It never fails. At every guitar clinic I attend, someone asks the artist, “How many hours a day do you practice?” They ask it as though they’re considering becoming the next Stevie Ray Vaughan — as long as it doesn’t interfere with their Netflix-watching schedule. For everyone else, there’s Guitar Fingers by Ashkan Mashhour.
Chris Kringel pieced together 21 separate lessons into one book that will help define your playing style as a bassist. The book starts off with simple right-hand plucking concepts and ends with complex two-handed tapping techniques.
Since Rhoads' death in 1982, after perishing in a freak plane accident while on tour with Ozzy Osbourne, the blonde guitar icon has been portrayed as something of a neutered, Christ-like figure. Tales of his legendary kindness, patience and extreme dedication have made him seem more like a holy man than a rock and roller.
After Chilton left the Box Tops, he formed Big Star, a legendary cult band who many consider to be Ground Zero for American “power pop,” the melody-driven sub-genre that has been a staple of indie rock for decades. The irony is that despite the group’s fantastic songs and jangly guitar arrangements, Big Star never became big stars.
It’s no insult to the band to say that Kiss have always been about window dressing. That’s why Paul Stanley’s new autobiography, Face The Music: A Life Exposed, comes as such a surprise. After years of carefully maintaining his Starchild superhero identity, Stanley lets down his guard and unleashes a torrent of pent-up feelings that erupt and flow over 400 pages like molten lava.
Charlie “Bird” Parker is another “shredder” from the past worth investigating. Parker flamed out way too soon in 1955, but his shadow still looms large on the contemporary jazz landscape. Jazz writer Stanley Crouch spent the last 20 years researching this amazing figure, and captures him in all of his high-flying glory in Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker.
Finally, somebody came out with a beginner instructional guitar method book series for adults and teenagers that’s not an outdated, depressing turn-off that makes you want to throw your guitar off a cliff after having struggled to learn embarrassingly unsatisfying versions of the audience favorites “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and “Three Blind Mice.”