Blogs en Show Review: Kiss — Still Creatures of the Nighttime World <!--paging_filter--><p>Kiss brought their 40th Anniversary Tour to the First Niagara Pavilion in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania, Sunday, August 24 — and were greeted by a packed house. </p> <p>They played what amounted to a greatest-hits set that included "Deuce," "Love Gun," "God of Thunder" and more. They also sprinkled in a good portion of non-makeup-era Kiss with "Hide Your Heart" and "Lick It Up." </p> <p>Gone from the set list was anything from the <em>Sonic Boom</em> and <em>Monster</em> albums, but they proved they can give fans exactly what they want ... the very best.</p> <p>Below, enjoy a series of photos from August 24, courtesy of Sean Benedict.</p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/kiss">Kiss</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> John Katic Kiss Review Blogs Galleries Tue, 02 Sep 2014 02:08:32 +0000 John Katic Super-Low Seven-String Tuning: C, F, C, F, A#, D, G — Why? Why the Hell Not? <!--paging_filter--><p>How much lower can we possibly tune an electric guitar? </p> <p>The first mass-produced seven-string guitar was the Ibanez UV7, which was played by none other than Steve Vai, and later made even more popular by artists such as Korn, Dream Theater, Fear Factory and Meshuggah. </p> <p>The idea initially was to provide an extended high range for the player. </p> <p>Today, especially in the newer wave of heavy metal, it seems to be the opposite. Seven-, eight- and even nine-string guitars have become quite popular, mostly being utilized for the extended low range they provide. I’ve seen players absolutely shredding these guitars, and I’ve seen players utilizing literally one or two of the strings at most; but hey, whatever floats your boat. </p> <p>There are infinite tunings out there aside from your standard E, A, D, G, B, E. </p> <p>I’m going to quickly explain why I finally dove into the seven-string guitar realm. </p> <p>Ever since I picked up the guitar (18 years ago), I found myself gradually tuning lower and lower and experimenting with different tunings. When it came time to write a new album, it was merely an attempt to refresh and shock my brain with a new tuning. It got me out of my comfort zone. Prior to my recent switch to seven-string guitars, for the most part, all of my material was written on a six-string tuned to drop G or a step up from that. </p> <p>Earlier this year, following suit with my tuning adjustment per each new album, I went ahead and tuned down another whole step to drop F on a six-string. As I was writing, I found myself riffing in a higher register for most of my main rhythms. For the heavier sections, I ended up having to bust out the pitch shifter to get to the lower octave certain songs called for. </p> <p>At first I didn’t realize it was actually changing my style of writing, and about half way through the writing process, it hit me: just extend my lower range by adding another low string! Duh. So finally, here I am playing seven strings, just not in the conventional seven-string tuning. It seems like a ridiculous tuning, right? Well, if utilized tastefully, it can be smashingly unique and heavy as hell!</p> <p><strong>Guitar setup:</strong></p> <p>The guitar wasn't designed to handle this type of tuning. I had to create a custom set of strings: .100 .85 .54 .36 .24w .18 .15 (Yes, the .100 and .85 gauge are, of course, bass strings). At each end of the string, by simply unwinding a bit of the top wound layer of nickel, I am able to fit the string through the tuning peg and into the Floyd Rose bridge. </p> <p>Intonation becomes another major challenge. It’s almost impossible to make a guitar intonated perfectly in this tuning, but in live situations, I can get by. In the studio, however, this tuning will give you hell. But that’s the nature of the beast. </p> <p>So will it end or will the low-tuning battle in metal continue until we can't hear the notes on the guitar? I sure as hell hope that doesn’t happen. Honestly, I cannot say what would be next for me, tuning-wise. I do think, though, that the guitar is always evolving as it has since the 12th century. Thinking outside the box when it comes to different tunings can seriously innovate your sound and playing style. When it comes to creating music, I'm a great believer in the “there are no rules” concept. By applying this theory to something even as simple as your tuning, you can yield some pretty refreshing results. </p> <p>Inspiration:</p> <p><strong><em>“Logic will get you from point A to point B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” — Albert Einstein</em></strong></p> <p><em>Guitarist <a href="">Joe Cocchi</a> is a founding member of Within The Ruins. Their latest album, </em>Phenomena,<em> was released in July via Good Fight/eOne. Keep up with Within The Ruins on <a href="">Facebook.</a></em></p> Joe Cocchi Within The Ruins Blogs Mon, 01 Sep 2014 16:45:31 +0000 Joe Cocchi Bent Out of Shape Show Review: Blackmore's Night Live in Berlin <!--paging_filter--><p>On August 26, I had the pleasure of seeing Blackmore's Night live in Berlin, Germany. </p> <p>It was my first chance to see guitar legend Ritchie Blackmore in concert, and living on the West Coast, I didn't think I'd ever get the opportunity as Blackmore's Night performs mostly in Europe and, on rare occasions, on the East Coast in the U.S. </p> <p>The 1,600-capacity Admiral Palace theater provided a very intimate setting. The stage looked as if it could've been used for a William Shakespeare play with greenery, flowers and rocks covering musical equipment and curtains painted to look like castle walls hanging on either side. When the concert began, all eyes were on Blackmore as he strummed his acoustic guitar and greeted fans in the front row who dressed as if they were at a renaissance fair. </p> <p>If I had to describe Blackmore's Night musically, I'd say they are a fusion of renaissance, folk and rock. It became clear from the beginning that they didn't have a problem breaking the rules. How many renaissance concerts have you seen with an arena-rock-style drum solo? A very impressive group of young talented musicians provided the perfect backing to Blackmore's Night. </p> <p>The concert was full of dynamics, and each song featured a wide spectrum of different arrangements. The best example of this was probably a Deep Purple cover of "Soldier of Fortune," which began with Ritchie and his wife, Candice Night, alone on stage playing very softly. The stage volume was so low, the entire audience had to be silent. As the song progressed, more instruments joined in until every member of the band played with full force. At that moment, it felt like more like a rock concert.</p> <p>Behind the band was a large screen where different moving images would appear relating to specific songs. The stage production enhanced the live music to create a very enjoyable experience. At times it was easy to forget I was watching one the greatest rock guitarists of all time as songs like "Renaissance Faire" had everybody singing and clapping. </p> <p>Two hours into the concert came the moment I had been waiting for as Blackmore returned from a short break carrying his signature yellow cream Fender Stratocaster. The band played "The Moon Is Shining" from their latest album, and the sound of an electrified Blackmore had the audience on their feet. The highlight came as he began his outro solo, which lasted about five minutes. Like a master, Blackmore built a solo that took the entire audience on an emotional journey. As he moved higher and higher up the neck and held a high bend for several seconds, the audience was in awe. </p> <p>As a guitar fan I thought it couldn't get any better than that. </p> <p>At which point he walked over to the front of the stage, dropped to his knees and began going crazy up and down the neck with both hands, flipping his guitar over and abusing his whammy bar. I cannot describe the audience reaction as the entire venue shook with a deep growl. With that single move, Blackmore reminded everyone that he was still the rock guitar god he's always been. As the song ended, I couldn't help but notice the man next to me was crying. I was also relieved that my friend got the moment on film! </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p>The concert ended up lasting well over two and a half hours with Ritchie and Candice taking requests from the audience. Other highlights included "Fires at Midnight," which began with Ritchie alone on stage, on a stool, improvising acoustically for a few minutes. The beautiful melodic phrases had the audience in silence again, which contrasted perfectly the heavy metal style moves of moments earlier. </p> <p>To say I enjoyed the concert would be a huge understatement. I would urge any guitarist to see Blackmore's Night if you get the chance. </p> <p><em>Will Wallner is a guitarist from England who now lives in Los Angeles. He recently signed a solo deal with Polish record label Metal Mind Productions for the release of his debut album, which features influential musicians from hard rock and heavy metal. He also is the lead guitarist for White Wizzard (Earache Records) and toured Japan, the US and Canada in 2012. Follow Will on <a href="">Facebook</a> and <a href="">Twitter</a>.