Tuesday, November 29, 2011

TC Electronic Tone print App - Beam it

One of the coolest advancements in technology is now available for you, your guitar and your TC electronics effects. The TC Electronic Tone Print APP allows you to beam new settings to your pedal. It's better that they explain how it works in this video. Be prepared to be impressed!

I doubt I'd play with this on stage but it would certainly put a damper on my practice schedule as I'd be noodling with all the presets.
You will need a smart phone and currently TC only has an APP for iphones. But the Android firmware will be available soon. In addition to the phone, you will need to download the firmware here
This new feature is in addition to the tone-pint feature that comes stock with the tone-print pedal. Tone print allows you to download actual "prints" that other people have made and some of these prints are made by extremely popular musicians. Therefore, in addition to selling extremely versatile and dynamic pedals in their own right, the pedals allow you to collaborate with fellow musicians by creating a library for down and up loading tone-prints in the TONE-PRINT section at the TC site.
TC Electronic has a lot to offer. Click here to view their website!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Imelda May Mayhem track-by-track

Imelda May's second full album Mayhem was released on 4 October on Decca and we asked guitarist Darrel Higham to talk us through each track. The album is reviewed in the next issue of Guitarist which is on sale 27 October.
1. Pulling The Plug
A sultry opening number driven by Al Gare's slapping whale-fiddle, a cool acoustic and a suitably twanging electric melody line. The solo shows off some of Darrel Higham's best techniques.
Darrel Higham: "Probably my favourite track on the album, due to its bass intro and Bo Diddley-esque beat. Al Gare (bass) and Steve Rushton (drums) are quite brilliant on this.
"This needed lots of strong rhythm parts, hence the high level of acoustic (my Favilla, made in 1973) and one more electric rhythm guitar sort of echoing the acoustic. This solo was a one-take-wonder – I love a good banjo roll and feel that the world could always do with another... Peavey Rockinghams through a Peavey Delta Blues (with the one 15-inch speaker) are the main weapons of choice throughout the album, however further overdubs and guitar parts were replaced at Sphere Studios in Battersea, London, during the mixing phase with Andy Wright and Gavin Goldberg."
"I used whatever I could get my hands on during this period – my Gretsch guitars (aWhite Falcon and a US custom shop 6120) and an old Telecaster belonging to Andy. The album was recorded at a studio I co-own own in Hampshire called Embassy Studio."
2. Psycho
A sumptuous mix of contemporary swagger and fifties flavour, the chorus is catchier than a cold in a nursery. Darrel nods towards both Vic Flick and Duane Eddy during the Bigbsy-bending lead break.
"This track took awhile to gel. We'd been gigging it for ages and on early versions I played a six-string baritone guitar. However, it wasn't working for our ears and felt it needed more of a jangly hook to mesh it altogether. I just had to spend a bit more brain-time on it. The solo was tortuous as it's a rhythm that I find hard to play to so I just decided to keep it very simple and, hopefully, relatively tuneful.
"Most of the effects on the solos came directly from my little Zoom G2 pedal that I use onstage. I mainly use an ambient setting which gives a nice full sound. I've just bought one of those Danelectro Reel Echo things and that gives a masterful vintage echo for a few songs in our set. The Zoom is such a versatile pedal and I've used them for many years. Terrific value as well.
"That's our Border Collie, Alf, growling on the end of the track. He's a star."
3. Mayhem
Backed up by a brilliant video, the title track tells the story of a rocky love affair that ends in tragedy...or does it? Imelda works wonders fitting in streams of lyrics whilst keeping the emotion up, before Darrel steps on a fuzz box and all hell breaks loose.
"Another track that took awhile for me to find something that really worked to the terrific groove laid down by Al and Steve. Imelda came up with the main intro riff on her little six-string Ukulele. The solo was another – like so many on this album – that evolved from earlier versions.
"I'd been trying an octave thing on the two E strings, a la Johnny Burnette, but it wasn't working. I felt this really needed a tough guitar hook and sort of stumbled upon a variation on the boogie pattern that fitted in nicely. Again, like Psycho, we'd been playing this live for awhile and I'd been changing the solo every now and then.
"What I ended up with was a proper nod to Eddie Cochran as it's very similar to the one he played on a song called My Babe that was recorded whilst he was over in the UK doing a TV show in 1960. I didn't realise until after we played it back how similar they were, but I'm very glad to have got that obvious influence in as he's such a monumental influence on my playing."
4. Kentish Town Waltz
Another story depicting the trials of young love, this time set in a slowly pulsating 3 / 4 time and accompanied by Dave Priseman's mournful trumpet. A restrained solo that offers whiffs of Scotty Moore is the icing on the cake
"I play my Favilla acoustic on this to flesh out the rhythm. I may have used one of my Gretsches, possibly the 6120 Custom Shop, for the solo, where I relied upon my love of Chet Atkins. Although it's nowhere near as good as the great man, I like to think he'd have approved... I'm a hopeless modern country player, but felt this needed some of that thrown in and so learnt of few riffs that were simple enough for me to remember and they worked a treat! God bless YouTube..."
5. All For You
A wonderfully saucy number that evokes smoky bars, women of the street and zoot-suited gangsters all tapping along to a swing hefty enough to rock an elephant to sleep. The muted trumpet keeps things real too.
"I ended up using Brian Setzer's classic solo in Stray Cat Strut as my inspiration. I love that little run-up the bass strings he does at the end of the first solo and decided to nick it for this. Cheers, Brian, I owe you one! I was particularly pleased with the acoustic on this as it drives it all along and gives it a little more of an early 1950s vibe."
6. Eternity
Written by Higham, Imelda sings parts of a duet with herself as a ukulele and acoustic keep the beat. Check it out and see if you can visualise Elvis himself signing along in his customary manner.
"This was written for something else we were working on with Jeff Beck – long before we started recording Mayhem - and Imelda decided to steal it! This was another song that was crying out for some twangy, country Tele-type sounds."
7. Inside Out
Where muted trumpet and shimmering guitar collide; foot-warming genius. All that's missing is a gaggle of chorus girls clicking their fingers off to the side of the stereo picture.
"Another intro riff that came from Imelda's Ukulele. Dave runs away with this, and rightly so, he's quite magnificent. I just needed to find some nice, bendy chords and used D shapes up and down the neck with open strings to make it more exciting. The guitar helps the swing pattern in the solo and it's a very, very simple thing I'm playing. Less is more and all that. "
8. Proud & Humble
There's more than a taste of the wild west here, with a palm-muted guitar and capo'd acoustic accompanying the vocal delivered in the manner the song title suggests. A smooth trumpet solo injects yet more mood...
"A huge nod to Luther Perkins here [Johnny Cash's first guitarist]. And the acoustic capo'd on the third fret. I put two acoustics on this, both playing in different shapes to beef it up. Another electric rhythm comes in on the chorus, a tad more distorted to help raise the excitement levels, hopefully. Well, it raises my excitement levels, anyway."
9.Sneaky Freak
A truly frightening delve into the mind of the professional stalker. One of the fastest numbers on the album, the music is upbeat and the guitar solo, all pick rakes and finger snaps, is definitely one to try and learn.
"I play a different solo live, for some strange reason, although it's only really the first part that I play differently these days. I suppose you just get used to things in a certain way. This song was written by Imelda for consideration in the film Wild Target. It never made it onto the soundtrack in the end, although Mayhem and Johnny Got A Boom Boom were included.
"This is a good example of how a song was recorded before it was ever played in a gig and over the passing of time I think we've all added different bits to it. I like the solo on this, it's quite aggressive and fits the song well, but I can never how remember to play it live."
10. Bury My Troubles
If we had to pick our favourite song of all here, it'd be this by a whisker. The slinky vibe suits Imelda's voice to a tee, and the muted trumpet and short, sharp guitar chords continue the alley cat fell. Darrel uses a chorus effect to help his solo slither along.
"I used [producer] Andy Wright's old Telecaster on this for the electric rhythm. The solo was already recorded at Embassy on a Rockingham and it's one I'm quite proud of. I suppose you know you've done your job when people hum along with the solo but I know I've done my job as a guitarist properly when I can remember how to play it again months later. Andy added the weird chorus effect on the solo, which I thought was quite cool as it gives it an organ vibe."

