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    The Talkin' Blues DVD Combo Pack is available now at the Guitar World Online Store for a special sale price — $24.95 (down from $29.98)!

    Get both Talkin' Blues DVDs from Keith Wyatt in this special combo offer! That's four hours of in-depth video lessons on essential blues elements and guitar-playing techniques.

    Don't miss out on this amazing blues tutorial at a great price!

    Talkin' Blues DVD Part 1:

    Precision string bending
    Low-register phrasing for musical effect
    How to use fills effectively
    Chicken-pickin' phrases for a funky feel
    How to bring your licks to life with accented notes
    Jazz-blues techniques:extensions, alterations and substitutions
    How to make licks groove with swinging eighth notes

    Talkin' Blues DVD Part 2:

    "Street Jazz" chord extensions and alterations
    Soloing over chord substitutions
    How to play like Blink Blake and Charlie Christian
    How to match the solo to the song
    "Dead thumb (or pick)" technique
    Conversational phrasing
    Sixth and ninth chords
    The New Orleans sound

    Your instructor: For more than 35 years, Wyatt has been active as a guitarist and educator specializing in American music. He is a prolific author of books, instructional videos and columns on subjects ranging from theory and ear training to beginning guitar methods and blues and "roots" styles. Since 1978, Keith has been an instructor at the world-famous Musicians Institute in Los Angeles, where he also serves as Director of Curriculum. Since 1996, he has been touring internationally and recording with LA's legendary Blasters.

    This combo pack is available now at the Guitar World Online Store!

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    Many people believe that possessing talent alone is enough to guarantee an artist success in the music business. Nothing could be further from the truth. In a perfect world, the best musicians — the best guitarists — would be amply rewarded for their abilities. The music business, however, is far from perfect.

    And unless you're one of the blessed few (such as Eddie Van Halen) who can single-handedly change the course of guitar history, the harsh reality is that killer chops and perfect time impress only other guitarists, not the people who hire you or buy the records.

    Talent, of course, is any artist's basic bread and butter, but whether you're a fingerpicker or a two-handed tapper, in order to survive the music business and distinguish yourself from the thousands of other guitarists who are after your gig, you must boast some other essential qualities. These range from good people skills to practical, common-sense approaches to your business (Fact it, that's what it is), both of which will help you stand out from the pack — and believe me, there's nothing more frightening that a pack of hungry, feral guitarists.

    For your edification, I have crunched these qualities — the many do's and don'ts of guitar existence — into 25 hardheaded, clearly wrought maxims. Learn them, memorize them, master them and imbibe. You'll be a better person for it, a better guitarist, and you just may make your way from the garage to the arena stage.

    01. Nobody likes an asshole

    Reality check: Most musicians don't give a damn whether you're the second coming of Jimi, Eddie or Buck Dharma. They just want someone with a good attitude who will play the parts correctly. And since most of your time is spent offstage, relating with the other musicians on a personal level becomes as important as relating to them musically. Remember-no one is indispensable. Just ask David Lee Roth.

    02. Having a great feel is your most important musical asset

    No one will want to play with you if you have bad time. You must have a great feel-it's that simple. By "great feel" I mean the ability to lock in with the rhythm section and produce a track that grooves. If there's one thing I would recommend you to constantly work on, it's developing your groove. Listen to the greats to learn how grooves should be played: from rock (Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" to 16th-note funk (James Brown's "Sex Machine") to blues shuffle ("Pride and Joy" by Stevie Ray Vaughan). Tape yourself (with a metronome) playing them-you'll be able to isolate and work on your problem areas. Or pick up the excellent JamTrax series (Music Sales), a series of play-along tapes covering everything from blues to alternative to metal, to stay in shape. This is the one area where you should be most brutal in your self-assessment. You'll be a much better player for it.

    03. Develop your own sound

    There's no better way to learn how to play than to cop licks from your favorite guitarists. The problem to watch out for is when you start sounding too much like your favorite player. Remember, rules, especially musical rules, are made to be broken.

    04. Be on time

    You wouldn't believe how many musicians don't believe that punctuality is important. It is crucial.

    05. Listen, listen, listen!

    When you're on stage or in the studio, don't be in your own world-listen and interact with the other musicians you're working with. React to what they're playing. Don't play too loud or get in the way when someone else is soloing. Put their egos ahead of yours-your number will always be called if the other musicians feel that you made them sound better.

    06. Know what you want to be

    The most successful people in the music business are totally focused-they have specific goals in mind and do whatever is necessary to achieve them. The simple realization that you don't have to be a musician to be a rock star and don't have to be a rock star to be a musician can spare you years of cynicism and bitterness.

    07. Play for the song, not for yourself

    It's imperative to play what's idiomatically correct. For example, don't play Yngwie licks on Bush's "Glycerine" or a noodly jazz solo on Soundgarden's "Outshined," no matter how much it impresses you. I learned this the hard way while auditioning for a punk singer. I thought I'd show her what a good, well-rounded musician I was and ended a thrash song in A with an Am(add9) chord, instead of a more appropriate A5. I was promptly shown the door.

    08. Play with musicians who are better (and better known) than you

    There's no faster way to improve and jump up to the next level than to play with great musicians. You'll learn the tricks of the trade, and pick up on their years of experience in the trenches, as well. But if you want to be a star, there's no better way to kick-start your career than by ingratiating yourself with someone famous and be seen sycophantically swilling drinks with him or her at the coolest bar in town.

    09. Less is more

    Most players you hear or read about pay lip service to what has become the guitardom's ultimate cliché. The fact is, though, what's glibly easy to say is not necessarily easy to do. I learned this on a gig backing up a singer on a cruise ship (It was the actual "Love Boat!"). Back then, I couldn't read music or play over changes very well, so during the first show, in abject fear, I played very sparsely-only what I was sure would work. After the show, the singer told me she had never worked with so sensitive an accompanist.

    10. Image does matter

    This is one of the sad truths about the music business. The good news, however, is that not every musical situation calls for the same image. So use some common sense-if you're going to be auditioning for a wimpy jangle band, don't come dressed like a Marilyn Manson cast-off.

    11. It's essential to have a great touch, or vibrato

    There are players who say it took them 10-15 years to develop a great vibrato. They're the lucky ones-most never find it. Your touch is like your fingerprints-it's what distinguishes your blues playing, for instance, from that of countless other guitarists. Think of B.B. King or Jimi Hendrix-they are instantly recognizable. There are two main types of vibrato: one generated by the wrist (a la Hendrix and B.B. King) and the other from the fingers (favored more by classical guitarists). To determine which type works for you, check out your favorite guitarists' vibratos and try to imitate them. You can also pick up B.B. King's video Bluesmaster (Volume 1) to see his unique "bee-sting" vibrato demonstrated in-depth.

    12. Get your sound/tone together

    I can't emphasize enough how important this is. Know your gear well enough so that it works for you, not against you. For example, if you're looking for a Stevie Ray tone, you won't get it with a Les Paul going through a Marshall. You'll need a Strat running through a Fender Bassman (with an Ibanez Tube Screamer for extra punch). Unless you're a studio tech-head, a great guitar and amp (with an overdrive or chorus pedal) will probably sound 10 times better than a refrigerator full of rack-mounted shit (believe me, I've been there).

