Features http://www.guitarworld.com/taxonomy/term/5/all en ‘Rockabilly Riot’: Brian Setzer Talks New Album, Gretsch Guitars and Future of Rockabilly http://www.guitarworld.com/rockabilly-riot-brian-setzer-talks-new-album-gretsch-guitars-and-future-rockabilly <!--paging_filter--><p>Following last year’s successful Christmas tour with his 18-piece orchestra, iconic guitarist, songwriter and three-time Grammy winner Brian Setzer entered the studio to get back to his rockabilly roots — with incredible results. </p> <p>Setzer’s new album, <em>Rockabilly Riot: All Original</em>, which will be released August 12 via Surfdog Records, is pure, straight-ahead rockabilly that features 12 new, original songs. Along with his trademark twang and fretboard fire, Setzer is backed by three musicians who are among the best at their craft — Mark Winchester (bass), Kevin McKendree (piano) and Noah Levy (drums).</p> <p>The album, which was recorded in Nashville, was produced by Peter Collins, who handled those same duties for Setzer’s <em>Vavoom!</em> and <em>The Dirty Boogie</em>. The result is a cross-mix of early Stray Cats and Setzer’s solo records, with an emphasis on a fresh, modern rockabilly sound.</p> <p>Setzer first captured the hearts of guitarists everywhere as founder and frontman of Stray Cats, whose signature songs “Rock This Town," “(She's) Sexy &amp; 17” and “Stray Cat Strut” introduced the sound and attitude of rockabilly to a new generation of rock fans in the early Eighties. </p> <p>I recently spoke to Setzer about <em>Rockabilly Riot: All Original</em> <a href="http://hifi247.com/brian-setzer-rockabilly-riot-all-original-cd-preorder.html">(which is available now for pre-order)</a>, his early days, guitars and what the future holds for rockabilly music.</p> <p><strong>GUITAR WORLD: How would you describe the sound of <em>Rockabilly Riot</em>?</strong></p> <p>To me, it sounds a little bit like a mixture of an album I had called <em>Ignition</em> and the first Stray Cats album. The production of it is straight forward, but it really is songs first. Then I make them into rockabilly just by me playing them.</p> <p><strong>What makes rockabilly so special?</strong></p> <p>It’s based in the blues, which is kind of the basis of it all. Rock and roll, rockabilly, country, swing, jazz — it all started from the blues. Anything that seems to come from something honest works for me. I like to say that rockabilly is like the bad brother who goes out late and doesn’t come back [laughs]. It was probably too risqué for its time and never really gained the traction it should have.</p> <p><strong>Do you consider this album a sequel of sorts to <em>Ignition</em>, considering both have songs about roosters and chickens</strong>?</p> <p>Well, Mark Winchester [bass] says that any song about barn yard animals is fine by him. I guess it was inspired by Mark’s “Rooster Rock." [laughs]</p> <p><strong>Speaking of Mark, you’re joined by some amazing players on this album. Can you speak to what it’s like working with Mark, Kevin McKendree and Noah Levy?</strong></p> <p>It reminds me of watching the All-Star Game in baseball. You know that anything you throw at them, they’re going to catch or going to hit. It’s fun making a record with guys like that, just like it was with Jim and Lee from the Stray Cats or the big band. They’re all top players, so you know you’re going to get a great performance. Once you sit down and play, work on the songs and gel, it all comes together and you’ve got a first-place team.</p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="450" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/155136713&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;visual=true"></iframe></p> <p><strong>What was the writing process like for this album?</strong></p> <p>It’s interesting. When you start writing, you really have to get a spark or something to light the fuse. The first song I wrote for this album was “Vinyl Records,” and the spark was my daughter listening to songs on her iPod. She had the little peas in her ear and I pulled them out and listened and said, “Ah, I really don’t like that. It doesn’t sound good.”</p> <p>That’s when she said, “Well, that’s just because you don’t like the band.” I said, “No, it’s not about the music.” Then I showed her a stereo I had sitting at home. I pulled out an old record and put it on so she could hear what it sounded like. She flipped, and it was a victory for Dad! Now, she and her friends go out and hunt down vinyl records. That was the spark that really got that song going for me lyrically. Musically, I had this riff lying around that I thought was cool. It was just a blues riff in C but it counts down all of the notes in the blues scale. It was something I hadn’t really heard anybody do yet. Once I had those two things, it just kind of snowballed from there.</p> <p><strong>The song “Rockabilly Blues” has an autobiographical theme to it. Was that your intention?</strong></p> <p>Yeah, that’s right. I was just sitting there finger picking a blues/rockabilly thing on a guitar that I’ve had for 40 years. I started thinking about the idea of making it personal and decided to write the song about the guitar and me.</p> <p><strong>What was the recording process like?</strong></p> <p>It was a no-stress record. To go in with Peter [Collins] was like going in with a buddy. We recorded it in Nashville, and what I did differently this time was arrange all of the songs together beforehand. We recorded all of the tracks and arranged them and then I gave the guys a CD and had them listen to it and live with it for a month and half. Then right after our Christmas tour, we all went straight into the studio. It was easier and more fun to have everything ready and then just go in and rock it out. There are no overdubs on this album except for the vocal. </p> <p><strong>What inspired you to first pick up the guitar?</strong></p> <p>The first real inspiration I had was George Harrison. I remember when I first heard the Beatles on a jukebox. At the time, I was so young I didn’t even really know what was making the sound that I liked. Then there was a record store on the corner with a picture hanging up that said “The Beatles." Once I saw George holding his guitar, I said, “Wow! So cool!” That was the first spark.</p> <p>Then later on, after it had cemented itself in place, I was really blown away by Eddie Cochran. I remember in the late Seventies no one really knew who he was. But once I saw his record (the black and white <em>Legendary Masters Series</em>), I knew I wanted to look like him. And after I had heard the songs, that just completed it for me. I said, “That’s it! [laughs]. </p> <p><strong>Did the Stray Cats find it difficult finding its niche in those early years?</strong></p> <p>I remember people used to think, “What the heck are these guys doing?” [laughs]. It’s kind of like Fifties rock and roll, but it’s not. This was the guitar-based, bad-ass cousin of that. But we built it up just like any other band. Whether you were in a blues band or a punk band at the time, everyone had to pay their dues and bang around in the back of a van. There was no instant overnight thing. It was a good learning experience climbing the ropes. </p> <p><strong>What’s your setup like these days?</strong></p> <p>I don’t use pedals. I just use the Roland Space Echo and mess around with the settings. If I want more of a “rock” sound, I’ll just turn the volume up. Then when I want the “billy” sound, I’ll turn the volume down to get it a little more twangy and then add a bit more delay on it. That’s really the only thing that I use. </p> <p><strong>Tell me a little about your guitars.</strong></p> <p>I have three that play really well. I’ve got the Stray Cat Gretsch, another ’59 that is pretty much my main guitar, and then my friends at TV Jones just found me a wicked one. I think it’s a ‘60 model that really just has the stuff. I’ve also got my new line of Gretsch guitars that I always take with me on the road.</p> <p><strong>What first attracted you to the Gretsch?</strong></p> <p>I had always wanted one because of George and Eddie. I just loved their sound and my ear was drawn to that sound rather than to a Les Paul. Back in the Seventies, you couldn’t really find a 6120 because they had stopped making them. But when I did find one and plugged it in, I was smitten. It was exactly what I was looking for. </p> <p><strong>Can you tell me the origin of the Stray Cats song “Rock This Town”?