Thursday, 15 January 2015

Per Nilsson, Tosin Abasi, Javier Reyes, Leonardo Guzman: im Dunlop Guitar Products NAMM line up announced

Per Nilsson

Fellow NAMMsters, come meet me at the Jim Dunlop Guitar Products' booth on Saturday at 11:30, I'll jam for a bit and then we can hang out and talk about guitar stuff, or pancakes, or just enjoy a moment of awkward silence together. Let me know.

Tom Hess: Steve Vai's Guitar Playing Can Make YOU A Better Guitar Player…Here's How - Part 1

Steve Vai's Guitar Playing Can Make YOU A Better Guitar Player…Here's How - Part 1

By Tom Hess
Steve Vai is undoubtedly one of the world's best guitarists. So how can you use this fact to make YOU a better guitar player? Hint: the answer is NOT "learning Steve Vai solos" or "looking up Steve Vai tabs". This is because these things will never allow you to the learn from the REASONS that Vai is great. If you can understand these reasons, you can use them to become a better guitar player yourself.

Here are 3 reasons that Vai is great and what you can do to use these reasons to improve your own playing:

Steve Vai's Guitar Playing Greatness Reason #1: Ability To Exercise Emotional Control In His Guitar Playing

When you watch Steve Vai play guitar live, you can really see how passionate he is about his own music. He expresses this in every note he plays. However, he is not faking this just to make the audience think he is better than he is…he channels real emotions through his guitar so that the entire audience actually feels his performances.

How to use this to improve your own guitar playing:
To experience this level of emotional control in your guitar playing you must be able to:
1. Understand exactly how every note you play will feel BEFORE you play it. Without doing this, you will only be able to imitate emotion while performing, rather than actually creating it and feeling it yourself. Learn how to play guitar with lots of emotion.
2. Think of all of your different guitar techniques as simple tools that will enhance your ability to express yourself on the guitar. Watch this video guitar lesson to learn how you can inject your guitar solos with emotion.
3. Focus on both how you are phrasing your notes as well as what notes you are playing. Doing this will help you to create your own guitar style and make your playing sound even more expressive and unique.
Learn how to turn your average guitar solos into awesome guitar solos in this guitar lesson.

Steve Vai's Guitar Playing Greatness Reason #2: Ease Of Creating Lots Of Fresh Musical Ideas
Most Steve Vai performances consist of several long, improvised guitar solos. Vai even creates his own backing tracks on the spot by looping his riffs and then SOLOING over them on stage. How is he able to continually come up with fresh ideas during these long solos? 2 reasons:
1. His guitar playing fluency level is extremely high
2. His ability to develop a short guitar lick into a full composition

How to use this to improve your own guitar playing:
It doesn't have to take you many years to develop your improvisational skills. If you want to become a great improviser fast do these 2 things:
1. Work with a great guitar teacher so you start learning how to integrate your entire guitar playing skill set and begin to use it fluently while improvising.
2. Practice creating many phrasing variations out of a very short guitar phrase. To learn how to do this properly, watch this improvisation lesson video.

Steve Vai's Guitar Playing Greatness Reason #3: Absolutely Fluent Guitar Playing
It is easy to focus on each of the individual elements of Steve Vai's guitar playing (because he has mastered so many) instead of looking at his guitar playing as a whole. However, if you do this you won't understand how he makes all of these musical techniques work together to create his trademark style. Vai's ability to combine all of the different aspects of his playing FLUENTLY, is the reason he has achieved mastery of the guitar. The next time you are listening to Vai play, focus on how he:
  • Uses a huge number of different scales and modes (blues, Lydian, harmonic minor, and many more) in his guitar playing in very creative ways

  • Uses all of his different guitar techniques (like sweep picking technique and scale sequences) to fluently create his own unique sound and style
The skillsets that all guitar players use are actually very common. This means that you (or anyone) can learn all of the same techniques that Steve Vai knows, easily. It is the process of fluently integrating these skills and techniques that makes a guitar player's individual style so unique. This is the main reason that guitarists like John Petrucci and Yngwie Malmsteen are so great, yet so different from each other in their styles.

