Today, GuitarWorld.com presents the exclusive premiere of "Johnny Guitar," a new song and music video from King's X guitarist Ty Tabor. The track is from Tabor's new solo album, Alien Beans, which will be released January 12 via Rat Pak Records.
“'Johnny Guitar' just kind of came to me," Tabor says. "I originally was just writing fiction, just a story based on real things. Then, as I was writing, it just became real things—it became me. It’s definitely a song that all musicians trying to make it can identify with. You have to be able to deal with rejection to be able to have a chance of making it as an artist. There’s not a choice for me; I have to do this. I'd go crazy if I didn’t do this."
Alien Beans is a double album featuring 10 new studio tracks (including "Johnny Guitar") and a best-of disc with 11 re-mixed/re-mastered tracks—selected by Tabor—from his previous releases. You can see a full track list below.
“I wanted to do a rock album and put some new, heavier stuff together," he says. "Along the way, we decided to remix some of the older stuff and make it a double album. Everything just fits together like it should.
"When it comes to what I write for solo material, I don’t really think about bands or anything like that," Tabor adds. "I just write music that makes me happy, and I’ve ended up with an album I really love."
For more of Tabor's thoughts on the new album, be sure to watch the official trailer below (bottom video).
Alien Beans Track List:
1. Alien Beans
2. Freight Train
3. Johnny Guitar
4. So Here’s to You
5. Back It Down
6. Somebody Lied
7. This Time
8. Heavily Twisted
9. Until This Day Is Done
10. Deeper Place
1. ‘Cause We Believed (Blame It)
2. Free Yourself
4. Senseless Paranoia
5. Money Mouth
6. Fast Asleep
7. Politician’s Creed
9. Bring It on Back
10. Nobody Wins When Nobody Plays
There's no set path for a guitarist to find his own sound. Finding your own signature and take on what has come before will always be a subjective and personal endeavor.
There's no set path for a guitarist to find his own sound.
Finding your own signature and take on what has come before will always be a subjective and personal endeavor.
Here's a short list of things I've managed to learn over the years, things that have helped me develop a sound and style I can call my own.
01. “Work with what you have ...”
In this age where every guitarist seems to have a mammoth pedalboard taking up some serious real estate at their feet, I find many young players feel they must invest a small fortune on pedals and equipment. As long as you have a somewhat decent guitar and amp, you’re ready to start creating.
I’m not dismissing how cool certain pedals can sound and their usefulness in kicking out some killer tones. I’m simply saying that your favorite guitarists will most likely sound like themselves no matter what they might be playing out of. Besides, working with limitations and striving to get past those limitations often will push you to develop in new and interesting ways.
The Beatles recorded Revolver on four tracks. Robert Johnson has nothing but an acoustic guitar and a slide. Their limitations pushed them to develop all sorts of new techniques and sounds.
02. ”It’s OK to show your influences.”
Developing your own sound doesn't necessarily mean you have to come out of left field with something absolutely unheard and new. There are no new emotions. Often, it's a matter of altering what came before just enough so that you can once again tap into that emotion.
Whatever you might be into, there's most assuredly a long chain of guitar players who have helped to shape the way you play. You don't have to forget these guitarists or pretend they don’t exist. It’s a question of putting together your various influences and adding to it. I don’t mind a guitarist who wears his/her influences on his/her sleeve, as long as he or she is adding something to it or changing it in some interesting way—and not simply copying.
03. ”Stay open wide and ready to receive.”
Not to get too deep, but creativity and the act of creation continually blow my mind. In some ways, it's the very apex of humanity and being human. Whether you are a physicist or a guitarist, the great ideas (or riffs) often seem to drop out of the sky.
Many times it seems to be more a matter of being open and ready to receive the ideas that come than a forcible act of creation. Jump up and take advantage of these inspired ideas when they come. Keith Richards woke in the middle of the night with the opening riff of “Satisfaction” running through his head. He promptly sat up and recorded it before falling back to sleep.
04. ”If it sounds good to you, go with it.”
