All in Guitar

Everything Is An Effect

If you hang around guitar players or visit guitar discussion groups you will soon run into debates about using guitar effects and tone.

One side of the debate usually argues “tone comes from your fingers” and suggests that “all you need is a good tube amp and a guitar, then use the tone and volume controls.”

Songs Worth Learning - 22

Down On The Corner - Creedence Clearwater Revival

Many Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR) songs are worth learning. John Fogerty has a real talent for writing catchy songs with cool guitar parts. New guitar players will find a lot to like in their songs. They typically featured relatively easy guitar rhythms and cool guitar riffs and solos.

Tear Down Those Musical Walls

A common question guitar instructors ask their students is “What kind of music do you like?” Being a guitar instructor I have asked this question myself knowing that the answer is usually going to be one particular style of music. It may be country, or classic rock, or blues, or metal. It doesn’t really matter. The point is

Songs Worth Learning - 21

The Boys Are Back In Town - Thin Lizzy

Thin Lizzy was an anomaly. An Irish hard rock band (often verging on metal) with two lead guitarists and a black singer/bass player who wrote engaging poetic lyrics about various characters and every day life. They were huge in the U.K. but only had a couple of hits in the U.S in the 70s. Their biggest hit over here was The Boys Are Back In Town. It is worth learning for several reasons. 

Pedaltrain Nano+ & Cioks DC5 Power Supply Review

As the use of effect pedals in music has grown increasingly popular, so has the popularity of pedalboards. Huge pedalboards with thousands of dollars worth of effects can be found in use by even occasional players. Collecting effects pedals seems to be a hobby unto itself. And there are YouTube channels devoted completely to setting up and using pedalboards and effects. But sometimes you only need a few effects to get the job done. This is the idea behind the Pedaltrain Nano+ pedalboard.

It’s Not Just For Sore Throats, It’s A Pick Container Too!

I buy picks by the dozens because they are inexpensive and I lose them frequently. I also give picks to students who forget to bring theirs to lessons. When my wife and I were on vacation last year in Santa Fe New Mexico, we were looking in the gift shops and kept seeing a lot of hand made pottery. That’s when the thought came to me that maybe I could find something hand made to keep picks in.

Playing The “Shuffle Jam”

Being a guitar teacher and in bands I play guitar a lot. I enjoy it, but there are certain expectations and requirements involved. So occasionally I like to play guitar just for the pure fun of it. No audience. No expectations. Just fun. One of my favorite ways to do that in the past few years is what I call the “Shuffle Jam.”

Dragon's Heart Wyvern Series Picks Review

A little over a year ago I did of review of the Dragon's Heart premium picks. You can read that review here. Dragon's Heart premium picks offer a unique shape that provides three different picking edges and tones. They are also quite thick and don’t flex. Some players like the added thickness and rigidness of the premium picks, but other players prefer the more traditional flex and thickness of a standard pick. Realizing this, the folks at Dragon's Heart have recently released a new series of picks called the Wyvern Series.

NI KOMPLETE Audio 6 Review

If you play guitar you should record yourself. It is a great way to judge your performances, write songs, learn recording, and improve as a player. If you own a computer or laptop it can become the basis of a home studio. But one additional item you will need is a good audio interface. I chose the Native Instruments KOMPLETE AUDIO 6 interface for my home studio.

Songs Worth Learning - 20

Walk Don't Run - The Ventures

This classic surf song was actually first written and released as a jazz song by the great jazz guitarist Johnny Smith in 1954. It was later recorded by Chet Atkins and played fingerstyle. The Ventures heard the Chet Atkins version, which had a slightly “country” breakdown but was still overall on the jazzy side.

I Want To Be A Clone

Many guitar players start out by copying their heroes. It is only natural to want to learn the music you like and copy the players who inspire you. When I was a teenager, I also wanted to play like my guitar heroes. But I wasn’t very good at copying their style.

New Gibson "Nobody Famous" Signature Model Archtop?

Open Letter to the Gibson Guitar Corporation:

"I just want to publicly let the Gibson Guitar Corporation know that I am available to endorse a Mark Starlin "Nobody Famous" signature model L-5. Sure you already have Wes Montgomery and Lee Ritenour signature model L-5s. But just imagine the outpouring of positive publicity Gibson would get if you built a signature model L-5 for a non-famous jazz guy named Mark Starlin (me) who could never afford one, and who would write about the guitar repeatedly on his website, and brag about it on gigs.

Songs Worth Learning - 19

Amie -  Pure Prairie League

Pure Prairie League was one of the earlier bands to earn the title of “country rock” band. They initially had limited success selling albums and were dropped by RCA Records after two albums. But they continued to tour. Which paid off when radio stations began playing their song Amie and it became a radio hit.