Your Daily Dose of Guitar News & Reviews
Guitar Instructor Lick of the Week 02-15-2011
After reading Guitarist magazine's interview with Brad Paisley last week, I spent a lot of time listening to the country legend in waiting and envying those sweeter than Southern hospitality chops he possesses. I then found out that our parent company, Hal Leonard, is publishing a Brad Paisley Signature Licks book with an audio CD (written by Dave Rubin, due out later this year), and that resident GuitarInstructor ace Doug Boduch is recording the parts. I asked Doug about it, and he said plain and simple, "Brad Paisley is kicking my butt." (With his chops of doom, however, I know Doug's gonna nail it.) Anyhow, it inspired me to pick up my Tele and hit the 'shed.
So I dug out a transcription to my favorite Paisley pluck-fest, "Time Warp," from his 2005 album Time Well Wasted, and picked through a few parts. While there are tasty yet damn near impossible to play morsels spread all throughout this whirlwind, a descending legato line in his third guitar solo struck me as a cool lesson lick, as it's a pretty standard barn-burnin' country move plied not only by Paisley but also by Tele pickers like Brent Mason, Albert Lee, and Redd Volkaert, among many others, and a cool tool to have at your disposal.
The lick below is in the key of A -- A Mixolydian to be exact. In the notation, I placed a IV-I (D7-A7) progression in parentheses, to show how Paisley actually used a similar line. It's a fast-paced descending legato line with lots of pull-offs to open strings (also standard country fare). Dig the persistent minor 2nd rub of the open D and 4th-fret C# on the 5th string, while the main voice walks down F#-E-D. I've ended the line on a quarter-step bend of the low G (b7th), hitting that blue note between the flat and major 7th degree.
As always, start slowly and work your way up to that fast double-time feel. The metronome in the video clip is set at 152 bpm.
Mmm-mmm ... Biscuits 'n' gravy!
Frank Gambale Reunites with Chick Corea in Return to Forever
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Australian fusion guitar virtuoso Frank Gambale has accepted an invitation from Chick Corea to tour with Return to Forever this year. Gambale formerly played with the jazz piano legend for seven years in Chick Corea's Elektric Band.
The latest incarnation of Return to Forever comprises Corea and Gambale as well as bassist Stanley Clarke, drummer Lenny White, and violinist Jean Luc Ponty. The group will embark on their Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy Tour with dates to be announced in Australia, the U.S., Europe, and Japan. For all the latest RTF news and updates, check out www.return2forever.com.
Meanwhile, to get you stoked, check out this new promo video from the group, featuring commentary from the members and a preview of what's in store.
Slash to Auction Off Car and Guitars
Guitarist Slash is getting his spring cleaning started early this year, as he has decided to auction off a car, some guitars, and various personal items including clothing, jewelry, and even a couple of those famous hats. The auction, run by Julien's Auctions, is scheduled for March 26, with most of the proceeds going to charity.
According to Reuters, the prized item of the auction will be Slash's 1966 Corvette Stingray, which was the first car he bought after Guns N' Roses rose to superstardom in the late '80s. Julien's estimates the car will go for at least $90,000 to $100,000. Slash is also parting with 14 of his guitars including a Guild acoustic on which he recorded the GN'R monster ballad "Patience," plus various custom and one-of-a-kind Telecasters, Stratocasters, Sanchez, Epiphone, and B.C. Rich models. Additionally, there will be assorted jackets, t-shirts, jewelry, and two of his trademark top hats.
For more info on the auction, visit the Julien's Auctions web site
Free Joe Bonamassa Download
As reported here earlier, Joe Bonamassa will be releasing his new album, Dust Bowl, on March 21. And to celebrate, Bonamassa is giving fans a free MP3 download of the title track here. We got ours, and it's a beauty, its reverb-drenched, tremolo-laden riff evoking lonely country moods with a hint of Pink Floyd-like psychedelia.
Here's a short interview with Joe Bonamassa on the recording of the album:
Lady Antebellum Proves Big Winner at 2011 Grammys
I typically don't enjoy music awards shows much, as the awards almost always seem to reward popularity and publicity over any sort of musical talent, but the 2011 Grammys provided enough substance to begin earning back some of its credibility.
The big winner this year was country trio Lady Antebellum, who on the strength of their ubiquitous hit "Need You Now" walked away with five awards: Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Country Song, Best Country Album, and Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.
