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Esoterica Electrica

When it comes to making high-quality guitar content, Snarky Puppy—whose latest album, Empire Central, was recorded live in the studio—are at the forefront.

Photo by Brian Friedman

In the face of current events, we’ve witnessed the steady and resilient progression of the guitar industry.

Despite the tough times we’ve been facing over the past few years, the guitar world has kept on ticking. By all visible measures, the industry has been doing well, both for sellers of musical gear and for content creators. There has also been a resurgence of live shows, and even with the ebb and flow of infectious disease, the marketplace for live concerts is gathering steam. So, what has changed in our journey to the “new” normal?

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Rig Rundown: Ariel Posen [2023]

The silky smooth slide man may raise a few eyebrows with his gear—a hollow, steel-bodied baritone and .017s on a Jazzmaster—but every note and tone he plays sounds just right.

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Trying to figure out how to mix up your musical life this year? Here are some ideas.

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Here are the good and bad habits to look for when you’re watching a builder at work.

It’s fun to binge-watch YouTube videos, and for guitarists there are a plethora of them to behold. There are mashups of metal and funk, as well as never-before-seen footage of classic acts in every genre. Then, there are the how-to videos that have helped me and countless others learn new fretboard moves. My favorites are the ones that decode songs, unlocking finger positions and chord voicings that have eluded me for years. But next to that, I enjoy watching guitar-making videos. As a builder whose 50-year career has allowed me to tour and work in dozens of guitar factories and shops, you might wonder why on earth I would subject myself to this. The answer is that you can always learn something new if you know what to watch for. New and correct information is certainly what most of us are hoping for when we spool up a video.

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The author holding a 1960 ’burst back in 1974.

What’s does a Shelby Cobra and a vintage Les Paul have in common? And what comes next?

Dave was minding his own business, waiting for the traffic light to turn green, when the driver in the next lane got a little crazy. It was a lovely day—the kind of bright Saturday when you might want to roll the windows down and just go for a drive. The guy was waving his hands and motioning to make eye contact. He clearly thought that a busy intersection was a good place to have a conversation with a total stranger. Because Dave is a very friendly and outgoing guy, he played along and engaged. His new friend only wanted to know one thing: “Is it real?” This wasn’t the first time someone had asked the question. It came with the territory when you were in public with a genuine early-1960s Shelby Cobra.

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