Channel: Guitar World
Mark channel Not-Safe-For-Work? cancel confirm NSFW Votes: (0 votes)
Are you the publisher? Claim or contact us about this channel.

No Sinner Release Two Acoustic Videos, Announce US Tour


Vancouver’s No Sinner have released two acoustic videos; their cover of Nina Simone’s “Work Song,” plus an original titled “Love is a Madness.”

The band has also announced a North American tour, aptly titled “Save Your Soul.”

Described as a cross between Sharon Jones, Detroit Cobras and Alabama Shakes, No Sinner will kick off their new US dates on April 18 in Austin.

No Sinner will then continue through NYC in May followed by a premiere performance at the 14th annual AAA’s Non-Comm convention in Philadelphia, hosted by WXPN where the band will play to national radio programmers alongside the likes of Afghan Wigs, The Hold Steady, Sharon Van Etten and more.

“Work Song”:

“Love is a Madness”:

The band will then return to the UK for a BBC Radio 2 Unplugged performance and to play the Dot to Dot festival before hitting France, The Netherlands, and Germany for the remainder of their EU tour.

The four-piece, featuring powerful lead singer Colleen Rennison (whose last name is No Sinner spelled backwards), is quickly capturing the ears of new fans both home and abroad. Even Glen Matlock (yes, THAT Glen Matlock of the Sex Pistols) is a fan.

Colleen was recently nominated for the Canadian version of an Oscar for her work in indie film, Down River and is featured in the CBC documentary Cue The Muse.

No Sinner’s upcoming North-American debut album, Boo Hoo Hoo, comes out on June 24 on Provogue Records / Mascot Label Group.

Tour Dates:

April 18 Austin, TX Stubb’s Insideå
April 19 Dallas, TX Curtain Club
April 21 New Orleans, LA Howlin’ Wolf
April 22 Tallahassee, FL Club Downunder @ FSU
April 26 Mobile, AL Road To Hangout Festival
April 28 Charleston, SC Tin Roof
May 1 Jacksonville, AL Brothers Bar
May 2 Birmingham, AL The Nick
May 3 Atlanta, GA Smith’s Olde Bar
May 08 The Garrison Toronto, ON
May 09 Rivoli Toronto, ON
May 10 Quai des Brumes Montreal, QC
May 13 New York, NY Pianos
May 14 Philadelphia, PA World Café (AAA Non Com Convention)

For more on No Sinner, head to nosinner.com.

William Fitzsimmons Premieres Video for “Lions”


William Fitzsimmons has premiered the video for his new track "Lions.”

This is the second track off his recently released fifth studio album, Lions.

This simplistic, dreamy video features only Fitzsimmons and his guitar in a sun-soaked workshop.

Fitzsimmons commented on its simplicity: "The older I get, the more of a sucker I am for strong, simple flavors," he says. "There's something cool (about) seeing if you can make something fly without too much makeup."

Fitzsimmons will embark on a North American tour in support of Lions, kicking off next week with two New York shows on April 15 at Littlefield in Brooklyn and on April 16 at the NYU Skirball Center for Performing Arts.

Watch the video below:

Along the way Fitzsimmons will stop in major markets like Nashville, Los Angeles, Toronto, Chicago and play the Houston Free Press Summer Fest on June 1 before ending his tour on June 15 in Cambridge, MA at The Sinclair.

Lions was produced by Chris Walla (guitarist for Death Cab For Cutie with previous production credits with Tegan and Sara, The Decemberists and The Postal Service among others) at Hall of Justice in Seattle. On this record, Fitzsimmons explores his personal changes over the years since 2011's release Gold In The Shadow.

2014 Tour Dates

15 - Brooklyn, NY - Littlefield*
16 - New York, NY - NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts*
17 - Philadelphia, PA - Union Transfer*
18 - Pittsburgh, PA - Rex Theater*
20 - Washington, DC - The Howard Theatre^
21 - Baltimore, MD - Metro Gallery***
22 - Charlottesville, VA - The Southern*
24 - Raleigh, NC - The Pour House*
25 - Atlanta, GA - Vinyl^
26 - Chattanooga, TN - Barking Legs Theater^
27 - Nashville, TN - Exit In*

03 - Milwaukee, WI - Shank Hall^
04 - Madison, WI - Majestic Theatre^
06 - Iowa City, IA - The Englert Theatre^
07 - Minneapolis, MN - Cedar Cultural Center^
08 - Omaha, NE - Waiting Room^
10 - Denver, CO - Daniels Hall @ Swallow Hill^
11 - Boulder, CO - eTown Hall
13 - Salt Lake City, UT - The State Room^
15 - Seattle, WA - The Triple Door (Early & Late show)^
16 - Bellingham, WA - The Wild Buffalo^
17 - Vancouver, BC - Biltmore Cabaret^
18 - Portland, OR - Doug Fir Lounge^
19 - Eugene, OR - WOW Hall^
21 - Sacramento, CA - Harlows^
22 - San Francisco, CA - The Independent^
23 - Los Angeles, CA - Largo at the Coronet^
24 - Los Angeles, CA - Troubadour^
25 - Pomona, CA - The Glass house*
27 - Las Vegas, NV - Vinyl at Hard Rock Hotel Casino*
28 - Phoenix, AZ - The Crescent Ballroom*
30 - Dallas, TX - The Kessler Theater*
31 - Austin, TX - The Parish*

01 - Houston, TX - Free Press Summer Fest
05 - St. Louis, MO - The Gramophone*
06 - Chicago, IL - Old Town School of Folk Music*
07 - Ann Arbor, MI - The Ark*
08 - Toronto, ON - The Mod Club*
09 - Buffalo, NY - Iron Works*
11 - Quebec, QC - Le Cercle**
12 - Montreal, QC - Cafe Campus**
13 - Burlington, VT - Signal Kitchen*
14 - Northhampton, MA - Iron Horse*
15 - Cambridge, MA - The Sinclair*

*- w/ Leif Vollebekk
^- w/ Ben Sollee
**- An Evening With William Fitzsimmons
***- w/ Jake Phillips

Find out more at williamfitzsimmons.com.

Video: Kiss Inducted Into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame


Last night, Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello inducted Kiss into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Be sure to check out the 13-minute-long video below, which shows the band's entire induction speech.

The clip shows a slightly jarring sight — former Kiss members Peter Criss and Ace Frehley sharing the stage (once again) with current members Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons.

"To Ace Frehley, his iconic guitar playing has been imitated but never equaled by generations of guitar players around the world," Simmons said to the crowd at a packed Barclays Center. "To Peter Criss ... well, there's not a guy out there who beats the sticks like Peter. Nobody's got that swing and that style." He added that there was no one better to have on your team than Paul Stanley, saying, "We wouldn't be here today without the original fantastic four."

"When I was 13 years old and I picked up my first guitar, I always sensed I was going to be into something big," Frehley told the crowd. "Little did I know a few years later, there it was."

Perhaps Kiss guitarist Paul Stanley summed it up best when he thanked the band's fans, who made the induction happen. He also garnered the biggest applause when he bashed the critics who had been bashing the band for decades:

"I believe the spirit of rock and roll is that you follow your own path regardless of your critics and regardless of your peers. And I think we've done that for 40 years. Here we are tonight basically being inducted for the same things that we were kept out from." He added, "The people pay for tickets. The people buy albums. The people who nominate, do not."

As promised, Kiss did not perform last night, despite very audible pleading from fans.

Additional Content

Steel Panther Premiere NSFW Music Video for "Gloryhole"


The guys in Steel Panther have released yet another NSFW music video. This time, it's for a track called “Gloryhole.”

The song is from the band's new album, All You Can Eat, which was released earlier this month.

Check out the video below and let us know what you think in the comments!

Remember: It's NSFW and contains explicit language and partial nudity. In fact, the clip even starts off with the following warning to viewers: "Portions of this video may contain graphic imagery which may offend and/or trigger sensitive viewers. Not recommended for viewing by persons under the age of 18."

By the way, if any of you guitar players out there want to learn how to play "Gloryhole," check out this exclusive Guitar World lesson by Steel Panther guitarist Satchel. The complete lesson includes tab and two videos. YOU CAN FIND IT HERE.

But wait, there's more! The YouTube player directly below the new music video contains an official stream of the entire new Steel Panther album. Enjoy!

