If you’re planning to start learning guitar, it can be pretty overwhelming. You have to figure out where and how to learn (teacher? Instructional books or DVDs? Online course?). You have to figure out what kind of stuff you want to learn. And critically, you have to figure out what you’re going to play it on. It’s a lot to take in. But I’m here to help you through it! Let me start by telling you a little about when I first started playing guitar.
I always had music in my head, from a very young age. Eventually I realised I probably should put a guitar in front of all this music. I had a few guitar heroes already; Mark Knopfler, George Harrison, Robert Smith. And I knew that there were certain guitar sounds that I really loved, such as Knopfler’s “Money For Nothing” tone, or the fuzzy, filthy roar that was The Beatles’ “Revolution.” So I asked my folks for a guitar, and my dad said the words I’d anticipated and was already dreading:
“You can have an acoustic guitar first, and then if you stick with it we’ll get you an electric guitar in two years.”
So that’s what happened. Father Christmas brought me a nylon-string acoustic guitar (he must have overheard our conversation) and I set about learning everything I could. I was a fast learner – probably too fast, because I picked things up by ear so easily that I got a bit lazy about learning to read music and it took me years to catch up. But I stuck with it.
But something always bothered me: Nothing I played sounded like what I wanted to play.
I came up with all sorts of ways to make my acoustic guitar sound more like the electrics that I heard on TV or on the stereo. I figured out that I picked close to the guitar’s bridge, right by where the strings are attached to the body, the sound would be sharper, twangier and tougher, but it didn’t quite sound like Richie Sambora’s Kramer electric guitar back in the Bon Jovi Slippery When Wet days. I realised I could drop a little microphone inside my acoustic’s sound-hole and plug it into the stereo, but it sounded weird and boxy, and not at all like Gary Moore’s “Still Got The Blues.”
Finally, after two years, Father Christmas paid me another visit. This time he brought me a pretty cheap Strat copy by a brand called Status (no, not the company known for headless basses). That’s it in the pic. I still have it. It was great for several reasons; first, I finally had an electric guitar that looked cool, and secondly, because it was so cheap it would often malfunction so I learned a lot about repairing guitars when I was only 12 years old.
Miraculously I saw that as a plus rather than a huge, huge minus. But it still didn’t sound like all those recordings I loved, but this time I knew enough about guitars to know why: my inexpensive little amplifier only had controls for volume and tone; no overdrive or distortion. And overdrive and distortion are what most of us really think of when we think of the sound of rock guitar. So finally, the July after getting that electric guitar I received a distortion pedal for my birthday, and I was at last able to play real – and real loud – rock guitar. I remember the very first time I turned that pedal on, and my mum yelling from the kitchen ‘What the f**k is that horrible noise?‘ That noise is my future, mum. Hehehe.
Years later when I became a guitar teacher I would often be asked, either by students or by their parents, “Is it better to start on acoustic or electric?” And my answer would always be “Whichever one you want to play.”
An acoustic guitar isn’t like the musical equivalent of training wheels. Especially a nylon-string acoustic, where the string height, neck width and string spacing are way different to what you’d encounter when ‘graduating’ to an electric guitar. If you wish to primarily play acoustic guitar, that’s what you should start on, because right off the bat you’ll be hearing sounds that are consistent with the music that inspires you. If you aspire to be an electric guitarist, start on that! You’ll be much closer to sounding like the electric guitars that you hear in your head.
I remember one student who loved metal but her dad had bought her an acoustic guitar with very high strings, and it just didn’t sound like what she wanted her sound to be. I had another student in a similar situation but after about six months of steady progress she bought an Epiphone Les Paul and her playing became supercharged; she was able to pick up songs by the likes of Muse quite easily, and her playing was full of life and creativity.
The point is, when your guitar sounds like the guitars that made you want to play in the first place, you’ll be more likely to stick with it, rather than become discouraged and drop it. And the world needs more guitar players!
Kings of British death metal INGESTED will be performing “Dominion Live in Manchester”, a live streamed gig from an iconic Manchester venue, on Halloween (31st October 2020).
