Will the Pono Music Player sound like a $27,500 preamp?

Will the $400 Pono Music Player sound like a $27,500 stereo preamplifier? The Ayre KX-R Twenty costs as much as a car, but its designer claims the Pono Player will sound almost as good as the preamp!

No doubt about it, the Ayre Acoustics KX-R Twenty preamplifier's sound quality is truly revelatory. And, we ought to hope so, since it sells for $27,500, but here's the truly shocking part: Ayre's owner -- and the preamp's designer -- Charles Hansen, thinks the upcoming Pono Music Player will deliver "80 or 90 percent" of the KX-R Twenty's sound, for just $400!

Hansen should know; he had a hand in designing the Pono's electronics that were in part funded by Neil Young's hugely successful Kickstarter project. The KX-R Twenty and Pono share similar audio circuitry, though the parts used are entirely different. On the Pono media circuit, Hansen's enthusiasm for the Pono player took many by surprise.

Hansen's a high-end engineer, and has always designed gear without budgetary compromises. "That's what the KX-R Twenty is all about, and as for the Pono, I eagerly await production players, they're due in October." Hansen claims that once you start listening to the Pono you may find it hard to stop, it's that good.

The audio circuitry is fully discrete, meaning there are no integrated circuit chips of the sort used in every other portable music player. It's a bona fide high-end component. Every Ayre component is designed and built in the company's factory in Boulder, Colo. However, Ayre will not be manufacturing the production Pono players.

VIDEO: A Painless Intro Into Music Publishing...

Music Publishing is one of the most misunderstood areas of the music business. In this quick and painless video, Songspace co-founder Jesse Feister breaks it down to the very basics... 

What are the different ways a song can make revenue? What are the different types of rights tied to songwriting? Why do restaurants have to pay to play background music? All of these questions are answered and more.

This is part 1 of a 3 part series on Music Publishing basics, brought to you by our friends at Songspace.

Which Guitar Brand Does The Edge from U2 Play?

With the recent news that U2's "The Edge" and "Bono" have been signed-on to join Fender's board of directors, and be involved working on new ideas with Fender Inc., a big question has arisen as to; "Which Brand Guitars Does The Edge from U2 Actually Play?"

If you immediately guessed Gibson, you'd be on the right track... In over 50% of the images posted online, The Edge is playing the, "Gibson," brand of guitars. Most notably his Gibson Explorer and many others from his extensive Gibson Les Paul collection. Below is a quick breakdown courtesy of Strum School.com of what The Edge has become famous for in terms of his guitars...

David Howell Evans, better known as The Edge, has been the guitarist for the band U2 since its inception in 1976. Throughout the years, The Edge has played a myriad of different guitars. While on tour, The Edge takes 45 guitars on the road with him, often playing up to 17 different ones in a single night. He personally owns over 200 different guitars.

Evans’ most notable and oft played guitar is the Gibson Explorer electric guitar in heritage cherry. With the Gibson Explorer, The Edge often uses the Vox AC30, which is a guitar amplifier that produces high-end, shimmering sounds. The Edge uses many other Gibson guitars in addition to the Explorer as well. He uses a Gibson Custom Shop 1954 Les Paul Goldtop VOS in antique gold, and a Gibson ES-335 Dot Plain-top electric with a gloss finish in vintage sunburst.

The Edge often plays non-Gibson branded guitars as well. His other go-to’s include Fender Telecasters and Stratocasters. His favorites are a Black Stratocaster with a rosewood neck, and a 1973 Fender cream Stratocaster with a maple neck.

He also occasionally plays a Gretsch guitar, the G6-122 1959 Chet Atkins Country Gentleman electric with a walnut stain.

For acoustic numbers, The Edge plays a Gibson acoustic, the Pete Townshend J-200 acoustic-electric guitar, in antique natural. He also plays a Gibson SJ-200 standard acoustic-electric guitar in vintage sunburst. The Edge also plays a Martin D12-28 12-string dreadnought guitar.

Bono and The Edge join Fender board of directors...

Bono and The Edge are to join Fender's board of directors, U2 pair to work on new ideas with Fender Inc.

Commenting on the appointment, The Edge said it was: "something of a kid in a candy store situation for me. I've been a fan of Fender guitars from the beginning, playing them on all the most important U2 tours and albums. But I'm most interested in working with the Fender design team on some new ideas."

"I believe that guitars are here to stay and, far from digital technology being their death knell, I think it throws up some new ways to power creativity and give people greater access to the huge potential of the electric guitar...

It was the combination of time-honored traditions of guitar production with some very fresh ideas about what the company can do going into the future that hooked me...

"I'll continue to use my favorite guitars and amps and effects units made by other companies. I'm sure I always will, but I'm excited about what new instruments and hardware I can help create with Fender."

There's no indication as to what those new ideas might be right now, but it looks like the U2 pair will be looking to help Fender integrate bleeding edge technologies into their product lines.