Metal For Life with Metal Mike: Combining Various Techniques to Form Powerful Rhythm Parts


This video is bonus content related to the May 2014 issue of Guitar World. For the full range of interviews, features, tabs and more, pick up the new issue on newsstands now or at the Guitar World Online Store.

Last month, I demonstrated ways that you can combine metal-style rhythm-guitar techniques and devices, such as two-note power chords and single-note riffs, to form powerfully hooky rhythm parts.

When doing this, my goal is to maintain a melodic sensibility within rhythm figures that also serve to propel and drive a song’s groove. This month, I’ll expand on this approach by including full-voiced chords along with droning open strings, fast palm-muted single-note lines, dyads and triads.

In doing so, I’ll demonstrate a range of useful metal techniques that you can focus on within one self-contained and intrinsically melodic rhythm part.

Review: Tweak and Destroy — Randall Thrasher Head


For the last 25 years or so, Randall amplifiers have played an influential role in shaping the sound of modern metal.

Dimebag Darrell’s preference for Randall amps like the RG-100 and his signature Warhead model completely changed metal guitarists’ minds about the virtues of solid-state amps.

Back in 2005, Randall raised approving eyebrows with their revolutionary MTS Series tube amps, featuring modular preamps designed by Bruce Egnater, which were endorsed by Kirk Hammett, Scott Ian and George Lynch. That led to the development of Randall Signature Series amps for Hammett, Ian and Lynch.

In April 2012, Randall announced a new partnership with design engineer Mike Fortin of Fortin Amplification, known for his acclaimed high-gain tube amp designs. As a result, Randall has introduced two entirely new amp lines designed by Fortin—the Thrasher Series and RD Diavlo Series—that usher in a new era of all-tube amps designed for the modern metal connoisseur.

With the exception of their current signature models (which include amps designed for Nuno Bettencourt, Ola Englund, Hammet, Ian and Lynch), the Thrasher head is the current reigning flagship overlord of Randall’s current amp offerings, providing a bone-crushing 120 watts of output and some of the biggest, baddest sounds ever to emanate from four glowing tubes.


The Randall Thrasher head is big beast of an amp, harnessing the power of four 6L6 power amp tubes and six 12AX7 preamp tubes to provide 120 watts of output with incredibly saturated gain. It features two fully independent channels (clean and gain), each with its own volume, gain, bass, middle and treble controls, and three-position shift switch to change each channels voicing.

Both channels share a boost switch; when engaged, it boosts Channel 2 by a preset amount, but Channel 1 has a boost knob that lets the user control the amount of gain. Channel 1 (the gain channel) additionally has separate high-frequency and low-frequency gain controls, and Channel 2 (clean) includes a bright switch.

The master section has master volume, depth and presence controls. Separate 1/4-inch input jacks are provided for guitars with passive or active pickups, and a channel-selection switch is located beneath the inputs in case you want to select channels without a foot controller.

The Thrasher’s rear panel is loaded with professional features that recording engineers and guitar techs dream of alike. In addition to a wide array of speaker output jacks, the rear panel features XLR emulated and 1/4-inch raw line outputs with a ground-lift switch, and an effect loop with series and parallel return jacks and adjustable send level. There are also voltmeter test points and bias controls, and two 1/4-inch footswitch jacks for engaging the effect loop and selecting channels and the boost functions using the included two-button footswitch controller.


When it comes to modern high-gain metal tones, the Thrasher is simply mind blowing. The preamp’s multiple gain stages produce layer upon layer of harmonically rich textures that sound like several guitars playing at once. Channel 1’s separate low- and high-frequency gain controls provide incredible tone sculpting power.

By boosting the high-frequency gain and turning down the low-frequency gain, upper strings benefit from greater sustain and compression while the bottom end retains crunch, definition and fast attack. These controls are particularly useful for guitarists playing seven- or eight-string or baritone guitars. Even with the gain boosted to the max, the amp produces virtually imperceptible white noise, making a noise gate unnecessary unless you need an on/off clamp for palm muting or other rhythmic effects.

The clean channel is equally impressive in its own right, producing crystalline highs, robust mids and tight percussive bass. The clean channel’s headroom is impressive, but if you want overdrive crunch, it’s available by engaging the boost switch. I’m not a fan of reverb on high-powered amp heads, so I’m glad it’s absent here, but the clean tones sound phenomenal with a digital reverb unit patched into the effect loop.

While the Thrasher ships with 6L6 tubes, it can accommodate EL34 or 6550/KT88 tubes as well. I installed a quartet of 6550s into it, made the appropriate bias adjustments, and was blown away at the massive, chunky and tight tones that emanated forth. If you prefer smoother and more compressed tones, EL34 tubes are the way to go, but no matter what type of tube you choose, the Randall Thrasher delivers the goods when you want the power and the glory of today’s most aggressive high-gain tones.


LIST PRICE $2,699.99

MANUFACTURER Randall/U.S. Music Corp., randallamplifiers.com

A two-channel 120-watt amp head featuring separate gain and clean channels, each with its own boost switch.

The gain channel features high-frequency and low-frequency gain controls that allow guitarists to sculpt incredibly complex tones.

Voltmeter test points and bias controls make it easy to swap tube types or ensure optimum performance at gigs and on the road.

Three-position shift controls for each channel change the voicing of the tone stacks, giving users even greater control over the amp’s tonal character and response.


Connoisseurs of high-gain tones will immediately want to experience the powerful capabilities of the Randall Thrasher, which is likely to go down in history as a legendary amp in metal guitar circles.

Video: Joan Jett and Nirvana Members Perform "Smells Like Teen Spirit" at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony


As we've reported, all four original members of Kiss were on hand last night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, when the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

But that was only one of the highlights of the action-packed night.

At midnight, rocker Joan Jett took the stage with the surviving members of Nirvana, and the quartet dived head first into "Smells Like Teen Spirit." The Nirvana gang — Dave Grohl, Pat Smear and Krist Novoselic — hadn't performed a Kurt Cobain-written song together since their troubled frontman killed himself in 1994.

But there was more: After Jett's performance, Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon joined the band for "Aneurysm" and Annie Clark (aka St. Vincent) sang "Lithium." The Nirvana segment of the show closed with Lorde's emotional version of "All Apologies."

You can check out a video of Jett and the Nirvana members below.

Additional Content

The Old 97's to Release New Album, 'Most Messed Up,' April 29


The Old 97's will release their new album, Most Messed Up, April 29 via ATO.

The album, which was recorded in Austin and produced by Salim Nourallah, features guest appearances by Tommy Stinson (the Replacements, Guns N' Roses) and Jon Rauhouse (Neko Case) on lap steel.

Most Messed Up, which has been called a rock opera of sorts, is a revealing, 12-track meditation on 20 years in music that finds the band at their raucous, boozy best.

Titles like "Wasted,""Intervention,""Wheels Off,""Let's Get Drunk & Get It On" and "Most Messed Up" hint at the kind of narrators frontman Rhett Miller likes to inhabit, guys who possess an appetite for indulgence and won't let a few bad decisions get in the way of a good story.

"There's a lot of darkness hidden in this record," Miller says. In terms of working with Stinson (Check out the video below!), Miller adds: “Having him in the equation just added an element of wheels-off insanity, you know, true rock and roll."

The Old 97's emerged from Dallas 20 years ago at the forefront of a musical movement blending rootsy, country-influenced songwriting with punk rock energy. Most Messed Up follows their recent two-volume set, The Grand Theatre, and their 2013 EP, Old 97's & Waylon Jennings.

Old 97's kick off a headlining tour this weekend. Head HERE for a full list of dates. For more about the band, and to pre-order the album, visit old97s.com.

Most Messed Up Tracklist:

01. "Longer Than You've Been Alive"
02. "Give It Time"
03. "Let's Get Drunk & Get It On"
04. "This Is The Ballad"
05. "Wheels Off"
06. "Nashville"
07. "Wasted"
08. "Guadalajara"
09. "The Disconnect"
10. "The Ex Of All You See"
11. "Intervention"
12. "Most Messed Up"

Guitarist and Berklee Professor Scott Tarulli Discusses His New Album, 'Anytime, Anywhere'


As a Berklee College of Music professor, Scott Tarulli is well versed in all things rock, blues and jazz (His friends know he also happens to be a closet Dio-loving metal head).

