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The Martin Guitar Blog - Mon, 05/15/2017 - 07:44

We found the slope shoulder guitar you've been searching for!


The 00LX1AE is a new release from Martin Guitar and is constructed with a Sitka spruce top and mahogany patterned high-pressure laminate back and sides. The build of this guitar allows for major tolerance to fluctuating temperatures so you and the guitar can travel with ease. A faux tortoise pick guard and Richlite fingerboard and bridge complete the look of the 00LX1AE. Its Fishman Sonitone electronics and SP Lifespan strings make it perfect for your upcoming gig.

Explore the 00LX1AE here. You can purchase the 00LX1AE by finding your nearest authorized Martin dealer, finding a certified online Martin dealer, or exploring the buy from factory program.

Categories: Manufacturers

There's a Fair in the Air!

Cape Cod Acoustics - Sun, 05/14/2017 - 13:06
Well, no sage words of wisdom today (!), no insider’s tips to make your playing better, no whining by Yours Truly on the state of the musical world, or the world in general for that matter! Just a shout-out to a great event we have here on Cape Cod every summer. I’m talking about the venerable Barnstable County Fair.
This is annual event has its roots all the way back in 1844. Locations of the fair have changed over the years and in spite of enduring financial hardship caused by such things as the polio scare of the 1950s and a hurricane that wiped out most of existing structures the fair is today a thriving event and both locals and visitors look forward to it each summer.
It is a classic county fair, with animal acts, some of which have been controversial in recent years, a midway, exhibits of local crafts, flowers and vegetables, a demolition derby (one of the most popular events!), horse shows and competitions, livestock judging, plenty of incredibly indulgent junk food, and much more. The admission charge is nominal and includes admission to all the exhibits (rides in the midway must be paid for of course). But my favorite aspect has always been the music.
Both nationally known acts and local bands are featured. Of course, this is NOT the Texas State Fair or the like, so you won’t see the hottest stars, but the musicians I’ve seen over the many years my family has been attending have often been quite remarkable. Sometimes they are nostalgia acts, or musicians past their prime in terms of general popularity – but that does not mean they are bad. Some memorable examples:
Country legend Tammy Wynette. I can’t recall the year but it was shortly before she passed away. Tammy put on a great show and you could tell she was sincerely appreciative of the audience’s loving reaction to her.
Country star Ricky Scaggs. Again, can’t recall the year but it was after his pop country star status had faded in the 1980s but he had yet to gain the status of bluegrass superstar that he enjoys today. Again, a classic country performer who knows how to put on a great show. His guitar and mandolin playing were absolutely amazing.
The Mama’s and Papa’s. Well, actually only Papa John was an original member but he brought along (unannounced) his friend Scott McKenzie of “If You’re Going to San Fransisco” fame to do Denny’s parts, and the two young women who took Michelle and Cass’s parts were great – the classic M&P harmonies were spot-on and they did all the hits. Papa John was hilarious in his banter with the audience. As a side note, this was when our kids were about ages 5 and 10, and my wife and I threatened to get up and start dancing to “California Dreaming,” which absolutely horrified them! What good is having kids if you can’t embarrass them?!
Poco.  Wow, what a show. Three of the four original members, great playing and singing by this seminal group that were in for forefront of the California country rock scene.
Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits. A hilarious show and tons of fun. Yes, Peter is a bit “long of tooth” to be playing off his boyish grin and blonde bangs but he and his band knew what the fans wanted and expected. The best part was watching the a-bit-older-than-middle-aged women dancing away in front of the stage and trying to flirt with Peter, who flirted right back. The show culminated with The Big One: a fully 15 minute version of “I’m “En-er-y the Eighth, I Y’am!” with robust sing-along encouraged. Everyone left with grins on their faces. I’m smiling just thinking about it!
Two years ago was Three Dog Night. While I was not a huge fan of theirs back in the day, with three of the original members giving it their all (including a killer covers of “Shambala”, “Mama Told Me Not To Come” and of course the finale “Joy To The World”) it was a great show. With 21 Top 40 hits in the 60s and early 70s, they had plenty to play. In retrospect it is bittersweet because member Cory Wells, who did most of the lead vocals died a few months later. Glad we saw them when we did, they too truly loved and appreciated their long-time fans.
One year there was a touring Beatles tribute act who were quite amazing, with period correct instruments and of course plenty of banter. Their chops were first rate, and I am very picky when it comes to Beatles music!
There were a few others that I can’t recall at this moment. But why am I writing this now? The line-up for this years’ fair (July 17 – 23 at the Barnstable County Fairgrounds on Rt. 151 in Falmouth) includes BJ Thomas (I think I will pass on that as I do not need to hear “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head” ever again, thank you very much, or “Hooked on a Feeling” for that matter!), the Cowsills (the Cowsills??? Ugh, hated them back then and I doubt they’d change my mind now). And….
Blood, Sweat and Tears!!  Yes, their line-up had changed over the years – no David Clayton Thomas for sure, but I am absolutely certain they will put on an outstanding show. I loved them back then and I still love their music today. In fact, they were the first really big deal band I ever saw live, at my (now) wife’s college in Pennsylvania. They were at their peak of popularity and because my wife was on the entertainment committee we had second row seats. Outstanding!! Also, bringing their (2nd and most popular) album home for the Christmas holidays and putting it on the turntable, my dad, hardcore jazzer and rock music hater, took great interest and declared, hey those guys are GOOD! They can play JAZZ! It was big moment in our relationship, to be honest. So I will always love BS&T and I can’t wait to hear them again.
The frosting on the cake is that we will have my niece and her two young children visiting and I know they will love the fair. And who knows, maybe my wife and I can bust some moves to “Spinning Wheel” and slow-dance to “You Made Me So Very Happy” and embarrass them too!
If you happen to be on Cape Cod this summer, check out the Barnstable County Fair!
Peace & good music,

