There Is No Substitute For Hard Work

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Okay, we all know that learning guitar, starting a band, and writing your own music is hard. And it gets exponentially harder as we add more people. The more personalities involved, the more people either want to help or do absolutely nothing, which forces forces some decisions to be made by you, the guitarist or bassist that started it all. This article explains some of the work required to becoming a working professional, and to continually improve our aptitude on guitar, learn about gear, and optimize our tone. Who knew it was going to be this hard? Like anything, if you want to do something well and compete in a world where thousands of players are doing the same thing, we have to get to work. Creative and fun work, yes, but work nonetheless. Continue reading

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The Importance Of Playing with Other Musicians

"Yeah, just flew in...and what?"

“Yeah, just flew in…and what?”

There are different kinds of “chops” one can have. Playing by yourself to a click or metronome with your DAW is worlds apart from actually having other musicians in the room and interacting with them. It’s almost but not quite an entirely different skill set. Not that the first set of skills don’t benefit the second: having solid home practice chops are nearly invaluable when playing with others as you’re better prepared walking in the door, but it takes learning  – and retaining the ability – to take cues from one another and vibing as a group to become a fully well-rounded musician. Continue reading

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Win A Diamond/DBZ Zoltan Bathory Guitar!

GUITARDiamond/DBZ has teamed up with Five Finger Death Punch’s Zoltan Bathory to create the company’s first ever signature model guitar, available in two different finish/wood combinations – and you can win one with the signup form below!

The two models are Kona Brown – with a flamed Maple top over a Mahogany body with a Mahogany neck and Ebony fretboard – and Black Moonrise, with a flamed Maple top over a Maple body with Maple neck and Ebony fretboard. Each guitar features 6-string Pegasus and Sentient passive humbuckers, volume and tone controls with a 3-way switch, and a Floyd Rose bridge. Zoltan’s custom inlay spans the space from the first to the third frets.

The Pegasus was developed for modern metal and progressive players who need plenty of aggression but with enhanced dynamics, more harmonic richness and defined string separation so individual notes don’t get lost in the mix. And the Sentient blends vintage PAF and modern tones with enough output to deliver harmonically rich distorted leads but enough subtlety to give you deep, detailed cleans.

Although Zoltan has just made the switch to Diamond/DBZ guitars, he goes way back with Diamond – he’s used their amplifiers for over a decade – and we welcome him to the Seymour Duncan family (where he joins his fellow 5FDP guitarist Jason Hook). Continue reading

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Cage Match: Buying New vs. Buying Used

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You know the deal. You can afford to buy that awesome piece of gear brand new, but you scour the interwebs looking for The Deal. The Deal might as well be unobtainium, especially after checking out Ebay, Craigslist, Reverb.com, and the big chains’ used inventory. We have all heard of that 60′s Fender under Grandfather’s bed that has been there for 50 years, but few have ever seen it. Rarer still is the little ol’ lady that ‘just wants it gone’ and will sell it to you for what the receipt in the case says (from 1964). This article will explain some pros and cons of buying new and buying used, and when you might consider one over the other. Continue reading

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Great Expectations: An Interview With Hunter Hayes’ Guitarist Devin Malone

Photo Courtesy of Devin Malone Music

Photo Courtesy of Devin Malone Music

Nashville’s music scene has given birth to so many phenomenal guitar players: Brent Mason, Jerry McPherson, Kenny Greenberg, and Hunter Hayes’ current guitar slinger, Devin Malone. As fans, we often fall into the trap of idolizing guitar gods, but what many of us don’t realize is that the studio session musicians are often the ones that create the songs and sounds we fall in love with. Their names may not be the first across your lips when you mention your favorite guitar players, but many of them have written and played on the songs that are the soundtrack of your life. Devin Malone is one of those guitar players. His phrasing, solos, and melodic emotion has weaved it’s way into the fabric of songs by Keith Urban and most recently, country star Hunter Hayes. I had a chance to ask Devin Malone about guitars, tone, and two mutual passions: gear and English literature. What’s not to like about a man who knows his guitar as well as his English literature? Continue reading

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Jackson Pro DK2M Dinky Limited Run Yellow Tiger

Jackson Pro DK2M Limited Run Yellow Tiger

Jackson has just added another guitar to its range of instruments with 80s-inspired finishes: the new Yellow Tiger. Like the Slime Green Swirl and Black & White Crackle models released recently, the Yellow Tiger has an Alder body, flat-sawn graphite-reinforced bolt-on Maple neck with wrap-around heel, 24-fret compound radius Maple fretboard which goes from a slightly curvy 12″ at the headstock end to a flat and shred-friendly 16″ at the higher end, offset black dot inlays, black neck and headstock binding, Continue reading

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Interview with Simple Plan’s Sebastien Lefebvre

Simple Plan's Sebastien Lefebvre

Simple Plan’s Sebastien Lefebvre

The platinum-selling, “new-punk” stylings of Simple Plan first made their appearance on the music scene in 1999. The band played the Warped Tour and never looked back. For those of us that were in college when they first heard Simple Plan, like yours truly, it may seem almost impossible that the band has been going strong for 15 years. Yes, indeed, my friends, it has been that long since 1999! With songs like “Perfect” and “Welcome To My Life” becoming part of the soundtracks of the lives of so many, the band has been able to become mainstays on the punk/pop scene. In today’s musical landscape, selling records and remaining relevant for 15 months is an accomplishment, let alone 15 years. Simple Plan can also say they’ve remained true to their roots and their sound, and that’s not something many can claim after 15 years either. Continue reading

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ESP’s 40th Anniversary Exhibition Limited 2015 Collection

GK085_3 ESP guitars are prized for their craftsmanship, playability and tone, and they’re loved by players the world over. But ESP Japan kicks it up a notch or two further with elaborate, beautifully designed instruments that are as flashy as they are special. You don’t often see these instruments outside of Asia but it’s fun to cruise on over to the ESP Japan website every now and then to check out what’s on offer.  Continue reading

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Changing the Tone of Your Wah Pedal

The wah pedal is a long-standing fixture on many pedalboards. The Cry Baby wah was the very first pedal I bought – and I still have it - but I’ve always preferred a “darker” tone in my wah sound. I find that when you “open up” the Cry Baby (toe down position), it’s too “pitchy.” Yes, I know, that’s not a word, but anyone who has run into the high-pitched squeals of an open Cry Baby wah knows exactly what I’m talking about. I could have replaced my wah pedal with something darker, but like many guitarists I didn’t want to spend $250 on another piece of gear. Correction: I wanted to spend the money on gear, but I can only hide so many guitar-related purchases a year, and adding another wah pedal seemed redundant. Continue reading

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The Seymour Duncan Pickup Booster Hi-Def Boost & Line Driver

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If this pedal sounds familiar, it is because it is an update of an earlier Seymour Duncan pedal. This version improves on the original by adding the ability to start at unity gain (0dB boost) and make its way all the way up to a whopping 25 dB boost. It features a new drive path capable of pushing that signal through long cable lengths, and adds a very cool paint job which calls to mind the 1940s radios which accompanied Grandpa’s after-work highball. Check out the sound clips below, and hear why the the Seymour Duncan Pickup Booster Hi-Def Boost & Line Driver is much more than a basic clean boost. Continue reading

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