Gear Review: Dragon’s Heart Guitar Picks

Dragon's-Heart-PicksWith all of the gear out there designed for altering your tone, sometimes we forget that the simplest, and most essential thing is just using a different guitar pick. Dragon’s Heart Guitar Picks, with their unique design, allow players to alter their tone based solely on which part of the pick is used.


  • 3 distinct playing edges
  • 2.5 mm thickness with beveled edge
  • polyamide-imide aerospace material

While they offer three different types of picks with a slight variation in composition, their main design is such so that they don’t wear out. And at nearly $10 for a single pick, one would hope not! Depending on the model, it boasts anywhere from 1000-1500 hours of play. With such a strong pick, I wonder how well your guitar strings will fare against these Dragons…


  • Solid design
  • Instant tonal changes by turning the pick


  • Non-traditional design may be awkward
  • Price


It’s always cool to try new things to get both inspiration as well as new tonal possibilities. As a Jazz III user, these felt overly cumbersome. However, if you’re in the market to expand your playing tools, you might want to check these out.

Improve Your Tuning, History of Effects, 50 Fastest Guitarists

How to Stabilize Your Tuning: If your guitar just doesn’t sound “right,” even when the tuner says all the strings are in tune, then head over to Premier Guitar to learn some great tips on maintaining better tuning. Learn about setting the intonation, nut adjustments and lubing (yes, it sounds bad), as well as Fender and Gibson-specific tuning issues.  You can also look at our brief overview on using a tempered tuning. It doesn’t matter how good you play; if it’s out of tune, it sounds bad.

The History of Guitar Effects: The Atlantic and Object Lessons have put together an overview of guitar effects following the journey over time from analog to digital and back.  The essay looks at how modifications to amps and stomp boxes has changed the sound of guitars and music.

Before professional studio production enabled granular tweaks in sound, standalone guitar effects emerged from deliberately converting hardware faults—often caused by the limitations of amplifiers—into positive features. By the end of the 1970s, it had become impossible to imagine how R&B, blues, and rock could have existed without these fortuitous mistakes

The 50 Fastest Guitarists: Guitar World has a slideshow featuring video/audio examples from 50 of the fastest guitarists ever.  The list covers the expected metal/rock heavyweights (Steve Vai, Buckethead, Dimebag Darrell) as well as country (Johnny Hiland), flamenco (Paco de Lucia), jazz (Jimmy Bryant) and more. Take a look at the list. Who do you think is missing?

Solo like B.B. King, Clapton, and More: Our discounted Masters of Blues lesson package will teach you how to play like the greats of blues guitar.

New Gear Alert: Artiphon has successfully funded a Kickstarter for a new product called the INSTRUMENT 1. This digital multi-instrument allows you to simulate the sound and feel of a guitar, ukulele, keyboard, violin, upright bass, drums, and more.  It can serve as a traveling instrument for writing and practicing on the go.

If you want to play like a guitar, you can chord and strum in familiar ways. In a piano preset, put it on your lap and the frets become “keys” like a piano (with up to six stacked octaves at your fingertips!). If you’re a drummer or a DJ, transform a whole fret into a pressure-sensing pad like a drum machine. And if you want to play a violin or pedal steel, slide your fingers along the strings to create sweeping fretless melodies.

It looks like you can expect the INSTRUMENT 1 to start shipping in early 2016

Guitar Contests: Recording Gear, Martin & ESP Guitars

Apollo-TwinGuitar World is offering a gear giveaway in which you can win a Universal Audio Apollo Twin SOLO Recording Interface. Contest Ends May 4, 2015.

Some of the great features:
  • Desktop 2×6 Thunderbolt audio interface with world-class 24-bit/192 kHz audio conversion
  • Realtime UAD Processing for tracking through vintage Compressors, EQs, Tape Machines,
    Mic Preamps, and Guitar Amp plug-ins with near-zero (sub-2ms) latency
  • Thunderbolt connection for blazing-fast PCIe speed and rock-solid performance on
    modern Macs
  • Unison™ technology offers stunning models of classic tube and transformer-based
    mic preamps
  • Two premium mic/line preamps; Two line outputs; front-panel Hi-Z instrument input
    and headphones output
  • Two digitally controlled analog monitor outputs for full resolution at all listening levels
  • Up to eight channels of additional digital input via Optical connection
  • Uncompromising analog design, superior components, and premium build quality
  • Runs UAD Powered Plug-Ins via Audio Units, VST, RTAS & AAX64 in all major DAWs

American Songwriter is giving you the chance to win a Martin 000-15M acoustic guitar and SP Lifespan acoustic strings. To enter, just tell them the 10 blues albums you’d like to take to the other side. Contest Ends April 15, 2015.

ESP Guitar Giveaway from GoDpsMusic—Enter to win an ESP GL-256, autographed by George Lynch. To enter, RSVP on the link for either an in-store or online viewing of George Lynch’s upcoming guitar clinic.

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.


Rupert Neve Recording Gear Giveaway


Sweetwater’s monthly gear giveaway for March features a Rupert Neve Designs prize package which includes:

R6 six-space 500 series rack

  • Meticulously designed, with a double-shielded power supply to eliminate magnetic interference

Two 511 mic preamps

  • Combines the pristine sound of the acclaimed 5017 preamp, the sweepable highpass filter from the 5012, and the Silk/Texture circuit from the Portico II.

Two 551 Inductor EQs

  • From classic Neve consoles, featuring Class A gain blocks, custom-wound inductors and transformers, and and a few modern updates

Two 543 mono compressor-limiters

  • Derived from the extremely popular Portico 5043, with unobtrusive, musical-sounding dynamic control

This gear is worth nearly $6,000, and sounds great for recording guitars, bass, vocals, drums, you name it! Enter by March 31, 2015

Acoustic Nation D’Angelico Guitar Giveaway

Guitar World is offering a guitar giveaway in which you can win a D’Angelico Lexington SD300 acoustic guitar, as well Will Dailey’s album, National Throat. This giveaway runs through March 31, 2015.

Win A Earthquaker Devices Cloven Hoof Fuzz Pedal

Chicago Music Exchange is offering the chance to win a boutique fuzz pedal from Earthquaker Devices. But hurry, it ends on March 13, 2015!