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    Teaser Content: 

    Epiphone and <em>Guitar World</em> are giving you the chance to win two new guitars from Epiphone — both of which are featured in the new September 2014 issue of <em>Guitar World</em> and in the review video below!

    Epiphone and Guitar World are giving you the chance to win two new guitars from Epiphone — both of which are featured in the new September 2014 issue of Guitar World and in the new GW review video below!

    The guitars are the Epiphone Casino Coupe (MSRP $748) and the Epiphone Riviera Custom P-93 (MSRP $832).

    For more information about the guitars, click on the individual links above and watch the video below!

    Be sure to fill out the entry form below by August 30, 2014. The contest is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada.

    For more about all things Epiphone, visit

    All entries must be submitted by August 30, 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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    Put a Sixties Fender Twin next to a modern Crate practice amp, and you won’t see or hear many similarities — besides reverb.

    The effect is used to add dimension to your sound and help smooth out dynamics — to sound less like a textbook, if you will. Reverb is, hands down, the reason terrible singers think they sound great in the shower!

    The StellarVerb by Center Street Electronics is a two-knob, true-bypass reverb pedal. It claims to sit between a hall and a spring reverb. The two knobs are "Tone" and "Reverb Level." The 9-volt power jack along with input/output jacks are mounted on the sides of the pedal.

    First impression: I thought the Tone knob would be redundant, but the more I played with the pedal, the more it made sense. Turned up, it cops a bright Fender-style spring reverb; rolled back, it’ll give you a darker, ambient reverb. If you simply want your bedroom to sound like Madison Square Garden, leave the Tone at 12 o’clock, and it won’t alter your tone at all.

    On to the clips!

    Clip 1: Using a Strat, I wanted to see how close I could get my Bassman to sound like a Twin Reverb. The StellarVerb’s Tone is cranked up and the Level is about halfway.

    Clip 2: I cranked everything up to get a drenched Sixties surf tone.

    Clip 3: Here’s a more subtle reverb sound with the Tone at 12 o’clock and the Level barely on.

    Clip 4: (After getting requests for heavier sound clips) Here’s an AMT Metalizer after the StellerVerb set with the Tone and Level both around 9 o’clock.

    Street Price: $149.99

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    Steve Stine, highly sought-after guitar educator, teaches live online group and private classes at

    Hey, guys! Welcome back to my ongoing "Absolute Fretboard Mastery" series.

    In this month’s edition, we’re going to be drawing on the knowledge of chord progressions we touched on last month and the pentatonic expansion theories we covered in the months before to finally get into a fully fledged major scale.

    By the way, be sure to check out all the previous parts of "Absolute Fretboard Mastery" under RELATED CONTENT, which you'll find directly below my photo to the left. Also, before we start, larger versions of all the fretboard diagrams in this column can be found in the photo gallery at the very bottom of this story.

    So, to start things off this month, let’s take a look at a C major scale in the following shape:

    01 620.png

    This is what is called a "spread fingering shape." When I was first learning my scales, I didn’t learn them in this spread-fingering shape. I learned them in what’s commonly referred to as the "box positions." The same C major scale played using a box position would look like this:

    02 620.png

    While these box positions are great for navigating the fretboard, something I've learned with them is that they can feel pretty awkward to play and to speed up — which is why the spread-fingering position made a lot more sense to me when I started learning it.

    For one thing, the symmetry of the spread fingering position is far easier to process on a visual level. If we were to break up the note groupings on each two strings, they would look like this:

    03 620_0.png

    As you can see, the patterns of notes is the same on the sixth and fifth, fourth and third and second and first strings. This visual symmetry of the spread-fingering shape make it far easier to memorize and also far easier to navigate while playing. Something you also will notice with this spread-fingering shape is that, because you are playing three notes on each string, instead of switching between two and three notes like in the box positions, it is far easier to maintain a consistent picking pattern throughout the scale. This, in turn, makes this shape far smoother to play and far easier to speed up.

    Another great thing about this spread-fingering shape is that, from a theoretical perspective, it makes it much easier to visualize your scale intervals and to navigate across them. Say, for instance, you want to figure out how your I, III and V intervals sound when played together. You can do so easily by using this spread fingering position.

    04 620_0.png

    When it comes to your soloing, this familiarity with your scale intervals is important because it can help you get a feel of what notes to play and when to play them. Say, for instance, you’re soloing over a C chord.

    By now you’ll know that the I, III and V intervals of the scale are going to sound comfortable. But ideally at this point you should start experimenting with adding the II, IV and VI notes to add more color to your solos. The visual ease of recognizing these scale intervals with the spread fingering position will make it much easier for you to expand your playing into what we call "intervallic playing" instead of simply playing up and down the scale.

    You see, memorizing these scale positions and notes is the easy part about playing guitar. The real challenge is in using this knowledge and theory to create actual music. So the first thing I want you to do this month is to learn and memorize this shape, not just in C but across the entire fretboard.

    The second thing I want you to do is to start experimenting with it over a C major jam track. And while you’re doing that, what I really want you to focus on is going beyond the I, III and V notes and really exploring the sound of the II, IV and VI notes over the jam track.

    Another small thing I want you to work on this month is learning and memorizing the notes on your G string. If you’ve followed my Absolute Fretboard Mastery series from the beginning (Again, see RELATED CONTENT above), you will remember we’ve already learned and memorized the notes on the sixth, fifth and fourth strings. And like with those strings, remember to cross reference the notes you learn on the G string with the notes on the three strings above it.


    The reason I want you to cross reference these notes you learn is because it will help you ultimately visualize the notes across your entire fretboard easily and clearly. And this, along with the scale knowledge that we’ve been working on the past few months, all contribute towards your absolute mastery of the fretboard. So as always, practice hard and have fun with your playing, and I’ll see you next month.

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

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    As always, several members of the Guitar World crew were on hand at the 2014 Summer NAMM Show in lovely and talented Nashville, Tennessee, taking pics, getting the latest gear news and shooting plenty of videos.

    Speaking of which, check out the video recap of our visit to the Reverend Guitars booth at the show.