</em></p> Bent Out of Shape Blackmore's Night Ritchie Blackmore Will Wallner Videos Blogs Mon, 01 Sep 2014 15:47:09 +0000 Will Wallner My Personal Guitar World: A Diverse, Sometimes Sweet, Sometimes Hostile Place <!--paging_filter--><p>My personal guitar world is populated by a diverse, sometimes sweet, sometimes hostile, band of strong personalities. </p> <p>They scream at me. Weep at me. Play me, sometimes as a fool, sometimes as their tolerated servant.</p> <p>Ernest Hemingway once said, “I belong to this notebook and this pencil.” Now that’s not to say Hemingway was a tool, but at times the line between artist and tool can be bloody-Mary-blurry. They’re one, each useless without the other.</p> <p>Through my years as a professional musician, I’ve had affairs with Fenders and Gibsons, Gretsches and Rickenbackers, even a plexiglass Dan Armstrong, which I still love even though my bandmate Chris Collingwood dismisses her as looking like a 1960s coffee table. Lately I’ve been playing a custom beauty called the BeachBlaster, which I helped design and will talk about in a few.</p> <p>I’m a bit of a slut for not being monogamous to just one brand, model or guitar and have been collecting since I started at age 6. </p> <p>My first was a "used" '65 Mustang for $75 and then after much repetition of telling my pop, "Dad, I need a Les Paul now," he finally gave in and laid down a cool $150 on a Seventies LP deluxe (before they became referred to as vintage). It was only a few years old at the time, I was 8 and I still have both in my collection today.</p> <p>Then there's the '57 Les Paul Jr that belonged to my father that gets more than her share of my love. Duane Allman offered my dad a nice chunk of change for it back in the Sixties, an offer that was politely declined. Always something nostalgic about your first. </p> <p>Many Gretsches have also shared my bed as well as the stages. My double-cut 6120 has a special place in my heart. It took me through my U.K. days and is now retired from touring in favor of a few reissues for the road.</p> <p>Then there’s this new signature thing we call the BeachBlaster, a Tele body made from 200-year-old Douglas fir wood from the joists of an old school house. My buddy Curt Wilson built it to my specs with three Seymour Duncan Whole Lotta Humbuckers and a Bigsby. </p> <p>There are three in existence so far (lucky me, I have serial numbers 1 and 2). I named it the Schoolhoused BeachBlaster as a tip of the hat to Mr. Fender (and to avoid a lawsuit). One in Sea Foam Green and another in Shoreline Gold. They're light, lovely and loud. Curt is a wizard who builds and fixes guitars in his 1820s schoolhouse (where the wood for the BeachBlaster came from) in Hopewell, New Jersey, a structure he restored just like he does with timeless and well-worn Gretsches and Gibsons.</p> <p>Anyway, what I’m trying to say here is that my guitars (like yours, I’m sure) are so much a part of me that I don't think I really exist without ‘em. When I come off the stage, I feel like a house whose fire has just been put out. Sated and immiserated, all at once. And my companions, they’ve been through it, too.</p> <p><em><a href="">Jody Porter</a> is the lead guitarist in <a href="">Fountains of Wayne</a> and founder of the shoegaze pioneers the Belltower. His second solo album, </em>Month of Mondays<em>, is completed and will be available later this summer.</em></p> Fountains Of Wayne Jody Porter Electric Guitars Blogs Gear Mon, 01 Sep 2014 14:10:06 +0000 Jody Porter Gear Review: MC Systems Dynamic Drive, Hybrid Chorus and String Reviver Pedals <!--paging_filter--><p>It happens. You’re in the middle of playing and need just a little more from your pedal. </p> <p>Do you attempt the balancing act? You know, where you balance on one foot and try to gingerly adjust a knob with your free foot? What if you turn it too much or hit another knob? It can all end like the wire-cutting bomb scene in <em>Lethal Weapon 3</em>!</p> <p>MC Systems has released the Apollo series of pedals, which includes Chorus, Overdrive, Delay, Phaser, String Reviver and Fuzz pedals. They all offer a unique footswitching system called V-Switch.</p> <p>V-Switch can boost or cut certain aspects of the effect, depending on how hard you stomp on the pedal. Set your overdrive pedal to a moderate setting when switched on, or stomp harder for more drive. Below the pedal is a trimpot to adjust depending on how light or heavy of a stomper you are. </p> <p>Alternatively, if gauging your foot dynamics is too much, there’s Alternate Mode. Alternate Mode acts as a secondary setting when the pedal is on. Example: On the Hybrid Chorus, the Alternate Mode allows you to set a second Rate setting on the pedal.</p> <p>All pedals are based on an analog circuit and feature true-bypass switching. Here’s a brief rundown of three of the pedals from the series.</p> <p><strong>Dynamic Drive</strong> is an overdrive pedal with three familiar knobs at the top; Drive, Tone and Level. The V-Switch allows you to boost or cut the amount of drive and Alternate Mode allows you to boost or cut the Level. Alternate Mode works great as a boost for solos. In the clip, I gradually boost the Drive and Volume without blowing out your earbuds.</p> <p><strong>Hybrid Chorus</strong> is a chorus pedal that offers Depth, Level and Rate. V-Switch Mode lets you increase or decrease the Depth. Alternate Mode lets you speed up or slow down the Rate. In the clip, I play the same lick starting with a heavy chorus and mellow it out by the end.</p> <p><strong>String Reviver</strong> is most unique pedal in the series. It adds more presence and punch to dull strings. I also see it useful as a clean boost or tone shaper to help a darker guitar cut. The three basic knobs are Definition, Slope and Level. Definition is comparable to a Presence knob and Slope is comparable to a Tone knob. The V-Switch alters the Definition, and Alternate mode allows you to cut or boost the Level. In the clip, hear how it brightens up the “vintage” strings I left on my Strat way too long.</p> <p><strong>Web</strong>: <a href=""></a><br /> <strong>Street Price</strong>: $215</p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="450" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src=";auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;visual=true"></iframe></p> <p><em>You can't believe everything you read on the Internet, but Billy Voight is a gear reviewer, bassist and guitarist from Pennsylvania. He has Hartke bass amps and Walden acoustic guitars to thank for supplying some of the finest gear on his musical journey. Need Billy's help in creating noise for your next project? Drop him a line at</em></p> Billy Voight Billy's Breakdown MC Systems Effects Blogs News Gear Fri, 29 Aug 2014 21:52:18 +0000 Billy Voight Cigar Box: Build a Guitar Pickup in Under Five Minutes for Less Than $2 <!--paging_filter--><p>Can you make your own pickup out of a wall wart plug in under five minutes and less than $2?</p> <p>Yes, it can be done! I saw a clip on YouTube a while ago where someone made a pickup from pieces of a plug, so I thought I'd give it a try. The method described in the video is a bit dangerous, including separating the metal plates from the coil (I stabbed myself with a screwdriver attempting to do so), so here's a safer, faster way.</p> <p>If you don’t already know, pickups are made with electric magnets. The string vibrations interfere with the magnetic field around the pickup, and that sound is transferred to your amp. Don’t worry, this is about as technical as I'll get for this part, but it's pretty neat how it works. </p> <p>Note: See the sidebar article below on the live-rig secrets of several pro cigar box guitarists. </p> <p><strong>In terms of parts for this project, here's your recon mission:</strong></p> <p>• One wall wort plug. You know those big, clunky plugs that seem to be on just about everything nowadays. I suggest scoping out your local thrift store for one. That way, you don’t destroy a plug you might need later. I picked up some for 50 cents. Yep!