"I'm excited to be part of developing newer technologies with Fender," commented Bono on the move, "as well as helping protect the jobs and commitment to excellence of their age-old craft."

For more information, visit the official Fender website.

$50.00 Guitar Lesson App - Now FREE!

Somewhere within us all lives a rock beast waiting to break free. Those looking to uncage the animal inside themselves have a wide range of new options in the digital age, and one of the highest rated options out there for the iPhone and iPad is now free for a limited time.

Guitar Lessons: Rock Prodigy by music software maker The Way of H is a nifty app for iOS devices that turns learning how to play the guitar into something of a game. Unlike most rival products, however, the app is interactive — it listens to you play and provides feedback to help.

From the app’s description:

If you have a new guitar, or one that’s sitting in the closet collecting dust… if you thought you’d never have the time or patience, Rock Prodigy is perfect for you. Rock Prodigy gets you playing in minutes, listens to you, and lets you know what to learn, practice and play each time you pick up your guitar.

Unlike boring books, gimmicky games, or random tips and tricks, Rock Prodigy’s patented method combines lessons, exercises, challenges, riffs, songs, videos, photos, diagrams, descriptions, and more all in a personalized learning path that tracks your progress.

Welcome to Rock Prodigy. Welcome to your new life with guitar!

Course 1 is an effective way for beginners to dive right in. It’s fun, sometimes challenging, but always awesome. You’ll be playing guitar sooner than you think.

Guitar Lessons: Rock Prodigy is typically a $50 purchase, and anyone who has ever taken a private guitar lesson will tell you that price isn’t bad at all. For a limited time, however, the app is completely free in the App Store.

The link to download Guitar Lessons: Rock Prodigy

4 Tips on How Cover Songs Can Help Your Music Career...

By: Lukas Camenzind | Music Think Tank.com

If you’re a performer and songwriter, of course you want to record and perform your own songs…

But you might be missing out on a very effective and easy way to take your music career to the next level: Cover songs!

Here’s my Top-4 Reasons why cover songs are great:

1. Be More Liked:
In psychology, there’s a phenomenon called the mere-exposure effect. What it means is simply this: People prefer what they’re familiar with over what they don’t know. So when you cover a popular song, people will like you and your performance more - just because they’re already familiar with the song. It doesn’t mean your own songs aren’t as good. It just means that with a cover, the hard work of popularizing the song is already done. Why not use this to your advantage?

2. Make Fans Come To You:
 How do new fans find out about your music? Maybe you’re playing shows, sending out press releases or spending money on radio promotion… But rather than pushing your music in front of an audience, what if you could make them come to you? Well, that’s exactly what the right cover song will do for you: By pulling in lots of new listeners with your cover, you can easily close the gap between you and your potential new fans. Now, you just have to pick the right song to pull in your ideal fans!

3. Be More Memorable:
 The best way to be memorable is to be different. But different compared to what? When you cover a song, the popular version of it acts as a reference - and gives you that opportunity to be different. So by performing a cover song you’ll actually be more memorable than with your own original tune. Plus, it’s relatively easy: Pick a song and switch up the genre or instrumentation, create a mash-up or choose a song that’s usually performed by the opposite sex.

4. Go Viral:
Unfortunately no one cares about your music if they don’t know who you are… But people are curious. And a cover song will pique that curiosity: What will your version sound like? Now, if you can “wow” people with an unexpected performance of a song they know, it just might be your best chance to get lucky and go far beyond your usual reach. To take your career to the next level, you need to focus on things that have the potential to actually make an impact. Cover songs are a good strategy, because they have that potential to go viral.

Bonus Tip And Some Inspiration…

Remember, you need a license to use someone else’s song! If you want to sell your version, check out Loudr.fm - an easy way to do it legally and with $0 upfront.

Review: Martin D35E Retro Acoustic Guitar

by Rick Moore | American Songwriter.com

When Martin’s Retro series, with Fishman’s F1 Aura Plus electronics system, was unveiled a couple years ago, the event marked the introduction of a major innovation in the acoustic-electric guitar industry. 

Using 21st century technology to model the finest characteristics of vintage microphones, and then incorporating that technology into guitar electronics to allow a player to sound as if he or she were playing through one of those mics, Martin (with some help from Fishman) trumped everybody. Those mics were modeled by veteran engineer Bil VornDick (Alison Krauss, Charlie Haden), and included ribbon, cardioid, and small and large diaphragm condenser mics for Martin Retros like the HD-28 and 000-18.

The system is also included in the D35E, a dreadnought Retro that comes with a list of the vintage mics that are modeled and a DVD to help to learn how to run the Fishman system. This guitar sounds great either unplugged or using the system, or just being played with the pickup alone and no mic imaging.

I tried one out, and, unplugged, the balance was almost startlingly perfect, flawless straight across the sonic spectrum. Dreads are generally noted for the big sound that matches the sizes of their bodies, but the 35E Retro I played wasn’t quite as loud unplugged as I expected it to be. But with a top of European spruce, and the three-piece back and sides of East Indian rosewood, this is a good live guitar both unplugged and not, and probably a better studio guitar than a lot of acoustics that are hard to get an even sound out of when a mic is put in front of them as opposed to plugging in.

