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Getting Started with Tremolo Picking

Guitar tremolo picking shows up in nearly every style of music that accommodates electric guitars. Moreover, it’s not necessarily a lightning-fast technique. Some of the best acoustic guitars are also ideal tremolo picking instruments.

Even a consistent sequence of quarter notes could be handled using some form of tremolo picking.

But how do we do it? How do we learn the technique?

James Valentine Talks Ernie Ball Music Man Valentine Guitar

In this new video, Maroon 5 guitarist James Valentine discusses Ernie Ball Music Man's new Valentine guitar—James' signature model.

While James Valentine is a big fan of ES-style semi-hollow guitars, the only nod to those guitars are the pickguard shape and the curves of the lower bout and cutaway horns.

Paul Gilbert: "If You're Not Bending, You Might As Well Be a Harpsichord Player"

String Theory is a web series from Ernie Ball that explores the sonic origins of some of the industry’s most innovative players. 

In this new episode, Paul Gilbert discusses his history and relationship with playing guitar, songwriting, and his Ernie Ball strings. Listen to Paul describe which gauges he uses when—and why—as well as which unique Ernie Ball acoustic set is his favorite.

For more, visit Ernie Ball’s String Theory.


Learn to Solo in Just Five Minutes

Some of you might recognize guitarist Steve Stine; after all, we've been running his lessons at for years, first via LessonFace and now through GuitarZoom.

Below, we'd like to share one of his more popular GuitarZoom lessons, "Learn to Solo in Five Minutes." In the clip, Stine demonstrates his “six-note solo technique,” which makes it easy to start soloing ASAP. “And it works over any chords,” he says.

Metallica's Kirk Hammett Talks 'Ride the Lightning,' Cliff Burton and Taking Guitar Lessons from Joe Satriani

Tucked in a nondescript industrial tract north of San Francisco near San Pablo Bay, Metallica’s headquarters is an oasis for both thrash fanatics and gear heads of every stripe.

The massive studio—dubbed HQ by the band—has been Metallica’s base of operations for writing, rehearsals, demoing and all-purpose hanging since late 2001. In a rare case of reality trumping fantasy, it is a place that exceeds expectations.

We’ve been invited to HQ to talk with Kirk Hammett about the 30th anniversary of Metallica’s classic sophomore album, Ride the Lightning.

Ex-Megadeth Drummer Nick Menza Dies After Collapsing on Stage

Drummer Nick Menza, who played on many of Megadeth's classic albums, died after he collapsed on stage late Saturday night during a show. He was 51.

Menza was into the third song with his new band, Ohm, when he collapsed, according to Ohm's manager Steve Bauer. Paramedics were not able to revive him. The band was playing at The Baked Potato in Studio City, California. Earliest reports indicate he suffered a massive heart attack and was pronounced dead upon arrival at hospital. No other details are being released at this time.


Enhancing Blues Progressions with 7th and "Jimi Hendrix" Chords

Kenny "Blue" Ray is a life-long blues musician who has played with greats such as Stevie Ray Vaughan. Kenny also is a JamPlay instructor who teaches live and pre-recorded classes on blues guitar.

In this lesson, Kenny discusses 7th chords and how they can be used to enhance any blues progression.

He also demonstrates short forms of the chords that can be used for a softer sound. While discussing the 7th chords, he also talks about some of Jimi Hendrix's favorites.

The Joy of Being a Hack Guitarist

Question: How do you get to Carnegie Hall?

Answer: Turn left on 8th, right on 57th.

That’s correct, it ain’t necessarily practice.

The fact is most of us aren’t ever going to perform on a major concert stage, even after lots of study. I’ve played guitar for a very long time, but I can still walk into almost any Guitar Center and hear a young teen who not only plays better than I do but better than I ever will. It’s not just training, it’s also talent. They have it. I don’t.

Paul Gilbert-Style, Sequenced String-Skipping Arpeggios

One of the especially cool things about a guitar is the fact that there are almost always at least a few ways to play the same notes.

This fact allows (and forces) us guitarists to explore the different possibilities available through experimentation with alternate fingerings, picking strategies and phrasing. Often, while there are many ways to play the exact same notes, there is usually a “magic” fingering and picking pattern that allows for the easiest and most effective execution of the phrase.

Dude Plays Metallica's "One" on One Guitar

Every May, Rob Scallon, a guitarist with a YouTube account, celebrates the existence of Metallica by posting a series of "May-tallica" videos, some of which are pretty good. Below, you can check out his latest one (posted today): "Metallica's 'One' Played on One Guitar."

He's playing one Chapman guitar, by the way.