5 Guitar Recording Tips from Periphery’s Misha Mansoor...

Check out this fantastic video discussing 5 home recording tips for guitarists from Periphery’s Misha Mansoor, (Periphery is an American progressive metal band from Bethesda, Maryland formed in 2005. The band is known for their heavy, modern, and progressive sound that includes poly-rhythmic patterns).

Misha is also an excellent producer /engineer so it is great to see and hear the results from a simple setup that many people will have at home, (ok maybe not everyone has an Axe-FX II but you get the idea).

I hope this is going to be an ongoing series, Misha's new YouTube channel "Top Secret Audio" has just been set up and this is his first video. Hopefully, there will be lots more home recording tips to come in future videos!

Map Shows USA's Most Popular Musicians by State!

The Echo Nest is one of the myriad "behind-the-scenes" technology companies that power the operations we know by more familiar names such as; Spotify, Beats Music, or Pandora.

click to enlarge image

According to the Massachusetts-based group's blog, it has data on more than 35 million songs by roughly 2.7 million artists, which it uses to help drive 432 apps and services. You may have seen a map from the Echo Nest going around that breaks down music fans' preferences for each of the 50-nifty United States. For the record, it doesn't show each state's "favorite" artist, no matter what you might've read, (hat-tip to Tom Ewing for the statsplaining — more here). It shows the most "distinctive" artist for each state — in other words, the artists that are most popular in a given state versus the other states.

It's a little confusing to us lay-stat-people, but specifically that seems to mean the artists that rank the highest in a certain state's "top 100 most popular acts" but fall the furthest elsewhere.

As an example, the Echo Nest's Paul Lamere points out that the Christian rock group Hillsong United is hugely popular in Tennessee, but not at at all in New England. Still, according to the map above, Hillsong United are actually state-iest in South Carolina (the Volunteer State goes with its own Juicy J). That's the mystical power of music, man.

Another caveat: The map only shows, as Lumere puts it, "the top most distinctive popular artist for a state that hasn't already been selected for a more populous state." In other words, the map might suggest a bit more difference between the states than actually exist.

There are no red states and blue states, only the United States!

There's also an app you can use to play with the numbers yourself.

Video: Fender Celebrates 60 Years of the Stratocaster...

Fender has created a new video in celebration of the Fender Stratocaster's 60th anniversary.

The three-and-a-half-minute clip, which you can check out below, features appearances by — and comments from — the likes of Jeff Beck, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Stephen Stills, Jim Root, Eric Clapton, John Mayer, Raphael Saadiq, Nile Rodgers, Don Felder, Yngwie Malmsteen, Buddy Guy, Billy Corgan, Eric Johnson and a whole lot more.

For more information about the Strat and some of the company's 2014 anniversary models, visit fender.com.

Paco de Lucia dies at age 66

World-renowned Spanish guitarist Paco de Lucia has died aged 66 in Mexico, reportedly of a heart attack while playing with his children on a beach.

The death of one of the most celebrated flamenco guitarists was announced by the mayor's office in Algeciras, southern Spain, where he was born.

He is said to have died in the Mexican resort of Cancun.

Famous for a series of flamenco albums in the 1970s, he also crossed over into classical and jazz guitar.

He also worked on films by Spanish director Carlos Saura, notably appearing in his 1983 version of Carmen, which won a UK Bafta award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1985.

Algeciras is to hold two days of official mourning. Its mayor, Jose Ignacio Landaluce, called the musician's death an "irreparable loss for the world of culture and for Andalusia".

He had lived both in Mexico and in Spain in recent years. 'I knew every rhythm'

Feb. 26, 2014 - Article below courtesy of the BBC News Europe:
He was born Francisco Sanchez Gomez on 21 December 1947, the son of flamenco guitarist Antonio Sanchez, who was of Gypsy origin. He took his stage name in honour of his mother, Lucia Gomes.

Meeting Paco de Lucia
by Emma Martinez - Author of; Flamenco, All You Wanted To Know

I discovered flamenco and Paco de Lucia with [the singer] Camaron de la Isla in the 1970s, thanks to my flamenco-playing cousin. His music and flamenco have been a constant companion and inspiration throughout my life.

I recall managing to get backstage at a London concert of Paco where we compared fingernails (he didn't believe I was a classical guitarist) and I told him how I thought his interpretation of the Concierto de Aranjuez was the best.

I remember my knees were shaking, I was so excited about meeting him. He thanked me and muttered under his breath that Narciso Yepes thought it was "folkloric" (a common classical guitarist put-down of flamencos).

For me, as for the vast majority of my contemporaries, Paco was, is and forever will be the ultimate flamenco guitarist. As a classical guitarist (retired), for me he also became simply the world's greatest guitarist regardless of genre, and one of the world's best composers for guitar.

It is believed he had played the guitar from the age of five.

"My family grew up with the Gypsies," the guitarist was quoted as saying in a 1994 article in Guitar Player.

"My father and all my brothers played guitar, so before I picked it up, before I could speak, I was listening. Before I started to play, I knew every rhythm of the flamenco. I knew the feeling and the meaning of the music, so when I started to play, I went directly to the sound I had in my ear."

At the age of 18 he recorded his first album in Madrid.

One of the great musical partnerships of his life was with the singer Camaron de la Isla, who died in 1992. The two men recorded albums in the 1970s, which inspired a New Flamenco movement.

In 2004, Paco de Lucia was awarded Spain's prestigious Asturias Prize for Art as the, "most universal of flamenco artists".

The jury said at the time: "His style has been a beacon for young generations and his art has made him into one of the best ambassadors of Spanish culture in the world."

Among those he worked with outside Spain was British guitarist John McLaughlin.

News of his death became the top trend among Spanish users of Twitter. "Rest in peace," wrote one tweeter. "You'll teach the angels to play guitar!"

"One of my heroes died today," wrote another. "One of the best musicians ever."

