Your Daily Dose of Guitar News & Reviews
GuitarInstructor Recommends 13 Year Old Jazz Wunderkind Andreas Varady
As a former guitar magazine editor, I still find it quite interesting to see which guitarists are making the cover of artist-based publications like Guitar Player and Guitar World. You can imagine my surprise when my April issue of GP arrived in the mail with 13-year old jazz guitarist Andreas Varady gracing the front page. Was this some kind of April Fool's joke?
Nope. It turns out young Master Varady is quite the jazz prodigy. He's already shared the stage with such highly regarded guitarists as Martin Taylor, Frank Vignola, Tommy Emmanuel, and Andreas Oberg, among others, and his debut album, Questions, features covers of Charlie Parker's "Donna Lee," Django Reinhardt's "Festival 48," and a bossa nova arrangement of John Coltrane's "Giant Steps."
Jazz guitar video lessons
For an idea of just how scary this Hungarian Gypsy guitarist is, watch him blow on "Donna Lee" here:
Celebrate the Royal Wedding With Brit Rock Royalty
On the day Will and Kate finally wed and became the new Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, we toast the moment with guitar tab and lessons from some of Great Britain's most treasured rock royalty! Cheers, England ...
The Beatles guitar tab and video lessons
The Rolling Stones guitar tab and video lessons
Eric Clapton and Cream guitar tab and video lessons
Jeff Beck guitar tab and video lessons
Jimmy Page and Led Zeppelin guitar tab and video lessons
Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath guitar tab and video lessons
Pink Floyd guitar tab and video lessons
Def Leppard guitar tab and video lessons
Iron Maiden guitar tab and video lessons
Judas Priest guitar tab and video lessons
Dire Straits guitar tab and video lessons
Deep Purple guitar tab and video lessons
The Who guitar tab and video lessons
Robin Trower guitar tab and video lessons
and, of course ... Queen guitar tab and video lessons
Fibonacci Sequence Cracks Instrumental Neo-Prog Code on Numerology
In full disclosure, I've had Numerology, the debut disc from Milwaukee-based instrumental prog-metallers Fibonacci Sequence in my possession for some time. And even though I thought it was incredibly well-written, brilliantly produced, and flawlessly executed, I held off on reviewing it because the guitarist, Michael Butzen, is an old friend and colleague, and I didn't want it to look like hometown favoritism. So what changed?
Well, after listening to Numerology a few times when it first arrived, it got buried in the endless "I'll get to it" pile of CDs, and as a result, I had kind of forgotten about it (sorry, Mike). But when I got my new iPod a couple of months ago, I added the album to my playlist. Then one day as I'm out for a jog around the neighborhood with my iPod on "shuffle" mode, the album's second track, "Neap Tide"—a 9-plus minute epic replete with changing time signatures, a fat guitar riff, and crystalline piano, and a tight bass groove—came on. As it had been a while since I'd heard the album, my first thought was, "Hmmm ... I don't remember hearing this Dream Theater tune before." I'm not saying it's derivative; the song is stylistically similar and just that good.
As the iPod shuffle gods would have it, on the next day's run, the opening tick-tocking of "Missing Time" (another near 9-minute opus) accompanied by calm-before-the-storm piano giving way to thunderous tritone stabs followed by a riff shifting bar-by-bar from 5/4 to 6/4 to 5/4 to 6/4 to 4/4 fueled my uphill climb, and once again, I had to pull up the artist on the iPod screen to see who it was. I immediately recognized the album artwork and pretty much decided then and there I had to cover this album.
The name Fibonacci Sequence is taken from a mathematical series of numbers where each number is the sum of the two preceding ones, and Numerology follows suit. The album is best experienced as a whole entity—an exploration of sound, mood, and meter that weaves an intricate and wondrous tale, even without lyrics. From the aptly titled opener "Commencement" and aforementioned "Neap Tide," you're led to "Primrose Path," which shifts gears so many times in six and a half minutes it could make a Formula 1 driver blush. In the quiet interlude that is "Dawn," cascading piano gives way to introspective acoustic guitar before launching into "Catlord," which is reminiscent of When Dream and Day Unite-era Dream Theater. The Asian-tinged acoustic "Illuminati" is yet another interlude that sets up the ironically titled "Work in Progress." The penultimate and epic "Faunus" and closing track "IO" (both featuring guest Elizabeth Grimm on violin) bring the story full circle, and when the needle finally lifts, you exhale and want to start all over again.
In addition to Butzen on electric and acoustic guitars and mandolin, the band consists of keyboardist Jeffrey Schuelke and drummer Thomas Ford. One-time Cynic bassist Chris Kringel contributed all the bass parts (except for "Missing Time" - Chad Burkholz) and also produced the album. Throughout Numerology, instrumental command is abundantly evident yet never veers into self-indulgence—a testament to the overall musicianship of the band.
