Artist Series: Tony Iommi

Early Iommi on the first couple Sabbath albums is very cut and dry. A combination of limitations such as; a short recording time frame, budget, and the era of much less extravagant recording processes fostered his signature sound.

With limited in-line effects (wah, and boost exclusively is most tunes), the stereo panning, the addition and mixing of wet reverb for some fills, and the overdubbing and delay on certain solos (or portions of solos) were all conducted in post-recording.

Gear Review: Neon Guitar Strings (for Halloween)

For me, and most people I know, Halloween is a holiday that inspires more decorations and costumes than all others. The Neon colored strings by DR have been around for a while, and have a reputation for looking pretty killer under UV lighting. I'd written them off as more of a gimmick than a serious alternative to normal strings-- so I was pleasantly surprised at their performance and quality. 

Quick Tip: 5 Ways to Improve Your Playing

1. Practice Makes...

It's fairly difficult to learn how to be a better musician by simply reading about it. The best, and fastest, way to improve is to PRACTICE; this means devoting time to do so. Hours of regular practice, and play, will allow you to 'get better' automatically. Practical experience always trumps theoretical knowledge.

2. Just Play

Practice isn't enough. A consistent practice regimen is fundamental, but doesn't do much unless your routine is assembled into useful format. Instead of repetitive scale and modal runs, create MUSIC and PLAY tunes which illustrate the subject matter and technique. A modern analog: "you don't 'practice' a video game for hours to get to a higher level, you 'play' it." If your guitar routine isn't fun to play, it won't be beneficial. Far too many instructional books, videos, programs, etc. forget to emphasize the the whole point of music: having fun.

Gear Review: Marshall JCM 900 Mk III 2100

In a time where modern rock was once again at the cusp of an overture, a new decade prompted a new series of flagship 100 watt JCM head and combo amplifiers from Jim Marshall. The first eighteen months of productions gave birth to the mark-three high gain master volume models. These were primarily based on the previous JCM 800s with three 12Ax7 pre-amp tubes and four EL34 power amp tubes— the most significant upgrade being the ability to control the gain of the pre-amp and power stages independently.

Gear Review: MXR 10-Band EQ (MOD) Elevon Audio

I’ve recently stumbled upon a small audio electronics company which focuses on guitar oriented modifications. Elevon Audio was created by two gear-heads whose resume includes the USAF and the DOD. Primarily they offer upgrade mods for classic pedals— and I’ve asked them to perform their mod to my MXR EQ. 

Gear Review: MXR CSP104 Distortion Plus (SCRIPT)

n April of 2011 the Dunlop Blog featured an article on an upcoming project by the MXR Custom Shop— In addition to the hardwired vintage re-issue ‘script’ phasers already offered, a script re-issue of the Distortion Plus was in the works. Dunlop continued the production and released the CSP-104 Script Distortion Plus as a UK only release, although Dunlop tech service has assured me the vintage re-issue distortion plus will make a domestic debut some time later this fall. I, however, could not wait, and ordered my unit from a gear shop based out of Manchester.