Your Daily Dose of Guitar News & Reviews
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Jack Grassel Discusses His New Trident Triple-Neck Axe
Jack Grassel is one of the more adventurous jazz guitarists you'll come across, and as a result, he's also one who's developed his own unmistakable voice on the instrument. Not surprisingly, Grassel recognizes that his sort of musical exploration sometimes requires a different set of tools. After years of playing archtops, Les Pauls, and Explorers, Grassel developed the SuperAx, an instrument that allowed him to electronically lower strings 5–6 a full octave, to play guitar and bass at the same time. Next, he developed a seven-string guitar on which the neck was divided into three sections: quarter tone, normal, and fretless. And now, he's gone yet another step further with his latest invention.
Inspired by a guitar/mandolin double-neck he'd recently purchased, Grassel designed the Trident, a triple-neck instrument comprising a four-string bass, a six-string guitar, and a mandolin. It was constructed by Wade's Guitar Shop, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We caught up with Jack while on a gigging vacation in Mexico, to talk about his newest brainchild.
What inspired you to include a mandolin?
From 1970–82, I was a studio and pit musician, and there was a lot of work (and money) for me as a mandolinist. But since 1982, my mandolin has been hanging on a wall gathering dust, as most of my work has been on a standard guitar. I've missed playing it.
Does the Trident have multiple outputs, and do you use separate amps?
The Trident has only one output. The pickup heights have all been adjusted so that the volume from all three necks is uniform. By having a single output, the whole thing can go through one channel of a 2-channel Claris head, which I share with vocalist Jill Jensen. As a result, we get consistent sound in each venue.
What kind of pickups are used for the three instruments?
The bass has the original Ibanez factory pickups, which have wonderful upright bass–style growl—perfect for the music I play. The neck position on the guitar is a Seymour Duncan Distortion, which adds the edge needed with the reliably clean, solid-state Claris head. The guitar bridge pickup, which I only use for playing solos with harmonics, is from a Fender HH Strat. The mandolin pickup is whatever was stock on it. I tried upgrading to a Duncan single-coil, but that didn't "cut" the same way.
You use a looper to create a rich backdrop for Ms. Jensen's vocals. Which one do you use?
I use a Boss RC3. On our 2012 Mexico tour, every guitar player was using one, and I learned from them. There is no delay when switching on a loop, it's very reliable, and fits in my guitar gig bag.
Finally, that thing must weigh a ton!
Well, the Trident was originally going to be a four-neck instrument with an added ukulele, but as it is, it's already 17 pounds, which is heavy enough!
Orianthi to Release New Album March 12
Hollywood, CA - Platinum selling solo artist and iconic guitarist Orianthi is gearing up for the release of her new album, Heaven In This Hell. Orianthi will captivate fans with a record that delivers a mega-dose of rock and weaves elements of modern country and swampy blues. The album, produced by Dave Stewart (Eurythmics), will be released on Robo Records (distributed by Universal/Fontana) and is scheduled to drop on March 12, 2013. The first single, “Frozen”, will be serviced to Rock and Classic Rock radio on January 28th.
"I am so proud of this album because it really showcases my style of riff heavy rock and energetic blues," Orianthi says. "The success of Believe [her previous CD] helped give me credibility and afforded me the freedom to create the kind of album I have been wanting to make, with musicians I respect, playing together live in a studio, creatively exchanging ideas...the way I want all my records to be made. My friend, collaborator and producer, Dave Stewart and I just jammed and hashed out a variety of songs and sounds until we found the grooves that inspired us."
While Orianthi recorded a majority of Heaven In This Hell at Blackbird Studio in Nashville, she also recorded several songs and overdubs at Dave Stewart's Hollywood Studio. "Working with Ori over the last year has been an inspiring experience for me," said Stewart. "She is such a dedicated guitarist and focused songwriter; her enthusiasm is infectious and all the musicians who worked on the record were motivated to give her their best. When we went to Nashville, we knew we were about to embark on something exciting, something career altering."
The time spent in Nashville left an indelible impression that can be heard in several of the tracks, which were mixed by Nashville resident John McBride. New tracks like "Rock" and "Another You" are examples of crossover country-AC songs that blend heartfelt harmonies and melodies with lyrics that showcase a more vulnerable, exposed emotional side, often veiled by her signature PRS axe. "Heaven In This Hell," the title track, is a blues-rooted rock song which features swampy guitar riffs with an edgy Zeppelin-esque vibe. Songs like "Frozen," the first single, and "You Don't Wanna Know" provide listeners with some insight into a couple of her primary musical influences with raw, crunchy guitar riffs reminiscent of Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan. "If You Think You Know Me" is an arousing anthem with thunderous drums meant to inspire and empower anyone who has ever felt alone.