His new album, Anytime, Anywhere, features a treasure trove of hooks and catchy songs; it also happens to feature special guests including bebop slide guitar legend David Tronzo, bassist Tony Levin and Jerry Marotta. I recently caught up with Tarulli to discuss the new album.

What was it like working with David Tronzo on the song "One Year"?

Dave is a great guy, and we've known each other for years but never got a chance to play music together.

I've always been a big fan of his, and the song "One Year" on my new album was perfect for him. It was a great session. He came in and the band sat in a circle and we tracked it live. No fixes or overdubs. It came out to be a great dialogue between us. It my favorite track on the album.

You’re a very active sideman. What gear do you use for your projects, as compared to session work?

I do a good amount of live and studio work as a sideman. For my music, my live rig is strictly an Orange OR50 head through an Orange 2x12 or 4x12 closed-back cab. I love my Music Man Silhouette guitars. I have those stocked with Seymour Duncan pickups. I use Xotic pedals like the BB, AC and RC for boost/gain tones, and then various vintage modulation pedals. I also use the MXR Carbon Copy delay, and I also have a Mike Battle Tube Tape Echo.

As for sideman work, it really comes down to the artist and genre. I'm more likely to play old Fender, Vox or Marshall amps in the studio for other artists, and Telecasters, Gibsons, etc. Most of the sideman work I do is classic-sounding tones and textures, so I stick with that kind of gear. I use pedals for effects, and that totally depends on the gig.

How might an album go down that you get hired for?

If the artist/producer wants the band to play live, there is usually a rehearsal, but I find a lot of what I get called for is coming in to add textures, rhythm parts and leads to existing tracks. I usually show up with various guitars and amps and hear the stuff for the first time in the session. Then it’s all about hashing out ideas to give the song shape. I am a big fan of that type of guitar playing, the old Philly soul records, Beatles albums, James Brown and even pop albums. I always loved how theses great guitar players brought the songs to life with tiny parts or groove. But basically, I think about intonation, tone and taste when I show up. The studio can get tense at times. Keeping the vibe light and not taking life so serious is a big help in the recording process.

Some of the songs were tracked totally live without fixes or overdubs. On some you added overdubs to pan out the arrangements. Can you discuss this approach?

Yes, I was so lucky to have players on board who were great listeners and great players. I have to admit, I was nervous I might hate a solo I played in a take. There are a few tunes I redid solos on, but songs like "Awake,""One Year" and "1 AM" were totally live, including the solos. Even if I didn't think the solo was perfect, It was hard to change because the band was gelling. In the end it was more important to keep the band's vibe rather than replace the solo for demonstration purposes.

You also worked with Jerry Marotta (Peter Gabriel. Paul McCartney, David Foster, Hall & Oates), and Tony Levin (King Crimson, Peter Gabriel, Alice Cooper, John Lennon). That must have been pretty amazing.

Working with Jerry Marotta and Tony Levin was a dream come true. I met them while doing a singer songwriter album at Jerry's Dreamland studio in Woodstock, New York. He was producing the album and we hit it off as players and as people. Tony was also on this album; I ended up going out to Dreamland and tracking two songs for my album ("1 AM" and "Last Time"). The basics were tracked live. It was surreal for me sitting across from Tony and playing live with them. These two have been heroes of mine for decades. I've also seen them on big stages while growing up. And let me tell you, they couldn't be kinder people.

Who are some of your other influences?

I picked up the guitar at 12 because of Buck Dharma's solo on "Veteran of the Psychic Wars" from Blue Oyster Cult's live album. Also, REO Speedwagon was so cool to me. That is when Hi Infidelity came out. Then I was totally into Joe Satriani, Def Leppard, Whitesnake, Ozzy and Richie Sambora. I still am. But then I got into soul albums and went into a heavy jazz phase. I guess if I had to name big inspirations, I'd say Herbie Hancock, Jimi Hendrix, Cornell Dupree, later-era John Coltrane, Bill Evans, Jeff Beck, Steve Lukather, James Burton and anyone who played guitar on all of the wonderful pop albums I love.

You told me the album was written and recorded a little over a year after your divorce. How did this affect the writing?

Yes, there were huge changes in my life while writing and tracking this album. So the performance and the songs are a product of that part of my life. I'll never relive that era again, and this album is a snapshot of how I felt, what I was or wasn't eating, what I was drinking and the sleep I never got. I think you hear it all in my playing.

To be honest, the year was crazy, almost a blur. But it makes the album that much more special to me. I chose the sequence of songs very carefully. It’s meant to be heard in one sitting. I reference melodies throughout the album and connect it that way. And there is a shape to the album. Life in real time.

For more about Tarulli, visit scotttarulli.com.

David Gray Releases New Single, “Back In The World”


David Gray has released the lead single off of his new album today.

Listen below to “Back In The World,” which is also available for purchase on iTunes.

Gray's upcoming album, Mutineers, will debut on June 17.

The collection finds the singer-songwriter steering into unfamiliar territory while cultivating a pugnacious but respectful relationship with his own history.

The sound of the release is a shift instantly audible upon its first listen. In addition to the change in tone, there’s a rising sense throughout the record of an artist liberated from even his own expectations.

Listen to “Back In The World”:

In addition to the album announcement, Gray recently confirmed that he will be returning to the United States for a select run of theater dates dates this spring. The sold-out, eight-city tour kicks off in Los Angeles, CA on April 24 at Wilshire Ebel Theatre. Full routing below:

Tour Dates
April 24th Los Angeles, CA - Wilshire Ebell Theatre
April 25th San Francisco, CA - Palace of Fine Arts
April 27th Tacoma, WA - Pantages Theatre
April 29th Washington, DC - Lincoln Theatre
April 30th New York, NY - Grand Ballroom
May 2nd Philadelphia, PA - Temple Performing Arts Centre
May 3rd Boston, MA - Emerson Colonial Theatre
May 4th Toronto, ON - Danforth Theatre

For more information please visit davidgray.com.

NYC's Only Woman-Owned and Staffed Lutherie Opens Doors


Created to serve the needs of the local community, Brooklyn Lutherie has opened its doors to the public.

A place where musicians of all skill levels, particularly women, can feel comfortable and confident bringing their instruments, Brooklyn Lutherie represents a new approach in stringed instrument repair and restoration.

It is an accommodating, one-stop shop, focused on repair and restoration, where customers feel fully informed, not kept in the dark about any aspect of their repairs.

Brooklyn Lutherie is founded by Mamie Minch and Chloe Swantner. Expert technicians and working musicians, Mamie and Chloe founded Brooklyn Lutherie after serving, respectively, as head of repair and master technician at Retrofret, the well-known, Brooklyn-based music store specializing in sales, repair and restoration of vintage stringed instruments.

“We created Brooklyn Lutherie to meet our vision of an inclusive, one-stop shop for all your repairs and restorations for both fretted and violin-family instruments,” said co-founder Mamie Minch.

“We are strong with vintage pieces. We are fast and good, and for us, client relationships are paramount. As active members of the local Brooklyn community, we aim to be the ‘Musician’s Fixers’; people whom you know and trust, and who get the work done the way you want it.”

Mamie Minch and Chloe Swantner of Brooklyn Lutherie.

Coming from different backgrounds and drawing upon varied expertise, Mamie and Chloe have teamed up to provide traditional craftsmanship in their repairs and restoration for the working musician. Mamie Minch brings a no-nonsense approach to her specialty of fixing fretted instruments, and has a particular, intuitive expertise in vintage guitars. Having served an apprenticeship under a master builder, Chloe Swantner is a violinmaker and violin-family expert who brings an inherent elegance to all her repairs and who creates custom-made instruments on commission.

“We are known as working musicians and we treat customers they way we would want to be treated, with respect and transparency,” said co-founder Chloe Swantner. “We are approachable and non-discriminatory, and provide a welcoming atmosphere for our customers, especially women. We provide quick turnaround at sensible rates, and with a wide breadth of skills and a high level of craftsmanship, using traditional techniques and materials.”

Chloe and Mamie know that setups and repairs are not one-size-fits-all, but should be tailored to meet customers’ needs. Brooklyn Lutherie’s fresh approach to repair and restoration is based on the creation of good long-term relationships with clients, which makes the work Mamie and Chloe do possible. Brooklyn Lutherie values sharing knowledge with customers; provides long-lasting work, warrantied for 90 days; and gives accurate quotes so clients know what they’re getting into.

