Author Archives: theguitarpal
Author Archives: theguitarpal
For some reason, the guitarists, particularly the lead, tend to shine more than the players of other instruments in the band. This might by one of the reasons that so many people, save for the die-hard fans, simply have no idea that there are siblings playing in the same band. I’m a bit of a trivia nut, so here are some of the sets of siblings you may not have known played in the same band.
You may know Lamb of God for their lead singer, Randy Blythe, who was almost convicted of involuntary manslaughter. You may also have known them for their amazing guitarists Mark Morton and Willie Adler. Well, Willie’s brother Chris is not only the drummer for this band. He was also the only original member of the band out of the two brothers. When LOG started back in the early 90s, they were ‘Burn the Priest’ and Morton and Chris Adler were two of the founding members. Years later, they were the only two remaining and had added new members, including Chris’s little brother Willie.
If you don’t know who heart is, just look up their song ‘Barracuda’ on YouTube. I’ve never met a person who didn’t like Heart, including people who are half my age. Although not an all-female act, Heart was one of the biggest bands to so prominently feature women, especially on guitar. Nancy Wilson is the rhythm guitarist of this band, and her older sister Ann is the vocalist. These two started out back in the 70s and they’re still playing today, sounding just as good as ever. Here they are doing a tribute to legends Led Zeppelin with Stairway to Heaven, along with Jason Bonham, son of Led Zeppelin’s late drummer, John Bonham. Brings tears to my eyes every time I watch it.
Even if you don’t know who they are, you’ve still definitely heard their songs. AC/DC are the guys who played practically half the songs in the Iron Man movies. The Aussie band was started by the brothers back in the 70s. Both brothers play guitar, with Angus on lead and elder brother Malcolm on rhythm. But you may know Angus best for his schoolboy outfit and iconic stage presence. He had tried out all kinds of costumed before settling on this one, including a Spiderman costume and a gorilla!
You have probably heard of Eddie Van Halen and his band Van Halen. This band had some of the most popular songs and a lot of band drama. Here they are with one of their most famous tracks, Jump. What you probably didn’t know is that lead guitarist, founder, and namesake of the band Eddie Van Halen has a brother. Alex Van Halen is the band’s drummer, and when the two first started learning instruments, it was actually Alex who played guitar, with Eddie on drums. Out of frustration at Alex’s sneaking into play Eddie’s drums, Eddie decided to simply exchange instruments. And now they are a part of history. Even more incredible today is that the current lineup of Van Halen features a third Van Halen: Eddie’s son Wolfgang, who now plays bass for the band.
This list would be incomplete without the original ‘brothers’. Duane and Gregg Allman, way back in the 60s, were, unsurprisingly, the Allman Brothers. With Duane on guitar and Gregg on keyboards, truly left a mark on pretty much every rock and metal band in the 70s and 80s, and still have an influence today. Their bluesy, country, jazzy music appealed to so many people. Unfortunately, a motorbike accident took the life of Duane Allman early on in their career. Since then, from time to time, the remaining members have reunited, along with several others, to perform, record, and pay tribute to their fellow rocker.
So how many other guitarists do you know who play or have played in bands with their family?
At the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, three researchers of the Center for Lifespan Psychology took up a study in 2012. They sought to measure the brainwaves of guitar players while soloing to see if the waves would match brainwaves studied during social interaction. Amazingly, they found a connection.
In the study, there were 12 pairs of guitarists playing a particular piece of music (Rondo in D-Major by C.G. Scheidler) while being scanned by an EEG machine. This machine maps brainwaves in real time. Researchers can then read those brainwaves and interpret them.
In this case, what they noticed was that each pair of guitar players were not just synchronizing their playing. In fact, they were synchronizing slightly ahead of the notes they were playing. In other words, they started to show the same brainwave patterns from before they even played.
This is probably the meaning behind “band chemistry”. It’s also probably why people like the Allmans and Angus and Malcolm Young are quite so successful.
Another study that looked at improvisation tells us that when an experienced guitarist is shredding away, certain brain regions are more active while others are less so. The part that signals unconscious thought turns on the part that deals with intuition and creative thinking. This might explain a few people we might know.
