April 2014 http://www.guitarworld.com/taxonomy/term/4266/all en Acoustic Fingerstylists Andy McKee, Jon Gomm and Daryl Kellie Are Blazing a Daring Style of Percussive, Alternate-Tuned Shred http://www.guitarworld.com/acoustic-fingerstylists-andy-mckee-jon-gomm-and-daryl-kellie-are-blazing-daring-style-percussive-alternate-tuned-shred <!--paging_filter--><p>In the Eighties, radical fingerstylists like Michael Hedges and Preston Reed pioneered an acoustic guitar style based on an alternate-tuned, percussion-heavy, new age–tinged sound. </p> <p>Kaki King explored it further in the new millennium beginning with her 2002 debut, <em>Everybody Loves You</em>.</p> <p>Some people have dubbed the style “progressive acoustic guitar,” while others prefer “modern fingerstyle.” </p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.jongomm.com/">Jon Gomm</a></strong>, one of its latest (and most popular) exponents, has even heard it referred to as banging, due to its practitioners’ tendency to rap, slap and knock their hands against the body of an acoustic guitar for percussive effect. </p> <p>Whatever you call it, there’s no doubt that this genre of acoustic guitar–based music is experiencing a major resurgence, thanks to the internet. In 2006, an unassuming-looking acoustic guitar teacher from Topeka, Kansas, named <strong><a href="http://www.andymckee.com/">Andy McKee</a></strong> uploaded to YouTube a handful of videos of himself playing some original and incredibly complex instrumental acoustic guitar compositions. </p> <p>Among the many techniques he employed in these performances was the use of unique alternate tunings, percussive knocks, two-handed tapping, over-the-fretboard playing, partial capos and natural and artificial harmonics. One video in particular, for a propulsive yet ethereal tune called “Drifting,” became one of YouTube’s first viral sensations—likely because it was both melodically appealing and visually stunning—and racked up millions of views on the then-new site. </p> <p>McKee has since become the figurehead of this style of playing, and scores of exceptionally talented guitarists have followed in his wake. Many of them, such as French-Canadian fingerstylist Antoine Dufour and British picker Mike Dawes, have recorded for the Wisconsin-based independent imprint CandyRat Records, which has become known as the leading purveyor of this music. </p> <p>Like McKee, Dufour and Dawes have found much success online, partly through elaborate solo reimaginings of full-band songs, in which they recreate rhythm, lead and vocal parts on acoustic guitar. (<a href="http://youtu.be/G1bzUaf_gvU">Dawes’ version of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know”</a> and <a href="http://youtu.be/gNPCI8y9avc">Dufour’s take on Imogen Heap’s “Hide and Seek”</a> have respectively registered 2.8 and 1.5 million YouTube views.) </p> <p>One of the newest and brightest entries in this realm is <strong><a href="http://www.darylkellie.com/">Daryl Kellie</a></strong> [pictured above], who created an online stir with an elegantly arranged version of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” </p> <p>Then there is Britain’s Jon Gomm, who employs a dizzying combination of extended techniques that explore the outermost reaches of the acoustic guitar. Gomm tends to play in a fluid, eight-finger, above-the-fretboard manner, and seemingly manipulates every bit of his instrument, knocking his hand against the guitar’s top, back, sides and the fretboard, scratching his nails across bridge pins, twisting tuning pegs mid-song, and using an assortment of pickups and pedals. </p> <p>Like many of his peers, he has found his greatest success on YouTube, after his signature song, “Passionflower,” went viral in 2012.</p> <p>That the online world has proved to be a vital forum for these artists is understandable, given that there is an uncharacteristically prominent visual component to what they do. Each musician’s playing style is a marvel of not only creativity and ability but also coordination. “There’s a pretty interesting visual aspect to it, with all the wild techniques,” McKee says, “which is one of the reasons I think YouTube has been such a great arena to showcase the music.”</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Ddn4MGaS3N4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><em>Guitar World</em> recently caught up individually with McKee, Gomm and Kellie to discuss their unique approaches to the acoustic guitar, as well as how each cultivated his impressive technique and style. Interestingly, they all share not only a love for Michael Hedges and his ilk but also a background in heavy-metal guitar. Says Gomm, “This new acoustic movement is almost like the unplugged version of shred.” </p> <p>Adds McKee, “I think what ties the two together is the complexity of the music. When all of us guys were first getting into the guitar and wanting to learn these different techniques, metal music was the place to go, because you had guitarists doing unbelievable things on their instruments. In a way, we’ve now transferred some of that over to the acoustic.”</p> <p><strong>Andy McKee</strong></p> <p>Perhaps no musician better represents the new progressive acoustic guitar movement than Andy McKee. The 34-year-old is so much the face of the scene that some call this form of music “ ‘Drifting’-style guitar,” a reference to his most famous composition, which has notched almost 50 million YouTube views since its 2006 debut.</p> <p>At the time, McKee was giving guitar lessons around his hometown of Topeka, Kansas, and recording for CandyRat. “[CandyRat label head] Rob Poland had this idea to shoot some performance videos for this new web site called YouTube,” he recalls. “He thought, Maybe we’ll get a few new fans. So we filmed, like, eight videos in one day and put them up.”</p> <hr /> <p>One of them, “Drifting,” went viral after being featured on YouTube’s homepage, and McKee became an online phenomenon. Soon, he was accepting offers to tour with Tommy Emmanuel and record with Josh Groban. </p> <p>“I went from teaching guitar in Kansas to playing guitar all over the planet,” he says. “Which is what I always wanted to do.”</p> <p>Amazingly, “Drifting” is the first song McKee ever wrote in the style with which he has become so closely associated. He composed it when he was 18, just two years after hearing the percussive-heavy instrumental acoustic guitar work of Preston Reed. </p> <p>“When I was 16, my cousin took me to see Preston at a guitar workshop here in Kansas,” he recalls. “At the time, I was playing electric guitar and was way into Pantera and Dream Theater and Iron Maiden. Then I saw Preston and he was doing all these amazing things with just one acoustic. It blew my mind. I wanted to figure out how he was able to cover melodic, harmonic and rhythmic ideas all at once.”</p> <p>McKee also cites fingerstylists like Don Ross, Billy McLaughlin and Michael Hedges as primary influences. Of all his acoustic contemporaries, McKee’s style most closely mirrors that of Hedges, in both his use of the guitar’s body to add percussive elements and his tendency to create lush, harmonically rich soundscapes using altered tunings and droning open strings. On occasion, he plays a double-neck harp guitar, an instrument popularized by, and closely associated with, Hedges.</p> <p>Since the success of “Drifting,” McKee has become a force in the acoustic world. A few years back he created a tour called Guitar Masters, a sort of G3 for the acoustic set. He also performs upward of 100 dates each year on his own, and sometimes in front of enormous audiences, such as when John Petrucci invited him to open some arena gigs for Dream Theater in the U.S., Mexico and the Far East. </p> <p>Equally thrilling, and even more unexpected, in 2012 McKee received an offer to join Prince for a series of shows in Australia. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/JsD6uEZsIsU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p>“He watched some of my videos, and one in particular, ‘Rylynn,’ [See the video above] really stood out to him,” McKee says. “He invited me to Minneapolis to jam with him and his band, and from there he brought me out on tour. And it was amazing. I would start the shows with an acoustic arrangement of ‘Purple Rain,’ and during Prince’s set I’d sit in with him and his band and we’d do a medley of his songs.”</p> <p>As for his own music, McKee has released a series of well-received albums, including his most recent, 2010’s <em>Joyride</em>. He also continues to seek out new avenues to explore with his own music. </p> <p>To that end, his new Razor &amp; Tie–issued EP, <em>Mythmaker</em>, features not only his distinct acoustic guitar playing but also a solo piano piece and an electric guitar–and-synth composition. “I’m trying some different things out and letting inspiration take me wherever it does,” McKee says. “I don’t feel like I have to write the next amazing acoustic-guitar song necessarily—I just want to write the next amazing piece of music.” </p> <p><strong>Andy McKee Axology</strong><br /> <strong>GUITARS</strong> Michael Greenfield G4.2 (fanned fret), Michael Greenfield G2B and G4B.2 (fanned fret) baritone, Michael Greenfield HG1.2 harp guitar<br /> <strong>PICKUPS</strong> K&amp;K Pure Mini<br /> <strong>EFFECTS</strong> None<br /> <strong>CAPOS</strong> Shubb S1 and S5 Deluxe (banjo)<br /> <strong>PREAMP</strong> D-TAR Solstice </p> <hr /> <p><strong>Jon Gomm</strong></p> <p>A few years back, Leeds, England–based singer-songwriter Jon Gomm was just another guitarist—albeit one with a devastatingly advanced extended technique—trying to carve out a musical career by gigging extensively across Europe.</p> <p>Then his life was changed by a single word: in early 2012, British actor and comedian Stephen Fry sent out a tweet consisting of “Wow” and a link to a video of Gomm playing his song “Passionflower” live. </p> <p>Today, that video has close to 6 million views, and Gomm has become one of the most talked-about players in the acoustic guitar scene, with fans ranging from David Crosby to Steve Vai to Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe. </p> <p>One look at any of Gomm’s many videos makes it easy to see why his playing has caused such waves. On the main melody of “Passionflower,” for example, he builds an entrancing and hypnotic rhythm pattern by, among other things, scratching, banging and knocking the body of his guitar, a Lowden he calls Wilma. </p> <p>He sounds notes, including harp harmonics, exclusively using eight-finger tapping and with both hands positioned over the fretboard, and he continually reaches behind the headstock to retune his two highest strings as they ring out, to create a synth-like effect. To top it off, he sings over the whole thing.</p> <p>But despite the practically acrobatic nature of his playing, Gomm insists that his music is not a gimmick. “Every song has to have a meaning and connect with people emotionally,” says the 36-year-old guitarist, who actually composes his lyrics first and adds instrumentation afterward. “And you can’t make that connection just by doing gymnastics.” He adds that his favorite thing about playing in this style is that “there are no boundaries. I can think in any genre I want and try to put that into the music.”</p> <p>Gomm has played many genres over the years. Early on, he schooled himself using Steve Vai’s instructional book Shred Extravaganza and later studied at the Guitar Institute in London and earned a jazz degree from the Leeds College of Music. </p> <p>Thanks to his father’s career as a record and concert reviewer for a British newspaper, he received first-hand tips and pointers as a teenager from a famous players, including B.B. King, bluesman Walter Trout and the late steel-guitar virtuoso Bob Brozman, whom he credits with turning him onto the idea of using the guitar as a percussion instrument.</p> <p>“He would flip his guitar over and play drum solos on the back of the body, which was mind blowing to me,” Gomm says. “I also had a guitar teacher who was great at flamenco, and percussive playing is a big part of that style. So while a guy like Michael Hedges was huge for me, it was probably less for the percussion thing and more for his amazing way with altered tunings.”</p> <p>Altered tunings are a big part of Gomm’s style as well. For him, it serves as a way to further unleash his creativity. “I went to guitar school, and I learned a million scales,” he says. “But if I take the guitar and just twist a few pegs, all of a sudden everything is new. Sometimes the most creative thing you can do is tune your guitar wrong and let your ears, rather than your brain, do the work.”</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/nY7GnAq6Znw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p>Gomm also pushes his creative boundaries by using banjo pegs on his B and high E strings. The pegs can be set to toggle between two notes, allowing players to loosen and tighten a string’s tension to hit distinct pitches at will. </p> <p>The effect, as demonstrated by Gomm on songs like “Passionflower” and “Telepathy” (both of which appear on <em>Secrets Nobody Keeps</em>), is similar to bending a note on an electric guitar or playing with a synthesizer’s pitch wheel. On another composition, “Hey Child,” which features an overdrive-laced shredding solo, he uses the banjo pegs to create dive-bomb-like whammy-bar effects. </p> <p>“You can get really creative with them and bring your sound into so many different worlds,” Gomm says.</p> <p>Which, essentially, is how he feels about this acoustic guitar style. “There’s just so much you can do,” he says. “When I pick up an electric guitar now, it feels like a toy. The acoustic feels so much more powerful and free to me. It’s a beast of an instrument.”</p> <p><strong>Jon Gomm Axology</strong><br /> <strong>GUITAR</strong> Lowden O12-C (“Wilma”)<br /> <strong>PICKUPS</strong> Fishman Rare Earth Blend, Fishman Acoustic Matrix<br /> <strong>STRINGS</strong> Newtone signature super-heavy gauge (.014–.068)<br /> <strong>EFFECTS</strong> Three Boss PQ-3B Bass Parametric Equalizers, Boss OC-3 Super Octave, Boss DD-7 Digital Delay, Boss RV-5 Digital Reverb, Tech 21 SansAmp Character Series Blond, Line 6 Verbzilla, Line 6 Echo Park<br /> <strong>AMP</strong> Trace Elliot TA 200</p> <hr /> <p><strong>Daryl Kellie</strong></p> <p>In contrast to many of his contemporaries in the progressive fingerstyle world, Daryl Kellie’s musical proclivities and background lean more toward jazz and classical forms rather than the ethereal, percussive-heavy approach of Hedges and Reed. </p> <p>Which, in a sense, made Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” an ideal showcase for the 30-year-old’s abilities as a solo guitar arranger and performer. </p> <p>Kellie’s interpretation of the song is remarkably evocative of the original, with the guitarist employing complex chords, tapping, hammer-ons and plenty of harmonics (both natural and artificial), to great effect.</p> <p>Explains Kellie, “I’ve always come at this from a jazz-fingerstyle guitar angle, and the classical guitar thing is something I’ve always kept up as well. With that in mind, something like ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ is in a way similar to the kind of very dense arrangements you often find in classical guitar music. So arranging the song came pretty naturally to me.” </p> <p>In general, most any style of playing seems to come naturally to Kellie, who began his guitar life as a hard rock and metal fan. </p> <p>Growing up in Hampshire, England, he was an avowed acolyte of shredders like Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Eric Johnson and Eddie Van Halen (“I actually snapped the whammy bar off my Fender Squier trying to learn ‘Eruption,’ ” he says), and in his late teens he toured Britain as the lead guitarist in a “proggy, gothy” metal band named Season’s End. </p> <p>At the same time, he began cultivating an interest in jazz and classical solo guitar, studying the playing of everyone from Joe Pass to Lenny Breau (from whom he cultivated his skillful harp-harmonic technique) to Martin Taylor, who also served as his guitar teacher for a time. </p> <p>Then, in his early twenties, Kellie’s older brother gave him a copy of Andy McKee’s 2005 CandyRat effort, <em>Art of Motion</em>, which includes the songs “Drifting” and “Rylynn.” Recalls Kellie, “I thought it was amazing. I was already getting into the solo guitar thing through my jazz studies, so to see what Andy and some of the other CandyRat artists were doing, with the percussive element and all the interesting techniques, it felt like the next frontier. It was a style of guitar that seemed to be all encompassing, like you could go anywhere with it.”