Nicole Atkins and PG editors share favorite memories from the last concert they attended. Plus, current obsessions!
Q: What was the last concert you went to? Describe the best moment.
Nicole Atkins—Guest Picker
A: It was Spoon in Wilmington, North Carolina. I went to see them the night before in Knoxville, and their opener got Covid, so I hopped on their bus and opened for them the next day and just used Britt Daniel’s guitar. He let me sing “Jonathan Fisk” with them, and it’s one of my favorite songs!
Spoon "Jonathan Fisk"
Thank god I had the day off. It felt like my birthday! Spoon are one of those special bands that make every album and play every show like they did not come to fuck around. They’re very inspiring to me.
Nicole Atkins' Current Obsession:
Sam Cooke’s version of “Unchained Melody.” It’s low and slow and breaks your heart in the best way. Anytime it comes on, I’m completely absorbed in it. Also, a lot of Rodgers and Hart songs are entering my wheelhouse lately, and I need those feeling changes in my music right now. It makes me wanna scream!
Chris Laney—Reader of the Month
A: In April 2019, I saw Buckethead at the National in Richmond, Virginia. I took a painting with me, specifically for Bucket, hoping to hand it to him. I got a position in the front row, on the right side, and enjoyed the show from the best perspective possible.
About a third of the way into the show, Buckethead gave out toys to fans upfront. As he got closer to me, I edged the painting to where it was partially resting on the stage. He approached me and took the painting! He took it back to his amp setup, and P-Sticks eventually displayed it behind the amps where a good portion of the crowd could see it. After that, Buckethead came back and gave me a bag of magnetic letters and shook my hand. It was amazing to interact with someone I looked up to, literally and figuratively. I consider it the best concert experience ever, with meeting Joe Satriani coming in as a close second.
Buckethead - Full Show, Live at The National in Richmond Va. on 4/5/2019
Chris Laney's Current Obsession:
Sweep picking. Cramming so many notes into such a short space and making it flow is hard, but so big of a payoff when it finally happens.
Shawn Hammond—Chief Content Officer
A: As a longtime fan of Together Pangea, I was super excited to see them play the Maintenance Shop in Ames, Iowa, earlier this summer—especially after Covid’s long live-music drought. Their show was energetic and spot-on in every way, but even cooler was the fact that opening band Tropa Magica—which none of us had even heard of before—blew our minds.
Their hypercharged, incredibly nuanced blend of psych, punk, and cumbia alone would’ve made the four-hour round-trip drive worth it.
Tropa Magica’s David Pacheco on the Power of Distorted DelaysTropa Magica’s David Pacheco on the Power of Distorted Delays
Best moment: Band founders/brothers David and Rene Pacheco holding their Tele and red Nord Electro keyboard, respectively, aloft behind their heads and playing a mighty fucking crescendo in front of the venue’s medieval-church-style stained-glass backdrop.
Shawn Hammond's Current Obsession:
Continuing to learn how best to ride the wild beast of hollowbody guitar at high-ish volumes.
Jason Shadrick—Associate Editor
A: About a month ago, I caught Bela Fleck’s touring bluegrass festival that he put on with Sam Bush and Jerry Douglas. All three bands were loaded with all-star pickers, and seeing Bela, Sam, Jerry, Sierra Hull, Bryan Sutton, and Michael Cleveland at the same time was incredible.
Where else can you see bluegrass legends rip off solos over a 5/4 groove in Bb?
Béla Fleck - Wheels Up (Live)
One of the absolute highlights was Justin Moses, who stepped up and played Dobro alongside Jerry, banjo alongside Bela, and fiddle alongside Michael—and kept up with all of them.
Jason Shadrick's Current Obsession:
Fundamentals. Every once in a while, I need to go back and break down my technique, fretboard knowledge, and improvisation skills to their bare bones. I then turn to transcribing because it’s all about vocabulary and sound for me.
A faithful recreation of the Germanium Mosrite Fuzzrite with a modern twist.