    13. Practice what you don't know, not what you do know

    In order to improve, you must practice. That sounds frightening, but let me reassure you that good practicing doesn't necessarily entail sitting grimly in a basement (while the other kids are outside playing), mindlessly running scales and arpeggios-you can get all the technique you need by learning licks from your favorite guitarists. For example, Eric Johnson's intro to "Cliffs of Dover" is a veritable lexicon of minor-pentatonic ideas. Here are the three axioms of good practicing:

    A. Master small bits of music first (no more than four to eight notes at a time), then connect them to form longer passages.
    B. Start out playing new ideas at a slow tempo (this builds muscle memory), then gradually work up to speed. It's much better to play slow and clean than fast and sloppy.
    C. Always practice with a metronome

    14. Get your business chops together

    Business chops are just as important as musical ones, if not more so. If you want to make money as a musician, you have to start seeing yourself as a business and your music as a product. Acting against the stereotype of a musician (you know — stupid, drunk and gullible), as hard as that may be, will show club owners and record execs that you're not a pushover.

    15. Be fluent with both major and minor pentatonic scales

    In rock, pop, blues or country situations, knowing these scales will enable you to get by 80 percent of the time. I heartily recommend my book Practical Pentatonics (Music Sales)-a nifty little volume that covers just about all you need to know to be comfortable using the pentatonic scale in real-life gigging situations.

    16. As soon as you learn something cool, apply it immediately to a real-life musical situation

    Many guitarists learn tons of licks that sound great when played in the practice room. But the minute they get on stage, they have a hard time integrating this new material into their playing. Before you learn something new, you should have an idea where you could fit it in.

    17. Learn as many melodies as you can

    Not only does learning melodies to tunes (any tunes) increase your repertoire, it also (subconsciously) gives you an incredibly distinct edge in developing your phrasing. Ideally, you should be able to duplicate any melody you hear.

    A. Listen to how singers interpret melodies and try to mimic their phrasing on the guitar.
    B. Try to play back any, and I mean any, melody you hear-be it a TV commercial, nursery rhyme or the Mister Softee ice cream truck theme.
    C. Always learn a melody on more than one place on the guitar neck. You want to play the melody, not have the melody play you.

    18. Know your place

    When a bandleader asks you to play something a certain way, smile and do it! Don't argue. Don't pout. Don't think you know better. Don't be an asshole. You'll have plenty of time to be in charge when your three-disk epic rock opera adaptation of The Jeffersons gets picked up.

    19. Contrary to popular belief, taking lessons and listening to other styles of music doesn't hurt

    It never hurts to broaden your scope, no matter how great a player you already are or how much you think you've already learned all there is to know. Opening your mind to other styles and techniques makes you a better, more well-rounded musician. Period. A great teacher can inspire and enable you to develop as a creative, exciting player.

    20. Learn as many tunes as possible, from start to finish

    It doesn't matter what style you like to play in, the more tunes you know, the easier it is to get a gig or kick ass on a jam session. And there's no excuse for not doing it-even if you're not at the point where you can learn tunes off the recording, you can avail yourself of the hundreds of transcription books out there. Heck, you can learn five new tunes a month just by reading Guitar World!

    21. Develop authority as a player

    You have to get to the point where you feel as creatively comfortable in front of hundreds of people as you do in front of your sister and the dog. And the only way you can attain that authority is by putting in the time. Playing at home only gets you so far-it's imperative that you play out as soon as you can. Attend jam sessions. Take less-than-ideal gigs, just for the experience. Take any gigs, for that matter-it's the experience that counts!

    22. Hang out with other musicians

    The best way to get contacts and gigs is to be seen and heard. How can anyone recommend you if they don't know who you are? As unpleasant and greasy as this may sound, do your best to befriend other guitarists. Though there's intense competition amongst players, most of your work will come as a result of recommendations made by other guitarists.

    23. Know the fundamentals

    Being able to hear common chord changes will help you learn tunes off the radio faster. Knowing a little basic theory will help you with your songwriting and your ability to intuitively come up with rhythm parts. For example, knowing that the harmonic structure of most blues tunes is I-IV-V (C-F-G) and that early rock ballads were usually built on I-vi-IV-V progressions (C-Am-F-G) will help you to play just about any tune in those genres or compose one of your own. One more plug: you also might want to check out my book The Advanced Guitar Case Chord Book (Music Sales) to get an idea of how to apply cool chord voicings to common progressions in all types of music.

    24. Be careful out there

    As soon as you or your band become somewhat popular, all sorts of characters are going to start crawling out of the gutter with designs on you. Have fun, but don't go overboard. And always keep an eye on your equipment-it's your life's blood. And try to save some cash.

    25. Don't shit where you eat

    Don't fuck the singer. Don't fuck the drummer's girlfriend. Don't fuck the drummer's dog. Don't fuck the drummer. Don't backstab your bandmates. Don't pocket tips. Don't be an asshole!

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    Cowboys From Hell (1990)

    My dad turned me on to all the metal I listened to when I was younger. We’d listen to a lot of Randy Rhoads and Ozzy Osbourne.

    But when he played Pantera’s Cowboys from Hell for me, that was what really made me want to play metal and be in a band. That Pantera record changed everything for me. I was probably 12 when I first heard it, which was about 10 years after the record came out, and I would look up all their videos online.

    I remember the "Primal Concrete Sledge" video in particular. It was live, and so crazy. Pantera had that clicky kick drum and rhythmic chugging, and of course Dimebag Darrell’s lead work. The groove behind Cowboys from Hell was a different take on the other stuff I was listening to at that time, and it really drew me in.

    Unfortunately I never got to see Pantera live, which is a major bummer. But traveling on the Mayhem festival, I’ve met a lot of people that were close to Dime, like Rita [Haney, Dimebag’s longtime girlfriend]. It’s cool to hear all the stories about him. He seemed like such an awesome guy.

    To this day, I still listen to Pantera. We tour a lot with another band from our label, Sumerian, called After the Burial. When we get with them, it always turns into a Pantera listening party, and Cowboys from Hell is always in the mix.”

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    After a long series of video teasers for their highly anticipated fifth album, Slipknot have premiered a far-beyond-heavy new song, "The Negative One."

    It's their first original song in six years and first ever without drummer Joey Jordison, who split with the group in 2013, and bassist Paul Gray, who died in 2010.

    The track can be streamed at Sorry, but we can't stream the song in this story. When you get to, just press "Unlock Song," and the track will start playing. No email address required!

    As always, give it a listen and let us know what you think in the comments or on Facebook!

    Corey Taylor has described the musical direction of the new album as "a great mesh" of 2001's Iowa and 2004's Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses).

    "You've got the gorgeous melodies and the artistic direction of Vol. 3, and then you've got the absolute brutality of Iowa," he said. "And I think people are gonna lose their minds when they hear it."

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    Limp Bizkit have released a new song, "Endless Slaughter," which is available as a free download over at their official website.

    Listen to the track below (while you're watching the lyric video) and let us know what you think in the comments or on Facebook!

    Additional Content

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    Sixx:A.M. have announced that their third album (cover art pictured to the left and below), Modern Vintage, will be released October 7.

    The band also will release a new single, "Gotta Get It Right," next week.

    Sixx:A.M. includes bassist Nikki Sixx, vocalist James Michael and guitarist DJ Ashba.

