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Ten Awesome Big Screen Guitar Moments

Posted by Michael Mueller on September 17, 2010 at 6:09 PM

As a guitar player, I always find it a treat to be watching a movie and see a killer guitar performance or a surprise cameo by a guitar hero as part of it. Here are 10 of our favorites. Click on the titles to get related guitar tabs.

10. "I'd Die For This Dance"/"The Train Kept A-Rollin'" Jeff Beck (Kindergarten Cop 1988) - Sure, the movie was cornier than the Iowa landscape, but this Jeff Beck cameo is one of the most surprising ones I've seen.

9. "Jailhouse Rock" Elvis Presley (Jailhouse Rock 1957) - While in jail, the King practices guitar and becomes a singing sensation. Sure it's lame, but "Jailhouse Rock" simply rocks.

8. "Sunshine of Your Love" Cream (The Breakfast Club 1985) - Judd Nelson's "John Bender" character scatting the classic Cream riff is timeless!

7. "We All Die Young" Steel Dragon feat. Zakk Wylde (Rock Star 2001) - As cheesy as this flick was, I can't help but watch it every time it's on, if for no other reason than to listen to Zakk Wylde's off-the-cuff comments in Mark Wahlberg's audition scene.

6. "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)" AC/DC (School of Rock 2003) - There is only one person in this world who can rock a school-boy uniform and Gibson SG as hard as Angus Young, and his name is Jack Black!

5. "Let's Go Crazy" Prince (Purple Rain 1984) - His Purple Majesty not only won an Oscar for his score to this film but also showed the world his fretboard prowess—particularly on the blistering outro to the title track.

4. "Would?" Alice in Chains (Singles 1992) - Grunge was so huge that it even had its own movie, Singles, featuring cameos by members of Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and Alice in Chains.

3. "Johnny B. Goode" Chuck Berry (Back to the Future 1985) - Remember the crowd's stunned reaction when Marty McFly went off during his "Johnny B. Goode" solo? That's what my dad would do at a Buckethead show.

2. "Eugene's Trick Bag" Steve Vai (Crossroads 1986) - How do you top a guitar solo that beats Steve Vai and redeems a man's soul?

1. "Soul Man" Blues Brothers (The Blues Brothers 1980) - Well, I guess you top the last entry with cameos from John Lee Hooker, Ray Charles, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Matt "Guitar" Murphy, Donald "Duck" Dunn, and Steve Cropper. Need we say more?

Flashback Friday: "Wait" by White Lion

Posted by Michael Mueller on September 17, 2010 at 3:05 PM

Last weekend, I was walking around Manhattan and passed by the Puck Building, which always makes me think of three things: my best man's wedding, my brother-in-law's wedding, and the video for "Wait" by White Lion. All three took place in the same ballroom on the top floor.

So this week's nostalgia trip takes us back to 1987 and to some of the biggest, prettiest hair a man ever dared wear (singer Mike Tramp), but more importantly, to one of the great guitarists of the '80s, Staten Island's own Mr. Vito Bratta.

Happy Friday!

White Lion guitar tab

Sacha Baron Cohen Will Play Queen Singer Freddie Mercury in New Film

Posted by Michael Mueller on September 17, 2010 at 10:12 AM

Freddie MercurySacha Baron CohenThe web site reports that actor Sacha Baron Cohen, best known for his "Borat" role, will play the part of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in a film about the legendary British rock band. Production on the Peter Morgan-scripted film is scheduled to begin in 2011.

Queen guitar tabs and jam tracks

The film is reported to focus on Queen's formative years, leading up to their performance at Live Aid in 1985. GK Films has secured a package of song rights including "Bohemian Rhapsody," "We Will Rock You," "We Are the Champions," "Another One Bites the Dust," and "You're My Best Friend." It's the first time that the surviving members of Queen—Brian May, Roger Taylor, and John Deacon—have licensed their music for a movie about the band, and they formed Queen Films to be part of the production team.

Freddie Mercury, widely considered one of greatest vocalists in rock history, died on November 24, 1991, of complications from AIDS. Mercury's last days will not be part of the film.


New Jimi Hendrix Box Set Due November 16

Posted by Michael Mueller on September 15, 2010 at 9:34 AM

Jimi Hendrix box setWest Coast Seattle Boy - The Jimi Hendrix Anthology tracks guitarist Jimi Hendrix's remarkable journey from little known R&B sideman to international stardom through an unprecedented assemblage of previously unavailable recordings.

Jimi Hendrix guitar tabs, video lessons, and jam tracks

This long-awaited career-spanning box set is not a collection of existing Jimi Hendrix albums but instead 45 unreleased Jimi Hendrix live and studio recordings including demos and alternate versions of songs from Are You Experienced, Axis: Bold As Love, and Electric Ladyland. It also includes Hendrix's never before heard version of Bob Dylan's "Tears Of Rage," solo acoustic recordings of Electric Ladyland favorites like "Long Hot Summer Night" and "1983 (A Merman I Shall Turn To Be)" as well as live performances from Berkeley and the legendary Band Of Gypsys Fillmore East concert on New Year's Eve 1969 combined together with new Hendrix songs "Hear My Freedom," "Hound Dog Blues," "Lonely Avenue" and more. West Coast Seattle Boy also offers the most complete collection of Jimi's pre-Experience R&B performances (including his singles with the Isley Brothers, Little Richard, Don Covay, King Curtis and more) to ever be officially anthologized.