11. Too Sad To Cry
Boasting an almost New Orleans funeral-style vibe thanks to the mournful intro underneath a marching snare and wobbling guitar, you can feel Imelda's pain as she mourns a lost love. The layered backing vocals are sheer class, and you may well have 'something in your eye' as you listen to this...
"Again, I use octaves in this to get a deep, backing vocal effect. The guitar needed to be really very simple on this, and simple I can do. Another great song by Imelda and she sings the hell out of it."
12. I'm Alive
Infinitely happier, Hawaiian guitar glissandos and harmonics layer emotion upon emotion as Imelda reminds us that she remains within the land of the living.
"Stewart Johnson from The Toy Hearts – one of our favourite bands – played the beautiful steel on this. I just needed to come up with a nice, simple rhythm part to fill it all in. The solo on this is my least favourite on the album as I came up with loads of others that I thought were miles better, but Imelda's the boss and this is the one she chose. There were ructions in the car on the way home, I can tell you..."
13. Let Me Out
Motoring along at a fair old lick, this is arguably the most rockabilly song of all. With a nicely constructed solo full of trills, hammer ons and Bigsby-bent low notes, the chorus will surely see fans screaming the words at the top of their lungs. Nice surprise major chords at the end too.
"This all came together quite quickly, as I recall. The solo needed work as it had to be disciplined and thought out. A bit of Cliff Gallup was needed at the end of the spoken part, I felt. He's another player that is a huge influence on me. "Imelda isn't a purist when it comes to music and so I've always have to go outside of my comfort zones whilst working with her, which makes the job all the more interesting for me.
"Being a bit more disciplined with your playing does have its benefits when it comes to gigs. Creating a strong main riff and then a variation, or slightly more exciting riff for the chorus and then sticking to that throughout the song is a very basic idea that has never lost its power if done right and I try and stick to those principles. Hopefully this one is a future May anthem..."
14. Tainted Love
A unique version of Soft Cell's wedding reception staple, all slapping bass and staccato guitar, Proof, not that it were needed, that Imelda could sing the phone book and make it sound great.
"Al Gare is brilliant on this, with all that slap bass. The guitar influence didn't come from Gloria Jones or Soft Cell but rather a version that was recorded in the early 1980s by British Rockabilly greats, Dave Phillips & The Hot Rod Gang. 
"The intro is purely a nod of the head to their version but the rest is all us. Dave's guitarist was a hugely influential player called Mark Harman. Mark had his own band called Restless and they were as popular as the Stray Cats to us kids on the UK Rockin' scene back in the early 80s. He was, and still is, an absolutely wondrous player. However, I decided to put my own stamp on this and was very happy with how it all turned out."Incidentally, the drummer in The Hot Rod Gang, Rob Tyler, later joined my band The Enforcers for a couple of years and I'm a huge fan of his style – very Dickie Harrell."

