BASSIST/COMPOSER BRYAN BELLER RELEASES WEDNESDAY NIGHT LIVE CONCERT DVD
Live DVD documents the sole west coast show of Beller’s debut 2010 tour and includes numerous special bonus features
NASHVILLE, TN (April 29, 2011) – Bassist/composer and sideman extraordinaire Bryan Beller (Dethklok, Steve Vai, Mike Keneally) has released his solo project’s first live concert DVD, Wednesday Night Live. An up-close-and-personal 4-camera document of the Beller band’s one-night-only 2010 show at the Baked Potato in Los Angeles, the DVD is a serious statement from an artist who’s quickly establishing himself as one of the elite bass playing and compositional voices in the rock/jazz fusion scene today.
The DVD shares a basic running order and band lineup with the live CD of the same name, but also includes special features such as between-song dialogue not present on the CD, additional videos from previous shows with an expanded lineup, interviews with each of the band members, a rare live video of the impossibly difficult “See You Next Tuesday” from the very first Bryan Beller Band gig ever, and four new remixes of studio tracks from Beller’s first album.
The MXR Distortion + is the legendary pedal that Randy Rhoads used with Ozzy Osbourne. My guitar teacher had one and I freaking loved that thing. I’ve vowed to get one myself some day. I still haven’t checked that one off the list but maybe you can, if you enter Jim Dunlop’s MXR Distortion + giveaway. Check out this snippet from the Jim Dunlop blog:
We got a GREAT Friday giveaway for you diehard vintage MXR fans out there. This week we’re giving away a vintage reissue of a Distortion +, yup its the tone that made Randy Rhoads famous. You won’t find this bad boy in stores because it’s still in pre-production! This is a special model that was meticulously spec’d, and recreated—hand-wired by one of our engineers. MXR Vintage fans – complete the vintage family before everybody else! Generally speaking we usually restrict our giveaways to USA only, but because this giveaways so rad we’re going to open it up to the world.
For details on how to enter, click here.
Thank you Roadrunner for changing these videos to allow embedding! Check out the Dream Theater drummer auditions! The final instalment is due at 11AM EST Friday!
UK Guitarist Festival ‘MonkeyFest’ Offers Guitar Tuition from Virtuoso Talent
New UK fest brings guitar tuition from the screen to the stage
26th April 2011
London, UK – MonkeyFest is a new UK-based music festival taking place from the 1st to the 3rd of July 2011 at Bisley Pavilion, Woking. Hosted by Rob “The Monkey Lord” Chapman – who is frequently YouTube’s UK #1 most-viewed musician, and is internationally acclaimed for his free online tuition – Rob is bringing guitar tuition from the screen to the stage at MonkeyFest.
MonkeyFest is a unique event combining tuition and performance, and with a line-up comprising of blistering shred guitarists, smooth classical artists and driving rock bands, it has something to offer everyone. Guitar heroes such as Guthrie Govan, Andy James and Alex Hutchings are confirmed to perform and teach alongside the likes of Godsized, Haken and Sons of Icarus topped-off with rising talent, including Ben Wilshire, Sammy Coulson and Adam Lee.
This week my feature article for Gibson.com is about grunge guitar – something I know a lot about since I was a guitar mag addict during the heady days of grunge. Here’s a teaser:
It’s now 20 years since the grunge revolution changed the course of mainstream music and made the term “alternative” into a buzzword (and a category on record store shelves). Arriving in the wake of a particularly technical epoch – both in terms of gear and guitar playing – grunge redefined what a guitar tone could be, and did away with the more histrionic guitar vocabulary developed during the preceding decade. Grunge may not have had an Eddie Van Halen or an Yngwie Malmsteen in terms of technique and instrumental excess, but the genre was never short of guitar innovators.
