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VOL. 49, NO. 10, OCTOBER 2015

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G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

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Contents
OCTOBER 2015 |
VOLUME 49, NUMBER 10

GP COMMUNITY
14

We can all use a sense of community. Share your


photos, gear and CD/DVD reviews, likes/dislikes,
favorite amps and guitars, tone and technique
tips, gig stories, and more with the Guitar
Player reader community. Come on join in!

OPENING SHOTS
16

We get up close and personal with the gigs,


the gear, the guts, and the glory that make
playing guitar the coolest thing in the world.

RIFFS
18

Slide tips from Roy Rogers, Robin Trower nds


his voice, Paul Weller talks recording, another
excerpt from Jim and Dara Crocketts GP book,
and more!

COVER STORY
48

B.B. King
We celebrate the life, times, music, and magic of
the King of the Blues. Gone, but never forgotten.

FEATURES
28

Guthrie Govan

36

Jim Campilongo

42

Todd Rundgren

CLASSIC AD
146 Fender Guitars (from the
November 1974 issue of GP)

Cover photo: Peter Amft / Atlas Icons

J ON SI EV ERT

POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Guitar Player, Box 469073, Escondido, CA 92046. Guitar Player (ISSN 0017-5463) is published monthly with an extra issue in December by Newbay Media, LLC, 1111 Bayhill Drive, Suite 125, San Bruno, CA 94066. Periodicals postage paid at San Bruno, CA, and at additional mailing offices. Canada Post: Publications Mail Agreement #40612608.
Canada Returns to be sent to Bleuchip International, P.O. Box 25542, London, ON N6C 6B2.

12

G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

FRETS
69

New Acoustic
tic Gear
Gear
from Summer
mer NAMM
NAMM
M

GEAR

74

Review Guild
d OM-150
OM-1150 and
an
nd M-140E
M--140E

26

New Gear
Gear

Vintage Excerpt
cerptt

92

Round
Roundup
dup Combo Amps
Amps from Blackstar, Dr. Z,

78

Magnatone, Peavey, Roland,


d Supro, and
d Vox.
Vox.

Charlie Daniels on Bl
Bluegrass
luegra
ass (fr
(from
rom
the Spring 2005
5 issue
issu
ue of Frets)
Frets)

101

Guide to
Guide
to Tube
Tub
be Ampliers
Ampliers

LESSONS

110

Music Man JP15


JP15

80

Under Investigation
stiga
ation

112

DeTemple Spirit
Spirit Series
S ries 52 Model
Se
Mod
del

A thorough examination
aminattion of a

114

Gibson
Gibs
b on C
Custom
ustom S
Shop
hop True Historic
1959 Les Paul Reissue

116

X tic SL
Xo
SL Drive Chrome
Chrome Limited
d
Xotic
d Voltage Doubler
Edition and

118

Accessory File TC Electronic PolyTune Clip


Ac
Accessory

particular style or pla


player.
ayer. T
This
his
month: the great
at B.B.
B.B
B. King..
King
g..

88

Rhythm Workshop
orksh
hop
gressio
ons off B.B. King
The Chord Progressions

GET SMART
120 Steve Hunter
er on Class
Classic
sic Ses
Sessions
ssions
s

MORE ONLINE!

121

Expand
Expand
d your experienc
experience
e far
f bey
beyond
ond
d the pages off Guitar Playerr at

Jason Becker
er on Creat
Creativity
tivity

guitarplayer.com/october2015
guitarplayer.com/october2015

COOL STUFF
S TUFF 24/7!
24// 7!
=ZVgi]ZTwo-Rock amps at guitarplayer.com/video
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8]ZX`djii]Z\ddY^Zhd[Summer
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guitarplayer.com/gear
Get your bends
d in shape
h
at guitarplayer.com/lessons
Get rootsy with Jewel at guitarplayer.com/artists
Get

JOIN THE GP COMMUNITY!


Facebook Get news and post comments at
facebo
facebook.com/guitarplayermag
b ok.com/
k
/guitarplayermag
GP Forum Debate,
GP
Debate
t , shock, educate,
d
and
d share with
fellow re
fellow
readers
aders
d
at guitarplayer.com
T tter Follow daily
Twi
Twitter
daily tweets at twitter.com/
twitter.com/guitarplayernow
/guitarplayernow

O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5 / G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M

13

GP Community
N O I Z E F ROM THE ED ITO R
technique, tone, musical knowledge,

A friend founded a band, put per-

expended to build a fan base and

and compositional skills are nec-

sonal money into it for all the things

a reputation with venues could go

essary goals if you want some kind

it needed, and watched it grow into

poof. If the business holder does

of a career in this crazy profession.

a very decent earner with a substan-

seize the name, the founder could

But seizing business opportunities,

tial audience. But the hard-working

be red, and would have to start over

protecting your rights, and bringing

founder was one of those musicians

with a new name, a new act, and,

in revenue are also critical to a live-

who just wanted to focus on music,

hopefully, an ironclad business plan.

lihood as a professional musician.

so all the business responsibilities

Please dont let something like

Unless you have magical powers

were handed over to another band

this happen to you. Denitely work

IVE BEEN DOING THIS MUSIC

that induce people to give you stuff

member. That member ultimately

your technique until it shines brightly,

thing for decades now, so not much

for free, having signicant capital

took control of most of the bands

but also take advantage of all the

surprises me these days, but some

to invest in yourself is usually key

legal and promotional assets

resources available to learn about

things can still make me sad. For

to moving your career forwardor

trademarking the name, and lock-

the music business. A lot of knowl-

example, my Uncle Mike alarm

even keeping it aoat during those

ing the rest of the musicians out of

edge is online for free, or can be yours

goes into worry overdrive when I

times when the success pendulum

the bands social sitesand when

for the cost of a book. If you respect

meet so-called ambitious musicians

swings against you.

things werent to this persons liking,

your music, protect it.

who proudly state they dont care

An ignorance of business real-

new band members were secretly

about business, marketing, or pro-

ities can also derail projects and

rehearsed and poised to become

motion, because theyre all about the

threaten to crush all the forward

the band. The founder could do

music and becoming a better player.

movement youve struggled so hard

nothing, except consider the pos-

Obviously, striving to improve ones

to gain. Heres a recent example:

sibility that the time and struggles

PE ER CO M M ENT
P
The glaring contrast between the artists borders on humorT
ous. While Brent Hinds can hardly show any enthusiasm while
o

FACTOID |

Saying
I Love You
in a Song

being interviewed about what most of us consider a dream


b
job, Wayne Krantz humbly states his happiness that someone
jo

The men in the Beatles orbit were no strangers to love

is actually interested in him. Heres a nugget, kids, strive to be

songs, and, sometimes, they even wrote songs directly

like Lukather-Kime-Krantz, and you will be a better musician


li
and have a positive impact. Or you can have a piss-poor attia

to their paramours. Here are the musician/song/object


of affection for a few of those works of adoration

that only you think sounds like Angus. I will keep this issue and
tude and a tone tha
eat it for dinner if Mastodon is on the cover of GP 20 years from now. JEFF WEIR

George Harrison
> SOMETHING <
Patti Boyd

OOPS!

We inadvertently left Elixir Strings out of our String Guide in the


September 2015 issue. So please check out their Acoustic Phosphor
Bronze HD ($15.99 street) and Electric Nickel Plated Steel ($10.99

street) strings, both with NANOWEB coatings.

John Lennon
> DEAR YOKO <
Yoko Ono

Tempo Cases Gabriel Gunsberg also had some additions to our September 2015
AnyCase GPS device review: The
tracking device has a mounting base
for easy attachment, a humidity

Paul McCartney
> MAYBE IM AMAZED <
Linda Eastman

monitor decal adds to the devices


camouflage, and Tempo partners
with insurance companies that offer
discounts for those individuals and

Eric Clapton
> WONDERFUL TONIGHT <
Patti Boyd

businesses that use the device.


SOURCE: INFOGRAPHIC GUIDE TO MUSIC, GRAHAM BETTS [OCTOPUS BOOKS]

14

G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

GOT A QUESTION FOR YOUR COMMUNITY?


guitplyr@musicplayer.com

Interact!
GUITAR
PLAYERS
FIRST
PODCAST

JOIN THE GP COMMUNITY!


SOUND OFF! GET EXCLUSIVE NEWS.
COMMENT. CRITIQUE.
SHARE TIPS AND TECHNIQUES.
SUBSCRIBE TO OUR E-NEWSLETTER.

THE R ES NOW A NEW WAY TO CHECK

FACEBOOK.COM/GUITARPLAYERMAG
TWITTER.COM/GUITARPLAYERNOW
GUITARPLAYER.COM

in with the Guitar Player universe. We recently


launched our rst podcast entitled No Guitar Is
Safe, which is hosted by GPs Los Angeles editor
Jude Gold. The basic premise is that Jude will
sit down with noteworthy artistsone guitar
to anotherand do some talking and some
playing. Listeners will be treated to interesting guitar and performance facts, as well as a lot of licks,

MICHAEL MOLENDA, Editor In Chief


mmolenda@musicplayer.com

riffs, melody lines, and solos right from the players ngers.
No Guitar Is Safe is available from the iTunes Store, or you can click to it via links at guitarplayer.com.
Dont miss exciting episodes with guitar stars such as Joe Satriani, Brad Gillis, and otherssubscribe now!

FACEBOOK COURT OF OPINION

ART THOMPSON, Senior Editor


athompson@musicplayer.com

Best guitar for playing old-school blues?


Ian T
Pavelko

The Strat has


stood the
test of time
for 60 years.

Jim
Lanzrath

The guitar
doesnt make
the blues.

Mark
Homola

Telecaster
as with the
old electric
masters.

Ray
Yarbrough

Flying V,
because
Albert King.

Denise
Barrett

Jeremiah
Blue Ingram

ES-335
if you can
afford one
these days.

A P-90
pickup and a
low-wattage
tube amp.

MATT BLACKETT, Associate Editor


mblackett@musicplayer.com

KEVIN OWENS, Managing Editor


kowens@musicplayer.com

Mike
Johnson

Andy
Lewis

Wayne
Poole

Graham
Whiteing

Terron
Hartley

Kris
Judd

Crappy
pawnshop
acoustic.

National
Resonator.

A Silvertone
with lipsticks
for slide.

Secondhand
guitar played
loud and
hard.

Its the
magician, not
the wand.

The one Eric


Clapton is
holding.

PAUL HAGGARD, Art Director


phaggard@musicplayer.com

O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5 / G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M

15

MARK L EI ALO HA / ATLAS I CONS

Opening Shots

Semi-Hollowbodies at the Hollywood Bowl


B.B. King and SRV trade licks in 1986.

16

G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5 / G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M

17

BOB HAK IN S

R O Y R O G E R S I S A S L I D E G U R U W H O WA S

included in GPs hotly debated February 2007 cover


story 101 Forgotten Greats & Unsung Heroes.
John Lee Hooker gave Rogers his rst big break
in 1982. Recently, Rogers and Doors keyboardist
Ray Manzarek enjoyed a fruitful collaboration from
2008 until Manzareks passing in 2013. Rogers
rst solo band CD in ve yearsInto the Wild Blue
[Blind Pig]is chock full of fabulous bottleneck
blues. Wanna play like Roy? Heres what to do,
and what not to do. J I M M Y L E S L I E

u
ultimately be positioned directly over the fret of
th desired note. Frankly, being a little at can
the
oc
occasionally sound cool and blue, but sharp is
never
ne good. Thats even more important when playing
in fast licks or riffs, like I often do. I achieve tension
sio on Last Go-Round by playing slightly at or
not
no landing on pitch until the very last moment on
a 58
5 Les Paul Jr. The playing is manic by design.
The
Th instrumental tune Dackin is another good
example, but in a different, funky context.
exa

DON T LOOK LISTE N AND FE E L


DO
DON T B E P I TC HY
Proper pitch is crucial. Its the rst and foremost technical aspect
of good slide playing because there are so many ways to approach
a note with that little thing on your nger, as opposed to simply
pressing down on the string between two frets. Whether youre
sliding up or down to a note or going at it directly, the slide should

18

G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

Think of a fretless instrument, say, a violin or a cello or a fretless


bass. Its really not about visionits about feel. The same is true
playing slide guitar. You develop a feel, you develop your ear, and
then you trust your hand. A doublebass player knows his positions,
but hes not necessarily looking at the neckhes feeling his way,
and thats what you want to do. Of course, a beginner will initially

rely more on eyesight as he or she learns how


to position the slide directly over the fret.

DON T IGNORE ACOUSTIC


EMB RAC E I T
You can tell when a player is uncomfortable, and thats especially easy to hear on
an acoustic because you cant hide behind
amplication. I started out on a $25 Stella,
and my fingers hurt. My teacher would
tell me that if I could play a song on that
guitar, I could play it on any guitar. That
may sound trite, but its true. If you can
play something on acoustic, you can denitely play it on electric once youre used
to the extra sustain, but the reverse is not
necessarily trueand that goes for slide
or non-slide playing. The acoustic guitar
is a different animal. You have to play differently on it, and it will give you different
textures. Acoustic and electric has always
been a combo plate for me. I get my signature round, acoustic-based sound on a 1970
Martin 0-16 New Yorker with a DeArmond
pickup. I run it through a Mesa/Boogie Mark
IIB and a Motion Sound rotary speaker. You
can hear it on the lead to High Steppin.

TH IN IS NOT I N

GET YOU R ACTION AS HIG H AS


YOU CA N
Slide playing requires higher action to get the
full ring of the string. If the action is too low,
youll not only fret out, but there wont be
enough of the strings surface area hitting the
slide to for the pickups magnet to pick it up.
My action is set as a compromise. It has to be
because I jump back and forth between slide
and non-slide playing all the time. Ive given
up the facility of fast action on the neck for
better slide tone, and now Im used to playing with higher action. You either deal with
that compromise or have a designated guitar
for slide. Otherwise, youre not going to get
the tone, and tone is everything.

SLIDE AND RHYTHM PLAYING ARE


NOT MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE
L ots of rock bands have two guitar

playersone playing rhythm, and one


playing strictly lead with a slide. But it
doesnt have to be one way or the other.
The slide isnt reserved for lead playing. I keep it on my nger all the time,
and its actually an integral part of my
rhythm structure. Love Is History is a
good example, even though the piano is
featured. I played my Martin in open E,
capoed up to FShubb capos never fail
me. I like to cover a lot of different ground
rhythmically, and I cut the rhythm tracks
rst on this record. Some people think
blues has to be a traditional 12-bar shufe, but thats just not so.

GROOVE BEFORE CUTTING LO OS E


You dont have anything if you dont
have a groove. I used to have students
who would go nuts playing slide riffs
with no rhythm. Id ask them to play a
slow, Jimmy Reed kind of blues groove,
and then throw a few licks in amongst
the rhythm gure. Some simply couldnt
do it. If you cant do that with a simple
I-IV-V progression, then theres no way
your slide licks will amount to more than
wanking. You need a groove first, and
only then might you have something to
say within that framework. g

Rogers (left) and Ray Manzarek.

O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5 / G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M

19

BOB HAKI NS

Thin slides and strings lead to thin tones.


Thick slides and thick strings yield thick
tones. I use a Jim Dunlop 212 Pyrex slide
and a Texas Blues Tube electropolished
metal slide. I like the 212 because of its
thickness and length. I like a relatively short
slide because I have small hands, and I can
keep a good grip on the slide if my pinky
nger extends beyond it. If not, I couldnt
control the slide, and I might lose it. I put
the slide on my pinky so I can fret chords
with the other three ngers, but whichever
nger you decide to use, get a slide that
ts. You dont need a long slide because
youre generally going to use it on the top
four strings anyway.
Ill use a metal slide if I want a little more
grit and bite. I used it on Dark Angels
and on Into the Wild Blue. Electropolished metal is important to me because its
smoothness approaches glass.
Your string set has to start with at least
a .012 or .013 in order to get a good slide
tone. I use DAddarios EJ21 Jazz Light set,

but with a .013 on top instead of a .012,


so the gauges are .013, .016, .022wor
.024w on a heavier guitar.032, .042, and
.052. On the bottom neck of my Sean Chappell doubleneck guitar, I use the EJ22 Jazz
Medium set gauged .013, .017, .026w, .036,
.046, .056. Thats pretty heavy. I always use
a wound third for more tone. I use Martin
Silk & Steel strings for my New Yorker.

Riffs

BY MICHA E L MOL EN DA

back on these notes?

MY PRODUCER, LIVINGSTONE BROWN,

No. Theres nothing musically conscious in terms of putting emphasis on


certain notes.

always tells me that albums never get nished, they just escape, says Robin Trower,
who managed to let Somethings About to
Change [Manhaton/V12] dash out the studio
door earlier this year. The 70-year-old guitarist drew heavily on his R&B roots for
the project, played all the bass parts, and,
for the rst time ever, he wrote every song
for his own voice.
Whats the difference between writing
for yourself as the singer, and composing songs when you know youre going to
hand it off to somebody else to sing?

So you dont overthink it?

Not the initial idea. In a way, its much


like I play guitarwhich is, Right. Lets
go for it and see what happens. My guitar
playing is seldom worked outits responding to the music in the momentand Im
always aiming for something genuine. Now,
Im not that technically adept as a singer, so
the off-the-cuff stuff can be difcult, but I do
establish the right feel for the vocal very early
on. Feel is the most important thing to me.
Do you have a basic approach to composition?

I work quite hard to get the keys right for


me, because I dont have any range at all in
my voice. If Im writing for another vocalist,
the key is less of a worry. Theres also the personal angle when youre writing songs knowing that youre going to sing them. I can be
more open to writing about my personal life.

I play guitar every day, so ideas just come,


and if I get something I think Ill enjoy playing lead over, then I continue working on it
until I get a song. The next things are the
vocal melody and the lyrics. The sound of
the words is extremely important.

Youre a very melodic guitar player.


Do you nd that your approach to vocals
is heavy on phrasinglike, Im going to
jump on this note, but Im going to lay

When youre initially writing, are you


singing things like, Hey, the table is
brown just anything to get the words
out?

20

G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

Yeah. Its pretty much just sounds


making sounds to go along with the notes,
as it were. Later, I may go out walking with
the melody in my head, hoping that real
words with the right sounds will pop into
my head. Sometimes, I think about lyrics
for three days almost non-stop [laughs].
How do you know when youve got a
winner?

The entire song has to have potency,


and I have to respond emotionally to it. If
its not soulful, I drop it.
A bit off topic, but Ive always loved
your thick, silky, and organic sustain, and
Ive often wondered how loud you record
in the studio to get that tone?

I run the amps almost to the maximum


level they can handle. Theyre not full up,
but theyre running at the point where the
amp just cant give anymoreusually around
three quartersand Im standing right next
to it. I think its important that the speakers and the guitar are in cahoots, as it were.
Thats why my hearing is going. But this is
the only way I know to get that kind of sustain. I nd the tone sounds forced if youre
doing it through pedals or or whatever. g

N EIL CALAN D RA

Robin Trower on Finding his Voice

Paul Weller Goes Raw


pick up a Danelectro, a Vox Teardrop, or a
Hofner semi-hollowbody because I wasnt
familiar with it, and that put me in a different place, which is always nice. Id say,
Lets try that oneI want to know what
it sounds like.
The guitars tones really catch your
ear

More than anything, Ive gotten interested in hearing the guitars raw. The guitar
sounds on old rock and roll and R&B
records are usually the pure sound from
the amp, and, learning that lesson, I tried
to nd that rough and real sound. I like a
riff being broken up, or cracking, or whatever it may bea bit of sh*t on the track.
I spent time on the sounds, but not hours.
If something didnt work after a couple of
takes, wed stop and go on to something
else. I get bored easily, so Im always like,
Come on, lets move it along.

JU LIAN BROAD

Your rhythm parts are right in the


pocket. How did you develop your sense
of time?

BY M ICHA E L MOL E NDA


PA U L W E L L E R T Y P I C A L LY AV O I D S

American guitar-gear-magazine interviews, so it was a thrill to get the Jam and


Style Council star on the blower (telephone) to discuss his latest solo album,
Saturns Pattern [Warner Bros.]. Constructed
from rough backing tracks by Amorphous
Androgynousan off shoot of the musicians behind Future Sound of Londonthe
new album is packed with wicked, twisted,
and erce guitarsall locked to propulsive,
R&B-kissed grooves.
These are exquisitely crafted songs.
Did you go into the studio with a strict
concept?

Nothing was planned at all. My only


brief to everyone was that I wanted bigsounding drums and grooves. That was
as clear as it got. Id give vague or abstract

instructions, and it was up to Stan Kybert,


my co-producer to make sense of everything [laughs]. The album was like a blank
canvas, and we built up the picture as we
went along.
How did you work with the backing
tracks contributed by Amorphous Androgynous?

The songs were a mish-mash between


their guitarist and me. Its always conict
or collaboration, right? [Laughs.] Id jam
over the tracks, playing the rst thing that
came into my head. Sometimes, those rst
ideas are the best, and I usually wouldnt do
more than two or three takes. Then, wed
sift through my ideas and their ideas, and
choose the best ones.
What guitars did you bring to the sessions?

My mainstays are a 56 Gibson SG and


my Epiphone Casino. But, sometimes, Id

When I was a kid, I listened to black


American music. I would try to copy a lot
of those amazing soul and R&B tunes, and I
would get them hopelessly, horribly wrong.
When I got older, I could listen more critically, and I realized what those guys were
doinghow theyd set those grooves up
with all these subtleties and nuances. I could
hear the little syncopations, the bass playing a bit behind the beat, the drums laying
back, and then everyone playing together
for the accents.
Whats your approach to guitar solos
these days?

I like playing lead, because I nd it quite


like singing, but I dont think Im a great
lead player. Ive never studied technique
I dont even know any f**king scales, man.
I think Im a pretty good guitarist, though.
Ive got a sound. There are thousands of guitarists who are very clever, playing loads of
notes wiggly diddly. My older son is really
into that, but it doesnt move me. My soul
is more affected by someone like Hubert
Sumlin. Hearing him play three or four
notes sends me off in another universe.
Thats what Im looking for. His sound is
somewhere elseits so warm, and there
are long notes here and there that are just
fantastic. Hes denitely someone to check
out if you dont know him. g

O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5 / G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M

21

Riffs

Win Ernie Balls Bonamassa Experience!

AS LOYA L GU I TA R P L AY E R R E A D E RS

know, Joe Bonamassa has been sharing


his vintage-axe explorations with all of us
through his regular Joe Bonamassas Guitar
Safaris column. But nowthanks to Ernie
Ballsome lucky guitarists can win a chance
to spend a day with Bonamassa and his legendary guitar collection in Los Angeles!
Youll be able to talk guitar with the
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instruments: 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard Snakebite, 1960 Gibson ES-335 TD
Dot Neck, 1964 Gibson Firebird V, 1962
Gibson SG Special Polaris White (proled
in his June 2015 GP column), 1951 Gibson
ES-5N, 1969 Gibson ES-355TD Walnut,
1955 Fender Stratocaster Hardtail, and
1951 Fender Telecaster Terry Reid (proled in his September 2015 column).