Your memories Profile picture of Christian Bouic Musician Christian Bouic: "I will miss him"

I am a musician with affiliations to the flamenco world, so it was with shock and great sadness to hear from a colleague of Paco de Lucia's passing away this morning. Myself and many colleagues were influenced by the 'storm' right from the onset of Paco's popularity surge in Spain, well before it became worldwide, as we were part of a London flamenco community at the time. And so his influence on our lives was as great, if not far greater than those who might have been influenced by Pink Floyd or Queen. I will miss him. Rest in peace, with unending thanks for making so many happy times in our lives. 
- Christian Bouic, London, UK

I make flamenco guitars in Portland, Oregon. I had an opportunity to have one of my clients recently visit with Paco de Lucia. Yes, he has played hundreds of concerts, yet, he has retained the enthusiasm, the charisma, of a person who looks beyond the glitz of the stage. Maestro Paco de Lucia was a true artist! I am privileged to have had one of my guitars in his hands. 
- Peter Tsiorba, Portland, Oregon, USA

I saw Paco play in Toronto and it was a high point in my life. His artistry, his skill, his feeling, his originality in the flamenco form inspired me and countless others to take up the flamenco guitar and try to play it ourselves, to express ourselves and life through the Spanish blues. 
- Christopher Black, Ontario, Canada

"Every inch a musical genius, and a gentleman in the bargain

Kitka, Shenzhen, China I saw Paco De Lucia many years ago in Seville and was mesmerized by his playing. Camaron de la Isla was in the audience and was so moved that he joined Paco on stage for a few songs. The musical world has lost a great performer whose skill in the flamenco style will probably never be matched. May his music continue to inspire and bring joy and entertainment to the world. He was certainly an icon. We lost a great one. 
- Mitch Million, Sanford, NC, USA

His music made my hair stand on end. Listening to Entre Dos Aguas got me playing again so I have lots to thank him for. Attending a live performance was one of life's privileges. 
- Nigel Sudlow, Leamington Spa, UK

I live with flamenco music, actually with Maestro Paco de Lucias's albums since I was 17. Now I'm 43. He was and will be forever the only reason for my love for flamenco music. I saw him for the last time in Belgrade in 2012. In the end I can only say 'muchas gracias grande maestro Paco. - Bore Videvski, Veles, Republic of Macedonia

I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with this extraordinary artist in Seoul, Korea in the 1990s, after a concert he did with John McLaughlin and Al DiMeola. And yes, of course it was as insanely brilliant as the trio's incendiary recordings, only live. Paco de Lucia - every inch a musical genius, and a gentleman in the bargain. - Kitka, Shenzhen, China

I discovered Paco back in the early 1970s. When I first heard his guitar playing it left me breathless. Here was a music that had 'this is life' stamped all over it and embedded deep within it. It was the skill of the artist that was putting it there. This is when my life-long love affair with duende began. I had the great good fortune to see him twice, once with his flamenco troupe and once with McLaughlin and de Meola. Both evenings remain in my heart to this day. It is not often in a lifetime that we are graced with an artist with the skill, heart and soul such as the one Paco carried. I for one will sadly miss him and his duende. 
- Geoffrey Smith, Copenhagen, Denmark

I was blessed to visit his five concerts during his tour in Croatia in 2012 and also had the privilege to meet him in person. Maestro gave to all aficionados and music lovers the best performance that guitar can give. Alongside Maestro Segovia, Spain and the world have lost the greatest guitar music ambassador. Whenever you hear angels handclapping be sure that Maestro is playing his guitar somewhere. - Ratko Bajakic, Zagreb, Croatia

Sad Music Can Actually Cheer You Up...

Research found that listening to sad music when you feel down can improve your mood!

Beautiful but sad music can help people feel better when they are a bit blue, according to new research.

Psychologists at the universities of Kent and Limerick investigated the effects of what researchers described as self-identified sad music (SISM) on people's moods, paying particular attention to their reasons for choosing a piece of music when they were experiencing sadness, and the effect it had on them.

The study identified a number of motives for sad people to choose a particular piece of music they perceived as "sad" but found that in some cases their goal in listening was not necessarily to enhance their mood.

Choosing music identified as "beautiful" was the only strategy that directly predicted mood enhancement, the researchers found.

As part of the study, 220 people were asked to remember an adverse emotional event they had experienced and the music they listened to afterwards which they felt portrayed sadness.

It followed earlier research from the same team which said that people choose to listen to sad music when they are feeling sad.

Annemieke van den Tol, lecturer in social psychology at Kent's School of Psychology, said the factors influencing music choice were memory triggers for a particular event or time, its perceived aesthetic value which involved the person choosing music they consider to be beautiful, and music that conveys a particular message.

She said: "We found in our research that people's music choice was linked to the individual's own expectations for listening to music and its effects on them."

"The results showed that if an individual had intended to achieve mood enhancement through listening to sad music, this was in fact often achieved by first thinking about their situation or being distracted, rather than directly through listening to the music chosen."

When a person chose music with the intention of triggering memories, this had a negative impact on creating a better mood.

She said: "The only selection strategy that was found to directly predict mood enhancement was where the music was perceived by the listener to have high aesthetic value."

The research, called Listening To Sad Music In Adverse Situations: How Music Selection Strategies Relate To Self-regulatory Goals, Listening Effects And Mood Enhancement is published in The Psychology Of Music.

How to Mic Your Amp for Killer Tone...

In this studio tutorial, Nashville session guitarist and producer Bryan Clark reveals a handful of proven mic techniques. Hear various configurations of dynamic, large diaphragm, and ribbon mics recorded through a studio console, and compare the tones between different mic types and positions. Explore four essential setups, plus several more advanced options.

Bonus! Hear cool guitars and amps in action (Stratocaster, Telecaster, Les Paul, Collings I-35, 2x10 Fender Vibrolux, 1x12 Ampeg, 1x12 Vox AC15, Marshall JCM800 and 4x10 Marshall cab).

VIDEO: Ernie Ball's 'Real to Reel with Slash,' Vol. 1

Ernie Ball's new online series, Real to Reel with Slash, debuted yesterday on Slash's official YouTube channel.

Part 1 of the series, which you can watch below, shows Slash & Co. — better known as "Slash Featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators" — hard at work at a studio in Los Angeles working on their next album.

