Your Daily Dose of Guitar News & Reviews
Happy 66th Birthday Eric Clapton; Layla Gets 40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition Treatment
One of the faces of the Mt. Rushmore of rock guitar, Eric Clapton turns 66 today. Can you believe it? Slowhand, along with Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, and Jimi Hendrix, is one of the defining voices of blues-based rock guitar. From such legendary riffs as "Layla," "Crossroads," and "Sunshine of Your Love" to the holy grail of blues-rock guitar tone heard on John Mayall's Blues Breakers Featuring Eric Clapton ("Beano" album), Clapton's influence on the instrument knows no bounds. Happy birthday, Slowhand.
In other Clapton news, on April 26, Polydor will release the 2-CD Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs: The 40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition and the 4-CD/2-LP/DVD Super Deluxe Box Set, representing the most thoroughly comprehensive survey of the album yet released. For a complete rundown of the set contents, track lists, and some great background on the album, including how Eric Clapton and Duane Allman first met, check out this piece by our friends at Fender.com.
The two-disc Deluxe Edition of Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs contains six tracks from what would have been the second Derek and the Dominos album, remixed by original session engineer Andy Johns. It also includes:
- The group's last recording, "Got to Get Better in a Little While," in studio jam version and ?rst-ever release of fully produced studio version.
- All four audio performances from the Nov. 9, 1970, telecast of The Johnny Cash Show, including their performance of "Matchbox Blues" with Cash and Carl Perkins.
- Two Phil Spector-produced tracks from early summer 1970 that constituted the first Derek and the Dominos release—single "Tell the Truth" backed with "Roll It Over" (quickly pulled from circulation by the group).
- Famous acoustic duet by Eric Clapton and Duane Allman on Layla session outtake "Mean Old World."
The Super Deluxe Edition also includes:
- Newly re-mastered and expanded two-CD Derek and the Dominos In Concert set.
- Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs audio-only DVD with DTS 5.1 and Dolby Surround 5.1 versions mixed by Elliot Scheiner.
- 180-gram high-fidelity reproduction of original vinyl double album, re-mastered from the original tracks with slightly different mixes of several songs.
- Hardcover book with rare and previously unreleased photographs includes four essays by music historian and author Ashley Kahn.
- Facsimiles of Derek and the Dominos concert tickets and promotional items, including the "Derek is Eric" button.
- Pop-up 3-D artwork and high-quality Layla art print based on the oil painting used for the original album cover, "La Fille Au Bouquet" by Emile Theodore Frandsen de Schomberg.
Guitar Instructor Lick of the Week 03-29-2011
While loading a pile of CDs into iTunes, I came across last year's Michael Landau/Robben Ford release, Renegade Creation, which then put me on a bit of a Robben Ford kick, particularly his bluesier material. One of my favorite Ford tunes is the title track to his 1988 album, Talk to Your Daughter. The song is chock full of tasty licks and fills and is thus a virtual treasure trove of licks to choose from for our lick of the week.
One of the things I've always admired about Ford—and I suspect I'm not alone—is his ability to take seemingly stock blues licks and make them sound so smooth and slick. Surely, his deft touch contributes quite a bit, but it's also the way he focuses on chord tones and expands the blues scale. The lick I picked is heard four bars into Ford's solo, and it's based primarily on the G blues scale (G-Bb-C-Db-D-F); in fact, the second half of the lick simply descends the scale in stepwise fashion. But it's the first two triplets that give it that special Ford-ism sound. There, Ford bangs on the major 6th (or 13th, a chord tone for the underlying G13 harmony) twice and adds the 9th (A) as well before resolving to the root G, setting up the aforementioned blues scale descent. And for a nice dose of bluesy tension, he caps the phrase on the minor 3rd (Bb). You might experiment with a grace-note hammer-on to the major 3rd (B) there, too.
Willie Nelson Avoids Sing-Sing by Singing to Court
According to a story in the aptly named "Bizarre" section of U.K. newspaper The Sun, singer-songwriter Willie Nelson will avoid jail time over a drug charge by singing to the court.
The 77-year-old Nelson was arrested for misdemeanor possession of marijuana in Texas this past November, but Hudspeth County prosecutor Kit Bramblett agreed to let Nelson off with a $100 fine and an odd stipulation: "He's got to sing 'Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain' with his guitar.
"You bet your ass I ain't going to be mean to Willie Nelson," Bramblett added.
Way to go, Willie (and Mr. Bramblett)! God bless ya ...
EVH Announces New Wolfgang USA Custom and Wolfgang Stealth
PRESS RELEASE: EVH is proud to introduce two new Wolfgang guitar models, the Wolfgang USA Custom and the Wolfgang Stealth. Both are distinctive variations on the hugely successful original model, the U.S.-made EVH Wolfgang guitar designed by Eddie Van Halen.
Perhaps the most uniquely elegant instrument in the Wolfgang series, the Wolfgang USA Custom represents Eddie Van Halen's personal tribute to the short-scale set-neck guitars of the late 1950s, combined with the distinctive modern personal touches he prefers on his own guitars. These two elements culminate in a truly magnificent tone machine embodying the best of yesterday and today.