22

The global Ernie Ball Presents: The Bonamassa


Experience will also serve up prizes of Music
Man and Sterling by Music Man guitars,
Ernie Ball strings, signature Bonamassa
pedals from Dunlop, and Guitar Center
Gear Cards (domestic U.S. only).
Heres how to grab a shot at all of these
goodies: Unique codes and Instant Win
custom Bonamassa picks will be hidden
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bass strings. Buy your strings, and check
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bonamassa for the chance at the grandprize trip to meet Joe and his guitars.
Instant Winners will get their prizes
on the spot, based on which product is
detailed on the pick.
The contest is hosted in the United
States (exclusively through Guitar Center)

G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

August 1-September 30. (Other markets,


such as Canada, Great Britain, France,
and Germany, will host the contest from
October 1-November 30.)
My relationship with Ernie Ball started
simply because they make the best strings
around, but grew into a true partnership
over the years, says Bonamassa. Ernie
Ball has welcomed me into their family
a remarkably talented roster of artists and continuously works to provide creative opportunities for me and
other guitarists across the globe to further our craft and share our music with
the world.
Please check guitarplayer.com and
ernieball.com for more details, as well
as links to videos of Bonamassa detailing each of the eight classic guitars you
may see in Los Angeles. Good luck! g

Riffs
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BLAST FROM
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As a young reader of Guitar Player at
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28

G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

Reviving the F-Word


GUTHRIE GOVAN AND THE ARISTOCRATS BRING
THE SPIRIT OF ADVENTURE BACK TO FUSION
BY JUDE GOLD

ITS ONE OF THOSE

O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5 / G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M

29

J IMMY LESLI E

moments thats not


uncommon in L.A.youre
hanging out at a sidewalk caf, when
suddenly one of the worlds most respected
musicians comes strolling down the street,
right past your table. While Im not one to bug
famous players merely because I recognize or
admire them, the most recent time this happened to me it involved someone I knew. Yes,
thousands of miles of land and sea away from his
U.K. home, carless and hoong it in the SoCal
sun, there walked the rock/prog/fusion hero I
interviewed for this magazines July 2011 cover
storyGuthrie Govan.

Guthrie! I hollered, getting his attention.


What brings you to this section of Sunset Blvd.?
The music stores?
Well, hello, he replied. Yes. I was looking to
stock up on a couple of .052-gauge low strings for
when Im tracking in dropped-D, but they were all
out. So, to cheer myself up, I bought an ElectroHarmonix HOG2 instead.
Actually, it was hardly a surprise to run into
Govan that day, because word had it that he and his
two bandmates bassist Bryan Beller and drummer Marco Minnemannwere in town tracking the
new Aristocrats album at Sunset Sound, the legendary facility where great records by the Doors,
Van Halen, and Michael Jackson were recorded.
Now, just a couple of months later, the new
Aristocrats album, Tres Caballeros [Boing], has been
mixed, mastered, and released. And, as the bands

fans have come to expect, each band member


composed three songs for the record. Also, as
expected, the songs contain Herculean feats
of musicianship, with Govan and company
throwing down interlocking riffs and virtuosic
solos in nearly every time signature imaginable.
However, the album also nds the ever-curious Govan experimenting with a new tone and
with something else he hasnt explored much
in a power-trio contextoverdubs. It all contributes to the most layered and dimensional
sounding Aristocrats record to date. And while
shooting the breeze with Govan on the sidewalk was fun, to really learn how the music
came together, I caught up with him later, on
the eve of his bands giant summer tour, for
a proper interview.
Lets say somebodyRoger Waters, for
examplecomes up to you and says, Ive
never heard the Aristocrats. What kind of
music is it? What would you tell him?

Id tell him, You might not like it.

The Harrison of Digital


Audio Workstations.
Version 3

[Laughs]. One of the fun things about this


band is that we dont feel hampered by any
particular genre. That said, when your band is
looking for bookings, you do have to pigeonhole yourself somewhat. We like the term
rock fusion. We like including the word rock
in there, just to suggest that we are grubby,
unpleasant, and loud individuals, and that
theres a dirty energy in what we do.
Were reluctant to just call what we do
fusion, because, over the decades, the F-word
has come to represent something thats a bit
specic, sanitized, and formulaic, when originally it was surely meant to reect a spirit
of adventure, and to imply a freedom where
you could weave different aspects of different genres togethersometimes in rebellious ways, as in, Hey, look! Theres John
McLaughlin with a Gibson and a Marshall,
and he listens to Indian music.
Even when the Aristocrats arent touring, you guys stay quite busyyou with
Steven Wilson, and Bryan and Marco with

Joe Satriani. When you show up for an


Aristocrats album date, do you each have
the other guys six songs perfectly memorized and ready to play?

In theory, yes. We try to be professional and


do our homework, because we respect each
other. In practice, well, I didnt entirely know
everything on this last one, but I did my best.
We are all pretty busy and stuck in airports a
lot of the time, so for us most of the learning
process is listening on headphones and trying
to memorize how the songs sound. Running
through the mechanics of how to play them
is almost a last-minute thing.
There are a lot of nice guitar layers on
Tres Caballeros. What inspired you to do
so much overdubbing?

There was a sneak preview of this approach


on our last album, Culture Clash, where Marco
had this tune, Dance of the Aristocrats,
and told us, Guys, Im hearing some overdubs here. At rst, Bryan and I were taken
aback, like, Hang on, thats cheatingthats

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outside the parameters of what we set out


to do. But then we thought, Actually, this
works. Maybe for the next album we should
stop being so uptight about having everything work as a trio, because we can prove
that point on stage.
Also, I think Id been pleasantly poisoned
by a recent experience performing in Hans
Zimmers band. It was a 77-musician retrospective of the amazing Hollywood soundtrack
stuff Hans has produced over the years, and
something about being a small part in such
a huge, majestic operation stayed with me
and made me want to hear more orchestral
and grandiose elements on our new album.
Youll have some picking and choosing
to do when it comes to performing these
songs live. Even you cant play all those
parts simultaneously.

True, but we did have a failsafe built


into all of this. We rented out Alvas Showroom in San Pedro for a whole week, where
we rehearsed and did four gigs before we

went into Sunset. Having a small, friendly,


captive audience helped us gure out what
each of our parts should be in live settings,
and which sections of various songs had the
most impact.
Now that the Aristocrats are enjoying
some success and playing bigger rooms,
I imagine you guys have more budget for
that sort of pre-production.

You might think so, but were playing


instrumental music in strange times, so we
wont be buying a yacht with our band logo
on the side any time soon. [Laughs.] Self-effacing humor aside, we do seem to be getting
away with it. I guess to some extent people
are responding to something in what we do.
Hopefully, its the fun, the energy, and the
way we interactand the fact that since day
one weve been determined to be a proper
band, not a Dropbox project.
What was your rig for Tres Caballeros?

As on all of our albums, I used an Axess


BS2 buffer box to split the guitar signal so I

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could track through two amps in parallel. This


gives you a bigger sound, and also gives the
guy at the mixing desk more options when it
comes polishing everything. For this album,
I generally had a Victory V50 half-stack running in parallel with a Victory V10 combo.
The big amp delivers the more scooped, bigsounding stuff, and the combo handles the
more midrange-y, Vox-y stuff. You do your
best to try to match the gain levels on each
so you dont get any stereo weirdness when
notes die away.
Id usually push one amp with an Xotic
EP Booster, and on the solo for Jacks Back
I included a BOSS Waza Craft Blues Driver.
I also dabbled a little bit with a Friedman
BE-100 head, which is the second amp on
Through the Flower.
Flower has a more humbucking guitar tone than some of the other tracks.

Thats my signature model Charvel, which


I developed from the ground up with Charvel. Regarding the guitar tones on this record,

Features
GUTHRIE GOVA N

though, I should mention that because I dont


believe you should ever churn out something
youve already done just because people liked
it the rst time around, I played a game with
myself and said, Why not write and demo my
three new songs on a single-coil guitar? I have
a swamp ash Charvel that basically looks like a
Strat, so I used that. For the Sunset sessions,

the good people at Fender lent me an American


Deluxe Stratocaster and a Custom Shop Telecaster. Its good to change things up, because,
for me, the kind of guitar sound Im using will
affect how I play and write.
Youve even been known experiment
with a Vigier fretless. Fretless guitars terrify and traumatize most players.

Well, a fretless can tell if youre scared. If


you show it any weakness, it will make your
life misery. But when you pick up any new
instrument, try to play in a way that suits
it. Its the same trap you might nd with
a MIDI guitar: If you play all your Clapton
licks using a piano patch, its going to sound
terrible, because thats not what the instrument is trying to do for you.
Did the HOG2 ever make it onto any
tracks?

Yes. In fact, I had to be stopped from using


it on the whole album. Its a really inspiring
and amusing sound with tons of sustain. It
really doesnt sound like a guitar at all, which
made me want to play like an idiot. The best
example is the solo on Stupid 7.
You are not known for playing like an
idiot. In fact, its fair to say your playing
boggles most peoples minds. Which players boggle your mind?

There are some freaks. Eric Johnson is


fun. The late, great Shawn Lane did things
that ofcially are not possible [laughs]. And
my good friend Ron Thal confuses me. He
attempts things that wouldnt occur to
anyone else. For instance, random bits of
his fretting hand will be hovering over a
harmonic, so hell pull off to that harmonic
from a note hes just tapped. Hell put a
scrunchie over the 7th fret and pull off to
those harmonics.
If you could disappear to a desert island for six months just to practice one
style, what would it be?

Honestly, if I had six months of desert


island time, I probably wouldnt spend it
practicing guitar. Id want my laptop. Id
love to get to a place with electronic music,
sound design, and deep software like Native
Instruments Reaktor that feels as comfortable as operating an instrument does. If I
had 20 years on an island, though, I think
Id work on classical guitar.
To many people, you are a virtuoso
guitar hero, performer, and teacher, but
to those who know you, you seem to be a
student more than anything else.

Anything thats worthwhile in life never


really comes to a conclusive end. Theres
a way to keep exploring and expanding on
it and deepening your relationship with
it. The worst thing you can do is give
yourself some award and say, Congratulations, selfyouve done it. Youve conquered music. g

34

G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

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Features

36

G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

Gone Country
AMERICANA GUITARIST JIM CAMPILONGO
RETURNS TO HIS SWINGING ROOTS
BY MI C HA EL ROSS

IN THE MID 90S, SAN FRANCISCO GUITARIST

Jim Campilongo forsook a burgeoning career as a


funk-rock guitarist for the joys of twang, recording a series of Jimmy Bryant meets Speedy Weststyle records with pedal-steel maestro Joe Goldmark
(Dallas Wayne, Jim Lauderdale) under the sobriquet
Jim Campilongo and the Ten Gallon Cats. Despite
the classic instrumentation, Campilongos compositions and unique playing style pushed against any
strict country appellation.
After moving to New York, Campilongo rened
his distinctive Roy Buchanan meets Thelonious
Monk approach in a trio format, moving even
further from the hard country he loves. His new
sound endeared him to attendees of his residencies
in Manhattan, and his masterful manipulation of
a top-loading, maple-fretboard 1959 Fender Telecaster brought him work with Norah Jones, Teddy
Thompson, and Martha Wainwright, and appearances on programs like The Late Show with David Letterman, Conan, and Laterwith Jools Holland.
A few years ago, Campilongo discovered the
New York band Honeyngers playing a version of

the modern Western swing style he had pioneered


with the Ten Gallon Cats. The guitarist soon began
sitting in with steel player Jonny Lamm, Tele-master Luca Benedetti, Gypsy jazzer Roy Williams, and
a series of rotating rhythm sections. This sizzling
string seminar ultimately resulted in Last Night, This
Morning [Blue Hen] by Jim Campilongo & Honeyfingers. The release revives some Cats tunes,
reimagines some trio tunes, covers a couple of classics, and throws in some new tunes for a hoedown
throwdown that looks to be one of the top guitar
records of the year.
Why do this record instead of another one with
the trio?

I had missed playing country music since I


moved to New York. My trio thing has denitely
developed, and I am really into it, but it got less
and less country.
I had an erroneous notion that all country music
in New York was a Johnny Cash kind of country,
while the country I loved was based more on the
principles of Bach than Cash. My favorite music is

O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5 / G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M

37

Features
JIM CAMPILONGO

the pre-beard Merle Haggard, Lefty Frizzell,


Johnny Paycheck, the ballads the Buckaroos
did, and the instrumental stuff of the Troubadours, Buddy Emmons, and Lloyd Green.
It is deadly serious and romantic country. I
hadnt heard that in New YorkI would see
weird combinations of country and Motrhead. Then I saw Luca and Jonny play country
really well, but with a New York mentality,
and I really wanted to play with them. We
ended up playing and just hit it off. We got
together every Tuesday for 14 weeks. That
is unheard of in New YorkI think my trio
has rehearsed twice. We ended up developing these arrangements that were so good I
wanted to record them, and Im really glad
I did. It is fun to hear how big the tunes
sound, and in some ways they are more realized than the originals.
How did the third guitar player get involved?

Roy Williams was integral. His rhythm


playing really made this stuff. The main
concern for Luca and me is trying to ll in
the void when Roy is soloing. He does this
thing we cannot do. He understands groove
in a way that is genius.
Who arranged the tunes?

It was a group effort, but I would say Luca


always has a bunch of ideas. Usually thats
my role, but Luca would have 20 ideas, and
they would always be good. He really contributed a lot and thats why he has a production credit.
In addition to rehearsing, did you guys
play the songs out live before recording?

We played a lot. I have residencies with


my trio, and when my bass player and drummer couldnt make it, I would just plug in
Honeyfingers. In addition to the 55 Bar,
Barbes, and Rockwood, we played a little
place called the Shanty. It was a gig where
no one paid attention and we could literally
play songs two or three times in a row. It is
so important to have gigs where no one pays
attention. You want to be in the corner and
playing and working on your craft. It was
basically a rehearsal where we would leave
with a little money. We played a lot, so 99
percent of what is in on that record is live.
I thought I was going to overdub, but I listened to it, and thought, This is good!
This band has at least 30 strings going
on. How did you deal with tuning issues?

That is a fair question. For me, the can


of worms is bass and steel. David Franz is

38

G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

STRINGS

What is the Gibson guitar


you play live with them?

JOSE PH INE B ONO

That is a Gibson 225. I was


playing that at rst and was starting to get into using feedback and
some interesting stuff that transcended the typical jazz box. I was
doing my thing, but it was a different thing. But then I did one
gig on the 59 and that was it.
What amps did you use?

a great upright bass player. His intonation


is really good and Jonnys intonation is also
good, but I wanted the steel to intonate to
us, rather than us gravitating towards the
steel. I made that mistake in the Cats. In that
band, we played to the steel guitar. I would
play an open G, third string, which sounded
good and 30 seconds later I would play my
open G and it sounded at. That was because
there was microtonal shifting of the upright
bass to adjust to the steel. The pedal steel
guitar is the Lord and Master of intonation. It dictates what is 440, 440.3, or 440.5.
Those shifts occur. So, when we recorded the
basics, I said, I do not want that to happen.
Its going to be about guitar tuners and the
guitars, and then the steel will come in and
adjust to the guitars.
Also, at the advent of this band, I got a
fret job on my 59 Telecaster. The frets were
like painted on silver at that point and the
thing had not been intonating for years. I also
got these saddles that Luca recommended.
They are threaded, but, for the rst time in
my life, they are compensated.
Did the steel play on any of the basics?

He played on all the basics and we kept


some, but I kept Jonny really low in the headphones, and so did David. Then he would
overdub and concentrate on tuning to us. It
is just the nature of the instrument.
Did you separate everything to help
with overdubbing?

Absolutely, I anticipated way more overdubs than actually happened. We had Roy
and the bass very close because they are part
of the rhythm section, so there was some
leakage there, but that was okay. Nothing
haunted us.
What guitars did you use on the recording?

It was just the 59 Telecaster. I would like


to be more interesting.

I used a silverface Fender


Princeton with a Celestion G10.
I thought I was going to overdub a lot of
solos, so I just brought a basic setup and it
ended up all the same amp and guitar. We reamped through a big amp when we mixed.
On every record, I re-amp and send it in
through another amp I would never carry,
like a Fender Pro Reverb or Twin Reverb with
JBLs. We mic the back and the frontyou
get a lot out of that back mic.
I am assuming there were your usual
no pedals used in this record?

I endorse a few pedals, but for some


reason I did not use them.

NY STEEL

STANDARD

You switched to a Fender Princeton


from a larger Fender Vibrolux when you
came to New York. Was that just a concession to the size of the clubs?

I do not think there is that much of a


difference between a Vibrolux on ten and
a Princeton on ten, especially if my Princetons bias is hot with new tubes. Youre
miked anyway, and the soundman isnt
mad at you for playing on ten. In a way, it
became louder using a Princeton versus a
Vibrolux. Instead of having the soundman
say, Look, I cant put you through the P.A.,
he would put me through the P.A., and nine
times out of ten, its loud enough. I played
through a Princeton at Shepards Bush with
Pete Townshend, and it was plenty loud on
that stage. In 2000 seaters, Princetons are
almost too much sometimes. Those venues
are not designed for loud guitar amps. They
are designed for an acoustic cello to be heard
in the back row.
Whats next for Jim Campilongo?

I would like to record a trio record next.


The trio with Chris Morrissey on bass and
Josh Dion on drums is on a new level. I
would like to incorporate Josh as a vocalist because he is a great singer. I have this
fantasy about doing a Cream thingbut our
version of it. g
O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5 / G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M

41

Features

42

G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

Robert Randolph (left)


and Luther Dickinson

TODD RUNDGREN SWITCHES STYLISTIC GEARS


BY G REG PRATO
GOOD LUCK TRYING TO GUESS TODD RUNDGRENS

next move. The man has made a career of keeping fans


on their toes. Many gured he would make a career out
of being a pop tunesmith in the wake of his 1972 album,
Something/Anything?, which spawned such radio hits as
Hello Its Me and I Saw the Light. Instead, he followed it up with a pair of psychedelic freakouts (1973s
A Wizard, a True Star and 1974s Todd), and launched a
prog-rock band, Utopia.
So when Rundgren issued a pair of guitar-heavy releases
a few years backArena and Todd Rundgrens Johnsonit
shouldnt have come as a surprise when he did a complete 180 on 2013s State and 2015s Global, focusing
entirely on EDM sounds. And apart from his recent tour
(which sees Rundgren playing little guitar on stage, and
solely joined by a pair of singers/dancers and a DJ), there
is often a second guitarist onstage at Rundgren shows:
GPs own Jesse Gress.
Despite the lack of guitar on his latest project, Rundgren was more than happy to chat about his preferred
instrument, as well as why he had to part with a guitar
that once upon a time was one of Eric Claptons most
identiable 6-strings.
Its interesting that youre being interviewed for Guitar
Player, yet guitar is not the focal point of Global. Was
that intentional?

I think it is intentional, actually. I did a guitar album


not too long ago, in fact two guitar albums. Sometimes
I get the sense that I have been ignoring my principal
instrument, and then Ill purposely write a bunch of material for the guitar. But my natural inclination has been to
usually use a keyboard, because the guitar only makes
six notes, and sometimes you cant make your ngers
reach the notes you want them to [laughs]. The piano
gives you the entire palette of notes to work with. From

a composers standpoint, I think thats something of an


advantage, although I enjoy writing for the strengths and
limitations of the guitar. Its hard to play power chords
on the piano.
Ive always felt you were an underrated guitarist.
Songs like No. 1 Lowest Common Denominator feature great playing.

I used to be totally mental about the guitar. It was the


only thing I played. When I rst got out of high school, I
was very much into any sort of music that involved the
guitar. So I naturally gravitated towards blues, or what
would be properly called white blues. The Yardbirds
was my favorite band and was essentially a guitar player
factory. At one point, I was almost suicidal about it. I
remember staring down into the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, and I said, If I cant be as good as Eric Clapton,
I dont want to live. [Laughs.] Fortunately, things got a
little bit more real after that. I got recognition as a guitar
player early on and I leveraged that into the rest of my
career. Ive always loved the instrument, but never really
mastered it. I get constant reminders of that, because I
play with Ringo, and Steve Lukather is the other guitarist in the band, so Im constantly reminded about what
I dont know about guitar playing.
Who are some of your other guitar inuences?

Probably the rst time I wanted to play guitar and


thought This is the instrument for me was when I
heard Walk, Dont Run by the Ventures. Immediately,
I said, I want to do that. I want to learn how to play
that, and I pestered my parents until they got me a guitar
and lessons. I didnt learn anything from the lessons. I
just essentially taught myself how to play. I wanted to
play anything that was instrumental guitar music, which
there wasnt a whole lot of. And guitar players werent
necessarily featured a whole lot. It wasnt until the Beatles that the guitar was a regularly featured instrument.

O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5 / G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M

43

Features
TOD D RU N D G REN

So I would have to say George Harrison was


certainly an early inuence, because of all of
those nely crafted solos that appeared in
almost every single Beatles song. It seemed a
big part of their songwriting formula: verse/
chorus/verse/chorus/guitar solo. I tried to
learn every single Harrison guitar solo that
I could, and then I heard the Yardbirds. I got

the rst American release of the Yardbirds,


and it completely changed my whole idea
about what the guitar was supposed to do.
During the course of that series of releases,
there was Shapes of Things, and that completely warped my brain and I became a Jeff
Beck fanatic. Then John Mayalls Blues Breakers came out, and I became an Eric Clapton

fanatic. Clapton was probably the biggest


inuence on my guitar playing.
Which guitars and amps do you use?

Its a really simple setup: one guitar, a Line


6 wireless system, and a Line 6 audio interface. Im playing a guitar that was gifted to
me by my fans. It was custom made for me
by Jeff Stoddard at Bradenton Guitar Tech.
Its lucite, so its completely clear, and it has
LEDs inside it. At this moment, Im using
the Line 6 AMPLIFi. Theyve got a new line
of things that are all Bluetooth-enabled and
can be reprogrammed using iPad apps. But
Im not playing that much guitar during this
showonly four times during a two-hour
presentation. I start out with a guitar, but
Im just chunking along, and I only play a
couple of solos throughout the show.
Do you ever regret parting with Claptons The Fool SG that he used with
Cream?

It was something that I almost had no


choice but to do. It was about a year after
Eric Claptons guitar auction in the 90s,
where his brown Stratocaster Brownie went
for like half a million dollars. I suddenly realized that the guitar that I owned was likely
worth a bunch of money. The thing is, I had
been loath to take it out on the road anyway.
It was pretty much not being played because
I didnt want to risk damaging it or having
it stolen. At the same time, I was in some
trouble with the IRS. I had bought a piece of
property in Hawaii and spent all the money
I had, and then didnt leave any left over for
the IRS. So they were angry about that, and
I couldnt afford to keep an expensive asset
like that guitar. I was pretty much forced
to sell it in order to settle up some debts
with the IRS.
Couldnt I Just Tell You is a long-time
highlight at your concerts. What do you remember about writing it?

Couldnt I Just Tell You was really almost


a tribute to the Byrdstrying to get that
jangly/happy guitar sound, with a lot of
open-string things. A lot of the time, the
inspiration for a song is just a hazy feeling, and I think for that particular tune, I
wanted a certain aura and shimmer about it.
There were a lot of keyboard songs on that
album, Something/Anything?, and I decided
that when I did play guitar, it was going
to be a demonstration of what I was capable of playing, as opposed to just a simple
accompaniment. g

44

G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

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Features
TOD D RU N D G REN

TODDS RIGHT HAND MAN


Jesse Gress is super-familiar to readers of Guitar Player thanks to his longstanding gig as a lessons contributor and music transcriptionist. But he has also often accompanied Rundgren on
stage since the early 90s. I was a fan of his music since I was about 14. I grew up near Philadelphia, and his early band, the Nazz were the act in the area. I always thought of Todd as
like the American Eric Clapton, because by the time he made the rst Nazz record his sound
was fully formed. It wasnt like he went through a tonal transition like some players. I followed
his whole career and got all the records when they came out, absorbing everything I could.
Through mutual acquaintance Lyle Workman, Gress and Rundgren crossed paths. In 1991,
he did an album called 2nd Wind, where he rented out the Palace of Fine Arts Theater in
San Francisco and held live recording sessions. Lyle did those dates, and Roger Powell from
Utopia was also on the gig. Roger was getting into guitar at the time, and he had heard that I
had done some guitar transcription books, including Joe Satrianis Surng with the Alien. That
night Roger said, This guy writes down all the notes from all these records, and Todd looked at me, and said, You like doing that? [Laughs.] Not long
after that I ew out to one of the shows in Chicago, and Lyle said he wasnt going to do the tour, and asked if I would be interested.
Ive just always been drawn to the guys music, adds Gress. As a guitarist, but also as a musician. Hes got a very unique sense of harmony in his
compositions that Ive tried to adapt to the guitar as much as possible. He and Rundgren will work together with the Akron Symphony in September, and tour the U.S. with a full band this winter, but in the interim Gress remains active. Im just looking forward to whatever comes next. Ive got
my monthly grind for the magazine, I occasionally play with Jim Weiders Percolator based in Woodstock, and Im doing some Music of Steely Dan
shows with the Marotta brothers. Im keeping busy. GP

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46

G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

'GKL=F=NGD=FL'GF9J;@

CELEBRATING THE MUSICAL LIFE OF

  %AF?
 

