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Iron Maiden Limited Edition Vinyl Picture Discs Coming October 2012

Posted by Michael Mueller on August 28, 2012 at 3:08 PM

(PRESS RELEASE) -- A series of special limited edition Iron Maiden vinyl picture disc albums are due to be released by Universal Music Enterprises (UMe) starting in October 2012. Comprised of the first eight albums of Iron Maiden's career, all released in the 1980s, each picture disc will be packaged in a gatefold cover, full color printed inner sleeves, with the heavyweight vinyl cut from the original album master tapes.

Iron Maiden guitar tab, video lessons, and jam tracks

The albums will be released chronologically between October and February, starting with Iron Maiden and Killers on October 16, 2012, followed by The Number Of The Beast and Piece Of Mind in November 2012.

To open the new year, Powerslave and the double album Live After Death will be released in January, with the final two titles, Somewhere In Time and Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son, coming out in February 2013.

These vinyl picture discs are being released to commemorate Iron Maiden's current Maiden England tour which features largely '80s material, in particular focusing on the Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son album.

Iron Maiden picture discs

Steve Hackett to Release Genesis Revisited II October 22

Posted by Michael Mueller on August 28, 2012 at 2:11 PM

(New York, NY) - World-renowned guitarist/composer Steve Hackett is pleased to announce the upcoming release of Genesis Revisited II, scheduled to hit streets in North America on October 22 via InsideOut Music. Genesis Revisited II features some of the best-loved songs from Hackett's Genesis years with a stellar array of guest performers including John Wetton (King Crimson, Asia), Mikael Akerfeldt (Opeth), Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree), Steve Rothery (Marillion), and many more. See the special video message from Steve Hackett himself (below) for more. Genesis Revisited II will be available as a 2-disc digipak. An extensive world tour in support of the new album will be announced shortly.

Genesis guitar tabs and jam tracks  

In 2010, Steve Hackett was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame at The 25th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony alongside his Genesis bandmates from the classic line-up: Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford. For more than three decades, Steve Hackett has been known for his innovative tone and extraordinary versatility as a guitarist and composer.  He helped define Genesis's sound as lead guitarist in the classic line-up and went on to have a highly-successful career as a solo artist, and also as part of '80s supergroup GTR with Steve Howe.

For more information please visit:

Genesis Revisited II

The Sky Is Still Crying

Posted by Michael Mueller on August 28, 2012 at 12:10 PM

It seems hard to believe it's been 22 years since Stevie Ray Vaughan died in that tragic helicopter crash at the Alpine Valley Music Amphitheater in southeastern Wisconsin. At the time of his death, SRV was widely lauded (and deservedly so) as the greatest electric blues guitarist of all time, with guitarists across all styles frantically clamoring to cop not only his resounding licks but also that Texas-sized tone.

Stevie Ray Vaughan guitar tab, video song lessons, video lessons, and jam tracks

At the time, I was living in Milwaukee, just 45 minutes or so northeast of Alpine Valley. I recall coming home late that night, listening to the local rock station, when unconfirmed reports began streaming in that Eric Clapton was onboard the doomed chopper. Whereas that may have been "bigger news," due to Clapton's mainstream appeal, to the guitar community, the confirmation that it was Vaughan was simply devastating. 

With his 1983 debut, Texas Flood, SRV singlehandedly revived the struggling blues genre. His later albums Couldn't Stand the Weather, Soul to Soul, and In Step only further cemented his distinction of greatness. Combining all the best elements of Albert King, Lonnie Mack, and Jimi Hendrix into one beastly package, Vaughan owned every note he ever played. The only thing tentative about Stevie Ray Vaughan was his acceptance of being called a "guitar hero."

Thank you, Stevie, for setting the bar. We miss you.


Five Elvis Presley Hits Every Guitarist Should Know

Posted by Michael Mueller on August 16, 2012 at 10:02 AM

It was 35 years ago today (8/16) that Elvis Presley passed away. I was only 8 years old, but I remember seeing a plane that day skywriting "Elvis" and asking my mom who that was. Though I'd like to believe she simply answered, "The King," I'm pretty sure that wasn't the case.

Elvis Presley guitar tab, video lessons, and jam tracks

Arguably the most important rock 'n' roll artist of all time for both his artistic and cultural contributions, Elvis also had the distinction of playing with some of the greatest guitarists of his time: Scotty Moore, Hank Garland, and James Burton. In recognition of their contributions, here are five essential Elvis songs that every guitarist should know.

Blue Suede Shoes
Scotty Moore plies those all-important rockabilly guitar double-stop licks!

Jailhouse Rock
Short solo, but, oh man .. that riff!

Mystery Train 
The I–IV chord riff is a building block of country-influenced rock 'n' roll.

Little Sister
Hank Garland recorded the timeless E minor pentatonic riff for this tune, but this later version (with the interjection of the Beatles' "Get Back" in the middle) features James Burton and his pink paisley Tele.

Hound Dog
One of Scotty Moore's great solos


ZZ Top Play-Along Guitar Tab, Jam Tracks, Video Lessons

Posted by Michael Mueller on August 14, 2012 at 2:39 PM

There's something about ZZ Top that just makes you want to pick up your guitar and jam. And with our play-along guitar tabs and jam tracks, not to mention video song lessons, you can do step right into the boots of the Reverend Willy G and get your Texas-sized groove on. Select from these eight classics:

Cheap Sunglasses
La Grange
Sharp Dressed Man
Tube Snake Boogie
Waitin' for the Bus

ZZ Top guitar tab play-along
ZZ Top video song lessons
ZZ Top play-along jam tracks (minus guitar) 

All eight tabs, jam tracks, and video lessons match, so you can be sure the tab arrangement matches the audio perfectly. Video song lessons come with onscreen guitar tab.

