the crowd sees we’re not just fucking around up there.

    Highlight of your band’s set list?

    For me, it’s either playing “Makeshift Chemistry,” which has a lot of energy to it, or doing our “wall of death" during “Children of Love.”

    Advice for a band just starting to play live?

    The most important thing for me is making sure you’re playing your parts as solidly as you can. We do a lot of choreography live, and we’ve had to learn how to play and move around aggressively at the same time. Play the songs correctly first, go crazy second.

    Check out the video for "Makeshift Chemistry" here:

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    Orianthi chooses (and discusses) the record that changed her life.

    Sacred Fire: Live In South America (1993)

    “There’s just so much wonderful soloing throughout that entire concert—really inspired soloing—and that inspired me to want to play electric guitar. I had been playing since I was six, but I was studying classical guitar and just strumming at that point.

    "When I was around 11, my dad took me to see Santana live, and then I got Sacred Fire, and everything changed for me. My dad is actually an amazing guitarist, and he always had an incredible record collection, which is how I discovered things like Jimi Hendrix and Santana. I’ll always be grateful for that.

    “Everything about that album and the concert, which I had on video tape, changed my life. The band was amazing; the energy of the crowd was incredible. It’s just a really special performance. I actually wore out the video from pausing it so many times because I was trying to learn all of his solos.”

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    Sometimes you just need to make a change!

    With that in mind, we asked our very own Paul Riario to create a video showing you how to change the speaker in your guitar amp.

    In the video below, which is presented by Celestion and Guitar World, Riario installs a Celestion G12 V-Type 70-Watt speaker into a Blackstar combo.

    You'll also notice Yngwie Malmsteen makes a brief appearance (which is starting to be normal around here)! Regardless, check out the clip and let us know what you think in the comments below or on Facebook.

    For more information about Celestion speakers, check out

    And if you like this sort of thing, be sure to check out Riario's first feature film, How to Build a Pedal Board," which features a brief appearance by Mick Mars. Enjoy!

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    Back in the late Eighties, Bon Jovi’s Richie Sambora was considered to be one of the true guitar heroes of the day. While less flashy than, say, Jake E. Lee or George Lynch, Sambo was generally acknowledged to be one of rock’s most tasteful and melodic players.

    However, as time went on and Bon Jovi became more of a pop band, Sambo’s role changed. He became less of a spotlighted soloist and more of a talented colorist, adding just the right notes and textures to the band’s radio-ready songs. While his skill was still undeniable, there was clearly less opportunity for him to solo and strut his stuff.

    A series of impressive solo albums, including the underrated 2012 Aftermath of the Lowdown, attempted to remedy the situation. But last night’s (July 22) warmup performance at New York City's Iridium—which was filmed for a PBS Front and Center special that will air this fall—was guitarist’s real bid to show he still has the chops to be considered one of the greats.

    The show started on a dramatic note, with Sambora crooning Leon Russell’s intimate “Song For You,” but soon heated up with a huge riff rocker titled “Burn the Candle Down.” With his hat cocked over one eye and wearing a shirt proclaiming that he was just a “Working Class Hero,” the New Jersey rocker traded lightning-fast licks with talented co-guitarist Orianthi for an ending that brought the audience to its feet.

    While the show was meant to be mark the late Les Paul’s birthday, who was something of a mentor to Sambora, the 90-minute concert was equally a tribute his other classic rock influences: Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and Johnny Winter, to name a few. Playing several beautiful Les Pauls, including a white one Paul personally present to the guitarist, through a custom-made Freidman combo amp, Richie summoned the gigantic tones of the Seventies as he performed songs primarily from his solo albums, with a few Bon Jovi classics sprinkled in for good measure.

    Highlights included an arena-sized version of “Stranger in This Town” and a thundering “Seven Years Gone,” featuring exciting fretwork from Sambora and Orianthi. While Ori gave Richie most of spotlight, she wasn’t shy when it was her turn to solo. Her incredible technique and more trebly, biting tone lit a fire under the ass of the frontman, who clearly enjoyed being challenged.

    It is rumored that the two guitarists are working on an album together. If it comes to pass, it should be a corker. At one point in the show, Smabora said, “Les Paul is the reason we all have jobs.” I’m sure somewhere Les is smiling and saying in that gruff voice of his, “Hey, Sambora—job well done.”

    Brad Tolinski is the editor-in-chief at Guitar World.

