Warehouse Guitar Speakers (WGS) is now carrying Vaughn Skow Pickups. David from WGS says “Vaughn Skow, a longtime friend of ours, is now producing very fine hand-wound guitar pickups. All his pickup designs harken back to the times when some of the finest electric guitars on earth were made, 1954-1969. What Vaughn has going for him is that he can produce pickups with far more precision than was available to manufacturers in the 50’s and 60’s, while retaining all the mojo those classic pickups have to offer. He uses the finest materials available, and has a very well tuned ear for detail. The pickups sound phenomenal.” You can check out the range here.
Moniker Guitars has launched a new line of customisable basses, and they’re celebrating the launch with a giveaway in association with D’Addario where you can win the bass you design! There are two body shapes available: the Zuma and the Dixie. I’ve taken a bash at a few bass designs here. Try your own! Below is the press release.
PRESS RELEASE: Custom guitar manufacturer Moniker Guitars has made a name for itself by allowing customers to design and purchase Moniker electric guitars online at MonikerGuitars.com. Now Moniker is expanding its offering by adding customizable bass guitars. To celebrate the launch of the bass guitar line, Moniker has teamed up with string manufacturer D’Addario to giveaway a custom bass to one lucky winner who designs a bass at MonikerGuitars.comand shares the design on Twitter. The giveaway kicks off today and runs through October 30th. “A lot of work goes into creating a line of customizable bass guitars. We choose the types of wood, scale length, electronics, pickups and parts. Choosing D’Addario XL strings was easy. American made bass guitars deserve American made strings.” says co-owner Kevin Tully.
By: Robert Cavuoto
When Rob Halford of Judas Priest thanked the crowd at the Izod Center in East Rutherford for allowing the band to make metal music for the last 40 years, he forgot one word; “GREAT.”
Throughout the past four decades, Judas Priest has continually produced GREAT metal songs that will live on well past the band’s career.
With no real number-one songs to mention, the band has managed to influence almost every metal band around the world and inspired countless people to pick up an instrument.
With so many great songs in their armamentarium they would need to put on an 8-hour concert to capture most of them and still people would be upset that something was left off.
Apparently, picking the set list is no easy task Halford told me, “When you have the good fortune to have a long life in rock n’ roll, your material is backing up behind you. You have to get the right balance of songs each night and there are always a handful of songs that you gotta play. Every song is given its moment with its smoke, video, lighting, and costume changes.”
The 90-minute set list was right on tonight and focused heavily on the newest CD, Redeemer of Souls and their 1984 CD, Defenders of the Faith. With great songs like “Dragonaut,” “Halls of Valhalla,” “March of the Dammed,” “Redeemer of Souls,” “Jaw Breaker,” “Love Bites,” and “Defenders of the Faith” how can they go wrong?
Right from their opening song “Dragonaut,” the band had the crowd eating out of their hands. The 63-year-old Halford still his vocal chops and steel belted scream.
I can’t help but think that guitarist Richie Faulkner has ignited a fire in the band that may have been missing in past years from Halford hunched over the microphone stand center stage for most of the show, to now standing tall and jumping around like a boxer warming up for a fight.
On the song “Metal God” he even performed his infamous “Metal Robot Dance.” Perhaps his recovery from back issues was invigorating him in some way, but regardless, stage commaradary and energy is at an all time high.
Guitarists Glenn Tipton and Richie Faulkner also have great on stage chemistry, playing off each other flawless and trading solos. Highlights included the dueling intro lead on “Victim of Changes” and Faulkner’s slick solo at the end of “You Got Another Thing Coming”.
Bassist Ian Hill and drummer Scott Travis laid down the unflinching freight train back beat for the band to unleash their metal vengeance.
Staple songs that brought down the house were; “Breaking the Law,” “Living After Midnight,” and “Hell Bent for Leather” as Halford rode his Harley Davidson motorcycle onto stage.
The anthems where rampant, one after another, with a large video screen showing deadly and cryptic images to visually enhance the songs. Unfortunately, the screens never captured the band’s performances, which might had been disheartening to fans at the back of the venue.
Openers Steel Panther provided their zany comedic antics joined killer riff latent songs like “Pussywhipped,” “Just Like Tiger Woods,” and my favorite “Gloryhole”. Whether you view them as a parody or rock act, they are 100% pure entertainment. These guys truly know how to rock out to great songs while getting a laugh!