How to Play Queen's Fat Bottomed Girls

Composed by Brian Harold May
Tutor / Audio: Charlie Griffiths
Videographer: Martin Holmes

Total Guitar link!

Record Release

Jimmy Page and Led Zeppelin at Kezar Stadium, June 2 1973

I was 11 years old and just learning about Led Zeppelin. My neighbors older brother had Led Zeppelin 1, I heard the album and had to have it. I think I bought the album from a Montgomery Ward's department store. I still have the album and a lot more. I saw Led Zeppelin at the Oakland Colosseum in 1977. That concert lives on in infamy because Led Zeppelin's manager and crew had a circumstance with Bill Graham's people. Since that time, Led Zeppelin has had many changes including the unfortunate loss of John Bonham. Unofficially, the band broke up only to get back together to play in London at the O2!

Look for the release of the official recording of the reunion at the O2 - soon!
Kezar stadium was in San Francisco.

The following information was gleaned from Jimmy Page's website!

Become a member! 


Led Zeppelin’s live show at the Kezar Stadium in San Francisco signaled the midway point of the band’s North American tour, which spanned the Spring and Summer of 1973.
The rickety stadium, formerly inhabited by local NFL teams the Oakland Raiders and the San Francisco 49ers, was built in 1922 and had seen better days before the band arrived to play.
Local newspaper reports state that Led Zeppelin’s performance “could be heard up to half-mile away,” while nearby hospital patients complained of the noise.

Another story about the Kezar concert; Led Zeppelin back in 1972-73 could easily afford to hire their own jet. Prior to the San Francisco Kezar show that was presented by the amazing Bill Graham, most of the band flew north from Los Angeles to San Francisco except for one key individual. Jimmy Page as it is told decide to fly among the commoners and take a commercial flight to San Francisco. As it happens, the jet was delayed and being held in rotation circling high above the bay area until they could land. Mean, while, the band minus one Jimmy Page is ready to play and the crowd has been waiting about an hour. Now, in the 1970's it wasn't too uncommon for a band to be late but an hour was pushing patience of the crowd. Bill Graham was completely freaking out and worried about the crowd and the repercussions. He resolved to get up on stage an make an announcement, "Folks, we are sorry about the delay but it seems that Jimmy Page has some problems with his double neck guitar and it's essential for many of Led Zeppelins tunes, we appreciate your patience while Jimmy sorts this problem out," to which the crowd responded with an uproarious cheer and loud applause. Moments later Jimmy showed up and nobody was the wiser! Bill Graham at his best!!!! 
Set list:
Rock and Roll
Celebration Day
Black Dog
Over the Hills and Far Away
Misty Mountain Hop
Since I've Been Loving You
No Quarter
The Song Remains the Same
The Rain Song
Dazed and Confused
Stairway to Heaven
Moby Dick
Whole Lotta Love
Communication Breakdown
The Ocean


