Friday, July 27, 2012


"Ootheca" by Joshua McLean
part 2 of 3
also see Viral Creche and Nodal Point

"Ootheca" - Joshua McLean

Thursday, July 26, 2012

"Isn't It a Funny World Nowadays?"

"Isn't it a Funny World Nowadays?" by Caitlyn Waltermire 
part 1 of 3 installments


Frances might have been nineteen. She might also have been twenty-eight. Her eyes were black-green like Japanese beetle shells, set upon two pools of dark circles under her lower eyelids and against the bridge of her nose. Her hair was a nothing color, like weak tea or lake water, and the pieces that did not fall across her forehead were swept into a bun, cloudy and pleasing. She was long-boned and had a habit of imitating the laugh of whoever she was with. She worked as the only waitress in the city’s only diner.

The diner was rather yellow, from the walls to the plates to the toilets. Whether this was from use or intent of design, no one could remember. The spoons were literally greasy, due to incompetence of the dish-washers, and customers got into the habit of wiping their utensils on napkins before using them; (it was better than complaining at a metal face). A television with a very large screen hung on the wall everyone was expected to turn to. Usually it showed speeches or debates or speeches about debates, but today a man had been arrested for attempting to rape a female-looking machine in transit to the office where it worked, and this made for interesting news until expensively-suited people decided to fill all the stations debating the ethics of it. A man chuckled into his pie and said, “Isn’t it a funny world nowadays?” but no one heard him.

Frances was with a different man, the one with peach-colored hair who sat carefully, with toes pointed at the floor, at the table by the door, a choice that she suspected meant a noncommittal spirit, but she was Romantic and always thought small things held greater significance. He kept watching her, expectantly, with a steadiness that made her ill. He looked at her mouth, two thin thin slips of pale ribbon that had never moved anyone.

''GUITAR GODS: Bernie Torme'''

- David "Skinny Devil" McLean
originally published at Tinfoil Music
Date: Thursday, April 15 2004 @ 16:17:15 BST

When Randy Rhoads dies tragically in March of 1982, Ozzy Osbourne was in the middle of supporting his second release, "Diary of a Madman". When he looked for a quick replacement, most guitarists shied away from the gig for fear of trying to fill Randy's shoes. One guitarist, however, was fearless, and his willingness to go where angels feared to tread opened the doors for monster guitarists like Brad Gillis, Jake E. Lee, and Zakk Wylde. His name? Bernie Torme'!

Torme', at that time, had been around for a bit on the European scene. The Irish born guitarist had cut his teeth in the clubs after having seen greats like Rory Gallagher and Gary Moore. He played in several bands and eventually joined Gillan (when rock vocal legend Ian Gillan left Deep Purple), then formed Atomic Rooster. It was then, in 1982, that Bernie hopped aboard the Crazy Train for a tour with Ozzy.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

''GUITAR GODS: Steve Lukather''

- David "Skinny Devil" McLean
originally published at Tinfoil Music
Date: Tuesday, April 13 2004 @ 16:44:05 BST

It is no exaggeration to say that Steve Lukather is a living legend. From 1977 with the first TOTO album to now with the Grammy winning 2003 CD (the 7th Grammy of his career!) with Larry Carlton, Steve Lukather has demonstrated more staying power than any living guitar god. Session man, band leader, instructor, producer...Steve Lukather is a legend in the music world!

"Hold the Line" was the first big hit, followed by "I'll supply the Love", and TOTO got their first Grammy nomination. Following that, they pulled down countless awards, platinum albums, and successful world tours. They won a slew of Grammy's in 1983, wrote a song for the Olympic Games in 1984, scored much of the music for David Lynch's film, "Dune".

"Insanity 101: Malaguena"

- David "Skinny Devil" McLean
originally published at Insane Guitar, 2005

As I was about to sit down to write this month’s lesson, I was swamped with requests for more fingerstyle stuff. Rather than skip about madly from fragment to fragment of various pieces, I decided to examine one section of the classic “Malaguena” so that we could try several variations. It can be written several ways, but I decided on the following because it lays out easier if you’re unfamiliar with the piece.

The first example is to get your fingers ready. Break this into fret-hand and pick-hand patterns. The fret-hand is simply holding an E chord and chord, while the pick-hand is playing a simple (strings) 4, 1, 3, 1, 2, 1 pattern. To keep it simple, this pattern can be broken into alternating between thumb and finger (with the thumb, or “p”, playing allstrings except 1; the first finger, or “i”, playing only string 1).

