Your Daily Dose of Guitar News & Reviews
Flashback Friday - Aldo Nova "Fantasy"
I love Fridays ... who doesn't? But I especially love it when it comes with a healthy dose of nostalgia and fun music. So a good friend of mine kicked off the afternoon with a flashback to Cheap Trick's "Tonight It's You," which in turn led me to Honeymoon Suite's "Burnin' in Love," at which time my wife enters my office and asks about "that Canadian band I like from the early '80s." She was referring to Triumph, but I first mentioned Aldo Nova, half-jokingly. She says, "No, not him, but what was that cool song of his?" So I bring up his 1982 hit "Fantasy" on YouTube, plug in my guitar, and it's game on!
Drummer Mike Portnoy Announces He Is Leaving Dream Theater
'Tis truly a sad, sad day in the prog-rock realm. On Wednesday evening, drummer Mike Portnoy announced that he's decided to leave Dream Theater, the band he co-founded with guitarist John Petrucci 25 years ago.
"I am about to write something I never imagined I'd ever write," his statement opens. "After 25 years, I have decided to leave Dream Theater... the band I founded, led and truly loved for a quarter of a century."
He later continues, "Strangely enough, I just read an interview that I recently did that asked me about the future of Dream Theater and I talked about 'always following your heart and being true to yourself'... Sadly, I must say that at this particular moment, my heart is not with Dream Theater ... and I would simply be 'going through the motions,' and would honestly NOT be true to myself if I stayed for the sake of obligation without taking the break I felt I needed.
"I wish the guys the best and hope the music and legacy we created together is enjoyed by fans for decades to come... I am proud of every album we made, every song we wrote and every show we played...."
You can read Portnoy's entire statement at Blabbermouth here.
Today (Thursday 9/9), the band issued the following statement:
"To all of our loyal fans and friends: It is with profound sadness -- regret -- we announce that Mike Portnoy, our lifelong drummer and friend, has decided to leave Dream Theater. Mike's stature in the band has meant the world to all of us professionally, musically, and personally over the years. There is no dispute: Mike has been a major force within this band.
While it is true that Mike is choosing to pursue other ventures and challenges, we can assure you that Dream Theater will continue to move forward with the same intensity -- and in the same musical tradition -- that you have all helped make so successful, and which is truly gratifying to us. Fans and friends: File this episode under Black Clouds and Silver Linings. As planned, we begin recording our newest album in January 2011, and we'll follow that with a full-on world tour. "The Spirit Carries On."
All of us in Dream Theater wholeheartedly wish Mike the best on his musical journey. We have had a long and meaningful career together. It is our true hope that he finds all he is looking for, and that he achieves the happiness he deserves. He will be missed."
– Dream Theater
Machine Head Guitarist Robb Flynn Offers Reward for Return of Stolen Gear
Guitarist/vocalist Robb Flynn of San Francisco Bay Area group Machine Head suffered a severe invasion of personal property yesterday, September 7th, as thieves broke into his home between 1:15pm and 3:15pm PST. Flynn and his family were not present during the invasion, and many priceless items were stolen from his home. These items include the guitar that Flynn recorded Machine Head's first album, Burn My Eyes, with, a gifted guitar from late Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell (pictured below), and Flynn's son Zander's mini Flying V; a gift he received from his family for Christmas. Other items stolen include Flynn's wife's jewelry, laptops, wakeboards, and cash.
"I am offering a $1,000 reward for the return of the black Ibanez Strat along with many stickers, a 'Designated Drinker' sticker," announces Flynn. "Additionally, I am offering a $2,000 reward for the safe return of the blue Washburn Dimebolt prototype.
"An APB has been put out to every Guitar Center in Northern California and the police were able to get several fingerprints off of the two acoustics that the thieves handled, yet bizarrely left behind. Sightings of two suspicious vehicles have been reported, one a green/teal U.S.-make pickup truck, the other a white full-size work van.
"If anyone sees or hears of anything on Craigslist, eBay, at their guitar shop... anything, anywhere, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org immediately."
Fender Announces John Mayer Special Edition Black1 Stratocaster
PRESS RELEASE: John Mayer's super sleek, famous black guitar has been his "go-to" instrument for years. He has been able to rely on it through countless recording sessions and shows, and affectionately refers to it as the "Black1."
In collaboration with the artist, Fender are now offering limited quantities of these special guitars to the world (500 global), as John "implores everyone to make their own trouble on it," beating it up through their own musical experiences.
The John Mayer Special Edition Black1 Stratocaster includes similar specs to his existing model (same neck shape, pickups and electronics) with the addition of some further upgraded features like gold hardware and a model- exclusive, super-protective incase gig-bag (designed in collaboration with the artist) that can be customized using the included patches and modular accessory compartments.