    In the clip, which you can see below, we get the lowdown on the company's Bob Balch Signature model, the Warhawk RT, the Bayonet FM and more.

    Take a look and tell us what you think in the comments below or on Facebook. And while you're at it, be sure to check out our massive 2014 Summer NAMM photo gallery.

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    As always, several members of the Guitar World crew were on hand at the 2014 Summer NAMM Show in lovely and talented Nashville, Tennessee, taking pics, getting the latest gear news and shooting plenty of videos.

    Speaking of which, check out the video recap of our visit to the EarthQuaker Devices booth at the show.

    In the clip, which you can see below, we get the lowdown on the company's Afterneath, Palisades, Cloven Hoof pedals and more.

    Take a look and tell us what you think in the comments below or on Facebook. And while you're at it, be sure to check out our massive 2014 Summer NAMM photo gallery.

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    Kenny Wayne Shepherd chooses (and discusses) the record that changed his life.

    Muddy Waters
    Hard Again (1977)

    "Hard Again is not just one of the greatest blues albums of all time, it's one of the greatest albums of all time. It came out the year I was born, in 1977, on Blue Sky Records. Johnny Winter produced and played guitar on it.

    "It's packed with great blues musicians: James Cotton on harmonica, Pinetop Perkins on piano, Willie 'Big Eyes' Smith on drums and 'Steady Rollin'' Bob Margolin on guitar as well. When I was three years old, my dad took me to see Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker. That was my first concert and my introduction to the blues. So even though I was young when I discovered Hard Again, I was already a fan.

    "My dad was a DJ who did the morning show at a local radio station when I was growing up. I would drive into work with him in the morning and hang out until it was time for me to go to school. Then another DJ who had the overnight shift would take my dad's car and drive me to school... only we would pull around the corner—I was 13 years old at the time—and the guy would jump out of the driver's seat and we would switch places. He would let me drive my dad's car to school. And the first thing I would do is put on this Muddy Waters record and crank it up, man. Every single day, on the way to middle school."

    "That album changed me in a lot of ways. It has a lot to do with my interest in blues music. But also I decided that, if I was gonna sing, I wanted to sound like Muddy Waters. But I couldn't do it when I was young. That's one reason why I shied away from singing for so long and just focused on the guitar.

    "So that album definitely changed my life, because for as long as I can remember listening to it, it's been my favorite album and it's made me want to play the blues. It inspires me every time I listen to it. It makes me want to run and pick up a guitar and start playing."

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    In today’s episode, I demonstrate a chord progression using mixed meters.

    I achieve this by simply switching time signatures each measure or two, depending on how you want to count it.

    I give the first three chords 3 beats each and the last chord 2 beats.

    This can be also thought of as 6/8 then 5/8.

    Then to take it a step further, I repeat the same progression, but switch how many beats each chord gets.

    Check out the video to see exactly what I mean!

    Justin Horenstein is a guitar instructor and musician in the Washington, DC metro area who graduated (cum laude) from the Berklee College of Music in 2006. He plays in Black Clouds, a 3-piece atmospheric/experimental band. Their debut album was recorded by J Robbins (Jawbox, Burning Airlines). Justin’s 18 years of musical experience also includes touring the U.S., a record deal under Sony, starting his own teaching business, recording several albums, and playing club shows with national acts including Circa Survive, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Biffy Clyro, United Nations, Caspian, and more.

    More about Justin at and

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    For former White Lion vocalist Mike Tramp, it’s no longer about filling arenas, selling T-shirts or playing the old songs. Today, Tramp focuses on one main thing: following his heart.

    It’s why he’s spent the better part of the past two years touring the world with just a guitar, playing everywhere from sports bars to small hunting lodges deep in the Pennsylvania wilderness, places where Tramp says he feels right at home.

    And although there have been glimpses of Tramp’s inner-self in his White Lion past (“When the Children Cry” comes to mind), perhaps there's no better reflection of Tramp’s soul than his new album, Museum, which will be released August 18.

    From the Seventies vibe of songs like “Down South” to his own frustration (“Trust in Yourself”) and personal healing (“Better”), Tramp’s pain, love and frustration are on full display. Listening to Museum, one quickly discovers the bloodline that is Mike Tramp. There’s no makeup or make believe. Just plenty of truth.

    I recently spoke to Tramp about his new album, gear and the satisfaction he gets from his vagabond touring lifestyle.

    GUITAR WORLD: How would you describe this new album as a whole?

    It's a true reflection of me as a songwriter and about not being controlled by the “image” anymore. It’s knowing that the guidelines, doors and walls that surrounded White Lion back in the Eighties just don’t exist for me anymore. I’ve taken a step to try to create something that's recognizable and has connections to my past, but is still part of the future.

    Why the title Museum?

    I fell in love with music when I was growing up in the late Sixties and Seventies, back when so many bands would just record an album and not worry about whether or not it would fit in with the other songs they’ve done before. I remember being in the studio and saying, "This is like being inside of a museum in its own time." These are displays of songs that represent who I am.

    How did you approach writing for this album?

    Anytime I sit down with a guitar, I’ll write a song. I might not finish it, but it's always in my head and in my hands. I've left myself open and free to go into the studio and start the song and see where it's going to take me. There are no barriers anymore. For this album, there were songs I specifically wrote from a different point of view, one of them being “Down South."

    It started as a guitar riff I had written years ago on electric. Originally, I was thinking it might be along the lines of an AC/DC riff. I remember I asked Soren Andersen (co-producer) to give me a beat loop for the song, and the second he did that, I wrote the rest of the song. I used that same formula for "Slave," another guitar-oriented track. Both songs started from the riff.

    What can you tell me about the song “Trust in Yourself”?

    I was raised a casual Christian. When I came to America in the Eighties and was introduced to some of ways people were using religion as a tool and watching how the government was able to get away with all kinds of things, it really turned me off. All of the things that control human beings; where bit by bit people started giving up their own judgment of life. If you can't find trust in yourself, then it doesn't feel right to my soul.

    What was the recording process like?