</p> <p>Kellie threw himself wholeheartedly into this new style, and in 2010 he self-released his first EP, <em>Don’t Expect Much</em> and <em>You Won’t Be Disappointed</em>. But it is his growing online catalog of inventively arranged cover songs that has been garnering him the most attention. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/_fxbx0-O8kY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.guitarworld.com/exclusive-video-lesson-bohemian-rhapsody-tutorial-daryl-kellie">Exclusive Video Lesson: "Bohemian Rhapsody" Tutorial by Daryl Kellie</a></strong></p> <p>A quick search on YouTube brings up videos of Kellie tackling songs in a variety of genres, from rock classics like the Beatles’ “When I’m Sixty-Four” and the White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” to Tetris and Super Mario Bros video-game music and pop hits like Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It),” which appears, along with “Bohemian Rhapsody” on Kellie’s new, self-released full-length effort, <em>Wintersong.</em> </p> <p>“I like the idea of doing something that’s unexpected,” he explains. “If it’s the first time someone’s been to one of my gigs, they might be like, ‘Is that freakin’ Beyoncé that he’s playing?’ And I also want to show that these are great songs and there’s some interesting things going on in them.”</p> <p>The success of his “Bohemian Rhapsody” arrangement has inspired Kellie to create more covers. “I’ve been considering some Nirvana arrangements, using lots of artificial harmonics and that type of thing,” he says. “And it’d be fun to do something really ‘outside,’ like a Megadeth song, perhaps.” </p> <p>Ultimately, his goal is to keep pushing his acoustic-guitar technique into new realms. “I want to continue to learn and try new things,” he says. “I would love to incorporate techniques like tapping and harp harmonics into jazz and jazz improvisation pieces, which I don’t feel is done very much, particularly on the acoustic. I think that would be really interesting.”</p> <p><strong>Daryl Kellie Axology</strong><br /> <strong>GUITARS</strong> Gibson L-50, Taylor 810 custom, 110ce and 310ce<br /> <strong>PICKUPS</strong> Fishman Rare Earth Blend<br /> <strong>EFFECTS</strong> Electro-Harmonix Holy Grail Reverb Nano, Boss RC-30 Loop Station<br /> <strong>PREAMP</strong> BBE Acoustimax </p> <p><em>Photo (Daryl Kellie): Alex Flahive</em></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/acoustic-fingerstylists-andy-mckee-jon-gomm-and-daryl-kellie-are-blazing-daring-style-percussive-alternate-tuned-shred#comments Acoustic Nation Andy McKee April 2014 Daryl Kellie GW Archive Jon Gromm News Interviews Interviews News Features Magazine Thu, 20 Nov 2014 15:35:54 +0000 Richard Bienstock http://www.guitarworld.com/article/21084 Wild Stringdom with John Petrucci: Combining Triad Arpeggios to Form Polytonal Chordal Allusions http://www.guitarworld.com/wild-stringdom-john-petrucci-combining-triad-arpeggios-form-polytonal-chordal-allusions <!--paging_filter--><p>As I have discussed in previous columns, I often use triadic arpeggio forms within my riffs and solos as a tool to create rich-sounding, poly-chordal sounds. </p> <p> I’d like to continue in that vein in this month’s column by presenting different ways in which to move from one arpeggio form to another, using a series of specific triads that complement one another well.</p> <p> Let’s start with the triads F# diminished and D major, as shown in <strong>FIGURES 1</strong> and <strong>FIGURE 2</strong>, respectively. The F# diminished triad is built from the notes C, F# and A, and the D major triad is built from almost the same set of notes, D, F# and A. Both FIGURES 1 and 2 show these triads as played in fifth position for comparison. </p> <p> If I wanted to get a bluesy vibe, I’d use the D major triad and combine it with the F# diminished triad, as demonstrated in <strong>FIGURE 3</strong>. Here, the C note is heard as the b7 (flat seventh) of D, implying a D dominant-seven tonality.</p> <p> Now let’s try combining the F# diminished arpeggio with an A minor arpeggio—A C E—as shown in <strong>FIGURE 4</strong>. The combination of these two sets of notes gives an F#m7b5 arpeggio (F# A C E: see <strong>FIGURE 5</strong>). These licks work well over an Am chord, as the inclusion of the F# note, the major sixth of A, implies an Am6, A Dorian–mode type of sound.</p> <p> As you probably have noticed, all of these arpeggios are played on the top three strings, and I often like to incorporate sweep picking when using arpeggios like this. <strong>FIGURE 6</strong> illustrates a combination of an Em7 arpeggio—E G B D—and a Gmaj7 arpeggio—G B D F#. As denoted in the example, in order to sweep pick these arpeggio shapes properly, begin with an upstroke on the first note and then use a single down-stroke to rake across the top three strings to play the next three notes. </p> <p> The form ends with another upstroke. I then slide up to 10th position and reverse the process, beginning with a down-stroke and then using a single upstroke to rake across the top three strings, moving from high to low. <strong>FIGURE 7</strong> offers an example of applying this approach to the chord progression Em7 Am9 F#m7b5 Gmaj7.</p> <p> This is the last installment of Wild Stringdom for now. I hope these columns have been useful to you and have served to broaden your knowledge of the guitar while building up your chops. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you out on the road!</p> <!-- Start of Brightcove Player --><!-- Start of Brightcove Player --><div style="display:none"> </div> <!-- By use of this code snippet, I agree to the Brightcove Publisher T and C found at https://accounts.brightcove.com/en/terms-and-conditions/. --><!-- By use of this code snippet, I agree to the Brightcove Publisher T and C found at https://accounts.brightcove.com/en/terms-and-conditions/. --><script language="JavaScript" type="text/javascript" src="http://admin.brightcove.com/js/BrightcoveExperiences.js"></script><object id="myExperience3250126572001" class="BrightcoveExperience"> <param name="bgcolor" value="#FFFFFF" /> <param name="width" value="620" /> <param name="height" value="365" /> <param name="playerID" value="798983031001" /> <param name="playerKey" value="AQ~~,AAAAj36EdAk~,0qwz1H1Ey92wZ6vLZcchClKTXdFbuP3P" /> <param name="isVid" value="true" /> <param name="isUI" value="true" /> <param name="dynamicStreaming" value="true" /> <param name="@videoPlayer" value="3250126572001" /> </object><!-- This script tag will cause the Brightcove Players defined above it to be created as soon as the line is read by the browser. 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If you wish to have the player instantiated only after the rest of the HTML is processed and the page load is complete, remove the line. --><script type="text/javascript">brightcove.createExperiences();</script><!-- End of Brightcove Player --><!-- End of Brightcove Player --><p><br /><br /> <img src="/files/imce-images/Screen%20Shot%202014-04-30%20at%2010.38.33%20AM.png" width="620" height="693" alt="Screen Shot 2014-04-30 at 10.38.33 AM.png" /><br /> <img src="/files/imce-images/Screen%20Shot%202014-04-30%20at%2010.39.19%20AM.png" width="620" height="339" alt="Screen Shot 2014-04-30 at 10.39.19 AM.png" /></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/john-petrucci">John Petrucci</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/dream-theater">Dream Theater</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/wild-stringdom-john-petrucci-combining-triad-arpeggios-form-polytonal-chordal-allusions#comments April 2014 Dream Theater John Petrucci Wild Stringdom Blogs News Lessons Magazine Fri, 18 Jul 2014 18:25:55 +0000 John Petrucci http://www.guitarworld.com/article/20542 Hall Pass: From Stevie Ray Vaughan to Ozzy Osbourne, 14 Glaring Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Omissions http://www.guitarworld.com/hall-pass-stevie-ray-vaughan-ozzy-osbourne-14-glaring-rock-and-roll-hall-fame-omissions <!--paging_filter--><p>How in good conscience can an institution that has admitted Gladys Knight &amp; the Pips overlook Ozzy Osbourne? </p> <p>That was the burning question that kept us awake after we learned about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s inductees for 2014. </p> <p>Don’t get us wrong. We were thrilled to see Kiss and Nirvana finally listed among this year’s entrants. But after 28 years, we think it’s time that the Hall shower a little respect on some of the musicians that have thrilled and inspired <em>Guitar World</em> and its readers over the past 35 years. </p> <p>And so to the judges who choose the Hall of Fame’s nominees, we say: Your honors, we plead insanity. We’re just crazy about the following 14 acts (in honor of 2014, of course). We think you should be too. </p> <p><strong>Stevie Ray Vaughan</strong></p> <p>The Rock Hall has always generously acknowledged blues guitarists, from Robert Johnson to T-Bone Walker to B.B., Albert and Freddie King to Buddy Guy and Eric Clapton. </p> <p>So an induction for Stevie Ray Vaughan would be a logical next step. Coming up in the Eighties, SRV revitalized an interest in the blues among older fans while turning a whole new generation on to this vital American musical genre. </p> <p>In a field crowded with titans, Stevie Ray brought his own unique style to the blues idiom, incorporating elements of western swing and post-Hendrix rock guitar histrionics into his dazzling six-string approach. He’s one of the major reasons why the blues is still going strong today. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/DcDNgrEQRas" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Dick Dale</strong></p> <p>You’d think the King of the Surf Guitar would be a shoe-in for the Rock Hall. Dick Dale crafted one of the most distinctive and influential sounds of the early rock era, consulting with Leo Fender to develop much of the gear needed to create his tone. </p> <p>He brought beguiling Middle Eastern flavors to rock’s palette with his 1962 classic “Misirlou,” and his plectrum-melting double-picking technique sent echoes down the rock history pipeline that would energize everything from shred to prog-metal in the decades that followed. </p> <p>Beyond all this, Dale is a living personification of this thing we call rock and roll—an upside-down-lefty outsider who did it his way. He still is doing it, for that matter, at age 76. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/XnreN5LsjvQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Deep Purple</strong></p> <p>The Rock Hall’s prior recognition of metal originators like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin sets a clear precedent for inducting Deep Purple as well. Why leave out the band that gave the world one of the most-played heavy guitar riffs in the universe, 1972’s “Smoke on the Water”? </p> <p>The nimble legato stylings of Deep Purple guitarist and founding member Ritchie Blackmore have inspired countless rock ax wielders, both famous and infamous. </p> <p>While some of the post-Blackmore lineups have been a bit dubious, Deep Purple’s early Seventies impact on the sound and style of rock music is an unassailable credential. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/3AL73LYo64A" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Yes</strong></p> <p>The fact that Yes have not been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, while Rush have been, is a lapse of taste and judgment on the order of admitting Oasis to your party but telling the Beatles you can’t find their name on the guest list. Yes not only did it first, they did it better than most who followed. </p> <p>The group formed in 1968, a banner year for stylistically adventurous U.K. rock bands that also saw the birth of King Crimson and Jethro Tull, two more suitable candidates for Rock Hall induction. But no group sums up all the best aspects of prog-rock more eloquently and beautifully than Yes. </p> <p>Their early Seventies golden trilogy—<em>Fragile, Close to the Edge</em> and <em>Tales from Topographic Oceans</em>—set an unequaled benchmark for epic orchestral keyboard arrangements, complex time signatures and the fervently ambitious guitar agenda of Steve Howe, fearlessly fusing elements of classical, jazz, folk, flamenco and rock. </p> <p>Singer Jon Anderson brought a Beatles-esque melodic sensibility to the prog arena—hummable tunes are all too rare in the genre—and was one of the few artists in the genre who could spin a mesmerizing lyric without getting bogged down in grandiose conceptual gimmicks.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/bY9JM1MihC0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Fugazi</strong></p> <p>When indie, metal, thrash and grunge guitarists give interviews, they invariably cite Fugazi as a key influence. </p> <p>In certain circles, a Fugazi T-shirt is as de rigueur as a pair of Doc Martens boots and a wallet chain. With their D.I.Y. business ethics and egalitarian politics, the Washington, D.C., post-hardcore stalwarts brought the best aspects of Seventies and Eighties indie punk into a new era. </p> <p>By refusing to play the music-biz game, Fugazi guitarist and leader Ian MacKaye and his colleagues have consistently produced quality records and maintained a reputation for integrity. Isn’t that the kind of thing that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is supposed to commend and recognize?</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/qyqaEKzt8M4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Cheap Trick</strong></p> <p>Cheap Trick have been called America’s Beatles. They’re one band that appeals to rock fans of every stripe—from punk rockers and Nuggets-loving garage-band geeks to metalheads to classic rock traditionalists. Why is this? </p> <p>Because Cheap Trick embody the very essence of rock and roll music—great tunes driven home by powerhouse beats and a manic guitar attack that makes you want to jump up on your seat and pump your fist in the air. Plus, they’ve never taken themselves too seriously. How many other rock bands that have been around for almost 40 years can claim that? </p> <p>With his Huntz Hall baseball caps, bow ties and multinecked “novelty” guitars, Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen makes it all look so easy. But guitarists can recognize the consummate artistry behind his seemingly nonchalant approach. </p> <p>Rock critics have always loved Cheap Trick as well. So why the hell aren’t they in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame already? </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/hjDS48RgqK8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Boston</strong></p> <p>Whatever one thinks of the Seventies AOR radio format, few if any had the formula more succinctly dialed in than Boston mastermind Tom Scholz. </p> <p>As Boston’s guitarist, keyboardist, songwriter and producer, Scholz had his finger on every aspect of what made records sell in the multimillions back in the polyester decade. He’d studied his antecedents well: the pomp and circumstance of Yes and ELP, turbocharged by Queen’s massive guitar overdub overkill. </p> <p>But Scholz brought his own consummately hooky songwriting sensibility and immaculate instrumental craftsmanship to the party. A scientist as well as an artist, he often designed and built the gear—notably the Rockman preamp—required to create the tonalities he heard in his head, a sound that came roaring over the ultra-compressed FM radio airwaves like a fighter jet. </p> <p>Boston’s influence on subsequent rock music has been pervasive. What is Nirvana’s sacrosanct “Smells Like Teen Spirit” riff if not a recasting of Boston’s “More Than a Feeling”?</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/AqK99xTYYAs" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Spinal Tap </strong></p> <p>Induct a joke band into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? It wouldn’t be the first time. Presumably, one reason why bands get inducted is that they’ve exerted a pervasive influence over rock culture in particular and popular culture at large. </p> <p>By that criterion alone, Spinal Tap deserve a nod. They made exploding drummers and amps that go to 11 as much a part of rock music as backstage passes and crooked record contracts. </p> <p>And if artists get inducted for exhibiting a profound understanding of what makes rock tick, Spinal Tap creator Rob Reiner certainly deserves Rock Hall enshrinement. Next time you go to an arena rock concert, consider that the band you’ve paid big money to see probably watched <em>This Is Spinal Tap</em> on its tour bus en route to the gig. If that isn’t rock and roll inspiration, then what is?