The modified low oval profile neck with a Performing Artist taper was excellent, very fast with a smooth ebony fingerboard, satin finish and grained Ivoroid binding, unlike its cousin the D-28, which doesn’t have fretboard binding. It has a bone nut and a Tusq drop-in saddle on an ebony 1930s-style belly bridge. The guitar also comes in a southpaw version at no extra charge; street price is about $3399.

Not every guitar is for every guitar player, as instruments respond differently to each set of fingers and everyone is listening with a unique set of ears. But if you’re in the market for a quality dread, or haven’t had a chance to check out what the Retro system in general sounds like, find yourself a Martin dealer where you can sit down with a D35E retro, both with and without an amp.

Heavy Metal Music an Accurate Indicator of Intelligence and Prosperity!

What's the #1 Sign of Wealth and Intelligence of a Country? Why, HEAVY METAL of course...

New research has shown how when there are more Metal bands that exist within a country that this is a surprisingly accurate indicator of a nation's prosperity and it's overall intelligence...

It can be too easy to just judge someone based upon their taste in music.

Heavy metal-fans, for instance, are often thought to share a common sense of alienation, oppression and anger, with their music giving them an outlet for their rage.

It’s a stereotype that’s reinforced by the genre’s roots with metal gaining popularity throughout the 1960s and 1970s in economically ravaged, deindustrialised areas.

  • Map highlights the number of heavy metal bands per 100,000 residents
  • It shows how the genre holds less influence in post-industrial areas
  • It remains popular in wealthy, knowledge-based Scandinavian countries
  • Popularity is linked to a higher share of adults that hold degrees, as well as a better sense of well-being and satisfaction with life!

  • The map above tracks the number of heavy metal bands per 100,000 residents using data from the Encyclopaedia Metallum. It shows how the genre holds less influence in the post-industrial places of its birth, but remains extremely popular in wealthy, safe and stable Scandinavian countries.

    While heavy metal may have once appealed to alienated working-class males, today the music enjoys its greatest popularity in the most advanced, wealthy, and knowledge-based areas of the world.

    It shows how the genre of music now holds less influence in the post-industrial places of its birth, but remains extremely popular in the wealthy, safe and stable Scandinavian countries.

    Some people believe the dark, cold days of northern Europe reflect heavy metal’s emotional darkness and fury...


    JAZZ GUITAR: Pat Martino Discusses Life After Brain Aneurysm...

    Jazz guitarist Pat Martino reveals how he stayed upbeat after brain aneurysm...

    Pat Martino has made a career out of wowing others through music, tearing through killer guitar riffs since the early 1960s. But it is the jazz guitarist's remarkable story of survival that truly strikes a chord.

    By Ryan Kneller, Of The Morning Call

    The four-time Grammy-nominated artist spoke of this — his recovery from a near-fatal brain aneurysm in the early 1980s — at a recent presentation at St. Luke's University Hospital–Fountain Hill.

    The hour-long program, moderated by ArtsQuest's Vice President of Programming Patrick Brogan, was held in conjunction with a Musikfest Cafe concert that Martino played later that day as part of ArtsQuest's monthlong RiverJazz festival.

    Martino, who has made more than 25 albums, was born with arteriovenous malformation, an abnormality of blood vessels in the brain.

    The condition eventually led to a brain tumor the size of a pear, which led to neurosurgery and the removal of 60 percent of his left temporal lobe. As a result, he woke from the operation with total amnesia — a virtual blank slate of memories.

    Suddenly Martino had no recollection of his career, friends, family or even himself. His ability to play the instrument that made him successful also had become a blur.

    "The first thing that came to my mind were two words: I am," said Martino, a Philadelphia native. "That, to me, was life speaking through me. I am alive. From that point forward, it was a recovery in terms of a decision to recover."

    The healing process, while extremely difficult, provided Martino with a unique perspective, which he labels "the power of now."

    "The past no longer existed and it no longer exists to this day — nor does the future," he says. "It's foolish to see the other side of that. The only thing that exists is now."

    Today, the 69-year-old musician is healthy and performs regularly (both alone and with other musicians) at venues around the world.


    GW Review: Line 6 POD HD500X Multi-Effect Processor...

    Posted at Guitar World | by Chris Gill, Video by Paul Riario

    Not too long ago, if you were shopping for a multi-effect floorboard you were limited to a choice of affordable models with semi-pro-quality effects and moderately rugged construction or prohibitively expensive units with pro effects and tour-worthy durability.

    When Line 6 introduced products like the M13 Stomp-box Modeler and POD HD500, it bridged the gap between affordability and professional performance. The new Line 6 POD HD500X is the company’s most impressive multi-effect floorboard to date.

    With it, Line 6 has significantly increasing the power and flexibility of its best-selling POD HD500, and done so without increasing the list price.