Hosted by Rockifi with a multi-camera, high-end audio set up, INGESTED will be performing material across their 14-year catalogue, including songs from this year’s critically acclaimed album Where Only Gods May Tread.
Drummer Lyn Jeffs comments: “Over six months after we were forced to make the decision to leave the Faces of Death European tour three weeks early, we are thrilled to be performing live again in our hometown of Manchester this Halloween, Saturday 31st October. This special and unique live show will be a celebration of the past 14 years of INGESTED and also our first time performing songs from Where Only Gods May Tread. Grab your tickets online now and witness the first ever full production and professionally filmed live INGESTED show, we promise this is not to be missed!”
More information on INGESTED:
Ready to rise from the underground to the wider metal sphere, INGESTED’s new album Where Only Gods May Tread is set to prove they have what it takes to compete at the top of the game.
With more touring miles under their belts than most, INGESTED have honed their craft playing alongside the likes of Crowbar, The Black Dahlia Murder, Cannibal Corpse and many more. Now five albums in, their refined songwriting skills, technical precision and all-round ability to decimate come together to create one of the finest heavy albums of 2020.
Dominic Grimard (Ion Dissonance, The Last Felony) handled bass duties on the album and there are special guest appearances from Kirk Windstein (Crowbar, Down), Vincent Bennett (The Acacia Strain) and Matt Honeycutt (Kublai Khan).
The album was mixed and mastered by long time producer of INGESTED and Cryptopsy guitarist Christian Donaldson (Despised Icon, Beneath The Massacre, The Agonist), engineering was handled by both Nico Beninato and Sam Yates at Foel Studios in Wales. The artwork was created by legendary artist Dan Seagrave (Morbid Angel, Suffocation, Hypocrisy, Entombed, Rivers Of Nihil, Gorguts, Decrepit Birth)
Brisbane indie pop rock outfit The Jensens are charged up and today dropped their brand new single Paper Walls, a fiery track about pulling yourself up out of a self-doubt spiral. Paper Walls is accompanied by a colourful, wild video clip, created in collaboration with visual artist Unclechronicbone. The single precedes The Jensens’ highly anticipated new album Hammer and Blush, scheduled for release on May 21, 2021. Set to launch Paper Walls in style with a short run of COVID-safe shows in Queensland, the band will kick off at Solbar on November 6, moving through Mo’s Desert Clubhouse on December 4 and finishing up with the official single launch at Black Bear Lodge on December 11.
Paper Walls is an explosion of energy, hooking the listener in from the opening synth line to the final descent of the bass. Evocative of The Strokes, Bloc Party and even Tame Impala, Paper Walls is a certified dancefloor-filler – it’s impossible not to picture dancing to this track in a crowded, sweaty pub. Playful toy piano punctuates the steady, thumping beat, while Joe White’s vocals tear through amongst the poppy chaos. Speaking on the inspiration behind the track, Joe says, “Paper walls are resolutions without any weight – like sand castle promises to yourself, washed away by the weekend. Unending internal conversations about doing more, being more, and seeing more, when you realise you’ve once again chosen bad habits over hard work. And who could blame you? But there’s still a desire for self improvement that doesn’t go away, so you turn your back on your former self, again and again. It’s not about being hard on yourself, it’s about having faith in a vision of a better version of you.”
The video for Paper Walls is a colourful, almost psychedelic romp through the life of the band; lofi and irresistible, the clip is cleverly shot in split screen, each side its own dose of frivolity showcasing The Jensens’ wholesome friendship and sense of fun. Filmed, edited and directed by James Hornsby, the clip feels like reaching the other side of a depressive episode – where everything feels colourful and fascinating again.
Paper Walls has been released ahead of The Jensens upcoming album Hammer and Blush, a stunning collection of brilliant, eclectic music from one of Australia’s most underrated bands. From the electronic dance vibes of album opener Unobtainium, to the soft groove of ZIBA, to the dreamy, graceful closer The Elegant Ones, this collection of songs is highly curated, deeply considered, and truly brilliant to behold. Reflecting on the process of making the album, Joe explains, “I feel like we’ve covered a lot of bases on this album, both sonically and thematically. It’s taken the least time from song inception to completion too, which doesn’t mean we haven’t laboured over every track, but there’s a certain element of spontaneity. We always set out to do our best and cover new ground and I think we can truly say we’ve done that with Hammer and Blush. It’s equal parts fear of and optimism for the future, regret and pride for the past and an observation of what is.”