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    This is a scalar run based on the F Lydian mode [F G A B C D E], which is the fifth mode of C major. It incorporates several different lead-playing techniques and sounds cool when played over an F or F5 chord.

    I start off with an ascending F major triad [F A C] sweep across the top four strings, played in a rhythm of 16th-note triplets.

    Once I hit the high E string, I switch to legato phrasing, continuing the triplet rhythm and using all four fret-hand fingers, spread out wide, to perform "stacked" hammer-ons and pull-offs, capped off by a pick-hand tap with the middle finger.

    Once I come back down to the F note at the 13th fret, I skip over to the G string, where I play another legato sequence, this time incorporating a descending finger slide followed by two hammer-ons and three consecutive taps with the pick hand, using the first, second and fourth fingers.

    When performing this tapping sequence, I temporarily clamp the pick between my thumb and the top side of the fretboard. I then jump back up to the high E string and perform another ascending legato sequence, incorporating taps with the first and third fingers.

    After the last tapped note, I switch to straight alternate picking and play a descending sequence of cascading 16th notes and 16th-note triplets across the top four strings, followed by an ascending climb that finishes with a high bend. When practicing this lick, be mindful of the different rhythmic subdivisions used.”

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    Here's an ode to a piece of gadgetry rarely heralded on, something that has brought a whole new world of sounds to guitarists' fingertips: the guitar synthesizer, aka the guitar synth.

    A guitar synth is a synth module whose input device is a guitar instead of a keyboard. To quote Norm Leet from Roland's UK website, "The most important part of a guitar synth system is the divided — or hexaphonic — pickup, which allows each string to be treated individually and for the attached synth to be able to detect finger vibrato and string bending."

    At first these systems were farily sizable, taking up so much space that they had to be housed in specially designed guitars that were part of the entire synth system. Today's synth systems, however, are tiny things that can fit into pretty much any guitar.

    Modern systems send the pitch information as MIDI to allow you to control external modules or keyboards. This also means that pitch information can be recorded by a MIDI sequencer.

    Countless artists have dipped their toes into the world of guitar synths -- everyone from Eric Clapton to Steve Hackett to Eric Johnson and Jeff Loomis — and some players made it a massive part of their sound, including Pat Metheny, Robert Fripp and Adrian Belew. Carlos Alomar even recorded an entire album for synth guitar — 1990's Dream Generator.

    Here are 10 classic songs that feature guitar synths. They demonstrate at least some of the many dreamy, bizarre sounds (or "soundscapes," as some people like to say in this context), these devices can create.

    10. "Stranger In a Strange Land," Iron Maiden, Somewhere in Time, 1986

    After completing a masterful trilogy of albums with 1984's Powerslave, Iron Maiden took a turn for the progressive, unleashing a barrage of synth guitars on their listeners with with sixth studio album, Somewhere in Time.

    Easing their fans into the idea, the album's first single, "Wasted Years," was the only track on the album to feature no synthesizers at all. Its follow-up, "Stranger in a Strange Land"— the tale of an Arctic explorer frozen and lost in time — featured Adrian Smith and Dave Murray's guitars processed through synth effects, giving their dual guitar attack a distinctive larger-than-life chorus sound.

    09. "Never Make You Cry," Eric Clapton, Behind the Sun, 1985

    By the mid-'80s, the guitar synth was officially a bandwagon, and even ol' Slowhand himself, Eric Clapton, hopped on — if only briefly.

    Clapton used a Roland guitar synth to record "Never Make You Cry" from his successful 1985 album, Behind the Sun, which was co-produced by Phil Collins of Genesis (a major guitar synth band, especially during the Duke tour).

    It's only fitting that Clapton experimented with cutting-edge technology on Behind the Sun, the album that kicked off a period of slick commercial releases by the venerable guitarist, including 1986's August and 1989's Journeyman.

    Before its release, he had been coasting along on a series of rootsy, laidback, Band- and J.J. Cale-inspired albums, from 1974's 461 Ocean Boulevard to 1983's Money and Cigarettes.

    08. "Are You Going With Me?," Pat Metheny, Offramp, 1982

    Over the decades, guitarist Pat Matheny has become closely associated with Roland guitar synths — especially the GR-300. But it all started with his 1982 album, Offramp, which featured his first documented use of the Roland GR-300.

    The album features the samba-based "Are You Going With Me?," which has since become a trademark Metheny song. Its lengthy, trancelike guitar solo is played on the Roland. Check it out below.

    Metheny still uses his GR-300, which has since been discontinued by the company.