Categories: Acoustics

Syncopation: Easy...or not?

Cape Cod Acoustics - Sat, 05/13/2017 - 11:18
I warn my students right off the bat, in their very first lesson that they will get very tired of me drilling into them what I feel is the most important musical concept of all, which is rhythm. Keeping the beat. If you don’t internalize and be constantly aware of the beat it matters little how many fancy chords you know or how many fancy licks you can play. Because it is the glue that holds a piece of music together, and it is the fundamental connection between the listener and the player.
Twice last week I had students – marginally experienced beginners – who were confronted with this fact. One was a young woman who had taught herself a few chords and she loves to sing (hooray for that!!) but she knew that she was essentially matching her single strums to the lyrics without any semblance of a beat. I see this frequently and those who do this know that something is lacking. It’s easy to define what that is and I give them exercises right away to get them counting beats and measures in preparation for the first big step, which is matching the lyrics to the rhythm, not the other way around. She’ll do fine.
The other case was more perplexing but I’ve dealt with it many times before. That student wanted to know exactly what is the difference between a syncopated beat and a “straight” beat?
To be totally honest, I wish I had a better explanation. When explaining rhythm I always use a “fractional” system. If one is reading music this is pretty straight-forward, i.e., the value of whole notes, half notes, quarter notes and so on. But as it relates to strumming, which is what the vast majority of my students want to do rather than just read single lines of printed notes I find myself defaulting to something that I used to hate from music teachers I had way-back-when: it needs to be felt as much as (or more than?) intellectualized. Arrggh! Just typing that gives me a headache!
Interestingly, if you do an internet search for an explanation of syncopation you won’t find any terribly clear information. The best most people can come up with is something along the lines of “accents on beats which are unexpected” (!!!). If your search includes You Tube videos, the person attempting to explain it often then plays something that is syncopated and yes, there it is, but again – what is it, REALLY?
The best explanation I can come up with is this. Let’s assume you’re in 4/4 time (although syncopation is certainly used in ¾, 2/4, even more exotic time signatures like 5/4 and 7/8). This means there are 4 beats per measure. Just count evenly and slowly: one, two, three, four. One, two, three, four. (that would be two measures of 4/4, with a quarter note on each beat if you’d like to think in terms of musical notation)
Now here’s the slightly tricky part. In most explanations I’ve seen it is suggested that “normal” accents come on beats 1 and 3; in syncopation the accents are on 2 and 4. Think of the piano playing “Maple Leaf Rag.” But I suggest counting a triplet for each of those four beats, like this: ONE, 2, 3, TWO, 2, 3, THREE, 2, 3, FOUR, 2, 3. Try saying this out loud to get the feel for the triplets on top of a four-beat measure. Just say what’s above evenly with no hesitation between the words/count.
Now……  REST on the “2” of each of those triplets:
ONE (rest) 3, TWO (rest), 3, THREE (rest), 3, FOUR (rest), 3
Again, say the above EVENLY, or better yet, tap your hand on your leg on the numbers but not on the rests.
Do you feel it? I hope so! But see what I mean? Breaking it down into actual mathematical fractions of the beat is tough to think about. Some people can do it, some have real trouble. And this, my friends, is why I often default to “feeling” syncopation rather than thinking about it.
But wait, there’s another thing you can do, which is LISTEN for syncopation. Virtually all blues employs syncopation, either in the back rhythm or in soloing. Listen to Eric Clapton’s version of “Before You Accuse Me” to hear strong syncopation. Many country songs use it. Listen to Hank William’s “Your Cheatin’ Heart” or James Taylor’s “Bartender’s Blues” for examples of syncopation in both 4/4 and ¾ time.
Back at the beginning I mentioned how adamant I am about my students conquering rhythmic concepts and applying them to their playing, regardless if the song is difficult or very basic. For some it comes easy, for others it is a real struggle. This is because they often have never had to actually THINK about the concept of keeping a steady beat. Whether they can verbalize it or not, most people assume rhythm is just something that “happens.” But nothing could be further from the truth. Like every other musical skill, it must be practiced and the player has to be focused on it both mentally and physically. Then, sooner or later, it does get easier. This is what I mean by internalizing rhythm. Or as I tell my students: If you count now, you won’t have to count later.
Want to test your internalization of this? Try taking a song, any song, and playing it both with a “straight” beat and then a syncopated beat. Sure, it might sound a bit funny but if you can do this you can be sure you’re on your way to conquering rhythm, the most basic musical skill of them all.
Peace & good music,

