Aloha! Let’s talk briefly about the human brain: It has a marvelous flexibility and one of the coolest things that it does all on its own is, over time, it diminishes not only the painful, but the mundane as well and at the same time embellishes what you think is great. This is what makes people think the past (pick whatever period you want) was some sort of golden era unlike today. But thirty years from now, we’ll probably look back and say it actually wasn’t all that bad.
Anyway, this is where nostalgia comes from. The food that wasn’t anything special – just food you ate as a kid – became comfort food as an adult, the TV shows that had all sorts of flaws became genius, and the music was the best ever offered.
Personally, I’m a sucker for nostalgia. Regardless of the psychology behind it, it brings a pleasant, warm feeling with it. A familiar feeling where you’re comfortable with whatever you’re thinking of.
This is especially true with music – just ask people what the greatest decade was for music and it’ll probably line up with when they were young.
Even though the only correct answer is the 1990s.
The 1990s was the BEST decade for music because no decade featured so much music from different genres getting so much attention from different audiences. There were still songwriters playing their own material in the pop world, metal went through changes from hair to heavy to nu, punk became accepted by the masses, hip hop went from crying for social justice to bragging about personal wealth (and even included its own small civil rights movement), and we even had a popular shock artist in the middle of it to freak out the parents.
And when my daughter was just a baby, I would play her songs from the 90s when she was crawling around on the floor, or to try to calm her down in the evenings. Today, even though she has her own music, she still knows the words to some of the songs and loves to sing along with them. And since she’s learning the ukulele, she wanted to play the songs I used to play on guitar on her own ukulele.
I decided that this can’t possibly be an isolated incident and would make a fun writing topic anyway, so I decided to get some books from Hal Leonard and indulge her (and my own) nostalgia.
So let’s start with what might be my favorite band of the 1990s: Green Day
Green Day is one of a handful of bands/groups/artists that not only have hits that span decades, but have hooked in fans from different generations. My kids would love to see a Green Day show, but so would I because I remember seeing them when I was fourteen and loving every minute of it.
They were pop punk before pop punk was a thing, and they were never scared to experiment with their music or sound and they’ve used this to grab different people for different reasons, but all finding something in the music be it fun, energy, stories, or something more personal.
And Green Day translates well to ukulele! The book I received is from Hal Leonard’s “Play-Along” series which aims to have you playing the songs quickly and easily. They aren’t making the songs any more intricate or difficult than they need to be in the transcriptions (music notation with chord boxes and TAB for solos), and they also include a CD to hear how the songs should sound (complete with a backing band), and then you can play with different tracks sans ukulele so you’re the star (and so you can get the timing down). You can use the CD in any CD player, but if you use it in your PC or Mac, you can also slow it down without changing pitch so you can work your way through any parts you may be having trouble with. That’s a pretty handy tool to have at your disposal.
The songs are easy to learn and fun to play. Most punk is. But unlike a lot of punk, Green Day’s songs always seemed to be filled with more hooks and melodies than a lot of either the screaming punk popular in the 80s or repetitive pop punk of the late 90s. They’ve always been a great compromise between punk rock tone and energy and pop melodies and this means the songs are fun to play, fun to sing along with, and fun to learn. People are quick to sing along with Green Day when you start playing.
The book features 12 songs that span just about their whole career from Dookie to 21st Century Breakdown. Personally, I’d love to see a more fleshed-out Green Day offering more songs, but these 12 will certainly get your foot in the door for the style of this fun band to play along with for $14.99!
Until next time!
Charlie T. Wilbury Jr has died, and so has Tom Petty. When I think of Tom Petty, I think of one of the last real rock players. There are some others still with us; Petty was one of the best.
|Tom Petty in later years|
|Young Tom Petty|
Petty had a rough childhood with an abusive father. By age 11, he knew what he wanted to do with his life, when he had a chance meeting with Elvis Presley. In 1961, Tom's uncle owned a film developing company in Ocala Florida, the same town where Elvis was shooting the movie, Follow That Dream. Young Petty was asked by his aunt and cousins if he would like to go watch the action.
|At age 11 Petty met Elvis|
Petty was dumbfound when the King climbed out of a white Cadillac and walked over past the crowd to speak with his aunt, cousins, and him. While his family recalls that moment as a special event, for Tom Petty this was life changing. After that he quit going outside, content to stay inside and listen to music all day. He even collected Elvis 45 rpm records.
|The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show|
|Petty's First Band|
They were later joined by Ron Blair, and Stan Lynch and became the first incarnation of The Heartbreakers.
|Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers|
The band’s first album enjoyed more success in the UK than in the United States.
|Damn The Torpedoes|
But their second album, Damn The Torpedoes, sold over two million copies and had hit songs on it like, Don’t Do Me Like That, Here Comes My Girl, and Refugee.
|Stevie Nicks with Petty|
|The Travelin' Wilbury's |
with their Gretsch guitars
|Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty|
Petty collaborated with Jeff Lynne on one of his best songs; I Won't Back Down.
