Like any year-end list, this wasn't an easy one to compile. Of course, stellar documentary pieces by way of Cameron Crowe (Pearl Jam Twenty) and James Moll (Foo Fighters: Back And Forth) made the job a little easier, as did the fact that AC/DC, Slash and Rush continue to be among the best live acts on the planet.
This was definitely a weird year for music, so I had to grab the good stuff wherever I could find it. I have pretty eclectic tastes, so in some ways I had fun picking through the rock, jazz, blues and metal world. I look forward to trying to absorb Jimi Hendrix’s Winterland shows and Duane Allman’s remarkable playing on the SUNY bootleg over the next, say, two decades.
As an editor at GuitarWorld.com, I listen to tons o' music -- all sorts of weird stuff. One day in the summer, I even found myself listening to an album made by a bunch of nuns chanting in Latin. I'm still not sure why that happened. Anyway, the point is, amid the beatings my ear drums withstand on a daily basis, it's easy to choose my favorite albums of the year; they're the ones I found myself listening to over and over again.
Having proclivities that spread a breadth of musical styles, I can't deny that half of my picks for the best albums of 2011 are not what one would consider "guitar" albums. But then again, a "guitar" album is a relative term. All the albums featured in my Top 10 contain guitar.
This has been an interesting year in amplifiers. Never before have I seen so much tweakability on the front and top control panels of the many amplifiers that have shown up at our door here at Guitar World. The emergence of numerous slider-switches, mini-toggles and push buttons seem to have suddenly taken up real estate normally reserved for control knobs of amplifiers!
In 1969, a long-haired band arrived out of nowhere, brandishing a heavy sound and dark vibe that was completely at odds with the "get back to the garden" idealism of the Woodstock generation. The band's jazz-influenced drummer was almost physically incapable of playing a straight 4/4 beat, and the guitarist had lost the tips of two fret-hand digits in a freak industrial accident.
During this holiday season, I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve been asked to recommend a good acoustic. Considering that there are so many great acoustics to check out, it would be difficult for me to use this space to cover each one because they are available at just about every price point so that the question actually becomes, “Well, how much are you willing to spend?”
Earlier this year, Down announced that they will record four new EPs instead of a full-length album, setting off a ton of speculation about how the album's days may be numbered, thanks to any number of culprits from our download-centric culture to the impatience of fans.