For one sunny afternoon performance, Led Zeppelin attracted a crowd of more than 49,000 into an aging, has-been football arena, set a band record for gross revenue at a single concert, enriched the City of San Francisco by more than $25,000, and entertained one entire neighbourhood for free. 
The show climaxed the first half of the band’s 1973 US tour, which began May 4th in Atlanta. They’ll be back doing what they do best-- converting heavy metal into dollars—in July, hitting East Coast cities, plus Chicago and Detroit.
It was reported that the band could be heard up to half-mile away, along the Panhandle. And three blocks up the hill at the University of California Medical Centre, patients complained they couldn’t nap.
The Zeppelin freaks began to arrive for the Saturday show the preceding Thursday. Many brought sleeping bags and stayed overnight in park meadows. By the time promoter Bill Graham opened Kezar’s doors at 5:30am Saturday, several thousand persons were waiting. Graham, who says it is important “how you say hello,” handed out balloons and Frisbees.
- Harry Huddleston, Rolling Stone 1973

Darrel Higham is a great player!

Darrel has amassed quite a number of gigs under his belt. In addition, he co-authored a book about Eddy Cochran. But, it's not easy being Darrel Higham, as his wife is a stunner. For Darrel's wife is very easy on the eye's and from all accounts, is a genuine good person.
Darrel Higham's beautiful and talented wife, Imelda May! And Darrel; she's your's, relax buddy and try to smile more! Can't wait to see them back in the USA soon!

Playing a nice Gretsch 6120

Darrel tells us why he loves Gretsch guitars

Darrel shows us some hybrid picking techniques

Eddie Cochran tribute guitar link and mondo expensive link here

How Darrel uses the Bigby

also check out the Gas Money band!

Brian Setzer on Country Music awards - Tune in!

Don't miss Brian Setzer on the CMA's Country Christmas on December 17st At 9:00pm/8:00 central time, ABC broadcasting network! For more detail visit Brian's website here!
Country Music Association official site here!
Check out Brian's version of Malaguena' in the movie "Puss in Boots 3D"
Tour information!!!

Ever Have Your Monitors cut out??

The Imelda May Band playing outdoors when all of a sudden the monitors cut out!

Also, Kitty, Daisy and Lewis! Who knew that Rockabilly had such a reach!? The Azkena Rock Festival!

Learn more about Kitty, Daisy and Lewis! Link to their website - buy their stuff too!

Kitty, Daisy & Lewis: Up The Country - Music Promo from Brickwall Films on Vimeo.

Voyage-Air guitars

The ultimate travel guitar. In the past, traveling for me was mandatory. There were many aspects of the so-called glamours of traveling and some are: being in exotic locations, seeing new places, meeting new people, trying exotic foods, experiencing life as other live it and sometimes catching a nice cold or flu! Nevertheless, if you don't have your favorite musical instrument handy, when the day settles down, you might feel a void in your life. Enter Voyage-Air Guitars!  Below is an brilliant demonstration of the extreme capability of the Voyage-Air instrument! Imelda May plays the VAMD-02 Series dreadnought guitar

These guitars are nice. I've tried several models and can tell you that you simply fold the guitar in half and pack it away. Once you relocate, unpack it, unfold it and hello = start playing! Mine stayed in tune as well! I've used the Belair. The guitar sits very much like a Les Paul but with P90 pickups. Nice! Great tone and it played well too. The hinge is very durable and the locking mechanism for the neck is extremely trust worth. I found no tone suck on this instrument. Honestly, I didn't want to like it but it worked so well I find it hard to offer any criticism.
Below is a brief demonstration:

I've traveled with Martin Backpacker guitars which do well but the Voyage-Air is a huge step UP and an instrument you can actually gig with. No more traveling with my cheapest most expendable guitar!
I really dug the Belair limited edition as I could take various play along devices in my suitcase while this instrument could easily be carried on to an airplane. If you have a chance to try one of the Voyage-Air guitars, do it! You will be pleasantly surprised! DEALER LOCATOR HERE!

Guthrie Govan and the Aristocrats along with another guy...

Diversity is key. If you were ever so lucky as to spend a second of your life speaking with any name player you would learn that the attitude of a winner is one of diversity and broad dynamics. Name your favorite player: Dimebag Darrel Abbott, Eddie Van Halen, Steve Morse, Julian Bream, Martin Taylor, Jimmy Bruno, Jimi Hendrix, Guthrie Govan, Joe Robinson, Andy Mckee, and others. Only those so self absorbed would fail to list a dynamic palate of listening experience that fuels their own music.
Guthrie Govan is an established player in his own right. A fantastic player whose repertoire is not limited to shredding the guitar up like a metal maniac. Guthrie Govan website.

This guy, I believe he's from New York? Sort of shows up every now and then - Epitomizes diversity and dynamics! Who is this guy??

I'll keep it short regarding my spastic meandering prose. Safe to say, there is a lot of great musicians listed above. Listen to what you play and play that what you have heard.