</p> <p>• Three or four (depending on how many strings you have on your CBG — cigar box guitar) Rare Earth Neo Neodymium disc magnets. I used a N35 12mm-by-3mm magnet I got on eBay for less than 40 cents.</p> <p>• Some bits of wire and solder</p> <p>• 1 1/4-inch jack</p> <p><strong>Tools you'll need</strong> </p> <p>• Proper safety gear, including work gloves and protective glasses</p> <p>• A hammer</p> <p>• Soldering Iron</p> <p>The photo gallery below will walk you through the steps to make your own pickup in under five minutes (and less than $2). Note that if you use this pickup in your CBG, you should probably cut hole the size of the metal plates so only the plates will be exposed above the guitar body, leaving the coils hidden under the top of the box. Also, make sure to ground your negative wire to your bridge to prevent unwanted noise. </p> <p>Check out the videos below of testing out our DIY guitar pickup. Also Elmar Zeilhofer of <a href="">The Original-Flatpup</a> made one as a test video as well from one he made (He separated the coils on his DIY pickup). </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="349" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="349" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> </p> <p><strong>SIDEBAR: RIGS OF SEVERAL PRO CIGAR BOX GUITARISTS</strong></p> <p>Let me talk about the gear some cigar box guitar artists used at this year's Pennsylvania Cigar Box Guitar Festival. </p> <p>I had a chance to talk to Glenn Kaiser, Shane Speal and Justin Johnson. Playing a cigar box guitar for a gig can be tricky. Cigar box guitars have a great lo-fi sound, but playing them cranked up can create problems with feedback. Here are the amplifiers and effects they prefer. </p> <p><strong><a href="">Glenn Kaiser</a> (Former frontman of REZ Band &amp; Kaiser/Mansfield)</strong></p> <p><strong>Amp</strong>: ”Trimmed &amp; Burnin' Spanky model mostly (a small, 3-watt amp with a Weber speaker) and an original Pignose. I have a lot of amps, but at this point, those two."</p> <p><strong>Effects</strong>: “For non-cigar box or found-object guitars, I always use a Korg tuner and a Blackstone Appliance Mosfet Overdrive. For CBG's, I usually prefer a small amp cranked.”</p> <p>Most of Kaiser's live cigar box guitars are loaded with piezo buzzer pickups, giving him a more acoustic tone. However, he gets some extra buzz, grind and distortion from the Trimmed &amp; Burnin' tube amp. </p> <p><strong><a href="">Shane Speal</a></strong></p> <p>Shane was kind enough to send us a photo of his live rig. Check it out in the photo gallery below.</p> <p>• As for his gear: homemade electric stomp board; provides percussion for Speal's show. It's just a couple pieces of plywood sandwiched together with a large piezo disc inserted in the middle. The piezo acts as a contact mic.</p> <p>• Pre-amp for the stomp board. Speal used an inexpensive acoustic guitar preamp/EQ that is attached to the piezo so he can control the tone of hs stomp board.</p> <p>• An old Ibanez digital delay set for slapback echo only</p> <p>• Arion Octave pedal: Used sparingly in concert, usually during his one-string diddley bow songs or when he wants to kick into a total funk-infused fury.</p> <p>• Fender tuner</p> <p>• Jay Turser Classic 25 amp. Although it's covered with tweed and sports a classic radio wooden face, this amp is just a cheapo solid state. “It has reverb, distortion and a goofy tremolo,” Speal says. “What more do you want?” Speal bought it on eBay for $85. </p> <p><strong><a href="">Justin Johnson</a></strong></p> <p><strong>Amp</strong>: “Fender Blues Jr. When I am performing with cigar box guitars, I prefer to keep as much of the natural tone of the CBG as possible. There is something about the tone you get from the cigar box that really distinguishes itself from the electric guitar. They sound more open and unrestrained than a solid-body and more guttural and swampy than a standard semi-hollow."</p> <p><strong>Effects</strong>: “I generally just use a little reverb or some light overdrive before going into my Fender Blues Jr. It’s also a good a idea to have an EQ pedal on hand to make minor adjustments to the volume and tone when necessary.”</p> <p><strong>ONE LAST DOSE OF CIGAR BOXES...</strong></p> <p>You all know I couldn’t write one of these with out letting you hear some tunes. Below is a clip I put together of Shane Speal preforming a version of “Personal Jesus” at this year's Speal's Tavern Guitar-b-Que. The photos are from <a href="">The Cigar Box Guitar Museum</a> in New Alexander, Pennsylvania, inside <a href="">Speal's Tavern</a>. More on the Guitar-b-Que and Speal's Tavern along with making winding our own single coil cbg pickup, next time ... </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="349" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> </p> <p>A big thanks to Glenn Kaiser, Shane Speal, Justin Johnson, Elmar Zeilhofer, Original-Flatpup and Speal's Tavern for being a part of this. </p> <p>Stay tuned ... It's going to get loud!</p> <p><em>Brian Saner owns Saner Cigar Box Guitars, which makes custom handmade guitars and amps using local dry-aged wood in every guitar. These guitars are handmade and might have imperfections, but that's what makes them unique. Once you hear the howl of a CBG, you might not want to play a Fender or Gibson again. Get one at <a href=""></a>, <a href=""></a> and Main Street Gallery. Check out <a href="">his Facebook page.</a></em></p> Brian Saner Cigar Box Saner Cigar Box Guitars Accessories Blogs News Gear Fri, 29 Aug 2014 14:39:05 +0000 Brian Saner Songcraft: Singer-Songwriter David Poe Discusses His New Album, 'God & The Girl' <!--paging_filter--><p>Credited by <em>Rolling Stone</em> as having given "the singer-songwriter genre a much-needed jolt,” composer/singer-songwriter David Poe has issued numerous literate, melodic, major-label collections as a solo artist. </p> <p>At the same time, his songs have done well in the hands of others; they've been recorded by pop-rockers Grace Potter and Daryl Hall, Broadway composer Duncan Sheik and jazz singer Curtis Stigers. </p> <p>Poe’s eclectic compositions have also appeared in TV shows, including <em>Dexter</em> and <em>Nashville</em>, and in theatre productions such as <em>Shadowland</em>, the landmark dance piece by American troupe Pilobolus.</p> <p>In addition to his duties as a world-touring troubadour and in-demand songwriter, Poe also has collaborated with uber-producers T-Bone Burnett and Larry Klein and is a Composer Fellow of the Sundance Institute.</p> <p>Songcraft recently cornered this talented New Yorker, now living in Los Angeles, as his latest album, <em>God &amp; The Girl</em>, neared release to talk songwriting, deities and the women who love them. </p> <p><strong>GUITAR WORLD: First off, congrats on the new album. I love it. It’s very smart, with this beautiful quality of hushed intensity to it. And <em>God &amp; The Girl</em> is such an amazing album title, the allusions are unending. Do titles serve as sparks of inspiration for your songwriting or are they more just a necessary result of the process?</strong></p> <p>"Hymn &amp; Her" sounded glib. The album title refers to the subject matter of the songs. Half concern faith, half concern love, or the lack of either. Some of them, like "The Devil" and "When I Fly," are an attempt to address both, to compare spiritual and romantic love.</p> <p>A song’s title is its thesis statement, the bumper sticker, the controlling idea. Traditional pop songs are a lot like old jokes: something happens three times — three verses — and the chorus is the punch line. </p> <p><strong>On your self-titled debut album, you had the chance to work with producer extraordinaire, T Bone Burnett. From a compositional standpoint, what does a producer of that caliber bring to the table in terms of the formation of a song?</strong></p> <p>Every producer imparts special information; Emile Kelman encouraged minimalism. Brad Jones taught me about layering. Larry Klein has deep intuition. Rick Parker conjures a vibe. Pete Min is a master of process. John Alagia understands how tonality impacts songs. Steve Rosenthal knows history. Ed Ackerson rewrites it. Buddy Miller captures lightning in a bottle. They all do. </p> <p>T Bone can love a record into being. In the studio, enthusiasm works wonders, and having the enthusiasm of someone who is an American hero is powerful. He is known as a unique producer who has come to the rescue of the culture multiple times, but T Bone is also one of our great songwriters, and his solo projects, especially <em>Tooth Of Crime</em> and all that came after it, are, to me, as influential as records like <em>Bone Machine</em> or <em>Time Out Of Mind.