    When Soren and I get together, it's like two people at each other's houses, ordering pizza and watching movies. It's that kind of environment. We think so much alike and at the same time we think opposite, so we’re able to create these really great songs. It's a great process and I treasure every moment.

    Will you be touring in support of the new album?

    Yes, I'll be starting a European tour next month once the album is released and I'll be back in the U.S. sometime next March.

    What are some of the differences between the way you tour now as opposed to the way you did when you were with White Lion?

    With White Lion, I remember sitting on the tour bus while we were pulling in and I remember having to find the dressing rooms in the back of the arenas. Now I’ll pull up to the venue and walk in the front door. Sometimes it might be a sports bar or a dive out in the middle of the woods, but I'll go in and meet the club owner, have a beer, set up and play. It's a completely different world and feels like I'm visiting old friends.

    Tell me a little about your setup.

    I play Martin guitars exclusively. I've grown up with them and now have four great ones I use. I've also added just a little loop and a keyboard pad to my sound to help fill it out and give some of the old White Lion songs a little bit of a beat. I've found a happy medium and I'm excited to take this new music out there.

    Over the course of your career, is there one memory that stands out above all others?

    There would probably have to be one from each decade. Although I played Madison Square Garden with White Lion and AC/DC, the memories of that experience are hard for me to remember. But then I played a hunting cabin out in the hills of Pennsylvania and it's something I'll never forget. Lately, the highlights are musical because I'm so proud of these songs and the production. In the end, I think the overall highlight for me will be from being able to identify, adapt and change with the times.

    A lot of artists have started to form “super group” side projects with other musicians for an album and tour. Do you ever see yourself taking part in something like that?

    You can never say never. I do get offers from time to time, but right now I don't feel there's anything I could do better than what I'm doing right now. It certainly would have to be a collaboration with other people who feel the same as I do. It’s got to be for musical satisfaction. Some people think you only want to go back to that one and only place, but I already have those albums. When you want to hear a young Mike Tramp in his prime, you listen to Pride. To hear the next step, you listen to Freak of Nature. Now there are the solo albums where I'm dealing with the issues affecting me. They're all different chapters of my life.

    James Wood is a writer, musician and self-proclaimed metalhead who maintains his own website, 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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    When Brandon Kinney arrived in Nashville 20 years ago, he knew he wanted to work in the music industry. What he didn’t know was that he would find his niche crafting songs for other artists, and he certainly didn’t expect to become one of Music Row’s most in-demand songwriters.

    It was a long, slow road from student at Belmont University to publishing deals with Sony ATV, Love Monkey Music and Tom-Leis Music.

    Along the way, Kinney worked day jobs, made inroads via colleagues who were already signed and even signed a recording contract as a solo artist. In 2005, Lonestar gave him his first hit when they recorded “You’re Like Coming Home.” His phone started ringing, and in 2009, “Boots On,” a co-write with Randy Houser, became BMI’s second-most-performed song of the year.

    Since then, Kinney has been on a winning streak, landing cuts and writing hits for numerous country artists — Randy Travis, Willie Nelson, Jake Owen and Luke Bryan are a few of the names who have recorded his songs. In 2012, “Outta My Head” became a hit for Craig Campbell and was the second-longest-charting song in Billboard history, holding steady for 54 weeks.

    Kinney was at the Sony offices for a writing appointment when he took some time to discuss songwriting, Nashville then and now, and what he has learned since signing his first deal.

    GUITAR WORLD: What attracted you to the guitar, and when did you begin writing songs?

    My dad bought me an electric guitar, but we traded it in for an acoustic pretty quick because, starting out, I wasn’t as much into playing licks or lead parts, and I thought that’s all the electric guitar was for. I said, “I’m going to get an acoustic so I can actually play a song.” I didn’t know anything about playing guitar.

    My interest in music was probably infused in me from birth, because my parents used to turn the radio to a country station and put it in my room by the crib, so that when they had friends over I wouldn’t wake up because I could deal with the noise. They said I was dancing all the time when the radio came on. I just loved music. My mom played piano in church and she would get me up to sing at evening services.

    I was playing football, loving football, and I was also into bicycles. I got a head injury from a bicycle accident and it put me out of football completely at the start of my eighth-grade year. My dad played guitar a little bit when he was a kid, and he showed me how to play “Wipeout.” I was bummed out because I couldn’t play football anymore, so he said, “Why don’t we get you a guitar?” We got a guitar and I stayed in my room for hours every day.

    That’s all I wanted to do. That probably went on for a month and a half before I started getting interested in writing. I looked at the credits on Paul Overstreet’s record and noticed that there were other writers on there with him. One night, around 1:30, I couldn’t sleep, and this lyric and melody popped into my head. I got up and wrote it in about 30 minutes. I didn’t have a recorder because I wasn’t planning on writing anything. I was not prepared. I was afraid I might forget it, so I played it about a thousand times. I stayed up until probably 3 or 4 in the morning trying to remember it. The next morning I played it again and I played it for both of my parents. They loved it. And I got a recorder.

    Were you attracted more to lyrics or melodies, or was there a difference?

    I’ve never separated the two. I loved song lyrics, but I looked at it as a whole thing. I wasn’t focused on just writing a good lyric. I wrote what came from the heart the first time, and I thought, That rhymes and that’s cool. But there was no focus primarily on one or the other. To me, it was one vehicle.

    When did it become obvious that it was time to move to Nashville?

    My dad always encouraged me to be an artist. He thought I needed to be up there like George Strait! I didn’t do much in high school to let people know that I was even interested in music, besides playing in church. I went to Jacksonville Junior College in Jacksonville, Texas. I played a talent show there and people seemed to be into it. I put my guitar away for a while and didn’t write because I’m so one-track-minded that I couldn’t make my grades and write songs and play guitar at the same time. I thought I maybe wanted to be a pilot or an engineer. It was always in the back of my mind that I wanted to sing and write songs, but I didn’t understand that you can get a publishing deal and write songs for somebody else to record. I hadn’t gotten that far in the process.

