Reverb.com

Reverb.com is a fairly new entry in the guitar marketplace. It’s a competitor to eBay that is focused solely on musical instruments.  The site is founded by the owner of Chicago Music Exchange, so there’s a history of running a guitar retail shop behind the site.

I recently purchased a Gibson SG ’61 Reissue from the site, and I was pleased with the experience. Communication with the seller was easy, and, like eBay, there’s a feedback system that you can use to verify a seller’s track record. The guitar arrived safe and sound, and I was able to leave positive feedback easily for the seller (and he for me).

My only complaint is that they seem to be fairly aggressive in marketing the site. A few months ago, they contacted me through a Craigslist ad in an effort to get me to post the item on Reverb. Not a huge issue, but I thought it was a little spammy.

That issue aside, I’ll definitely use Reverb.com again in the future when I purchase any new guitars.

Posted in: General

David Grissom – How It Feels To Fly

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David Grissom, one of my favorite current guitarists, has released a new album today titled How It Feels To Fly:

The 4th solo release from renowned Austin, TX guitarist and songwriter David Grissom. The CD includes eight new studio tracks and four extended live tracks, with blistering covers of the Allman Brother’s “Jessica” and ZZ Top’s “Nasty Dogs And Funky Kings”. The rest are all original tunes by Grissom, including two songs written with Chris Stapleton (The Steeldrivers), and another with Austin singer songwriter Kacy Crowley. The entire CD showcases the deep interplay and chemistry developed over the last two years with Grissom’s badass Austin band members. After touring and recording with artists such as Joe Ely, John Mellencamp, Storyville, Buddy Guy, and The Allman Brothers, “How It Feels To Fly” finds David confidently settling into the role of bandleader and solo artist.

If you haven’t seen Grissom playing ZZ Top’s “Nasty Dogs and Funky Kings,” check out the following video:

Purchase How It Feels To Fly from Amazon using this link and help support Guitar Lifestyle.

UPDATE: I embedded a different video thanks to Guitar Lifestyle reader Michael N.

Posted in: Artist News

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Gibson Les Paul Recording

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This is an interesting reissue that I missed a few weeks ago. Gibson is bringing back a limited edition version of the Les Paul Recording guitar:

A major part of Les Paul’s original vision for the solidbody electric guitar was to incorporate features crucial to studio musicians, and that dream was realized in the famed Les Paul Recording Model of the 1970s. The new Les Paul Recording guitar from Gibson USA—hand-crafted, American-made, and impressively affordable—pays tribute to Les’s original concept while adding key updates for superior sound and performance.

The Les Paul Recording couples Gibson’s legendary tone and playability with the very best of today’s electronics to create a dream instrument for studio guitarists. Two versatile new pickups route through a premium, industry-standard Jensen audio transformer for a balanced low-impedance output that can go direct into pro mixers or computer audio interfaces. Or, select the High-Z out for traditional guitar amps. “Fat Tap” coil splitting on each pickup, a phase-reverse switch, and ground lift switch for the Low-Z output dramatically extend the Les Paul Recording’s versatility.

Select Grade-A mahogany and a Grade-A rosewood fingerboard, with frets over binding for extended playing surface, form an unbeatable foundation; Grover™ kidney-button tuners, a Tune-o-matic bridge, and a classic Bigsby™ B-7 vibrato tailpiece provide accurate tuning with serious sustain. The high-gloss natural nitrocellulose lacquer finish lets the wood’s natural beauty shine through, while a multi-ply bound body and headstock, “Custom” style split-diamond headstock inlay, and small pearloid block fingerboard inlays complete this first-class musical instrument.

Posted in: Artist News, Guitars

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Eric Gales, Matt Schofield, and Tomo Fujita Playing “Little Wing”

Three fantastic guitar players playing one of my favorite Hendrix tunes:

Posted in: Videos

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Anthony Stauffer’s NAMM Recap

Speaking of NAMM, Anthony Stauffer actually went to the show and has posted a recap of the interesting things he saw there. Even though I’m lucky enough to live in a city with a thriving music industry, I’ll echo Anthony’s sentiment here:

At dinner, someone asked me “Why do you come to these shows?” My answer was simple.

Where I live, there is virtually no music industry. Nobody ‘in the industry’ comes to State College, PA. There’s nothing happening here. If I don’t come to shows like NAMM, I never get to talk, in person, with anyone who understands what it’s like to serve an international audience of guitar players.

