Fretboard Journal Interview with David Grier

Even though David Grier is based out of Nashville, I don’t know much about his music. The Fretboard Journal recently spent an hour or so speaking with Grier about guitar and music:

With Fretboard Journal Live, we sit down for one-on-one talks with some of the world’s most interesting musicians. Our first episode features flatpicking guitar legend (and cover story for our 16th issue) David Grier. Grier talks about his music-filled childhood (his father Lamar performed was a banjo player for Bill Monroe in the ‘60s), the impact that Clarence White had on his playing, how he developed his technique and more. We also hear about Grier’s current dreadnought of choice, an instrument built by Washington luthier Dake Traphagen.

Music performed by Grier includes “King Wilkie’s Run” and “Red Haired Boy.” Hosted by FJ publisher Jason Verlinde.

They recorded the interview, and I found it to be really interesting, and the pieces Grier plays are really nice. Check it out below:

Posted in: General, interviews


This is Your Life – Ronnie James Dio Tribute Album

On April 1, Rhino Records will release This is Your Life, which is a tribute album for Ronnie James Dio and will benefit Dio’s Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund. The album features a host of artists covering tracks spanning Dio’s career. The track listing for the album is:

1. “Neon Knights” – Anthrax
2. “The Last In Line” – Tenacious D
3. “The Mob Rules” – Adrenaline Mob
4. “Rainbow In The Dark” – Corey Taylor, Roy Mayorga, Satchel, Christian Martucci, Jason Christopher
5. “Straight Through The Heart” – Hailstorm
6. “Starstruck” – Motörhead with Biff Byford
7. “The Temple Of The King” – Scorpions
8. “Egypt (The Chains Are On)” – Doro
9. “Holy Diver” – Killswitch Engage
10. “Catch The Rainbow” – Glenn Hughes, Simon Wright, Craig Goldy, Rudy Sarzo, Scott Warren
11. “I” – Oni Logan, Jimmy Bain, Rowan Robertson, Brian Tichy
12. “Man On The Silver Mountain” – Rob Halford, Vinny Appice, Doug Aldrich, Jeff Pilson, Scott Warren
13. “Ronnie Rising Medley (Featuring A Light In The Black, Tarot Woman, Stargazer, Kill The King)” – Metallica
14. “This Is Your Life” – Dio


Posted in: Artist News

Keeley Electronics Seafoam Chorus

Keeley Electronics had a great reputation among guitarists, so I was interested to receive a press release detailing a new chorus pedal that they’re releasing. I don’t use much chorus myself, but it’s something that I think really adds a nice effect when used tastefully. I’ll definitely be interested in hearing how this one sounds. Plus, the seafoam green color looks great!

Keeley Electronics today announced it is now shipping its Seafoam Chorus effect pedal. The 100% hand-built Seafoam chorus is a new design built from the ground up that was created for the most demanding modulation effects connoisseurs. The Seafoam chorus offers a wealth of studio-quality musical tones, from pulsating vibrato pitch bending to shimmering chorus doubling effects, all in a compact pedal design.

With controls for modulation Rate, Depth, and Tone, the Seafoam Chorus makes it easy for players to dial in a wide palette of sounds. A unique Blend control was also added to enable players to toe the line between pure vibrato or chorus sounds – and explore countless variations at settings in between.

“Our design team focused on solving the challenges and shortcomings of other modulation effects and so the goal of the Seafoam Chorus was clear: create a best-in-class product that balances versatility, musical tone, and low noise in a compact effect,” said Robert Keeley, founder and chief engineer, Keeley Electronics. “To achieve this, we deployed several industry-first technical innovations to the design including using an opto-coupler enhanced LFO that contributes to the Seafoam’s low noise and smooth, natural chorusing. The end result is the Seafoam Chorus is a studio-quality effect we are extremely proud of and excited to offer to our customers.”

Like all of Keeley Electronic designs, the Seafoam Chorus is hand-built in the USA using the finest components and construction techniques. It is housed in a beautifully power-coated and rugged enclosure, includes true bypass switching, and features a 2-year limited warranty with world-class Keeley customer support.

The Keeley Electronics Seafoam Chorus is now shipping to dealers worldwide at a street price of $229. Visit for more information about the full lineup of award-winning Keeley Electronics effects.