    Modern Vintage Track list:

    01.    Stars
    02.    Gotta Get It Right
    03.    Relief
    04.    Get Ya Some
    05.    Let’s Go
    06.    Drive
    07.    Give Me A Love
    08.    Hyperventilate
    09.    High On The Music
    10.  Miracle
    11.  Before It’s Over

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    Charvel has announced its new Pro Mod Series Super Stock SD1 FR Special Edition guitar.

    From the company:

    Charvel’s limited-run Super Stock SD1 FR wraps a radiant Sunset Orange Flake gloss finish around a classic San Dimas body, lending a brilliant look to a powerful tone machine built for the harder side of rock.

    Other premium features include a quartersawn maple neck with an oil finish and comfortable Pro Mod profile, fast and smooth compound-radius maple fingerboard (12”-16”) with 22 jumbo frets, Seymour Duncan ’59 (neck) and JB (bridge) humbucking pickups with cream bezels, three-position chrome-tip toggle pickup switch and single knurled control knob (master volume), top-mount Floyd Rose FRTO1000 double-locking tremolo bridge and locking nut and non-locking Charvel tuners.

    While we await a demo video (or for this guitar to be sent to GW HQ), tell us what you think of it based on the photo below and the details above!

    For more information, visit

    Charvel Super Stock 620.jpg

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    Check out this new video from acoustic guitar phenomenon Thomas Leeb.

    “Trickster” was released June 30 and features some extremely innovative fingerstyle technique from this gifted guitarist.

    Some of the track’s unique sound could be attributed to it’s odd CGEbGGD tuning.

    As quoted from the “about” section of the video, “This one is a LOT of fun to play, but definitely gave me headaches during the writing process,” Leeb shares.

    “The thing never, never did what I wanted it to, always had a mind of its own and resulted in more rewritten and thrown-away material than the last couple of ALBUMS combined.”

    “I couldn't really call it ‘pain in the butt,’ so I settled for ‘Trickster’… and hope you like it!”

    It’s safe to say Leeb’s hard work paid off with this one. Check it out below and find out more at

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    Seven Handle Circus, a six-piece folk rock band from Atlanta, announces the release of their debut album Shadows On The Wall out October 20, 2014.

    The lead single “And We Danced” features an upbeat rhythm and nostalgic melody that reflects the danceable nature of the music. The single is currently available on iTunes.

    Singer / songwriter Shawn Spencer says, “’And We Danced’ is about a loss of innocence and a wave of disillusionment that is forgotten in a serene dance with a lover.”

    As seen in the lead single, Shadows On The Wall as a whole embraces the idea of uncertainty about what it means to enter adulthood without a place to land or a real sense of where you belong. Nothing is the way you expected it to be, which is a theme that resonates throughout the songs.

    From “Shadows,” a rollicking Americana number inspired by the writing of Plato, to the layered folk of “Never Gonna Last,” the album grapples with how to survive in today’s tumultuous world. The songwriting dapples in literary references: buoyant folk rock anthem “And We Danced” calls up Catcher In the Rye while the gliding ballad “Prelude” invokes Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poem “Ode To the West Wind.”

    The album’s closer, which Shawn calls a “morning love song,” was inspired by (and named for) Philip Larkin’s “Aubade.”

    Listen to "And We Danced" here:

    The upcoming album finds its center in the thoughtful production of Better Than Ezra’s Tom Drummond, who the band selected after he professed his fandom for the group after the release of their EP. The album was recorded over three sessions in early 2014, two at Tom’s own studio in New Orleans and one at Zac Brown's Southern Ground Studio in Atlanta. The idea was to distance themselves from traditional bluegrass and make their song arrangements more epic, contrasting big, grandiose sounds with introspective, intimate moments.

    “Seven Handle Circus showcases mature songwriting beyond their years,” says Tom Drummond. “They combine impressive bluegrass chops with old school pop sensibilities.”

    The acoustic sounds on the album resonate with sincerity and evocative emotion, each note played with passion and intent, something Drummond helped the musicians to capture on the album.

    Seven Handle Circus formed in 2010 when its members were still in college at Georgia Tech majoring in Engineering and Computer Science. It wasn’t until they started playing together on the porch of the Sigma Nu house that they realized their true passion lay in making music.

    The band released their debut EP, Whiskey Stills & Sleeping Pills, in 2012 followed by a live album, Live At Terminal West, in 2013. As the band began regularly playing live around the Southeast, they found that the music shifted away from the typical bluegrass sound. The influences and pieces of their collective past seeped into the songs, changing them to become wholly original to themselves.

    The band will be hitting the road in support of the upcoming album. For the latest dates and to purchase tickets, visit

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    Guitar World Buyer's Guide 2015 is available NOW at the Guitar World Online Store!

    Guitar World's 2015 Buyer's Guide issue features more than 1,000 products and photos.

    The 2015 Buyer's Guide features more brands and models than any other guide and includes electrics, acoustics, basses, amps, effects and accessories modeled by Playboy Playmates Nikki Leigh, Gemma Lee Farrell and Dani Mathers.

    The best guitar Buyer's Guide ever — we've got reviews on all the gear:

    • Electrics
    • Acoustics
    • Basses
    • Amps
    • Effects
    • Accessories
    • and many more!

    For more information, head to the Guitar World Online Store now!

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    Another gem from the Guitar World archive ...

    Metallica’s 1983 debut, the explosive Kill ’Em All, taught a grateful world a lesson in unbridled thrashing fury. Since then, their sound has passed through numerous stages, but the guttural intensity that was the hallmark of the young Metallica remains the essence of the band today.

    Over the past 25 years, Hammett and James Hetfield have established themselves as metal’s quintessential guitar alliance. In the following retrospective, Kirk and James take a walk down Metallica memory lane and critique some of the key songs in the band’s harsh, noble history.

    “Seek and Destroy,"Kill ’Em All (1983)

    JAMES HETFIELD: The idea for “Seek” came from a Diamond Head song called “Dead Reckoning.” I used to work in a sticker factory in L.A., and I wrote that riff in my truck outside work. This was our first experience in a real studio. I used a white Flying V, which was the only guitar I had back then. I still have the guitar in storage. The song is based around a one-note riff that was up a little higher. Though most of my riffs are in E, that one worked off an A.

    KIRK HAMMETT: When I was doing that guitar solo, I was using James’ Marshall. That was the Marshall—it had been hot-rodded by some L.A. guy, the same guy who hot-rodded Eddie Van Halen’s Marshalls—and when it came time to do my guitar leads, I just plugged into that. I had maybe four or five days to do all my leads. I remember thinking, There’s 10 or 12 songs on this album, so that means two a day. I had to throw down a solo, not think much about it, and move on.

    I had my trusty old Ibanez Tubescreamer, my trusty wah pedal and my black Gibson Flying V that I used on the first four albums. It was either a ’74 or a ’78, I’m not sure. I didn’t have much really worked out; I knew how I wanted to open the initial part of the solo after the break, so I just went for it two or three times.

    And then the producer said, ‘That’s fine! We’ll use it!’ There were no frills, no contemplation, no overintellectualizing—we weren’t going over the finer points. On a couple of notes in that solo, I bend the notes out of pitch. For 18 years, every time I’ve heard that guitar solo, those sour notes come back to haunt me! [laughs] I remember on that tour, whenever it came time to do that guitar solo, I was always like, Okay, I’m gonna play this so much better than the way I recorded it!

    I had been taking lessons from Joe Satriani for, like, six months prior to joining the band, so his influence was pretty heavy in my mind and in my playing. He passed down so much information to me, I was still processing a lot of it. When it came time to do the solo, I was thinking, I hope Joe likes this. I hope this isn’t something he’ll just pick apart, like he has in the past.