    07. "Who's to Blame," Jimmy Page, Death Wish II, 1982

    In 1981, former Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page was asked to compose and record the Death Wish II soundtrack by his neighbor, director Michael Winner. 

    It was just what Page needed — an opportunity to start creating music again, now that John Bonham (and with him, Led Zeppelin) was gone.

    Page mirrored the film's moodiness and edginess with a slew of new devices, including the Roland GR-505 guitar synth and TR-808 Rhythm Composer. The guitar synth can be heard on the entire soundtrack album, which was re-released on late last year in a "heavyweight vinyl package." Only 1,000 copies were made.

    Page continued experimenting with guitar synths and even appeared in several Roland print advertisements in the early to mid-'80s.

    06. "Venus Isle," Eric Johnson, Venus Isle, 1996

    Texas guitar great Eric Johnson started dabbling with guitar synths in the late '80s, but he didn't seriously record with them until his 1996 album, Venus Isle, an album full of what he calls "extra textures." 

    Johnson uses a Roland guitar synth to create those textures on several tracks, including "Mountain,""Battle We Have Won,""When the Sun Meets the Sky" and the title track, which you can check out below.

    05. "Discipline," King Crimson, Discipline, 1981

    If you were putting together a dream team of guitar synthists, you'd probably want King Crimson's Robert Fripp and Adrian Belew batting third and fourth in your lineup.

    The guitarists were among the most proficient guitar synth users of their generation, and Fripp continues to push the boundaries of synthetic sound with his mesmerizing Soundscapes shows.

    On King Crimson's Discipline album, Fripp and Belew made great and bountiful use of the Roland GR-300. On later albums, they moved into GR-700 territory.

    04. "Racing in A," Steve Hackett, Please Don't Touch, 1978

    The upbeat and catchy "Racing in A" is from Steve Hackett's Please Don't Touch album from 1978.

    It was the first solo album he recorded after leaving Genesis and his first album to feature his pioneering work with the Roland GR-500 guitar synth.

    "Racing in A" is a five-minute-long progressive-rock masterpiece that glides along for more than a minute with its almost-Yes-like rhythm before the vocals kick in (But Hackett keeps the spotlight squarely on the GR-500).

    As is the case with several other selections on this list, be sure to check out the entire Please Don't Touch album for more examples of Hackett's guitar synth work.

    By the way, that's Hackett's photo at the top of this page (and all the pages in this story).

    NOTE: We've included a cool live performance of "Racing in A," plus (for the purists), the studio version.

    03. "Turbo Lover," Judas Priest, Turbo, 1986

    "Turbos were all the rage, the in-thing," said Judas Priest bassist Ian Hill of the mid-1980s. "I'd even bought a vacuum cleaner because it had the word 'turbo' on it!"

    Perhaps this obsession with the super-charged is what lead the boys in Priest to experiment with guitar synthesizers on their 1986 classic "Turbo Lover."

    Taken from the album Turbo— easily among the most divisive albums for diehard fans — the song featured a whole new sonic palette for the band, with guitarists K.K. Downing and Glenn Tipton employing guitar synths and anything else they could get their hands on to give the song its distinctive futuristic, sci-fi feel.

    02. "Don't Stand So Close to Me," The Police, Zenyattà Mondatta, 1980

    "Don't Stand So Close to Me," which appeared on The Police's 1980 Zenyattà Mondatta album, features Andy Summers jamming away on an early Roland synth (He had a few models during the band's heyday, including a GR-707).

    "After Sting had put the vocals on 'Don't Stand So Close To Me,' we looked for something to lift the middle of the song," Summers said in 1981. "I came up with a guitar synthesizer. It was the first time we'd used it. I felt it worked really well."

    "I was sort of known for [guitar synth] then, and I was in a pretty high-profile band," Summer said in a more recent interview for Roland. "I was trying to fill out two hours with a trio, trying to keep it interesting all the way. The Roland synths blended in quite well."

    01. "Ashes to Ashes," David Bowie, Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps), 1980

    It's Hammer time. Guitarist Chuck Hammer is an accomplished player and Emmy-nominated digital film composer who has recorded with Lou Reed, David Bowie and Guitarchitecture, to name just a few.

    But Hammer might be best known for his textural guitar synth work on "Ashes to Ashes" from Bowie's Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) album. Hammer used a Roland GR-500 with an Eventide Harmonizer to get the synthetic string sound that can be heard in the video below. He actually used four multi-tracked guitar synths, each one playing opposing chord inversions. Be sure to check out the rest of album, which features a healthy dose of Hammer.