HEN WE LOST B.B. KING ON May


14, 2015, it was one of those earthshattering, catastrophic events that
make everyone take notice. Even
those with zero afnity for blues
music or guitar players could feel that something
momentous and sad and never-to-be regained had
occurred that day.
We lost a man who was such a tireless evangelist
of the bluesand music in generaland one of the
last surviving links to the plantations of Mississippi

and its musical chroniclers of woe and hope. But


King was so much more than a living history of
war-era blues music. He also adored jazz, and he
studied and read and practiced and lived in order
to bring more depth to every note he played. He
delighted in performing for young, white hippies in
the 60swhen his act expanded into pop culture
and, somehow, he evolved beyond the love-ins, folk
fests, and dance halls, and continued to thrill audiences of all types until shortly before his death. It
seemed like he was always with uswhether he was

Q L @ = ! M A L9 J * D 9Q = J - L 9 > > c * @ G L  ? J 9 H @ :Q % = F - = L L D =

48

G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

President Obama
joins in singing
Sweet Home Chicago during the In
Performance at the
White House: Red,

TODD B E E B E

White and Blues

Three things that B.B. King shared

concert in the East

with me:

PETE SOUSA

Room of the White

GP reader

[1] When you get on that stage,

House, Feb. 21, 2012.

youre King Kong. The stage is yours

Participants include

and you should own it. But the

(from left): Troy

minute you leave that stage, leave

Trombone Shorty

that ego and that attitude right

Andrews, Jeff Beck,

there. Dont ever take it with you.

Derek Trucks, B.B.

No one wants to deal with some-

King, and Gary

one who carries that ego around.

Clark, Jr.

[2] I will play the blues until the


day I die. As long as I can pick up

OUTPOURINGS OF LOVE & RESPECT

my guitar and play, Ill keep going.


[3] Dont chase trends. Just do
what you doeven when you have to

THE WORLD WAS SO SADDENED

brought blues to an audience that

I asked him if it was because Im

wait it out for a time. Muddy Waters

by Kings passing that scores of trib-

would never have found the blues

white and I would just never get it.

once told me that a musician is like

utes ooded the airwaves and social

if B.B. was not the conduit. Never

He laughed and said, No man, thats

a horse on a track. It might look like

media. Heres a sampling of some

again will there be another as good,

got nothin to do with it. Have you

the others are leaving you behind

of those remembrances from GP

gracious, or as kind as Mr. King.

ever been treated bad by a girl?

and they will for awhilebut soon

readers, rock stars, and politicians.

J O E P E RRY

And I said, Sure.

theyll all come back around, and

He said, Well thats the blues.

be right where you are once again.

B UD DY GU Y

B.B. was one of the last of the great

Now you put that feeling into your

B.B. King was the greatest guy I

pioneers in the tradition of Chi-

ngers.

ever met. The tone he got out of

cago blues. Guitar as we know it

that guitarthe way he shook his

wouldnt be what it is if it wasnt

left wrist, the way he squeezed the

for B.B. and his peers.

strings. Man, he came out with that

FR E D RUDOFSKY

A major light bulb went off, and


suddenly I got it.

GP reader
I saw B.B. perform more than 20

Then, he said, Learn from the

times, and he was always gracious,

records, but dont try to copy. Take

humble, and quite often hilarious.

and it was all new to the whole

GREG KO C H

what you learn and make it your

It was always like being around an

guitar playing world. He could play

B.B. King is the most important

own, because thats what will keep

old friend whenever I got to see him

so smoothhe didnt have to put

electric guitar player for me that

the blues alive.

and chat. Im a teacher, and he told

on a show. The way B.B. did it is

ever walked the planet.

Those two things had a pro-

me he always wanted to better him-

found impact on how I perceived

self. He loved to read, to listen to all

music and guitar playing, and inu-

kinds of music, and work on song

all. Ill miss you, B., and I promise I

P RES ID E N T
BA RAC K O BA M A

enced everything I did musically

arrangements on his laptop. Once, I

will keep these damn blues alive!

No one did more to spread the gospel

throughout my career.

told him that the teachers in my dis-

the way we all do it now. He was


my best friend, and a father to us

trict in New York were going through

of the blues. He was an ambassa-

ERIC CLAPTON

dor who brought his all-American

IR MA ESPARZA

Theres not a lot left to say, because

music to his country and the world.

I met him in Fort Worth, Texas. He

tions, and he said, If you teachers

was there with U2. I was waiting

ever need me to help you, just give


me and Lucille a call.

his music is almost a thing of the

GP reader

some protracted contract negotia-

past now. There are not many left to

STEV E H U N TE R

at the hotel lobby, hoping to run

play it in the pure way that B.B. did.

In the fall of 1970, some fellow band-

into Bono, and instead, here comes

He was a beacon for all of us who

mates and I drove the four hours to

B.B. King with a bodyguard. I was

GEOFF ROBINSON

love this kind of music, and I thank

Chicago to see B.B. King at a won-

so excited. I got to shake his hand

GP reader

him from the bottom of my heart.

derful dinner club called Mr. Kellys.

and he gave me his autograph. I

I was on a school eld trip when

B.B. King: Live at the Regal is where it

After the show, he was sort of

asked him if I could hold Lucille.

I was 12 years old, and Mr. King

all started for me as a young player.

hanging around in front of the stage,

He laughed, and said, You may.

came into the Varsity in Atlanta

so I took that opportunity to talk to

He took her off his shoulder, and I

for lunch. I wanted his autograph,

JOE BO NA MASSA

him. I told him I had been trying to

was so honored. I told him, I just

but the only thing I had for him to

To say that the loss of B.B. King is

learn how to play the blues by lis-

want to get a little bit of your magic

sign was a newly purchased copy

devastating to the blues community

tening to and playing along with

is all. He laughed out loud, and as

of the Beatles Let It Be. He told

is an understatement. He dened

many of his records, but, no matter

he walked away, he nodded and

me it was a great album, and hed

the blues. He was the blues. He

what I did, I didnt sound like him.

said, Keep some of that magic!

love to sign it for me.

O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5 / G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M

49

Cover Story
B. B . KI NG

Multi Voice Octave Fuzz

50

M IC HAELOC HS ARC HIVES / GET T Y IM AGES

slightly under the radar, or scoring huge pop


hits such as Riding With the King with Eric
Clapton in 2000.
Even as his musical powers diminished
in his last years, his jovial, unbowed spirit
could still inspire fans. He seemed to truly
live for music. But his skill as a player and
his history werent the only reasons people
revered him. He was also humble. Approachable. A charismatic celebrity, and, in later
life, a very rich man, but one without all
the star trips and entitled behavior. He was
witty and kind and a gracious teacher to all
who sought his wisdom. He encouraged
most every musician he met. He probably
wasnt a saint, but he appeared to be as
close to one as an earthbound mortal could
be. These are some of the reasons why his
death had such resonance, and why, even
a few months later, his absence is still felt
so deeply.
The GP staff struggled a bit with how
exactly to pay tribute to such a beloved and

Repeat Percussion

G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

Mega Chorus

Otherworldly Reverberator

Cover Story
B. B . KI NG

52

G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

N EIL Z LOZOW ER / AT LAS ICON S

important guitarist. A man whomuch like


the mission of this magazine since 1967
worked tirelessly to bring the joy of guitar
playing to as many lives as possible.
The answer was right in our archives.
King had been a huge part of the extended
Guitar Player family from the beginning. We
rst featured him in 1969, and continued
talking with him well into the 2000s (his
last cover feature was October 2000). Hes
in our Gallery of the Greats, and the great
man would occasionally stop by the ofce
to jam back in the magazines early days.
So while other publications can publish
retreads of Kings biography that, no matter
how well written, cant mask that the facts
can be found online and myriad other places,
Guitar Player possesses decades of transcripts
where B.B. talks directly to us (and you) about
the music he made, his gear, his inuences,
his technique, and more.
And we want to share that with you now.
We want B.B. himself to tell you the story

PORTRAITS

IN TONE
Not just another version of the Fly Rig simply
bearing his name, the Richie Kotzen RK5 Signature
Fly Rig was a close, year-long collaborative effort.
Meticulous about every facet of his playing, singing,
songwriting and tone, Richies attention to the
details of this pedal was nothing less.
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Cover Story
B. B . KI NG

of his life.
We cant publish everything we have in our
archives in one issue, of course. (Someday, I
promise well gure out a way to make our
entire archival resources available online.)
We hope weve selected some of the best bits
for you to read here. Long live the memory
of B.B. King! M I C H A E L M O L E N D A

EAR ING HIS FIRST


E LECTR IC GUITAR

The rst electric guitar player


I heard in person was when
I saw a sanctied preacher
named Archie Fair in the hills
of Mississippi. He was my uncles brother-inlaw. I must have been about seven or eight

years old. Hed visit my uncle, and when it


was time for the adults to go in the kitchen
for dinnerthe kiddies ate later, if we were
luckyhed lay his guitar on the bed, and
Id crawl up and play with it. One day, he
caught me and decided to show me a few
chords: C, F, and G. Even today, I still use
those same three chords a lot. J C

FROM RILEY B. KING TO B.B.


The idea [to change my name] came from
the local radio station where I was working,
WDIA. I was singing some advertisements
for Pepticonone of those cure all medicines. Later, I became a disc jockey with my
own one-hour show, and they would call
me the blues boy or the boy from Beale
Street. A lot of times, theyd shorten it to
B.B., and I liked that. It has stuck with me
all this time. T W

THE QUEST FOR TOOLS


During the late 1940s, guitars hadnt really
come into being, if you will. It was a bitch to
try to get a good guitar at that timejust to
try to get one. And when you did get one, you
better hold onto itdont loan it to nobody. If
you did, they didnt come back. Nobody had
any idea that the guitar would become what
it is today. Ive tried so many guitars through
the yearsyou name them, Ive probably
had one. But when I found those Gibsons,
that did it. Thats like nding your wife forever. This is she! They had the ES-335, and
then they had a new idea for the ES-355, so
thats the one Ive held onto. J O

THE CLOTHES MAK E


THE (B LUES) MAN
We used to be put down as blues singers.
Ive quite often said that if you were a black
person singing the blues, you were black
twice. And if youre a white person, you
were black once. But my cousin Bukka White
used to tell me, Dress neat and clean like

KEY TO THE INTERVIEWERS AND


INTERVIEW EXCERPTS
JC=Jim Crockett, March 1975; AE=Andy
Ellis, October 2000; DE=Dan Erlewine, June 1992; JO=Jas Obrecht, July
1991; LS=Lisa Sharken, March 1999;
AT=Art Thompson, February 2000;
TW=Tom Wheeler, September 1980.

54

G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

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F INDING LUC I LLE


My rst Lucille was a little black Gibson acoustic guitar, and I used a DeArmond pickup on
it to electrify. My rst amplierthe very rst

one I ever hadwas a little Gibson amp with


something like an 8" or 10" speaker in it. D E

TH E IM P O RTANCE OF PHRASING
Musicians inuence me by how they phrase.
Even though they may be in different categoriessome are jazz and some are blues
when I hear their phrasing, each note seems
to say something to me. And it doesnt have
to be 64 notes to a bar. Just one note can tell
me a whole lot. T W
photography: Gabrielle Geiselman

youre going to try to borrow some money


from a bank. When youre dressed up, the
white people see you, and you look like a
preacher or something like that, so you get
by a little easier. After that, I started a trend
for my own band. I got used to dressing up,
and I liked it. J O

GP ARC HIVES

Dan Erlewine checks out Lucilles specs in 1992.

TALKIN BOUT LUCILLE

Anyone who knows anything about B.B. King is aware of his famous story about Lucille
I was playing a hall in Twist, Arkansas [in 1949], he told GP in 1969, and these men got

see the video carvinampliers.com/legacy3

into a ght and knocked over a burning barrel of kerosene they were using for heat. The whole
place caught re, and I had to run back into the burning building to get my guitar. I learned the
men had been ghting over a woman called Lucille, so I named my guitar Lucille to remind
me never to do a fool thing like that again.
King has had many Lucilles since that fool thing occurred, and Guitar Player staffers were
lucky enough to get their hands on one of his ladies twice to detail how he liked his guitars set up.
GP columnist Dan Erlewine got ahold of Lucille the 15th in January 1992, and did a setup
CSI that revealed a neck width of 1.698 at the nut, and a fret size of .098 wide by .045 tall.
The neck relief (measured at the 7th and 8th frets) was .030, which is a lot of relief. Erlewine stated that .015 would be more normal, but he declined to arouse Kings ire by making a
surreptitious trussrod adjustment.
Ten years later, in the November 2002 issue, we had another chance at studying Lucille,
when GP columnist Gary Brawer examined it for his Setups of the Stars. At this time, King
was using a 1999 model built by Bruce Kunkel of the Gibson Custom Shop. The guitar was
presented to King for his 70th birthday, and it had one modication as a deference to the
bluesmans agean output jack on the back to accommodate his then-current style of playing while sitting down. The corian nut still had the 1992 measurement, but the frets were now
.092 wide by .050 tallmuch higher and narrower than what youd nd on a vintage ES-355.
Brawer found the neck on the 1999 Lucille to be almost straight.

O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5 / G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M

57

Cover Story
B. B. KI N G

GETTIN G H IS SWE ET SUSTAIN


I believe that your sound comes from within
you, because I can do that with almost any
amp. You can manufacture a sound by having
a wah-wah pedal or something, but the actual
sound comes from within you. You know, if
you have a piano sitting out in the lounge
or someplace, and Ray Charles is playing
it, hes going to sound like Ray Charles. If
Elton John is playing it, hes going to sound
like Elton. My point is that its your touch
and your soul that makes it sound the way
it does. AT

IN V E N TIN G FING E R V IB RATO


Lets put it this way: I wont say I invented
[fingerstyle, perpendicular-to-the-neck]
vibrato, but they werent doing it before I
started [laughs]. I will say that Im still trying.
Bukka White and quite a few other people
used bottlenecks. But I have stupid ngers.
If I get something like that in my hand and
try to use it, it just wont work. So my ears
told me that when I trilled my hand, Id get
a sound similar to the sound they were getting with a bottleneck. And so for about 33
years, Ive been trying to do it, and now they
tell me that Im doing a little better. T W

N O K E ITH RICHAR DS
I cannot play and sing at the same time.
I just cant do itIve never accompanied
myself. Ive always been featured from the
very beginning. I still cant play rhythm worth
anything, because I never had the chance to
really play in a rhythm section. But I know
a few chords. T W

B. B.S TO N E TEST
Each person has their own idea of what
they want something to sound like, and you
cant tell anybody how something should
sound to them. But I will say that if something doesnt sound good to you, you can
bet it wont sound good to others. Now, if
you dont care what it sounds like to others,
then you arent going to make any money or
pay your bills. L S

dont play a lot of notes like some people.


Maybe thats the reason most of my music
is very simplethats the way I sing. When
Im playing a solo, I hear me singing through
the guitar. T W

R ECOR DING R IDING WITH THE


K ING WITH ERIC CLAPTON
Im kind of in a hurry when I record, but Eric
takes good time doing it. He makes sure that
each detail is worked out the way he thinks it
should be. I would trust him completely. If it
was something he felt that weas a whole
didnt do like he thought we could do it, hed
mention it. Wed go back and do it over. He
knew what he wanted. It was Erics idea to
revisit some of my old songs like When
My Heart Beats Like a Hammer, Ten Long
Years, Three Oclock Blues, and Days of
Old. When we rst talked about doing a
record together, I said, Eric, I trust you with
the songs. You choose them, and if I have a
problem with anything, well talk about it.
He brought up tunes I had forgotten about.
They say elephants have long memories?
None of them has a memory like Eric! He
was never demanding, and we always talked
frankly to each other. Like I said, he knew
what he wanted. I didnt [laughs]. I had no
problem with any of the tunes Eric brought
in, except one: Come Rain or Come Shine.
Ray Charles sang that, you know, so I didnt
think I could do it justice. I feel that Im quite
limited, and I dont like to go beyond what I
think Im pretty good at. But Eric said, B.,
I can hear you doing it. So we recorded it,
and, sure enough, when I heard the results,
I agreed with him. I think we did a very good
job. I told Eric hes like my ladyhe can get
me to do things Id never do! A E

EV E N LEG E NDS CAN G ET TESTY


Ive heard some people say that Im not playing blues anymore. Okay, so what am I playing? Im playing B.B. King-style blues, and
I play it the way I feel it. Im not trying to
please anybody but the audience and myself.
I hope everybody else likes it, but if they
dontwell, the critics have to eat, too. AT

SO LO IN G
I was at the Apollo Theater one time, and
a critic gave me one of the greatest compliments anyone has ever given me. He said,
B.B. King sings, and then Lucille sings. That
made me feel very good, because I do feel
that Im singing when I play. Thats why I

58

G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

STRETCHING OUT
In my room, youd be surprised at all the
things I try, but I never go out on a limb
onstageno, no, no. I make enough mistakes. The guys in the band always tease me.
But Ive learned through these many years

Cover Story
B. B. KI N G

of being out there that if you make a mistake, work something into it, so that its not
a mistake. T W

LIVING FOR THE MUSIC


Many guitarists are so technical that

everything is so right there. Thats good


it shows that you practice. But when a guy
lives what hes doing, you can feel it. I cant
tell you what Im listening for, but when I
hear it, I know it. The people who I listened
to in the early yearsT-Bone Walker, Elmore

MY TEN FAVORITE GUITARISTS


BY B . B . K I N G
FO R T H E M A RC H 1975

get that soundespecially in

This was in the 1940s. When

issue, King revealed to GPs

the late 40s and early 50s. I

Charles decided to go on his

then-publisher, Jim Crock-

came pretty close, but I never

own, Oscar left Nat and joined

ett, the players he dug the

quite got it. T-Bone was the

Johnny as a duo. Then, they got

most. Here they areright

first electric guitar player I

another singer/pianist. After

from the bluesmans mouth.

heard on recordfrom Stormy

a couple of years Oscar and

How many of them are you

Monday, around 1943 or 1944.

Johnny split up. Oscar stopped

aware of, or have heard per-

He made it so I knew I just had

traveling and Johnny rejoined

form in recordings?

to go out and get an electric

Charles Brown. But I remem-

Im a mixture of many

guitar. T-Bone used a lot of

ber seeing Oscar and Johnny

peoplenot just guitarists.

horns, tootrumpet, alto,

playing together in Los Ange-

People like alto player Louis

tenor, and baritone. They made

les. It was like meeting gods!

Jordan, trumpeter Cootie Wil-

a beautiful sound. That was

Johnny used a big Super 400.

liams, Johnny Hodges, Bobby

the best sound I ever heard.

He used to like to put in quite


a few chord changes when

Hackett, Cleanhead Vinson.

he was playingthings like

phrasing, youll hear B. B. King.

B LIND LE MON
JE FFE RSON

Im as much a jazz fan as I am

Blind Lemon Jefferson played

really modern changes, but

a blues fan, and I like country

acoustic guitar, and just solo,

they always t what he was

and western music, too. Chet

but his way of execution left

doing. He would slide into his

Atkins is a master guitarist. But

you with the feeling that you

chords sometimesgiving a

among my very favorite guitar

could hear someone else back-

good, bluesy, feeling to a ballad.

players are these ten men

ing him up. He had a special

If you listen to Louis Jordans

way of phrasing that I dont

B ILL JE NNINGS

T- BO N E WALK E R

hear from many people today.

Bill Jennings used to play in

T.Bone Walker has a touch

Anyone can play 64 notes in

Louis Jordans band, Tym-

that nobody has been able

a bar, but to place just one or

pany Five. I rst heard him on

to duplicate. He has a strange

two in that same bar in just

Aint that Just Like a Woman.

way of holding his guitar, slant-

the right placeor maybe even

Later, Louis featured him on

ing it away from him, instead

let one go by, then double up

tunes like Salt Pork, West

of having it lay at against his

on it in the next barthats

Virginia. I have lifted a lot of

stomach. Its almost like he

something special. Blind

things from him. His rhythm

were playing a steel guitar, but

Lemon was my idol.

was so even and so driving.


You know, once you start a

he curls his left arm under-

60

big, fat 9th chords. They were

neath and reaches his fin-

JOHNNY MOOR E

beat to going real good, keep

gers up over the top. And he

Johnny Moore was Oscar

it. Thats what Bill did so well.

seems to kind of scrape his

Moores brother, and when

So many guys back then were

pick across the strings. How

Oscar was with Nat King

so good that if you listen to

hes able to hit specic strings,

Cole, Johnny played in a sim-

those old recordings today,

I just dont know. And that

ilar trio with Charles Brown,

theyre still good.

touch! Ive tried my best to

who played piano and sang.

G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

Continued on page 62

Cover Story
B. B. KI N G

band would hit the bridge, he

LLOYD E LLIS

would keep the whole thing

Lloyd Ellis is something else,

BIG J O E WILLIAMS

ying, and get it really taking

man. The things he does are

Big Joe Williams is another

off. Charlie didnt uff notes

unbelievable.WesMontgomery

great one. His playing with

much, either. A lot of us slide

carried his own chords as he

Sonny Boy Williamson was

into notes because we arent

soloed, and thats sort of what

beautiful. Tunes like Baby

sure. Like if you want to hit a

Lloyd does, but with rhythm.

Please Dont Go were really

Bb, you hit a B, and slide down

Lloyd, vibe player Red Norvo,

setting a pace.

into it, or hit an A and slide up.

and bassist Monk Montgomery

But Charlie Christian knew. He

[Wes brother] had a drum-

L IGH TN IN HOPK INS

was so sure. It really bugs me

less trio, but Lloyds rhythm

Lightnin Hopkins was another

when someone plays a little

playing was so full that youd

style setter. Blues guitarists

at or a little sharp. All notes

swear you heard a drummer

have to all come through play-

that you play in my band have

in there, too.

ers like Big Joe and Lightnin.

to relate to the actual pitch.

Its much the same reason

Like if the pitch of C were one

EXTRA CREDIT

why lady singers have to

inch wide, you can play at the

Thats ten, but I could go on

come through Bessie Smith,

outer edge of that inch, or at

indefinitely. Theres my cousin,

and, later, Dinah Washington.

the inner edge. But if you get

Bukka Whitea marvelous

Big Joe and Lightnin covered

even a tiny bit outside of that

guitar player. Wes Montgom-

everything.

inch, it bothers me. I always

ery was one of my favorite

play right in the center. I may

guitarists, too, and a good

slide up or down, but I always

personal friend. Barney Kessel

land in that center.

is another great player and

Continued from page 60

C H A RL IE
C H R IST IAN

friend, and so is Kenny Burrell.

Charlie Christian was amazing. I rst heard him around

EAR L HOOK E R

I never met Tal Farlow, but

1941. There were these vend-

Earl Hooker was the best

I love his playing so much

ing machines thenlike juke-

slide guitarist I ever heard. He

that I feel weve known each

boxes but with lms. You put

always knew exactly what he

other for years. Herb Ellis is

in a dime or quarter, and you

was doing. For instance, take

another great one, and so is

could see the most popu-

a truck drivertell him to park

Muddy Watersespecially in

lar people of the day. Thats

next to the curb, and he knows

his early slide work. Django

how I rst saw Duke Elling-

exactly where to put the rig.