</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/N63XSUpe-0o" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Johnny Winter</strong></p> <p>While the Rock Hall has done a splendid job of acknowledging significant blues guitarists, the absence of Johnny Winter among the Hall’s hallowed ranks is one glaring omission. </p> <p>Along with players like Eric Clapton, Mike Bloomfield and Taj Mahal, Winter was a key figure in the late-Sixties explosion of blues onto the rock scene. His 1969 self-titled debut album on Columbia Records is an absolute classic that put the world hip to Winter’s remarkably fluid yet gritty take on the Texas blues guitar tradition. </p> <p>Winter could segue effortlessly into rock—his Rick Derringer collaboration “Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo” has become a bar-band standard—but his heart has always belonged to the blues. His late-Seventies recordings with Muddy Waters came as a testament that albinos can play the blues too. </p> <p>Recent performances at high-visibility events, like the New Orleans Jazz &amp; Heritage Festival and Eric Clapton’s Crossroads, have proven that Johnny Winter has still got what it takes almost half a century into his career. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ULB4QQ9vvko" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Slayer</strong></p> <p>Some might argue that since Metallica are already in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, there’s no need for Slayer (or Megadeth or Anthrax or…). But the honest-to-Satan fact is that more metal bands today sound like Slayer than anyone else from the Big Four.</p> <p>Metal may be split into more subcategories than there are varieties of women’s jeans at the Gap, but whether you call it black, death, doom, extreme, grindcore, thrash or whatever, the bulk of it still sounds an awful lot like Slayer.</p> <p>Of course, Metallica made it into the Hall of Fame because at some point they became safe for the masses. But Slayer have always been dangerous and frightening to the mild mannered, and they have continued to get heavier (in musical terms, not just physically) with each passing year. </p> <p>Classic Slayer albums like <em>Hell Awaits, Reign in Blood</em> and <em>Seasons in the Abyss</em> still sound menacing and scary today, even though they’re almost 25 to 30 years old.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/-wbye7YycQE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Pantera</strong></p> <p>If rock music is all about rebellion, then Pantera may have been the ultimate rebels. Coming from deep in the heart of Texas, where the local music scene was better known for blues or outlaw country, Pantera did their own thing and innovated a signature style of music that is best described by their self-created tag of groove metal. </p> <p>Pantera didn’t need any local scene or movement to bolster them, and even without the support of radio or MTV, their albums debuted at Number One on the Billboard 200 and routinely went Platinum because their music resonated with alienated, disaffected youth perhaps even more than Kurt Cobain’s musings did.</p> <p>But what really makes Pantera stand out from the pack, especially among the thrash metal set they commiserated with, is the fact that they were one of the few bands of that ilk with a genuine guitar hero. </p> <p>Dimebag Darrell took what came before him—the sinister riffs of Tony Iommi, the flash of Eddie Van Halen, the melodic sense of Randy Rhoads and the bludgeoning force of Metallica—and turned it into his own signature sound. In a sense, Dimebag was to metal what fellow Texan Stevie Ray Vaughan was to the blues: often imitated, never equaled.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/YFcrecJ6-Og" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Soundgarden</strong></p> <p>Before Soundgarden, Seattle was known only for the Space Needle, and the city’s only nationally recognized musician was Jimi Hendrix…and he was dead. </p> <p>While the roots of what later became known as grunge reach back to mid-Eighties bands like the Melvins and the U-Men, Soundgarden caused the world to focus its attention on the Emerald City by being its first local heroes to release an album—1988's Grammy-nominated <em>Ultramega OK</em>—on a major label. Soundgarden’s success blew open the doors for other Seattle bands, like Alice in Chains, Nirvana and Pearl Jam.</p> <p>What Soundgarden did next is why they truly belong in the Hall of Fame. Like no other band since Led Zeppelin, they fused numerous styles, including metal, psychedelia, punk, blues and even acoustic and Middle Eastern music. </p> <p>In doing so, they defied the limiting grunge tag. Not surprisingly, perhaps, Soundgarden’s music has aged very well, and songs like “Rusty Cage,” “Black Hole Sun” and “Pretty Noose” may sound even better today than when they were released. The recently reformed band still sounds vital, potent and visionary.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/JvqQY6b5IbA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Iron Maiden</strong></p> <p>Bands like Motörhead and Saxon generated a few tremors during the late Seventies, but when Iron Maiden hit the scene in the early Eighties, they were the 8.0 Richter-scale earthquake that turned the New Wave of British Heavy Metal into a tsunami. </p> <p>Iron Maiden’s twin- (eventually triple-) guitar attack made them like a younger and angrier version of Judas Priest, but they showed they were smarter too with sophisticated, progressive rock-inspired epics and subject matter derived from Greek mythology, Edgar Allan Poe and Samuel Taylor Coleridge.</p> <p>The group’s first three albums (<em>Iron Maiden, Killers, The Number of the Beast</em>) are essential must-haves for any metal fan’s playlist—hell, the first seven studio albums should already be in any serious metal fan’s collection. And the band continues to deliver the goods onstage and in the studio today.</p> <p><strong>Ozzy Osbourne</strong></p> <p>It’s hard to imagine a bigger comeback than Ozzy Osbourne. Kicked out of Black Sabbath in 1979 for his rampant drug and alcohol abuse, he was replaced by no less than Ronnie James Dio, which would drive the average mere mortal toward an overdose. </p> <p>But Ozzy didn’t get depressed; he got even, by enlisting the incredible Randy Rhoads on guitar. Even Rhoads’ tragic death couldn’t stop Ozzy—he continued to work with and discover the best talent out there, including Bernie Tormé, Brad Gillis, Jake E. Lee and Zakk Wylde.</p> <p>Ozzy deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame for his albums alone, but his role as a defender and advocate of metal music as the founder of the Ozzfest should have made him a shoo-in his first year of eligibility. The man even once put a live bat in his mouth onstage. You just can’t get any more rock and roll than that.</p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/stevie-ray-vaughan">Stevie Ray Vaughan</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/hall-pass-stevie-ray-vaughan-ozzy-osbourne-14-glaring-rock-and-roll-hall-fame-omissions#comments April 2014 Dick Dale Ozzy Osbourne Stevie Ray Vaughan News Features Magazine Thu, 05 Jun 2014 16:04:09 +0000 Alan di Perna, Chris Gill http://www.guitarworld.com/article/21370 Neon Trees Guitarist Chris Allen Reduces His Rig for 'Pop Psychology' http://www.guitarworld.com/neon-trees-guitarist-chris-allen-reduces-his-rig-pop-psychology <!--paging_filter--><p>“Every time we head into the studio, I probably haul in 10 amps and 15 guitars,” Neon Trees guitarist Chris Allen says, laughing. </p> <p>“But this time, we tried to simplify it. We really just wanted to do this record with a couple of amps and a few guitars.”</p> <p>Despite the comparatively stripped-down approach, <em>Pop Psychology</em>, the third album from the new wave–influenced, Utah-based alternative rockers, is awash with a rich array of ringing, sparkling guitar tones. </p> <p>Produced by longtime friend and collaborator, Sugarcult frontman Tim Pagnotta, <em>Pop Psychology</em> songs like “Love in the 21st Century,” “Living in Another World” and the lead single, “Sleeping with a Friend,” are powered by Allen’s skillfully intertwined guitar lines, most of which are painstakingly processed through a smorgasbord of echo, delay, chorus and compression effects. </p> <p>“It’s funny,” Allen says, “but if I’m just sitting around with an acoustic guitar and someone asks me to play one of our songs, I’m like, ‘Well, it’s not gonna sound right with one guitar.’ Each of the parts are so specific, most of our songs require two guitars to make any sense of what’s going on.” (Live, the band is abetted by touring guitarist David Charles.)</p> <p>Though Allen owns a wide variety of guitars and amps, his Fender Eric Johnson Stratocaster and Laney L20H head ultimately form the heart of his rig onstage and in the studio. “I just love everything about that guitar,” he says of the Strat, which is fitted with a Lindy Fralin Split-Blade in the bridge position. </p> <p>"The pickup allows him to keep the guitar’s classic Strat tone while cancelling out the extraneous noise often caused by stadium lighting rigs. “The Laney is pretty loud for a 20-watt, and it’s definitely as loud as I’ll ever need. My sound guy really likes it, so that’s the most important part. If he can make it sound good out front, then I’m happy!”</p> <p><strong>AXOLOGY</strong></p> <p><strong>GUITARS</strong> Fender Eric Johnson Stratocaster, Fender Cabronita Telecaster, Fender Custom Telemaster, Silvertone 1446, Silvertone Vanguard<br /> <strong>AMPS</strong> Laney L20H with Laney 2x12 cab, Divided by 13 JJN 50/100 with 4x12 cab<br /> <strong>EFFECTS</strong> Ibanez TS808HW Tube Screamer, Eventide Timefactor Delay, Strymon El Capistan Tape Echo, DigiTech Hardwire CR-7 Stereo Chorus, Malekko Trem, Malekko Vibrato, Janglebox JB2 Compressor<br /> <strong>STRINGS</strong> D’Addario EXL110 nickel-wound</p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/0T5A7760.jpg" width="620" height="892" alt="0T5A7760.jpg" /></p> <p><em>Photo (above): Jimmy Hubbard</em></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/neon-trees-guitarist-chris-allen-reduces-his-rig-pop-psychology#comments April 2014 Chris Allen Neon Trees Interviews News Magazine Fri, 16 May 2014 15:01:59 +0000 Dan Epstein http://www.guitarworld.com/article/21271 Beat It: A Guide to the Inspired Techniques of Percussive Acoustic Guitar Playing http://www.guitarworld.com/beat-it-guide-inspired-techniques-percussive-acoustic-guitar-playing <!--paging_filter--><p>Percussive acoustic playing has been around forever, and it’s easy to see why. </p> <p>The guitar is essentially a drum with strings stretched over it. (Its cousin, the banjo, uses a drumhead to cover the body.) </p> <p>As demonstrated in <a href="http://www.guitarworld.com/acoustic-fingerstylists-andy-mckee-jon-gomm-and-daryl-kellie-are-blazing-daring-style-percussive-alternate-tuned-shred">this issue’s feature on Andy McKee, Jon Gomm and Daryl Kellie</a>, there has been a resurgence of interest in the percussive-heavy, alternate-tuned style of progressive acoustic guitar playing pioneered in the Eighties by guitarists like Michael Hedges. </p> <p>Whatever style of music you play on the acoustic guitar, you can incorporate slaps, knocks, raps and other hands-on-wood effects into your playing that can enliven and add greater sonic interest to your performance. </p> <p>In this lesson, I’ll show you how to harness some of the percussive possibilities that the acoustic guitar offers through a pick-free playing approach that I’ve adopted over the years. I’ll demonstrate how to integrate tapping and thumping techniques into vamps and grooves that also incorporate fretted and open-string notes and chords played using conventional techniques. </p> <p>My own discovery of this technique was prompted by two things. First, my parents discouraged me from being a drummer because the instrument makes too much racket (you could say I’m a frustrated drummer at heart). </p> <p>Second, when I started out pursuing a career in music as a guitarist, I couldn’t afford to hire a band and was dissatisfied with the amount of music that came out of the acoustic guitar played in the conventional way. So I set out to create a kind of workaround—a “pocket band,” if you will—by incorporating various techniques of rapping on my guitar’s body with my bare hands, as if it were a drum, in order to emulate the feel of a rhythm section. </p> <p>If I’m writing a song and it seems to need a more rhythmically detailed pulse, I’ll start drumming on the instrument using my fingers and then try to get the strings to conform to my musical vision, typically by using an altered tuning. </p> <p>Of course, not every song is served by this approach, and it’s never been my intention to take any technique to the heroic level of a guitar god. My mission is simply to approximate the feel of a band and convey the sounds I’m hearing to facilitate the writing process. While the sound of drumming on an acoustic guitar is no replacement for a real drummer, the techniques that I’ll show you can communicate a rich rhythmic groove in a way that conventional guitar-playing techniques often can’t. </p> <p>We’ll begin with a look at the main pieces of a basic drum kit—bass drum, snare and hi-hat—as they relate to this technique. We’ll then move on to a discussion of tunings that can facilitate your use of the percussive-style playing, and conclude with some musical examples. </p> <p><strong>The Kick Drum </strong></p> <p>The kick sound that is most satisfying to me is found by striking the bottom three strings with my pick hand’s outstretched middle finger just in front of the bridge (see <strong>PHOTO A</strong>). If you’re using this technique in a live performance, make sure the sound technician understands what you’re going to do and provides a little more bottom end in the EQ to give your tone a satisfying <em>thump</em>. </p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/photo%20a.png" width="391" height="276" alt="photo a.png" /></p> <p>If you’re recording, it often helps to mix in the direct signal from your guitar’s pickup with that of a microphone, as the pickup will capture more of the low-frequency energy of the thumping. In my recording endeavors, I’ll sometimes use tight kick-drum samples to help bolster the groove. (I told you I wanted to be a drummer!) </p> <p>As an added benefit, if you have a bass line going on the bottom strings, you can perfectly synchronize them with your kick pattern by attacking the notes with this same pick-hand finger. This guarantees that your virtual bassist and drummer will always be perfectly locked in together.</p> <hr /> <strong>The Snare </strong> <p>There are several ways to achieve a snare drum–like effect on an acoustic guitar, and they all involve striking the instrument’s body anywhere that produces a pitch that is higher than that of the kick sound, which is pretty much anywhere. </p> <p>My rule is that the snare is wherever I can reach it, based on whatever other duties either hand is performing. My go-to snare drum is at the top corner area of the body, which I likewise strike with my pick-hand middle finger (see <strong>PHOTO B</strong>). </p> <p>Other fingers can be used, and you should use whichever one you prefer.</p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/photo%20b.png" width="620" height="443" alt="photo b.png" /></p> <p>This snare “cracks” pretty nicely, and its attack can be tempered by the way you strike the wood with your finger. For example, you can use the inner side of your first knuckle for that bone-on-wood sound, or the softer pad, or “paw,” between the knuckle and fingertip to smooth out the transient spikes that can be a bit shrill sounding and problematical for amplification or recording. </p> <p>When recording, I’ll sometimes use various makeshift damping devices. These include taping a cocktail napkin to that part of the body, much as a drummer will put a towel over his snare to dampen it or a lead guitarist will tie a sock around the neck in front of the nut to suppress sympathetic string vibration when recording a solo. (If you cringe at the idea of taping anything to a valuable or favorite guitar, you might want to consider using a less-precious instrument for this purpose.