Take a break. Let’s rock!


Playing "Naked"

I'm not talking about clothing-optional playing, I'm talking about stripping your signal-path down to its barest essentials. As a player striving to replicate a wide variety of sounds, my rig is pretty complex. So what happens when, perhaps just for a moment, I decide to put all of that aside? I'll tell you what happens…magic.

The Top of the Stack

The act of playing a single note starts with displacing the string. In rock, we typically use a pick to strike the string. How much can a pick affect your tone? Probably a lot more than you ever realized…

The Holistic Stack

Jimi Hendrix was once quoted as saying that he didn't play the electric guitar, he played amps. The point being that the art of electic guitar and his unique sound were about more than just the wire-and-wood strapped to his body. While he says "amps" I really think of this as more like the entire signal-chain.

In this first article in a new series, we'll start exploring each stage of the signal-chain from your brain all the way back to your ears. 

Gain Stacking

For years I staunchly held firm the belief that a beautiful tone should come solely from your amp. In my limited world-view stompbox overdrive or distortion was, at best, a hack. Over the past few years this outlook has changed and now I'm a big proponent of "gain-stacking".

The JEM, One Month Later

After a month of playing the long-cherished Ibanez JEM, allow me wax a bit about its virtues. Surely a guitar from the gods such as this must be the best one in the collection right? Well…yes and no…

Ode to Steve Vai

A twenty-five year chase finally results in landing one of the guitars of my boyhood dreams. Steve Vai’s JEM is one of the iconic guitars of the 80’s and I’ve had my eye one since they first appeared. When I finally got a chance to get, did it deliver? You bet your ass it did…

A Fly on the Wall at 5150

Eddie Van Halen fans got a real treat recently when the man himself mounted several GoPros and gave us a tantalizing close-up look of his playing and setup while demonstrating the new EVH 5150 IIIs amp head.

Class Dismissed! Is Here

It’s been a long toil this summer, but the final touches have been put on Class Dismissed! and it’s now available for sale! If you’re a Van Halen fan looking for ways to grok more of Eddie’s playing, this is the lesson for you!

Coming Soon: Class Dismissed!

Oh man, I am beyond excited about this new project I’m working on. Coming later this summer is a new premium lessonClass Dismissed! which focuses on the Van Halen “power shuffle” style in the vein of songs like Hot For Teacher, I’m the One and Ice Cream Man. There is so much good stuff in here that I almost don’t even know where to begin…