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As I may have mentioned before, when I was in high school I took lessons from former Miles Davis guitarist Dave Creamer. I was getting into arpeggios, and he taught me about intervallic arpeggios. Funny story: When I found these intervallic arpeggios that I had written back in the day, I had sort of forgotten what the definition was. I Googled it and all that came up was “Jason Becker on Intervallic Arpeggios.” This led me to believe that Dave Creamer invented the term. I think the basic idea is that the notes skip around rather than just go up and down.

These days there are a lot of players who do arpeggios the way I started doing them in ’87, which is very flattering. I am totally honored. I sometimes wish I had gotten to expand on those ideas that Dave Creamer, Marty Friedman, and Philip Glass got me started on.

Thinking back, I remember doing a pretty cool intervallic arp on the Cacophony song “E.S.P.” (at 5:30) from the album Go Off! One neat thing I did in that solo was rhythmically pause after the first three notes. That gave it a totally different vibe than if I had just played it straight through. I think that small little solo is uniquely me. I can’t categorize it musically.

E.S.P. - YouTube

I have seen guitarists stress out because they aren’t creating their own style. My advice is to relax, practice, and try making little changes to licks that have been done before. One day something will click in your playing. It is about the journey and love of music. I remember hearing an old bootleg Jimi Hendrix recording, before he was the man. It sounded like Jimi, but the magical mojo wasn’t there yet. It made me remember that it takes a lot of practice and experience before it clicks and you start to become your own musician.

Jason Becker is a composer and guitarist whose work can be heard on his solo albums, and with Cacophony and David Lee Roth. Check out this sexy man’s story in the award-winning documentary Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet.

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Breedlove Guitars: Oregon Series Concerto Bourbon CE 6 & 12-Strings - YouTube

The Allman Betts Band, featuring Devon Allman, son of Gregg Allman, and Duane Betts, son of Dickey Betts, have released their debut album, Down to the River. You can watch the music video for album opener "All Night" above.

The band recorded the LP in November of 2018 in Muscle Shoals, AL at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, working with Grammy Award-winning producer, Matt Ross-Spang. Motivated by classic recording techniques, the band cut the album live using vintage gear, without computers or any digital editing.

The Allman Betts Band are now hitting the road, making stops at performance spaces and festivals all over the world. The forthcoming Summer portion of their tour has a number of highlights, including a handful of dates with John Fogerty in the Northeast, with stops in Providence, RI, Portland, ME, Boston, MA and a performance at Radio City Music Hall in NYC.

"Anytime you get to play with your heroes it's a dream come true, but John Fogerty, that's pretty special. We are beyond honored to share the stage with him on these upcoming dates," says Betts. "As a longtime fan of CCR, I'm so amped up to do some shows with one of the best voices in rock music," adds Allman.

Check out the band's current tour schedule below. To find out more, head over to allmanbettsband.com.

DOWN TO THE RIVER TOUR:
Jul 16, Munich, DE @ Backstage Hall
Jul 17, Luxembourg, LUX @ Rockhal
Jul 23, Cologne, Germany @ Kantine
Jul 24, Amsterdam, NL @ Paradiso
Jul 29, Hamburg, DE @ Markthalle
Jul 30, Berlin, DE @ Lido
Jul 31, Nürnberg, DE @ Hirsch
Aug 9, Providence, RI @ Bold Point Park*
Aug 11, Portland, ME Maine @ Savings Pavilion*
Aug 13, Boston, MA @ Rockland Trust Bank Pavilion*
Aug 15, New York, NY @ Radio City Music Hall*
Aug 29, St. Charles, IL @ The Arcada Theater
Aug 30, Fort Wayne, IN @ Sweetwater Performance Pavilion
Sep 1, Lakeville, PA @ Cove Ent Resorts
Sep 13, Colorado Springs, CO @ Pikes Peak Center
Nov 1, Auburn, AL @ Woltosz Theatre
* with John Fogerty

FESTIVALS
Jul 20, 2019 Maidstone, UK @ Ramblin' Man Fair
Jul 21, Peer, Belgium @ Peer Blues Festival
Jul 25-28, 2019 Scranton, PA @ Peach Music Festival
Jul 25-28, 2019 Breitenbach, GER @ Burg Herzberg festival
Aug 2, Notodden, Norway @ Notodden Blues Festival
Aug 10, 2019 Duluth, MN @ Bayfront Blues Festival
Aug 24, 2019 Arrington, VA @ LOCKN' Festival
Sep 5-8, 2019 Las Vegas, NV @ Big Blues Bender
Sep 14, Telluride, CO @ Blues & Brews Fest

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Breedlove Guitars: Paul Izak "Everlasting Light" with New Companion Guitar - YouTube

Breedlove has unveiled a new travel-ready body shape called Companion. You can watch a demo above, and read a statement from the company below:

Historically, serious guitar players on-the-move have faced a rather tough dilemma; contend with the challenges of traveling with a full-size guitar or settle for a more convenient, smaller instrument with traditionally reduced sound quality — the travel guitar.