The people at these shows are my people, and being around them inspires me do better work for all of you.

While I’d love to write about guitars full time, my day job is outside of the music industry, so it’s really fun to go to shows like NAMM to meet and speak with other people who are passionate about the same things I am.

Posted in: NAMM

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Why I Paid $37,000 for One Record

I can’t imagine paying even just a few hundred dollars for a vinyl record, but John Tefteller recently paid much more. $37,000 to be exact. For one record: Tommy Johnson’s “Alcohol and Jake Blues”. Fuse.tv recently had a Q&A with Tefteller asking him about the purchase.

One night, as he does every night, Tefteller was trawling eBay when he came across the record from a seller in South Carolina. The anonymous seller found the record at an estate sale years ago, and posted it on eBay with no knowledge of the record’s true value. The record was set to sell at $16,800 when, minutes before the auction ended, it shot up to $37,000. Tefteller won’t reveal what his maximum bid was, but suffice to say, it was enough to edge past the highest bidder and get him the record.

Posted in: General

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Rock Candy Funk Party Takes New York: Live at the Iridium

You may have heard that Joe Bonamassa has a funk-based side group called Rock Candy Funk Party, which also includes Tal Bergman, Ron DeJesus, Mike Merritt, and Renato Neto. The group released a debut album last year and are set to release a live set next month, on February 25.

The new live set is titled Rock Candy Funk Party Takes New York: Live at the Iridium and includes one DVD and two CDs:

DVD Tracklist:

1. Octopus-e
2. Work
3. We Want Groove
4. Heart Beat
5. New York Song
6. Spaztastic
7. Ode To Gee
8. Dope On A Rope
9. Best Ten Minutes Of Your Life
10. Steppin’ In It
11. Mr. Clean
12. One Phone Call

CD Tracklist:

DISC 1:
1. Heart Beat
2. New York Song
3. Octopus-e
4. Spaztastic
5. We Want Groove
6. Work

DISC 2:
1. Dope On A Rope
2. Mr. Clean
3. Ode To Gee
4. One Phone Call
5. Steppin’ In It
6. The Best Ten Minutes Of Your Life

Check out a preview of the DVD below:

Posted in: Artist News

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The Gospel According to the Reverend Horton Heat

Ed. Note: This interview of the Reverend Horton Heat’s Jim Heath was conducted by Pappy, founder of the Fifth Fret guitar blog and contributor to Guitar Noize. Many thanks to Pappy for this great interview. After reading the interview, check out the Reverend Horton Heat’s recently released album, REV

In 1985, guitarist force of nature Jim Heath started a band called the Reverend Horton Heat and put every part of himself into it. His music has defied genre titles themselves while complimenting them at festivals like that kid in high school who didn’t fall into a specific group, but was able to mix and mingle with all of them. Reverend Horton Heat albums have ranged from vintage-inspired rockabilly to edgier roots rock to western swing to country, all while having a common core that makes the albums distinctly “the Rev.”

The latest Reverend Horton Heat album, REV, is a return to their fast-paced and edgy sound of the past, but with all new songs for fans to get to know and love and in this humble writer’s opinion, is the best they’ve ever done. Elements from all their previous albums are represented strongly and the result is an album that has the gas pedal pressed down hard, but never monotonous, never boring, and always presenting the guitarists in the crowd with a challenging task of trying to learn his stuff.

I sat down with Jim “The Reverend Horton Heat” Heath to talk about the gear he used at the very beginning, the direction of this album, and other exciting projects on the horizon.

When you started the Reverend Horton Heat, what main gear were you using?

At that point, I was using a Tokai Telecaster. They’re actually pretty good guitars and they made knock-offs of Fender and Gibson – they’re Japanese guitars. I had other nice guitars in my career before that – I had a really nice ’63 Strat that I regret selling but I’ve sold some guitars I wish I had never done but you just have to pay bills. I played this Tokai Telecaster at the beginning and it got stolen.

That’s horrible!

Well, it was a cheap guitar but it was a good one. Those things are good – the Les Paul Tokais are really pretty good. I’ve seen Billy Gibbons play one on stage with ZZ Top. Anyway, I had that and I was going into this Marshall head and into this funky speaker box that had two 12s and had a bunch of chicken wire on it instead of grill cloth. It was pretty funky and those got stolen too. I guess because I lived in some pretty rough areas back then.

Is that when you were in Deep Ellum?

