My Favorite Rock ’n’ Roll Solo (It’s Not on Guitar)

Screenshot 2015-07-11 19.29.20

I’ve long been obsessed with Sam “The Man” Taylor’s epic sax solo on the Chords seminal 1954 rock ’n’ roll hit, “Sh-Boom.” But I never got around to learning, transcribing, and analyzing it till now. I heard it about 100 times while making and editing this video, and it still thrills me on every […]

James Horner, 1953-2015

James Horner, one of the most successful film composers in Hollywood history, died yesterday after crashing his single-engine plane near Santa Barbara, California. He was 61.

It’s hard to pinpoint the highlight of Horner’s career — he scored such mega-hits as Titanic, A Beautiful Mind, Avatar, Braveheart, and many other films. But I can […]

Less-Boring Looping (“Pumped-Up Kicks” Cover)

Less-Boring Looping

For a while I’ve been playing this loop-based cover of Foster the People’s “Pumped-Up Kicks” at solo gigs and with my duo band, Mental 99. At risk of sounding like a pompous dick, I’ve annotated the performance, highlighting techniques I’ve found useful for making loop-based performances livelier and less predictable.

I’ve covered some of this ground before, […]

The “Multitrack Masters”: Lessons & Legality

Premier Guitar just posted my latest recording column. It focuses on the “Multitrack Masters” recordings and other illicitly leaked audio files that deconstruct classic rock recordings into separate tracks with each instrument isolated.

This essential listening is thought-provoking for many reasons. The two that fascinate me most are a) what secrets these recordings […]

Magic Fairy Dust: The Veillette Avante Gryphon

I recently reviewed the gorgeous little Veillette Avante Gryphon for Premier Guitar and liked it so much that I bought one. This was my first opportunity to record it in my studio.

The Avante Gryphon is a relatively low-cost version of Woodstock luthier Joe Veillette’s Gryphon, an 18.5″-scale 12-string designed to be tuned a minor seventh (an octave […]

The Live Looping Lesson

This one’s a labor of love: Premier Guitar just published my live looping lesson. Included are most of the hard-won looping techniques I’ve acquired over the last few years. I crashed and burned 100 times onstage so you don’t have to! ;)

The percentage of my life spent looking at this exact view is […]

Girls and Guitar Magazines

Pedaltrain didn’t dig the cover of the new Guitar World, so they changed it. (View the best Instagram ever here.) I think I’m going to have to go out and buy even more excellent Pedaltrain boards.

Funny thing: My friends outside the guitar biz tend to imagine that it’s some super-hip industry, when in […]

Does Musical Geography Still Matter?

Sorry my blog posts have been a bit scarce lately. A few weeks ago, my super-cool 91-year-old dad (who sometimes posts here) went to Joshua Tree, tripped, and fractured his hip. So to help out, I’ve been shuttling the 400 miles from my home in San Francisco to West Covina, the right-wing, smog-shrouded LA suburb […]

A REAL Cult Band

I just watched an amazing documentary on Netflix: The Source Family, the story the early-’70s cult led by James “Father Yod” Baker. Baker’s Sunset Strip restaurant, the Source, was a fixture of my LA youth — a popular hang for both hippies and music-industry types. (You’ve probably seen it as the backdrop for the breakup scene […]

Odds & Ends & Pixies

Oh man — the gods have been generous this week.

I just received from Warmoth all the parts for my next DIY guitar. I loved testing eight sets of P-90 pickups for Premier Guitar, but I don’t own any P-90-eqipped guitars.I will soon, though!

This one will be a bit of a platypus — […]