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Frank Zappa's Full Three-Night Stand at the Roxy Captured on New Box Set

Fri, 12/15/2017 - 13:49

In December 1973, Frank Zappa & the Mothers performed five concerts across three nights at the Roxy Theatre on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood. Though portions of the recordings taken from these performances have been released in a couple of forms over the years—primarily in 1974's Roxy and Elsewhere and 2014's Roxy by Proxy—they have never been released in their entirety, until now that is.

The Roxy Performances—a seven-disc set capturing the performances in their entirety, in addition to recordings taken from rehearsals and soundchecks prior to the shows—will be released February 2, via Zappa Records/Ume.

The band's lineup at the time of the performance was comprised of Zappa, keyboardist George Duke, bassist Tom Fowler, trombonist Bruce Fowler, tenor saxophonist and vocalist Napoleon Murphy Brock, percussionist Ruth Underwood and drummers Ralph Humphrey and Chester Thompson. During the performances, the band mostly played material 1969 and beyond, including cuts from Uncle Meat, Hot Rats, Waka/Jawaka and Over-Nite Sensation. You can check out the full tracklist below.

“This is one of my favorite FZ line-ups ever. This box contains some of the best nights of music Los Angeles has ever seen with their ears at an historic venue," Ahmet Zappa—who co-produced the collection along with Travers—said in a press release. “Hold on to your hotdogs people. This box is the be-all-end-all. This is it. This is all of it. It’s time to get your rocks off for the Roxy.”

You can preorder The Roxy Performances here.