Reinhardt cant be omitted,

ton, Louis Armstrong, Count

Thats how Earl Hooker played.

eitherparticularly some of
his rare recordings with just

Basie, and Louis Jordan, and

a regular rhythm section. Its

tian. To me, Charlie Christian

ROBERT
NIG HTHAWK

was a master at diminished

Robert Nighthawk was Earls

wonderful guitar players,

chordsa master at new ideas,

teacher, and he was among

but there are a lot of great

too. He was kind of like a gov-

the best. I can hear his play-

ones coming up every day,

ernor on a tractor. If a tractor

ing in Earl Hooker. I was inu-

and their playing will influ-

is bogging down in the mud,

enced somewhat by Robert,

ence me, too, just as I hope

the governor will kick in and

but only by his slide work. Earl

that my playing will, in some

give it an extra boost. Christian

Hooker, though, could get me

small way, influence others.

was the same way. When the

both ways.

thats how I saw Charlie Chris-

CarvinGuitars
C
arvinGuitar s
858
8
58 G
GUITARS
UITAR S

ww
www.
w

nice to think back to all the

.com
com

always made
in
America

James, Lonnie Johnson, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Django Reinhardt, Charlie Christian
all lived their music. A E

GIV IN G A VOICE TO THE B LUES


The big mistake about people in the blues
is they seem to think you have to be high,

62

G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

completely smashed, or stoned out of your


head to be able to play the blues. And I dont
think a guy has to wear patched trousers,
either. That image is what people seem to
put on us, and its wrong. Blues music is like
any other kind of music. Some of us excel,
and some of us dont. Some of us are really

SING THE BLUES

WITH THESE GROOVIN ARTISTS FROM CLEOPATRA

BLUES

JUNIOR WELLS

SHUGGIE OTIS

B.B. KING

TOM KILLNER

POPA CHUBBY

HARVEY MANDEL

AND
MANY
MORE!
ERIC GALES
www.cleopatrarecords.com

ELI COOK

Cover Story
B. B. KI N G

able to please people, and some of us cant.


But we all have the bluesred, white, black,
brown, yellow, rich or poor. You can be successful and still have the blues. I have been
fortunate, and yet now I have more to sing
about than I ever did before. I look around and
read the papers, and I see whats happening

in this country and around the world. There


are money troubles. Food is running low is
some places. There are oil problems. I go to
the prisons and see whats happening there.
I think of my peoplethe ones I left behind
in Mississippi, and all the people in all the
Mississippis. We are part of each other, you

LARRY M ARAN O / AT LAS ICON S

HOW I RUN MY BAND


BY B . B. K I N G

For the September 2000 issue, King shared with GP Senior Editor Art Thompson his rules
of the road for managing his group of musicians.
EVERYBODY HAS AN EGO, BUT SOMETIMES YOU DONT SEE ITOR THEY
dont show itso you have to be diplomatic. If youre what I call a stiff boss, theres no gray
areaeither the band will get tired of you, or youll get tired of them. I tell my musicians and

Tools and parts


for working on
your guitar

everybody who works with me, If theres something bothering you, lets talk about it. Im not

Shipped fast
Rock-solid guarantee

years. Theres no contract, though. There never has been. Its a handshake dealmy word, their

Lord, God, master, or any of that. Im the bandleader and the guy that pays you.
It makes me happy when the guys are concerned enough to say to me, How come we
have to sound like that here? Why dont we try this? I really welcome it, because if you can
get everyones ideas and put them together, it makes it better. One of the guys in my band has
been with me for 21 years, and almost everybody else has been with me between ten and 15
word. Nobody has ever let me down, and I dont let them down. There have been times when
Ive paid them a month in advance, but theyve always been there when I needed them. Ive
got the greatest bunch of guys that you could nd.
Every household has to have some rules, though, and I have a few. You dont smoke, drink,
or swear on the bandstand. I dont, so you dont. If you want to get drunk, do it in your room or
someplace, but dont miss work. You dont ght, either. If you ght, you get red. Another rule
has to do with wives and girlfriends. A guy has to treat his lady like a lady when shes around
us. It has been that way for 50 years.
A lot of the guys in my band are better musicians than me. Most of them read better
and play better. The only thing Ive got on them is age, and experience does come with age.

Where the pros shop, since 1969

stewmac.com
64

Thats the part that I ask them to respect. I tell my band, Its like were on a boatif anyone
opens a hole in it, we all sink.

G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

Mini Monsters

The Peavey Classic 20 MH, 6505 MH , and ValveKing MH Mini Heads authentically
produce the legendary tones of their iconic big brothers in a small, portable package.
These amps boast modern features like the USB record output, a plug and play port
that allows the amps to be used as an audio interface into your favorite recording
software. Stop by your authorized Peavey dealer or visit us online to learn more today!

www.peavey.com

Cover Story

THE CLASSIC
B.B. GEAR

B. B . KI NG

The Guitar: Gibson B.B.


King Signature Lucille.

know. When one person is hurt, it hurts me,


too. When I see their condition, I know what
they feel, and I feel it. And it hurts. T W

The Amp: Lab Series. I turn the


Volume knob full up, said King,
the reverb is at 2, the treble is
at 8, the bass at around 4, and

HOW A GENTLEMAN SU RVIVES THE MUS I C B US IN ESS

66

King also liked Fender Twins.


Effects: I dont use any pedals
or nothing, said King. Its just me
and the strings and the amp.
Strings: Gibson B.B. King Blues
strings, gauged .010, .012, .013,
.024, .037, and .054. Although
loyal to Gibson, King also started
using Ernie Ball Skinny Top/
Heavy Bottom strings in 1992
gauged .010 or .011, .013, .017,
.030, .045, .054because he
didnt like the wound G in the
K EN S ET T LE

In the early years, I thought that everybody


seemed to get a break but me. I wasnt bitter
about it. I gured they got a break because
they deserved it. But I thought I did, too.
Finally, when the kids started to play blues,
they opened up a lot of doors for B.B. King.
I pray on it sometimes, and I say, Thank
Godbetter late than never. But I was never
bitter. I dont feel I have a reason or a right
to be bitter. No, I didnt get the recognition
I thought I deserved, but why should I be
bitter about it? You cant make people love
you [laughs]. They love you if they want to.
Thats the way life is. A E g

the middle at 5. Thats about it.

G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

Gibson sets. Thats nice if youre


playing jazz, he said, but its
not the sound Im looking for.

ANY GEAR, ANYTIME, ANYWHERE


At Guitar Center, you can wrap your hands around the nest electric guitars
in the world, from major manufacturers to exclusive boutique makers.
The best gear, the best dealsonly at Guitar Center.

LOWEST PRICE GUARANTEE | RISK-FREE RETURNS | EXPERT ADVICE | BEST SELECTION


GET HANDS-ON AT ONE OF OUR 265+ STORES NATIONWIDE OR SHOP ONLINE AT GUITARCENTER.COM

A GUITAR PLAYER SPECIAL ACOUSTIC SECTION

NASHVILLE
PICKS
NEW ACOUSTIC
GOODIES FROM
SUMMER NAMM!
REVIEWED!
GUILD OM-150 AND M-140E
CLASSIC COLUMN
CHARLIE DANIELS GOES BLUEGRASS
O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5 / G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M

69

COV E R STORY

NEW ACOUSTIC
WONDERS FROM
SUMMER NAMM
BY M I CH A E L MOL ENDA
THE 2015 SUMMER NAMM SHOW IN NASHVILLE,

Tennessee, kicked off on July 9 in the very open,


sunlit, and modern Music City Center. Thankfully, the Center is also exquisitely air cooled,
as its so hot in Nashville in July that even the
wind feels like someone is pointing a flame
thrower at your face. Needless to say, it was a
marvelous thing for this San Francisco boy to
stay out of the blast furnace by perusing new
gear in the buildings aisles.
In addition to this print report, you can check
out more new products online at guitarplayer.com.
Simply click the Frets tab in the top navigation
bar, or search Summer NAMM 2015. Well also
be reviewing some of these products in future
issues, so please stand by for more comprehensive information on anything youre considering
adding to your rig.

TAYLO R 30 0 S E RIE S
WIT H S H ADE D
MAH O G ANY TO PS
Quite eye-catching, huh?
These beauties also feature
sapele backs and sides, Taylors Expression System 2
pickups, and hardshell cases.
The series includes the 360eSEB 12-String Dreadnought
($1,799 street), 326e-SEB
Grand Symphony Baritone
($1,799 street), 322e-SEB
Grand Concert ($1,799 street),
324e-SEB Grand Auditorium
($1,699 street), and 320e-SEB
Dreadnought ($1,699 street).
Taylor says this will be a limited run, so if you dig em,
dont wait. taylorguitars.com

B E DE LLS S U MME R O F LOVE T RIB UTE


One of summer NAMMs bright spots was the
ruby-hued Wildre series ($3,990 retail), but
we already covered those gems in the October 2015 New Gear column. So lets riff on the
summer theme further with an utterly transcendent Summer of Love #2 ($17,450) that has a soundboard crafted from 200-year-old Adirondack spruce
and the rest from Brazilian rosewood. Call it the
sound of the 60s reborn. bedellguitars.com

70

G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

BREE D LOV E BE AU T Y
The Oregon Concert Limited Edition ($2,132 retail)
looks comfy, a bit strange,
and absolutely spectacular at all once. Only 100
of these instruments
made with wood harvested from the Oregon
coastwill be produced.
breedlovemusic.com

CO RDO B AS S U NB U RST FINIS H E S


Its a popular electric nish, of course,
but sunburst almost never shows up
on more organicperhaps lets just
say conservativeclassical guitars. But if youre a nylon-string player
looking for something cool and different, the Cordoba C5 SB ($329
retail) and C5-CESB (shown; $429
retail) boast some stunning bursts.
Both guitars have solid European
spruce tops and mahogany backs and
sides. The C5-E adds a Fishman Isys+
pickup system. cordobaguitars.com

SA N TA C R U Z S SU PE RSTAR G U ITAR
Country star and guitar wizard Brad Paisley wanted a classy and sophisticated handmade instrument, so he worked closely with Santa Cruzs Richard Hoover to design a
personalized guitar ($5,450 retail) based on the companys Pre-War Dreadnought. Paisley wanted sustainable tone woods, so he used a Bear Claw Sitka top, as well as Indian
rosewood for the body and an ebony fretboard. Even the paisley embossing on the
hardshell case is stunning. This jem is truly a work of art. santacruzguitar.com

F IS HMA N G O E S
PLATIN UM !
Heres tons of tone-shaping power for all your acoustic instruments, whether you
play resonator, violin, cello, or
steel-string. The Platinum Pro
EQ/DI ($249 street) employs
a Class-A analog preamp with
features such as 5-band EQ,
an onboard tuner, an adjustable volume boost, an effects
loop, and more. shman.com

O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5 / G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M

71

NEW ACOUSTIC WONDERS FROM SUMMER NAMM

RAD IAL
ENG INE E RI N G G E TS
A L ITTLE BUG GY
If your ears are getting
tired of your acoustic-guitars piezo pickup squawking, snapping, and low-end
woong, then the StageBug SB-4 Piezo Direct Box
($79 street) can tame most
all of your tonal woes. The
SB-4 is phantom powered, has a Phase Reverse
switch to help combat
feedback, a Ground Lift to
kill hum, and a high-pass
lter to diminish bass mud
and boom. radialeng.com

72

B A R B E R A T R A N S DU CE R SYST E MS
S O LO I ST S E R I E S
These saddle pickupsnot under saddlefor steel- and nylonstringed instruments offer amplied tone without being microphonic, boomy, or otherwise unmusical. Soloist Guitar pickups
($300 direct) focus on the vibration of your strings to deliver a
transparent, balanced, and clear tone. A non-invasive installation
is easy, and it does not damage your guitar. Some notable artists and companies have already embraced the design, including
Collings Guitars, Benedetto Guitars, Guild, Cordoba, Doyle Dykes,
Bernie Leadon, and Muriel Anderson. barberatransducers.com

ALVARE Z ANNIVE RSARY


Were typically used to seeing anniversary models hit the wayhigher end of the price strata, but Alvarezs 50th Anniversary
ADA1965 dreadnought clocks in at just $499 street. This guitar
has a Sitka spruce top and a sunburst nish. alvarezguitars.com

G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

Rodney Crowell
and Collings Guitars

Rodney Crowell and his 1993 Collings C10 Deluxe

Serious Guitars | www.CollingsGuitars.com | (512) 288-7770

REV I E W

OM-150

M-140E

GUILD
WESTERLY COLLECTION
OM-150 AND M-140E
TESTED BY ART THOMPSON

74

G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

Guild Westerly M-140E


CONTACT

guildguitars.com

MODEL

M-140E

PRICE

$849 street, polyfoam case included

NUT WIDTH

1.75", NuBone

NECK

Mahogany, 14-fret
neck joint

FRETBOARD

Indian rosewood,
24.75" scale, 16" radius

FRETS

20

TUNERS

Guild vintagestyle open-gear

BODY

Solid African mahogany back and sides,


solid Sitka spruce top

BRIDGE

Rosewood

ELECTRONICS

Fishman Sonitone

FACTORY STRINGS

DAddario EXP-16
Coated Phosphor
Bronze Light, .012-.053

WEIGHT

4.16 lbs

BUILT

China

KUDOS

Solid wood construction. Compact and


sweet sounding. Fishman electronics.

CONCERNS

None.

Guild Westerly OM-150


CONTACT

guildguitars.com

MODEL

OM-150

PRICE

$929 street, polyfoam case included

NUT WIDTH

1.75", NuBone

NECK

Mahogany, 14-fret
neck joint

FRETBOARD

Indian rosewood, 25.5"


scale, 16" radius

FRETS

20

TUNERS

Guild vintagestyle open-gear

BODY

Solid Indian Rosewood back and sides,


solid Sitka spruce top

GUILDS RECENTLY LAUNCHED WESTERLY

Collection pays tribute to the 60-era guitars that helped to make this company a
renowned marque in the world of steelstring acoustics. Composed of the 120,
140, and 150 seriesand ranging in street
price from $649 to $1,099the Westerly
Collection models offer a lot of value with
their solid-wood construction and nice
appointments. The OM-150 and M-140E
were sampling here provide distinctly
different ways to go, as the former is an

orchestra-sized pure acoustic and the latter


a smaller, concert-shaped instrument with
Fishman electronics.
Though its street price is closer to the
top of the Westerly Collection range, the
OM-150 is still a worthy contender in the
affordable end of the acoustic market. Its a
well made guitar that aims to deliver quality sound courtesy of a tonewood recipe
that pairs solid Indian rosewood back and
sides with a solid Sitka spruce top with
scalloped X bracing. In classic OM style,

BRIDGE

Indian rosewood

ELECTRONICS

N/A

FACTORY STRINGS

DAddario EXP-16
Coated Phosphor
Bronze Light, .012-.053

WEIGHT

4.54 lbs

BUILT

China

KUDOS

Solid wood construction. A versatile


guitar that could be
a great candidate for
a soundhole pickup.

CONCERNS

None.

O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5 / G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M

75

GUI L D

the body is 15.25" wide at the lower bout,


19.5" long, and has a maximum depth of
4". Cosmetics consist of black/white binding and a multi-ring rosette with a motherof-pearl inner circle. A plastic tortoiseshell
pickguard adds vintage air, and the fretboard and headstock are respectively
adorned with pearl dots and a 60s-style

76

Chestereld inlay thats also rendered in


mother-of-pearl.
The OM-150s mahogany neck has a comfortable C carve, and its generous fretboard
radius of 16" affords easy playability with
the low-action factory setup. The frets are
well attended to, with even crowns and a
light polish, and the NuBone nut is carefully

G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

cut and rounded so as not to jab your hand


when you lift the guitar off a stand.
In the sonic department, the OM-150
delivers a balanced sound with good lowend girth and a smooth, non-honky midrange. Theres satisfying sustain, the top-end
is clear but not too bright, and while the
volume output is on the modest side, the
guitar has enough presence to let solos
cut through in un-plugged situations. If
you need to get louder, consider that this
guitar is also available with Fishman Sonitone electronics and a cutaway in the OM150CE model, which streets for $1,079.
Of course, you might want to give the
M-140E consideration because this lowerpriced and more compact guitar (13.75"
wide, 18" long, and 3.5" deep) already has
a Sonitone system with Volume and Tone
controls that are slyly mounted inside the
soundhole. Solid mahogany back and sides
make it a different animal than its larger sibling, although it shares many of the OM-150s
attributes, such as a solid Sitka top, multilayer binding and rosette with pearl center
ring, and simple pearl dots on the rosewood fretboard. The C-shaped mahogany
neck also joins the body at the 14th fret, and
while it has a slightly shorter scale length
of 24.75", the radius is still a generous 16".
The M-140E plays easily thanks its wideish neck and good factory setup, and it
sustains well and also intonates sweetly
across the span of its fretboard. Acoustically, it has a sweet tone with a mids-forward response that differs from that of the
more linear sounding OM-150. And while
a little less loud, the M-140E feels so compact and nimble that it could be worth the
tradeoff for some players. Plugged into a
PA or a standard guitar amp (I used a Dr. Z
Z Lux 1x12 tube combo dialed for the cleanest possible sound), the M-140Es active
Fishman system provided an amplified
sound that had good body and required
minimal adjustments of the Tone control to
get a reasonable presentation of the guitars acoustic voice.
Based on your needs, the OM-150 and
M-140E are both cool choices for singersongwriters, ngerstylists, folk and country pickers, and anyone else seeking the
classic Guild at-top experience. Factor in
their solid-wood construction and attractive prices, and these guitars denitely warrant a serious look. g

PURSUIT EBONY SERIES


For players seeking a sparkling, clear tone, both
acoustically and plugged in, the Pursuit Ebony is
a true reection of Breedloves distinctively crafted sound
found in an exceptional appointment package and
available in a concert and dreadnought body shape. The
bell-like overtones of the solid Engelmann spruce top pair
perfectly with the bass resonance of ebony back and sides
for a warm, musical tone overall. Includes Fishman Isys
pickup with built-in USB port for easy interfacing
with recording software. Learn more at
www.breedlovesound.com

VINTAG E EXCERPT

78

G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

From the original Frets, Spring/Summer 2005

BY J ESS E G R ESS

HE WAS AN INSPIRATIONAL FIGURE,

both as man and musician, to which any


electric guitarist in the past 70 years who
has ever played a blues lick is eternally
indebted. And its hard to believe hes
actually gone
But I can think of no better way to celebrate the life and times of the great B.B.
King than getting out your copy of Live at
the Regal (you do own some form of this
essential recording, right?), cranking it up,
feeling the love, and maybe copping a few
new licks! Youll nd plenty of accolades,

80

anecdotes, and biographical info in this


months cover story, so lets get right to the
music and put three of B.B. Kings greatest
recordings under investigation.
For those who never studied Kings 50s
and 60s work, the following solo choruses
and excerpts should come as an epiphany.
For those who have been-there-done-that,
consider it a trip down memory lane with
B.B. and Lucille as tour guides. Musical
osmosis is the key. Listen, listen, listen,
and then listen some more, and nature will
take its course. We begin with

G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

KE N SE TTL E

O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5 / G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M

81

Lessons
B. B . KI NG

Ex. 1

 = ca. 102


 

        
 
 4  







 ( )  

 

 4 3

3
3
3
3
Intro

B 7(I)

Medium shuffle

Horns

 
        ( ) 
() 
() 
 4 






 4

3
3
3
Gtr.

T
A
B

8 (10)

8 (10)

9 6

8 6

(9)

E 7(IV)

     

 
     





3
3
3
4

    
 
 
  




 


() ()  




 










3
3
3
3

B1/4

9
T
A
B

8 (10) 8 (10)

E V E RY DAY I H AV E T H E B LU E S
(STU DI O V ERS I O N )
Ex. 1 notates

the 12-bar intro chorus from


the 1955 studio version of Kings trademark
theme song, Every Day I Have the Blues,
now available on several Best of collections. Were in the key of Bb and the entire
solo, which shows Kings strong T-Bone
Walker inuence, is played in sixth position

B1/4

B1/4

9
8

and features B.B. elegantly lling the spaces


between a swinging horn section. In fact,
Kings entire solo itself could actually be
arranged for a horn sectionits that compositional. Lets dissect it, phrase-by-phrase.
We begin with Phrase 1 (bar 1), a short,
eighth-note-triplet burst that utilizes a rolling
index-nger technique versus a partial barre
to articulate the second and third notes. B.B.

B1/4

9
8

B1/4 B1/4

9
8

9
8

lays out during the horn gure in bar 2 (the


power of silence!), and then re-enters in bar
3 with Phrase 2s nearly unbroken string of
mixed pentatonic minor and major T-Bonestyle triplets. Segue directly to Phrase 3 (bar
4, plus the rst beat of bar 5) to approach
bar 5s IV chord (Eb7), observing the cool
rhythmic hiccup on beat three, and then
lay out and let the horns have their say.

Every Day I Have The Blues Words and Music by Peter Chatman Copyright (c) 1952; Renewed 1980 Arc Music Corp. (BMI), Trio Music Company and Fort Knox Music Inc. All Rights for Arc Music Corp. and
Trio Music Company Administered by BMG Rights Management (US) LLC International Copyright Secured All Rights Reserved Reprinted by Permission of Hal Leonard Corporation

82

G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

B 7(I)

Cm7(II)

F9(V)

    
  


  
    




 



3
3
3
7


   
     



    





( )


   





3
3
3
3

B1/4
T
A
B

6
6

B1/4

B1/4 R

8 (8)

B1/4 R

9
8

6
8 (8)

B 7(I)

   
     
 
  
  




 







3
3
10

 
 



   
   


 




3
3
3
3

B1/4

T
A
B

9 (9)
8 (8)

B1/4

(9)
(8)

More big-band phrasing shows up in in


Phrase 4 (the last beat of bar 5, plus bar 6 and
the rst beat of bar 7). Here, B.B. applies microtonal, (approximately) quarter-step bends to
four swinging, syncopated at-ve intervals
that outline the IV chord (Gb7) and target a
minor-to-major return to the I-chord on the
downbeat of bar 7, followed by more space
as the horns paraphrase their previous line.

6
7

6
6
8

Phrase 5 (the last beat of bar 7, plus the rst


two beats of bar 8) is another short, T-Boneavored, I-chord run, which again utilizes a
fret-hand, index-nger roll. (Tip: Try a partial barre instead, and hear the difference.)
King plays Phrase 6s sweet-and-sour lick
(the last two beats of bar 8, plus bar 9) into
and over the IIm7 chord (Cm7), which temporarily replaces F7, the V-chord. Note how he

smears a couple of quarter-step bends on the


single F notes surrounding the previous atve interval and adds yet another rhythmic
variation. The solo concludes in bars 10 and
11 with a V-chord lick utilizing more atted
fths, as well as an arpeggiated I-chord run
that includes a single dyad. The horns take
the turnaround, but B.B. nds an opening
for one more punctuation mark. Exquisite!

