Alex Lifeson… Rushes Into The Spotlight

Alex Lifeson’s guitar work with Rush also increased my desire to play the guitar. Especially Alex’s guitar work on the song By-Tor and The Snow Dog from Fly By Night.

The first Rush album I bought was Hemispheres. I listened to the album, scratched my head and thought hmmm, I wonder what that was all about. I then purchased and listened to their earlier albums, which opened my eyes to how Rush got to the point of what was happening on Hemispheres. Hemispheres was the most technically challenging album for the band to complete.

Below is the studio version of By-Tor and The Snow Dog along with a live version for your listening pleasure.

Closer To The Heart from A Farewell To Kings album was also a Rush song I really liked.

The instrumental La Villa Strangiato from side two of the Hemispheres album some say took as long to record as the whole Fly By Night album.

My favorite Rush album is Permanent Waves, which was a departure from the epic twenty minute long pieces to more accessible songs. Permanent Waves earned Rush a good amount radio airplay, and a top 5 spot in the US charting #4 on the Billboard 200 .

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Ace Frehley… Lead Guitar!

The first Kiss album I bought was Kiss Alive released in 1975. When I heard Ace Frehley’s guitar solo at the end of She I was sold on learning to play the guitar. Some guitar players slam Ace’s guitar work, but he was the epitome of the mid 70’s rock and roll guitar star. Ace wasn’t the best technical guitar player in the world, but what he played fit Kiss’ sound perfectly. At the end of the day that is what matters.

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Neil Giraldo!

Neil Giraldo is another one of my favorite guitarists. Totally underrated in my opinion. Check out the following videos. Watch, listen and learn. I bet you will dig.

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Edit: Here’s one more from 1980 I just had to add. Great stuff!

Warren Haynes: Man In Motion

Out of all of Warren Haynes’ work that I have had the pleasure of listening to I really like what he did on the Man In Motion album. I love the sound. Warren’s guitar tones are tasty as heck. The songs are really good. I’m a hard rock guy and this album sucks me right in with the smooth R&B music on this album. Every time I listen to the songs I hear something I didn’t before.

Check Warren out here for the live versions of the songs plus more.

You can check out samples of the studio version here.

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Tripp Big Mini & Mini

Gravity Guitar Picks Tripp Review

Gravity Guitar Picks hails from Manteca, California. They manufacture and sell acrylic guitar picks to guitarists everywhere via their web site, and select dealers around the globe. I classify Gravity’s guitar picks as specimens of the boutique persuasion.

I purchased the Gravity Tripp in the Mini and the Big Mini sizes in the 1.5 mm thickness from Gravity Guitar Picks’ web site. Shipping has been fairly quick for the U.S Mail, in the 4 – 7 day range from California to my Midwest location (I have purchased picks a few different times from Gravity Guitar Picks). I did not expect super fast delivery for the reasonable and affordable $2.99 shipping charge I selected. There is also a 2-3-day Priority shipping option for $6.00 if you need your picks delivered pronto.

Pick Specs:

  • Gauges: 1.5 (Fluorescent Green), 2.0 (Blue), .3.0 (Orange), 4.0 (Yellow), 6.0 mm (Red)
  • Material: Acrylic
  • Shape: Distorted 351 Shape sort of (please see the featured image at the top of this post)
  • Sizes: Mini (Jazz), Big Mini, Standard and XL
  • Tips: Pointed, Medium Round, and Full Round
  • Bevel: Polished or Master Finish (unpolished)
  • Price: Starting price is $4.99/pick for the 1.5 mm thickness, and goes up from there depending on the options you choose. The picks reviewed currently cost $4.99 each plus shipping.

Description

The Gravity Tripp 1.5 mm guitar pick is manufactured from transparent acrylic (Polymethyl Methacrylate to be exact) that is tinted fluorescent green in color. These picks really jump out at you and catch the eye. The picks actually look like they are glowing in the fluorescent green color. Each of the three tips is a different shape. It is like getting three different picks for the price of one. Sweet! You can cover a lot of sonic ground with the Gravity Tripp. Both picks reviewed have polished bevels, and the bevels are identical on both the Mini and the Big Mini sizes.

Action

With a thickness of 1.5 mm each these picks are fairly stiff and do not flex much in actual use. The pointed tips on the two Tripp models allow for good clean alternate picking that feels almost effortless, and allows for faster playing styles. The medium round tip is similar to the tip of a Fender model 351 type pick. This tip is good for playing chords and picking single note lines but requires more work than the pointed tip when picking notes. The full round tip I found to work best for strumming chords. You can use the full round tip for picking single notes, but there was too much pick on the strings for my taste most of the time.