12-9-73 Show 1

1. Sunday Show 1 Start 4:59

2. Cosmik Debris 11:33

3. “We’re Makin’ A Movie” 3:16

4. Pygmy Twylyte 9:08

5. The Idiot Bastard Son 2:19

6. Cheepnis 3:44

7. Hollywood Perverts 1:07

8. Penguin In Bondage 5:54

9. T’Mershi Duween 1:56

10. The Dog Breath Variations 1:44

11. Uncle Meat 2:29

12. RDNZL 5:14

13. Montana 7:49

14. Dupree’s Paradise 15:25

TT: 76:43


1. Dickie’s Such An Asshole 10:29

12-9-73 Show 2

2. Sunday Show 2 Start 4:08

3. Inca Roads 8:27

4. Village Of The Sun 4:19

5. Echidna’s Arf (Of You) 4:01

6. Don’t You Ever Wash That Thing? 13:22

7. Slime Intro :59

8. I’m The Slime 3:34

9. Big Swifty 9:01

TT: 58:25


1. Tango #1 Intro 3:50

2. Be-Bop Tango

(Of The Old Jazzmen’s Church) 18:12

3. Medley:

King Kong

Chunga’s Revenge

Son Of Mr. Green Genes 9:46

12-10-73 Show 1

4. Monday Show 1 Start 5:31

5. Montana 6:57

6. Dupree’s Paradise 21:26

7. Cosmik Intro 1:05

8. Cosmik Debris 8:05

TT: 74:57


1. Bondage Intro 1:52

2. Penguin In Bondage 6:54

3. T’Mershi Duween 1:52

4. The Dog Breath Variations 1:48

5. Uncle Meat 2:29

6. RDNZL 4:59

7. Audience Participation - RDNZL 3:08

8. Pygmy Twylyte 4:05

9. The Idiot Bastard Son 2:21

10. Cheepnis 4:49

11. Dickie’s Such An Asshole 10:21

12-10-73 Show 2

12. Monday Show 2 Start 5:13

13. Penguin In Bondage 6:33

14. T’Mershi Duween 1:52

15. The Dog Breath Variations 1:46

16. Uncle Meat 2:28

17. RDNZL 5:11

TT: 67:50


1. Village Of The Sun 4:05

2. Echidna’s Arf (Of You) 3:54

3. Don’t You Ever Wash That Thing? 6:56

4. Cheepnis - Percussion 4:08

5. “I Love Monster Movies” 2:10

6. Cheepnis 3:35

7. “Turn The Light Off”/Pamela’s Intro 3:59

8. Pygmy Twylyte 7:23

9. The Idiot Bastard Son 2:22

10. Tango #2 Intro 2:01

11. Be-Bop Tango

(Of The Old Jazzmen’s Church) 22:08

TT: 62:46


1. Dickie’s Such An Asshole 15:39

Bonus Section: 12-10-73 Roxy Rehearsal

2. Big Swifty - In Rehearsal 2:50

3. Village Of The Sun 3:13

4. Farther O’Blivion - In Rehearsal 5:34

5. Pygmy Twylyte 6:17

Unreleased Track

6. That Arrogant Dick Nixon 2:19

12-12-73 Bolic Studios Recording Session

7. Kung Fu - In Session 4:50

8. Kung Fu - with guitar overdub 1:17

9. Tuning and Studio Chatter 3:38

10. Echidna’s Arf (Of You) - In Session 1:22

11. Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow - In Session 9:49

12. Nanook Rubs It - In Session 5:41

13. St. Alfonzo’s Pancake Breakfast - In Session 2:46

14. Father O’Blivion - In Session 2:31

15. Rollo (Be-Bop Version) 2:36

TT: 70:31


12-8-73 Sound Check/Film Shoot

1. Saturday Show Start 2:20

2. Pygmy Twylyte/Dummy Up 20:25

3. Pygmy Twylyte - Part II 14:25

4. Echidna’s Arf (Of You) 3:42

5. Don’t You Ever Wash That Thing? 6:01

6. Orgy, Orgy 3:39

7. Penguin In Bondage 6:30

8. T’Mershi Duween 1:53

9. The Dog Breath Variations 1:45

10. Uncle Meat/Show End 4:01

TT: 64:46

Categories: General Interest

Forgotten Guitar: Danny Gatton Performs on 'Nightwatch' in 1989

Fri, 12/15/2017 - 12:33

Danny Gatton. who was born in Washington, D.C., September 4, 1945, began his career playing in bands while still a teenager.

Danny Gatton. who was born in Washington, D.C., September 4, 1945, began his career playing in bands while still a teenager.

He began to attract wider interest in the D.C. area during the late Seventies and Eighties, both as a solo performer and with his Redneck Jazz Explosion.

He also backed Robert Gordon and Roger Miller. He contributed a cover of "Apricot Brandy," a song by Elektra Records supergroup Rhinoceros, to the 1990 compilation album Rubáiyát.

Gatton’s playing combined musical styles such as jazz, blues and rockabilly in an innovative fashion, and he was known by some as the Telemaster. He was also called the world’s greatest unknown guitarist, and the Humbler, based on his ability to out-play anyone willing to go against him in “head-cutting” jam sessions.

His skills were most appreciated by his peers such as Eric Clapton, Willie Nelson, Steve Earle and his childhood idol, Les Paul. However, he never achieved the commercial success his talent arguably deserved. His album 88 Elmira Street was nominated for a Grammy 1990 for the track “Elmira Street Boogie” in the category Best Rock Instrumental Performance, but the award went to Eric Johnson for “Cliffs of Dover."

Check out the video clip below for his appearance on the TV show Nightwatch, where he gives some interesting insight into his career at that point, as well as an excellent performance to close the show.

Jonathan Graham is an ACM UK graduate based in London studying under the likes of Guthrie Govan and Pete Friesen. He is the creator of, a classic-guitar media website, and is completing his debut album, Protagonist, due for release in 2016. Updates also can be found at Graham's YouTube channel.

Categories: General Interest

10 Great Songs Over 10 Minutes Long

Fri, 12/15/2017 - 11:10

Guns N' Roses — "Coma" (10:16)

When Guitar World asked new Guns N' Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke which song in the band's back catalog was the toughest to learn, he answered with no hesitation, "Without a doubt, 'Coma.' I still don't know it. It's like this 15- or 20-minute song with no repeats."

On a pair of albums with no shortage of long, challenging songs, "Coma" stands out as perhaps the most challenging and definitely the longest. While the live version could peak at nearly 20 minutes in length, the studio version came in at just over 10, plenty of time for Axl, Slash and Co. to pack in everything but the kitchen sink — and that includes a defibrillator.

As Gilby implied, "Coma" lacks any semblance of a definable chorus, all the more fitting for a song that sees the band taking listeners on a visceral journey through the mind of a coma patient.

Oh, and when we asked Gilby what his favorite Guns N' Roses song to play was, he said, "Oddly enough, 'Coma.' I really love playing it because it's different every time."

Iron Maiden — "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" (13:43)

The list of bands that could write a 13-plus-minute song based on an 18th-century poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and make it rock is pretty short, and the only one ballsy enough to try it — and succeed — was Iron Maiden.