</strong></p> <p>We were all tired of the whole disco era and one night, me and Slim Jim [Phantom] snuck into a bar. I remember we looked at the jukebox and saw that it was all still disco and we were both really pissed off about it. I think that was the spark that got it off the ground and helped me to write something that was rock and roll instead of something that was dominating the airwaves. </p> <p><strong>What do you think the future holds for rockabilly music?</strong></p> <p>If you follow history, it always seems to stick its head above water, sees what the world is like and then goes back under. It had its spike in the Fifties, then the Stray Cats brought it back, and now you’ve got people like Imelda May who are having success with it. I think rockabilly will always be there because it’s so good and just keeps regenerating itself. Whether it’s in the public eye or not, people will always know it’s there.</p> <p><strong><em><a href="http://hifi247.com/brian-setzer-rockabilly-riot-all-original-cd-preorder.html">'Rockabilly Riot' is available now for pre-order.</a></em></strong></p> <p><em>James Wood is a writer, musician and self-proclaimed metalhead who maintains his own website, <a href="http://gojimmygo.net/">GoJimmyGo.net</a>. His articles and interviews are written on a variety of topics with passion and humor. You can follow him on <a href="https://twitter.com/JimEWood">Twitter @JimEWood.</a></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="/brian-setzer">Brian Setzer</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/rockabilly-riot-brian-setzer-talks-new-album-gretsch-guitars-and-future-rockabilly#comments Brian Setzer Gretsch James Wood Interviews News Features Tue, 22 Jul 2014 21:08:46 +0000 James Wood http://www.guitarworld.com/article/21882 ‘1000hp’: Guitarist Tony Rombola Talks New Godsmack Album and Side Project http://www.guitarworld.com/1000hp-guitarist-tony-rombola-talks-new-godsmack-album-and-side-project <!--paging_filter--><p>Multi-platinum hard rock heroes Godsmack are revving their engines for their highly anticipated sixth studio album, <em>1000hp</em> The album, which is set for an August 5 release, is the follow-up to 2010’s <em>The Oracle</em>, which debuted at Number 1 on <em>Billboard's</em> Top 200.</p> <p>Co-produced by Sully Erna along with Dave Fortman (Slipknot, Evanescence), <em>1000hp</em> returns the band to their Boston-based roots. Even the album’s title track pays homage to the band’s journey from playing tiny clubs to packed arenas worldwide. </p> <p>With a new-found thrashed-up “punk” energy, <em>1000hp</em> is really about going back to basics. It's old-school Godsmack, but with a new kind of twist.</p> <p>Coinciding with the release of <em>1000hp</em> — <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/1000hp/id898318144">which is available for pre-order at iTunes</a> — Godsmack also will headline this year’s Rockstar Energy Drink UPROAR Festival, which kicks off August 14. Godsmack is Sully Erna (vocals), Tony Rombola (guitar), Robbie Merrill (bass) and Shannon Larkin (drums).</p> <p>I recently spoke with Rombola about <em>1000hp</em>, touring and his blues-based side project, the Blue Cross Band.</p> <p><strong>GUITAR WORLD: How would you describe the sound of <em>1000hp</em>?</strong></p> <p>We wanted it to be straight forward and simple. I think that was the theme. There are elements of punk in some of the grooves that Sully brought in, and even in the selection of some of the riffs that I had as well. A lot of it is simpler, with some different feels.</p> <p><strong>What's the songwriting process for a Godsmack album?</strong></p> <p>For me, it all starts with riffs Shannon and I put together and arrange into a demo. We'll bring in a bunch of the material and Sully will go through it to get vibe for the record. He has great vision. He also brought in riffs for the songs "Something Different" and "Life Is Good". Sully's the one who picks the direction for the album and works on the lyrics. I'm more focused on the music. For me, it's all about the guitar.</p> <p><strong>What was it like working with producer Dave Fortman?</strong></p> <p>It was great. We had actually met Dave when we were working on our last album, <em>The Oracle</em>. He has a lot of ideas and was a lot of fun to work with. He's also a guitar player and plays drums, so he was able to give us input and bounce ideas off of us.</p> <p><strong>Do you feel any added pressure being the headlining band for a huge festival like UPROAR?</strong></p> <p>I actually feel less pressure. Whenever you do your own shows, there's always something to worry about because it's just you. With festival shows like this, each one has a similar feel and there are a lot more bands. It's outdoors and feels more like an event with a great crowd. I really enjoy doing them.</p> <p><strong>What's your live setup going to be like?</strong></p> <p>I'm with Diamond now, so I'll be bringing out a Diamond amp I really like, as well as a Diezel Herbert. I usually use two different amps at once for couple of different reasons. First, it gives me added tone and if one happens to crap out, I'll still have a solid amp going for me. I also have a couple McNaught guitars that I'll be bringing out, as well as a Les Paul or two. Not too many effects, though. I pretty much play dry all night.</p> <p><strong>Let's talk a little about your early years playing. What inspired you to first pick up the guitar?</strong></p> <p> Growing up, I had a friend whose mother had this really great record collection. Bands like Black Sabbath, Eric Clapton, Rush, Lynyrd Skynyrd. My buddy started playing guitar and taking lessons and within weeks I wanted to do the same. I didn’t take lessons, but I remember he would always show me whatever he had learned. </p> <p>Eventually, he quit but I continued to play. And to this day I pretty much play all day, every day [laughs]. The more you play, the more you discover.</p> <p><strong>Who were some of your early influences?</strong></p> <p>In the beginning, it was guys like Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix and Tony Iommi. Then a little later on I got into all of the Eighties guitarists like Randy Rhoads and Gary Moore when he was doing the blues thing. Yngwie Malmsteen was another guy I looked up to and someone I tried to pick up from as much as could. His technique was much more advanced than mine so I could only learn certain things, but he was still inspiring.</p> <p><strong>How did your side project, the Blues Cross Band, come together?</strong></p> <p>Shannon and I have this jam room we like to go to whenever we're not on tour. Sometimes we'll go in there five days a week and just hang out and play music. He heard me playing the blues one day and thought it sounded cool. So we decided to write a few songs together. Then we wound up getting a bass player and a singer, and the next thing you know we were a band. We just recently did our first shows together. It was a really good experience being able to play with totally different gear and a whole different style of music. I'm having a lot of fun with it.</p> <p><strong>How would you describe the sound of this project?</strong></p> <p>It's more blues/rock. I'm trying to do more traditional stuff: using single coil and keeping the tones traditional and not do too much shredding. It's an even balance. We haven't recorded much so there's still an opportunity to find my voice and how I want to be heard.</p> <p><strong>Is there a particular moment in your career that stands out to you as a highlight?</strong></p> <p>I think it was when the local radio station, WAAF, made a connection with Sully and started playing our music on their own. That's what really got the ball rolling for us. Then there was the time when we got our first gold record. We were doing OzzFest and it was our first big tour playing for huge audiences. To get handed a gold record in the afternoon by record label was a big moment, and proof that we had made it!</p> <p><em>James Wood is a writer, musician and self-proclaimed metalhead who maintains his own website, <a href="http://gojimmygo.net/">GoJimmyGo.net</a>. His articles and interviews are written on a variety of topics with passion and humor. You can follow him on <a href="https://twitter.com/JimEWood">Twitter @JimEWood.