    Features Like its predecessor, the Line 6 POD HD500X includes more than 100 different types of effects, covering pretty much every conceivable sound a guitarist could want. They include various shades and colors of distortion, compression, flangers, chorus, wahs, EQs, delay, reverb, and even synths and ring modulators. Even more impressive is the HD500X’s selection of 30 HD amp models, which include multiple channels of classic amps (rather than just a single “best of” model of each amp) and even uncommon classics, like a Thirties Gibson EH-185, a Sixties Supro S6616 and a Seventies Park 75 (including both the normal and bright channels).

    Virtually any combination of these amp models and effects can be configured in any order and stored in 512 preset locations. You can even assign dual signal paths to emulate playing through two different rigs at once with the same guitar to layer sounds like many pros do.


    Scientists Claim to be able to Manipulate Our Brains to Like Certain Types of Music...

    We all tend to go through countless music phases in our life. Young girls scream over boy bands, Teens cry out eyeliner for emo, or maybe donned a red baseball cap for Limp Bizkit, and maybe grew their hair long for the love of metal. The again, not every single one of us will ever really appreciate country music and its artists — the thing is not everyone will fall in love with the exact same genre's of music.

    But it’s possible that all we may need is a little “zap” to the right brain cells to change that.Perhaps the right zing to the correct area of the brain will flip a metal head into a Lady Gaga fan!

    According to a new study published in a journal called Frontier in Behavioral Neuroscience (via io9), researchers have found the part of the brain that affects musical preference. They’ve even successfully made one 60-year-old man (who they refer to as “Mr. B.”) suddenly become an avid fan of Johnny Cash.

    After receiving an electrical implant to his brain to counter his obsessive-compulsive disorder, Mr. B. — admittedly never quite the music lover — unexpectedly drew tremendous pleasure from the country legend’s songs, even going so far as to buying all of his CDs and DVDs. And, despite repeated listening, Mr. B.’s fondness for Cash’s catalog never diminished, as long as the electrical implant’s battery did not run out. His former musical taste returned only when stimulation of the implant subsided.

    The case study’s abstract summarizes the experiment:

    Music is among all cultures an important part of the live of most people. Music has psychological benefits and may generate strong emotional and physiological responses. Recently, neuroscientists have discovered that music influences the reward circuit of the nucleus accumbens (NAcc), even when no explicit reward is present. In this clinical case study, we describe a 60-year old patient who developed a sudden and distinct musical preference for Johnny Cash following deep brain stimulation (DBS) targeted at the NAcc. This case report substantiates the assumption that the NAcc is involved in musical preference, based on the observation of direct stimulation of the accumbens with DBS. It also shows that accumbens DBS can change musical preference without habituation of its rewarding properties. 

    And excerpts explain Mr. B.’s phenomenon further:

    Mr. B., had never been a huge music lover. His musical taste was broad, covering Dutch-language songs, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, with a preference for the last named. While music did not occupy an important position in his live, his taste in music had always been very fixed and his preferences stayed the same throughout decades. On average, a half year after DBS surgery, Mr. B. stated that he was turning into a Johnny Cash fan. He had been listening to the radio, when he coincidentally heard “Ring of Fire” of the Country and Western singer and experienced that he was deeply affected by the song. Mr. B. started to listen to more songs of Johnny Cash and noticed that he was deeply moved by the raw and low-pitched voice of the singer. Moreover, he experienced that he preferred the performance of the songs in the Seventies and Eighties, due to the fullness of the voice of the older Johnny Cash in that period.

    From this moment on, Mr. B. kept listening simply and solely to Johnny Cash and bought all his CD’s and DVD’s.

    …although Mr. B. played almost simply and solely Johnny Cash songs for the following years, the music never starts to annoy him. From the first time Mr. B. heard a Johnny Cash song, the Dutch-language songs, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones have been banned from his consciousness.

    So now scientists have found a way to manipulate a human’s musical taste. What will they think of next.

    Keith Urban Sets New Record for Guitar Sales!

    Add guitar salesman to Keith Urban's resume... Keith Urban has set a new shopping channel record record with guitar sales on the Home Shopping Network!

    The chart-topping country singer and "American Idol" judge appeared on HSN (Home Shopping Network) this week to promote his new line of guitars. The instruments are exclusive to the network and Urban sold more than 22,000 of his limited edition "Light The Fuse" and "Phoenix" URBAN guitar packages in eight hours.

    That number bests Urban's previous record of 20,000 sold, which he set last November when he first introduced his Phoenix acoustic guitar, a package that sold for $199.95.

    The "Light The Fuse" Collection, named after Urban's recent album "Fuse," features two versions of the "Light The Fuse" guitar, an all-wood electric or acoustic-electric that is available in five colors.

    In addition, the package includes a 15-watt amplifier, an extra set of strings, a carrying case, signature guitar picks, and a double-lesson DVD with one-on-one lessons from Urban.