The Jensens are no strangers to the stage, having supported the likes of Last Dinosaurs, The Vaccines, Kingswood, Bleeding Knees Club and more, and played at iconic festivals Splendour In The Grass, Grampians Music Festival and more. Fans should get in quick to snap up tickets to these extremely exclusive shows as The Jensens live experience is not to be missed.
Paper Walls is available now.
Hammer and Blush is set for release May 21, 2021.
The Jensens is Bodi Lowrie – Spaceship, Joe White – Vocals/Guitar, Jordan Aston – Bass, Phillip Fabros – Drums & Nathan Kendall – Vocals/Guitar.
TAMPA, FL — Dean Guitars presents the USA made Kerry King V Signature Guitar, an eye-catching and sonically captivating electric guitar that honors one of the most respected players to walk the planet. As founding guitarist of the band Slayer, Kerry King has written some of the most brutal and revolutionary music ever created. With the Kerry King V, Dean celebrates the culmination of King’s career with the pinnacle of craftsmanship in an all-new guitar handmade in the Dean USA Custom Shop. Limited to only 50 pieces, this signature guitar arrives with a custom leather-bound Certificate of Authenticity signed by the man himself, along with a customized hardshell case. From every edge and angle, the Kerry King V Signature Guitar is a legacy instrument worthy of the artist, the dedicated player, and the serious fan.
“I’m super stoked to be part of the Dean Guitars family. This has been an insane long time coming!” said Kerry King celebrating the official launch of his model, the latest addition to Dean’s renowned Artist Series. “Together we’re going to create some amazing guitars that Dean, Slayer, and Kerry King fans will be as excited as I am to play them. It’s gonna be a wild ride for years to come!”
Designed with a unique V-shape cut with remarkable precision, the Kerry King V Signature Guitar pairs an instrument-grade mahogany body with a beveled North American maple flat top. The guitar is painted in a stunning satin black finish with a powerful gloss red Kerry King sigil. The contoured heel allows for easy neck access during blistering solos, while the 3-piece maple neck-thru design with dual-action truss rod provides added stability. The C-shape neck (12-inch radius) at 24 5/8-inch scale length has been sculpted to King’s specifications. The ebony, 24 jumbo-fret fingerboard is detailed with handcrafted pearl, stone, and ebony custom inlays, accompanied with ultra-vibrant LED fret markers along the side.
Electronically, Dean takes the already amped-up design of the Kerry King V to the next level with an intense Sustainiac neck pickup and an EMG 81 with PA2 preamp booster bridge pickup that’s ideal for volume-boosted solos and overdrive. This powerful combination has excellent articulation that’s further enhanced by King’s own signature Kahler KFK Tremolo System with vibrato arm. This one-of-a-kind bridge is paired with the Floyd Rose R2 nut at 1 5/8-inch width for added tuning stability reinforced by Grover tuners.
Whether maniacally shredding or passively riffing, players have all the control they need, including on/off switches for each respective pickup, a 3-way toggle switch, and a Sustainiac mode switch, along with volume and tone. Dome black knobs and black hardware polish off the edgy esthetic, complete with Dean’s distinct logo on the V-shaped headstock.
The 50-piece limited edition Kerry King V Signature Guitar is now shipping and available at MSRP $8666. Learn more and behold the beast at www.deanguitars.com.
The other day Josh Smith from Northlane was involved in a bad cycling accident here in Melbourne. He’s okay (but a bit bashed up) but his bike was totalled, and he’s selling his amazing Jackson B7 custom to fund a new bike. The guitar is fully loaded with Evertune bridge, bone nut, custom swirl finish by Charles Cilia, Josh’s signature Bare Knuckle Impulse pickups, 27″ scale length and plenty of other pro features, and you can make it yours for $7,500AUD.
