Remember the early part of the 2000s? The time when every critic and their brother was saying this was going to be the "Age of Garage Rock?" Artists like the Strokes, the Vines, the Hives, the White Stripes (plus the rest of Detroit) and the Black Keys were all breaking onto the scene, leading many to proclaim we had entered into a golden era in raw riffage.
On this day in 1965, The Beatles recorded “Help!” -- the song -- during a four-hour session that started around 7 p.m. at Abbey Road Studio Two in London. Twelve takes were recorded; the first eight were of the rhythm tracks only, with vocals appearing for the first time on take nine. John Lennon -- the song's primary writer -- sang lead vocals, backed by Paul McCartney and George Harrison.
While there is no shortage of guitar-oriented apps for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, many of them can be full of so many configurations and settings that they become cumbersome to use -- especially on the smaller screens. And even after mastering the settings, you can quickly rack up a hefty sum with in-app purchases.
Improvising with arpeggios is a great way to dig into chord changes, bringing out the exact sound of each chord in your lines. While scales and modes are great for outlining keys and creating modal colors, when you want to sound each chord in a progression, arpeggios are the way to go. While they are great for outlining chord changes, arpeggios can often become boring or predictable when you overuse them in a solo.
I've been noticing a trend amongst younger guitarists on YouTube and elsewhere; it's a distinct lack of melody. Speed, blazing technique, sweeps and taps are all fine and incredible and have my deepest respect. I know the hours of practice and dedication it takes to acquire these techniques. But in the studio world, the place where people hire you to play the way THEY want, these styles are rarely used.
And we're off! Writing this in Montreal, which is the fourth show on this run. Things are starting to get organized step by step. Aside from the blown-up stage power transformers and jetlag, it's all going smooth. What can I say? It's great to be back in the U.S. and Canada!
Here's a technique I use that also helps me break out of a "guitar" sound and allows me to groove with an electronic four-to-the-floor dance groove. It basically consists of executing octaves with unassisted hammer-ons using your fret hand while tapping the first, third, and fifth string using the ring, middle and index finger of your right hand.
You will succeed or fail based on your ability to write great songs. All of my talk about business hustle, practicing your guitar, life on the road and everything else doesn't matter if you don't have the songs to back it up. Hendrix, Clapton and Page were masters of their instrument, but there are a thousand guitar players who can play that good. The reason we know and idolize these masters of guitar are their songs.
I recently sat down with one of the brains behind the metal monster that is Testament, riff master Eric Peterson. We talked about all things metal -- including gear, practicing, touring and more -- in this two-part interview. Keep your eyes peeled for Testament's upcoming release, The Dark Roots Of Earth.