'Steve Kukather & Friends: Santa Mental''

- David "Skinny Devil" McLean
originally published at Tinfoil Music
Date: Friday, November 11 2005 @ 15:33:41 GMT
Steve Lukather, 7-time Grammy Award winner and Guitar Gods interviewee, has released a incredible collection of Christmas songs for Favored Nations called "Santa Mental". The disc features Lukather performing every song along with an incredible list of special guests that reads like a who's who of guitar greats.
That list includes Larry Carlton, Eddie Van Halen, Slash, Steve Vai, Jeff Babko, Mike Landau, and Luke's son, Trevor. The disc also features some other great musicians like Edgar Winter, Gregg Bissonette, Simon Phillips, and more.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

''GUITAR GODS: Nuno Bettencourt''

- David "Skinny Devil" McLean
originally published at Tinfoil Music
Date: Sunday, April 11 2004 @ 22:22:00 BST
Nuno Bettencourt is (so far) best known for his work with Extreme, who formed in 1985. By 1989 they had released their first album and Nuno Bettencourt was known & respected overnight in the guitar community. It was their second album, however, that launched Extreme, and Nuno, into center stage with top ten hits, MTV videos, and world tours. "Pornograffitti" (released 1990) featured "Decadence Dance", "Get the Funk Out", "Hole-Hearted" and the number 1 "More Than Words", and Nuno Bettencourt became a household name.
Extreme disbanded in 1996, but Nuno hasn't slowed down a bit. Not only has he fronted Mourning Widows and now his new band, Population-1, but he has continued behind the scenes as a writer and producer.

"Insanity 101: George Lynch Style"

- David "Skinny Devil" McLean
originally published at both Insane Guitar and Skinny Devil Music Lab, 2004/2005

One of the big requests I get is for “style” lessons, and among the top request in 2004 was for George “Mr. Scary” Lynch. My apologies for the delay, guys, but it’s finally here!

George burst on to the scene back in 1982 with the band Dokken and quickly became one of the most admired guitarists of the decade by demonstrating extreme technical capabilities coupled with uber-aggression, a unique approach, and lots of soulful style. With a Grammy nomination, countless tours & guitar clinics, 9 Dokken albums, 6 Lynch Mod albums, and 5 solo offerings (from EPs to full-length albums), George is firmly established as one of the true Guitar Gods.

''GUITAR GODS: Jerry Belsak''

- David "Skinny Devil" McLean
originally published at Tinfoil Music
Date: Friday, April 09 2004 @ 18:28:20 BST
Jerry Belsak is an extraordinarily gifted fingerstyle guitarist who has performed alongside such awesome talent as Leo Kottke, Muriel Anderson, and Ricky Skaggs. Not heard of him? You will! With his acute sense of melody and taste, command of astonishing technical prowess, and sense of humor, Jerry blesses listeners with magical sounds.
With several recordings to his credit, several bands in his past, and hundreds of solo gigs, Jerry has been amazing audiences for over 20 years. He is also writing material that all his fans hope will be recorded and released soon!

Monday, July 23, 2012

"Insanity 101: Tapping Into Mastery"

- David "Skinny Devil" McLean
originally published at Insane Guitar, 2004

I’ve been asked a lot as of late about tapping, or “touchstyle”, so I thought we’d revisit this topic as we boldly shred into the new year. The questions I’ve received have been about how to break beyond the standard “Eruption” style of applying tap technique, so I thought we’d take a brief look at some ideas that will translate well to both electric and acoustic styles of playing. They are also in the key of Am (C major) so that you can experiment freely in a single key.

"Insanity 101: Moonlight Sonata"

I got a few calls asking me to skip the “insanity” for one lesson and opt instead for a bit of focus on classical chops. Let it be known that I am less-than-adaquate when it comes to playing classical guitar, but I thought I might at least offer up something to assist those who want to work on a few classical pieces. To that end, here are the opening few arpeggios to Beethoven’s “Opus 27, #2″ (better known as “Moonlight Sonata” or, to Ludwig, “Sonata Quasi Una Fantasia”).

A quick tip or two regarding classical technique: Make sure your fingers are coming down on the string straight rather than at a sharp angle (as is common when playing rock guitar) and be careful with your pick-hand technique, being mindful to change the angle of attack so your hand doesn’t rest across the strings but comes down on top of them.

''GUITAR GODS: Kimi Reith''

- David "Skinny Devil" McLean
originally published at Tinfoil Music
Date: Tuesday, April 06 2004 @ 15:26:25 BST
Kimi Reith is a unique jazz guitarist with a most ingenious approach to composition & improvisation. This California girl will definitely catch your ears, whether you hear her live or listen to her CD, "BAIL!".
Kimi, in the interview below, expounds openly about her music - which is where, of course, the focus should be.

Be sure to check out her web-site for detailed liner notes, including theoretical ideas that are at the core of her fabulous compositions. But first, check out this great interview!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

"Insane Guitar: Merry Christmas"

- David "Skinny Devil" McLean
originally published at Insane Guitar, 2003

One of my favorite pieces of Christmas music is “Do You Hear What I Hear?”. No only is it a gorgeous piece of music, but it’s a helluva lesson in composition and a great structure from which to practice multiple techniques.

Below is a very simple version (primarily melodic, so the harmonic options are completely open for you to interpret individually) arranged for guitar. It makes heavy use of harmonics – both natural and tapped – and touches on compositional ideas of both theme & variation and call & response. I also like playing it with a long delay to get those cool “rounds” (like “Row, row, row yor boat”).