    "The Four Horsemen,"Kill ’Em All (1983)

    HETFIELD: Dave [Mustaine, Metallica’s original guitarist] brought that song over from one of his other bands. Back then it was called “The Mechanix.” After he left Metallica, we kind of fixed the song up. The lyrics he used were pretty silly.

    HAMMETT: Prior to recording that song, we put in a slow middle section that wasn’t there when I first joined the band, and it needed a slow, melodic solo. I remember going through the song with everyone, and when I got to that part, I played something really melodic. Lars looked up at me and said, “Yeah, yeah!” He’s a big lead guitar fan. One of his biggest influences is Ritchie Blackmore. For that song I put down one lead, then added one on a different track.

    I wasn’t sure which one to use. I listened to both tracks at once, to see if one would stand out. But playing both tracks simultaneously sounded great, and we decided to keep it like that on the record. Some of the notes harmonized with each other, and I remember Cliff [Burton, bassist] going, “Wow, that’s stylin’—it sounds like Tony Iommi!”

    "Creeping Death,"Ride the Lightning (1984)

    HETFIELD: We demoed “Ride the Lightning” and one other song in the studio before we recorded the album, so there’s actually a demo somewhere of those three songs with different lyrics. When we did the crunchy “Die by my hand” breakdown part in the middle, I sat in the control room after we did all the gang vocals, and everyone was just going nuts! That was our first real big, chanting, gang-vocal thing. There was almost some production value to it. That whole album was a big step for us. By then I had the Gibson Explorer. I grew to love that shape better than the V.

    HAMMETT: When we first began playing that song in the garage, I noticed that the lead guitar part also incorporated the chorus. I thought that was a good opportunity to play something a bit wild and dynamic. The first figure in that song pretty much came off the top of my head. I was still using the black Flying V and the Boss distortion pedal through Marshall amps, with a TC Electronics EQ. For that song, Flemming [Rasmussen, engineer] suggested that I double-track the solo, which made it sound a bit thicker and fuller. We did that solo, after which we had to do this small fill at the end, a four-bar break with four accents afterwards. The plan was to fill the break up and play something over the four accents. When I studied with Joe Satriani, I did this chordal exercise, a diminished chord with four notes. I just played that over these four accents, and it worked out real nice.

    "Fade to Black,"Ride the Lightning (1984)

    HETFIELD: That song was a big step for us. It was pretty much our first ballad, so it was challenging and we knew it would freak people out. Bands like Exodus and Slayer don’t do ballads, but they’ve stuck themselves in that position which is something we never wanted to do; limiting yourself to please your audience is bullshit.

    Recording that song, I learned how frustrating acoustic guitar can be. You could hear every squeak, so I had to be careful. I wrote the song at a friend’s house in New Jersey. I was pretty depressed at the time because our gear had just been stolen, and we had been thrown out of our manager’s house for breaking shit and drinking his liquor cabinet dry. It’s a suicide song, and we got a lot of flack for it, [as if] kids were killing themselves because of the song. But we also got hundreds and hundreds of letters from kids telling us how they related to the song and that it made them feel better.

    HAMMETT: I was still using the black Flying V, but on “Fade to Black” I used the neck pickup on my guitar to get that warm sound. I played through a wah-wah pedal all the way in the “up” position. We doubled the first solo, but it was harder to double the second solo in the middle because it was slow and there was a lot of space in it. Later I realized that I harmonized it in a weird way—in minor thirds, major thirds and fifths. For the extended solo at the end, I wasn’t sure what to play. We had been in Denmark for five or six months, and I was getting really homesick. We were also having problems with our management. Since it was a somber song, and we were all bummed out anyway, I thought of very depressing things while I did the solo, and it really helped. I played some arpeggios over the G-A-B progression, but we didn’t double track that solo. When that was finished, I went back and did the clean guitar parts behind the verse. James played an arpeggiated figure while I arpeggiated three-note chords. We ended up getting a very Dire Straits–type sound.

    "The Call of Ktulu,"Ride the Lightning (1984)

    HAMMETT: Again, we were using Marshalls; I tracked the whole album with Marshall amps and my Gibson Flying V. For that song, I knew that I wanted to come up with something really melodic at the beginning of the solo. At that point in the song, there’s just a lot of riffing, a lot of heavy dynamics. I was thinking, Wouldn’t it be nice if we had something somewhat melodic to lead into it? Hence that little melody I played. I can remember thinking, Fuckin’ hell, man, these guys want me to play an awful-long fucking guitar solo! It was our first instrumental, and it was an incredibly long guitar solo.

    It was, like, ‘How can I keep this solo going without making it sound like I’m just playing a bunch of notes?’ So I thought that I would break it up into sections rather than play one long spew of notes. I used a modal approach, and there are also arpeggios that I play in the solo. They’re actually ‘broken arpeggios,’ a term that I got from Yngwie Malmsteen. At that time, 1984, Yngwie was big in the guitar world; he influenced me in that he was using all these different scales and different arpeggios, and really got me thinking about that kind of sound. I was also thinking chromatically: there’s that one part at the top of the next cycle where I play a chromatic lick that goes all the way down the high E string with the wah pedal.

    I actually wrote out the entire solo on pieces of paper, using my own notes and my own pet names for the individual licks. I would say that 80 percent of it was composed beforehand and 20 percent of it was improvised. When we revisited that song with the symphony on S&M, it was a lot of fun. It felt like I was visiting my guitar technique from, like, 15 years ago or something. I just don’t play like that now—I’m a lot bluesier—so it was pretty trippy.

    "Welcome Home (Sanitarium),"Master of Puppets (1986)

    HETFIELD: The idea for that song came from the movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. “Fade to Black” worked well, and we wanted to have another slow, clean, picking type of song, this time with a chorus. I had trouble singing that chorus. It’s really high, and when I went to sing it in the studio, I remember Flemming looking at me like, “You’re kidding.” I said “Shit, I don’t know if I can do this!” So I ended up singing it lower than I intended, but we put a higher harmony on it and it worked pretty well. The riff for that song was lifted from some other band, who shall remain anonymous.

    HAMMETT: The beginning of the first solo is an arpeggiated ninth chord figure, where I basically mirror what James is playing. The second guitar figure had some harmonies. I used a wah-wah pedal on the third solo, which was pretty straight ahead. The fourth solo comes out of harmonized guitars; the very last lick was based on something really cool I saw Cliff play on guitar in the hotel one night that I knew would work in that spot.

    "Master of Puppets,"
    Master of Puppets (1986)

    HETFIELD: I think we wanted to write another song like “Creeping Death,” with open chords carried by the vocals and a real catchy chorus. On Master of Puppets we started getting into the longer, more orchestrated songs. It was more of a challenge to write a long song that didn’t seem long. The riff for that song was pretty messy—constantly moving. It works good live. People love to scream “Master!” a couple of times.

    HAMMETT: I used my Jackson Randy Rhoads V for this solo. When you listen to the solo, there’s this weird sound right after the mellow part where it sounds like I’m hitting a superhigh note in the midst of my phrasing, like I’m fretting the string against the pickup. Well, what happened was, I had accidentally pulled the string off the fretboard! You know how you take an E string, you pull it down toward the floor away from the neck? I accidentally pulled down on the string, and it fretted out on the side of the fretboard. We heard it back, and I was like, ‘That’s brilliant! We’ve gotta keep that!’ Of course, I’ve never been able to reproduce that since; it was like a magic moment that was captured on tape. That was one of my most favorite things about that guitar solo. I thought I had screwed the solo up by accidentally pulling on the string, but once I heard it back, I thought it sounded great. That was definitely a keeper!

