Blog

When you just can’t change chords fast enough

When you just can’t change chords fast enough

Thoughts
As a guitarist, I love pedals.  Jon and I can spend hours talking about pedals and tone and more pedals.  But there is one pedal which is missing, one pedal which has yet to be invented, the sustain pedal.  I'm not talking the Boss Compression/Sustainer pedal, I want a proper sustain pedal.  Just like a Piano's sustain pedal.  I’m sure somebody will correct me and say the piano’s pedal is not a sustain, but rather a 'do not dampen the notes’ pedal.  Either way, that's what I want. Every acoustic guitarist knows that empty sound which occurs between chords changes.  It is especially prominent when changing between barre chords and open chords It’s there because there are no being notes pressed down. Pianos don't have that problem, their notes keep sounding all because of that…
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Monitoring guitar on stage

Monitoring guitar on stage

Performance
  Recently I have been considering how I monitor my guitar and the rest of the band during live situations. There are a few different options available to us guitarists, and I thought I would discuss some of them from my experience, in the hope it could help out some of you too. When I first started gigging with a band, the vocalist was the only band member who had a wedge monitor. The rest of us (guitar, bass and drums) simply used the backline to hear what was going on. That is of course if our amps were man enough to be heard over the drummer! Luckily, we all had amps with sufficient power to be heard – much more power than was really necessary, in fact. The result…
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How to learn 42 songs in a week

How to learn 42 songs in a week

Performance
It was a quiet Saturday afternoon when the phone rang. It was a friend of mine asking if I could stand in for their guitarist.  I didn't really know their set, but with enough time I knew I could learn almost anything, so I agreed.  “When do I get to rehearse with you guys?" I asked. "Er ... you don’t, the gig is next Saturday. I'll send over the set list. Thanks, bye” he responded. When I saw the set list, my jaw hit the floor - 42 songs!  About 35 of which I had never played before, and 10 of those I had never even heard before. I had to learn these songs fast!  Super fast! If you ever find yourself in a similar situation here are some steps…
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4 utility pedals every guitarist needs

4 utility pedals every guitarist needs

Pedals
There has never been a time in history when guitarists have had more choice for guitar related ‘gear’ than today. Instruments, amps, pedals, cables, plectrums, you name it, if you’re in the market for something new, you are spoilt for choice. We all like to own nice things, and I certainly take pride in all my guitar related purchases, but I have to admit, guitar pedals pique my interest the most. I am very happy with my guitars and amps. I am very happy with my pedals, yet I still like to take an interest in what’s going on in the pedal market. It seems overdrive pedals are the largest part of the pedal market, followed by delay and modulation effects. There is just something about experimenting with new overdrive…
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Better six string playing by mastering one

Better six string playing by mastering one

Fretboard Mastery
What existed before the guitar?  The Ukulele? The Lute?  The Balalaika?  I’m not sure, but there are examples of guitar-like instruments stretching back 4000 years.  Even then, what existed before that?  Eventually, if we go back far enough, I’m sure we will discover a stringed instrument which only had one string.  At that point they hadn’t even thought of having multiple strings.  This amazing one-stringed instrument would have had a name, let’s call it a Unitar.   The Unitar What could possibly be done with that one string?  Unfortunately, for most of us, the answer would be not much.  Because most of us are pattern and position players, we know the minor pentatonic scale like the back of our hand.  We can play that familiar pattern with our eyes closed.…
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What’s so special about Tube Screamers?

What’s so special about Tube Screamers?

Pedals
The Ibanez Tube Screamer is arguably the most popular overdrive pedal ever made. The familiar little green box is a common fixture on many pedal boards, particularly for blues guitarists.  It’s fair to say, much of the Tube Screamers popularity came from Stevie Ray Vaughan being a noted user of them.  The TS circuit has been copied, adapted and “improved” by many manufacturers, it may be the most replicated of all overdrive circuits. I have tried many different overdrive pedals, but it took me a long time to get around to checking out what the Tube Screamer offers. The internet is full of forums and threads on all things Tube Screamer, but you'll soon notice lots of conflicting opinions about them.   What's so special about Tube Screamers So, what’s…
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