How To Make A Hybrid Humbucker

I’ve spoken a lot about hybrid humbuckers of the last few years. I talked about how I go about matching coils together, I talked about some of my favorite hybrids, and now I’m gonna give ‘you the keys to the Lamborghini’ by showing you how I make a hybrid! Or rather, how I used to make a hybrid humbucker; since I make so many now, I take a few shortcuts while making them, but I’ll discuss those as I go in the description. If you decide to make your own hybrid keep in mind that you will no longer be able to exchange your new Seymour Duncan pickups after doing this.   Continue reading

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Best Pickups For Ibanez Guitars

Ibanez Universe with Seymour Duncan pickups Seymour Duncan makes a lot of pickups that are great in vintage designs like Strats, Teles and Les Pauls, but there are plenty of more modern-voiced pickups in the line-up too. Personally I’m a huge Ibanez geek (seriously, I think I have a problem – that problem is not enough space for all my Ibanezezes!), and although I consider it my duty as a guitarist to own a Strat, Tele and Les Paul (and some day an ES-335 please, Santa), I have plenty of experience with all sorts of Ibanez guitars and all sorts of Seymour Duncan pickups. So I thought it might be fun to share some of what I’ve found. Now, a lot of Ibanez guitars are made of Basswood, a generally growly-yet-even-toned wood which is generally felt to be not as warm as Mahogany and not as lively as Alder. There are also some models which feature Basswood bodies with Maple tops, or even Mahogany bodies with Maple tops. And there are plenty of S Series models with thin Mahogany bodies too, Let’s look at some recommendations for each, with particular focus on Basswood since that’s such a common Ibanez tone wood. Ibanez with Seymour Duncan Jason Becker Perpetual Burn Basswood Continue reading

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Ten Things To Bail You Out Of A Gig Disaster

d2bae1d0-18ef-40ff-a589-7d05b8785dfbIn the span of my gigging career, I’ve encountered a number of situations that have left me saying, “I really wish I had had that!” Thankfully, those were issues that were easily resolved by procuring said item and sticking it in my bag for next time. With that, let’s discuss ten things that will bail you out of a gig, should any issue arise.

Disclaimer: This is NOT a “top ten” list; it’s just a list. And it’s mine; your circumstances may vary, although I’ve found through the years that this really does it for the bulk of my situations that I’m in, as well as my musician friends out on the road. Feel free to leave post your own lists in the comments or on Facebook. Continue reading

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Chord Scales in the Key of Awesome


Wait, I am already learning chords and scales… you’re telling me there are also things called Chord Scales? Yes! Chords scales are not only useful when composing, but also in improvisation. When harmonizing a melody we can make our music more rich, have more twists and turns, and break us out of the riff-based power chord rut we have been in for far too long. This article will explain a basic harmonization of the major scale, using movable chord shapes on the four smallest strings of our guitars – all while sounds sophisticated, complex, and completely irresistible to the opposite sex. Continue reading

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Duck Duck DELAY!


A ducking delay is one that changes the volume of the actual repeats in response to your playing: While you are playing, the echoes are quieter, and when you stop, they get louder. Loud echoes can sometimes interfere with the live playing, so years ago guitarists made use of a very expensive rack-mounted delay to automatically ‘duck’ the delays when it sensed an input signal. This dynamic use of delay allowed control over the volume of the echoes that didn’t exist outside of a recording studio. Sure, you could run the echoes to a different track and ride the fader throughout the song, but in a live performance it puts too much trust in the soundperson. The Seymour Duncan Vapor Trail Analog Delay goes a step further, and allows you to control the volume of the echoes in real time with a volume pedal via the extra-special, super-terrific, happy-fun Insert jack on the side of the pedal. Continue reading

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Voices of Metal: Windhand

Voices Of Metal

Photo By Christiaan Westgeest

Photo By Christiaan Westgeest

Windhand erupted into the world several years ago with their dark melodic and deeply crushing guitar sounds with distant vocals. Their self-titled EP made them well recognized in the Stoner/Doom Metal scene but their ability to infuse other styles also has earned them many fans. Hailing from Richmond, Virginia they went on to produce their second album SOMA which has further built on the success with hits like “Orchard” and “Woodbine.” In this article we talk with Garrett Morris: guitarist, founder and chief recording engineer. Continue reading

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Anatomy Of A Humbucker

Custom Shop wall of Fame.

Custom Shop wall of Fame.

There are so many pickups out there, I want to try them all. P90s, mini humbuckers, all flavors of Fender Single Coils (Jazzmaster, Jaguar, Strat, Tele and many more)… but few pickup designs have been so widely used, duplicated, investigated and reimagined as the humbucker. In this blog we’ve discussed how a humbucker cancels the hum – as Richard Irons explained so eloquently here and here. Richard also talked about the electrical path inside a humbucker here. I want to go a bit further and discuss what’s physically going on inside a humbucker. I’ll be concentrating my attention to regular, full-sized humbuckers, not the single coil-sized or stacked designs. Continue reading

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Guitar Pickups For Blues

Joe Bonamassa Hammersmith2010  52There’s nothing quite like playing the blues. Every note, phrase and hint of vibrato rings out soul. And there’s nothing like seeing a good blues guitarist in concert like BB King, Robert Cray, Gary Clark. Jr, Joe Bonamassa – the list goes on and on. Most blues players use vintage-style pickups or vintage-style with-a-bit-of-edge for hotter blues. And many use the complete range of their tone; you’ll see them switching between different pickup positions on a pretty regular basis as they take advantage of the character each position has to offer. Here’s a look at some great pickup options for players looking for a predominantly blues tone.
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The Best Pickups for Note Separation Metal Edition

If you frequent guitar related forums and blogs one thing you may see being discussed is ‘note separation.’ So what is note separation, and why would a guitar player be looking for this in a guitar pickup? Continue reading

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Bass Strings: A Primer

playing-bass-guitargetting-the-right-sound-with-half-wound-bass-strings---music-bzk7vto8To the beginner, a set of strings seems just like any old thing that can be thrown on your bass to make some awesome noise. As you get older and play out more, you start to notice some subtle differences in the various brands, and the different tonal options that are available to you with just a restringing. And then, you start to wonder about the difference between a roundwound and flatwound set of strings, and your mind is blown. So with that, let’s dive in and do a quick explanation of the many different kinds of strings that are available to you. Continue reading

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