Posted in: Effects

Epiphone Limited Edition 75th Anniversary Inspired by “1939” Century Amp

Epiphone is introducing some new products at this year’s Musikmesse show, and one of the more interesting announcements is the Limited Edition 75th Anniversary Inspired by “1939″ Century Amp:

The Ltd. Edition 75th Anniversary Inspired by “1939” Century Amp revives an Art Deco era masterpiece from Epiphone’s early days in Manhattan. The amp is a faithful replica of a classic 1930s era cabinet design including bent rims, an all-metal handle, 6-point star screws, and vintage style grill cloth.  The redesigned 18 watt electronics include two 6V6 and two 12AX7 tubes, a 12” speaker, a Master Volume with pull “boost” mode, Master tone, Bright, Normal, and Dark inputs, an Extension Speaker Output, Footswitch Jack, and Internal Bias Adjustment.  The Inspired by “1939” Century Amp is the kind of amp all guitarists have been waiting for, capable of filling a club or a recording studio.


Posted in: Amps


Ask Eddie

EVH, Eddie Van Halen’s guitar gear brand, have revamped their website. One of the new features is an “Ask Eddie” section where you can submit your question directly to Eddie Van Halen himself. Each month, Eddie will select a few questions and answer them on the website.

Posted in: Artist News


Home Recording on a Small Budget

Home Recording on a Small Budget

Ed. Note: This article is a guest post written by Alexander Briones who is one of the specialists at Hitsquad which provides a range of music equipment guides. You can follow him on Twitter @MusiciansNews

Thanks to the flood of affordable home recording equipment, making music at home has become increasingly accessible. So if you’ve been hesitating to record your music, the good news is that you can now do so on a small budget. The bad news is that there are so many available devices that it can be confusing, and this is where we come in to help by showing you how you can start recording music at home without over spending.


Computers play a critical role in home recording, it is where your music is going to be recorded, processed, stored and shared from. Since computers are becoming more affordable and are useful for both work and entertainment – it is getting easier to justify the need for such a device at home. If you don’t have one yet, you can acquire recording capable desktop or laptop computers for less than $500. The newer iPads are also gaining popularity among musicians and producers because they are capable of doing small scale recordings, so if you already have one you should know that aside from browsing social media sites and playing games – you can use it to record and make quality music.

Music Production Software

To turn your computer into a music making machine, you will need a software designed for music production. Thankfully, there are now affordable and even free alternatives to expensive recording software that provides enough facilities for home recording purposes. GarageBand is a good example, and is bundled with newer Mac computers. Windows users can go for free software like Audacity that lets you record, apply effects and mix your recordings. If you are looking to add virtual instruments like drums or synths to your music, you can go for FL Studio producer which is currently being sold online for $199. iPad users can pick from a long list of affordable and free apps to record and make music with.


For affordable home recording setups, USB condenser microphones are ideal because they can be connected to your computer directly and they can capture both vocals and instruments. In fact, a computer and a good USB mic is already a capable recording rig for singers that play acoustic guitar! With so many manufacturers competing, you can get good USB mics for less than $80. One mic worth mentioning is the MXL 990 which comes with a free shock mount and mic stand adapter. Another popular and even more affordable mic is the Samson C01U, which has limited features but captures audio well enough to be used by many home recording artists and musicians. If you have an audio interface, you can use none-USB microphones that are specifically designed for vocals or for instruments.

Audio Interface

Another important device that you need for home recording is an audio interface, it will serve as an intermediary between your microphone or instrument, and your computer. For less than $150, you can get yourself a powerful two channel audio interface like the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2. Two channel interfaces will let you capture up to two sound sources simultaneously, great for capturing live solo performances, and they have enough inputs for home recording setups. There are also a number of equally affordable audio interfaces that will let you connect your mic or instrument directly to your iPad, turning it into a mobile recording studio.

MIDI Keyboards

Even if you are strictly a guitar player, your home recording setup will benefit greatly when you add in a cheap MIDI keyboard. For less than $100, you can get yourself a compact but powerful MIDI keyboard that feature velocity-sensitive keys and pads. These units are great for adding virtual instruments to your tracks. The coolest and most stylish keyboard controller you can get within this price range would be the Arturia MiniLab, it comes with a powerful software companion that carries over 5000 synth sounds, more than enough to keep your creative juices flowing as you make music at home. You can find even cheaper options than this like the ones in this roundup of cheap MIDI controller keyboards.