In addition, Brooklyn Lutherie is the only woman-owned and staffed stringed-instrument repair and restoration shop in New York City.

Find out more at brooklynlutherie.com.

Sunday Strum: Episode 4 Strum Power Chords Four Ways


In Episode 4 of Sunday Strum, I focus on strumming power chords four different ways.

Utilizing these four variations while keeping the rhythm the same will yield different vibes each time.

While the changes are simple, they may get you out of a creative rut or even help you to learn a song more accurately.

The rhythm I chose to demonstrate this is just a measure of eighth notes in 4/4 time.

Keep in mind, these variations can be applied to other patterns as well.

Feel free to experiment with different chords changes and rhythms as you get the hang of it!

Variations 1 & 3:

Variations 2 & 4:

Contest: Enter to Win a G. Love Signature Eastwood Black and Blue Guitar


Teaser Content: 

To celebrate the release of the new album, <em>Sugar</em>, G. Love & Special Sauce have teamed with Acoustic Nation and Guitar World to give away this super cool signature guitar and some other goodies.

G. Love Guitar Giveaway

To celebrate the release of their new album, Sugar, G. Love & Special Sauce have teamed with Acoustic Nation and Guitar World to give away this super cool signature guitar and some other goodies.

Enter now to win an Eastwood Airline '59 Custom 3P DLX - G. Love Signature Black and Blue guitar.

This funky beauty is not only cool to look at, its features include:
• Body: Tone Chambered Mahogany
• Colours: G. Love Signature Black and Blue, White, Seafoam Green
• Pickups: 2 Airline Vintage Voiced Single Coil and 1 Alnico Hot-10 Humbucker in the middle position
• Switching: 5-Way, Vintage Switchplate
• Controls: 3 Volume, 3 Tone, 1 Master Volume
• Bridge: Roller, BIGSBY tremolo
• Neck: Bound Maple, Bolt-on
• Finger Board: Rosewood, Block Markers
• Scale Length: 25 1/2" (648mm)
• Width at the Nut: 1 11/16"
• Hardware: Vintage Kluson Style Nickel/Chrome
Valued at $1,199.

Sugar by G Love & Special SauceWe’ll also send you a copy of the Sugar CD plus a set of G. Love Signature Hot Sauces in three different flavors - Original, Caribbean Lolo Hot, and Sambal. Holy smokes!

You’ve got to be a U.S. resident to win and we’ll be picking the winner on May 1, so enter now!

And read our interview with G. Love here and don’t forget to preorder yourself some funky Sugar here. You'll get a free instant download of the track, "One Night Romance." You’ll be glad you did!

All entries must be submitted by April 30, 2014.<p><a href="/official_contest_rules">Official Rules and Regulations</a>
Please send me the free Guitar World and Acoustic Nation newsletters, with information about our family of magazines and web sites, and musical instrument manufacturers.
Please send me more information from our partners.

Hear Led Zeppelin Perform "Good Times Bad Times" and "Communication Breakdown" Live in Paris, 1969


Led Zeppelin are streaming a tasty piece of content from the upcoming newly remastered version of their 1969 debut album.

Check out the complete live performance of the band's "Good Times Bad Times" / "Communication Breakdown" medley from an October 10, 1969, performance at the L'Olympia in Paris.

Tell us what you think in the comments below or on Facebook!

The live disc — featuring the complete Paris show — makes up the bonus material that will be included with the deluxe reissue of Led Zeppelin, which will be released June 3 by Atlantic/Swan Song. The album — and every Led Zeppelin album — has been remastered by Jimmy Page.

Here's the complete track listing from the deluxe version of Led Zeppelin:

Led Zeppelin track listing:

01. Good Times Bad Times
02. Babe I'm Gonna Leave You
03. You Shook Me
04. Dazed And Confused
05. Your Time Is Gonna Come
06. Black Mountain Side
07. Communication Breakdown
08. I Can't Quit You Baby
09. How Many More Times

Companion Audio Disc: Live At The Olympia - Paris, France October 10, 1969:

01. Good Times Bad Times/Communication Breakdown
02. I Can't Quit You Baby
03. Heartbreaker
04. Dazed And Confused
05. White Summer/Black Mountain Side
06. You Shook Me
07. Moby Dick
08. How Many More Times

Additional Content

Exclusive Video Premiere: Peter Mulvey "What Else Was It"


Today we’re happy to give you the premiere of Peter Mulvey’s video for “What Else Was It.”

Featuring actress Flora Coker, the track comes from Mulvey’s latest album, Silver Ladder.

The video is simple, but the message is clear. “Visually, this video says what I want the song to say to people: that life is a fleeting, aching, luminous mystery,” Mulvey shares.

“Josh and Michael at Mindpool did fine work filming and editing it, and Flora Coker, one of my favorite actors, was stellar."

Produced by the indomitable Chuck Prophet, Silver Ladder is a lean, muscular collection of tightly constructed songs, leavening Mulvey’s tendency toward ruminative and yearning acoustic songs with a dose of sharp-witted, punchy rock and roll.

“What Else Was It” just might be the album’s most special track.

Mulvey confesses, “When we were done tracking, David Kemper, the drummer on the record (who played with Dylan for five years) walked across the studio from his booth and took my hand and said, ‘I hope you know how special this song is.' It really touched me.”

Watch the premiere of “What Else Was It” below:

Find out more at petermulvey.com.

New Book, 'Crazy Train,' Revisits the 'High Life and Tragic Death of Randy Rhoads'


Crazy Train: The High Life and Tragic Death of Randy Rhoads by Joel McIver — featuring a foreword by Zakk Wylde and an afterword by Yngwie Malmsteen — is available now at the Guitar World Online Store.

Randall Rhoads, born in California in 1956 and cut down in his prime at the age of 26, has been an immense influence on a whole generation of musicians in rock and metal.

He first came to international prominence in 1979, when he was recruited from the cult metal band Quiet Riot to play with Ozzy Osbourne, who had been fired from Black Sabbath for his drink and drug addictions and was in urgent need of a co-writer to kickstart a solo career. How and why Ozzy and Randy went on to find enormous success is one of the key themes of Crazy Train, named after the first and most famous Osbourne/Rhoads co-composition.

It was Randy's pioneering combination of neo-classical soloing, catchy riffage and unforgettable songwriting which propelled Ozzy to stardom in his own right — even after thousands of Black Sabbath fans had written him off. The two albums which Randy recorded with Quiet Riot and the two with Ozzy showcase the young guitarist's immense ability, although the full extent of his talent may never have been revealed.

In 1982 he died in an air crash, the victim of the pilot's cocaine-influenced misjudgment. The parallels between Crazy Train and the author's best-selling To Live Is To Die: The Life and Death of Cliff Burton (Jawbone 2009) are intentional and obvious. Both books deal with a musical prodigy who died tragically in his mid-20s; both men have a vast following and a profile which has risen and risen in the years since their deaths; and both men have a large coterie of friends, family and associates prepared to tell their stories for the very first time.

Published by Jawbone Press, $19.95.

The book is available now at the Guitar World Online Store.

Additional Content

Thirty Great Guitarists — Including Steve Vai, David Gilmour and Eddie Van Halen — Pick the Greatest Guitarists of All Time


Who is the greatest guitarist on the planet?

On the face of it, that question is a no-brainer: It's Hendrix. Or Clapton. Or Page. Or Beck. Or ... is it?

In 2010, as Guitar World was celebrating its 30th anniversary, we picked 30 guitarists and asked them to name their guitar heroes — and the results will surprise you.

ANGUS YOUNG by Joe Perry

Apart from the usual suspects—Page, Clapton, Beck, Hendrix and Peter Green—one of my favorite guitarists is Angus Young. I first saw him when AC/DC opened up for Aerosmith in the Seventies.

They played about 25 dates with us, and I was just overwhelmed by his energy and ability to do his acrobatics without missing a note. He definitely had an influence on me inasmuch as his solos always had a purpose. Instead of using all the traditional tricks, he found a way to get inside those licks and be inventive. My favorite AC/DC song is probably “Sin City.”

For me, the essence of a good guitarist is someone who plays what the song calls for. It’s about listening to the music as a whole and then doing what you need to do. Sometimes it’s not even what you play; it’s what you don’t play. Which brings us back to Angus Young.

