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No. 160, April 2006

Trad Trailblazer
Whether playing bluegrass standards, Irish fiddle tunes, eclectic original songs, or "House of the Rising Sun," Tim O'Brien brings his own distinctive voice to the music. The wide-ranging multi-instrumentalist shares his keys to finding a personal sound and explains how playing fiddle and mandolin sharpens his guitar skills. By Kenny Berkowitz.

Equipment Picks: The guitars and gear of Tim O'Brien.

How to Use Effects with Acoustic Guitar
Acoustic guitarists are increasingly using electronic effects to create their own new sounds. Here, four forward thinkers describe how they use effects—from subtle compressors and tube DIs to over-the-top fuzz boxes and sound-effect generators—to take their playing to new levels. By Shawn Hammond.

Equipment Picks: The guitars and gear of Joseph Arthur, Ben Harper, Monte Montgomery, and Tim Reynolds.

Hot Blues Licks 
Brighten your blues with four open-position licks. By David Hamburger.

Songwriting: The Original Inspiration
To refresh your writing, go back to the first music you loved. By Wendy Waldman.

Drone Accompaniment for Pop Songs
Accompany singer-songwriters with simple melodies and an open drone string. By Andrew DuBrock.

Fingerstyle Blues
Embellish one simple lick to create a cool, bluesy accompaniment pattern. By Happy Traum.

Arranging in Alternate Tunings
Create new chord voicings that would be impossible to play in standard tuning. By Peppino D'Agostino.

Summer Study Guide 2006
These summer study listings (grouped by workshops for players and those for budding luthiers) should help you start planning your summer guitar getaway.

 

ACOUSTIC CLASSIC
Brown-Eyed Girl. Words and music by Van Morrison, from Blowin' Your Mind!.

PRIVATE LESSON
A Private Lesson with Benjamin Verdery. The iconoclastic classical guitarist gives tips on taking your time to play a phrase, articulating independent lines, and avoiding string squeaks. By Mark Small.
Benjamin Verdery. Lick of the Month. By Mark Small.
Equipment Picks: The guitars and gear of Benjamin Verdery.

NEW GEAR 1
Ibanez EW20ASENT Acoustic-Electric. With exotic woods and versatile electronics, this head-turning flattop is well-suited to budget-conscious performing guitarists. By Patrick Francis.
Laney A1 Acoustic Amplifier. A compact, affordable amp with huge headroom, clear tones, and convenient features—including three channels, 16 effects, and a five-band EQ. By Andrew DuBrock.
Martin 00C-16DBRE. Dreadnought depth and a 00-size cutaway body offer a fresh approach to small-body sound and playability. By Teja Gerken.

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT

Songcraft
Laura Veirs. The Seattle neo-folk-rock singer-songwriter takes a free-form poetic approach to songwriting by unearthing imagery from stream-of-consciousness jottings in her journal. By Dan Ouellette.
Equipment Picks: The guitars and gear of Laura Veirs.

Roots
Doug Wamble. By studying the sounds of Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong and embracing the breadth of American music—from Robert Johnson to Aaron Copland—Doug Wamble has developed an original musical voice on the seldom-heard acoustic archtop. By Scott Nygaard.
Equipment Picks: The guitars and gear of Doug Wamble.

HERE'S HOW
Get Ready for Camp. Music camp can be the most fun you'll have all year—but not if you're getting eaten by mosquitoes or your guitar has stopped working. Take a tip from the Boy Scouts: Be prepared. By Lissy Abraham.

THE BASICS
Bluegrass Bass Runs. Once you've got your basic boom-chuck pattern down, you can help drive your bluegrass band from chord to chord with some well-placed bass runs. By Scott Nygaard.

STAGE AND STUDIO
Studio Mic Placement. Experiment with microphone positions to get the best possible recording of your guitar. By Doug Young.

Reader's Rig. Singer-songwriter/fingerstylist David Reed depends on a custom Steve Sauve Size 2 steel-string with an Engelmann spruce top and a rosewood armrest.

LUTHIER'S WORKBENCH
Del Langejans Guitars. Drawing on three decades of experience building guitars for stars and students, Del Langejans' small outfit near Lake Michigan has developed a signature sound by using thick, rigid sides and rosewood necks. By Teja Gerken.

G.A.S. STATION
Classical G.A.S. Tim Hall eats, sleeps, and breathes classical guitars. As a player, collector, and promoter, he's had a lasting impact on the San Francisco classical-guitar community. By Patrick Francis.

PLAYLIST
Catfish Keith, Sweet Pea. By Ian Zack.
Jason Vieaux, Images of Metheny. By Ron Forbes-Roberts.
Rhett Miller, The Believer. By Drew Pearce.
Rosanne Cash, Black Cadillac. By Derk Richardson.
The Gibson Brothers, Red Letter Day. By Sue Thompson.
Devendra Banhart, Cripple Crow. By Derk Richardson.
Dominic Frasca, Deviations. By Julia Crowe.
Mark O'Connor's Hot Swing Trio, Live in New York. By Celine Keating.

WOODSHED
Jazz Up Your Blues. Give fingerstyle country-blues tunes new colors by adding cycle-of-fifth and other common jazz-style substitutions to the 12-bar form. By Ron Forbes-Roberts.

GREAT ACOUSTICS
Beauregard/Matsuda Tribute to Ervin Somogyi. Check out this gorgeous collaboration between luthiers Mario Beauregard and Michihiro Matsuda. By Michael John Simmons.