Each clip in the series will showcase a behind-the-scenes peek at the band's sessions. This episode puts the focus on drummer Brent Fitz, who is shown in the studio with Slash and bassist Todd Kerns. Best of all, they start tracking a infectiously cool song at 2:10.

Stay tuned for the next episode and more news about the new album!

Music Is in a Really Tough Place Right Now...

Metalocalypse creator Brendon Small wasn't too optimistic about the music business during a recent Phoenix New Times chat, sharing grim predictions regarding the constant decline.

"You know, music is in a really, really tough place right now," Small said.

"The main reason ... If you're going to do music, you should really enjoy the music you're making because slowly but surely year by year people are making less money in music because people think it's free. I'm watching friends of mine in bands who are experiencing that."

On a more positive note, Brendon discussed the idea of Metalocalypse and how it initially came to be. "I went to music school a long time ago, and before that, I was listening to lots of metal and guitar-driven music," he said. "Once I got to music school, it's weird; you want to learn all types of things and different styles. Like in the 'Doomstar' record, I got to play around with '70s power-pop stuff and classical-style music. And that's the type of stuff you learn at music school."

"You get pulled in a lot of directions and lose your musical identity to a certain degree, which isn't necessarily a bad thing," he continued. "But then I started getting back into metal again, and I started going out and seeing lots of different shows and playing on my guitar. And that's where Metalocalpyse came from: Me falling back in love with my guitar. And using the show as an excuse for me playing the guitar really helped."

Discussing other animated series on today's market, the musician singled out "South Park" as the only feature still making him genuinely laugh. "I like animated features, but, um, the only thing I really watch is 'South Park' because that still makes me laugh. There's plenty of great stuff out there. I just tend to stay away from it ... Almost like if you work in a chocolate factory, you don't want to come home and eat chocolate, you know? You want something savory."

Metalocalypse TV Series by Brendon Small...

VIDEO: Man Gets Second Chance to Play Guitar After Losing Hand...

STEVENS POINT, WI. USA — John Rendall always considered himself someone who just liked to pick up a guitar and play, a hobby he was nearly forced to abandon 20 years ago when a farming accident claimed his left hand.

But with the aid of a prosthesis, Rendall began playing music again in the years after the accident, and recently had a six-string acoustic guitar custom made by craftsman John Currier of Stevens Point, who has played guitars for more than 40 years and has been building them for the past six years.

Rendall, 58, who lives in Scandinavia, WI. USA and now works as a US Postal mail carrier, said the injury that claimed his left hand took place while he was working on his family’s potato farm in the Almond area.

“One day, the mechanical picker jammed. I just wasn’t thinking and put my hand in to clear it out and before I knew what had happened, the damage was done,” Rendall said.

Rendall said he always has been interested in music, and he played drums in a band while in high school. After the loss of his hand, Rendall did play some bass guitar with the help of a prosthesis, but didn’t get serious about playing a six-string guitar until he met Currier at a party hosted by a mutual friend in Amherst.

After Currier explained his business, Rendall’s wife, Karen, suggested that he build a custom guitar. Rendall said he called Currier to set up a meeting to discuss the project, and it didn’t take him long to know he had the right person for the job.

John Rendall plays his new guitar in the basement workshop of John Currier, who built the guitar. Rendall, of Amherst, lost his left hand 20 years ago while working on his family's potato farm. / Nathan Vine/Stevens Point Journal Media.

“I didn’t realize how deep the discussion would go. There were many more decisions to make than I had ever imagined,” Rendall said. “All I knew was that I wanted it to look and sound good, besides being a guitar that I could play with my prosthesis. He knows it all, of course, and he guided me through the process.”

Currier makes a number of different guitars, from steel-string to archtop to electric, and from a number of different kinds of woods. When it came to building a guitar for Rendall, however, Currier found there would be some unique challenges.

VIDEO: Pentatonic-Chromatic Cascade by "Gus G"

Guitar World has re-posted one of their older (from 2011) , "Today's licks" video lessons - courtesy of Firewind /Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Gus G, (who demonstrates the slick lateral metal lick featuring a cascading chromatic decent).

It's a pretty cool pentatonic lick that's fairly straight-forward to perform and should offer up some Monday Guitar Fun! Enjoy...

Gus' explanation of the Lick:
"This metal lick starts with a basic minor-pentatonic pull-off run on the high E and B strings (tuned down to D and A, respectively, since we're in standard tuning down one whole step)."

"When I get to the third beat of bar 1, I begin a cascading chromatic descent, wherein I slide my fret-hand index finger down the B string one fret at a time, with my ring finger simply following along on the G string, two or three frets up."

"For maximum metal effect, I like to play the last note of the lick as a pinch harmonic, to which I apply a wide finger vibrato."

The tempo is 158 beats per minute, 120 for slow practice.

VIDEO: Interview with Joe Bonamassa...

DunlopTV host Bryan Kehoe sits down with Joe Bonamassa backstage and talks about his amazing guitar and amp collection, as well as his history playing music. Also, tech Mike Hickey shows us Joe’s touring rig, and a few of his prized ’50s Les Paul bursts.

VIDEO: Phrasing Options of Slower Tempos...

Courtesy of Jimmy Brown (Guitar World Mahazine)

I’ve always been interested in how a groove’s tempo and stylistic feel—swing-eighths versus even, or “straight,” eighths, for example—can influence and even dictate how one constructs melodic phrases.

One of the nice things about soloing over a slow tempo is that it gives you more options, technically and rhythmically. That is, there’s more “breathing space” in which to subdivide the beat compared to what is available at a fast tempo, where players who lack solid shredding skills are generally limited to playing mostly eighth notes.

This month, I’d like to offer an example of some cool phrasing possibilities inspired by a moderately slow 16th-note rock groove and i-IV Dorian vamp, Em7 to A7, akin to that heard in both the Pink Floyd song “Breathe” (Dark Side of the Moon) and Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Riviera Paradise” (In Step).

