The Secret is Out…

Last winter I tried an odd experiment: a website where players were encouraged to post their best tone secrets — the kinds of tricks and techniques that are almost too good to share. But in order to get, you had to give: The site was password-protected, and the password was only sent to […]

Those Times When It’s Good to NOT Play Like Yourself…

I am not any of these people — but I pretended to be them.

Can we all agree that it’s a good thing when guitarists and bassists cultivate their own style? Even a jaded old cuss experienced music journalist like me still gets a thrill upon discovering a new player with […]

How Nashville High-Stringing Works

“Them’s some mighty skinny strings there, son!”

Nashville high-strung tuning is one of the guitar’s great magic tricks. It has a delicious, “secrets of the Guild” quality — you feel like an insider just knowing what it is.

Not that I did know what it is until embarrassingly late in life. […]

What’s the Deal with Alnico VIII Magnets?

Like this royalty-free clip-art illustration, the Alternative 8 manages to be both aggressive and round.

I was talking to some of the Seymour Duncan dudes the other day about pickups models deserving greater public awareness. One of the first names on everyone’s lips was the Alternative 8, a a high-output […]

A Cheap Archtop Upgrade!

Sounds like MONEY!

I’ve said it so many times, I feel like the parrot of pickups, but here goes again: These days the weakest links on inexpensive Asian and Mexican guitars are invariably the pickups. Upgrading them often yields a princely axe at a pauperly price.

A perfect example is the […]

Are Your Sinister — or Dextrous?

“Why is everything upside-down?”

You know the etymology behind the word “sinister,” don’t you? It’s the Latin word for “left,” which, according to etymologists, became associated with evil, thanks to the medieval belief that left-handed people were deceitful and probably possessed. Meanwhile, “dexterous,” which means adept with your hands or brain, […]

Mixing Magnets in One Pickup

Aggressive on the bass side, sweet on the top.

I was talking to Seymour the other day about the types of magnets used in vintage Fender pickups. I knew that Fender used strong, punchy alnico V magnets in most of their models, but I didn’t know that the earliest Teles used […]

Play Me Something I Don’t Already Know!

Africa’s finest: The eternal Dr. Nico.

Looking for some cool new stuff to listen to? Or some cool old stuff that just happens to be new to you? Me too!

This thread’s goal is to share some personal guitar or bass favorites that aren’t as well known as they should be. […]

How to Install Onboard Effects

UPDATE: I’ve added a page listing all the “How To” posts on this site. Just click the cleverly titled How-To Posts Are Here! box at upper-right of each page.

There’s got to be a better way!

Several readers asked for more specific tech advice on how to wire […]

Behold the Synyster Kitty!

Kitty power!!!

Okay, as promised: One more quick video featuring the Hello Kitty Strat, this time with one of those new Duncan Synyster Gates Invader pickups. I’m told the ceramic-magnet Invader is literally the hottest possible non-active pickup. I’m inclined to believe it.

Take this one with a grain of […]