NEWS: Melodicrock CD 5 – Writing On The Wall

I’ve been visiting for – jeez, it must be about 10 years now. It’s a great source of information, especially if you’re a Van Halen fan, and I’ll be eternally grateful to the guy who runs it, Andrew McNeice, because he mentioned I Heart Guitar in a story on when my blog was only about 1 month old, increasing my traffic by about 500% for about a week when I was still just getting started.

Today Andrew has announced details of the 5th Melodicrock compilation CD. Here’s the short version but for the full details and to order the CD check out

MRCD5 – Writing On The Wall

I am very proud to announce the track listing and artist details for MRCD5 – Writing On The Wall, due for release Monday, July 6.

Pre-Orders will commence next Monday – June 1. As usual, those that pre-order will receive a stack of additional MP3 bonus tracks to download – several of which will also be exclusive tracks. Details for those will be announced Monday. Audio previews for the tracks featured below will be rolled out each and every day this week!

A huge thank you to the participating artists and thanks also to Richard Jones for the cover art (and the full CD package)!

Writing On The Wall features more exclusive tracks than any of the 4 previous compilations and I believe this is the most diverse musically, while also offering the most consistent song quality of all MRCD releases to date. As you may see, there are 3 spots still to be announced – just waiting for the final confirmation of track titles and will announce and preview those during the week ahead.

The 2CD set (36 tracks) will retail for US$23.00 – which includes airmail shipping to anywhere in the world.

01) Cashmir – Josie (Previously Unreleased/Exclusive)
02) Out Loud – We Run (Advance Preview)
03) Jimi Jamison – Dream Higher (Previously Unreleased/Exclusive)
04) W.E.T. – Brothers In Arms (Advance Preview)
05) Big Noize – Battlefields (Unreleased)
06) TBA –
07) Eric Martin – No Turning Back (Previously Unreleased/Exclusive)
08) Eclipse – Sail On (Previously Unreleased/Exclusive)
09) Blanc Faces – Falling From The Moon (Advance Preview)
10) Action – Never Alone (Previously Unreleased/Exclusive)
11) Auras – Beauty Of Dreams (Advance Preview)
12) House Of Shakira – Escape (Japanese Bonus Track)
13) Hansel – Murder 101
14) Geff – Grey Goo (Advance Preview)
15) Kimball Tomita – You’re Not The Devil (Unreleased)
16) JK Northrup – That’s Gonna Leave A Mark (Advance Preview)
17) House Of Shakira – Demonica (Japanese Bonus Track)
18) Double Cross – Pray (Advance Preview)

01) Eden’s Curse – Sail On (Acoustic)(Previously Unreleased/Exclusive)
02) Starbreaker – Hide (Acoustic)(Japanese Bonus Track)
03) Last Tribe – Tell Me More (Acoustic)(Japanese Bonus Track)
04) Harem Scarem – Coming Down (Acoustic)
05) Mass – More Than A Friend (Acoustic)(Previously Unreleased/Exclusive)
06) Square One – Free Flow Feeling (Acoustic)(Previously Unreleased/Exclusive)
07) TBA –
08) TBA –
09) Oliver Hartmann – Into The Light (Acoustic)
10) Richard Lee – Let It Go
11) Andreas Novak – 2009 (Previously Unreleased/Exclusive)
12) China Blue – Selena (Previously Unreleased/Exclusive)
13) Memoria Avenue – Remember (Advance Preview)
14) Mad Max – Take My Heart And Run (Previously Unreleased/Exclusive)
15) Solna – Dreams
16) Line Of Fire – The Fire Never Dies (Advance Preview)
17) Loud & Clear – Doesn’t Anybody Fall In Love (Previously Unreleased/Exclusive)
18) Gregg Fulkerson – Back In The Day (Previously Unreleased/Exclusive)

LESSON: How to sound like Tony Iommi

With the recent release of The Devil You Know, the new album by Heaven & Hell (otherwise known as Mob Rules-era Black Sabbath) it seems a perfect time to look at the monstrous tones of one Tony Iommi. Iommi’s pioneering rhythm guitar style defined heavy metal, but while today’s players follow Iommi’s example by tuning down, they tend to use heavy strings and sometimes even baritone guitars to keep everything sounding tight and punchy. But even in Sabbath’s early days Iommi used the lightest strings he could find, and this was out if necessity rather than choice. At age 19 an industrial accident robbed the lefty of the tips of his right middle and ring fingers. While what was left of his fingers were healing, Iommi could only use his index and pinky fingers for fretting – which placed the classic root/fifth power chord and minor pentatonic scale shapes right under his fingertips, if you’ll pardon the pun. Iommi eventually fashioned leather ‘thimbles’ to replace the missing fingertips, but to further aid his weakened fingers in things like bending and hammer-ons he started tuning down. And down. And down. The combination of light strings and downtuning added a darkness and warmth that you just can’t get with a standard tuning or with downtuned heavy guage strings.