Jimmy is the music editor for Guitar World Magazine and Guitar School Magazine (as well as their websites) and has a method book, Beginning Rock Guitar for Kids: A Fun, Easy Approach to Playing Today's Rock Guitar Styles from Hal Leonard Publishing.

How Much is a 1960 Gibson Melody Maker Worth?

Article courtesy of Zachary Fjestad of Premiere Guitar online... 

I’m hoping you can provide me some information about my Gibson Melody Maker guitar. I’m 72 and retired now, and played it some when I was very young. I believe it’s somewhere around a 1960s model, but I’m not sure. It’s in good condition for its age, and everything works except the tone knob. The case is a little rough, but still very usable. A local music store offered me $450, but I don’t know if this is a fair price or not. A ballpark value and any other information about this guitar would be appreciated.

Thank you,
Frank in Proctor, Minnesota

Hi Frank,

Cool guitar! Let me start by saying that it’s a smart move to find out what your guitar is really worth before you consider selling it. While money talks and a lot of guitar owners might be quick to action, it’s important to be informed about the assets you have so you can make the best financial decision.

Gibson’s Melody Maker was the ultimate guitar for beginners in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Cheap to produce and popular with the emerging rock ’n’ roll scene, Gibson made thousands of them in the 1960s. The Melody Maker was just one of many guitars released under Ted McCarty’s term as president and visionary of Gibson between 1948 and 1966.

A quick glance at the Melody Maker shows the similarity in design to the timeless Les Paul. Gibson first introduced the solidbody Les Paul guitar in 1952, and it quickly became very popular. It was expensive, however, and plans were already underway by the end of 1953 to produce a more affordable model called the Les Paul Junior.

By the late 1950s, the Les Paul Junior was outselling all other Les Paul models combined, and Gibson took note of how well Fender’s budget-model Musicmaster was doing. In 1959, Gibson introduced the Melody Maker sans any mention of the Les Paul name on the guitar.

The affordable Melody Maker became Gibson’s best-selling solidbody guitar by the mid-1960s. 

The Melody Maker was essentially a budget version of the Les Paul Junior with a thinner body, a narrow headstock without the wings, and a thinner pickup with no pole pieces. A 3/4-sized Melody Maker debuted the same year as well. The affordable Melody Maker became Gibson’s best-selling solidbody guitar by the mid-1960s. It also followed design changes similar to the Les Paul Junior with the introduction of a rounded double-cutaway body in 1961, and then an SG-style body in 1963. The Melody Maker was produced through 1970 before it was rebranded as the SG-100/SG-200/SG-250 series.

Your guitar is a 1960 Melody Maker. We can tell this by the single-cutaway body that was only produced between 1959 and 1961, and the “0 53XX” serial number. Until 1961,

Gibson solidbodies were dated with the first number of the serial number corresponding to the last digit of the year built: The “0” represents 1960. Your Melody Maker features a mahogany body and neck, rosewood fretboard, a single pickup, and knobs for volume and tone.

Based on your guitar’s condition—which appears to be 90 percent (excellent)—it’s currently worth between $1,300 and $1,650. Not bad for a guitar that was originally designed as a budget model, and certainly higher than the amount you were offered. I’d suggest getting the tone knob fixed before you sell the guitar. More than likely, the potentiometer is bad and needs replacing, but that’s an inexpensive repair. Then you’ll have a guitar with no issues—much easier to sell for what you deserve to get out of it.

The low offer on your Melody Maker shows how important it is to do your research when buying or selling a guitar, especially if it’s something that’s been sitting in a closet for several years and may have appreciated in value. Don’t let someone try to convince you that your treasure is actually trash.

It’s always fun when a guitar ends up being worth more than you thought, making it a true gem!

VIDEO: Peavey's all new ValveKing Amplifier Series...

Peavey’s ValveKing series of amplifers have always been the budget all tube amps that many beginners move to after their first practice amp. With the advances in technology packed into rival budget amps over recent years the ValveKing series has probably lost out a little so Peavey have totally redesigned the range and announced a 100 watt and 20 watt head and a 50 watt and 20 watt combo all with power scaling.

The flagship of the range is the ValveKing 100W Head which can be paired with a ValveKing® 412 Slant or Straight cab. Here are the main features:

  • Four 6L6GC and three 12AX7 tubes
  • Reverb with level control
  • Buffered effects loop
  • Resonance & Presence controls
  • Footswitchable gain/volume boost on lead channel
  • Patented Microphone Simulated Direct Interface (MSDI™) output with ground lift and speaker defeat switch
  • 100w, 25w & 5w power switch
  • TSI™ tube monitoring with LED pass/fail indicator lights
  • 2 footswitch inputs. One controls Channel & Boost. One controls Reverb & Effects loop
  • Separate EQ for each channel
  • USB direct recording output
  • Two independent footswitchable channels
  • Bright switch on Clean channel
  • Vari-Class™ variable Class A simulation control

That’s a pretty hefty feature list! The switchable power control will appeal to many players allowing you to use the 100w head at gigs and at home in 5w mode. The TSI™ tube monitoring is a useful feature to let you know how the tubes are performing. The Vari-Class™ variable Class A simulation control adjusts the amp’s response characteristics from modern Class A/B push-pull to vintage Class A, or any tone between the two. Oh and it has a direct USB out for recording which I’m sure many will find extremely useful.

The Peavey Valveking Micro-head or VK 20MH is a 20 Watt version of the head that utilises two EL84 and three 12AX7 tubes and a Patented Microphone Simulated Direct Interface (MSDI™) with ground lift and speaker defeat which is an XLR out from the amp allowing you to plug directly into a mixing desk at gigs. This amp also has a power output switch where you can select 20w, 5w or 1w.

Finally there are also combo versions available in 50 watts as above and 20 watts as below. The only difference being that the 100 watt head has been scaled down to 50 watts.

The New TARAS VP-1 for 'Outward' Bends!?