</a></em></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/1000hp-guitarist-tony-rombola-talks-new-godsmack-album-and-side-project#comments Godsmack James Wood Tony Rombola Interviews News Features Tue, 22 Jul 2014 16:48:07 +0000 James Wood http://www.guitarworld.com/article/21838 Eric Clapton Discusses His Star-Studded J.J. Cale Tribute Album, 'The Breeze' — Exclusive Interview http://www.guitarworld.com/eric-clapton-discusses-his-star-studded-jj-cale-tribute-album-breeze-exclusive-interview <!--paging_filter--><p><em>This is an excerpt from the September 2014 issue of </em>Guitar World<em>. For the rest of this story, plus features on the Black Keys, Judas Priest, 17 Amazing practice amps, columns, tabs and reviews of new gear from Epiphone, ESP Guitars, Visual Sound, Blackstar, G&amp;L Guitars, Ibanez and more, <a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/collections/guitar-world/products/guitar-world-september-2014-the-black-keys/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=article&amp;utm_campaign=BlackKeysExceprt">check out the September 2014 issue at the Guitar World Online Store.</a></em></p> <p><strong>Cool Breeze: <em>In this GW exclusive, Eric Clapton pays tribute to his friend and inspiration J.J. Cale and talks about </em>The Breeze<em>, his new star-studded tribute to the late Oklahoma guitarist and songwriter.</em></strong></p> <p>Robert Johnson and J.J. Cale represent the yin and yang of Eric Clapton’s musical influences. On one side is Johnson, the famously troubled Thirties-era Mississippi bluesman who moaned about hellhounds on his trail, spooks around his bed and those lowdown, shakin’ chills. On the other side is Cale, the famously laidback singer-songwriter from Tulsa who penned laconic odes to singin’ whippoorwills, “chugalugging” and shakin’ tambourines. </p> <p>Clapton has covered the music of both men on several occasions throughout his career, taking Johnson’s “Crossroads” to the heights of blues-rock jam-outs with Cream in 1968 and earning massive commercial success as a solo artist with his versions of Cale’s insanely catchy “After Midnight” in 1970 and breezy “Cocaine” in 1977.</p> <p>Yet, when looking back at Clapton’s work as a whole, one can’t help but notice that the Cale-influenced side of the equation takes up a much larger chunk of the pie, which was probably the result of the fact that Clapton actually got to meet and hang with Cale. Their bond lasted from the Seventies until Cale’s death in 2013 at age 74. </p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.guitarworld.com/eric-clapton-premieres-new-song-train-nowhere-jj-cale-tribute-album-breeze-exclusive">[[ Eric Clapton Premieres New Song, "Train to Nowhere," from JJ Cale Tribute Album 'The Breeze' — Exclusive ]]</a></strong></p> <p>Clapton even had Cale’s phone number, something he’s still tickled about.</p> <p>“Nobody had his phone number. You had to be in the inner circle to have that,” Clapton says with a laugh. “I’d call him, and sometimes I’d get his voice mail. Other times, I’d get him on the line and we’d talk for hours. I felt I had some kind of inside track, and that was a wonderful thing.”</p> <p>On July 29, however, Clapton will release a bona-fide tribute to his friend and former collaborator: <em>Eric Clapton &amp; Friends: The Breeze, An Appreciation of J.J. Cale</em>. The album features 16 Cale songs—from “Call Me the Breeze,” “Starbound” and “Lies” to “Magnolia” “Songbird” and “Crying Eyes”—performed by Clapton and a host of guests, including Mark Knopfler, John Mayer, Willie Nelson, Tom Petty and Don White. Other friends include Albert Lee, Derek Trucks, David Lindley, Doyle Bramhall II and Don Preston, all of whom split up the six-string duties.</p> <p>In the interview below, Clapton discusses Cale and the new album—which happens to be his only tribute album besides <em>Me and Mr. Johnson</em>, his 2004 homage to Robert Johnson. </p> <p><strong>It’s 1969. You’ve left behind Cream’s heavy blues-rock, extended guitar solos, freeform improvisation, high intensity and volume. Then you discover J.J. Cale’s music, courtesy of Delaney Bramlett of Delaney &amp; Bonnie. Before you know it, you immerse yourself in Cale’s “relaxed” Tulsa style, and the Clapton of Cream becomes a thing of the past. Did you see Cale’s music as the embodiment of something you had been seeking? Or were you not even looking for something new?</strong></p> <p>I think I was looking for someone to identify with. A lot of my musical growth and education came from players who weren’t around anymore. <em>The Best of Muddy Waters</em> [1958] was one of my primary sources of education, as well as a lot of the country blues guys who had been gone a long time. But even the Muddy album, which was an electric album—that band, by the time I got to hear that album, was long gone.</p> <p>What I’m trying to say is, if I was looking for something current, there it was. He had the root and the understanding—the knowledge about all the music I loved—in the same way Delaney and Leon Russell did. These guys understood the history of this thing I was attracted to, so it was logical to me that I should keep an eye on them and follow what they were doing. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/zsqF3p8ORDE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>Sometimes you immerse yourself in your influences to the point that you ignore your own ego and delve into the artist’s style, even including the way he sings and plays. When that’s the case, do you consider it a learning experience or some type of comfort zone?</strong></p> <p>A bit of both, I think. With J.J., for instance, and trying to learn to play some of the Robert Johnson songs…when you put those two things side by side, my intention is always to try and leave my ego at the door and go in and learn everything I can about how they did it. That’s the starting point. That will be the aspiration. And what happens inevitably is that my ego gets back in and I adapt what I’m learning to suit what I want to do. So my will is always present. </p> <p>Robert Johnson was the hardest thing to tackle because, in order to play any of the songs he put on tape exactly as he did it, that’s a life’s work in itself. Any one of his songs, they’re so strategically different in terms of technique and how to sing and play those things at the same time. It’s like master-class stuff. My approach is to get as far as I can and allow my will to come in and take over and make it so that I can play it now and not in five years’ time, because I’m too impatient to have to follow that through to its logical conclusion. And with J.J., it’s the same thing. So what I end up with, even if I’m trying to imitate and emulate, is a version, because my will has twisted me to make it easier for me.</p> <p><strong>How, when and where did <em>The Breeze, An Appreciation of J.J. Cale</em> come together?</strong></p> <p>Right after his funeral service, I flew from California back to Columbus, Ohio, where I have a house, and my wife’s family is there. At some point over the last couple of years, I started putting in a primitive little studio, and we started tracking there. I’d put rhythm tracks together and then I’d overlay guitars, and Walt Richmond came to play keyboards. Then, when we’d built enough with the artificial sounds, we went to L.A. I asked [drummer] Jim Keltner and [bassist] Nathan East to start putting down a proper rhythm section. Then we got some other players, including [drummers] Jamie Oldaker, David Teegarden, Jim Karstein and James Cruce. Then came [guitarists] Don White, Don Preston, David Lindley, Doyle Bramhall II, all to kind of build the sound.</p> <p><em>This is an excerpt from the September 2014 issue of </em>Guitar World<em>. For the rest of this story, plus features on the Black Keys, Judas Priest, 17 Amazing practice amps, columns, tabs and reviews of new gear from Epiphone, ESP Guitars, Visual Sound, Blackstar, G&amp;L Guitars, Ibanez and more, <a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/collections/guitar-world/products/guitar-world-september-2014-the-black-keys/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=article&amp;utm_campaign=BlackKeysExceprt">check out the September 2014 issue at the Guitar World Online Store.