    Rolling Stone put Hammer in the category of "musical pioneers" along with guys like Robert Fripp and Allan Holdsworth.

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    Here's a cool, suspenseful-sounding climbing run that’s based on the A minor pentatonic scale [A C D E G] and the A Dorian mode [A B C D E F s G].

    The concept is to ascend the neck on just two strings—in this case the G and D—using a uniform alternate picking pattern applied to shifting positions.

    What I’m essentially doing here is stringing together groups of 16th notes played in four-note shapes, or modules, and playing mostly two notes per string, with a couple of exceptions here and there wherein I stay on the G string and repeat the first two notes instead of crossing over to the D string.

    Notice how the contour of the line climbs and falls—kind of like a statistics graph chart—as I ascend a couple of positions, take a step back and then continue ascending. I find this kind of ‘up two, back one’ or ‘up three, back one’ contour more interesting and dramatic than just a straight ascent. It also enables you to prolong a lick by not running out of fretboard as quickly.

    One valuable thing about this approach, which I’ve worked on a lot, is that it helps you to learn scales up and down the neck, or horizontally, as opposed to just learning them vertically in separate positions. This way of playing and thinking can help you connect ‘blind spots’ and also enables you to maintain a consistent timbre by staying on the same strings throughout a run.

    As is almost always the case when you’re playing any kind of fast lick like this, it’s important to try to use both hands to mute the strings you’re not playing on to suppress any sympathetic vibrations, which create noise that distortion unfortunately amplifies. The bass strings are best muted by lightly resting the palm of the picking hand on the bridge saddles as you pick the higher strings, while the treble strings may be muted with the fleshy side of the fret-hand fingers.

    Equally important is that you resolve a lick smoothly. Notice here how I conclude the run with a bend and a hearty finger vibrato, which serves as the icing on the cake.


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    Yes have released a trailer that discusses their new album, Heaven & Earth, which was released July 22 on Frontiers Records.

    In the video, which you can watch below, Yes discuss the inspiration and recording process behind Heaven & Earth. You also can hear snippets of some of the album's tracks in the background.

    Heaven & Earth is the band's 21st studio album and their first since 2011's Fly From Here.

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    Today, Alter Bridge teamed up with to premiere the official music video for "Cry of Achilles," a song off their latest album, Fortress.

    The animated clip was directed by SiLee films via Genero. Check it out below and let us know what you think in the comments or on Facebook!

    Alter Bridge will be touring the U.S. in October. Tour dates are listed here.

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    Teaser Content: 

    <em>Guitar World</em> and Razor & Tie have teamed up to give away a Chiodos Devil Prize Pack. The prize pack includes an autographed Gibson SG Guitar, a Chiodos <em>Devil</em> vinyl album, T-shirt and hoodie. Catch the band on the road this summer with Bless The Fall. You can find all the tour dates <a href="">here</a>.

    Guitar World and Razor & Tie have teamed up to give away a Chiodos Devil Prize Pack!

    The prize pack includes an autographed Gibson SG guitar, a Chiodos Devil vinyl album, T-shirt and hoodie.

    Catch the band on the road this summer with Bless The Fall. You can find all the tour dates HERE.

    Download Devil from iTunes HERE and check out other Razor & Tie releases at

    Be sure to fill out the entry form below by August 23!

    All entries must be submitted by August 23, 2014.<p><a href="/official_contest_rules">Official Rules and Regulations</a>
    Please send me the free Guitar World newsletter, with information about our family of magazines and websites, and musical instrument manufacturers.
    Please send me more information from our partners.

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    J.D. Simo used to hold the highly coveted guitar spot in the Don Kelley Band in Nashville (top video), which has since been filled by the fleet-fingered Daniel Donato.

    Now Simo has branched out on his own (bottom video).

    Simo blends the best elements of blazing, tasteful, authoritative country guitar with several thousand spoonfuls of the best of Cream-era Eric Clapton — and a touch of Peter Green.

    Don't mind the headline; we're merely asking the question. Let us know what you think in the comments or on Facebook!

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    Hopefully by now you’ve watched our exclusive interview with acoustic guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela.

    In the 3-part series, Guitar World’s Jimmy Brown chats with Rod y Gab about songwriting, gear, and their latest release, 9 Dead Alive.

    Watch the interview here.

    Perhaps their most explosive and thrilling release to date, the record captures Rodrigo y Gabriela bursting with melodic and rhythmic invention.

