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New Book Explores The History of Hofner Guitars

Posted by Michael Mueller on February 25, 2010 at 12:17 PM

Hofner Guitar HistoryThere's something to be said of German engineering: BMW and Mercedes, the Madgeburg water bridge, Novocaine ... and thanks to German musical instrument manufacturer Höfner, you can add guitars to that list. In The Höfner Guitar: A History (Hal Leonard), authors Gordon Giltrap and Neville Marten explore the company's golden era, from the late '50s through the early '70s, including interviews with current and former Höfner artists such as Paul McCartney, David Gilmour, Albert Lee, and others.

The Höfner Guitar was first published in 1993, by International Music Publications Limited. This 2009 2nd edition includes the artist interviews, the insightful interview with former Höfner managing director Christian Benker, and the fascinating "Memorabilia" chapter featuring reproductions from vintage Selmer catalogs (Höfner's UK distributor) that are all found in the 1st printing, but also adds a brand new introduction written by Giltrap (a photo essay of his amazing personal collection of Höfners is also present) and a new introduction written by Paul Day, in which he offers a decade-by-decade chronicle of Höfner models built from 1965 through 2009.

As a Höfner owner (2009 VeryThin CT), I found the book engaging and compelling, while the photos, or "guitar porn" as we guitar geeks like to call it, are simply fabulous. These fine instruments really are too-often underrated and under-appreciated. If you're in the market for an archtop or a semi-hollow, be sure to check out a Höfner.

To buy The Höfner Guitar: A History, click here. To see and hear a Höfner archtop in action, check out our guitar video lessons with master jazz instructor Sid Jacobs. Here, also, is a killer video of blues-fusion guitarist Chuck D'Aloia playing a Höfner VeryThin CT. This model retails for just $799, with a street price around $500-$550. In short, it's a steal!

For more on Höfner guitars, please visit their official web site.


Guitarist MATTIAS IA EKLUNDH Hosts Lessons and Master Class at ICMP

Posted by Michael Mueller on February 24, 2010 at 9:09 AM

Mattias IA EklundhOne of the most innovative and freakishly talented guitarists of our time, Mattias IA Eklundh conducted private lessons and an interactive master class this past Thursday (Feb. 18), at the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance (ICMP), in Kilburn, London.

The Freak Kitchen guitarist engaged the captive audience with a balance of humor, technical precision, and stylistic diversity in his performance. He shared his influences from all over the world, particularly from India where he felt challenged by interesting time signatures and melodic nuances. He also spoke with the students about finding their "moustache" with their playing and their sound; that is, trying to create something a little different that makes them stand out from the crowd and identifies their music with a particular signature.

Mattias and the ICMP student scholarship band, which included James Neye (guitar), Jamie Wilkins (bass), and Francesco Lucidi (drums), gave a high-energy and technically impressive performance of "Little Bastard." ICMP tutors Charlie Griffiths (guitar), Darren Ashford (drums) and Dave Marks (bass) then took to the stage with Mattias to give amazing performances of "Samba Caramba" and "Ketchup is a Vegetable." You can check out Mattias's performance below.

For further information about this and other events at the ICMP, visit



Rocklahoma 2010 Dates and Lineup

Posted by Michael Mueller on February 24, 2010 at 8:41 AM

ZZ Top guitar tabFestival organizers have announced the much-anticipated return of Rocklahoma, set for Memorial Day Weekend, May 28-30, 2010 in Pryor, Oklahoma, featuring some of the biggest rock bands in the United States from the '80s, '90s, and today.

Established in 2007 as a classic rock festival, the 2010 event encompasses a much broader mix of classic, current, and up-and-coming rock artists. This year's lineup includes ZZ Top, Godsmack, Tesla, Buckcherry, Cinderella, Chevelle, Stone Sour, Theory of a Deadman, Saliva, Saving Abel, Janus, Burn Halo, Year Long Disaster, and more yet to be announced.

"As life-long residents of 'Baja, Oklahoma,' Dusty, Frank and I are looking forward to making the northward trek to Pryor in May," says ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons. "The idea of sharing the stage with so many great, cutting-edge bands out there today is most appealing. It's like rock 'n' roll summer camp—does that make us campers or counselors?"

Three-day passes start at only $95 and will go on-sale on Saturday, February 27th at 10am CST, exclusively at Camping add-ons, VIP packages, and seat upgrades will also be offered at the time of purchase. For a full list of amenities, including VIP camping spots, reserved concert seating, and unlimited, all-inclusive food and drink, please visit

Rocklahoma is located just 45 minutes northeast of Tulsa, in Pryor, OK. The "Catch the Fever" Festival Grounds is a premier destination for a multi-day festival, and includes on-site camping with access to restrooms and shower house, a general store for campers, VIP reserved seating, hospitality areas and much more.

ZZ Top guitar tab and jam tracks
Godsmack guitar tab and jam tracks
Tesla guitar tab
Stone Sour guitar tab
Cinderella guitar tab
Buckcherry guitar tab
Saving Abel guitar tab


DEFTONES to Release Long Awaited New Album on May 18

Posted by Michael Mueller on February 23, 2010 at 11:56 AM

DeftonesPress Release - One of the most respected and enduring forces in modern rock music, Deftones are proud to announce the release of their long -awaited new album titled Diamond Eyes, scheduled for release May 18, 2010. The Grammy Award-winning, Platinum-certified band's 6th full-length, was produced and mixed by Nick Raskulinecz (Alice in Chains, Coheed & Cambria, Foo Fighters), and recorded and engineered by Paul "Fig" Figueroa (Alice in Chains, Bad Religion). As expected, Diamond Eyes is a powerful combination of muscular impact and expansive and atmospheric clarity that propels Deftones through their ever-evolving new sonic terrain.