</a></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="/eric-clapton">Eric Clapton</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/eric-clapton-discusses-his-star-studded-jj-cale-tribute-album-breeze-exclusive-interview#comments Damian Fanelli Eric Clapton exclusive Interview J.J. Cale September 2014 Interviews News Features Magazine Tue, 22 Jul 2014 16:30:27 +0000 Damian Fanelli http://www.guitarworld.com/article/21879 September 2014 Guitar World: The Black Keys 'Turn Blue,' Return of Judas Priest, Eric Clapton Speaks, Amazing Practice Amps http://www.guitarworld.com/september-2014-guitar-world-black-keys-turn-blue-return-judas-priest-eric-clapton-speaks-amazing-practice-amps <!--paging_filter--><p><strong>The all-new September 2014 issue of Guitar World is <a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/products/guitar-world-september-2014-the-black-keys/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=GWSEP14">available now!</a></strong></p> <p>In the September 2014 issue of <em>Guitar World</em>, we talk with <strong>Dan Auerbach</strong> of <strong>the Black Keys</strong>. Auerbach tells how the group made its latest hit album, <em>Turn Blue</em>, in the midst of personal hardship, using a handful of guitars, amps and effects and whole lotta spontaneous inspiration. Then, the guitarist reveals his gear. Learn which guitars, amps and effects are behind the band's strange musical brew.</p> <p>Then, <em>Guitar World</em> focuses on <strong>Judas Priest</strong>. A few years ago, it looked as though Judas Priest were finished. But with the ferocious new album <em>Redeemer of Souls</em>, the Metal Gods have regained their mojo. </p> <p>Next, the GW editors come up with a list of 10 vintage guitars that at one point were considered mutant oddities from an alternate universe. But in the hands of <strong>Muddy Waters, Jack White, Dan Auerbach</strong> and other visionary players, these pawnshop rejects became six-string superheroes.</p> <p>Finally, legend <strong>Eric Clapton</strong> salutes and pays tribute to his friend and inspiration <strong>J.J. Cale</strong> and talks about <em>The Breeze</em>, his new star-studded tribute to the late Oklahoma guitarist and songwriter.</p> <p>PLUS: <strong>Neal Schon</strong>, 17 Best Practice Amps, <strong>Dave Mustaine, Linkin Park</strong> and much more!</p> <p><strong>Five Songs with Tabs for Guitar and Bass</strong></p> <p>• Judas Priest - "Electric Eye"<br /> • Cream - "Sunshine of Your Love"<br /> • Animals As Leaders - "CAFO"<br /> • Ed Sheeran - "Sing"<br /> • Black Keys - "Lonely Boy"</p> <p><strong><a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/products/guitar-world-september-2014-the-black-keys/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=GWSEP14">Head to the Guitar World Online Store now!</a></strong></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/september-2014-guitar-world-black-keys-turn-blue-return-judas-priest-eric-clapton-speaks-amazing-practice-amps#comments September 2014 News Features Tue, 22 Jul 2014 16:29:24 +0000 Guitar World Staff http://www.guitarworld.com/article/21881 10 Things You Didn't Know About Black Sabbath http://www.guitarworld.com/10-things-you-didnt-know-about-black-sabbath <!--paging_filter--><p>It’s been nearly 45 years since Black Sabbath emerged out of Birmingham, England, and defined the genre of heavy metal with detuned guitar riffs, occult themes and monolithic heaviness. </p> <p>Think you know everything there is to know about the pioneering metal band? </p> <p>Click through the gallery below to test your Sabbathian knowledge!</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="/black-sabbath">Black Sabbath</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/10-things-you-didnt-know-about-black-sabbath#comments Black Sabbath Guitar World Lists Galleries News Features Tue, 22 Jul 2014 14:07:18 +0000 Jeff Kitts http://www.guitarworld.com/article/21763 2014 Summer NAMM Show Photos: Gear Galore in Nashville http://www.guitarworld.com/2014-summer-namm-show-photos-gear-galore-nashville <!--paging_filter--><p>Another Summer NAMM Show has come and gone!</p> <p>As always, <em>Guitar World</em> was there in force, shooting photos and videos, gathering endless gear news and trying out (and gawking at) all the new cool stuff being introduced for 2014.</p> <p>Since we spent most of our time on the floor of Nashville's Music City Center, <em>Guitar World</em>'s Twitter feed and Facebook pages were our primary means of sharing photos of new gear and other NAMM scenery.</p> <p>Therefore, we hope you'll check out our still-available NAMM photos on <strong><a href="https://twitter.com/GuitarWorld">Twitter</a></strong> and <strong><a href="https://www.facebook.com/GuitarWorld">Facebook</a></strong>.</p> <p>Even though the show is over, we'll be posting more news items about the coolest new gear, plus a series of photo galleries (showing gear, celebrities and "the scene" in general) and videos from the event.</p> <p>You can check out our first photo gallery below! <strong>NOTE: If, for some reason, an image doesn't display in preview mode, remember you can click on the photo to expand it!</strong></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/2014-summer-namm-show-photos-gear-galore-nashville#comments Summer NAMM 2014 Galleries News Features Mon, 21 Jul 2014 20:27:12 +0000 Guitar World Staff http://www.guitarworld.com/article/21874 The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach Discusses New Album, 'Turn Blue' http://www.guitarworld.com/black-keys-dan-auerbach-discusses-new-album-turn-blue <!--paging_filter--><p><em>This is an excerpt from the September 2014 issue of </em>Guitar World<em>. For the rest of this story, plus features on Dan Auerbach's off-beat guitars, Eric Clapton and his new J.J. Cale tribute album, Judas Priest, 17 Amazing practice amps, columns, tabs and reviews of new gear from Epiphone, ESP Guitars, Visual Sound, Blackstar, G&amp;L Guitars, Ibanez and more, <a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/collections/guitar-world/products/guitar-world-september-2014-the-black-keys/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=article&amp;utm_campaign=BlackKeysExceprt">check out the September 2014 issue at the Guitar World Online Store.</a></em></p> <p><strong>Black and Blue: <em>Dan Auerbach tells how the Black Keys made their latest hit album, Turn Blue, in the midst of personal hardship, using a handful of guitars, amps and effects and a whole lotta spontaneous inspiration.</em></strong></p> <p>Black Keys guitarist and singer Dan Auerbach is obsessed with arcane, el-cheapo mid–20th century guitars: Teiscos, Nationals, Supros, Silvertones. </p> <p>But that fixation is rivaled only by his passion for collecting vintage vinyl and under-the-radar new music. “Yesterday, I was listening to some dub [reggae] that I have on vinyl,” he says. “And this morning, I was listening to some South American Sixties psych music.”</p> <p>When it comes to current music, Auerbach’s passion for contemporary hip-hop is balanced by a fondness for less mainstream fare, like moody Canadian act Timber Timbre and U.K. retro-pop unit Metronomy. “I love their English Riviera album,” the guitarist raves. “There’s some really amazing plectrum bass playing on it. I just love the record’s experimentation and sonic limitlessness.” </p> <p>In one way or another, these variegated influences find their way into the Black Keys’ own music. Their new album, <em>Turn Blue</em>, takes them further along the ambitious sonic trajectory they’ve been following ever since Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney teamed up with über producer Brian Burton, a.k.a. Danger Mouse (Gnarls Barkley, Beck, Gorillaz, Norah Jones) for the Keys’ 2008 album, Attack &amp; Release. Like all the Black Keys’ records, Turn Blue’s sound is firmly based in the garage-rock interplay between Auerbach’s bluesy squawk-box aggression and Carney’s flailing frenzy. But over this foundation, the Keys have woven a mesmerizing web of ghostly synths and eerie sonic textures. Auerbach plays bass as well as guitar on the album, and he splits keyboard duties with Danger Mouse.</p> <p>“Anybody can jump on any instrument at any time,” Auerbach says. “There are really no rules when we’re in the studio.”