    When I went to Belmont [Kinney relocated to Nashville in 1994], I was thinking more about sitting at a console and recording, because I’m not a great guitar player. I play enough to sing my songs. I got here and I started meeting other people who wrote songs. I took publishing classes and I realized you can actually do this for a living. That’s when I started leaning toward it as a career. I was just doing it because I loved it and I got a little attention! It was fun. I wanted to be an artist, too, but there are too many talented singers here that can’t get it going and I didn’t want to fall into that, so I focused on writing.

    When I graduated, I started plugging songs for a company out of San Antonio. I did that for a year and half. I didn’t get my first writing deal until 2001. Between 1997 and 2001, I drove a Coca-Cola truck and worked for a cell phone company to make ends meet. It allowed me to come to Music Row and do some writing with my buddies. One of them that I had gone to college with had gotten a publishing deal, so he could do demos and they were pitching his songs. I was able to keep my foot in that door until I signed my first deal and was able to quit my day job.

    What was the music scene like in Nashville when you arrived?

    It was rocking! Garth Brooks was there and country music was hotter than it had ever been. It was a money-making machine. They were signing all kinds of artists, a lot of songwriters had deals, and it seemed there weren’t any hard times at all, but then again, I was still in school, so I wasn’t in the middle of it. It was still somewhat hard to get in, but I got my internships, and nearly every act seemed to be doing good and selling millions of records. Around 1997 or 1998, it started slowing down. I remember people saying, “It’s about to make a turn. It’s going to be coming back to traditional pretty soon.” I think some of them are still saying that. It was a good time to come in. It’s still good times; sales are picking up for some artists. But I don’t think we’ll ever see it like the early ’90s again.

    Has downloading affected country music the way it has affected other genres?

    That has been part of the problem. It has affected a lot of people. One of my buddies had 6 million plays on Pandora and he got under $600 for all of those plays. There’s Pandora and downloading, and they’re starting to find ways to monitor that, but you still have the pirates and all of that stuff going on where they’re getting it for free, and legitimate companies are not paying what they should.

    You toured after releasing your album. What did you learn from performing live and how have those lessons helped you as a songwriter?

    I opened for Sara Evans, so her crowd was a little tamer. She played a lot of theaters, so there were a lot of women and the boyfriends of the girls that wanted to be there. I thought that it was going to be a disaster, because my music was more for the beer-drinking crowd with a weird sense of humor. I put songs on my record that nobody else wanted to cut because they were afraid to cut them, and rightfully so! In that situation I learned that you can’t judge the crowd and say, “They’re not going to like this.” You’ve got to throw it out there and see what happens. They like to have a good time. You can’t play ballad after ballad, and tearjerker after tearjerker, because people come there to escape their normal life and you don’t want to bring them down. So I tried to keep it upbeat, keep them laughing, and keep them feeling good.

    When I write for other artists, I’m picturing them onstage and thinking, What is going to get the crowd into this? It’s not just the lyrics or the melody; sometimes it’s the production, so when I produce a demo that my publishing company is going to pitch to an artist, I think, What’s going to get the crowd fired up? What’s going to make the artist feel cool and look cool? That’s pretty much what I pulled from touring. What was good about being onstage is that I got to witness what worked and what didn’t, but at the same time, every artist is different. There are artists who can sing ballad after ballad, but they’re not singing to 18- to 25-year-olds who are drinking beer and wearing bikini tops. It’s probably an older crowd. If you’re writing for an artist who gets their sales from that audience, then you play it safer and you write deeper stuff. But when somebody’s drunk, they don’t want to get too deep.

    At what point did you feel that you “got it” as a songwriter — that you understood the craft and had the material to take to audiences?

    I’ve always had an idea, but in the past four years I feel more confident than I’ve ever felt. I feel like this is my time. Before, especially when I was in my artist deal, I was writing a lot of funny songs. People loved them, but nobody would record them because they were a little bit too quirky, and they were afraid that listeners would going to get tired of hearing them. I’ve dialed in a little bit more in the past four years. That’s a long time to wait, but I’ve hit and missed since 2001. I’ve been more consistent in dialing in what I want to say. I never really cared before. I just said, “Well, this sounds like a hit,” or “I’m just going to write my song and not worry about it.” Now it’s “What do these guys want?” I’ve buckled down more and I’ve grown a lot as a writer. They say that the best way to get good is to write with someone who’s better than you, and I’ve tried to do a lot of that and learn from them.

    Your songs have positive, upbeat lyrics and melodies. Are you happy by nature, or are happy songs just more radio-friendly?

    I’ve always been that way. Any time I’ve tried to write a “downer” song, it brought me down and I said, “Screw it, I just want to go home.” I like to have fun. I was raised around goofy people. Everybody was always cracking jokes and having a good time. We had our serious moments, but I always seemed to thrive a little bit more when I could laugh or get to rocking. I enjoyed Merle Haggard and all that stuff, I listen to that too, but I don’t want to listen to downer songs all the time. When I write, if I’m going to sit here for six or seven hours, I can't sit here depressed, trying to find out what this song needs.

    “Outta My Head” was kind of a sad song, but it was still upbeat, it had some passion to it, and it was fun to write. As long as I’m having fun in the writing session, I think I write a better song, and that’s why I stick with those topics. I have my share of leaving songs and all that, but it’s rare that I ever write a song where I’m sitting at the house, on the couch and drinking, because I know that an artist is not going to want to self-loathe all the way through the song. Nobody wants to do that in front of a crowd unless it’s a killer song. If it’s a killer idea, I’ll do it because I get excited about it, but most of the time I like to keep it upbeat.

    Photo: Stephen Gilbert

    Read more of Brandon Kinney’s interview here

    — Alison Richter

    Alison Richter interviews artists, producers, engineers and other music industry professionals for print and online publications. Read more of her interviews right here.

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    I don't smoke. Hardly drink. Don't do drugs. I don't gamble, drive a fancy car or chase after fancy women. Or plain ones (in case you're reading this, honey.)

    Two things have resulted from my abstinence from moral decay:

    Rolling Stone never calls for an interview.
    • I've been able to afford pretty much every guitar, pedal and amp I've ever wanted.

