Check out the instruments used by members of Queens of the Stone Age, Jawbreaker, Bad Brains, Prophets of Rage, New Order, Built to Spill, and others who rocked the Chicago fest.

Dirty Heads’ Dustin Bushnell

The band’s lone guitarist bounced between a Music Man Cutlass (seen here) and Taylor T5Z for the band’s sun-soaked set. The band’s tech Dakota Raysik had this to say about the guitar: “The s-style guitar has three single-coils with the wide spectrum Music Man Silent Circuit, which is great for keeping a true single-coil sound without the 60-cycle hum. This particular Cutlass was a one-off that Brian Ball personally dropped off to the band at a show and has been Dustin’s number one ever since.”

On Black Midi's Cavalcade, Geordie Greep’s fretwork is an example of the 6-string as a capable component as much as a solo instrument, never completely stealing the show.

Popular music and mainstream tastes may be more fractured than ever, but the guitar continues to thrive.

As we soft launch into the new year, I’m not waiting for the requisite guitar obituary in the news. It’s not going to happen again anytime soon. Why? Because as far as the mainstream media is concerned, our beloved instrument is not only dead, it's irrelevant to the point of not even being an afterthought. When the New York Times published their most recent albums of the year list, there was barely a guitar-based recording to be found. Still, there is not only hope, but also cause for jubilation.

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Diatonic sequences are powerful tools. Here’s how to use them wisely.

Advanced

Beginner

• Understand how to map out the neck in seven positions.
• Learn to combine legato and picking to create long phrases.
• Develop a smooth attack—even at high speeds.

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Knowing how to function in different keys is crucial to improvising in any context. One path to fretboard mastery is learning how to move through positions across the neck. Even something as simple as a three-note-per-string major scale can offer loads of options when it’s time to step up and rip. I’m going to outline seven technical sequences, each one focusing on a position of a diatonic major scale. This should provide a fun workout for the fingers and hopefully inspire a few licks of your own.
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