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 […]

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. […]

In Search of Ancient Strings

PLUS: New Contest! Name the Classic 6-String Bass Riffs and Win a Seymour Duncan Pickup Booster Pedal!

"We both love candlelight, long walks on the beach, and really expensive old-school strings."

NOTE: The contest is at the bottom of this post. You can skip ahead if you don’t care about […]

Amped-Up Acoustic Guitars

What could possibly go wrong?

There are two ways to approach amplifying an acoustic guitar: trying to duplicate the natural sound, only louder, and NOT trying to sound naturalistic at all. This post is about the second approach.

I love playing acoustic through an electric guitar amp (as opposed to a […]

Expensive Picks, Part 2: V-Picks

Sixteen Current V-Pick Models (clockwise from upper left): 1. Ruby Red Traditon Ultra Lite; 2. Tradition Lite Sapphire Blue; 3. Chicken Picker; 4. Euro; 5. Nite-Glow Medium Rounded; 6. Pearly Gates Medium Round; 7. Medium Rounded; 8. Dimension Buffed Smokey Mountain Series; 9. Ruby Red Medium Pointed; 10. Dimension Junior Buffed; […]

About Those Expensive Picks . . .

Have you ever been curious about those high-priced picks, especially those ultra-hard ones made from organic materials? I was. I once bought an $25 mammoth ivory pick and enjoyed the way it sounded — for an hour, till I lost it.

But when I saw the box of spiffy-looking John […]

We Have a Mutant Winner!

Not a turkey: Dave Wetherby's eye-catching Colorcaster

The contestants were formidable. The competition was fierce. But by the time yesterday’s deadline arrived, one mutant stood triumphant — so triumphant that we are spared the interminable silliness responsibility of a run-off round.

And the winner is Dave Wetherby’s kaleidoscopic Colorcaster. Congrats to […]

Mutant Beauty Pageant:
Choose the “Winner!”

Hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving!

At the moment, I’m particularly thankful that, despite being a jaded old musician, I can still encounter instruments that, um, take my breath away. And if you can view all the Mutant Beauty Pageant contestants without spewing your beverage all over your computer, you’re made of […]

Mutant Beauty Pageant Update!

The end is nigh! But maybe not as nigh as originally planned…

Thanksgiving Day (that’s Nov. 24th to you non-U.S. residents) was the original deadline, but I’m going to extend it through the holiday weekend, till midnight, PST, on the 27th) for one simple reason: We want to HEAR some of these […]

Mutant Beauty Pageant: The Photo Gallery

Well, um, the entires in our Mutant Beauty Contest are certainly . . . something. Click the MORE button to open the slideshow. New beauties added daily!

Post your images to comments via a photo-sharing site, or email them to me. I’ll add each new mutant to the slideshow so […]