People often ask me to define the biggest mistake I see songwriters making as they chase that first cut. If I had to pick one BIG one, I would say that it is using out-dated language. Anyone who is over 30 years old has to continually be aware of the "slang" that they are using in their song. Using the wrong words can INSTANTLY get your song thrown out and get you labeled as an out-dated and out of touch writer.
Here’s a great quality clip of SRV performing “Pride and Joy” in January of 1990 during his MTV Unplugged taping. Vaughan uses a 12-string Guild, which gives the song a completely different vibe than the original, full band recording. “Pride and Joy” originally appeared on his 1983 Epic Records debut, Texas Flood.
This is one of the easiest homemade guitars I have ever built, and it only took me one hour to make. This lap steel was made from an extra 2x4 I had in my shed and just a few saw cuts to the wood. I even used a pre-wired acoustic soundhole pickup so there was no wiring needed. Anybody can build this lap steel!
Vermont-based news channel WPTZ (where my late-Nineties girlfriend used to work!) recently published a feature on the Alpaca carbon fiber travel guitar, a "special guitar made to withstand the elements."
Here’s an intense acoustic version of The Relapse Symphony’s “Savage Eyes” from the band’s latest album Shadows, due out December 16. Driving guitars and growly vocals deliver the painful message. It really works in this stripped down and raw rendition.
This week, I go over an all-downstroke 16th note strumming pattern. By adding a measure of 2/4 at the end, I create a little hiccup or stutter. That, in conjunction with adding a fair amount of rests, gives the pattern a punctuated feel. This is a simple way to break up your strumming and explore a simple time signature change without getting overly complicated.
Here's something to get you in the spirit! The Band of Merrymakers, a rotating-cast Yuletide super group featuring today’s biggest artists, premiered their official music video for their single “Must Be Christmas” (The End Records). The video follows a group of Santas as they visit iconic spots throughout Los Angeles and Nashville.
Here’s a cool acoustic piece by Brian Gore called “Stone Haulers.” The song and performance are fabulously nuanced, just like a fine wine! In fact, it’s the final piece featured in the Wine Country Tales CD, DVD & Booklet blending guitar songs by Brian Gore and animated video stories by Bill Russell.
Check out this new video of Zakk Wylde, the ultimate guitar teacher! When Zakk's guitar student, "Father Phil," just can't get the hang of Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven," Zakk clocks him. Who can blame him? It's frustrating!
With a lot of talent and a little bit of luck, a new generation of acoustic guitar fingerstylists are blazing a new style of percussive, alternate-tuned shred. In the Eighties, radical fingerstylists like Michael Hedges and Preston Reed pioneered an acoustic guitar style based on an alternate-tuned, percussion-heavy, new age–tinged sound.
Here’s a cool and kinda gritty, sassy live acoustic version of the song “B-Side Track” from Patrick Sieben. It opens with some killer bluesy guitar that rolls into some pretty darn clever lyrics. And when he sings it, I believe it!
Utopia's Kasim Sulton recently stopped by the Guitar World studio in New York City to play a few songs from his new album, 3, and a few from his Utopia days. Below, check out exclusive videos of Sulton performing his new single, "Clocks All Stopped" (top video), plus Utopia favorites "Libertine" (middle video) and "Lysistrata."
Rhiannon Giddens, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and founding member of Grammy Award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops, makes her solo recording debut with Tomorrow Is My Turn, due out February 10 on Nonesuch Records (vinyl to come March 3).