From the years of 1966 to 1968, Mosrite produced two distinct fuzz circuits---one outfitted with silicon transistors, the other with germanium parts. Of the two, the germanium version is by far the most rare, with original designer and Mosrite employee Ed Sanner estimating that around 250 ever made it out the door. In that final year of production, Mosrite shifted exclusively to silicon parts, making germanium components a thing of the past. However, by 1968 the public was hungry for fuzz, having heard it on a handful of recordings, most notably "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" by Iron Butterfly and "Incense and Peppermints" by Strawberry Alarm Clock. These two buzzy, sinewy fuzz tones were part of a wave of psychedelic rock gaining traction in the mainstream, and both were recorded prior to the introduction of the silicon Fuzzrite.
Other purported users of this early Fuzzrite circuit include Ron Asheton of the Stooges, Norman Greenbaum on "Spirit in the Sky", Henry Vestine of Canned Heat, and many others. Catalinbread have a germanium version at their disposal, and we've used it as a benchmark to create an extremely faithful version with a modern twist. Just like the original, the Catalinbread Fuzzrite Germanium includes two NOS PNP germanium semiconductors with a polarity inverter IC so it plays nice with all forms of power. Unlike the original, Catalinbread added a toggle switch to shift into modern mode, significantly beefing up the low-end content to suit more contemporary rigs.
Playing The Fuzzrite Circuit For The First Time!! | Feat. Catalinbread Fuzzrite Germanium
The Fuzzrite Germanium is out now and available for $179.99 at participating retailers and catalinbread.com.
It doesn’t have to be all cowboy boots and yee-haws!
• Learn how to comp using hybrid picking.
• Add nuance to your playing by combining pick and finger string attacks.
• Add speed and fluidity to your lead playing.
The first thing most guitarists think of when they hear the phrase “hybrid picking” is undoubtedly twangy Telecasters. While that may be the most common use of hybrid picking, it is far from the only application. Diving into hybrid picking opens a whole new world of control, timbre possibilities, ideas, speed, and more.
As beginning guitarists start to move into the intermediate level, they typically build speed by practicing alternate or economy picking. It makes complete sense–especially to someone who’s new to the journey–that if you’re holding a pick, that’s what you should strike the strings with. I grew up learning how to play taking a slightly different route. Personally, I found it easier to be faster–and cleaner–to hybrid pick phrases, lines, and solos. It clicked with me and therefore was the technique I homed in on when growing from a beginner to an intermediate player. My alternate and economy techniques still aren’t as comfortable as hybrid picking, so here are some ideas from a guy that learned things from a bit of a different perspective. If you feel like your playing has plateaued, this might help you to keep climbing.
Small note: I use the pad of my fingers when hybrid picking and not the nail.
Step 1: Focus on the Small Differences
In Ex. 1 you’ll find what I consider to be one of the main benefits of getting comfortable with hybrid picking. I pick every note of the phrase on the first pass, but hybrid pick it on the second. On the second pass, the root note (open 4th string) is the only note the pick hits. I generally like to approach hybrid picking with an “each finger is assigned a string” method, meaning in this example the middle finger picks the note on the 3rd string and the ring finger picks the note on the 2nd string. Listening to the same two phrases played differently, you’ll note that there’s a tad more feel and nuance the second time through. These are subtle but can make all the difference in the world when it comes to creating, playing, recording, or performing parts. The combination of a mountain’s worth of small differences like this are what sets the pros apart!
Step 2: How to Play Chords with Hybrid Picking
Ex. 2 is how I love to use hybrid picking when comping. In this example the pick is handling everything on the 5th string while the middle finger picks the 4th string, the ring finger picks the 3rd string, and the pinky picks the 2nd string. Not only does hybrid picking this groove allow for a ton of control, it allows the pick to rhythmically separate from the rest of the fingers, creating a faux bassline. Again, using the middle, ring, and pinky fingers give a softer touch to the upper end of the chords, creating a more nuanced feel.