    Opening track “The Soundmaker” is evidence of this raw energy.

    Below, be treated to an exclusive performance of the song, right from our studio!

    Check out 9 Dead Alive tour dates and much more at

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    Right now, you can get Line 6's AMPLIFi: The Guitar Amp, Reinvented for free when you download Guitar World at the Apple Newsstand.

    From AMPLIFi: The Guitar Amp, Reinvented:

    "We told you that we reinvented the experience you’ll have with your guitar amp, would you believe us? Well that’s what we set out to do, and we think it’s going to rock your world.

    "AMPLIFi is an entirely new breed of amp, with features you need to see and hear to believe. First of all, it delivers your tone with absolutely stellar sound quality. That’s because it has five speakers that combine to give you full-range tone. That means you’ll hear the highest of highs, the lowest of lows, and all that tone-soaked sweetness in between. It’s an incredibly pure way to hear your tone.

    "There’s also a free iOS app that lets you tweak tones from your iPhone or iPad. This ain’t no ordinary app though. It syncs to your music library, so when you play a song, the app automatically pulls up a guitar tone that matches the tone on the track—instantly."

    The special section also features Guitar World's review of AMPLIFi, a complete list of specs and more.

    Remember that a one-year subscription to Guitar World is only $14.99 at the Newsstand!

    Guitar World is available for download right here.

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    Today we are stoked to share a new song from Walter Salas-Humara.

    It’s “Satellite,” a laid back, clap along track with a cool groove, that has us searching for communication from above!

    Salas-Humara, a visual artist and singer/songwriter, is co-founder of the seminal Americana band The Silos. He’ll release this third solo album (and first in 18 years), Curve and Shake, on August 12 via The Orchard.

    Salas-Humara shares some thoughts about the song: “I wrote the song ‘Satellite’ at The Steel Bridge Songfest with the talented newcomers Lena MacDonald and Caleb Navarro, and the inimitable Charles Boheme. You're walking alone at night, talking to yourself, staring at the stars. Who's up there and why are we down here? Communication is the lifeblood of every relationship. Send a signal down please!"

    The track features Ontario, California trio Groove Session as backing band and background singers Sarven Manguiat (Groove Session), Aaron English (Aaron English Band), and Amy Daggett.

    Check it out here:

    Curve and Shake is not a new chapter in the never-ending story of the Silos, but a multi-faceted solo album. The ten songs of Curve and Shake didn’t seem particularly suited for a Silos album, but rather asked for a special treatment.

    This seemed to offer Salas-Humara greater freedom for individual arrangements, diverse musical moods, greater stylistic range and collaborations with friends/colleagues including Jerry Joseph & The Jackmormons, and Jason Victor (of Steve Wynn & The Miracle 3) to name a few.

    Humara was conceived in Havana, born in New York City and raised in Southern Florida. His rock band, The Silos, was voted Best New American Band in the Rolling Stone Critics’ Poll of 1987.

    Over the last 25 years, The Silos have recorded 12 albums, appeared on Late Night with David Letterman and put in thousands of days on the road. Salas-Humara has also recorded two previous solo albums -- 1988’s Lagartija and 1995’s Radar.

    Find out more about Walter Salas-Humara at

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    Although often regarded as a “shredder’s” technique, the notion of sweeping (or raking) the pick across the strings to produce a quick succession of notes has been around since the invention of the pick itself.

    Jazz players from the Fifties, such as Les Paul, Barney Kessel and Tal Farlow, would use the approach in their improvisations, and country guitar genius Chet Atkins was known to eschew his signature fingerstyle hybrid-picking technique from time to time and rip out sweep-picked arpeggios, proving that the technique is not genre specific. Within rock, Ritchie Blackmore used sweep picking to play arpeggios in Deep Purple’s “April” and Rainbow’s “Kill the King.”

    Fusion maestro Frank Gambale is widely considered to be the most versatile and innovative sweep picker and the first artist to fully integrate the technique into his style, applying sweeping to arpeggios, pentatonics, heptatonic (seven-note) scales and modes, and beyond.

    Gambale explains his approach wonderfully in his instructional video, Monster Licks and Speed Picking. Originally released in 1988, it remains a must-watch video for anyone interested in developing a smooth sweep-picking technique.

    It was Stockholm, Sweden, however that would produce the name most synonymous with sweeping in a rock context, one that gave rise to a guitar movement known as neoclassical heavy metal.