</em></p> <p>So yeah, having an experienced songwriter produce the debut of an aspiring songwriter made sense. Working with him was inspirational. Still is. Always is. </p> <p><strong>You’ve done a solid amount of co-writing. Do you approach that process any differently than you would when writing solo? Is the creative head-space the same or different?</strong></p> <p>As a co-writer, my job is to help gather wood and build the fire. Sometimes you’re in the wilderness rubbing flint and steel until there’s a spark. Sometimes a burning bush appears. I keep a match in my back pocket.</p> <p>The goal is to help create something an artist can sing for the rest of their career, starting with a fundamentally sound lyric and melody. There are a lot of factors in the making of a hit song, and some of them — marketing, bribery, the politics of the music business — have nothing to do with art. A songwriter’s responsibility is to render a beautiful thing that is simple but profound and enhances rather than betrays the culture. The Pilobolus choreographer and founder Robby Barnett says, “The idea is the best idea until there’s a better one,” which is a good approach to any collaboration. </p> <p>Another way to say it is “don’t negate, create.” Rather than say “I don’t like that,” say “how about this?” It’s important to be generous with your creativity and to have faith that the song will arrive. When it doesn’t, take a walk. </p> <p><strong>To date you’ve written pop music, music for theatre and music for the screen. Are all aforementioned exercises just slight variations of the larger process, or do you approach writing for each genre differently?</strong></p> <p>A good song works in any genre, but not necessarily in every medium. Music married to a narrative is its own thing, magical when it works, and everyone feels it.</p> <p><strong>What’s the most important piece of compositional/songwriting advice you’ve absorbed in your experience at the Sundance Institute?</strong></p> <p>Be brave enough to edit and revise. Or reject. No music is ever wasted. Every chord progression you learn, every bit of discarded lyric or melody will suit a future piece.</p> <p>The Sundance Institute encourages innovation and serves as an antidote for that sect of the entertainment industry that has a deep contempt for the general public – the ones who say “people are stupid,” even though we’re smarter as a culture than we ever have been. When aspiring artists collude with that sect in order to have a hit, the culture gets flooded with pap and confused. But the best artists have always been at the vanguard of social change, and the pursuit of a distinct vision is its own reward. For me, the reward is in the writing process, especially when others sing a song I’ve worked on. They always sing it better than I ever could, and the thrill I get from hearing it is like when people sing "Happy Birthday" to you, then give you cake. </p> <p><em><a href="">Mark Bacino</a> is a singer/songwriter based in New York City. When not crafting his own melodic brand of retro-pop, Mark can be found producing fellow artists or composing for television/advertising via his <a href="">Queens English Recording Co</a>. Mark also is the founder/curator of <a href="">intro.verse.chorus</a>, a website dedicated to exploring the art of songwriting. Visit Mark on <a href="">Facebook</a> or follow him on <a href="">Twitter</a>.</em></p> David Poe Mark Bacino Songcraft Blogs Interviews News Features Wed, 27 Aug 2014 19:00:56 +0000 Mark Bacino Stevie Ray Vaughan's Top Five Studio Guest Appearances <!--paging_filter--><p>For someone who spent a mere seven years in the spotlight, Stevie Ray Vaughan left behind an impressive amount of recorded material.</p> <p>He released four studio albums, a double live album and a Vaughan Brothers album (recorded with his big brother, Jimmie Vaughan), not to mention enough leftover live and studio material to fill several posthumous albums and a box set or two. </p> <p>He even found time to perform on albums by several other artists — from Teena Marie to Stevie Wonder to Don Johnson to Lonnie Mack — pretty much always with fiery results. </p> <p>With that in mind, here are Vaughan's top five guest appearances as a guest or session guitarist during his "famous" years, 1983 to 1990. We'll discuss his pre-fame session work in another story (maybe).</p> <p>Just so the Vaughanophiles are clear, this list does not take into account Vaughan's 1983 Canadian TV studio appearance with Albert King — or anything recorded in a TV studio, a radio studio or a studio apartment. </p> <p>It also doesn't include his <a href="">1987 recording of "Pipeline" with Dick Dale</a> because that track is credited to the duo, so neither guitarist is the other's "guest."</p> <p><strong><em>[[ Pick up the new October 2014 issue of Guitar World magazine, which features SRV on the cover and celebrates the 60th anniversary of his birth with a "Top 30 Performances" list, a feature about his Number One Strat, the current SRV Grammy Museum exhibit and more. <a href=";utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=article&amp;utm_campaign=OctoberVideosPage">The issue is available now. ]]</a></em></strong></p> <p><strong>05. A.C. Reed, "Miami Strut," from <em>I'm In the Wrong Business!</em> (1987)</strong></p> <p>A.C. Reed was a respected Chicago-based sideman who started his lengthy career in the Forties and worked with a host of big names, including Magic Sam, Son Seals, Albert Collins and Buddy Guy.</p> <p>"Miami Strut" is a funky instrumental that features Vaughan playing a Strat through a Leslie cabinet, its revolving speaker providing an exceptionally "wet" sound. Note how he plays around Reed's catchy tenor sax riffs, making his guitar an integral part of the track. Vaughan's guitar solo starts around 1:22.</p> <p>Because the album, which also features Bonnie Raitt, was released in 1987, it represents a lost period in Vaughan's discography, since <em>Soul to Soul</em> came out in 1985 and <em>In Step</em> came out in 1989. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>WHILE YOU'RE AT IT</strong>: Check out "These Blues Is Killing Me" from the same album. Vaughan's guitar solo starts around 2:06. That's Reed on vocals.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>04. Bennie Wallace, "All Night Dance," from <em>Twilight Time</em> (1985)</strong></p> <p>Here's Vaughan guesting with another sax player — this time Bennie Wallace (with Dr. John) — on another blues-based instrumental, a lengthy shuffle called "All Night Dance" from Wallace's now-out-of-print 1985 <em>Twilight Time</em> album. The song also was featured on the <em>Bull Durham</em> soundtrack album in 1988 — and even that's out of print (Good luck finding it for less than $60 on Amazon Marketplace or eBay!).</p> <p>Stevie's guitar solo starts around 3:24, and he really pours it on, dialing up his <em>Soul to Soul</em> sound and including several signature SRV motifs and bends. </p> <p>Like a great songwriter who sometimes relegates jaw-dropping tunes to the cutting-room floor or non-album B-sides, Vaughan recorded this brilliant guitar solo one random day in his career — and then just moved on to the next gig, never really looking back.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>03. Johnny Copeland, "Don't Stop by the Creek, Son," from <em>Texas Twister</em> (1984)</strong></p> <p>Texas blues guitarist and singer Johnny Copeland (father of blues singer Shemekia Copeland) invited Vaughan to play on two tracks on his <em>Texas Twister</em> album. On "Don't Stop by the Creek, Son," Copeland, a fine player in his own right, stepped aside to let Vaughan handle all the lead work. </p> <p>Although Vaughan's Strat was mixed a little too low in the original vinyl mix (It had to compete with Copeland's acoustic guitar), "Creek" is a fun, engaging, upbeat track with a catchy melody and some nifty guitar work from start to finish.