My Favorite Stevie Ray Vaughan Album… Isn’t an Album at All

My Favorite Stevie Ray Vaughan Album… Isn’t an Album at All

I thought about it for a moment. “Texas Flood” or “Couldn’t Stand the Weather” were the obvious answers, with an honorable mention for “In Step” (“Tightrope” is an absolute jam). But the more I considered the question, the more I realized my favorite Stevie Ray Vaughan album wasn’t actually an album at all.
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The Real Reason I Listen to Vinyl

The Real Reason I Listen to Vinyl

Vinyl’s different. When I put a vinyl record on, the screen of my device isn’t competing for my attention. Thanks to the creakiness of the floorboards in my house, I can’t really move around for fear of skipping the record. Vinyl forces me to sit still, to stop everything else I’m doing and to really listen to a given album, to appreciate it, and to discover new things I’d never before heard in old favorite records.
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John Lennon: 40 Years Gone

John Lennon: 40 Years Gone

40 years on, Lennon’s music still communicates with millions. There are 13-year-old kids out there listening to The Beatles and Lennon’s solo albums for the first time, and connecting to the music just like their parents and grandparents did. “Strawberry Fields Forever” still blows minds; “Give Peace a Chance” still speaks truth and people still come together to “Come Together.”
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The Quotable Eric Clapton

The Quotable Eric Clapton

“Whatever your standing in life, the most important thing is behaving in ways that help other people. It's the same with music. I am a servant of the music ... and if I get caught up in ego, I'll lose everything... it'll burn and that's a guarantee.”
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Get Started With Home Recording: Audio Interfaces

Get Started With Home Recording: Audio Interfaces

The great thing about home recording these days is that it’s more accessible than ever. You really don’t need a great deal to get started, and for a couple of hundred bucks, you can make some pretty decent sounds. Over the next couple of articles, I thought I’d run through the gear you need for a basic home recording setup, as well as some recommendations for equipment.

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T.A.M.I Show: The Concert Film You Need to Watch

T.A.M.I Show: The Concert Film You Need to Watch

You’ve got the young and hungry Stones out to prove their rock n’ roll mettle to the U.S. crowd, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson and the Supremes giving it their all just as Motown was setting the charts ablaze for the first time. And then there’s James Brown. Those dance moves, that explosive, incendiary energy, the Famous Flames absolutely on it, never missing a beat… 

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What’s the Origin of Gibson’s TV Yellow finish?

What’s the Origin of Gibson’s TV Yellow finish?

So, theory numero uno suggests that the “TV” in TV Yellow actually stood for “Telecaster Version.” According to this one, Gibson execs went for a color that was similar to the Butterscotch finish used on Fender’s Telecaster models. Apparently, the hope was that the color - in combination with the Les Paul TV model’s black pickguard - would confuse unschooled guitarists who would buy it over a Tele.

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Want a New Guitar for Christmas? Find a Sacrificial Lamb

Want a New Guitar for Christmas? Find a Sacrificial Lamb

That’s because sacrificing the lamb isn’t just about getting rid of a guitar. It’s about making you look like you’ve turned over a new leaf; like you’re not the sort of person who hoards all things six string, someone who has a financial compass and isn’t prone to impulsive guitar splurging (or asking loved ones to do the splurging for them once the holidays roll around). If you really want to seal the deal, consider using a coaster or getting a haircut. 
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The Quotable AC/DC

The Quotable AC/DC

“I'm sick to death of people saying we've made 11 albums that sound exactly the same, In fact, we've made 12 albums that sound exactly the same.”

“I honestly believe that you have to be able to play the guitar hard if you want to be able to get the whole spectrum of tones out of it. Since I normally play so hard, when I start picking a bit softer my tone changes completely, and that's really useful sometimes for creating a more laid-back feel.”