The band's longest and perhaps most-ambitious undertaking to date, Maiden's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" closes out Powerslave with a re-telling of Coleridge's epic tale of a maritime curse, which includes a pretty grim scene of a sailor stuck at sea with the corpses of his shipmates for a week after he allegedly brings a hex upon the ship for killing an albatross.

The track put an exclamation point on the classic Maiden era, serving as a fitting bookend to an astounding trio of albums that also includes The Number of the Beast and Piece of Mind.

Led Zeppelin — "Achilles Last Stand" (10:25)

Listening to the pummeling, proto-Maiden gallop of "Achilles Last Stand," you'd never know the song was written during one of the darker points in Led Zeppelin history.

Most of Presence was written and recorded while singer Robert Plant was in convalescent period after suffering serious injuries in a car crash in late summer of 1975. Despite all the trials and tribulations — which included Plant being wheelchair-bound for most of the rehearsals and recording sessions — the band miraculously recorded Presence in just 18 days.

Plant would later say that "Achilles Last Stand" and "Candy Store Rock" were the album's saving grace, thanks to "the rhythm section, on that it was so inspired."

Indeed the track is a testament to the raw power of Zeppelin's dynamic rhythm duo, with John Paul Jones holding down the galloping rhythm while Bonzo pounded away in furious fashion.

While the track and the album are often looked over by casual fans, Jimmy Page — who recorded the orchestral overdubs in a single session in Munich, Germany — would later call Presence the band's "most important album."

Tool — "Rosetta Stoned" (11:11)

Even without its nearly four-minute intro, "Lost Keys (Blame Hoffman)," Tool's "Rosetta Stoned" still clocks in at an impressive 11 minutes and 11 seconds of acid-tinged hard rock.

Among Tool's downright heaviest numbers, the song pushes and plods its way through a lengthy narrative, backed by Adam Jones' grinding, off-kilter guitar riffs and the always-potent rhythm section of bassist Justin Chancellor and drummer extraordinaire Danny Carey.

While much of singer Maynard James Kennan's opening spiel might be lost on listeners, the track tells the tale of a high-school dropout encountering an extra-terrestrial that looked like "a blue-green Jackie Chan with Isabella Rossellini lips and breath that reeked of vanilla Chig Champa." The alien then proceeds to inform the song's protagonist that he is the chosen one and imparts the secrets of the universe unto him.

The narrative ends with our hero realizing he's forgotten his pen and must return to Earth remembering nothing of the meaning of existence. A fitting end considering Tool's strength as a band has always been the ability to write complex, thought-provoking rock music without ever losing their sense of humor.

Pink Floyd — "Dogs" (17:04)

We couldn't have gone wrong picking any of Pink Floyd's sprawling compositions — hell, Animals alone has three — but "Dogs" somehow manages to capture the vital energy, wordly cynicism and pent-up frustration that makes Floyd more than just another mellow prog band.

Originally written in 1974 by Gilmour as "You Gotta Be Crazy," it took only a change of key, a slowing of tempo and the mighty pen of Roger Waters to transform the song into a its final form as arguably the centerpiece of Pink Floyd's underrated classic.

Gilmour turns in his lone vocal appearance on Animals during "Dogs," but his majestic, double-tracked guitar leads are the real star, adding a dreamlike quality that seems to further the metaphorical blur between businessmen and farm animals.

While you may be tempted to think the guitar sound of "Dogs" is all Gilmour's fabled Strat, he's actually playing a Fender Custom Telecaster on the track, which he pairs with a Yamaha RA-200 cabinet containing three rotating speakers for most of the song.

Dream Theater — "Octavarium" (24:00)

With five movements and three lyricists, "Octavarium" remains a crowning achievement in the back catalog of a band who have made a career on always topping themselves.

After heading into far heavier waters than ever before on 2003's Train of Thought, Dream Theater set out to create "a classic Dream Theater album" on Octavarium, which means essentially pulling out every trick in the book while still serving the songs. (It's well-documented that the band wrote each of the album's eight songs in a different key.)

Nowhere is this more evident than the album's title track, which serves as a microcosm for what the band was trying to accomplish on the album. Beginning with a lengthy lap steel guitar solo from keyboardist Jordan Rudess, the track navigates through five distinct-yet-connected narratives, quoting from and acknowledging many of the band's influences along the way.

