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JOHN 5 Backstage Video Rig Rundown

Posted by Michael Mueller on December 4, 2009 at 5:30 PM

On a recent tour stop with Rob Zombie in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, guitarist John 5 gave our friends at Premier Guitar magazine a backstage video rig rundown (see below). He first walks you through his guitar boat, which contains 10 custom Fender Telecasters, including baritone and double-neck models. He then shows viewers his ridiculously simple pedal board followed by his Marshall heads. 

If you're a big-time 5 fan (who isn't?) and want to cop his tone, pay special attention to the Marshall amp tour; you get a great close-up look at his amp settings!

Once you've had your fill of his gear, you can click here for John 5 video lessons and guitar tabs. Or click here to check out his latest instructional column in Guitar Edge magazine.


PRS Grab and Go 30 Watt Combo Amp

Posted by Michael Mueller on December 4, 2009 at 1:17 PM

PRS 30 ComboDescribed as an English sound with an American twist, PRS's newest amplifier package, the PRS 30 Combo, is the first 30 Watt cathode-biased combo in a series of lower wattage amps. The series kicked off with the 16-watt PRS Sweet 16 model earlier this year. The new 30-watt Combo features a quartet of EL84 tubes, a control layout similar to PRS's Dallas model, and a 1 x 12 cabinet with ET65 WGS speakers.

PRS 30 Combos are handmade in Stevensville, Maryland. Other features include reverb, bright switch, and a special master volume that is dialed out of the circuit as the amp's volume is at max setting.  "We married the Sweet 16 Combo and the Dallas Amp in a 30 Watt version," says Paul Reed Smith. "Gigging musicians looking for both a broad range of genre and broad tonal range will appreciate the versatility of this amp in many different venue settings."

For more info, visit PRS Guitars online.
Watch a video demo here:


GRAMMY 2010 Nominees Announced

Posted by Michael Mueller on December 4, 2009 at 11:38 AM

Yesterday, December 3, the Recording Academy announced its nominations for the 2010 Grammy Awards. As you can imagine, the big categories were dominated by the likes of Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Black Eyed Peas, and other pop and R&B acts. But below, we've listed the categories of interest for fans of great guitar playing.

The Grammy Awards will be handed out at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on January 31st, 2010. Tune in to the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards telecast, which airs that night on CBS at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals "
"Can't Find My Way Home," Eric Clapton & Steve Winwood
"Life In Technicolor II," Coldplay
"21 Guns," Green Day
"Use Somebody," Kings of Leon
"I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight," U2

Best Hard Rock Performance
"War Machine," AC/DC
"Check My Brain," Alice in Chains
"What I've Done," Linkin Park
"The Unforgiven III," Metallica
"Burn It to the Ground," Nickelback

Best Metal Performance
"Dissident Aggressor," Judas Priest
"Set to Fail," Lamb of God
"Head Crusher," Megadeth
"Señor Peligro," Ministry
"Hate Worldwide," Slayer

Best Rock Instrumental Performance
"A Day in the Life," Jeff Beck
"Warped Sister," Booker T. Jones
"Playing With Fire," Brad Paisley
"Mr. Surfer Goes Jazzin'," Brian Setzer Orchestra
"Now We Run," Steve Vai

Best Rock Album
"Black Ice," AC/DC
"Live From Madison Square Garden," Eric Clapton & Steve Winwood
"21st Century Breakdown," Green Day
"Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King," Dave Matthews Band
"No Line on the Horizon," U2

Best Traditional Blues Album
"A Stranger Here," Ramblin' Jack Elliott
"Blue Again," The Mick Fleetwood Blues Band Featuring Rick Vito
"Rough & Tough," John Hammond
"Stomp! The Blues Tonight," Duke Robillard
"Chicago Blues: A Living History," (Various Artists)

Best Contemporary Blues Album
"This Time," The Robert Cray Band
"The Truth According To Ruthie Foster," Ruthie Foster
"Live: Hope At The Hideout," Mavis Staples
"Back To The River," Susan Tedeschi
"Already Free," The Derek Trucks Band

Best Contemporary Jazz Album
"Urbanus," Stefon Harris & Blackout
"Sounding Point," Julian Lage
"At World's Edge," Philippe Saisse
"Big Neighborhood," Mike Stern
"75," Joe Zawinul & The Zawinul Syndicate

Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group
"Quartet Live," Gary Burton, Pat Metheny, Steve Swallow & Antonio Sanchez
"Brother To Brother," Clayton Brothers
"Five Peace Band - Live," Chick Corea & John McLaughlin Five Peace Band
"Remembrance," John Patitucci Trio
"The Bright Mississippi," Allen Toussaint


Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp Hollywood Announces February Lineup

Posted by Michael Mueller on December 4, 2009 at 10:29 AM

The good folks at Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp have announced the first stellar wave of confirmed rock stars who will be in Hollywood from February 23-28 to teach campers the ins and outs of rock and roll:

  • Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony (Chickenfoot)
  • Vince Neil (Motley Crue)
  • Ace Frehley (Kiss)
  • Bruce Kulick (Kiss)
  • Rudy Sarzo (Quiet Riot)
  • Kip Winger (Winger)
  • Rami Jaffee (Foo Fighters)
  • Mark Farner (ex-Grand Funk Railroad)
  • Spike Edney (Queen)
  • Teddy Andreadis (Guns N' Roses)
  • Mark Hudson (producer, songwriter Aerosmith)

For this February's camp, the main event is moving to the Nokia Theater and the brand new JW Marriott, but campers will also still record at a major studio and play the legendary Whisky a Go-Go. If you wish to attend, or want to send the guitarist in your life for the experience of a lifetime, RRFC is offering a special early bird special. Sign up before December 23, and you'll receive a RRFC t-shirt along with a gift certificate to place under the tree.