How to use this to improve your own guitar playing:
Start improving your overall guitar fluency by:
1. Not ONLY isolating your guitar skills when you practice. This is the primary reason why most guitarists suffer when it comes to playing guitar fluently. There are 4 main reasons that you can tell you have lost track of developing guitar playing fluency:
  • Jumping between guitar exercises without ever focusing on what you need to do to master them. This might seem like the opposite of what I just described, yet you will experience similar problems in your guitar playing. More detail on this topic is available in my article about becoming a better guitar player
  • Practicing a single technique for long periods of time before ever trying to use it with your other musical skills
  • Trying to learn guitar through many different online resources. This won't help you achieve guitar fluency because these resources do not combine to teach you all of the things you need to know to become great
2. Make time in your guitar practice schedule to work ONLY on improving your guitar playing fluency and integration. You can take action towards this goal by:
Combining many different guitar techniques to further develop your guitar playing fluency. Here is an example of how to do this with your arpeggio sweep picking technique.
Studying music theory. This helps you to not just understand music theory but actively use it to make your guitar playing better
After you start using the ideas in this article, you will be on a straight path towards becoming a fluent and great guitar player. To make more progress even faster, study with a guitar teacher who will work with you to help you start reaching your musical goals.

About The Author:
Tom Hess is a successful professional musician and composer. He teaches and trains guitar players from all over the world through his guitar lessons online. Visit his website to get more guitar playing articles.

Tom Hess: Why Teaching Your Guitar Students To Be Creative Is Extremely Important

Why Teaching Your Guitar Students To Be Creative Is Extremely Important
By Tom Hess
What is the best way to get tons of new guitar students, make your current students more enthusiastic about learning and make your competition jealous of your success? Answer: being able to turn average students into great musicians. To do this, you MUST teach them to be creative... in fact, this is also a major factor when it comes to making good money as a guitar teacher.
Fortunately, teaching your students to be creative is not as difficult as you might expect. Plus, nearly all of your competitors have no idea how to teach creativity (if they even ever thought to do it). So, as soon as you learn how to teach guitar as effectively as possible (including teaching creativity), you’ll put yourself miles ahead of the competition.
Here are 5 things you have to do in your guitar lessons to quickly transform your students into highly creative musicians:

Bridge The Gap Between Implementation And Mastery
Training your students to implement their guitar skills will go a long way towards making them much better and more creative guitarists ?but it’s STILL not sufficient. Why? Because skills and components of musical understanding are NOT used in isolation in actual music. Put simply, your students are only able to truly be creative using a particular skill whenever they can not only use it on it's own, but additionally be able to mix it together with all of their current skills. All extremely advanced guitar players already know and do this naturally every time they practice guitar, but only very best guitar INSTRUCTORS know the crucial significance of helping their students to combine their skills together?and even fewer really do it.
One simple way to get your students to integrate their skills is to have them write a very basic song after learning fundamental chords, barre chords, etc. Rather than “teaching” these things to them and instantly moving to more advanced seventh chords or music theory ideas, STAY on this topic for several lessons and get your students to practice being creative by integrating what they know together in order to make music that (under your direction). This will make it easier for them to remember the ideas, and get them started with being creative whenever you show them something new.
When you begin teaching your guitar students how to integrate their skills together, you will be surprised at how quickly your students will start improving and becoming more creative guitarists. Plus, you’ll notice yourself enjoying the process of teaching your guitar students: both because it is fun to see your students grow and because you won’t have to create so many lesson materials every week.