CHUCK BERRY by Angus Young

When I was growing up, everyone used to rave about Clapton, saying he was a guitar genius and stuff like that. Well, even on a bad night, Chuck Berry is a lot better than Clapton will ever be.

Rock music has been around since the days when Chuck Berry put it all together. He combined the blues, country and rockabilly, and put his own poetry on top, and that became rock and roll. And it’s been hanging in there.

AC/DC’s whole career has been playing rock and roll, and I’m sure you still get a lot of people tuning in to bands like us and the Stones. Younger bands will be plugging into it and taking it into the next realm. There’s always going to be another generation that will take it and give it to a new, younger audience, so I think it will just keep going on.

STEVE VAI by Tom Morello

Some instrumental guitar players are lost in a muso fog. Steve Vai is not one of them. He’s an artist, and one of the greats.

I’ve certainly learned from him, especially from his work ethic. I started playing guitar very late, when I was 17 years old. I felt really behind, and when I read about Steve’s practice regimen it really encouraged me. It also nearly killed me! While doing my college studies I was also practicing eight hours a day to amass the kind of technique that I admired in players like him and Randy Rhoads.

Once, Steve was doing a presentation at GIT, and he asked me to do it with him. He told me he’d also invited Steve Lukather, Stanley Jordan, Joe Satriani. I said, “No, bro, it sounds like it’s gonna be a shred-off.” But he said, “We’re not even gonna play; we’re just gonna discuss our craft.” So I said, “Okay, I’ll do it.”

A couple of days before the event, he says to me, “Just bring your amp and guitar along in case we have to demonstrate techniques.” So of course, I get there for soundcheck, and my worst nightmare has come true: it was six of us in a row with our guitars, and it was nonstop shredding the whole time.

TONY IOMMI by James Hetfield

As far as being a riff-and-rhythm guy, my favorite guitarist is Tony Iommi. He inspired me to want to play heavy.

I admired other rhythm players, like AC/DC’s Malcolm Young, who’d just stay in the back and hold it down, and the Scorpions’ Rudy Schenker, who has a lot of percussiveness in his playing. I also liked Rush’s Alex Lifeson—people wouldn’t think of him as a rhythm player, but he comes up with some pretty amazing offbeat things.

But Iommi is the main man. To me, he seemed like one of those quiet geniuses. At one time he was the frontman of Black Sabbath, and Ozzy was off to one side; at that time, the riff was more important than the vocals. Tony can go from the heaviest minor-key doom riff to a happy mode, and it will still sound heavy. Metallica can’t do happy, but Tony can pull it off. My favorite Black Sabbath track is “Into the Void.”

ERIC CLAPTON by Eddie Van Halen

Clapton was it. I knew every note he played. Mammoth—me, Alex Van Halen and a bass player we knew—were the junior Cream.

Being limited gear-wise forced me to find my own voice on the guitar. That’s why Eric Clapton’s live jams with Cream were such an influence on me. Back in ’68, he was pretty much just using natural distortion on those live tracks on Wheels of Fire and Goodbye.

I had no money and couldn’t afford a fuzz box or a wah-wah or a ring modulator, or whatever Hendrix had in his whole rig. I just plugged straight into an amp and turned it up to 11. So in order to get a different or unique sound, I had to learn to squeeze it out of the strings with just my fingers. I never had a guitar lesson in my life, except from listening to Eric Clapton records.

JIM McCARTY by Ted Nugent

I discovered the most powerful musical influence of my entire life when I played the Walled Lake Casino outside of Detroit. It was either 1959 or 1960. My band the Lourdes opened up for Martha & the Vandellas, Gene Pitney, and Billy Lee & the Rivieras, who went on to become Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels. Their guitarist was Jim McCarty, who played a Gibson Byrdland through a Fender Twin.

Standing there watching McCarty rip into his leads, I thought, Dear god in heaven, what is that? It was so outrageous, so noisy, yet so musical and so rhythmical. I realized that simply playing a song would never do again.

After I heard him play, I went on a gee-hah to get a Byrdland and a Fender Twin amp—because of the crispness, the thickness, the style of his playing. It was about using all the fingers, all the strings, all the time.

That’s where the multi-rhythmic patterns on my song “Stranglehold” come from, with all the grace rhythms, all the counter-rhythms, all the pedal tones that never stop. I’m playing multiple parts on the guitar by using various incremental touches to each string. And that’s because of McCarty.

KEITH RICHARDS by Steven Van Zandt

The British invasion of 1964 to 1966 turned Americans on to our own rock and roll pioneers and blues players. I grew up on Keith Richards, and his lead on the Stones’ versions of Chuck Berry songs helped reinvent the guitar for Beck, Clapton and Jimmy Page.

I always felt that you go through that muso phase and stay there or get out. I went out the other end. I didn’t want to be a virtuoso for a minute. So I came full circle to the fact that the guitar solo must serve the song—that’s more important.

JIMMY HERRING by Alex Skolnick

Some may not know Jimmy Herring’s name, but they will know the bands that he’s played with: the Allman Brothers, the Grateful Dead, Widespread Panic, and Jazz Is Dead. He’s a hero of the jam-band scene, which is kind of funny, as stylistically he’s very influenced by jazz.

Jimmy has his own band called Aquarium Rescue Unit, who operate on a level similar to [jazz-fusion group] Weather Report. Having said that, although people like the Dave Matthews Band and Bruce Hornsby took them out on tour and begged their own label to sign them, Aquarium Rescue Unit never got a decent record deal and eventually disbanded [in 1997]. They reunited in 2005 and have played somewhat sporadically since then.

Jimmy is an incredible player. He has the bluesiness of Warren Haynes or Johnny Winter and the vocabulary of John Scofield, with an element of Steve Morse thrown in. If that sounds appealing, then track down a copy of Aquarium Rescue Unit’s 1993 album, Mirrors of Embarrassment. Play it, and you’ll wonder why you’ve never heard of him until now.


The first gig I ever went to was Deep Purple, during their Machine Head period. They played “Highway Star,” and it blew me away. And that’s when I decided to start playing guitar.

Ritchie Blackmore was a huge influence because he was flashy. I love really flashy lead guitar playing, and Blackmore’s technique is great. It’s aggressive. When he hit a chord, it was like being punched in the face. I don’t really care about finger picking, and acoustic doesn’t satisfy me. It’s electric, screaming loud rock that I love.

As far as what he’s doing now [playing Renaissance-style music with Blackmore’s Night], I honestly respect him. The fact that he’s still playing and is passionate about it is great, even if it is a bit wonky and weird. He can take liberties. He’s Ritchie Blackmore.


When I think of underrated guitarists, I go for some of the guys in really big bands, the ones who get overshadowed by the achievements of their band act. For instance, when Journey is mentioned, you think of great songs and amazing vocals. But who ever praises Neal Schon? And that guy can play up a storm.

That’s why I pick Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing from Judas Priest. It’s two guitarists, yes, but you always think of them as one. They are the ultimate twin guitarists in metal—they go together. Just listen to the amazing riffs they’ve come up with over the years. And these guys can shred with the best.

Tipton and Downing have influenced generations of young guitarists, but a lot of the time these kids don’t even realize that what they’re playing all started with Judas Priest. Tipton and Downing have also given metal a subtlety that’s often overlooked. Both appreciate that sometimes you are most effective when you back off the pedal a little. You don’t need to be blazing all the time.

They’ve worked together for so long that each immediately understands what to do in a song. Sometimes Tipton is soloing and Downing is riffing, and then they’ll change over—it’s not like one does the lead work and the other does the rhythm. This is also what they introduced into metal: the idea of not only being a great lead player but also being prepared to let the other man have the spotlight when it matters to the music.

Without Tipton and Downing, metal would be very different. That’s why I have such a high regard for them. In my book, they rule.

LESLIE WEST by Martin Barre

Leslie West made a big impression on me when Mountain supported Jethro Tull on a long U.S. tour during the early Seventies. In those days, opening acts weren’t too friendly, and it all became a bit competitive, but Mountain were lovely guys, and we really hit it off. They were such a great band. I loved Leslie’s larger-than-life style, they had great songs, and they were so incredibly tight. In that last respect, they taught Jethro Tull a lot about being a band.