Tonight, Judas Priest delivered the goods and Steel Panther partied like there’s no tomorrow; both are carrying the torch for hard rock and heavy metal.
Equipboard.com is a community-built database of artists and the gear they use, it is not only limited to guitarists but obviously this was the area of the site that interested me.
“Launched in late 2013, this growing community of gear-obsessed music fans have already made the connection between 13,147 products and 4,480 artists – everything from Jimi Hendrix’s guitars and amps to Aphex Twin’s arsenal of electronics.”
As an example I chose a guitarist who I know has some pretty impressive vintage gear, Robben Ford:
As you can see you can follow an artist board for more updates, share buttons and some info about the artist’s band history. Below that are a list of guitars that have been added, below is another screen grab taken on my ipad of some of the guitars currently entered into the database:
If you are a logged in member you can also add any missing pieces of the gear puzzle to your favourite artists! Below the guitars are of course amps, effects and other peripherals as you can see in the screenshot below:
As a member you can click on the “save to your list” button under each piece of gear and either choose “I have it”, write a review and choose how many stars out of five to give it, or you can choose “I want it” to add to your equipment board for your profile.
I think Equipboard is a cool idea, it’s a visual wiki of artists and the guitars, amps & effects they have used throughout their career. I think a lot of guitarists will spend a lot of time checking out the gear porn on this site!
Many songs that Corina enjoys singing are Eva Cassidy’s covers. Here we took a run through Time After Time but with a little more rhythm than Eva’s very relaxing version.
The Nature Conservancy in Africa kicked off "20,000 Elephants" on Monday. The goal is to collect 20,000 original images of elephants called elegrams!
Why 20,000? It's one elegram for every elephant being born this year into the worst poaching crisis in history.
As a founding partner of #SaveElephants, we are encouraging every Martin fan to submit an elegram. This is where creativity rules! You can doodle it, paint it, decorate something, almost anything counts! You can then upload it to the elegram gallery by using the hashtag #elegram or uploading it directly to the gallery here.
Recruit your friends and family! Let's collect 20,000 elegrams for those 20,000 baby elephants!
Guitarists today have almost unlimited access to all aspects of playing and learning thanks to online resources. But as with everything you read online, information must be filtered and taken with a very large grain of salt. There are hundreds of sites offering song lyrics, chord sequences, artist overviews and so much more. In most cases you can get at least a basic idea of how to play a song. This is great but always remember the interpretations you find may or may not be accurate. I remember the days a decade or so ago when music publishers were very upset (they probably still are!) that music owned by an artist was becoming available for free and they went to some effort to curb the practice. But they rapidly realized there was really no way to stop file sharing.
My own theory about this is that they also soon realized that some of the information being disseminated was at least partially inaccurate, incomplete or downright incorrect. So perhaps they thought – well, maybe if people really care about getting that song RIGHT, they would be willing to pay for it, so they began licensing sheet music to independent vendors, something that was unheard of when actual printed sheet music was the only way to get the “right” music. I sometimes use some of these services to download sheet music that I print and use with students. It is very helpful and way better than going to a music store in hopes of finding the music. So it’s a win for everyone.
Equipment and gear: I firmly believe that we are in something of a “golden age” of guitars right now. There are dozens of options for the beginner when it comes to buying a new guitar, one that will carry them well into the intermediate level of playing or even beyond. Many of the guitars being made in China are fine instruments. I recently picked up the Sigma line, formerly a subsidiary of Martin but now owned by the parent company of Alvarez. These are absolutely remarkable guitars in every way and quite affordable. Back in the day, the only options for a beginner were some sorry specimens from companies like Stella and Kay and they were mostly junk, almost unplayable in some cases. Now beginners do not need to struggle with brutally high action, terrible intonation and sound that was roughly equivalent to what would be produced by a cigar box with strings.
This I think has pushed the premier American companies into producing even better high end instruments while at the same time making them come up with lower end models that compete quite favorably with the higher end Chinese guitars. Both Martin and Taylor have factories in Mexico that are making some very nice guitars, although in most cases they are made with laminate backs, sides and necks. But add a solid top and close attention to detail, plus the value of having Martin or Taylor names on the headstock and it appears those guitars are selling very well.
