Take a break. Let’s rock!

 

Lessons
The Sound of One Hand Playing

When I realized that my fretting-hand was lagging behind my picking-hand I resolved to fix the imbalance. After a few months of work my overall technique and touch improved immensely and I had a few surprising discoveries along the way.

Stuck In The Middle With Me

Fresh on the heels of returning from the transformative experience that was Vai Academy, I had the opportunity to record an episode of the Vibrato.fm podcast. These two seemingly disconnected events got me thinking about what it means to be a "good" guitarist and our insatiable desire to compare ourselves to others.

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.

Gear
Apple's Music Memos

Musicians on iOS got a very unexpected treat today when Apple released a free new app to help capture musical inspiration. Called Music Memos, it's a music-specific spinoff of the built-in Voice Memos app, but it's more than just a simple recording tool. Apple brought a lot of special features to Music Memos that make it a very powerful and unique app to add to your toolbox.

Not the Chorus Pedal You're Looking For

Ah, the 80's. Was there ever a more glorious era of over-processed, over-wrought guitar sounds?  If the 60's had the wah-pedal and the 70's had the phaser, surely the 80's was the decade of the chorus pedal. It was like the Sriracha of guitar effects—there were almost no tones that couldn't be improved with a little dose of chorus.

This year my amp and affects setup has gone through a tremendous amount of change. Nothing forces you to fine-tune and re-evaluate like the trial-by-fire that is playing live consistently. Despite all of the tweaking, I've finally settled into a pretty good setup that should last for the foreseeable future. 

News
Reflections on Vai Academy 2015

This summer I've had the tremendous fortune of attending the 2015 incarnation of the Vai Academy in Vail CO. When I saw the names Steve Vai and Eric Johnson as headliners, I knew that I couldn't pass up an opportunity to get close-up to two of my all-time favorites. As it turned out, meeting a couple of my "heroes" wasn't all that I got in my time in Vail.

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!