For more info, visit the RRFC web site.

Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp

Back Door Slam Guitarist DAVY KNOWLES Guitar Clinics

Posted by Michael Mueller on December 3, 2009 at 11:19 AM

Back Door Slam guitar tabDavy Knowles and Back Door Slam resumed their North American tour on November 20 in support of the Blix Street Records album Coming Up For Air, which was produced by guitarist Peter Frampton. The band has been touring nonstop since the album's release in June, most recently making its Australian debut with shows in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney following a stop in London and a triumphant homecoming to Knowles' native Isle of Man (in the Irish Sea between Belfast and Liverpool).  

To coincide with the U.S. fall tour, Best Buy is hosting a series of guitar clinics at which Knowles, the 22-year-old singer, songwriter and guitar prodigy, will perform live in the store and discuss guitar playing, highlighting his learning curve as an artist, his style, and his equipment. He will also touch on what it's been like to work with guitar masters such as Peter Frampton, Joe Satriani, Jeff Beck, and Warren Haynes. The first of the guitar clinics took place on Sunday, November 22 at the Best Buy in Ann Arbor, Michigan (see video footage below), followed that evening by the band's appearance at The Shelter in Detroit.

"I was nervous, and didn't really know what to expect," said Knowles after the Ann Arbor clinic. "But I found it really invigorating to talk about my experiences on the road, my guitar rig, influences, and what have you. Both the audience and the folks at Best Buy made a nice relaxed atmosphere and I had fun! Looking forward to the next one!"

A video for the title cut from the CD, "Coming Up For Air," is available for viewing on the band's YouTube page.

The fall tour will culminate with an exciting New Year's Eve appearance at the World Café in Philadelphia. Special guest stars for that evening will be announced, and the band will appear on WXPN Radio's "Free at Noon" concert program that day, December 31.

Remaining Fall Tour Dates:
12/3  Atlanta, GA
12/5  Houston, TX
12/6  Austin, TX
12/7  Dallas, TX
12/10 Denver, CO
12/12 Seattle, WA
12/13 Portland, OR
12/15 San Francisco, CA
12/31 Philadelphia, PA

Davy Knowles/Best Buy Guitar Clinics:

12/6 - 12:00 Noon
Best Buy So. Austin
4970 U.S. Hwy 290 W
South Town Square
Austin, TX 78735

12/13 - 12 Noon
Best Buy/Northgate
330 NE Northgate Way,
Seattle, WA 98125

VHT Introduces First Handwired Amp for Under $300

Posted by Michael Mueller on December 3, 2009 at 10:47 AM

VHT Special 6 ampsHayward, CA— VHT is excited to introduce The Special 6, a 6-watt hand-wired combo or head and cabinet combination that offers players extra features, superior sound quality, and exceptional value.

The Special 6 is the first handwired amp to be offered for a list price below $300. Boutique amp players will love the Special 6's combination of handwired tube goodness, unique features and unparalleled value. The mod-friendly Special 6 is easy to customize for home amp builders and
tube amp enthusiasts.

The Special 6 gets its powerful tube sound from one 12AX7 preamp tube and one 6V6 output tube. It boasts a footswitchable Gain Boost feature that significantly expands its range of tones—it's the only amp in its class that excels at both clean and overdriven tones, and it's the only amp in its class to offer a footswitchable boost. With the Gain Boost, players can instantly toggle between clean rhythm tones and overdriven leads, essentially duplicating the  footswitchable functions of a 2-channel amp in an all-tube, handwired, simple, 2-knob package.

To further expand its range of tones, the Special 6 also features a High/Low power switch that enhances low-volume tones with extra-smooth richness (when in half-power mode). It's a great feature for recording, or for low-volume "bedroom" players. In high-power mode, it's one of the
few amps in its class that is loud enough to compete with a strong drummer.

The Special 6 will be available as a combo and also as a head. The combo will feature a special high-sensitivity VHT special design 10" speaker. The Special 6 head will be offered with a separate Special 1x12 speaker cabinet, featuring the player’s choice of a VHT special design 12" speaker or a premium Celestion G12H30 speaker.

The VHT Special 6 combo has a MAP of $199.99; the Special 6 head has a MAP of $179.99; and the 1x12" Special 6 Cabinet starts at $149.99. All three are available now.

For a complete list of products available from VHT, visit

Bachman-Turner Minus Overdrive

Posted by Michael Mueller on December 3, 2009 at 10:35 AM

BTO guitar tabAccording to a report at, Bachman-Turner Overdrive principals Randy Bachman and Fred Turner have reunited to record the title track of Bachman's next album, Rock 'n' Roll Is the Only Way Out. Bachman describes the record as "really rootsy, really AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, really fun, eager, hungry rock 'n' roll." The album is due out next fall, and the guitarist will tour behind it.

Bachman-Turner will not, however, be joined by "Overdrive"—drummer Rob Bachman (Randy's younger brother) and guitarist Blair Thornton. In fact, the pair have filed suit to prevent Bachman and Turner from using the BTO name.

During BTO's run in the '70s, the band sold over 20 million albums worldwide on the strength of such timeless rockers as "Takin' Care of Business" and "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet."

Get Bachman-Turner Overdrive guitar tab here.


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