Accessories have come a long, long way too. Most younger players cannot imagine being without a digital tuner and as with most electronics these days, the variety is increasing all the time while the cost, accuracy and ease of use has improved radically in the last ten years. My first digital tuner, purchased in the late 1980s if I recall, cost something like $90 and was difficult to use and had suspect accuracy. Now I just clip on my little Snark SN-1 (cost: about $15) and I can quickly tune up, without the need to plug in or try to balance the thing on my knee so the device can “hear” my guitar. It is dead-on accurate and fast. There is no excuse for ANY guitarist to inflict an out-of-tune guitar on his audience anymore!
Capos, strings, straps, humidifiers, picks…. The options are many and all of them can be easily found on hundreds of websites. It’s fun to try out the latest/greatest accessories and I know my own playing is better for trying some of these things.
And finally, the most important aspect of the guitar renaissance is the almost limitless dissemination of information. I look at sites like The Acoustic Guitar Forum and The Unofficial Martin Guitar Forum just about every day and always find something interesting and informative. I don’t always agree with what’s said – welcome to internet forums! – but I’ve been made aware of players, music and equipment I would never have found on my own. Plus, posing a question about things like technique, recording, maintenance/repair or just about anything guitar related will bring almost instant responses.
Yes, we are in a golden age of guitar playing. I can’t wait to see what will come next. I just hope I can keep up!
Peace & good music,
Guitarz readers will know of my fascination for doublenecked guitars. They will also know of my fondness for the absurd, and when it comes to travel guitars what could be more absurd than a doubleneck guitar? This rare Pignose 12+6 Doubleneck Travel Guitar, built solely for the Japanese market, features the now legendary Pignose amp built into the guitar body plus TWO speakers. I admit that I never saw the point of a doubleneck combining 12-string and 6-string necks (realistically, how often would you want to play both on the same song?); as I have commented elsewhere I don't understand why there aren't more bass + guitar doubleneck combinations, or for that matter, doublenecks featuring a pair of six-string necks which would allow for alternative tunings. Despite all that, if you did actually want that 12+6 combination, this Pignose does look like it has a nice compact body and shouldn't be the backbreaker that certain doublenecks are known to be.
G L Wilson
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I’ve reported on these music camps with top guitar players from around the world quite often, it definitely seems like a good source of income for the musicians and amazing experience for the attendees to get up close for a few days with masters of their craft and absorb as much as possible. This is the first acoustic camp I’ve seen and it features some incredible talent, Andy McKee, Antoine Dufour, Stephen Bennett. These guys are true innovators of modern acoustic fingerstyle music.
Internationally renowned master acoustic guitarist Andy McKee has created “Andy McKee’s Musicarium”, his first ever music camp that will take place August 3rd through 7th 2015 at Full Moon Resort in Big Indian, NY in the Catskill Mountains.
The 4-day experience will be an immersion in music, guitar playing and all things creative. Led by Andy with his handpicked guests and instructors including top players like Antoine Dufour, Stephen Bennett and Billy McLaughlin, plus a special appearance by master guitar builder Michael Greenfield, the ‘Musicarium’ will be filled with workshops, breakout sessions, jamming, open mics, concerts, and music in every way, shape or form. Additionally, camp sponsor Ernie Ball will be on hand to help set up participant’s guitars and also give a special presentation on the making of acoustic guitar strings.
Registration for “Andy McKee’s Musicarium” is now open and packages can be purchased at the official website.
As we were talking about songs we might be able to do with minimal research or rehearsal, Corina mentioned she could probably do Yesterday. This is about what it sounded like the first time we tried it, just the day before.
By: Robert Cavuoto
After eight years and three albums, HELLYEAH has released their most powerful and boldest CD yet; Blood on Blood, with Chad Gray on vocals, Vinnie Paul on drums and Tom Maxwell on guitar.
It’s a defining CD in the band’s career as a tumultuous and extensive tour cost them two members prior to its recording.
The band had to redefine their vision and forge ahead as a three piece for most of the writing and all of the recording.
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and the proof is self-evident on Blood on Blood.
Gone is the southern rock vibe and party anthems and in its place more dynamic and multilayered songs that showcase the group’s musical strengths.