Categories: Acoustics

Rare Takamine Guitar and Bass combo from the 1980s

Guitarz - Fri, 05/12/2017 - 07:01

Poor Takamine ( circa 1985).

After a long run of acoustic guitar success in the 1970s and early 1980s they found themselves losing a lot of ground once the mid 80s were in full bloom and hair bands ruled the land.

They had to do something.

I'm not defending Takamine for coming up with these Takamine Guitars and Basses , in fact there is a lot to like about them.
Even though it's not something that I'd usually appreciate, I find I'm a fan of the black with red combo ( See my most recent boot purchase ). I also do not totally hate the body shape on these. They're much more subtle than this Takamine, obviously from the same era.

The seller is looking for trades and I'm sure this would be a great addition to the right collection.

R.W. Haller

© 2016, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - the blog that goes all the way to 11!
Please read our photo and content policy.
Categories: General Interest


The Martin Guitar Blog - Thu, 05/11/2017 - 05:00


I was recently watching one of the “reality” TV shows, where people go to offbeat location to do odd things. This led to me remarking out loud, “I have been there, I did that, but I had clothes on." This comment of course got a lot of odd looks, and I had to get out my cell phone and play show and tell. While most people like hearing the stories of me almost getting blown up, being held hostage, or having bugs lay larvae under my skin, generally speaking most people ask “Why would you do that?" When this question is posed to the reality “stars," they usually have something to prove to themselves, their families or friends. (Yes I find that really stupid too).

My answer is always one word, guitars!

Next time you are undecided about paying that extra .5% for the guitar of your dreams, think of the process…. and my near death experiences. And now on with the show.

Unknown-3.jpegHello from somewhere in the world. Today we are after River Monsters a.k.a Sinker Mahogany. Shhhh Be vewy vewy quiet, we’re hunting logs.


I think we have spotted one of the rascally creatures!


Fish on.


The one that did not get away!


Now we are off to the sawmill where we see if this is a guitar quality log. Fingers crossed. Absolutely beautiful, but not quite what I am looking for. This will make someone a nice table. Fortunately for you, there is no smellavision. When you cut Sinker Mahogany, it smells like 100 skunks got angry, all at the same time.


I see guitar parts!


In a few months, these will be great sounding guitars. Speaking of sound, I have noticed that Sinker mahogany has a tendency to have deeper bass response than standard Mahogany. I believe this if from all the sediment the wood picks up sitting under the water for 300 years. If you look really close, you can see little black specks in the pores. In house, we call this pepper.  Add finish and ….


Ohhhh, pretty!