Sweet Little Angel Words and Music by B.B. King and Jules Bihari Copyright (c) 1956 by Universal Music - Careers Copyright Renewed International Copyright Secured All Rights Reserved Reprinted by
Permission of Hal Leonard Corporation

O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5 / G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M

83

Lessons
B. B . KI NG

Ex. 2a

Ex. 2b

 = ca. 172

 = ca. 172

B 7(I)
(to E 7)
 (  )   
  ()
 
   ( )







 4  
4

 


4
4


 


Fast shuffle

Fast shuffle



B 7(I)

grad.
B



w/bass pickup
throughout
T
A
B

10

11 11

10

Fast shuffle



10 11 (13)

9 (10)

11

10

11

10

Ex. 2d

Ex. 2c

 = ca. 172

11

T
A
B

 = ca. 172

E 7(IV)

Fast shuffle

B 7(I)

Cm7(II)

Dm7(III)

G7(VI)

  () ()

  
 4 

 4   








 

 4

 4




T
A
B

8
9

9 (10)

11
12

11

9 6

T
A
B

  


11

10

Ex. 2e

 = ca. 172
Fast shuffle

Cm7(II)

F7(V)

(to Dm7-G7-Cm7-F7
turnaround)


     
()   
( )  



4


 4

3
( ) ( )

B
11(13)

(11) 9

T
A
B



11

LIVE LY U P YOU RSE L F


Clocking in at nearly double the tempo of
the studio recording, the live version of
Every Day I Have the Blues, from Kings
essential Live at the Regal album recorded in
Chicago in 1964, absolutely burns. Prefacing Ex. 2a, the previous horn chart serves
as a 12-bar intro for B.B.s entrance before
he hits the stage and explodes into a ery
solo chorus using Lucilles neck pickup
with the treble rolled off and a considerable amount of gainits like night and
day in comparison to the studio version.
Still in Bb, Ex. 2b echoes his rst phrase
in bar 1. Its a simple yet effective ascending

84

pre-B R

(13)11 9

grad.
B

(10)



11 (11)

5-to-double-root move (F-Bb-Bb)normally


played on the top two stringscapped
with a b3-to-3 (C#/Db-D) grace-note slur
on the downbeat of bar 2, the remainder
of which is left open. Ex. 2b is similar to
Phrase 2 (bars 3 and 4), and acts as Kings
response to Phrase 1. It features a gracenote hammer-on, plus whole- and halfstep bends, with the latter bending the
b3 to the 3 versus slurring it. Bar 5 is left
completely open until its last sixteenthnote, the pickup into Phrase 3 (bar 6). Ex.
2c paraphrases this IV-chord run, which
begins with two sliding minor-third intervals played a minor-third apart. Use your

G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

second and third ngers to play them and


youll end up with your rst nger in position to grab the ninth-fret, half-step gracebend that follows. (Tip: Play the last two
moves with your third and rst ngers.)
Bar 7 remains open until the last eighthnote pickup into bar 8 for Phrase 4 (Ex. 2d),
which recreates another B.B. King trademarka tonic unison leap played on adjacent strings, prefaced here with a classic
b3-3-5-root motif, and followed by another
b3-to-3 grace-note slur. Note how bars 7
and 8 are framed with an atypical I7-IIm7IIIm7-IV progression (Bb7-Cm7-Dm7-Eb7).
Ex. 2e recalls B.B.s last phrase from
bars 9 and 10, a two-bar, call-and-response
affair played over a jazzy IIm7-V7 progression (Cm7-F7). We begin with a 4-to-5
bend (Eb-F) on the and of beat one, before
releasing it and pulling off to the b3 halfway through beat two and butterying the
root on beat three. The response in bar 10
is similar but somewhat milkier, with its
whole-step pre-bend, release, pull-off, and
half-step bend (all generated from a single
pick attack), and vibrated Bb root. King lays
out for the two-bar turnaround in bars 11
and 12 in preparation for his upcoming
vocalthats a lesson in itself.

Ex. 3a

Ex. 3b

 = ca. 172

 = ca. 172

Fast shuffle

Cm7(II)


()

F7(V)

B 7(I)

Fast shuffle

B 7(I)

  ()    
    
() ()
  



 4
 4
 
3

 4

 4
( ) ( )

w/treble pickup
throughout

11(13)

11 9

T
A
B

11(13)

11

11(13)

T
A
B

Ex. 3c

 = ca. 172



grad. B1/4

(9)

11

Ex. 3d



B 7(I)
Cm7(II)
E 7(IV)


( ) () ( )   

      

   



4
4



4


 
 4




Fast shuffle

= ca. 172

B 7(I)

E 7(IV)

B3/4

11

Fast shuffle

R1/2 R

(12)

(11) 11 9

11 9
11

T
A
B

11 11

T
A
B

Ex. 3e

Ex. 3f

 = ca. 172

 = ca. 172
Dm7(III)

G7(VI)

Cm7(II)

11 13

12

12

11 11

15

F7(V)

13

Dm7

G7-Cm7-F7
 (  )
()
       (to
turnaround)









4
4 
    




 

 4
 
 4
3
Fast shuffle

Fast shuffle

B
8 (10)

T
A
B

ONE M O R E T I ME!
After playing a chorus on Lucilles neck pickup
with the treble rolled off, B.B., in one of my
favorite moments, prefaces his next 12-bar
cycle with the one-bar pickup shown in Ex.
3a. Here, he hits a 4-to-5 bend on the and of
beat one and holds it for beat two, where he
switches to the bridge pickup and cranks its
Tone control to 10 before releasing, pulling off to the b3, and re-nailing the same
bend on the downbeat of bar 1. Its a sublime moment that may well have inspired
a young Eric Clapton to do the same at the
end of his I Feel Free solo from Fresh Cream.
Bar 1 is left open before Phrase 2 (Ex. 3b)

9 (10)
T
A
B

responds with a similar but elongated rhythmic motif applied to the same notes as the
previous run, plus B.B.s famed b3-to-root
dee-dah lick. Note how these and each of
the following phrases all start on the and of
beat one. Ex. 3c shows how Phrase 3 (bars
4 and 5) milks the I7 and IV7 chords with
a three-quarter-step bend, partial-to-full
release, and pull-off into a raked high-Eb
and descending b3-to-root motif. Phrase 4
(Ex. 3d) excerpts the two-bar, Bb pentatonicmajor-based move played over the IV and I7
chords in bars 6 and 7. (Tip: This eleventhposition pentatonic-major ngering pattern
was one of B.B.s favorite hangouts.)

6 8 6

Phrase 5 (Ex. 3e) features some Charlie Christian-style arpeggios played in sixth
positiona descending Bb major over the
IIIm7 and VI7 chords (Dm7-G7) in bar 8,
and an ascending Cm7 over the IIm7 chord
in bar 9topped with a sweet-and-sour,
b3-to-3 staccato bend that implies Cm9. The
nal phrase (Ex. 3f) covering the V chord
and rst beat of the turnaround in bars 9
and 10 remains in sixth position and again
utilizes the Bb pentatonic major scale decorated with a hammered-and-pulled sixteenth-note triplet. And once again, B.B.
leaves the turnaround (bars 11 and 12)
blank in preparation for his ensuing vocal.

O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5 / G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M

85

Lessons
B. B . KI NG

Ex. 4


G  9(IV)
D  7(I)


  
 () (  ) 


     


 12 
                





 8

= ca. 65

D 7(I)

Slow blues

( )



9 11

T
A
B

11(13)

9
9
10

12(14)

11 9

11



1111

6 8

9
6 10

6 8

6 8 10


E7( III) E 7(II)
D7( II)

            
 ()        (  )
   ( )        
  
  







 

3




G 7(IV)



---

T
A
B

12 9

11

9 10

12

14

14

14 12

(13)14 16 12

1414

14

14(16)14 12

14 11 14

1214(16)


G7( V)

   










    ()     
 ( )                



 

D 7(I)

A 7(V)

loco


B

14(16)
T
A
B

13 12 11 10

14

14

12 13

14

14

12 1414(16) 12

14 14

12

14

11
11

SWEET LI T T LE A N GE L
Now that weve covered medium and fast
shufe tempos, lets slow things down. You
might think slower means easier, but thats
not always the caseyou can t as many
(or more) notes into a single beat of a slow,
12-bar blues than in an entire measure of a
medium to fast shufe! As tempos decrease,
blues licks tend to get more speech-like, and
B.B. King was a great musical conversationalist. Nowhere is this magic more evident than

86

on his performance of Sweet Little Angel


(also from Live at the Regal), the intro chorus
of which is presented in its entirety in Ex. 4.
Notating and reading B.B.s rhythmic
phrasing at slow tempos gets a bit dicey
due to the sheer amount of notes that can
be played during a single beat. The trick is
to think of each dotted-quarter-note beat as
a mini-measure of 3/8 and take things one
beat at a time. When rhythms get gnarlier,
you can also double the value of each note

G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

and think of each beat (now a dotted-halfnote) as a bar of 3/4.


Were in the key of DbB.B. often favored
playing in at horn keys, such as Ab, Bb,
Db, and Eb (see this months Rhythm Workshop)and Phrase 1, which encompasses
the pickup and bar 1, portrays one of the
Kings most famous pentatonic major opening statements played in the ninth position
and punctuated with a chordal target. (Tip: Be
sure to play that eighth-rest in the middle


Gdim7
F  dim7
D  7(I)
A 13(V)
 
(D  6)
(IIIdim) (IVdim)
    ( )       
   








    
   
 
      


 

3


G 7(IV)

10

D 7(I)

loco

loco


T
A
B

1115

14 16

15

14



16 (18)16

14


10

9 11

9
11

11
11 8 10

(F) via three half-steps,


and subsequently outlines
a descending Db arpeggio. Sweet!
Phrase 7 (bar 8) features
another unison leap, plus
another b3-to-3 hammeron, while Phrase 8 (bar 9)
covers the V-chord (Ab7)
with more pentatonic
minor goodness, including another variation of
the dee-dah lick. Phrase
9 (bar 10, plus the first
beat of bar 11) is played
in fourteenth position over
Gb7, the IV-chord (note the
half-step approach from
G7 that precedes it), and,
except for the rst note,
is drawn exclusively from
the Db pentatonic major
scale. The phrase wraps
with another signature
licka descending 5-toroot move (Ab-Db) starting on the downbeat of
bar 11.
B.B.s final phrase is
the turnaround (bars 11
and 12), which he plays over a D7-Gdim7F#dim7-Db7-Ab7 progression. He begins
with a slide into a Db pentatonic major run
that could also be construed as an ascending Db6 arpeggiodig the octave jump that
anticipates beat twoand continues with
a double-stop that implies the IV-chord,
and another slide into some straight Db

10

11

11

11
10
11

KE N SE TTLE

of beat one.) This is a quick change blues


progression, so Phrase 2 (bar 2) is played
over Gb9, the IV chord. We start with a b7-toroot bend (Cb-to-Db, which functions as the
4-to-5 of Gb9) and an increase in volume as
B.B. cranks it up for a little more beef. This
segues to a descending, ninth-position Db
pentatonic-minor run into some Db pentatonic notes used to approach the tonic Db7
via an anticipated slide into a 5-over-3 (Ab
over F), minor-third dyad.
Phrase 3 (the last two beats of bar 3, plus
the rst two beats of bar 4) starts in sixth
position, and then slides into ninth position
for a muted string-rake into a descending
Db pentatonic minor motif that targets F,
the third of Db7, to reinforce the I chord.
Phrase 4 (the last two beats of bar 4, plus
bar 5) begins with B.B.s classic unison
leap from the ninth-fret on the rst string
to the fourteenth fret on the second string
as an approach to the IV chord in bar 5.
Once there, he milks a Gb-to-Fb pull-off
by gradually bending the Fb to F, the b7 of
Gb9, and then uses a slide versus a bend
to nish the phrase in the fourteenth and
twelfth positions.
Phrase 5 (bar 6, plus the rst beat of bar
7) is played in twelfth position against three
chromatically descending chords (E7, Eb7,
and D7) that return to the I-chord in bar
7. It features a melodic bend and release,
and targets a pair of 4-to-5 (Gb-Ab) bend,
the latter infused with B.B.s signature
buttery vibrato. Phrase 6 (the last two
beats of bar 7, plus the rst beat of bar 8)
begins with a jazzy, descending chromatic
line used to approach the 3 of the I-chord

14 16 14

16

arpeggio action. Finally, B.B. closes the


chorus with a Db6 punctuation mark while
the band plays an Ab13 V-chord. Too cool!
The King of the Blues may be gone, but
the thrill remains. Its now up to us to keep
the ame burning and pass the spirit of his
music on to future generations. Long live
the King!! g

O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5 / G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M

87

Lessons

Rhythm Workshop Fit for a King


B.B. KING-STYLE CHORD PROGRESSIONS
BY JESSE GRESS

Ex. 1
Uptempo shuffle

(C7)
I7

4

4 

(F7)
IV7

(C7)
I7

(G7)
V7

(F7)
IV7

(C7)
I7

(G7)
V7




Ex. 2
Medium shuffle
A Verse

(G7)
I7

(C7)
IV7

(G7)
I7

1.

(C7) (C dim7) (C/G) (E7)


IV7
IV7dim7 I/V
VI7

(A7)
II7

(D7)
V7

4

 4 

1

2.

Fine

(A7) (D7)
II7
V7

(G)
I

D.C. al Fine
no repeats

B Bridge

(C7)
IV7

(G7)
I7

(C7)
IV7

(G7)
I7

(A7)
II7

(D7)
V7

(A7)
II7

(D7)
V7

(Daug)
Vaug





15

B.B. KING WAS THE UNDISPUTED KING

of the Blues, but if you assumed this to


mean he only played standard 12-bar blues
progressions, think again. Kings voluminous discography features a rich variance of
song forms and chord progressions that are
just as bluesy as any 12-bar affair, so lets
investigate using a gured bass system, in
which many different chord progressions
can be illustrated without being associated
with a particular key. Heres how it works.
The notes/steps of a chromatic scale
are indicated using the following Roman
numerals and accidentals: I, bII, II, bIII,
III, IV, #IV/bV, V, #V/bVI, VI, bVII, and
VII. Each numeral corresponds to a halfstep of the chromatic scale in a given key.

88

For example, in the key of C, the notes


correspond to the gured bass numerals
as follows:
I=C, bII=Db, II=D, bIII=Eb, III=E, IV=F,
#IV or bV=F# or Gb, V=G, #V or bVI=G#
or Ab, VI=A, bVII=Bb, and VII=B.
If you are unfamiliar with gured bass
notation, make a chart similar to the one
above for each key. These will help you to
determine which note corresponds to a given
Roman numeral in any key. Chord types are
indicated using the same method as standard
chord symbols. For instance, I7 indicates
that you build a dominant seventh chord on
the rst degree of the scale, IV9 indicates

G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

that you dominant ninth chord built from


the fourth degree, and so on. If nothing
appears after the Roman numeral, just play
a major chord. When two Roman numerals are separated by a slash (I/V), play the
rst numeral as a chord over the bass note
indicated by the second numeral.
Ex. 1 illustrates the process with an
up-tempo 16-bar shufe in the key of C.
Establish a one-bar rhythmic motifsay a
dotted-quarter-note followed by an eighthnote and a two-beat rest (or check out previous Rhythm Workshops for more ideas),
and then apply your favorite full or partial
C7 voicing(s) and vamp on the I-chord for
eight bars. (Tip: Any dominant seventh
chord can be embellished with its 9.) The

Ex. 3
Slow blues (w/12/8 feel)
A Verse
1

1.

I7

III7

IV

VII9

IV7

II7

V7

I7

VII7 VII7 I7

V7

44
2.

Fine

I7

16

B Bridge

IV7

D.C. al Fine

VII9

I7

II7

V7

V7

I7

IV7

V7

no repeats

Ex. 4
Slow blues (w/12/8 feel)
A Verse

I7

VII9

IV7

I7

VI7 9

1.

II7

V7

I7

V7

4

4 

2.

Fine

I7

B Bridge

IV7

I7

IV7

II7

V7

D.C. al Fine
no repeats

16




remainder of the progression in bars 9 16
assumes the role of bars 5 12 in a standard 12-bar blues, so the progression is
essentially a 12-bar form with four extra
measures out front. Drop in the appropriate IV7 (F7), I7 (C7), and V-chords (G7),
and youre done. Rinse and repeat.
Moving to the key of G, the medium shufe depicted in Ex. 2 features a busier 16-bar
verse/A-section, plus an 8-bar bridge/B-section added to create a 32-bar A-A-B-A song
form. In addition to the I7 (G7), IV7 (C7),
and V7 (D7) chords, this progression also
contains a #IVdim7 (C#dim7), a I/V chord
with the 5 in the bass (G/D), dominant

VI7 (E7) and II7 (A7) chords, and an augmented V-chord (Daug).
Get the idea? Good, because from here
on the chord symbols vanish and youre on
your own regarding keys. Well maintain a
key-of-C reference in the text for continuity, but keep in mind that B.B. often favored
at keys, such as Ab, Bb, and Db. (Tip: See
this months Under Investigation.)
Ex. 3 charts another 32-bar, A-A-B-A form,
this time with a slow-blues 12/8 feel. The double
A-section/verse (bars 1 8, plus the second
ending) introduces several new chordsthe
III7 (E7), the bVII9 (Bb9), the bVII7 (Bb7), and
the VII7 (B7), with the latter two employed

as a double-chromatic approach back to the


I7 (C7). The 8-bar B-section/bridge adds a
#V7 (G#7) to the mix. Jump back to the top
(D.C.), skip the rst ending to complete the
32-bar form, and youre home free.
The bVII9 (Bb9) and II7 (D7) return in
the A-section/verse of Ex. 4 for another slow,
32-bar A-A-B-A progression. The only new
chord here is an embellished VI7#9 (A7#9)
in bar 4. The out-of-the-ordinary 8-bar
B-section/bridge comprises a IV7-I7-IV7
progression (F7-C7-F7 for two bars each),
followed by the II7 (D7) and V7 (G7) for
a bar apiece. (Tip: B.B.s version features
a one-bar, V-chord [G7] intro.)

O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5 / G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M

89

Lessons
Ex. 5

V 7
I7
V7

Moderately slow blues


Intro

I7

IV7

I7

A Verse

I6

I7

IV7


44






1

3
Fine

VII7 VI7
IIm7
V7
I7
V7
I
IV
I
V7




2.

1.

IVm

I7

B Bridge
21

I7

IV

IV7

II7

V7

D.S. al Fine
no repeats




Ex. 6
Slow minor blues

Im

IV9

Im

V7 9

IVm

Im

IVm

Im

VImaj7

V7sus4
V7

Im

4

4 

Ex. 7
Slow minor blues

Im

4

4 

A slightly faster-paced slow blues, Ex.
32-bar A-A-B-A progression is prefaced with a four-bar, I7-IV7-I7-# V7-V7
intro (C7-F7-C7-G#7-G7). Here, the 8-bar
A-section/verse gets into Gospel territory
with the I6, I7, IV7, and IVm chords (C6,
C7, F7, and Fm for one bar each), followed
by the I7 and bVII7 (C7 and Bb7) for one
beat each, the VI7 (A7), IIm7 (Dm7), and
V7 (G7) for two beats each, and a two-bar
I7-V7 turnaround (C7-G7). The second
ending features a busier I-IV-I-V7 turnaround (C-F-C-G7) before we head into
the 8-bar B-section/bridge, which entails
5s

90

simple I, IV, II7, and V7 chords played for


two bars each. (Note the I-I7 and IV-IV7
moves in the rst four bars.) Follow the
D.S. back to the top of the A-section/verse
(skip the intro) and jump directly to the
second ending to complete the 32-bar form.
Of course, the B.B. King catalog is rife
with 12-bar progressions. Beyond the norm,
Ex. 6 shows a half-Dorian/half-Aeolianavored slow minor blueslets call it A
minorwhich utilizes eight bars of the
Im (Am) in bars 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 11, and
12, the IV9 (D9) in bars 5 and 6 (thats
the Dorian part), a V7#9 (E7#9) in bar 9,

G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

and a IVm (Dm) in bar 10 for an Aeolian/


natural-minor touch. B.B.s most famous
12-bar slow minor blues is similar, but Ex.
7 shows how it contains a few twists. Bars
1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 11, and 12 are identical, but
the IVm chord (Dm) in bars 5 and 6, the
beautiful bVImaj7 (Fmaj7) in bar 9, and a
V7sus4-V7 cadence (E7sus4-E7) in bar 10
provide the variations. Play it up a whole
step in B minor, and youve got The Thrill
is Gone. (Tip: Play it up a fth in E minor
at a much faster tempo with a few accoutrements, and youve got the Doobie Brothers Long Train Running!)g

Gear
ROUNDUP

Seven New Tube


and Solid-State Ampliers
T ESTE D BY THE GUI TAR P LAY ER STA FF
WHILE THERES SOME TRUTH IN THE SAYING THAT MONEY

fact, GP got an exclusive rst look at this downsized version of the famed

is better spent on lessons than gear, the fact is most guitarists put an

JC-120, which, in case you havent kept count, was introduced 40 years ago!

immense amount of focus on guitars, amps, effects, and other things that

We tested these amps with a mix of guitars that included a Gibson

promise to help them play and sound better. A good amp, of course, is a

59 True Historic Les Paul, a new PRS McCarty, John Page Classic Ashburn

necessity, and when new ones show up at the office its always a rush to dive

and K-Line Strat-style axes, and an ultra-boutique DeTemple Series 52.

in and hear how they sound. Thats the fun part about working for a music

As always, we evaluate each amp for quality, features, sound, and utility;

magazine, and for this installment of our ongoing series of multi-product

and this lineup has plenty to offer in all categories. Its always impressive

reviews, weve lined up recently arrived tube-powered models from Dr. Z,

to see whats available for players who dont have unlimited budgets, and

Magnatone, Supro, and Vox, along with a couple of intriguing solid-staters:

these six models all do a good job of bringing affordable performance

The new Blackstar ID:Core BEAM and the Roland JC-40 Jazz Chorus. In

to the amp scene.

92

G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

BLACKSTAR ID:CORE BEAM

MODEL

ANSWERING THE QUESTION OF HOW

control lets you select between four types of

much cool stuff can we cram into a tiny amp?

bass distortion.

is this amazing little ID:Core BEAM from the

The tones themselves are sweet, but you

folks at Blackstar. No bigger than a lunch pail,

can take them up several notches with the cool-

this magic box can amplify electric, acoustic,

sounding onboard Super Wide Stereo effects.

and bass guitars (and a whole lot more, hon-

The reverbs and delays are particularly expan-

estly), and wirelessly broadcast prerecorded

sive, with longer settings truly sounding like

music, thanks to its Bluetooth connectivity.

theyre coming from behind the amp or way

I plugged a PRS Mira into the BEAM (Bass,

off to the side. Very cool. All of these settings

Electric, Acoustic, Musicget it?), and auditioned

can be stored along with your Gain, Level, and

the sounds. You get a total of 12 voices, and each

EQ tweaks as presets.

ID: CORE BEAM


CONTACT

blackstaramps.com

PRICE

$389 list/$279 street

S P E C I F I C AT I O N S
CHANNELS

Six electric voices, two bass


voices, two acoustic voices,
two acoustic simulator voices

CONTROLS

Voice, Gain, Volume, ISF (Innite Shape Feature), Super

one can be saved as a preset. Theyre all musical

You can use the BEAM as a direct recording

and useful, with my favorites being Clean Bright

device, thanks to the speaker emulated USB

ulation, Delay, Reverb

and OD 2. There is plenty of gain on tap for the

output, which allows you to send your signal

and Distortion), Effects

overdriven tones and I was able to get singing

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feedback when I cranked it up a bit. My only com-

or as two mono tracks, one effected, one dry.

POWER

10 watts

plaint is that there is a pretty drastic noise gate

How freaking cool is that? And if you want to

TUBES

N/A

on the distorted settings that chokes off notes

learn a tune, play over a backing track, or simply

EXTRAS

mp3/line input, USB, speaker

as they fade away and doesnt allow super-light

listen to some mp3s, the BEAM will link to your

picking to come through. The noise gates sensi-

phone or iPod instantly, making it a cool little

tivity can be adjusted via Blackstars free Insider

hub for many musical applications.

software, however, or removed entirely.

