NAMM 2009: EMG gold and silver pickup covers

This year at NAMM EMG introduced gold and silver covers for their pickups. Previously the only time I’ve seen EMG pickups in anything other than black was on Kirk Hammett’s Les Paul. Other new goodies include a new line of pickups called the X Series, and an Alexi Laiho set which includes his favoured passive humbucker and a gain boost.

Here’s part of EMG’s review of NAMM: 

Team EMG is back from the 2009 NAMM Show and without a doubt we had a blast. The reaction to our new products was a resounding success. If you haven’t heard we are now offering high quality Chrome and Gold cover caps for our 81, 85 and 60 models which generated considerable excitement.

In addition to this new option, we also have a new line of pickups called the X series which has been highly anticipated and that we are betting will blow players minds with its increased headroom paired with the traditional EMG tone that has become iconic to musicians the world over.

The final new release is Alexi Laiho’s shredding new signature set, the ALX w/ABQ gain boost, which is composed of a signature passive HZ humbucker paired with a 3-band EQ/gain boost mounted on a push pull pot. This new set is incredibly versatile and was developed in conjunction with Alexi himself. You want his tone? This will get you that much closer!

Besides featuring EMG’s new and existing product lineup, we had some very exciting artist appearances, scheduled and unscheduled, that were just icing on the cake and made our booth THE place to be. Some of the artists hanging out included Kerry King, Alexi Laiho, Steve Lukather, Sergio Vallin, Marcus Henderson and many many others.

Read more here.

LESSON: Writing for two guitars

There comes a time in the life of every axe slinger when he/she must venture out of the bedroom/garage/New York sewer and interact with other musicians. Maybe even – gasp! – other guitarists. And sooner or later, said guitarist might get bored with the sound of two guitars playing the exact same thing. So what do to? You don’t necessarily have to arrange all your riffs like Def Leppard (“not that that’s a bad thing,” 10-year-old me mumbles), but there are many interesting things you can do to get the most out of a two-guitar band.

First off, CLICK HERE to see the tab/music for this lesson. 

Figure 1 is a simple 8th note strum on a Gm chord. Yawn. Figure 2 makes it slightly more interesting by delegating the bottom two notes to one guitar (which chugs them out with some palm muting), and the top 3 notes to the other, played more freely and maybe with some delay and reverb to add a nice reverberous chime.

In Figure 3, guitar 1 picks out a few notes from the Gm chord while guitar 2 chugs out the same 8th note figure as before. Figure 4 is a further evolution of this idea, but more melodic, perhaps used as a main riff between chorus and verse in a vocal song, or as part of the main theme in an instrumental.

Figure 5 steps outside of the Gm framework a little. Guitar 2 (who seems to get all the easier parts in this lesson… poor guitar 2) just strums whole note G5 power chords while guitar 1 gets all Queensryche, playing a higher version of G5 in the first bar then dropping the fifth down for a deliciously evil tritone.

Finally, in Figure 6 we have something Metallica would be proud of, where guitar 2 plays the same G5 power chord while guitar 1 alternates between an open G string (oo-er) and fretted notes. Try playing a different chord for each of 4 bars in this style, and keep the rhythm of guitar 1’s part but change the notes to match (or build upon) the new chords.

NEWS: Doug Aldrich European clinic tour

Whitesnake guitarist and Marshall endorser Doug Aldrich is doing a European clinic tour next month. Here are the dates:

Saturday, February 14 + Sunday, February 15
Nemesis Guitar School
15 Kadmou
65302 Kavala
Tel +30 69 447 68068

Monday, February 16
Future Music School
Hanauer Strasse 15
63739 Aschaffenburg
Tel +49 6021 25575

Tuesday, February 17
MAI Music Academy International
12 Avenue du XXe Corps
54010 Nancy-Cedex
Tel +33 3 8339 7070

Thursday, February 19
Lucky Music Store
Viale Cassala 7/2
20143 Milano
Tel +39 02 839 5060

Saturday, February 21
Jolly Music Store
Via Roma 14
46010 Montanara Di Curtatone (MN)
Tel +39 0376 49836

Wednesday, February 25
ACM The Academy of Contemporary Music
Bridge Street
Guilford, Surrey
Tel +44 1483 500 800

Friday, February 27
The Works Music Store
Rue Jacques-Dalphin 51
1227 Carouge/Geneva
Tel +41 22 300 1393

Click the poster below or check for more details.

SPARKLY GUITAR WEEK: Day 6 – Les Paul Custom Shop Blue Sparkle

I have a love/hate relationship with Les Pauls. They sound cool, they look cool, but sometimes the neck pitch throws me off a bit and my left wrist gets a little sore. Having said that, I’ve got to meet a lot of great Les Pauls over the years and the wrist thing is certainly something I’ll work through if I ever get totally rich and buy a stable of Les Pauls. And most of them will probably be sparkly.

There are a few Custom Shop Blue Sparkles out there. The one pictured here is being sold on eBay by Vintage Vault
I’ve been browsing on eBay just now, daydreaming about sparkly Les Pauls. There’s a gorgeous multi-colour sparkle Les Paul here, a blue/silver sparkle here, and a sparkle cherryburst here that has to be seen to be believed.
Epiphone also gets in on the sparkle action with this limited edition purple sparkle, and this gold sparkle.
Or if you’re not into the Gibson thang, there’s a Burny silver sparkle with three pickups here.
CLICK HERE to see more guitars at Vintage Vault’s eBay store, or click here to search for sparkly Les Pauls in general.