I know of at least three people that were affected by Leslie’s playing style—myself, John McLaughlin and Mick Ralphs [of Mott the Hoople and Bad Company]—but I’m sure there are plenty more. Leslie has such recognizable tone, and I love the melodic way he plays; every note counts. He never resorts to the pyrotechnic approach or feels the need to be overly clever.

If you want a good starting off point for a beginner, go with Climbing! [1970] or Nantucket Sleighride [1971]. I still love what Mountain did with “Theme from an Imaginary Western.” My goodness, they brought that to life, especially onstage.

JEFF BECK by David Gilmour

I’m sort of horribly, pathetically fannish about Jeff. Ever since “Hi Ho Silver Lining” came out [in 1967] when I was 20-odd years old, I’ve revered him and his playing. In many ways he is just the best guitar player. And 40-something years since he came to prominence in the Yardbirds, he is still the only person pushing forward in that way. He’s never retreading old ground; he’s always looking for a new challenge.

Jeff’s scarily brilliant. He’s a tightrope walker. I’m not. I like to cover all my bases and make myself secure with a great band, with the music all rehearsed. I just walk out there, and if I didn’t even play anything it would still sound great. Jeff’s different. He’s out there mining that seam.

JIMI HENDRIX by Joe Satriani

The first thing that really flipped me out was hearing “The Wind Cries Mary” on the radio. Before that, I was a drummer, and I started from watching the Rolling Stones and the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show. But as soon as I heard Hendrix, that was it.

What made him great was his choice of notes. When you hear “Machine Gun” from Live at the Fillmore, you have no idea what’s going to happen in the next few minutes. You’re totally unprepared. With “Voodoo Chile (Slight Return),” you can’t believe how perfect a performance it is, and it’s just a blues thing in E.

Unfortunately, the Seventies were a hellish period for many great players, if you look at Hendrix’s comrades, it was a rough road. But look at someone like Jeff Beck—he just gets better and better.

I saw him a month ago in Oakland, and I was just in tears standing at the side of the stage listening to him playing “Where Were You.” Nowadays, as a guitarist you want to celebrate what you’ve been able to play, which goes back to quoting other great players, but you also feel a responsibility not to copy those people. In my mind, when I’m playing, my heroes are sitting on my shoulders.

BRIAN MAY by Steve Vai

I don’t think enough is really said about the brilliance of Brian May’s guitar playing, in the sense that it’s overshadowed by the greatness of the music itself. The Queen II album was one of those pivotal moments that just nailed me to the wall.

He’s probably one of the top identifiable guitar players, even more so than Beck, Page and Clapton. They’re all so identifiable, but Brian May had such a tone in his head and in his fingers. It speaks volumes. His contribution to orchestrated guitars is unprecedented. There was nothing like it before him.

To me, it was like when Edward Van Halen came along and reshaped the sound of electric guitar. That’s what I heard in Brian May’s playing. It’s something that’s inherent in the brain of the guitar player.

I remember working with Frank Zappa for the first time. I had just moved out to Los Angeles, and nobody knew me. I was 21. I went to the Rainbow Bar & Grill, and Brian May was there. I couldn’t believe it. I mustered up every little bit of courage and went up to him and said, “Thank you so much for everything you’ve done. I play guitar. I’m here in town with Frank Zappa.” He said, “Oh, really? Why don’t you come down to our rehearsal?”

I went down, and he brought me up on the stage, and he let me play the guitar—the guitar that he built with his dad [the “Red Special”]. I couldn’t even believe that I was touching this instrument! He was so kind and so warm, and for who? This kid, you know? And I played his guitar, and it sounded like Steve Vai. Then when he played it, it sounded just like Brian May. It was very apparent to me that his tone is in his fingers and his head.

He’s a class act from head to toe, and it shows in his playing. I can listen to any player and pantomime their sound, but I can’t do Brian May. He’s just walking on higher ground.

MARTY FRIEDMAN by Jason Becker

When I was 16 years old, I sent a demo tape to Mike Varney of Shrapnel Records. He called me and said I should go and meet Marty.

I went to Marty’s tiny apartment in San Francisco. We started jamming, without amps. That moment changed my life. What he was doing was so new to me. The unique bends, vibrato, exotic scales, phrasing and timing were fascinating to me. And then it hit me: he was a lot better than I was. I started to sweat. I tried to play my best stuff, but my musical mind had already shifted. I knew I wanted to learn from this guy.

Marty was very complimentary of my technique and the melodies on my demo tape. He started coming over to record his songs on my four-track. He taught me the second harmonies and counterpoint lines. Once he saw that I was a sponge for learning, he started incorporating some of my ideas. I feel like every day that I jammed or wrote with Marty was like taking lessons for a year. He taught by example, and with his influence I learned how to be my own unique creative artist. Even to this day, when I am composing and I get stuck, I think to myself, What would Marty do?

EDDIE VAN HALEN by Richie Kotzen

This is kind of embarrassing, but the first time I heard Eddie Van Halen was on the solo for Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.” I was like, “Man, that’s unbelievable. Who is this guitar player?” I asked around and found out it was Eddie Van Halen. Then I ended up getting some Van Halen records, and after that I just really wanted to play like him.

He didn’t sound like any other guitar player, but it was more about the way that he played the notes. Everyone talks about Van Halen’s sound, but it really has to do with his timing, his rhythm style and his phrasing. It’s more about that to me than the amp or whatever guitar he’s using.

The first time I saw Eddie play, I had the best possible seat. Because we had the same guitar tech, I was able to watch him from this little room under the stage, where he goes to change guitars or do whatever. It was pretty incredible.


Every little microevolution of the guitar that came along in the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties influenced me. The number of people I didn’t appreciate is probably a much smaller list.

Yngwie is one of those players that had a huge impact on me. His neoclassical style was just mind-blowing to me. I was raised as a blues player and learned my chops in the late Sixties, early Seventies, so it was all incredibly new to me. Just the ferocity of it was mesmerizing. The ease with which he does it was fascinating, too.

Ultimately, guitar-driven Eighties music had wound itself to the point of absurdity and inaccessibility. I mean, how many people can actually appreciate that kind of music? It’s just an elitist speed contest. But Yngwie created the trend. On a pure playing level, players that create music that touches people are always viable. And that’s why he’s still around and a lot of the other guys aren’t.


Mick Taylor had the biggest influence on me without me even knowing it. My favorite Stones records were Beggars Banquet, Let It Bleed and Sticky Fingers. Those three were major to me because I was exposed to those records as a kid when they first came out. Mick Taylor played on a couple of those records and went on to play with the Stones for a couple more. As I got older and started playing guitar, I always gravitated to his style.

People always mention Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Angus Young…all the obvious ones. But there are guys like Mick Taylor and Joe Walsh that were as important. Mick Taylor had a really cool, round-toned bluesy sort of thing that I thought was really effective.

One of the greatest Mick Taylor solos is on “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking?” from Sticky Fingers. It’s the kind of stuff that’s almost like old Eric Clapton—it’s very simple stuff, but it’s about how the notes are placed and how you approach them. The new guard of guitarists always forgets about doing simplistic and very effective guitar playing that speaks to you. It’s not all about two-handed tapping.

RANDY RHOADS by Frank Hannon

I was always a big fan of Randy. In 1980, when Ozzy’s Blizzard of Ozz came out, some friends of mine went to see him perform in Oakland and came back raving, saying, “Man, we saw this guitarist today, and he was better than Eddie Van Halen!”

This was a few years before we started Tesla. I was already playing guitar and was a big fan of Eddie Van Halen. So we went down to the local record store and got the album, and I was infatuated from day one. Randy was doing everything that Van Halen did, and more. It was the classical knowledge that he was incorporating into the guitar. The arrangements on “Crazy Train” and “Mr. Crowley” were unbelievable. I think a lot of the soloing on Van Halen tracks were improvised, which is cool. Randy took it a step further. His discipline probably came from his mother who taught him at her music school [Musonia School of Music in North Hollywood]. When I was a kid I would read the guitar magazines, and he would always mention that his mother was a big influence.

I went to visit the school, and I met Randy’s brother, Kelle, and his mother Delores, who is nicknamed “Dee.” “Dee” was also the title of an acoustic song on Blizzard of Ozz, which was a big influence on me. If you listen to my acoustic solo on “Love Song” it’s really inspired by that. I played that for Dee when I met her recently. She loves meeting fans, and she told me some stories about Randy. She said that his favorite song was [the Big Band swing tune] “Chattanooga Choo Choo,” how he found his first guitar in his father’s closet, and how when he was in London recording Diary of a Madman he would spend all his downtime studying classical music at a university. She just lit up when she talked about Randy. I have a video of that meeting on my web site.