One could spend hours dissecting the themes and references found within the 24-minute track, and if you're inclined to do so, you might want to start with the song's lengthy Wikipedia page.

The Doors — "The End" (11:41)

When their eponymous debut album came out in 1967, no one quite knew what to make of the Doors and their bizarrely charismatic frontman Jim Morrison.

What began as a simple break-up song eventually evolved into an ominous, Oedipal and occasionally ravenous performance from Morrison, particularly in the song's spoken-word portion that begins, "The killer awoke before dawn ... "

"Every time I hear that song, it means something else to me. It started out as a simple good-bye song," Morrison told Rolling Stone in 1969. "Probably just to a girl, but I see how it could be a goodbye to a kind of childhood. I really don't know. I think it's sufficiently complex and universal in its imagery that it could be almost anything you want it to be. "

Robby Krieger also turned in one of his most memorable guitar solos on "The End," which was good enough to make Guitar World's list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Solos, coming in at No. 93.

Jimi Hendrix — "Voodoo Chile" (15:00)

While they both appear on 1968's Electric Ladyland, Jimi Hendrix's "Voodoo Chile" has far earlier roots than its close cousin, "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)."

Coming in at 15 minutes flat, the more traditional blues of "Voodoo Chile" started life as "Catfish Blues," a live jam and homage to the great Muddy Waters, of whom the young Hendrix was a great admirer.

Recorded in only three takes — and at 7:30 in the morning after a night out on the town in New York City, no less — the song incorporates tricks and licks from all eras of the blues, with Hendrix guiding the listener through the genre's pedagogy as he pays his dues to his heroes.

Today, "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" may be known as one of Hendrix's definite songs, but its original version still holds the distinction of being the legendary guitarist's only song to reach No. 1 in the U.K. singles charts.

Rush - "2112" (20:38)

After having an album come over as a commercial flop, most bands under pressure from their record labels would turn in a nice batch of short, easy-to-digest songs for their next album.

Not Rush.

Instead, after 1975's Caress of Steel didn't move a substantial number of copies, the Canadian prog-rock trio turned in their most challenging — and ultimately one of their most successful — albums to date.

Eclipsing the 20-minute mark, the title track to Rush's 2112 album kicks off with a sci-fi-themed overture before guiding the listener through a storyline not dissimilar to the one found in Ayn Rand's 1938 novella Anthem.

Through seven movements, Rush's unnamed protagonist who sees the light, so to speak, after finding a guitar in a cave by a waterfall, shaking his perceptions, igniting his creative spirit and eventually pitting him against dark forces that seek to stifle original thought.

If that's not a rock and roll epic, we don't know what is.

Lynyrd Skynyrd — "Free Bird" (10:08)

You've yelled it out at concerts. You've held your lighter in the air to it more times than you can count. It makes you tear up whenever you see Old Glory. How could we not end this epic list without "Free Bird"?

Whittled down to under five minutes for the single and just over nine on the album — 1974's (pronounced 'lĕh-'nérd 'skin-'nérd) — the "full" version of "Free Bird," in all its majesty, only barely eclipses the 10-minute mark.

Lynyrd Skynyrd's crowning achievement has its origins in a keyboard piece played during a high school prom, one which netted then-roadie Billy Powell a job as the band's keyboard player.

Armed with a Gibson SG, a glass Coricidin bottle for a slide and a small piece of metal slid under the strings to raise the action, lead guitarist Gary Rossington set out to pay tribute to Duane Allman on the song's tender intro, doing more than OK by his late hero, who passed away in 1971.

Rossington ditched the SG for a Les Paul by the time he joined fellow guitarist Allen Collins for the song's trademark ending, a marathon guitar solo that somehow always leaves the audience begging for more.

Categories: General Interest

Creating Guitar Melodies Between Vocal Lines

Fri, 12/15/2017 - 10:44

Fills, those brief instrumental runs that occupy the spaces between vocal lines, no doubt have their origin in the call-and-response vocal tradition associated with country blues, gospel, work songs and field hollers. On records, guitar fills can be overdubbed, but you can enhance both your rhythm playing and soloing by learning to alternate seamlessly between steady chord patterns and well-placed melodic phrases.

Fills, those brief instrumental runs that occupy the spaces between vocal lines, no doubt have their origin in the call-and-response vocal tradition associated with country blues, gospel, work songs and field hollers.

