fret n wylde

In his debut blog, Zakk Wylde takes us back to 1987 and talks about how the scales he learned as a teenager tie into the first song he ever wrote with Ozzy.

Hello there, my brethren and sisters o’ doom! Big Black Label thanks to the gang at PG for allowing me to talk about what we all breathe and bleed for—the love of guitar!

Since this is our first gathering, I figured I’d start off talking about the first riff/song I wrote with Ozzy Osbourne some 27 years ago. “Miracle Man” will always hold a special place in my heart, being that it was the first thing I wrote with The Boss. It was 1987, and Ozzy and I had just begun writing No Rest for the Wicked in Brighton, England. We were jamming in a horse stall that had been converted into a living space/rehearsal studio. There was a cozy little pub with a beer garden within walking distance, and the routine basically consisted of jamming riffs all day, then going to the pub and sitting in with the house band. Nothing but good times, indeed!

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Why Fender + Fender (or other brands) = more than the sum of their own signature sounds.

This column is not for the faint of back, but the rewards of such potentially heavy lifting are great. In my previous columns "Like Peanut Butter and Chocolate: Classic Guitar & Fender-Amp Pairings" (May 2020) and "Finding Perfect Tones in Imperfect Amps" (January 2021), I've discussed classic Fender amp and guitar pairings and how to EQ and tweak amps to get ideal tones. Let's take it a step further and discuss how to combine multiple amps to achieve even more complex, richer tones.

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  • Develop a better sense of subdivisions.
  • Understand how to play "over the bar line."
  • Learn to target chord tones in a 12-bar blues.
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Playing in the pocket is the most important thing in music. Just think about how we talk about great music: It's "grooving" or "swinging" or "rocking." Nobody ever says, "I really enjoyed their use of inverted suspended triads," or "their application of large-interval pentatonic sequences was fascinating." So, whether you're playing live or recording, time is everyone's responsibility, and you must develop your ability to play in the pocket.
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