    In my case, I gave up smoking (completely) and drinking (mostly) at 13 and took up the guitar right after. That was probably not a coincidence. It turned out the guitar was a pretty good substitute for a variety of cravings.

    What I learned is that if you've already got a bad habit you'd like to drop, guitar gear can be a fine incentive to exchange a vice for a virtue.

    According to the American Psychological Association, this kind of cognitive behavior modification is “a therapeutic approach that combines the cognitive emphasis on the role of thoughts and attitudes influencing motivations and response with the behavioral emphasis on changing performance through modification of reinforcement contingencies.”

    According to American rock guitarists, it's a perfectly good excuse to buy another fuzz pedal.

    The best part is kicking a bad habit can kickstart a good one. (Psychologists call this contingency management.) Suppose you feel you smoke too much. Think of what you could get by diverting your finances from cigarettes to guitars.

    A pack of cigarettes ranges from about $5 to $15, depending on where you live. Let's take $10 as a nice median number. If you smoke even half a pack a day, that comes to a bit more than $1,800 a year. Cut back on your smoking and you can put that money toward a nice Les Paul. You'll end up with fresher breath and probably gain as much satisfaction from playing as you do from smoking, the difference being the more you play, the better you feel.

    On the other hand, maybe you already have your few remaining bad habits set up just the way you like. What if you don't have any more vices you're willing to exchange for musical instruments? You can't exactly go to your parents or spouse and say, "On the plus side, I haven't whore-mongered at all this month. Please stamp my rewards card, I want a new amp."

    That's when it's time for Plan B: proving you are so fiscally conservative that you have earned that amp.

    It's impressive how putting aside just a few dollars each week adds up.

    Start by figuring out how much disposable income you really have. Now it may be that you don't have any, in which case acquiring more gear is probably not your priority. But most folks do have a bit of spare change after setting aside money for food, clothing, rent, the kids, retirement, emergencies and that second-story addition to the kitty condo you're building for Mr. Fluffypants.

    So where's that extra money going to come from? Think about it. Be creative. Are you buying a cup of coffee on your way to work each morning? That's at least $2 a day. Make your own instead and take it in a Thermos. Put the money saved into your personal tip jar.

    Of course, this is the real world, and for many of us it's not just a matter of convincing ourselves that the money is available—which is the easy part—it's often a matter of convincing our parents or significant other as well.

    Here's how I did it. Shortly after I got married, my wife and I made up a budget. And part of that budget included the idea that each of us still wanted to be able buy what was, to the other person, totally frivolous crap. Our budget would set aside enough that we could occasionally get something with no explanations, apologies or misdirection required; she wouldn't have to cram two pairs of red high-heels into one shoebox and I wouldn't be stashing my new Turbo Rat behind the expired box of Cheerios.

    So then the question became, “What price happiness?”

    We asked each other, “How much money would you not care if I essentially threw it away on junk?”

    “Ten bucks a week”—this was back in the Eighties—was the answer.

    We made it all very formal. We each set up a separate bank account for our “no questions asked” fund and auto-deposited $10 weekly from our paycheck into it.

    What have I bought with my 10 bucks a week over the past 30 years? Here's a partial list:

    • A 1952 Tele
    • A 1956 Strat
    • A 1950 Gibson J-45
    • A 1966 Deluxe Reverb
    • Not one but two late-Fifties Tweed Princetons
    • An original TS-9 and first-version Big Muff
    • A 1964 Fender Reverb Unit.

    Etc. You get the idea.

    So that's it, three cheap, simple ways to save for guitars: diverting cash from bad habits to good ones, reclaiming wasted money, and creating a “fun account.” Of course, you could just stick to smoking, gambling, and drinking grande venti frappuccinos instead of getting a shiny new guitar.

    But according to the American Psychological Association, that's just nuts.

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

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    Today, presents the exclusive premiere of "Haywire," the new music video by LA’s Bootstraps.

    The haunting track is from the band's new self-titled album, which was released earlier this year.

    “We tracked the album live, the old-fashioned way” with help from Richard Dodd (Civil Wars, Kings of Leon), who enhanced this vision in the studio," Bootstraps frontman Jordan Beckett said. “Live recording as a full band is just that, it’s alive, making it possible to capture moments and the feeling that makes music music.”

    Besides Beckett, the band features Chris Jaymes, We Barbarians member David Quon and ex-Cold War Kids drummer Matt Aveiro.

    For more about Bootstraps, check out their official website and follow them on Facebook.

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    As always, several members of the Guitar World crew were on hand at the 2014 Summer NAMM Show in lovely and talented Nashville, Tennessee, taking pics, getting the latest gear news and shooting plenty of videos.

    While we were at the show, we had a chance to stop by the Orange Amplification booth. Our visit is chronicled in the video below.

    In the clip, the Orange crew show off their Dual Dark 100 amp while discussing its characteristics and tone.

    Take a look and tell us what you think in the comments below or on Facebook. And while you're at it, be sure to check out our massive 2014 Summer NAMM photo gallery.

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    Kiss guitarist Tommy Thayer chooses (and discusses) the record that changed his life.

    Montrose (1973)

    “I came of age in the early to mid Seventies, and in that era, the most influential album to me was the first Montrose record.

    "I still remember the first time I heard it. It was actually at a party at my house. I had these older brothers and sisters, and we would have these huge parties when my parents were out of town.

    "We’d have kegs and hundreds of people there. So this guy brought the first Montrose record out and put it on. When I heard 'Rock the Nation' into 'Bad Motor Scooter,' I was like, ‘Oh, my god. I love this!’ It was so powerful. People that grew up in the Sixties might scoff at that and say it’s derivative or second generation…and it is. But I was 13 years old when I heard it, and it blew me away.

    "There’s no doubt that Ronnie Montrose was one of the quintessential hard rock–blues guitarists of all time.”

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    The mid-Nineties were arguably the start of the great transition in rock and heavy metal music.

