Your Daily Dose of Guitar News & Reviews
Hot Glam! Motley Crue and Poison Announce Summer Tour
If you're of a certain age (mine) and were a hair metal fan in the mid-to-late '80s, this here is some glam fine news for a Monday. Hair metal icons Mötley Crüe and Poison have set differences - real or perceived - aside and teamed up for the tentatively titled Glam-A-Gedon 25 co-headlining tour, featuring special guests the New York Dolls and kicking off in Tupelo, Mississippi, on May 25.
When reporters recently asked Bret Michaels if there was any bad blood between the bands, Michaels laughed: "There may be some friendly competition but there is no bad blood at all on my part. Nikki [Sixx, Mötley Crüe bassist] and I have spoken several times on the phone recently and the conversations went great."
Michaels continued, "Music is a universal language and I am extremely excited that this tour has come together as are the fans, they are truly going to see a great show. Honestly, I could care less about all the mudslinging, it gets nobody nowhere, and after all I have been through health wise in the last year, I am going to try to focus on what does matter which is the show, the fans, fun and personally throwing a hell of a backstage party."
Train's Jimmy Stafford Talks About Playing Ukulele
So why is everyone suddenly talking about the ukulele, you ask? Over the past year or two, the ukulele has become one of the hottest-selling instruments on the planet. Don't ask me why, but there's no denying the little 4-stringer's waxing popularity. Hal Leonard's Ukulele Method is flying off of store shelves, and the book's author, Lil' Rev, has been criss-crossing the country playing concerts and hosting jam-packed clinics.
If you want to get in on the action, hop on down to your local guitar shop and check out their selection of ukes, and then come back to GuitarInstructor.com and check out our series of beginner ukulele video lessons with Lil' Rev.
Guitar Instructor Lick of the Week 02-22-2011
Whereas many shredders rely on common melodic shapes—particularly three-notes-per-string patterns—guys like John Petrucci and Steve Morse—two of the best alternate pickers on the planet—seem to be able to play anything anywhere on the neck, like this lick.
This E Mixolydian-based (E-F#-G#-A-B-C#-D) line features a chromatic climb up the second string on each successive downbeat in the first measure, followed by a quasi-chromatic descent down to the root, E. Notice how there is not a single three-notes-per-string pattern in this lick, making it an excellent alternate picking exercise, as well as a useful shred phrase.
New Journey Album Due Out May 24
According to MelodicRock.com, Journey will release their new album, Eclipse, in North America on May 24, exclusively at WalMart. The album, which was produced by Kevin Shirley (Joe Bonamassa, Iron Maiden, Dream Theater) contains 12 tracks, including one instrumental, written by guitarist Neal Schon and keyboardist Jonathan Cain, with input from singer Arnel Pineda.
Schon was quoted by VH1 as saying, "The record, it's been done for a while. It sounds amazing. I'm in love with the record, which I haven't said for a long time."
And Cain told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, "[It's] a concept record with some spiritual themes to it. Pretty tough, hard-hitting stuff. This is Journey with big combat boots on. And helmet and a rifle."
For all the latest updates, visit the official Journey web site.
And now, for a taste of the glory days, here's "Lights," live in Houston in 1981!
GuitarInstructor Recommends ... 16 Year Old Jess Lewis
While browsing Jon Bloomer's excellent site Guitarnoize.com, I came across a video he'd posted of 16-year-old British guitarist Jess Lewis playing over an Alex Hutchings jam track called "Happy as Larry." When I was 16, I was doing my best "Rock You Like a Hurricane" power chord moves and a guitar solo meant fumbling through the minor pentatonic box. By contrast, Lewis could sit in with the likes of Larry Carlton or Robben Ford and feel right at home.
Here's video of her briefly tackling the improv holy grail, John Coltrane's "Giant Steps," followed by the aforementioned take on "Happy as Larry." To see more, visit her YouTube channel.
Top 10 Must Know Jam Session Tunes
You're at the summer BBQ, and your buddy's band is cranking out the classic rock party tunes. Inevitably, they start calling up all their musician friends to sit in and take a tune or two, and invariably there's a quick discussion of which tune to play, and it almost always ends up being one of the following 10 tunes.
So if you're not up to speed on these must-know jam session classics, click on the title to get the guitar tab and get to work. Summer's right around the corner!
10. "Takin' Care of Business" Bachman-Turner Overdrive
From the syncopated main riff to the 7th-chord licks to the syncopated 4ths of the bridge, this tune is much trickier than you may realize.
9. "Oh, Pretty Woman" Roy Orbison
Everyone knows the riff, but do you really know the whole tune?
8. "Paranoid" Black Sabbath
Yes, even party bands like to get their metal on sometimes, and this seems to be the juggernaut of choice. Watch out for that tempo, though, this one can get away from a band real fast ... literally!
7. "Born to Be Wild" Steppenwolf
Gotta be quick with those fills in the pre-chorus and solid with your rhythm throughout. Better make sure you know how to end the tune so you don't fade out into oblivion.
6. "I'm Tore Down" Freddie King/Eric Clapton
The octave bass shuffle line is pretty straightforward. Just don't get so carried away that you miss the stop choruses!
5. "Red House" Jimi Hendrix
Just make sure you play those opening 7th chords like you own them ... and in the right key!
4. "Brown Eyed Girl" Van Morrison
Everyone knows the G-C-D motif, but if you know when to toss in a D7 instead of D, you might get a quick nod and smile from the bassist. Bonus points if you know the signature double-stop lick that opens the tune!
3. "Crossroads" Cream
Another three-chord dandy that, if treated with the right bass notes at the right time (like nailing the F# in the bass in the second measure of the D7 chord) or nailing some of Clapton's sweet licks note-for-note, gives you the chance to bring the house down.
2. "Hard to Handle" Black Crowes
The solo breaks in this version are pretty memorable, so if you can play most of it note-for-note, you might get the guys to turn their attention away from the ladies for a brief moment.
1. "Mony, Mony" Tommy James
If you're a guitarist who can sing, this is the song you want—especially if you're single and there are ladies in da house.
Who's the Greatest Fusion Guitarist of All Time?
With news of the Return to Forever 4 tour happening this summer, and having recently caught John McLaughlin live in New York, and with Allan Holdsworth's Blues For Tony playing on my iTunes at the moment, I began to think about who my favorite fusion guitarist would be. Trouble is, I can't seem to pick out just one. Who would you choose? Vote now!