Enter here for your chance to WIN a Temple Audio SOLO 18 Templeboard! Giveaway Ends October 17, 2021.
SOLO 18 Templeboard in Gunmetal Grey complete with 4X MOD, IEC MOD, Soft Case, and an assortment of pedal plates.
One of the most mysterious and interesting guitarists to come out of the post-grunge scene is a master of dynamics, tone, and deceptive rhythms.
- Explore the sound of the Phrygian dominant scale.
- Learn how to combine odd-meter signatures.
- Use open strings to create hypnotic, droning riffs.
In Ex. 1, we take some ideas from our polymeters lesson for a hip single-string riff in dropped-D tuning. Each measure follows a 7-7-2 grouping to give the riff an odd-time feel without actually leaving 4/4. Not too much thought went into the note choices here, but in essence it's using notes from the D Phrygian dominant scale (D–Eb–F#–G–A–Bb–C).
Ex. 2 uses notes of the D Phrygian mode (D–Eb–F–G–A–Bb–C), mostly against the low open D. To execute this cleanly, use the tip of the fretting-hand first finger to mute the 5th string. This allows you to strum the low three strings and get an aggressive sound. The riff is a repeating idea in 5/4, so spend some time listening and counting along before trying to play the idea. Also, for the sliding power chords at the end, I slide up on the third finger, and down on the first. This feels comfortable, but the jump back to the start of the riff will still be tricky, so heads-up!
Our next riff (Ex. 3) takes inspiration from one of Tool's most famous jams, and is a fun little idea that alternates between 5/8 and 7/8. Tool are no strangers to multiple time signature changes like this, and there are songs of theirs where I still can't work out what the time signatures change between as they're so frequent and well masked by the groove. This idea could be seen as an eighth-note motif with a 16-note triplet played as an informal turnaround. In the first measure, it's a four-note idea, and in the second this is extended to six notes. This sounds very unexpected the first time you hear it, but after a few plays you'll get in the groove.
In the next few examples, we'll explore how Adam layers different rhythmic parts on top of each other. Our first piece is Ex. 4, which also hovers around the D Phrygian dominant scale we touched on earlier. The minor third between Eb and F# gives this scale its distinctive sound. Also, you might have noticed how the open string creates an almost drone-like quality. That's another signature part of Tool's music.
Now, we create a simple melodic idea to go over what we played in Ex. 4. As you can see in Ex. 5, the Gtr. 2 part is our low-end riff and Gtr. 1 is a rather syncopated riff that combines eighth- and 16th-note patterns. Especially prevalent in Danny Carey's drumming, these complex rhythms are at the core of the band's ethos.
Ex. 6 uses bigger chord voicings to get a huge sound. In essence, a big D5 chord is played over five strings, and then one note is changed (Bb) on the 3rd string to create a moving inner voice. As in previous examples, the sound has a lot more to do with the driving rhythm than the notes being played.
Not all the band's riffs are based around thick, saturated distortion. In Ex. 7 we use a clean tone with some effects to create a moody riff in 5/8. You want to let the notes ring out as much as possible, so be careful with your finger placement as the bass notes start moving from D to F, and finally to G. In terms of sonics, I've put different delays on the left and right channel, plus a phaser on one side and a flanger on the other. The concept here is to create a richly textured part that could support a vocalist.
The final example (Ex. 8) mixes arpeggiated notes with bigger chord stabs for some drama. I made sure everything rang out because this gives the biggest sound and is perfect for a full-band setting. The idea is based around D minor, but the Ab (b5) adds a darker, bluesy sound.
This collection of apps can help you with learning tunes, mapping out the fretboard, navigating a tricky lick, or even inhumane metronome practice.
More than ever before, guitarists are on the go. Finding time to sneak in a bit of practice is tougher than ever. Below are a handful of apps that will not only open your musical mind, but make more mundane tasks a bit easier.
Cleverly designed by fusion guitarists Tom Quayle and David Beebee, this app helps you visualize how to navigate chord and scale tones all over the neck. It comes loaded with tons of progressions and challenges you to snake through by hitting the correct notes.
This modern, tablet-friendly version of the famed "illegal" Real Book that sprouted up in the '70s is a treasure trove of changes to thousands of jazz, pop, rock, and country tunes. The app also allows you to choose style, tempo, key, and more to create customized play-alongs.
You don't have to be a session cat in Nashville to get the most out of this sleek app that aims to make your charts clean and easy to read. Using simple Nashville-style notation, you can create charts with either numbers or chord symbols, rhythmic figures, and much more.
GUITAR NOTE ATLAS
Imagine this app is your handy travel guide to nearly every possible scale, chord, and arpeggio around. It features a bass mode, left-handed mode, and the ability to view both a single position and the entire fretboard at the same time.
AMAZING SLOW DOWNER
If you're trying to get inside the licks of Vai, Satriani, Yngwie, or EVH, there will likely come a time when the notes are simply going by too fast. This app can tap into your streaming service and create customized loops, adjust the tempo, or even raise and lower the pitch of a tune.
The focus of Fender's instructional app is to get your favorite songs under your fingers quickly, while teaching the fundamentals of good technique. The extensive song library covers everyone from the Beatles to Billie Eilish, in addition to courses on bass and ukulele.
Inside this all-in-one app is a deep collection of instructional materials, song tutorials, a tuner, and a progressive learning path that uses augmented reality to help you better recognize what you're doing right and wrong.
ULTIMATE GUITAR TABS
This app serves as an extension of the largest collection of user-sourced guitar tab on the internet. Nearly every style of guitar is represented here, and the app also includes backing tracks, transposable chord charts, and much more.