If there is one thing that is certain it is the conservative nature of guitar players in regard to the traditional design of the instrument. For example look at Teuffel guitars, they have been producing some of the most unique guitar designs I’ve seen for years but have they become commonplace? Maybe that is because of the price of these odd looking instruments or maybe it is because people would rather spend $3 – 4,000 on a guitar shape that was designed in the 1950′s? The only guitar that is crossing the boundary somewhat is the Strandberg Boden which has become incredibly popular with the metal guitar crowd. But even then it is just a headless design neck and a unique body style.

So the new Taras VP-1 takes the oddities of Teuffel body designs, the headless neck for a compact size and matches it with a somewhat bizarre idea of a fretboard that is shaped so that you can bend outwards on the top and bottom strings…(??).

From the Taras Press Release:
"This innovative new instrument challenges the forward-thinking player to explore and create new music using an expanded range of “outward” string bend techniques that are physically impossible to execute on a traditional straight-necked guitar."

When I first looked over this design, I immediately thought, what is the point? After a serious look at it I found it difficult what someone might do with this guitar that was previously thought of as (as their press release states) impossible?

I’m sorry but I’m really struggling to see what the benefits are of this fretboard design... all I can see is the negative impact of the wider fretboard messing up my fingering positions and thumb over the neck style of playing?

It’s basically turning a 6 string fretboard into an 8 string size fretboard without the extra strings…

I’m sorry I just don’t get it, maybe you have to think about this as not a guitar - or something?

Please let me know your thoughts on this design...

from Taras Kovaliv on Vimeo.

Appetite for Guitar Bands is Starting to Return...

The head of music at BBC Radio 1 has said that he believes the British public's appetite for guitar music is returning.

George Ergatoudis made the comment while speaking on a panel at the Radio Academy Playlists: What Makes a Hit in 2014? event in London last night (February 17).

A tweet by the Radio Academy showed the Radio 1 executive share his belief that 2015 will be a big year for guitar bands. James Curran, head of music for the Absolute Radio group, then claimed that new guitar bands have not been good enough in recent years.

Elsewhere at the Radio Academy Playlists event, Ergatoudis claimed that the UK charts will soon incorporate data from streaming services. Following speculation about his comments, Ergatroudis took to Twitter to clarify that data would come from a range of streaming services.

Asked to clarify their position in light of Ergatroudis' comments, the Official Charts Company issued the following statement. "We've always said we are monitoring the rise of streaming as a form of consumption, but nothing has changed. Streaming is growing fast, so we are looking at it, but we are currently going through the "how", before we work out the "when"."

Rock Band and Guitar Hero creator's next game is Chroma...

Harmonix is charting new territory yet again. The studio that birthed both Guitar Hero and Rock Band, and the only third-party game-development house that created a successful Kinect franchise (Dance Central), announced a new game today: Chroma.

Unlike the studio's last several games, Chroma is headed exclusively to the PC (via Steam) as a free-to-play title. Also unlike Harmonix's last several games, Chroma is wildly experimental, blending first-person shooting with pulsing electronic beats and garish visuals. The music game studio is even working with an outside team, Hidden Path Entertainment: the same folks behind critically acclaimed shooter Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

If you're still wondering what type of game Chroma is at this point, that's understandable: There's no such thing as a music-based first-person shooter game...


A Mysterious Condition known as Musical Hallucinations...

In 2011, a 66-year-old retired math teacher walked into a London neurological clinic hoping to get some answers. A few years earlier, she explained to the doctors, she had heard someone playing a piano outside her house. But then she realized there was no piano.

The phantom piano played longer and longer melodies, like passages from Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto number 2 in C minor, her doctors recount in a recent study in the journal Cortex. By the time the woman — to whom the doctors refer only by her first name, Sylvia — came to the clinic, the music had become her nearly constant companion. Sylvia hoped the doctors could explain to her what was going on.

Sylvia was experiencing a mysterious condition known as musical hallucinations. These are not pop songs that get stuck in your head. A musical hallucination can convince people there is a marching band in the next room, or a full church choir. Nor are musical hallucinations the symptoms of psychosis. People with musical hallucinations usually are psychologically normal — except for the songs they are sure someone is playing.

The doctors invited Sylvia to volunteer for a study to better understand the condition. She agreed, and the research turned out to be an important step forward in understanding musical hallucinations. The scientists were able to compare her brain activity when she was experiencing hallucinations that were both quiet and loud — something that had never been done before. By comparing the two states, they found important clues to how the brain generates these illusions.

If a broader study supports the initial findings, it could do more than help scientists understand how the brain falls prey to these phantom tunes. It may also shed light on how our minds make sense of the world.

“I think this is a sweet paper and an important one,” said Oliver Sacks, a neurologist whose books include “Hallucinations” and “Musicophilia.” “It’s a new way of looking at things.”

Dr. Sacks added that the conclusions of the study could only be preliminary, because it was based on a single person. But the same method may work on other people with musical hallucinations. “I think it’s a very good protocol,” Dr. Sacks said.

The study was based on a simple idea. Sometimes people with musical hallucinations say that hearing real music can quiet the imaginary tunes. Researchers had already found that they could use a similar method to mask tinnitus, in which people have a nagging ringing in the ears.

“The idea came to us, why not try masking music hallucination?” said Sukhbinder Kumar, a staff scientist at Newcastle University and one of the study’s co-authors.

It turned out that Sylvia found that music by Bach sometimes eased her hallucinations. When Dr. Kumar and his colleagues measured the effect in their lab, they found a consistent pattern: once the Bach stopped, Sylvia had several seconds of total relief from the hallucinations. Then the hallucinatory piano gradually returned, reaching full strength about a minute and a half after the Bach ended.

Dr. Kumar and his colleagues wondered what they would see if they measured her brain activity as her hallucinations rebounded. Brain scans in the past have only yielded murky clues about musical hallucinations, for a variety of reasons.

One problem has to do with how the studies have been designed. Scientists compare a group of people with normal hearing with another group of people who experience musical hallucinations to see if there are any significant differences in their brain activity. All the variations in each group may blur the evidence for how the hallucinations arise. Sylvia, by contrast, offered Dr. Kumar and his colleagues an opportunity to essentially switch hallucinations on and off in a single brain.