</p> <p>If your instrument isn’t a cutaway, the opposite corner area of the body will work well as a snare drum and can be easily reached with the fret hand from below the neck if your pick hand is busy picking or tapping a harmonic. </p> <p>This way of playing the guitar is similar to playing a conga drum and requires a bit of resourcefulness and creative problem solving, as any given groove can pose different physical challenges and restrictions and call for a certain pitch produced by striking the body at just the right place. Tapping on the side of the body (with either hand) produces a higher-pitched snare sound (akin to hitting a conga drum near the rim) that I like to use to achieve a cross-stick kind of effect. </p> <p>Another effective and convenient snare-like sound can be produced by tapping your fret-hand fingers on the back of the neck to create a grace-note flam effect or snare-drum “chatter,” akin to the way a drummer lets the stick bounce off the snare (<strong>PHOTO C</strong>). </p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/photo%20c.png" width="364" height="299" alt="photo c.png" /></p> <p>It’s a subtle sound, but it can be very effective at enhancing a groove. You can also kill two musical birds with one stone by tapping a natural harmonic on one or more strings at the moment you’d expect to hear a snare hit, which is typically on beats two and four in 4/4 meter. In this way, you’re conveying harmonic and rhythmic information simultaneously. Efficiency is key when you’re trying to do the work of several instruments.</p> <p><strong>Hi-hat</strong></p> <p>By sweeping either hand along the wound strings, you can approximate the sound of closed or open hi-hats. Depending on your musical proclivities, you can conjure up a little old-school vinyl scratching by sweeping your hand over the strings in a way that visually resembles a DJ manipulating a record turntable (think Tom Morello).</p> <hr /> <strong>Tunings</strong> <p>Now that we understand the rhythmic part of the equation, let’s look at how to make your strings conform in a way that facilities the technique. </p> <p>Since you’re already doing as much as you can to wring sound out of the instrument, it makes sense to get as many of the strings involved at once. To do this, I’ll employ alternate tunings, my favorite being DADGAD. </p> <p>Occasionally, I’ll drop the sixth string to C (low to high, C A D G A D), or drop the G string to F#, which gives you a luscious open-D chord if you strum across the strings (open D tuning: low to high, D A D F# A D).</p> <p>Obviously, the strings provide the harmonic information, but they can also serve as drone notes to fill out your arrangement and provide an ambient environment for percussive playing. When playing this way, I’ll sometimes lay the guitar flat across on my lap, like a dobro. </p> <p>This obviously affects what you can do with your fret hand, as you now have to fret notes from above the top side of the neck, like a piano. </p> <p>When the guitar is on my lap, I’ll use droning open strings, typically the higher ones, and my fret-hand thumb to barre power-chord shapes across the bottom two or three strings (see <strong>PHOTO D</strong>). I also sometimes use my fret-hand middle finger to produce the previously mentioned snare-drum grace notes that provide some of the rhythmic finesse and chatter that a real drummer would. </p> <p>But that’s not where all of the harmonic information comes from. Many guitarists overlook that critical extra sound source—your voice. You can think of it as a seventh string, if you like, and it has the advantage of operating completely outside the confines of the instrument. </p> <p>Whereas open strings drone and remain static, sung melodies are able to move freely, and the voice can carry a lyric to the listener. With that, you’ve moved beyond percussive guitar and into songwriting, which, as I said in the beginning, is the whole reason I play. </p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/photo%20d.png" width="384" height="314" alt="photo d.png" /></p> <p>Many guitarists are less sure of their voices than they are of their playing. If you’re too inhibited or self-conscious to sing, consider whistling, an old-timey practice that has made a comeback thanks to artists like Andrew Bird. Also try humming or playing a harmonica with a hands-free brace, Bob Dylan–style. Anything that helps you achieve what you hear in your mind is fair game.</p> <p><strong>PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER</strong></p> <p>Now let’s see how these techniques can be put to use. </p> <p><strong>FIGURE 1a</strong> shows the basic two-bar vamp from my song “1,000 Miles” and is performed in the previously mentioned CADGAD tuning, which is one of my favorite tunings because of the wide pitch range between the low and high strings. </p> <p>The figure is a laid-back R&amp;B-style groove performed at a fairly slow tempo and serves as a good introduction to percussive fingerstyle acoustic playing. </p> <p>The slow tempo is ideal for our purpose here because it buys you valuable time to work on integrating percussive tapping/thumping with picking notes on the strings. The bass notes and kick drum are one and the same in this case and are picked with the thumb (a couple of quick hammer-ons are employed too). The Xs in the tablature indicate the virtual snare-drum hits, which fall on beats two and four as the bass notes are allowed to ring. </p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/Screen%20Shot%202014-04-29%20at%2012.08.31%20PM.png" width="620" height="445" alt="Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 12.08.31 PM.png" /></p> <p><strong>FIGURE 1b</strong> builds upon the basic bass-and-drums groove pattern and introduces melodic licks played in the upper register on the higher strings. Here, snare-drum duty is shared by both hands, specifically on beat three of bar 2, where I use my momentarily available fret hand to do a snare tap (again, indicated in the tablature by Xs) as my pick hand simultaneously plucks the open first string. </p> <p>Note the use of a hammer-on and double pull-off combination on the first string at the end of bar 1, which I use to create a noodle-y, exotic-sounding trill, Jimmy Page style (à la “Dancing Days”). </p> <p>By exploring this playing approach, you’ll discover little tricks like this and learn how to sneak in bits of melody while keeping the rhythmic groove going. A vamp such as this one can be used as an accompaniment to a singer or another instrument and form the basis for an entire section of a song, such as a verse.</p> <p><strong>FIGURE 2</strong> is a passage from my song “Springtime.” It’s played in DADGAD tuning with a capo at the second fret and the guitar laid flat across the lap. In this example, I’m using the kick-drum string-tapping technique described earlier to sound the first two power chords on the bottom three strings. I then strum the remaining chords by brushing my pick-hand fingernails across the strings but continue to use the kick-drum technique to get a pitchless thump while the chords ring out. </p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/Screen%20Shot%202014-04-29%20at%2012.08.40%20PM.png" width="620" height="374" alt="Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 12.08.40 PM.png" /></p> <p>Other techniques employed here include snare hits (indicated by Xs on the higher tab lines) and slapped natural harmonics (N.H.) at the 12th fret (actually the 14th fret because of the capo usage), which I perform by quickly bouncing my outstretched pick-hand middle finger against the strings directly over and parallel to the fret wire. </p> <p>This kind of playing is obviously a challenge to convey on paper, so be sure to check out the accompanying video below. Once you get the hang of this pattern, you’ll see that it’s pretty intuitive and not difficult to play. The critical thing is to get it to groove and create a tight pocket, so that you have a rhythm section to sing or play harmonica over. (In this song, I happen to do both.) </p> <p>Once you’ve addressed the internal tools available for playing the guitar like a percussion instrument, it’s a short leap to the external. Tambourines and stomp boards for your feet or the use of a digital looper pedal can greatly expand upon this technique and help you fully realize the musical ideas you’re hearing. When these tools serve a song, I find they transcend gimmickry. </p> <p>My goal here has been to make my techniques as simple as possible so that others can incorporate them into their songwriting. </p> <p>To hear and see more demonstrations of how I employ and combine the techniques covered in this lesson, check out the companion instructional video at guitarworld.com as well as numerous videos of me performing songs I’ve written live, which can be viewed at my web site, <a href="http://www.errico.com/">errico.com</a>, and on YouTube.</p> <p><strong>PART ONE</strong></p> <!-- Start of Brightcove Player --><!-- Start of Brightcove Player --><div style="display:none"> </div> <!-- By use of this code snippet, I agree to the Brightcove Publisher T and C found at https://accounts.brightcove.com/en/terms-and-conditions/. --><!-- By use of this code snippet, I agree to the Brightcove Publisher T and C found at https://accounts.brightcove.com/en/terms-and-conditions/. --><script language="JavaScript" type="text/javascript" src="http://admin.brightcove.com/js/BrightcoveExperiences.js"></script><object id="myExperience3250151636001" class="BrightcoveExperience"> <param name="bgcolor" value="#FFFFFF" /> <param name="width" value="620" /> <param name="height" value="348" /> <param name="playerID" value="798983031001" /> <param name="playerKey" value="AQ~~,AAAAj36EdAk~,0qwz1H1Ey92wZ6vLZcchClKTXdFbuP3P" /> <param name="isVid" value="true" /> <param name="isUI" value="true" /> <param name="dynamicStreaming" value="true" /> <param name="@videoPlayer" value="3250151636001" /> </object><!-- This script tag will cause the Brightcove Players defined above it to be created as soon as the line is read by the browser. 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If you wish to have the player instantiated only after the rest of the HTML is processed and the page load is complete, remove the line. --><script type="text/javascript">brightcove.createExperiences();</script><!-- End of Brightcove Player --><!-- End of Brightcove Player --> http://www.guitarworld.com/beat-it-guide-inspired-techniques-percussive-acoustic-guitar-playing#comments Acoustic Nation April 2014 Mike Errico Lessons Videos News Features Lessons Magazine Tue, 29 Apr 2014 16:43:07 +0000 Mike Errico http://www.guitarworld.com/article/20577 It Might Get Weird: Sex-String Solidbody — The Rock ’n’ Wood Marilyn Guitar http://www.guitarworld.com/it-might-get-weird-sex-string-solidbody-rock-n-wood-marilyn-guitar <!--paging_filter--><p>If you agree that guitars and women are two of the sexiest things in the entire universe, then the Marilyn guitar is for you. </p> <p>It considerably ups the ante by combining the two, with a hand-carved body that perfectly duplicates every curve and detail of Marilyn Monroe’s famed pinup photo in the 1953 debut issue of Playboy magazine.</p> <p>Appropriately, the Marilyn guitar made its own debut in the May 1979 issue of Playboy, which featured Monroe on the cover as well. </p> <p>“Stan Farr of Rock ’n’ Wood Guitars in Chicago carved the body,” says Jeff Johnson, the guitar’s current owner. </p> <p>“Rock ’n’ Wood originally planned to make 100 Marilyn guitars, but they only completed three. This one is number 003. One week after I bought her, Rock ’n’ Wood called me and asked for it back as the other two, which weren’t as perfected as mine, were stolen from their showroom window and they didn’t have a template to make a fourth one.”</p> <p>The Marilyn guitar’s body was carved from cherry (what else?) and features a maple set neck with an ebony fretboard, abalone inlays, and matching cherry headstock overlay. </p> <p>The knobs are also carved out of cherry, giving new meaning to hardwood. The pickups are a pair of mini DiMarzio Super Distortion humbuckers. “They told me they used the smallest humbuckers available to cover the body as little as possible.” </p> <p>Over the past few decades, Johnson has generously shared Marilyn with numerous rock stars, including Frank Zappa, the members of Mötley Crüe, Ronnie Wood, Angus Young and others, all of whom autographed her backside. </p> <p>Longtime <em>Guitar World</em> readers may also recall seeing Marilyn in ads for Johnson’s company (Paradise Woodworks, known today as Louderspeaker) in the mid-Eighties, cradled in the hands of Johnson’s sister Joy. (<em>Editor's note: <a href="http://www.guitarworld.com/photo-gallery-guitar-world-magazine-ads-1980s-part-1">You can see the original Paradise Woodworks ad right here</a>.</em>) </p> <p>“My phone rang off the hook and my mailbox was filled,” says Johnson. “Half of the inquiries were about either my sister or the guitar.” </p> <p>Johnson is working on building 100 USA-made guitar and bass duplicates of the original Marilyn guitar, which he plans to sell later this year. He is considering Kickstarter or Indiegogo as a means to fund the project. “The Marilyn centerfold came out 60 years ago, and I bought the guitar about 35 years ago,” he says. “This is where Marilyn’s future begins.”</p> <p>For more information, visit <a href="http://marilynguitar.com/">marilynguitar.com</a>.</p> <p><em>Photos: Paul Crisanti/Photogetgo/Philamonjaro Studios</em></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/it-might-get-weird-sex-string-solidbody-rock-n-wood-marilyn-guitar#comments April 2014 GW Archive It Might Get Weird Electric Guitars News Features Gear Magazine Thu, 24 Apr 2014 21:29:12 +0000 Chris Gill http://www.guitarworld.com/article/21085 Guitarist Chris Garza Gives Update on New Suicide Silence Album http://www.guitarworld.com/guitarist-chris-garza-gives-update-new-suicide-silence-album <!--paging_filter--><p>For their third album, 2011’s <em>The Black Crown</em>, Suicide Silence guitarists Chris Garza and Mark Heylmun messed around with eight-string guitars and used Fractal Axe-Fx amp simulators, Apple Logic, Pro Tools and drum machines to create songs that were both brutal and contemporary. </p> <p>Yet for all its savagery, <em>The Black Crown</em> lacked a human touch.</p> <p>So for their as-yet-untitled follow-up—the first Suicide Silence studio record since the death of vocalist Mitch Lucker in 2012—the guitarists went back to basics. They put away their gizmos, dragged out the Mesa/Boogie Triple Rectifiers and cabinets they used for their 2007 debut, <em>The Cleansing</em>, and wrote on seven strings.</p> <p>“We jammed everything out together in my parents’ garage, which is where we started out,” Garza says. “It felt much more real than writing with computers, and we were able to capture the power of everyone’s collective emotions.”</p> <p>While working on the new album with producer Steve Evetts, Suicide Silence decided to release a CD and DVD of a December 16, 2012, tribute concert in memory of Lucker. </p> <p>Titled <em>Ending Is the Beginning: The Mitch Lucker Memorial Show</em>, it features the group playing its songs with various vocalists, including Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe and Machine Head’s Robb Flynn. In addition to giving the band more time to fine-tune the new album, the tribute concert release creates a smooth transition between the Lucker-fronted lineup and the current band, which features ex–All Shall Perish vocalist Eddie Hermida.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/P5hImIVSIKM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p>“Doing the memorial show was very therapeutic,” Garza says. “It was a healthy distraction. Because there was so much to plan out the whole month before the show, it helped with the grieving process.”</p> <p>After the concert, the members of Suicide Silence took some time off before moving forward again in September 2013 with Hermida. Working together again was comforting, and the guitarists quickly bashed out a batch of songs that are angry and impulsive, yet structurally more complex than most of their past material.</p> <p>“There is a lot riding on this record,” Garza acknowledges. “But we’ve been so focused. We look at it as an opportunity to do what we love and make something that Mitch would have been really proud of.”</p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/suicide-silence">Suicide Silence</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/guitarist-chris-garza-gives-update-new-suicide-silence-album#comments April 2014 Suicide Silence Interviews News Features Magazine Tue, 01 Apr 2014 20:41:56 +0000 Jon Wiederhorn http://www.guitarworld.com/article/20908 Animals As Leaders Guitarist Tosin Abasi Discovers 'The Joy of Motion' http://www.guitarworld.com/animals-leaders-guitarist-tosin-abasi-discovers-joy-motion <!