Here’s the info from the Reverb.com listing.
“This Jackson B7 has been customized and used by myself on the road for around 6 years. It was also used in the film clip for the song Obelisk.
Although it is a regular USA B7 model, it is truly one of a kind. It also contains a pickup set not yet available to the public. Specs as follows:
– 1pc quatersawn bolt-on Maple neck w/reinforcement rods
– Ebony Fretboard
– Alder body with Maple top
– Luminlay Side dots
– 24 XJ frets
– 27″ scale length
– custom swirl refinish by charles cilia (neck pickup route filled in and routed for single coil)
– Evertune Bridge (installed by Harron Custom Guitars)
– Bone Nut (cut by Harron Custom Guitars)
– Hipshot grip lock tuners
– Dunlop Flushmount Straploks
– Bare Knuckle impulse H/S pickups
– 550k BKP/CTS bridge volume
– 280k BKP/CTS neck volume
– Dimarzio 3-way toggle (inner position hum cancelling with bridge inner coil/neck activated)
– Jackson OHSC
I have decided to allow for free international shipping if my asking price is met, this will open the guitar up to the world. Price guide is based on offers received prior to listing. All offers considered. I’ll string it up and tune it to whatever you’d like.
The guitar does have some road wear to it, dings etc that are impossible for me to show in photos. Plays flawlessly and sold as is.
Reason for selling is that i was involved in a pretty bad cycling accident and want to fund a new bike.”
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Just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who’s contacted me over the last couple of days since my accident. I was doing intervals at Albert park when a pedestrian walked out onto the road without looking as I took a corner at about 55kph. I locked up my rear wheel and hit this piece of road furniture and went flying ✈️. Although said pedestrian just left the scene of the accident, there were police around that called an ambulance for me and a personal trainer who administered first aid. I was transported to the Alfred hospital where I stayed for about 36 hours before being discharged. Miraculously I have no broken bones, I did a bit of internal damage to my liver, right kidney and spleen but there’s no bleeding. Left ribs are bruised up pretty bad but this Desmond is still breathing. I’ve had my amazing partner @angiebeb taking care of me every step of the way, from bringing me food in hospital to transporting my bike for me and making me pancakes in bed this morning. Also had a coffee delivery from my pals @mayajaneska & @jonathondeiley which really pepped me up while I was in the ward. Definitely feeling super lucky today ❤️
I haven’t tackled the massive, sad news of the passing of Eddie Van Halen here yet because it just felt too immense. This guy changed everything for everyone. Do you play a Strat-style guitar with a humbucker in the bridge position? Companies make those because Eddie played them. Play a guitar with a Floyd Rose? The fine tuners were Eddie’s idea. Paid attention to metal over the last three decades? You’ve heard the amps Eddie designed. Artificial harmonics, two-handed tapping, Drop D tuning? Eddie didn’t invent them but he sure mastered and popularised them.
We all have our personal little stories about Ed and how he impacted our lives as guitarists. I wanted to tell you about the most important lesson I learned from Eddie Van Halen, although that lesson was actually imparted by someone else.
When I was in 9th grade I returned to Peter Cominos, the guitar teacher who had taught me when I first started playing in 5th and 6th grade. Peter remains a great player. And he was the perfect teacher for me. During the first couple of years of lessons he would indulge me by breaking out of the ‘Progressive Guitar For Beginners’ book and helping me to train my ear to recognise chords and learn to teach myself songs. And so I’d figure out things like ‘It Must Have Been Love’ by Roxette, or ‘Faith’ by George Michael. In 7th grade I went it alone with my first electric guitar, getting to know this new electrified and expressive instrument, so much more versatile than my plunky-sounding nylon-string acoustic.
