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Jimi’s London Interactive Hendrix Map

To celebrate the release of John Ridley’s new Jimi Hendrix biopic ‘Jimi: All Is By My Side’, Curzon Film World have created this interactive map of London detailing a timeline of Jimi Hendrix and different stages of his personal life:

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The Jeff Loomis Challenge

jeff-loomis-challenge
As part of Toontrack’s annual Metal Month, Jam Track Central and Toontrack give you the Jeff Loomis Challenge!

Download the audio track for Jeff Loomis’ playthrough with all lead parts muted from here. Then, record your own rendition of Jeff’s parts and upload your own video to YouTube, share it on Facebook/Twitter and hashtag it #JeffLoomisChallenge. Your entry will then be added to a Toontrack/Jam Track Central playlist. If you don’t have a Facebook account, feel free to email your YouTube link to: jeffloomischallenge@toontrack.com.

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Awesome slap guitar lesson package by Fabian Ratsak


Fabian Ratsak contacted me yesterday to let me know about his new Slap Guitar lesson package, I have to say that is a first for me, I’ve never been sent information for a lesson package specifically about slap guitar. The slap technique is more commonly used by Bass players but has been used by players such as Guthrie Govan on recordings over the years. I think funk and fusion guitarists in particular will really enjoy this lesson package, the intro in the video above is awesome!

The package includes:

  • Full transcription of the main video in .pdf and .gp5 (transcribed by Levi Clay)
  • 10 foundation slap excercises in HD video and mp3 (slow/fast)
  • Slap blues song example (video/mp3) also in .pdf and .gp5 format
  • Backing tracks and drum loops to practice in various speeds

You can purchase Fabian’s Slap Guitar lesson package for just $5 here.

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Stringjoy Custom Gauge Guitar Strings

Stringjoy Packaging
We’ve come a long way from when there were just a handful of guitar strings available — just take a look at the wall of strings at your local guitar store. The choices border on overwhelming.

Still, though there are a lot of brands to choose from, most offer the same handful of gauges. You’ve got your 9s, 10s, 11s, maybe a few hybrid sets. But if you want to handpick your string gauges like Hendrix did, your only choice is to buy multiple sets and combine them. Well, custom gauge guitar string company Stringjoy wants to change that.

“Guitarists will do anything to improve their playing and tone. We customize our guitars, swap tubes on our amps, search for the perfect combination of effect pedals, all to make us sound more like us—so why do we all play the same handful of string gauges?

We started Stringjoy because we wanted more out of our strings. At our site, you create your own custom set of strings, optimized for your gear and playing style—and nobody else’s. All our strings are made in the USA, and shipping is always free*. It’s your music. Play your own strings.”

Their electric and acoustic guitar strings start at $7 a set with free shipping*, or if you get 3 sets, they knock it down to $18.

Find more information here: Stringjoy Custom Guitar Strings.

*within the US, orders outside of the US are not available yet.

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MXR Il Torino Overdrive Designed By Carlo Sorasio

MXR il torino overdrive
The MXR Il Torino Overdrive pedal is an MXR Custom Shop pedal designed by Italian effect and amp designer Carlo Sorasio. The Il Torino uses MOSFET technology to recreate the gain structure of classic tube preamps, the result is a touch responsive saturation and natural sounding compression. Carlo also added a 3-band EQ section to fine tune your tone. The BOOST/OD switch allows you to toggle between Boost Mode “a cleaner sound with just the right amount of compression and sustain”, and OD Mode “a more aggressive, cranked tube amp sound”.

This pedal uses a sophisticated bypass system in the form of a Class A Low Impedance Output Driver — essentially a form of buffered bypass — to keep your tone sounding warm and natural across long signal chains where signal loss normally occurs.

For more info head over to jimdunlop.com, and make sure you check out the demo below:

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Next Generation Acoustic Guitar Case: Timbre Cases DNone


When I was studying music at University I knew a few Cellists and I often looked at their cases and thought they looked completely futuristic in comparison to acoustic guitar cases. I don’t know why it has taken so long for someone to finally re-think the guitar hard case but Canadian company Timbre Cases have created a product called the DNone that looks cool as well as indestructible and it has integrated humidity control pockets, it is waterproof and it even has wheels so you can pull it along if you have weak girly arms (just kidding ladies).