Jazz guitarist Pat Martino had to have a huge part of his brain removed when he was still quite young. And yet he was able to relearn his craft within just two years. This is an example of how the brain can adapt itself to make up for shortcomings. It is also an example of how certain abilities are so ingrained that they become unconscious. This has not been seen only with music, as many creative abilities appear to be largely intuitive, at least once mastered.
The 2012 study noticed something else as well. When the guitarists were playing as a duet, the brain wave patterns resembled those that appear during social coordination.
This suggests that guitarists are largely intuitive, creative types with social leanings. Nothing we didn’t already know, but now science seems to be confirming what we all thought was a stereotype with a kernel of truth!
So what do you call a musician with a college degree? The night manager at McDonald’s. Yeah, I didn’t think that was very nice either. But the crappy thing is that it kinda rings true. If you are reading this article in your parent’s basement with your trusty old splintering Gibson by your side, then you’re like the majority of guitarists and singers out there. Unfortunately, not everyone gets discovered for their amazing talent like Ed Sheeran these days. And it’s near impossible to get your kickass industrial metal band into the public eye because even Nine Inch Nails doesn’t listen to Nine Inch Nails anymore.
But you can’t give up your passion. And you sure as hell shouldn’t have to. I always imagined myself shredding like Malmsteen or Vai in front of a sold out stadium, and you probably had similar dreams. Unless you have some unique and mindblowing talent, or the luck to be strumming in the right place at the right time, gigging is not going to earn you a living.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t earn a living off your music though. You don’t need to be making hit records or selling out shows, nor do you need to work a nine-to-five day job like the stereotypical musician in the movies. There are plenty of ways you can get the money flowing in without compromising on what you love to do. Some of these can even enrich your life in ways you would never imagine.
Now, if you haven’t really explored your options as yet, then this is a serious one to consider. If you’re reading this article, chances are that you’ve already tried this, or you hate the idea of it, or you’re currently doing it but not earning much. If you are currently performing at a pub or café but looking for a way to supplement your income, then skip to the next section.
If you’ve never considered looking for work at a restaurant, local pub, or café, it’s time to start asking around. You really don’t need to wait to be asked. Even if your favorite café doesn’t have live acts, it won’t hurt to have a chat with the owner and suggest it.
Depending on what kind of deal you can strike up, the audience the place caters to, and your skills, you may just be able to earn a pretty solid living. See if you can play at a few different places if you can’t get more than a night or two at one pub. Even if you are offered low pay, see if you can ask for a meal out of it as well. That alone will help.
If you’re good at putting together a catchy tune and lyrics, go for it. The more versatile you are, the more indispensable you will be if you get hired by a local TV station, radio station, or studio. Contact a few TV and radio stations, advertising agencies, and local recording studios that you know of and drop off your demo and resume. You don’t need to wait for an ad to turn up in the classifieds. Put yourself out there. If you have a knack for catchy melodies and lyrics, it won’t go unnoticed.
Of course, this is no slacker’s job. If you get hired full time, you will be dealing with headache-inducing deadlines and most likely awful clients or bosses. But it does mean good and steady pay, it means experience, and it means making a name for yourself and forging a path to bigger and better things.
Of course, if you have the talent for playing, you can always earn a pretty penny teaching. Now, it’s important to understand that teaching is not for everybody. Just because you can shred, it does not mean that you can teach. You need to be able to systematically communicate to students the relevant knowledge they require. On top of that, you need to be able to perceive their trouble spots and know how to teach them how to improve.
With that said, teaching can be one of the most lucrative options you have. You can charge quite a bit by offering private or group lessons, you could offer lessons to students all over the world via the internet, or, if you know your theory, you may even be able to get hired as a teacher at a school. Sort of like Jack Black’s character in School of Rock, but perhaps, legitimately. You can even take a fairly basic and short course online or in person to get certified to do this.
If you don’t already have a band of your own, why not be a session musician? If you are really good with your playing, improvising, stage presence, and some theory, you’ll go a long way. You could fill in for people, do brief stints with established local acts, or be part of a temporary lineup and earn quite a bit. This is an excellent way to get some attention in the industry and make a name for yourself.