    For the next solo we used backward guitar parts. To get them I played a bunch of guitar parts that were in the same key as the song and laid them down on quarter-inch tape. Then we flipped the tape over and edited it, so we had two or three minutes of backward guitar. We put it in the last verse of the song.

    A lot of people think I actually came into my own sound on that song. That had everything to do with buying Mesa/Boogie Mark II-C heads. Boogie made those heads for a short time in the mid Eighties and only made a limited amount of them. They moved on after that, and they haven’t really been able to recapture that sound since—I don’t know if they ever tried or not. But there’s something about Boogie Mark II-C heads that were really unique and very individual in their gain stages and overall sound. Most of Master of Puppets was tracked with Boogie heads and Marshall heads combined, and I used my Gibson Flying V and my Jackson. By that time, I also had my black Fernandes Stratocaster.

    The $5.98 EP/Garage Days Re-Revisited (1987)

    HETFIELD: Putting out an EP of all cover tunes was absolutely unheard of, which we thought was really cool. We didn’t do too many arrangements, except to some of the Budgie tunes, where we eliminated some lame singing parts. For some of the songs we tuned down to D to make them a little heavier. The guitar sound is really awful, but it was the first thing we put out where the bass could be heard, so Jason [Newsted, bassist] was happy

    HAMMETT: That was recorded when I first started using ESP guitars with EMG pickups. All the lead guitar parts on that EP flowed really quickly. I did them in two nights. All of the leads were mine. The fact that the original versions of “Helpless” and “The Wait” don’t even have solos in them was a bit of luck—no one would have anything to compare them to, and it kept any preconceived ideas out of my head. We did that EP for the fans, just for fun, and Elektra loved it and released it.

    "…And Justice for All,"…And Justice for All (1988)

    HETFIELD: That song is pretty long, like all the songs on that album. We wanted to write shorter material, but it never happened. We were into packing songs with riffs. The whole riff is very percussive; it goes right along with the drums. The singing on that song is a lot lower than usual.

    HAMMETT: I worked out an opening lick for the solo but it wasn’t really happening, so I plugged in the wah-wah pedal, which I always do when all else fails. As soon as I plugged in, we were done. A lot of people give me shit about how I hide behind the wah pedal, but something about it brings out a lot of aggression. It just tailors the sound to match the mood and emotion I’m trying to convey. It’s purely an aesthetic thing and not a crutch or anything like that. The riff where I utilize the open string hammer-ons developed from a Gary Moore lick that I’d been studying. I figured it would sound really good combined with the heavy E-chord progression

    "One,"…And Justice for All (1988)

    HETFIELD: I had been fiddling around with that A-G modulation for a long time. The idea for the opening came from a Venom song called “Buried Alive.” The kick drum machine-gun part near the end wasn’t written with the war lyrics in mind, it just came out that way. We started that album with Mike Clink as producer. He didn’t work out too well, so we got Flemming to come over and save our asses.

    HAMMETT: I lost a lot of sleep over that set of guitar solos! [laughs] The main guitar solo at the end, with the right-hand, Eddie Van Halen–type tapping came almost immediately. That guitar solo was just a breeze; what was going on with the rhythm section in that part of the song was just very, very exciting for me to solo over. The first solo was a little bit more worked out.

    I heard James playing some really melodic stuff over the intro, just doodling around, and I thought, That’s pretty cool, I’m gonna use part of that. So I have to give credit to James for subliminally pushing me in that melodic direction. I think the first two licks at the top of the first solo are his, and the rest of the solo just sort of fell into place. That little chord comp thing in that first solo came from a major-chord exercise that I do all the time. I thought it would sound really good in the solo if I just staccato-picked it and resolved it right there. I thought the solo needed something to perk people’s ears up!

    The middle guitar solo in that song, I must have recorded and rerecorded it about 15 million times. I wanted a middle ground between the really melodic solo at the beginning and the fiery solo at the end. I wanted that to sit very confidently within the song, but it sounded very unconfident, and I was never happy with it.

    Finally, it came down to the wire: we were mixing the album while simultaneously touring on the Monsters of Rock tour. One night, I flew from Philadelphia to New York City, and while everyone else was on their way to Washington, D.C., I went to the Hit Factory and rerecorded the solo again. I brought my guitar, I had one of my main amps sent to the studio, and I redid the solo there and finally nailed it. I was very, very happy about that! The next day, we played a show in Washington, D.C. It got panned by the critics, because we’d all only had about three hours of sleep and were exhausted.

    But I got a good solo the night before, so it was worth it!

    We wanted a clean guitar sound for “One.” I think at that point I was using the ESP neck-through-body KH-1 guitar, with the skulls on the fingerboard. I’d gotten that guitar in ’88 and used it pretty prominently in the studio. I used an ADA preamp and an ADA MP-1—it was a programmable digital amp that had tubes in it, with a separate rack-mounted Aphex parametric EQ. I remember blending that thing with the Boogies for lead sounds and clean sounds. The clean sound on ‘One’ was done almost exclusively with the ADA MP-1.

    "Enter Sandman,"Metallica (1991)

    HAMMETT: Again, I was playing my ESP with a wah pedal, and this time I used a bunch of different amps. We were combining Boogies and modified Marshalls; I also think we had a clean old Fender in there, and maybe even an old Vox amp, and they were all blended together to get that tone. I can remember getting that lead guitar sound together very quickly, very spontaneously. When it came time to start thinking about that guitar solo, I just thought, Well, this is a great guitar song, and it’s in the spirit of all my favorite guitar bands, like Thin Lizzy and UFO, but kind of modernized. So I kept thinking, Michael Schenker, Michael Schenker… But then I started thinking, If Brian Robertson from Thin Lizzy played on this song, what would he play? With that mindset, I started playing what I thought Brian Robertson would play on a song like that, and the entire fucking guitar solo wrote itself!

    You know how the guitar solo plays out, and then there’s a lead guitar break that leads into a breakdown? I think the time has come to tell where I actually got that lick. It’s from ‘Magic Man’ by Heart, but I didn’t get it from Heart’s version; I got it from a cut off Ice-T’s Power album, where he used it as a sample. I was listening to Power a lot while we were recording Metallica, so I kept on hearing that lick. I thought, I have to snake this! I did change it around a little bit, though.

    "Don’t Tread on Me,"Metallica (1991)

    HETFIELD: A lot of the songs on this album are more simple and concentrated. They tell the same story as our other shit but don’t take as long. There aren’t a hundred riffs to latch on to—just two or three stock, really good riffs in each song.

    I used my ESPs and tons of other guitars: a 12-string electric, a Telecaster, a Gretsch White Falcon, a sitar and other things. I also used a B-Bender, a bar installed in the guitar that twists the B string up a full step. It’s used a lot in country music. But “Don’t Tread” is just real heavy guitar—there’s really nothing else to it.

