I recently had a great chat with jazz guitarist Albare for Australian Guitar magazine, which you can read here. Albare is a Gibson endorser, a pioneer of Acid Jazz and a lifelong devotee of jazz. I particularly like what he had to say about improvisation: “In the Talmud it says the distance between the head and the heart is the longest in the world. So for a musician to go from the learning and the understanding back to the giving through the heart, it’s a life experience. So what goes through my head? Here’s what goes through my head: I think about my mother. I think about the sea. I think about things that calm me and take my mind away. Read More …
Paul Gilbert is coming to Oz for a master class tour! Paul is a great instructor (as you’ll soon see if you check out his ArtistWorks course) and he’s full of advice for players of every level.
More info over at Thump Music, but here are the essentials:
Dates & Times
1. Brisbane – Monday 8th of October 2012 – 7.30 pm till late – Book now 2. Sydney – Wednesday 10th of October 2012 – 7.30 pm till late – Book now 3. Melbourne – Thursday 11th October 2012 – 7.30 pm till late – Book now 4. Hobart – Saturday 13th October 2012 – 10am till 12.45pm – Book now 5. Adelaide – Monday 15th October 2012 – 7.30 pm till late – Book now 6. Perth – Wednesday 17th October 2012 – 7.30 pm till late – Book now
Standard ticket pricing is $80 per person. However for Thump’s loyal clinic attendants they are opening up an early bird price of $69.00 per person. A Thump Music Show Bag will be supplied to all pre-paying customers, with over $50.00 worth of goodies, which judging from the pic below includes the Pickmaster Plectrum Cutter (which I review here) and Australian Guitar magazine (which I write for).
I first got my hands on the Framus Diablo Supreme X at NAMM earlier this year, and a very special piece of kit it was. As you may know, in addition to I Heart Guitar I write for the magazines Mixdown, Australian Musician Magazine, and Australian Guitar. Through Australian Guitar I was fortunate to once again get my hands on a Framus Diablo Supreme X, and you’ll be able to read that review in the next issue. (I can’t post it here, so as to not cross any lines or step on any toes).
However the Diablo Supreme X is a very cool guitar that deserves a closer look on I Heart Guitar. Lemmie run you through the specs, then you can check out some nice hi-rez photos and sound clips of each pickup selection.
MADE IN: Germany BODY: Swamp Ash, maple NECK: Maple FRETBOARD: Rosewood FRETS: Medium Standard NUT: Graphtech Black Tusq HARDWARE: Chrome BRIDGE: Framus/Wilkinson PICKUPS: Seymour Duncan Cool Rails, Vintage Staggered, JB CONTROLS: 5-way toggle, volume, tone w/push-pull coil split
Pickups are a Seymour Duncan Cool Rails in the neck, Vintage Staggered Single Coil in the bridge and the legendary JB in the bridge. All are wired into a coil tap on the push-pull tone control. The JB has a classic edgy rock, the Vintage Staggered is a great traditional single coil, and the Cool Rails is a full-sounding humbucker with a nice flutey high end.
The bridge is a 2-point fulcrum non-locking unit, specially designed to prevent side-to-side movement of the saddles. The whammy bar pushes in (rather than screws in) and its tension is adjusted by a side-mounted hex screw. It stays in tune better than some double-locking units I've played.
Controls consist of a 5-way pickup selector switch, a 500k push/pull tone pot for coil splitting, and a 500k master volume control. The tone pot is musically voiced to round out your tone without making it muddy even at its deepest setting.
Here you get a nice view of the sexy body carve and the degree of flame in the AAA maple top. There's a very noticeable 3D effect to the flame when you move the guitar side to side. Also note the handy indentation on the volume pot to give you a visual reference of where you're set without resorting to numbers.
This shot will give you an idea of how thick the top is. It most definitely qualifies as a top rather than a veneer, and it adds a nice crisp high end to the sound, both unplugged and through an amp. Please excuse my hairy arm.
Here you can see the back cavity cover, which pops off without the need for a screw driver. This feature is utter genius. How many times have you lost one of those fiddly little screws while you were trying to pop the cover off to do a quick soldering job, wiring mod or pickup replacement?
