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.

Bad Brains’ Dr. Know

Doc brought the funk, the heavy, and the chill during the Brains’ midday Saturday set that included “Banned in D.C.,” “Pay to Cum,” “Attitude,” and even saw Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe come out for “Redbone in the City.” As for the “Old Blackie” used by Doc, he told us in 2012 that: “I never really liked Strats because they were too tinny, but I got a black parts Strat[-style], which I still play live. That was when ESP first came out and they had the shop over on [New York City’s] 48th Street—they were originally a parts company. Old Blackie has an alder body, which I prefer because it has more oomph. The pickups are DiMarzios that Steve Blucher made for me. The [middle- and neck-position] single-coils are stacked humbuckers.”

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.



• 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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