Start Small?And Display Proof
When you initially get started working together with your students on components of creative guitar playing, and implementing and combining their skills, get ready to start small. Take into account that your students will still be very uncertain about their ability to be creative. For this reason, you must:
1. Supply them with modest assignments to enable them to feel confident regarding their ability to play things in a creative manner.
2. Take care that they feel good about the process you're taking them through . When they notice the growth and musical freedom you are helping them obtain, they'll feel motivated to keep learning.
This tactic is particularly important if you've got students who think that guitar lessons must be focused on learning “new” things at all times. These types of students may (at first) be reluctant to use their lesson time for integrating their skills. Therefore you need to present this shift in your teaching very subtly and help your students see how they are transforming with their own eyes.
Example: one of the easiest (and most effective) things to do when teaching students to use creative lead guitar playing, is focus on making your students create tons of variations out of a short guitar lick. Once you've taught your students how to identify and use many subtle guitar phrasing approaches (for example different types of vibrato, bends, pre-bends, legato, string rakes, double stops, etc.) have them make twenty variations from a three or five note guitar lick. As simple as this might sound, it's highly enjoyable and forces students to think beyond “which” notes to play and concentrating on “HOW to use these notes in a creative manner”.

Keep Your Students From Getting In Their Own Way
Before you "instruct" your students on ANYTHING about musical creativity, know that the larger part of your students will have two major challenges to solve:
1. Many of your students automatically assume that you can’t “learn” creativity. This is entirely mistaken. (I’ve proven this with my own guitar students AND other guitar instructors whom I train to teach guitar have proven this with THEIR students as well).
2. They lack confidence with their capacity to be creative and think they lack natural talent in this area. Truth is, everyone has the potential to be creative – no matter what “natural” talent they possess or don’t possess.
Truth is, your students will often have difficulty being musically creative provided they continue believing in those myths. It’s your job as a teacher to eliminate these destructive, self-defeating beliefs from your students’ mindset and replace them with beliefs that will lead them toward achieving their musical goals and gaining confidence in their abilities. If you don’t do this, your students’ will be unable to become creative due to an innate lack of trust in their own potential (causing them to always sabotage themselves whenever they seem to be making progress).
There are two principal methods to use in order to change your students’ mindset about this subject . The primary way is to make clear to your students that musical creativity is NOT a strange, mystical power that only a few musicians are born with, while most aren’t. In reality, “musical creativity” is not even one “skill”. It is simply a consequence of having acquired a number of musical skills and combined them together to make creativity achievable (read more about this below). Talking about this will already help your students understand why the thinking above is completely untrue and will make them enthusiastic about their TRUE potential.
The next approach involves not merely “telling”, but truly demonstrating to your students how simple it is to become creative. To do this, you must:

Use A “Teach” Less - “Train” More Approach
A huge mistake that most guitar teachers make (especially those who never learned how to teach guitar as effectively as possible) is “teaching too much” without training their students to use what they learn. This develops out of a false assumption that you must always teach new things in order to be a good guitar teacher. This assumption will lead you to overwhelm your students with new guitar practice exercises every time they see you. If you do this, the following will happen:
1. Your students become overwhelmed (and a lot more likely to quit guitar lessons) due to being overloaded with too much information at once. You’ve probably heard this before: “You’ve given me so much information, I think I need to take a break for a while to catch up.” Yeah... now you know why this happens.
2. Your students don’t really understand how to use most of the things you show them (much less learn how to be creative with them). Although in the moment it feels good to teach new things during each lesson, however, this will leave your students totally powerless to actually use what they learn in any kind of creative manner. Whenever your students “feel” like beginners even though they stopped being beginners years ago (in various areas of their playing), this kills their enthusiasm and it is dangerous for YOUR status as his or her guitar teacher.
3. As their guitar teacher, you end up working way too many extra hours preparing new lesson ideas for your students.
Ultimately, everybody seems to lose with this kinds of teaching approach, and guess what?nearly ALL guitar instructors educate their students in this exact manner (You've now come to understand why the average student does not stick with guitar lessons for more than a few months at most and why most guitar instructors have only so-so students at best).
There’s a solution to this problem that is so obvious that you’ll wonder why you never thought of it...and it is also sure to transform your students into highly creative guitar players. You merely need to stop teaching so much “new information” and start investing more time into training them to implement what you’ve already shown them. Don’t think that your students will understand how to creatively use the concepts you teach them in lessons while playing at home – since the majority of them won't. Instead, these students will merely join the masses of people who “know a lot of things” but don’t know how to use them in any musically significant way. It’s a part of your job as their guitar teacher to keep “teaching” after you’ve shown them something new. You need to show them how to apply what they learn in a variety of musical situations. Do this for as long as needed (even if you have to invest one or more lessons into this).
At this time you might be thinking: “Tom, I do not feel right taking my student’s money for any guitar lesson where I'm not actively showing them something new?I feel like I am cheating my students out of a lesson they're having to pay for.” My response is: your students aren't handing you their money to take “guitar lessons” and “learn information”. They're having to pay you for RESULTS. Your most important task as their teacher is to get them the end results they desire by helping them reach their guitar playing goals. Therefore the only time you're “cheating” your students is when you're not providing them with training they require to get exactly the result they want from their playing.
“Training” is one of the most crucial parts of teaching guitar very effectively and is NOT limited to only teaching creativity. To find out how much you understand about teaching guitar, take this guitar teaching skills test.

Stop Using Outdated And Ineffective Guitar Teaching Methods
In my previous guitar instruction articles I’ve explained why teaching guitar using ONLY a 1 on 1 private format will slow down both your students’ growth and your ability to make good money teaching guitar. (Find out why this is true in this guitar teaching video.). Additionally, 1 on 1 guitar instruction is very limiting when it comes to teaching creativity. Why? Because no matter how good you are as an instructor, your guitar students will only be able to learn from you. The truth is, your students will become more creative much faster and easier by learning with others. Simply being around others not only makes learning more fun, but it also gives your students the ability to learn from one another and feel motivated by each other’s progress.
Does this go against most conventional guitar teaching wisdom? For sure. But as you know now, most traditional guitar teaching ideas are highly ineffective. Once you learn how to teach guitar as effectively as possible, and combine solid teaching skills with very effective guitar teaching formats, your students will begin to make tons of progress and YOU will become the “go-to” guitar teacher in your city.
To get personal training from me about how to grow a flourishing guitar teaching business, read this page on guitar teacher coaching.

About The Author:

Tom Hess is a successful professional guitar teacher, composer and guitarist. He also trains guitar teachers how to improve theirguitar teaching methods. Visit his website, to read more articles about guitar teaching, get free guitar teacher skill assessments and guitar teaching tips.

Guthrie Govan: discusses the consequences of his failed replication experiment

Greetings - GG here!

Just a quickie to address some recent enquiries...

Due to The Aristocrats' summer touring plans (coupled with the regrettable fact that all of my research in the challenging field of self-replication has thus far proved to be fruitless) alas I won't be able to join Steven Wilson for the forthcoming US dates of his 2015 tour.

Nonetheless, I can assure any concerned parties that my successor for these US dates will not disappoint you... I'm sure Steven will reveal more whenever he feels that the time is right
wink emoticon



NAMM: GoGo Tuners Releases New Caliber Pedal Tuner

GoGo Tuners Releases New Caliber Pedal Tuner

GoGo Tuners debuts their latest product, the GoGo Caliber Pedal Tuner. The new tuner features upgrades such as a calibration mode and tighter tuning accuracy, but still has the durability and readability that GoGo tuners are known for. As with all GoGo tuners, the Caliber Pedal Tuner is now available through dealers and distributors worldwide.