For their experiment, Sylvia put on earphones and sat with her head in a scanner that detects the magnetic field produced by the brain. On the day of the study, she was hearing selections from Gilbert and Sullivan’s “H.M.S. Pinafore.”

Every few minutes the scientists would switch to Bach for 30 seconds, to tamp down the hallucination. When the real music stopped, Sylvia pressed numbers on a keyboard to rate the strength of her hallucinations while the scanner recorded her brain activity.

Dr. Kumar and his colleagues later pored over the data. They compared Sylvia’s brain activity when the hallucinations were strongest with when they were at their weakest. They found that a few regions consistently produced stronger brain waves when the hallucinations were louder.

It turned out that they are regions that we all use when we listen to music. One region becomes active when we perceive pitch, for example. Another region becomes active when we recall a piece of music.

Dr. Kumar argues that these results support a theory developed by Karl Friston of the Wellcome Trust Center for Neuroimaging. (Dr. Friston is a co-author of the new study.) Dr. Friston has proposed that our brains are prediction-generating machines.

Our brains, Dr. Friston argues, generate predictions about what is going to happen next, using past experiences as a guide. When we hear a sound, for example — particularly music — our brains guess at what it is and predict what it will sound like in the next instant. If the prediction is wrong — if we mistook a teakettle for an opera singer — our brains quickly recognize that we are hearing something else and make a new prediction to minimize the error.

Scientists have long known that people with musical hallucinations often have at least some hearing loss. Sylvia, for example, needed hearing aids after getting a viral infection two decades ago.

Dr. Kumar’s theory could explain why some people with hearing loss develop musical hallucinations. With fewer auditory signals entering the brain, their error detection becomes weaker. If the music-processing brain regions make faulty predictions, those predictions only grow stronger until they feel like reality. “There is nothing from the senses to constrain them,” Dr. Kumar said.

Dr. Kumar and his colleagues are now using their experimental method on more people with musical hallucinations.

If the theory holds up in further research, it could explain why real music provides temporary relief for musical hallucinations: the incoming sounds reveal the brain’s prediction errors. And it may also explain why people are prone to hallucinate music, and not other familiar sounds.

“Music is more predictable,” said Dr. Kumar. “That makes it more likely as a phenomenon for hallucinations.”

The Best 'Budget' USB Audio Interface...

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

Focusrite has a well-earned reputation for building high-quality audio interfaces and mic preamps at price-points to cater to users of all requirements and at a wide range of budget points.

With its Saffire range of interfaces remaining popular but now a well-established brand, it's perhaps no surprise that a new, even more compact range has been released, by the name of Scarlett. Featuring bold styling, tank-like construction and, of course, the fabled Focusrite preamps, the question is, does it offer enough to pique the interest and requirements of a new audio interface generation?

"The pres are the same design as those that feature on the Saffire series and they remain as clean as ever."

Burning red halos:
The back panel is modestly furnished, with just the USB 2.0 connector and stereo line outputs. The main action is reserved for the front panel, where the two Focusrite preamps are presented with hybrid input ports.

 These can take an XLR cable or a ¼" jack with a rocker switch below selecting between Mic and Instrument inputs. There's also a 48V phantom power button that glows a bright red when activated, which serves both inputs if you're connecting two microphones and a Direct Monitor button to feed input signals directly to the twin monitor options. These are a larger grey dial, which controls volume to your speakers, and a separately-driven headphone level dial, with its connector below.

An LED to the left of this glows to show USB connectivity and, like the majority of interfaces of this kind and size, bus-power is provided via the USB connector to ensure you don't need to be carrying an external power supply. The most intuitive indicators come as circular surrounds for the Gain dials, which select levels for the inputs, with a traffic-light system of red (too loud), orange (getting close to overload) and green (good level) displays that bring the front panel to life.

As this is an interface designed with mobile users in mind, such a clear and bright indication of levels will prove popular in low-lighting conditions and is such a neat solution, it's a wonder all interface designers don't employ similar systems.

Quality pres:
Whereas many of its rivals have spent the last few years developing a reputation for the quality of its pres, Focusrite has no such problems, as such technology is the foundation on which the company was built.

That doesn't make the quality of the input stage any less impressive here, however, with up to 24-bit, 96kHz recording specifications ensuring that the interface won't be the reason for any poor quality recordings.

The pres are the same design as those that feature on the Saffire series and they remain as clean as ever. Any sounds with your Scarlett-fronted projects can be enhanced further with the inclusion of the Scarlett suite of plugs, which can be installed, along with a copy of Ableton Live 8 Lite, from a DVD.

This plug-in suite features Compressor, EQ, Gate and Reverb all of which offer useful parameters and are capable of some nice sound-shaping.

All in all, Scarlett is exactly what you'd expect from Focsurite - a great-sounding, well-designed interface that packs plenty of flexibility into its slender frame. A lack of digital I/O may prove a stumbling block for some but for such a modest price, this interface deserves to sell by the truckload.

Could this be the BEST Looper Pedal on Earth?

If there’s a complaint that you can level against even the best loopers, it’s that they can be tricky little buggers. They can also be a bit stressful to use in performance. Even with all the practice in the world, it doesn’t take but a slight slip-up, or an errant sneaker colliding with a function switch and you’ve created some completely out-of-time embarrassment or summoned some preset completely unrelated to what you’re playing.

Given all that, it’s a mystery that someone out there didn’t come up with the TC Electronic Ditto Looper much sooner. This is a looper even the most dunderheaded, Luddite guitarist can use. It’s also about as small as a stompbox can get. But the best part is that the Ditto Looper sacrifices nothing in terms of sonic quality for all this convenience. And for it’s simplicity and sonic fidelity it’s a pedal that can open up a range of extended techniques for even the most conservative-minded player.

Simple Is As Simple Does A lot of pedals — whether it’s because they look cool, represent some potential missing link in your tone chain, or otherwise come with some delicious sense of anticipation—engender satisfaction from the time you take them out of the box. The Ditto Looper is one of them.