</p> <p>With its stately tempo, lazily strummed acoustic guitar and spectral synth line, the album’s opening track, “Weight of Love,” invites comparison with the classic-rock majesty of Pink Floyd. “We love that kind of music,” Auerbach admits, “so it’s in us to be capable of doing that. It’s just something that we’ve never tried to go for before. But we had the time and that little spark of creativity to start us in that direction, and on a couple of songs we saw it through.” </p> <p>“Weight of Love” also is the most guitar-solo-intensive Black Keys track to date. Auerbach’s psychedelicized midsong magic carpet ride is followed up by a soaring outro excursion to the creative dark side that lurks somewhere underneath his regular-guy, flannel-and-denim Midwestern exterior. </p> <p>“That was all spur of the moment,” he says. “We’d just built that song up, and the end has this massive crescendo where everybody’s really going for it. It really called for a guitar solo, and I just improvised something. Then I put a harmony guitar on top of it. Honestly, it was 20 minutes and done, not something I really labored on very long. Everything on this record happened very naturally.” </p> <p>Auerbach seems to have little or no use for premeditation. He appears to be proud of the fact that he and Carney were completely unprepared when they entered the studio to make True Blue, the heavily anticipated follow-up to 2011’s strong-selling, Grammy-winning and critically lauded <em>El Camino.</em></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/trk7P-9QDyc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p>“We didn’t have any songs written,” he says. “We had no sense of what we were gonna do. We just went in blind. The blind leading the blind. We didn’t have any real goal other than to make an album. So we wrote songs every day. We just improvised. I guess the goal was to try to have a song done every day, maybe every two days at the most. And we did.” </p> <p>Sessions for <em>Turn Blue</em> began at a studio in Benton Harbor, Michigan, called the Key Club, where Auerbach and Carney worked on their own. Danger Mouse joined them for subsequent sessions at Sunset Sound in L.A. and Auerbach’s own Easy Eye studio in Nashville. Auerbach also seems to take pride in the fact that he came up with the album’s infectious lead single, “Fever,” during the early sessions in Michigan, without assistance from Danger Mouse, who has served as the band’s co-writer as well as producer on the past few albums. </p> <p>“Fever” exemplifies Auerbach’s formidable strength as a tunesmith—he can write catchy pop hooks that go straight to your head like a sugar rush. The song’s main synth line wouldn’t be out of place in an early Eighties hit by OMD or Depeche Mode. “Fever” is also one of many seriously bass-driven songs on <em>Turn Blue</em>. Throughout the album sessions, Auerbach played a Fender Mustang bass guitar through “a good, old-time transformer D.I.,” he notes, usually employing a pick. “I really like palm-muted pick bass,” he says. “Especially if you’ve got flatwound strings. It’s just classic—a really nice bass sound that kind of sits well in a mix and is really propulsive.”</p> <p><em>This is an excerpt from the September 2014 issue of </em>Guitar World<em>. For the rest of this story, plus features on Dan Auerbach's off-beat guitars, Eric Clapton and his new J.J. Cale tribute album, Judas Priest, 17 Amazing practice amps, columns, tabs and reviews of new gear from Epiphone, ESP Guitars, Visual Sound, Blackstar, G&amp;L Guitars, Ibanez and more, <a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/collections/guitar-world/products/guitar-world-september-2014-the-black-keys/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=article&amp;utm_campaign=BlackKeysExceprt">check out the September 2014 issue at the Guitar World Online Store.</a></em></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/black-keys-dan-auerbach-discusses-new-album-turn-blue#comments Black Keys Dan Auerbach September 2014 The Black Keys Interviews News Features Magazine Mon, 21 Jul 2014 17:49:40 +0000 Alan Di Perna http://www.guitarworld.com/article/21872 Massive Premiere New Album, 'Full Throttle' — Exclusive http://www.guitarworld.com/massive-premiere-new-album-full-throttle-exclusive <!--paging_filter--><p>Today, GuitarWorld.com presents the exclusive world premiere of <em>Full Throttle</em>, the new album from Australia's Massive. </p> <p>With their huge riffs and double-tracked vocals, this band certainly doesn't make their high ambitions a secret. The band's songs are lined with energy, wanting nothing more than to burst out of your speakers. </p> <p>For more about Massive, visit <a href="http://www.massiveoz.com/">their official website.</a></p> <p>Check out the exclusive stream below and tell us what you think in the comments or on Facebook!</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/21876380%3Fsecret_token%3Ds-JmzbK&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;visual=true"></iframe></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/massive-premiere-new-album-full-throttle-exclusive#comments Massive News Features Mon, 21 Jul 2014 16:23:09 +0000 Jackson Maxwell http://www.guitarworld.com/article/21864 Learn How to Play Guitar World's 100 Greatest Guitar Solos of All Time http://www.guitarworld.com/learn-how-play-guitar-worlds-100-greatest-guitar-solos-all-time <!--paging_filter--><p><em>Guitar World</em> picked 'em, and now you can play 'em — thanks to a new book, <em>Guitar World's 100 Greatest Guitar Solos of All Time</em>. </p> <p>This collection of 100 must-know guitar leads transcribed note for note! This unique book also includes insightful background and performance notes for more than 40 of the best solos.</p> <p>Songs include:</p> <p> • Alive<br /> • All Along the Watchtower<br /> • Aqualung<br /> • Bohemian Rhapsody<br /> • Cliffs of Dover<br /> • Crazy Train<br /> • Cross Road Blues (Crossroads)<br /> • Eruption<br /> • Get the Funk Out<br /> • Hotel California<br /> • Layla<br /> • Little Red Corvette<br /> • Money<br /> • November Rain<br /> • One<br /> • Pride and Joy<br /> • Sharp Dressed Man<br /> • Smells like Teen Spirit<br /> • Stairway to Heaven<br /> • The Star-Spangled Banner<br /> • Sultans of Swing<br /> • Sweet Child O' Mine<br /> • Sympathy for the Devil<br /> • Walk This Way<br /> • While My Guitar Gently Weeps<br /> • Won't Get Fooled Again<br /> • Working Man<br /> • You Shook Me All Night Long</p> <p>... And many more!</p> <p><strong><a href="http://store.guitarworld.com/collections/tab-books/products/guitar-worlds-100-greatest-guitar-solos-of-all-time/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=100GreatSolos">This 320-page book is available now at the Guitar World Online Store for $29.99!</a></strong></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/learn-how-play-guitar-worlds-100-greatest-guitar-solos-all-time#comments 100 Greatest Guitar Solos Greatest Guitar Solos of All Time News Features Mon, 21 Jul 2014 16:04:49 +0000 Guitar World Staff http://www.guitarworld.com/article/18766 Richie Sambora Honors Les Paul with Three Special Live Shows at New York's Iridium http://www.guitarworld.com/richie-sambora-honors-les-paul-three-special-live-shows-new-yorks-iridium <!--paging_filter--><p>While in Bon Jovi, guitarist Richie Sambora saw a million faces and rocked them all. </p> <p>But nothing will quite compare to three very intimate live performances he has planned to mark the anniversary of the birth of the great Les Paul, who would’ve turned 99 this past June 9. </p> <p>On July 22 and 23, Sambora will take the stage at <A href="http://theiridium.com/">New York City’s 170-seat Iridium</a>, the famed jazz club where Paul performed weekly for 12 years until his passing in 2009, for a set that will include selections from his solo albums, as well as songs from the Bon Jovi catalog and, of course, a few favorites made famous by Paul. </p> <p>“Les was my good friend, and he was genius,” Sambora says. “When I play the Iridium, I know he’ll be on my shoulder and I’m gonna do my best to make him proud. This show is not about me—this is my tribute to him and that’s how I’m gonna frame it. It’s pretty intense, man. I just hope I don’t get too emotional!”</p> <p>The concerts, which will be taped and aired this fall on Public Television’s <em>Front and Center</em>, will feature the guitarist’s current touring band, including Australian guitar virtuoso Orianthi Panagaris, who graced the cover of the April 2013 cover of <em>Guitar World</em>.