</p> <p>It's worth noting that the original 1984 Black and Blues version of <em>Texas Twister</em> featured two tracks with Vaughan on guitar — "Don't Stop by the Creek, Son" and "When the Rain Stops Fallin'." However, when the album was reissued by Rounder Records in 1986, "When the Rain Stops Fallin'" was gone — and it's still gone. iTunes sells only the <a href="">1986 version of the album</a></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>02. Lonnie Mack, "If You Have to Know," from <em>Strike Like Lightning</em> (1985)</strong></p> <p>Serious Vaughan fans got a nice bonus in 1985: Alligator Records released Lonnie Mack's masterful <em>Strike Like Lightning</em> album, which was co-produced by Vaughan and Mack, one of SRV's many guitar idols (Check out Mack's classic 1964 album, <em><a href="!/id285852886">The Wham of That Memphis Man!</a></em>).</p> <p>Vaughan plays on several songs on the album, but he actually plays and sings on "If You Have to Know," making it the closest thing to a straight-ahead bonus SRV track. Check it out below.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>WHILE YOU'RE AT IT</strong>: From the same album, be sure to get a taste of "Oreo Cookie Blues," which features Vaughan on acoustic guitar, predating "Life By the Drop" and his <em>Unplugged</em> appearance by five years ...</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p>... and don't forget "Double Whammy" (a new recording of Mack's early Sixties instrumental hit "Wham!" featuring Vaughan and Mack duking it out in E), "Hound Dog Man" and "Satisfy Suzie," which you can hear below. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>01. David Bowie, "Cat People (Putting Out the Fire)," from <em>Let's Dance</em> (1983)</strong></p> <p>Come on, you knew something from David Bowie's <em>Let's Dance</em> album had to be No. 1 on this list. </p> <p><em>Let's Dance</em> served as the world's introduction to Vaughan, who, with Bowie, invented something new by adding Texas-style blues guitar to contemporary, dance-based pop music — raising eyebrows, expectations and bank accounts for all involved.</p> <p>Vaughan plays lead guitar on several tracks, including two of the album's many mega-hits ("Let's Dance" and "China Girl"), but guitar-wise, the song that truly kicks collective ass is the less-famous "Cat People (Putting Out the Fire)." It's also got the album's healthiest serving of SRV; he solos in the middle, adds Albert King-style bends throughout and then solos near the end of the song.</p> <p>Note that Bowie recorded two studio versions of this song in the early Eighties; be sure to seek out the <em>Let's Dance</em> version (not that there's anything wrong with the other one).</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>WHILE YOU'RE AT IT</strong>: It just feels wrong to leave out the album's title track — which millions of people can credit as the first time they heard Stevie Ray Vaughan.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong><a href=",5">Click here to read about THREE MORE SONGS featuring SRV!</a></strong></p> <hr /> <p>Welcome to the bonus page! I don't think too many people get this far. Poor them ...</p> <p>Here are three extra tunes that feature Vaughan as the guest guitarist, each interesting in its own way. </p> <p>Please note that we seriously wanted to include "Bumble Bee Blues" from Brian Slawson's 1988 album, <em>Distant Drums</em>, but it's not available on YouTube. You can always track down the CD on eBay for about $5.</p> <p>Anyway, here we go:</p> <p><strong>Stevie Wonder, "Come Let Me Make Your Love Come Down," from <em>Characters</em> (1987)</strong></p> <p>While the Vaughan-heavy video below is promising, it's also misleading. </p> <p>Sadly, the finished studio recording of this 1987 Stevie Wonder track features much less of Vaughan's playing, although he can be heard closer to the end of the song, going head to head with B.B. King. So make the most of this video! </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Don Johnson, "Love Roulette," from <em>Heartbeat</em> (1986)</strong></p> <p>What's interesting about this one? First of all, <em>Miami Vice</em> star Don Johnson released an album in 1986. Second of all, he got Vaughan to play on it. Third of all, the album reached No. 17 on <em>Billboard's</em> Hot 100. </p> <p>The album, <em>Heartbeat</em>, was a star-studded affair that also featured Dickey Betts of the Allman Brothers Band, Ron Wood of the Rolling Stones, Dweezil Zappa and Willie Nelson. Johnson eventually recorded one more album, 1989's <em>Let It Roll</em>.</p> <p>Vaughan's solo on "Love Roulette," which you can check out below, starts around 2:51.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>And then there's this thing, which is from a weird late-Eighties commercial filmed in New Zealand. We don't know what to make of it (and we don't really like it), but we figured we'd share:</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><em>Photo from </em>Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues: Stevie Ray Vaughan<em> album cover</em></p> <p><em>Damian Fanelli is the online managing editor at </em>Guitar World<em>. Follow him on <a href="">Twitter</a>. Or not. Whatever.</em></p> <p><strong>Be sure to pick up the October 2014 issue of Guitar World magazine, which features SRV on the cover and celebrates the 60th anniversary of his birth with a "Top 30 Performances" list, a feature about his Number One Strat, the current SRV Grammy Museum exhibit and more. <a href=";utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=article&amp;utm_campaign=OctoberVideosPage">The new issue is available now at the Guitar World Online Store.</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="/stevie-ray-vaughan">Stevie Ray Vaughan</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Damian Fanelli David Bowie Johnny Copeland list lists Lonnie Mack Stevie Ray Vaughan Stevie Wonder Teena Marie Guitar World Lists Blogs News Features Wed, 27 Aug 2014 15:46:25 +0000 Damian Fanelli Stevie Ray Vaughan and Dick Dale Play "Pipeline" — a Video That's Got It All <!--paging_filter--><p>The video below, a clip of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Dick Dale performing "Pipeline," one of the most famous surf-guitar instrumentals of all time, has got it <em>all.</em></p> <p>I mean, you've got the late, great Stevie Ray Vaughan, a righty ... you've got the under-appreciated Dick Dale, a lefty ... you've got Dick Dale's bizarre hair ... you've got Annette Funicello ... you've got some lovely Fender Stratocasters ...</p> <p>You've got Gilligan and the Skipper from <em>Gilligan's Island</em> ... there's Pee-wee Herman, not to mention several high-quality Eighties women in bikinis, a few Wayfarers, Frankie Avalon and more.</p> <p>The clip is, of course, taken from a 1987 comedy called <em>Back to the Beach</em>. For more about this non-classic film, <a href="">head here.</a></p> <p>Enjoy!</p> <p><strong><a href=";utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=article&amp;utm_campaign=OctoberVideosPage">If you're interested in this Stevie Ray Vaughan fellow, check out the all-new October 2014 issue of Guitar World, which is available now at the Guitar World Online Store. We count down Vaughan's 30 greatest guitar performances, check in with his Number One Strat, celebrate 60 years of the Strat and more.</a></strong></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><em>Former surf guitarist Damian Fanelli is the online managing editor at </em>Guitar World<em>. Follow him on <a href="">Twitter</a>. Or not. Whatever.</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="/stevie-ray-vaughan">Stevie Ray Vaughan</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Damian Fanelli Dick Dale Stevie Ray Vaughan Videos Blogs News Tue, 26 Aug 2014 21:46:49 +0000 Damian Fanelli LessonFace with Steve Stine: Understanding the CAGED System — Absolute Fretboard Mastery, Part 8 <!--paging_filter--><p><strong>Steve Stine, highly sought-after guitar educator, teaches live online group and private classes at <a href=""></a>. His popular course, "the Players Series," kicks off September 6, 2014. <a href=";aff_id=1001">Head here for more information.</a></strong></p> <p>Hey, guys. Welcome back to my Absolute Fretboard Mastery series. In this month’s edition of the column we’re going to be delving into a very useful visual technique called the CAGED chord system.</p> <p>There are quite a few ways of approaching the CAGED chord system, but what I’m going to try to do is keep it as simple as possible and give you a practical understanding of the system so you can start applying it in your own playing.</p> <p>When most people start learning guitar, the first chords that they learn are often the A, C, D, E and G open chords. </p> <p>And the CAGED chord system is a chordal shape that can be used to navigate the fretboard using the C, A, G, E and D open-chord shapes, in that particular order, to ultimately be able to spot any major chord all across your fretboard.