INTERVIEW: Ace Frehley

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Ace Frehley. Just the mere mention of his name is enough to send a jolt through the veins of those with even a passing knowledge of KISStory. Whether you subscribe to the mythology of ‘Space Ace’ being a visitor from the planet Jendel or you tend to go with the less colourful version of the story (he’s from the Bronx), Ace represents a certain combination of earthiness and exoticness. In his days with KISS his iconic Spaceman character brought comic book mystique to established guitar hero tropes. His post-KISS career has seen him explore material that’s generally a little more ‘street,’ with more overt nods to his bluesier inspirations. But that doesn’t mean Ace is averse to an occasional trip back to his home planet: last year he released Space Invader, a self-produced album of mostly original tracks along with a very Ace-ian cover of Steve Miller’s “The Joker” which enjoyed a #9 debut on the Billboard 200 charts – the only time a solo album by any past or present KISS member has hit the US top 10. And Ace returns to Australia in April and May with his triple-pickup Les Pauls in tow. Tickets here. Read More …

Jake E Lee, Periphery, The Aristocrats At Mega NAMM Jam

imageThe good folks at Guitar World have just signed on as the official media sponsor of the kickass HEINEKEN NAMM JAM 2014. This is gonna be one of the hugest shows of NAMM – Jake E. Lee’s Red Dragon Cartel, Periphery and The Aristocrats, along with the Jonny Coffin Fashion Show. It’ll be a killer opportunity to hear some seriously great players, ogle some seriously great guitars, and buy me a beer. You’ll need to be a NAMM attendee to get in, but if that happens to describe you you’ll find info on how to score tickets in the press release below. Read More …

The Adder – Whatever Happened To That Thing?

The AdderI was recently thinking about pickups (hey, it’s something I do a lot) and I suddenly remembered something I saw in a guitar magazine back in 1991. It was a little gadget: evidently just a chunk of metal that you placed over your pickup’s pole pieces to alter its magnetic field. I strained my brain for months trying to think of what this damn thing was called. I even put it to the brains trust at The Gear Page forums, and a few people seemed to vaguely remember it, but nobody could recall actually seeing one out there in the wild. Well, today I found an old 1991 Guitar World in the garage and hey presto! Here it is! Read More …

Musicophilia, musical hallucinations and synesthesia

It recently dawned upon me that something I thought was normal all my life is not. For as long as I can remember I’ve always had music playing in my head – during literally every waking moment and frequently in dreams too. I’m not talking about ear worms (when one gets a song stuck in their head, although I get that too). I mean like a constant soundtrack that only you can hear.

In my case it’s often about three quarters of a bar looping over and over, changing gradually. Often it will start as a longer phrase but will progressively narrow into just a handful of notes, often looping around at an odd point. Or the next bar will fade in over the top of the previous one while it’s still playing.

I’m aware that it’s in my head rather than a real sound occurring in the room. The timbre is usually somewhere between humming and breathing mixed with an orchestra. It gets extremely vivid when I’m tired or stressed, to the point where it can keep me awake. Sometimes at moments of extreme emotions (positive or negative ones) I start to perceive colours too, in the same way that anyone can see anything in their mind, but it’s always the same colour (a neon green on a background of very pure white and black).

I also have synesthesia – the sensation of perceiving colours and textures in relation to music. I wrote about it for Guitar World here.

I know I’m not alone with this stuff, but I know that not everybody has it either. There’s a book called Musicophilia: Tales Of Music And The Brain by Oliver Sacks which talks about a lot of these topics. You can order it here. It includes a lot of case studies of people with various music-related problems, quirks or sensations.

I don’t really consider this stuff to be a problem, although it can be kind of annoying when I’m stressed out and need to focus my mind but instead there’s this constant and ever-strengthening stream of sound happening in my head. But for the most part it’s just a welcome little companion. It’s kind of nice to have your own internal soundtrack.

AmpKit gets Retina graphics, new gear

AmpKit, the killer amp sim app by Agile Partners, has just been updated to feature Retina display resolution as well as a few new gear models: the Trace Elliot 1215 bass amp, Rocktron Metal Planet Distortion and Rocktron HUSH Noise Reduction. And save 33-40% on new gear and 50% on AmpKit+ for a limited time.

Agile, of course, also recently announced AmpKit Link HD, an incredible new iOS interface which not only captures your guitar sound in higher fidelity than before, but also allows you to charge your iPad while still using it for your amp sim. Here’s a great video of Kenny Wayne Shepherd demonstrating AmpKit (and talking up the great Guitar World Lick Of The Day app) at NAMM 2012.

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Guitar World Lick of the Day App Introduces The Beatles Licks Packs

PRESS RELEASE
Guitar World Lick of the Day App Introduces The Beatles Licks Packs

Users can now also purchase Lick Singles from the app’s extensive library of amazing licks for learning guitar.

New York, NY, February 28, 2012 — Guitar World and Agile Partners today announced a new release of Guitar World Lick of the Day that introduces The Beatles Lick Packs to the popular app for learning guitar on iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. Arriving just in time to celebrate over one million downloads of Lick of the Day, the new version also introduces Lick Singles so users can select individual licks from the app’s extensive catalog of licks. All licks in Guitar World Lick of the Day include high quality videos of guitar instructors or celebrities demonstrating the lick, scrolling tab and standard music notation, and more. The app is powered by TabToolkit, an Apple Design Award winner developed by Agile Partners.

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Your Lucky Number: Seven Kickass 7-String Guitar Songs

Check out my latest for Guitar World, about the glory of 7-string guitar. This is my personal list of favourites – what are yours? Comments below or on the Guitar World post!

By the way, that pic is my newest 7-string, a killer Buddy Blaze prototype with DiMarzio Crunch Lab and LiquiFire pickups and a Floyd Rose bridge. You may have noticed me drooling over it at NAMM. Well it’s all mine and it’s incredible! Review coming soon, along with plenty of video. I’ve already written a buttload of songs with this guitar!