The team at Breedlove thinks travel guitars are the bee’s knees. They just hadn’t found one that they’d actually call a guitar. Or, at least sounded the way a guitar should. Until now. Travel guitars, meet your match. Guitar players, meet the Companion.

“The problem in the past,” says Breedlove owner Tom Bedell, “was that the early models were built with different scales. You had to play in different keys, and all that kind of stuff.”

Other builders soon resolved those issues, but often the instruments still seemed lacking. With the recent refinement of Breedlove’s proprietary body shapes, however, Bedell felt it was finally time for Breedlove to tackle the issue of a travel guitar worthy of beginners and professionals alike.

“What we did with the Companion is exactly what we did with the other body shape designs. We took the Concert and we reduced the size to get the Concertina. Then we took the Concertina and we reduced the size to get the Companion,” Bedell says.

He continues, "The Companion has 14 frets to the body, and it's tuned up to E, so you can play it like an absolutely regular guitar. It's small but we used all the same Sound Optimization work to design the shape, the air chamber, the sound hole size, everything. I know this is not the right word, but it's just cute. It's a really cute guitar.”

“This is Breedlove's version of the travel guitar, after all,” says designer Angela Christensen. “It gives you the comfort, the feel, the playability that we're known for, the quality that we're known for, all of what makes Breedlove unique.”

The Companion, which will be introduced at this year’s Summer NAMM show, is a cutaway instrument with onboard electronics, making it useful for virtually any application, including stage work. Christensen continues, “We looked at this as a new opportunity for us to go about making a travel instrument with our Sound Optimization process, to really develop something that is going to be Breedlove. We honed in on the scale length that we wanted, the kind of overall size that we were shooting for, and then from there we really started the design process, again, off of our Concert body shape.”

The Companion, which comes with a carry bag, features a 23.5" scale length, 18 frets total, and a 3.54" sound hole diameter. The body depth is 3.25" at the neck, and four inches at the tail. The lower bout width is 13.5", the upper just under 10" with an 8" waist. The body length is 17.5". The Companion will be available in a variety of wood pairings, including Sitka/mahogany, red cedar/mahogany, myrtle/myrtle, mahogany/mahogany, and torrefied European spruce/African mahogany.

Pursuit Exotic Companion Prairie Burst CE Myrtlewood – Myrtlewood

New for 2019, the Pursuit Exotic Companion CE Prairie Burst Myrtlewood – Myrtlewood acoustic-electric travel guitar represents the amazing tonal balance of myrtlewood, which has a unique voice blending the best of East Indian rosewood and maple with distinct and clear bass, mids and highs. This guitar is alive with a distinct and attractive sound many players on-the-go crave. With a versatile style conducive to strumming and fingerstyle, it’s the perfect professional grade travel-ready instrument for players looking for an all-in-one guitar that can stand out and carry the rhythm or be soft, sweet and nuanced when played fingerstyle. It comes standard with LR Baggs EAS electronics, and with the addition of an ebony fretboard, this cutaway Companion body allows for easy access to the entire fretboard.

Discovery Companion Sitka Spruce – Mahogany

The Discovery Companion Sitka Spruce – Mahogany travel guitars have a versatile style ideal for strumming and rhythm to fingerstyle play. The travel-ready Companion body shape is constructed with a Sitka spruce top and mahogany back and sides for a clean, balanced and superb sounding guitar with a warm midrange tone.

Discovery Companion CE Sitka Spruce – Mahogany

The Discovery Companion CE Sitka Spruce – Mahogany acoustic-electric travel guitars have a versatile style ideal for strumming and rhythm to fingerstyle play. The travel-ready Companion body shape is constructed with a Sitka spruce top and mahogany back and sides for a clean, balanced and superb sounding guitar with a warm midrange tone. The cutaway design gives access to all the frets. The Fishman electronics are dependable and produce pristine sound. 