Michael Dickinson is a 26-year veteran of Martin Guitar. Michael has worked in numerous departments, such as the Sawmill and Customer Service, and is the current buyer of exotic, alternative, and sustainable woods. Ask Michael is a bi-monthly column that will appear on the Martin Guitar blog.

Please note, Michael will not be responding to every comment left on the blog.

Categories: Manufacturers

Substance or flash?

Cape Cod Acoustics - Wed, 05/10/2017 - 10:48
I recently watched a video on Facebook of a young Italian finger-style guitarist doing his version of what was supposed to be a Beatles tune but for the life of me I couldn’t figure out which one he was playing. Fingers flew all over the fretboard, punctuated by sly glances at the camera that all but said – Ha! How about that?!? There was no question that the guy has monster chops, in a purely physical way if nothing else. I guess I wish I could play that fast. I guess.
Over the years I’ve had a few students who could rip through pyrotechnic licks at will and they did at the drop of a hat. And if you want to see this tendency on full display, go down to your local Guitar Center any Saturday afternoon where the younger guitar heroes are trying out the latest Strat or Les Paul. Impressive? You bet! It takes a lot of effort and many hours of practice to play like that. I guess my question would be…. Why?
OK, I know the answer because a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away I too wanted to be the fastest guitar player on the planet (or at least in my town!). That didn’t happen or course but look, when you reach the point that you have reasonable overall command of your guitar it’s natural to want to spice things up a bit. For a young guitarist – male, in most cases; girls and women know better than to fall into this trap – it’s all about what that young player is most impressed by, and that is often SPEED.
Is it wrong to go down that road? No, of course not. Except that the need-for-speed is often driven more by ego issues than truly wanting to be a better player. I think the real question should be: just who are you trying to impress? Your friends? Cool, they are your friends and if they are impressed with flashy solos they will tell you because, well, they’re your friends! Other guitar players? Hoo boy, that’s where is gets complicated and ego becomes the dominant force at work. In my experience it is rare to find another guitarist who will truly and sincerely react in a positive way to showy, flashy playing by someone they consider their contemporary. More often, they are thinking along the lines of, “I can play that better!” or “Is he doing that to make me feel worse about my own playing?”
An audience? Sorry to say, roughly 95% of most audiences on the local level, when listening to a player who is NOT famous, couldn’t give a rat’s @ss how fast or flashy you can play. And the 5% who do care will most likely be comparing your playing to someone who IS famous. But if you can sing well, they are yours. Hard, cold fact there, aspiring guitar heroes. Sorry.
So does speed and flash have any value at all? In the right hands it certainly does. What you will notice with those who do employ speed to their advantage is that they frame those fancy licks with stuff that is not flashy but RIGHT. This is done by using phrasing, rhythmic variation, being melodic and a host of other things that only come with experience. Most importantly, let the music breathe. Don’t try to fill every moment of time with sound. That will draw in the listener and when you finally do whip out that fancy riff, I guarantee it will sound all the more impressive. Listen to great players in blues, jazz and country and you will notice this right away.
“Don’t play it if you can’t sing it!” I love that credo, which has been used for a very long time by teachers introducing soloing to their students, especially in jazz and classical music. That mind-set has value for rockers too. Listen to the solo by Larry Carlton on the classic Steely Dan tune, “Bodhisattva.” It builds from a fairly simple theme and when Carlton does let loose it takes your breath away. If he had started out with the extended 32nd note part of the solo, would it have been as impressive or would the interest wane quickly? I’ll let you be the judge.
Peace & good music,

Categories: Acoustics

(Allegedly) The World's First Self Strumming Guitar - Heavily Modded 3/4 Squier Stratocaster

Guitarz - Wed, 05/10/2017 - 02:41

What are we to make of this alleged World's First Self-Strumming Guitar, a Frankenstein's monster of a creation built from parts of an old Squier Mini and a computer printer? It's currently listed on eBay UK with a Buy It Now price of £300, although the seller does note that "Although I have set the buy it now price high, I will entertain sensible offers, just offer whatever you think its worth and you might get (un)lucky!"

He also says that:
Please bear in mind this is a prototype and as such isn't finished nicely where I have been working on it, and while the self strum mechanism works perfectly laying flat on a bench it is a bit temperamental when the guitar is held in a playing position. I can suggest a simple modification to the buyer to correct this but it is not something I plan on doing myself as I am now busy working on the mark 2 self strumming guitar - the follow up to this.