Petty and the Heartbreakers had initially inked a deal with Shelter Records at the start of their career. Shelter Records was later sold to MCA, which upset Petty. He felt that he and his band were being treated like a commodity.
To thumb his nose at MCA, he financed next record and ran up a bill in a recording studio costs of over $500,000, then he refused to release the album. In a legal move, he declared bankruptcy to force MCA to void his contract. He then resigned with MCA on more favorable terms.
|Tom Petty Hard Promises|
The Traveling Wilburys were signed to Warner Brothers Records. Petty later signed a contract with this company under a better arrangement then he had with MCA.
|Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - last concert September 25, 2017|
The guitars that Petty used are too numerous to mention them all. He was a collector and owned some exquisite instruments.
|Petty - 1964 Stratocaster|
One of his favourite guitasr was a sunburst 1964 Fender Stratocaster.
|Petty with vintage|
He played quite a few Rickenbacker instruments, including a 1965 Rose Morris, and a 1987, and 1993 reissue of the Rose Morris. For those that do not know, in 1965 Rose-Morris Music was chosen to be the official distributor of Rickenbacker guitars.
|Petty with Rickenbacker 330/12|
Petty also owns a 1967 Rickenbacker 360/12.
|Tom Petty Rickenbacker 660/12|
He plays a 1989 Rickenbacker 660/12TP, that was designed by the company as an artist model for him. Petty had input in the design of this guitar's neck. He had them build the neck so it was slightly wider than other Rickenbacker 12 string guitars.
|Petty - Epiphone Casino|
In an interview he stated that one of his favorite guitars for recording is an Epiphone Casino. Since feedback was a problem with hollow body guitars, he did not take this one on the road.
|Petty '63 Telecaster reissue|
On the road he played a white ‘62 Fender Custom Shop Stratocaster, as well as a sonic blue ‘63 Fender Telecaster.
|Petty with a 1967 Fender Esquire|
Petty also owned a blonde ‘67 Fender Esquire, and his sunburst ‘64 Fender Stratocaster.
|Petty with '76 Firebird|
Tom also owned a white ‘63 Fender Stratocaster, a 1960 blonde Telecaster, and a 1976 Gibson Firebird V.
|Petty with his Fender XII|
One other Fender guitar he owned w.as a white late 1960's Fender XII
|Petty with Gretsch Country Gentleman|
Petty owned and played a couple of vintage Gretsch guitars; a 1963 Gretsch Country Gentleman, model 6122, and a 1967 Gretsch Tennessean, model 6119.
|Petty with Gretsch Billy-Bo|
He also owned a Gretsch G61999 Billy-Bo Jupiter.
|With signature model |
We've already alluded to his Rickenbacker collection, which included His 1964 Rose Morris 12 string with a Fireglo finish. A Rickebacker 320, a 1967 Rickenbacker 360/12, a mid 1980’s Rickenbacker 620/12 with a fireglo finish, his signature 660/12TP, also done in fireglo.
|Petty with his '64 Electro|
He also owned a 1964 Rickenbacker Electro ES-17, in fireglo. (There were only two models of the Electro brand was made in the USA by Rickenbacker; The ES-16, and the ES-17. In their day, these were budget guitars, but were fine instruments.)
|Petty with 1966 Vox Mark VI|
Petty also played a white 1966 Vox Mark VI teardrop guitar. Petty sometimes played bass guitar in the Heartbreakers.
|Petty with Hòfner Club bass|
His bass collection included a 1960's model Höfner Club Bass, and a 1960's model Höfner Violin bass.
|'60's Danelectro Longhorn bass|
He also owned and played an ES-335 Gibson bass, and a 1960's Danelectro Longhorn bass. Both were used in The Travelin' Wilburys.
|Martin "Tom Petty" HD-40 |
six and twelve string models
His favorite acoustic guitars included a C.F. Martin HD-40 Tom Petty signature model, and a 12 version of this same instrument.
|Tom Petty's Gibson Dove|
Petty owned a Gibson Dove, that he used as his primary guitar to write songs. He saved this guitar from a fire that destroyed his home in 1987.
|Petty's '69 Gibson Everly Brothers J-180|
Other acoustic guitars included a 1987 Gibson Everly Brothers acoustic.
|Petty with Gibson J-200|
A Gibson Tom Petty signature J-200 Wlldflower acoustic, and a Gibson Pete Townsend J-200 acoustic-electric model that had a natural finish.
