Mike Overly's 12 Tone Music News

The Latest Guitar and Bass News from around the World Wide Web . . .
January 16, 2020
In This Issue

An often misunderstood mechanical artifact from another time, the pedal steel remains odd in nearly every way. Its high lonesome moan can float over, or inside, pretty much anything; it can bend notes and blend chords in ways no other analog instrument can; and it sounds like nothing else - even the pedal-less steel guitar, for which it's frequently confused. But for much of its life, it's been synonymous with the wailing cries of country music, to the point of being virtually trapped by the genre.

"When somebody takes the stage [at a pedal steel convention] and plays something other than country, people get up and walk out," says Tom Bradshaw, perhaps the world's leading authority on the instrument. The founder of the now-defunct Steel Guitarist magazine, he has played and repaired pedal steels for nearly a half-century, selling parts through his Bay Area-based Pedal Steel Guitar Products. But Bradshaw worries about the instrument's future. "It's so often that kids are the ones who cause things to really get started and go, but the cost of the instrument is so much that it's prohibitive for kids to get into it," he says. Indeed - outside of classical, and despite its roots in working-class pop music, it is one of the most expensive instruments around, with the cheapest used models going for around $1,000.

Also, it is one of the most difficult-to-learn instruments in the world. Just setting up the pedals and levers requires an intense amount of foreknowledge. There are multiple standard tunings. Its strings usually run in a non-intuitive order. Playing it requires both hands, both feet and, occasionally, both knees. Sometimes there is one guitar neck full of strings, sometimes there are a few - each in its own tuning. Its mechanics have very little to do with guitar as most recognize the instrument, or even the open-tuned Hawaiian lap steel, from which the pedal steel evolved.
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The Flying V will feature a bound rosewood fingerboard on a slim taper neck, with a pair of hand-wired '70s tribute burstbucker pickups. Available in a classic white finish with a matching headstock, with silver reflector knobs and chrome hardware. The Explorer will also feature a pair of hand-wired '70s tribute burstbuckers, a classic white finish, a bound rosewood fingerboard and chrome hardware, but with black speed knobs. Gibson also looks to further expand its Modern Collection with a new Les Paul Special Tribute model.  
Vox has announced two new models in its Starstream line of bass guitars - the 1H and 2S. Featuring a lightweight poplar body and ABS flame top construction, these bass guitars feature a compact build. The models also feature a 30.32" scale-length, maple neck and 21-fret purpleheart fingerboard. The main difference between each model is their pickup configurations. The 1H features one humbucker with series and parallel switching options, while the 2S features two single coil pickups.

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Chris Kies, of Premier Guitar, treks to Nakatsugawa, Japan, for a first-hand look at how the acoustic-electric pioneers craft their world-renowned flattops.

When it comes to sweep picking, Frank Gambale is the style's undisputed champion. Here are some of his most valuable pointers he offered. 1. Keep the notes as separate as possible - almost staccato - at first, especially when crossing multiple strings. Newcomers to sweeping tend to run the notes together. 2. Watch your picking hand and make sure you are using a single movement when sweeping across strings, not separate successive strokes. 3. Always practice with a metronome or drum machine, making sure that the notes are clean and even. 4. Be critical and honest when evaluating yourself. It's harder to sweep at slower tempos, so start with medium ones (sixteenths at q=60-100 bpm).
This decidedly "divine" overdrive features the same germanium/silicon diode combination as its predecessor, but this time features additional output and headroom for increased tone control, in addition to the option of 9V or 18V operation. The pedal's other controls include your usual volume, drive, treble and bass knobs, in addition to a fifth, adjustable transparency control. True-bypass switching and a "halo" LED come standard.
Jonathan Kreisberg has been steadily building his name as one of the most compelling composer/performers in Jazz.  Combining timeless melodicism with forward thinking lines and textures, His style and approach has created a strong following of fans around the world. He frequently tours worldwide and records with his own groups as well artists such as Dr. Lonnie Smith, who says of Kreisberg "He is a passionate musician with great vision, and he is constantly in fiery pursuit of innovation."

Order Guitar EncycloMedia or Bass EncycloMedia 
through January 23, 2020 to receive 20% OFF!
Available only from the 12tonemusic.com online store.
No coupon code needed. Domestic orders only. Money back guarantee.
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