Scroll down for a sneak peek into the making of Orianthi's Heaven in This Hell and a live performance of "Frozen."
Heaven in this Hell
You Don't Wanna Know
If You Think You Know Me
How Do You Sleep?
How Does That Feel?
If You Were Here With Me
New Eagles Acoustic Guitar Tab
The Eagles are one of the most popular bands in rock history, and so we're very excited to announce that we've just posted brand-new guitar tab for seven of their most beloved acoustic hits.
Taken from Hal Leonard's popular Guitar Play-Along series, each song is arranged for a single guitarist to play the song. The Eagles Acoustic guitar play-along book/CD is available for pre-order here:
New Johnny Winter Lesson App for iPad
Cherry Lane along with G-Men Productions have released a new Johnny Winter iPad app chock full of biographical info and guitar lessons (both book-style and video) on one of the greatest blues guitarists in history. Says Winter himself: "I love my iPad app! It contains the most detailed breakdown of my playing style that I have ever seen."
Created for guitarists interested in learning how to play in Winter's style, the app also features a plethora of information even for non-guitar-playing fans. A five-chapter mini-book chronicles Winter's early years, various career highlights, his performance at Woodstock, his tenure with Muddy Waters, and his recent resurgence on the scene. Further, the app contains a 48-album discography, with links to purchase (if available). Also of note to the fan and guitarist alike is the Video section that streams 28 classic Johnny Winter performances from YouTube.
Not surprisingly, the best part of the app is the guitar-specific content. For starters, you get a tuner for standard, standard a full step down, open G, and open D tunings. The Music Book comprises 50 pages (!) of scales, rhythms, licks, and solos, both in standard tuning and in open tunings for lessons on Winter's slide technique. Each music example is displayed in standard notation and TAB and is accompanied by a lesson accessible with a single tap on the Lesson icon. Each also has audio, which can be played at full speed, 3/4, or 1/2, and may be looped. In addition to the lessons included in the app, you can unlock 17 additional examples for just $1.99. The app also comes with five instructional videos by Winter and/or noted Winter-style expert instructor Al Ek.
The sheer volume of material presented makes this a must-have app for not only Johnny Winter fans but also any guitarist looking to build their blues vocabulary. Get it here!
19 New Wes Montgomery Guitar Tabs
We're very excited to announce that we've just posted 19 note-for-note jazz guitar tabs from the great Wes Montgomery. Pulled from the upcoming Hal Leonard Guitar Recorded Versions title Wes Montgomery Guitar Anthology, tracks here include "Four on Six," "Full House, "Airegin," and "D Minor Blues," among others.
Ranking among the greatest jazz guitarists of all time, Montgomery possessed sumptuous tone and peerless phrasing, both of which have become the high watermark to which modern jazz guitarists aspire. Key to both elements was his use of his right-hand thumb for the attack—whether plucking sizzling, single-note bop lines or strumming his trademark octaves. And although his preference for all downstrokes and not using his fret hand's pinky finger did limit his ability to generate lightning-fast runs in the style of, say, Django Reinhardt, his phrasing never suffered. Indeed Montgomery was the rare guitarist who could improvise a nine-chorus solo without repeating a single lick!
To purchase the Hal Leonard GRV book Wes Montgomery Guitar Anthology, click on the cover below.
Steve Howe Decides to Leave Asia
Legendary prog-rock guitarist Steve Howe and the supergroup Asia have announced they are parting ways. "Myself and the band wish to thank their fans for the enthusiasm shown during the original members' reunion," said Howe. "I will continue with Yes, and with my trio and solo guitar work. I wish my friends continued success."
The band has already announced Howe's replacement, Sam Coulson, who will join them for their performance at Sweden Rock 2013, in June, as well as for their upcoming 2013 release, Valkyrie. Says keyboardist Geoff Downes, "We look forward to writing another chapter in Asia's history."
The original Asia lineup (Howe, bassist John Wetton, keyboardist Geoff Downes, drummer Carl Palmer) reunited in 2006 for a U.S. tour, which eventually turned into four world tours, three new studio albums, three DVDs, and several live albums. The band is best known, of course, for their 1982 chart-topping self-titled debut, which featured the smash hit "Heat of the Moment"—still one of the most popular rock anthems of all time.
New Jimi Hendrix Track "Somewhere" Streaming at RollingStone.com
RollingStone.com is streaming a previously unreleased Jimi Hendrix track titled "Somewhere." The song, appears on the forthcoming People, Hell & Angels, will be available as a single on Tuesday, March 5. Recorded in 1968 with Eddie Kramer at the helm, the track features Buddy Miles on drums and Stephen Stills on bass, with Hendrix doing his thing over the bluesy psychedelic groove.
For more, visit RollingStone.com.
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