    HAMMETT: I used a Bradshaw [preamp] because the mids were clean and the low end sounded real percussive, and I put it through a VHT power amp. The harmonic distortion also sounded nice and dirty. For the highs we used two Marshalls. We combined all the sounds and put it all through Marshall cabinets with 30-watt speakers and blended all the room mikes. My sound is a lot thicker and punchier than before, and I think it’s better than ever. For the majority of the leads on this album I used a third ESP guitar. I also used my 1989 black Gibson Les Paul Custom. For the clean sound, I used a ’61 stock white Strat and a Fender blackface Deluxe. I also used a ’53 Gibson ES-295 style, and an ESP Les Paul Junior with EMG pickups.

    I used the ’89 black Gibson Les Paul Custom and a wah-wah pedal on “Don’t Tread on Me.” At one point I had to play these ascending lead fills, and it just wasn’t happening at all. So I wound up playing harmonics instead of lead guitar fills, and it worked really well.

    "The God That Failed,"Metallica (1991)

    HETFIELD: That’s a very nice song. Slow, heavy and ugly. There are a lot of single-note riffs and more open-chord shit on this album. A lot of the rhythms I came up with were a little too complicated—half-step changes and other weirdo shit that Kirk had trouble soloing over. So we simplified some things. All the harmony guitar stuff on this album is incorporated in the rhythm tracks. I played rhythm all the way through, then I overdubbed harmony guitar things. There are harmony solos and harmony guitar in the rhythms, but they’re very distinct from each other. We found that layering a guitar six times doesn’t make it heavy.

    HAMMETT: I had this whole thing worked out, but it didn’t fit because the lead was too bluesy for the song, which is characterized by real heavy riffing and chording. So producer Bob Rock and I worked out a melody, to which I suggested that we add a harmony part, but Bob said it would only pretty it up. So we ended up playing the melody an octave higher, and it sounded great. We basically mapped out the whole solo, picking the best parts from about 15 solos I’d worked out. It’s one of my favorite solos on the album.

    One thing I did on this album that I hadn’t done before was play guitar fills. I filled up holes—like when James stops during the vocal, I put in a little stab or, as Bob calls it, a “sting.” My solos on this album are a little offbeat. Though a lot of guitar players start the solo on the downbeat—the first beat of the measure—I come in on the upbeat of the third measure of a bar, like on “Enter Sandman” and “Don’t Tread on Me.”

    "Hero of the Day,"Load (1996)

    HAMMETT: The first time James heard my solo on "Hero of the Day," he didn’t like it. He said, "It sounds like bad Brian Robertson!" [laughs] I was, like, "What do you mean?" And then, after much "debating" back and forth, we kind of agreed that it wasn’t so much the solo that was the problem but the lack of anything going on underneath it. So he went and put something down underneath it that made it sound, well, a little better to his ears, I guess. It was one of those things where one musician hears one thing one way and another musician hears it completely different.

    For the Load album, I was experimenting so much with tone that I had to keep journals on what equipment I was using. For "Hero of the Day," I know I used a 1958 Les Paul Standard with a Matchless Chieftain, some Boogie amps and a Vox amp—again, they’re all blended. I was listening to a lot of David Bowie at the time, particularly the sounds on Low, and I was really interested in playing guitar parts to see if I could shape the character of the song by playing parts instead of solos. And to a certain degree that’s what I was trying to do during "Hero of the Day." It’s a guitar solo in the classic sense, but it’s a part of the song as well. I was very into the idea of creating soundscapes and crafting textures. I was tired of playing ripping, shredding solos; I wasn’t into proving myself like I was around, say,…And Justice for All. It’s great to be able to have that in your back pocket and use it when necessary. But for the most part, taste, tone and atmosphere are my main concerns.

    I’ll tell you a funny story, though. In ’94, a guy came up to me and said, "How come you stopped doing double stops? You used to play a lot of double stops, and then you stopped doing it. I miss it." And when we were recording Load, all of a sudden I remembered him saying that. I thought, Yeah, you know, he’s right! So in that song "Better Than You," which ended up on ReLoad, I just crammed both solos with all sorts of double stops. And that was totally for that guy.

    "Fuel,"ReLoad (1997)

    HAMMETT: That track was actually recorded at the same time we were doing all the Load stuff. It was one of the first tracks [from that session] that I actually played a guitar solo on. That guitar solo was played through a couple of old Marshalls, some Vox amps and the Chieftain, and I used a 1963 Sea Foam Green Strat. I can remember thinking, God, this guitar has such a killer sound to it! It wasn’t like all my other guitars, which had active humbuckers and everything. It sounded fat, present and full, and I was blown away by how big it sounded, even though I was going through single-coil pickups, stuff that wasn’t active. That was a real treat for me, because it really felt like I was going in a new direction, tone-wise and equipment-wise. And that all kind of blossomed throughout Load and ReLoad. Bob Rock definitely had a big role in that, because he’s a total equipmenthead, and he really got me thinking about vintage gear.

    "No Leaf Clover,"S&M (1999)

    HAMMETT: That song came together only about a week before we actually played with the symphony. And that week leading up to the actual dates was so hectic. We had to do so much footwork that I really didn’t have as much time as I would have liked to spend on that solo. So I thought, Hell, I’ll just go for it and improvise! And what you hear on that track is just me improvising, and playing off the top of my head on my ESP ‘Mummy’ guitar. I mainly used my live rig, which consists of Boogies and Marshalls and Boogie cabinets. My rack-mounted wah is in there, and that’s about it, other than maybe just a touch of delay.

    There’s a modulation toward the end of the solo, and I kind of wanted to outline that modulation a little bit. That’s why I shift keys for the four or eight bars at the end. The solo on "No Leaf Clover" is actually comped from the best licks from both nights and made into one solo. In retrospect, I would have loved to have had more time to structure it and put it together. But we were on a deadline, blah blah blah, and we really didn’t want to rerecord anything—we wanted it to all be recorded with the symphony. So we just kind of went for it.

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    This is a 16th-note run built with melodic ideas, shapes and arpeggios borrowed from some of Claude Debussy’s Preludes for Piano.

    It combines a variety of shapes and tonalities into an unbroken line that moves between various harmonic "colors," but it’s also fast, technically exciting and challenging to play.

    I start off with an Amaj7 arpeggio, beginning on the seventh, G#. The first three beats incorporate legato phrasing [hammer-ons and pull-offs used in combination]. I play a total of five notes using the "2-2" form [two notes per string]. I then move to a D augmented arpeggio with a #11, again using the 2-2 form but only playing a group of four notes this time.

    After this, I play a series of arpeggios, using the 2–1–2 form, that move intervallically up, down and across the neck. At this point the melody no longer accentuates the downbeats and starts developing an interesting rhythmic pattern that keeps moving around.

    For the remainder of the run, the 16th notes are grouped in fives [2-1-2] and sevens [2-2-1-2], and everything is based on sweep and alternate picking. It’s important to keep the pick-hand’s movement relaxed, efficient and flowing when transitioning from one technique to the other. The goal is to keep the 16th notes even.

    There are two consecutive down-strokes with a string skip in between, first seen in bar 2, beat one, and repeated throughout the remainder of the run. Executing this while maintaining the sweep-picking motion will probably require the most amount of attention and practice. The objective is to create a continuous flow of notes. Use a metronome, start slowly and gradually build up to speed.

    Good luck!


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    This is my first column for

    So let me risk it being my last one by offering a suggestion that goes against one of the deepest desires of guitarists and a basic premise of this magazine: Maybe you should rethink your dream guitar, because owning one can be a nightmare.

