Recently I was asked what influenced me to start playing guitar – a “how, when and where” sort of thing. Although I have asked this question at least a hundred times in interviews over the years, this is the first time that I recall it has been asked of me

Recently I was asked what influenced me to start playing guitar – a “how, when and where” sort of thing. Although I have asked this question at least a hundred times in interviews over the years, this is the first time that I recall it has been asked of me. As I pondered my response, I found myself enjoying a retrospective state of euphoria that extends back more than 30 years. Upon further reflection I could recall two distinct time frames: when and how I started playing and when I was influenced to play. I think for many others, this may in fact be a similar situation.

I started taking my first lessons at age ten from a Catholic school nun, who taught me my first C-G-FAm chords. Sister Marge didn’t have much rock in her roll, so after nearly two years of “One Tin Soldier” and “Green, Green Grass of Home,” my playing influence was simply non-influential!

Just when I was debating trading the strings for sticks, I had a revelatory experience. In October 1976, I witnessed KISS on the Paul Lynde Halloween Special in a performance I consider to be my ultimate inspiration. Divine intervention? Not quite, but certainly a defining moment that I will never forget. That inspired me to sit in my bedroom for over a year, relentlessly attempting to dissect every Ace Freeley lick I could from Alive! To this day, I hold Ace’s playing and tone to a very high regard on that album; classic rock tone from a Les Paul into a Marshall stack – or should I say stacks!

My first time on stage was for my eighth grade talent show. My buddies and I attempted to form a KISS tribute band. We all painted our faces, ripped up our parachute pants and attached chrome studs to them. I took my Converse basketball sneakers and nailed blocks of wood to the bottom of the soles for platform shoes. Needless to say, we got our freak on as we busted into a three song medley of “Got Nothin’ to Lose,” “Cold Gin” and “Rock and Roll All Nite.” I was Ace and my bass player Joel was Gene Simmons – who even attempted to spit blood until he damn near choked to death! The teachers thought we needed therapy, but the chicks dug it. For the most part we were horrid, but man did we have spirit. We even blew up the school’s PA and had to work that summer painting playground equipment to pay for it – talk about paying your dues!

Nothing much has changed to this day. People still think I need therapy, and I am still in it for the relentless pursuit of tone, just like you. Drop me an email and tell me about your influence – hopefully it didn’t get you arrested!

Until next month – tone up and throw down.

Nuff sed.

Equipped with noise reduction and noise gate modes, the Integrated Gate has a signal monitoring function that constantly monitors the input signal.

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Luthier Maegen Wells recalls the moment she fell in love with the archtop and how it changed her world.

The archtop guitar is one of the greatest loves of my life, and over time it’s become clear that our tale is perhaps an unlikely one. I showed up late to the archtop party, and it took a while to realize our pairing was atypical. I had no idea that I had fallen head-over-heels in love with everything about what’s commonly perceived as a “jazz guitar.” No clue whatsoever. And, to be honest, I kind of miss those days. But one can only hear the question, “Why do you want to build jazz guitars if you don’t play jazz?” so many times before starting to wonder what the hell everyone’s talking about.

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A modern take on Fullerton shapes and a blend of Fender and Gibson attributes strikes a sweet middle ground.

A stylish alternative to classic Fender profiles that delivers sonic versatility. Great playability.

Split-coil sounds are a little on the thin side. Be sure to place it on the stand carefully!

$1,149

Fender Player Plus Meteora HH
fender.com

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After many decades of sticking with flagship body shapes, Fender spent the last several years getting more playful via their Parallel Universe collection. The Meteora, however, is one of the more significant departures from those vintage profiles. The offset, more-angular profile was created by Fender designer Josh Hurst and first saw light of day as part of the Parallel Universe Collection in 2018. Since then, it has headed in both upscale and affordable directions within the Fender lineup—reaching the heights of master-built Custom Shop quality in the hands of Ron Thorn, and now in this much more egalitarian guise as the Player Plus Meteora HH.

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