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Hooked: Laura Cox on Brad Paisley's "The Nervous Breakdown"

Laura Cox on Brad Paisley's "The Nervous Breakdown" | Hooked

Initially intimidated, the French rocker slowly worked out the Southern-fried chicken pickin’ guitar crash course and picked up multiple techniques—hammer-ons, pull-offs, ghost notes, double-stops, and open strings—that still feed her need for speed.

Rocker Laura Cox is a born southpaw, but damn right she can country pick with the best of them—using the typical right-handed guitar setup and approach. In this new episode of PG’s Hooked, Laura rip on Brad Paisley’s fleet-fingered riffs to his song “The Nervous Breakdown,” an instrumental from his 1999 debut album Who Needs Pictures. The tune helped define Paisley’s identity as a player to be reckoned with. But no Tele for Cox. She burns it up on an Epiphone Cornet.

Laura recounts that when she first heard the tune, “It was so fast I thought I would never be able to play it.” But then she decoded Paisley’s approach and learned that he was using multiple techniques to make it easier to execute: hammer-ons, pull-offs, ghost notes, double-stops, open strings, and a helping of Southern-fried chicken pickin’. In short, it’s all in the fretboard hand, as she explains.

The Return of Johnny Cash—John Carter Cash Interview
The Return of Johnny Cash—John Carter Cash Interview on Johnny’s New Songwriter Album

The Man in Black returns with the unreleased Songwriter album. John Carter Cash tells us the story.

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This 1968 Epiphone Al Caiola Standard came stocked with P-90s and a 5-switch Tone Expressor system.

Photo courtesy of Guitar Point (

Photo courtesy of Guitar Point (

The session ace’s signature model offers a wide range of tones at the flip of a switch … or five.

Hello and welcome back to Mod Garage. Not long ago, I came home late from a band rehearsal, still overly excited about the new songs we played. I got myself a coffee (I know, it's a crazy procedure to calm down) and turned on the TV. I ended up with an old Bonanza episode from the ’60s, the mother of all Western TV series. Hearing the theme after a long time instantly reminded me of the great Al Caiola, who is the prolific session guitarist who plays on the song. With him in mind, I looked up the ’60s Epiphone “Al Caiola” model and decided I want to talk about the Epiphone/Gibson Tone Expressor system that was used in this guitar.

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Slinky playability, snappy sounds, and elegant, comfortable proportions distinguish an affordable 0-bodied flattop.

Satisfying, slinky playability. Nice string-to-string balance. Beautiful, comfortable proportions.

Cocobolo-patterned HPL back looks plasticky.


Martin 0-X2E


Embracing the idea of an acoustic flattop made with anything other than wood can, understandably, be tricky stuff. There’s a lot of precedent for excellent-sounding acoustics built with alternative materials, though. Carbon-fiber flattops can sound amazing and I’ve been hooked by the sound and playability of Ovation and Adamas instruments many times.

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The GibsonES Supreme Collection (L-R) in Seafoam Green, Bourbon Burst, and Blueberry Burst.

The new Gibson ES Supreme offers AAA-grade figured maple tops, Super Split Block inlays, push/pull volume controls, and Burstbucker pickups.

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