The ID:Core Beam is a smart-looking, great-

Wide Stereo Effects (Mod-

Level, and Tap Tempo

emulated/headphone output,
Bluetooth connectivity
SPEAKER

2x3"

WEIGHT

8.6 lbs

Many of the BEAMs knobs perform double

sounding, compact multi-tasker that would be

BUILT

China

duty and a quick glance at the manual will

a welcome addition to any room in your house.

KUDOS

Cool sounds. Tons of features.

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I dont think I know a single guitarist or bassist

example, the Gain knob becomes a Compres-

who couldnt nd a bunch of ways to employ

sion control. On the Bass voices, the Reverb

this well-thought-out amp. M AT T

Attractive, compact design.


CONCERNS

None.

BLACKETT

O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5 / G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M

93

Gear
ROUNDUP

DR. Z Z-LUX
THE CLASSIC 1X12 TUBE COMBO HAS

True to form, the Z Lux has a richly detailed

and complex-sounding amp thatll go in any

long been one of the most essential tone tools

clean sound that is awesome for rhythm play-

direction you steer it: country, blues, rock, jazz

ever created for guitar players. In the guise of the

ing, and gets even better when you lay on some

you name it. With 40 watts of backbone in a

Fender Deluxe Reverb in particular, the format

lush-sounding reverb for a touch of airy reec-

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has been part of untold numbers of recordings

tion or a drenched surf effect. Setting the

many amps of half its power, the Z-Lux is one

over the decades, and, of course, when the ses-

Volume knob to around 3 o clock and the Master

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sion was over this workhorse was often carried

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Award. A R T

straight to the live gig for more hours of deliver-

I can get from a Deluxe Reverb, but the Z Lux

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ing ubby or ragged. The 3-band EQ is voiced

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so well that it was possible to set the knobs at

CONTACT

drzamps.com

And among them is the new Z-Lux 1x12 combo

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popular features like spring reverb and tremolo

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The tremolo throbs deliciously, and its range of

CHANNELS

One

a footswitchable boost function that bypasses

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CONTROLS

Volume, Treble, Bass, Mid,

the tone stack for a little extra gain, and a four-

notic, Bo Diddley-style rhythmic pulse to high-

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S P E C I F I C AT I O N S

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TUBES

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The Z Lux isnt a super high-gain amp, and

Z-12 12" speaker tted into a redesigned cabi-

although it will get fairly distorted when the

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Volume is cranked up with the Boost engaged

top shelf components. Half

who haul their amps around on a regular basis.

(even more so if the power stage can run free),

power switch. Footswitch-

As Dr. Z reports, the Z-Luxs front end is

I found it more practical to use overdrive pedals

able reverb, tremolo, and

borrowed from the MAZ amp, and features

(an Xotic SL Drive and a Seymour Duncan 805

boost (two footswitches

hand-rolled Jupiter caps, Mallory 150s, and

among others) in the front end for more sus-

included). 4, 8, and 16

classic orange drop caps that are selected

taining rhythm and lead tones. With or without

for each stage. The output stage is lifted from

pedals, however, this dynamically responsive

the Remedy model, and the reverb and trem-

amp readily follows where your guitar wants to

olo are both tube driven. The circuitry is very

go, and always clean up beautifully when you roll

WEIGHT

45 lbs

neatly hand-wired, and the tube sockets, pots,

down the volume. But if you are a pedalboard

BUILT

USA

and jacks are sturdily mounted to the alumi-

user, youll denitely appreciate how well the

KUDOS

Excellent build quality.

num chassis. Rugged and easy to service, the

Z-Lux integrates distortion, delay, and modu-

A very toneful and exi-

hand-soldered innards of all Dr. Z amps are

lation effects into its core tone.

ble amplier with excellent

one of the factors that make them extremely

A ne combo by any measure, the Z-Lux is

good values in the world of boutique guitar

a welcome addition to the Dr. Z line. Its kind of

amplication.

a Deluxe on steroids, but it is also a very open

94

G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

four 6V6 output tubes


EXTRAS

Hand-wired circuitry with

speaker jacks. Fan cooling.


SPEAKER

Z-12 50-watt 12" (made


by Eminence)

reverb and tremolo.


CONCERNS

None.

Gear
ROUNDUP
MODEL

SINGLE V HEAD
AND 2X12 CABINET
CONTACT

Magnatoneusa.com,
info@magnatoneusa.com

PRICE

Head $3,199 street, 2x12 cabinet $899 street; covers by Victoria Luggage Co. included

S P E C I F I C AT I O N S
CHANNELS

Two

CONTROLS

Normal Volume, Bright


Volume, Treble, Bass, Pres-

MAGNATONE
SINGLE V HEAD AND 2X12 CABINET

ence, Reverb, Intensity, Speed, FM/AM switch


(for true vibrato or conventional tremolo)

POWER

30 watts

TUBES

Five 12AX7s, one 12AU7, one

I N T H E L AT E 5 0 S A N D E A R LY 6 0 S

use, plus a tube-driven spring reverb. In addi-

Magnatones throbbing, pitch-shifting vibrato did

tion to the included footswitch for activating the

its thing for seminal artists like Bo Diddley and

reverb and vibrato, theres an optional rocker

Buddy Holly, but otherwise, these amps were

pedal available for remote speed control. A pair

known for sounding bold, rich, and warm. Great

of 6L6s delivers 30 watts of xed-bias Class AB

switch, line out, jacks for

for jazz players, but not ideal for the overdriven

power, governed by an interface thats classic

Remote Pedal (vibrato

sounds that rock and rollers were chasing in the

in its simplicity: Normal and Bright channels

late 60s. Fast-forward several decades, and Ted

with independent volume knob-sharing a set

Kornblum (whose family founded St. Louis Music

of tweed-style EQ controls. The set retains the

2x12 loaded with cus-

Supply in 1922, and used to be a Magnatone dis-

swank brown-and-gold cotton-textile covering

tom-made WGS ceramic-

tributor) is now on his own and has set his sights

and Esty-era styling (complete with gold-plated

on resurrecting the famous Magnatone brand

chevrons), and the generously proportioned

WEIGHT

Head 46 lbs, cab 48 lbs

and to make them better then ever. A revital-

open-back speaker cab carries two custom

BUILT

USA

ized Magnatone line hit the ground in 2013 (GP

U.S.-made ceramic Magnatone-branded speak-

KUDOS

Excellent build quality in

reviewed the Stereo Twilighter in September of

ers by WGS. Removing the heads back panel

a revamped vintage clas-

2014), and the popular Single V combo has now

exposes a steel chassis with a circuit comprising

sic. Solid tweed-leaning

be reconceived in this head and cab set.

Mallory signal caps, carbon-lm resistors, and

core tones and outstand-

12DW7, two 6L6 output


tubes, GZ34 rectier
EXTRAS

Speaker out with 4/8

speed) and footswitch


SPEAKER

Tested with Single V

magnet speakers

Circuit-wise, the Single V doesnt cling to any

SEC and Tube Amp Doctor lter caps that are

particular vintage Magnatone model. Instead,

hand-wired on a thick glass-epoxy board. The

Larry Cragg (who is also Neil Youngs long-time

pots, tube sockets, and switches are chassis

volume-reduction solu-

guitar tech) came up with the concept for this

mounted, and on a second smaller board reside

tion may be needed in

model, which he explains thusly: Way back at

the speaker, switching, and remote pedal jacks.

some playing situations.

the beginning, I was asked, if I were king what

I tested the Single V rig with a Gibson Les Paul

amp would I make? I said, A tweed Pro with

and a K-Line Strat-style guitar, using a variety of

two 12-inch speakers, reverb, and a pitch shift

overdrive pedals in the front end. Played straight

situations. It also made an excellent pedal plat-

vibrato. Obeid Khan [formerly of Crate, Ampeg,

up, effects off, and fairly clean, the amp denitely

form with either an Analog Prince of Tone or a Z.Vex

and Reason] tried to make this combination a

evoked the meaty texture and dynamics of a

Box of Rock engaged to take leads over the top.

reality, and after a couple of years and many

mid-sized 50s tweed amp, with a bold voice for

The Single V really put its wares on display

examples, he got it right, and it even sounded

a 30-watter. The Les Paul induced some chewy

after I stepped on the vibrato switch and dove

better than my favorite 2x12 tweed Pro amps.

breakup just shy of noon on either dial, but the

into that lush, thick, and phasey effect. It was

So the Single V on deck here represents a

Strat-style guitar needed the volume up around

bags of fun to play and authentic to my memory

great mid-50s tweed Proknown for its juicy,

one oclock before it started to grind. The breakup

of the vintage Magnatone sound. The tremolo

versatile, broad-spectrum rock and blues sound

was classic, old-school rock and roll, with good

sounded great, too, and the reverb was superbly

to which Khan grafted the famous two-stage

midrange grunt and a musical balance between

deep and watery. All in all, the Single V Head

Varistor vibrato of the original Magnatone 280

lows and highs. It was loud by the time I hit the

and Cab is a great-sounding choice if your gig

of the late 50s (also switchable to standard

good stuff, though, and a lot of players would

calls for textured, euphonic, old-school effects.

tremolo), with improved reliability for modern

need an attenuator to control volume in many

D AV E H U N T E R

96

G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

ing pitch-shifting vibrato.


CONCERNS

An attenuator or other

MODEL

6506 MH

PEAVEY 6505 MH

CONTACT

peavey.com

PRICE

$499 street

S P E C I F I C AT I O N S

IF YOU LOVE THE AWESOME ROCK TONES

thick and hot and will feedback musically all

CHANNELS

Two

of the celebrated Peavey 6505 but are tired of

day long if the Gain is anywhere near halfway.

CONTROLS

Channel Select switch,

throwing your back out trying to lift it into your

Wow! The Lead channel wont really get clean

Rhythm/Pre-Gain, Bright/

car, this is your lucky day. Peavey has taken the

per se, but its low Gain/high Volume tones are

Crunch switches, Lead/Pre-

6505s cool cosmetics, smart features, and pos-

great for rock rhythm playing or Gary Moore-

itively insane levels of gain and put them into

style high-energy blues.

Gain, Low, Mid, High, Rhythm/


Post-Gain, Lead/Post-Gain,

the cute, portable, and blessedly lightweight

None of this is really new to fans of the 6505,

6505 MH you see here. This little beast has so

but theres more. The MH is switchable from 20

POWER

20 watts

many cool features its tough to list them all,

watts to ve or even one watt, making it a snap

TUBES

Two EL84 power, three

but here goes.

to get heavy tones at low volumes. Because the

Reverb, Resonance, Presence.

12AX7/ECC83 preamp

You get Rhythm and Lead channels like on

one-watt setting is still plenty loud, you might

the big brother, and the Rhythm channel has

want to hit the Speaker Defeat switch and listen

watts/20 watts), Ohm switch

a footswitchable Crunch mode for more gain.

through headphones or record direct thanks to

(16/8), Speaker Enable/

This channel is capable of great clean tones

the Microphone Simulated Direct Interface via

Defeat switch, Mic Simu-

with tons of sparkle that you can add some

either the XLR or USB out. Brilliant! Peavey also

lated Direct Interface (MSDI)

hair to in Crunch mode. Sweet and flexible.

throws in an onboard reverb, which is a welcome

XLR output, USB Record

Because there is so much gain on tap, you can

addition although at extreme settings it was a

Out (mic simulated), 1/8"

easily use the Rhythm channel for super-dirty

little crashy. If you have a processor you prefer,

headphone output, effects

power chords or as a singing lead tone. The EQ

throw it in the footswitchable effects loop. And if

is powerful and can be used for ultra-scooped-

youre concerned about the health of your power

SPEAKER

N/A

mid metal, throaty boosted-mid single notes,

tubes, check the TSI (Tube Status Indicator)

WEIGHT

15.4 lbs

and a whole lot more.

on the front panel, which will tell you if a tube

BUILT

China

goes bad and which one you need to replace.

KUDOS

Classic rock and metal

Of course, most users will get their lead


tones from the Lead channel, and it has ungodly

All in all, the 6505 MH is a great choice for

amounts of distortion and sustain. Its easy to

anyone who wants a classic rock machine in

see why this amp has been so popular with

a flexible, compact package. Check it out!

shredders and metal players. These tones are

M AT T B L A C K E T T

EXTRAS

Power Attenuator (1 watt/5

loop, footswitch inputs.

tones. Great feature set.


Super compact and light.
CONCERNS

Reverb can be a little crashy.

O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5 / G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M

97

Gear
ROUNDUP

ROLAND JC-40 JAZZ CHORUS


HOW APPROPRIATE, GIVEN THAT 2015

youre a veteran JC user, its nice to know that if

or a modeling processor. Like the JC-120, the

is the 40th anniversary of the Roland JC-120 Jazz

some surly maladroit inadvertently dimed the

clean tone on the JC-40 really makes your pedals

Chorus, that a 40-watt version of this legendary

Bass knob, you can dash back, quickly nd the

shine, as theres very little coloration added by

solid-state amp is making the scene this year.

proper knob, and terminate any offending lows,

the amp itself. All-in-all, 40 years of brilliant

Obviously, the JC-120 is a wonderful amp with

even if panic struck. (Hey, it happens.)

sonic history definitely live inside the JC-40,

a much sought-after clean tone, and that sen-

Sonically, Roland says it has modernized

making it a near-essential tool for ambient a-

sual and giddy, makes the hairs stand at atten-

the vibrato, distortion, and reverb effects of this

cionados, clean-toned artists, and edgy icono-

tion on your arms and at the back of your neck

marvelously clean and articulate amp. Full dis-

clasts. M I C H A E L

chorus, but its a bearlets say, a bear who ate

closure: Ive always been a hater when it comes

Hulk Hogan, Chevy Chase, and Kevin James, and

to JC-120 distortion. To my taste, it was brittle,

is still eyeing a truckload of strawberry cheese-

cranky, and unrealistic in an uncool way. But, I

cakesto lug around. Thats why those help-

must admit, the JC-40 offers a very nice, musi-

ful and iconic casters are at the bottomits a

cal roarto a point. I loved it when utilized as

JC-40

gentle warning. Roland has produced lighter

a throaty, crackling, and surprisingly dynamic

CONTACT

rolandus.com

and heavierversions of the JC during its four

overdrive with the Distortion knob set no higher

PRICE

$599 street

decades as a must-have amp, but the JC-40 may

than 5. Cranking the knob to distortion-ville

be the hippest upgrade of the line, as well as a

kind of brought me back to my past aversion

great balance of portability and power. [Sneak

though its a very useable saturation to be sure.

CHANNELS

One

Peek: GP will publish a full historical report on

The reverb is lush and delightful, and it can get

CONTROLS

Volume, Treble, Middle, Bass,

the JC-120 in the November issue.]

you to a surf-y, faux Dick Dale wash when the

Distortion, Reverb, Vibrato/

Although its miniaturized a good bit, the

knob is full up. The vibrato really takes me back

Chorus switch, Speed, Depth,

JC-40 still possesses the tank-like exterior of its

to the 80s new wave movement, and all those

bigger sibling. Trust me, this thing is a weapon.

spooky, vibey arpeggiosthink Siouxsie and the

Clumsy roadies cant hurt it. You cant hurt it.

Banshees or the Cure. I simply put the Speed

Knock it over. Toss it into a van. Watch your

and Depth knobs both at 5, and get transported.

bass player roll an Ampeg SVT right over it. It.

Of course, the big dog here is the fantastic

Will. Not. Break. This is obviously great news if

Roland Dimensional Space Chorus, and its as

" stereo line outputs, "

youre a traveling musician, because few catas-

stunning and gorgeous and striking on the JC-40

inputs for optional foot-

trophes will be able to render you broken down

as it is on vintage JC-120s and beyond. Again,

switches (Boss FS-5U/5L,

and amp-less at a gig. Its also a minor ergo-

the classic soundat least to meis achieved

FS-6, FS-7, etc.), Series/Par-

nomic feature, but a thoughtful one, that the

by putting the Speed and Depth knobs at 5. I

control knobs are big and easy to adjust. In

know I should experiment with different set-

SPEAKER

2x10 Roland Heavy Duty

addition, the control sections are well laid out,

tings, but, on the other hand, why? Im home.

WEIGHT

34.8 lbs

and the lettering is relatively large and easy to

Im happy. Done.

BUILT

Malaysia

KUDOS

Classic clean tone. Super

readeven in low-light situations. If youd never

The JC-40 adds a true stereo input to the

used a JC before, and found a JC-40 sitting in

packagewhich means you can take full advan-

a provided backline at a club, youd be able to

tage of its internal stereo sound if you want to

grok all operations nearly instantly. And even if

plug in a pedalboard with stereo stompboxes,

98

G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

MOLENDA

MODEL

S P E C I F I C AT I O N S

Bright switch, Effect Loop


switch, Bright switch.
POWER

40 watts

TUBES

N/A

EXTRAS

" headphone output,

allel switch for effects loop.

sexy chorus. Portable.


CONCERNS

None.

SUPRO 1650RT ROYAL REVERB


I N T H E E A R LY 1 9 3 0 S , A M E R G E R

a new PRS McCarty, and John Page Ashburn

sound warm and full, but with rm bottom and

between Dobro and National led to the forma-

S-style, the 1650RT delivered great tones across

a clear top-end that doesnt get raspy or unfo-

tion of Supro and Valco, with the latter building

the board. Even in low-power mode its still

cused at higher volume. The two 10s work won-

ampliers that carried the Supro name. Supro

a pretty clean-sounding rig with good head-

ders here, helping to give the 1650RT a sound

amps became popular with blues players on

room and an easy transition into sweet distor-

all its own, and one thats very complementary

the south-side Chicago scene, and by the mid

tion as the Volume is rolled up past noon. On

to humbuckers and single-coils.

60s Jimi Hendrix was playing through a Supro

the 35-watt setting, the 5U4 rectifier makes

The 1650RT Royal Reverb is an interesting

Thunderbolt during his stints with Little Richard

the playing feel more pliable, and that holds

and inspiring amp that stakes out its own turf in

and the Isley Brothers. A few years on, Jimmy

true for the 45-watt mode as wellalbeit the

the mid-power combo market. If you think youve

Page was getting some of his classic Led Zep-

volume is more intense when the amp is turned

heard it all, give this new Supro (or any of its sib-

pelin tones in the studio with a customized

up enough to get the power tubes cooking. The

lings) a try. You may be pleasantly surprised by

Supro 1x12 combo.

60-watt setting extends the clean headroom,

what youve been missing. A R T

THOMPSON

This review focuses on the agship of the

and the feel also gets a little tighter owing to

modern Supro line, the 1650RT, which is an

the silicon rectification. This can be cool for

updated version of the Royal Reverb combo from

pedalboard users who dont want a lot of color-

the mid 1960s. Re-imagined by amp designers

ation from the amp, but I like the slightly looser

Bruce Zinky and Thomas Elliot, the 1650RT is a

35-watt mode, and I also had good results using

retro-styled beauty with Blue Rhino Tolex cov-

an Xotic SL Drive for high-gain tones. With or

CONTACT

suprousa.com

ering and a woven silver grill that protects a pair

without effects, though, the 1650RTs clean-to-

PRICE

$1,499 street

of Eminence-made CR10 speakers. The control

overdriven envelope provides options aplenty

panel features a set of Volume, Treble, Bass, Verb,

for rhythm and lead playing, and a sweep of the

Speed, and Depth controls, along with a Recti-

guitars volume knob is all it takes to go from

CHANNELS

One

er selector with three settings: 35W (class A,

mean to pristine. The Bass and Treble provide

CONTROLS

Volume, Treble, Bass,

tube rectier, 35 watts), 45W (class AB, tube

for basic EQ tweaking, but this is the kind of

rectier, 45 watts), and 60W (class AB, silicon

amp that gets its tone on easily and doesnt

rectier, 60 watts). The amp carries reverb with

need anything further to sound good.

MODEL

1650RT ROYAL REVERB

S P E C I F I C AT I O N S

Verb, Speed, Depth. Rectier selector

POWER

60/45/35 watts

TUBES

Four 12AX7s, one 12AT7, two

tube drive and recovery, along with a tremolo

Low settings of the Verb knob add nice

circuit that modulates the output tubes (both

dimension to the sound, and the reverb can get

footswitchable). Note the symbiotic relation-

very wet without losing its enveloping charac-

ship between the Rectifier switch and trem-

ter. And since the reverb drives into the trem-

olo circuit: in 35-watt mode the effect is softer

olo circuit, the pulses take on a dimensionality

Class AB operation. Output-

and its waveshape more asymmetrical, as per

that you dont usually hear from in-amp trem-

tube tremolo. Tube driven

the original amps tremolo. In the higher-power

olos. The effect also sounds noticeably denser

modes you get a deeper sounding tremolo with

and presencier in the 45-watt and 60-watt set-

a more symmetrical waveshape, and a greater

tings, which is reason enough to stick with those

degree of amplitude modulation.

modes if youre a trem freak.

6L6 output tubes, 5U4 tube


rectier, silicon rectier
EXTRAS

Class A and two modes of

reverb with long 6-spring pan.


SPEAKER

Two 10" Supro CR10


(made by Eminence)

WEIGHT

65 lbs

BUILT

Assembled in the USA

KUDOS

A well-conceived, updated

Taking a look inside the chassis, we nd a

Finally, kudos to the 1650RTs speakers, the

modern-style PCB layout with board-mounted

latest in a 25-year collaboration between Zinky

pots and tube sockets. Not much to zone on

and Eminence. These U.S.-made drivers feature

version of a retro classic.

here, but this type of circuit construction de-

ceramic magnets, custom voice coils, and stiff-

3-way Rectier selector. Excel-

nitely helps keep the cost down. Though a com-

but-lightweight paper cones. The aim was a

pact affair at 23 5/8" wide, 16" tall, and 10 "

speaker that delivers vintage Jensen-type tone,

deep, the 1650RT weighs in at a chunky 65 lbs.

but with much greater power handling and effi-

Testing with a Gibson Historic 59 Les Paul,

ciency. I think they nailed it too, as the CR10s

lent reverb and tremolo.


CONCERNS

Heavy for its size.

O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5 / G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M

99

Gear
ROUNDUP

VOX AC10C1
M A N Y P L AY E RS LOV E T H E I D E A O F

Cranking the Gain and Volume produces a tone

playing a Vox AC30, but far fewer can deal with

that is not only loud as hell but is also one of

the price, weight, and deafening volume of that

those magical tones that can kind of do anything:

classic 2x12. The AC10C1 allows you to grab a

Its big and heavy when you lean into it, cleaner

good deal of that magic in an affordable, light-

if you pick lightly, and squeaky clean and spar-

weight, sonically manageable package. The

kly if you turn down even just a touch. Unreal!

MODEL

original AC10 wasnt produced for long back

The onboard digital reverb is a great perk. It

in the 60s, making this updated reissue a very

has a surfy, springy wash at even low settings

welcome addition to the line. It features a dif-

and makes the sounds really bloom. There is so

AC10C1

ferent circuit and more-modern control com-

much verb on tap that turning it even halfway

CONTACT

voxamps.com

plement than the original. Instead of four inputs

up almost sounds like theres no dry signal, a la

PRICE

$599 list/$449 street

and vibrato (actually tremolo), the AC10C1 has

the end of Over the Hills and Far Away. Not a

a single input, a master volume, and a digital

sound you would use all that often but kind of

reverb. It also features a closed-back design

cool to have on hand.

and an external speaker jack.

S P E C I F I C AT I O N S

One of the best features of the AC10 is its

CHANNELS

One

CONTROLS

Gain, Bass, Treble,

The rst thing you notice when you plug in

extension speaker jack. I love the sound of its

is that this amp sounds freaking amazing. The

10" Celestion, but running the amp into a Bad

tone is rich and full, with incredible detail and

Cat 4x12 transforms this cute little combo into

amazing top end. It is also surprisingly loud for

a massive-sounding beast. Its truly amazing

a 10-watt 1x10. With the Volume on full and

and makes an already great amp ten times

EXTRAS

External speaker out

the Gain at 9 oclock it is gorgeously clean and

more exible.