The new tuning pedal has a calibration function with wide reference pitches from 430Hz to 450Hz, allowing tighter tuning accuracy. It uses chromatic tuning with +/- .5-cent accuracy and a wide detection range of A0 (27.5Hz) - C8 (4186.00Hz). The pedal is equipped with true bypass and provides daisy chain power for other pedals. The high definition big screen is easily visible in all lighting situations, making it perfect for stage, studio, and bedroom guitarists. With GoGo’s signature “green you’re in, red you’re out”, tuning becomes easy by eliminating any of the guesswork when tuning. The entire display changes green when you are in tune, and red when you are out of tune. The pedal tuner features a metal chassis for improved durability and longer lifetime performance.

To see the GoGo Caliber Pedal Tuner in action, please contact them at

For more information visit

NAMM: Aristides Instruments Adds SSS Model to the 060 Guitar Line

Aristides Instruments Adds SSS Model to the 060 Guitar Line

HAARLEM, NETHERLANDS – Pursuing incredible playability with a unique single piece guitar made of Arium, Aristides Instruments sets to release the latest 060 Guitar model with an SSS configuration. The guitar includes single coil pickups in the bridge, middle, and neck positions. The new model will make its first appearance at the 2015 NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) trade show in Anaheim California this January. Customers can place orders now through authorized dealers or direct from the factory.

The SSS 060 is a one piece constructed, 25.5” scale electric guitar, equipped with either Seymour Duncan or Bare Knuckle pickups. A five-way switch combined with a single volume control and single tone provide for a wide variety of pickup configurations. All components are MEC Electronics. The C shaped neck is 1.65” wide at the nut and topped off with a compound (12”-16”) radius fretboard is available in either maple, rosewood or ebony and fitted with 24 medium jumbo frets. Hardware is available in chrome, black, or gold finishes and includes a Hipshot Countour temolo, Hipshot Griplock tuners and Schaller straplocks. Each guitar is set up with a Graphtech Black Tusq nut, D’Addario Nickel Wound XL 10-56 strings and outfitted with an anti-theft security microchip. Available in matte black, white high gloss or cream white matte metallic, and deep sky blue or baby blue matte metallic finishes, the guitar ships with a Gator XL hard case.

The history of Aristides Instruments begins in 1995 when a group of Dutch scientists teamed with the Technical University Delft to develop a material with perfect acoustic properties. By evaluating the woods traditionally used in making musical instruments, analysis led to a technical study of cell structures and differences between them. If they could answer the question “What happens to a sound wave in a material at a call level?” it would then be possible to design the ideal cell structure. 15 years of research ultimately led to the development of the tone material called Arium.

By 2007, Aristides Instruments started developing guitars with the new material. Focused on achieving incredible playability, innovative design and utilizing the acoustic properties of Arium, they teamed with the world renowned Bouwmeester van Rens design agency. Since their development, the guitars have received international recognition in both the musical and design worlds for their revolutionary achievements.

Aristides Instruments is not the first to build instruments out of materials other than wood. But Aristides Instruments is different. Arium has been specifically developed to not only equal, but also improve the quality and performance of a material used to build a musical instrument. Arium has no fiber structure. This allows it to vibrate three dimensionally, increasing sustain and volume. Arium also does not contain water so it is more stable and requires less maintenance. By creating an exoskeleton design using a semi-monocoque construction, sound waves can resonate throughout the entire instrument without disruption, providing the player and listener with an improved aural experience.

MSRP: $2840 USD

To learn more about Aristides Instruments, please visit

To experience the guitars at NAMM, please visit them at booth #3589

Billy Sheehan: to Appear on Rotosound Booth at Winter NAMM 2015

Billy Sheehan to Appear on Rotosound Booth at Winter NAMM 2015

The legendary bass player, Billy Sheehan is appearing on the Rotosound booth at the Winter NAMM 2015.

Billy, who has won the ‘Best Rock Bass Player’ readers poll in Guitar Player Magazine five times, has been busy touring with the Winery Dogs alongside Mike Portnoy and Richie Kotzen. He has also just recorded the new Mr Big album called "The Stories We Could Tell", released September 2014 via Frontiers Records and has been touring worldwide with the band.

