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Breaking Benjamin's Keith Wallen

Photo by Courtney Dellafiora

For this month’s question, Breaking Benjamin guitarist Keith Wallen chimes in with reader Benoit Champagne and PG staff on where they’d like to see themselves grow in their musical pursuits.

Question: What’s one area you’d like to improve on in your music?

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Blue Öyster Cult’s 1972 debut album—home of the original version of “Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll.”

What does a banana with a humbucker wedged into it really prove about guitar sound?

I recently asked Alexa, the device I pay to spy on me in my home, to play “Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll,” by Blue Öyster Cult. I hadn’t heard the song in ages, but the opening riff sounded so damned rock that my immediate reaction was “That’s exactly how a Marshall should sound!” Then, the algorithm kicked out “Sweet Child o’ Mine,” by Guns N’ Roses, followed by AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell”—both also exactly how a Marshall should sound. Later that day, I pulled out the Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton album, and, indeed, E.C.’s combo sounds exactly how a Marshall should sound. So does Anthony Pirog’s amp on The Messthetics and Five Times Surprise. And since the latter is a Mahavishnu Orchestra tribute, I dropped the needle on Mahavishnu’s live Between Nothingness & Eternity and, well, you know, John McLaughlin’s amp sounds exactly like a Marshall should sound.

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Gretsch Custom Shop Tour

Tour Gretsch’s Corona, California, custom guitar building operation with company master builder Chad Henrichsen and PG’s own John Bohlinger.

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