If you can do this for a while and be patient, eventually you’ll be able to strike out on your own with the contacts you’ve made. Then you can quite easily get bigger gigs with your very own act. If you are going to try this out, be sure to have a business card ready.
These are just some of the ways you can earn some money without having to resort to doing something you would hate. Remember, it’s not going to be easy, but it’s not going to be impossible either.
The Guitar Pal gives you some of the best electric guitars and a handy buying guide to help you choose the right one for your needs.
Electric guitars are a recent invention compared to the long history of the acoustic guitar. Unlike an acoustic guitar, from which it evolved, the electric guitar has a solid body with no soundhole. Although there are hollow-body and semi-hollow electric guitars that are quite common as well. It is also electrically amplified with special devices called pickups, fitted onto the body. The pickups convert vibrations from the strings into a signal. This signal is passed into an amplifier and then out of a loudspeaker.
Electric guitars can be given different tones through dials on the guitar as well as amplifiers and special devices such as electric guitar pedals. Effects such as distortion, overdrive, and reverb are now highly common elements in most music genres, especially rock, metal, blues, and even jazz.
Many people think that electric guitars are only for expert guitarists, but this is not the case. Even relative beginners can advance with an electric guitar. However, it is important not to buy one without knowing either that you have developed enough skill on an acoustic guitar first, or that you are committed to mastering the electric guitar. Buying the best electric guitar will just be a poor investment and a waste if you don’t use it to develop your skills.
Here is a helpful guide to help you understand what you should look at when considering which electric guitar to buy, along with some of the best picks from The Guitar Pal.
The best electric guitar is really a personal choice that should be based on preference, purpose, budget, and several other factors. It is not a purchase you should just make on a whim. Ideally, you should try to test the guitar out yourself before buying it. You need to hear the tone, feel the guitar on you, and so on.
On this list, the top choice is the Schecter Omen-6. This is because it is a largely versatile guitar and has had a lot of research go into its construction. It also has the full 24-fret fingerboard, it’s lightweight, it comes at a good price, and it is of pro quality.
|Model||Frets||Wood||Pickups||Tremolo Bridge||Tonal Qualities||Ideal for||Rating||Check Price|
|Schecter Omen-6||24||Basswood, rosewood, maple||Dual humbuckers||No||Bassy, rich, warm||Rock, heavy metal||10/10|
|Fender Standard Stratocaster||22||Alder, maple, rosewood||Three single-coil||Yes||Bright, resonant||Any, especially classic rock||9/10|
|Epiphone Les Paul 100||22||Rosewood, mahogany, maple||Dual humbuckers||No||Deep, rich||Rock, jazz, blues||9/10|
|Fender Modern Player Telecaster||22||Maple||Combination humbucker bridge and single-coil||No||Bright||Any, especially classic rock||9/10|
|Dean Vendetta XM||24||Paulownia, maple, rosewood||Dual humbuckers||Yes||Warm, resonant||-||8/10|
Buying an electric guitar requires some thought and effort. You should not just buy the first one you see off the rack because there are several factors that can affect your experience and playing. Let’s go through the main factors that you should be considering during your selection process.
The best electric guitars, the kinds used by the pros, can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Unless you are an intermediate looking to make a serious investment, you might want to spend a lot less. However, if you do have the money to spend, a good, albeit expensive, guitar will never let you down.
Unlike with an acoustic guitar, electric guitars require several other accessories like an amplifier, cables, straps, picks, tuners, and even effects pedals. Electric guitar strings also tend to cost more than acoustic guitar strings. So, remember that your budget should include these. If you are a first-time buyer, there are dozens of good quality starter packs that you can buy.
Remember, you can always purchase a second-hand electric guitar if you are unsure about how far you will be pursuing your playing.