    The days of style over substance, epitomized by late-Eighties hair metal bands, were coming to a grinding halt, and while the guitar still ruled the roost, the demands on the instrument were rapidly changing from flashy graphics to substance.

    It was at this time that former Charvel/Jackson staffers, at the company's Japanese division, who were responsible for such design classics as the Charvel CDS AND CDS II Series, the Questar Series and the Jackson Doug Aldrich Model, Soloist Special, Dinky AXE and Falcon, caught on to the general zeitgeist of that era and decided to get serious.

    Caparison Guitars was formed in 1995 and quickly adopted an approach whereby the needs and the tested opinions of professional guitarists would become paramount in their design. Features that would normally only be found on custom instruments would become the norm, form would follow function and nothing would be spared to create the best-sounding and playing instruments possible.

    One of the first unique Caparison design features to be worked on was the creation of the iconic "Devils Tail" headstock, an instant and recognizable calling card for the emerging brand. Another cool design quirk was the introduction of "clock" neck inlays, each showing a different time for each fret position (1 o'clock on the first fret, 3 o'clock on the third, 5 o'clock on the fifth fret, etc.).

    To get the unique sound Caparison was looking for, many branded pickups were tested before the decision was made to have its own custom Caparison pickups manufactured, all meticulously set up and wound to best suit and focus the tonal characteristics of each guitar. These pickups would be the foundation of the distinctive tone produced by Caparison Guitars and would be kept exclusive to the brand. The first guitars hit the streets of Tokyo in 1996 and gained an instant cult status.

    As their almost mythical reputation grew and despite not having a long established history Caparison quickly accrued a whole host of new devotees and international artists, Stevie Salas, Arch Enemy’s Christopher Amott, Soilwork’s Peter Wichers, James Murphy of Testament and Obituary, Juan Croucier of Ratt, Mattias ‘IA’ Eklundh, Andy LaRocque of King Diamond, Dennis Stratton formally of Iron Maiden were amongst those who first championed Caparison Guitars and played them hard on stages all over the world, remarking on their stability and effortless playability. Due to increasing public demand, in 2005 the guitars were first exported into shops in Europe, and a year later they hit the United States.

    As time moved on the guitars continued to evolve and improve in their own unique way, never bowing to the style over substance approach and always liaising with the people that mattered most – their players, things were on a roll for the Japanese company. Caparisons were now also the weapons of choice for A list players such as Joel Stroetzel and Adam Dutkiewicz of Killswitch Engage, Periphery’s Mark Holcomb and Jake Bowen, Rob Marcello, Matthew Wicklund of Himsa and later God Forbid, Michael Romeo and bassist Michael LePond of Symphony X as well a host of new up and coming shredders. They were also becoming a firm favourite amongst guitar techs too, as their inherent qualities made for a low maintenance instrument.

    In a typical move to try to achieve sonic perfection, and as an example of their desire to innovate, during 2008 the company’s chief designer, Itaru Kanno, introduced the HGS System as an option for the already popular Dellinger, Angelus and 27 fret Horus models. HGS stood for ‘Heavy Gauge Strings’ and was a system whereby the bridge was moved 3mm further down the body and the pickups moved accordingly too. This amazing attention to detail and lateral thinking allowed serious down tunings of the guitar but allowed the string tension to remain correct without having to alter the neck length at all and hence the players technique. Okay so maybe there is such a thing as style and substance!

    Towards the end of 2009 Caparison introduced an original design fixed bridge to the hard tail versions of their Dellinger model guitars. The bridge was manufactured by Gotoh and featured a light weight Duralium base plate (which was one of the earliest types of age-hardenable aluminium) and solid brass Gotoh saddles. The bridge was designed to accommodate extreme string gauges, which were becoming increasingly popular as bands continued to tune their guitars even lower and lower. Two grub screws either side of the bridge plate were also used to ‘lock’ the saddles in place helping to keep the intonation true under such acute conditions and also enabling the whole bridge to act as one solid mass thus increasing overall sustain.

    2011 brought a substantial change in Caparison’s fortunes, while the guitars where still produced in Japan under Itaru’s meticulous supervision, the business side of things would now be handled in the UK by their new owners and under the new name of the ‘Caparison Guitar Company’.

    As opposed to the previous Japanese conglomerate that controlled Caparisons agenda, the new British company had a wealth of experience and history in the guitar making business and that was integral in ensuring that these guitars would gain the attention and exposure fitting of an instrument that ranks amongst the world’s very best. Caparisons notoriety was quickly spreading. A new raft of devotees were now rocking out on some of the world’s biggest stages with their Guitars, Motörhead’s Phil Campbell, Mantas of Venom fame, old school thrashers Onslaught and Jona Weinhofen of Bring me the Horizon. Bands as diverse as The Sweet and Sabaton, Evergrey and At The Gates were all taking Caparison guitars out on the road and all remarking on the stability, tone and overall quality of their instruments.

    During late 2011 to 2012, new body wood constructions were researched and introduced to the range as an evolution of the HGS system, the M3B consisted of a central Maple core sandwiched between two mahogany sides and the WM construction which was a Walnut-Mahogany composite. Each body type designed to further enhance and improve the sustain and tonal range of each guitar. Further upgrades were also implemented during the following year, always listening to comments from all Caparison players whether it was face to face or via their forums, the switches and pots were upgraded, corrosion resistant screws fitted to all Schaller Trem systems by Caparison’s request and a faster more comfortable neck profile developed.

    Players now included the likes of Tim Millar of Protest the Hero, Olof Mörck from Ameranthe, Kevin Verlay of Mors Principium Est, Ville Friman from Insomnium, I Killed The Prom Queen, as well as a whole host of established musicians where the Caparison, while maybe not being seen on stage, was certainly their number one studio guitar of choice.

    At the NAMM show in 2014 Caparison unveiled the new Japanese built C2 Series range of guitars. These would consist of the more popular body designs but were stripped down versions of the ‘Regular Series’ guitars and were priced accordingly. Still built with Caparisons now renowned level of finish, the C2 Series would still feature the instantly recognisable ‘Devil’s Tail’ headstock, but were now fitted with either DiMarzio or EMG pickups, solid Mahogany bodies and standard dot fingerboard inlays.