    The guitar/amplifier combos originally sold for $289.95 and are now priced at $319.95 at www.HSN.com. Urban's 16-piece Phoenix acoustic package is currently listed on the site at $299.95.

    Similarly priced guitar packages, without the Urban-branded merchandise, are available in music stores.

    91 yr. old Christopher Lee Releases Heavy Metal EP

    The oldest metal performer in history, 91-year-old acting icon Sir Christopher Lee, will celebrate his 92nd birthday tomorrow.

    Marking the occasion, Lee has decided to unleash a new studio effort today, a four-track digital EP titled "Metal Knight."

    Sir Christopher briefly discussed the songs featured on the release, also sharing samples of each of the tunes. Make sure to check it out below.

    Lee's acting career is a thing of legend, as he has starred in almost 300 movies, including such classics as "Lord of the Rings," "Star Wars," "The Wicker Man," "Dracula," "The Hobbit" and more.

    The actor's latest full-length release, "Charlemagne: The Omens of Death," saw its release on May 27, 2013 via Charlemagne Productions. You can order the new effort via Amazon here.

    Led Zeppelin Lawsuit Lawyer 'Unprofessional, Offensive'

    The ridiculous behavior occurred while bringing a copyright infringement lawsuit against Usher...

    A Pennsylvania federal judge has ordered sanctions against the attorney preparing to sue Led Zeppelin for "Stairway to Heaven," claiming that the lawyer behaved "in a flagrantly unprofessional and offensive manner" over the course of a different copyright case filed against Usher...

    According to The Hollywood Reporter, attorney Francis Malofiy recently attracted the judge's consternation while bringing a lawsuit against Usher and 19 other defendants for copyright infringement. His copyright infringement claim failed because at best, the song is a joint work and his fellow co-writers were entitled to license it. Here's the full ruling by Pennsylvania federal Judge Paul Diamond.

    According to Judge Paul Diamond's sanctions memorandum, Malofiy misled Guice into believing that he was only a witness in the suit rather than a defendant, and persuaded Guice to sign an affidavit admitting to elements of the Plaintiff's complaint without representation from a lawyer. "Malofiy's discussions with Guice are the paradigm of bad faith and intentional misconduct," Judge Diamond wrote, and later concluded, "Defendants have shown clearly and convincingly that Attorney Francis Malofiy has acted disgracefully: lying to an unsophisticated, impoverished, unrepresented Defendant, thus convincing that Defendant to expose himself (probably baselessly) to substantial liability."

    Moreover, the judge says that Malofiy made "sexist, abusive" remarks during the case, including telling the other female lawyer, "Don’t be a girl about this." He also reportedly declared that "Usher has $130 million … I'm going to take every penny of it," and told someone else involved in the case, "You're like a little kid with your little mouth." As to the copyright infringement lawsuit, the judge did not find that Usher or his fellow defendants acted improperly in any manner and the entire case was dismissed.

    In a press release, Malofiy objected to the judge's conclusions regarding how he misled the defendant and stated that he was "upfront and honest with Mr. Guice."

    In the meantime, Malofiy has filed claim that Led Zeppelin stole the intro for their 1971 song "Stairway to Heaven" from Spirit's 1968 track "Taurus."

    Malofiy said that his next step will be to file a complete copyright infringement lawsuit and seek an injunction to block the release of the Led Zeppelin IV reissue, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

    The recent sanctions against Malofiy could distract from that pursuit, however. "Whether Malofiy should be removed from practice is a question properly answered in another forum," Judge Diamond wrote.

    Dialtone Pickups: Infinitely Tone-Adjustable Electric Guitar Pickup...

    Dialtone Pickups allows players to alter the tone of their guitar using two knobs built directly into the pickup. The knobs can be independently adjusted to achieve the preferred tone, and easily tuned to produce a new tone in a matter of seconds.

    Dialtone Pickups Announces the Guitar Industry’s First Infinitely Tone-Adjustable Electric Guitar Pickup

    Livermore, CA, May 25, 2014 --(PR.com)-- Dialtone Pickups has announced the upcoming release of the Dialtone Pickup, the guitar industry’s first-ever infinitely tone-adjustable electric guitar pickup.

    Designed by John Liptac, (who holds a PhD in Plasma Physics from MIT and has a background in Engineering), Dialtone Pickups allow musicians an unprecedented level of control over their electric guitar’s sound through two independently adjustable knobs integrated directly onto the pickup. These knobs allow adjustment of the two fundamental qualities responsible for determining a guitar’s tone, namely the “resonant frequency” and the “Q values” of the pickup.

    The resonant frequency and Q values are fixed in traditional pickups through the more familiar qualities such as number of turns, resistance values, and inductances, which produce a characteristic sound. Dialtone Pickups circumvent these limitations and provide infinite tonal possibilities through the use of active circuitry. Dialtone Pickups offer low output impedance and are insensitive to tone robbing cable capacitance effects. The Dialtone Pickup is currently offered as a drop-in humbucker replacement.