Discovery Companion CE Mahogany – Mahogany

The Discovery Companion CE Mahogany – Mahogany travel guitars have a versatile style ideal for strumming and rhythm to fingerstyle play. The travel-ready Companion body shape is constructed with a mahogany top, back and sides for a warm, balanced and rich sounding guitar with pronounced midrange tone. The cutaway design gives access to all the frets. The Fishman electronics are dependable and produce pristine sound.

To find out more, head over to breedloveguitars.com.

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Boss SY-1 Synthesizer pedal

Boss has debuted its new SY-1 Synthesizer pedal.

A downsized version of Boss' SY-300, the SY-1 packs in 121 synthesizer sounds, and requires no special pickup, all the while delivering polyphonic tracking for guitarists.

The SY-1 features rhythmic synth patterns, plus lead, pad, organ and bass synth sounds. All can be tweaked via the pedal's tone/rate and depth knobs.

Users can hook up an external footswitch for tap tempo and octave-shift effects, or an external expression pedal for control over rate parameters and tone. A send/return loop to blend other pedals in parallel with the synth voices also comes standard.

The Boss SY-1 Synthesizer pedal will be available later this summer for $199.

For more info on the pedal, head on over to boss.info.

BOSS SY-1 Synthesizer featuring Thomas McRocklin - YouTube
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Selections from the gear collection of Steely Dan's late guitarist, Walter Becker, will go under the hammer in October, it was announced today.

The auction—which will be held by Julien’s Auctions October 18 and October 19 at The Standard Oil Building in Beverly Hills, CA—will feature a number of guitars from Becker's career, including the 1957 Fender Duo Sonic he can be seen playing in the liner notes of Steely Dan's iconic 1977 album, Aja.

The auction lot includes: An original signature model #1 Sadowsky guitar—which went into production while Becker played the prototype extensively on stage; an Excel model archtop guitar, hand built by luthier John D'Angelico; a 1961 Fender Stratocaster electric guitar with a double cutaway alder body, a 1928 Martin 00-size flat top guitar with a mahogany body and neck, and many more.

The lot features hundreds of guitars, effects pedals, amplifiers and other pieces of gear in total.

For more info on the auction, head on over to juliensauctions.com.

Walter Becker's 1957 Fender Duo Sonic
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Steve Morse has defined himself as one of music’s most versatile shredders, not only through his work with Deep Purple but also with the Dixie Dregs and the Steve Morse Band, where he’s demonstrated his talent for crafting inspiring instrumental fusion and rock guitar songs. What does it take to write a successful guitar instrumental? We asked, and he answered.

What about guitar instrumentals appeals to you?

The main thing is that the guitar can control the mood and energy. It’s totally a composed creation mixed with some improvised soloing. Vocals are very expressive, and the guitar can be too when you use a wide range of attack, tone, vibrato, bends and so on.

What can an instrumental provide a listener that a vocal song can’t?

Less repetition, for one thing. In songs, the music often stays the same for three rounds of verses. Instrumentals work better when there’s always something changing, or when you add more parts to them.

How do you start writing one?

I use a combination of experimentation, inspiration and transcribing what’s in my head.

Do you try to retain a typical song structure?

Usually not. I tend to revisit the melody with some changes at the end. That said, the typical song format can work fine if you inculde some changes on each verse.

When it comes to writing guitar melodies, is it useful to study a vocalist’s approach?

I think it’s good to study horn melodies and vocal melodies. Vocalists tend to use many different techniques, and guitarists can always learn from trying to sing a melody.

How do you keep a solo performance interesting over a long stretch?

I use a variety of tones or attack, changing from a mono to a more polyphonic approach, or changing the density of the notes in different sections. I’ll change effects for different parts, too.

Do you ever adopt the approach of “start low and slow, and finish high and fast”?

I wouldn’t say that’s a feature that I always use. However, I have often used the approach of adding more and more melodies as overdubs to the ending section to make the sound more dense.

Do you have any favorite keys or tempos?

Keys? Any that might allow some open strings to be used in voicings of chords. Tempos? No favorites, but sometimes I limit the tempo if it is very technical, of course.

Do you find it easier to write in minor or major keys?

I change to the relative major or minor so much within a song that it doesn’t make much difference. Some of my more metal friends hate that I often use major-key melodies and chords. They sound “too happy.” If anything I play makes somebody happy, I’m fine with that! But seriously, I use major too much to ever be embraced as a legit hard-rock guitarist.

Any favorite modes?

Mixolydian and Dorian seem to come up a lot in my stuff!

What about modulations into new keys?

I always try to do it, because it seems to freshen everything up sonically. It can be very corny, though, if it’s done as a huge deal and uses a big Broadway-style turnaround.