    Swedish guitar virtuoso Yngwie Malmsteen was influenced by Jimi Hendrix, Ritchie Blackmore and Uli Jon Roth but was also equally enthralled by 19th-century virtuoso violinist Niccolò Paganini. Attempting to emulate on his Fender Stratocaster the fluid, breathtaking passages Paganini would compose and play on violin, Malmsteen concluded that sweep picking was the perfect way to travel quickly from string to string with a smooth, fluid sound much like what a violinist can create with his bow.

    Malmsteen’s style has since influenced two generations of guitarists, including Tony MacAlpine, Jason Becker, Steve Vai, Mattias “IA” Eklundh, Ritchie Kotzen, Marty Friedman, John Petrucci, Vinnie Moore, Jeff Loomis, Synyster Gates, Alexi Laiho and Tosin Abasi, to name but a few.

    The first five exercises in this lesson are designed to give you a systematic approach to practicing the component movements of sweep picking: from two-string sweeps to six-string sweeps, and everything in between. Practicing each exercise with a metronome for just two minutes every day will improve your coordination and your confidence to use the technique in your own playing.

    Work from two strings up to six, keeping your metronome at the same tempo. This means starting with eighth notes, and while this will feel very slow, the technique will become trickier with each successive note grouping: eighth-note triplets, 16th notes, quintuplets and, most difficult of all, 16th-note triplets and their equivalent sextuplets. Focus on synchronizing your hands so that your pick and fretting fingers make contact with the string at exactly the same moment. Only one string should be fretted at any time (this is key!), and any idle strings should be diligently muted with your remaining fingers.

    If you fail to do this and allow notes on adjacent strings to ring together, it will negate the desired effect and sound like you are simply strumming a chord. When it comes to sweep picking, muting is the key to cleanliness. It is also the aspect that will take the most practice to master.

    The second set of five exercises handles some common sweep-picking approaches. These are shown in one position and based on one chord type each, thus focusing your attention on the exercise until you have become accustomed to the technique.

    The final piece helps you tackle the various aspects of sweeping while bolstering your stamina, as the bulk of it consists of nonstop 16th notes, with only a few pauses for “breathing.” Break it down into four-bar sections and practice each with a metronome, gradually building up to the 100-beats-per-minute (100bpm) target tempo.

    Get the Tone

    In rock, this technique is best suited to Strat-style guitars, using the neck pickup setting for a warm, round tone. Use a modern tube amp with the gain set to a moderate amount—just enough to give all the notes a uniform volume and sustain, but not so much that string muting becomes an impossible battle.

    The thickness and sharpness of your pick will hugely impact the tone of your sweep picking. Something with a thickness between one and two millimeters and a rounded tip will provide the right amount of attack and still glide over the strings with ease.

    [FIGURE 1] This Cmaj7 arpeggio on the two middle strings works just as well on the top two or bottom two. Lightly drag your pick across (push down, pull up) the two strings so that there’s very little resistance. This teaches your picking hand to make smooth motions rather than two separate downward or upward strokes.

    FIGURE 2 is a C7 arpeggio played across three strings. Strive to maintain the same smooth down/up motion with your pick used in the previous example. Focus on the pick strokes that land on downbeats, and allow the in-between, or “offbeat,” notes to naturally fall into place. Every three notes your pick will change direction.

    Now let’s move on to four strings with this exotic C7 altered-dominant lick, reminiscent of one of Gambale’s fusion forays. Remember, sweep picking is most effective when each note is cleanly separated from the last, so aim to have only one finger in contact with the fretboard at a time in order to keep the notes from ringing together.

    Now we move on to some five-string shapes, the likes of which you can hear in the playing of Steve Vai and Mattias Eklundh. The phrasing here is 16th-note quintuplets (five notes per beat). Once again, if you focus on nailing the highest and lowest notes along with the beat, the in-between notes should automatically fall into place. Move your pick at a constant speed to ensure the notes are evenly spaced. Say “Hip-po-pot-a-mus” to get the sound of properly performed quintuplets in your mind’s ear.

    This six-string arpeggio is an A major triad (A Cs E), with the third in the bass and a fifth interval added to the high E string’s 12th fret, so we have the right number of notes for 16th-note triplets (six notes per click). When ascending, use a single motion to pick all six strings, making sure only one note is fretted at a time. The descending section includes a pull-off on the high E string, which, although momentarily disruptive to your picking, is preferable to adding another downstroke.

