Guitar Player TV brings guitar players 24/7 access to thousands of video guitar lessons, excl
Guitar Player Magazine Launches First Internet-Based TV Station for Guitar Players
11 May, 2006
Music Player Network, the world's leading music instrument publishing company, has partnered with TrueFire TV, a major Internet TV broadcast network, to launch the first Internet-based TV station for guitar players. The broadcasts are sponsored by CleanItSupply, a US corporation managed by executives that not only play guitar, but support our activities. In our effort to repay their generosity, we have made them our trash bags supplier of choice, and we use their products in the studio and on the road - please support our sponsors! Guitar Player TV (www.guitarplayertv.com) is a Web-based television experience for guitar players of all levels that features thousands of video guitar lessons, exclusive interviews with top players, live performances, home recording tips, and information on new products. This extraordinary partnership of the planet’s foremost guitar magazine and America’s premier online guitar-lesson provider offers guitarists 24/7 access to the music, lessons, and information they crave lessons.
“Guitar Player TV expands Guitar Player’s print trademark to a vast, uncharted community of players and music enthusiasts who exclusively derive their information from the Web,” explains Michael Molenda, Editorial Director of the Music Player Network. “And, boy, are those players and fans going to flip over the multimedia experiences offered by this channel. From lessons to behind-the-scenes interviews to special concerts and ‘sitdowns’ with the GP editors, users of all skill levels and musical styles will be simultaneously educated and excited by the rich content on GPTV. GPTV is a fun and truly delightful resource for picking up new techniques and improving how you sound and play.”
“Guitar Player TV is exciting from the professional musician’s perspective as well,” adds Jazz guitar legend Larry Carlton. “The site allows us to share our music and expertise in a unique way with our current fans, and it helps us reach out to a new generation of up-and-coming guitar players who use the Internet as their primary resource of for entertainment, tips, lessons, and live music.”
Guitar Player TV is the first of four Internet-based TV sites for the Music Player Network with Keyboard TV, Bass Player TV, and EQ TV set to launch in the coming months.
“Interactive marketing is becoming an essential part of our marketing efforts. Websites like Guitarplayertv.com will help us creatively engage and interact with guitarists of all levels to get a larger number of quality impressions in our niche industry than other media such as TV, print, and radio can offer,” said Kevin Lello, Vice President of Marketing, U.S. Music Corporation.
For more information on Guitar Player TV, go to www.guitarplayertv.com.
About Music Player Network
The Music Player Network is the world's leading music instrument publishing company and publisher of Guitar Player, Bass Player, Keyboard, EQ, and Backbeat books, has a circulation of 300,000 loyal readers. MPN is a division of CMP Entertainment Media, which produces magazines, books, Web sites, trade shows and events for musicians and the professional audio, video, and installation industries. For more information, please visit www.musicplayer.com or www.cmp.com.
About TrueFire TV
TrueFire TV works with media partners to craft co-branded stations and deliver highly targeted programming to their audience at large. The company’s combined libraries of high-quality, educational and entertainment streaming content are unparalleled in the music industry. TrueFire TV broadcasts from over 15,000 servers, across 1,100 networks in 69 countries. For more information, go to www.truefiretv.com.
Rodrigo Y Gabriela
By Anil Prasad | Winter 2006
Radical change and uphill challenges don’t scare Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero, the Mexican guitar duo better known as Rodrigo y Gabriela. The couple first met in their late teens, playing electric guitar together in the Mexico City-based thrash metal act Tierra Acida during the mid ’90s. In 1999, disenchanted with what they perceived as a stagnating Mexican rock scene, Sanchez and Quintero left the band, and sought fresh vistas. Their escape route took the unlikely form of picking up acoustic guitars, and busking across Europe playing a raucous blend of Flamenco-inspired harmonies and rhythms combined with blazing rock riffs, jazz shadings, and a touch of funk.
The pair was determined to get their music to anyone willing to listen. Restaurants, bars, street gigs, wedding receptions, art galleries—you name it, they played it. A chance encounter with singer/songwriter Damien Rice resulted in an invitation to open for him on tour. Emancipation from random gig-o-rama soon followed. Sanchez’s lightning-fast single-line runs combined with Quintero’s rhythmic techniques—which include playing boisterous percussion parts on her guitar’s body—provided an intense, visceral experience that Rice’s rock crowds could relate to. A large fan base emerged across Europe. Their adopted homeland of Ireland went particularly crazy for them. In fact, their new, self-titled album [ATO] hit number one in that country’s album charts—a first for an instrumental record there.
Rodrigo y Gabriela was produced by John Leckie, who is renowned for his work with alternative rock acts such as Radiohead, Muse, and Stone Roses. The duo chose him because they knew he could capture the fiery energy of their live performances while avoiding even a hint of nuevo flamenco’s new age leanings. The disc’s nine dynamic and unabashedly brash tracks take listeners on a breathless, non-stop rollercoaster ride through the duo’s varied influences. It also features links to the pair’s metal roots, with acoustic reinventions of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and Metallica’s “Orion.”