ZAKK WYLDE by Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal

I first heard Zakk in 1986, when he was with a New Jersey band called Zyris. The next thing I knew, he was playing with Ozzy. Like Zakk, I had been a huge Randy Rhoads fan, so I was very happy that Ozzy picked Zakk to be his guitarist.

When you hear Zakk’s playing, you know right away that it’s him, with that distinctive use of harmonic vibrato on the lower string. Before he came along, every time you saw a blond-haired guitarist kicking a Les Paul’s ass you thought of John Sykes. Now you also think of Zakk. In addition, he’s very diverse stylistically, with the southern rock of Pride and Glory [Wylde’s early Nineties group], the singer-songwriter style of his Book of Shadows album [1996] and, of course, what he does with Black Label Society.

I met Zakk for the first time about a year and a half ago; he was a guest on my friend’s TV show. His visit to the studio was supposed to last for three hours, but he ended up staying for 14. Besides being a phenomenal musician, Zakk’s as good-hearted as I expected. I hope that some day we can do it again.

B.B. KING by Billy Gibbons

My favorite guitarist is B.B. King. His album Live at the Regal, recorded in 1964, remains a classic. The electricity, the crackling atmosphere… Plus, it’s a great sound, recorded with a full band, horns and piano, and a rabid audience thrown in.

B.B.’s distinctive one-note style, his sustain and attack, that kind of call-and-response thing between the vocals and the solos… He’s taken for granted now, which means he’s underrated. Obviously, he’s a maestro entertainer rather than a blues purist, though he can be that too. He’s a former cotton picker, but he remains so self-effacing, plus he has a great sense of humor, lyrically and in life. He’s got class.


Malcolm Young has got to be the most unsung, underrated guitar hero of all time. He’s the backbone of AC/DC, the greatest rock band ever, and has written some of the most amazing riffs you’ll hear. This is the man responsible for more great rock moments than any other guitarist you can name. Is Malcolm Young the greatest rhythm guitarist in the world? No contest.

I recall being given one of his guitar picks recently after a gig on the band’s current tour, and it was half worn down. But you know what’s astonishing? Apparently that pick was used on just one song during the band’s set that night. Malcolm gets through a pick for every song because he hits the strings so hard. It’s amazing. The man is truly a one-off.

When I first started to listen to AC /DC, it was Angus who caught my attention. He was the lead guitarist and got all the glory. But in about 1979, when I began to get into guitar playing in a serious way, I gravitated toward Malcolm. I was listening to what he did, because he was the guy writing the music. I now appreciate just how incredible he is. He’s a songwriter, not a shredder, but without him what would AC /DC sound like?

If you’ve never heard him play—and can there be anyone on the planet who hasn’t heard Malcolm Young?—then go and listen to the opening chords of “Back in Black.” If that doesn’t move you, then you have no soul. The other songs I’d strongly recommend are “Riff Raff” and “Beating Around the Bush.” The way he takes straight blues riffs and siphons them though the AC/DC sensibility is a lesson to all guitarists.

GEORGE HARRISON by Elliot Easton

I was 10 years old when the Beatles played the Ed Sullivan Show [in February 1964], and I was already playing a little guitar. To see George Harrison there, standing off to the side, looking down at his guitar while he played his licks—to my impressionable mind it defined what a lead guitarist was.

I knew right then what I wanted to do with my life: I wanted to be like the guy in the middle—the guy looking down at his guitar and playing all the little fills and solos. Harrison taught me about short solos and hooks, and what a hook is. All those mid-Sixties Beatles tracks—whether it was “Day Tripper” or “Ticket to Ride” or whatever—they all start with a guitar lick that you wait to come around again in the chorus. That’s where I learned to do that.

ULI JON ROTH by Kirk Hammett

Around the time of Metallica’s Death Magnetic sessions, I began listening again to some of the rock music of my teens, and it inspired me all over again. I’d forgotten how much those guitarists meant to me.

Uli Jon Roth is one of those players. When I started listening to him again, I realized that I can still learn a lot from him. I love his choice of notes, the attitude behind his playing and the way his solos “up” the level of his songs. He took Scorpions to a totally different level. After his solos, you’re left there shaking your head. It’s like being sideswiped by a truck.

The track I love the most is the one I play every night, “The Sails of Charon,” from Taken by Force. The opening motif is just great. It’s spooky sounding, exotic. It’s very old-school heavy metal. People in the audience who know the song recognize that I’m flying the flag for that old-school metal, and they come to me and say, “Bro, ‘Sails of Charon’ rules!” There are a lot more Uli Roth fans out there than I expected.

NEIL YOUNG by Nancy Wilson

Neil is identifiable whether he’s playing acoustic or electric guitar. For acoustic he has a completely unique type of tuning, detuning, attack and release. He plays a song called “Bandit,” from the Greendale album, and there’s a live version of it that’s incredible. He chooses a specific guitar that can be detuned on the low string down to a C and picks the particular gauge of string that will rattle in the perfect way. It sounds so wrong that it’s right. I think nobody in the world would do that on purpose except for Neil Young.

He has a monstrous electric guitar sound, too, and on “Cinnamon Girl” he recorded what is probably the best one-note guitar solo ever. He puts more feeling into one note than anyone else. It shouldn’t work, but it does. Of course, it’s his tone that makes all the difference. Touch sensitivity accounts for about 90 percent of everything. Neil has such expressive playing that he can play a onenote solo and make it memorable for decades, for generations.

FRANK ZAPPA by Dweezil Zappa

I was never intimidated by my father’s technique. I think most guitar players are just excited to see somebody do something they didn’t think was possible. We’d sit and play together, but what Frank was doing was musical. I couldn’t grasp it at a young age—it was too sophisticated for me. He’d show me inversions of chords and composition devices—moving triads around the neck and stuff. It sounded neat, but I didn’t always understand what was happening musically.

I do the Zappa Plays Zappa tour because I want to get Frank’s music more into the public eye. I want him to be better understood. I think there are a lot of misconceptions about his music and him as a person. First of all, Frank was really a composer who used a rock band like an orchestra. He could hear stuff in his head and just write it down. I didn’t have a musical background; I was just a guy who learned things by ear—more a guitar player than a musician. The first thing I learned was the incredibly fast passage toward the end of “The Black Page.” It took me a good five or six months, and I had to totally change my picking technique in order to play this thing. I’d have to play it really slow for hours and hours and hours. I definitely think Frank would enjoy that we go to such great lengths to get it right with Zappa Plays Zappa.


I got all my rhythm work from listening to Pete Townshend and Keith Richards. I think Pete is a wizard when it comes to chords. He can play the same chord in, like, 20 different positions, doing inversions, suspensions… Just listen to Tommy. I’m a huge fan.

Pete has a great right hand as well as a great left hand. “Tattoo” is a great picking song, but of course he’s known best for his power strumming, like on “Pinball Wizard,” and his power chords, like on “My Generation” and the chord that opens “I Can See for Miles.” His rhythm work was just amazing.

The first time I saw the Who was the same day I saw Cream for the first time. They were both performing at a Murray the K show in Manhattan. [The revue-style show, presented by disc jockey Murray Kaufman, was called Music in the Fifth Dimension and presented at the RKO Theater from March 25 to April 2, 1967.] I was cutting school, and a friend and I snuck into the show and got down in front. It was the Who’s first New York show. I think the headliner was Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels.

I saw the Who perform again, at the Fillmore East, in 1968, the day after Martin Luther King got shot. [The civil rights leader was assassinated on April 4, 1968.] The Who weren’t going to play because they were worried about riots, and I believe they ended up doing a short show. Ironically, Paul Stanley [Frehley’s former Kiss coguitarist] was there too, but we didn’t know each other at the time.

ALVIN LEE by Mick Mars

Sometimes I feel I should’ve been true to myself as a guitar player and stuck with the blues. All bullshit aside, George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, Paul Butterfield, Mike Bloomfield, Alvin Lee, Jimi Hendrix…that stuff was the total shit for me. I was brought up on those players, and they all influenced me in one way or another.