</p> <p>Let’s start off by learning the CAGED chord system in the key of C so that you can bridge this theory with what we learned about the C major scale in <a href="">last month’s lesson.</a> </p> <p><strong>What I want you to do first is play a C major chord in its first open position:</strong></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/diagram-1-620.jpg" width="620" height="208" alt="diagram-1-620.jpg" /></p> <p>In terms of the CAGED chord system, this is the first or “C” position. The next position in the system is the “A” position. So the next step in the system is to move up to the third fret and play a fifth string C major bar chord. Which, as you should know by now, uses the “A” chord shape:</p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/diagram-2-620.jpg" width="620" height="208" alt="diagram-2-620.jpg" /><br /> You also can keep in mind at this point that if you ever play a fifth-string barre chord, the “C” position of the chord is to the left. </p> <p><strong>The next position of the C chord in the CAGED system, which is the “G” position, looks like this:</strong></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/diagram-3-620.jpg" width="620" height="208" alt="diagram-3-620.jpg" /></p> <p>Something I should mention at this point is that the first step here is in understanding how a chord is spread out over these five positions across the fretboard. Actually playing these chords might take some getting used to since they’re fairly foreign.</p> <p><strong>The next position of C is the “E” shape in the CAGED system, and that looks like this:</strong></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/diagram-4-620.jpg" width="620" height="208" alt="diagram-4-620.jpg" /></p> <p>This is a position that should look familiar because it is, in fact, the sixth-string barre chord.</p> <p><strong>The fifth position of the C chord in the CAGED chord system is the “D” position, which looks like this:</strong></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/diagram-5-620.jpg" width="620" height="208" alt="diagram-5-620.jpg" /></p> <p><strong>And then we go back to the “C” position for a C chord, which is one octave higher than our starting chord.</strong></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/diagram-6-620.jpg" width="620" height="208" alt="diagram-6-620.jpg" /></p> <p>And that’s how you play the same chord across the fretboard using these five chordal shapes; which is what the CAGED system is all about. </p> <p>This might seem pretty complicated at first, so I don’t want you to make things harder for yourself by thinking you need to learn each and every chord across the fretboard using the CAGED system right away. Instead of trying to learn seven different chords in the CAGED system off the bat, start off by absolutely mastering one chord until you can easily spot it and play it across the fretboard.</p> <p>Once you’ve done this, using the CAGED chord system for any other chord becomes a cinch. If you know your sixth-string barre chords (and, if you’ve been following this series, you should), you’ll know that whenever you play a sixth-string barre chord, which is an “E” shape in the CAGED system, your “G” shape is below you and the “D” shape is above you.</p> <p><strong>So if we were to take an A chord, the “E," “G” and “D” positions would look like this:</strong></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/diagram-7-620.jpg" width="620" height="208" alt="diagram-7-620.jpg" /></p> <p>And in the same way, when you play any fifth-string barre chord, you’ll know that according to the CAGED system, the “C” shape is below you and the “G” shape of your chord is above you. Which means as long as you know your sixth- and fifth-string barre chords, you pretty much have the CAGED system covered.</p> <p>So, for example, if you needed to figure out the CAGED positions of the G chord, the first thing you need to do is figure out the lowest position of the G chord you can play, which in this case is the open G chord. Then you’ll know that next you’ll have a G chord in the “E” position and a “D” position and so on and so forth. The other shortcut is to simply find a G sixth- or fifth-string barre chord and figure out the surrounding CAGED positions of the chord.</p> <p>Remember, the point of this month’s lesson isn’t to be able to play one chord all over the fretboard. There's a much bigger picture to this that we will get into next month. For now, master this concept of the CAGED chord system until you’re able to visualize any chord across your fretboard with ease. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>"The Players Series," a 12-week course with Steve Stine covering rock fundamentals, soloing and blues, starts September 6, 2014. <a href=";aff_id=1001">Click here for more information and to enroll.</a></strong></p> <p><strong><em>Steve Stine is a longtime and sought-after guitar teacher who is professor of Modern Guitar Studies at North Dakota State University. Over the last 27 years, he has taught thousands of students, including established touring musicians, and released numerous video guitar lesson courses via established publishers. A resident of Fargo, North Dakota, today he is more accessible than ever before through the convenience of live online guitar lessons at <a href=";aff_id=1001"></a></em></strong></p> LessonFace Steve Stine Videos Blogs Lessons Mon, 25 Aug 2014 19:11:20 +0000 Steve Stine Metal Mike: Dispelling the Myth of Being Self-Taught <!--paging_filter--><p>Here's a topic that is often discussed in music circles: the pros and cons of being a self-taught musician.</p> <p>There's a certain level of pride many musicians feel when they claim they are self-taught, and I can understand why. They get a kick out of the fact that, by not taking “lessons,” they discovered the ins and outs of playing an instrument on their own time, their own way, through their own skills. </p> <p>On the surface, this seems to make sense, but I don’t buy it.</p> <p>Right off the bat, the topic is silly since I don't think anyone is self-taught. Let me explain.</p> <p>If you think about it, a self-taught musician would have his or her own way of tuning and holding the instrument. He or she would play unique scales and have their sense of meter. They wouldn't even know how to pluck the strings or how to string a guitar so that chord patters and scales can fall into place. </p> <p>In a nutshell, we all learned it from somewhere. It could be from a video, a friend, a music school or a combination of several outlets. Even if you saw someone strum a guitar and learned a few chords on the spot, you initially got them from somewhere. Even listening to music can help you learn about rhythm, melody and song construction. If you really were self-taught, your guitar playing would make Jimi Hendrix sound like a Julliard professor.</p> <p>Think about this. This is great news. By knowing this, you could open up the previously shut doors to the idea of studying your instrument with great teachers. </p> <p>The point is, if you're going to pick it up from somewhere, you might as well go to a great source. Allow the teacher (private or at a school) to guide you, bring out your strengths, save you time and accelerate your playing. </p> <p>Will studying with a teacher or being formally trained stifle your creativity? Not from my experience. </p> <p>Think of it this way: Imagine you decide to brush up on your English. You study it from a reputable source and become great at it. You learn new words, new ways to put together sentences, etc. Can you still forget it all and talk like a caveman if you want to? You sure can. This is always your choice. No one is going to pull words out of your brain. Would it make it easier to know several ways to express a thought with the new words you've learned? Of course it would. </p> <p>By learning more, you have more choices, not to mention possibilities you didn't know existed. This is what learning about music theory (and how music works) is all about. Even if you refuse to learn music theory, merely studying with a teacher or jamming with someone better than you will open many doors. A new riff you picked up from someone can inspire you to write the greatest song of your life. What you do with it is completely up to you. </p> <p>The idea is to take new information and suck out the juice that is applicable to the way you want to play the instrument. When you do that, the new information is super valuable. Don’t close your eyes to new info and ways to absorb it. Embrace it. The rest is up to you.