He frequently played 1970’s Guild D25-12 string acoustic in concert.
|Tom Petty Fender Acoustic-electric|
Fender had designed a Tom Petty model acoustic guitar.
|Petty's FenderVibro King amplifiers|
His amplifier set up included two 60 watt Fender Vibro-King combos.
Petty preferred Vox speaker cabinets. He owned a mid 1960's model Vox 120 Super Beatle head.
Petty took a couple of Hi-Watt amps on the road, including a 2007 Custom 50 watt head, and a recent model DR-504 Custom 50 watt head.
|'59 Bassman Reissue|
In addition to the Fender Vibro-King amplifiers, Petty also used a reissue '59 Bassman. In a recent interview with Tom Wheeler, Petty states he purchased many of his guitars and amplifiers from Norm's Rare Guitars in Los Angeles.
|Tom Petty 10/20/1950 - 10/02/2017|
I will conclude this remembrance with some lyrics from Jimmy Webb’s song called, "All I know".
Dhani Harrison released his debut solo studio album In Parallel just a few days ago, and has since begun his promotional efforts with a television appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
A darkly lit stage added to Harrison’s hypnotic and psychedelic soundscape, as he and his backing band showcased a pair of new tracks from the album including a blistering performance of lead single “All About Waiting” and the more ethereal, synth-heavy “Summertime Police.”
Harrison also paid tribute to Tom Petty, taping the initials TP as well as the outline of a broken heart on the body of his Charvel So-Cal.
Watch the clips below, and purchase In Parallel here.
The plates, top and back, are done to the point that they can be glued onto the ribs. So this means the ribs have to come off the forms. I have linings both top and bottom, the first step for removal is to trim these from square to tapered. All sorts of ways to do that. What you basically want is a big surface at the outside, to create a bigger gluing surface, tapered down to thin on the inside, to reduce weight and stiffness.
I take a compass and set the pencil at about half the width of the lining, in the vertical sense, and trace out a line on the linings all the way around, top and bottom. Then a sharp knife, cut a bevel from the line to the inside edge, tapering down to meet the rib. I usually make a few nicks on the form and on the ribs, but nothing so much to worry about. And it doesn’t need to be perfect right here, because I’ll clean it up later after the ribs are off the form.
Once the linings are trimmed, I use a small hammer and knock the blocks loose from the form. Then a flat chisel, I strike diagonal cuts to take out the ‘inside’ corners that will disappear anyway.
When those fragments are out, it’s a matter of carefully loosening the ribs -- may have a few accidental glue spots that you don’t want to rush loose -- and then bending the ribs outward a bit, tipping the form as you go. I start at the C-bouts and work towards the larger, lower bouts. Once the endblock is free, you’re pretty much done with the removal.
Then, trim up the blocks and clean up the linings a bit.
Next, glue on a plate or two.
Let’s talk about Bruce Springsteen. I’m not a huge fan, myself, but I always find Springsteen fans to be an interesting bunch. Have you ever noticed how they usually say the same things? They talk about how Springsteen is a voice of the people – that he sings their songs, not necessarily his own. Isn’t that interesting? Instead of listening to his music and seeing a window into his soul, it’s like they’re using his music as a window into their OWN souls.
I tell you, it’s beyond interesting, this Myth of Bruce. And, because of it, I have tried repeatedly to get into his music but most of it just doesn’t do anything for me. He may sing the songs of millions of souls, but mine is left out and there is just way too much saxophone.
Recently, though, I began to wonder if I’ve EVER felt that sort of connection and I came to the conclusion that I have not. I have listened to music that I found poetic and appropriate for the subject. I could follow and grasp the social unrest of punk rock, the anger of metal, the avant-garde nature of experimental jazz, and love it all, but through every bit of it I failed to see myself through the music. It’s always been looking at the artist and not using the artist as a mirror to myself.
I don’t think this makes me lacking in some serious manner – I can still appreciate music – but I just haven’t gone to that other level.
Or, I should say, I hadn’t because recently I have in a big way.
I have a playlist on my phone filled with music I don’t have any experience with. I’ll see someone on a late night show or get a recommendation from someone and download an album or two from Apple Music and give it a shot. The good stuff gets dumped into my catch-all “Awesome” playlist and everything else falls away.
On a long trip away from home, I decided to listen to something new and pulled up my experimental playlist and listened to Brian Fallon’s Painkillers, and that was it. I instantly fell in love with it on that new level. The folksy rock sound that flows throughout the album gives it a raw feel even though there are layers of instruments and back-up vocals and the prevalence of acoustic guitars gives the whole thing an intimate vibe. It isn’t a folk album by any means, but it has that folk feel where people are usually more honest with themselves and the audience about what they’re feeling – where there’s less pretense and showmanship to convey an image rather than the real person. There’s more dimension to the songs and Fallon moves around from bouncier offerings to heartbreaking songs with ease and he’s definitely bringing you along for the ride.
