Tips and Tricks


Small Fixes For Big Problems

  Guitars are complicated instruments: there are so many parts needed to make it work that it’s no wonder sometimes a part breaks down or wears out. Fortunately, a lot of problems can be solved with very little effort and cost, so you can make sure your guitar doesn’t end up with one of the problems I listed in this article. Those 10 signs your guitar […] Continue Reading

Gigging *Without* an Amp

Now I know the image above will give some people fits. Just the idea of doing a gig without your favorite amp roaring behind you is enough to send people to their sheds, grabbing pitchforks and lighting torches. Continue Reading

Hey Man, Nice Rack: A Selected History of Rack Effects

Just like guitars, effects come in all shapes and sizes. For guitarists, the first effects were built right into amplifiers. Reverb and tremolo were about all you could hope for, and about a decade or so after that, the fuzz box made an appearance. While these effects seem downright quaint by today’s standards, they are still used on hundreds of recordings and thousands of gigs each […] Continue Reading

Preparing for Your First Gig

You've practiced for years. You've scoured thrift stores for the right wardrobe. You have a new set of strings, an amp that goes to 11, and you are ready to rock! There can't be much more than that when preparing for your first gig, right? I mean, how hard can it be? Continue Reading

"Locking" Up A Floating Bridge

Floating bridges are great. You can make all sorts of weird and wacky noises diving and raising the whammy bar. From simple pitch variations to harmonic squeals, car engines revving and fluttering noises, floating bridges provide hours of fun. Continue Reading

Hot-Rodding the STC Preamps

When you’re a gear-head, nothing is ever – EVER – completely perfect. Sure, you’ll throw in the Steve Harris Signature Pickup into your P Bass, and enjoy the tone (and for my impressions, click here). But then you’re thinking, “Wouldn’t an STC preamp completely unleash the beast?” and you’d be right. But you’re left with a quandary; keep the passive vibe or go active. Well gents, […] Continue Reading

Why Does My Amp Sound Different At High Volume?

Have you ever sat at home and basked in your "lion riding a motorcycle" guitar tone, only for it to end up sounding all “duck chewing on a balloon" at your next gig or band practice? I know I have. If you’re the kind of bats-for-breakfast, skulls-on-mic-stand, brutal guitar warlord sort for whom LOUD is life, then you’re probably cranked 24/7 and have no idea what I’m talking about. However, for those of us who cut our teeth on modelers with headphones or amps turned down to law-abiding levels, having to adjust to being audible over a drum kit can be a very frustrating experience. Continue Reading

Turning Your Pentatonics Into Blues

My earliest experience with playing blues guitar was being taught the Minor Pentatonic scale. I loved that damn scale: it allowed me to play those cool blues-based Chuck Berry licks. And it was always cool to be able to say "dig me as I play some sweet blues" at a jam with my then-fellow-13-year-olds (it happened once). But after a while, as I started to listen to more and more blues, something started to bug me. Continue Reading