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Roy Rogers: 5 Slide Tips for Beginners

Ted Drozdowski
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Monday, June 15, 2009    12:01 PM

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You'll find Roy Rogers' new Split Decision near the top of the blues charts, and Rogers himself on the short list of contemporary slide guitar royalty. After a stint in John Lee Hooker's Coast to Coast Blues Band in the '80s, Rogers emerged as a roots music star in his own right and has released nearly 20 albums that explore all aspects of slide playing over their course.

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Back to Basics: Using Effects Pedals, Part 2

Dave Hunter
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Wednesday, June 03, 2009    11:42 AM

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In Part 1 of this two-part feature on the basics of using effects pedals, we looked at the accepted standard order for connecting stompboxes in front of your guitar amp, as well as a few alternatives. This time we’ll examine ways to connect more complex setups and pedalboards and throw in a few tips and tricks.

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Back to Basics: Using Effects Pedals, Part 1

Dave Hunter
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Monday, June 01, 2009    3:06 PM

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The simple set-up of a good guitar played through a good tube amp can still provide the most compelling tones in popular music, but many players — and band situations — need something more in the sonic brew. Effects pedals can add texture, dynamics, space and motion to an otherwise “two dimensional” sound, and have become popular in almost every genre of electric guitar-based music.

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Duke Robillard: How to Sound Like T-Bone, B.B., Muddy, Johnny Watson And Freddie King

Ted Drozdowski
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Monday, June 01, 2009    2:56 PM

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Duke Robillard is the most versatile, complete roots guitarist in America.

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Mythbusters: Dick Dale and The Surf Sound

Dave Hunter
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Wednesday, May 20, 2009    4:15 PM

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Ah, the sound of surf guitar: a Fender Jaguar or Jazzmaster through the metallic sproing of a spring reverb unit set to full depth. After all, we call reverb “wet,” and surfing is certainly a wet sport, right? For many years this has defined the tone of surf and ’60s-era instrumental guitar music, but it was not always thus. As a matter of fact, the most notable name in all of surf guitar, Dick Dale, founded the sound using entirely different components, and he will tell you that the classic surf tone is something very different.

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Back to Basics: How to Have a Successful Guitar Band Rehearsal

Dave Hunter
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Wednesday, May 20, 2009    4:11 PM

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Assuming you have learned to play the guitar a little on your own, getting out and playing with other musicians can be an extremely rewarding endeavor. There’s nothing like the feeling — and sound — of making music with other human beings, translating what you’ve learned on your own instrument into a group effort that produces something real. It’s magical. And you don’t even have to be an expert on the guitar yourself to get out there and have fun with others. Provided you know a few chords at least, and understand how to learn new ones that friends might show you, playing with other like-minded beginner or novice musicians can often help you improve faster than you would all on your own, however hard you work at it. There’s nothing like the team effort of rehearsing together to help you develop your sense of rhythm, melody, dynamics, and overall timing. However good you feel you’re getting all on your lonesome in the bedroom or basement, you never really know how you’re coming along as a musician until you throw down with a few others.

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Back to Basics: Get Ready for The Studio

Dave Hunter
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Monday, May 11, 2009    2:23 PM

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Once you get a band that starts writing some original tunes, or even if you need to compile a demo of good renditions of your covers set to help you land gigs, you’re probably going to want to go into the studio to do some recording. This can be a daunting proposition if you’ve never recorded in a real studio before, and often the “red light fever” that sets in when you’re trying to get that one great take under pressure is worse than the nerves that hit you before going on-stage. A few tips about preparation for the studio — regarding gear, performance and attitude — can go a long way toward calming anxieties, and helping to make you ready to get the best and most efficient performance out of yourself and your bandmates.

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Myth Busters: Brian May’s Secret Weapons

Dave Hunter
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Wednesday, May 06, 2009    8:45 AM

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With some great artists, it’s easy to pinpoint the time at which their classic tone launched itself upon the listening public. As far as American fans go, at least, Brian May’s unmistakable guitar tone arrived in 1974 with the release of the radio single “Killer Queen,” from the Sheer Heart Attack album. Think of it as “the tone that launched a thousand ships.” The great heavy rock sounds of Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page and a few others were already on the map, but man, this was a new, exciting, dynamic lead guitar tone that sent kids scurrying for the secret of the sound. And while many would think they found it easily enough — or discerned its origins, at least — the real secret behind May’s signature guitar tone, as is so often the case, wouldn’t be clear until the full story unfolded over the course of time.

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Back to Basics: How to Get Your Gear and Yourself Gig-Ready

Dave Hunter
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Tuesday, May 05, 2009    11:27 AM

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So you’ve rehearsed your hearts out, got your set down tight and landed your band’s first gig. What now? You need to get gig ready, that’s what! Sure, being able to put on a show is a big part of the battle, but it also helps to have a handful of insider’s tips at the ready — a list of all the little things that can help the gig go smoothly — so you don’t spoil a potentially great performance with some small, avoidable glitch. This installment of Back to Basics gives you a quick guide to having both your gear and your attitude in the right condition to pull off that first gig, and every one after it, like a pro.

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Ben Harper Rocks a Les Paul Special and Shares Acoustic Lap Slide Recording Tips

Ted Drozdowski
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Monday, April 27, 2009    4:18 PM

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Fans of Ben Harper knew his next album was going to sound different. After all, when Harper and his new band Relentless 7 played their first show in December at Los Angeles’ Spaceland, he thundered through part of the set with his ’56 Les Paul Special strapped on.

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