    Dialtone Pickups will be hosting a live demonstration of the Dialtone Pickup on Sunday, June 1st at Panama Red Coffee Co. in Livermore, California. Following the event, Dialtone Pickups will release its Kickstarter campaign, at which point a limited number of pickups will be made available for pre-order.

    For more information, visit www.dialtonepickups.com.

    VIDEO: Guitar Faces!

    This new music video for Eugene McGuinness is absolutely hilarious. In fact, it get's to the very heart of what it might mean when someone says that they are “rocking out”. We might even go as far as to say that this video for Godvia is the definition of “rocking out”.

    Directed by  ThirtyTwo, (Pulse Films), the video is described as a “guitar face portraiture project”, and that is exactly what it is. A series of slow-motion close-ups of the concentrated grimaces that dudes, being dudes, make while they rock out on their guitars.

    The whole thing is strangely familiar, reminiscent perhaps of the recent Dutch electronic dance music video by ADAM that’s taken the internet by storm over the last few weeks, (but a geeky, satirical version).

    The intense guitar picking and impressive head-banging is at hilarious odds with the stripped-back guitar of the track. However, if watching the video only leaves you with wanting to practice your own, "Guitar-Face," then you may wish to enlist some help from one of the true masters of the art-form below...

    MIND CONTROL: Using Music as a Tool to Control What We Buy...

    How Major Retailers are Using Music to Try and Control What We Are Buying, and How Much Money We're Spending...

    If you spend enough time in an Ann Taylor retail store, you'll notice that they only play female musicians. One store manager reported, in an interview with Marie Clare, they only use a few male singers for their store's, but noted, "When we use a male singer, they must be singing about love or about getting dumped."

    Rischel Granquist knows why: She designed the brand's music strategy according to its demographic — middle-aged women shopping for conservative clothing. When those women hear other women singing, or non-threatening men wailing about heartbreak, they feel more comfortable. As a result, according to a 1988 study, they spend way more money.

    We may not realize it, but when we first walk into any large corporate store, we're immediately targeted by a strategy and by a brand's specific music strategy.

    "The key is asking the right questions: What do we want the music to do — evoke an emotional response? Transport the customer to a different place? How do you want to fill the space?" Granquist told Marie Claire about her work with Burberry. But the aesthetic decisions are intuitive. What's a bit stranger is the psychology behind how every store you visit is using music to influence your decisions.

    Brands not only take customers' musical tastes into consideration, but also want to control the amount of time people spend shopping in their stores through music. Music volume is a key psychological factor. According to recent studies, if music is played loudly, customers are likely to spend less time shopping. In a teen clothing store like Hot Topic, for instance, this tactic can be used to the retailer's advantage, as it lures young shoppers in and keeps their parents out. This makes the store more attractive to youth and also increases the chance that they will be more reckless in spending than they would if they were supervised.

    Similarly, former Madewell employee Jordana Sapiurka told online web-magazine PolicyMic that the store's upbeat, alternative music was used to create a bond between customers and clerks. "Shoppers asked us what we were playing because they felt hip listening to it," she said. "Then they wanted to buy our clothes to feel even more hip." Music, as ever, was a social and actual currency.

    In addition to driving parents away and sending overstimulated teens into spending mode, music volume also has been shown to affect the habits of impulse shoppers. According to Guardian columnist Oliver Burkeman, loud music leads to "a momentary loss of self-control, thus enhancing the likelihood of impulse purchase." Music marketers know this well — they even have a name for it: "disrupt-then-reframe."

    Marketers and management uses this physiological tactic to send customers into sensory overload. Think of a dark Abercrombie and Fitch store, where the beat of a house track thumps in your ears while your nostrils are overloaded with chain's sharp, distinctive musk (which bypasses your conscious mind to encourage impulsive decisions). Meanwhile, whether you like it or not, there's a ripped shirtless guy eyeing you. The customer feels so much discomfort that right when he or she feels the impulse to leave, the store finds a way to offer a reliable path through the chaos. In this case, the answer is: "Buy this Abercrombie polo shirt or denim skirt and RUN!"

    Studies have shown that impulse buyers are likely to spend even more on an impulse buy when there's music egging them on, presumably because they reinforce the decision to purchase with the energy and emotion of the music.

    But the people most affected by these (often intense) psychological tactics are store clerks. Mary Katherine Malone has been working at a university bookstore for two years and describes hearing the same music over and over as "living hell."

    "I have to listen to Justin Bieber every day," said Malone. "I know the lyrics to songs that I never wanted to know. The fact that I know the lyrics to the most recent Pink song is sad."

    There's often that creepy feeling when you go shopping that a store knows you too well. You see the clothes you like, you hear the music you like and you see people like you behind the counter (even if they hate the music). But when you're out shopping and feel the impulse to open your wallet, take a moment to think about the volume of the music, the smells in the air and the carefully-handpicked musician who is whispering in your ear.

