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10 Great Rock Guitar Instrumentals

There’s no denying that from the ‘80s onwards, the guitar instrumental has ventured into hitherto unexplored territories, with virtuosos such as Joe Satriani, Yngwie Malmsteen and others setting new standards for the concept. For the purposes of the list below, however, virtuosity is less a consideration than pioneering impact. Feel free to chime in with great instrumentals we missed — especially those with longstanding impact — in the comments section.

Growlin’ and Howlin’: Guide to Electric Guitar Distortion

Ah, distortion! That beautiful growl that makes the electric guitar the perfect 20th and 21st century instrument — the sound of the blues colliding with noisy urban environs; the sound of the space age; the sound of anger or a wide range of other emotions, writ in howling detail; the sound of the future, stuttering to the beat of global warming and chaos, or crushed to the roar of digital feedback, zeros and ones beaten into hideous submission. Distortion can be all of those things and more.

Concert Review: Tim McGraw's Two Lanes of Freedom Tour

Despite the fact that Tim McGraw is five years sober, fit as a triathlete and touring behind a number One album, he is still in an unenviable position. As he approaches 50, McGraw has to stay a step ahead of the current crop of young country hunks with TV shows, cross format radio airplay and wider appeal. But as he proved Saturday night at First Niagara’s inaugural show, the seasoned veteran still has plenty of fight left. The 20-song, two hour set was fueled by slick production, McGraw’s boundless energy ...

The LoCash Cowboys Stay Focused for the Long Haul

The LoCash Cowboys have been down on their luck more than a few times during their 10-year career. But the high-energy, fun-spirited duo is still betting that the odds are in its favor as it prepares to release its first album. Preston Brust and Chris Lucas met when they were working as DJs at Nashville’s Wildhorse Saloon. Soon, they landed additional work at Tootsies Orchid Lounge. But when they were offered the coveted Friday night gig at Tootsies, having signed with the booking agency Buddy Lee Attractions, they elected to hit the road. “I saw a wild side in them that maybe had not...

Inside Story: The Lost Rory Gallagher Album

When Rory Gallagher left us in 1995, he also left behind a rich body of work. From hard-hitting blues to tender acoustic music to R&B to Celtic influences, Gallagher was an engaging performer and an astonishingly gifted guitarist. His discography includes well over a dozen albums, between power trio Taste (beginning in 1969) and his solo works (from 1971’s self-titled album to 1990’s Fresh Evidence), but hardcore fans have long known about a mysterious lost record, an album which was recorded in the...

Gary Moore: Celebrating the Les Paul Master

The late guitar giant Gary Moore was a true titan of tone. Moore, who died of heart failure two months shy of his April 4 birthday in 2011, was a rare six-stringer — as comfortable with blues, his first musical love, as he was with blistering rock and exploratory jazz. Moore was also a superb technical player. His speed and articulation were exemplary, and his vibrato was absolutely exquisite. “Textbook” would be an accurate adjective to describe the latter, if he wasn’t so purely soulful as well.

The Gibson SG: 50 Essential Facts

The SG has been played by a huge number of legendary guitarists, taking in blues, pop, gospel, metal and jazz, and remains a classic marque of the Gibson brand. Do you need 50 essential Gibson SG facts to impress your guitar-playing buds? Of course you do! Read on. 1. The SG stands for “solid guitar.” 2. It was introduced to replace the single-cutaway Les Paul Standard. Although 1958-60 Les Pauls are now some of the most-coveted guitars ever made, the single-cutaway Les Paul’s sales were flagging...

Gun For Hire: Slash the Sideman

Slash has been the guitar star for Guns N’ Roses, Snakepit, Velvet Revolver and, currently, his own “solo” band. But Slash also has played sessions that would make many guitarists-for-hire weep. Sure, the fame of his name got him many gigs, but Slash’s session story is a whole world in itself: 2004 and 2007 are the only years since 1988 when Slash hasn’t guested on at least one other artist’s recordings. From rock to metal, from blues to R&B, from hip-hop to pop, Slash’s Gibson Les Pauls have been...

The Power Of Melody (From Presentation at NSAI event, March 2013)

The melody’s main job is to sell the emotion of the song! Lyrics sell the message (though melody can also help to sell the message). Music sells the attitude (though melody can also play an important role is delivering the attitude of the song). Melody sells the emotion! Since songs are an exchange of emotional energy, and emotion is what sells a song to the listener, melody is a very powerful and important part of the equation! The key elements of melody are intervals and movement. An interval is the distance...

From the Bottom of a Song's Heart

I am a song. Not just any song. I am the song that you first thought of, who knows when or where. Do you remember? I am unique, I can be easy to forget. So, I hope you remembered to write down my meager beginnings, or sing my half spun melody into your smart phone. I am a song, your song, and I’m going to be something special one day. I will be able to spill a message, make people think, cry, dance, be inspired, be angry, change a life, foster love, or be silly. But how will you treat me? Because right...

A Producer’s Guide To Overcoming Writers Block

There’s nothing worse than sitting down to work on a music production project and having no ideas at all. Or you have ideas, but within a few minutes of working on them, they just don’t excite you any more. Especially when this becomes a trend that continues for days, or even weeks and months. Whether you’re working professionally under a deadline, or just trying to relax and have fun, that feeling of “writer’s block” can be a terrible thing for any artist – DJs and producers alike. In this article you’ll find some ...

Seven Ways iTunes Changed the Music Industry

In less than 10 years, iTunes has become so embedded in people’s everyday lives that it has all but disappeared into the overall fabric of our digital commerce. It’s hard to remember a time when selling a song by itself for $3.49 was an option, which it was, at least as a proposal, before iTunes came along. Or when people had to buy an entire album in order to get that one hit single. For the industry, many business practices have become the norm – getting 70% of each sale, having proper invoices...

Top Shelf Reference: The Music of Business

For as long as it takes you to read The Music of Business, drop all vices and preconceived notions, then get ready for a heady ride. British author, Peter Cook has compiled a top shelf read that should remain in your library as a reference and an inspiration. This book is about the art of business explained through the business of music. This review is coming a little later than planned as there’s a lot to think about when you get into the various voices and opinions relayed through Cook’s lens. It takes...

Vibrato: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (Part 1)

I suppose the title about sums it up. There are no clear lines drawn in the battle over how much or how little vibrato is appropriate in a singer's voice. It generally boils down to a matter of personal preference. What sounds good to one person may sound not so great to the next. (Think: Dolly Parton. Think Bob Dylan.) When I am asked by a producer or record label to work with one of their artists, the first thing I do is try to get specific instructions about what they want to improve or change. I especially need ...

15 Ways To Keep Your Music Career (And Creativity) Moving Forward

Daft Punk has a new album, Random Access Memories, coming next month and the duo says that electonic music is having "an identity crisis." The duo, Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, has been working on their new album since 2008."After three records, there was a sense of searching for a record we hadn’t done," Thomas told Rolling Stone. "Electronic music right now is in its comfort zone and it’s not moving one inch," Bangalter says. "That’s not what artists are supposed...
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