I listened to it all and felt like he was singing my songs or my soul. There was just a feeling to it that is tough to describe. The weirdest part is that I couldn’t point to any one area of my life that was a good example of whatever song and draw a connecting line like “this song reminds me of when I…” No, the situations were all alien to me, but through Fallon’s writing and playing they all felt like I had lived them at some point and had come away wiser if a bit more jaded.
And what a testament to his writing and performing when he moves beyond getting your feet to tap – beyond even painting a picture for you to admire from afar and say “I understand,” – and move with ease from the first song to the last bringing you on a trip and you feeling like you had done these things, lived these lives, and learned these lessons. The stories don’t show the song’s subjects as a heroes or villains, but rather just people and sometimes people do good things and bad things. It’s just part of being human and it’s nice to hear stories that back that up.
The playing is something to really sit down and listen to as well. Most of the songs feature a comfortable strum and familiar chords, but the accents that Fallon places on top of them with different licks, solos, and other instruments make everything feel like something you’ve never heard, but something that is still familiar. Like sitting in someone else’s comfortable chair. Yes, it’s not the same chair you’re used to, but it’s still comfortable and you can delight in the differences instead of them distracting you too badly.
I am NOT saying that Painkillers sounds like a Bruce Springsteen record, but the immediate attachment that it made me feel – that closeness that spread like wildfire inside me – is so similar to what I hear when Springsteen fans talk about the Boss that I get it now. I understand why his fans are so devoted. Springsteen, despite his success, still manages to convey a “one of us” vibe. He never comes across as above his fans, or more elite. He feels like a neighbor down the road – an old friend from school – and you want to support that. Brian Fallon does the same thing: Through his excellent songwriting and performing, Painkillers comes across as intimate and vulnerable, but still something you can shout along with in your car. His songs are anthems of the every-man and nowhere does he imply that he’s above you.
Painkillers is, without a doubt, my favorite album I’ve ever listened to and I had to come here and gush about it even though I focus on ukuleles and instruction materials. I feel like it’s my duty to proselytize and tell you about it because I haven’t seen enough press about it or t-shirts on the streets. I have no doubt that Fallon’s album would be appreciated by a ton of people if they gave it a shot so I implore you to check it out. The worst case is you feel like he doesn’t speak directly to you, but what if he could if you gave him the opportunity?
Well, I’ve finally gone and done it: meet the I Heart Guitar Podcast! The first episode is online now and it features Rich Ward of Fozzy, Tony MacAlpine, and an interview from the archives with Black Sabbath legend Tony Iommi. I hope you enjoy it, and there’s a lot more where that came future will include guest co-hosts, gear reviews, blogpods from various events, and lots more.
You can listen to it below, or at the following links:
The post I Heart Guitar Podcast Episode 1: Rich Ward, Tony MacAlpine & Tony Iommi appeared first on I Heart Guitar.
Boss recently surprised the pedal industry by collaborating with JHS Pedals to create the JB-2 Angry Driver:
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of BOSS compact pedals, BOSS and JHS Pedals have come together in a historic creative collaboration between the two industry leaders. Housed in the classic BOSS compact design, the JB-2 Angry Driver pairs the tones of the iconic BOSS BD-2 Blues Driver with JHS Pedals’ popular Angry Charlie. Working closely together, the two pedal innovators have developed an all-new combined circuit with refined sound and performance perfectly tuned for dual-mode drive operation.
The JB-2 Angry Driver features three dual-concentric knobs that provide independent drive, tone, and level control for each overdrive type. Via a six-position mode selector, you can use each overdrive independently, or combine them together in series and parallel configurations. With the ability to blend the Blues Driver’s famously expressive low-to-mid gain tones with the Angry Charlie’s aggressive rock voice in any combination, the JB-2 Angry Driver delivers unmatched range and versatility from a single overdrive pedal.
This is quite an interesting pairing. Even though it’s fairly ubiquitous and has been for years, I have not played through a Blues Driver before, but I have played through the Angry Charlie and I really liked it. It’s a great Marshall sound.
I like the switching options that the JB-2 comes with. It’s interesting that you can run the two sides in so many different combinations, including running both in Parallel Mode. It’s clear Boss really thought through this pedal, and it looks like they’ve done a solid job.
Dan and Mick at That Pedal Show recently did a feature of this pedal where they detail a lot of the options. They also compared it to the pedals it’s based on as well as a Marshall Guv’nor pedal: