No. 156, December 2005

Eyes Wide Open
Conor Oberst, aka Bright Eyes, is making waves with two new CDs, one an acoustic gem that recalls Nashville Skyline and other folk-country classics, and the other laden with electronic effects. He's made the leap from heartland wunderkind to indie-pop idol by saying exactly what he thinks and mining his personal life for universal truths in his finely crafted songs. By Tommy Tompkins.

Equipment Picks: The guitars and gear of Conor Oberst.

Your Digital Domain
Home multitracking and CD production are within reach of almost anyone with an up-to-date computer and one of the many software options on the market. Use these 20 tips to get great sounds in your low-budget, computer-based home studio. By Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers.

Down Under Fingerstyle
He started playing in his family band at the age of four, was learning Chet Atkins tunes at seven, and now, after a lifetime of music, Tommy Emmanuel is one of the world's most revered guitarists. He talks about the importance of melody and groove, lays out some of his signature lead licks, and explains how he plays those tantalizing harmonic flourishes. By Doug Young.

Equipment Picks: The guitars and gear of Tommy Emmanuel.

ACOUSTIC CLASSIC
Peaceful Easy Feeling. Words and music by Jack Tempchin. Check out our easy transcription of the song made famous by the Eagles.

PRIVATE LESSON
John Miller. Lick of the Month. By Ron Forbes-Roberts.

NEW GEAR 1
Guild F412 Jumbo 12-string. It's been around for decades, but this legendary flattop's classic sound and top-shelf construction still safeguard the brand's impressive legacy—despite being made at a new plant and under different management. By Shawn Hammond.
Tanglewood TW15-N-NS Dreadnought. A tastefully appointed solid-wood flattop with sparkling treble, stout mids, and deep bass—all at an incredibly low price. By Michael John Simmons.
AER AcoustiCube 3 Acoustic Amp. A compact powerhouse with brilliant features, transcendentally transparent tone, and gorgeous onboard reverb. By Teja Gerken.

IN THE STORES
Farley's Journeyman Guitar Tool. A pocketknife-like tool for changing strings and making other guitar adjustments.
Ibanez EW20ASENT. A new exotic-wood acoustic-electric with a figured-ash body and B-Band pickup.
Korg Toneworks PX4A Multi-Effects Processor. A tiny box packed with effects just for acoustic guitar.
Martin 00C-16DBRE. A new 00-size body with dreadnought depth.
Shadow SH NFX AC Pickup. A new undersaddle pickup with bridge-mounted controls.

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT
John Butler. The Australian rocker bridges 20th-century roots music and new-millennium acoustic experimentalism with his Maton 12-string and a blaring Marshall stack. By Shawn Hammond.
Equipment Picks: The guitars and gear of John Butler.

In Memory
John Herald 1939-2005. The urban folk and bluegrass pioneer, who powered the Greenbriar Boys with his strong flatpicking and urgent lead vocals, left a legacy of memorable songs and inspired legions of string-band revivalists. By Happy Traum.
Equipment Picks: The guitars and gear of the late John Herald.

HERE'S HOW
Dynamic Arranging. Eight simple ways to use dynamics to get to the emotional heart of your band's songs. By Scott Nygaard.

THE BASICS
Monotonic Bass Fingerpicking. Accompany your blues licks with a thumping one-note bass in the style of Mance Lipscomb and Lightnin' Hopkins. By David Hamburger.

SHOPTALK
Adjust Your Truss Road. Does your guitar feel hard to play? Do the strings buzz only in the lower positions? If your neck isn't straight, your guitar may need a truss-rod adjustment. Here's how to do it yourself. By Frank Ford.

STAGE AND STUDIO
The Home/Pro Studio Hybrid. Overcome your studio's limitations by tracking and editing at home, but mixing and mastering at a pro facility. By Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers.

Reader's Rig. Fingerstylist and singer-songwriter William Smith doesn't gig anywhere without his Pendulum SPS-1 preamp.

G.A.S. STATION
G.A.S. Strikes Early. After outgrowing her first guitar, 12-year-old Molly Tuttle financed her very own Martin HD-28V by busking and playing local farmers' markets. By Michael John Simmons.

LUTHIER'S WORKBENCH
Dell'Arte Instruments. Founded by Alain Cola, a Frenchman looking to introduce Americans to Django Reinhardt's music, Dell'Arte has become one of the premier manufacturers of Gypsy jazz guitars. By Julie Bergman.

Q&A
How to Match the Gain of Two Different Pickups. Find out how to smooth out levels between different guitars for performance. By Teja Gerken.
Optimum Neck Angle. Discover ways of determining whether your guitar has the proper neck angle for best performance. By Frank Ford.
Ideal Lesson Frequency. A discussion of different options for maximizing your private lessons' impact on your playing. By Gary Joyner.

PLAYLIST
Bonnie Raitt, Souls Alike. By Mike Thomas.
Earl Klugh, Naked Guitar. By Ron Forbes-Roberts.
Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Come on Back. By Phil Catalfo.
Nickel Creek, Why Should the Fire Die. By Celine Keating.
Patty Loveless, Dreaming My Dreams. By Kenny Berkowitz.
Dar Williams, My Better Self. By Drew Pearce.
Roy Book Binder, Live at the Fur Peace Station. By Ian Zack.
Tim O'Brien, Cornbread Nation and Fiddler's Green. By Celine Keating.
What the AG Editors Are Spinning.

WOODSHED
Clawhammer Guitar. Add driving rhythms to your arrangements with clawhammer banjo techniques. By Craig Dobbins.

SONGBOOK
Christmas Time Is Here. Words and music by Lee Mendelson and Vince Guaraldi. From the album A Charlie Brown Christmas. By Ron Forbes-Roberts.
Deck the Halls. Words and music traditional.

GREAT ACOUSTICS
Claudio Pagelli Wallpaper. Swiss luthier Claudio Pagelli's art deco-inspired Wallpaper guitar. By Teja Gerken.