    In the coming months new innovations, ideas and more than a few surprises are due from the Caparison Guitar Company, their form follows function ethic still very prevalent in these new designs. Constantly striving to produce the best instruments possible, their tireless pursuit of perfection still driving them on to pioneer and champion the needs of the modern guitarist.

    Everyone at the Caparison Guitar Company, is fully aware that the future of their company is solely down to the musicians that play their guitars now and to those players yet to come. Their intention is to continually exceed expectations and provide the very best road ready, high quality instruments that can be made, with no attention to detail left chance. It is no surprise that Caparison sits proudly within a small group of elite guitar manufacturers and it is their intent to continue to build on Caparison Guitar’s already considerable reputation and legacy.

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    Falling In Reverse guitarist Jacky Vincent chooses and discusses the record that changed his life.

    Joe Satriani
    Surfing With the Alien (1987)

    Surfing with the Alien inspired me to become a musician and want to learn guitar.

    "My dad had the CD in his collection before I was even born. As a young kid I would pick it out and play it, and I have vivid memories of attempting to learn ‘Crushing Day,’ ‘Midnight,’ ‘Always with Me, Always with You,’ ‘Surfing with the Alien’ and ‘Satch Boogie.’ It meant so much to my development as a player because it was the album that introduced me to the guitar and songwriting techniques I use today.

    Surfing with the Alien made it apparent to me early on that you didn’t even have to have a vocalist to create an incredible and enjoyable album.

    "It’s safe to say I wouldn’t be the player I am now, or probably even be a musician at all, without this album being available to me when it was. The guitar tones, songs and soloing on the record remain some of my favorites to this day.”

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    This is an excerpt from the September 2014 issue of Guitar World. For the rest of this story, plus features on Dan Auerbach's off-beat guitars, Eric Clapton and his new J.J. Cale tribute album, 17 Amazing practice amps, columns, tabs and reviews of new gear from Epiphone, ESP Guitars, Visual Sound, Blackstar, G&L Guitars, Ibanez and more, check out the August 2014 issue at the Guitar World Online Store.

    When Guitar World sat down with Judas Priest guitarists Glenn Tipton and Richie Faulkner and frontman Rob Halford in New York City earlier this summer, there was a palpable sense of excitement and confidence in the air as we talked about Priest’s new return-to-form album, Redeemer of Souls.

    It felt like a fresh beginning for a group that, just a few years earlier, had seemed on the verge of imploding.

    In December 2010, more than 40 years after the group’s formation in Birmingham, England, Judas Priest had announced that their Epitaph World Tour would be a farewell jaunt.

    When, a few weeks later, Rob Halford said in an interview, “I think it’s time,” and asked fans to “not be sad” and “celebrate and rejoice over all the great things we’ve done,” the heavy-metal community took it as a sign that the mighty Judas Priest were finally hanging up their studded leather belts.

    With the internet abuzz over the uncertainty of their future, Judas Priest went into damage control mode and quickly issued a statement that read, in part, “This is by no means the end of the band. In fact, we are presently writing new material, but we do intend this to be the last major world tour.”

    For much of their career, the band members’ comments about Judas Priest’s future probably wouldn’t have caused much of a stir. But in today’s 24/7 feeding frenzy known as the internet, it’s a very different story.

    “It does make you choose your words carefully,” Halford says. “With today’s speed of communication, you’ve only got to get one word wrong and the whole place blows up. In retrospect, there probably should have been a different way to project the whole Epitaph experience.”

    Some additional turbulence shook the Judas Priest camp in April 2011 when longtime guitarist K.K. Downing announced that he was leaving the group just two month’s ahead of the Epitaph tour. The band wasted no time announcing 31-year-old British guitarist Richie Faulkner as Downing’s replacement. Faulkner’s debut with the band took place on national television on May 25, 2011, when Judas Priest performed live during the season finale of American Idol.

    After the completion of the 120-date Epitaph tour in May 2012, Judas Priest took some much needed time off to regroup and begin work on a new album. They made a few public appearances, and a couple of best-of packages found their way into the marketplace, but otherwise things were fairly quiet on the Priest front.

    Then, this past April, the band announced a July 15 release date for Redeemer of Souls, its first album of new material since 2008’s poorly received conceptual double album, Nostradamus. Wisely, the group issued a free stream of the title track alongside the announcement. From its opening chugging riff to Halford’s distinct voice intoning, “It’s time to settle the score,” to Tipton and Faulkner’s searing solo trade-offs, Redeemer of Souls makes it clear that Priest has not only survived the past few years’ unrest but also regained the fire in their belly that had been missing for quite some time.

    GUITAR WORLD EXCERPT: Back in 2010–2011, there was a lot of speculation that Judas Priest were on the verge of disbanding. But with Redeemer of Souls and new tour dates on the horizon, it seems as though the band has a renewed sense of energy.

    Rob Halford: I think it’s very natural for a band that’s had a long career in rock and roll to become a little bit philosophical. That’s just human nature, and we weren’t afraid to talk about it. But I don’t think we ever said specifically “This is the end.” It was probably the “Farewell Tour” that gave people that impression. We probably should have called that something different. We called it that because it was our way of saying that this is the end of the big, massive world tours. We’re still going to go out and play, but it’s not going to be these big two-year schleps, which are grueling for any band.

    But there’s definitely a change in tone around the band these days, and a lot of that is because of this guy right here [points to Faulkner]. Richie has brought something to this band that is very infectious and vibrant, and I think you can sense all of that great feeling coming through in these new songs.

    Glenn, did you feel that there was a negative vibe swirling around the band during the Epitaph tour?

    Glenn Tipton: I don’t know if it was a negative vibe around us as much as it was a little bit unsure of what the future held for Judas Priest. For me, the Epitaph tour was one of the most satisfying and gratifying tours we had ever done. It was a grueling task to go out and play for two and a half hours every night, but to play a song off every album brought out a lot of sentimental feelings, and I think we all rose to the occasion.