</p> <p>“The way I met Orianthi was pure happenstance,” Sambora says. “I was in Maui last year, and Alice Cooper invited me play a benefit on New Year’s Eve. Ori was playing in his band at the time and we started jamming. The chemistry was immediate and combustible. We tore the place apart. </p> <p>“When I decided to do some solo shows this year, my second guitarist had to bow out, and I immediately thought of Ori. She was available and Alice gave it his blessing, and we’ve been touring, writing and working together ever since. Even though she is younger than I am, we’re both influenced by a lot of the same music, and our styles just mesh.”</p> <p>As for Bon Jovi, Sambora is focusing on his own music for the moment and is working on a batch of new songs for an album that will hopefully be released later this year. </p> <p>“I’m having a great time. I get to be an artist again. The framework I was in made it hard for me to go back to my roots and do what I was meant to do—really play the guitar. People think it’s risky to go out on my own, but the real risk is not doing it: the risk of regret, the risk of not expressing myself.”</p> <p>And what will the man be playing as he tips his hat to Les Paul at the Iridium this Tuesday and Wednesday? </p> <p>“Ha! Les Pauls, of course,” he laughs. “I’m lucky enough to have some real nice ones, including an unbelievable white one Les gave me himself.”</p> http://www.guitarworld.com/richie-sambora-honors-les-paul-three-special-live-shows-new-yorks-iridium#comments Iridium Richie Sambora Interviews News Features Fri, 18 Jul 2014 17:58:52 +0000 Brad Tolinski http://www.guitarworld.com/article/21856 DVD Combo Pack — 'Talkin' Blues' Parts 1 and 2 — on Sale at Guitar World Online Store http://www.guitarworld.com/dvd-combo-pack-talkin-blues-parts-1-and-2-sale-guitar-world-online-store <!--paging_filter--><p>The <em>Talkin' Blues</em> DVD Combo Pack is <a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/products/talkin-blues-dvd-combo-pack/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=TalkinBluesCombo">available now at the Guitar World Online Store</a> for a special sale price — $24.95 (down from $29.98)!</p> <p>Get both <em>Talkin' Blues</em> DVDs from Keith Wyatt in this special combo offer! That's four hours of in-depth video lessons on essential blues elements and guitar-playing techniques.</p> <p>Don't miss out on this amazing blues tutorial at a great price!</p> <p><strong><em>Talkin' Blues</em> DVD Part 1:</strong></p> <p> Precision string bending<br /> Low-register phrasing for musical effect<br /> How to use fills effectively<br /> Chicken-pickin' phrases for a funky feel<br /> How to bring your licks to life with accented notes<br /> Jazz-blues techniques:extensions, alterations and substitutions<br /> How to make licks groove with swinging eighth notes</p> <p><strong><em>Talkin' Blues</em> DVD Part 2:</strong></p> <p> "Street Jazz" chord extensions and alterations<br /> Soloing over chord substitutions<br /> How to play like Blink Blake and Charlie Christian<br /> How to match the solo to the song<br /> "Dead thumb (or pick)" technique<br /> Conversational phrasing<br /> Sixth and ninth chords<br /> The New Orleans sound</p> <p>Your instructor: For more than 35 years, Wyatt has been active as a guitarist and educator specializing in American music. He is a prolific author of books, instructional videos and columns on subjects ranging from theory and ear training to beginning guitar methods and blues and "roots" styles. Since 1978, Keith has been an instructor at the world-famous Musicians Institute in Los Angeles, where he also serves as Director of Curriculum. Since 1996, he has been touring internationally and recording with LA's legendary Blasters. </p> <p><strong><a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/products/talkin-blues-dvd-combo-pack/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=TalkinBluesCombo">This combo pack is available now at the Guitar World Online Store!</a></strong></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/dvd-combo-pack-talkin-blues-parts-1-and-2-sale-guitar-world-online-store#comments News Features Fri, 18 Jul 2014 17:45:41 +0000 Guitar World Staff http://www.guitarworld.com/article/21855 Practice Makes Perfect: Five Amazing Practice Amps http://www.guitarworld.com/practice-makes-perfect-five-amazing-practice-amps <!--paging_filter--><p><strong>In the all-new September 2014 issue of <em><a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/collections/guitar-world/products/guitar-world-september-2014-the-black-keys/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=article&amp;utm_campaign=RolandPractice">Guitar World</a></em>, we round up 17 amazing practice amps that will help you sound better, woodshed longer and become the guitarist you’ve always wanted to be.</strong></p> <p><em>In the excerpt below, we focus on five (plus a bonus amp — for a total of six) of the 17 amps. To see all 17, check out the September 2014 issue of </em>Guitar World<em> now. <a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/collections/guitar-world/products/guitar-world-september-2014-the-black-keys/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=article&amp;utm_campaign=RolandPractice">It's available at our online store right here.</a></em></p> <p>Playing live might be the best way to hone your performance skills, but when it comes to technique, you need practice, practice, practice. </p> <p>If you play an electric guitar, your woodshedding sessions demand an amp that not only reveals the details and nuance of your playing but also sounds great—so great that it makes you want to practice more and become the best guitarist you can. </p> <p>Of course, it’s even better if it has built-in effects, a tuner, a metronome, and connectivity to the world of digital apps, downloads and MP3 players. </p> <p>With that in mind, we set out to find the best-sounding and best-outfitted practice amps currently on the market. Over the next pages, you’ll find practice combos and heads that pull double-duty as studio and rehearsal powerhouses and others that offer computer, USB, Bluetooth, iOS and Android connectivity. </p> <p>Whether you love an all-tube rig, solid-state power, or feature-laden digital/modeling amps, you’re sure to find that one of these tone machines makes practice perfect.</p> http://www.guitarworld.com/practice-makes-perfect-five-amazing-practice-amps#comments Roland September 2014 Amps News Features Gear Magazine Thu, 17 Jul 2014 17:40:18 +0000 Paul Riario http://www.guitarworld.com/article/21835 Out of the Box: Guitar World Celebrates the Time-Honored History of MXR Effect Pedals http://www.guitarworld.com/out-box-guitar-world-celebrates-time-honored-history-mxr-effect-pedals <!--paging_filter--><p>A stomp box may seem like an insignificant item in the history of rock and roll, but it’s hard to imagine how some of the greatest songs of the Seventies and Eighties would have sounded without the influential role of MXR pedals. </p> <p>The MXR Phase 90 was a prominent part of the guitar tones on records by Van Halen and Pink Floyd. Likewise, the MXR Distortion + was a key element in the distorted lead guitar tones of Jerry Garcia, Dave Murray and Randy Rhoads, while the company’s Dyna Comp compression pedal shaped the sound of records by the Police, King Crimson and just about every country-rock hit that came out of Nashville back then. </p> <p>From Jimmy Page’s “Fool in the Rain” solo (featuring an MXR Blue Box) to Keith Richards’ swirling rhythms on “Shattered” (produced by an MXR Phase 100), the sound of MXR effects has been nearly ubiquitous in rock music since the mid Seventies.</p> <p>Before the first MXR products were developed, pedal effects were generally treated as novelties. Most pedals made during the Sixties and early Seventies were housed in absurdly oversized boxes with rather flimsy construction that could barely withstand the abuse of overzealous guitarists wearing stack-heel platform shoes. </p> <p>When Keith Barr and Terry Sherwood opened a repair shop called Audio Services in Rochester, New York, in 1971, most of their early customers were guitarists who brought in their broken pedals. </p> <p>“When I saw the poor quality of the effects devices that were coming in for repair, I was really amazed,” Barr said in an interview published in Art Thompson’s 1997 book <em>Stompbox</em>. “Eager to start designing some things, I made up a few little boxes for my guitar-playing friends. They seemed to like them.”