By necessity, most of us spend an inordinate amount of time cruising guitars, getting familiar with their specs, window shopping—just being a geek, really. We’re guilty of hyper-focusing on the instrument and practically ignoring other things that are of great importance in the grand scheme of the whole guitar rig. This week, we’re looking at a critical and often-ignored component in the realm of playing electric guitar: The cables that transmit the signal between the guitar and amp. This component is often barely given a second thought by some players—we’re all guilty—but we can’t be heard without it. Thankfully, there’s room
By PGS Staff We tend to focus a lot on actually playing guitar, but to what is all guitar playing basically in service? SONGS. Most of us aren’t just players, we’re writers, too. In fact, we’d be willing to bet that some of you are more writers than guitar players, playing guitar well enough to be able to write songs and parts for those songs. We’re offering up a few tips for guitarists who write songs. In an effort to help you guys break out of whatever patterns are holding you in or holding you back, here are ten tips to help you write better songs. 1 -BACK TO BASICS Make
Written by PGS Staff If there’s one thing that the vast majority of us can agree on, it’s the notion that tubes are king. Sure, solid-state amps have their place, but to this day, nothing gets the blood pumping like real tube action. Though we know that we prefer tubes, a much smaller percentage of us knows why. This week, we’ll be looking under the hood of your tube amp, giving an overview of power tubes and how the various vacuum valves affect your tone. The Tiny Backstory The quick history: in the late 19th century, scientists were
By PGS staff Think of the historic guitars of the 20th century and realize the impact Gibson has had on our music. Robert Johnson played his L-1 to define the Delta Blues for generations; Charlie Christian’s ES-150 allowed the Jazz guitarist to be heard in a big band for the first time. Woody Guthrie stood up for humanity with his 1945 Gibson L-0, decorated with his famous phrase “This Machine Kills Fascists.” Elvis strummed his J-200, swung his hips, and established rock ‘n’ roll as the most significant and popular form of music in the coming decades. Keith Richards picked
by PGS Staff Let’s hear it for the obscure guitars! We’ve all seen them—those rare, humble instruments that spend years collecting dust in pawn shops and thrift shops, those garage sale discoveries with the unfamiliar brand on their headstocks, and body designs that might be thought of as . . . well, quirky. These are guitars laden with experimental pickups and hardware, and switching that is nothing short of esoteric. Many of these are obscure for a reason. Time, cheap materials, badly designed components, and careless construction have rendered them barely playable, and probably not worth a new set of strings.
Written by PGS staff The search for truly stellar tone will, sooner or later, lead you to ask how much the weight of your guitar’s body affects your sound. For those considering weight when buying an instrument, there is some debate over which sounds better: a heavy guitar or a light one. Some guitarists believe a lighter instrument will better respond to the full spectrum of string vibrations to deliver a more musical sound, with a more “open” tone and much brighter highs. Others argue that the full, rich sound of the traditionally heavier guitars is due in
Written by PGS staff There are some common misconceptions out there in guitarland about amps—specifically about wattage, volume, headroom, decibels and whatever else. Sometimes you think you need two full stacks to get the stage volume you think you want, but in reality, you need a 40-watt combo. Sometimes you think you want a low-watt amp that will break up and provide the perfect tone, but you’re not going to hear it over your drummer and his Neil-Peart-tribute-kit with three bass drums and a gong. Today, we’re looking at your amp to learn a little about the overall
Written by PGS staff The quest to find TONE—it’s an endless, Sisyphusian journey. With the insane amount of gear available, we guitarists can have a tendency to not see the forest for the trees, constantly swapping gear in and out as we look for the sound we hear in our heads. This week, we’re highlighting ways to tweak your tone that don’t involve dropping a bunch of Benjamins on new gear—not to say that it isn’t a ton of fun, too. 1. HEAR It might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to listen passively. Actively use your ears and brain to hear tones,