By the time I returned to Peter for lessons again, I was doing pretty well with my ear training and I could play pretty fast. I didn’t really understand phrasing yet though, so that was something we worked on a lot. We’d dissect a solo phrase by phrase. One night I showed up for my lesson and Peter put a photocopy of Steve Vai’s transcription of ‘Eruption’ in front of me. As we dug into each phrase we looked at how Eddie began and ended each note, and what he did in between. And Peter said (I’m paraphrasing), “The thing that mades Eddie so special is that he’s put in the work to know exactly how to make the string do exactly what he wants, no matter what he wants it to do.” Essentially, Eddie had played guitar so frigging much that he had internalised all the tiny little micromovements that allowed him to really take control of the note.
That made a huge impression on me, and it was something I always paid attention to from then on, when listening to Eddie or just in general. It’s something that not all players have. I could name any number of great players who don’t necessarily have that kind of ultra-microscopic connection to each note.
I sort of met Eddie once, at a Fender party at NAMM. He showed up towards the end of the party and headed to the EVH section, completely surrounded by people as you may expect. We’re talking high-end retailers, artists, media… people who are used to being around famous guitarists just as a simple part of their job, and they were all grinning like kids at the sight of their hero. I couldn’t get anywhere close, so I got out of the way and looked at some guitars. Then the crowd started to shift and Eddie and I were suddenly face to face. He saw my jaw drop and he shot me that grin and saluted me. It was surreal and beautiful. In the context of a hectic NAMM party it was probably the best I coulda hoped for, and if you told that teenage-kid version of me that one day he’d even get to say so much as hello to Eddie Van Halen at a private Fender party at NAMM, he would have freaked the hell out.
This blurry photo is the closest I got to documenting the moment.
But of course, the fact that I was even there in the first place and working in this industry is undoubtedly due in part of Eddie’s influence and example.
Rest in peace, Ed. You left the guitar world a better place than you found it and you touched millions upon millions of hearts. Thank you.
CHARVEL® PROUDLY RELEASES THE HENRIK DANHAGE LIMITED EDITION SIGNATURE PRO-MOD SO-CAL STYLE 1
Scottsdale, Ariz. (October 23, 2020) – Charvel® today announces the release of the Henrik Danhage Limited Edition Signature Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1.
Danhage has provided the battering riffs for Swedish progressive heavy metal band Evergrey for nearly two decades, and Charvel is proud to honor the distinct axeman with his very own signature model.
“It started with Charvel for me back in ’86 or ’87 when I saw a Charvel and Jackson ad in Guitar World,” said Danhage. “I was a little kid then and all of the guys that were in there were some of my favorite players and they looked so cool with the big hair and all the custom guitars. It was the best ad I’ve seen in my whole life as a matter of fact, but I was more attracted to Charvel and those kind of guitars – with a bolt-on neck, 22 frets, Charvel logo, a Floyd.
“I began working with Charvel in 2010. I left the company I was working with at the time to finally getting my Charvel and it’s been really good. Ten years later I am sitting here with my own signature model. That is pretty awesome if you think about it.”
Danhage’s signature model features an ash body and a bolt-on maple neck with graphite-reinforcement rods that provide superior support against bending and extreme environmental fluctuations. A 12”-16” compound radius maple fingerboard with comfortable rolled edges, 22 jumbo frets and black dot inlays provides the ideal surface for brazen riffing and precise chording, while a heel-mount truss rod adjustment wheel allows for quick and easy neck relief tweaks on the fly.
A Seymour Duncan® JB™ TB-4 bridge pickup is a well-versed, high output humbucker ideal for crunchy rock ‘n’ roll or blistering metal attitude, while the DiMarzio® Area 67™ DP419CR single-coil neck pickup shines with bright and shimmering clean tones.
The single white Strat®-style skirt volume knob houses a push/push selector for switching between the bridge and neck pickups, while a top-mount Floyd Rose® 1000 Series double-locking tremolo bridge system keeps this axe in tune throughout daring dive bombs and aggressive styles of playing.
As if it’s actually been through 20 years of touring with the Evergrey guitarist, the Henrik Danhage Limited Edition Signature Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1 sports a heavy White Relic finish topped with a 3-ply white pickguard, chrome hardware and relic’d neck, fingerboard and reverse licensed Fender® Strat headstock.
Watch Danhage’s deep-dive video discussion about his love for Charvel, new signature model, influences and upcoming album here.