When B.B. King, for example, sings a line and answers himself with a lick on his guitar, he’s merely echoing what he heard in church as a child growing up in Mississippi.

On records, guitar fills can be overdubbed, but you can enhance both your rhythm playing and soloing by learning to alternate seamlessly between steady chord patterns and well-placed melodic phrases.

Rhythm-plus-fill parts were popular among 1960s soul and R&B guitarists like Steve Cropper (behind Otis Redding) and Curtis Mayfield (with the Impressions). Jimi Hendrix was also a master - his introduction to “Little Wing” is essentially a compendium of classic R&B guitar fills.

This rhythmic approach works as well on acoustic guitar as it does on electric, and solo performers find it to be an especially effective way of enhancing the interaction between their rhythm parts and vocals.

While a fill may potentially draw on all of the same technical and conceptual ingredients as a full-blown solo, we’ll concentrate on a single, versatile resource: the major pentatonic scale. Comprised of just five notes - those of the major triad (root, third and fifth) plus the second and sixth degrees of the major scale - the major pentatonic somehow seems just right for creating concise fills based on major chords, and it falls easily under the fingers, to boot.

Figure 1 shows a four-bar example of ballad-style rhythm. The basic feel is 12/8, or four eighth-note triplets per bar. Typically, the guitar pattern consists of broken chords and is played with consecutive downstrokes on the first three notes and upstrokes on the next three, all with a flatpick.

On the fourth beat of each bar, the rhythm pattern is replaced by a fill built from the major pentatonic scale based on the root of the chord. In each case, fret the hammer-on between the first two notes of the fill with you first and third fingers. (Note that while each fill is based on a different root, the finger patterns are all identical.)

Figure 2 shows the same progression with fills extended to occupy the last two beats of each bar. These also include such embellishments as doublestops (bars 1 and 3), a rapid hammer-on/pull-off combination (bar 2) and a slide up to the next position (bar 4).

The same approach to blending rhythm and fills can be adapted to any key by using standard barre-chord shapes. Figure 3 shows a progression in the key of C. The fingers for the fills and the box pattern are the same as those in open position; the only thing you’ll find challenging is shifting your first finger from the root of the chord to the fill and back again in a smooth manner.

The F chord is typically the most difficult to fret cleanly, so one you’ve got that mastered, the rest should come fairly easily.

In practical terms, the placement, frequency, length and complexity of fills can be judged only in the context of a vocal. Flls are, after all, intended to answer to the main melody rather than stand on their own. But with a vocabulary of bite-sized phrases like these you can lengthen or shorten them as needed.

Categories: General Interest

Paul Gilbert Shows Off His Live Rig

Fri, 12/15/2017 - 09:50

A little while ago, TC Electronic brought a camera crew to Mr. Big's show at the Budokan in Tokyo. While there, they asked the band's guitarist, Paul Gilbert, to take viewers on a tour of his live rig for the concert, which he happily did.

In the video, Gilbert takes you through his setup, not only showing viewers his pedals, but how exactly he uses them.

He also gives viewers a look at his amp setup for good measure.

You can watch the video above.

Categories: General Interest

Ty Tabor Premieres "Johnny Guitar" Music Video

Fri, 12/15/2017 - 08:58
King's X guitarist Ty Tabor with his Guilford Guitars Ty Tabor 2.0 model.

Today, 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 is available for pre-order right here. For more about Tabor, visit and check out the upcoming March 2018 issue of Guitar World.

Alien Beans Track List: 

Disc 1
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

Disc 2
1. ‘Cause We Believed (Blame It)
2. Free Yourself
3. Ride
4. Senseless Paranoia
5. Money Mouth
6. Fast Asleep
7. Politician’s Creed
8. Play
9. Bring It on Back
10. Nobody Wins When Nobody Plays
11. Change

Categories: General Interest

How to Find Your Own Guitar Sound, Regardless of Genre

Fri, 12/15/2017 - 08:37

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.

Jason Simon is the guitarist/vocalist in Dead Meadow. For more about the band, visit and their Facebook page.

Categories: General Interest

What You Need to Know About Intervals

Fri, 12/15/2017 - 08:01

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.

Definition: What Is an Interval? In music theory, an interval is the space between any two pitches (according to Harmony: Its Theory and Practice by Ebenezer Prout).

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.

Simple Example

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.

Follow Up

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 You also can get in touch with us over at Facebook and Twitter.