Think of this a piece of mechanical art rather than an instrument you would use every day, putting all silliness aside this thing with a bit more development could actually be useful one day to a person who has either lost or lost the use of an arm. I'd like to sell this to fund further development into the concept. Check out the following video to see me building this contraption and to see it working.

AND there's a video!

G L Wilson

© 2017, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - the blog that goes all the way to 11!
Please read our photo and content policy.
Categories: General Interest

Vixen To Release New Album

Charvel Guitars - Tue, 05/09/2017 - 17:30

Glam metal femme fatales Vixen are gearing up for a new album that will be released later this year.

The band reunited over three years ago, and fans have been anxiously awaiting their comeback studio album since last release Live and Learn in 2006. Rockpages.gr recently shared a statement from bassist Share Ross’ interview with 98.7 The Gater of Palm Beach about their progress on the new material.

“We’ve been working on stuff, which is challenging, ’cause we all live really far apart from each other,” said Ross. “But we are getting stuff recorded and getting it done, so hopefully this year we’ll finish that up. We started off trying to [work on new music separately], and we just got really frustrated, so we all just fly to where the drummer lives, in Detroit, [which is] way better.”

Ross also shared that the album will be dedicated to founding member and lead guitarist Jan Kuehnemund, who lost her battle with cancer in October 2013.

The current lineup also consists of original members Roxy Petrucci on drums and lead singer Janet Gardner, as well as Charvel artist Brittany Denaro on guitar.

Stay tuned for more album news throughout the year, and catch Vixen in a handful of live appearances this summer. Dates here.

In the meantime, get your Vixen fix below with fan-filmed footage from the M3 Festival in Columbia, Md.


Categories: Manufacturers


The Martin Guitar Blog - Mon, 05/08/2017 - 07:08

The new Martin DST guitar will quickly become a new favorite of yours.


The new guitar features forward shifted braces, an ebony fingerboard and bridge, along with a bone nut and saddle. The satin finish, solid wood guitar is crafted in Nazareth, Pennsylvania and includes a tortoise colored head plate, binding, and heel cap. The classic Dreadnought is equipped with Martin SP strings for ultimate resonance and tone. Get an even closer look at the Martin DST guitar here.

You can purchase the guitar by finding your nearest authorized Martin dealer, finding a certified online Martin dealer, or exploring the buy from factory program.

Categories: Manufacturers

ES-335 1970s Walnut

Gibson Electric Guitars - Fri, 05/05/2017 - 06:06
ES-335 1970s WalnutLimited edition of Gibson's flagship semi-solid guitar features gorgeous 1970's walnut stain finish, Kluson style tuners and "Witch Hat" knobs, with rounded "C" neck shape, 57 Classic pickups and ABR-1 bridge with titanium saddles.
Categories: Manufacturers

ES 275 P-90 VOS

Gibson Electric Guitars - Fri, 05/05/2017 - 06:06
ES 275 P-90 VOSLimited edition of Gibson Memphis' groundbreaking thinline hollowbody offers modern features with early 1940's appointments: script logo peghead inlay, 'no-number' barrel knobs, 'Three Diamond' trapeze tailpiece and MHS P-90 pickups. VOS nickel plated hardware includes pinned ABR bridge with titanium saddles and Kluson tuners. Rounded treble cutaway gives easy access to all 22 frets.
Categories: Manufacturers

It Doesn’t Take Much

It doesn’t take much to do some of the things we want to do. As a teenager I was in a theater company that cobbled lighting together from parts found at the local hardware store. It worked. Some of the best musicians I have heard played on what many would call substandard instruments. I have […]


The Martin Guitar Blog - Wed, 05/03/2017 - 06:11

"The Great Comet of 1812" leads the 2017 Tony Awards with 12 nominations!


The musical, which is based on a 70-page melodrama at the center of Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace, swept house with its amazing 12 Tony nominations. These nominations include: Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Original Score, as well as Actor in a Leading Role (Josh Groban) and Actress in a Leading Role (Denée Benton). The 2017 Tony Awards will air on Sunday, June 11th at 8PM(EST) on CBS.

Martin Guitar and Martin Strings are the official acoustic guitar and string sponsors of "The Great Comet of 1812." You can purchase tickets to see the magnificent musical here.

