NEWS: Nuno Bettencourt to play guitar for Rhianna

Whoa. I didn’t see this one coming!!! Just got this email from the Extreme forum.

Hey all… Nuno here. I wanted to share some news with you… A friend and Music Director, Tony Bruno, reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in playing guitar with Rihanna. Rihanna is a regular in the Bettencourt-house playlist… And as much as I dig her as an artist… my first thought was that there isn’t a whole lot of guitar in her music and therefore probably not the greatest fit for what I do. But before I had a chance to verbalize that thought… Tony said, “before you say anything let me play you the direction she wants to go live.” And when I heard it… I said wow, this rocks… it’s heavy and funky… and it hit me that this is MY shit… this is my style… how I love to play… I got very excited at the possibility of playing some of her great songs with a heavier treatment. When I asked Tony Bruno why?… he told me that Rihanna loves bands like Paramore and Linkin Park and loves to push it up a notch or two live in the rock department. Hmmm… let me think? Touring and sharing the stage with a cool and talented artist like Rihanna… and being able to bring what I do passionately to the table as a musician and performer…? IM IN! And having finished the first round of rehearsals… it did not disappoint. Even better than what I expected because she also has the most incredible band, and I get the privilege to add to their wall of sound. It’s gonna be fun. Come see and hear it for yourself!


And BTW… No… this is NOT the end of Extreme. We have a live DVD and CD coming out in early 2010 and we will be writing new material throughout the year. We had a great run across the globe on Saudades do Rock….and we’ll be back.

Um… Nuno, I love ya, I’ll support whatever you do, but I’m gonna need a minute to digest this, orrite?

NEWS: Gibson Buckethead Les Paul

Awesome. Check out this cool new Gibson Buckethead Les Paul. My favourite feature is the arcade game-style killswitch arrangement – one with the regular controls and one where the pickup switch should be (the real pickup switch is down with the volume and tone pots). Also note the coil split for the bridge humbucker, and the oversized body.

I hope this starts a whole trend of video game/guitar control crossovers. I want an N64 analog stick mounted on an Ibanez Jem for controlling quadraphonic panning effects. Or maybe an Atari paddle on a Telecaster for blending pickups. Or how about a Wii Balance Board for Whammy effects?

From his prolific solo work, to his prominent memberships in the supergroup Praxis and rock legends Guns N’ Roses, Buckethead has displayed one of the most fiery creative personas of our times, and has continually affirmed his stance in the upper echelon of contemporary shredders. Equally attention-grabbing as his incendiary chops, Buckethead’s stage show and visual presence remain unique among the rock field, and his Gibson guitars—a white Les Paul in particular—have always been a big part of that. As Gibson continues to roll out the Rocktober action, the Buckethead Signature Les Paul celebrates this unparalleled artist’s achievements. With an oversized, chambered Les Paul body, a marker-less ebony fingerboard, and Buckethead’s choice of Gibson’s contemporary ceramic humbucking pickups—complete with modified electronics and “arcade” style kill switches—this is a Les Paul like none to have come before. It’s primed to get you noticed, and designed for utmost performance for the contemporary rock, metal, and shred performer.

More info at

NEWS: Paul Gilbert VIP lessons in Southern California

Here’s something I think I might just have to check out while I’m in California for NAMM: Paul Gilbert is offering ‘VIP lessons’ for two days to coincide with NAMM. Only problem is that I won’t have a guitar with me in the US. Maybe I should get me an Ibanez Mikro or something!

By the way, before I get to the details, check out Paul’s guest post for I Heart Guitar, where he talks about his Ibanez Fireman Kikusui Ginjo Junmai custom.

Here’s some info from Paul’s site:

For the first time in the Southern California…

I will be offering VIP lessons for two days, January 17th and 18th, 2010.

I have chosen the time and location to coincide with the NAMM show, to make it convenient for out-of-town students as well as those living in Southern California. Here are the details:



Wall of Sound Studio
1745 S. Claudina Way
Anaheim, CA 92805

VIP Lesson Inlcudes:

* A 75-minute guitar lesson with me.
* Each lesson is limited to 6 students. This small class size allows me to give personal attention to each student. I will answer questions, give guitar sequences, techniques, and advice based on your current level, and we will all plug in and jam together! I want to hear YOU play, so I can give you focused and practical advice.
* An exclusive booklet with my newest phrases and techniques.
* A Paul Gilbert Tour t-shirt.
* A set of custom guitar picks.
* You are welcome (and encouraged) to bring an audio recorder to remember the details of the lesson. (no video, please)
* At the end of the lesson, I will sign autographs and take pictures.

What Should You Bring?

Just bring your guitar! Amps, cables, and tuners will be provided. If you want to record the lesson, please bring a small audio recorder. If you would like a photo together, please bring a camera. (If you have a locking tremolo, please set-up your guitar to standard “E” tuning.)


SUNDAY, January 17th: Start times: 1pm, 3pm, 5pm

MONDAY, January 18th: Start times: 1pm, 3pm, 5pm

Please arrive 15 minutes early to sign in.


COST: $300 per VIP ticket

There are only 36 tickets available, so reserve yours now at:

For more info, visit Paul’s site.

NEWS: I’m going to NAMM!

This January I’m packin’ up the family and we’re jetting over to California for NAMM as well as general Californian sightseeing. I’ve wanted to go to NAMM ever since I was in my teens and Guitar Player magazine ran this awesome NAMM report, written in the style of Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas. In addition to the coolness that was the new gear on show, that article made a huge impression on me as a writer. So I’m going to get to have my own little NAMM adventure soon, after all these years. Woohoo!

So here’s where you come in:

* If you’re a reader, what would you like to see covered?

* If you’re an artist, are you doing a NAMM-related gig?

* If you’re from a guitar-related company, would you like me to make sure I stop by your booth?

Leave a comment below or email me on

I plan to blog like crazy while I’m in the states, and I’ll no doubt be using Twitter to its full advantage too, so if you’re not following me on Twitter yet and you’d like live updates as I drool over new guitars, amps, pedals, gadgets, gizmos and doodads, here’s my Twitter.

Also, what should we do while we’re in California for 3 weeks? It’ll be me, Mrs I Heart Guitar and our 3-year-old, so only family-friendly suggestions please (although I hope the hotel offers babysitting so we can catch a taping of Conan while we’re out there!). We’re visiting Hollywood, Anaheim, San Diego and San Francisco.