We get the lowdown on the guitars and basses used by Nancy and Ann Wilson, Craig Bartock, and Dan Rothchild.

Like her pedalboard, Nancy’s amp rack resides offstage. A Peavey-era Budda Superdrive 30 II head is her main amp, and a Fender ToneMaster serves as a backup. Each head drives its own Orange 4x12 cab loaded with 30-watt Celestion speakers.

Premier Guitar’s Shawn Hammond met with Ann and Nancy Wilson’s guitar tech, Jeff Ousley, lead guitarist Craig Bartock, and bassist Dan Rothchild before Heart’s show at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on March 21, 2015. Ousley—who’s been maintaining the Wilson sisters’ gear (and making them mean cups of coffee) for more than 20 years—walked us through everything from Ann’s custom Martin acoustics to Nancy’s vintage SG and Tele, while Bartock and Rothchild shared their cool customized instruments.

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Intermediate

Beginner

  • Develop a better sense of subdivisions.
  • Understand how to play "over the bar line."
  • Learn to target chord tones in a 12-bar blues.
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Playing in the pocket is the most important thing in music. Just think about how we talk about great music: It's "grooving" or "swinging" or "rocking." Nobody ever says, "I really enjoyed their use of inverted suspended triads," or "their application of large-interval pentatonic sequences was fascinating." So, whether you're playing live or recording, time is everyone's responsibility, and you must develop your ability to play in the pocket.
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We've reviewed a ton of cool gear over the past 12 months, but these stood above the rest and won our coveted Premier Gear Award.

This year more than 40 guitars, basses, effects, and amps from a diverse group of gear makers earned the coveted Premier Gear Award from our discerning editors. Here is our gear of the year.

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