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Things I Wish I Was Told… When I Started Learning Guitar

Things I Wish I Was Told… When I Started Learning Guitar

As a young guitarist, I completely rejected any notion that music theory would help me in my journey. At the time, I justified this as a “punk rock/music is freedom” attitude to playing. If I learned my theory, I told myself, I’m just putting myself in a box. “[Insert guitar hero of the week] didn’t need theory, and they were a genius. Why do I?”

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The Insane Story of the Bogus Deep Purple (Part Two)

The Insane Story of the Bogus Deep Purple (Part Two)

But, they could only pull the wool over peoples’ eyes for so long. When the group played their first gig at the Civic Center, Amarillo Texas on May 17th, 1980, punters weren’t fooled by the Bogus Deep Purple. As the tour went on, audiences were disgruntled, with some shows ending in riots. Watching the footage that exists of Bogus Deep Purple (taken from a Brazilian TV report about the band), it’s not hard to see why. Their meat and potatoes take on “Smoke on the Water” is more bar band than arena rock, while Rod Evans’ limited vocal range never soars to the heights of either Coverdale or Gillan.
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The Insane Story of the “Bogus” Deep Purple: Part One

The Insane Story of the “Bogus” Deep Purple: Part One

The management company Steve G worked for were fly-by-night, used car salesman types, determined to make a fast buck from the legions of rock n’ roll fans, ethics be damned. That year, they’d organized a “Steppenwolf” reunion tour. Steppenwolf was a hot ticket, but the problem was that their version of the band that featured no original members. After being sued by real Steppenwolf front man John Kay, the company decided to try another tactic and made plans to form a new version of Deep Purple. Unlike with their “Steppenwolf” facsimile, Steve G and co tried to build a new Purple lineup that featured actual past members of the group, albeit none from Purple’s most famous iterations.
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The Story of Allman Brothers’ At Fillmore East

The Story of Allman Brothers’ At Fillmore East

The Allmans’ recorded output went practically unnoticed. However, their reputation as a live act grew, thanks in no small part to their relentless touring schedule. In 1970 alone, the band played over 300 shows, honing their chops and building an underground following. Given the band’s prowess as a live act, talk inevitably turned to capturing the band in concert for a future release. As Duane Allman told DJ Ed Shane that year: "You know, we get kind of frustrated doing the [studio] records, and I think, consequently, our next album will be ... a live recording, to get some of that natural fire on it."

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More Great Quotes from Eddie Van Halen

More Great Quotes from Eddie Van Halen

“If you want to be a rock star or just be famous, then run down the street naked, you'll make the news or something. But if you want music to be your livelihood, then play, play, play and play! And eventually you'll get to where you want to be.”

 “I'm not a rock star. Sure I am, to a certain extent because of the situation, but when kids ask me how it feels to be a rock star, I say leave me alone, I'm not a rock star. I'm not in it for the fame, I'm in it because I like to play.”

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Remembering Eddie Van Halen

Remembering Eddie Van Halen

The revolutionary impact of his playing reverberated pretty much from the get-go. Legend has it that when Van Halen supported Black Sabbath at London’s Hammersmith in 1978, half of the crowd vanished after Eddie and co. finished their set; decamping to nearby pubs to try and make sense of what they’d just witnessed. In the face of the literal Eruption that Edward brought to the stage, the lumbering, power chord chug of Iron Man was positively Jurassic.

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Gibson Oddities: The Marauder

Gibson Oddities: The Marauder

“I never played one live! They were horrible," Stanley told Vintage Guitar in 1997. He was perhaps being uncharitable with that comment. Anyone who’s played a Marauder will likely tell you that they’re a fine – if unconventional – instrument. But you can see why Stanley, in a quest for KISS’s hard rock thunder, didn’t get on with the Fender-like axe. In the end, Stanley did find a purpose for the Marauder during KISS’s live shows...

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The Evolution of the Gibson Logo

The Evolution of the Gibson Logo

The Gibson logo is iconic. It’s made its way from guitar headstocks to just about everything; t-shirts, coffee mugs, beanie hats and keychains. But, the Gibson logo didn’t just magically appear. It originally looked very different, evolving over decades into the version we recognize today. In this article, I’m taking a dive into the history of the Gibson logo and the many revisions it went through.