You can also order the ZZ Top Guitar Play-Along book/CD or DVD here:

ZZ Top play-along book/cdZZ Top play-along dvd


Review: Big Joe Stomp Boxes

Posted by Michael Mueller on August 13, 2012 at 4:09 PM

We recently got the opportunity to give six new pedals from Big Joe Stomp Box Company a test run, and we were pretty impressed. Named for Delta bluesman and "King of the Nine-String Guitar" Big Joe Williams, this pedal series is the brainchild of brothers Paul and David Christian, analog circuitry designers who were inspired by the classic blues photography of Peter Amft to capture the tonal history of blues-rock guitar, from Freddie King and Muddy Waters to the Rolling Stones and Aerosmith—even dipping their toes into today's high-gain market.

We received six pedals in our big box of tone: two versions of the Vintage Tube, Classic Tube, Hard Tube, Saturated Tube, and a Phaser. Each comes in a cloth drawstring bag, presumably to help protect the stellar likenesses of Big Joe Williams painted on each chassis. All six analog boxes are true bypass and run on 9V power. We tested our with a Fender Telecaster '52 Hot Rod Reissue through a Peavey Classic 50 4x10, set for both clean and at that magical power-tube breakup stage.

The Vintage Tube and Vintage Tube 2 pedals both live up to their namesake, with Version 2 getting the edge for providing four distinct voices via its rotary switch. Personally, I prefer to drive the power tubes of the amp to that stage, and then use the guitar volume to clean up the signal, but for those whose amps  don't break up easily, these pedals will certainly do the trick.

The Classic Tube (B-402) offers more gain than the two Vintage Tube pedals yet it's not at all overstated. With its Presence, Gain, and Output controls, the Classic Tube allows you to dial in sounds ranging from that classic Keef rhythm tone to biting blues in a very transparent manner. The pedal also has a speaker simulation toggle that smooths the frequency response. At first, this feature didn't do much for me, but the more time I spent with the pedal, the more that option grew on me. It's subtle yet distinct.

The Hard Tube (B-405) simply screams—think classic British tube on steroids. Or, perhaps better said, when you can play Ratt riffs on a Tele through a 4x10 tweed amp in convincing style, you've hit a high-gain home run. The pedal features Presence, Gain, and Output controls, along with a variable Parametric EQ. Despite all its harmonic-rich power, the pedal never sounds "mushy"; chord tones remain audible.

The Saturated Tube pedal was my least favorite. To my ears, it was reminiscent of the "scooped" thrash metal tone, only without, ironically, the saturation. The Hard Tube pedal offered a fuller frequency and harmonic spectrum and seemed a much more versatile workhorse.

The analog Phaser (B-408) has controls for Speed, Depth, and Feedback, making it a very lush and versatile modulation device. But it's the Mix control, which determines the ratio of dry vs. effected signal, that really makes it stand out from other popular Phaser pedals.

All in all, these Big Joe Stomp Boxes are certain to find a home on the pedalboards of guitarists across the blues, rock, and country spectrum—which, given the incredible number of boutique pedal makers out there today, is quite an accomplishment.

For more info, please visit

Big Joe Stomp Boxes (clockwise from top left): Vintage Tube, Vintage Tube 2, Classic Tube, Phaser, Saturated Tube, Hard Tube.

Big Joe Stomp Box pedals


Gibson Settles in Gov't Case Over Lacey Act

Posted by Michael Mueller on August 7, 2012 at 11:43 AM

According to Bloomberg's, Gibson Guitar has settled in the exotic wood case brought on by the U.S. Justice Department. Gibson will pay $350,000 in penalties and also agreed to withdraw its claims to over $250,000 worth of ebony and rosewood from India and Madagascar, which was seized during a raid on the company's headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee, in August of last year.

"Gibson has acknowledged that it failed to act on information that the Madagascar ebony it was purchasing may have violated laws intended to limit overharvesting and conserve valuable wood species from Madagascar, a country which has been severely impacted by deforestation," said a representative of the Justice Department in a statement.

Gibson CEO Henry Juskiewicz also released a statement (available at, saying, "We felt compelled to settle as the costs of proving our case at trial would have cost millions of dollars and taken a very long time to resolve. This allows us to get back to the business of making guitars. An important part of the settlement is that we are getting back the materials seized in a second armed raid on our factories and we have formal acknowledgement that we can continue to source rosewood and ebony fingerboards from India, as we have done for many decades."

In August 2011, agents from Justice and Homeland Security raided Gibson, sending workers home and confiscating nearly 100 guitars as well as raw wood stock as part of an investigation of possible violations of the Lacey Act, which was enacted in 1900 to curb trafficking of fish and wildlife, and expanded in 2008 to include illegally obtained plants and plant products.

Throughout the investigation, Gibson CEO Henry Juskiewicz steadfastly maintained the company's innocence and decried the raid as a political witch hunt. You could infer from this settlement that perhaps Gibson wasn't as innocent as they claimed and that the Justice Dept. didn't have a very strong case. But as is often the case with these types of settlements, we may now never know.

Gibson Electric Guitar BookGibson Flat-Top Guitars

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