You need to think about why you are buying an electric guitar before you do. What are you planning to use it for? An electric guitar is great for starting a band, even if it’s not a heavy metal band! Electric guitars afford you a lot more sound options because amps and effects pedals can give you a ton of different tones. Moreover, with various types of software and even apps, you can achieve totally different sounds, especially if your goal is to record songs. You can also buy a semi-acoustic guitar and a good effects pedal and be a one-person band like Ed Sheeran. If you are a total beginner, however, it may be best to learn on an acoustic first before deciding whether you want to move onto an electric.
Different electric guitars and brands are geared towards certain kinds of music like blues or heavy metal. You may even have some guitar idols whom you want to emulate with your style of playing. Now, if you want to closely emulate certain guitarists, you’d have to spend a small fortune to get the kind of guitars they play. But you can get pretty close with a decent budget choice along with a good amplifier and pedal. The important thing is that the guitar inspires you.
If you are buying the guitar for a child, then you may want to buy a scale electric guitar, usually about ¾. This kind of guitar would have low action, a narrow neck, and easy grip and reach. Of course, size is less of a limiting factor for the highly determined little guitarist, as this little girl will show you.
One thing that does matter is the scale length, however. If you want a warmer tone, you should go for a shorter scale length, which is also better for smaller hands.
No, not yours, the guitar’s. As mentioned, there solid body types are much more common, and though they are not very resonant compared to their counterparts, the wood they are made of will affect their sound. Hollow body electric guitars are similar to acoustic guitars but do not have the typical soundhole. They are more resonant than a solid body electric guitar, and produce a bigger, bassier sound. These guitars tend to also produce a bit more feedback. the semi-hollow body also is a little more resonant than a solid body, and has a solid center which reduces feedback and gives better sustain. These can be especially good for blues, jazz, and rock.
There are three main types of pickups a guitar can have, and they can come in one, two, or three on a guitar. You can switch between them, how many of them you use, and how loud each of them are. The traditional single-coil pickup tends to have some fuzzy, humming sounds, but generally produce a very bright and treblish sound. Humbucker pickups are in essence two single-coils together, and are common to classic rock music and heavy metal. They produce a lot more power in their sound. Finally, the most recent development, active pickups have a much cleaner sound.
Now, as mentioned, the wood a guitar is made of will affect the sound you get. Ash, for instance, adds to the resonance, sustain, and mid-range. Rosewood is rather heavy, but is excellent for a bassier sound. Maple has a very bright, treblish tone. Mahogany is highly resonant and beautiful. These are just the most common woods used to make electric guitars. The best way to understand how a guitar sounds is to play it before you buy it. Even if you are planning to buy online (which will cut down the price), try to find a store nearby where you can test it out first.
One more thing to think about is whether you want to up the number of strings. Traditionally, electric guitars have had six strings. However, heavy metal musicians and even certain other newly emerging genres have opted for seven and eight-string guitars. It is not advisable to go straight into a seven or eight-string electric if you have no experience. But if you are serious, hardworking, and disciplined (and if you have the money to spare), then there is no reason why you shouldn’t get a good seven string. After all, it can be played as a regular guitar too.
I’ve talked before about my love for Fender, but if there is one brand that beats everything to a pulp, in my opinion, it’s Schecter. Schecter is new to the scene compared to the other brands on this list, but the difference is only a few decades. And I’ll tell you why I say they’re the best, at least for electric guitars.
Schecter started out as a repair shop that catered to various guitar manufacturers, supplying parts to guitar plays throughout California back in the 70s. When they did finally venture into making their own fully-fledged axes, they imitated the greats. Heck, they even signed up Yngwie Malmsteen. THE Yngwie Malmsteen. But none of this is why I think they’re amazing.
Schecter today is the Schecter Guitar Research company. They put so much into their guitars now that every single model they put out is pretty pro level. Of course, if you’re looking vintage, this is not your brand. But most modern players will benefit from any one of their guitars.
The Omen-6 is actually one of their lower end guitars, made from basswood, rosewood, and maple. This is actually a great combination for such an affordable price. It comes with the Schecter Diamond Plus pickups to give you an extremely rich and booming sound. That is ideal for rockers and metalheads, just not so much for pop music. The 24 frets and cutaways make this guitar perfect for shredding. There’s almost nothing you can’t play comfortably on this guitar, and that’s why its number 1 on this list.
