Two-Handed Tapping, Tone Tips, & Aluminum Frame Guitars

Retro Finger-Tapping: While widely popularized by guitarist Eddie Van Halen, it’s been evident for some time that he did not invent the technique (nor did he ever claim such). What is rather amazing, is how far back guitarists have been using this technique, since it didn’t really gain exposure until the 1980s. This video is from 1965, and features Italian guitarist Vittorio Camardese.

12 Bar Blues: Learn how to play a slow blues progression that has a down and dirty feel to it.

The Path to Great Tone: Have you ever tweaked your guitar sound to the point where it sounded absolutely incredible, but when combined with the rest of the band, it just didn’t cut it? Peter Thorn has written a great article in Premier Guitar about how we have to think about our tone in the full context of how it will be applied, both in the studio and on the stage. So before you think you have your next killer tone, think how it will blend with the bass, drums, keyboards, and other instruments.

Iron Maiden: The New Wave of British Heavy Metal rockers have often tapped into movies as the inspiration for their songs. VH1 has complied a list of the 10 Best Iron Maiden Songs with theatrical influences, complete with YouTube videos.

Aluminum Frame Guitars: Looking for a new concept in guitar construction? Relish Guitars, a company out of Switzerland, has created a streamlined design for the 21st Century. The body architecture is very different than traditional models in that it incorporates an aluminum frame. Pickup selection is through a touch sensor, rather than a toggle switch. You’ll be hard pressed to find these at your local guitar shop.  But they were at NAMM this year (video reviews) so maybe distribution will pick up soon.


How to Protect an Acoustic Guitar | Making Music on iOS

Three simple rules can help you avoid any major issues with your acoustic guitar:

  • Keep your guitar in it’s case. While it’s easy to grab your guitar off its stand to play, with extreme changes in temperature and humidity, it’s best to keep it in it’s case.
  • Humidifiers really help. Maintaining a constant humidity level helps to keep your guitar in optimum playability.
  • Avoid the extremes. Too hot or too cold. If the temperature bothers you, your guitar doesn’t like it either.

You can get more information on this at the PRS blog.

Tape Saturation FX Unit Review

Looking for a new FX unit to play around with? Premier Guitar has just reviewed the Strymon Deco Tape Saturation & Doubletracker, and it has some really great features! It’s tape saturation is aimed to rival even the high-end DAW plugins. The double-tracking is a vintage delay-feature where you can create some cool chorusing and flanging effects.

A Guide to Using Your Guitar with an iPhone/iPad

MacStories has an extensive look at all the different ways you can have your guitar and iOS device work together.  This detailed article contains reviews of different amp/effects/recording apps, devices for hooking your guitar up, and many more issues and ideas.

Willie Nelson and Trigger

Rolling Stone has a new documentary series that features an installment on Willie Nelson and his now famous Martin N-20 acoustic guitar.  Watch the video to hear the backstory and tall tales on what’s become one of the most famous guitars on earth.

Nelson discovered Trigger at a crossroads in his career. By 1969, he had spent nearly a decade trying to become a clean-cut solo success in Nashville. After a drunk destroyed his Guild acoustic, he decided to look for a new guitar with a sound similar to his gypsy-jazz hero Django Reinhardt (“I think he was the best guitar player ever,” Nelson says). His buddy Shot Jackson suggested the Martin classical “gut-string” guitar; Nelson bought it sight-unseen and gave it a name. “I named my guitar Trigger because it’s kind of my horse,” he explains. “Roy Rogers had a horse called Trigger.”

Eddie Van Halen Interview | Yngwie’s Picking Technique

Van-HalenEddie Van Halen recently spoke at the Smithsonian for their “What It Means To Be American (#WIMTBA) series. Aside from this being a very in-depth interview, he also demonstrates some of his trademark techniques for the audience. If you’re a Van Halen fan, this is not to be missed. You can watch or listen to the whole interview at Guitar World.

Finger String Awareness: Improve your finger control, independence, and accuracy. This is a 10 minute guitar exercise routine that will help your fingers find where they are going better.

Fighting the never-ending battle in the pursuit of tone? Then check out the new Bourns potentiometers—these are designed for guitarists with active electronics in mind, and boast a “Double-Pole Double-Throw (DPDT) latching–push switch.” If you need constant changes in tone when playing live, this might be the key.

Guitar Center continues to have financial troubles. Investors have pulled out $11 million and high-ranking employees are losing their jobs. What does this mean for the music retail industry?

Picking Speed & Accuracy Lesson: Troy Grady’s Cracking the Code series features some of the most unique guitar videos out there. In the current installment, Troy tackles the rotational picking technique of Yngwie J. Malmsteen.  He uses a combination of precise forearm, elbow, and finger mechanics in his picking technique to achieve his legendary speed and efficiency.

Guitar Patent Posters


It’s a simple idea. Take the drawings from the original patents for famous guitars and recreate them as forms of art. Fine Art America has a wide variety of guitar patent posters to choose from and they seem to be made by different artists. There is also an Etsy shop called Patent Prints that has t-shirts in addition to posters. Going one step further, features designs that include more of the text that accompanied the original patents.

Not a bad way to add some style to your guitar practice area. Plus it’s a lot cheaper than buying a whole wall’s worth of guitars.

Chicago Music Exchange – Epic Guitar Store Tour

If you’re a guitar enthusiast who’s been following things online for awhile, you’ve probably come across the Chicago Music Exchange before. Their contests, videos, and stories usually pop up several times a year. If you get to see glimpses of the showroom and don’t live in the area, you probably just get jealous like I do.  Now you can get a more in-depth look at the store thanks to this video tour that Premier Guitar put together.

From the video:

Shawn Hammond: Hey guys I’m Shawn Hammond with We’re here in Chicago at Chicago Music Exchange. David Kalt. David, you’re the owner of Chicago Music Exchange right? You bought it like five years ago. Tell us a little about the history of it.

David Kalt: Chicago Music Exchange was started in 1990 by Scott Silver and Scott was just crazy for vintage guitars. He’d been buying guitars for a long long time and he was very very on the hunt for vintage everywhere. He built the store around four blocks from here on Clark Street. Over the years I bought a bunch of guitars from him and he became very iconic in the vintage world as one of the pioneers in vintage. He big vision and when he built this store that we’re in right now in 2007 he had a real big vision for a lot of quality inventory all under one roof. Large ceiling, chandeliers, couches, and really making it comfortable for the musician when they are shopping for gear. Really taking you outside of what you’d expect of a guitar store. When I bought the shop from Scott in 2010 I really wanted to build on that experience, really take that wow experience, and always make sure that customers could always come and try gear that they are not going to be able to find locally. And then be able to supplement that with lots of more affordable inventory in the used market as well as new inventory from all the top brands like Gibson, Fender, Rickenbacher, Martin, Taylor, etc.

We look at our store as a flagship destination. So a lot of people travel through Chicago, a lot of bands travel through Chicago, a lot of tourists travel through Chicago. So we want to build a relationship with you when you’re in town but we’re happy to service you when you are back at home. And that’s why we spend a lot of time on our online channel, on our video, our website, as well on selling on Amazon, eBay, and Reverb. We really want you to find the gear where you want to buy it. We just want to be able to service you wherever you are most comfortable buying. Whether it’s in your bathrobe or in our showroom.