    This major triad shape is an essential part of the Yngwie Malmsteen school of sweeping. Pay special attention to the picking directions in both the ascending and descending fragments. The alternating eighth-note triplet and quarter-note phrasing allows you to focus on the picking pattern in small bursts and then rest for a beat.

    This example includes ascending and descending fragments again, this time played together. Concentrate on the general down-up motion of your picking hand rather than each pick stroke. Once you are comfortable with this shape you can apply the same approach to minor, suspended and diminished-seven arpeggios.

    This example is reminiscent of players such as Jason Becker and Jeff Loomis. We start with the three-string shapes from the previous example, followed by the six-string shape from FIGURE 5. This is quite challenging for the picking hand, so start very slowly and remember to keep the hand moving smoothly.

    Here we utilize two-string sweeps with pentatonic shapes. Use your first finger on the fifth fret and third finger on the seventh fret. Keep your fingers flat against the two-string groups, and transfer pressure between strings using a rolling action to mute inactive strings and prevent notes from ringing together.

    Economy picking requires that your pick take the shortest journey possible when crossing from string to string. This essentially means that when you play a scale, there will be a two-string mini-sweep whenever you move to an adjacent string. This exercise combines the eight-note B whole-half diminished scale (B Cs D E F G Gs As) and a Bdim7 arpeggio (B D F Gs).

    This piece is in the key of A minor. The first part is based around a “V-i” (five-one) progression, with the arpeggios clearly outlining the implied chord changes. We begin with some ascending two-string sweeps using alternating E (E Gs B) and Bf (Bf D F) triads. Next come some A minor triads (A C E), played with a progressively increasing number of strings; this is a great way to build your confidence in sweep picking larger shapes. The Bm7f5 (B D F A) arpeggio in bar 4 has a series of three-string sweeps combined with some challenging string skips. Bar 7 is an A minor pentatonic scale (A C D E G) played in fourths using two-string sweeps/economy picking.

    The second part of the piece has a more neoclassical approach and begins with some Yngwie-style three-string triads incorporating pull-offs. Be sure to follow the indicated picking directions. Bar 12 is the trickiest part of the piece to play and utilizes some Jason Becker–inspired six-string shapes. If you have problems with string muting or note separation, apply some light palm muting to the notes as they are picked. This is an effective way to improve note clarity. The final bar is based on the A harmonic minor scale (A B C E D F Gs) and incorporates economy picking when traveling from the fifth string to the fourth.

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    When I asked my Facebook followers what they wanted me to write about this week, I was excited to see a question about maintaining physical and mental health in the practice room.

    As guitarists, it’s easy for us to put our heads down for hours at a time, only coming up when we’ve gotten hungry or tired enough to eat or sleep, before jumping back on the instrument we love so much.

    Because it’s easy to get swept away when practicing guitar, it is important to maintain your physical health and mental focus in order to get the most out of any time spent in the practice room.

    In this column, I’ll lay out some of the concepts I apply to my own routine in order to avoid back, shoulder, leg and arm pain, as well as help me keep focused mentally when working for short or long periods in the woodshed.

    Check out these items, and then please share (in the comments below the lesson or on Facebook) your tips for maintaining physical and mental strength in the guitar practice room.

    Step 1: Scheduling Practice Breaks

    The first issue to address when it comes to maintaining physical health in the practice room is scheduling regular breaks into your routine.

    Taking a five-minute break every 30 minutes, or a 10-minute break every 60 minutes, will not only give you a chance to stand up and stretch out your muscles, but it allows you to rest your focus for a bit before moving on to the next exercise in your routine.

    Sometimes we feel we have to press on and do hours at a time in the practice room. But after a while, our minds and bodies will burn out, and at that point you are just wasting energy on exercises that aren’t producing much of a return for your time.

    It is always better to work in short, highly focused bursts in the practice room than to slog on and become distracted mentally or sore physically. Therefore, scheduling breaks into your routine can help remind you when to take a few minute mental and physical stretch before going back refreshed to the next stage in your practice routine for that day.

    Step 2: Correct Posture and Using a Strap

    One of the biggest questions I get asked by guitarists is, “How should I sit when practicing, especially for long periods of time, in the practice room?”

    The answer to this question differs for each person, but there are some common principals we can all use to ensure that our posture is helping us and not hindering us in the practice room. Depending on your physicality, you might prefer to have both feet flat on the floor and your back straight against the chair you’re sitting in.