Sound

The Tripp Mini has a smaller sound and the tone is bit blurred due to your index finger hitting the string as you strum and pick notes, which is typical of a Jazz sized pick. The Tripp Big Mini has a bigger, clearer sound with a lot more volume on tap.

Here’s a rundown of how each pick tip sounds.

• Pointed tip: This tip has the thinnest sound of the three tips, but has a more focused sound with excellent articulation.

• Medium Round tip: This one has a fuller sound with good attack, and good articulation.

• Full Round tip: This tip gives you an even fatter tone, which I found great when strumming power chords. When looking for a more rounded tone this is the tip to use when picking single notes.

I have found the tone of this pick to be fairly neutral. Not too bright, and not too dark.

Summary

The Tripp guitar pick is one of my favorites of Gravity Guitar Picks’ line due to the versatility of three different tips in one pick.

Keep pickin’!

 

 

 

Elixr String Test

Elixir Electric Guitar Strings Test

I tested this set of Elixir 10 – 46 gauge guitar strings for about 6 hours of playing time total. Elixir did not reveal to me the construction of the strings nor if they were coated or not.

Sound

Immediately after stringing up the guitar my first impression was that the strings sounded a bit dull. I decided to give the strings some time, and use them in a band situation. The strings performed fine in a band situation, but were not my favorite set of strings. I did like how easy it was to bend the strings, however. I’m guessing the strings were coated due to the dullness of the tone. The string tension across the set felt fairly balanced. If only the strings had a bit brighter tone they would have been a winner.

Summary

I enjoyed being a string tester for Elixir and filling out their two surveys (one after twenty minutes of playing time and the other when I decided to remove the strings). I let Elixir know I would be more than happy to test more strings and submit my opinions. We’ll see what happens in the future.

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Stingjoy Picks Sampler

Stringjoy POM Guitar Pick Sampler

Yesterday my latest order from Stringjoy came in. In that order I had ordered Stringjoy’s guitar pick sampler pack. Seven picks, one of each gauge/thickness, for $7. I expected them to come in a small plastic bag, but I was pleasantly surprised that they were packaged in a cool little circular tin with a screw-off lid. Nice touch Stringjoy!

I’ll test the guitar picks out over the next few weeks and will post a review later.

Have a great weekend, and keep pickin’!

Zoom Multi-effects

Zoom MS-70CDR

I purchased the Zoom MS-70CDR (Chorus, Delay and Reverb) from Sweetwater Sound. I need a few effects that the current effects on my pedal board do not cover mainly ambient reverb. So far I am trying to figure out how the pedal works. I have read the manual, but it appears the manual kind of glosses over what the pedal is truly capable of doing. I’ll let you know in a few weeks what I truly think of the pedal, and if I was able to integrate the Zoom MS-70CDR into my current pedalboard…

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Based on a True Story

Dave Brons Rockin’ The UK

If you like Trans-Siberian Orchestra you will probably like Dave Brons’ new release Based On A True Story. Anyone who is interested in guitar oriented instrumental music should check Dave’s music out for sure. As a disclaimer, Dave and I are friends, but he did not give me the album to listen to on my iPhone for free. I bought the digital download from his bandcamp.com page. You can listen to the music streamed for free if you like, but I prefer to have actual .mp3 files on my devices, plus I want to support as many musicians as possible by purchasing their music. Creating and recording music is hard work and the people who take the time to do such things should be compensated for their efforts.

The really cool thing about Based On A True Story is that the each piece tells a story without any lyrics whatsoever. The album is very well done, and there is plenty of space for the music to breathe. Plus for a guitar oriented album the guitar parts are not overdone and fit together nicely, which is refreshing.

I highly recommend giving this album a listen. Click the link below and enjoy…

Based On A True Story

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10-52 Set

Stringjoy Custom Guitar Strings

I found out about Stringjoy guitar strings through Twitter. I decided to check out their web site, and thought it was a cool spin on selling guitar strings by being able to specify the gauges of strings you would like in your set rather selecting one of the predetermined sets other guitar string manufacturers put together for you. I decided to try a set that I have been putting together myself, which I learned from Sfarzo strings, but the Sfarzo strings kept breaking prematurely, between a Dean Markley 10-46 set with the .46 gauge string replaced with a .52 gauge Ernie Ball low “E” string. This string set works really great for Drop D tuning, and Standard tuning as well. The string gauges are .10 – .13 – .17 – .26 – .36 – .52 for the custom string set I specified, and the cost was $9.00 including shipping and the new customer 10% discount. What’s great is you can order just one set like this or ten.

I just strung my Les Paul Studio up with these strings yesterday, so I am in the initial testing phase with these strings, but so far my initial impression of the strings are positive. I will do a full review after I am finished testing the strings thoroughly.

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