</p> <p><em>Polish-born Metal Mike Chlasciak has recorded or performed with heavy metal greats Rob Halford, Sebastian Bach, Bruce Dickinson and Axl Rose. Mike is the long-time guitarist for Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford's solo endeavor, Halford. Mike's new album, </em>The Metalworker<em>, is available at <a href=""></a>. For more info, check out <a href="">his official website</a> and <a href="!/MetalMikeC">visit him on Twitter.</a></em></p> <p><strong><em>Readers can check out Metal Mike's online guitar lessons, camps, workshops and more at <a href=""></a>.</em></strong></p> Metal Mike Chlasciak Blogs Sun, 24 Aug 2014 23:00:35 +0000 Metal Mike Chlasciak Session Guitar: What You Can Offer Clients to Increase Your Value As a Session Player <!--paging_filter--><p>Hi, gang!</p> <p>I've been busy, busy, busy in the studio! </p> <p>Today I'd like to talk about how you can increase your value as a studio player. </p> <p>You might consider yourself a guitarist. I know I do. But because I've studied music, as I am certain many of you have, I have certain other assets to offer clients. </p> <p>I'm a decent keyboard player in the studio. I stress that because I couldn't do a live gig if you paid me. However, because of midi, combined with my knowledge of theory and studying the styles and sounds of great players, I can fool people into thinking I'm a keyboard player. I also can sing, play drums and program incredibly realistic-sounding drums that fool many drummers. Bass? No problem!</p> <p>Allow me to offer a perfect example using a session I'm working on now. </p> <p>I received an email through <a href="">my website</a>. The client was looking for a guitarist to play on his tracks. (You DO have website, don't you? I use Bandzoogle.) My rates are clearly posted. He sent a track consisting of stems, submixes of drums, percussion, bass, guitars, keys and vocals. This way, I can mix to taste. A chart and BPM are always requested and supplied. I check the files' bit and hertz to make sure I will be supplying compatible files the client doesn't have to change. Be thorough. Be professional.</p> <p>I added what I thought to be appropriate parts consisting of many different sounds. Heavy to shimmering, direct clean sounds. I gave several options and sent it off. He was quite pleased and used only the tracks he liked, which is fine. Now I know what he likes to hear! He asked me to play on a few more songs, and each time I was able to have him use more and more tracks. I know what he liked now. And even better, I gained his trust.</p> <p>I noticed some weakness in the keyboard parts consistently. The keys sounded like head arrangements as opposed to well-thought-out parts. I politely offered to try something on keys for him. If he didn't like it, there'd be no charge. It was a gamble, but I didn't want my guitar parts to be heard next to someone playing bad notes! Always show yourself in a good light! Anyway, Hhe agreed and was happy. So happy, that I played keys on five more songs. You can see where this is leading, right? </p> <p>On another song, I replaced all the instruments, and he used 12 out of 15 tracks. I'm adding backing vocals to some of the songs. I suspect I might end up mixing the project. I'm "inside" now and part of the production team. Why? Because I cared. I became part of the project. I showed that I cared. I went the extra mile. This is what it takes these days. It is an incredibly hard, competitive business. But you can't be in it just for the money. That will come if you deserve it. </p> <p>So, what are your assets? What else can you offer a client? If the door is there to be opened, will you have the guts to lay yourself out there and take the chance? </p> <p><em><a href="">Ron Zabrocki</a> is a session guitarist from New York, now living in Connecticut. Says Ron: "I started playing at age 6, sight reading right off the bat. That’s how I was taught, so I just thought everyone started that way. I could sight read anything within a few years, and that helped me become a session guy later in life. I took lessons from anyone I could find and had some wonderful instructors, including John Scofield, Joe Pass and Alan DeMausse. I’ve played several jingle sessions (and have written a few along the way). I’ve “ghosted” for a few people who shall remain nameless, but they get the credit and I get the money! I’ve played sessions in every style, from pop to jazz.</em></p> Ron Zabrocki Session Guitar Blogs Thu, 21 Aug 2014 14:39:00 +0000 Ron Zabrocki Riffer Madness: Dimebag Darrell on Syncopated Rhythms, Part 1 <!--paging_filter--><p><em>This entry comes from Dimebag Darrell's classic </em>Guitar World<em> column, "Riffer Madness."</em></p> <p>In the last few columns we've been zoning in on lead-playing and shit so let's get back to doing some hard-driving rhythm work for a while-'cos well-balanced players rip on rhythm as well as leads. </p> <p>As far as I'm concerned, it's no good being able to wail out smokin' leads if your rhythm chops hugg! I've been into playing rhythm from day one, and a lot of that has to do with having a brother who kicks ass on drums. I grew up jamming with Vinnie [Paul, Darrell's brother and Pantera's skin-basher] and he definitely taught me the importance of timing and playing tight-and that, along with some great chops, is what rhythm playing is all about.</p> <p><strong>Percussive Picking</strong></p> <p>In a way, I'm kind of a percussionist when it comes to picking because a lot of my rhythm patterns are almost like drum patterns-take the front of "A New Level" (<em>Vulgar Display Of Power</em>) (Figure 1) which is a hard-driving power groove based on one note, the open low E string (tuned down a whole step to D). </p> <p>I actually came up with the idea for this riff by beating on one of those little crystal glasses with some chop sticks at Benihana's! Most riffs are recognizable by their melody, and the fact that you can immediately identify Figure 1 as being "A New Level" from just its rhythmic pattern shows you how important timing and rhythm is! So, in the case of this riff, the focus is on right-hand chops rather than melody.</p> <p><img src="" /></p> <p><strong>Psychotic Syncopation</strong></p> <p>A lot of Pantera's riffs are tight, syncopated grooves like the one we've just looked at. Check out the riff shown in FIGURE 2, which is the beginning of "Psycho Holiday" (<em>Cowboys From Hell</em>).</p> <p><img src="" /></p> <p>Once again, only one note is being hit (F), but you know exactly what the song is, thanks to the rhythmic pattern being pounded out. Anyway, before we go any further, I guess I should explain what syncopation is all about, just so we're clear.</p> <p>All syncopation means is accenting beats that you don't normally accent. If this sounds complicated, don't wig, just hold tight and we'll clean this scene up. Let's say you're chugging out a simple eighth-note pattern on the open low-E string, like in FIGURE 3a.</p> <p><img src="" /></p> <p>The notes you'd normally accent would be the ones that fall on counts "one," "two," "three" and "four." This is shown in FIGURE 3b(the notes to be accented are indicated by the symbol >). All we have to do to make this basic rhythmic idea syncopated is to accent the notes that fall on the "and" counts instead-the eighth-note up-beats. This is shown in FIGURE 3c.</p> <p>FIGURES 4a + 4b are the same shit, but this time applied to a simple 16th-note groove. FIGURE 4a is the unsyncopated version (accents on "one," "two," "three" and "four") while FIGURE 4b is syncopated (accents NOT on "one," "two," "three" and "four").</p> <p><img src="" /></p> <p>I know these are real basic illustrations, but remember, simple is bad-assed, if done aggressively! So, attack those accents 'cos that's where the magic is! Check out how much more interesting FIGURE 4b sounds compared to FIGURE 4a, which is pretty straight-sounding. And the only difference between 'em is where we've placed the accents. That's the whole trip with syncopation!</p> <p><img src="" /></p> <p>Shit, I'm outta space again. Next time we'll be getting into more power groove stuff, such as picking techniques and muting tricks. Until then, go crank your rig on 12, let it feedback wide open for a good two minutes, freak your neighbors out and ENJOY THE POWER OF THE GUITAR! "Oh, what a feeling," and it ain't no damned Toyota!!