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 […]

Does a Guitar Ever Play You?

The other day I posted a demo for a high-gain pickup, and I’m usually a lower-gain guy. Zyon said in comments that it sounded like Santana. (It sort of did, if you can imagine a clumsy, out-of-tune Santana with a really short attention span.)

But I assure you, Carlos was far from […]

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 […]

Simple But Deadly Pinky Exercise

Don't hate me for this.

A little something to make your weekend miserable productive:

I learned this pinky-strengthening exercise many years ago from one of my teachers. If the fourth finger of your fretting hand is the runt of the litter, skill-wise, these combination barre-chord/hammer-on routines may help. Plus you’ll […]

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 […]

A Very EBow Christmas!

Sustain that seasonal spirit!


Nothing says “Christmas morning” like an ugly piece of molded plastic with a battery inside! But unlike so many cheap plastic toys, the EBow is a treasure that can […]

Let’s Talk Looping!

Here’s a little video I made yesterday using the looping setup I’ve been using live.

Any other looping geeks out there? I didn’t set out to be one—I just wanted to do a duo band with percussionist extraordinaire Dawn Richardson. Looping seemed, well, kind of ten years ago, but I got sucked […]

Practice Without an Instrument [VIDEO]

For players who have a little bit too much of a life: five fretting-hand exercises you can practice when you’re away from your guitar or bass. Make sure to run through them in public places so bystanders can alert the mental health authorities admire your prowess.

Vibrato: Do You Shake It Like Ethel?

Can you shake it like Ethel? And more important, SHOULD you?

Almost all of us are guilty of it: repetitive, auto-pilot vibrato.

Can you blame us? Between choosing the right notes, and trying to play them in tune and in time, we don’t always have surplus brain cells to shape […]