If what you're playing sounds powerful and you're exciting to be playing it, then that's what you should be playing. Don’t worry about what anyone else is doing. You have to be your first fan. Basing your playing on what you think other people like misses the whole point and more importantly, it isn’t very fun.
05. ”Play as much as possible.”
This one is a “no-brainer,” but there's simply no way around putting in the playing time. Spend time playing by yourself and playing with anyone around who wants to jam. It’s important to do both. Learn your favorite songs, try writing some of your own, or just noodle around on the guitar while you're hanging on the couch. It will help. The more you play and mess with different ideas and styles, the more you'll start to carve out a niche for yourself.
Intervals are simple, useful and helpful bits of knowledge. They’re a priceless musical commodity, being one of the most fundamental and applicable building blocks of scales and lead sequences. Yet, despite the simplicity, the related theory can get fairly involved.
Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness. — Maya Angelou
Intervals are simple, useful and helpful bits of knowledge.
They’re a priceless musical commodity, being one of the most fundamental and applicable building blocks of scales and lead sequences.
Yet, despite the simplicity, the related theory can get fairly involved. In fact, much of it is outside the scope my own guitar playing. Therefore, I don't need to know it all.
So this guitar interval lesson is limited to information I’ve found to be the most useful and relevant to my instrument of choice. In other words, it’s just what you need to know and nothing more. Note that this is an abridged version of a larger lesson. You can check out the full article on Guitar Chalk and download the PDF lesson outline.
On guitar, it's simply space between any two notes on the fretboard.
Take for example, the following tabbed interval:
Both notes are separated by two semitones (also called a “half step” or one-fret jump), which are equal to a whole tone or “whole step.” But what if the two notes don’t occur on the same string? Consider the following:
How does this work? Even on different strings there's still a linear line of frets separating any two notes. We still count it the same way. More on this later.
What Are the Parts of an Interval?
An interval on the guitar is only two parts: 1. The Root Note 2. The Interval(s) Intervals are always understood in relation to some root note. For instance, the open G in a C chord is not the interval of the note that falls on the second or first fret in the same chord. Rather it’s the interval of the C that falls on the fifth string at the third fret. Why? Because that C note is the chord’s root.
A Guitar Interval Chart
There are a total of 11 different intervals before you get to your first octave, which doubles the frequency of the original note. Therefore each interval should have a “Number of Frets” and an “Interval Quality.” You’ll identify intervals by associating the number of frets with the corresponding interval quality and vice-versa. Here’s a chart displaying this information for all 12 intervals:
So how do we read this chart and translate it to the fretboard? Let’s start with something simple.
You’re in music class and the teacher wants you to draw minor second interval in guitar tab form. What do you do? First, recall from our chart that a minor second is a one semitone interval. That means you’ll have a note that falls one semitone from its root. Since you can choose the root, you’ve got plenty of options. Here’s one:
The root note is at the third fret (G) while the interval falls on the fourth fret.
What About a Major Second?
To create a major second, we refer back to our chart, again, which tells us there are two semitones separating our interval and root note. You're probably beginning to see a pattern. Behold, our major second:
You can continue through the chart in a similar manner.
The Major Third: Notes on Two Different Strings
What’s happening when we have intervals with notes on two different strings? We mentioned earlier that the same principles apply. Using the major third interval as an example, let's draw one up on a tab sheet with the two notes on separate strings.
What do we do first?
Per the chart, there are four semitones separating the interval from the root note in a major third. So this tab would qualify:
However, it’s problematic. The jump from the third to the seventh fret is doable, but lengthy and inefficient. There's a better way to play it. Per the fretboard notes, we know the note at the seventh fret is a B. To get a more optimal interval, simply find another B note on the fifth string that's closer to our root.
The note we’re looking for is at the second fret (in red). Any B note on any other string will qualify as a major third interval of the root G. For example, the following note is also a B:
Despite being an octave higher, the interval property doesn’t change.
What About the Perfect Fifth?