From the skull crushing title track, “Blood on Blood”, and “Demons in the Dirt” to the brooding “Hush”, to the sleazy melodic hard rocker, “Black December”, the band delivers the goods, song after song.
I caught up with guitarist Tom Maxwell to talk about how difficult it was too lose two members prior to recording the CD, as well as what the band needed to do to create such a rich and deeply textured metal album!
Robert Cavuoto: What head space were you in knowing that you were making this CD as a three piece?
Tom Maxwell: It was a pretty turbulent time. The last touring cycle was very rough and difficult. The infrastructure of the band was collapsing. We could just see Greg Tibbett and Bob Zilla folding a little bit in their personal lives and becoming detached from the band.
Vinnie was at a point where he couldn’t see us going any further, unless we made changes and parted ways with those dudes. It was a hard pill for Chad Gray to swallow because he had known Greg from Mudvanye for over 16 years.
I had to accept the responsibility and forge ahead for the sake of the band. What that meant was the majority of the song writing for this record fell on me.
The writing was more difficult than the recording, because Greg was living at Vinnie’s house in Dallas and wasn’t participating. It was awkward and weird. Vinnie has bungalows for the band on his property where we all stay. Vinnie and I had a writing schedule that we kept to and who ever showed up, participated. If they didn’t, they didn’t.
In the afternoon we would start writing and go at it all day with writing a song a day or every two days. We just went forward and somehow pulled these songs out of the hat.
It wasn’t until we got to Vegas to record when things fell apart. We sent Greg home. If anything it made the three of us closer. We really weathered the storm.
Robert: What did producer, Kevin Churko bring to the CD? Did he fill in the gap of the missing writing partners?
Tom Maxwell: We provided a solid foundation of songs and he shined them. He had arrangement ideas. The material was kept pretty much as is and he would tweak a little here or there.
Being a self-produced band for so long it’s hard for us to think outside of the box.
He would said, “It is good, but what if we did this.” He and I sat in the studio one day when I was in the mood to write something different. I started writing to a click and built a song which became “Hush.” It took three days to complete and its a real personal song to me and I wasn’t sure what the band would think of it and how it would fit. When Chad put his vocals on it, it became one of my favorite songs.
Robert: The CD has a lot of dramatic musical turns and twists from power metal songs like “Demons in the Dirt” to a moody song like “Hush” and then to melodic hard rock with “Black December.” All slightly different musical textures and styles, yet the CD has a nice flow. Was it intentional to mix things up?
Tom Maxwell: To be honest with you, that’s how I write.
It’s very erratic, but it all comes from the same place. At any moment it can be aggressive energy or a desperate lonely side like with “Moth.” I like those dynamics on the CD with all the peaks and valleys, to take someone on a musical journey without being obvious that you are writing a fast or slow song.
Robert: Speaking of those dynamics, the guitar tones and distortion are varied from song to song, as well.
Tom Maxwell: Yeah, I brought a couple of my Dean guitars for the recording, mainly for soloing.
I was happy with those tones, then my buddy Mike Mushok from Staind, gave me his signature Baritone. I’ve recorded with one of those in the past and I liked the depth it provided. When I plugged it in, it spoke to me. It was the tone I was looking for; thick and fat.
All the overtones were bright and there is no wobble in the tuning. It’s a guitar that I respect, as it demands you to play. It’s not a typical six-string and hard to play.
It’s difficult to drive, so I really had to buckle down and play the shit out of it. I left the guitar in the studio and told him if you have any players that want to try it to go for it. It’s a work out.
I profiled a Kemper amp and used a couple of tones, like an old Marshall, an old Peavey, a 5150, and a Diezel, I just went back and forth to use different elements.
For the solo, I took the Neal Schon approach and write the lead as song within a song. We used a pre-amp and profiled that into the Kemper and then would add or take away from the gain structure.
I didn’t use any pedal. The main distortion that I profile was a Peavey 6534 Plus, so I got a richer tone like an older Marshall. That was the main tone that we used for all the rhythms and I would tweak it here and there. It’s a brutal CD.
Robert: Will you be using a Baritone live?
Tom Maxwell: No, I went out and bought a Kemper for myself and had all the profiles from the CD downloaded. I’ll use the Deans and a Les Paul for “Moth”.
I have an old Deluxe with the P90 DiMarzio. When you use the both pickups in that middle position, it’s just beautiful. It has such a warm lush tone that you can’t get out of any other guitar.