Other features include a 3.1mm aerospace grade Kydex shell which is a shock absorbent exterior that is both ultralight and rigid in structure, fully recessed latches & torqued hinges, colourfast – more impervious to scuffs and scratches and non-hygroscopic – it will not absorb or release moisture which is why it contains pockets designed to fit optional D’Addario two-way humidification packs made by Boveda. This system can preserve a 45% to 50% relative humidity level within your instrument’s case.

The case is designed to fit a Dreadnought acoustic guitar inside and has plenty of padding to protect your precious instrument no matter what the circumstances are. Remember this is a premium hard case designed for constant travel and gigging so it isn’t cheap but then neither is replacing your beloved Dreadnought guitar!

For more info click on the widget below:

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Learning guitar: how to drastically increase your productivity

Every guitarist whether self taught or taking lessons will have been told, or read, that in order to progress you need to practice. Not only that but that you need to use repetitive tasks such as scales and arpeggios, chord progressions etc. to commit the building blocks of playing songs to memory before you can attempt to play entire tracks. The problem is that practicing scales for an hour with a metronome is mind numbingly boring, especially for beginners. What makes things worse is picking up the next day and feeling like you’ve barely made any progress, or worse, your fingers seem to have forgotten all that time you spent yesterday memorising a scale, exercise or guitar solo. So there must be an easier way right? Well Dr. Christine Carter,  a clarinetist who teaches at the Manhattan School of Music, believes so and wrote her dissertation on the contextual interference effect – a phenomenon that can help you make your daily progress in the practice room actually stick. 

A while ago I published a post called it’s not what you practice, it’s how you practice, which talks about breaking down difficult tasks into bite sized chunks in order to focus on the mechanics of the task first in order to achieve correct technique. The methodology in that article should used in conjunction with Dr. Carter’s methodology. 

If you’ve ever been to a gym class, bootcamp or similar you will already be aware of the concept of contextual interference. A personal trainer will ensure that you are doing different exercises in fairly quick session rather than sticking to one activity in order to boost your overall fitness and make your body work harder without wearing you out to the point you want to give up. This is the basic premise, you need to make sure you are not burning out on a single task which slows down your brain and body’s ability to retain the information and movements.

“Show a baby the same object over and over again and they will gradually stop paying attention through a process called habituation. Change the object, and the attention returns full force. The same goes for adults. Functional magnetic resonance imaging has demonstrated that there is progressively less brain activation when stimuli are repeated. ” – Dr Carter via Bulletproofmusician.com.

Dr. Carter’s theory is that once a repetitive task becomes comfortable you are no longer practicing at your peak level and you should move on to a new challenge. So how can we do this while still keeping the focus on learning something in particular, say the major scale? The idea is that for example you could play the major scale in first position 3 times, then move to 2nd position, 3rd position etc up and down the neck. Or maybe you could randomise the order in which you play the scale, choose an interval such as a third and play I III II IV III V IV VI V VII (C E D F E G F A), then fourths etc. 

“…my preliminary research at the Brain and Mind Institute in Canada provides empirical support for the use of a random practice schedule in music. Not only does this research suggest that a random practice schedule is more effective than a blocked schedule for practicing musical passages, participant interviews also reveal that random practice has positive effects on factors such as goal setting and focus.”

So what about if you are learning a difficult passage of a song, obviously randomising the chords, riffs or solo isn’t really the ideal situation. Instead spend a short amount of time playing the passage but interrupt yourself with scale, arpeggio or technique practice. When you go back to the passage you will have to concentrate just as hard as the first time so your focus will be enhanced. Then every few minutes interrupt yourself again with another unrelated task such as an alternate picking exercise. This may seem unnatural so it is probably best you write up a quick practice plan before you begin, it can be the same plan every day for a week if you like as you long as you are dividing up tasks within your allocated practice time. I would still factor in one fun day a week where you don’t practice anything in particular and just jam over backing tracks, write riffs or play along to your favourite tracks. This, in my opinion, is an incredibly important part of practicing guitar that helps remind you why you wanted to learn how to play in the first place and will offset any feelings of frustration encountered when trying to learn something difficult.

I hope that this helps to improve your practice results and please let me know in the comments if you have any additional suggestions.