“Perfect fifth” might be a familiar term to you. If so, that’s good news since it’s one of the most important intervals you can learn. Think two-note power chord:
Power Arpeggio Form
Power Chord Form
We have our interval note (D) seven semitones above the root (G). The seven-semitone spread gives us the perfect fifth.
This might seem like a lot to digest for such a simple topic. But keep mind, it's not even close to a comprehensive look at intervals, in a music theory sense. It's just enough for us guitar players to be dangerous. So best of luck to you and be sure to keep learning.
You can print this lesson out or download the Guitar Intervals PDF Outline for teaching it yourself or quick review. Questions or thoughts? Shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can get in touch with us over at Facebook and Twitter.
I guess you could say this about a lot of songs—but almost nothing screams "Eighties" like the opening guitar lick to Billy Idol's "Rebel Yell." The song, which was written by Idol and his longtime guitarist, Steve Stevens, actually charted twice—once in 1983 and again in 1985.
In late 2014, Stevens got together with TC Electronic to spill the beans about the lick's bluesy roots—and to show you how to play it correctly (1:27). In the clip, he also runs through his verse (2:30) and bridge (3:48) guitar parts. Back in the day, listeners thought Stevens' opening riff was actually a mix of guitar and keyboards—but it's all Stevens.
Below (bottom video), be sure to check out another gem from late 2014—a stripped-down but very exciting and emotional acoustic rendition of "Rebel Yell" as performed by Idol and Stevens at the CBGB Music & Film Festival in New York City.
We’ve all heard time-worn advice about the dos and don’ts of learning to play guitar. How much of what we’ve been told is valid, and how much is pure bunk?
We’ve all heard time-worn advice about the dos and don’ts of learning to play guitar.
How much of what we’ve been told is valid, and how much is pure bunk?
The answers might depend on your personal experience. For example, some guitarists will swear that they would be inferior players had they not started out on acoustic rather than electric guitar. Others will tell you they weren’t able to excel until they switched from acoustic to electric.
U.K. guitar instructor Rob Chapman has walked his way around this and other pieces of guitaristic advice for some time now, and he has some pretty solid ideas about what it takes to succeed on the instrument.
In the video below, he’s assembled a list of the top five myths he’s heard about learning to play guitar. Rob walks you through each of his points and offers his rationale for why this advice is, in his view, a load of rubbish.
The myths he dissects are:
1. You should always start out learning on an acoustic guitar, preferably a classical. (0:32)
2. To practice electric guitar, you need an amp. (1:46)
3. You should always start out playing an affordable guitar. (2:44)
4. You should start out playing on thin strings because they’re much easier to play. (5:12)
5. You should learn to read and write music if you want to play guitar. (6:29)
Check out his complete comments for each in the video below, using the time code indications we’ve provided to locate the section.
When you’re done, head over to Rob’s YouTube channel to watch more of his videos.
Last month I demonstrated how to expand the range of a sweep-picked arpeggio by adding a fretboard tap above the highest note.
This month, I’d like to show you how to use arpeggio sweeps, with and without taps, to melodically outline, or describe, a chord progression. Just because I show you a run in one key and fretboard location it doesn’t mean that that’s the only place to play it.
When you practice any sweep-picked arpeggio, once you have the fingering and shape down, you’ll want to begin moving it around the neck to other positions and keys. By doing this with the various major, minor and other shapes I’ve shown you, you’ll be able to apply the technique to changing chords in a progression.
In FIGURE 1, I outline a Dm-C-Bb-A-Dm chord progression using a series of sweep-picked arpeggios with taps added. The notes of each arpeggio are sounded in ascending and descending order and are performed in a continuous sextuplet rhythm (six evenly spaced notes per beat).
As I initially move from the A string to the high E, the pick is dragged across the strings in a single downstroke, followed by hammer-on, tap and double pull-off on the high E string, which begins the descent. The final three notes of each bar are played by dragging the pick across the B, G and D strings in a single upstroke.