Yeah. The crazy thing is before Reverend Horton Heat I was in this rockabilly band called Kenny and the Tall Tops and I would basically go for a really, really clean guitar sound. That’s kind of what they did in the 50s – there wasn’t much distortion going on. In that band I had switched to using this really cool old Fender Concert amp and these record collectors came to our gig and they’re sitting there going “Man, your sound is not authentic at all.” It was this amp that I was borrowing from the bass player, Homer Hick, known as Homer Henderson now, but it’s really funny because at certain gigs I would have to crank up that Fender Concert to be able to hear it and it would get a little bit of natural distortion going on, but not that much. I thought these guys were pretty lame, but I gave that Fender Concert back to Homer and bought this Marshall and I would hide the Marshall behind my speaker box so on all those gigs you could never tell what amp I’m using and what was really funny was those same guys were coming up and saying “Man, your sound is really authentic now. What are you using back there?” and I’m like “blowing a fucking Marshall, assholes. Go away.”

What I used for a long time at the very beginning was a 1965 Guild Duane Eddy guitar. It had a pretty neat sound and it was a hollowbody with a Bigsby thing and I really got into the Bigsby and not long after that that I switched to a Fender Jazzmaster. I used the Jazzmaster quite a bit and for my amp I was using a Music Man. I don’t remember that much about that amp – I think it was a 50 watt 1×12 or something – it wasn’t a big amp. Music Man amps are good and it was pretty loud and it was really hard to get any kind of crunch – it was super clean, but back then Reverend Horton Heat was a little more authentic type of sounding band and not turned up and aggressive.

Not like the new album.

Right. I kept the Jazzmaster and found a Gibson ES-175 and I got that one and used that for a long time and that one came in for quite a long time until it had some issues with its electronics. The jack, where it goes in to the wood, just busted clean in to the wood so that accident – even after I got that repaired – I was having electronics problems with it and we were on tour. It’s an old guitar – it’s a 1954 Gibson – I still have it and since then I’ve got it fixed up pretty good but one of the pickups is kind of weak. It sounds good and its great for the studio but it’s not so good for gigs because it can buzz and hum really bad.

Is that when you switched to Gretsch Guitars?

Yeah. What happened was we were on tour and we were in Chicago. Every day of the tour I was trying to fix the electronics so I had the whole dental mirror and little alligator clips and all this stuff trying to re-solder and fix the guitar somewhere and get to a gig and every day I would fix it and we’d do sound check and it was fine and then halfway through the gig it would just go WOOP WOP. It got to be a really bad issue because we had gigs! We were a touring band and we were playing six nights in a row. It was just unusable.

I went to Guitar Center just because we were there – I wasn’t even planning on buying a guitar because I was going to keep it – I knew I could figure it out and make it work eventually but it was such a hassle. I walked in to Guitar Center in Chicago and up on the wall there was a reissue Grestch that was just super cool. It looked like the old Gretsches that had the G brand and the inlays that had the longhorn and the cactus and the cool inlays like the original Gretsch Chet Atkins but it had FilterTrons and the FilterTrons at that point in my career were very appealing because they’re humbucking pickups and hum was the bane of my existence at that point. Gretsch Guitars that had the G brand with fancy western inlay had DeArmond pickups – they never made them with FilterTrons and it’s kind of an oddity if you will, that guitar. I got it down off the shelf and it seemed to me that it fretted out better than the original Gretsches that I had tried and played. The sound seemed to me like I could get the jazzy, throaty thing similar to my es175 but then in the treble position it’s almost like a Telecaster which was appealing to me too.

My ES-175 is a dream – I actually have two of them now and the newer one is a ’55. The older one is a ’54. They both fret out perfectly and sound great for rockabilly and jazz and blues and country but those guitars don’t do that spanky Telecaster sound. That brand new Gretsch had that spanky Telecaster thing almost. All of a sudden it felt like I could do that jazzy thing and I could do the spanky Telecaster thing all in one guitar. So I got it and never looked back. I’ve played vintage guitars and all sorts of things like vintage guitars for a long time and all of a sudden I had this and it was brand new and worked perfect every night so I didn’t have to stop in the middle of the gig and try to fix my guitar in front of a 200 person crowd.

Is that the 6120 that inspired your signature model?

