4th Annual Seymour Duncan Notes For Notes Benefit Concert

N4N_kids028Can you imagine being a kid again and having a place you could go to get free lessons, to play any instrument for free and record your own music with the help of professionals? When we first heard about the charity Notes for Notes, we got pretty excited. They provide some seriously awesome opportunities for kids. A place where kids can come after school and find their voice, be creative and learn an instrument. Since that initial introduction we’ve gone on to host 3 concerts and help raise over $200,000. In that time they’ve expanded to LA and Nashville with plans in the open up in San Francisco, Detroit, Brooklyn, Austin and Atlanta.  Continue reading

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This Sounds Odd: Understanding 9th Chords

9s

Contrary to where modern guitar has gone, it started life as a rhythm instrument, bashing out chords on a large archtop (or larchtop*) in the back of the band. Yes, it is hard to believe that at one time, the idea of sweep picking lydian-dominant arps at 200 bpm was unheard of, and the idea of having a great chord vocabulary (and being able to improvise with those chords) was essential to be considered a great guitarist that could work steadily and support all of those spotlight-stealing brass players. These days, being an amazing rhythm player is downplayed in favor of other aspects of guitar playing, but understanding some small things about chords will only let our solos stand out more, and give us more interesting things to play over. If you haven’t read it yet, I would also suggest reading my article about 7th chords, as this article will build on those concepts. Continue reading

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Putting It All Together: The Mode Wrap Up

taco

After many articles I figured it was about time I put this together into one, huh? After all, there is a lot of information on the Seymour Duncan website about tone and the best way to get it. My job when writing a series on the modes of the major scale was to put those notes into a context where they sound great. If we’ve learned anything, we’ve figured out that modal playing isn’t just about the notes you choose but the harmony (chords) you play them over. In other words, you can’t ‘hear’ the modes unless you listen to their relationship to the chords underneath. So let’s hop in our personal TARDIS and travel back in time a bit to revisit our journey back through these modes of the major scale. Continue reading

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The Jason Becker Perpetual Burn in the Bomber!

"Hi there!" from JasonBeckerGuitar.com

“Hi there!” from JasonBeckerGuitar.com

Jason Becker is one of the most inspiring musicians alive. That he continues to be inspired himself to compose jaw-dropping musical pieces after more than a quarter century of battling ALS is not only a testament to his will, but a triumph of the human spirit. Don’t take my word for it, check out “Horrors” the new track he recently collaborated with former Cacophony bandmate Marty Friedman on. Recently HE took his own version of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. If this guy can smile and keep going, what do we have to complain about? Not much. It’s inspiring to see he retains his sense of humor. He’s hilarious - one casual glance at some of the jokes he cracks on his Facebook page will tell you that. He still genuinely enjoys interacting with his fans, and he has a fine appreciation of the silly. He’s happy to be alive, happy to be creating, and continues to inspire everyone aware of him. Continue reading

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My Favorite Low To Medium Output Hybrid Humbuckers

The success of guitar-related hybrids changes to various degrees.

The success of guitar-related hybrids changes to various degrees.

I love guitars. I love pickups. I love to tinker. So why not combine that? That must have been my thought when I started making my first hybrid pickup – that and the thrill of doing something that hadn’t been done before. I’m always looking for new dimensions in my tone and I believe the two hybrids I’ll describe in this article got me to the point where I believe I have very little need to tweak nowadays. Continue reading

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Schecter Releases The KM-6

Schecter has just announced the launch of the Keith Merrow KM-6 signature 6-string guitar. Based on the design of the highly lauded KM-7 it sticks with the same simple look and annihilating tone that has made it highly desired and recommended by 7-string guitarists. This new model also takes on a more darker form of the Black Winter – “The Blackened Black Winter”  which features black allen screws as well as a dark logo in Old English font. A pickup that produces tons of saturation and articulation perfect for a variety of heavier styles.

KM-6 TBS BODYTILT HIGHRES

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The Seymour Duncan Acoustic Pickup Line

Seymour Duncan Woody XL

Seymour knows about tone. But not just about tone coming from several Marshall stacks in front of chia-haired rockers. Besides specializing in the perfect sound for electric guitars for over 40 years, Seymour Duncan knows how to get the perfect acoustic tone for your live performances and recordings. Despite not being as well-known as his electric pickups, there is a full line of acoustic pickups that will give you the power to be heard on stage and in the studio. Even if your favorite acoustic already has a factory pickup, you might just want to read through this article, as the current Seymour Duncan line has something to make your acoustic guitar sound, well…more acoustic-er*. Continue reading

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Cage Match: Learning Right-Handed or Left-Handed

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It all starts somewhere. The first trip to the music store is either with the parents, or as an adult because ‘you always wanted to play.’ Most players fit into the above categories, and usually the first thing the salesperson asks is if you are left- or right-handed. They don’t ask new flute players this, and they don’t ask new piano students. They don’t even ask drummers. New guitarists and bassists are supposed to know what feels more ‘natural’ when everything, from holding a guitar or bass, to pressing on those tiny strings feels so unnatural. Let’s look at the difference between learning to play right-handed or left-handed, and why it makes (or doesn’t make) a difference. Continue reading

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An Audience With Rob ‘Chappers’ Chapman

Picture of Rob Chapman

One of my personal highlights of the NAMM show back in January was the Chapman Guitars stand. Rob Chapman is very well known in the UK as a guitarist for two reasons: his involvement in various bands – currently the excellent Dorje - and his superb gear demonstrations and reviews on YouTube. Continue reading

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Reader’s Choice: Top Amps For Blues

Every so often Seymour Duncan likes to take the pulse of their readership to see how their tastes in gear run specific to certain genres. Sure, it’s clever marketing, but it’s more than that. It’s also a lot of fun to see how things break down when you simply ask the question(s). In recent months we took polls amongst readers in order to determine what the favored amplifiers among rock and metal players were. In those cases many people’s answers fell into the “what you’d expect” category – no surprise Marshalls showed up in the Rock AND Metal rundowns. Occasionally, however, some answers were surprising and/or enlightening (“Really? You can use ‘x’ for ‘y’?”). This time we asked what amps Blues players preferred. The results, while not completely shocking, ended providing perhaps a few outside the “standard” choices. Continue reading

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