Fender has been around for a long time, in fact, as one of the pioneers in the industry. It’s actually very hard to go wrong with Fender guitar. This one is an icon of the company, and the shape with the double cutaway has been imitated by countless other companies.
Different models in the Strat line have been used by some of the greats in the music world, including Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, Jeff Beck, Ronnie Wood, and many others. Where tradition and vintage are concerned, this is one to go for.
The three single-coil pickups and synchronize tremolo bridge work together to create the signature sound. The alder body wood of the solid body will give you a bright but resonant sound. You can get either maple or rosewood fingerboards with this guitar, depending on the sound you want.
The slim neck with 22 medium jumbo frets is flat and easy to play, making this perfect for novice and pro alike. This is pretty much a pro guitar at an affordable price.
This is yet another classic and at a great price. Les Paul was one of the reasons you’re sitting there and reading this article right now. He helped pioneer the electric guitar as well as effects and recording equipment that are still used today. This guitar is made to the specs of his original models, and you can be sure it’s still one of the best.
The Epiphone Les Paul 100 is known for its rich sound, with a mahogany body and a rosewood fretboard. So if you’re looking for the resonant, rich, and deep sound of rock n roll, this is what you want to get.
the cutaway allows more reach to all 22 frets. The humbucker pickups will give you a little bit of extra oomph. You’ll love this guitar if you want to play blues, rock, or jazz.
This guitar is one of the best electric guitars for under $500. This is a normal price for a good guitar and Fender is one of the best manufacturers of all time. This is a solid body guitar made of maple wood, so you can be sure you’ll get a bright sound.
It comes with one bridge humbucker and a single-coil to balance out the sound. This is a great guitar because it is highly versatile, so you can use it for pretty much anything. The triple pickup system is largely responsible for this. You can easily get a very vintage sound out of this guitar and play some Led Zeppelin, or you could go 90s grunge with some distortion and play Smells Like Teen Spirit.
It’s an excellent choice for a more laid back sound as well, so this is great option for various genres you might like to play.
This is the cheapest guitar on this list and definitely the best electric guitar for under $100. Dean Guitars has sponsored some of the most well known guitarists including the legendary Dimebag Darrel, and Dave Mustaine who has his own signature model.
The Dean Vendetta XM is affordable and convenient to play. It’s made of paulownia, a mahogany substitute, that offers resonance and warmth, and maple and rosewood for the neck. It also comes with dual humbuckers to give you an extra bassy sound.
This guitar is great because it’s lightweight, slender, and plays amazingly well for a guitar this cheap. It certainly helps that the fretboard comes with 24 frets. You also get a whammy bar to get that old school sound.
This is a great choice because it will let you totally rock out for an easy price.
Since the best electric guitars won’t come cheap, and especially if you are a relatively new player, you might want your first electric guitar to be cheap. That’s why TGP has put together a small list of some of the best cheap electric guitars between $100 and $200. Remember, there are used electric guitars and electric guitars for sale you can buy for even cheaper if you aren’t sure if what you’re planning to do in the future.
Unfortunately, most electric guitars are designed in such a way that, unlike acoustic guitars, you can’t switch the strings around and play them left handed. So if you are a lefty, here are the top three picks for left-handed electric guitars.
TGP’s top pick is the ESP LTD EC256. ESP is an excellent brand and this rosewood and mahogany guitar with dual humbuckers for lefthanders has an incredible and versatile sound. It’s got a classic look with a modern feel.
There is also the Squire by Fender Affinity Telecaster, a high-quality brand and alder/maple model, has two single-coil pickups with a three-way selector. It has a cutaway to offer you full access to the frets and it’s got a classic look. If that doesn’t work for you, try the Legacy Solid Body with the alder, maple, and rosewood construction and Stratocaster style. With three single-coil pickups and a tremolo bridge, you can do it all with this.
If you are a beginner, the best way to go about picking up your first guitar is to get a starter pack. The top pick here would be the Epiphone Les Paul beginner package mentioned earlier because it has everything you will need and more. The price is easily affordable and it’s a brand and model that has stood the test of time.