Monitoring Headphones/Speakers

The last but equally important piece that you need are decent monitoring headphones and speakers. Thankfully, good monitoring speakers now come cheap, a good example would be the Alesis M1, which is sold for less than $80 in the market. A good and yet affordable pair of studio headphones would be the AKG K141 MKII (retails for $117), it provides acceptable distortion free operation ideal for home recording. You should know that even professional studios have cheap monitor speakers and headphones because they give a closer representation of how your music will sound like in the real world, especially in this age where people mostly listen through thin sounding mobile players, car speakers and earphones.

The bottom line: making music is becoming more and more accessible, which means you have less and less excuse to not complete your music projects.

Posted in: General

Jack Pearson Guitar Academy

Nashville guitarist Jack Pearson is not nearly as well known as he should be. He was a member of the Allman Brothers Band from 1997-1999 and has played with a host of legends, including Vince Gill, Tommy Emmanuel, Earl Scruggs, Lee Roy Parnell, Jimmy Buffett, Keb Mo’, and many more. I had the pleasure of seeing Pearson perform with Double Trouble a few years and really enjoyed it. He really seems to be able to play just about anything.

You can now learn guitar directly from Pearson, as he has just announced the Jack Pearson Guitar Academy:

I love teaching and I’m very excited about this instructional site. Inside you’ll find hundreds of videos that show how I play, how I practice and how I work on all the different techniques it takes to play the variety of styles that I do. For me, music is a never ending learning experience.

As mentioned above, there are hundreds of videos already available, covering many of the styles that Pearson plays, which is considerable. Furthermore, he covers both acoustic and electric playing. Pricing of the Academy is $25/month with a 10% discount ($135) for a six-month subscription and a 15% discount ($255) for an annual subscription.

You can watch Pearson introduce the academy below:

Posted in: Artist News, Education, Lessons, Videos

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Les Claypool’s Duo De Twang – Four Foot Shack

Last week, bassist extraordinaire Les Claypool released a new album titled Four Foot Shack with a new band he’s calling Les Claypool’s Duo De Twang. I was intrigued when I saw that the album features some interesting covers, including some from Claypool’s own past albums as well as the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive,” Alice in Chain’s “Man in the Box,” and Jerry Reed’s “Amos Moses.”

An interesting choice of covers for sure, but even more interesting is the fact that Duo De Twang is truly a duo of Claypool and guitarist Bryan Kehoe, with occasional accompaniment from Claypool’s son on banjo. Like all of his albums, Claypool’s quirkiness is front and center on this album, and I wondered how that would work in a stripped down setup like this. However, I find the album has many high points, although it can get repetitive in some places.

There’s no denying Claypool’s talent on the bass. His quirkiness can turn some people off, but if you’ve enjoyed anything he’s done in the past, I think you will enjoy this new project. I happen to dig it.

Check out some fan footage of Les Claypool’s Duo De Twang performing “Stayin’ Alive”:

Posted in: Artist News, Basses

Only 88% of Guitar Center Customers Make it Big

Venerable news reporting agency The Onion has uncovered some depressing news for those of us who have shopped at Guitar Center in the past:

Contradicting conventional wisdom that shopping at the musical instrument retail chain guarantees one a renowned and highly successful career in music, a new study released Monday revealed that a mere 88 percent of Guitar Center customers go on to become famous musicians.

Disappointing news for those of us in the remaining 12%. The silver lining:

“Granted, most of these individuals still achieve modest success, putting out a couple of solid albums and attracting a strong regional following, but they just never quite reach the level where they’re selling out stadiums night after night on massive world tours.”

The article concludes with some advice to help those of us hoping to make it into the 88%:

…every one of Guitar Center’s customers would almost certainly become international music celebrities if they started buying the most expensive kind of strings.

Posted in: General

Michael Bloomfield – From His Head to His Heart to His Hands Box Set


This looks like an excellent release for fans of Michael Bloomfield: From His Head to His Heart to His Hands. The release includes 3 CDs and a DVD. From Amazon’s description of the new release:

From His Head to His Heart to His Hands, the 3 CD/1 DVD anthology features released and unreleased gems from solo sessions to live performances from The Fillmore East and Fillmore West, The Bottom Line and other historic venues. This compilation also will feature a fascinating new mini-documentary combining vintage audio interviews with Bloomfield and live performances with new reflections from his friends, collaborators and admirers.


Posted in: Artist News