Beginning today, one brand new song from the album, "Rocket Skates," will become available online only for FREE via  To accompany the track, a new lyric video will be available and viewable the same day at

Then on April 17, "Rocket Skates" will be available for sale as an exclusive, limited edition 7" vinyl single pressing complete with picture sleeve in support of National Record Store Day. These will go fast so don't hesitate.

Deftones are also pleased to confirm a string of live shows scheduled for this spring as follows:

April 24 Vive Latino Festival 2010 Mexico City, MEX
May 22 Rock on The Range Fest Columbus, OH
June 12 Download Fest Donnington Park, UK

More dates to be announced soon.

Top 10 Guitar Intros of All Time

Posted by Michael Mueller on February 23, 2010 at 11:18 AM

AC/DCIf you think of the greatest tunes in rock history, they nearly all have an intro riff or hook that just grabs the listener and screams, "Listen to me! Over and over and over again!" Here are 10 of our favorites, and if you want to learn how to play them yet, just click on the title, and download the official guitar tab for just 99¢!

"Purple Haze" Jimi Hendrix
The tritone formed by the bass's E root and Jimi's alternating octave Bb notes command your attention, then the main riff knocks you out.

"Aqualung" Jethro Tull
One of the most unique arrangements of the blues scale ever put to tape.

"Pride and Joy" Stevie Ray Vaughan
After the opening unison E notes, the ensuing 1/4-step bends on the B/G double stop mark one of the highest tension levels in blues riff history.

"Soul Man" Sam and Dave
If you're working on ear training and having trouble with the major 6th interval, look no further than Steve Cropper's sterling sixths riff.

"Sunshine of Your Love" Cream
Conceived by Jack Bruce, perfected by Eric Clapton, immortalized by John Bender in The Breakfast Club.

"Sweet Home Alabama" Lynyrd Skynyrd
How many different ways can you play the open-position turnaround lick? The band played it no less than three different ways themselves within the song.

"Start Me Up" Rolling Stones
Keith Richards once said that all it takes to play guitar is five strings, three fingers, two chords, and one ... well, let's just say "less than flattering yet essential body part." This song embodies that ethos like no other (except the last part, of course).

"Walk This Way" Aerosmith
The bass/hi-hat/snare intro is as much the hook as the E blues scale riff. Together, though, they're timeless.

"Smoke on the Water" Deep Purple
Ha! Bet you thought this ubiquitous gem would be #1! Well, it probably is, but with all due respect to Ritchie Blackmore and Co., Angus and Malcolm are just so much cooler than you are!

"Back in Black" AC/DC
When you hear the opening hi-hat count-in followed by that crunchy E5 power chord, you just know something really cool is about to go down. In fact, it might be the one riff ever written that could turn Pat Robertson into a headbanger.

BluesKids Chicago Blues Camp Auditions

Posted by Michael Mueller on February 19, 2010 at 1:38 PM

Do you know a 12-18 year old musician who's got the blues? If so, Blues Camp may be just the remedy. On Saturday, March 13, 10:00-Noon, at the Columbia College Chicago will host free auditions for this year's Blues Camp, which will be held July 4-9, at Columbia College Chicago Music Center, 1014 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Illinois.

Blues Kids, the organization behind the Camp, is an internationally recognized multicultural, interdisciplinary artist-in-residence music program founded by Fernando Jones (author of I Was There When The Blues Was Red Hot). This experience is designed to improve literacy through music with a focus on the Blues—the root of American music.

From this tailored experience students will learn the importance and power of discipline, teamwork, and goal setting in a collaborative learning environment.

For more information, please visit

Download blues guitar tabs
Download blues guitar video lessons and songs
Download blues guitar jam tracks

Steve Vai Announces VaiTunes and Plays on Stairway to Heaven Cover

Posted by Michael Mueller on February 18, 2010 at 1:42 PM

Steve Vai - Mary J. BligeThe last time Steve Vai played "Stairway to Heaven," he says he was 14 years old at a school dance, and the head cheerleader ralphed all over his 4-inch platform shoes. But that little setback wasn't enough for the Jem-master to decline an invitation to lay down his mojo on the Zep classic for a new version set to appear on R&B singer Mary J. Blige's new album, due out later this year.

"I was hunkering down on the new project when I got a call from a friend of mine at Universal to play guitar on 'Stairway to Heaven' for Mary J Blige," says Vai at his web site. "So I went into the studio and we cut a track with Travis Barker on drums, Orianthi on guitar, and Randy Jackson on bass. The track came out beautiful but perhaps the highlight for me was sitting across from MJB, just her and I doing the classic song's intro. It was magic really. Her voice sounded like moonbeams reflecting off of a mountain lake."

Steve Vai guitar tabIn other Vai news, the guitarist has announced a new endeavor he calls VaiTunes—digital singles culled from the "melodic abyss" that comprises the digital ocean of song snippets, ideas, and leftovers floating around Vai's hard drives and tapes.

The first track is titled "Without Me." It was tracked in 1998 at The Mothership, in Hollywood, California, and features Vai on guitar, Mike Keneally on keys, Philip Bynoe on bass, and Mike Mangini on drums. You can read the liner notes for the track here, and you can preview the track at any of the digital retailers on that page. Click here to hear it at iTunes.

Steve Vai guitar tab and video lessons 

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