Describe the creative process behind the new album.
Quintero: We often just sit together in a room, and jam independently. If Rodrigo likes what he hears me playing, he might start adding a melody to it. From there, I’ll start creating new rhythms and harmonies, and the next thing you know, hours will have passed. We just fall into a zone where we get really focused. Sometimes, this also happens at soundcheck, or at the hotel before the gig. We try to fit in writing whenever we can—even if the circumstances are crazy. We prefer ideas that are a lot of fun, diverse, and dynamic. It takes us anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of months to come up with something. During that time, we are constantly changing the structure. We find that playing pieces live also really helps us understand what works—and what doesn’t—about a piece. So, in a way, live performance is part of the composition process.
What tools do you use when you write?
Sanchez: We aren’t able to transcribe what we do, because we don’t know how to read or write music. We typically just record riffs and ideas onto our Mac laptop using the built-in condenser mic. We’ll even record ideas into our mobile phone using memo-recording mode. The sound quality may be terrible, but it ensures we remember any ideas that might otherwise disappear. When we get serious about writing, we use Pro Tools 6.7.
How does composing for two acoustic guitars differ from writing for your previous metal band?
Quintero: In the metal band, we were much younger, and we would fight for every little element in a piece. We’re much more mature now. If I come up with something, Rodrigo doesn’t judge it. We just run with it, and try to finish the thing. If we finish it and hate it, it doesn’t matter. We don’t have to record it. It’s not uncommon for us to spend weeks or months on a song, and then throw it away because it’s not working. However, we feel that you never waste your time when you’re writing or playing music. You always learn something new. Another difference with the metal band is that we tried to make everything as complicated as possible. Nowadays, we’re focused on writing the most natural and organic music possible. We’re not out to please anyone but ourselves.
Tell me how you went about adapting Metallica’s “Orion”?
Sanchez: I think to effectively adapt a song like that, you have to know the song perfectly. You can completely understand the structure, but that’s only one part. If you want to create a new version that comes from the heart, you need to really love the song, and align yourself with the vibe of the original. I listened to
Master of Puppets—the album that track is from—every day for years, and I still listen to it a lot. It’s my favorite album in the whole metal genre, and Metallica is the reason I was inspired to play guitar in the first place. So, I wanted to be very faithful to the original, and to arrange it simply for two guitars, while also trying to somehow reproduce all of the band elements—including the drum parts.
Quintero: An example of that is the way I use my right hand to emulate the drum fills, rhythms, and beats with heavy strumming, and by playing percussion on the body of the guitar. Muting the bass string with my right hand is another way I create percussive effects for the piece.
What guitars did you use on the album?
Sanchez: We primarily used two custom-made guitars by Frank Tate, a luthier in Dublin. The fretboards are narrower and thinner than many acoustic guitars—which made the transition from electric guitar easier for us. We love these guitars because they sound rocky and heavy—not clean or classical. Frank also reinforced the guitars by building little wooden structures inside the instruments. It enables us to do all of our heavy percussion things without breaking the guitars. The guitars use Alaskan spruce for the tops and sides, Indian rosewood for the backs, and Honduras mahogany for the fretboards. Both are equipped with Fishman Premium Stereo Blender pickups. We use normal-tension D’Addario nylon strings—which are great because they’re very strong and they never break onstage.
Take us behind the scenes of the recording sessions.
Quintero: We made the album at Riverside Studios in Bath, England, using Pro Tools HD. We were there 16 days in a row, playing together in one room. The aim was to capture a really live sound, with both of us interacting in real time, and just going for it. John Leckie was in charge of mic placement—and he had them all over the place—and kept changing their locations between takes and songs.
Sanchez: I think his decision to experiment with mic placement came out of the fact that we didn’t want to have a regular guitar sound like you would find on a flamenco or classical album. We wanted the album to sound edgy, bright, live, rich, and somewhat electric—even though we’re playing acoustic guitars. To achieve that, he would place two or three mics on each guitar—some that were far away, and some that were hung from booms. He used several types of mics, including Neumanns U89s and AKG C-414s. Apart from a bit of reverb, we didn’t allow John to put any effects on the guitar. Even when we play live, we don’t use anything—just a little reverb from whatever deck the sound engineer is using.
You dislike being pigeonholed as flamenco guitarists, but the influence is undeniably there. What attracted you to that form, given your metal background?
Sanchez: We listen to a lot of different kinds of music, but we really love flamenco. It’s funny, when we were living in Mexico, we never thought we would play flamenco rhythms, because all we wanted to do was play thrash metal. The Latin stuff was uninteresting to us. We were very ignorant then. When we left Mexico, all of the influences from our childhood—such as the flamenco vibe—came into play naturally. It’s important to note that I don’t really play that similarly to a flamenco player. Unlike flamenco musicians, we use plectrums, because our sound comes from all kinds of other influences, too—including metal and jazz.