Categories: Manufacturers

CKY Return with First New Song in 8 Years

Charvel Guitars - Tue, 05/02/2017 - 15:42

Pennsylvania-based rock band CKY are making a return to music this summer with The Phoenix—their first album of all new material since 2009′s Carver City. Although not due out until June 16, their diehard fanbase can get a feel for what’s in store with the release of new single “Days of Self Destruction,” and its accompanying music video.

Guitarist and vocalist Chad I Ginsburg (Cig) has since stepped up as the frontman of the trio, which also features CKY co-founder and drummer Jess Margera and bassist Matt Deis (ex-All That Remains).

“It’s where things could have ended up,” Ginsburg told AP, referring to the averted demise of the band. “I definitely was writing a lot of this record from that place. Like a phoenix, it burns itself alive and is reborn from its own ashes. ‘Days Of Self Destruction’ is basically about the dangers of not learning from your mistakes.”

The new single also features a guest spot from Mastodon’s Brent Hinds.

“He rules,” Ginsburg said of Hinds. “He just shreds like crazy.”

The video gets off to a quirky start with a colorful parrot announcing the band before seeing behind the scenes footage of  the band rehearsing and recording the album at David Catching’s Rancho De La Luna recording studion in Joshua Tree, California.

Check out the clip below featuring Cig on his modded Pro-Mod So-Cal.

Categories: Manufacturers

Stone Sour Returns with New Video “Fabuless”

Charvel Guitars - Mon, 05/01/2017 - 21:09

The wait is finally over! Stone Sour have returned with a new music video for “Fabuless,” the first single off upcoming album Hydrograd.

Directed by Paul Brown, the video begins with the band preparing to hit the stage and then segues into a live performance as the song kicks into overdrive. The camera focuses in on each band member, zeroing in on gear that includes a nice shot of Christian Martucci’s Charvel Custom Shop San Dimas Style 1 in Satin Plum, featuring a single humbucking pickup and vintage-style tremolo. As the video continues, the crowd is revealed to include inflatable sky dancers that eventually trade places with the Stone Sour crew.

In addition to the new video, lead singer Corey Taylor recently told BBC Radio 1’s Rock Show more about the album’s direction.

“This album is great because it’s got elements of everything,” he said. “It’s got the heavy energy of the ’80s, there’s punk moments, there’s hard rock moments, all the great amalgam of music. There’s even jazz and hip-hop moments. It’s really, really cool. It’s probably the coolest album I’ve made since the first Slipknot album, let’s put it that way. It’s dope, dude. And, hey, I feel very confident making that statement, because it’s so good.”

Stay tuned for more details as Hydrograd’s June 30 release date draws near, and check out the band’s summer tour dates supporting Korn here.

Watch “Fabuless” now below …


Categories: Manufacturers


The Martin Guitar Blog - Mon, 05/01/2017 - 08:32

We couldn't have been more excited when we unveiled the third Ed Sheeran Signature Edition!

Ed preorder 4.jpg

Built upon the LX1E Little Martin body, a favorite of Ed's, the new guitar continues with the mathematical themed album cover art. The guitar features a solid Sitka spruce top with Ed's album art and a blue soundhole rosette to match. The Ed Sheeran ÷ Signature Edition is gig ready! It features a custom interior label, Fishman Sonitone electronics, and a gig bag.

Ready to complete your Ed Sheeran Signature Edition collection? Find a Martin dealer near you to preorder. The guitar will officially be released in August 2017.

Categories: Manufacturers

Allan Holdsworth; Jazz Fusion Guitarist Passes Away at Age 70

The Unique Guitar Blog - Fri, 04/28/2017 - 19:54
Allan Holdsworth
I’ve been reading Guitar Player magazine since the mid mid-1970’s. I can recall that at some point later in that decade, a British guitarist named Allan Holdsworth wrote a monthly column with tips on playing guitar.

Holdworth passed away on April 15th of this year at age 70 of a heart attack.

Alan Holdsworth 1946-2017

Though Allan Holdsworth played a number of different styles of music, he will always be best known as the foremost jazz fusion guitarist.

Frank Zappa once hailed him as “one of the most interesting guitar players on the planet”, while Robben Ford compared his guitar work to that of saxaphonist John Coltrane.

Indeed Holdsworth's style utilized complex chordal progressions and intense solos reminiscent of horn or saxophone lines.