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What’s the One Gig You Wish You’d Seen?

What’s the One Gig You Wish You’d Seen?

Cal Jam doesn’t get the same love as festivals like Monterey Pop or Woodstock. Maybe it’s because it doesn’t have the late ‘60s countercultural cred, happening a full five years after the summer of love reached its peak. Maybe it’s because it was staged to be filmed for television (as part of ABC’s legendary “In Concert” series). Why do I love California Jam so much? It is because it established the record for the largest concert sound system ever assembled? Was it because it featured the first ever appearance of the Good Year blimp at a music festival? 

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The First Riff

The First Riff

Guitar lessons eventually followed. But, classical guitar didn’t grab me in the same way that my own freeform compositions had. Firstly, I didn’t know any of the songs I was supposed to be learning. Secondly, it required the kind of co-ordination and finger dexterity that I was – at that time at least – far too impatient to master. “I read somewhere that there are these things you can use to hit the strings so you don’t have to use your fingers. I think they began with a P,” I once told my guitar teacher. “The thing that begins with a P is called practice,” he replied. He was right, of course, but that didn’t mean I wanted to hear it.

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Three Awesome Live Albums to Get You Through Lockdown

Three Awesome Live Albums to Get You Through Lockdown

This week, to satisfy my yearning for live music, I’ve taken a deep dive into my record collection and rediscovered some live favourites. Given how much joy I’ve got out of these records, I thought I’d share them with you today. Putting together this list, I’ve tried to take the road less travelled. I didn’t want to put together a list of classic live albums that everyone already knows like the back of their hand. Instead, my three picks serve as alternatives to some of those classic albums, offering a new look at some legendary bands.

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The Quotable Beatles

The Quotable Beatles

The Fab Four didn’t just revolutionize popular music; they changed the way we thought about musicians as personalities. The way they interacted with the press – their presence humour – ripped up the rulebook and set a precedent for generations of musicians to come. Needless to say, Messrs Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starr’s correspondences with reporters have resulted in many a memorable quip over the years. And for this post, I thought it’d be fun to collect some of the best quotes – everything from zingers to profound words of wisdom – uttered by the Beatles.

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Pedal Board 101: The Ibanez Tube Screamer TS808

Pedal Board 101: The Ibanez Tube Screamer TS808

Stomp boxes don’t come much more iconic than the Ibanez Tube Screamer. Arguably the most beloved overdrive pedal of all time, it’s an institution in everything from country to blues to heavy metal. The Edge; Stevie Ray Vaughan; Michael Schenker and Noel Gallagher – all have used a Tube Screamer to sculpt their tone at one time or another. In this article, we’re going to look at the birth of the Tube Screamer, its humble beginnings and why it has that sweet, vocal mid-range hump it’s so celebrated for.
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RIP Martin Birch: Five Classic Tracks

RIP Martin Birch: Five Classic Tracks

Earlier this week, we lost one of the greatest rock producers of all time. You’ve only got to look at the list of bands Martin Birch worked with to recognize his impact on rock n’ roll. He cut his teeth engineering for Fleetwood Mac and Wishbone Ash before moving on to producing such legends as Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Rainbow and Iron Maiden. Today, in honor of the late, great production wizard, we’re taking a run through five classic Martin Birch-produced tracks and talking about what makes them so great.

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The Kinks: How Dave Davies’ Slashed Amp Created Rock Distortion

The Kinks: How Dave Davies’ Slashed Amp Created Rock Distortion

When it comes to breakout singles, they don’t get much better than “You Really Got Me.” The 1964 track didn’t just put the Kinks on the map; it changed the rock n’ roll landscape with its incendiary guitar tone. “You Really Got Me” brought distorted guitar to the masses. It’s the genesis of all things hard and heavy in rock. And, as the legend goes, it was an act of aggression from Kinks guitarist Dave Davis that created the sound and started an amplifier revolution in the process.

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