Here you can see the classy, understated abalone inlays and the medium standard frets. The fretboard radius is relatively flat which is very shred-friendly. The frets are levelled on the PLEK system so you can be sure they're as perfect as can be.
The Diablo Supreme X features a Graphtech Black Tusq nut, which helps keep you in tune when you engage in whammy bar freakouts. Tuning stability is also aided by the straight string pull between the nut and tuning peg.
Finally, here’s an audio clip of me playing the Diablo Supreme X through my Marshall DSL50. You’ll hear every pickup selection in order, then again with the coil tap switch engaged. At the end of the first riff you’ll hear me hold the chord until it fades out. Nice sustain profile, huh?
Hey, here’s something you might wanna check out. While you’re over at GuitarToyz.com.au listening to all the awesome sound clips and videos of James Ryan shredding up a storm through Roger Mayer pedals, look down in the corner of the X Series page and you’ll stumble across a clip of me playing the Mongoose X. It’s just a little demo I whipped up in the process of reviewing the pedal for Australian Guitar magazine. Thanks to Jay from Guitar Toyz for thinking enough of the clip to post it, and thanks of course to Roger for making awesome pedals!
Open a CD recorded in Nashville from the last few years and it’s a pretty good bet that Tom Bukovac has played guitar on it – Keith Urban, Kenny Rogers, Sheryl Crow, Leann Rimes, Faith Hill, Carrie Underwood, Dolly Parton and the list goes on…
There’s a reason he appears on so many albums…the guy can play! Great tone, feel and a bang up guy to boot – Quite literally he is one of the top of ‘go to’ players if you need some guitar and a hook for your track!
I’ve read about you playing in bars as a kid and doing the old ‘learn to play on the gig’ type deal. Did you have formal lessons also growing up?
No formal lessons, my older brother plays and he showed me some stuff to get me started. I just kinda took it from there, spent a lot of time learning parts off records by ear…. lots of old Beatles and Yes stuff.
How important is a knowledge of theory and sight reading in your job?
In Nashville where I live it’s not very important at all…I can’t read a single note of music and it hasn’t slowed me down one bit. If I lived in LA or NYC it would be much more important to read, because of all the jingle and soundtrack session work there.
Obviously as a studio player you have to be able to cover a lot of ground tone wise. I’ve seen pics of various rigs with you using pedals, rack gear, multiple heads (bogner, matchless, marshall etc). Does that change regularly? Do you take everything to a session and work from there or?
I am constantly changing things around…it’s an illness really! I get bored with sounds easily…I never want to do the same thing too long. For a long time I was doing the big 100 watt amp and 4×12″ cab thing…. but in the last year or so I’ve really made a shift to smaller amps. I’ve got a bunch of old tweed deluxes and princeton reverbs now and I’m getting back to the more snarly, mid rangey, honest guitar tones of the early 70’s. Stuff like you hear on the early ZZ Top or Badfinger records, I’m very excited by raw, less effected sounds these days. Those sounds never go out of style, a good old Gibson straight into a tweed deluxe – that’s about as good as it gets in my book.
You’re a fan of vintage guitars?
Absolutely. I’ve been buying, selling and playing old guitars since I was about 19. I’ve managed to hold on to some really fantastic guitars over the years that I’m very lucky to own. The top of the heap no doubt being a blonde 1960 ES-335 – one of only 209 blonde dot necks ever made! It’s a truly magic instrument on all levels.
In regards to session playing –
What’s the breakdown of reading sessions or notated/set parts as opposed to being asked to just play something that suits the track? And do you always know in advance what will be required?
In Nashville you rarely ever get to hear anything in advance. Like I said before there is no sight reading to deal with we just use “number charts”. These spell out the chord changes by relative intervals, it’s very handy because you can change keys without having to rewrite your chart. No one ever writes out specific parts for you to play – your job as a session guitar player in Nashville is to come up with hooky guitar parts on the fly, in an attempt to make something interesting out of songs that usually have very little harmonic content or unique chord progressions written into them and it can be very difficult at times.