</p> <p>The response was so positive and encouraging that Barr and Sherwood decided to switch from repairing gear to manufacturing electronic devices for musicians. However, the first product that the duo produced was not a stomp box but rather an audio mixer, which also inspired their new company’s name. A friend suggested that they call the company MXR, which was short for mixer. Barr lengthened the name to MXR Innovations to make it sound more business-like and official.</p> <p>Barr made one mixer and found the process rather tedious and boring, so he turned his attention to the effect pedals that his guitar friends raved about instead. The first pedal effect circuit that Barr designed on his own was a four-stage phase shifter. “Guitarists would come into our shop and tell us that the phase-shifting thing was really happening,” Barr told Thompson. “I built one, and people said they liked it.”</p> <p>Barr designed his first phase shifter—named the Phase 90 because it provided 90 degrees of phase shifting—in 1972, but the pedal didn’t go into serious production until late 1973, a few months before MXR Innovations was incorporated in 1974. </p> <p>Sherwood and Barr invested most of the cash reserves from their repair business in a spray-painting kit and parts, including heavy-duty die-cast aluminum boxes made by a company called Bud. Inspired by the paint job he saw on a new Ford Econoline van, Barr selected Ditzler PPG Bold Orange automotive paint for the Phase 90’s finish. He also designed the script MXR logo that was silkscreened on each pedal’s top panel.</p> <p>Initially Barr, Sherwood and some teenagers who worked for minimum wage made the first Phase 90 pedals in a small factory in Rochester. Soon they hired Mike Laiacona to handle sales, and he played an important role in getting the pedals into the hands of pros and music stores across the entire United States before he left in 1975 to start Whirlwind, whose line today includes effect pedals, direct boxes, cables and more.</p> <p>After MXR raised a decent amount of funds, it purchased ads in major national music magazines like Rolling Stone and Downbeat to promote the Phase 90. Guitarists who purchased these early units were impressed by the pedal’s studio-quality sound, rugged build and affordable price, and word of mouth about MXR quickly spread.</p> <p>Realizing that one product would not be enough to sustain their quickly growing company, Barr and Sherwood decided to expand their offerings with three additional products—the Blue Box, the Distortion + and the Dyna Comp—which joined the lineup later in 1974. </p> <p>The new models were housed in the same size Bud boxes as the Phase 90, but each had its own distinctive color that made it instantly identifiable onstage, a concept that was soon adopted by many of MXR’s subsequent competitors. The earliest versions of MXR’s first four pedals were made from circuit boards silkscreened and etched by Barr himself, identifiable by the phrase “hand built by guitarists” printed on the board. </p> <p>A simpler and cheaper two-stage version of the Phase 90 called the Phase 45 followed in late 1974, and in 1975 MXR introduced the Noise Gate Line Driver and the Phase 100, a much more versatile six-stage phase shifter with four selectable preset waveforms. Eventually, they company started making its own die-cast aluminum boxes, featuring an embossed MXR script logo near the rear panel’s lower right-hand corner. </p> <p>MXR grew quickly during this period, and Barr realized that he needed to hire additional engineers to help him design new products. He brought in Tony Gambacurta and Richard Neatour, who previously worked as technicians at Barr and Sherwood’s repair shop, and they helped to expand the product line without compromising quality. </p> <p>Both played an instrumental role in the development of the MXR Flanger, the first pedal flanger to hit the market, as well as the Analog Delay, the Envelope Filter and the Six-Band and Ten-Band Graphic Equalizer pedals, all introduced in late 1976. MXR also started to offer rack-mountable effects designed for studio installations and live sound reinforcement, including the Auto Flanger, the Auto Phaser, the Mini Limiter and one of the industry’s earliest digital-delay units. </p> <p>The pedal models introduced in 1976 had a newly designed MXR logo that is known as the “block logo” for its block text enclosed in a rectangle with rounded corners. The older models retained the original script logo, and the rear plates of every model had an embossed script logo. Eventually, though, around 1978, all of the products had silkscreened and embossed block logos. Today, pedal collectors pay considerably more for early MXR pedals with script logos, but the differences between the script- and block-logo versions of original Seventies MXR pedals are negligible.</p> <p>“The circuits really didn’t change much at all,” says Jeorge Tripps, who helped Dunlop create accurate reissues of MXR’s original script-logo pedals in recent years. “The Phase 90 had only very minor changes over the years, and the Dyna Comp didn’t change significantly at all. When MXR went to the block logo, the circuits were the same as those of the script-logo versions. It wasn’t until near the company’s end that they started using the dual op amp for the Phase 90 and added an LED to their pedals. All of the hype about script-version pedals being better is pretty much a myth.” </p> <p>It’s impossible to determine who was the first major artist to use an MXR pedal on a recording, but Jimmy Page and David Gilmour were certainly among the earliest. Page allegedly used a Phase 90 during overdub sessions for several songs on Led Zeppelin’s <em>Physical Graffiti</em> in 1974, and an MXR Phase 90 played a central role on Pink Floyd’s <em>Wish You Were Here</em> album, particularly on Gilmour’s solos for “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” and “Have a Cigar,” recorded between January and July 1975. </p> <p>During the late Seventies and early Eighties, MXR pedals increasingly showed up on pros’ pedal boards. Many players relied on multiple MXR pedals to shape and define their signature sounds. Among them were Eddie Van Halen (who used a Flanger, Phase 90 and Six-Band Graphic Equalizer), Joe Perry (Dyna Comp, Flanger, Phase 90 and Six-Band Graphic Equalizer), Jerry Garcia (Analog Delay, Distortion + and Phase 100), Randy Rhoads (Analog Delay, Distortion +, Flanger, Stereo Chorus and Ten-Band Graphic Equalizer) and Andy Summers (Distortion +, Dyna Comp and Phase 90). </p> <p>As MXR entered the Eighties, the company abandoned the compact, battery-powered stomp boxes that guitarists loved and instead offered larger, AC-powered pedals like the Distortion II, the Limiter and the Stereo Chorus. </p> <p>While these new products were built to professional standards, they were also more expensive than the compact pedals offered by Japanese companies like Boss and Ibanez, which cut into MXR’s market share. To compete, MXR introduced the Micro Chorus and Micro Flanger pedals as well as the budget Commande Series pedals, which were housed in plastic cases. </p> <p>MXR increasingly focused on rackmount gear, including digital-delay and reverb units, the Dual 15-Band Graphic EQ, the Flanger/Doubler, the Pitch Transposer and an early multi-effect unit called the Omni. The company also began to develop consumer home audio products in hope of expanding its business. By 1984, MXR discontinued its original pedal line, replacing it with the affordable Series 2000 pedals, which were housed in black cases and featured designs more than obviously influenced by those of their Boss and Ibanez competitors. </p> <p>However, the company was soon torn apart by internal labor struggles and disagreements with major shareholders. Before the end of 1984, MXR had closed its doors. Barr went on to found Alesis in Hollywood, California, where he refined his affordable digital reverb and drum machine designs. Gambacurta, Neatour, Sherwood and ex-MXR employees Phil Betette and John Langlois remained in Rochester to found Applied Research and Technology, better known as ART.</p> <p>After a three-year absence, the MXR brand re-emerged when Dunlop Manufacturing purchased rights to the name and resurrected the brand. Dunlop fittingly reissued the same four pedals—the Blue Box, Distortion +, Dyna Comp and Phase 90—that originally launched the MXR line in 1974. Dunlop also updated the reissue pedals with an LED and jack for a nine-volt DC adapter. Over the next decade, Dunlop began to bring back other popular classic MXR pedals that players still considered essential, like the Flanger, Phase 100, Stereo Chorus and graphic equalizer pedals.