I play the ascending and descending Dm arpeggio twice then shift down two frets to sound the notes of a C major arpeggio. Notice that the shape is altered slightly to accommodate the change from minor to major. I then move this same major shape down two frets to Bb, and then one more fret to A. The entire phrase then resolves satisfyingly with a return to the initial Dm arpeggio. For reference, FIGURE 2 illustrates the Dm-C-Bb-A chord progression from FIGURE 1.
In bar 1 of FIGURE 3, I demonstrate the Dm sweep without the tap added on top, using a quintuplet rhythm (five evenly spaced notes per beat). Practice this arpeggio in ascending and descending manner until all the notes sound crystal clear and you get the rhythm flowing. In bar 2, for the sake of comparison, I restore the tapped high D note from FIGURE 1, with the added hammer-on and pull-off, using the slightly faster sextuplet rhythm.
Now let’s try applying sweep arpeggios to a more complex and unusual chord progression. FIGURE 4 is a five-bar run that features a steady flow of sextuplet arpeggios that melodically outline quickly changing chords, with a few surprise modulations to unexpected tonal centers. The entire figure is performed on the top three strings. While playing through this figure, notice the similarity between the arpeggio shapes, such as the symmetrical shapes used for the 7b9 arpeggios, which can be moved up or down three frets to outline the very same chord.
Former Pantera bassist Rex Brown has premiered the music video for his song, "FaultLine."
The video for the Smoke on This track shows Brown, his band and his crew setting up for a performance. You can watch it above.
“Sometimes you’ve got to go backward to go forward,” Brown told Guitar World this summer regarding Smoke on This. “You don’t want to sound like those old bands, but by god those are your influences.”
“Anybody that’s going to listen to this record thinking it’s a Pantera record, just don’t bother. It’s not. And it doesn’t sound like Down or like Kill Devil Hill,” he said. “If you’re a musician and you’re not stretching your boundaries, if you haven’t found that 13th note even though there’s 12, then you ain’t looking, Jack. That’s all there is to it! Any respected artist that’s been as successful as I have that ain’t looking for that 13th note is either dead or they’re fucking stupid.”
To read our full interview with Brown from the July 2017 issue, look no further.
Known for his killer speed and awesome technical ability demonstrated in Mr. Big and beyond, Paul Gilbert and DiMarzio are proud to announce the new PG-13 Mini Humbuckers. Check them out in the video below.
According to DiMarzio, the tone of a mini humbucker falls somewhere between a full-sized humbucker and a single-coil, and the main characteristic of these pickups is clarity. “It still has the beef; it’s not harsh. I just plugged it in, played it, and went, ‘Oh, this is good,’” Gilbert says.
If you’re wondering how mini humbuckers compare to full-sized humbuckers, they’re smaller, and have a distinctive sound. They sense a narrower length of string vibration, and that reduces lower harmonics for clearer, brighter tones.
Being on the road with Mr. Big can be challenging when it comes to tones because there are so many different styles the band plays, whether it be acoustic ballads or heavier, bluesy material. Gilbert needs a pickup that allows him to achieve all of the sounds.
The PG-13 Bridge Model has a good balance of clarity, chime, and fullness, and it’s never harsh. Cranked up through a loud amp, it’s still full and produces nice harmonics. Power chords have impact and crunch, yet they’re still friendly.
The PG-13 Neck Model is slightly fatter and creamier than the Bridge model, making it great for jazz and blues solos. Plus, its lower output and smaller size help keep it from getting muddy.
Check out the video below to hear the humbuckers in action, and for more, visit dimarzio.com.
Guitar Workshop Plus has announced its 2018 schedule and early registration discounts. Confirmed session dates are as follows:
San Diego, CA Session: June 17 - 22, 2018
Nashville, TN Session: July 15 - 20, 2018
Toronto, ON Session: July 23 – 28, 2018
Seattle, WA Session: August 19 – 24, 2018
Now in its 17th year, Guitar Workshop Plus—the premier summer music education program in North America—has announced 2018 dates, locations, and some limited time registration incentives including discounts and gear giveaways.