--paging_filter--><p>Having given the instrumental prog-metal envelope a serious push with their first two records—2009’s <em>Animals As Leaders</em> and 2011’s <em>Weightless</em>—Tosin Abasi and longtime guitar partner Javier Reyes are taking their virtuoso approach to the next level on their latest effort, <em>The Joy of Motion</em>.</p> <p>“Prog as an ideology should be, in essence, a progression,” Abasi says. </p> <p>“It should be constantly stepping forward and exploring new territory. We really like the essence of what progressive means, so we want to incorporate cutting-edge sounds and maybe bring elements into progressive metal that are really far removed from metal.</p> <p>So for <em>The Joy of Motion</em>, we referenced electronic music, jazz and various other genres, because to us, that really contributes to our sound—and that makes it sound progressive to us, because it’s new.”</p> <p>Abasi and Reyes’ inter-locking eight-string riffs still play a major part in AAL’s sound, of course. Likewise, the pair’s signature playing styles—which involve a radical mixture of sweep picking, two-handed tapping and funk-style slapping—are present and accounted for. </p> <p>But <em>The Joy of Motion</em> is also more dynamic than their previous albums: it’s the first AAL record to utilize live drums (courtesy of Matt Garstka) on top of pre-programmed electronic beats, and it places a greater emphasis on clean and acoustic guitar tones.</p> <p>“I think it’s just a natural progression for both me and Tosin as players,” Reyes says. “It’s been a natural evolution to write a lot of clean stuff. At the same time, this might be our heaviest album. There’s a lot of high-gain stuff on there, but the blend of that and the clean songs and the thumping songs makes it more interesting than what we’ve done in the past.”</p> <p>“I think this album shows a different side of my guitar playing,” Abasi adds, “because here’s actually less soloing. And for the solos that do occur, I’m playing differently than I was. There’s way less shred, if I’m going to be blunt about it, but I think it’s more lyrical. I started to get into modern gospel and neo-soul, listening to jazz-influenced R&amp;B guitarists like Jairus Mozee and Isaiah Sharkey, and I think it’s kind of bled into my phrasing now.”</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/9P4GsF1zdzM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p>Having firmly established himself as a guitar hero for the djent generation, Abasi admits he felt some pressure to further ratchet up the fretboard wizardry on the new album. “Dude, yeah,” he says with a laugh. </p> <p>“And it’s not a good pressure, because I don’t like the pissing contest of, ‘How complex can your time signatures and arrangements be?’ or ‘How fast are you shredding?’ That was never my motivation. I had to battle a lot of internal anxiety—the feeling like I had to prove something with this record.</p> <p>“But honestly, after some examination, that stuff really ceased to be important at all to me. What I hoped to do with this record was make music that would impact people emotionally, whether they played guitar or not.”</p> <p><em>Photo: Sean Murphy</em></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/animals-leaders-guitarist-tosin-abasi-discovers-joy-motion#comments Animals As Leaders April 2014 Tosin Abasi Interviews News Features Magazine Tue, 01 Apr 2014 11:02:31 +0000 Dan Epstein http://www.guitarworld.com/article/20895 Nothin’ to Lose: Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley Go for Broke As They Weigh In on Kiss Guitarists Past and Present http://www.guitarworld.com/nothin-lose-gene-simmons-and-paul-stanley-go-broke-they-weigh-kiss-guitarists-past-and-present <!--paging_filter--><p>In this feature from the April 2014 issue of <em>Guitar World</em>, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley go for broke as they weigh in on Kiss guitarists past and present.</p> <p><strong>ACE FREHLEY</strong></p> <p><strong>GENE SIMMONS</strong> As a musician, you have to hand it to him. He knew his stuff. And when he cared—the first three records, I would say—he was great. You can sing those solos. It was like opera. And the integrity of his style was instantly recognizable. As soon as he played, you knew it was him. That’s probably the highest compliment you can give to a guitar player. </p> <p><strong>PAUL STANLEY</strong> In the beginning, we just gelled as guitarists. And even today, I talk about Ace a lot. I’ll tell people, “He really had the goods.” He can argue all he wants that he still does, or say whatever he wants to say the reasons are that he didn’t ascend to more. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion. But I saw somebody throw away a gift.</p> <p><strong>SIMMONS</strong> Before the drugs and the booze and everything, he was basically Ace, a lovable, loving guy. We all cared for him. I loved him. I love the straight Ace. But I fucking hate any drug addict. Because they’re possessed. </p> <p><strong>VINNIE VINCENT</strong></p> <p><strong>STANLEY</strong> Vinnie had an incredible touch and an incredible knowledge of the guitar. But left to his own devices he’d hang himself. For somebody who could play so brilliantly and so tastefully, it became more about how much he could play rather than what he played. And, ultimately, I couldn’t understand what he chose to play. And that’s not taking into account all the other stuff about him, which I think has been well documented. </p> <p><strong>SIMMONS</strong> He was a much more accomplished musician [than Frehley]. Understood some jazz. Could play faster. He was a big fan of all that sort of hurricane machine-gun stuff. But he was not as pure in his personality. We wrote “I Love It Loud” together, although he hated me for telling him what to play in the solo. But the guy could write songs. </p> <p>The guy could sing. He could play rings around most anybody. But with all due respect to Vinnie, it was a fucking nightmare. And it continues to be. That guy sued us 14 times and lost 14 times. But I wouldn’t wish his life on anybody. He’s had a lot of grief. A lot of trouble. And I feel sad that he didn’t understand the gift and the opportunity he was given. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/DEyYGNX_TP4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>MARK ST. JOHN</strong></p> <p><strong>STANLEY</strong> My classic story with Mark is that during the making of <em>Animalize</em> I sent him home one night to come up with a solo to one of the songs. And the next day he came back and played me something that was at least a start. Then I said, “Play it again.” And he said, “I can’t.” The guy could never play the same thing twice, because he was just puking notes. There was no structure to any of it. So I told him, “Go home and listen to Eric Clapton. Listen to Paul Kossoff. Listen to Jimmy Page.” And he looked at me and said, “I can play faster than them.” So that about sums it up. Check, please! </p> <p><strong>SIMMONS</strong> Mark’s guitar playing was like an angry bee flying around your head. The most irritating sound. And he would show you that his fingers could stretch 11 frets. He could play very fast, but he was all technique. He did not have a style or soul. </p> <p><strong>STANLEY</strong> Obviously health issues derailed his being in the band [soon after recording <em>Animalize</em>, St. John developed Reiter’s Syndrome, an arthritic condition that left him unable to play], but I don’t know how long he could have been in the band. He was the poster child for, as far as I was concerned, not understanding what great guitar playing was about.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/yMHVWG759yY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>BRUCE KULICK</strong></p> <p><strong>STANLEY</strong> For some people, Kiss started in the Eighties, and for them Bruce is the guy. He was a great team player and somebody who always wanted to do his best. He was also essential to Kiss becoming a Platinum-selling band again. His importance should not be minimized. </p> <p><strong>SIMMONS</strong> Bruce was the perfect guy for us at that time. And the irony is that he became the guitar player in Kiss after [his brother] Bob Kulick auditioned for the band. But Bob was more of a Neal Schon–type player, while Bruce was more flexible in his style. He could adopt and adapt. </p> <p>He could play fast, but he could also play with melody. And he was a nice guy. Not a great singer, but his strong points were his fingers, not performing. It would be like pulling teeth to get Bruce to open up onstage—to raise his arm up or do a Jesus Christ pose, that “I’m so important thing.” That wasn’t his style. His strength was the guitar.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/kpuvrZchx84" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>TOMMY THAYER</strong></p> <p><strong>SIMMONS</strong> I met Tommy when I produced two records for Black ’N Blue [Thayer’s Eighties-era glam band]. He was always organized and a solid, professional guy. What I didn’t know back then is that he was also in a Kiss tribute band, Cold Gin. So he knew Ace’s solos forward and backward. Tommy started off with us by helping to put together the <em>Kisstory</em> books. Then he helped with Kiss conventions. After that he was our road manager. When Ace left again, he became the guy. And he’s the best of all possible worlds. </p> <p><strong>STANLEY</strong> Tommy’s a terrific musician—a great lead player and a very even rhythm player. The fact that he already had the Kiss stuff down, the fact that he worked with Ace on the reunion tour, that’s all moot. That just says that he technically knows the material. Tommy is much more than that. I love his playing. I love his work ethic. I wouldn’t want to play with anybody else.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/vIb7fd5A1gA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/kiss">Kiss</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/nothin-lose-gene-simmons-and-paul-stanley-go-broke-they-weigh-kiss-guitarists-past-and-present#comments April 2014 Gene Simmons Kiss Paul Stanley Interviews News Features Mon, 31 Mar 2014 20:45:03 +0000 Richard Bienstock http://www.guitarworld.com/article/20894 Kiss Guitarist Paul Stanley Talks Ace Frehley, Peter Criss and Being Ignored by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame http://www.guitarworld.com/kiss-guitarist-paul-stanley-talks-ace-frehley-peter-criss-and-being-ignored-rock-and-roll-hall-fame <!--paging_filter--><p>Maybe it’s the makeup. Maybe it’s the merchandising. Maybe, at the end of the day, it’s just the music itself. </p> <p>Whatever the source, it is safe to say that few bands have inspired as much fervent devotion—and also rabid derision—as the self-proclaimed “Hottest Band in the World,” Kiss.</p> <p>But love them or hate them (and really, is there any area in between?), Kiss—and in particular its stalwart co-founders, visionaries and greatest proponents and protectors, Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons—continue to not only exist but also scale greater heights. </p> <p>Here we are in 2014, and the band, now roughly 10 lineups in with current guitarist Tommy Thayer and drummer Eric Singer, are experiencing yet another renaissance. </p> <p>Their most recent (and 20th) studio album, <em>Monster</em>, was an unusually strong effort, more energetic and enjoyable than should reasonably be expected from any band at this stage of its career. Meanwhile, on the live front, Kiss continue to push the limits of just how much of an over-the-top spectacle a rock and roll show can truly be (for evidence, check out videos of recent performances that feature their newly designed Spider stage).</p> <p>But 2014 is also offering up another nice pair of victories for the band. This year marks Kiss’ 40th anniversary (their self-titled debut was released in February 1974), and in April, Stanley and Simmons, along with former, and now estranged, original members Ace Frehley and Peter Criss, will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. </p> <p>To celebrate these dual milestones, <em>Guitar World</em> met separately with Stanley and Simmons at their Los Angeles homes to discuss just a few of the many triumphs and tribulations that led the band here.</p> <p>Additionally, they were asked to examine the inner workings of their unique partnership as well as to offer a few candid thoughts on the many guitarists that have passed through Kiss’ ranks, from Frehley to Thayer and everyone in between. (As for the ones that almost made it? That list includes Eddie Van Halen…depending on who you ask.) </p> <p>Which is not to say that Stanley and Simmons, now 62 and 64, respectively, have much time these days for reflection. A week before meeting with <em>Guitar World</em>, both, along with Thayer and Singer, were in Milan for Fashion Week, walking the runway in full makeup with designer John Varvatos. </p> <p>A few days after our talks they were back in their gear, playing “Rock and Roll All Nite” in front of more than 50,000 people at Dodger Stadium for the NHL’s first-ever outdoor hockey game in California. The next week brought a trip to Maui to open the newest location of the Simmons/Stanley restaurant chain, Rock &amp; Brews. And in April, Stanley will release his excellent, and refreshingly candid, autobiography, <em>Face the Music: A Life Exposed</em> (HarperCollins). </p> <p>Finally, come the summer, Kiss will likely be back out on the road, once again playing to sheds packed full of several generations of screaming fans—the very same ones that Stanley and Simmons have always publicly credited with keeping the band going through their many ups and downs. And, just maybe, Stanley reasons, those fans had more than a little to do with Kiss finally becoming Hall of Famers. “At some point,” he says, perhaps also summing up the band’s <em>raison d’être</em>, “you just can’t ignore the roar of the crowd.”</p> <p><strong>GUITAR WORLD: Congratulations on your long-awaited Hall of Fame induction. Along with Rush, who were inducted last year, there is possibly no other band that has been both as successful in music and as ignored by the Hall as Kiss.</strong></p> <p>But to ignore somebody with the kind of fervor that we’ve been ignored, that’s clearly a conscious decision. For better or worse, that’s not being ignored at all. When it happens year after year, that’s a choice. But on the other side of it, to me rock and roll has always been about doing what you want to do and ignoring not only your critics but also your peers. </p> <p>For 40 years, we’ve rarely wavered from that. So I would have to say that the same criteria that has kept us out of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is the same criteria that now has gotten us inducted into it. </p> <p><strong>The debate over whether or not Kiss deserved to be in the Hall of Fame was in a way a microcosm of a larger and much longer-running argument about Kiss’ artistic merits in general. The classic “Kiss Army vs. the Critics” battle, if you will.</strong></p> <p>But ultimately, who gives a shit about the critics? To pontificate or pass judgment on what’s good or bad, I leave that to the audience. And let me say this: the makeup and the stage show have never been there to cover anything up; it’s there to embellish and enhance what we do. I’ve seen us onstage without any makeup, I’ve seen us play in a club setting. We’ve got the goods. If some people are turned off by the way we look, that’s their prerogative.</p> <p><strong>One thing that has always struck me is that, for how flamboyant and over-the-top the Kiss image was right from the start, it was also incredibly focused and direct. </strong></p> <p>Even though the characters were diverse, the fact is that the image was always cohesive. One guy isn’t wearing red leather and the next guy is in a silk suit. There’s a color scheme. There’s a unity. Growing up, what I loved about all the British bands was that group unity. </p> <p>For the most part, the guys in one band would have never looked right in another band—you couldn’t take one of the Stones and put him in the Beatles. I also think that what made it ring true for a lot of people is that it was deeper than paint. We’ve always worn what we feel as a second skin, whereas other bands might have thought, Get a silly outfit and a big logo and you can be Kiss.</p> <p><strong>Even before Kiss, you and Gene were playing around with the concept of having alter egos. Back when you both were in Wicked Lester, you considered dressing up as a cowboy, and Gene was going to be a caveman. Not quite as compelling, character-wise, as the Starchild and the Demon. </strong></p> <p>Well, I don’t think anybody hits a homerun the first time they’re at bat. If they do it’s luck, and then they don’t hit another. Gene and I knew where we wanted to go, but we weren’t quite sure how to get there. We were groping in the dark. At the beginning of Kiss, for one show I think I had a red face and Gene was in a sailor suit. So there was an evolution, only in hyper speed. It didn’t take years—it took months, weeks.