Click the link to read the rest! Serve the Servants: Unlocking the Secrets of Grunge Guitar
Gibson.com is counting down the top 50 albums of the 90s, with contributions from yours truly. Check it out every day this week. What do you think will be #1? Heck, what are your personal top 50 albums of the 90s? I’m almost tempted to write my own personal list too. In the meantime here are the first two days’ worth of entries:
The envelope filter is a crucial element for Bringing The Funk (a task so important it must always be capitalised). Loosely defined as “kinda like a wah wah but not quite, and also it’s automatic,” a typical envelope filter might consist of two controls: one to select the range of the effect and one to set the point at which your picking will trigger it. Aguilar knows bass players, and they know bass effects – just witness the incredible Octamizer octave divider some time to see what I mean – so when they turn their attention to the envelope filter with special emphasis on bass players, you’d better listen.
Structurally, the Filter Twin shares a few traits in common with the Octamizer (as well as the Agro Bass Overdrive and the TLC Compressor). All four pedals are housed in a heavy, solid rectangular case with a handy slide-out battery door accessible via the bottom, four rubberised knobs at the top, a bright blue status LED (which can light up a dark room) and a heartily stompable footswitch. The input, output and 9 volt adaptor jacks are at the top of each unit, making them very pedalboard-friendly. The Filter Twin’s finish is surf green with a solid black outline, giving it an almost ‘1950s appliance’ kind of vibe. I love stuff like that.
As hinted by its name, the Filter Twin actually includes two envelope filters. One cycles up and the other cycles down, triggered by the dynamics of your playing. Semiotics buffs will nod knowingly at the layout and labelling of the controls. These controls are Blend (flanked by an up arrow on the left of the knob and a down arrow on the right), Threshold, Velocity Down (actually just labelled Velocity, followed by a down arrow) and Velocity Up (ditto). The knobs feel ‘set-and-forget,’ meaning you need to expend a decent amount of finger energy to get them to turn. I really like this because it means you can be confident that your settings will remain in place even if a crowd surfer crashes onto your pedalboard. That’s very important with a pedal like this where the circuitry is dependent on the output of the signal sent to it by your instrument. Once you nail the sweet spot on the Threshold control, it’s best that you stick to it.
The Filter Twin’s sounds have a real depth and life to them – a rubbery slinkiness which works perfectly with slap and pop techniques and is also good for other picking options. Use the Threshold control to dial in the point at which the effect engages, then twiddle the Velocity pots to select how quickly each filter moves. Blend varies the ratio between each, from 100% of one and zero of the other to a nice 50:50 balance and any point in between. I’m a sucker for really bassy, backwards envelope filter sounds, and unfortunately my main envelope filter – a DOD FX25 – doesn’t have this feature (though it is included in a multi effects unit I use sometimes), so I relished the opportunity to set up a nice 75:25 blend of down and up filters with long down velocity and quick up velocity for a big, syrupy, bassy sound with just the right amount of top end too. The ability to tweak the length of the effect means you can get some pretty interesting sounds as the two filters move against each other, from a snappy quack to a slow, sonorous roar.
By the way, the Filter Twin also sounds great through distortion and on guitar. I ran my bass into the Filter Twin then a fuzz unit and was blown away by the wah-like harmonic richness of the down filter, while it tracked great when I introduced it to my 7-string Ibanez Universe.
The Filter Twin is a killer addition to the arsenal of any funk player but it also sounds great for a variety of other styles, from rock to dance (and could also be a very ear-catching effect for metal bass players in a similar way to how Cliff Burton used wah wah in For Whom The Bell Tolls). It’s also extremely roadworthy and feels like it will give you decades of unwavering service.
This is an alternate version of a review I originally wrote for Mixdown magazine.
As you know (you’re reading this blog, after all), I’m a guitar geek. As you may or may not know, I’m also a bit of an Apple geek. Well I’ve finally found the perfect way to combine my two loves (apart from cranking AmpliTube and AmpKit on my iPad): this weekend I used my Pickmaster Plectrum Cutter to convert a couple of iTunes gift cards into a set of Apple-inspired iTunes-themed guitar picks. Now I can rock out and remind myself to pick up a couple more iTunes gift cards for emergencies at the same time.
Check ot my review of the Pickmaster here.