ISN’T IT TIME YOU CHECKED OUT: The Tea Party

This is the first in what will be an occasional series where I’ll dig out various artists that I think haven’t quite got the respect they deserve, or might just be a little underground. And who better to start with than The Tea Party? These Canadian rockers were popular in their home country and Australia, but couldn’t quite seem to get a leg up in the US. That’s a huge shame because they friggin’ rocked. Imagine the logical conclusion of Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir crossed with Depeche Mode’s gothy moments, or maybe a more exotic version of Queensryche in the Promised Land era, and you get a bit of an idea of their general vibe. The Tea Party broke up in 2005 and frontman Jeff Martin now has a new band called The Armarda who are quite Tea Party-sounding (and check out his awesome solo stuff), but forgive my selfishness in hoping to see a reunion some day. I saw two Tea Party gigs and they were always an amazing live band, throwing in spontaneous covers and messing with arrangements.

CLICK HERE for Tea Party CDs and DVDs on Amazon.com

So here are my top 5 Tea Party songs:

Temptation

The Bazaar

Sister Awake

Walking Wounded

Heaven Coming Down

NEWS: Boss pedal giveaway – Guess The Riff, Get The Gear

Check out this awesome contest by Boss. Hey can I move to the US so I can participate?

THE BIG BOSS GIVEAWAY—GUESS THE RIFF, GET THE GEAR

Grand Prize Wins Four Autographed Pedals and $1,000 in BOSS Gear

Los Angeles, CA, November 2, 2009 — BOSS is giving the tone freaks everywhere the chance to win autographed BOSS pedals by top guitar heroes and $1,000 in BOSS gear with The Big BOSS Giveaway.

To enter, contestants should visit www.BossUS.com/BigBossGiveaway, listen to the featured riff, and pick out the BOSS Distortion or Overdrive pedal that is used to make that particular tone.

The riff will change every two weeks, and a different signed BOSS pedal from a famous guitar hero will be given away, as well as $1,000 in BOSS gear. In addition, a grand prize of $1,000 in BOSS gear and one signed pedal from each of the four guitar heroes will be given to any contestant who enters the contest between November 1 and December 31, 2009. Contestants can enter once every two-week period, giving them up to five chances to win.

The Big BOSS Giveaway Prize Lineup:

Grand Prize
11/1/09–12/31/09

One signed pedal for each guitar hero (four in all) and $1,000 in BOSS gear

Biweekly Prizes
11/1/09–11/14/09 Dave Navarro signed DS-1 and $1,000 in BOSS gear
11/15/09–11/30/09 Frank Gambale signed TU-2 and $1,000 in BOSS gear
12/1/09–12/15/09 Yngwie Malmsteen signed NS-2 and $1,000 in BOSS gear
12/16/09–12/31/09 Lincoln Brewster signed DN-2 and $1,000 in BOSS gear

Contest eligible in the U.S. only. For more information, visit www.BossUS.com/BigBossGiveaway.

Holiday Gift Packs at MusiciansFriend.com

REVIEW: Baden Guitars D-Style


Baden Guitars was founded by T.J. Baden in 2006. A former vice president of sales and marketing at Taylor, Baden and partner Errol Antzis, a former investment banker and a guitar lover, enlisted European luthiers Andreas Pichler and Ulrich Tueffel and together they set about to redefine the acoustic guitar.

The first thing you need to know about Baden guitars is that they are made in Vietnam, and while this information might trigger alarm bells for some shoppers who prefer their instruments to be US-made, it’s important to point out that Baden guitars are no production-line-stamped, automated, cheap little axes made in a facility that builds guitars for half a dozen other brands too. Nope, these instruments are all completely hand-built, overseen by six French luthiers.

The first and most striking thing about the Baden D-Style is its shape. It’s a dreadnaught, Jim, but not as we know it. The curves have been flattened out and the outline is given a slightly boxy vibe, almost like certain vintage Danelectro electric guitar designs. The next thing you notice is the subdued approach to ornamentation: no elaborate inlays, overwrought rosettes or extravagant abalone binding here. The Baden design philosophy is one of minimalism. In fact even the Baden logo on the headstock is simply cut into the wood, rather than inlaid or painted. The one concession to style-over-substance in this regard is a tiny triangular wedge driven into a little circular cutout at the fretboard end of the sound hole. The D-Style’s back and sides are mahogany, and the top is Stika spruce, while the The binding, bridge, fretboard, heel cap and headstock overlay are rosewood. The fretboard is free of any kind of position markers, with only subtle side dots to help you find your way.

Electronics on the review model are a Fishman Matrix Infinity system with simple volume and tone controls, unobtrusively tucked away inside the sound hole. However, Baden has recently started using Fishman’s more pimped-out Aura range, which adds acoustic imaging to the piezo signal for added realism. Unplugged the D-Style is a very bright-sounding guitar, with lots of loud yet tight bass and a throaty, zingy high end. The tone is ideal for players who need to be loud and proud in the mix, especially in country or roots styles. If your music requires some heavily-picked rhythmic chugging on the low strings, the D-Style keeps up with every note, while chord stabs ring out brightly and clearly. It’s also a good fingerpicker due to the clarity and note separation. The action as set up at the factory is quite low at the nut end of the fretboard, gradually rising as you travel along the neck. This makes it more at-home for open-position chords right out of the box, but any music store or luthier worth their salt can adjust the action to a more barre chord-friendly height with ease. Plugged in, the Fishman does a good job of translating the guitar’s natural tone, but it’s a shame I couldn’t get my hands on the Fishman Aura version.

The D-Style is a bold, unique take on the traditional dreadnaught design, and it’s an ideal choice for those looking for something a little unique while still sounding like a dreadnaught should. Baden is attempting something quite innovative in what can be a quite conservative market segment, and their guitars are well worth checking out.