</p> <hr /> <p><strong>What do you feel are Gene’s strengths as a musician?</strong></p> <p>For all his bullshit and his joy in rubbing people the wrong way, the fact of the matter is the guy is a great bass player. </p> <p>He has the right roots as far as I’m concerned—Paul McCartney, Felix Pappalardi, Jack Bruce, Ron Wood when he was with the Jeff Beck Group. And he’s one of those guys who can play anything and sing at the same time, which is a whole lot more difficult than it looks. </p> <p><strong>With Gene, bass playing is not the first thing people tend to think about.</strong></p> <p>Gene’s assets and what he brings as a musician sometime get overshadowed by his desire to shake things up. But some pretty serious heavyweights have said to me, “Gee, I didn’t realize how great a bass player he is.” And from the beginning I could tell he was a good songwriter, or that he had the ability to be a really good songwriter. </p> <p>I think his early stuff before Kiss was kind of questionable. Some of the songs he brought in initially were very odd. But his musicality and his sense of melody were great. And when we started writing together, it was just that magic that happens when one plus one equals five.</p> <p><strong>In your new autobiography, <em>Face the Music</em>, you chronicle a childhood filled with a fair amount of struggle, including being born with microtia, a deformity of the ear, and much conflict with your parents and sister, all of which could have led you to recoil from the world. And yet you became a classic example of the extroverted rock and roll singer. </strong></p> <p>True, but nobody has ever thought of me as the classic extroverted guy on the street. I was never that offstage. In social environments, what some people saw as snobbery was actually complete intimidation by a situation. When I would be at a party and I wouldn’t interact with people, it wasn’t because I thought I was better than them. </p> <p>It was probably just the opposite. But we find different ways to deal with our handicaps and our shortcomings and our limitations. Mine was to charge forward because, innately, I knew I could do it. </p> <p><strong>You also write about having a desire to find your own family, and thinking that you did with Kiss. But that didn’t necessarily turn out to be the case.</strong></p> <p>But maybe it turned out to be more of a realistic family and less of an idealized one. Brothers don’t always get along. Brothers have egos. Brothers want to win. So what I was looking for was maybe a distortion of what, most of the time, family really is. </p> <p>When I met Gene, it was invigorating, because it gave me support, because trying to make it on your own is very lonely and scary. Now the other two [Frehley and Criss], what can I say? There was a chemistry. But chemicals ultimately combust. It was volatile and it was exciting, but eventually it just blew up.</p> <p><strong>How did you and Ace work together as guitarists in the early days?</strong></p> <p>What we had at the beginning was magical. Not because we were virtuosos. Magic in rock and roll isn’t dependent on virtuosity. Ace and I played great together. But in my mind it’s a crime what Ace did. He threw away incredible potential and talent. The Ace I played with when the band first started out was a comet. And not [Frehley’s late-Eighties band] Frehley’s Comet! </p> <p>But he was burning bright and really had the ability—and this would rub him the wrong way—to be a real contender. But he stopped practicing. He got involved with a whole lot of things that really diluted and diminished his craft. I saw that comet grow dim. </p> <p><strong>By the turn of the Eighties, Ace and Peter were on their way out, and Gene was off trying to make a name for himself in Hollywood. Did you feel like you were on your own in Kiss?</strong></p> <p>Totally. Absolutely. I didn’t feel it. I was. There wouldn’t have been a band without me. Because when your partner is off doing all kinds of questionable side projects and not only taking time but also involvement away from the band, sure. For me it ultimately came down to, I love what I do; I don’t want this to end. So I decided to bail water, for my own survival.</p> <p><strong>How did that make you feel?</strong></p> <p>It certainly was more lonely and more stressful to know that the only person who was going to get us through the icebergs was me. But I didn’t mind that. I only minded the fact that I was still splitting the income and royalties as though I had a partner. That bothered me. The fact that I was running things? Honestly, that’s probably what got us through that decade.</p> <p><strong>As far as navigating the icebergs, as Kiss’ popularity declined, it was your idea, in 1983, to take off the makeup in order to reinvigorate interest in the band. </strong></p> <p>I didn’t see any other choice at that point. And I take my hat off to Gene that, although he was uncertain about it and maybe less comfortable with it, he came to realize that it was the right move. Or at least he saw that I was very committed to the idea. I felt that we had diluted everything the band was to the point where it was becoming a farce. What happened was, we kicked Peter out of the band—“we” meaning Ace, Gene and myself. </p> <p>But rather than saying, “We’ve built these iconic figures together and we’re going to continue on with what we built,” we bought into the idea of, “We have to have a new character.” That watered it down. Some people may argue with me, but I feel that Batman is Batman whether he’s played by George Clooney, Christian Bale, Val Kilmer and on and on. </p> <p><strong>So are you saying that when Eric Carr replaced Peter and Vinnie Vincent replaced Ace, you feel they should have come into the band as the Catman and the Spaceman, respectively?</strong></p> <p>Absolutely.</p> <p><strong>Was there ever talk of doing that?</strong></p> <p>No. Never. So to suddenly have the Fox, who takes the place of the Cat, and the Ankh, who takes the place of the Spaceman…it just didn’t hold. And then couple that with the music we were making, which was marginal at best. Although we were giving 100 percent, when you’re more involved with who you’re hanging out with and the social strata that you’re in, and you’re enjoying your big house and all your money, you wind up gumming things. Your teeth don’t bite anymore. </p> <p><strong>When do you feel that things got back on track for the band?</strong></p> <p><em>Creatures of the Night</em>. I wanted us to take the makeup off for that record. But we missed the opportunity, and it was met with a tepid response. But by <em>Lick It Up</em> Gene was willing to do it. And coincidentally that album sold, I don’t know, seven times what the one before it did.</p> <p><strong>There have always been rumors that around the time of <em>Creatures of the Night</em>, Eddie Van Halen had asked to join Kiss. </strong></p> <p>I never heard that. Eddie did come down to the studio during <em>Creatures</em>, and he spoke to me on the phone during that period. There was real dissention in his band at that time, that much was clear. But as far as him wanting to join Kiss? No, not that I know about. Doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, but I never heard it. But you have two interviews here. </p> <p><strong>Your two recent albums with the current lineup—<em>Sonic Boom</em> and <em>Monster</em>—have been exceptionally strong efforts. Are there plans to go back into the studio?</strong></p> <p>I don’t know. After we established ourselves as a live band with Tommy [Thayer] and Eric [Singer], the desire to do a studio album was there so that we wouldn’t be resting on our history but building on what we’re doing today. So they were important albums to do, and I think to not have done them would have been a big mistake. </p> <p>And actually, I love those albums way more than some of our early ones. It’s been well documented that, as far as I’m concerned, some of those early records were not competitive sonically with what else was out at the time, and they certainly didn’t sound like us live. So I’m really happy with our recent albums. They are everything that I always hoped Kiss would sound like on record. Whether we’ll do another? Time will tell.</p> <p><strong>This year is also the 40th anniversary of the release of Kiss’ self-titled debut. Is anything planned? </strong></p> <p>Well, every year is an anniversary. So what should we do this year that’s special? We should go out and be great. We’ll probably tour this summer, and we should go out with the Monster stage show that hasn’t really been around the States. We should show people that what we’re doing now is, for my money, the best show we’ve ever done. So that’s what we’re doing. We’re surviving. We’re thriving. That’s our victory.</p> <p><em>Photo: Ross Halfin</em></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/0414_KISS.jpg" width="620" height="805" alt="0414_KISS.jpg" /></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/paul-stanley">Paul Stanley</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/kiss">Kiss</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/kiss-guitarist-paul-stanley-talks-ace-frehley-peter-criss-and-being-ignored-rock-and-roll-hall-fame#comments April 2014 Kiss Paul Stanley Interviews News Features Magazine Mon, 31 Mar 2014 16:54:37 +0000 Richard Bienstock http://www.guitarworld.com/article/20620 Listen: Animals As Leaders Streaming New Album, 'The Joy of Motion' http://www.guitarworld.com/listen-animals-leaders-streaming-new-album-joy-motion <!--paging_filter--><p>Having given the instrumental prog-metal envelope a serious push with their first two records—2009’s <em>Animals as Leaders</em> and 2011’s <em>Weightless</em>—Tosin Abasi and longtime guitar partner Javier Reyes are taking their virtuoso approach to the next level on their latest effort, <em>The Joy of Motion.</em></p> <p>Right now, Animals as Leaders are streaming the entire album at their official YouTube channel. You can check out the playlist below.</p> <p>This is a nice surprise, since the album won't be released until March 25 via Sumerian Records</p> <p>“Prog as an ideology should be, in essence, a progression,” Abasi says in the April 2014 issue of <em>Guitar World</em>. </p> <p>“It should be constantly stepping forward and exploring new territory. We really like the essence of what progressive means, so we want to incorporate cutting-edge sounds and maybe bring elements into progressive metal that are really far removed from metal. </p> <p>"So for <em>The Joy of Motion</em>, we referenced electronic music, jazz and various other genres, because to us, that really contributes to our sound—and that makes it sound progressive to us, because it’s new.” For the rest of this interview, check out the April 2014 issue of GW <a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/collections/guitar-world/products/guitar-world-april-14-kiss?utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=GWAPR14">at the Guitar World Online Store!</a></p> <p>Check it out below — and tell us what you think in the comments or on Facebook!</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/lbA3jxab4A0?list=PLH22-xSMERQpG4M9HshhXUJ9OKMNlwU8T" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/listen-animals-leaders-streaming-new-album-joy-motion#comments Animals As Leaders April 2014 News Thu, 20 Mar 2014 17:16:49 +0000 Dan Epstein http://www.guitarworld.com/article/20776 Gene Simmons Talks About Setting His Hair on Fire and Convincing Eddie Van Halen Not to Join Kiss http://www.guitarworld.com/simmons-talks-about-convincing-eddie-van-halen-NOT-join-kiss <!--paging_filter--><p><em>This is an excerpt from the April 2014 issue of </em>Guitar World<em>. For the rest of this story, plus an interview with Paul Stanley and much more Kiss (not to mention the Scorpions, three kings of acoustic shred, the hottest gear from the 2014 NAMM Show and more), <a href="http://store.guitarworld.com/collections/guitar-world/products/guitar-world-april-14-kiss/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=article&amp;utm_campaign=PaulStanleyExcerpt">check out the April 2014 issue at the Guitar World Online Store.</a></em></p> <p>Love them or hate them (and really, is there any area in between?), Kiss—and in particular its stalwart co-founders, visionaries and greatest proponents and protectors, Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons—continue to not only exist but also scale greater heights.</p> <p>Here we are in 2014, and the band, now roughly 10 lineups in with current guitarist Tommy Thayer and drummer Eric Singer, are experiencing yet another renaissance. Their most recent (and 20th) studio album, <em>Monster</em>, was an unusually strong effort, more energetic and enjoyable than should reasonably be expected from any band at this stage of its career.</p> <p>This year marks Kiss’ 40th anniversary (their self-titled debut was released in February 1974), and in April, Stanley and Simmons, along with former, and now estranged, original members Ace Frehley and Peter Criss, will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. To celebrate these dual milestones, <em>Guitar World</em> met separately with Stanley and Simmons at their Los Angeles homes to discuss just a few of the many triumphs and tribulations that led the band here.</p> <p><em>Below is an excerpt from our interview with Gene Simmons. In the new issue, the bassist opens up about setting his hair on fire and convincing Eddie Van Halen not to join Kiss.</em></p> <p><strong>Artists tend to act like they don’t care about getting into the Hall of Fame…until they get into the Hall of Fame. Now that you’re finally in, do you care?</strong></p> <p>I care about everything. If you’re in any band, you have to take a certain amount of pride in what you do in order you get up onstage, spread your legs, hold your guitar right in front of your cock and just bash away. But mostly it matters because it matters to the fans. Because every step along the way we were lambasted—by critics, by people who never did anything—but not by them. And this room [motions with his hand to his home office, which is crammed full of 40 years’ worth of Kiss memorabilia], yeah, it’s self-worship, but it’s also a reminder that everything Kiss achieved had to be clawed and scratched and fought for. Nothing was handed to us. The mountain did not come to Mohammed. We had to go to the mountain.</p> <p><strong>Your own relationship to the band changed in the early Eighties. You were devoting less time to Kiss and more time to trying to make it as an actor in Hollywood.</strong></p> <p>We were all discovering who and what we were, because for all of us Kiss opened doors. All of a sudden you could call anybody. You could call the White House, because Jimmy Carter’s kids were fans. So the idea that anybody would give me the time of day, much less the opportunity to be on TV… I wasn’t born in America. I never even saw television until I was about eight years old. It’s nuts. So I came out to L.A. and I started taking meetings.</p> <p><strong>While all this was going on, do you think Paul felt like he was left on his own to do the heavy lifting in Kiss?</strong></p> <p>Yes.</p> <p><strong>Was it discussed? </strong></p> <p>Oh, sure. It was starting to affect the band. It was not rock and roll. Ace was complaining, too. He was right. They thought, as usual, that Gene Simmons wanted to have his cake and eat it, too. And I like cake. But maybe I just wanted to be appreciated outside of Kiss. My life in Kiss is like being a girl with huge tits. All anyone talks about is the makeup, or “Let me see your tongue.” Sometimes you want to say, “Can’t you just focus your eyes up here so that we can have a conversation?”</p> <p><strong>Paul was the one who saw the situation in the band as dire enough to suggest taking off the makeup. Had the idea of “unmasking” yourselves ever been raised prior to that point? </strong></p> <p>No. We couldn’t have imagined it. But when we did it, if it worked—and it did work—it was because of Paul. People really liked Lick It Up. The arenas filled up again. Then came Asylum, Animalize. Multi-Platinum albums. Even with all the different guitar players—Vinnie Vincent, Mark St. John, Bruce Kulick—it just didn’t seem to matter to the fans. We continued to chug along.