After expanding last year to add another location, Guitar Workshop Plus had a successful season and is returning to all locations in 2018. Of the company’s recent expansion and new locations, GWP Director Brian Murray said, “We are happy to be returning to all these great cities and offer attendees outstanding music facilities and learning environments at all of our locations. Our new facilities in San Diego overlook the ocean, Nashville is a music lover’s dream, and Toronto and Seattle are both world class cities with vibrant music scenes so we couldn’t be happier.”
He continues, “All of the locations offer fantastic modern facilities including spacious classrooms, performance theatre, practice room units, accommodations, dining facilities, and more. We have a pretty unique niche that offers people the opportunity to learn from and play with top ranked faculty and their musical heroes. Therefore, it’s important to have great locations and facilities to provide that ultimate experience that people have come to expect from us.”
In addition to an outstanding faculty roster of first call musicians and teachers, the list of artists who have worked with the administration is truly astounding. Joe Satriani, Alex Lifeson (Rush), Robben Ford, John Scofield, Steve Vai, Rik Emmett, Randy Bachman, Paul Gilbert, Andy Summers (The Police), Billy Sheehan, Pierre Bensusan, John Petrucci (Dream Theater), Orianthi, John Abercrombie, Duke Robillard, Tommy Emmanuel, John Knowles, John Jorgenson, Victor Wooten, Jennifer Batten, Tosin Abasi, Guthrie Govan, and Stu Hamm are just a few of the world class artists on this list.
Designed for aspiring musicians of all ages including teenagers, adult hobbyists, students pursuing music careers, semi-professional and professional musicians, the program offers students a unique setting for intense musical and personal growth. As well, this program allows for group development (entire bands will sometimes attend) and the family experience (father and son, mother and daughter, brothers and sisters, etc.). The program provides students with the opportunity to study multiple styles, courses, and levels with some of the industry’s leading musicians.
Having enjoyed the experience of a lifetime, students leave each session with enough material to work on until the following year. By directing instruction to the student’s personal style, level of experience, and musical goals, the program creates a healthy, non-competitive environment in which to learn.
Courses are offered for all levels (beginner to advanced), ages (12 through adult), and styles including blues, jazz, rock, acoustic, and classical. The intensive bass, drum, keyboard, vocal, and songwriting courses cover many styles and afford students with many rhythm section and ensemble performance opportunities. Each day consists of morning and afternoon classes that involve a hands-on approach, late afternoon clinics (songwriting, improvisation, vocal, etc.), ensemble performances, and evening concerts.
To register or find out more, visit guitarworkshopplus.com.
The minor scale is the most commonly used scale in metal. This month, I’d like to detail the most prevalent minor scales in metal: natural minor (also known as the Aeolian mode), the Dorian mode, the Phrygian mode and the harmonic minor scale.
The minor scale is the most commonly used scale in metal. This month, I’d like to detail the most prevalent minor scales in metal: natural minor (also known as the Aeolian mode), the Dorian mode, the Phrygian mode and the harmonic minor scale.
To begin, let’s play each of these scales in the key of E, starting with E natural minor. FIGURE 1a shows this scale played in one octave, starting from the open low E string and staying on the bottom two strings. You can see the symmetry in the fingering pattern, as the second, third and fifth frets are played on both the low E and A strings.
The same type of symmetry occurs in the second octave, as shown in FIGURE 1b, as well as in the third octave (see FIGURE 1c). FIGURE 2 shows E natural minor played across three octaves. Another essential minor scale is the Dorian mode.
FIGURE 3 illustrates this scale in three octaves. Be aware that, as compared to natural minor, there is only one note that is different in Dorian: the sixth scale degree. In natural minor, the sixth is minor, or “flatted,” whereas in Dorian, the sixth is major, or “natural.”
The Phrygian mode, shown in FIGURE 4, sounds slightly darker than natural minor and Dorian minor. The intervallic structure of Phrygian is almost identical to natural minor, with the exception of the second scale degree, which in Phrygian is minor, or “flatted”—F in the key of E, as opposed to the major second, F#, present in natural minor. The Phrygian mode can be used to play long runs of symmetrical licks across all six strings.