Is there any full band live tracking or just overdubs?
We usually track with a full band and then I usually go in later and spend a couple days on each record doing guitar overdubs after the fact. I really enjoy that part (ESPECIALLY when I have a great engineer to work with), most of the producers that hire me give me a lot creative freedom in the overdubbing process. The engineer, in my opinion is without a doubt THE most important guy on the whole session – he can make or break any musical situation. There simply is no group of top notch musicians in the world that can overcome a terrible engineer and I’ve been on so many sessions that have been destroyed by incompetent engineers, it’s truly heartbreaking. Adversely, when you get a great engineer everything is just SO easy – it’s like going to a nice resort spa or something.
Do you have a home studio? Ever work from home and ftp sessions?
I do have a studio but I’m usually too busy working in other places to ever use it and I’ve never done an ftp session.
You obviously do your majority of work in Nashville. Do you ever work in other areas – LA, New York etc? Any differences between the recording scenes?
I have been working a bit in LA this past year with a fabulous producer named Matt Serletic. He used me on the new Rob Thomas record that will be coming out shortly and it was a real blast working with him – wall to wall guitars on that record!! Also I got to work with a bunch of sessions side by side with Tim Pierce – it was really great to see how he did things, he’s a very cool guy.
Having worked with a huge list of great artists, a lot of guitar players get drawn to you work with Keith Urban and Dann Huff. With them being great players in their own right it must be interesting to work in those situations and hear what they’ve played and then lay down your own stuff?
For some reason other guitar players seem comfortable around me. They know I’m not a competitive type of person and I clearly understand my role as a supporting musician when I’m working with guys like Keith or Vince Gill or whoever. I’m there to come up with some cool hooks and textures that work well along with what THEY are playing – always leaving plenty of room and listening carefully to what they’ve got going on. Be the yin to the yang at all times!
Lastly, when will your Myspace blog ‘Session Man’ be transformed into a big budget Hollywood style Blockbuster with fast cars, sassy girls and the general frivolity and hijinks that the session world is no doubt associated with?
Ha!! I’m gonna get back on the session man bit soon…..I’ve had a terrible accident recently and I’m gonna be out of work for at least two months. I nearly cut my middle finger of my left hand off in a stupid attempt to carry a very heavy piece of gear. I broke the fingertip bone and had to get 10 stiches, it was just horrendous.
I’m praying that all will heal and I’ll be able to get back to my normal sloppy self eventually.
About Nick Brown
I’m a guitarist currently residing in Melbourne, Australia although I grew up in the small but awesome town of Yinnar (go on Google it!!!). I do a number of different gigs as well as teaching and writing for magazines such as Mixdown and Australian Guitar. I’m a huge music fan (rock/pop/jazz/fusion/latin/country/blues etc) and love (trying) to keep up to date with new gear (pedals/amps/guitars/players). Feel free to email me or checkout my MySpace!
As many of you probably know I write for a few magazines here in Australia – Mixdown (where I also have an instructional column called Unleash Your Inner Rock God), Australian Guitar, and Australian Musician Magazine – but this is the first time I’ve seen my name in an American magazine, unless you count the time Guitar Player printed my letter about a million years ago, hehe. So I’m hella excited. Thanks Premier Guitar!
Premier Guitar’s email newsletter sums up the new issue perfectly, so here’s what they said:
Welcome to the May issue of Premier Guitar! We’re bringing you a genuine ‘plexi fest’ this month with our exploration of that classic Marshall JTM45 tone via an original (1965!), a reissue and five boutique brands that pay tribute in their own way. We also have interviews with Thin Lizzy’s Scott Gorham and jazz maestro Martin Taylor. The issue is also packed with a tone-dripping array of reviews—Louder & More, Genz Benz, Michael Tobias Designs and Xotic, to name a few. Plus, some of you have asked us to throw a little more of the less expensive gear into the mix so we’re responding with reviews of an Atomic Guitar Works STD1 ($895), a Danelectro Dead On ’67 ($399), an Eastwood Airline Tuxedo ($849) and Fender’s Road Worn Series ($949).