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Alt-Tuning Curious with Ariel Posen

Canadian guitarist Ariel Posen joins the pod to talk about his slide guitar influences, how he broke into open tunings, and how to get the most out of your fuzz pedals.

Zach and Rhett kick things off with a catch-up on recent projects. Rhett celebrates his new 100-watt Two-Rock Classic Reverb Signature, which recently terrorized a couple sitting in the front row of one of his gigs. Then guitarist Ariel Posen logs on to, first and foremost, clear up how to pronounce his name.

Alt-Tuning Curious with Ariel Posen

Posen and Rhett swap horror stories from working on film sets, where they were expected to do way more than their job descriptions covered. Both agree that the film life is infinitely worse than touring. “I don’t know shit!” protests Posen. “I’m just a guitar player, dude!”

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Posen discusses how he got into playing slide in standard tuning by learning George Harrison leads (blues slide guitar was never his thing), but Canadian guitarist Kevin Breit inspired him to try open tunings, a process with “a lot of trial by fire, lots of, ‘oops, sorry!’” Blake Mills’ 2014 record Heigh Ho prompted Posen to chase lower tunings, although Korn, Limp Bizkit, and Big Wreck lit that same candle years earlier. For the open tuning-curious, Posen suggests starting in open E.

Posen talks about how he wrote his new record, and the honesty and simplicity behind his favorite lyricists like Jason Isbell. Finally, the trio dig into how to stack and squeeze the best sounds from your fuzz pedals. (Is a mini version of the Mythos Argo fuzz pedal coming? Zach doesn’t say yes—but he doesn’t say no, either.) Finally, the crew dips a slick Americana rig that draws near perfect scores.

On her new record with her trio, Molly Miller executes a live-feeling work of structural harmony that mirrors her busy life.

Photo by Anna Azarov

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Traveling with a collection of spare essentials—from guitar and mic cables to extension cords, capos, tuners, and maybe even a mini-amp—can be the difference between a show and a night of no-go.

Anyone who’s seen a spy flick or caper movie knows about go bags—the always-packed-and-ready duffles or attachés filled with passports, a few weapons, and cash that’s ready to grab and run with when the hellhounds are on your trail. As guitar players, we also need go bags, but their contents are less dramatic, unless, maybe, you’re playing a Corleone-family wedding.

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