One of the more popular guitar notation programs is available in a mobile version that will let you view pro-looking tab on the go. There are 19 available sounds, support for 4- to 8-stringed instruments, a mySongBook portal to learn your favorite songs, a metronome, and extensive looping controls.
Only the mind of Wayne Krantz could come up with this twisted take on a metronome. It's designed to not only improve your internal clock, but help you adapt quickly to sudden changes in tempo. If you're feeling adventurous, then make sure to check out inhumanome mode.
Enter here for your chance to WIN a Karma MTN-10! Giveaway Ends October 16, 2021.
The Karma MTN-10 captures the warm and wonderful character of the long out of production Ibanez Mostortion, an overdrive pedal especially popular with Nashville players for its amazing tube amp-like sound. As in the originals, we use the elusive CA3260 dual opamp chip. The Drive control covers a huge range of almost-clean to nicely overdriven tones, while the 3-band tone stack EQ allows for subtle-to-extreme tone shaping. And the Volume controls kicks out plenty of gain to push the front of your amp. The Karma MTN-10 is true-bypass, using advanced modern construction techniques and sturdier, more reliable pots, switches, and enclosures. The Karma MTN-10 is now on the pedal boards and in the studios of many respected players around the world. Check out the many glowing reviews we've gotten on our Reverb page!
A bold fusion of Santa Ana and Fullerton styles yields a wide range of vintage-to-modern sounds.
Daring styling. Transparent onboard electronics. Powerful tone controls.
No passive operation. Hard to access upper frets.
Jackson X Series Concert Bass CBXNT DX IV
I remember the extreme reactions when the PRS Silver Sky was introduced. The mashup (some might say, clash) of two well-known and classic designs was an earthly manifestation of sacrilege to some. The Jackson X Series Concert Bass CBXNT DX IV could be the Silver Sky's bottom-end equivalent: design elements from two legendary instruments fearlessly thrown together to create something new. The mix already has folks talking. But the real question is whether there is more to this bass than the mix of Fender-style P/J and Rickenbacker visual cues?
What Comes From Where?
The X Series Concert Bass clearly takes inspiration from Rickenbacker's 4001 and 4003. The pickguard, neck profile, chrome bridge pickup cover, control layout, shark fin fretboard inlays, and Jacksons own "Bass Bacher" through-body bridge all nod heavily to Rick. The poplar body profile and pickups, of course, are a nod to Rickenbacker's old neighbors, Fender.
That's the breakdown on the most obvious style moves. But look closer and you'll find features that make this instrument unique. I immediately noticed that the Jackson seemed slightly longer than some basses in spite of the standard 34" scale length. One reason is that putting the Rickenbacker-style bridge on a Fender-style body situates the bridge further forward so the eye perceives the neck as a little longer.
The most unique aspect of the instrument's deign, perhaps, is the pickup placement. The J-style pickup in the bridge position is located further from the bridge than a standard P/J, and the P-pickup in neck position is located much closer to the neck than I am used to. Outwardly, the pickup positions may not seem to represent a huge change, but they make an audible difference.
The Jackson's departure from the two basses that inspired it become more obvious when you plug in. To start, the Jackson has active electronics and a flexible set of treble, mid, and bass tone controls. But the Jackson doesn't just thump in the hi-fi voice of a typical active-pickup-equipped instrument. The circuit also does a great job of delivering vintage feel in the top end, as long as the treble EQ stays below the 75-percent mark. Such tone-shaping flexibility is rare, and Jackson deserves kudos for being sensitive to the vintage-loving player via these tone controls. On the other hand, the Jackson could have featured a bypass that enables passive operation. That's a big plus for me in any active bass—especially one with such clear vintage ambitions—and it is missed here.
For anyone moving over from a Rickenbacker, or looking for a more affordable alternative, the flatter, wider neck will feel like home.
The X Series Concert Bass' very flat and wide 12"-16" compound-radius neck took some getting used to. I expect it will be an adjustment for anyone accustomed to slimmer, J-bass-style neck profiles. But for anyone moving over from a Rickenbacker, or looking for a more affordable alternative, the flatter, wider neck will feel like home.
The Old Door
The Jackson's voice exhibits a prominent and very honky midrange. And in spite of the P/J pickup configuration, the Jackson has much of the midrange of a Rickenbacker. The extra mids are especially noticeable when soloing the bridge P-style pickup. And getting something close to Chris Squire's tone is surprisingly easy with all that available midrange. The extra mids show up in the neck pickup, too, adding a pleasant woody bark to the output, and at times I could almost hear hints of an old door squeaking, which I mean in the most complimentary way. The laurel fretboard might also contribute something to this pleasant, woody personality.
The Jackson isn't all about midrange. Carve out a chunk of that midrange with the flexible 3-band EQ, engage both pickups at full volume, and it can confidently enter the sonic territory occupied by a more conventional P/J bass. The warm low end gets more room to speak, and that sound lends itself beautifully to playing with a pick. And even when digging in, the relatively transparent active circuitry never gets overbearing.
After living with this bass for a few weeks, it really grew on me. I love that Jackson green-lighted this fusion of design ideas—especially when some traditionalists on both of sides of the Rickenbacker/Fender aisle are bound to consider it a pretty wacky blend. But looks aside, the diverse sonics created by combining two legendary designs are interesting and fun to explore. I applaud big statements in general. And in the world of bass, this Jackson pronouncement is as loud and proud as they get.