Yeah, exactly. I think that’s one of the reasons Gretsch wanted to do a signature model of that guitar. That was the early Gretsch reissues from ’89 or ’90 and Gretsch realized that making a guitar like that again that I was kind of the only one that was playing one that was noteworthy, I guess. They wanted to make one that was a Jim Heath model that had the good kitschy inlays with the cactus and longhorn and have FilterTrons.

Is that what you’re using to record most of your parts in the studio now?

Yeah, mostly. There were some songs that I used my old Jazzmaster on.

Like what songs?

Well, it was more of a backup thing. There’s a song called “Schizoid,” that I play the solo on the Jazzmaster. It’s a ’62 Jazzmaster that got stolen in 1990 or 1992 and I got it back last year. I got an email saying that somebody wanted to give it back to me. It was stolen for 22 years.

And someone emailed you out of the blue and said they wanted to give it back?

Yeah. They went through the Gretsch people, so somebody at Gretsch knows who it is. I think the person might have just gone through his employer and had his employer call Gretsch and say “One of our employees has this guitar that he bought for a hundred dollars and he thinks it was stolen from Jim Heath.” I offered to give the guy a reward, but he didn’t want a reward. I don’t know what it was all about exactly. The guy at Fender that I got it back from – and Fender and Gretsch are the same company – I went and showed up and I said “Who’s the guy that’s returning it?” and the said “Reverend, just be glad you’re getting it back,” and I said “Okay. I’m just glad I’m getting it back.”

That’s crazy!

It’s really crazy, but I appreciate it so much. I don’t know if somebody had a guilty conscience or what the deal was, but man I appreciate it because that was my main guitar for several years at the beginning of Reverend Horton Heat. I had the Guild Duane Eddy – that one kind of melted because I left it in the trunk of my car I was such an idiot. I’m going to fix it and put that one back together because the neck fell off of that one.

And then amps: I had a Music Man for a long time and just decided that I wanted to get a Fender Super Reverb really bad and that’s when I found the Super Reverb somewhere. I think it was Nashville, or it might have been Seattle.

Was that the ’78 Reverb?

Yeah.

And just recently you moved away from the ’78 Super Reverb to the Gretsch Executive, right?

Yep, that’s right. That’s just been in the last couple years – maybe three years now.

What prompted the change?

Well, Joe from Gretsch came up and gave me the amp, so what was I supposed to do? He brought an amp to a gig and I played through it and it was cool because it had basically the same sound and feel as my Super Reverb except when I got up the very high highest notes on the high E string up around the 12th fret or higher, they really stand out. They really sound right. On my Super Reverb when I get up there they kind of get lost a little bit – get a little blurry – so I would have to really dig in and play a lot harder on those higher notes than I have to. On the Gretsch it’s like butter falling off a knife – it’s just easy.

Is the Gretsch Executive what you’re using on the new album?

Yeah, mostly. I think I used the Fender on a couple of things, but only once or twice.

The new album, REV, has a lot of faster, more edgy material than your previous efforts. Was this a conscious decision?

Yeah. The album before, I was going to do just a straight country album and it ended up not being that, but because that was the original intent of that album it ended up being – it leans very country. So we all kind of decided that on this new album it would be cool to get back to our edgy sound of the mid-90s.

It is definitely that. How are the new songs going over at shows?

Really good. They’re going over really well. No matter how this album sells or is accepted, the great thing for us is that our new songs are really getting the attention and people are having a really good time with it.

With 11 albums to draw from, how do you decide what to play at live shows?

Pretty much from trial and error over the years. We have a little stable of songs that are the most popular ones that the fans really love to hear and of course we’ve got so many songs that there’s a lot of our songs that are fan favorites that we never play because not quite enough fans are into that song. We have to try to please as many attendees as we can. That’s an old rock and roll issue about new albums because no matter what band you are – if you’re the Allman Brothers and you release a new album people still want to hear the old “Statesboro Blues” or “One Way Out” and “Whipping Post.” Same thing with any big band – it’s hard to get new music accepted by their fans. You play too many of them and you can lose the crowd a little bit but with this new album we’re able to play like seven songs live, which is good.

But you’re not only playing with the Reverend Horton Heat. You’re also going to play with the Les Paul Trio and Anton Fig coming up real soon.

Yep. That’s going to be Monday night. Lee Rocker is going to sit in, too.

How did that come about?

He emailed me and told me he was in New York Monday night and wanted to stop by, and I said “alright.” We haven’t figured out what songs he’s going to do yet, but he’s going to sit in for at least two songs. That’s going to be fun.