Robert: I really like “Black December” and “Moth” – what can you tell me about them?
Tom Maxwell: “Moth” I wrote in the basement of my house while I was watching my son playing, knowing that I was leaving in three weeks.
I had this real lonely melody in the verse that comes out. It’s an honest reflection of that desperate vulnerability, knowing I was leaving home.
I’m a total homebody and I hate to leave. It’s hard; I have a little boy and we’re super close, leaving him fucking sucks.
With “Black December” that was a riff I wrote about 10 years ago. I recorded it as a demo with a bunch of buddies.
My wife found it and said, “You better revisit it.”
It’s heavy, but it’s got this sexy-sleazy vibe to it. I brought it to the band and kept building on it. Chad wasn’t feeling the original chorus I had for it, so we sat there for what must have been a week restricting it.
I think Chad waited until the very end to do vocals on it because he didn’t know what to do it with it; it became his nemesis [Laughing].
In the end, it turned out great. I like the way Chad played off the whole Christmas thing, where it can be a really dark and depressing time.
It’s like putting a mirror in front of society on that song. Hopefully it will be a single down the road.
For the last couple of months I’ve been messing around with Positive Grid’s BIAS Desktop Amp Matching Modeller and I’m utterly blown away. It’s fast, it’s responsive, it’s punchy, it’s flexible, and it sits in a mix incredibly well. I’ll post my review shortly by in the meantime here’s the press release.
San Diego, CA (Oct 21, 2014) (ictw) — Positive Grid (www.positivegrid.com) proudly announces the launch of BIAS Desktop, a groundbreaking guitar amp modeler with Amp Matching™ technology that offers an entirely new concept of putting any tube amplifier tone and feel into a plug-in (AAX/RTAS/AU/VST) for Mac and PC. BIAS Desktop features the most accurate, thorough and versatile guitar-amp modeler and designer engine, and it can accurately capture the tone of any tube amplifier, users can then share or download amp models from BIAS’s built-in ToneCloud® amp-sharing platform.
“Instead of providing a fixed number of amp models, BIAS Desktop represents an entire new concept on guitar sound: guitar players can now virtually design their own amps, using Amp Matching Technology to capture their golden tube amplifiers,” says BIAS Product Manager Calvin Abel, “and finally they can share or download thousands of amp models on ToneCloud, also we are currently working with worldwide artists and studios to expand this platform.”
The Amp Matching™ in BIAS Desktop utilizes a collection of underlying technologies that analyze and compare a currently designed BIAS amp model with the sound of any tube amp, the corresponding cabinet and microphone. It then executes the tonal compensation and enhancement needed to make this current amp model accurately match the target amplifier. For the first time in history, guitar players are free to design, modify and capture the most unique and individual soul of tone, into the digital domain and keep it ready for studio recording applications.
Built-in with BIAS, ToneCloud allows guitar players to share their custom amp models and download over thousands custom BIAS amps created by other users — including signature recording artists. Guitar players can share and download not just customized amp models only, using Amp Matching, every possible amp tone ever created becomes available. Positive Grid is currently working with worldwide artists and engineers to create professional custom amp models and studio amp matched models to expand this platform.
BIAS comes in two versions: BIAS Desktop ($99.00) includes all amp design modules and access to ToneCloud to download thousands of amp models. BIAS Professional ($199.00) adds Amp Matching Technology, Exclusive Amp Matching Models on ToneCloud, and three Amp Design Expansion Packs (Glassy Pack, Crunch Pack and Insane Pack).
The most complete, accurate, and versatile amp modeling software available in the world
36 HD amp models included with the introductory release
Amp Matching captures any miced amp or recorded track and creates a matched model
Share and download thousands of artist- and user-created and matched amp models on ToneCloud
Fully customizable preamps, tone stacks, power amps, transformers, cabinets and mic selection and placement—mix and match!
Customize the look and feel of your own amp panel; change the name, tolex, panel and knobs.
Works the way guitarists think: tweak gain and overdrive, swap out tubes and transformers, change the cabinet and mic position, and shape the tone with different tone stacks and two 8-band equalizers
Included noise gate and room simulator
Create a virtually unlimited number of custom amps
Quick preset facility recalls each of your 8 favorite settings in turn with just one tap
Mac OS X 10.7 or later.