    One of the contributors to a guitar forum I read owned a gorgeous original 1950s Telecaster. Every so often, he would post photos of it, just to get our hearts racing.

    It was everything you could want in a classic, vintage Tele. The guitar was in nearly mint condition, with ash grain swirling in eddies beneath the surface of a flawless nitro finish. Light sparkled off shiny metalwork as it sat like a jewel in its original case.

    That guitar was breathtaking, and we all coveted it. I needed both hands to count the number of commandments I’d have been willing to break to make it mine.

    Yet its owner hardly ever played it. Why? From what he said, it sounded and played as good as it looked. But having bought such a pristine and valuable instrument, he came to realize that if he actually played the guitar, eventually it wouldn’t be quite so pristine or valuable anymore.

    And so that wonderful Tele stayed mostly locked away, shown only to other guitarists who could appreciate its unmarred beauty, with perhaps a tune or two played gently on it before being returned to the safety of its case.

    The last I heard, he was planning on selling his guitar, because he just couldn’t bring himself to use it.

    Lessons are an integral part of Guitar World. The lesson here is that before you chase after the guitar of your dreams, think about what that dream really is. Is your ultimate guitar a piece of art, an investment to be held somewhere safe that won’t affect its resale value? If so, that’s fine; talk to your insurance agent, call your accountant, and if they agree, go for it.

    But if you want to play the thing, let me suggest a different definition of a dream guitar: something to make memories on with your friends, at jam nights in bars, with your band — in short, wherever you want to create music with all the emotion that the right guitar can inspire in you. And that means a willingness to go out there and use it, wear it down in spots, get it dinged, and even take a chance that eventually it may get hurt or broken.

    Yeah, something like your heart.

    I have guitars ranging from a Squier Bullet to a pre-war Gibson. What makes each a dream guitar for me is that each gets played regularly, whenever and wherever I want. I’ve never bought a guitar — even a vintage one — that I wasn’t willing to take a chance with damaging or losing as long as it also meant the chance to play and enjoy it.

    So consider whether your personal dream guitar will look as intoxicating in the sober light of ownership. You might fantasize about that $6,000 handmade acoustic. But will you actually play it more often than you brag about it? If not, maybe a $600 off-the-shelf model that you’ll play every day, everywhere, will give you more guitar happiness in the long run.

    In the meantime, here’s hoping you get the guitar you truly want. Even if it’s a Martin with three humbuckers and a whammy bar.

    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 "Juicy Lucy," a new song by Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood.

    The track is from their new album, Juice, which will be released September 16 via MMW's Indirecto Records imprint. It's the quartet's third studio effort and fourth album overall.

    Since first convening nearly 17 years ago, the kinship between keyboardist John Medeski, guitarist John Scofield, bassist Chris Wood and drummer Billy Martin has fostered an escalating degree of musical interplay. The band's first collaboration, 1997's A Go Go, featured John Scofield compositions exclusively, while 2006's Out Louder was an experiment in spontaneous, collective co-composition.

    To give shape to what eventually became Juice, Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood sought common ground and inspiration in the intersection of improvisation and rhythms from the Afro-Latin Diaspora. More specifically, the blueprint was found in a compilation of these sounds put together by Martin and shared among the ensemble.

    "We all love music from Brazil, the Caribbean, and Latin America, as well as what became boogaloo here in the States, and it has always been intertwined with jazz," Medeski says. "We got together and started exploring that connection in our own way."

    "This is our version of different African-based forms," Scofield adds. "Or, at least, that's what we started with, but eventually we said, 'This is the outline, but we can do whatever the hell we want.'"

    Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood also have announced several tour dates, which you can check out below. Juice is available now for pre-order HERE. For more information, check out

    Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood Tour Dates:

    December 4 - Washington, DC - 9:30 Club
    December 5 - Philadelphia, PA - Union Transfer
    December 6 - Westhampton Beach, NY - Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center
    December 7 - Boston, MA - House of Blues
    December 8 - Durham, NC - Carolina Theatre
    December 9 - Atlanta, GA - Symphony Hall
    December 11 - New York, NY - Terminal 5
    December 12 - Toronto, ON - Massey Hall
    December 13 - Chicago, IL - Vic Theatre
    December 14 - Minneapolis, MN - First Avenue

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    Teaser Content: 

    Musicians Institute, the College of Contemporary Music in Hollywood, California, is going beyond the classroom in fall 2014 with a blended learning system that delivers music lessons digitally—anywhere, anytime.

    Musicians Institute, the College of Contemporary Music in Hollywood, California, is going beyond the classroom in fall 2014 with a blended learning system that delivers music lessons digitally—anywhere, anytime.

    MI students can use their mobile phones, tablets and laptops 24/7 in an efficient, paperless learning environment.

    MI's digital delivery system also will integrate with its courses for industry-standard software such as Propellerhead Reason, Avid Pro Tools, Sibelius, Apple Logic, Ableton Live and more.

    Study something you love at MI this fall—and enter below for your chance to win a brand-new Mini iPad Air*! Enter through September 30.

    *Applicable to U.S. residents only.

    All entries must be submitted by September 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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    On the first anniversary of the S2 Series, PRS is adding three new models to the lineup: the S2 Mira Semi-Hollow, S2 Custom 22 Semi-Hollow, and the S2 Singlecut Semi-Hollow.

    These three new models further PRS’s desire to create a complete product offering inside the S2 Series.

    From the company:

    “We are seeing a great interest in semi-hollow guitars across all of our product lines, from Private Stock custom pieces to the SE Zach Meyers, and we are as excited about these guitars as anything we’ve made so far inside of S2. They are harmonically rich, remarkably resonant, feel fantastic, and have a very cool, organic vibe. Like all the S2’s, the goal of these semi-hollow models is to bring inspirational, reliable, quality tools to players at a new PRS price point,” Jack Higginbotham, president of PRS Guitars.

    First in the lineup is the S2 Mira Semi-Hollow. Rarely is a guitar reinvented in a way that it equals the original, becoming not just a spin off, but a wholly independent thought. The S2 Mira Semi-Hollow is one such guitar with the sum of the changes resulting in a radical change in personality.

    A distinctive take on the S2 Mira, this semi-hollow version boasts a chambered all-mahogany body and low output pickups that create a warm, smoky harmonic richness that can overdrive to classic rock tones all with tremendous punch and clarity. The S2 Mira Semi-Hollow not only has instant vibe, it provides effortless playability, instant comfort, and explosive tone. Bottom line, the S2 Mira Semi-Hollow will give you distinctive tonal depth and stunning visual appeal.

    For full specifications, head HERE.

    Next is the S2 Custom 22 Semi-Hollow. The Custom 22 is a classic workhorse guitar. Known for its exceptional clarity and warm midrange, the S2 Custom 22 Semi-Hollow has been updated here with a chambered mahogany/maple body and f-hole, giving this vintage-inspired guitar a classic look and outstanding resonance. Appointments include the patented PRS tremolo system, #7 treble and bass pickups, and a push/pull coil tap on the tone control for versatile, alive vintage tone.

    For full specifications, head HERE.

    The third guitar offered as a semi-hollow instrument through the S2 line is the S2 Singlecut Semi-Hollow. The S2 Singlecut Semi-Hollow is a classic instrument with a clear voice that balances punch and sustain. The classic control layout (with volume and tone for each pickup) and added versatility of a push/pull coil tap on the tone controls give players plenty of options to dial in flawless tone. Whether playing lead or rhythm, the S2 Singlecut Semi-Hollow is eminently recordable and always gig-ready.