And a lot of that satisfaction comes from an almost total absence of operational apprehension — with two quarter-inch jacks, a footswitch and a single knob for loop level is just too simple to screw up! The diminutive size, (it measures just 3 5/8” by 1 5/8”) also imparts a sense of relief, for unless you’ve covered every square centimeter of acreage on your pedal board, you will find space for this thing. Like everything TC Electronic makes Ditto feels as solid as marble, and in this case, surprisingly hefty for its size. The true-bypass switch is quiet. And the smooth, just-about-perfect resistance on the loop level knob means you won’t be changing your loop level accidentally if things get rowdy on stage—it takes a concerted effort to change the settings.

The Big Bang Cosmologists theorize that the universe exploded from a point the size of a pin. Similarly, the Ditto has a way of creating walls of sound on an interstellar scale from what seems like an impossibly minute place. Using just the single foot switch, you can create loops as long as five minutes and overdub endlessly. That formidable capacity enables you to loop an entire song and layer multiple guitar melodies for verses and choruses. And if you’re crafty and good at harmonizing and formulating countermelodies on the fly, you can put together an incredibly dense, rich, and complex improvised guitar symphony in about ten minutes—especially if you’re willing to get clever with pickup and tone settings and effect pedals out in front of the Ditto. And amazingly, there’s no perceptible signal loss or tone muddying apart from the clashing or bunched harmonics that can come from a stacked mix. The Ditto is super clean— a true blank slate.

Pros: Stupidly simple. Virtually limitless loop stacking potential. Awesome sound /tone!

Cons: You can lose track of your switching sequence in a hectic performance situation.

Street Price: $129.99

TC Electronic tcelectronic.com
Things get slightly trickier if you use the undo/redo function, but only just so. Holding the footswitch down activates the undo function, and you hold it down a second time to redo your loop. If you’re already working with a pretty dense collection of loops it can be hard to ace the timing of the redo hold. So it’s best to practice with a single loop underneath until you nail the timing.

Stopping the loop just takes pressing the footswitch twice quickly. Pressing and holding the switch thereafter will erase the whole loop. It’s not impossible to screw up. You can lose track of where you are with respect to footswitch clicks in the heat of a hectic performance, and there are no blinking lights that indicate what mode you’re in. But relative to other loopers that blink wildly and feature multiple footswitches, the Ditto is a breeze.

The Verdict:
Any player that’s resisted looping only because of intimidating hardware would be a fool not to give the Ditto a whirl. It’s a pedal of immense musical potential that can stretch your sound palate and inspire composition while remaining entirely intuitive. It’s a pedal of immense musical potential that can stretch your sound palate and inspire composition while remaining entirely intuitive. ’s not without a learning curve, but the time you spend getting a handle on the Ditto is more about honing a few very simple switching techniques and mastering your timing rather than navigating hidden functions.

If there’s a prize for musical return in relation to operational simplicity and expense, it’s hard to imagine a more worthy contender than the Ditto Looper — ever. And if you’ve ever been on the fence about looping, you may have just run out of excuses for taking the leap.

Guitarist Gets Compensation After Electric Shock Injury...

This is why it is absolutely vital to be smart about your surroundings when performing on any outdoor stage...  


A guitarist who suffered horrific burns (after an electrical shock while sound-checking for a gig aboard a ferry) has won £6,400 compensation...

Dominic Zyntek, 23, from Coventry, West Midlands, ENGLAND was given compensation after being electrocuted for two minutes when he plugged in his guitar aboard the Pride of Hull ship.

The musician, who was playing at the time in a cover band, was carrying out a routine sound check when the incident took place back in November of 2012.

Emergency services were immediately called to Hull Docks and the musician - who was 21 at the time - was taken to hospital. Engineers had mistakenly given the all clear for the equipment to be used after the group’s manager was taken to hospital in Rotterdam after being badly shocked by gear the day before.

Mr Zyntek said: 'I honestly thought that I was going to die, it was like I was being burnt alive for a few minutes and the resulting burns on my hands were extremely painful.'

'All I can really remember is being given the all clear to play and as soon as I put my hand on the guitar the next thing I heard was screaming.'

I was left with really horrendous burns on my hands. I was worried I’d never be able to play guitar again.'

He was unable to perform with his group for more than two months as he could not play until his bandages were removed. His guitar was also destroyed.

The scar tissue on his hand still causes him pain now and he has since left the group to record his own music while also working at a supermarket. He added: 'I had to have silver wraps on my hands for weeks to help with the healing and the scar tissue still causes me pain even now.'

'My guitar was ruined and unfortunately I couldn’t do either my part-time job at Sainsbury’s or complete any gigs with the band for around five weeks.'

'Thankfully, I got justice, and hopefully other businesses will realise how important it is to carry out health and safety checks.'

His lawyer, Sally Rissbrook, (personal injury expert at law firm Irwin Mitchell), said: 'This was a highly distressing and painful accident and Dominic was extremely fortunate to come away only with burns to his hands as the situation could have been much more serious.'

'Dominic was informed that it was safe to use the equipment even though a separate incident happened the previous night where Dominic’s manager was taken to hospital as precaution after being electrocuted on the same stage.'

'This is highly unacceptable and another situation where poor health and safety has led to a person being badly injured at work. If the correct health and safety checks are not adhered to then incidents like this will continue to happen.'

'We are happy for Dominic that he has now achieved justice and that he can continue with his passion for music.'

A "P and O" spokesman said: 'This accident happened in 2012 and as you’d expect resulted in an immediate investigation'

'Action was taken to prevent it ever happening again by the installation of an extra circuit breaker.'


Hendrix's 'Purple Haze' Is Re-Issued...

Jimi Hendrix's classic 1967 single "Purple Haze" is set to be reissued on February 18th  HenneMusic reports. The single is the third installment in the "Experience Hendrix" Sundazed Records Jimi Hendrix singles series.

"Purple Haze" was the second single to be released by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. The re-release features the song's original monaural mixes and a colour picture sleeve. The b-side is 51st Anniversary.

While "Purple Haze" has gone on to be an enduring Hendrix classic, it didn't make a major impact upon its initial release in 1967. The song peaked at 65 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and spent a mere eight weeks on the chart.