</p> <p><em>The "Dimebag Darrell Riffer Madness" DVD is available through Alfred <a href="">here</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="/pantera">Pantera</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/dimebag-darrell">Dimebag Darrell</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Dimebag Darrell Pantera Riffer Madness Blogs News Lessons Magazine Wed, 20 Aug 2014 14:52:31 +0000 Dimebag Darrell Bent Out of Shape: Jake E. Lee-Inspired, Staccato-Style Riffs <!--paging_filter--><p>A couple of weeks ago, <a href="">I showed you how to play a solo I recorded for the new White Wizzard album.</a></p> <p>In that solo, I highlighted a riff/lick where I double-picked each note with palm muting to create a staccato-style effect. </p> <p>The inspiration for this lick came from former Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Jake E. Lee, who used this effect in several Osbourne songs. The pre-chorus and chorus of "Bark at the Moon" use this technique, as well as the main riff from "Waiting for Darkness." </p> <p>For this lesson, I want to explore some more applications of this technique and give you some ideas of how you can use it in your own playing. The technique can be applied to virtually any single-note sequence you can come up with. </p> <p>I find it best to create a simple melodic line and then apply the technique to create a riff or motif. I've found it particularly useful in my solos as a way to create dynamics.</p> <p>To start, here's the lick from my previous lesson. Its just a very simple D minor pentatonic idea, which, combined with the technique, creates a much more memorable passage. This also is a good way to use pentatonics outside of the traditional rock-style licks. </p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src=""></iframe></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/tab1_1.jpg" width="620" height="87" alt="tab1_1.jpg" /></p> <p>Here's a riff inspired by Jake E Lee's "Waiting For Darkness." It features a simple B natural minor melody followed by descending thirds. This is taken from one of my own compositions, where I used it as the main theme within the song.</p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/tab2_1.jpg" width="620" height="65" alt="tab2_1.jpg" /></p> <p>This is similar to the previous idea, but it uses A harmonic minor and a flat 5th to create a darker-style riff. This is taken from another solo I recorded. I was struggling to find something that sounded good over the backing music. There was no chord progression, rather just quick-moving power chords through a harmonic minor/diminished hybrid scale. </p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/tab3_0.jpg" width="620" height="52" alt="tab3_0.jpg" /></p> <p>If you don't like to sweep pick, this technique will allow you to play arpeggios with some speed. My final example features a simple A minor to G major chord progression played as arpeggios across all six strings. This is a great application for this technique. </p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/tab4.jpg" width="620" height="150" alt="tab4.jpg" /></p> <p>Hopefully you can take my examples and come up with your own ideas. It's also worth mentioning Jake E. Lee has a new album coming out sometime soon, which is a much welcomed return to the world of music for the highly influential guitarist. </p> <p><em>Will Wallner is a guitarist from England who now lives in Los Angeles. He recently signed a solo deal with Polish record label Metal Mind Productions for the release of his debut album, which features influential musicians from hard rock and heavy metal. He also is the lead guitarist for White Wizzard (Earache Records) and toured Japan, the US and Canada in 2012. Follow Will on <a href="">Facebook</a> and <a href="">Twitter</a>.</em></p> Bent Out of Shape Jake E. Lee Will Wallner Blogs Lessons Wed, 20 Aug 2014 14:48:47 +0000 Will Wallner What in the World: Fourth-Finger Warmups and Strengthening Exercises <!--paging_filter--><p>The fourth finger is often neglected when it comes to playing guitar. Well, rock/blues guitar, at least. </p> <p>I notice players opt to do wide stretches between their second and third fingers rather than using the fourth. </p> <p>As a result, the fourth finger is very underused and gets weak. </p> <p>This generally begins when someone first starts playing guitar. They gravitate to the stronger fingers so they can begin playing right away, so they use their fourth finger very infrequently and develop a style that excludes it. </p> <p>By strengthening and using your fourth finger, many doors will open for you, playing-wise and eventually, you might even discover it’s even easier to play certain things. Aside from developing your fourth finger’s strength, the exercises below also can serve as efficient warmup exercises.</p> <p>This first exercise is a pentatonic shape, string-skipping lick. If you want to work on hybrid picking, you can pluck the high E string with the middle finger of your right hand. I only covered the first position in the example to show what the pattern is, but you can take this lick up to the 12th fret. You will definitely feel this one after a few frets!</p> <p><strong>Example 1</strong></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/ex%201.jpg" width="620" height="300" alt="ex 1.jpg" /></p> <p>The second exercise is a take on a common chromatic finger exercise, but instead of using the first finger, you will use only the second, third and fourth fingers. The third and fourth fingers will get tired after a while, and the clarity of the notes might start to suffer, so slow it down if that becomes the case. </p> <p>Remember, you always want to practice something and have it sound perfect, so slow it down if necessary. Once again, I only covered the first position in this example, but go up to the 12th fret. The finger pattern for this exercise is: 4 – 3 – 2 – 3</p> <p><strong>Example 2</strong></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/ex%202.jpg" width="620" height="302" alt="ex 2.jpg" /></p> <p>The third exercise might look familiar to those who checked out my “Flight of the Bumblebee” lesson. This exercise is the main theme. It’s a great workout for the fourth finger, since there is a five-fret jump between the first finger and the fourth, followed by a descending line with the 4-3-2 fingers and then the fourth again. I’m showing it in one position, but move this around the neck to work out the different fret spacings. </p> <p>The left hand fingering for this should be:</p> <p>4 – 3 – 2 - 1 – 1 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 – 1 – 2 – 3 – 4</p> <p><strong>Example 3</strong></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/ex%203.jpg" width="400" height="168" alt="ex 3.jpg" /> </p> <p>The final exercise is a hammer-on/pull-off sequence. There are really two exercises in one. The first one works out fingers 1, 3 and 4. The second one works out fingers 1, 2 and 4. Try and work your way up to do each for around a minute, but start off for maybe 10 to 15 seconds at a time. This one will build up a lot of strength in your left hand.</p> <p>Part 1 fingering: 1 – 4 – 1 – 3 – 1. Part 2 fingering: 1 – 4 – 1 – 2 - 1</p> <p><strong>Example 4</strong></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/ex%204.jpg" width="520" height="159" alt="ex 4.jpg" /></p> <p>These exercises/warmups are geared more for endurance as opposed to speed, so there's no need to try and blaze through them. Also, it's generally a good idea to dial in a sound that's not that forgiving, something that will let you hear the flaws and inconsistencies in your playing. Definitely use a dry sound with low gain if you use distortion. Try and be as honest as possible with yourself, and you will see quick results for all of your efforts. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><em>Steve Booke is a composer for film and TV from the New York area. His compositions range from orchestral to metal to world styles from every corner of the planet. A graduate of Berklee College of Music, Steve has played guitar for more than 28 years. He has recorded 10 albums of his own and has played on countless others. He plays gigs in the NY area and tours the East Coast with a variety of bands. He has performed with Ben E. King and members of Mahavishnu Orchestra. He endorses D'Addario/Planet Waves, Larrivee Guitars, Levy's Leathers, Peavey, Stylus Pick, Finale PrintMusic, Pigtronix, Tech 21, Toontrack, Graph Tech, Seymour Duncan, Waves, Studio Devil and L.R. Baggs. His music is available on iTunes and Amazon. Steve is now offering Skype lessons and can be contacted at Visit <a href=""></a> and <a href=""></a>.</em></p> Steve Booke What In the World Videos Blogs Lessons Wed, 20 Aug 2014 14:45:54 +0000 Steve Booke