Does the backing band have to work differently than it would on a vocal song?

Yes. For example, the bass often doubles lines or takes over my original riff while I add a melody or harmony.

What are your thoughts on harmonizing?

Don’t just stay with diatonic harmony that follows the exact contour of the melody. Let it take some jumps to 6ths, 5ths, 4ths, as well as the usual 3rds.

What guitar instrumentals have inspired you?

Eric Johnson’s “Cliffs of Dover” and Joe Satriani’s “Satch Boogie” come to mind. My earlier influences were the Allman Brothers’ “Jessica,” Jeff Beck’s “Ain’t Superstitious” and the Ventures’ “Walk Don’t Run.”

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tiaTM, apex™, LID™, and 3D Fit™ Among 64 Audio’s Impressive Technologies Incorporated Into Its Full Line of IEM’s Designed for the PRO/MI Market

VANCOUVER, Wash., July 15, 2019 - 64 Audio, the leader in custom and universal fit in-ear monitors, is proud to announce it will have personnel on-hand to discuss the company’s featured and proprietary in-ear monitor technologies during the 2019 Summer NAMM Show, held in Nashville, Tenn. July 18-20 at the Music City Center, booth # 236.

“We are excited to present and discuss numerous technologies at the 2019 Summer NAMM Show that have allowed 64 Audio’s award-winning IEMs to stand out from the crowd,” Vitaliy Belonozhko, 64 Audio founder and chief sound designer. “2018 saw tremendous growth in many of 64 Audio’s key in-ear monitor product categories, both with new products themselves, as well as updating existing popular products with these new technologies.”

tia is a technology exclusive to 64 Audio that works by eliminating sound-altering tubes and dampers. Sound produced by the tia system is able to disperse freely and effortlessly, yielding an incredibly smooth and musical frequency response. Two major elements of the tia system include the tia high driver and the tia single bore design.

64 Audio’s patent-pending apex™ (Air Pressure Exchange) Technology is a pneumatically interactive vent that dramatically reduces listening fatigue by releasing sound pressure that is inherent in other earphone designs.

LID™ is a technology exclusive to 64 Audio that ensures a consistent frequency response regardless of the source, making it perfect for musicians plugging into a variety of equipment.

3D-Fit™ is 64 Audio’s proprietary 3D printing process that results in a personalized fit not found in any other IEM.

“2019 has seen 64 Audio stay at the forefront of IEM design by continuing to develop innovative technologies that push the boundaries of the experience IEMs can deliver to our professional audio customers,” concluded Belonozhko.

From studio to stage to sophisticated home audio environments, 64 Audio has created the industry’s most innovative universal and custom-built in-ear monitors available to date. Founded by Vitaliy Belonozhko in 2010, a sound engineer who has been working with musicians and production companies for nearly two decades, he discovered the advantages of IEMs over traditional floor “wedges” and recognized that a better solution to in-ear monitoring was needed. Today, 64 Audio supplies products worldwide to some of the best-known musicians, singers, and engineers in the world, as well as discerning audiophiles who demand nothing but the best sound reproduction from their systems. With new and unrivaled technologies such as apex™, LID™, and tia™ and 3D-Fit™, 64 Audio excels in challenging traditional earphone designs to bring-to-market unique and innovative audio products.

For details about these technologies and 64 Audio’s full product line, please visit www.64audio.com.

About 64 Audio

64 Audio was founded by Vitaliy Belonozhko, a sound engineer who has been working with musicians and production companies for nearly two decades. He discovered the advantages of IEMs over traditional floor “wedges” and recognized that a better solution to in-ear monitoring was needed. Today, with a staff of over 70 people and a team of some of the best minds, 64 Audio has become the most innovative in-ear monitor manufacturer in the industry, supplying products worldwide and to some of the best-known bands and engineers in the world. With new and unrivaled technologies such as apex, LID, and tia, 64 Audio excels in challenging traditional earphone designs to bring-to-market unique and innovative audio products.

# # #

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Keeping whammy systems in tune has been an issue since, well, the advent of whammy systems. We all remember how Floyd Rose built an empire with his double-locking solution to the problem, but we also remember how getting Floyded came at a price — namely an invasive mod that changed a guitar’s look and sound. While huge numbers of players jumped on the Floyd bandwagon, others resigned themselves to doing the best they could do with their trem’s tuning anomalies.

