Singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge teams up with the PG editors to dole out some tips on discovering your vision.

Forging one’s unique musical path isn’t a cakewalk. This month we asked an artist with an unmistakable voice—Melissa Etheridge—to join us in giving pointers about finding and staying true to your own vision.

Melissa EtheridgeGuest Picker
What advice would you give to young players trying to find their voice?
Make sure you’re doing what you love. If you’re just doing what you think others are gonna like, it’ll get old fast. So play what you love, and then be open. Listen to other music and to what people tell you: Look at them and see the reaction. Are they enjoying what you’re playing? It’s a group effort, this music is to be shared. If you can combine the love and someone else feeling that, that’s where you start to have success.

My current obsession is: I started playing 12-string when I was 14 because this kid at church camp had one and it just sounded so beautiful. I was so happy with it and I still am.

Andy EllisSenior Editor
What advice would you give to young players trying to find their voice?
Forget about being a guitarist. Become a musical explorer, travel far and wide in search of sounds and styles. You'll encounter rhythms, techniques, and timbres that will amaze and delight you. Using your guitar as a “sonic camera,” document and study these discoveries, and then share them. It’s a personal odyssey, so your audio travelogue will be unique.

My current obsession is: Palm levers on a lap-steel guitar. There’s a Duesenberg Multibender or Bigsby Palm Pedal system in my future, I can feel it.

Joe GoreSenior Editor
What advice would you give to young players trying to find their voice?

1. Make a list of five guitar skills you’re really good at. Don’t be modest.
2. Rank the skills according to how common they are. (1 = unique, 5 = everyone does it.)
3. Consider how your playing would sound if you did #1 and #2 twice as often and #4 and #5 half as often.

My current obsession is: The epic early Ellington on this season’s Boardwalk Empire. If there were any justice, the face of America’s greatest composer would grace the dollar bill.

Tessa JeffersManaging Editor
What advice would you give to young players trying to find their voice?

Don’t overthink it. If whatever you’re doing in music is from the heart, it’ll happen naturally so keep doing what you’re drawn to because that’s the reason for the season. People respond to authenticity.

My current obsession is: Alt-J’s This Is All Yours. I’m in love with what they do: A majestic rock band that sounds like chillaxed Chemical Brothers compositions performed by Beaker the Muppet.

Jason ShadrickAssociate Editor
What advice would you give to young players trying to find their voice?
It’s not about the gear. Forget about what the latest gizmo or gadget is and focus on connecting with the instrument. Once you get that going the gear becomes secondary—as it should be.

My current obsession is:
Bruce Hornsby’s band circa 2000. His live album, Here Comes The Noise Makers, is absolute proof that a piano can rawk.

Equipped with noise reduction and noise gate modes, the Integrated Gate has a signal monitoring function that constantly monitors the input signal.

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Luthier Maegen Wells recalls the moment she fell in love with the archtop and how it changed her world.

The archtop guitar is one of the greatest loves of my life, and over time it’s become clear that our tale is perhaps an unlikely one. I showed up late to the archtop party, and it took a while to realize our pairing was atypical. I had no idea that I had fallen head-over-heels in love with everything about what’s commonly perceived as a “jazz guitar.” No clue whatsoever. And, to be honest, I kind of miss those days. But one can only hear the question, “Why do you want to build jazz guitars if you don’t play jazz?” so many times before starting to wonder what the hell everyone’s talking about.

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A modern take on Fullerton shapes and a blend of Fender and Gibson attributes strikes a sweet middle ground.

A stylish alternative to classic Fender profiles that delivers sonic versatility. Great playability.

Split-coil sounds are a little on the thin side. Be sure to place it on the stand carefully!


Fender Player Plus Meteora HH


After many decades of sticking with flagship body shapes, Fender spent the last several years getting more playful via their Parallel Universe collection. The Meteora, however, is one of the more significant departures from those vintage profiles. The offset, more-angular profile was created by Fender designer Josh Hurst and first saw light of day as part of the Parallel Universe Collection in 2018. Since then, it has headed in both upscale and affordable directions within the Fender lineup—reaching the heights of master-built Custom Shop quality in the hands of Ron Thorn, and now in this much more egalitarian guise as the Player Plus Meteora HH.

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