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No. 157, January 2006

A Life in the Blues
Blues guitarist John Hammond keeps his music fresh by writing songs and covering contemporary songwriters like Tom Waits and Bob Dylan. But he still finds inspiration in the music he learned from blues legends like Blind Willie McTell and Son House. In this exclusive lesson, he illustrates some of his favorite slide licks, many of which were inspired by blues greats like Robert Johnson, Blind Willie Johnson, and Lightnin' Hopkins. By Julia Crowe.

Equipment Picks: The guitars and gear of John Hammond.
What Kind of Classical Guitar Do You Need?
There are many factors to consider when shopping for a classical guitar. By Ron Forbes-Roberts.

Big Ol' Goofy World
After overnight success in the early '70s and writing enough classic songs to ensure membership in anyone's Songwriting Hall of Fame, John Prine spent much of the past decade recovering from cancer and raising his children. Last year's Fair and Square is the first CD of new songs he's recorded in ten years. He talks about waiting for inspiration to come, co-writing with friends, and finding melodies in the sounds of words and guitars. By Derk Richardson.

Equipment Picks: The guitars and gear of John Prine

ACOUSTIC CLASSIC
Angel from Montgomery. Words and music by John Prine, from The Bonnie Raitt Collection. Check out this simple arrangement of a classic duet.

PRIVATE LESSON
A Private Lesson with Jim Hurst. Learn the two-time International Bluegrass Music Association Guitarist of the Year's hybrid fingerpicking approach to Bill Monroe's fiddle tune "Wheel Hoss.". By Craig Havighurst.
Equipment Picks: The guitars and gear of Jim Hurst.

Jim Hurst. Lick of the Month. By Craig Havighurst.

NEW GEAR 1
Durango B-46 Slope-shoulder Dreadnought. An unbelievably great-sounding flattop with authentic vintage vibe and a price tag that'll make you flip. By Teja Gerken.
Ovation C2078 LX Custom Elite Contour. A killer-looking modern ax that's perfectly at home on a loud stage but also sports tones to impress traditionalists. By Drew Pearce.
Ultrasound CP-100 Amplifier. A rugged, feature-laden amp that brings active-pickup guitars to life with power, clarity, and definition. By Shawn Hammond.

IN THE STORES
Deering Goodtime Picker's Plus Banjo. New open-back and resonator banjo series with rock-maple construction.
Fender DG-22 SCE Exotic Hardwood. An acoustic-electric with a solid spruce top, Venetian cutaway, and Fishman Classic electronics.
Galli Genius Titanio Classical Guitar Strings. New strings with titanium nylon trebles and polymer-coated basses.
Peterson StroboSoft Deluxe Tuner. A new Mac/PC software tuner from the strobe-tuner pros.
PlanetWaves Universal Chromatic Tuner. LCD and LED displays with built-in microphone and soundhole attachment bracket.

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT

Songcraft
Eliza Gilkyson. The Texas Music Hall of Fame folk-rocker channels inspiration from a Revolutionary War ancestor, the visceral passion of her songwriting father, and her own sense of social outrage into songs that balance the personal and the political. By Mike Thomas.
Equipment Picks: The guitars and gear of Eliza Gilkyson.

Roots
Old Blind Dogs. The veteran Scots band keeps its modern grooves authentic by following Robert Burns' 200-year-old model of applying original arrangements to traditional forms. By Danny Carnahan.
Equipment Picks: The guitars and gear of Old Blind Dogs.

HERE'S HOW
Conquer Stage Fright. Is your fear of the bright lights keeping you from sharing your music with the world? Remember that people really aren't that scary, you can never be too prepared, and most importantly, it's not about you, it's about the music. By Stevie Coyle.

THE BASICS
Sustained-Note Chords. Create exciting new chords by simply holding onto a note or two when you change from one chord to another. By David Hodge.

SHOPTALK
All Strapped In. Confused about what kind of guitar strap to buy? Decide how you'll attach it to your guitar, try some out in the shop, and make sure nothing on the strap is likely to damage your instrument. By Frank Ford.

STAGE AND STUDIO
All About DI Boxes. If you're going to run your guitar into a PA, you need to know about DIs. By Teja Gerken.

Reader's Rig
Reader's Rig. Matthew Fox slides from rootsy fingerstyle blues to singer-songwriter fare with his Langejans grand concert and National Style O.

LUTHIER'S WORKBENCH
Guitar Bazaar. Bigger than ever, the 2005 Healdsburg Guitar Festival presented hundreds of dream guitars, concerts by master guitarists, and workshops for amateurs and future virtuosos alike. By Teja Gerken.

PLAYLIST
Bruce Cockburn, Speechless. By Ron Forbes-Roberts.
Marty Stuart, Badlands and Soul's Chapel. By Kenny Berkowitz.
Paul McCartney, Chaos and Creation in the Backyard. By Drew Pearce.
Various Artists, Tone Poets. By Celine Keating.
Benjamin Verdery, Start Now. By Mark Small.
Joan Baez, Bowery Songs. By Mike Thomas.
Rachel Ries, For You Only. By Judith Edelman.
Steep Canyon Rangers, One Dime at a Time. By Kenny Berkowitz.
James McMurtry, Childish Things. By Mike Thomas.

WOODSHED
Percussive Fingerstyle. Add driving backbeats to your arrangements with these percussive slapping and strumming techniques. By Doug Young.

SONGBOOK
Gymnopedie No. 1. Music by Erik Satie, arranged by Teja Gerken. A lovely version of the French composer's piano piece, arranged for solo guitar. By Teja Gerken.

GREAT ACOUSTICS
1959 Hermann Hauser II. A specimen from the German master that looks humdrum but sounds absolutely incredible. By Eric Schoenberg.