The set also includes the 90 minute DVD Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Child, a new documentary directed by the Grammy award winning Bob Smeaton (Beatles Anthology, Festival Express, Beatles: The Studio Recordings). The acclaimed documentary tells Jimi's incredible story in his own words and features some of his greatest performances as well as rare and never before seen footage and photos. It also includes the late guitarist's personal drawings, postcards home to his father, song drafts, sketches, and lyrics.

For a complete track listing and to pre-order, click here. Meanwhile, check out the video trailer below.

Guitar Instructor Lick of the Week 09-14-2010

Posted by Michael Mueller on September 14, 2010 at 5:23 PM

Because the minor pentatonic scale is so ubiquitous in all styles of music, one key to using it effectively is to construct interesting twists and turns that force you to leave the "stock lick" comfort zone. Few guitarists do that better than Jeff Beck, who crafted this week's spotlight lick.

Beck is one of if not the greatest music interpreters of all time. He most deservedly won the Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental for his version of the Beatles' "A Day in the Life" in February 2010. But his affinity for covering the Beatles goes all the way back to his landmark 1975 rock-fusion release Blow By Blow, on which he famously let loose on the Fab Four's "She's a Woman." In bar 16 of the solo, we're treated to an ascending minor pentatonic phrase that is pure Beck—with bends in the most unexpected places.

Jeff Beck guitar tabs and video lessons

If you look just at the pure mechanics of this lick, the first thing you'll notice is full-step bends on the 5th and 4th strings—a very unusual phrasing tool, particularly in the upper register of the neck. Because of the physical layout of the fretboard, you'll need to bend those two strings "down," that is, toward the floor, as opposed to the more common approach in which you bend strings up, toward the ceiling.

The lick also has an interesting rhythmic motif. You may want to try clapping out the rhythm before to get a good feel for it, before you incorporate bends and releases into it.

Finally, although the fingering lays out comfortably in box 1 of the minor pentatonic scale, the bent notes actually turn this into an A Dorian lick (A-B-C-D-E-F#-G). All good fun, really.

Jeff Beck lick

Fender Releases New Mustang Series Amplifiers

Posted by Michael Mueller on September 14, 2010 at 2:04 PM

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.  (Sept. 14, 2010) – The new Fender Mustang I and Mustang II amplifiers raise the standard for modern guitar versatility and muscle. Driven by incredibly authentic amp models and a huge bank of built-in effects, each amp comes equipped with USB connectivity and Fender FUSE software, letting players' musical creativity and imagination run wild.

Mustang I is a 20-watt closed-back combo with an 8" Special Design speaker; Mustang II is a 40-watt closed-back combo with a 12" Special Design speaker. Both sound great and pump serious volume, and both contain 24 presets using eight highly accurate amp tones ranging from vintage Fender sparkle to outrageous modern metal distortion, all easily and instantly accessed right out of the box with only a twist of a knob.

Mustang I and II also contain a bank of 24 built-in effects, including reverb, delay, chorus, flanger, phaser, tremolo, vibratone, step filter, reverb, echo, octaver and more. Effects selection and adjustment is quickly and easily accomplished using two simple knobs on the control panel. Both amps are great for practice and jam sessions, and the 1/8" headphone jack doubles as a speaker-emulated line out.

The Fender FUSE software included with Mustang I and II opens up a world of possibilities, including on-screen parameter control, deep editing, additional amps and effects, unlimited preset storage, online preset swapping with the Fender FUSE community, and free Fender artist presets. An optional single-button footswitch controls two quick-access presets.

Mustang I and II run from a very simple control interface, which includes gain, volume, treble, bass, master, preset select, modulation select, delay/reverb select, save button, exit button and tap tempo button.

Other features of both models include an auxiliary input for media player, chromatic tuner, Ableton Live Lite 8 Fender Edition studio-quality recording software (compatible with the Mustang USB recording output) and AmpliTube Fender LE software. All Mustang features are packed into a striking visual design with sleek and modern Fender styling, delivering looks that are as desirable as the sound.

Fender Mustang I and II amps are available at Fender dealers worldwide with a MSRP of $149.99 (Mustang I) and $269.99 (Mustang II). For more information, go to

Fender Mustang I

Fender Mustand I


Fender Mustang II

Fender Mustang II

A Perfect Circle Is Back

Posted by Michael Mueller on September 13, 2010 at 11:35 AM

Perfect Circle guitar tabLOS ANGELES, Sept. 13 – A Perfect Circle have returned from their self-imposed hiatus. The band, led by Maynard James Keenan (Tool, Puscifer) and Billy Howerdel (Ashes Divide), will embark on a five-city tour this fall (dates and ticket on-sale information will be announced shortly).

A Perfect Circle guitar tab

Shows in Phoenix (Marquee Theatre), Los Angeles (Avalon), Seattle (Showbox at The Market) and San Francisco (The Fillmore) will be three-night stops with each night featuring one of A Perfect Circle’s three albums in its entirety (Mer de Noms, Thirteenth Step and eMOTIVe).  Las Vegas (The Pearl) will be a two-night outing (Mer de Noms and Thirteenth Step). 

The band will perform on Jimmy Kimmel Live on Oct. 27.

A Perfect Circle have sold four million records in the U.S.  After the band announced their hiatus in 2005, Keenan focused on Tool, launched the multimedia project Puscifer and worked on his burgeoning Arizona vineyards.  Howerdel went on to form Ashes Divide who released their debut album, Keep Telling Myself It’s Alright, in 2008.

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