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Guitar Chalk Sessions: Building Control from Basic Pentatonic Patterns

If you’re a guitar player who’s steeped in American jazz, blues, folk or rock, you’re using pentatonic scales pretty much all the time. They’re extremely common and one of the foundational elements of Western music.

When you’re learning guitar, it’s one of the first concepts you should be covering after your basic chords, even if you don’t plan on focusing your effort into a lead guitar role.

So I think it’s safe to assume (whether you realize it or not) that you’re pretty familiar with the pentatonic “sound” and the modes that create those sounds.

Paul Riario Demos Breedlove's Pursuit Concert Koa Guitar

In this new video, Guitar World's Paul Riario demos Breedlove's Pursuit Concert Koa acoustic model.

For musicians seeking amazing power with a clear and sweet tone, acoustically and plugged in, the Pursuit Concert Koa is a true reflection of Breedlove’s distinctively crafted sound.

Its solid koa top and koa back and sides “open up” the more the instrument is played, expanding the midrange, for an even richer, sweeter tone over time.


Bye and Bye: Luther Dickinson Talks Blind Willie Johnson Tribute Album

God Don't Never Change: The Songs of Blind Willie Johnson is a new tribute album dedicated to the great blues and gospel guitarist and singer. It features Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi, Tom Waits (on two songs), Sinead O’Connor, Lucinda Williams and others.

To get to the bottom of why an acoustic bluesman who died in 1945 inspires such loyalty and enthusiasm, we got in touch with guitarist Luther Dickinson, who contributed a song to the album.

Beyond the Fretboard: Visualizing Your Own Scales, Part 1

As guitar players, we sometimes get too comfortable with certain scale shapes because they can be easy to remember.

For example, think about the minor pentatonic scale; almost immediately, the mental image of that familiar box shape is probably conjured in your mind's eye. The fact that we can instantly recall various patterns due to their spacial layout over the fretboard is a great thing. But what if we're relying too heavily on existing scale shapes?

Beyond the Fretboard: Why Musical Purity is Overrated

I recently wrote a column called "Finding Inspiration in Unlikely Places."

In it, I encouraged every musician to step outside of their comfort zones and listen to different styles of music.

The main motivation for that article came after I saw a Dave Matthews Band concert. I had never been a fan but was impressed by the musicianship and the fluidity in which the band moved from song to song and jam session to jam session.

The DIY Musician: Want to Appreciate Your Current Guitar? Take a Look at These Photos

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a column on Wesseh Freeman (a.k.a. “Weesay”) and his oil can guitar.

He’s the blind artist from Liberia who had a video go viral last December.

You guys responded so enthusiastically that I got in contact with Freeman. Through his biggest fan/helper in Liberia, Sachin Ramchandani, I’ve been able to become friends with this amazing guitarist.

How to Reinvent a Modal Melody by Changing Only One Note

Most of us are familiar with at least a few of the modes, which are various reorientations of the notes of a standard scale, such as the major scale, around a different root note.

To review, the major scale’s minor modes are Dorian (intervallically spelled 1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7), Aeolian (1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7), Phrygian (1 b2 b3 4 5 b6 b7), and Locrian (1 b2 b3 4 b5 b6 b7), and its major modes are Ionian, which is the major scale itself (1 2 3 4 5 6 7), Lydian (1 2 3 #4 5 6 7) and Mixolydian (1 2 3 4 5 6 b7).

Hear Bad Company Perform a Powerful "Feel Like Makin' Love" in 1979

Despite their reputation as one of the most exciting live bands to ever rock an arena in the Seventies, Bad Company never released a live album.

That's about to change, however. Rhino will release the band's first-ever official live album to spotlight the original lineup of Paul Rodgers, Mick Ralphs, Simon Kirke and Boz Burrell.

Today, and Bad Company have gotten together to premiere a track from the album. It's a live version of "Feel Like Makin’ Love" that was recorded March 9, 1979, at London' Empire Pool at Wembley. 

See the Purple Special, the Last Guitar Made for Prince

The last guitar ever made for Prince, who died last week at age 57, was a custom job crafted by Simon "Gus" Farmer of the U.K.'s Gus Guitars.

Farmer actually started working on the ultra-sleek-looking instrument nine years ago but gave it to Prince only about a month ago. Thankfully for Farmer, it was enough time for Prince to play it in concert—and even order a bass from Farmer.


David Gilmour Honors Prince: Watch "Comfortably Numb" Morph Into "Purple Rain"

This past Sunday night, Pink Floyd legend David Gilmour performed a touching tribute to Prince during his show at London's Royal Albert Hall.

Just as Gilmour was about to play the second guitar solo in Pink Floyd's “Comfortably Numb,” he suddenly shifted into Prince's “Purple Rain.”  

Actually, he blended the solos from “Purple Rain" and “Comfortably Numb,” making it seem as though they were part of the same song.

As we've reported, this isn't Gilmour's first crack at "Purple Rain"; he performed it with Tom Jones in 1992.