    For full specifications, head HERE.

    PRS Guitars announced the S2 Series July 9, 2013. Standing for “Stevensville 2,” the S2 Series is named for a second manufacturing line created inside the PRS Stevensville, Maryland shop that blends new manufacturing techniques with practiced quality control and workmanship to create instruments at a new price point for players.

    For the complete model listing, full specifications, artist roster, visit

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    Opeth have debuted "Eternal Rains," the second single off their new album, Pale Communion. You can hear the song below.

    As always, be sure to tell us what you think in the comments or on Facebook!

    "Eternal Rains" follows the album's first single, "Cusp of Eternity," which was first heard two months ago. Pale Communion is set for an August 26 release via Roadrunner Records.

    Check the song out here:

    Additional Content

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    The title of this month’s Metal for Life column is a reference to the title of one of my favorite tracks from Cacophony’s 1987 debut release, Speed Metal Symphony.

    Similar to the playing of guitar greats Jason Becker and Marty Friedman on that trailblazing album, the riffs I present this month are challenging in that they are meant to be played fast while also covering a lot of fretboard territory. Mastering these riffs will get your chops razor sharp and stronger than ever.

    In terms of harmony, FIGURE 1 is not based on any particular scale or intervallic structure. It’s built from a steady, insistent open low-E pedal tone played in straight 16th notes. I begin by picking F# at the second fret with a downstroke, then pulling off to the open low E string. After playing two low E notes, I use an upstroke to sound an F note at the first fret, which is followed by another pull-off to the open string.

    A similar figure is played in bar 2. Across bars 3 and 4, I use alternate picking to perform challenging 16th-note-based phrases with string skips. A wide fret-hand stretch is required here. At the beginning of bar 3, I fret A (sixth string, fifth fret) with my middle finger and then use my index finger and pinkie to fret consecutive notes on the fourth string.

    To perform these lines properly, keep your pick hand as loose as possible at all times. Also, through the use of light palm muting (P.M.), I block every string from sounding except the one that is struck as the riff progresses. In FIGURE 2, I expand on the string-skipping technique to play a series of repeating one-bar riffs in 5/4 meter.

    Again, light palm muting is used throughout to provide a percussive sound as well as add an element of precision to the sound of each note. This example is also a great workout for developing independence between the fret-hand ring finger and pinkie, which is always a very important thing to focus on. A twist here is that I do not use steady alternate picking throughout: after the initial downstroke, I pick four consecutive upstrokes, followed primarily by alternate picking for the rest of the lick. No matter the pick direction, attention is paid to economy of movement and precise pick placement.

    FIGURE 3 is another great drill for building up independence between the fret hand’s ring finger and pinkie. The phrases in bars 1–5 are constructed from two-note patterns wherein the first note is picked, followed by a pull-off. In bars 6 and 8, I alternately hammer-on from the index to the middle, the ring, or the pinkie in ascending and descending patterns.



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    Slash recently dropped by the fun-to-visit Vintage Room at Guitar Center Hollywood. While he was there, he chatted (on camera) about his musical beginnings, inspirations, guitars, recording process and more.

    Below, you can check out the video that chronicles his visit.

    Slash featuring Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators will release their new album, World On Fire, September 16.

    If you're into this sort of thing, check out these two official Guitar Center clips, both of which were posted earlier this year:

    Video: Metallica's James Hetfield Visits Guitar Center in San Francisco

    Video: Metallica's Kirk Hammett Visits Guitar Center in San Francisco

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    ZZ Top and Jeff Beck will kick off their summer tour August 8 — and you can check out all the dates below.

    The tour is formatted to offer a free-standing set from Beck, a free-standing set from ZZ Top and a joint performance where Beck joins ZZ Top for the finale.

    On the heels of releasing Live at Montreux 2013 DVD/Blu-ray and The Baddest of ZZ Top CD/2CD retrospective, “that little ol’ band from Texas” will be cranking out classics such as “Sharp Dressed Man,” “Legs” and “Tush.” The lineup of Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard has been holding steady for more than 44 years.

    Beck’s touring band will consist of Flash-era vocalist Jimmy Hall (Wet Willie), bassist Rhonda Smith, drummer Jonathan Joseph and guitarist Nicolas Meier.

    Texas guitar prodigy Tyler Bryant had recently been announced as the opening act for the vast majority of the tour dates. Bryant already has experience as an opener for Beck and also has cut his teeth on bills with Aerosmith, Lynyrd Skynyrd, B.B. King, Heart, Vince Gill and others.

    While ZZ Top and Beck have never toured together, this isn't the first live collaboration between the two camps. Gibbons joined Beck and his band on stage at the 25th anniversary celebration of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009 at Madison Square Garden, where they performed Jimi Hendrix’s “Foxey Lady” and ZZ Top’s hit “Rough Boy.” The following year, Beck joined ZZ Top in Lucca, Italy, for an extended rendition of “La Grange.”

    “Ever since experiencing ‘Jeff’s Boogie,’ the prospect of performance with Jeff Beck on the deck brings us into focus with the curator of crunch,” Gibbons said. “We could never figure out what Beck was doing on his instrument to get those sounds, and it was that mystery that inspired us to push our own sound to the next level. It is an honor to be sharing the stage with the curator of crunch.”

    Beck added: “Ever since Eliminator, I thought it would be great to play with ZZ Top.” He went on to call Gibbons “the Professor of Grunge.”

    2014 Jeff Beck with ZZ Top Tour:

    August 8 Ogren Park Missoula, MT
    August 9 Chateau Ste. Michelle Woodinville, WA
    August 10 Cuthbert Amphitheatre Eugene, OR
    August 12 The Mountain Winery Saratoga, CA
    August 13 Greek Amphitheatre Los Angeles, CA
    August 15 Ironstone Amphitheatre Murphys, CA
    August 16 The Joint Las Vegas, NV
    August 17 AVA Amphitheatre Tucson, AZ
    August 19 Sandia Casino Albuquerque, NM
    August 20 Fiddlers Green Amphitheatre Englewood, CO
    August 22 Zoo Amphitheatre Oklahoma City, OK
    August 23 Starlight Theater Kansas City, MO
    August 24 Verizon Wireless Amphitheater Maryland Heights, MO
    August 27 DTE Energy Music Theatre Clarkston, MI
    August 28 Ravinia Festival Highland Park, IL
    August 29 Seneca Allegany Casino Salamanca, NY
    August 30 Concert Venue @Harrah’s Atlantic City, NJ
    August 31 MGM Grand Theater @ Foxwoods Mashantucket, CT
    September 2 Blue Hills Bank Pavilion Boston, MA
    September 3 Merriweather Post Pavilion Columbia, MD *
    September 4 Nikon @ Jones Beach Theater Wantagh, NY
    September 6 Verizon Wireless Amphitheater Alpharetta, GA
    September 7 St. Augustine Amphitheater St. Augustine, FL
    September 9 Cruzan Amphitheater West Palm Beach, FL
    September 10 Midflorida Credit Union Amphitheater Tampa, FL
    September 12 Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion The Woodlands, TX
    September 13 Winstar Casino Thackerville, OK **

    *Tyler Bryant and Gary Clark Jr. open
    **ZZ Top and Jeff Beck only

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