Features http://www.guitarworld.com/taxonomy/term/5/0 en The 30 Best Albums of 2015 — So Far http://www.guitarworld.com/25-best-albums-2015-so-far <!--paging_filter--><p>Well, we've come to the halfway point of the year—and then some. </p> <p>It's time to look back at what has, so far, been a strong year for music, one in which the guitar has been pushed to new creative peaks on new albums in an array of genres. </p> <p>From Sleater-Kinney's nervy punk to JD McPherson's fierce roots rock to Periphery's always-impressive technical metal, the guitar has had quite a year already. And forget we have another six months of releases coming our way. You'll find those in our year-end-wrap-up stories in December.</p> <p>On that note, let's have a look at 30 of the year's best albums (so far). </p> <p><strong>NOTE: This list is presented in alphabetical order, not from worst to best or best to worst. So there's no order of preference. Enjoy!</strong></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/25-best-albums-2015-so-far#comments Charlie Thompson JD McPherson Pokey LaFarge Whitey Morgan year end 2015 News Features Thu, 02 Jul 2015 14:27:38 +0000 Guitar World Staff, Intro by Jackson Maxwell 24815 at http://www.guitarworld.com Acoustic Fingerstylists Andy McKee, Jon Gomm and Daryl Kellie Are Blazing a Daring Style of Percussive, Alternate-Tuned Shred http://www.guitarworld.com/acoustic-nation-fingerstylists-andy-mckee-jon-gomm-daryl-kellie-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-nation-fingerstylists-andy-mckee-jon-gomm-daryl-kellie-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, 02 Jul 2015 14:24:13 +0000 Richard Bienstock 21084 at http://www.guitarworld.com July 4 Sale: Take 35 Percent Off Everything at the Guitar World Online Store! http://www.guitarworld.com/july-4-sale-take-35-percent-everything-guitar-world-online-store <!--paging_filter--><p><strong>Save big for Independence Day!</strong></p> <p>Take 35 percent off everything at the <a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=35FOURTH15">Guitar World Online Store!</a></p> <p>Just be sure to use code <strong>35FOURTH15</strong> at checkout.</p> <p>Once again, that's <strong>35FOURTH15.</strong></p> <p><strong>This sale ends 11:59 p.m. Sunday, July 5, 2015, so <a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=35FOURTH15">head to the Guitar World Online Store now!</a></strong></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/july-4-sale-take-35-percent-everything-guitar-world-online-store#comments News Features Thu, 02 Jul 2015 14:14:24 +0000 Guitar World Staff 24862 at http://www.guitarworld.com Get a Free 'Mastering Arpeggios Part 2' Lesson at the 'Guitar World Lessons' Store — Video http://www.guitarworld.com/get-free-mastering-arpeggios-part-2-lesson-guitar-world-lessons-store-video <!--paging_filter--><p><em>Mastering Arpeggios Part 2,</em> an impressive compilation of nine instructional video lessons and tabs by Jimmy Brown, is now available through the Guitar World Lessons <a href="https://guitarworldlessons.com/product/EF57BA06-4DBD-DB72-635C-2E213E3A8004?&amp;utm_source=guitarworld.com&amp;utm_medium=article&amp;utm_campaign=arpeggios2">Webstore</a> and <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/guitar-world-lessons/id942720009?mt=8">App.</a></p> <p>It joins the ranks of the many lessons already available through <a href="https://guitarworldlessons.com/product/EF57BA06-4DBD-DB72-635C-2E213E3A8004?&amp;utm_source=guitarworld.com&amp;utm_medium=article&amp;utm_campaign=arpeggios2">Guitar World Lessons.</a></p> <p>To celebrate this new release, <em>Guitar World</em> is offering the first <em>Mastering Arpeggios Part 2</em> lesson, "G Major Seven Arpeggios in Positions," as a FREE download! Note that all nine <em>Mastering Arpeggios Part 2</em> lessons are available—as a package—for only $14.99.</p> <p>You can watch the trailer for <em>Mastering Arpeggios Part 2</em> below.</p> <p><a href="https://guitarworldlessons.com/product/EF57BA06-4DBD-DB72-635C-2E213E3A8004?&amp;utm_source=guitarworld.com&amp;utm_medium=article&amp;utm_campaign=arpeggios2">This new collection</a> is the 90-minute-plus follow-up to <em>Mastering Arpeggios</em>. It introduces and covers everything you need to know about the five essential seventh-chord arpeggio qualities: major seven, dominant seven, minor seven, minor-seven flat-five and diminished seven. </p> <p>Again focusing on the popular guitar key of G, your instructor, longtime GW Senior Music Editor Jimmy Brown, presents all possible fretboard positions and two-octave fingering patterns for these arpeggios and shows you ways to transpose them to any other key, either by progressing through the cycle of fourths/fifths or taking each shape you’ve learned and moving up or down the fretboard chromatically (in one-fret increments). </p> <p>Jimmy then shows you extended two-notes-per-string “monster” patterns that move diagonally up and across the neck, spanning three octaves. Also covered are the seven diatonic seventh-chord arpeggios that live in the key of G major, demonstrated in all positions, and interval patterns of fourths, fifths, sixths and sevenths applied to the arpeggios. The lesson product concludes with an entertaining performance of an original interpretation and tab arrangement of “Presto” from “Sonata 1 For Solo Violin” by Johann Sebastian Bach, which serves as an effective and musically satisfying practice piece.</p> <p><em>Mastering Arpeggios Part 2</em> includes:</p> <p>• <strong>Chapter 1 (Part 1): G Major Seven Arpeggios in Positions</strong> his first part of Chapter 1 begins with a quick review of the G major scale and G major triad arpeggio, played up and down one string for purposes of illustration. Jimmy then demonstrates all of the fixed-position two-octave fingerings for a G major seven arpeggio between fourth and seventh positions, along the way showing you a bunch of useful “alternate picking shred cells” and a neat application for improvisation—playing Gmaj7 over an E bass note or Em or Em7 chord to create a cool, jazzy Em9 sound. </p> <p>• <strong>Chapter 1 (Part 2): G Major Seven Arpeggios in Positions (continued)</strong> This conclusion of Chapter 1 demonstrates all the remaining possible fretboard positions and fingerings for playing G major-seven arpeggios across two octaves, with additional “speed picking cells” presented along the way that reside within the larger patterns. Also covered are patterns in first and second position that combine open strings with fretted notes. </p> <p>• <strong>Chapter 2: G Dominant Seven and Minor Seven Arpeggios in Positions</strong> Using all the two-octave G major-seven shapes shown in the previous segment, this chapter shows you how to convert them to G dominant- and minor-seven shapes, by “flatting” the seventh and third. Necessary fingering adjustments are covered, as the shapes morph from major-seven to dominant-seven to minor-seven. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/L8Y3aXxGiwQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p>• <strong>Chapter 3: G Minor Seven Flat-five and Diminished Seven Arpeggios in Positions</strong> Working off of all the G minor-seven shapes presented in the previous chapter, this lesson shows you how to go from minor-seven to minor-seven flat-five to fully diminished-seven, including any necessary fingering adjustments that need to be made to accommodate the lowering of certain notes by one fret. </p> <p>• <strong>Chapter 4: The Circle of Fifths/Fourths and Practicing Drills</strong> Before continuing with extended arpeggio shapes and applications, this chapter presents a concise review of what is called the “circle of fifths,” or “circle of fourths,” and demonstrates a couple of easy ways to visually remember the cycle on the fretboard and ways to use it to practice all arpeggio shapes learned thus far in all 12 keys. </p> <p>• <strong>Chapter 5: Two-notes-per-string Patterns</strong> This chapter shows you how to take the five seventh-chord arpeggio qualities covered in the previous chapters and expand them into extended “monster” runs that span three octaves by moving diagonally across the fretboard using two notes per string with quick position shifts. Different “launching points” are presented, starting on the root, third, fifth and seventh of any given arpeggio. </p> <p>• <strong>Chapter 6: Diatonic Seventh-chord Arpeggios in G</strong> This lesson offers some practical, useful music theory and technical studies by presenting a set of seven different seventh-chord arpeggios that live within the key of G major, consisting of Gmaj7, Am7, Bm7, Cmaj7, D7, Em7 and F#m7b5. </p> <p>• <strong>Chapter 7: Interval Patterns</strong> This chapter takes the two-octave shapes for the seven diatonic seventh-chord arpeggios from the previous lesson and shows you how to “scramble” the notes by playing them in melodic patterns of fourth and fifth intervals that have you continually crossing strings, which makes for a great alternate picking workout, as well as some neat sounds. </p> <p>• <strong>Chapter 8: “Presto,” from “Sonata 1 For Solo Violin” by Johann Sebastian Bach</strong> This final chapter presents a performance of Jimmy’s own guitar adaptation and fingering arrangement of a beautiful violin piece by legendary classical composer Johann Sebastian Bach called “Presto,” from “Sonata 1 for Solo Violin.” </p> <p><strong>For more information, visit the Guitar World Lessons <a href="https://guitarworldlessons.com/product/EF57BA06-4DBD-DB72-635C-2E213E3A8004?&amp;utm_source=guitarworld.com&amp;utm_medium=article&amp;utm_campaign=arpeggios2">Webstore</a> and download the <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/guitar-world-lessons/id942720009?mt=8">App</a> now.</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="/jimmy-brown">Jimmy Brown</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/get-free-mastering-arpeggios-part-2-lesson-guitar-world-lessons-store-video#comments arpeggios Guitar World Lessons Jimmy Brown Videos News Features Lessons Wed, 01 Jul 2015 20:54:39 +0000 Guitar World Staff 24859 at http://www.guitarworld.com The Top 10 Wedding Songs http://www.guitarworld.com/top-10-wedding-songs <!--paging_filter--><p>As a member of a wedding band, you learn some valuable lessons, such as <em>it's not always about you</em>. </p> <p>You're on that stage to help fulfill the bride's ideal of a fairy-tale wedding. That means you'll likely be playing some pretty cheesy stuff. </p> <p>But that's all right. The job is to keep the guests on the dance floor and singing along to every tune. </p> <p>With the following set list in hand, everyone will live happily ever after—or at least until the bar runs dry.<br /> <br /><br /> <strong>10. Kool &amp; the Gang, "Celebration"</strong></p> <p>This Toyotathon jingle is insipidly gleeful. But if there's "a party going on right here"—like, say, at a wedding reception—chances are good you'll be asked to perform it. Cheer up, though, it could be worse—the bride's mother could demand "The Chicken Dance."