Robert Kittleberger is the founder and editor of Guitar Chalk and Guitar Bargain. You can get in touch with him here, or via Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus.

Categories: General Interest

Steve Stevens: The Right Way to Play Billy Idol's "Rebel Yell"

Fri, 12/15/2017 - 07:37
Steve Stevens (left) and Billy Idol perform at New York City's Beacon Theater May 23, 2005.

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.

Categories: General Interest

Top Five Myths About Learning Guitar—and What You Can Do About Them

Fri, 12/15/2017 - 07:07

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.

Categories: General Interest

Using Sweep Picking and Tapping to Outline a Chord Progression

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 13:14

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.

Categories: General Interest

Rex Brown Premieres New "FaultLine" Music Video

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 12:36

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.

Categories: General Interest

Watch Paul Gilbert Demo the New DiMarzio PG-13 Mini Humbuckers

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 10:35

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 

Categories: General Interest

Guitar Workshop Plus Announces 2018 Schedule and Early Registration

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 09:40

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

Categories: General Interest

How to Incorporate Minor Scales Into Riffs and Rhythm Parts

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 09:30

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.

Categories: General Interest

Jeremy Bass Premieres New Song, "The Greatest Fire"

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 08:55

Brooklyn singer/songwriter Jeremy Bass is currently prepping the release of his newest album, The Greatest Fire. Today, 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.

Categories: General Interest

Who Really Played Aerosmith’s “Train Kept A Rollin’” Guitar Solos?

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 07:58
Aerosmith's Joe Perry in action.

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 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!

Categories: General Interest

Guitarist Covers 'Star Wars' "Imperial March"

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 07:32

Tonight, movie theaters around the United States (it has already premiered in select other locations around the world) will premiere the eighth Star Wars film, The Last Jedi.

To get yourself in the mood, check out this endlessly entertaining video of guitarist Cooper Carter covering the "Imperial March."

Carter truly went all out for the cover, which features 70 guitar tracks, 28 orchestra parts and a small army of Ernie Ball Music Man guitars, including the Cutlass, the JP15, JP6, Armada, St. Vincent, StingRay Bass, John Petrucci BFR and Luke 3. You can watch it above.

For more on the guitars used in the cover, stop by For more on Carter, follow along on Facebook.

Categories: General Interest

Terror Universal Premiere "Welcome to Hell" Guitar Playthrough

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 06:57

Terror Universal—a masked metal supergroup comprised of current and former members of Ill Nino, Machine Head, Upon A Burning Body and Soulfly, among other groups—recently announced their debut album, Make Them Bleed. Today, presents the exclusive premiere of the guitar playthrough of one of the album's most explosive tracks, the appropriately titled "Welcome to Hell."

Make Them Bleed—which is set for a January 19 release via minus HEAD Records—is a volcanic record, with vicious moments of sonic bloodletting, and equally tantalizing moments where the listener is in the eye of the storm.

You can see those qualities in this playthrough, which features the band's guitarist, THRAX. You can watch it above.

You can preorder Make Them Bleed here.

For more on Terror Universal, follow along on Facebook.

Categories: General Interest

Four Handy Guitar Pedal Hacks

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 14:03

If you own guitar pedals—and of course you do—you’ve undoubtedly dealt with battery and power-supply issues, bad connections and leftover residue from the Velcro pads used to hold pedals on your pedal board.

If you own guitar pedals—and of course you do—you’ve undoubtedly dealt with battery and power-supply issues, bad connections and leftover residue from the Velcro pads used to hold pedals on your pedal board.

In this video, Phillip McKnight demonstrates four handy guitar pedal hacks to deal with all of these issues and make working with pedals easier. All of the hacks are easy to perform, including two that involve same basic knowledge of electronics and wiring.

Phillip demonstrates how to make a convenient battery power supply for pedals that don’t take batteries by using the barrel connector from a wall wart and a nine-volt battery clip. He also shows how to remove glue residue left on pedals from stickers or Velcro pads, and how to prevent the Velcro pads from damaging or removing the manufacturer’s labels on the bottom of your pedal. He wraps up the video by showing how to make a handy diagnosis cable from a cable end and alligator clips that you can use to find shorts in your pedal board’s signal chain, test speakers and much more.

Take a look. And when you’re done, visit Phillip’s YouTube channel for more of his great and informative videos.

Categories: General Interest