    But you’re right in the sense that there was a little bit of uncertainty around the band—what we were going to do next, that kind of thing. And it wasn’t until we started writing the album and really getting into the meat and potatoes of it that we realized, Hold on, this is going to be more than just another album—there’s something special going on here. And that starts to breed enthusiasm. You look forward to the future. You look forward to playing these songs onstage. So I think the band has evolved since the Epitaph era into a different way of thinking. We’ve never been more content, and we’re excited about the future.

    Halford: In light of the Epitaph experience, if and when the final note is played, we certainly won’t be announcing it. I think it’s just going to happen one day, and that’s probably the nicest way to do it. You take very small steps back until you’re done, and I think it’ll be that way for us. But the fact that Priest’s music will live forever, the way Beethoven and Bach’s music lives forever, that really is the most incredible accomplishment that you can dwell on and feel proud of.

    After the Epitaph tour, did you feel as though there was unfinished business within the band? Like there was more to accomplish?

    Tipton: I think we’ve always felt that way. We’ve never been satisfied with one record—we’ve always wanted to do another. It’s the same with touring: you know that at some point you’re going to want to go out and do another tour. Even with this record, we recorded 18 songs. I mean, where did that come from? So there’s plenty left in this band.

    Richie, what was it like for you around the time of the Epitaph tour? Was it disappointing to join a legendary band like Judas Priest and suddenly have people speculating about the group’s demise?

    Faulkner: When I came onboard and was welcomed into the family, I was very aware of where the band were in their career. Not that I wasn’t already aware of it, since I’m a fan of the band, but it certainly wasn’t something I was going to pass up just because there’s a chance that the band was coming to the end of its career. And maybe if there was any sense within the band of winding down, maybe I’m the one who’s keeping them going. And some people out there might not like me for that, but what was I going to do? Not join the band? Sometimes you just have to take the bull by the horns. And as a result, here we are with 18 new studio tracks and a new Judas Priest album.

    Were you involved in the songwriting for Redeemer of Souls from the get-go?

    Faulkner: From day one, it’s always been a family of creative people. It’s not one or two people calling the shots and you just show up, play a gig and go home. From the rehearsals to picking the set list to the stage production, it’s a very inclusive process, and that transcends right into the songwriting for the album.

    Priest have always had the vocalist and the two-guitar-player writing team, and it was the same this time. I was taught to write metal songs by these guys. When you're 14 or 15 years old, you listen to Screaming for Vengeance and use that as a model for writing songs. So, for me, when you’re now in the studio writing songs with these guys, you don’t have to put on a different hat or write songs you wouldn’t normally write; it comes from your heart, because it’s what you’ve been brought up with. So it was a very organic and intuitive experience for me to write songs with these guys.

    Photo: Jimmy Hubbard

    This is an excerpt from the September 2014 issue of Guitar World. For the rest of this story, plus features on Dan Auerbach's off-beat guitars, Eric Clapton and his new J.J. Cale tribute album, 17 Amazing practice amps, columns, tabs and reviews of new gear from Epiphone, ESP Guitars, Visual Sound, Blackstar, G&L Guitars, Ibanez and more, check out the August 2014 issue at the Guitar World Online Store.

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    We’ve teamed up with LA rock quartet Kiven to premiere the band’s stripped down video for “I Can Take It.”

    The song was filmed right after their soundcheck before the band’s show at The Observatory in Orange County, CA.

    With delicate guitar playing and harmonies, the laid-back performance captures the group's hypnotic sound while preserving its enigmatic intensity.

    Kiven has managed to make history with “I Can Take It,” as it marks the first time Tony Haijar (the man behind At The Drive-In’s arrangements) has stepped behind the board to produce an outside band.

    “One of my favorite aspects of music and songwriting is how songs can continually evolve, change or be completely reinterpreted by different performers, settings or approaches,” shares frontman Tyler Demorest.

    “We particularly enjoy taking our own, often heavier songs and rearranging them to fit these more stripped settings. It gives them a new perspective while still remaining true to the original intention of the arrangement and performance.”

    Check it out below, and find out more about the band at

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    Below, check out some fan-filmed footage of Metallica's Kirk Hammett performing Judas Priest's "Grinder" and Metallica's "Seek & Destroy" with Exodus and Mark Osegueda of Death Angel. Note that Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo joins the band for "Seek & Destroy."

    The jam session took place last Friday, July 25, at Hammett's "Fear FestEvil After Party" at the San Diego Comic-Con International.

    As we have reported 17,000 times, Hammett was a member of Exodus' original lineup before replacing Dave Mustaine in Metallica in 1983.

    As always, be sure to let us know what you think in the comments or on Facebook! We admit the videos are on the dark side, the sound is actually pretty decent.

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    Today, presents the premiere of a new music video from Ozzy Osbourne/Firewind guitarist Gus G — "Blame It on Me," featuring Mats Levén of Candlemass.

    The track is from Gus' solo debut, I Am The Fire, which was released March 18 via Century Media Records.

    Gus handles all guitar, bass and keyboards on the album.

    He's also joined by a host of friends and guests, including drummers Jeff Friedl (A Perfect Circle, Puscifer, Devo) and Daniel Erlandsson (Arch Enemy), bassists David Ellefson (Megadeth), Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big, David Lee Roth) and Marty O'Brien (Tommy Lee, We Are the Fallen) and vocalists Leven, Blake Allison (Devour The Day), Michael Starr (Steel Panther) and many more.

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    Johnny Depp keeps turning up at Aerosmith shows. Not in the audience, mind you. On stage.

    Just a few weeks ago, he performed "Train Kept A-Rollin'" with the band in Mansfield, Massachusetts. (See RELATED CONTENT over to the left, just below the photo.)

    This past Wednesday night, he showed up on the other coast — at the Forum in Inglewood, California — to play Bull Moose Jackson's "Big Ten Inch Record." Aerosmith originally recorded the tune for 1975's Toys in the Attic.

    You can check out a bit of fan-filmed footage of the event below. As always, let us know what you think of it in the comments or on Facebook!

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