Guitar and music blog


Awesome Carved Guitars

I came across this amazing artist called Grey Van Kuilenburg who sculpts guitars. I've decided to feature him on my blog to show everyone his awesome work which must take weeks or even months to do.  His designs are very organic, Gothic and even alien like. To me they make me think of autopsies and HR Giger. Take a look at the photos below and let me know what you think. 


New series of lead guitar articles coming soon...

I love to play guitar but I especially love to play lead guitar.  I really love the arpeggio heavy and exotic styles of Jason Becker and Marty Friedman

When I first started to play lead guitar I struggled learning how to sweep pick, even now I'm no speed demon like Jason Becker or Rusty Cooley but I have the basic technique down, so I am planning a series of articles to help people starting out, or just to bounce some ideas around.  I use a pattern based approach to aid learning different arpeggios and the notes involved, it also helps to simplify the amount of stuff you need to remember, my memory's quite bad so the less I have to remember the better!!

So look out for the first article coming soon, if you have any questions or suggestions on sweep picking or anything else let me know and Ill do my best to answer.


New Blackstar Club 40

Well I finally got a new Blackstar Club 40 on Saturday, I went down to the music store again and gave it another try out.  I played through some Megadeth, Alice in Chains, The Offspring, Nirvana, and Hendrix just to see how it performed.  I was really happy with all the results and all tones I managed to get out of it, the reverb is excellent too!

To be honest I haven't managed to dial in a bad tone yet, I love everything!

At the moment I have all the setting around 12 o'clock with the gain on full, I can easily pull of stuff by Paul Gilbert or Megadeth just by tweaking the mid range a bit so I'm really happy, just wish I could play as good as them!!

Here's a few pics:

I definitely recommend trying one out if you want a versatile high gain amp.


Engraved Effects and Guitars

I was recently browsing for an engraved fx pedal that I saw in my local music shop when I came across engraved plates for guitars and engraved fx pedals by a company called Moollon.

Look at these guitars:

And these pedals:

They make some amazing gorgeous stuff!  have a look...


New amp coming soon...

I have been looking around for a new amp for the last few weeks.  I just haven't been happy with my current amp and software plugins I have been using.  I normally play through either my Peavey studio 112 or my IK StealthPedal via headphones and software on my laptop.  I have become more and more frustrated with the range of options and manipulation you have to do on a software setup just to get a good sound going so I have just been playing direct with my combo,  the range of sounds I can get is nowhere near as good as what I used to get with a 4x12 and decent head.

I used to have a Marshall Valvestate 8200 stereo chorus head, it didn't have any fancy digital stuff just a nice analogue chorus and reverb, the chorus was one of the best I have come across so I decided to have a look around on ebay to see if there was anything going.

Marshall Valvestate MkI series

  Unfortunately there were only a few battered old 8100 and they were over priced too.  After checking out about a million web sites I decided go down to my local music shop Steven James Guitars to see what they had in stock. I decided I liked the look of the Blackstar range amps that they had.  I noticed that they have been getting good reviews lately so I though I would give them a try.  I was going to try out the mini stack but its quite small and there wasn't a lot of weight behind it.  I imagined that our naughty cats sitting on top of it fighting causing it to topple over so I discounted the mini stack and moved on to try out the combos.

Blackstar HT5-S mini stack

First I tried out a HT Studio 20 which is 20w and has two 12AX7's and two EL84s with two channels, two voicings per channel, reverb, and a serial fx loop.  Although the sound was good its wasn't miles away from my transistor combo.
Blackstar Studio 20

Next I trued out the Club 40 which is 40w and also has two 12AX7's and two EL84, two channels, two voices per channel and two reverb voicing's(dark /bright), and a serial fx loop.  The sound was noticibly better more defined more crunchy more bass an altogether better sound!  My wife even commented on how much better it sounded compared to the 20.  Although I could of walked out of the store with the amp there and then I though I would sleep on it and see how I felt the next day.

Blackstar Club 40
 Before it even got to the next day I knew I wanted it, but it was Sunday and the store was closed.  When I got back home I had a quick jam on my amp and that confirmed everything for me.  Anyway this has turned out to be a longer post than I anticipated,  I'm off to the store on Saturday to pick one up, I cant get down there during the week because by the time I finish work and get home the store is closed :(

Needless to say Ill have some posts ready once I've had a play around with it a bit...


My new TC Electronic PolyTune

I saw the new Tc Electronic PolyTune advertised during the 2010 NAMM show this year and was suitably impressed, I thought I would have to have one after relying on my ancient pitch pipes for so long.

Its main selling point is that you can strum all the strings on your guitar and it will instantly show the tuning of all six strings at once, plucking a single string will let you tune in either strobe mode or meter mode which has an accuracy of 0.5 cent.  The reference pitch can be shifted from 435-445 if you like slightly flat or sharp tuning.

The unit also supports dropped tunings too down to a B, it doesn't support alternative tuning like drop D or any open tunings which is a shame, although the user interface would of had to become more complex to support it.  There is a service port on the back which looks like a mini USB connector, it would be cool if it could be used to upgraded in the future to support new tuning but I'm guessing that this is used in the factory for calibration and set-up.

I received the unit last week and took a couple of photos of it in use.

On this photo you can see the unit in poly tune mode, you strum all the strings and it immediately shows you the tuning of all six strings at one, the only thing similar to this I found was in software plug-ins.

Heres the unit in single string mode, this is activated if you only play a single string.

Here's another photo in poly tune mode with a Boss OS-2 next to it so you get an idea of its size.

Its a really nice unit, it works ultra fast and you can get instant feed back on the tuning of your instrument, I would definitely recommend it!