Young Allan Holdsworth
Back in 1969 Allan Holdsworth put together a group called Igginbottom that recorded an album.  By 1971 Holdsworth had moved on to an improvisational band called Sunship. In subsequent years he recorded with a number of different obscure bands. In 1973 Holdsworth recorded a live album for a BBC radio concert as part of a group called Tempest. Amazingly this album sat dormant for years until it was finally released in 2005.

The New Tony Willaims Lifetime
Holdsworth went on to work with the well-known group Soft Machine and later with The New Tony Williams Lifetime band. By 1979 Holdsworth was tired of being the guitarist in the band and went on to pursue a solo career.

It was in the early 1980's when Holdsworth relocated to Southern California. Here he set up his own recording studio in San Diego and named it The Brewery.

Frank Gambale and Allan Holdsworth
By 1990 he was once again performing and partnered with well known fusion guitarist Frank Gambale. The duo recorded one LP.

Allan Holdworth had a distinctive knowledge of music, voicings, and chord structure. His use of finger-picked chords and of effects such as delay, chorus, and reverb make his music stand out. One would suspect that he had an education in guitar, music performance, and music theory, but Holdsworth was entirely self taught.

Through the years Allan Holdsworth was in demand by many different guitar manufacturers to demo and represent their instruments.

Holdsworth playing a Gibson SG

Early in his career his main instrument was a Gibson SG.

Holdsworth playing his Stratocaster

Later in that decade he switched to a customized Fender Stratocaster that used humbuckers instead of single coil pickups.

Playing an Ibanez AH-10

By 1984 Ibanez recruited him to work in conjunction with them to develop two sem-hollow body guitars that were known as the AH-10 and the AH-20.

Holdsworth with his Steinberger Guitar
Three years later he was associated with Ned Steinberger’s well known instrument. In fact Holdworth assisted Steinberger in developing the GL2TA-AH headless model.

Holdsworth playing a Bill Delap guitar

Following this he began playing headless guitars made by luthier Bill Delap.

With his Carvin HH model

More recently Allan Holdswoth struck up a deal with Carvin guitars to use their model H2 exclusively. Several other Carvin models sprung from the orginal headless Holdworth model. These included an extended range baritone model, the semi-hollow H2 and H1. By 1999 Carvin came out with the “HF2 Fatboy, which Holdsworth endorsed.

Holdsworth with Synthaxe
One of the instruments that Allan Holdsworth is most famous for is the SynAxe. This instrument sort of resembles a guitar, but is actually a midi-controller.  Holdworth eventually stopped using this instrument in concert, due to its need for frequent repairs.

Aside from being an incredible and gifted guitarist, Allan Holdsworth was an afficianado of beer and cycling.  His favourite beer was New English cask ale. He even took his fondness for the clear amber drink to the next step by inventing a product called The Fizzbuster; designed to put a better head on a glass of beer.

Allan Holdsworth with his family
Holdsworth was a father and a grandfather.  He is survived by his two daughters, son, and grandson.

His fans were in shock from his passing and put together a Go-Fund-Me page which paid for his funeral expenses.

Categories: General Interest

Totally Guitars Weekly Wrap Up April 28th, 2017

On The Beat with Totally Guitars - Fri, 04/28/2017 - 15:44
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Categories: Learning and Lessons

Miss May I Debut Video for New Single ‘Lost in the Grey’

Charvel Guitars - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 16:27

Ohio’s metalcore band Miss May I went all out for an extreme video for new single “Lost in the Grey,” which will appear on the band’s upcoming album Shadows Inside, due out June 2.

“The shoot involved an entire forest landscape set, live action volatile weather elements and rodents in mouths,” shared singer Levi Benton with Loud Wire. “We have never had a video like this before. The vibe for the song is really captured well and sets a great image not only for the song, but the record as a whole. Shadows Inside is the most honest record we have ever created and a big part of that was just having the freedom and time to put everything we had into it.”

Benton also explained why “Lost in the Grey” was the perfect choice for the lead single.

“This is a great first track to release to the mass as it represents the effort it takes to get out of the complacent and stale life people live,” he said. “The song is about finding that hope and drive to push you to a new and better life. The lion has always represented hope and ambition and now with this video it’s physical and represented as a mask that one needs to show them there is a better life for everyone, if you push for it.”

Shadows Inside can  be pre-ordered here, and look for Miss May I hitting the road in support of the album beginning in May.

Check out the video below, featuring guitarist Justin Aufdemkampe on his custom Charvel axe.

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