Supported Plug-in formats: Audio Units, VST, RTAS, AAX (32- and 64-bit).
Windows® 7 (SP1), Windows® 8.
Supported Plug-in formats: VST, RTAS, AAX (32- and 64-bit).
About Positive Grid: Positive Grid focuses on delivering superior and highly creative computer and mobile music experiences. Since 2008, the company has designed and developed a core technology base and is currently expanding it to various applications. Positive Grid’s best-known product range, featuring the BIAS and JamUp guitar software.
Jose Ramirez III, Things about the Guitar, 1990
I didn't get everything done today that I wanted to get done, but I did get started on a few things.
After morning chores, I took the dogs for a walk through our wonderful backyard, which is part of Arapahoe National Forest, and then started making legs for a router table. I have about ten windows (6-9 pane) to make before the end of December and I am not about to plane all the muntins, rails and stiles by hand, I have an expensive router bit for that.
I got the legs glued up, went for a 2.5 mile run and had lunch. The afternoon, I thought, was going to be dedicated to working on a copy of a 1968 Hernandez y Aguado classical guitar, click here for a post on that guitar, I need to thickness the fret board and glue it onto the neck.
First thing I wanted to do was to check to make sure the gluing surface of the neck was still straight, and, as usual, I once again discovered that my 24 inch long Lee Valley straight edge is too long to check the neck. One end of the straight edge ends up on the guitar body which has dome to it so the straight edge won't sit flat. Duh.
The answer was to make a straight edge. If you don't already have Chris Schwarz's article on how to make such a beast, click here and take a gander at how to make a wooden straight edge.
I wanted to use some mahogany that I have, but it isn't quartered well enough. Once again, it was California laurel to the rescue.
The straight edge that I needed most was this one - 16 inches long to check where the fret board will sit. I should have made it 17 to 17 1/2 inches long.
I had a 10 inch piece left over which will be perfect for checking the other side of the neck.
I love California laurel, I wish had some more. It has a wonderful smell, is very easy to work with and makes incredible sounding guitars. I suppose I ought to order a few laurel boards from Gilmer Wood or Northwest Timber.
The fret board will have to wait until next weekend, tomorrow is back to work at my day job.
Here's another YouTube of Leonora Spangenberger.
LOS ANGELES (October 15, 2014) – Through a unique blend of artists and musicians – including Donald Edward Hardy, Brandon Boyd, Thomas Campbell, Johnny Marr and Shawn Stussy – Hurley and Fender will recognize the unparalleled heritage of the world’s most popular guitar on its 60th anniversary. Twenty American-made, hand-painted Stratocaster guitars will be auctioned off to raise money for Waves For Water, which in turn will save lives through water-based initiatives.
STRAT: 60 Years of the Stratocaster is a collaboration between the two unique brands and pays homage to the iconic Fender Stratocaster® guitar as it embarks on its seventh decade of existence. Each Strat® guitar will include individual designs and artwork by a featured artist and will be auctioned on eBay, October 22 through November 1. Proceeds will benefit Waves For Water, an organization that brings access to potable water to nations in need.
A charity art show will take place at Hurley’s headquarters in Orange County on October 24 to bolster the financial efforts of the project, and will be the only exhibit to see the guitars in person before they’re sold via eBay Givingworks.
The featured artists each designed their own unique guitar – the list includes: Shawn Stussy, Don Ed Hardy, Craig Stecyk, Christian Jacobs, Natalia Fabia, Ryan Adams, Johnny Marr, Brandon Boyd, Tommy Guerrero, Ray Barbee, Wes Humpston, Lance Mountain, Tim Armstrong, Tim Biskup, Dan Smith, Albert De Alba, Russell Crotty, Tokyo Hiro, Cryptik and Thomas Campbell.
“Having had a relationship with both Fender and Hurley for years, it seemed natural to bring them together; both are two seminal Southern California brands that have become leaders in world culture,” said Curator and Participating Artist C.R. Stecyk III.
One hundred percent of the proceeds will benefit Waves For Water. To learn more, see the guitars, and place a bid on a one-of-a-kind Stratocaster, visit http://ebay.com/stratauction, and wavesforwater.org.
The post Fender & Hurley collaborate for Waves For Water Auction appeared first on Guitar Noize.