How to Choose the Right Tube Amp For You
OK, I'll admit it: I've got a major jones for a half stack or two, even though I'm not currently gigging. After all, a Marshall head atop a 4x12 Marshall slant cab is so iconic it's arguably as much an interior design choice as it is a music-making tool, right?
Well, if you're looking to acquire a tube amp for your musings, be they musical or decorative, our friends at Premier Guitar magazine have assembled a handy and informative guide to help you. If you're, say, a metal head, it may not help you choose between that Bogner Uberschall or the Diezel Herbert, but it's an easy read and gives some basic advice on choosing the right wattage and tube types as well as input on preamps and reliability factors.
Read the article here.
Blues Masters Guitar App For iPad
Our friends at Cherry Lane Music, in partnership with G-Men Productions, have created their first guitar app for iPad, and it's an impressive one! Blues Masters comprises more than 115 authentic blues licks from 16 legendary blues and blues-based guitarists:
Duane Allman, Wayne Bennett, Dickey Betts, Kenny Burrell, Eric Clapton, Albert Collins, Warren Haynes, Albert King, B.B. King, Sammy Lawhorn, Gary Moore, Jack Pearson, Stevie Ray Vaughan, T-Bone Walker, Leslie West, Zakk Wylde
Each lick consists of a two-measure phrase, and these phrases are organized by where they would fall in a 12-bar blues form. But this app isn't just a lick dictionary; it allows you to mash up your own 12-bar blues solos by plugging these licks into their proper places in the progression. In other words, you could create a solo where the first two bars contain an Albert King phrase, bars 3-4 a B.B. King phrase, bars 5-6 a Clapton phrase, bars 7-8 an Albert Collins phrase, bars 9-10 a la Stevie Ray Vaughan, and a turnaround (bars 11-12) from T-Bone Walker. This feature makes for an interesting listening and learning feature, whereby you can really experiment with some odd combinations to see what might sound interesting and then file that info away for your own improvisations.
In terms of nuts and bolts, each lick has matching audio and is displayed in both standard notation and tablature. You can adjust the speed of the lick to 1/2 or 3/4, to help with tough portions, and the audio player has a looping function, for easy repetition. If you really dig that particular lick, you can add it to your "Hot List," for easy retrieval. Fifteen of the licks also come with video instruction, and there is a built-in guitar tuner.
Blues Masters is an all-in-one app—no WiFi or cellular signal necessary. It is compatible with iPad, with iOS 4.2 or later and costs just $9.99. To learn more, or to purchase the app, visit the iTunes Store.
Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengeance of Avenged Sevenfold Named Revolver Golden Gods Best Guitarists
Revolver magazine last week hosted their 3rd annual Golden Gods Awards—America's only hard rock and heavy metal awards show—at Club Nokia in downtown Los Angeles, and Avenged Sevenfold hoisted hardware for four categories. The band's Nightmare was named Album of the Year, M. Shadows won for Best Vocalist, Mike Portnoy won Best Drummer for his fill-in work with A7X last year, and guitarists Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengeance were named Best Guitarists.
The full list of winners is as follows:
Hunted: The Demon's Forge Golden God Award: Alice Cooper (presented by Rob Zombie)
Ronnie James Dio Lifetime Achievement Award: Mötley Crüe (presented by Corey Taylor of Slipknot/Stone Sour.)
Honorary Headbanger Award: William Shatner (presented by Scott Ian of Anthrax and The Damned Things and comedian Brian Posehn)
Epiphone Best Guitarists Award: Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengeance of Avenged Sevenfold (presented by Robb Flynn of Machine Head and Wayne Static of Static X)
Drum Workshop Best Drummer Award: Mike Portnoy for his work with Avenged Sevenfold (presented by Vinnie Paul of Pantera/HellYeah)
Best New Band Award: Black Veil Brides (presented by Duff McKagan of Loaded/Velvet Revolver/Guns N' Roses)
Most Metal Athlete Award: Skateboarder Mike Vallely (presented by Chino Moreno of Deftones)
Rockstar Energy Best Vocalist Award: M. Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold (presented by Taylor Momsen of The Pretty Reckless and Sebastian Bach)
Samson/Zoom Best Live Band Award: Rammstein (presented by Charlie Benante of Anthrax and Mike Portnoy)
Eagle Rock Comeback of the Year Award: Murderdolls (presented by David Coverdale of Whitesnake)
Affliction Album of the Year Award: Avenged Sevenfold (presented by Jerry Cantrell and Mike Inez of Alice in Chains)
Official Guitar Tab for Hotel California Now Available
There's no arguing that the Eagles' "Hotel California" is not only a classic but also one of the greatest guitar songs of all time. And now you can for the first time get the official "Hotel California" guitar tab—professionally transcribed, edited, and engraved by the expert guitar editors at Hal Leonard—right here online at GuitarInstructor.com.
We've also got the simpler "easy guitar tab" arrangement for those of you more interested in just strumming through the song and playing the vocal melody on guitar.