Hendrix's final interview was recently animated by PBS web series Blank on Blank. The interview with NME journalist Keith Allston took place on September 11th, 1970, one week before the guitarist died in London.

That Guitar Costs How Much?...

Commercially successful guitarists, like Chris Isaak, are able to play budget instruments and still sound good. However, Classical /symphony orchestra musicians aren’t as fortunate when it comes to instrument price tags.

By Michael Ross - PG Magazine online:

Chris Isaak — the pompadoured crooner of hits like “Wicked Game” and “Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing” — used to come into a vintage guitar store where I worked. He would look at a guitar’s price and joke, “For that much money, I don’t want to play it—I want to drive it!

These instruments were between $5,000 and $15,000. Though Isaak was still a bargain hunter, he’d achieved considerable commercial success and wasn’t what you’d call a cheapskate. But his thinking reflected that of countless players of the time.

And this was well before the incredible rise in quality control and bang-for-buck value we’ve seen in both American and imported guitars over the last decade or so. Back then you really didn’t need a guitar that cost as much as a car—and you definitely don’t now. Many great players get gigs with top acts—from Paul McCartney to Nine Inch Nails—playing quality instruments that don’t even come close to maxing-out a $5,000 credit card.

The truth is, when it comes to buying instruments, electric guitarists are pretty much spoiled — especially compared to players of many other instruments. Granted, we have to purchase at least one amp, and most of us will also use pedals or rack effects. But even if you go a little nuts at your local guitar shop and spend 10 grand on a reliable touring rig, it’s nothing compared to how much that, say, a symphony orchestra harpist has to plunk down for their dream instrument.

I paid $25,000 for my harp in 2001. The same model purchased new today would be $37,000,” says Allegra Lilly, (pictured left), principal harpist for the St. Louis Symphony. “You could easily get a great concert grand for $20,000–$25,000, though I would guess that the most popular model goes for $33,000.”

Or suppose you played double bass. Freelance classical bassist Ali Cook says she paid $17k for hers. “Colleagues of mine have basses that range from $10,000 to $50,000.

Once we, hopefully, win a permanent [symphonic] position, we would generally upgrade to an instrument that could cost up to $200,000.”

If you play traditional jazz guitar, you might pay as much as $30,000 for a custom instrument like a Benedetto. Yet you could just as easily gig with an Eastman, Ibanez, Godin, Epiphone, or Gretsch archtop and come in at under a grand. It’s interesting, though, that new instruments for traditional jazz players are the ones that reach into the range of those earmarked for classical players.


VIDEO: Eventide's H9 Core Harmonizer...

Eventide has unveiled the newest addition to its acclaimed H9 stompbox line: the H9 Core.

The H9 Core, (which is available now), delivers the sounds of Eventide’s H910 and H949 harmonizers, (the prized studio processors used on stage by Frank Zappa, Jimmy Page and Eddie Van Halen). All of Eventide’s stompbox effects, including new H9 exclusives, UltraTap Delay and Resonator, can be added to H9 Core.

H9 Core features a simple, one-knob user interface and is fully featured as a standalone stompbox.

Using H9 Core with the H9 Control app for Windows, OSX (via USB) or iOS (wirelessly via Bluetooth) makes creating and managing presets, live control and in-app algorithm purchases easy. H9 owners can sync up to five H9s to a single Eventide.com account so their H9 algorithms can be used by five H9s simultaneously.

The un-bundled H9 Core is the perfect add-on for an H9 owner,” said Ray Maxwell, Eventide’s VP of sales and marketing. “Alternatively, H9 Core is a great place to start for users who want to customize their H9 with only the algorithms they want at a lower price of entry.”

All of Eventide’s stompbox algorithms and their associated presets are available for audition and in-app purchase through the H9 Control app. Drag and drop presets into custom preset lists for your upcoming shows.

H9 and H9 Core feature True Analog Bypass, MIDI and a built-in tuner. For more information about H9 and H9 Core, visit eventide.com.

Video: 'How to Shred with Yngwie Malmsteen'

Check out this video created and posted by the folks over at Spin.

In the clip, Yngwie Malmsteen teaches Spin senior editor — and self-declared guitar novice — David Marchese a few things you need to know to shred like a guitar god.

Malmsteen goes from "bending in tune" to providing pointers on style and showmanship. Pretty funny when Marchese says "Good job!" at the end of the video.

Anyway, enjoy!

VIDEO: Mad Professor Royal Blue Overdrive...

The Mad Professor Royal Blue Overdrive is a medium gain pedal with tube amp-like crunchy ‘strike hard for distortion’ (as Mad Professor call it) tones available. Just one quick note, the delay in this demo is coming from an Empress Superdelay in the effects loop of a Ceriatone Chupacabra 50 amp.

The overdrive is really smooth but also touch sensitive so you could use the volume control to switch between a clean and overdriven tone very easily (with an amp set clean). If you have a volume pedal that has the ability to switch between a minimum and maximum volume setting (like the Ernie Ball MVP) you can easily replicate a 2 channel amp just by controlling the volume output from your guitar.

In the case of this demo, there's a blower switch on a Cilia CGA7  so as to set the volume to very low on the guitar to get a clean tone and then flick the switch to instantly bypass the volume circuit for the overdrive tone. In addition players can also set the pickup selector to the neck and roll off the volume for a super clean tone and then the blower switch will go back to the bridge humbucker with the volume at 10 (actually it is completely bypassed).

Not many overdrive pedals allow this kind of amp-like control and it also means you can chain the pedal with another boost or overdrive pedal to create various layers of gain.

This pedal has slightly more gain than the Sweet Honey Overdrive and has a smoother character, by rolling off the treble you can get a nice creamy overdrive tone great for legato lines. Roll off the bass and increase the treble to cut through the mix with a more bitey Marshall style crunch. Overall it's a great overdrive pedal that covers a lot of ground.

Thanks to the fine folks at GuitarNoize.com for this great review /demo.

For more information head over to the Mad Professor website.