</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/3GwjfUFyY6M" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>09. The Carpenters, "We've Only Just Begun"</strong></p> <p>This lovely ballad actually started out as a jingle for a bank commercial before Richard Carpenter contacted songwriter Paul Williams and asked him to flesh it out for a single. With lines specifically about weddings ("white lace and promises," etc.), it's now money in the bank for wedding bands. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/__VQX2Xn7tI" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>08. Bonnie Tyler, "Total Eclipse of the Heart"</strong></p> <p>Many brides want their wedding day to be an epic pageant, flawless in every detail. Leave it to Jim Steinman, the man behind Meat Loaf, to capture that operatic quality in a power ballad. Forever immortalized in the reception scene of <em>Old School</em>, nothing says "I fuckin' need you more than ever" like this Tyler hit. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/lcOxhH8N3Bo" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>07. The Psychedelic Furs, "Pretty in Pink"</strong></p> <p>Ever since John Hughes borrowed this song for his coming-of-age flick of the same name, most people associate it with romance and assume the chorus ("Pretty in pink, isn't she?") is literal. Which makes it fun for wedding bands, considering that the lyrics are actually about a party girl and "pink" is a metaphor for "nude." </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/pqmTMiIMG74" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>06. KC &amp; the Sunshine Band, "Shake Your Booty"</strong></p> <p>It hasn't been cool to like KC &amp; the Sunshine Band since... well... <em>ever</em>. But break into this tune and every single wedding guest will bust out of the disco closet and onto the dance floor. Careful with that tempo, though- today's average booty is quite a bit larger than it was in KC's heyday. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/xWxLc555sgU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>05. Outkast, "Hey Ya"</strong></p> <p>Keep those bodies shake, shake, shakin' like a Polaroid picture with this four-chord wonder. And wear 'em out with a protracted version of the call-and-response section: "Don't make me break this thing down for nothing, ladies!" </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/PWgvGjAhvIw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>04. Aerosmith, "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing"</strong></p> <p>This Diane Warren-penned power ballad, from 1998, was Steven Tyler and crew's biggest hit in years. It's not exactly rock 'n' roll, but if you're playing a conservative affair, it might be the closest you can get. Hey, if badass Joe Perry can suck it up night after night, so can you. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/JkK8g6FMEXE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>03. The Rolling Stones, "Wild Horses"</strong></p> <p>The authors of "Under My Thumb," "Stupid Girl" and "Bitch" probably aren't an obvious quarry of wedding material. But you can always give this one a shot: Mick and Keef's rare display of vulnerability will switch on the waterworks every time. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/yE2B_kCfvss" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>02. Grand Funk Railroad, "Some Kind of Wonderful"</strong></p> <p>A man professing his love for his woman can be a truly touching thing. Or it can be totally embarrassing. You can make it a manly proposition with this rousing R&amp;B tune by Mark Farner and Grand Funk. Unlike Farner, however, you might want to leave your shirt on and forgo the headband. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/O7B5jXYRy3Q" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>01. Neil Diamond, "Sweet Caroline"</strong></p> <p>Neil Diamond rules. He wrote hits for the Monkees, perfected the sideburn comb-over, and, if you were born 40 or so years, probably soundtracked your conception—if not fathered you himself. And then there's this anthem, a slam dunk for any wedding band. "Sweet Caroline" will have guests actually believing that "good times never seemed so good." Well, "Sweet Caroline" and an open bar, anyway. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/NsLyI1_R01M" 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="/aerosmith">Aerosmith</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/top-10-wedding-songs#comments Aerosmith GO June 2005 Guitar One Guitar World Lists News Features Wed, 01 Jul 2015 15:35:39 +0000 Guitar World Staff 24603 at http://www.guitarworld.com Willie Dixon at 100: 10 Essential Willie Dixon Covers — Video http://www.guitarworld.com/10-ten-best-willie-dixon-songs-covers-essential <!--paging_filter--><p>Although you probably won't see too many "100 Years of Willie Dixon" celebrations online today, we felt we needed to say something about this incredibly important figure in Chicago blues and rock history.</p> <p>Dixon, who—as we've implied above—was born July 1, 1915, was primarily a bassist and singer (who also played guitar), but a bassist and singer who happened to write hundreds of incredible, often dark and eerie songs, several of which found their way into the catalogs of the biggest blues and rock artists of the Sixties, Seventies, Eighties and beyond.</p> <p>These include Stevie Ray Vaughan, Led Zeppelin, Jeff Beck, the Rolling Stones, Buddy Guy, Cream (and Eric Clapton), the Doors, the Grateful Dead, Gary Moore, George Thorogood, Muddy Waters, Koko Taylor and Howlin’ Wolf—<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_songs_written_by_Willie_Dixon">to name just a few.</a></p> <p>Today we'd like to celebrate Dixon's would-be 100th birthday by pointing out 10 noteworthy covers of his songs. In fact, let's make it 11. I say noteworthy, as opposed to best, because there's simply a staggering amount of recordings to consider (live and studio). Let's just say you can't possibly go wrong with these 11.</p> <p>Note that we've tried to include live versions of the songs, because they're a hell of a lot more fun to watch than audio-only YouTube "videos." Dixon died in 1992 at age 76.<br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Jeff Beck, "I Ain't Superstitious"</strong></p> <p>Although Howlin' Wolf recorded this Dixon tune in 1961, most rock fans made its acquaintance when Jeff Beck covered it on his first solo album, <em>Truth,</em> in 1968. </p> <p>The song recounts various superstitions, including a black cat crossing the pathway, so Beck imitates the sound of a cat with his guitar and wah pedal. It's just one of a multitude of sounds Beck can coax out of a guitar. That said, if my cats sounded like this, I'd rush them to the all-night animal hospital ASAP.</p> <p>Here's a live version from 2009, 41 years after it appeared on <em>Truth</em>. Beck even got the original vocalist, Rod Stewart, to sing it. That's Tal Wilkenfeld on bass. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/q3K2jwzpc0U" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Cream, "Spoonful"</strong></p> <p>Just as “Crossroads” introduced a new generation of music fans to the mystique of Robert Johnson, Cream’s “Spoonful” brought exposure to Dixon, who wrote the song, and Howlin’ Wolf, who originally recorded it in 1960.</p> <p>And while Howlin’ Wolf’s stark-and-dark version is haunting in its own right, Cream’s take on the song—driven by Clapton’s guitar and Jack Bruce’s heavy bass—moves it several steps further along.</p> <p>At Cream’s live shows, “Spoonful” gave the band members plenty of room to stretch out, as can be heard on the nearly 17-minute-long version on Cream’s <em>Wheels of Fire.</em> Below is another great live version, complete with pro-shot footage of Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Bruce in action. And just like the second season of <em>F Troop,</em> this video is in color.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/CgP7kfIwlE8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Muddy Waters, “I Just Want to Make Love to You”</strong></p> <p>Here's a live version of a powerful Dixon number that Muddy Waters made famous. This live version features Johnny Winter, Otis Blackwell, Eddie "Bluesman" Kirkland, Dave "Honeyboy" Edwards and Foghat, so you know it was filmed in the Seventies, which it was (1978). Let's not forget the Stones' sped-up version of this song, which is enjoyable in its own British way.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/RUOYD3mu2l0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>The Doors, "Back Door Man"</strong></p> <p>"Back Door Man," a Chicago blues classic, was recorded by Howlin' Wolf in 1960 and released in 1961 by Chess Records as the B-side to Wolf's "Wang Dang Doodle." The Doors got to it a few years later, including it on their eponymous debut album. Doors drummer John Densmore said "Back Door Man" is "deeply sexual and got everyone moving."</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/sf3KG8VAtJg" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Eric Clapton, "Third Degree"</strong></p> <p>When Clapton recorded his intense <em>From the Cradle</em> album, which was hailed as his "return to the blues," he was sure to include several Dixon compositions, including this one, which was co-written by Eddie Boyd. The other two were "Hoochie Coochie Man" and the dramatic and greasy “Groaning the Blues.”</p> <p>Check out this fine mid-Nineties live version of "Third Degree" featuring Clapton playing a very nice Gibson. We wish he would play this guitar more often. OK, "we" is me.</p> <p>By the way, in a 2011 GuitarWorld.com poll, <em>From the Cradle</em> was voted Clapton’s fourth-best guitar album, sandwiched between Cream’s <em>Wheels of Fire</em> (Number 5) and <em>Disraeli Gears</em> (Number 3). </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/AjqcMaDJGmo" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Muddy Waters, "Hoochie Coochie Man"</strong></p> <p>This song was recorded or performed by a huge list of name-brand artists, including Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Phish, the New York Dolls, Dixon himself, the Allman Brothers Band and more. But <em>the</em> version belongs to Muddy Waters, who initially recorded it in 1954. It became one of Waters' most popular and identifiable songs and helped secure Dixon's role as Chess Records' chief songwriter.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/NV_ZhBcNiQQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>The Rolling Stones, "Little Red Rooster"</strong></p> <p>Can you believe the Stones took this song to Number 1 on the U.K. singles charts in late 1964? I think it's the only time (ever) that a pure blues song has claimed the top spot on the U.K. charts.</p> <p>"[This] was [Brian Jones'] masterpiece, his inspired guitar howling like a hound, barking like a dog, crowing like a rooster," said Rolling Stones biographer Stephen Davis. As former Stones bassist Bill Wyman added, "I believe 'Rooster' provided Brian Jones with one of his finest hours."</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/OfJVeHKVcE8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, "Let Me Love You Baby"</strong></p> <p>This upbeat Dixon tune, a highlight of Vaughan's 1989 <em>In Step</em> album, also was covered by Buddy Guy in ancient times. Check out this fan-filmed live version from November 11, 1989, at New York City's Madison Square Garden. I was actually at this show. A drunk guy threw up directly behind me, but my brother and my friend didn't tell me. Good times!</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/6ci0Fk14Y7s" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>The Small Faces, "You Need Loving"</strong></p> <p>I love including the Small Faces on these lists, because in 2015, they just don't get the love they deserve. I also like what happens at exactly 3:35 in the YouTube player below. Be sure to head to that spot. Does it remind you of anything? Remember it was recorded in 1966.</p> <p>When Dixon wrote this tune, it was called "You Need Love." The song was, um, "borrowed" a few times after that.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/tp0jZ4BGuDw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Led Zeppelin, "I Can't Quit You Baby"</strong></p> <p>Here's the powerful, echo-filled <em>Coda</em> version of Dixon's "I Can't Quit You Baby" as performed by Led Zeppelin. This is actually one of my favorite officially released Led Zeppelin recordings of all time. I love how Jimmy Page intentionally jumps the gun on the turnaround chords <em>because he knew it would sound exciting if he did.</em> And it did.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/9jzGulTn6N8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Buddy Guy, "When My Left Eye Jumps"</strong></p> <p>Buddy Guy's version of this Dixon/Al Perkins tune features some great singing and guitar playing. It also includes the line: "When my left eye get to jumpin', and my flesh begin to crawl / I know you got some other mule, that's kickin' in my stall." Genius! </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/TEMcudqynnc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><em><a href="https://soundcloud.com/damian-fanelli/mister-neutron-super-1">Damian Fanelli</a> is the online managing editor at </em>Guitar World<em> and </em><a href="http://www.guitaraficionado.com/">Guitar Aficionado</a><em>. His New York-based band, <a href="https://soundcloud.com/damian-fanelli/the-blue-meanies-heart-full-of">the Blue Meanies,</a> has toured the world and elsewhere. Fanelli, a former member of Brooklyn jump-blues/rockabilly band <a href="http://www.thegashousegorillas.com/">the Gas House Gorillas</a> and New York City surf-rock band <a href="http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/MisterNeutron">Mister Neutron,</a> writes GuitarWorld.com's <a href="http://www.guitarworld.com/next-bend-clarence-white-inspired-country-b-bender-lick-video">The Next Bend,</a> a column dedicated to <a href="http://www.guitarworld.com/next-bend-10-essential-b-bender-guitar-songs-damian-fanelli">B-benders.</a> His latest liner notes can be found in Legacy's </em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/The-Complete-Epic-Recordings-Collection/dp/B00MJFQ24W">Stevie Ray Vaughan: The Complete Epic Recordings Collection.</a><em> Follow him on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/damianfanelliguitar">Facebook,</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/damianfanelli">Twitter</a> and/or <a href="https://instagram.com/damian_fanelli/">Instagram.</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="/doors-0">The Doors</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/jeff-beck">Jeff Beck</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/eric-clapton">Eric Clapton</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/cream">Cream</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/stevie-ray-vaughan">Stevie Ray Vaughan</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/led-zeppelin">Led Zeppelin</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/buddy-guy">Buddy Guy</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/10-ten-best-willie-dixon-songs-covers-essential#comments 10 Best Songs blues Buddy Guy Cream Damian Fanelli Eric Clapton Essential Listening Jeff Beck Stevie Ray Vaughan The Doors Top 10 Willie Dixon Guitar World Lists Videos Blogs News Features Wed, 01 Jul 2015 14:11:07 +0000 Damian Fanelli 24855 at http://www.guitarworld.com The 25 Things Every Guitarist Should Know http://www.guitarworld.com/25-things-every-guitarist-should-know <!--paging_filter--><p><em>Many people believe that possessing talent alone is enough to guarantee an artist success in the music business. Nothing could be further from the truth. In a perfect world, the best musicians—the best guitarists—would be amply rewarded for their abilities. The music business, however, is far from perfect. </em></p> <p>And unless you're one of the blessed few (such as Eddie Van Halen) who can single-handedly change the course of guitar history, the harsh reality is that killer chops and perfect time impress only other guitarists, not the people who hire you or buy the records.</p> <p>Talent, of course, is any artist's basic bread and butter, but whether you're a fingerpicker or a two-handed tapper, in order to survive the music business and distinguish yourself from the thousands of other guitarists who are after your gig, you must boast some other essential qualities. </p> <p>These range from good people skills to practical, common-sense approaches to your business (Fact it, that's what it is), both of which will help you stand out from the pack—and believe me, there's nothing more frightening that a pack of hungry, feral guitarists. </p> <p>For your edification, I have crunched these qualities—the many do's and don'ts of guitar existence—into 25 hardheaded, clearly wrought maxims. Learn them, memorize them, master them and imbibe. You'll be a better person for it, a better guitarist, and you just may make your way from the garage to the arena stage.</p> <p><strong>01. Nobody likes an asshole</strong></p> <p>Reality check: Most musicians don't give a damn whether you're the second coming of Jimi, Eddie or Buck Dharma. They just want someone with a good attitude who will play the parts correctly. And since most of your time is spent offstage, relating with the other musicians on a personal level becomes as important as relating to them musically. Remember-no one is indispensable. Just ask David Lee Roth.</p> <p><strong>02. Having a great feel is your most important musical asset</strong></p> <p>No one will want to play with you if you have bad time. You must have a great feel-it's that simple. By "great feel" I mean the ability to lock in with the rhythm section and produce a track that grooves. If there's one thing I would recommend you to constantly work on, it's developing your groove. Listen to the greats to learn how grooves should be played: from rock (Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" to 16th-note funk (James Brown's "Sex Machine") to blues shuffle ("Pride and Joy" by Stevie Ray Vaughan). Tape yourself (with a metronome) playing them-you'll be able to isolate and work on your problem areas. Or pick up the excellent JamTrax series (Music Sales), a series of play-along tapes covering everything from blues to alternative to metal, to stay in shape. This is the one area where you should be most brutal in your self-assessment. You'll be a much better player for it.</p> <p><strong>03. Develop your own sound </strong></p> <p>There's no better way to learn how to play than to cop licks from your favorite guitarists. The problem to watch out for is when you start sounding too much like your favorite player. Remember, rules, especially musical rules, are made to be broken.</p> <p><strong>04. Be on time</strong></p> <p>You wouldn't believe how many musicians don't believe that punctuality is important. It is crucial.</p> <p><strong>05. Listen, listen, listen!</strong></p> <p>When you're on stage or in the studio, don't be in your own world-listen and interact with the other musicians you're working with. React to what they're playing. Don't play too loud or get in the way when someone else is soloing. Put their egos ahead of yours-your number will always be called if the other musicians feel that you made them sound better.</p> <hr /> <p><strong>06. Know what you want to be</strong></p> <p>The most successful people in the music business are totally focused-they have specific goals in mind and do whatever is necessary to achieve them. The simple realization that you don't have to be a musician to be a rock star and don't have to be a rock star to be a musician can spare you years of cynicism and bitterness.</p> <p><strong>07. Play for the song, not for yourself</strong></p> <p>It's imperative to play what's idiomatically correct. For example, don't play Yngwie licks on Bush's "Glycerine" or a noodly jazz solo on Soundgarden's "Outshined," no matter how much it impresses you. I learned this the hard way while auditioning for a punk singer. I thought I'd show her what a good, well-rounded musician I was and ended a thrash song in A with an Am(add9) chord, instead of a more appropriate A5. I was promptly shown the door.</p> <p><strong>08. Play with musicians who are better (and better known) than you</strong></p> <p>There's no faster way to improve and jump up to the next level than to play with great musicians. You'll learn the tricks of the trade, and pick up on their years of experience in the trenches, as well. But if you want to be a star, there's no better way to kick-start your career than by ingratiating yourself with someone famous and be seen sycophantically swilling drinks with him or her at the coolest bar in town.</p> <p><strong>09. Less is more</strong></p> <p>Most players you hear or read about pay lip service to what has become the guitardom's ultimate cliché. The fact is, though, what's glibly easy to say is not necessarily easy to do. I learned this on a gig backing up a singer on a cruise ship (It was the actual "Love Boat!"). Back then, I couldn't read music or play over changes very well, so during the first show, in abject fear, I played very sparsely-only what I was sure would work. After the show, the singer told me she had never worked with so sensitive an accompanist.</p> <p><strong>10. Image does matter</strong></p> <p>This is one of the sad truths about the music business. The good news, however, is that not every musical situation calls for the same image. So use some common sense-if you're going to be auditioning for a wimpy jangle band, don't come dressed like a Marilyn Manson cast-off.</p> <hr /> <p><strong>11. It's essential to have a great touch, or vibrato</strong></p> <p>There are players who say it took them 10-15 years to develop a great vibrato. They're the lucky ones-most never find it. Your touch is like your fingerprints-it's what distinguishes your blues playing, for instance, from that of countless other guitarists. Think of B.B. King or Jimi Hendrix-they are instantly recognizable. There are two main types of vibrato: one generated by the wrist (a la Hendrix and B.B. King) and the other from the fingers (favored more by classical guitarists). To determine which type works for you, check out your favorite guitarists' vibratos and try to imitate them. You can also pick up B.B. King's video <em>Bluesmaster</em> (Volume 1) to see his unique "bee-sting" vibrato demonstrated in-depth.</p> <p><strong>12. Get your sound/tone together</strong></p> <p>I can't emphasize enough how important this is. Know your gear well enough so that it works for you, not against you. For example, if you're looking for a Stevie Ray tone, you won't get it with a Les Paul going through a Marshall. You'll need a Strat running through a Fender Bassman (with an Ibanez Tube Screamer for extra punch). Unless you're a studio tech-head, a great guitar and amp (with an overdrive or chorus pedal) will probably sound 10 times better than a refrigerator full of rack-mounted shit (believe me, I've been there).</p> <p><strong>13. Practice what you don't know, not what you do know</strong></p> <p>In order to improve, you must practice. That sounds frightening, but let me reassure you that good practicing doesn't necessarily entail sitting grimly in a basement (while the other kids are outside playing), mindlessly running scales and arpeggios-you can get all the technique you need by learning licks from your favorite guitarists. For example, Eric Johnson's intro to "Cliffs of Dover" is a veritable lexicon of minor-pentatonic ideas. Here are the three axioms of good practicing:</p> <p>A. Master small bits of music first (no more than four to eight notes at a time), then connect them to form longer passages.</p> <p>B. Start out playing new ideas at a slow tempo (this builds muscle memory), then gradually work up to speed. It's much better to play slow and clean than fast and sloppy.</p> <p>C. Always practice with a metronome</p> <p><strong>14. Get your business chops together</strong></p> <p>Business chops are just as important as musical ones, if not more so. If you want to make money as a musician, you have to start seeing yourself as a business and your music as a product. Acting against the stereotype of a musician (you know—stupid, drunk and gullible), as hard as that may be, will show club owners and record execs that you're not a pushover.</p> <p><strong>15. Be fluent with both major and minor pentatonic scales</strong></p> <p>In rock, pop, blues or country situations, knowing these scales will enable you to get by 80 percent of the time. I heartily recommend my book <em>Practical Pentatonics</em> (Music Sales)-a nifty little volume that covers just about all you need to know to be comfortable using the pentatonic scale in real-life gigging situations.</p> <hr /> <p><strong>16. As soon as you learn something cool, apply it immediately to a real-life musical situation</strong></p> <p>Many guitarists learn tons of licks that sound great when played in the practice room. But the minute they get on stage, they have a hard time integrating this new material into their playing. Before you learn something new, you should have an idea where you could fit it in.</p> <p><strong>17. Learn as many melodies as you can</strong></p> <p>Not only does learning melodies to tunes (any tunes) increase your repertoire, it also (subconsciously) gives you an incredibly distinct edge in developing your phrasing. Ideally, you should be able to duplicate any melody you hear.</p> <p>A. Listen to how singers interpret melodies and try to mimic their phrasing on the guitar.</p> <p>B. Try to play back any, and I mean any, melody you hear-be it a TV commercial, nursery rhyme or the Mister Softee ice cream truck theme.</p> <p>C. Always learn a melody on more than one place on the guitar neck. You want to play the melody, not have the melody play you.</p> <p><strong>18. Know your place</strong></p> <p>When a bandleader asks you to play something a certain way, smile and do it! Don't argue. Don't pout. Don't think you know better. Don't be an asshole. You'll have plenty of time to be in charge when your three-disk epic rock opera adaptation of The Jeffersons gets picked up.</p> <p><strong>19. Contrary to popular belief, taking lessons and listening to other styles of music doesn't hurt</strong></p> <p>It never hurts to broaden your scope, no matter how great a player you already are or how much you think you've already learned all there is to know. Opening your mind to other styles and techniques makes you a better, more well-rounded musician. Period. A great teacher can inspire and enable you to develop as a creative, exciting player.</p> <p><strong>20. Learn as many tunes as possible, from start to finish</strong></p> <p>It doesn't matter what style you like to play in, the more tunes you know, the easier it is to get a gig or kick ass on a jam session. And there's no excuse for not doing it-even if you're not at the point where you can learn tunes off the recording, you can avail yourself of the hundreds of transcription books out there. Heck, you can learn five new tunes a month just by reading <em>Guitar World</em>!</p> <hr /> <p><strong>21. Develop authority as a player</strong></p> <p>You have to get to the point where you feel as creatively comfortable in front of hundreds of people as you do in front of your sister and the dog. And the only way you can attain that authority is by putting in the time. Playing at home only gets you so far-it's imperative that you play out as soon as you can. Attend jam sessions. Take less-than-ideal gigs, just for the experience. Take any gigs, for that matter-it's the experience that counts!</p> <p><strong>22. Hang out with other musicians</strong></p> <p>The best way to get contacts and gigs is to be seen and heard. How can anyone recommend you if they don't know who you are? As unpleasant and greasy as this may sound, do your best to befriend other guitarists. Though there's intense competition amongst players, most of your work will come as a result of recommendations made by other guitarists.</p> <p><strong>23. Know the fundamentals</strong></p> <p>Being able to hear common chord changes will help you learn tunes off the radio faster. Knowing a little basic theory will help you with your songwriting and your ability to intuitively come up with rhythm parts. For example, knowing that the harmonic structure of most blues tunes is I-IV-V (C-F-G) and that early rock ballads were usually built on I-vi-IV-V progressions (C-Am-F-G) will help you to play just about any tune in those genres or compose one of your own. One more plug: you also might want to check out my book <em>The Advanced Guitar Case Chord Book</em> (Music Sales) to get an idea of how to apply cool chord voicings to common progressions in all types of music.</p> <p><strong>24. Be careful out there</strong></p> <p>As soon as you or your band become somewhat popular, all sorts of characters are going to start crawling out of the gutter with designs on you. Have fun, but don't go overboard. And always keep an eye on your equipment-it's your life's blood. And try to save some cash.</p> <p><strong>25. Don't shit where you eat</strong></p> <p>Don't fuck the singer. Don't fuck the drummer's girlfriend. Don't fuck the drummer's dog. Don't fuck the drummer. Don't backstab your bandmates. Don't pocket tips. Don't be an asshole!</p> http://www.guitarworld.com/25-things-every-guitarist-should-know#comments GW Archive Guitar World Lists News Features Magazine Wed, 01 Jul 2015 09:35:11 +0000 Askold Buk 11121 at http://www.guitarworld.com August 2015 Guitar World: B.B. King's Greatest Guitar Moments, PRS Guitars Anniversary, Frank Marino and More http://www.guitarworld.com/august-2015-guitar-world-tribute-bb-king-his-10-greatest-guitar-moments-between-buried-and-me-prs-30th-anniversary-frank-marino <!--paging_filter--><p><a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/products/guitar-world-august-15-b-b-king/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=GWAUG15/"><strong>The all-new August 2015 issue of Guitar World is available now!</strong></a></p> <p><em>Guitar World</em>’s August 2015 issue pays tribute to American legend <strong>B.B. King</strong>, who influenced generations of electric blues guitarists. We also take a critical look at King’s 10 greatest guitar moments.</p> <p>Then, North Carolina tech-metallers <strong>Between the Buried and Me</strong> solidify their status as one of prog-metal’s most forward-thinking groups with their new album, <em>Coma Ecliptic</em>.</p> <p>Also, <strong>PRS Guitars</strong> celebrates its 30th anniversary as one of the leading manufacturers of U.S.-made electrics. Take an in-depth look at the shapely six-string stunner known as the S2.</p> <p>Later, legendary Mahogany Rush guitarist <strong>Frank Marino</strong> sets the record straight about his mysterious career, his disdain for the music industry and how the guitar saved his life.</p> <p>Finally, there's our new <strong>string roundup</strong>! <em>Guitar World</em> selects the best and the brightest strings to keep you in tune and playing longer.</p> <p>PLUS: Tune-ups, including <strong>Megadeth</strong> in the studio, <strong>Armored Saint</strong>, Playlist with <strong>Hinder</strong>, Dear Guitar Hero with <strong>Todd Rundgren, Thy Art is Murder,</strong> and more. Soundcheck gear reviews include <strong>Bogner's</strong> Burnley, Harlow and Wessex pedals, the <strong>Vox</strong> Custom Series AC10C1 amp, <strong>Music Man</strong> StingRay Neck Through bass, the <strong>John Page Classic</strong> Ashburn electric guitar and more!</p> <p><strong>Five Songs with Tabs for Guitar and Bass:</strong></p> <p>• B.B. King - "Sweet Little Angel" (live)<br /> • In This Moment - "Whore"<br /> • Five Finger Death Punch - "House of the Rising Sun"<br /> • Death - "Spirit Crusher"<br /> • Ed Sheeran - "Thinking Out Loud"</p> <p><a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/products/guitar-world-august-15-b-b-king/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=GWAUG15/"><strong>The all-new August 2015 issue of Guitar World is available now at the Online Store!</strong></a></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/Screen%20Shot%202015-06-16%20at%201.14.12%20PM.png" width="620" height="804" alt="Screen Shot 2015-06-16 at 1.14.12 PM.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="/bb-king">B.B. King</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/august-2015-guitar-world-tribute-bb-king-his-10-greatest-guitar-moments-between-buried-and-me-prs-30th-anniversary-frank-marino#comments August 2015 B.B. King News Features Wed, 01 Jul 2015 09:33:44 +0000 Guitar World Staff 24814 at http://www.guitarworld.com Yngwie Malmsteen Shreds with Alcatrazz in 1984 — Video http://www.guitarworld.com/video-yngwie-malmsteen-shreds-alcatrazz-1984 <!--paging_filter--><p>For today's flashback video, we're dropping in on a young Yngwie Malmsteen, circa-1984.</p> <p>Fans who got to see the Graham Bonnet-led Alcatrazz perform in the early to mid-Eighties were treated to bits and pieces of Malmsteen's mastery in pretty much every song—but especially when he took his extended solo breaks.</p> <p>Below, you can check out one such break, recorded during Alcatrazz's 1984 tour of Japan. </p> <p>After some mind-blowing, scalloped-fretboard hijinx, Malmsteen launches into his interpretation of Bach's "Bouree." </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/KcbXcZLd6zo" 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="/yngwie-malmsteen">Yngwie Malmsteen</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/video-yngwie-malmsteen-shreds-alcatrazz-1984#comments Alcatrazz Yngwie Malmsteen Videos News Features Tue, 30 Jun 2015 15:40:32 +0000 Damian Fanelli 18269 at http://www.guitarworld.com Learn the Heart and Soul of Country with 'The Best of Johnny Cash Songbook' http://www.guitarworld.com/learn-heart-and-soul-country-best-johnny-cash-songbook <!--paging_filter--><p>Learn all your favorite Johnny Cash songs with <em>The Best of Johnny Cash Songbook</em> (Second Edition), which is <a href="http://store.guitarworld.com/collections/tab-books/products/the-best-of-johnny-cash-songbook/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=BestJohnnyCash">available now at the Guitar World Online Store</a>. </p> <p>The book features 27 songs from the heart and soul of country, including "A Boy Named Sue," "Folsom Prison Blues," "Ring of Fire" and "I Walk the Line."</p> <p>All the songs are in easy arrangements with notes and tabs. </p> <p>Songs Include:</p> <p>• "A Boy Named Sue"<br /> • "Cry, Cry, Cry"<br /> • "Daddy Sang Bass"<br /> • "Folsom Prison Blues"<br /> • "(Ghost) Riders in the Sky"<br /> • "I Walk the Line"<br /> • "It Ain't Me Babe"<br /> • "Jackson"<br /> • "Orange Blossom Special"<br /> • "Ring of Fire"<br /> • "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down"<br /> • "Understand Your Man"</p> <p>The 64-page book is <a href="http://store.guitarworld.com/collections/tab-books/products/the-best-of-johnny-cash-songbook/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=BestJohnnyCash">available now for $16.99 at the Guitar World Online Store.</a></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="/johnny-cash">Johnny Cash</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/learn-heart-and-soul-country-best-johnny-cash-songbook#comments Johnny Cash News Features Tue, 30 Jun 2015 14:45:43 +0000 Guitar World Staff 16273 at http://www.guitarworld.com The Top 10 Blues-Approved Overdrive/Distortion Pedals http://www.guitarworld.com/la-grunge-top-10-blues-approved-overdrive-distortion-pedals <!--paging_filter--><p>The origin of guitar distortion goes back to the earliest electrified blues guitarists. </p> <p>They didn’t care that their primitive tube amps were breaking up and distorting, as long as they were loud. Soon, blues guitarists grew quite fond of those nasty, gnarly distorted tones, and they sought to replicate them by any means necessary. </p> <p>Enter the overdrive pedal. Designed to push an amp to the brink, the overdrive pedal allows players to summon singing sustain, compelling crunch, and glorious grit at any volume level, giving guitarists the bite and balls they need for genuine blues-approved tone. </p> <p>While a handful of purists prefer to plug a guitar straight into an amp, most blues guitarists these days have a handful of overdrive, distortion and even fuzz boxes in their rigs. </p> <p>Thanks to the proliferation of boutique pedal builders over the past 20 years, there are easily more than a thousand distortion devices available to help guitarists find their signature blues sound. </p> <p>The following pedals are the top 10 classics and modern marvels that get our mojo working when we spank that plank and crank up the volume.</p> <p><strong>10. Way Huge Pork Loin</strong> </p> <p>By blending modern soft-clipping BiFET overdrive and classic clean “British” preamp tone pathways, the Pork Loin allows players to dial in raw, raunchy tones that never lose bottom-end clarity or definition. The Pork Loin plays a massive role in Joe Bonamassa’s bigger-than-life modern blues sound. </p> <p><img src="http://dl.guitarworld.com/gearphotos/PorkLoin.jpg" width="500" /> </p> <p><strong>9. Klon Centaur</strong> </p> <p>The Klon Centaur’s legendary clean boost transforms a guitar’s natural tone the same way a livestock farmer turns a piglet into a prize-winning porker—by making it bigger, fatter, juicier, meatier and more muscular. </p> <p>Centaur designer Bill Finnegan discontinued production several years ago, driving prices for used Klons well above $1,000, but he’s trying to bring a similar pedal to the market again with the same hand-selected parts, attention to detail and signature sound that the numerous “klones” have failed to match. </p> <p><img src="http://dl.guitarworld.com/gearphotos/KlonCentaur.jpg" width="500" /></p> <p><strong>8. PaulC Audio Tim</strong> </p> <p>Thanks to its impressive tonal range and expressive touch sensitivity, the Tim is a favorite of tube amp aficionados who don’t want to sacrifice the dynamic response of their favorite amps but need more gain and tonal-shaping capabilities. With the EQ controls set at 12 o’clock, it provides some of the most transparent clean boost and overdrive tones available. </p> <p><img src="http://dl.guitarworld.com/gearphotos/Fin.jpg" width="500" /> </p> <p><strong>7. Fulltone Full-Drive 2</strong> </p> <p>Fulltone makes an impressive variety of incredible overdrive, distortion and fuzz pedals, including the OCD, PlimSoul and Fat-Boost FB-3, but when it comes to the blues, most guitarists choose the Fulltone Full-Drive 2. </p> <p>With separate overdrive and boost footswitches and mini toggle switches for selecting clean boost, midrange emphasis, MOSFET clipping and more, the Full-Drive 2 is a versatile overdrive pedal that makes it easy to dial in your own signature blues tones. </p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/full%20drive.jpg" alt="full drive.jpg" width="540" height="429" /></p> <hr /> <p><strong>6. Ibanez TS-808 Tube Screamer</strong> </p> <p>Thanks to Stevie Ray Vaughan’s use of an Ibanez Tube Screamer (he replaced the TS-808 with a TS-9 and TS-10 later in his career), this pedal has gone on to become the best-selling and most copied overdrive pedal of all time. </p> <p>The Tube Screamer’s output boost and signature midrange hump, along with a characteristic warmth that the TS-808’s successors lack, make it ideal for playing fat, aggressive solos that destroy everything else in its path. </p> <p><img src="http://dl.guitarworld.com/gearphotos/Tubescreamer.jpg" width="500" /> </p> <p><strong>5. Electro-Harmonix Big Muff π</strong> </p> <p>Most staunch traditionalists think that the raunchy fuzz tones of a Big Muff π are a little too furry and furious for the blues, but that hasn’t stopped a new generation of blues-inspired players from using one. The Big Muff is a key element of 21st century blues as envisioned by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys and Jack White of the White Stripes, the Raconteurs and the Dead Weather. </p> <p><img src="http://dl.guitarworld.com/gearphotos/BigMuff.jpg" width="500" /></p> <p><strong>4. Dallas-Arbiter Rangemaster Treble Booster</strong> </p> <p>Eric Clapton’s alleged use of a Dallas-Arbiter Rangemaster Treble Booster on John Mayall’s legendary <em>Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton</em> album remains the source of much controversy, but the Rangemaster was also a key element of Rory Gallagher’s late-Sixties rig that similarly redefined blues guitar tone during the British blues revival, thanks to its marvelous midrange and gritty germanium transistor grind. </p> <p>Numerous clones are available today, including the Analog Man Beano Boost and Keeley Java Boost. </p> <p><img src="http://dl.guitarworld.com/gearphotos/Rangemaster.jpg" width="500" /> </p> <p><strong>3. Boss BD-2 Blues Driver</strong> </p> <p>Not since the late Seventies, when the Ibanez Tube Screamer and Boss OD-1 made their debut, has a mass-produced overdrive pedal won over the great unwashed and cork-sniffing tone snobs alike. The BD-2 delivers a wide variety of overdrive tones, from creamy to crunchy, with personality that ranges from retro smooth to modern blues-rock raunch. </p> <p><img src="http://dl.guitarworld.com/gearphotos/BossBluesDriver.jpg" width="500" /></p> <p><strong>2. Blackstone Appliances MOSFET Overdrive</strong> </p> <p>This pedal’s nameplate and crinkle finish may have the retro-cool vibe of a Thirties toaster, but underneath the hood lies a modern circuit that uses small-signal MOSFETs and an unconventional input stage to cook up distortion and overdrive with rich harmonic overtones that will melt your face off like a million-watt microwave. </p> <p>“It’s heavy stuff, not the sound of a popcorn machine,” says Billy Gibbons, who used the Blackstone in tasteful excess on several new ZZ Top tunes.</p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/Blackstone.jpeg" width="620" height="472" alt="Blackstone.jpeg" /></p> <p><em>Blackstone photo by William Baeck, <a href="http://williambaeck.com/WilliamBaeck.com/Home.html">williambaeck.com</a></em></p> <p><strong>1. Analog Man King of Tone</strong> </p> <p>With a two-year waiting list, the Analog Man King of Tone is one of the most sought-after overdrive pedals, and for a very good reason: it provides a clean boost that preserves a guitar’s tone, making it sound bigger, badder and more bodacious, with just the right amount of natural-sounding distortion. </p> <p>Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Gary Clark Jr. and Buddy Miller are just a handful of the pros who have discovered that the King of Tone truly rules.</p> <p><img src="http://dl.guitarworld.com/gearphotos/AnalogMan.jpg" width="500" /></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/la-grunge-top-10-blues-approved-overdrive-distortion-pedals#comments Boss EHX Electro-Harmonix Fulltone Ibanez Kion October 2012 PaulC 2012 Guitar World Lists Effects News Features Gear Magazine Mon, 29 Jun 2015 14:30:09 +0000 Chris Gill 16822 at http://www.guitarworld.com How to Buy a Fuzz Box: A Guide for the First-Time Buyer http://www.guitarworld.com/how-buy-fuzz-box-guide-first-time-buyer <!--paging_filter--><p>Is there anything more luscious than a Big Muff? </p> <p>Who can resist those hairy, in-your-face mouthfuls of fuzz? It’s the box guitarists dream about plugging into all day and night. No wonder Electro-Harmonix named the Big Muff Pi distortion pedal after it. </p> <p>But the Pi ain’t the only box in town. In fact, there are probably more than 300 models of overdrive, distortion and fuzz pedals in production today. How do you decide which one is right for you? Well, good readers, it’s time to practice your licks and get ready to blow some tweeters as we show you 10 things you should know before you buy a fuzz box.</p> <p><strong>01. What’s Your Flavor?</strong></p> <p>Distortion pedals generally come in one of three varieties: overdrive, distortion and fuzz. Overdrive provides a gain boost that pushes an amp harder and causes it to distort. Distortion processes the guitar’s signal and transforms it into a screaming, vicious beast before it hits the amp. And fuzz produces an extreme form of distortion called square-wave clipping: like a Sixties barbershop, everything that goes into it come out with a flat top. Note: Many manufacturers use these terms interchangeably, so don’t ignore overdrive or fuzz boxes when you want distortion and vice versa.</p> <p><strong>02. Fuzz Factors</strong></p> <p>When auditioning a pedal, make sure you play chords as well as single-note riffs and leads. As true fuzz pedals produce exaggerated distortion, they generally can’t handle chords other than a fifth diad, familiarly known as a power chord. But that doesn’t mean you should avoid fuzz altogether. The best fuzz boxes can make a single note sound like a 2,000- pound bee plugged into a wall of Marshalls, while the worst pedals will make your guitar sound like an elephant dropping a 2,000-pound load of dung.</p> <p><strong>03. No Gain, No Pain</strong></p> <p>If you plan on using a distortion box for playing lead, make sure that it also provides a good amount of gain boost, otherwise your guitar signal may disappear faster than Michael Jackson evading a summons. Extra gain can increase sustain, which is a good thing, but excessive gain may result in noise, feedback and hiss…which can also be a good thing. At the very least, the gain control should provide enough boost to match the guitar’s volume level when the effect is bypassed. Many players use overdrive pedals like the Ibanez Tube Screamer to boost the guitar’s gain for solos.</p> <p><strong>04. What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?</strong></p> <p>With the exception of a handful of overdrive pedals like the Klon Centaur, most distortion boxes boost or cut EQ frequencies and affect the guitar’s tone. Many pedals sound wicked when you’re playing by yourself, but their sound virtually vanishes when you use them with a band, and you end up looking like the world’s worst air guitarist. If the pedal you’re auditioning has tone controls, dial in a sound you like, then have a friend jam along with you. If the tone doesn’t cut through, you may want to consider another pedal.</p> <p><strong>05. Avoid the Idiot Setting</strong></p> <p>While many pedals sound great with every knob turned up to 11, some pedals, like the Z-Vex Fuzz Factory, generate such extreme distortion that they don’t produce any sound at all when everything is maxed. The best tones usually lurk in those elusive in-between settings, so take your time and tweak those knobs. Start with the knobs turned down and work your way up.</p> <p><strong>06. Talk Dirty to Me</strong></p> <p>A lot of distortion pedals sound best when the amp is dialed to a clean setting. But many stomp boxes, especially overdrive and fuzz effects, sound better when the amp has a dirty edge. Experiment with various amp distortion settings while you mess around with the pedal’s knobs. Get rough with that amp; no one will slap you or call you a perv.</p> <p><strong>07. Crashing by Design</strong></p> <p>They don’t call them stomp boxes for nothing. Look for a pedal that is built like a tank and will support your weight even if you should balloon to John Popper-like proportions. Control knobs should be easy to reach and see, but they shouldn’t be placed where you can mistakenly step on them and disrupt your carefully dialed-in settings. The bypass switch should engage with a noticeable click, or the pedal should have an LED that lets you know when the effect is on.</p> <p><strong>08. Battery Aggravations</strong></p> <p>Trust me—James Hetfield wasn’t singing about the Duracells in Kirk Hammett’s Boss distortion in “Battery.” You may think your pedal is going to last all night because you put the Energizer Bunny in it, but remember that rabbits have a habit of dying when it’s least convenient for you. If you plan to use your pedal onstage, buy one that can be powered with AC. You may need to shell out a few extra bucks for an AC adapter, but in the long run it’s a lot cheaper than what you’ll spend replacing batteries.</p> <p><strong>09. Drastic Bypass</strong></p> <p>Look for pedals that offer true-bypass circuitry. This feature removes the pedal’s electronic circuit when the effect is switched off, letting your guitar signal pass through the pedal without affecting its tone or gain. Effects without true bypass bogart tone like your bass player sharing his stash, and when you chain several of these pedals together your tone will be as mighty as an outfielder on steroids. If someone offers you a triple bypass, leave the store immediately—you probably walked into Surgery Center by mistake.</p> <p><strong>10. Ignore the Tone Snobs</strong></p> <p>Tube-amp elitists may declare that everything solid-state is crap, yet they exalt the tones of players like Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan, each of whom relied heavily on solid-state Rat, Fuzz Face and Tube Screamer pedals, respectively, to create their signature sounds. Fuzz fanatics argue at length about the virtues of germanium versus silicon transistors. Don’t obsess about minute electronic circuitry details; let your ears be your guide. There’s nothing wrong with using a pedal with an integrated- circuit design if it sounds sweeter to you than an expensive tube-equipped stomp box.</p> http://www.guitarworld.com/how-buy-fuzz-box-guide-first-time-buyer#comments fuzz Effects Blogs News Features Gear Magazine Mon, 29 Jun 2015 14:10:04 +0000 Chris Gill 10906 at http://www.guitarworld.com Zero to Sixties in Five Pedals: Five Modern Effects that Conjure Far-Out, Vintage Tones http://www.guitarworld.com/zero-60s-five-pedals-five-modern-effects-conjure-far-out-vintage-tones <!--paging_filter--><p>Many guitar players—at some point—can't help but fall under the spell of the sounds found on classic rock albums of the mid- to late Sixties. </p> <p>Players like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Pete Townshend and Robby Krieger were synonymous with wah, fuzz, univibe and/or tremolo. Throw George Harrison and Brian Jones into the mix and you get sitars and other sound- (and mind-) altering effects. They were always experimenting, changing things up, trying to outdo each other. </p> <p>Modern players who are obsessed with classic Sixties rock sounds can glue their eyes to eBay, waiting for pricey, hard-to-find vintage gear to show up. Or they can check out these five easy-to-find, modern effect pedals, as chosen by a group of <em>Guitar World</em> staffers including Gear Editor Paul Riario. </p> <p><strong>Vox V846-HW Hand-Wired Wah Wah</strong></p> <p>Stop, children, what's that sound? ... Well, if we're talking about the Sixties (and we are), it's probably Jimi Hendrix playing "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" on a Fender Strat through a Vox V846 Wah Wah pedal.</p> <p>Vox actually created the first wah pedal in the Sixties, spawning an army of imitators that continues to grow, NAMM Show after NAMM Show. Back in the day, the Vox wah and its competitors found their way into the hands—or in this case, the feet—of countless top-notch rock guitarists, from Hendrix to Jeff Beck to Jimmy Page to Eric Clapton. But again, Vox was there first. </p> <p>Just a few years ago (2011), the company issued its V846-HW Hand-Wired Wah Wah Pedal, which does a fine job of capturing the tone, feel and weight of the original Vox pedal. Every component in the new model—inductors, resistors, capacitors and the potentiometer—is carefully selected. And like its name suggests, each unit features hand-wired turret board construction with no printed circuit boards. The only difference is a true bypass, a handy update for modern players. </p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.voxamps.com/v846hw">Check out this pedal at voxamps.com.</a></strong></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/V8dx4oS9FVI" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Dunlop Jimi Hendrix Fuzz Face Distortion</strong></p> <p>The Sixties may have started out clean, but by the end of the decade there were some pretty gnarly distortion and fuzz sounds filling clubs and arenas around the world. </p> <p>Among the most distinctive fuzz tones of the late Sixties undoubtedly belonged to Jimi Hendrix, who utilized a Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face to add that extra layer of dirt to his already gritty brand of hard blues. Unless you're quick on the draw with your eBay bids or simply owned one back in the day, you won't have much luck finding Hendrix's original fuzz source these days, but fortunately Dunlop has produced a faithful replica in the Dunlop Jimi Hendrix Fuzz Face.</p> <p>Hand-wired and built around a BC108 silicon transistor, the Hendrix Fuzz Face is nothing less than a meticulous reproduction of the original pedal, one you'll need if you'll want to summon your inner-voodoo child.</p> <p>And if a Tone Bender is more your thing, check out the <a href="http://www.williamsaudio.co.uk/Tonebender-MK11-Professional.html">OC81D Williams Vintage Tone MK11 Professional</a>, as used by Ben King, a former Yardbirds guitarist. </p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.jimdunlop.com/product/jhf1-jimi-hendrix-fuzz-face">Check out this pedal at jimdunlop.com.</a></strong></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/18bBbNeMyhA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Electro-Harmonix Ravish Sitar</strong></p> <p>You're in a Sixties cover band. The rowdy, drunken audience is clamoring for your "Paint It, Black" / "Norwegian Wood" medley. Do you just play the sitar parts on your Fender Esquire and smile knowingly, like, "Yeah, I know these notes were originally played on a sitar, but what the hell am I supposed to do?" Well, yes, you could do that. But you also could check out Electro-Harmonix's Ravish Sitar pedal. </p> <p>As we say in a recent <a href="http://store.guitarworld.com/collections/buyers-guide/products/buyers-guide-2013/?&amp;utm_source=guitarworld.com&amp;utm_medium=article&amp;utm_campaign=60sPedals">Guitar World Buyer's Guide</a>, it's the "world's best sitar emulation for guitar. With the Ravish Sitar pedal, Electro-Harmonix has streamlined the essence of the sitar into a compact enclosure that offers a polyphonic lead voice a tunable sympathetic string drones that dramatically react to your playing with adjustable timbre."</p> <p>And besides all that, guitarists can finally tackle "Bangla Dhun," Ravi Shankar's 15-minute Indian-music recital that kicks off <em>The Concert for Bangladhesh</em>. Or not! </p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.ehx.com/products/ravish">Check out this pedal at exh.com.</a></strong></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/4GZGDYJ77xA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Dry Bell Vibe Machine V-1</strong></p> <p>You'll find vibe effects all over the music of Jimi Hendrix and Procol Harem's Robin Trower, a fact that, in and of itself, makes a good vibe pedal an essential part of any Sixties guitar rig. </p> <p>There's no shortage of great vibe units to choose from, but for our money, the Dry Bell Vibe Machine is the top of the heap. Not only is it among the more compact options, it allows for maximum tone control with its "Bright" switch, avoiding the sound-dampening side effects of some of the other pedals on the market.</p> <p>If you want to nail that Hendrix-at-Woodstock tone, adding this little beauty in your arsenal certainly can't hurt. What it can't help? Your nerves playing "The Star-Spangled Banner" in front of a few hundred-thousand fans.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.drybell.com/vibe_machine_v1_en.html">Check out this pedal at drybell.com.</a></strong></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/YeMgNpS1EmM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Fulltone Supa-Trem 1</strong></p> <p>As <em>Guitar World</em> has said in past reviews, Fulltone's Supa-Trem 1 is a tremolo pedal that lives up to its name. As you can tell by the photo in the gallery below, it's a simple, basic, gimmick-free effect that inadvertently captures the look of Sixties pedals while working hard to capture the sound. </p> <p>From personal experience, it's also a rugged pedal that can take a licking and keep on waving. It features a footswitchable Half/Full speed footswitch that stays in tempo and lets you channel some authentic-sounding Leslie-like moves. Another footswitch lets you choose between "Soft" smooth wavering or "Hard" square-wave machine-gun stutter. There's also an internal trimmer to fine tune the feel of the waveform.</p> <p>As a side note, Sixties rocker John Fogerty uses one of these pedals today to recreate his powerful CCR-era tremolo effects.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.fulltone.com/products/supa-trem-1">Check out this pedal at fulltone.com</a>.</strong></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/o7wfrMUXywo" 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="/jimi-hendrix">Jimi Hendrix</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/eric-clapton">Eric Clapton</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beatles">The Beatles</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/george-harrison">George Harrison</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/jeff-beck">Jeff Beck</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/cream">Cream</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/jimmy-page">Jimmy Page</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/robby-krieger">Robby Krieger</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/zero-60s-five-pedals-five-modern-effects-conjure-far-out-vintage-tones#comments Damian Fanelli Dry Bell Dunlop EHX Electro-Harmonix Fulltone George Harrison Jimi Hendrix VOX Guitar World Lists Effects News Features Gear Mon, 29 Jun 2015 12:16:27 +0000 Damian Fanelli, Josh Hart 16374 at http://www.guitarworld.com New Book: Note-for-Note Transcriptions of Every Song on Black Sabbath's '13' http://www.guitarworld.com/new-book-note-note-transcriptions-every-song-black-sabbaths-13 <!--paging_filter--><p>Start learning every song on Black Sabbath's successful 2013 album, <em>13</em>, right now! The official <em>13</em> tab book is available now at the <a href="http://store.guitarworld.com/collections/tab-books/products/black-sabbath-13-tab-book/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=BlackSabbath13">Guitar World Online Store</a>.</p> <p>The book features all 11 songs from the deluxe version of the album. Track list:</p> <p> • God Is Dead<br /> • End of the Beginning<br /> • Pariah<br /> • Peace of Mind<br /> • Zeitgeist<br /> • Loner<br /> • Age of Reason<br /> • Damaged Soul<br /> • Dear Father<br /> • Live Forever<br /> • Methademic</p> <p><strong><a href="http://store.guitarworld.com/collections/tab-books/products/black-sabbath-13-tab-book/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=BlackSabbath13">The book is available at the Guitar World Online Store for $19.99.</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="/black-sabbath">Black Sabbath</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/new-book-note-note-transcriptions-every-song-black-sabbaths-13#comments Black Sabbath News Features Mon, 29 Jun 2015 12:06:09 +0000 Guitar World Staff 20141 at http://www.guitarworld.com Leviathan's Jef Whitehead Discusses 'Scar Sighted' and Why He Still Won't Tour http://www.guitarworld.com/my-war-leviathans-jef-whitehead-discusses-scar-sighted-his-biggest-influences-and-why-he-still-wont-tour <!--paging_filter--><p>“I don’t really know <em>why</em> I’ve been talking with all these people lately,” says Jef Whitehead from his studio in northern Oregon. </p> <p>Whitehead is the exceptionally private and talented multi-instrumentalist behind the one-man black metal band Leviathan. </p> <p>Since he started self-releasing Leviathan demos in the late Nineties, Whitehead—or Wrest as he is credited—has chosen a solitary path that steers clear of today’s industry standard of press cycles, live shows, Twitter updates, video teasers, photo ops and tell-all interviews.</p> <p>“To me it takes away from the mystique of the music,” he says. “The whole moniker thing in black metal is very important to me, along with the corpse-paint, feeling dead, creating otherworldly music and making something that’s not like Mel Bay: How to Play Guitar Correctly. I bet some of your readers would hear Leviathan and think, Hey that guy is not the best guitar player. Because I’m not! [laughs] But I ape my way through it.”</p> <p>In talking with Whitehead it instantly becomes clear that he’s self-effacing and humble when it comes to his craft. He’s quick to flip questions about his own style into deep discussions about his eclectic influences, which range from Van Halen, the Police and Black Flag to Celtic Frost, Immolation, Ved Buens End and Judas Iscariot. But the fact is he just might be the most unique and creative black metal artist operating in America today. </p> <p>As Leviathan, he’s released numerous splits, singles and studio full-lengths, including the recent <em>Scar Sighted</em>. He’s also issued some utterly haunting and beautiful ambient black metal as Lurker of Chalice, and has collaborated with a who’s-who of underground tastemakers including Nachtmystium, Twilight and Sunn O))). Along with his musical output, Whitehead is also a well known and sought-after tattooer and fine artist, who designs not only his own album artwork but has been commissioned to create pieces for bands like Converge and Today Is the Day.</p> <p>Despite his prolific artistic output, Whitehead’s life has not always been on an upward trajectory. His struggles with alcohol and substance abuse and lapses in sobriety have caused him to languish at times, and descend into a dire self-destructive place. </p> <p>One particularly grim moment occurred in 2011, when he was charged with a litany of counts stemming from an argument with an ex-girlfriend. Ultimately, it came out that the accuser had fabricated many of the charges, and all of them were dropped except domestic battery. Whitehead maintains that even that charge was bogus. While he chooses to not speak about the circumstances surrounding that particular incident, he’s open and candid when it comes to his sobriety.</p> <p>“I can’t do anything when I’m getting loaded,” admits Whitehead. “I was sober for 11 years, from 1995 to 2006. All of the first part of Leviathan was done in that first sober stretch. I had a lot of anger and sadness and it was my form of therapy, as corny as it sounds. Then things just shit the bed in 2006 and I started a pretty rough seven years. During [2011’s] <em>True Traitor, True Whore</em> I was doing horrible things to myself during that whole thing. And you can hear it. We listened to it the other day and it’s so sloppy.”</p> <p>It was about two years ago that Whitehead turned a corner and entered into a new, more productive chapter of his life. He moved to Oregon from his longtime home of San Francisco, got clean, and met his girlfriend Stevie Floyd, who also happens to be a pretty serious visual artist, tattooer and guitarist with the bands Dark Castle and Taurus. Together the two have an adorable eight-month-old girl, who, incidentally, is present throughout our interview, quietly observing the proceedings from her baby seat.</p> <p>Whitehead has also softened, if only slightly, his anti-press stance. He has begun to speak with a few outlets, including <em>Guitar World</em>, about the wildly inspired, pummeling and dynamic new record. Thanks to his regained creative focus, <em>Scar Sighted</em> stands as the most ambitious, focused and fully realized Leviathan record to date. It encompasses the icy viciousness of his early lo-fi four-track black metal releases, dark atmospheric excursions (reminiscent of Whitehead’s side-project Lurker of Chalice), jaw-dropping drumming, and doom, noise, thrash and death-metal guitar departures. Whitehead performs all instruments and voices on <em>Scar Sighted</em>, and weaves a dizzying tapestry with his arrangement of these elements, which were expertly captured by the skillful producer/engineer Billy Anderson.</p> <p>“At first it was daunting to work with Billy, because his résumé contains records that changed my life,” says Whitehead of working with Anderson, whose credits include influential records by bands like Melvins, Neurosis and Sleep. “I like shitty production. I played him a couple examples [of lo-fi black metal] and he was like, ‘Alright.’ Later I found he was actually thinking, Oh my god that’s terrible. [laughs] But working with him was amazing. There’s clarity in the new record, but it’s not Hot Topic bubble gum.”</p> <p><strong>You’re known for creating some of the most extreme metal out there. But I’m curious about where you started. Did you like Zeppelin and Van Halen like the rest of us?</strong></p> <p>There were three records that my mom had when I was growing up that I first noticed the guitar on: <em>Led Zeppelin III</em>, Mothers of Invention’s <em>Absolutely Free</em> and Spirit’s self-titled first record. Those left an impression on me, and in particular Randy California’s playing on the Spirit record. There was just something about the sound of the neck pickup and those warm solos. I didn’t pick up a guitar until I was about 13. My mom got me one. I was into punk rock and I would watch videos on MTV trying to figure out those stretchy chords Andy Summers [of the Police] was doing. Then when I figured out the barre chord, I remember the first song I learned was “Hungry Wolf” by X. But at the same time I was also listening to Dio, Ozzy and Van Halen. I was, and am, a huge Van Halen fan.</p> <p><strong>But even before guitar you were trained as a drummer, right? Did you find that helped make your transition to guitar easier?</strong></p> <p>Yeah, I’m mostly a drummer. My uncle had drums when I was a kid. Drumming has always come a little more naturally to me. I was in jazz band in junior high and high school. Absolutely. I’m way better with my right-hand rhythm playing than the left. Way better at strumming than fretting. It translates to bass too. Actually as far as my comfortableness with my ability to play I’d rank it drums, bass and then guitar. </p> <p><strong>So you’re growing up in California in the Eighties, playing drums and guitar. You also got into skate culture at the time, right? How was that tied in to your musical upbringing?</strong></p> <p>Yeah, I was balls deep in skateboarding. I was a sponsored amateur. I skated in a couple smaller competitions, and I got second a couple times. Anyway I ended up getting away from a living situation, and I was staying with a friend from high school. We were best friends, and we skated every day. He also had a guitar and we were trying to learn every Tony Iommi riff. <em>Kill ’Em All</em> had just come out, so we were trying to figure all that out, too, very ham-handedly. Then I found Venom and Celtic Frost. I was also way into trying to figure out how to play guitar like [Black Flag’s] Greg Ginn, [Anthony] Bones [Roberts] from Discharge and Rikk Agnew from Christian Death and the Adolescents. </p> <p><strong>Coming from your punk background, how did discovering bands like Celtic Frost and Venom affect own your own developing style?</strong></p> <p>It definitely upped the aggression for me. Celtic Frost’s <em>Morbid Tales</em> and <em>To Mega Therion</em> were way more pissed off. Punk is pissed and fast, but Celtic Frost also had that evil vibe to it. There wasn’t anything really like that. Then I got into weirdo rock. </p> <p><strong>What do you consider to be weirdo rock?</strong></p> <p>The more abstract stuff. I guess you’d call it post-punk. That angular discordant punk rock style done by people who can play. Guitar players like David Pajo and Duane Denison, or Ash Bowie from Polvo and Nick Sakes from the Dazzling Killmen. Oh and I love Paul Leary from Butthole Surfers, and [Kevin] Geordie [Walker] from Killing Joke. <em>Fire Dances</em> and <em>Revelations</em> were a huge influence on me.</p> <p><strong>In terms of black metal guitar influences, did the Norwegian movement in the early Nineties mean anything to you? </strong></p> <p>Of course. Snorre Ruch of Thorns, to me, really invented that minor-chord chromatic-progression thing. I’ve asked a bunch of people how he gets that sound and they say it’s direct with a bunch of mids. His songwriting and approach to guitar are perfect to me. And also Carl-Michael Eide of Ved Buens End and Virus. He’s one of my favorite all-around drummers and musicians. But as far as black metal guitar playing I’m more influenced by Andy Harris of Judas Iscariot. That guy’s a genius. Then there’s the death metal stuff, like [Incantation’s] John McEntee and [Immolation’s] Robert Vigna. I’m a huge Immolation fan. And also John Gossard from Weakling and Dispirit. He’s an amazing guitarist who thinks very differently. </p> <p><strong>You weren’t always a solo act. Can you talk about your experience playing in bands?</strong></p> <p>The first band I was in was called Home Brew when I was 15. Then I was in an Eighties metal funk band with slap bass called Gasm. Then it was Gift Horse in 1991. That guitar player, Doug Hilsinger, had a huge influence on me. Most of the stuff I was learning was power chords, and he encouraged me to play all six strings and let chords ring out. He used a lot of delay and he’s the one who influenced me to do volume swells with delay. Watching him play was really amazing.</p> <p><strong>What influenced you to break out and form Leviathan as a solo project? Did you lose interest in working with other people?</strong></p> <p>No, when we were in Gift Horse I just always had these songs. I wanted to sound like the Melvins and play songs that would break people’s bones. Doug was more into songwriting as a craft, stuff like Polvo and Chavez, and I was more into riffs. </p> <p>He would always tell me to get a four-track. So I eventually got one. I found out about black metal in ’96 or ’97 and I was really influenced by it. I started doing Leviathan and another project called Renfield, which turned into Lurker of Chalice. A lot of it was instrumental. The first Leviathan stuff I did was with a Gibson Sonex, which I traded for a tattoo. But I could never get the pickups screwed in right so it made a shit-ton of noise. And I had this little Peavey combo. Some of that stuff is on the second disc of <em>Verräter</em>, the first thing that I ever put out.</p> <p><strong>You were programming drums on those early releases right?</strong></p> <p>I had a Roland V-Pro digital drum set, because I lived in San Francisco and we’re all on top of each other. All my neighbors would hear was the thud of the digital drums…and me screaming. [laughs] I would just plug it right in to the Tascam four-track. That’s before I got a Line 6 POD. </p> <p><strong>What guitars were you playing back then?</strong></p> <p>Tim Lehi, who I [tattooed] with, is an incredible guitar player. Really inspirational. We both fell in love with black metal around the same time. He helped me get my first good guitar, which was a 1995 neck-through Paul Reed Smith. We were super into Today Is the Day, and that’s the kind of guitar Steve Austin played. I miss that guitar. I did everything except Lurker with that guitar. For Lurker I borrowed a 1969 Les Paul from Tim, because I wanted the guitar tones to be heavier. But it’s still direct through a POD and a four-track.</p> <p><strong>Playing live has never been a part of Leviathan. Why is that?</strong></p> <p>I don’t think that a lot of this music is meant to be played live. I’ve actually never played guitar live in front of people. I’ve played drums a bunch in front of people. It’s not really a fear thing. Because if I was doing Leviathan, unless I sang, it would be a cover band. </p> <p><strong>You can’t rock the drummer-as-singer move.</strong></p> <p>[laughs] Nah man I can’t do the Night Ranger. Actually one of the first U.S. black metal bands was called Profanatica, and Paul Ledney sang and played drums. He sat really low so you couldn’t even see him. You would just see a tom, an afro and mic stand. But no, I don’t think I could do that.</p> <p><strong>2008’s <em>Massive Conspiracy Against All Life</em> is the first album where Leviathan’s sound really jumped up in terms of production.</strong></p> <p>Yeah that’s the first album where I had someone actually record it using a program instead of a four-track. That was the first one with real drums on it too. I was still using the Paul Reed Smith. On the following album, True Traitor, I used [engineer/producer] Sanford [Parker’s] Gibson V for most of that. And <em>Scar Sighted</em> is all Stevie’s custom Monson [Morningstar], and my neck-through Gibson Explorer that I used for the clean tones.</p> <p><strong>You recently got hooked up with your own custom Monson, right?</strong></p> <p>Yeah, Stevie got me one for my birthday in July. It’s called the Redemption and has a maple neck, ebony fingerboard with my “Freezing Moon” inlays and a set of custom Lace Drop &amp; Gain pickups. But yeah they’re beautiful guitars and Brent [Monson] is a super nice guy. I’d like to have him build me another guitar.</p> <p><strong>You’ve expressed being unhappy with the final result of your last record, <em>True Traitor, True Whore</em>. Were there specific things you wanted to correct when you began work on <em>Scar Sighted</em>?</strong></p> <p>Well, I was sober this time, and I wanted to put some thrashy, for lack of a better word, stuff on there. Stevie’s from Florida, so there’s a lot of death metal being played in our studio. I’m not exactly sure what tuning is on her Monson guitar, but it’s a longer scale and has baritone strings so it’s a lot deeper. I played through a Peavey Triple X Atlas Custom and a Hovercraft Dwarvenaut and a 2x12 1x15 cabinet. But basically it’s the same as I’ve always done: try and make a record that I didn’t hate.</p> <p><strong>Is isolation still critical to your process? </strong></p> <p>It’s a huge part. With Lurker, and most of Leviathan, I was completely alone. I have a family now and things change. Stevie is totally supportive, but with our work and living situation there hasn’t been a lot of music making in the last couple months. But isolation has a giant effect on me when I’m making music. Just having people in the room when you’re working changes everything for me. It’s like, “Perform!” I’ve kinda gotten over that. But I’m still the guy who goes into the music store to try a guitar and I’m like, “Um, I’ll just buy it.” Because I don’t want to play in front of people. [laughs] It’s like that [HBO sketch comedy series] <em>Mr. Show</em> guitar lesson scene, “Wait, wait. No, wait, wait. No, wait.” [laughs] Seriously.</p> <p><strong>Your songs exhibit great dynamics and restraint, which really help elevate the chaotic parts when they arrive. Does that composition style come natural to you?</strong></p> <p>I’m not a patient person, but I work at trying to find that patience. [laughs] A lot of that is from listening to stuff like [Polish composer Krzysztof] Penderecki, but also stuff like Caspar Brötzmann’s <em>Mute Massaker</em> record. But dynamics are huge for me. And trying to figure them out is really hard, but really fun.</p> <p><strong>Another cool technique that you employ in the middle of “The Smoke of their Torment” is when you’re thrashing and then throw in an exaggerated rake of one chord.</strong></p> <p>Yeah the drag. That’s all influenced by Carl-Michael Eide. That’s listening to [Ved Buens Ende’s] <em>Written in Waters</em> over and over again.</p> <p><strong>You’ll also mix things up by adding acoustic passages, such as in “Dawn Vibration” and “Within Thrall.”</strong></p> <p>Stevie has a plug-in Chet Atkins nylon-string classical guitar that I used. Now I have a nice Takamine acoustic, but I didn’t have it when I was recording.</p> <p><strong>“Gardens of Coprolite” has some amazing drum sections. Do you typically find yourself writing drums or guitars first?</strong></p> <p>A lot of Leviathan begins with me playing drums and then writing guitar parts over it afterward. But I do have guitar riffs and then try and figure out a beat under it. That song is definitely drums first and then figuring the rest out later. </p> <p><strong>I’m curious about the creepy sound on “A Veil Is Lifted.” Is that a harpsichord plug-in?</strong><br /> Oh man, that’s an auto-harp that was in the studio. I tried it out and it wasn’t in tune but it sounded really cool. I knew I wanted to put it somewhere because it’s super creepy.</p> <p><strong>Between your art and musical output you seem to be in a pretty productive period of your life. Now that <em>Scar Sighted</em> is out what’s next?</strong></p> <p>We have a stack of Leviathan demos. Hopefully we’re gonna do four or five vinyl releases of just demos. I might just call it Wrest. Because it’s Renfield, Lurker and some demos that ended up on Twilight. And Stevie and I are gonna do a record as Devout too. We’re also building a recording studio at our new house. We hope to have a spot where we can wake up and go play in our boxers. Well, she doesn’t wear boxers. [laughs] </p> <p><strong>Will the studio be only for personal use, or do you plan to open it up to other musicians that want to record?</strong></p> <p>Open to friends and associates, and to have a place that Billy [Anderson] would want to work. And maybe Sanford would come out here from Chicago. Billy got us a mixing board, and we want to get a bunch of gear, guitars and drum sets for people to use. We want to build a comfortable setup with a kitchen, bathroom, shower and hopefully a place for bands to stay too. I mean, do bands even get label support anymore? So that’s why I’d tell your readers to support underground amp builders and guitar makers. Find somebody you can work with that fits well. And listen to more than one kind of music. Even if you only like death metal…</p> <p><strong>Listen to Van Halen.</strong></p> <p>Well, listen to Van Halen regardless. Even if you’re a hip-hop techno guy listen to fucking Van Halen!</p> http://www.guitarworld.com/my-war-leviathans-jef-whitehead-discusses-scar-sighted-his-biggest-influences-and-why-he-still-wont-tour#comments Jef Whitehead June 2015 Leviathan Interviews News Features Magazine Fri, 26 Jun 2015 21:43:12 +0000 Brad Angle 24483 at http://www.guitarworld.com