</p> <p><strong>Speaking of all the guitarists who passed through Kiss’ ranks in the Eighties, is it true that Eddie Van Halen wanted to join the band around the time of <em>Creatures of the Night?</em></strong></p> <p>That is true. And he was very serious. He was so unhappy about how he and [David Lee] Roth were—or weren’t—getting along. He couldn’t stand him. And drugs were rampant. And so he took me to lunch, to a diner right across the street from the Record Plant. Vinnie Vincent, who was not yet in Kiss, tagged along, too. Sneaky guy. And Eddie said, “I want to join Kiss. I don’t want to fight anymore with Roth. I’m sick and tired of it.” But I told him, “Eddie, there’s not enough room. You need to be in a band where you can direct the music. You’re not going to be happy in Kiss.” I talked him out of it. It didn’t fit.</p> <p><strong><em>For the rest of this story, plus an interview with Paul Stanley and much more Kiss (not to mention the Scorpions, three kings of acoustic shred, the hottest gear from the 2014 NAMM Show and more), <a href="http://store.guitarworld.com/collections/guitar-world/products/guitar-world-april-14-kiss/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=article&amp;utm_campaign=PaulStanleyExcerpt">check out the April 2014 issue at the Guitar World Online Store.</a></em></strong></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/0414_KISS.jpg" width="620" height="805" alt="0414_KISS.jpg" /></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/kiss">Kiss</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/gene-simmons">Gene Simmons</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/simmons-talks-about-convincing-eddie-van-halen-NOT-join-kiss#comments April 2014 Gene Simmons Kiss Interviews News Features Magazine Thu, 13 Mar 2014 16:44:46 +0000 Richard Bienstock http://www.guitarworld.com/article/20709 Review: Epiphone Limited Edition Custom Shop Matt Heafy Signature Les Paul Custom-7 Guitar http://www.guitarworld.com/review-epiphone-limited-edition-custom-shop-matt-heafy-signature-les-paul-custom-7-guitar <!--paging_filter--><p><em>This video is bonus content related to the April 2014 issue of </em>Guitar World<em>. For the full range of interviews, features, tabs and more, pick up the new issue on newsstands now or at our <a href="http://store.guitarworld.com/collections/guitar-world/products/guitar-world-april-14-kiss/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=article&amp;utm_campaign=AprilVideosPage">online store</a>.</em></p> <p>When Epiphone approached Trivium guitarist Matt Heafy to collaborate on his signature guitar, he had two requests: the guitar had to play, feel and sound like the Les Paul Custom that he’s played for these many years, and it had to be reasonably priced—Heafy rejects the trend of offering signature guitars in either price-prohibitive or performance-compromised versions. </p> <p>Through their close collaboration, Epiphone and Heafy were able to reproduce every specification of his original LP Custom and build it to a price point that’s not out of the average player’s reach. Heafy further challenged Epiphone for this seven-string version, asking that it be just as easy to finger as the six-string and almost identically proportioned. The resulting signature Matt Heafy Les Paul Custom-7 is the actual guitar that he now shreds onstage and in the studio, and it’s one of the most playable seven-strings you can buy. The resulting signature Matt Heafy Les Paul Custom-7 is the actual guitar that he now shreds onstage and in the studio, and it’s one of the most playable seven-strings you can buy. </p> <p><strong>Features</strong> </p> <p>Although it looks like a standard gloss-black LP, there are many inconspicuous details that differentiate the Heafy LP Custom-7 from its brethren. Weight was a serious consideration in creating this Epiphone. It had to be light, but not to the point of creating sterile-sounding lows. Epiphone started with a mahogany body, then added a thin maple top to impart tonal clarity without adding perceptible weight. The neck is carved with Epiphone’s Sixties SlimTaper and a D-shaped profile, achieving its superlative comfort with heavily rolled shoulders and tighter-than-average string spacing. It truly feels only slightly wider than the average six-string’s neck. An Axcess neck-heel taper removes any barrier to the upper frets, allowing you to slide your fretting hand directly behind the top registers. </p> <p>The EMG active pickups include a 707 in the neck and an 81-7 in the bridge. These are wired to individual tone and volume pots in a traditional LP configuration but with the added twist of the neck pickup’s tone pot serving as a kill switch. Known as a “kill pot,” tapping this spring-loaded pot interrupts the signal no matter which pickup is selected, creating the stutter effect made so popular by Randy Rhoads and other LP notables. </p> <p><strong>Performance</strong> </p> <p>You only have to play one note on the Heafy LP Custom to know that this is a shredder’s guitar. The action is low and flat across the 12-inch-radius board, and the top-to-bottom note volume is very even. Sweeps are executed as easily on the Heafy Custom-7 as with any conventional six-string, particularly due to the slightly tighter string spacing. You can certainly achieve brutal tones with the ceramic-based bridge bucker, but it really excels at producing iron-fist punch and clarifying notes through high-gain rigs, all while remaining highly musical and rich. Neck pickup response is very quick and bright enough to deliver expressive solos on the low strings. </p> <p><strong>List Price</strong> $1,332</p> <p><strong>Manufacturer</strong> Epiphone Guitar Corp., epiphone.com </p> <p><strong>Cheat Sheet</strong><br /> Electronics include active EMG-707 neck and EMG-81-7 bridge pickups and a spring-loaded kill pot that momentarily interrupts the signal when tapped. </p> <p>The tapered Axcess neck heel makes it possible to play in the topmost frets, while the neck’s rolled shoulders help the Custom-7 feel akin to a six-string’s neck width.</p> <p><strong>The Bottom Line</strong><br /> If you’ve struggled to transfer your six-string shredder skills to a seven-string, the Epiphone Matt Heafy signature Les Paul Custom-7’s narrow and slim neck is the ax that can help you reach that next level.</p> <!-- Start of Brightcove Player --><!-- Start of Brightcove Player --><div style="display:none"> </div> <!-- By use of this code snippet, I agree to the Brightcove Publisher T and C found at https://accounts.brightcove.com/en/terms-and-conditions/. --><!-- By use of this code snippet, I agree to the Brightcove Publisher T and C found at https://accounts.brightcove.com/en/terms-and-conditions/. --><script language="JavaScript" type="text/javascript" src="http://admin.brightcove.com/js/BrightcoveExperiences.js"></script><object id="myExperience3251052639001" class="BrightcoveExperience"> <param name="bgcolor" value="#FFFFFF" /> <param name="width" value="620" /> <param name="height" value="348" /> <param name="playerID" value="798983031001" /> <param name="playerKey" value="AQ~~,AAAAj36EdAk~,0qwz1H1Ey92wZ6vLZcchClKTXdFbuP3P" /> <param name="isVid" value="true" /> <param name="isUI" value="true" /> <param name="dynamicStreaming" value="true" /> <param name="@videoPlayer" value="3251052639001" /> </object><!-- This script tag will cause the Brightcove Players defined above it to be created as soon as the line is read by the browser. If you wish to have the player instantiated only after the rest of the HTML is processed and the page load is complete, remove the line. --><!-- This script tag will cause the Brightcove Players defined above it to be created as soon as the line is read by the browser. If you wish to have the player instantiated only after the rest of the HTML is processed and the page load is complete, remove the line. --><script type="text/javascript">brightcove.createExperiences();</script><!-- End of Brightcove Player --><!-- End of Brightcove Player --><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/trivium">Trivium</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/review-epiphone-limited-edition-custom-shop-matt-heafy-signature-les-paul-custom-7-guitar#comments April 2014 Epiphone Matt Heafy Trivium Electric Guitars News Gear Magazine Tue, 04 Mar 2014 16:37:03 +0000 Eric Kirkland, Video by Paul Riario http://www.guitarworld.com/article/20536 Metal For Life with Metal Mike: Variations on Metal-Style Power Chord Formations http://www.guitarworld.com/metal-life-metal-mike-variations-metal-style-power-chord-formations <!--paging_filter--><p><em>These videos are bonus content related to the April 2014 issue of </em>Guitar World<em>. For the full range of interviews, features, tabs and more, pick up the new issue on newsstands now or at our <a href="http://store.guitarworld.com/collections/guitar-world/products/guitar-world-april-14-kiss/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=article&amp;utm_campaign=AprilVideosPage">online store</a>.</em><br /> A time-honored element found in some of the heaviest of metal guitar riffs is the use of two-note power-chord forms played against open-string pedal tones. </p> <p>You’ve heard this technique in such metal masterpieces as Metallica’s “Master of Puppets,” Judas Priest’s “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’,” Ozzy Osbourne’s “I Don’t Know” and AC/DC’s “Hell’s Bells,” among many other classic metal and hard rock tracks. </p> <p>Common to all of the abovementioned songs is the way the primary rhythm guitar parts convey an implied melodic hook, which is the very thing that makes these parts so memorable and effective. The implied melody notes are often the higher of the two notes of each power chord played throughout the progression. </p> <p>The trick is to come up with a way to create moving power chords that imply a melody while also delivering a solid, locked-in rhythm part that will drive the song along. </p> <p><strong>PART ONE</strong></p> <!-- Start of Brightcove Player --><!-- Start of Brightcove Player --><div style="display:none"> </div> <!-- By use of this code snippet, I agree to the Brightcove Publisher T and C found at https://accounts.brightcove.com/en/terms-and-conditions/. --><!-- By use of this code snippet, I agree to the Brightcove Publisher T and C found at https://accounts.brightcove.com/en/terms-and-conditions/. --><script language="JavaScript" type="text/javascript" src="http://admin.brightcove.com/js/BrightcoveExperiences.js"></script><object id="myExperience3250126578001" class="BrightcoveExperience"> <param name="bgcolor" value="#FFFFFF" /> <param name="width" value="620" /> <param name="height" value="348" /> <param name="playerID" value="798983031001" /> <param name="playerKey" value="AQ~~,AAAAj36EdAk~,0qwz1H1Ey92wZ6vLZcchClKTXdFbuP3P" /> <param name="isVid" value="true" /> <param name="isUI" value="true" /> <param name="dynamicStreaming" value="true" /> <param name="@videoPlayer" value="3250126578001" /> </object><!-- This script tag will cause the Brightcove Players defined above it to be created as soon as the line is read by the browser. 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If you wish to have the player instantiated only after the rest of the HTML is processed and the page load is complete, remove the line. --><script type="text/javascript">brightcove.createExperiences();</script><!-- End of Brightcove Player --><!-- End of Brightcove Player --> http://www.guitarworld.com/metal-life-metal-mike-variations-metal-style-power-chord-formations#comments April 2014 Metal For Life Metal Mike Chlasciak Videos News Lessons Magazine Tue, 04 Mar 2014 16:35:50 +0000 Metal Mike Chlasciak http://www.guitarworld.com/article/20544 The Scorpions' Matthias Jabs and Rudolf Schenker Discuss New 'MTV Unplugged' Album http://www.guitarworld.com/scorpions-matthias-jabs-and-rudolf-schenker-discuss-new-mtv-unplugged-album <!--paging_filter--><p>On a bright, frigid afternoon in early December, <em>Guitar World</em> is standing in front of the Romexpo arena in Bucharest, Romania, hoping the Scorpions will arrive soon. We’ve traveled nearly 5,000 miles to meet the German band on its Farewell World Tour, and we’re eager to catch up with guitarists Rudolf Schenker and Matthias Jabs and chat before they hang up their guitars for good. But for the time being, it’s just us and the local Romanian crew, who are huddled together, chain-smoking cigarettes and flashing us suspicious looks.</p> <p>The Scorpions are not only one of the world’s best-selling hard rock acts, but since their formation in 1965 they have exemplifed the unifying and transformative power of rock and roll, especially for fans in places like Romania, which was under strict communist rule in the not-too-distant past. In that spirit, we sidle up to the crew and introduce ourselves. The guys instantly warm up and start flashing peace signs and devil horns for our photographer.</p> <p>Tonight’s concert marks the 20th anniversary of the Scorpions’ first show in Bucharest, and back then the vibe was considerably different. The country was early into the process of rebuilding itself after decades of communist oppression under which the media and arts were stringently controlled. As we learn when we eventually sit down with Schenker and Jabs, simply listening to rock music back then was a very risky endevour.<br /> “I remember in the mid Nineties, we met a Romanian couple that came to our show in Los Angeles,” Jabs says. “They said they were jailed for listening to Scorpions’ music. And they weren’t the only ones! It was tough times like you couldn’t even imagine. We played here early enough to see some of it. We first played behind the so-called Iron Curtain in Hungary in 1986, and went to communist Soviet Union in early 1988.”<br /> “And one year after that we were back for the [Moscow] Music Peace Festival,” Schenker adds. “To play with all the crazy guys—like Mötley Crüe, Bon Jovi, Cinderella and Ozzy Osbourne—in front of 110,000 people was fantastic. That’s why we composed the song ‘Wind of Change,’ because of the feeling that there was something new coming. I still have a big collection of army caps, because [the Russian soldiers in attendance] were so excited they kept throwing them into the air!”</p> <p>“A lot of time’s passed since then,” Jabs continues. “But it is still different playing countries like Romania. They just might be a bit hungrier in these countries. It’s still a big event.”</p> <p>While political revolution isn’t brewing during the Scorpions’ current visit, there is a distinct air of excitement surrounding today’s proceedings, both from inside and outside their camp. This stop marks another date of the band’s ongoing Farewell World Tour, and before its conclusion the Scorpions plan to hit every country in which they’ve played, in addition to a few new markets such as China and Australia. They’ve been rolling along for the better part of the past three years and have performed in nearly 40 countries.<br /> “It’s not like we want to finish,” Jabs says. “But we decided in 2010, when we announced the final tour, that this was a good point to do it. My colleagues are 65 years old now, and we wanted to finish in a state of full energy and professionalism.”</p> <p>The Scorpions’ enduring passion, skill and vitality are on full display later that night when the guys hit the stage. Founding vocalist Klaus Meine’s iconic vocals soar through the drafty expanses of the old, Cold War–era arena. Schenker and Jabs run and jump around the stage like it’s still 1984 and possess a level of fretboard acumen greater than many musicians half their age, while bassist Pawel Maciwoda and drummer James Kottak expertly hold down the rhythm section. The 8,500-plus crowd that fills the Romexpo arena is an eclectic mixture of ages and looks—everything from ecstatic teenagers in flashy contemporary rock outfits to austere middle-aged men and women tucked into drab-colored winter coats. Despite the generational (and sartorial) gaps, they all exult in the Scorpions’ over-the-top set, full of mega-hits such as “Rock You Like a Hurricane,” “No One Like You,” “Big City Nights,” “Still Loving You” and “Wind of Change.”</p> <p>The Scorpions have a few more treats in store for fans before they eventually call it quits. In between live dates, the guys have been quietly working on a final studio album, which will reportedly contain never-before-heard cuts from during their prolific early Eighties days, when they recorded two of their biggest successes, Blackout and Love at First Sting. They’ve also managed to find time to perform and record a full double album of acoustic songs for MTV’s Unplugged series. Culled from two sets at the open-air Lycabettus Theatre in Athens, <em>Scorpions MTV Unplugged: In Athens</em> is available as a deluxe CD/DVD and Blu-ray package, which contains a staggering 25 songs (15 on the CD), all rearranged and reimagined in an acoustic style. The release contains all the expected fan favorites as well as some new and never-performed live tracks.