- Colors: (806) Black
- Series: Artist
- Body Shape: Stratocaster
- Body Material: Alder
- Neck: Maple
- Neck Finish: Satin Urethane Finish on Back of Neck, Gloss Finish on the Face of the Headstock
- Fretboard: Rosewood
- Fretboard Radius: 9.5" Radius (241 mm)
- Frets: 21, Dunlop 6105 Narrow Jumbo
- Position Inlays: White Dot Position Inlays
- Scale Length: 25.5" (648 mm)
- Nut Width: 1.650" (42 mm)
- String Nut: Synthetic Bone
- Truss Rod Nut: Original Vintage Style
- Pickups: Big Dipper Single-Coil Strat Pickup, Big Dipper Single-Coil Strat Middle Pickup, Big Dipper Single-Coil Strat Neck Pickup
- Pickup Switching: 5-Position Blade: Position 1. Bridge Pickup, Position 2. Bridge and Middle Pickup, Position 3. Middle Pickup, Position 4. Middle and Neck Pickup, Position 5. Neck Pickup
- Controls: Master Volume, Tone 1. (Neck Pickup), Tone 2. (Bridge/MiddlePickup)
- Hardware: Gold
- Tuning Keys: Gold Schaller Die-Cast Tuners with Pearloid Buttons
- Bridge: American Vintage Synchronized Tremolo
- Tremolo Arm: Aged White
For more, please visit Fender.com
Opeth Live at Royal Albert Hall DVD Preview Clip
Thanks to the folks over at Blabbermouth.net for this one. Professionally filmed video of Opeth performing "Dirge For November" on April 5, 2010, at the Royal Albert Hall in London, England, can be viewed below (courtesy of Classic Rock magazine). The clip is from the band's forthcoming In Live Concert at the Royal Albert Hall DVD, which is due on September 21, thru Roadrunner Records.
The release will be available in three configurations:
1. Limited edition vinyl box set that includes:
- Double-DVD set of OPETH's performance at the legendary Royal Albert Hall in its entirety. Bonus features include an exclusive interview and the behind-the-scenes documentary, "On Tour with Opeth". DVDs are in 5.1 Dolby surround sound, produced and mixed by Jens Bogren.
- A set of four 180-gram LPs of the concert's live audio in its entirety. (Vinyl only available in this box set.)
- Exclusive, numbered lithograph with artwork designed by Mikael Åkerfeldt and longtime OPETH designer Travis Smith.
- 20-page, LP sized booklet that chronicles the night's events in photos.
- MP3 download of live audio in its entirety sent via e-mail on release day.
- Expanded, exclusive artwork and more.
- Content of this set is housed in a custom foil stamped slipcase.
2. Five-disc set that consists of two DVDs and three CDs. The set not only includes the legendary evening captured on video, but the concert's live audio in its entirety as well.
3. Double-DVD set of OPETH's performance at the legendary Royal Albert Hall, in its entirety, including bonus features.
Track listing is as follows:
The Leper Affinity
The Drapery Falls
Dirge For November
The Funeral Portrait
Patterns In The Ivy
Forest Of October
The Lotus Eater
Happy Birthday Buddy Holly!
Legendary rock 'n' roll pioneer Buddy Holly was born September 7, 1936, in Lubbock, Texas. By the age of five, he was already playing 4-string banjo and lap steel guitar. By the age of 21, he had his first hit single, "That'll Be the Day," and appeared on the "Ed Sullivan Show," where his band The Crickets performed that tune along with "Peggy Sue."
Sadly, in the midst of a miserable winter tour of the Midwest, a plane that Holly chartered and that was also carrying Ritchie Valens and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson crashed shortly after taking off in Mason City, Iowa, in the early morning hours of February 3, 1959—the day the music died. Holly was just 22.
Although his output was limited to an 18-month span, Holly would become one of the most influential early rock artists, providing inspiration to such legends as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and Bob Dylan.
Guitar Instructor Lick of the Week 09-07-10
In a blog post last week, I wrote a little about my backstage hang and jam session with Alter Bridge/Creed guitarist Mark Tremonti. While we were trading licks, he showed me this ascending sequence of quintuplets from box 5 of the minor pentatonic scale, which he had picked up from a Shawn Lane video (see video below). This sequence is essentially the mirror image of last week's more common descending one.
The key to playing this lick fast, Mark showed me, is to lead with your fret hand's middle finger. You can begin the lick with your ring finger, and it won't trip you up in the first quintuplet; however, once you're into the pattern, using your middle finger will make for much more fluid execution. Further, you should fret the lowest note on each string with your index finger; this will make for some big stretches at times, but it's the way to go. As with the descending version last week, be sure to use strict alternate picking and to play it in time.
Here's the lick:
Note that I've presented it here in box 5 of the D minor pentatonic scale. Once you're comfortable with this ascending pattern, you can then slide up from the high D on the 10th fret to F at the 13th fret and then descend in box 1 using last week's pattern. Using the same approach, practice ascending and descending these patterns through all five pentatonic box patterns. For inspiration and to see just how devastating this sequence can be, watch the entire video below of Shawn Lane teaching the ascending pattern above, particularly the last portion, when Lane shreds through several patterns all in one lick at jaw-dropping speed.