As shown in FIGURE 5, I can play fast triplet figures articulated with pull-offs on every string and create a seamless sound while moving down through three octaves. Also essential to metal guitar is the harmonic minor scale, shown in the key of E in FIGURES 6a and 6b. Harmonic minor is also very similar to natural minor, with the exception of the seventh scale degree.
In harmonic minor, there is a major, or “natural,” seventh, which in the key of E would be D#. Harmonic minor is a great scale for heavy single-note licks, as demonstrated in FIGURE 7. A great twist is to play double-stops, or two-note figures, against the open low E pedal, as I do in FIGURE 8, something heard often in the music of In Flames and At the Gates.
Brooklyn singer/songwriter Jeremy Bass is currently prepping the release of his newest album, The Greatest Fire. Today, GuitarWorld.com presents the exclusive premiere of the album's title track. You can listen to it above.
"I wrote this tune in the turmoil leading into the election season. I wish I could say it was about Trump himself, but it's almost better that it's more about a state of mind that if felt like our entire culture was sinking into," Bass said of the song.
"Lies, deception, sugar-coating truths, hiding behind labels and names and rhetoric. The fact that politicians can still be so brazen to lie directly to their citizens' faces when we know they're lying in the first place, it creates a cyclical pattern where the value of words and the truth itself is distorted and degraded."
"I was sick of it," he continued, "and felt that so much effort, so much trying to uncover whatever the truth was supposed to mean was sapping my strength and the will to live and create which, moreso over any political moment or discovery, is where I feel the marrow of life is. And I felt distracted, like I was avoiding facing my own fears and anxieties by becoming wrapped up in the fears and anxieties of culture at large, which wasn't going to help anyone, least of all me."
"So this was an attempt to get back to that place, to tell all the negative chatter and destructive energy to go to hell, to face my own fears and desires that were burning inside of me."
The Greatest Fire is set for a January 19 release via Jungle Strut Music.
For more on Bass, follow along on Facebook.
It's not exactly a controversy on the level of Brian Williams' fibbing he was shot down in a helicopter over Iraq, but for some guitarists, the giddy thrill of determining exactly who played the solos on Aerosmith's 1974 version of "Train Kept A Rollin’" has kept band, bar and tour-bus arguments rocking for some time—even as clues exist on Wikipedia and elsewhere.
Hopefully, you did not have your money on Aerosmith guitarists Joe Perry and Brad Whitford.
Karen Ann Hunter recently let the riffs out of the bag once and for all in a recent Detroitrocknrollmagazine.com article that revealed that the "usual suspects"—session greats Steve Hunter and Dick Wagner—took those incredible solos on the track. Karen should know, as she is Steve's wife. (Check out the Detroit Rock N Roll Magazine piece here.)
The story goes that Jack Douglas, co-producer of Get Your Wings, the Aerosmith album on which the track appeared, found Hunter outside the Record Plant Studios taking a break from another session and dragged him into Aerosmith's room.
"Aerosmith was in Studio C, and I was doing work with [producer] Bob Ezrin in Studio A," recalled Steve Hunter. "I had a long wait between dubs, and I was waiting in the lobby. Jack popped his head out of Studio C and asked 'Hey, do you feel like playing?' I said, 'Sure,' and I grabbed my guitar and went in. I had two run-throughs, and then Jack said, 'Great—that's it!' That turned out to be the opening solo on 'Train Kept A Rollin'.'"
Steve believes he used his 1959 Les Paul Special for the track. "I got paid about $750 for doing it," he said.
At the time, Hunter was unaware that Douglas had also brought in his session mate Dick Wagner to solo over the song's "simulated" live section that occurs later on.
As was the case back in the days when session musicians often "ghosted" parts thought to be played by band members, neither Hunter nor Wagner were given credit on Get Your Wings. But now, if you want to challenge a fervent Perry or Whitford fan to a "bar bet" about who played the solos on "Train Kept A Rollin'," you can use Hunter's statement (above) to win yourself a few beers. Go get 'em!