The guitar's mahogany body has a 0.5" arched maple top and seven-ply binding, a bound mahogany set neck with dual graphite reinforcement rods, and a 24.75" scale length.
Features include a compound radius (12"-16") ebony or rosewood fingerboard, 22 vintage stainless steel frets, seven-ply headstock and body binding, mother-of-pearl headstock logo inlay on ebony, dual EVH Wolfgang Custom nickel-covered humbucking pickups with three-position switching, stop-tail bridge with fine tuners, EVH custom tuners, dual EVH custom low-friction 500k volume pots, dual EVH custom high-friction 250k tone pots and an EVH molded-stripe case by SKB. Available in Black, White and Vintage Cherry Burst.
In designing an especially sleek all-black addition to the Wolfgang series, Eddie Van Halen decided to try something he previously wasn't known to prefer - an ebony fingerboard. He liked it so much that the resulting guitar - the Wolfgang Stealth - now resides at the very forefront of his arsenal.
Features include an arch-top basswood body, quartersawn maple neck with dual graphite reinforcement rods, compound radius (12"-16") ebony fingerboard with 22 vintage stainless steel frets, dual hard-mounted EVH Wolfgang humbucking pickups with three-position switching, dual Bourns low- (volume) and high-friction (tone) potentiometers, EVH-branded Floyd Rose locking tremolo with EVH D-Tuna, black hardware, EVH-branded 14-1 Gotoh chrome tuners with pearloid buttons, Schaller chrome string retainer and EVH molded-stripe case by SKB. Available in Stealth Black.
Pricing and availability TBA. For mor info, visit www.evhgear.com.
Rise Against Help Is on the Way Guitar Tab Now Available
Anthemic punk rockers Rise Against's new album, Endgame, debuted at #2 on the Billboard Album charts this week, and their first single from the album, "Help Is on the Way," is burning up the rock charts, currently sitting at #4. They also premiered the video (see below) for that song this week.
And if you want to learn how to play the track, you can get the official "Help Is on the Way" guitar tab right here, hot off the presses.
Hear and See New Warren Haynes Band Track Man In Motion
Last week we filled you in on the upcoming Warren Haynes Band release Man in Motion and the world tour to go with it. This week, the band is streaming the title track (radio edit) here. Or, you can watch a live performance of the song from Haynes's Christmas Jam last December.
Joe Bonamassa Releases Dust Bowl - REVIEW
Joe Bonamassa's latest album, Dust Bowl, was released yesterday (3/22) to the joy of his ever-growing fan base. Over the past few years, Bonamassa has explored more blues-rock territory, particularly with his new band Black Country Communion, but Dust Bowl is first and foremost a blues album. There are a few curveballs, though, like the country number "Tennessee Plates" and the surprising cover of Barbra Streisand's "Prisoner," which, in my humble opinion, turn out to be album highlights. To order your copy, visit Joe Bonamassa's online store. To see Joe perform the title track live, see the video below.
1. Slow Train Evoking the sounds of a locomotive rumbling through the night, Bonamassa summons some inner Led Zeppelin to create an imposing heavy shuffle.
2. Dust Bowl If "Slow Train" evokes a freight train, the title track, steeped in reverb with just the right touch of tremolo, calls to mind tumbleweeds blowing across a cold night desert. Great riff!
3. Tennessee Plates If country radio gets hold of this, it could become a Nashville smash. The song features John Hiatt on vocals and guest guitar gristle from country legend Vince Gill. As you can imagine, there is some mighty fine pickin' goin' on here.
4. The Meaning of the Blues Bonamassa pulls out his old Strat for some whammy bar fun and Jeff Beck-style lickery on this cover of the Bobby Troup jazzy blues.
5. Black Lung Heartache On Bonamassa's last record, Black Country, he experimented with some traditional Greek instrumentation, and for this blues stomp, he uses a baglama, a Greek stringed instrument made from a gourd during the opening verses, before launching into the room-rattling electrified low-C riff.
6. You Better Watch Yourself Bonamassa's wah-drenched take on this uptempo Buddy Guy classic is pure blues fun.
7. The Last Matador of Bayonne An ode to bullfighters in Spain featuring haunting trumpet from Tony Cedras (Paul Simon).
8. Heartbreaker It's a cover, but not of Led Zeppelin. Bonamassa's Black Country Communion compatriot Glenn Hughes offers guest vocals on this Free classic.
9. No Love on the Street It's fairly safe to say that Bonamassa has an affinity for slow blues. With guest vocals from Beth Hart, this tune just kicks you in the gut and leaves you gasping.
10. The Whale That Swallowed Jonah An uptempo rocker featuring some mandolin as well, this one promises to be a live crowd-clapper (if Bonamassa were into such folly). The outro soloing features some of Baonamassa's slickest phrasing on the record.
11. Sweet Rowena This one's a Vince Gill track, featuring Gill on vocals and guitar, with Bonamassa largely filling in the spaces. Simply tasty shuffle.
12. Prisoner Are you sitting down? To close the album, Bonamassa chose to cover a Barbra Streisand tune ... seriously. But as is customary for his cover tunes, Bonamassa makes it his own, with some fabulous guitar playing and fills that remind me of Neal Schon in his prime.