Is there any chance that that’s going to recorded and pushed out for purchase?

I’m not sure. But Lee’s pretty cool guy I like him a lot. He’s a really nice guy and he’s got a good sense of humor and he’s a really good musician and singer and all that. I did a gig with him in New York City that was kind of the setup of this whole thing. Him and Jimmy Vivino from Conan’s band had this gig they did called “Rumble and Twang,” and it’s Lee and Jimmy and Anton. They have people come sit in with them like Al Cooper sit in and they had Robert Gordon singing and the guy from the Rascals came and sat in. It was pretty fun, but they had me come and sit in for that gig they did. It was at a place called BB King’s in New York City.

I’m sure it’s going to be a great show!

I hope so, man! I wish that I had time to prepare for stuff like this better. I’m only going to do one Les Paul song.

Which Les Paul song are you going to do?

I’m going to do his version of “Steel Guitar Rag.” But I wish I had time to do more, but there’s a lot of issues. For one, I’m on one of the hardest tours I’ve ever done. Number two, I’m releasing an album. Number three, I think one of the guys in the band just had that surgery so it could be a little dicey, and I’m a little nervous, but I’m sure it’ll all work out.

Posted in: interviews

NAMM 2014: Hiwatt Custom Shop Little Rigs

Hiwatt has introduced three new amps in a new series they’re calling the Custom Shop Little Rigs. There are three amps in the series right now: the Little P Rig, the Little D Rig, and the Little J Rig.

Hiwatt Signature Series Little P Rig

The Hiwatt Little P rig is based on the original CP103 amplifier used by Pete Townshend of The Who. This was the tone that sparked a new generation of guitar players in the early 1970s. The Hiwatt Little P rig comes complete with a scaled down 1×12 fane loaded cabinet and is perfect for home, studio and live use.

• 4 input
• Class A
• 20/0.5W Switchable
• EL84 + ECC83 Valve Configuration
• Hiwatt Fane 1×12 Cabinet

Hiwatt Signature Series Little D Rig

The Hiwatt Little D rig is based on the amplifier modified my Pete Cornish for David Gilmour of Pink Floyd. The Little D featured 3 inputs, normal, brilliant and linked. The linked input allowing users to blend the tone of the normal and brilliant channels. The Hiwatt Little D rig comes complete with a scaled down 1×12 fane loaded Starfinder cabinet and is perfect for home, studio and live use.

• 3 inputs Normal, Brilliant and Linked
• Class A
• 20/0.5W Switchable
• EL84 + ECC83 Valve Configuration
• Starfinder Fane 1×12 Cabinet

Hiwatt Signature Series Little J Rig

The Hiwatt Little J rig is based on the original SAP head made for Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin. The Little J features a unique circuit at which offered a more driven tone than a standard Hiwatt Custom Amp. The amplifier also has a unique, foot switchable cut circuit. The Hiwatt Little D rig comes complete with a scaled down 1×12 fane loaded Starfinder cabinet and is perfect for home, studio and live use.

• 2 inputs Normal and Brilliant
• Class A
• 20/0.5W Switchable
• EL84 + ECC83 Valve Configuration
• Hiwatt Fane 1×12 Cabinet

I’d be hard-pressed to pick between the Little D and Little J Rigs.

HIWATT-LITTLE-PHIWATT-LITTLE-D HIWATT-LITTLE-J

 

Posted in: Amps, NAMM

NAMM 2014: Planet Waves Guitar Dock

D’Addario/Planet Waves have introduced an interesting new product called the Guitar Dock:

Built with safety and convenience in mind, featuring an adjustable clamp, Planet Waves’ Guitar Dock is a portable, leg-free, lock-on guitar stand that turns any flat surface with an edge into a safe place to set your prized guitar. By utilizing a 360 degree rotatable neck cradle, it allows mounting at any angle, while the durable overmold protects the instrument and mounting surface.

“The Guitar Dock eliminates hassle and worry,” beams Rob Cunningham, Planet Waves Product Manager. “It’s perfect for instances where a conventional stand is not available or convenient.”

The Guitar Dock is available now and retails for $43.85.

With the Guitar Dock’s lightweight, compact, and portable capability, D’Addario continues to inspire creativity and innovate performance.

For more information, please visit www.planetwaves.com.

When I’m working at home, I like having a guitar within arms reach of my desk, and this looks like it’d be a great solution for that application.

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Posted in: Accessories, NAMM

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