Octave Fuzz: Love It or Hate It. Or Both.

Eight as in octave. Fuzzy as in fuzz. Get it? Oh, never mind.

They’re fuzzy eight balls, okay? Eight as in octave. Fuzzy as in fuzz. Get it? GET IT? Oh, never mind.

Anyone have any strong feelings about octave fuzz? I’m guessing so, because not many effects produce stronger feelings. It’s not a path for the faint-hearted. Or control freaks. Or frankly, most guitar players.

I [...]

Welcome to Fingerstyle Boot Camp!

I'm 200 years old, but I can still kick your ass, punk!

I’m 200 years old, but I can still kick your ass, punk!

UPDATE: I’m proud to announce that my fingerstyle video lesson based on the 200-year-old etudes of Mauro Giuliani has been selected to appear in the debut issue of Pure Guitar, a new digital guitar mag whose editorial staff includes my two music [...]

What’s Your “Basic Concept?”

"Mad? MAD? No, I'm a HAPPY scientist!"

“They call me mad, but I’m actually a HAPPY scientist!”

There’s an interesting thread over on the Forum, started by reader Double D, who asked:

“Do you have a central core concept or inspiration that drives your playing? Are you squirrelled away with obscure harmony texts, or practising modes till your fingers bleed? Do [...]

How to Clean a Dirty, Filthy, Gross, Disgusting, NASTY Guitar

This photo was digitally altered to make it look even dirtier — but not by much.

This photo was digitally altered to make the guitar look even dirtier than it was — but not by much.

Sometimes only the threat of public exposure can inspire a proper clean-up job. Case in point: I hadn’t groomed my battered ’63 Strat in years, and when I pupped it from the wall for [...]

A Very Vintage Strat

Beat-Up Strat

The ’80s were tough on guitars.

Last weekend I went to a memorial service for a music pal I hadn’t seen since the ’80s. Judging by the pictures I saw and the stories I heard, Brett remained the gentle, generous music lover I’d remembered till he died in his sleep a few weeks ago.

[...]

Latest Crazy Scheme:
The “Work in Progress” Group

Work In Progress Group

Writers and musician always steal from each other. How many great novels and stories take their titles from music? How many great songs and compositions are inspired by works of literature? (Answer: a metric buttload!)

But strangely, musicians have been slow to pick up on one of best practices of modern writers. I refer to the [...]

Back to Bronze Acoustic Strings

Bronze isn't so bad after all!

Bronze isn’t so bad after all!

A quick update to last week’s post about bronze and nickel strings: Over in the forum, Bear suggested trying 80/20 bronze strings. It’s a little embarrassing to admit, but I thought some of the strings I’d stocked up on and tried were 80/20s, but just realized they were [...]

Cool Chromaticism:
Using Lowered Seconds

Screen Shot 2012-08-09 at 4.35.51 PM

Of the dozens of videos I’ve posted at the tonefiend YouTube channel, most have dealt with gear, and a few with general technique. But this is the first one I’ve done dealing with music theory. Which is sort of odd, since I’m a terminal music theory geek.

Aside from covering a cool and underused [...]

Acoustic Strings: Bronze vs. Nickel

Like Talos the Giant from Jason & the Argonauts, most modern acoustic strings are made of bronze. Like him, they're loud and strong — but are they too strident and inflexible?

Like Talos the Giant from Jason & the Argonauts, most modern acoustic strings are made from bronze. Like him, they can be cruel and inflexible.

UPDATE: I’ve updated the audio examples to include 80/20 bronze strings, as detailed in this newer post.

Can I share my steel-string psychodrama?

I’m lucky enough to own [...]

Contest: Build the Tonefiend Forum!

tonefiend forum

A sad, desolate place — but not for long!

One cool thing about going indie with tonefiend  is that fact that I can finally host my own geek forum! It’s already up and running — but it’s a sad, vacant space that desperately needs to be populated by cool people and cool ideas.

How to get [...]