Tony Artino has spent decades trying to crack this code, and he thinks he’s done it with his Guitar NutBuster. The device doesn’t require any modifications to your instrument whatsoever. NutBuster doesn’t even come in contact with your guitar — it attaches directly to the strings and floats just behind the nut, where, according to Artino, it delivers “significant control over the most common tuning problems.” That claim got my attention, as did Freddy DeMarco’s video demo on the Guitar NutBuster site.

So how does it work? The majority of trem tuning problems occur at the nut. Due to their differing tensions, the strings pass over the nut at different rates during whammy use. If they get hung up in the nut, they’ll go out of tune to varying degrees.

Enter the NutBuster, a 2.2-ounce, solid tool-steel device with three clamps and six fine tuners. The concept behind it is that, once you’ve clamped the strings behind the nut, you’ve combined their individual tensions into what Artino calls a “collective and unified tension.” This causes the strings to play nice with one another and return more reliably to their equilibrium point.

I tried the Guitar NutBuster on my beloved Super Strat, which has an old floating Floyd Rose bridge but no locking nut. I’ve always been good at keeping this guitar in tune, but checking with a strobe tuner after some radical whammy work proved there was room for improvement. I took off the old strings and, with the NutBuster resting on the fretboard, fed all six new strings through it and got just a bit of tension on them. I then moved the NutBuster up and over the nut, so it was suspended on the strings, just behind the nut but not touching it. Then I went through a normal tuning/string stretching/retuning process and clamped the strings down with the included Allen wrench, which resides right on the magnetized NutBuster top. From there, I used the fine tuners to correct any minor discrepancies from the clamping and was in tune and ready to go.

I performed dive bombs, vibrato yanks, siren noises and other extreme string bends. Then I gave the bar a gentle wiggle (more on that later) and hit a chord. I was in tune. I checked against a tuner and, sure enough, the Guitar NutBuster had done its job. When intonation issues did occur, they were subtle and remedied quickly and easily with the fine tuners. An added benefit was increased sustain and resonance from the mass of the device. (Anyone remember the Groove Tubes Fathead?)

Because the Guitar NutBuster is a noninvasive, nonpermanent mod, there’s no downside to putting one on your guitar. That said, it does take a little getting used to. Though the installation is simple and well explained in the accompanying literature, it needs to be done properly. The fine tuners are close enough to one another to make quick adjustments a little tricky. Getting the system to come back in tune reliably is contingent upon you performing what Guitar NutBuster calls the “tremolo reset action,” a quick downward dip of the bar done prior to the initial tune up and before any retuning. This will be familiar to anyone who plays floating, nonlocking trems. It’s about getting the strings back to the equilibrium point I mentioned above after using the bar. My move is a gentle wiggle above and below pitch, but it shouldn’t matter which move you do, as long as you do it the same way every time. A guitar with a properly slotted nut will come back fairly accurately. A guitar with a NutBuster will come back very accurately.

Guitar NutBuster is an effective means of solving an age-old problem. You can even use it on non-trem and acoustic guitars and benefit from additional sustain and fine-tuning capabilities. Well done!

SPECIFICATIONS

Guitar NutBuster
CONTACT
guitarnutbuster.com
PRICE $174.95

WHAT IT DOES Improves trem tuning stability without requiring a locking system
INSTALLATION No routing, drilling or screws. Attaches directly to the strings and floats just behind the nut

KUDOS Seamless integration. Very effective
CONCERNS Subtle learning curve

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Fishman has announced the appointment of Paul Brunelle as Vice President of Finance.

Andover, MA––Fishman is pleased to announce the appointment of Paul Brunelle as Vice President of Finance.

Paul brings a diverse finance background to Fishman and was most recently the Corporate Controller for the L. S. Starrett Company, a manufacturer of precision measuring tools and equipment and saw products.

Asked about the new appointment, Fishman’s Chief Operating Officer Jason Cambra said, “Paul has the background and experience that we need to manage our financial growth as we continue to invest in new initiatives that will allow us to achieve our goals.”

For more information about Fishman, click to www.fishman.com.

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Blackstar amPlug2 Fly

Blackstar has unveiled its new amPlug2 Fly Headphone guitar amp.

An amPlug version of the company's popular Fly 3, the amPlug2 Fly features three channels—clean, crunch and lead—Blackstar’s ISF control and nine built-in effects, three choruses, three delays and three reverbs. 

The amp is battery-powered, and features a foldable jack plug that fits any guitar body type, and offers up to 17 hours of battery life from a pair of AAs.

The Blackstar amPlug2 Fly Headphone guitar amp is available now for $44.99.

For more info on the amp, head on over to blackstaramps.com.

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