SPEAKER

10" Celestion VX10, 16

WEIGHT

27 lbs

Reverb, Volume

POWER

10 watts

TUBES

Two 12AX7 preamp tubes,


two EL84 output tubes

punchy. Inching the Gain up brings on delicious,

Its tough to say enough good things about

touch-sensitive grind and impressive volume.

this great amp. Youll most likely need to mic

BUILT

China

Setting the Volume low and the Gain high gives

it onstage, but it will sound amazing. In the

KUDOS

Gorgeous, dimensional

you thick distortion that remains clear and artic-

studio, it could be the perfect amp. Run it clean,

ulate. It sounds beautiful for power chords but

overdriven with amp distortion, or with pedals

holds up well for complex voicings and arpeg-

in the front endtheres nothing it cant do.

gios and is thick enough for single-note lines.

M AT T B L A C K E T T

100

G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

tones. Lightweight.
Great recording amp.
CONCERNS

None.

Guide to Tube Ampliers


T H E A M P L I F I E R M A R K E T I S R I F E W I T H M O D E L S T H AT

market is in some ways similar to the small-lot wine industry, and often

deliver high-grade tones in packages that arent always available through

it takes a bit effort to nd the really good stuffgo tube tasting and

you local Guitar Center or other large music gear retailer. Some of these

you may nd a custom combo or head with a tone that truly inspires you.

amp companies sell direct, while some have a select network of music

In no particular order weve spotlighted 12 companies that, with the

shops that cater to the bourgeoning boutique market. If youre looking

exception of Mesa/Boogie, build relatively small numbers of ampliers

for an amp that gives similar performance to some of the most hal-

that are designed to satisfy players who are looking for something thats

lowed vintage models from the 1960s, but is probably more reliable and

been painstakingly crafted and voiced to satisfy a discriminating taste

may have a set of features that make it better suited for modern play-

for tone. There are many other makers and a lot of interesting amps out

ers, check into what these companies have to offer. The boutique amp

there, so good hunting!

ALESSANDRO AZZ
Custom builds starting at $12,500
A new offering from Alessandro High-End Products, the AZZ is designed and
built for the discerning, professional musician. Drawing its tone and feel from
the most signicant amps of yesteryear, the AZZ seamlessly blends its vintage vibe in a form to be used with todays modern pedalboards. The AZZ
delivers 50 watts with two 5881 power tubes or 90 watts with four 5881s. It features a Lead channel with Volume, Treble, Middle, and Bass controls, as well
as a Rhythm channel with identical controls, plus Reverb, Speed, and Intensity knobs. The channels are voiced to be layered together, so you can utilize the Rhythm channel full time and then switch on the Lead channel to
bring all your pedals and effects on line. This keeps the Rhythm signal path

BA LL A MP LI F I CAT IO N
VINTAG E TO MBSTO N E RA D IO A M P

free of tone sucking pedals and cables, and the individual EQ and level con-

$1,200 retail

alessandro-products.com

trols allow for ne-tuning to get the voices to blend and layer musically.

This hand-wired 5-watt vintage radio amp is modeled after classic amps of the 1950s. Features include
Mercury Magnetics transformers and a Tone Tubby
8" alnico Speaker. Ball amps are custom built using
old suitcases, radios, or TVs for the cabinets, which
makes them all essentially one-of-a-kind designs.
ballamps.com.

O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5 / G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M

101

Gear
GUI D E TO T UBE A M PLIFIERS

CAR R SKYLAR K
$2,390 retail
The Skylark reects an appreciation for classic small 60s American amps, such as the Fender Harvard (to name but one), which
deliver organic tube tone at real world volumes. The point-topoint wired Skylark takes this concept to the next level by featuring reverb, a built-in power attenuator, a Hi/Low gain switch,
and extended range Mid and Presence controls to provide an
incredible palette of sounds from a Celestion A-type 12" American voiced speaker. The tube complement of two 6V6s, two
12AX7s, and two 12AT7s provides 12 watts maximum, and you
can lower the power to 1.2 watts and all the way down to zero.
carramps.com

D EV ILCAT MR. TE R RY
$1,459 street; $1,559 with 1957 nish
Handmade in the USA, this class A combo pumps 30 watts into a 16
Jensen Jet Falcon 12" speaker housed in a maple-ply cabinet. Power comes
from 6L6 or EL34 output tubes, and there are also three 12AX7s and one
ECC803 in the preamp. The Dirt channel has Gain and Volume controls,
while the Clean Channel features Gain, Volume, Low, Mid, and High controls. Other details include a cascading-channel function, switchable
Boost, Contour and Master Volume controls, and an FX loop. A 2-button
lighted footswitch is included for remote activation of Dirt and Boost.
devilcatamps.com

FUCHS FULLHOUSE-50
$1,995 street; combo $2,295
This 50-watt, dual-channel amp brings the ODS tones for which Fuchs is
known to a more affordable price range. Part of Fuchs Casino family, the
Fullhouse-50 uses dual 6L6 tubes and features a 3 x 12AX7-based preamp
with shared Bass, Middle, and High, controls; a discrete Clean channel;
and a separate Gain channel with its own Output, Tone, and Level controls. A footswitchable gain boost works on both channels, allowing clean,
clean with crunch, overdrive, and high-gain overdrive tones. The 16-bit
digital reverb is mixed in via a sidechain so it has zero effect on the dry
signal whether used or not. Assembled in the U.S., Fullhouse amps feature custom transformers, mil-spec aluminum chassis, series buffered
FX loop, a two-way footswitch (channel/gain), and worldwide power.
fuchsaudiotechnology.com

102

G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

Gear
GUI D E TO T UBE A M PLIFIERS

HOMESTEAD AMPS WH5 0 COMB O


$3,399 retail
The WH50 Combo is a 50-watt, single-channel amp powered by two 6L6s driving two 10" Celestion V-30 60-watt speakers. It has Hi and Lo inputs, and the controls consists of Volume,
Treble, Bass, Reverb, and Master. Switchable functions include
half/full power, Bass Cut, Mid Boost, and Bright. The WH50 was
specically voiced in the studio while Warren Haynes and Railroad Earth were recording their latest album, Ashes & Dust.
Between takes in the studio, guitar tech Eric Hanson and amp
tech Peter McMahon re-voiced the amp to Warrens specs and
modied the tone and reverb section. All slide and lead guitar
parts on the album were recorded using the WH50. Incredibly versatile and able to give the player large amounts of
clean headroom, the WH50 is, according to its maker, Probably the most touch-reactive amplier being built today.
homesteadamps.com

M ESA /BO O GIE MAR K 5


$2,249 head, 1x12 combo $2,399
This 90-Watt Simul-Class Legacy model features 45 years of
classic Boogie sounds. Features include three footswitchable
channels, nine modes, a 5-Band graphic EQ with channel specic Preset controls, Multi-Watt Channel-Assignable Power
(90-, 45-, 15-watts), Reverb, FX loop, and an included footswitch. The Mark 5 is one-stop-shopping for a library of classic Boogie amp sounds, including those of the Mark I, Mark IIC+,
and Mark IV. What an amazing feat of amplier technology!
mesaboogie.com

MODK ITS MOD102+


$265 street
Ever considered building you own tube amp? This single-channel amplier
kit is a good way to get started. The MOD102+ is a cathode biased, class A
design that delivers 8 watts into the speaker of your choice using one EL84
power tube, one 12AX7, and a silicon rectier. Its controls consist of Volume
(pulls for turbo), Bass (pulls for mid boost), and Treble (pulls for bright).
modkitsdiy.com

104

G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

Gear
GUI D E TO T UBE A M PLIFIERS

3 MO NKEYS A MPS N AS H V IL L E H OW L E R
$1,849 street
V6s
This amp has been described as a tweed Deluxe with a British accent. It uses two 6V6s
k
running in cathode bias and delivers 15 watts into a 12" Celestion G12M-65 Creamback
speaker. Features include
ker
8 and 16 external speaker
jacks, and the controls consist of Volume, Treble,

TUNGSTE N CR E MA WHEAT

Middle, Bass, and Pres-

$1,745 street

ence. Designed in conjunc-

The Crema Wheat is a 20-watt, 1x12 combo

tion with Grammy winning

with a GZ34 rectied dual-6V6 power section.

artist Gordon Kennedywho

A modern take on the classic tweed 5E3 cir-

wanted a Marshall-style

cuit, the Crema Wheat amp has two individu-

amp he could use at smaller

ally voiced channels and four inputs. Custom

gigs and in the recording

Mercury magnetics transformers help to give it

studiothe Nashville Howler

more headroom and dynamic range, making it

has plenty of clean head-

great for small bands and studio work. A reso-

room and is the ideal prac-

nant pine cabinet covered in lacquered tweed

tice and small venue amp.

houses either a Scumback M75 12 or a variac

3monkeysamps.com

treated Celestion G12H30 Anniversary speaker.


tungstenamp.com

Boutique
Acoustics
160 Years of
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by Michael John
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The Official
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Guitarists Guide
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A Tech to the Stars


Tells How to Maintain
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00124178....... $29.99

by Doug Redler
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Foreword by Rich Robinson

00124178....... $29.99

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History of
the American
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1833 to the
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by Tony Bacon
00333186 ..... $27.99

Guitars
Illustrated

Sunburst
How the Gibson
Les Paul Standard
Became a
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A Stunning Visual
Catalog Charting
the Origins of Over
200 of the Most
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00333746 ..... $29.99

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00127957.......... $40.00

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00127925....... $54.00

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by Tom Wheeler
Foreword by Billy F Gibbons
00331976 ............................................................... $75.00

Gear
GUI D E TO TUBE A M PLIFIERS

ZE PPE LIN DESIG N


LABS PERCOLATO R
$339 direct, kit; $489 assembled
The Percolator is a 2-watt, 1x8 combo
thats offered as either a DIY kit
or ready-to-play. Weighing in at 12.7
lbs, the Percolator has a solid poplar

SIOUX GUITARS SWIF T

cabinet that houses a Jensen CR8

$1,200-$1,650 street

ceramic-magnet speaker. It features

The Swift sports Volume, Bass, and Treble con-

an all-tube signal path and uses just


one NOS 6AF11 Compactron tube,

trols, and is designed to deliver thick meaty


tones, yet be transparent enough to let P-90s

which was originally designed for use

growl, single-coils twang, and humbuckers sound

in color televisions. The single Volume

rich and full bodied. This amp features four 6V6

knob allows for warm, rich, clear tones

power tubes, and it can be ordered in four ver-

at lower levels and aggressive, overdriven sounds when turned up

sions: head ($1,200), 1x15 combo ($1,450), 2x12


combo ($1,525), or 4x10 combo ($1,650). The

all at a moderate volume, making it

Swift comes in red and white only and is built to

ideal for practice, studio, or stage.

order with a delivery time of about eight weeks.

zeppelindesignlabs

siouxguitars.com

108

G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5 / G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M

109

Gear

Music Man JP15


T ESTE D BY ART THOMPSON
THE LATEST IN AN EVER-EXPANDING

feels very smooth and inviting along its course,

toggle switches: The one on the upper bout

series of John Petrucci signature guitars, the JP15

and playability is enhanced by a great factory

selects between magnetic pickups, mag + piezo,

is the rst to feature a roasted maple top, neck,

setup that keeps the strings nice and low with

and piezo only, while the lower toggle selects

and fretboardthe last detail being signicant

no fret buzzes. The wide-ish string spacing over

the DiMarzio Illuminators individually or com-

as Petrucci has always shredded on rosewood

a at 17 radius fretboard will be familiar turf if

bined. You can split the coils of the humbuckers

or ebony fretboards. Music Man tells us that

youre used to guitars from other well-known

(inside coils active) via a push-push function on

John was pleasantly surprised by the snappier

makers of shred-metal axes, although Music

the Tone control. Lastly, the knob closest to the

sound of the maple-on-maple combination,

Man has, of course, optimized the formula to

output jack is Piezo Volume. On the back of the

and this circles back to the roasting process,

suit Petruccis specic requirements.

guitar and accessible though holes in the alu-

which removes moisture, hardens the wood,

Made of chrome-plated hardened steel,

minum cover plate, are screwdriver-adjustable

and also gives a brown-ish hue to the grain pat-

and outtted with stainless-steel saddles, the

trimpots for Mag Boost, Mag/Piezo Mix, Piezo

tern that looks very cool under a nish of gun-

Custom John Petrucci Music Man Piezo oating

Treble, and Piezo Bass. Power is supplied by a

stock oil and hand-rubbed wax. The Sahara

bridge has a precise, silky smooth action. Its a

9-volt battery thats easy to change courtesy of

Burst maple top is beautifully quilted, and you

very solid system, and working in tandem with

its swing-out holder. One small complaint: The

can also order this guitar with a ame top, as

the locking Schaller M6 tuners in a 4 +2 arrange-

location of the mono and stereo jacks so close

well as with a 7-string neck (sorry, no lefties).

ment that keeps the string path arrow straight

to the strap button makes it necessary to use a

Cosmetics are furthered by shield-shaped pearl

over the slippery melamine nut, its possible to

cord with a right-angle plugparticularly if you

fretboard markers that include a larger, black-

wrench on the push-in arm quite aggressively

like to lean your guitar against the amp when

outlined 15 inlay at the rst fret.

without going out of tune.

taking a break.

The neck attaches with a 5-bolt joint, and

In the electronics department, the JP15 is

The JP15 has a resonant and sustaining

the heel is sculpted to make it easy to zip up to

outtted with an onboard Music Man preamp

acoustic sound that is translated well by the

the highest of the 24 mirror polished stainless-

that can deliver up to 20dB of boost when you

Illuminator humbuckers. Designed for Petrucci

steel frets. The satin-nished medium-thick neck

press on the Volume knob. There are two 3-way

and originally tted to the JP13 model, these

110

G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

MODEL

JP15
CONTACT

music-man.com

PRICE

$2,800 street

S P E C I F I C AT I O N S
NUT Width

1 11/16"

NECK

Select roasted maple, bolt-on

FRETBOARD

Select roasted maple, 25


1/2" scale, 17" radius

FRETS

24 medium-jumbo
stainless-steel

TUNERS

Schaller M6 locking
with pearl buttons

BODY

African mahogany with


roasted maple top

BRIDGE

Custom John Petrucci Music


Man Piezo oating tremolo

PICKUPS

DiMarzio Illuminators;
piezo bridge pickup

CONTROLS

Volume with push-push


boost for magnetic pickups,

pickups have a quick attack and upfront pres-

level when splitting coils. Very cool!

Tone with push-push switch

ence, and through a high-gain amp such as

The other sounds available from this guitar

for custom 2-pickup con-

the Mesa/Boogie Mark Five: 25 we used for

range from acoustic-like in the full piezo setting

guration, Piezo Volume,

testing, the JP15 sounded badassdelivering

to the wide-ranging mag-plus-piezo mode, where

3-way selector for mag-

chunky lows and a buttery bite on the bridge

you can adjust the blend of the pickup systems to

netic pickups, 3-way piezo/

setting and becoming smoother and rounder

obtain much airier sounds than the mag pickups

but without losing clarity in the neck position.

alone can muster. And, with the humbuckers in

The singing tone with both pickups on is cool

split mode, these hybrid tones can be spectac-

too, as the pickups complement each other to

ulareven more so when using the stereo output

WEIGHT

7.54 lbs

create a balance that works well for rhythm

jack to feed the mag and piezo signals to sep-

BUILT

USA

playing when the Volume knob is rolled down.

arate amplication systems for a wider sound-

KUDOS

Impeccable build quality.

Wick the volume up and the combined Illumi-

stage and greater control over the mag/piezo mix.

nators yield rich sustain that goes easily into

All said, the JP15 is an impressive instrument

the creamy zone with some rolloff of the Tone

thats superbly made and designed to do exactly

knob. The split-coil tones proved crisp and chim-

what the musician who inspired it wants it to

ing, and they sound very cool for funk or any-

do. Petrucci fans will love it, but the JP15 is spe-

thing else where a skinnier single-coil texture is

cialized enough that its worth spending some

necessitates use of

needed. And with boost available at the touch

time with it at your local store to get a feel for

right-angle plugs.

of a knob, you never have to suffer any loss of

how it will work for you. g

magnetic selector
FACTORY STRINGS Ernie Ball RPS Slinky,

.010-.046

Huge range of sounds. Switchable boost for mag pickups.


Active piezo bridge pickup.
Mono and stereo outs.
CONCERNS

Position of output jacks

O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5 / G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M

111

Gear
T EST D R I V E

DeTemple Spirit Series 52 Model


T ESTE D BY DAVE HU NT ER

MICHAEL DETEMPLE HAS LONG BEEN

as a means of nding some relative stability while

Our review sample is nearly identical to a

known as an accomplished builder of high-end,

starting a family. Gradually perfecting his craft,

guitar that DeTemple recently built for Vince

bolt-neck Fender-style guitars. He developed his

with reference to his own collection of vintage

Gill, and its an instrument to make any real fan

love of the breed during a distinguished play-

instruments, DeTemples current style coalesced

of the vintage Tele-style template just about

ing career amid the West Coast scene of the

in the mid 90s, although hell tell you that each

break down and weep. Specs and appoint-

60s and 70sincluding an extended period in

guitar continues to get just a little bit better. On

ments are classic blackguard, as the name

Rick Dankos band and stints with Dave Mason,

the strength of the Spirit Series 52 Model, its

implies, although DeTemple renders his cre-

Booker T Jones, Albert Hammond, the Flying

hard to say where he could go from here, but I

ation in the spirit of the instruments tone, look,

Burrito Brothers, Paul Buttereld, Eric Clapton,

do admire the sentiment as Mike and his skilled

and feel, rather than through rote mimicry of

and othersand segued into luthiery in the 90s

team continue to craft every instrument by hand.

vintage ingredients. The foundation is classic:

112

G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

MODEL

SPIRIT SERIES 52 MODEL


CONTACT

detempleguitars.com

PRICE

$7,995 street

a lightweight, one-piece swamp-ash body and

is due to a superb build and a faultless setup.

a quarter-sawn, superbly amey northeastern

Unplugged, the guitar rang loud and clear, and

maple neck. In fact, this thing is utterly three-

the low-E string sent abundant energy through

dimensional, dizzying even, with a deeply liquid

the body right into my sternum. Plugged into a

NUT WIDTH

11/16" fossilized mastodon

guring that tricks the eye into sensing motion

Magnatone Single V head and 2x12 cab and a

NECK

Maple, full 52 Reverse Taper

across its roiling surface. Body and neck are

Matchless Lightning 1x12 combo, the Spirit Series

compression mated for a tight joint and opti-

52 Model quickly established itself as one of

mum resonance. Beyond that, a host of re-engi-

the most formidable T-types Ive ever played,

neered components takes up the tone chase:

old or new. The bridge pickup issued a meaty

saddles, string ferrules, and neck plate are all

twang that never even hinted at shrill, with a

made from titanium, and the nut, switch tip,

roundness and depth reminiscent of PAF-like

and string trees are carved from fossilized mast-

body but with exemplary single-coil cutting

odon ivory. The pickups are DeTemples own

power and outstanding sustain. It was beauti-

DeTemple top compensated

SweetSpot T-Series with alnico II magnets and

fully rewarding through Bakerseld picking to

titanium saddles and titanium

readings of 7.9k in the bridge and 5.9k in the

cranked-up rock leads with a Z Vex Box of Rock

neck; all wired through a reversed T-style con-

pedal engaged, re-establishing the supreme ver-

PICKUPS

DeTemple SweetSpot T-Style

trol plate (the standard switch-forward plate

satility of this template when done right. The

CONTROLS

Volume, Tone, 3-way switch

is also available).

neck pickup had the clarity and vocal timbre

FACTORY STRINGS Ernie Ball Pure Nickel Classic

S P E C I F I C AT I O N S

Soft V prole

FRETBOARD

Maple, 25 1/2" scale, 9.5" radius

FRETS

21 medium-jumbo

TUNERS

Special design open-back

BODY

Solid one-piece featherweight


swamp ash

BRIDGE

Steel ashtray top plate with

ferrules

On paper, the neck on this one appears

of a great Strat neck position, with plummy

to be a whoppera full .980" deep from the

depths and plenty of rich sweetness, and the

WEIGHT

6.5 lbs

rst fret all the way to the 12th (as specd by

in-between selection was beguilingly round and

BUILT

USA

the client)and with the .011-.048 pure nickel

funky. Ultimately, I was forced to admit that this

KUDOS

Impeccable build quality.

strings, I was expecting a wrestling match. But

DeTemple as a whole exuded more sonic depth

the rounded DeTemple Reverse Taper Soft V

and resonance than my own beloved renished

prole felt sublime in my hand, and playability

57 Telecaster and to bestow it an Editors Pick

was surprisingly easy and tireless. Full credit

Award for the achievement. g

Rockers, .011-.048

Premium T-style tone.


CONCERNS

Pricey, but the ner things in life


often are.

O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5 / G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M

113

Gear
T EST D R I V E

Gibson Custom Shop


True Historic 1959 Les Paul Reissue
T ESTE D BY DAVE HU NT ER
EVER SINCE THE INCEPTION OF THE

True Historic series for 2015, represented here

room for improvement, in just about any ven-

Historic program in 1993, Gibson has striven to

by this 1959 Les Paul Reissue, offers the most

ture, and you cant blame Gibson for striving to

recapture the magic of its glory years, namely by

signicant coalescence yet of vintage-correct

make a better reissue. Knowledge grows, new

reissuing Les Pauls built they way they were circa

specs and materials, along with the rediscovery

discoveries are made, and sometimes its pos-

1958-60. The quest wasnt an easy one. They

of 50s-era construction methods, and therefore

sible to build a better mousetrap this year than

were a long way from the original formulaboth

takes us closer still to a build-em-like-they-used-

you were capable of last.

literally and gurativelyand many of the origi-

to Les Paul with the Gibson name legally on it.

New-for-2015 details include double-carv-

nal ingredients simply werent available. Through

That said, the new series has left some owners

ing and hand sanding of both the maple top

better and better analysis of vintage Les Pauls,

of previous best yet LPs a touch peeved, while

and the neck prole for a more accurate shape

Gibson Custom (as this division is now known)

others cautiously await what developments will

and feel; attaching the top with hot hide glue

has gotten closer year by year: a more accurate

make them even better next year. On one hand,

(already in use for neck and then ngerboard as

neck joint one year, improved playing feel the

I can understand the cynicism, especially from

of 2013 and 2014 respectively); thinner nishes

next, better pickups and a period-correct truss-

players who have spent their hard-earned cash

that are nal wet-sanded by hand; all plastics

rod after that, and so on. The introduction of the

on previous editions; on the other, theres always

reproduced from molecular-level analysis of

114

G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

MODEL

and its edges are slightly radiused or broken

CUSTOM SHOP
TRUE HISTORIC 1959
LES PAU
PAUL
P
L REISSUE

for a more accurate look and feel. The new-

CONTACT

gibson.com

for-2013 Custom Bucker pickups with unpot-

PRICE

$8,599 street

original materials; binding rolled at the ngerboard edges; the headstock veneer is thinner,

ted mismatched coils remainwired via CTS

S P E C I F I C AT I O N S

pots and reissue bumblebee tone capsas


does the sleeveless trussrod.