    VIDEO: Joe Fenton Painting Mark Tremonti’s Guitar

    Back in March GuitarNoize shared a photo of a very special PRS Tremonti guitar that was hand painted by Joe Fenton for Mark Tremonti.

    The guitar looked pretty amazing so I was interested when I heard that the entire painting process had been documented by Joe Fenton and the edited version can be seen above.

    It's hard to really appreciate just how much work goes into a guitar design like this until you see the artist at work!

    VIDEO LESSON Dave Davidson: Pentatonic Thrash...

    Dave Davidson, (from the band "Revocation"), filmed a quick lesson at the Guitar World studios covering some cool pentatonic and modal concepts for Thrash... 

    The pentatonic scale is the one scale that just about every rock, metal, blues, jazz and country guitar player is well familiar with.

    These five-tone scales—both the minor and major forms—sound great and fall easily on the fretboard, earning them their prevalence in all popular guitar-driven musical forms. One of my favorite things to do when writing riffs or soloing is to take a pentatonic form in one key and superimpose it over another.

    The result is often a sound that combines the familiarity of the melodic shapes and patterns with the ambiguity or unusual harmony created by this twist on the conventional approach to using pentatonic scales.

    Are Holographic Concerts the Future of the Music Industry?

    By Sam Behrens | PolyMic.com

    Five years after his death, Michael Jackson stole the show. He always did when he was alive, and it was no different during Sunday night's Billboard Music Awards (BBMA), when a holographic MJ joined a five-piece band and 16 dancers onstage.

    He wasn't the first. When hologram technology emerged two years ago, it seemed like a fad. Now it's a trend of resurrection so common it might just be the future of the industry.

    It began in April 2012, when a virtual Tupac Shakur (see how above) took the stage at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival with Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre. It was the first time a hologram had been used in a live performance for such a huge American crowd, and the first time hologram technology was used to ressurrect a dead singer. It made a mark.

    Since that performance, old favorites have been returning to us with increasing regularity. The deal behind the concert was relatively simple: Dr. Dre went to Tupac's mother to get permission to use his likeness, then he paid electronics firm AV Concepts $400,000 to recreate the rapper from old footage. In an interview with NPR a few months after the concert, MTV's James Montgomery reflected,

    "Once this becomes a little less cost-prohibitive, given the wild popularity of deceased stars like Elvis or Michael Jackson, I can see Las Vegas shelling out a lot of money to have these sort of 'live revues.'"

    It was almost prophetic. Among the dead legends now returning to earth, hologram Ol' Dirty Bastard will make appearances at the Rock the Bells 10th anniversary shows this fall. People who were too young for a Wu-Tang show before ODB died from an overdose in 2004 can now see him rip through "Shame on a Nigga."

    These deals all involve similar work and technology. A producer finds a dead artist's estate and obtains the necessary rights. In Jackson's case, the producers of the BBMAs sought permission from John Branca, the coexecutor of MJ's estate. Typically the performances are done by the same animation and production firms, places like Play Gig-It, Pulse Evolution and Tricycle Logic. "It's like walking on the moon for the first time,” Chris "Broadway" Romero, (one of the digital artists that worked on the hologram ODB for Rock The Bells), told Pitchfork about his work crafting hologram performances. "You hope it works. You hope you don't die in front of a bunch of people. But you just go."

    After rights are obtained, it takes an enormous amount of time and effort to make each performance. It took half a year to compose the MJ sequence, and BBMA producers didn't even see footage until eight days before the nationally broadcast show. Months of work go into every detail, from choreographed dancing to how the sweat will bead on MJ's head to the angle of his hand after he sticks a spin move. The likenesses are built off careful study of old film, but the performances are composed using motion capture technology. If the artist is still alive, they'll don the motion capture suit themselves, but when the artist has already passed, that duty often falls to their children. In the case of the ODB hologram, his son, Young Dirty Bastard, donned the motion capture suit. Eazy-E's hologram was made from combining performances from his three children — one for his voice, one for his body and one for his face.

    Once the performance is complete, the technology behind projecting these apparitions is fairly simple — it's not even technically a hologram, actually. A projector is positioned above the stage, and it casts an image down onto a mirror placed at a specific angle on the floor of the stage. That image is then reflected onto a foil screen, where it appears to hover onstage, moonwalking around like MJ or traipsing about like Tupac.

    The technology is widely celebrated, but the principle is a little more troubling. Bringing back the dead has always been treacherous ground to tread. In robotics, there's a concept called the "uncanny valley," where a digital or robotic likeness of a human is cool until it looks just enough like a real person, at which point it becomes terrifying. Think about any of Pixar's human caricatures, and now think about the Polar Express.

