If you look toward your mantle this holiday season and notice that your stocking overfloweth, you can thank me next year for maybe half the items you’ll find in it. It took me some time to compile a list of gear I believe will delight many guitarists but that also includes essential tools they’ll need or could use the most.
Although the California-based up-and-comers released their debut album, Highest Society, in 2010, all the members had been making music long before then. It just took a while for their paths to cross before forming as SpiralArms in 2004.
With their major-label debut, Damage, climbing the Billboard Heatseekers charts, and the single “Bounce” doing the same at rock radio, guitarist/songwriter Justin McCain was finally experiencing long-awaited success with his band, Emphatic.
Critics snubbed it upon its release in 1972, but Exile on Main St. has become one of rock’s greatest landmarks. Keith Richards recalls the making of the Rolling Stones' masterpiece and how the album’s new reissue project became a walk down memory lane.
I know thinking about the state of music in 2013 certainly hasn’t helped my state of mind. Bad pop is so pervasive in our culture that even if you want to avoid cornball showbiz garbage like Miley Cyrus, The Voice, Imagine Dragons and the preposterously pitch-corrected mewlings of Katy Perry, it’s damn near impossible.
The notion of sweeping (or raking) the pick across the strings to produce a quick succession of notes has been around since the invention of the pick itself. Jazz players from the Fifties would use the approach in their improvisations, and Chet Atkins was known to eschew his signature fingerstyle hybrid-picking technique from time to time and rip out sweep-picked arpeggios.