What does it all add up to? In the hand, this


True Historic feels superb, and while, to be honest,

NUT WIDTH

1.687" Nylon 6/6

NECK

Mahogany, 59 prole

FRETBOARD

Rosewood, 24 3/4" scale,

Ive been impressed with Gibson Customs Les

12" radius

Paul necks for a long while, this one does feel

FRETS

22 medium jumbo

vintage-correct, and playability is boosted by an

TUNERS

Kluson Reissue with single-

impeccable setup. The bodys curves and edges

ring green keys

feel right, and the binding certainly compares

BODY

better to the vintage stuff than that found on

Solid one-piece mahogany


with carved gured maple top

previous reissues. The vintage cherry sunburst

midrange overkill or abby low end that many

nish looks outstanding over this lushly gured

contemporary Les Pauls exhibit, and instead

maple top, with an outer edge thats deeper and

has more twang and chime than you might have

bolder than were used to in reissues. But this

come to expect from the breedalthough thats

one is considered to be in an un-faded state:

pretty accurate to the performance of a vintage

Faded and hand-aged renditions are available

burst with good low-wind PAFs. It still pushes

for a few grand more. Testing the bridge posts

a semi-cranked amp extremely well, making a

and thumbwheels with a magnet reveals brass

great rock n roll machine on the bridge pickup,

FACTORY STRINGS Gibson Brite Wires, .010-.046

(vintage correct) in the former, steel (generally

and a sweet blues screamer on the neck, which

WEIGHT

8.3 lbs

not thought to be late-50s correct) for the latter.

rolls off to mellow jazz tones beautifully with

BUILT

USA

Edwin Wilson from Gibson Custom tells us both

the volume wound down.

KUDOS

Great looks, build quality, tone,

were attained after melting down original parts


for analysis, so whos to say?

BRIDGE

Tune-o-matic bridge with


aluminum stopbar tailpiece

PICKUPS

Custom Bucker PAF-style


humbuckers

CONTROLS

Independent Volume and Tone


controls for each pickup, 3-way
switch

The True Historic 1959 has great bite, play-

and feel. Gibson Customs most

able dynamics, and a chewy, singing overdrive

vintage-correct specs yet.

The guitar is extremely lively, bright, and jangly

tone that quickly reminds you why good Les

unplugged, which translates to a lot of edge and

Pauls are such monsters for lead playing. All in

parts (thumbwheels, most

clarity when plugged into a hand-built JTM45

all, it takes us rewardingly close to what a great

notably) still dont jibe with

clone and 2x12 cab and a Matchless Lightning

old Les Paul should do, and wins and Editors

the vintage-minded consensus.

1x12 combo. Its utterly devoid of the muddy

Pick Award in the process. g

CONCERNS

Expensive. A couple of minor

O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5 / G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M

115

Gear
STOM PB OX FEV ER

Xotic SL Drive Chrome Edition


STO M P B OX ES W I T H S M A L L FO OT P R I N TS A R E A N O BV I -

turned up, and whether you want bluesier sounding grind or super-sus-

ous plus for any pedalboard, and Xotics new SL Drive Chrome Edition

taining hard-rock and metal tones, its all just a few knob twists away. The

($124 street), packs a lot into a rugged cast-aluminum enclosure that

pedals strong output lets you run lower Drive settings without level suck-

measures just 3.5" x 1.5" x 1.5". Only 3,000 units are being produced in

age, and the Tone knob easily accommodates humbuckers or bright sin-

this limited-edition package, which also includes the Xotic Voltage Dou-

gle-coils. In the latter case I found it easy to get buttery distortion on the

bler, a small unit that interfaces between the SL Drive and an optional

bridge pickups of either a Buzz Feiten T-Pro or a John Page Classic Ash-

9VDC power supply to increase the voltage up to 18VDC for enhanced

burn. A 59 Historic Les Paul and a new PRS McCarty also sounded fat

headroom and presence.

and juicy though the SL Drive, and had plenty of slice even when pushing

A sweet-looking unit with its polished top cover and amber LED, the

out ridiculous amounts of distortion. The difference in dynamic response

SL Drive features clear plastic knobs for Drive and Tone, and has a smaller

when using the Voltage Doubler wasnt all that noticeable, but the tones

trimmer for Volume. The output jacks are side mounted and the click-on

do get a touch brighter. At any rate, its simple enough to use this increased

mechanical switch provides a true bypass when the effect is disengaged.

voltage option, and more is always more, right?

For all its compactness, the SL Drive still manages to house a 9v battery.

A cool-sounding distortion box with enough EQ power to tailor itself to

Along with the distortion circuitry, the unit also features four internal DIP

probably any guitar you throw at it, the SL Drive goes a long way toward

switches that toggle between two settings each: high/mid frequency #1,

giving you access to the ballpark of boosted/modded vintage-Marshall

high/mid frequency #2, high/mid cut, and +6db boost. These switches

tones that have long been a benchmark by which distortion pedals are

enable you to ne-tune the EQ for a variety of Marshall-style tones that

judged. As such, the SL Drive is darned satisfying and it earns an Editors

the SL Drive is designed to deliver. The manual offers four different control

Pick Award. A R T

THOMPSON

knob and DIP switch settings for popular distortion tones such as Humbucker Mr. Big 1969 and Single-Coil Blackmore-esque, but getting great

KUDOS Very compact. Wide gain range. Excellent EQ.

sounds from this pedal doesnt require much study.

CONCERNS None.

The SL Drives smooth, liquidy distortion comes on fast as Drive is

116

G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

CONTACT xotic.us

Gear
ACCESSORY FILE

TC Electronic PolyTune Clip


T ESTE D BY MICHA EL MOLENDA
ITS NO SECRET THAT TC ELECTRONIC

stainless-steel clip. I shook the heck out of my

revolutionized the somewhat sleepy pedal-

guitarand even tossed it onto a couchand

tuner market in 2010 with its original PolyTune

the mechanism would not let go.

Poly-Chromatic Tuner. That sleek and magical

Tuning is as swift and accurate as ever.

machine let you strum all of your strings, and

The Clip knows when you want to check one

immediately see which ones were sharp or at.

string or all six, and adjusts its large, bright dis-

Almost overnight, tuning onstage became quick

play (which spans all of the units 2" length)

as the Flashinstantly tanking the silly banter

accordingly. Uber-tuning snobs can also call

vocalists spewed to kill time during the guitar-

up a Strobe mode with 0.02 cent accuracy.

ists marathon tuning spells. You still see tons

The Clips ip screen feature let me mount the

of PolyTunes on pedalboards, but it was only

tuner at the back or front of my headstock for

a matter of time until the technology shrunk to

easy viewing.

headstock size and evolved into the new PolyTune Clip ($49 street). The Clip struts its fam-

Kudos Its a miniaturized tuning revolution!


Bright, large display. Fast.

ilys clean black and white lines, and it clutches

Concerns None

your headstock in a death grip with a padded,

Contact tcelectronic.com g

Guitarist Kelly Kathleen, Photo: Holly West

118

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GetSmart
Steve Hunter on Classic Sessions
Sliding into Hello Hurray
BILLION DOLLAR BABIES

120

BRUCE KESSLER/ROCKINHOUSTON.COM

recorded between August


1972 and January 1973is full
of great songs, and one of my
favorites is Hello Hurray. It was
very well written (by Canadian
folksinger Rolf Kempf), it had a
great arrangement, and it had
terric parts played very well
by the Alice Cooper boys. But I
was taken aback when producer
Bob Ezrin suggested a slide part
for the songs solo section. I had
tried my hand at slide playing a
few times, and I quickly discovered it was much harder than it
appeared. I decided to leave the
slide stuff to Johnny Winter or
George Harrison.
Luckily for me, however, I had
spent ve years of my youth learning how to play lap-steel (thanks
to my father), and I experimented
with making my lap-steel technique sound like slide guitar.
So I brought a beat up, mid- to
late-50s Gibson 6-string pedal
steel to the Billion Dollar Babies
sessions. It was a rudimentary
design that featured four pedals,
each of which could only raise the
pitch of certain strings. Todays
pedal steels, by comparison, can
bend strings up and down, and
are very complex instruments. My
poor old Gibson barely worked.
In fact, one of the pedal rods was
severely disfigured and completely dysfunctional, leaving me
only three pedals to work with.
I tuned the guitar to an open E,
the rst pedal to an open A, and
the third pedal to an A minor
chord, so I would have at least
one minorplus, I could use
the relative major/minor chord

Not a Billion Dollar Baby here, but riffing on Solisbury Hill. Hunter
in 1977 on tour with Peter Gabriel.

relationship to get another minor.


That was just about the extent of
my music theory in those days.
With all of its problems, when
you plugged the pedal steel into
a Marshall half-stack, it sounded
amazinglikely due to the fact
its pickup was probably a PAF.
Whatever Bob had in mind
when he envisioned a slide part,
it was a pedal-steel performance

G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

that he was going to get. We


discussed the approach, and settled on a solo and a harmony
part. Normally, Id go into the
studio and play until we got
something. But Hello Hooray
demanded a more constructed
solo. We plugged the Gibson into
a Marshall half-stack, turned
up the ampalthough not all
the wayand I worked out

the solo. Then, I doubled the


rst half and played harmony
to the second half. Over the
chords immediately following
the solo, I pushed a couple of
the Gibsons chord pedals
which is what I called themto
follow the progression.
The tone was pretty organic
no effects pedals. I get asked
a lot about the sounds we
got in the early days, but I
really didnt use many pedals,
because there werent a lot to
choose from back then, and I
often didnt like what was availablethe Fuzz Face, for example. We did use outboard studio
gear such as compressors and
EQ, but my guitar tones were
primarily from the Volume and
Tone controls on the amp, and
the Volume and Tone controls
on the guitar.
I still love the tone of that old
pedal steel on Hello Hurray.
Unfortunately, I no longer have
it. It died a sad death. If I had
known then what I know now, I
would have at least kept that PAF
pickup. Another lesson learned
Sometimes called The Deacon,
Steve Hunter is an American guitarist best known for his collaborations with Peter Gabriel, Lou
Reed, and Alice Cooper. Hunter
has played some of the greatest
riffs in rock history, including the
opening solos on Aerosmiths version of Train Kept A-Rollin and
Alice Coopers Cold Ethyl, and
the acoustic intro to Peter Gabriels
Solsbury Hill. He also wrote the
legendary Intro for Lou Reeds
1973 live version of Sweet Jane. g

GetSmart
Jason Becker on Creativity
Perpetual Burn
T H E R E A R E S O M E G R E AT

covers of my song Perpetual


Burn out there. Check out Jeff
Loomis version on YouTube.
Alexandra Zerner also has a nice
one. I notice that some people
have a little trouble guring out
the intro licks, though. That is
understandable, because I didnt
play them completely clean.
My lame excuse for that is that
the amp was feeding back a lot
between the licks, so instead of
having silence between each
one, I had to use the bar. I had
to change my way of thinking
about this part, which is what
you have to do sometimes.
Marty Friedman used to say,
A craftsman never blames his
tools. I totally agree with that.
Many people have excuses for
why they arent kicking ass. I
nd that some of the time, it
is just that they havent practiced enough. Try to be good
on any guitar and amp.
The rst arpeggio is actually
just a pentatonic scale with a
couple notes taken out; the high
G and the lower A. The second
one is the same thing, only each
B note changes to C. It is a tidy
little shape for your ngers. The
third one is just some weird notes
that sounded good to my ears.
At the time, I got off on strange
note choices that would throw
the listener for a loop.
Why do I like arpeggios so
much? Well, it started with being
good at playing them. I still use
them for composing though,
because they contain many parts
of music in themselves. They
have the chords, melody, and
rhythm all in one line or idea.
They have kind of become part
of my sound and style.
You know, I tease myself for

not playing this intro cleanly, but


I am not really worried about it.
Many players spend hours every
day trying to get as clean as possible. Playing clean is great, but
getting a vibe and attitude is
even more important. Imagine
if Jimmy Page had put all of his
attention into nailing each note
rather than having that creative
spontaneity. He wouldnt be the
Page that we love. On the other

hand, we all arent Page, and so


many players today have a selfrighteously sloppy style with no
magic or musicality. I mean, it
isnt always about practice,
practice, practice, but it also
isnt only about thinking your
personality is more important
than the music. A nice mix of
the two is best.
If you want to hear the demo
version of Perpetual Burn, which

has this partnear the end of the


songplayed cleaner and how I
originally intended, check it out
on my CD The Blackberry Jams.
Jason Becker is a composer
and guitarist whose work can be
heard on his solo albums, and with
Cacophony and David Lee Roth.
Check out this sexy mans story in
the award-winning documentary
Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet. g

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121

Detailed Video Lessons


The DVD included in every book contains complete video
lessons and full play-along demonstrations of all the songs.

TNT 2 Sof tware

E^ZkgmhieZrZeeh_CbffrIZ`^l`nbmZk
parts from classic Led Zeppelin songs with:
=^mZbe^]bglmkn\mbhgZeob]^he^llhgl
Bg&]^imapkbmm^ge^llhgl
I=?mkZgl\kbimbhglpbmaM:;
MGM+lh_mpZk^_hk\nlmhfbsbg`
ieZr&Zehg`mkZ\dl

Sound-alike and play-along MP3s are included, as well as


TNT 2 software which allows you to create your own mixes,
slow tracks down, isolate sections and licks, and loop parts
for optimal practice.

OblbmZe_k^]'\hf(`nbmZkl^llbhgl
Additional play-along series with video
lessons available for Rush, The Doors,
Grateful Dead, John Lennon, Led Zeppelin,
The Rolling Stones, and The Beatles!
Visit alfred.com/uepa for more infomation.

Guitar Showcase

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Guitar Showcase

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Guitar Showcase

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Guitar Showcase

126

G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

Guitar Showcase

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Guitar Showcase

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G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

Guitar Showcase

AUDIO TECHNOLOGY

This amp is killer!


-Al Di Meola

OVERDRIVE

SUPREME
"Ballsy and articulate!
The Overdrive Supreme
never fails to impress!"
-Guitar Player Magazine
In continuous production
for over 15 years. Proving
that killer tone is timeless.

Since 2008 the Fuchs Overdrive Supreme has been


an integral part of Al Di Meolas live electric tone.
A true bona-fide guitar hero, Al Di Meola has won a
record eleven top guitar awards in Guitar Player Magazine,
more than any other player in history. Al is recognized
internationally as a guitar virtuoso of the highest order.
Hear the ODS in action on
Als new CD Elysium
Visit www.aldimeola.com for concert
& tour dates worldwide.

Call 973-772-4420
or visit
www.fuchsaudio.com
PROUDLY MADE IN THE USA

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Guitar Showcase

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G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

Guitar Showcase

Homegrown ampliers
inspired by guitar legends and innovators

Homestead
a ps
am
401.903.2677

www.homesteadamps.com
O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5 / G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M

131

Guitar Showcase

SWITCHING

IS EASY

Tube Powered
Pedal Pre-amp

12AX7 preamp tube | clean ch. w/


volume control | OD ch. w/ gain and
volume control | shared 3-band eq
section | pre- & post fx loops | mon. out
with selectable output level | balanced
XLR DI output with speaker emulation |
9VDC/200mA power supply out

www.one-control.com
132

www.koch-amps.com

G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

Finally its here the best and


easiest way to mount your
favorite, classic shaped
wah,
solidly to your
pedalboard.

www.stagetrixproducts.com

Guitar Showcase

EVO TRACK pedalboard

A new take on the classic Velcro pedalboards!


Its modular design means you can build your own
pedalboard up to double the size.
Evo Track allows you to regulate tilt or level it out to suit
any stage setting by adjusting the back feet.
Fully compatible with our Smart Track model
with fasteners.
PATENT PENDING
www.aclamguitars.cat
Follow us!

FEEL
THINK
PLAY

2 Levels

No Velcro

Curved Deck

Quick.Tight.Better.
Lifetime Warranty
Patents Applied For

The New Holeyboard Std. MKII


SeaFoam Green

www.chemistrydesignwerks.com
O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5 / G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M

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Guitar Showcase

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Guitar Showcase

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135

Guitar Showcase

XITS X10 | modern classic


The result of
unceasing
passion for the
perfect combo
amplier.
Sweet, articulate
cleans, three
dimensional
overdrive and
everything
inbetween.
Pure Magic.
Pure XITS.

xits
www.xits-sound.com

136

G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

Guitar Showcase

Rails under the wound strings. Poles under


the plain strings. A revolutionary design from
Joe Naylor that tightens the lows and fattens
the highs, for exceptional clarity and punch
beyond conventional pickups. Check out
Railhammer pickups today at railhammer.com.
They will change the way you play.
Available at zZounds, AMS, and Musician's Friend.

O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5 / G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M

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Guitar Showcase

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G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

Guitar Showcase
THE ULTIMATE LOW-POWER
AMERICAN INSPIRED AMPLIFIER!!
The Skylark concept began with our love and appreciation
for classic home/student 60s American amps. These small
student amps deliver organic tube juice and vibe at real world
volumes making them super usable and super satisfying. Our
Skylark takes this fun utility a giant leap forward. Reverb, a built
in power attenuator, Hi/Low gain switch, and the extended range
presence control offer an incredible pallet of tones from the
Skylarks beautiful dove-tailed cabinet. 12 watts full power.
SEE OUR WEB SITE FOR DETAILS, VIDEOS, AND SOUNDS.

CARRAMPS .COM

"Best Small Amp of 2014"


- TONE QUEST MAGAZINE

"Desert Island Amp"


- VINTAGE GUITAR MAGAZINE

O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5 / G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M

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Guitar Showcase

Guitars & Lap Steels

Discover
A New
Classic...
Asher
T-Deluxe

alifornia Crafted

since 1982
310.821.2888 www.AsherGuitars.com

Guitar Bazaar

140

G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

Guitar Bazaar

O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5 / G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M

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Product Spotlight
Premium, Handmade Guitar Picks
Gravity Guitar Picks
Available Now
Increase Volume, Speed and Accuracy. Gravity Guitar Picks are made the old
fashioned way. Each guitar pick is shaped and polished by a Master Picksmith.
The entire production process is completed at one location in Northern California.
Founded in 2011, Gravity Guitar Picks produces a high quality product at a fair
price. Made in the USA. Available in all Sam Ash Music locations.
$4.99
www.gravitypicks.com

Custom Guitar Body Ring


Atlas Jewelers
Available Now
Highly detailed, made to order musician jewelry crafted to your specifications.
From start to finish, the process of making your custom piece is shared with you.
Full body guitar ring starting at $1000 in 14K(585) multi colored golds.
www.MusicianRings.com

Pi-Phase
Prophecysound Systems
Available Now
Reproducing the sound of the Mu-Tron Bi-Phase, the Prophecysound Pi-Phase is a
modern and all-analog rebirthing of the original 70s classic. With world-class build
quality, the Pi-Phase is pedal-board friendly and well-suited to either stage or studio.
MSRP: 599AUD, 480USD (approx)
http://prophecysound.com
sales@prophecysound.com

Contemporary Guitar Improvisation


(Utilizing the Entire Fingerboard) Book & CD
by Marc Silver
Available Now
Since 1978, Contemporary Guitar Improvisation is THE classic book for learning
guitar improvisation. This innovative system is based on five basic fingering
patterns that form the foundation for improvising over virtually any chords,
in any key, across the entire fingerboard. All patterns are diagrammed, so
note-reading ability is not necessary. Recommended by guitar legend George
Benson.
MarcSilverGuitarImprov.com
$42.00 USD (includes delivery in the U.S.)

AmpliFire
Atomic Amplifiers

Mag-Lok Tremolo Anti-Deflection Device


The Super-Vee

Available Now
AmpliFire is the complete professional digital guitar amp modeling processor in a pedal
featuring patented tube modeling powered by Studio Devil, custom speaker impulses
loadable via USB, and a full suite of effects. Meet your total amp rig replacement, direct
recording tool, and new pedal board addition... all in one!
MSRP: $599
www.atomicamps.com
info@atomicamps.com

Available Now
The revolutionary Mag-Lok design uses Rare Earth super magnets to securely
hold your tremolos zero position during hard finger string bends, but
transparently releases when using the whammy bar. It is truly the holy grail
for the ultimate in tuning stability on all tone block style tremolo systems including Floyd Rose. Installs in minutes with just a screw driver. Patent pending.

142

G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

Price: $59.95
www.super-vee.com

Product Spotlight
System 10 Stompbox Digital Wireless System
Audio-Technica

Lil Luber/Groove Luber/Bench Luber


Big Bends LLC

Available Now
Featuring a rugged pedal-board mountable receiver with foot switch, two switched
TRS balanced outputs and an output mode selector, the System 10 Stompbox
provides unique functionality to guitarists.
$349.95 Street Price
www.audio-technica.com

Available Now
Big Bends LLC is proud to introduce the complete line of Nut Sauce tuning
lubricant applicators: the 0.5cc Lil Luber for the guitar hobbyist; the 1.5cc
Groove Luber for the serious player; and the 6cc Bench Luber for the guitar
tech or repair shop. Accept no imitation!
MSRP: Lil Luber $12.45, Groove Luber $24.95, Bench Luber 59.95
www.bigbends.com
1(888)788-BEND

Howling Monkey Guitar Picks


Howling Monkey

Vintage Tombstone Radio Amp


Ball Amps
Available Now

Available Now
Handcrafted in Rochester, NY - from a nut grown in South America called Tagua, Howling
Monkey guitar picks may just change the way you play. Amazingly warm & clean tone,
great attack, and long life. Check out our new, wonderfully comfortable, super grippy,
Pistol Grips.
MSRP: $9.99+
HowlingMonkeyPicks.com

Hand wired 5 watt vintage radio amp modeled after classic amps of the 1950s.
Includes Mercury Magnetics Transformers and a Tone Tubby 8 Alnico Speaker.
Amps are custom built using old suitcases, radios or TVs.
MSRP: $1,200
www.ballamps.com
info@ballamps.com
(304)820-8268

Barbera Soloist, Ultra High Performance Acoustic Guitar Pickups


Barbera Transducers

VintageVibrato
MannMade USA

Available Now
Finely tuned string balances, focused, accurate tonal clarity, powerful passive
output, high resistance to feedback. Acoustically transparent, engineered saddles
for steel and nylon string guitar. Hear every note, not every noise.
MSRP:$300
www.barberatransducers.com

Available Now
Fits vintage style Strat guitars with no mods. Steel block for that authentic Strat
stink! Increased tone and sustain. Push-in Arm. Patented mounting system
guaranteed to stay in tune. Smooth silky feel, less string breakage. All hardware
included. Made in USA.
MSRP: $160.00
www.MannMadeUSA.com/gp

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143

Product Spotlight
The Super-Vee BladeRunner
Super-Vee Tremolo Systems
Available Now
The BladeRunner with patented technology gives your Stratocaster superior
tuning stability, improved clarity, and a marked boost in sustain. Unlike any
other tremolo, the BladeRunner delivers. Crafted in multiple finishes - six
screw, two-post and lefty.
MAP Price - $169.95 - $199.95
www.super-vee.com
887-TREMOLO

StoneWorks Guitar Picks


StoneWorks Picks
Available Now
Handcrafted by Mike Stone from 100% natural stone. See for yourself
why players from all over the world love their StoneWorks Pick. Read
the reviews and then give us a try.
www.StoneWorksPicks.com

Monster Grips: The Ultimate Grip for Guitar Picks and More!
Monster Grips
Available Now
Monster Grips is a revolutionary guitar pick grip that is super grippy, non-sticky,
and stays clean. Surprisingly durable, yet ultra-thin, it is extremely comfortable
and is certain to enhance your playing experience.
$9.99
www.monstergrips.com

144

G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

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of Tube Guitar Amplifiers
this book is incredible
www.translucidamps.com

guitarplayer.com

O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5 / G U I TA R P L A Y E R . C O M

145

Classic Ad

I NEVER REALLY GOT THE FENDER ADS OF THE EARLY 1970 S SUCH AS THIS EXAMPLE FROM THE NOVEMBER
1974 issue of GP. Dorky stories. Bad cartoon art. And they actually asked if I wanted to send them $1 to get a full-color, 22"x25" poster
of the ad. Like Id want this hanging in my teenaged bedroom next to all the Who, Hendrix, Zeppelin, Triumph motorcycles, and Joe
Namath posters! If 70s rock was rebellious and cool, these ads were not. MICHAEL

146

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MOLENDA