Step 3: Time to Go Low
Taking the idea of the pick handling the low end of the chords and giving the notes focus while the fingers contribute to clarity and softness on the upper end of the chords, we get Ex. 3. The pick only strikes the 6th string, while the middle finger picks the 3rd string, and the ring finger picks the 2nd string. This example of hybrid picking is widely used by guys like John Mayer and allows a player to have a ridiculous amount of control over what strings are being struck when playing something clean such as this.
Step 4: Let’s Get Sweeping
Applying this concept to lead playing, Ex. 4 replaces what would typically be an upward sweep with hybrid picking. The pick strikes the A note on the 7th fret of the 4th string. Then, the middle finger picks the C# on the 6th fret of the 3rd string, the ring finger picks the E note on the 5th fret of the 2nd string, and the pick strikes the F# on the 7th fret of the 2nd string. This is followed by a downward sweep of the same notes in reverse order. To end the lick, I pick the open 4th string. That’s when hybrid picking allows me to play a rolled Dmaj7 chord. These two embellishments are highly useful when both soloing and comping, and once again are a small touch that provides some “spice.”
Step 5: Enough with the Clean Stuff
Ex. 5 is a lick I use (I should probably say abuse) consistently. My sweep picking skills are abysmal. In part because I haven’t dedicated the appropriate time to practice them, but also partly because I tend to hybrid pick as a cheat or workaround. The lick is based on a G major arpeggio beginning at the 10th fret of the 5th string. I then pick the 4th string with my middle finger and the 3rd string with my ring finger. From there, I gather for a few notes with the pick on the 3rd string and repeat the pattern again across the fretboard. However, the second hybrid-picked part of the lick begins by striking the 9th fret of the 3rd string with the pick, then using my middle finger to pick the 8th fret of the 2nd string and my ring finger to pick the 7th fret of the 1st string. To end the arpeggio, I strike the 10th fret of the 1st string with the pick. The last bit of the phrase is a garden variety blues lick ending.
Hybrid picking is an extremely valuable tool that I think every guitar player should have in their arsenal. A player can have more control, feel, and timbral options compared to only using a plectrum, and it’s an easier way to add velocity with very minimal right-hand movement or tension. Try hybrid picking different grooves, licks, arpeggiated chord shapes, and even pieces of lead lines you already know to begin exploring how the technique can work for you.
Brian Wampler’s take on a vintage TS10 Tube Screamer style circuit in a compact, pedalboard friendly enclosure.
Capable of anything from light boost to a gritty drive that can send an amplifier into heavily overdriven tones, the Moxie is designed to be an ultra-flexible, wonderfully warm and rich pedal but with an extra bite. In addition to the standard controls, Brian has added two unique switches. The Voice switch adds clarity by changing the entire EQ associated with this design giving it a more transparent yet robust tone. The Fat switch adds an extra dimension of gain with a custom MOSFET clipping stage, reminiscent of a classic high-end boutique amp.
Staying true to the vintage sound of an Ibanez TS10 Tube Screamer, the Moxie is powered by the classic 4558 chip, enabling it to scream with authentic woody tones. Use it to pour out a cold shot of Texas Blues, add gravity to rhythm chops, or tighten up and push your lead channel into brutal high gain. The Moxie is sensitive to nuanced picking with layers of complex harmonics allowing it to play nicely with a broad section of amplifiers and pedals. Stack this with another distortion or overdrive pedal like the Wampler Ratsbane, Tumnus, or Belle for a variety of tone options.
- High-grade components selected for superior sound and response, premium finish and controls.
- Based on one of the most classic overdrive circuits of all time, the TS10 Tube Screamer
- Volume, Gain, Tone controls
- Fat switch to enhance the gain structure
- Voice switch to equalize critical frequencies
- Dimensions: 1.5” x 3.5” x 1.5” (38.1mm x 88.9mm x 38.1mm) - height excludes knobs and switches
- Power draw: 11mA at 9V, 16mA at 18V • 9-18V power jack – DC supply only, no battery connection within
- Includes limited 5-year warranty
$149.97 USD. More info at www.wamplerpedals.com.