Latest Articles


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...

Critical Mistakes That Can Destroy Your Music PR Campaign

For any emerging brand (yes musicians, this means you), a music PR campaign is a great way to spark new conversations, build visibility within key markets, and grow your overall influence over a long-term. The problem is, your budget may be tied up in basic costs such as recording, production, touring, rent, food, etc. Working with an established, professional publicity or marketing firm might be the ideal, as they will have a proven process and a network of strong media connections, but unless you have ...

Digital Music As Web Events For True Internet Scalability’s Adam Steele guest blogs for Indie-Music about “point of value” and how to scale the internet to your advantage by creating web events to market your music in new, unique ways. It’s now almost common rhetoric for people to declare that musicians make most of their money by touring and selling merch, and you can’t count on selling digital music. If you’re out there just putting your music on iTunes or Spotify or (insert mp3 service here…there are many), the massive scale of the internet will crush you...

Merch Stand Basics: Your Super Money Maker

The merch booth is a large source of income for a band. Most of the time, a band makes more money from their merch booth than they would’ve from the door of the show itself. However, most bands treat the merch booth as an afterthought. Some bands don’t even set up their merch booth at all. Even if they do, it’s usually just a few t-shirts thrown on a table in the corner. If you want to make money as a band, you need to treat your merch booth as seriously as you treat your live show and your recorded album. Below are some basics of an effective merch booth.

Writing For Two Guitars

There comes a time in the life of every young axe slinger when he/she must venture out of the bedroom/garage/New York sewer and interact with other musicians, and maybe even — gasp! — other guitarists! And sooner or later, said guitarist might get bored with the sound of two guitars playing the exact same thing. It happens: often one player will have a different concept of the beat compared to the other, or one has a different attack than the other, and it just doesn't quite work when you both play the same ...

How to Play Psychedelic Rock Guitar

If you’ve never heard of the Electric Prunes, the Seeds, the Remains, the 13th Floor Elevators, the Count Five, Blues Magoos, the Amboy Dukes, the Shadows of Knight, the Standells, the Leaves or the Strangeloves, this article is required reading. They are the forefathers of psychedelic rock – the American bands that put fuzz tone on the map and, in some cases, even the charts and inspired the garage rock renaissance of the ’80s that still continues at the grungy rock club level today. Even Jimi Hendrix arrived...
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