</p> <p>Around the dawn of the new millennium, Dunlop began to develop and introduce an impressive range of new models that expanded the MXR legacy. In 1999, MXR offered its first line of pedals designed exclusively for bass players. </p> <p>That was soon followed by the introduction of artist signature pedals designed with input from players such as Dimebag Darrell (Dime Distortion), Kerry King (KFK Ten-Band Graphic Equalizer), Eddie Van Halen (EVH Phase 90 and Flanger) and Zakk Wylde (Black Label Chorus, Berzerker Overdrive, Zakk Wylde Phase and Overdrive). New artist models that recently joined the MXR line include the Slash Octave Fuzz and Joe Bonamassa FET Overdrive.</p> <p>In 2008, Dunlop hired Jeorge Tripps to resurrect his Way Huge line of pedals and work with the MXR team, which included senior engineer Bob Cedro, to develop new products and produce accurate reproductions of the original MXR script-logo pedals. One of the team’s first products was the Carbon Copy analog delay, which has become MXR’s most popular new pedal since the release of the originals. Cedro and Tripps also helped MXR establish its Custom Shop line of pedals, which include the Custom Comp, La Machine octave fuzz, Micro Amp + and Phase 99.</p> <p>“When I came to Dunlop, one of my main responsibilities was to revamp the whole MXR script-logo line,” Tripps says. “We wanted to make them by hand the way MXR used to, so we gathered a bunch of old MXR pedals to look at. When we decided to reproduce the original Dyna Comp, I couldn’t find much reference material on it, so I decided to call Keith Barr. </p> <p>That was right before Keith died in 2010. I also have a bunch of old documents and schematics from MXR and even a prototype of a tremolo panner that never came out that I bought in 2006 when somebody sold a trunk of old MXR back stock.”</p> <p>Under Dunlop’s direction, MXR has offered more than 80 different products over the years. Popular and acclaimed new products in today’s MXR line include the Talk Box (MXR originally developed a prototype talk box called the Waak in 1975 that never went into production), the Custom Badass ’78 Distortion, the Super Badass Distortion, the Uni-Vibe Chorus/Vibrato and Custom Shop reproductions of the original script-logo Phase 90 and Dyna Comp. </p> <p>Products like the Smart Gate and the Custom Audio Electronics Boost/Line Driver and MC403 Power System can be found in the touring rigs of countless pros.</p> <p>Thanks to Dunlop, MXR’s legacy is alive and well, as the new products remain faithful to the original company’s ideals of value, sound quality and ruggedness. </p> <p>After 40 years of providing guitarists with innovative tools that influence and inspire new tones, MXR shows no signs of slowing down. “We have a very talented team of engineers and product designers who are always coming up with new ideas,” Tripps says. “We’re keeping true to the original concept of MXR but moving forward at the same time.”</p> http://www.guitarworld.com/out-box-guitar-world-celebrates-time-honored-history-mxr-effect-pedals#comments Jim Dunlop June 2014 MXR News Features Gear Magazine Thu, 17 Jul 2014 13:40:11 +0000 Chris Gill http://www.guitarworld.com/article/21839 Revisit Steve Vai's Classic Guitar World Lessons with New Book, 'Steve Vai's Guitar Workout' http://www.guitarworld.com/revisit-steve-vais-classic-guitar-world-lessons-new-book-steve-vais-guitar-workout <!--paging_filter--><p>Since its appearance in <em>Guitar World</em> in 1990, Steve Vai's intensive guitar regimen has been the Holy Grail for serious players. </p> <p>In our new book, <em><a href="http://store.guitarworld.com/collections/new-products/products/guitar-world-presents-steve-vais-guitar-workout/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=SteveVaiGuitarWorkout">Guitar World Presents Steve Vai's Guitar Workout</a></em>, you'll find the lessons that shaped a generation of guitarists. Vai sat down with guitarist/transcriber Dave Whitehill and outlined his practice routine for the January 1990 issue of GW. Never before had a guitarist given such an in-depth explanation of his musical exercise regimen. </p> <p>It became a must-have for guitarists. Many of the players interviewed in GW have cited it as an influence on their development as guitarists. Here's a chance to experience the workout in its original form and to learn some of the things Vai has done to develop his formidable chops and remarkable music vocabulary.</p> <p>In this book, Vai reveals his path to virtuoso enlightenment with two challenging guitar workouts – one 10-hour and one 30-hour – which include scale and chord exercises, ear training, sight-reading, music theory, and much more. These comprehensive workouts are reprinted by permission from <em>Guitar World</em> magazine.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://store.guitarworld.com/collections/new-products/products/guitar-world-presents-steve-vais-guitar-workout/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=SteveVaiGuitarWorkout">This book is available now at the Guitar World Online Store for only $14.99.</a></strong></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="/steve-vai">Steve Vai</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/revisit-steve-vais-classic-guitar-world-lessons-new-book-steve-vais-guitar-workout#comments Steve Vai News Features Thu, 17 Jul 2014 13:39:12 +0000 Guitar World Staff http://www.guitarworld.com/article/19280 Superunknown: 50 Iconic Albums That Defined 1994 http://www.guitarworld.com/superunknown-50-iconic-albums-defined-1994 <!--paging_filter--><p><a href="http://www.guitarworld.com/new-sensations-50-iconic-albums-defined-1984">We've already checked in with 1984</a>, so let's fast forward exactly one decade. </p> <p>The year in question — 1994 — was incredibly varied. It was a year of discovery and tragedy, innovation and resurrection. </p> <p>It was the year when rock's long-festering underground finally collided full force with the mainstream. Though Nirvana had broken through in a massive way in 1992 with <em>Nevermind</em>, they (along with Pearl Jam) were the only punk-rooted bands to find big-time mainstream success during the first few years of the decade. </p> <p>But with Nine Inch Nails' <em>The Downward Spiral</em>, Soundgarden's <em>Superunknown</em>, Stone Temple Pilot's <em>Purple</em> and Smashing Pumpkins' <em>Pisces Iscariot</em>, the hazy, vague anger of grunge exploded into the mainstream. Rock was no longer about having a great time; it was about wallowing in confusion and self-doubt, looking inside yourself and seeing a muddy pit of emotions rather than simple rebellion or hooliganism. </p> <p>Hair metal, for so long rock's dominant force, seemed entirely stale and out of date. Bon Jovi moved to adult contemporary, Guns N' Roses were still successful but found themselves battling with intra-band turmoil, while Motley Crue dealt with extensive drug abuse within their ranks. Hair metal had virtually died, and in its place battled numerous, increasingly small metal sub-genres. </p> <p>The emergence of black metal showed the genre's more extreme side, while "alternative metal" used elements of progressive rock that formed interesting musical hybrids. </p> <p>But all of these disciples of harder rock achieved increasingly great commercial success, mostly on the back of one artist, who lost his life in 1994. Kurt Cobain changed rock forever, a frontman with incredible charisma and a unique vision that would change America's musical taste buds forever. </p> <p>Meanwhile, guitar heroes of old were still a force to be reckoned with in 1994. The list below features contributions from Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton. Keith Richards, David Gilmour, Tony Iommi — plus Texans Dimebag Darrell and Jimmie Vaughan, not to mention Yngwie Malmsteen and Richard Thompson. </p> <p>Nineteen hundred and ninety-four was a year of transition, but much of the music made during this period continues to stand the test of time.</p> <p><strong>Below, check out our guide to 50 (OK, 51) albums that defined 1994. Remember you can click on each album cover to take a closer look!</strong></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/superunknown-50-iconic-albums-defined-1994#comments News Features Wed, 16 Jul 2014 08:52:54 +0000 Jackson Maxwell http://www.guitarworld.com/article/21245