When Bloomfield started getting too countrified for my liking, that’s when I discovered Alvin Lee and Ten Years After. Alvin brought a real explosive side to the blues. Some people said they couldn’t handle it, but I thought he was great.

PETER GREEN by Rich Robinson

Growing up in America, you couldn’t help but hear Fleetwood Mac’s [mid-Seventies breakthrough albums] Rumours and Fleetwood Mac on the radio all the time. And it was by getting into these records that I started to explore the Peter Green legacy. Obviously, he’d left Fleetwood Mac long before these were done, but I was influenced enough by them to want to know more about what the band had done before. And that’s when I discovered the amazing talent of the man.

His playing is just so moving. Listen to what he achieves on “Oh Well” and “Rattlesnake Shake,” and it is stunning. What he does is so interesting because he doesn’t overplay. Green understands that simplicity could hold the key to the blues.

It makes him so authentic. To my mind, Peter Green is the finest white man I’ve ever heard playing blues guitar. That’s a bold statement when you consider some of the other greats, but I genuinely believe this to be true. His playing has the soul and passion of the blues. And yet he never seems to get the recognition enjoyed by people like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton or Jimmy Page. Perhaps that’s because he’s so understated. If you check out something like “I Need Your Love So Bad,” what you hear is a guitarist prepared to submerge his own ego for the sake of the song. He gets the mood exactly right. He was never flamboyant like the others I just mentioned. As a result, he’s often overlooked in the list of guitar greats.

He also has such an incredible range. You can’t ever claim that one particular song defined him in the way that you can with Hendrix.

When the Black Crowes recorded and toured with Jimmy Page, he told us so many Peter Green stories. It was clear that Jimmy loves the man’s talent. And if he’s good enough for a giant like Jimmy to acclaim, then it reinforces my adoration.

RON ASHETON by Kim Thayil

It was the Seventies when I first heard the Stooges. By then, all the albums by the New York Dolls, the Stooges and the MC5 were out of print. You could only find them in used-record stores, and the nearest was six miles away. I’d check out their racks, and once in a while I got lucky.

The Stooges’ Funhouse album was one that I found. There’s some crazy stuff on side two—some really great, aggressive rock solos. Ron has a particular gritty, sleazy sound with the groove that he lays down. And the dueling improvisations with saxophone made for some cool jazz noise rock.

The Stooges didn’t do as much of that 12-bar blues stuff. They just hit a groove and then hypnotically beat you over the head with it. They just stayed with that riff for a long time. Of course, there is a lot of blues in what Ron did, but there’s something a lot looser, too, and it was freer and it utilized chaos. It was something that was definitely not present in FM rock or Top 40 at the time. “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” “TV Eye,” “Loose,” “Down on the Street”…

They’re all amazing. If rock should be about anything, it should be about freedom and rebellion, and not the stupid requirements that would be imposed upon you by the record company—like professionalism. I mean, it’s good for a person to know their damn instrument, or else you can’t come up with inventive ideas, but not to be bound by the patterns on the fretboard.

Additional Content

Video: Kenny Wayne Shepherd Releases Behind-the-Scenes Look at New Album, 'Goin' Home'


Kenny Wayne Shepherd has posted a new five-minute video that offers a fly-on-the-wall look at the making of his new album, Goin' Home, which will be released May 19 via Concord Records.

You can check it out below.

"This is a homecoming in more ways than one," Shepherd says of the album, which will mark the studio debut of the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band. "I felt like I was retracing my steps and reliving all the good times that I've had in my life because of this music. And hopefully, that amount of happiness comes through on the album."

The album, which was recorded in 11 days in his hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana, finds Shepherd revisiting a dozen of the vintage classics by B.B. King, Albert King, Freddie King, Muddy Waters and more.

The new disc features guest appearances by guitarists Joe Walsh, Warren Haynes, Keb' Mo' and Robert Randolph, plus Ringo Starr, Kim Wilson of the Fabulous Thunderbirds, the Rebirth Brass Band and one of Shepherd's musical mentors, Pastor Brady Blade Sr.

Shepherd's band features singer Noah Hunt, ex-Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble drummer Chris Layton, former Firm bassist Tony Franklin and keyboardist Riley Osbourn.

For more information, and to pre-order the new album, visit kennywayneshepherd.net. For more about Shepherd and the band, visit shorefire.com.

Also, be sure to check out the band's current 2014 tour dates below the video!

Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band on Tour, 2014

4/30 - Academy Islington - London, UK
5/01 - Cheltenham Jazz Festival - Cheltenham, UK
5/03 - Moulin Blues Festival - Ospel, NL
5/04 - Atak - Enschede, NL
5/06 - Fabrik - Hamburg, Germany
5/07 - Music Hall - Woroswede, Germany
5/08 - Kesselhaus in der Kulturbrauerei - Berlin, Germany
5/09 - Tante Ju - Dresden, Germany
5/11 - Backstage - Werkgelande - Munich, Germany
5/12 - Batschkapp - Frankfurt, Germany
5/13 - Hirsch - Nurnberg, Germany
5/14 - Kulturzentrum Tollhaus E.V. - Karlsruhe, Germany
5/15 - Die Kantine - Cologne, Germany
5/17 - Lehnbachhalle - Stuttgart, DE
5/18 - Lucerna Bar - Prague, CZ
5/23 - Margaritavillle Resort Casino - Bossier City, LA
5/24 - Redfest Austin 2014 - Austin, TX
5/25 - Seneca Allegany Events Center - Salamanca, NY
6/13 - Keswick Theatre - Glenside, PA
6/14 - Sands Bethlehem Event Center - Bethlehem, PA
6/15 - Ridgefield Playhouse - Ridgefield, CT
6/17 - State Theatre - New Brunswick, NJ
6/19 - The Paramount - Huntington, NY
6/20 - House of Blues - Boston, MA
6/21 - B.B. King Blues Club and Grill - NY, NY
6/24 - The Kent Stage - Kent, OH
6/25 - Royal Oak Music Theatre - Royal Oak, MI
6/28 - Grand Falls Casino Resort - Larchwood, IA
7/03 - L’Auberge Casino Resort - Lake Charles, LA
7/05 - IP Casino Resort & Spa - Biloxi, MS
7/31 - Humphrey’s Concerts by the Bay - San Diego, CA
8/02 - Greek Theatre - Los Angeles, CA
8/05 - Arvada Center Outdoor Amphitheater - Arvada, CO

Video: Seymour Duncan Releases Black Winter Pickups for Seven- and Eight-String Guitars


Seymour Duncan has introduced its Black Winter pickups for seven- and eight-string guitarists.

From the company:

The Black Winter was originally created for the extreme metal players of Scandinavia who were looking for more aggression without sacrificing definition and clarity.

After consistently being asked to make this pickup available for extended range guitars, Seymour Duncan is happy to announce you'll now be able to get all the heavy saturation, articulation and aggression of the Black Winter in your six-, seven- or eight-string ax.

Black Winter's look matches its dark intentions: a black bottom plate, black pole pieces and screws, blood red wire, and the Seymour Duncan logo in Old English font. Black Winter six-, seven- and eight-string versions are available in either a bridge or neck version or in a complete calibrated set.

For more information, visit seymourduncan.com.

Video: Megadeth's Dave Mustaine Performs with San Diego Symphony


This past Saturday, April 12, Megadeth's Dave Mustaine performed with the San Diego Symphony at San Diego's Copley Symphony Hall.

You can check out a bit of fan-filmed video from the event, which was titled "Symphony Interrupted," below.

"I love the challenge," Mustaine said in a press release last month. "I really admire this genre of music because of the level of skill required and there are great dark undertones in these incredible pieces.

"The marriage of two such distinctly different genres is one thing, but cross-pollinating different societies is a whole new level of badass! I'm used to them being before me, but it's a bit unnerving to know so many talented eyes will be on my back. It's a bit intimidating, and to be given the opportunity to interpret these melodies — to meld what I am best at with what they incredibly present, it is a great honor."

Starting at 8 p.m., Mustaine and the Symphony performed renditions of the "Summer" and "Winter" movements from Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons" and Bach's "Air" (on the G string). Richard Wagner’s "Ride of the Valkyries" and Antonin Dvorak's "New World Symphony" also were performed by the symphony during the show.

For more information, visit SanDiegoSymphony.org.