Alternatively, the Squire by Fender Affinity Stratocaster, also mentioned earlier, has all the same stuff and is another highly respected brand. If you want to get something even more affordable, however, try this Rise by Sawtooth model that comes with most of the stuff you will need.
As discussed earlier, even kids can handle a full-sized guitar if you have one around the house. But if you want to make it easier on them, then there are numerous scaled models you can get for your kid to cut their teeth on.
Your little one could have their very own Squier by Fender Mini Stratocaster and become the next Jimi Hendrix (talent-wise, not behavior-wise!). It’s certainly of master quality and is a scaled down version of the Squier mentioned earlier.
Alternatively, you could get an SX RST ¾ scaled strat-like guitar with amp, instructions, and accessories. Or buy a ¾ Electric Guitar with gig bag, strap, mini-amp, and a few other accessories for the same price as the Squier.
With seven-strings becoming more and more popular, TGP’s top picks are well-known brands, none of which you can go wrong with. The top pick would have to be the Schecter Omen-7, however. This is a brand that is known for their 7-strings, and the Omen-7 is 24 frets of quality. Made from basswood and rosewood with humbucker pickups, you will definitely get the sound you want.
A good second choice is the very affordable ESP LTD M-17, with basswood, maple, and rosewood. It also comes with humbucker pickups, but only 22 frets. It will still give you a great sound, though. Alternatively, the Jackson JS22-7 Dinky is also a good choice with dual humbuckers, 24 frets, and construction of maple, rosewood, and basswood.
Ultimately, your choice should depend on a multitude of factors, and this is one selection that requires research. Don’t just blindly pick out a guitar. Any experienced guitarist will tell you that a guitar is not an object. You bond with a guitar, you connect with a guitar. So take your time, try to get a chance to try out the guitars you’re picking out, and then decide. Remember though, it’s not just the guitar that makes the guitarist. It’s what you do with it.
Thanks to the popularity of smartphones and the advances of app development, you can get pretty much everything you need for your guitar playing onto your phone. Here are some guitar apps that you really should have on your phone or tablet.
Every guitarist needs to be able to quickly and accurately tune their instrument. Every now and then, you might forget your guitar tuner, but chances are that you wouldn’t have forgotten your phone. GuitarTuna is a great app that you can download for free. It’s ideal for several other instruments as well, including seven-string guitars and instruments with different tunings. One of the best parts about this app though, the thing that sets it apart from a lot of others, is that it works even in noisy places. This app has other features too, including a metronome to help you with speed training and keeping time, and a chord library.
This app will cost you a couple of bucks, but it’s well worth it if you rely on tabs a lot for learning and writing songs. This app is the mobile version of the software that guitarists (and several other musicians) all over the world have depended on since the early 2000s. An extensive library of songs is at your fingertips so you can learn all your favorites. You can even create your own tabs and import them into the library. This is perfect for beginners and experts alike.
If you like writing songs and composing music, then RecForge is for you. Songwriters are always coming up with little riffs, lyrics, and tunes, and you need to be able to record them quickly and with high quality. That’s where this app is especially handy. You can record, edit, export and convert file, and share your music through a multitude of platforms, among other features. And it’ll only cost you a couple of bucks.
GuitarTricks is a guitar lesson app that you can download for absolutely free. The app has lessons and tutorials taught by real guitar players, with special lessons for beginners. There are tutorials for some of the most popular songs, lessons on the fundamentals, and the easiest songs to play for beginners. There are also plenty of tips for practicing, tuning, maintenance, and tones, to name a few of the features. Even more experienced players can benefit from this free service. Since it’s free, download it and see for yourself.
If you’ve ever used the Ultimate Guitar website, you should have this app. It’s perfect for players who prefer learning songs by chords with the words rather than by reading music or tablature. This app will give you the simplest ways of playing the songs you love, along with several other versions of them in case you want to it just a little different. Find versions with and without capos, chord variants, and transpositions. It only costs a couple of bucks, so it’s well worth it.
All of these apps are good to have in your arsenal. With these, you’ll have a comprehensive guitar guide in your pocket!