Take a break. Let’s rock!


Climbing The Next Hill

The other night I was out with some friends who I hadn't seen in a long time. In a decidedly non-guitar crowd the talk somehow turned to guitars (I guess the know me well). One of them expressed an interest in taking the instrument more seriously and asked me "how do I get better?" I thought about it for a moment and answered, "find something hard and conquer it".

Experiencing Time as a Musician

Great musicians experience two simultaneous tracks of time: the present and the near-future. The ability to "be in the present" while already thinking about your next move is a key to great performances for athletes as well as musicians. It sounds spacey, but it's a powerful concept. So how do you achieve this metaphysical state of mind?

Warmup vs. Training

I have a somewhat-unhealthy affinity for collecting finger exercises. While we can all agree that, by themselves, they aren't very valuable musically, they aren't totally useless—if you put them in the right perspective. To use them effectively means understanding what your goals are and how they fit with them. One approach is to understand the difference between warmup exercises and training exercises.

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…