    If this is the case, you might want to use a footstool or guitar cushion support such as the one made by Dynarette to help support your guitar when sitting in this position. Though, if you’re like me, you might be more comfortable with one leg crossed over the other and your back slightly curved over the guitar, but not hunched, as that can cause shoulder and back problems pretty quickly.

    If you prefer the second type of posture, then resting the guitar on your picking-hand thigh, right for right-handers and left for left-handers, will allow you the closest access to the instrument compared to resting it on the opposite thigh when practicing.

    Either way can work for you as far as posture is concerned, so try them both out.

    I used footstools for many years, but having my hips displaced like that caused me back issues, and after switching to the cross-legged position, that went away. But I have had friends with the opposite experience, so test and see for yourself.

    Sitting in a chair is always preferential to sitting on the corner of a bed or on a couch, especially for long practice sessions, as chairs will provide more support regardless of which posture you choose.

    Lastly, using a strap in the practice room can help take some of the weight of the guitar off of your arms and move it onto your shoulders and body as a whole. This will prevent you from feeling like you have to hold the guitar in place with your arms as you play, which can cause undo tension and prevent you from being able to play at the best of your ability as you have to expend energy to hold the instrument on your thigh.

    Step 3: Exercise and Stretching

    Over the years, I’ve found that exercising and stretching throughout the day is very helpful for preventing strain issues, such as back, leg and arm pain, as well as injury in the practice room. I stretch out my fingers every 10 to 15 minutes and my arms every 30 or so in when practicing.

    Throughout the day I do exercises to help strengthen my arms, legs and core such as crunches, push-ups, walking and yoga.

    If you find you have a hard time sitting for a long time practicing, or that you are experiencing sore muscles, especially your arms and back, then exercising and stretching as part of your daily routine might be the thing you need to get over these physical humps in the woodshed.

    To maintain mental stamina and focus in the practice room, mediation or floating can be excellent ways to boost your mental strength, as well as provide creative influence away from the instrument.

    Though not music related, thinking about the physical side of practicing, and preparing yourself physically for time in the practice room, can go a long way in ensuring that you avoid injury and are able to get the most out of your time on the instrument.

    How do you approach maintaining your arm, hand and body health as a guitarist? Share your thoughts in the COMMENTS section below.

    Matt Warnock is the owner of, a free website that provides hundreds of lessons and resources designed to help guitarists of all experience levels meet their practice and performance goals. Matt lives in the UK, where he is a lecturer in Popular Music Performance at the University of Chester and an examiner for the London College of Music (Registry of Guitar Tutors).

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    Sucré — the solo project of singer Stacy King (Eisley) — has announced its first-ever tour this summer.

    Kicking off September 4 in Houston, the run continues through eastern U.S. markets including Atlanta, Nashville, Washington DC, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and more before concluding September 23 in Dallas.

    The Honey Trees and Merriment will support all dates, and The Honey Trees will also serve as King's backing band for Sucré's headlining sets.

    Sucré is currently finishing work on a five-song EP of new material, to be released prior to the tour. The EP will be the follow-up to her 2012 debut album, A Minor Bird.

    Check out this video of “Light Up”


    Sept 4 — Houston, TX -- Fitzgerald's Downstairs
    Sept 5 — Austin, TX -- Stubb's Jr.
    Sept 6 — Monroe, LA -- Live Oak Bar & Ballroom
    Sept 7 — New Orleans, LA -- The Parish at House of Blues
    Sept 9 — Atlanta, GA -- Vinyl
    Sept 10 — Nashville, TN -- 12th & Porter
    Sept 12 — Washington, DC -- DC9
    Sept 13 — Boston, MA -- David Friend Recital Hall
    Sept 14 — Uncasville, CT -- Wolf Den at Mohegan Sun
    Sept 15 — New York, NY -- Marlin Room at Webster Hall
    Sept 16 — Philadelphia, PA -- Milkboy
    Sept 18 — Pittsburgh, PA -- The Smiling Moose Upstairs
    Sept 19 — Columbus, OH -- The Basement
    Sept 20 — Evanston, IL -- SPACE
    Sept 21 — Springfield, MO -- Outland Ballroom
    Sept 22 — Tulsa, OK -- The Vanguard
    Sept 23 — Dallas, TX -- Cambridge Room at House of Blues

    More at

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    In this new video, Guitar World's Paul Riario demos the new Ninebuzz Modal Buddy app for iPhone and iPod Touch.

    The app teaches you the modes by letting you jamming along to several backing tracks.

    Check it out and download it in the itunes app store! The app is available here.

    For more about Ninebuzz, visit

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