Billy has been a Rotosound endorsee for over 25 years and his signature stainless steel roundwound strings have helped shaped his unique sound. He will be at the Rotosound booth on Saturday 24th January at 3pm.

Catch up with Billy on the Rotosound/OMG Booth ♯4278, Hall C. While there, check out their full range of products as well.For further information please visit

NAMM: Porter & Davies Launches the KT Platform Tactile Monitor

Porter & Davies Launches the KT Platform Tactile Monitor

Play what you feel, feel what you play
Want to sound and feel like you have a huge amp stack behind you, but no one else needs to hear it? Porter & Davies, worldwide leaders in Tactile Monitoring, are proud to announce the launch of their revolutionary KT Platform, which uses the transmission of sound by Kinetic Transfer (KT) to enable musicians to feel and hear their playing internally, instead of relying on conventional audio methods.

Perfect for bass players, DJs, guitarists, stand-up keyboard players and percussionists, the KT Platform gives a full and faithful transfer of the sound and the weight of the sound through bone conduction. There is no time lag. It's not just a low-end rumble: All notes are faithfully transmitted, including harmonics.

The KT Platform will give you that stage shaking excitement that other monitors (in-ears, in particular) don't deliver. You can choose to monitor just your own instrument, or take a mix from the monitor board and lock into the groove in a way you've never felt before. It can be driven by any of the three Porter & Davies engines the Gigster, BC2 and BC2rm.

Jools Holland bassist Dave Swift commenting on the product said “The addition of my Porter & Davies KT Platform has enhanced my onstage playing experience beyond anything I could've imagined... It has become as crucial onstage as my bass itself! I won't use in ear monitors without the addition of my KT Platform.”

Visit our website to see how we have revolutionised the playing experience of thousands of the world's best drummers. Now we can spread the revolution to every musician.

Come on, feel the noise!

Porter & Davies will be at the Winter NAMM show on Booth #3476 Hall D or for further information visit

NAMM: The New B.C. Rich Mockingbird is A Marvel to Behold

HEBRON, KY– Today B.C. Rich unveils the new Mockingbird Contour and Contour X production models. For years, one of the most in demand guitars from the B.C. Rich handcrafted shop has been the arch top Mockingbirds. In the past, the ability to duplicate the sleek and sultry details of the custom shop have been hard to reproduce on a factory floor but new technology and production methods bring the Contour to fruition. Although it is not the first production Mockingbird to have an arched top, it is the first to come anywhere close to what was being done in the handcrafted shop. Dubbed by insiders as the “sharp arch mock,” the steep contoured top creates a seductive appeal when combined with the even thinner and lighter body of the production pieces.

The Mockingbird Contour features a mahogany body with either a gloss black or gold top finish. Complementing the 25 5/8” mahogany set-neck is a 24 fret rosewood fretboard with a 12” radius, classic cloud inlays and the traditional B.C. Rich three on three headstock. The long-set neck design features a contoured all access neck joint normally only seen on neck-thru designs.

Highlighting the new Contours are the new Hot-Hex B.C. Rich pickups. Sonically matched to the new design, the humbuckers are teamed up with neck and bridge volume controls, a master tone control and a 3-way pickup selector for sonic versatility. The stop tail piece, bridge, control knobs, strap buttons, and tuners are all finished in chrome.

The Contour X includes all the features of the Contour but adds a quilted maple top. Available in either a gloss natural or translucent red, the transparent finished combined with figured top create an elegant energy.

Originally released in 1976, the B.C. Rich Mockingbird is ranked “The Coolest Guitar of All Time” as voted by the readers of Guitar World magazine.

Contour $640 Retail $399.99 MAP
Contour X $725 Retail $469.99 MAP

To learn more about B.C. Rich and the new Mockingbird Contour and Contour X, please visit

Or, visit them at NAMM Booth #4878 Hall C