CLICK HERE to buy The Devil You Know from

When it comes to rhythm you’ll want to use a relatively low gain sound for early Sabbath. Don’t let the overall heaviness of the band fool ya: much of the low end weight is created by not by Iommi himself but by the combination and interaction of Iommi and bass player Geezer Butler. Contrary to modern metal convention, if you’re going for an early Sabbath sound you should favour the neck pickup for your rhythm tone, and as much as possible play chords on the E and A strings instead of switching to higher strings. If played the way Iommi does it, the Iron Man riff should take you up to the 15th fret on the low E. Remember it’s often what you play and how you play it, not where the knobs are set. Back in the day Tony used a treble booster to nudge his amp further into overdrive. If you want to go this classic route, check out the Roger Mayer Concorde +.

Another important but overlooked aspect of Iommi’s sound is the use of parallel effects. The two best examples of this are the solo of ‘Paranoid’ and the rhythm guitars of ‘Killing Yourself To Live.’ In the ‘Paranoid’ solo, the signal is panned left and right, with the straight guitar on the left and the same performance fed through a ring modulator effect on the other. The result is a fuzzy, slightly seasick sound which adds to the doominess and uneasiness of the song’s subject matter. If you just listen to the right speaker it kind of sounds like a bee has flown up to a microphone and started scatting the solo, but when it’s combined with the regular unaffected sound it’s totally killer.

In ‘Killing Yourself To Live’ (from Sabbath Bloody Sabbath), Iommi used a modulation effect (it’s hard to tell what it is because it’s at very high speed bit it could be an early phaser) to add a bubbly warble to some – but not all – of the rhythm guitars. In this case it would have been achieved by overdubbing an extra track (panned to the left speaker) with the effect engaged, but you can achieve the same effect by splitting your signal chain and adding the effect to one stream while leaving the other untouched. Check out the PDF on Robert Keeley’s website for schematics of a true bypass buffer/parallel looper mixing unit that will allow you to achieve this with a single amp, or use a pedal with stereo outputs early in the chain so you can split the signal off to two amps and apply the pahaser to only one signal. By the way, you can hear a similar effect on ‘Atom And Evil,’ the opening track of The Devil You Know. The effected guitar is playing a different riff to the main double-tracked guitars, but the overall result is similar to ‘Killing Yourself To Live.’

These days Iommi has his own signature Laney head (the GH100TI, pictured left), Gibson and Epiphone SG guitars, and Gibson humbucking pickup. The Iommi pickup is one of the highest output passive humbuckers you’ll find, so if you’re trying to recreate his later tones you’ll need to do some serious boosting with a pedal to get the same kind of effect on your amp’s preamp stage.

CLICK HERE to buy the Epiphone Tony Iommi Signature G-400 Electric Guitar from Music123 for $599.

NEWS: Shire Music 10th anniversary celebration this Saturday

Shire Music in Miranda, NSW are celebrating their 10th anniversary this month, culminating with a one day sale this Saturday, May 30. Shire has commissioned an Anniversary Edition of the Maton Miranda, this is limited to 10 units, each with a Certificate of Authenticity from Maton, Gold Hardware and Hand Selected Timbers, available now for $1499.

On Saturday Shire will be offering discounts of up to 40%, with giveaways from Ibanez and Ashton, and a number of one off cost price specials (see them here). One of the big big bargains at the moment is an Ibanez RG770 20th anniversary reissue for $A1,650, down from $A2,995 (to convert that into your local currency, click here). There will also be the very rare and expensive Hoshino Gakki 100th Anniversary model serial #1 on display.

There will be Ibanez guitars signed by Paul Gilbert, Fear Factory and Slipknot’s Mick Thompson. Shire will also have the new Ashton Kombi on-site with Guitar Hero running out of the back.

Shire Music is a full-line, independent dealer in the Sutherland Shire, in southern Sydney. They carry a full range of instruments: Fender Custom Shop Master Dealer, Ibanez Prestige Dealer, Gibson 5 Star Dealer, Maton Custom Shop, Warwick Pro Dealer, Orange, Vox, ESP, Cort, Cole Clark, Gretsch, Jackson, Guild, Marshall and Bugera.

And also they’ve been very cool to me on Twitter so I thought I’d give them this free plug on I Heart Guitar. :)

Shire Music
593 Kingsway
Miranda New South Wales 2228
Phone: 02 9525 8700
Int. Phone: 61 2 9525 8700
Fax: 02 9525 4600