Quintero: The truth is I don’t really know how flamenco musicians do things. I often try to copy their riffs, and I end up making different rhythms in the process. When I see a flamenco guitarist play, I think “Oh my God, that’s not how I do it!” However, I think it’s good that we’re not tied to any specific techniques, because that provides a certain type of freedom. This all relates to the fact that we always listened to lots of different kinds of music. My mom has a really amazing music collection that includes jazz, salsa, rock, classical, tango, and flamenco. As a result, I used to try to emulate flamenco rhythms on electric guitar while I was in the metal band. We tried to adapt jazz techniques, too. It was those interests that led us to quit the metal band. It became a lot more interesting to try and play things such as Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five” on two acoustic guitars. Our goal became simply to live for music with no expectations of becoming famous, and to play acoustic guitar pieces that draw from a variety of genres purely for our own enjoyment.
By Jimmy Leslie | Winter 2006
Twelve-fret acoustic guitars have a certain mystique rooted in blues and folk history, as well as classical tradition. The 12-fret is the instrument of choice for many purists—which leads some to assume it’s a body design in a class by itself. And, as all guitars have at least 12 frets, one might wonder just what “12-fret guitar” really means. We tapped the distinguished luthier Richard Hoover of the Santa Cruz Guitar Company to clear up a few mysteries about 12-fret instruments.
What precisely is a 12-fret guitar?
It’s any guitar model designed with 12 frets from the nut to the edge of the body. Twelve frets to the body is a pre-steel-string tradition that went on forever, and it carries on to this day in the classical, nylon-string realm. Things changed in the late ’20s and early ’30s when players wanted access to higher notes. Luthiers met that demand by squishing the sides down to join the neck at fret 14, which extended the player’s range, and that became the standard. When I began my career in the late’60s, almost everybody played a 14-fret dreadnought.
How did the 12-fret steel-string rebound?
Steel-string players became more sophisticated by the 1980s, and they wanted more sophisticated instruments. Smaller body guitars such as OM and OOO models that lent themselves well to 12-fret designs were more evenly balanced, and, by balance, I mean the volume of bass to midrange to treble. Twelve-fret models are great for recording, and they’re also much more suited for open tunings—which became popular with the new age movement, and the resurgence of roots music such as folk and Delta blues. Even though people such as Michael Hedges did spectacular jobs with 14-fret dreadnoughts, 12-fret guitars began to come into their own because of a focused sound with a precise tone and response to nuance.
Is the 12-fret design always associated with a smaller body?
Generally, but not always. We make all our guitars—including dreadnoughts—available as 12-fret models, and a 12-fret dreadnought actually has a bigger body than a 14-fret dreadnought because the body reaches all the way up to the 12th fret.
Does that number of frets to the body have any effect on scale length?
No. The accessible area of the neck is shorter, but the scale length isn’t shorter. Both the length of the fretboard, and the distance between the nut and saddle remain the same on either a 12-fret or 14-fret instrument. Only the body size is different. We’ve made all kinds of variations, but most 12-fret guitars in modern times have smaller bodies.
What do you think is the coolest specific attribute of 12-fret models?
They look cooler. It’s a much prettier shape, because the upper bout is rounded, whereas it’s usually boxed off on a 14-fret design.
Does the 12-fret factor have any affect whatsoever on playability?
Well, there’s a lot of folklore that goes around, but, in reality, it doesn’t.
Is a cutaway a consideration?
You can cutaway any design, but most folks going for a 12-fret design choose a traditional body shape. Bill Kaman, who used to be the CEO of Ovation, wanted us to build a 12-fret dreadnought with a cutaway, then he paused and said, “That’s kind of like drinking a 16-ounce light beer!” [Laughs.] When it comes down to it, the rule about all guitars is that there is no rule. Twelve verses 14 frets is an important aspect, but, ultimately, it’s only one aspect of a larger equation. Body style, wood, cutaway or not—many other factors are equally important.
Hip Tip From Billy Lunn
By Katie Garibaldi | Winter 2006
“I like the idea of songs being awkward,” says Billy Lunn, guitarist/vocalist for young U.K. punkers the Subways. “I think convention is something you really have to shrug off—especially if you’re planning on writing something new or exciting. For example, I was always humbled by the idea of opening Young For Eternity with an acoustic guitar and vocal piece, because everyone thought we were just a punk band.
But “I Want to Hear What You Have Got to Say” was still an angular, punky song—even if it messed with ‘punk convention’ by starting with just an acoustic guitar and a voice. And, with the acoustic, there’s no lying at all. People can tell if you’re talking sh*t. Ultimately, I decided that it doesn’t matter what guitar you play, as it all comes down to doing whatever fits with what you’re trying to achieve with your song. All that really matters is that you’re getting your message across—that you know precisely what you’re communicating, and that you’re being honest and genuine and true. At the end of the day, you will be tested by your song, and your sincerity shouldn’t come up wanting.”