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Toontrack releases Metal Guitar Gods 2

Toontrack  Metal Guitar Gods 2
Two years ago I posted a demo of Toontrack’s Metal Guitar Gods expansion pack for EZMix 2, you can watch that demo here, it features clean and high gain tones from some of the biggest names in modern metal guitar. Well Toontrack have just announced a new version with more heavy metal heavyweights lending their tones including Chris Broderick of Megadeth, Tosin Abasi of Animals As Leaders and Jeff Loomis of Conquering Dystopia.

“Metal Guitar Gods 2 EZmix Pack includes 50 custom amp and cab simulated tones, all of which were personally designed by the guitarists themselves. Find the soaring, saturated leads, the pummeling rhythm tones and all the tight semi-clean, ambient and effect soaked tones you’ll need for any spur-of- the-moment creativity.

This collection is a speed-dial to the tones you hear on albums and that the artists use themselves in their own recording and creative processes. Now, you too can sound like a god.”

Find more information and audio demos here:
Toontrack Metal Guitar Gods 2

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Jackson Limited Run Yellow Tiger Pro DK2M

Jackson Pro DK2M Limited Run Yellow Tiger
There seems to be heaps of companies reliving the 80’s with tiger stripe guitars at the moment but Jackson guitars were huge in 80’s and this style of guitar used to have me looking in awe at magazine photos & shop windows when I was a young teenager.

Now there’s only a pretty small percentage of people who will want a guitar this garish & flamboyant so Jackson are sensibly making the Pro DK2M Tiger Yellow guitar a limited run.

The DK2M Pro Series Dinkyfeatures an alder body, flat-sawn graphite-reinforced bolt-on maple neck with wrap-around heel, 24-fret compound radius (12″-16″) maple fingerboard with offset black dot inlays, black neck and headstock binding, direct mount Seymour Duncan® JB Zebra (bridge) and ’59 Zebra (neck) humbucking pickups with five-way blade switching, Floyd Rose® bridge, black hardware and Dunlop® strap locks.

For more information and to find a dealer near you, go to www.jacksonguitars.com.

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PRS Celebrates 30th Anniversary with 4 New Models

30 years! Wow I can still vividly remember seeing photos of Phil Hilborne in Guitarist magazine for the first time back in 1989/1990 and thinking that his PRS was amazing. I used to go to Musical Exchanges in Birmingham (UK) as a young teenager and stare at these rare, beautiful and very expensive guitars hanging on the wall and think, you will be mine, oh yes, you will be mine. 25 years later and I’ve never owned a PRS… go figure, I did buy a Patrick Eggle in ’94 which, at the time, was a poor man’s PRS before the SE or S2 range existed. I should point out that I’ve never owned a Fender or Gibson guitar either, yes I know, I’m weird. Anyway enough reminiscing from me, congratulations to Paul Reed Smith on successfully growing a boutique guitar brand into the number 3 guitar brand in the US. So let’s check out the new 30th anniversary models.

“PRS is offering a series of 30th Anniversary Custom 24 guitar models in each of their electric guitar product families including the US-made Private Stock, the distinguished US-made Core line, the vintage-inspired US-made S2 and the PRS designed SE guitar, each incorporating the visionary design and masterful craftsmanship that has become synonymous with the brand.”

“Based on PRS’ iconic, top-selling model, the 30th Anniversary Custom 24 features a highly figured maple top with mahogany back, a 25” scale length, 24 fret mahogany neck and PRS’s patented tremolo system with locking tuners which enhance the playability and feel of the guitar. The alluring carved body shape of the 30th Anniversary Custom 24 is available in 18 finish colors that deliver a delicious depth to the natural wood grain with colors such as Blood Orange, Jade, and Vintage Sunburst. PRS 30th Anniversary bird inlays on a rosewood fretboard further enhance the beauty of the model. PRS’s new 85/15 treble and bass pickups come standard with a 5-way blade switch and volume and tone controls, providing exceptional clarity and a killer versatile voice.”

PRS 30th Anniversary Private Stock Custom 24
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PRS 30th Anniversary Custom 24
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PRS S2 30th Anniversary Custom 24
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PRS SE 30th Anniversary Custom 24
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For more info – http://www.prsguitars.com/.

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