</p> <p>“I listened and looked at MTV Unplugged performances from the Eighties and Nineties to check what other bands were doing,” Jabs says of how he first approached reworking the Scorpions’ classic electric guitar–driven material. “I like the Eric Clapton performance very much. But many bands—without mentioning names—just played what they played on the original electric version on acoustic guitar. Everything stayed the same. We had a different approach. Our main focus was on the acoustic guitar, which has to be treated completely differently in order to sound good. I think I played in seven different tunings and had a guitar change for almost every song in the set. It was also a very busy night for the guitar techs!”</p> <p>In the following exclusive interview from Romania, Schenker and Jabs walk us through how they pulled off their ambitious MTV Unplugged performance and explain why, nearly 50 years into their career, their audiences are younger than ever.</p> <p><strong>You guys have been going full tilt on your Farewell Tour for the past few years. Why did you decide to tape an MTV Unplugged in the middle of all that?</strong></p> <p><strong>Matthias Jabs:</strong> We were asked by MTV and Sony in January of 2013 if we could do an MTV Unplugged. We had just played our last show on December 17 in Munich. You know what it’s like in life: just when you think you’re safe, they come around the corner! [laughs] Well, we knew we couldn’t say no. It might not be as popular as it was in the Eighties and early Nineties, but we wanted to do it anyway, because we were asked at some point in the Eighties but we were too busy to do it then. But I knew right away that we had to do something different from what we did on our 2001 [live] record, <em>Acoustica</em>. </p> <p><strong>What did you want to do differently?</strong></p> <p><strong>Jabs:</strong> First of all, we wanted to not do “Wind of Change,” “Rock You Like a Hurricane”…the typical ones. We have so many arrangements of those. But the fans love those, and the record company wanted it, so in the end we included those as well. I got together with our producers, Mikael [Nord Andersson] and Martin [Hansen] in Sweden, with whom we worked on our last two records, and we picked songs from every decade. We had the more well-known ones and then put the focus on ones we’ve never played live, as well as five new songs. We ended up having 25 songs. It was a lot of work. </p> <p><strong>What did the process of reworking the songs entail?</strong></p> <p><strong>Jabs:</strong> First, I went to Stockholm for a week at the end of February and we arranged eight songs. Klaus and Rudolf weren’t part of the arrangements, but they both listened to the arrangements and said, This is the way to go; this is the way not to go.<br /> <strong>Rudolf Schenker:</strong> Because I composed most of the songs, I said, “You know, I’m too close to them.” Because the Swedish Rock Mafia, as we call our producers, have an understanding of what Scorpions are all about, I thought I’d let them work on it. I trust Mikael very much, and he’s also a very good acoustic guitarist. He knows the Scorpions’ history and has a good feeling to not make it too poppy and always work with a little edge. And he introduced us to open tunings, like Jimmy Page used. When we talked about MTV Unplugged, we knew we wanted to do something outstanding to make five guitars sound like a cluster. We used different tunings to make the sound bigger.</p> <p><strong>Twenty-five songs is a pretty long set. Were there specific choices you made with the arrangements to keep things musically interesting?</strong></p> <p><strong>Jabs:</strong> To keep it interesting as acoustic songs we had to have more than just two guitars. I planned on four. In the end, it turned out we had five guitars for most of the songs, six on some, plus mandolin, harp and accordion. We also had a string arranger. We were thinking of having an octet for just a few songs, being inspired by the Beatles, who always used octets because it sounds more rocking than a quartet. But it turned out we ended up with 18 string arrangements! [laughs] The arranger, Hans [Gardemar], is also a great piano player. He also plays accordion and brought it in the first week. I wasn’t sure if it was the right idea until we jammed “Still Loving You” as a tango with two guitars and accordion. It sounded amazing! We were overwhelmed by our own performance. So we started out not knowing exactly what we were going to do, but as it went on it got more interesting and I felt freer to give the full monty, so to speak.</p> <p><strong>You mentioned you tried out some Scorpions songs that you’ve never played live. Did the added personnel help in that effort?</strong></p> <p><strong>Jabs:</strong> Absolutely. We had another Swedish guitarist named Ola [Hjelm]. He’s one of those guys I call “Swiss Army knives” because they have at least five functions. [laughs] He sings, too, as do Mikael and [producer] Martin [Hansen], which was very important. So finally we could perform songs like “Passion Rules the Game,” from a late-Eighties album, <em>Savage Amusement</em>. We could never do it live because the lead vocals are overlapping within the chorus. </p> <p><strong>Even with the help, 24 songs is a lot for Klaus to tackle. Did he voice any concerns?</strong></p> <p><strong>Schenker:</strong> Klaus was moaning a few times, because he didn’t know how he was gonna do all this stuff! So he said there needed to be a few instrumentals too. I had already been working on an instrumental during one of our tours through Russia on the Trans-Siberian express. On the train I wrote a song called “Love Is the Answer.” So when this album came around, I thought about how I could work on that instrumental and maybe even sing on it, because I was a singer in the early Scorpions days. So I made a demo and presented it to the guys. And Klaus was jealous! He said, “I have one song too, and I want to play it on my own with guitar.” That was “Follow Your Heart.” So we didn’t always have a set plan, but we were freely creating. That spirit is at the heart of the Scorpions’ MTV Unplugged.</p> <p><strong>Rudolf, when the Swedish Rock Mafia and Matthias presented you with their initial arrangements, were there any tracks that were particularly surprising?</strong></p> <p><strong>Schenker:</strong> Most of them! They weren’t easy to do. I had to relearn my own songs! There were open tunings, lower tunings and string arrangements. The songs all had a new flavor. </p> <p><strong>Did either of you ever write any of the classic Scorpions material on acoustics?</strong></p> <p><strong>Schenker:</strong> I wrote “Holiday” on an acoustic. But in the early days I only had one guitar, my black-and-white [Gibson] Flying V. There’s such a special feeling between me and that guitar. It’s a really good guitar for composing. You can compose eight hours a day, if you have the time, because its body creates this very healthy position when you’re holding it and sitting down. I think “When the Smoke Is Going Down,” from <em>Blackout</em>, and “The Riot of Your Time,” from <em>Taken by Force</em>, were also composed with acoustic guitars. There were a few exceptions like that.<br /> <strong>Jabs:</strong>I’ve written more than half of my songs on acoustic. When you’re writing on electric guitar the riff might be too flashy to begin with. But on acoustic it’s a different approach, and it’s better to have simplicity. It makes you more like a songwriter. I wrote the intro to “Bad Boys Running Wild,” if you remember that one, on an acoustic. It was my first Ovation I ever had, from 1975. </p> <p><strong>Rudolf, one unexpected moment on the Unplugged performance is when you break out the sitar for “When You Came Into My Life.” How did that come about?</strong></p> <p><strong>Schenker:</strong> Klaus and me were invited to a songwriter session in 1994. The idea was that about 30 guitar players from America and Europe would compose with Asian people. Jack Blades was there, Tommy [Shaw] from Styx was there, and a lot of country guys. Then, on the other hand, there were the people from Asia. So our names were put into a tumbler and picked out at random. So they announced, “Klaus Meine and Rudolf Schenker are writing with…Titiek Puspa and James Sundah from Indonesia.” So we got a room and started writing. We wrote the song “When You Came Into My Life.” This song has a very Asian flavor. At first I was going to use a 12-string; then I realized that it had to be a sitar to give it the right sound and vibe. Then I just had to figure out how to play it! Sitar playing is very difficult. You could play your whole life and still not be doing it right. But I found a way to play it the best I could.</p> <p><strong>A song like “No One Like You” has a great harmonized lead opening section. Was that difficult to translate onto acoustics?</strong></p> <p><strong>Jabs:</strong> Yeah. Obviously, you focus mostly on the riff, and I couldn’t play the fills or the solo like I could on the electric. There isn’t even a solo. It’s like a part of a solo but more of a melodic thing. We worked that out with the mandolin, and I played the acoustic guitar. </p> <p><strong>On the original studio recording of that song, did you compose the solo ahead of time?</strong></p> <p><strong>Jabs:</strong> In songs like “No One Like You,” it’s a composed melody and harmony. The solo comes to me because I start with the vocal melody. I go with the song, because there’s no point in writing a completely different instrumental part in the middle, which some people call the solo. For me, it’s all about continuing the song but, if possible, turning it into a highlight. Same with “Rock You Like a Hurricane.” It’s also rhythmic, but if you listen carefully it’s also part of the melody, which is just transformed into a guitar part. You can follow it, but it’s still complicated enough that guitar players can enjoy it. It’s a fine line: not too simple, but not too complicated that it becomes, well, bleh.</p> <p><strong>Rudolf, you’re known primarily for your riffs and rhythm work. But you do play lead on some of the band’s most memorable tracks, like “Wind of Change” and “Holiday.” How do you approach your leads?</strong></p> <p><strong>Schenker:</strong> When I play the solo on songs, it forces me to try new things. When I would write a song and have an idea for a solo, I would convince the band not by talking about it but by playing it for them, even in the days when [former Scorpions guitarist] Uli [Jon Roth] was playing lead. I remember in the early days I played a lead on one song—I forget which one—and he said, “Oh, Rudolf, that’s great! Why don’t you play that!” With Matthias, very often I was the lead player for more of the slower songs, like “Holiday,” “Lady Starlight,” “Still Loving You,” “Wind of Change,” “Big City Nights” and some stuff on “China White.” Actually, Uli gave me some very good advice in the Seventies when I was trying to learn lead guitar. He said, “Rudolf, you know it’s much better to be a great rhythm guitar player than an average lead guitar player.” So I really spent more time forcing myself to make riffs that had a special flavor.</p> <p><strong>Your last studio album was 2010’s Sting in the Tail. I heard a rumor that Scorpions might be working on an album with some material that was written around the time of <em>Blackout</em> and <em>Love at First Sting</em>.</strong></p> <p><strong>Jabs:</strong> Yes, we started already. We have 12 songs. We found songs mainly from the early Eighties <em>Blackout</em> and <em>Love at First Sting</em> days, when many people consider our most creative and best time. The leftover tracks sound good, but they were never finished. They don’t have lyrics or vocals, and they’re not recorded to a click. So we have to do everything new. But it sounds quite good so far.<br /> <strong>Schenker:</strong> Two of the new songs on Unplugged, “Dancing with the Moonlight” and “Rock &amp; Roll Band,” we had saved for bonus tracks. So we have those two songs, which are great, and we’ll put them out as an electric version. I think we have a total of 15 songs from the Seventies and Eighties that we want to release. I think in 2014 we’ll finish the places we haven’t played yet on the farewell tour, and then get back to the record after that.</p> <p><strong>What are your main guitars for this farewell tour?</strong></p> <p><strong>Jabs:</strong> I’m playing my Dommenget electrics tonight, as well as an acoustic Dommenget Explorer. Its neck is much closer to an electric. Because we’re playing electrics all night, it’s hard to switch to a fatter neck for just two acoustic songs. I have many different makes and models of guitars, but for Unplugged I used only Martin guitars. The 000-42 plays really well, and the intonation is good even when you tune down. We also had big help from Taylor guitars, but I passed them along to the other players. We had 56 guitars onstage, and there were no spares. Rudolf had so many guitars, Explorers and 12-strings, mostly made by Dommenget. I also played a fantastic Martin guitar, the D-180. And you know what? It also smells so good! You open the case in the studio and it smells like vanilla and other things. Even my wife came in and said the studio smelled nice! [laughs]<br /> <strong>Schenker:</strong> Tonight I’m using my Dommenget customs, Gibson Flying Vs and Gibson [Chet Atkins SST] 12-string. Gibson is also finally making me a Flying V acoustic, which I will present at the Frankfurt music show. </p> <p><strong>What are your amp setups?</strong></p> <p><strong>Jabs:</strong> My Mastertone [Matthias Jabs Signature amp], the orange glowing thingy. Unfortunately, the guy who made them died this year. They’re great amps, and I fortunately have enough to last the whole rest of my career. You know these people that all they do is work all night and smoke too much and drink too much coffee? He had a heart failure and passed away at four in the morning after coming out of his workshop. Too bad.<br /> <strong>Schenker:</strong> I’ve played so many amps! I started actually with Vox, then Marshall, then Boogie, into Hiwatt, then Diezel, then Engl, Soldano. Then I found this Danish guy who makes the Skrdstrup R&amp;D [Triple Drive 50]. It’s an amazing amp. It allows such an exact attack and just enough distortion. Tonight I’ve got that, the Engl [Savage 120] and a Rivera [TBR Series rackmount stereo tube amplifier].</p> <p><strong>Do you have a clear plan of the amount of countries you want to hit before the Farewell World Tour concludes?</strong></p> <p><strong>Jabs:</strong> We basically wanted to play again in every country we’ve played before, plus China and Australia, because we had never played there before. We’ve played pretty much everywhere in the world, except the middle zone of Africa, where nobody wants rock and roll. And we don’t want to play a shitty show; we want to say goodbye to people with our full, big production. So far it’s good and all selling out.<br /> <strong>Schenker:</strong> During all these shows, we realized we have so many young people coming out to see us. You know, I just found out we have four million Facebook fans and their average age is between 17 and 24.<br /> <strong>Jabs:</strong> We do have a lot of young people in the front of the stage, and I think it’s due to the new media, like Facebook and YouTube. I don’t think we’ve had this many young fans ever. Even in the Eighties, most of the fans were our age. Now they’re under 20. And we were never that young in the Scorpions!</p> <p><strong>Do you think it’s because there aren’t that many new huge rock bands coming up and people are looking back to the classics?</strong></p> <p><strong>Jabs:</strong> I know! Who’s filling stadiums? Bruce Springsteen, U2, Bon Jovi, the Rolling Stones, and sometimes Scorpions, Iron Maiden and Metallica. It’s still the same ones! There’s not a new band doing that.</p> <p><strong>Unless it’s Kanye West.</strong></p> <p><strong>Jabs:</strong> Yeah, okay. [waves hand dismissively] I don’t want to know! [laughs]</p> <p><em>Photo: Jimmy Hubbard</em></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/scorpions">Scorpions</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/scorpions-matthias-jabs-and-rudolf-schenker-discuss-new-mtv-unplugged-album#comments April 2014 Matthias Jabs Rudolf Schenker Scorpions Interviews News Features Magazine Tue, 04 Mar 2014 16:28:03 +0000 Brad Angle http://www.guitarworld.com/article/20634