Speaking of country music, Miranda Lambert won Best Female Country Vocal Performance for "The House That Built Me."
Biggest surprise of the evening, and perhaps the most encouraging sign that the Recording Academy is beginning to take this seriously, was jazz artist Esperanza Spalding becoming the first jazz artist to win Best New Artist category, beating out wunderkind Justin Bieber and impressive nominees Mumford & Sons and Florence & The Machine.
Competition in the rock and metal categories was strong this year, with several deserving artists in each category, and it's tough to argue the results. U.K. trio Muse's The Resistance topped Jeff Beck's Emotion & Commotion and Tom Petty's Mojo for Best Rock Album. Jeff Beck did, however, take home three Grammys for Best Pop Instrumental Performance ("Nessun Dorma"), Best Rock Instrumental Performance ("Hammerhead"), and Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals ("Imagine," with Herbie Hancock, Pink, India.Arie, Seal, Konono No 1, and Oumou Sangare).
Other rock winners included the Black Keys' "Tighten Up" for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals and their album Brothers for Best Alternative Music Album and for Best Recording Package; Arcade Fire's The Suburbs for Album of the Year; Them Crooked Vultures' New Fang for Best Hard Rock Performance; Iron Maiden's El Dorado for Best Metal Performance; and Neil Young's "Angry World" for Best Rock Song.
In other genres, Larry Carlton and Tak Matsumoto took home the hardware for Best Pop Instrumental Album; Buddy Guy's Living Proof won Best Contemporary Blues Album; and Ryan Bingham's "The Weary Kind" was named Best Song Written for Motion Picture.
Jazz Guitarist Steve Peplin Has Got the Beat - Literally
Local jazz musicians are not typically well paid, so you can't blame them for looking at new ways to cut costs while still providing their audiences a smokin' performance. For example, what if the guitarist were to play drums while improvising his solos? Sound crazy? Maybe so, but that's just about what Milwaukee-based jazz guitarist Steve Peplin has done.
In the video below, which was shot during a radio interview for WUWM, Peplin performs with guitarist Neil Davis, who is the other half of the Peplin/Davis Duo. What is sure to induce repeated viewings, though, is that while Peplin comps and solos, he also keeps the beat with a hi-hat cymbal, augmenting his self-contained rhythm section with ride and crash cymbals rigged to be played with foot pedals as well.
In the interview portion of the video, Peplin explains how he came up with the concept. "When you're playing in a duo, there really isn't anything that percussive," he says. "The hi-hat is like the heartbeat of the drumset, and the ride cymbal is like the canvas for the drummer to orchestrate patterns, so you don't even really need the snare and the bass drum to have the basic, elemental feel of jazz."
In full disclosure, I've known Steve for over 20 years, and he's one of the most amazing musicians and people I've had the privilege of knowing, and so with that knowledge, this doesn't really surprise me. That said, I still have to pick my jaw up from the floor after watching it. Be sure to watch through the end, as the outro performance, a composition by Davis called "Lollygag," is simply stunning.
For more on the Peplin/Davis Duo, visit their MySpace page. To purchase Peplin's new album, Infinite Stairways, which features a solo guitar version of John Coltrane's "Countdown" replete with hi-hat accompaniment, visit the iTunes Store or Amazon.com.
Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers Reveals His True Passion - Guitar
Filmed about 2-1/2 years ago, just after taking the reins from Hall-of-Famer Brett Favre, Green Bay Packers quarterback—and now Super Bowl MVP—Aaron Rodgers gave an interview to Fox Sports' Laura Okmin in which he detailed his passion for music.
While strumming and plucking a gorgeous Taylor acoustic guitar, Rodgers explained how learning to play guitar was his escape from the full-on stress and incredible demands of being an NFL athlete.
"Music is so therapeutic for me," Rodgers says. "I'm not even really that good, but it's just so fun to try to master it."
He continues, "There are so many moments in my life that are attached to songs ... and to be able to play those songs now is the most special, nostalgic, therapeutic, religious experience."
When asked which is harder to grasp—taking over a team or learning the guitar, Rodgers responds, "I'd say definitely learning guitar."
Judging by his one-for-the-ages playoff performance this year, culminating in a Super Bowl championship for the Packers and a fine piece of MVP hardware, Mr. Rodgers' assessment—like most of his passes—seems right on the money.