When friends of Evanescence guitarist Ben Moody were looking for a special present for him, they didn’t want to get him an ordinary guitar. Instead, they commissioned Travis Stevens to build a one-of-a-kind Han Solo in Carbonite guitar for Moody, who is also a Star Wars fanatic.
“That’s our first Alter Bridge Gold record,” guitarist Mark Tremonti says, gesturing toward a plaque in an upstairs room of his Orlando mansion. It’s an unusually hot October day and Tremonti is showing Guitar World around his house. In the same room, he directs our attention toward a row of smaller, magazine-sized frames. “We’ve got some Guitar Worlds up there.
Has any piece of musical equipment proliferated more, or more rapidly, than the humble electric guitar effect unit? Though there is no official tally, suffice it to say that thousands of stomp boxes, effect devices and processors have been created for the electric guitar over the past 60 years (and that’s not including rackmount effects). Conceivably, more than half of those devices are distortion, fuzz and overdrive effects.
The origin of guitar distortion goes back to the earliest electrified blues guitarists. They didn’t care that their primitive tube amps were breaking up and distorting, as long as they were loud. Soon, blues guitarists grew quite fond of those nasty, gnarly distorted tones, and they sought to replicate them by any means necessary.
Stevie Ray Vaughan’s guitar tone was as dry as a San Antonio summer and as sparkling clean as a Dallas debutante, the product of the natural sound of amps with ample clean headroom. However, Vaughan occasionally used pedals to augment his sound, mainly to boost the signal, although he occasionally employed a rotating speaker cabinet and wah pedals for added textural flair.
Many people believe that possessing talent alone is enough to guarantee an artist success in the music business. Nothing could be further from the truth. In a perfect world, the best musicians — the best guitarists — would be amply rewarded for their abilities. The music business, however, is far from perfect.
Guitar World presents everything you need to turn your smartphone or tablet into an extension of your guitar, including apps that will advance your playing, improve your tone, record your songs and maybe teach you something along the way.