    There's also the disturbing symbolism of the whole practice. This may be the future of entertainment, but perhaps it will never sit well. It takes months and long hours to create a likeness (and we will get faster), but it takes years of full life to build the real thing. According to Pitchfork, famed '90s group TLC has considered incorporating a hologram Lisa "Left-Eye" Lopes into their show. Lopes was one of the group's most magnetic personalities before she died in a car crash in 2002. The band was hesitant; T-Boz remembered how difficult it was just to have Lisa appear on the giant LED screens behind them after her death. "It took us 10 years just to be able to look back [at the screen]," she said. "I have to have tunnel vision, because it's a constant reminder that she's not there."

    The technology, though, is looking to become an integral part of the future in music and beyond. Narendra Modi, the new prime minister of India, used the technology to reach more voters in the country's recent elections. Galaxy Chocolate used a similar technology to recreate Audrey Hepburn (in a likeness that came dangerously close to the "uncanny valley") to sell candy. Audrey Hepburn 'hologram technology' TV Commercial is below...

    The biggest pop star in Japan, Hatsune Miku, isn't actually a real person: She's a "digitally synthesized voice encapsulated in a crowd-sourced humanoid persona" — a projection of national preferences. See Hatsune Miku 'hologram technology' concert footage below...

    ARTIFACT: The Business of Music, Circa 2014...

    The “record business” as we knew it 20 years ago has ceased to exist...

    If you'd like to have a good look into the current state of today's music industry, then I highly recommend the documentary, "Artifact," which chronicles the seemingly endless struggles between Jared Leto’s band Thirty Seconds to Mars and their record label.

    The industry, (as it operates in 2014), has changed the career trajectories of many professional musicians. Plenty of absolutely fantastic musicians, (who jumped into the business because it was once potentially lucrative and creatively satisfying), have left, and are now selling insurance, real estate, or something else altogether.

    If you are in the music biz in 2014, you are most likely doing it because you love music more than you love money.

    Over the years I've worked with dozens of great singers, storytellers, songwriters and instrumentalists who were all very talented and all trying to become the next big thing. Today, in 2014, I'm not exactly sure of what starting-out as a band and trying to “make it” actually looks like anymore. I can tell you this much... most signed bands these days probably have some form of a 360 deal, where the label shares in all of the revenue, including merchandise, live gigs, etc. And, this is generally NOT a good deal for the band /musician... It is however EXCELLENT for the big music corporations!

    If you've ever done any; label showcases, (playing for guys in suits with their arms folded)... If you've ever spent hours away from your friends and family, (and thousands of your hard-earned dollars), working day and night in a recording studio to make something great, or if you've ever spent days and days on the highway touring all over in a beater van... This documentary is a MUST watch movie!

    Having spent my twenties and my thirties on various versions of the music business roller-coaster ride, I have to say, that I really enjoyed this documentary about the band "30 Seconds to Mars", describing their personal experience in the music business. Check out the movie trailer below...

    Telling harsh truths about the state of our modern music business, they've created a riveting documentary that gives an intimate look into the band as they fight a relentless $30 Million lawsuit with record label Virgin/EMI and as they struggle to write songs for their album "This Is War."

    Opening up their life for the camera during some very tough months of excruciating pressures, the band members reveal the harsh struggles they must face over questions of art, money and integrity. I highly recommend this film!

    VIDEO: AskSlash Episode 1 – Learning to Play Guitar

    In the first episode of, "AskSlash," Slash answers questions submitted about learning to play the guitar. He stresses learning the instrument through hard work and dedication to doing a lot of practice. Slash explains how spending long hours and committing yourself to the enjoyment of playing the guitar is the key to constantly advancing one's playing. Keeping at it and ignoring frustration, being patient and not letting obstacles get in your way will produce the results over time. He also adds how he thinks that girls who play, "Bad Ass," guitar are one of the sexiest things for him personally... The full interview is posted below...

    Andy Aledort: Breaking Down Gary Moore's Guitar Style...

    Guitar World columnist Andy Aledort has posted a fantastic new article on the Guitar World web-site... In Deep: Breaking Down the Signature Elements of Gary Moore's Immediately Identifiable Guitar Style...

    If you're not too familiar with guitarist Gary Moore, (who died 3 years ago this month), Aledort examines some of the signature elements of the brilliant blues-rock guitarist Gary Moore’s stunning, immediately identifiable guitar style.

    Here's a brief exert...
    Born in 1952, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Moore picked up the guitar at the age of eight, inspired by the music of Elvis Presley, the Shadows and the Beatles.

    But his strongest influences were John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers guitarists Eric Clapton and Peter Green, as well as legendary electric blues progenitors Albert King, B.B King and Albert Collins. Another important influence was Jimi Hendrix; Moore would regularly include Hendrix’s slow blues “Red House” in his live shows.

    Though Moore was often seen playing a beautiful Fiesta Red 1961 Strat, his signature sound is more closely associated with the beloved 1959 Les Paul Standard that he played for many years (see sidebar on page 36). He purchased that guitar from Peter Green in 1970 and, fittingly, used it to record his 1995 tribute to his mentor, Blues for Greeny.

    There are 4 video lessons covering the complete Gary Moore lesson...

    Read more and watch the lesson videos on the Guitar World web-site...