John Fahey, Guitar Frank and American Primitivism

If you like Lightning Hopkins you`ll probably like Frank too. It’s well worth looking into Fahey’s work because his eclecticism illustrates that even within a specific genre or technique there are always new ways to express and expand the musical vocabulary of the guitar. Fahey is the forefather of modern acoustic guitar in sense that he was the first to demonstrate that the finger-picking techniques of traditional country and blues steel-string guitar could be used to express a world of non-traditional musical ideas

Fresh ! Far out ! Essential !

Electric Guitar Strings

For those of you who are new to the guitar here are some general pointers regarding guitar strings and how to choose them.


The thicker your guitar strings are the fatter and richer the tone, sustain and volume BUT the harder they are to bend and manipulate, in short they become harder to play because more tension exists in the string. If you are a beginner then perhaps opt for a lighter guage of strings as this will improve your fretting and playing comfort.

A great set of strings to start with is a set of ERNIE BALL hybrid slinky because these give you a lighter top end string and medium to heavy bottom end strings for the bass tones. You will find that the bass tones will have enough inherent bass but that you `ll still have a good enough tone across the board and the ability to perform bends and vibrato.

There are several options for materials to bear in mind:

1. nickel wound – produce a well balanced tone.

2. titanium coated – a vibrant tone with longer life, less corrosion, longer tuning stability.

3. pure nickel – a richer, warmer tone.

4. stainless steel – a crisp bright tone plated – more expensive but bright sustain and long life.


Obviously, in the world of guitar legend one man stands alone, head and shoulders above his peers; distorting time and space whilst achieving transcendental oneness with his guitar in a zen like reverie of Amerindian shamanism, Free love, sex, politics, feedback, fire and death.

If there was ever a sacrifice made to the guitar gods it was Hendrix himself…exploding into flame at Monterey Hendrix burnt away in a three year vapour trail of drugs, touring, alcohol, invention, and innovation – notwithstanding the management, money and mafia troubles that followed in his wake.

For those of you who are baffled by the countless re-iterations and compilations floating endlessly around, the remixes and terrible bastardisations such as “Midnight Lightning”, or “Loose Ends” (which showcase an industries shallow greed in selling the out-takes from the cutting room floor and even using hired modern musicians to remake tracks), the blatent misbranding of Hendrix’ work with Curtis Knight – to help you in avoiding these shark infested pools of the Hendrix legacy here are 6 albums that I can wholeheartedly recommend.

Moog guitars, magnetics and other mad craziness

Hello Jamorama people – today we`re going to look at some rather exceptional new developments in the world of string theory. If you`re a proponent of holographic consciousness, quantum gravity or the cosmological horizon you are on the wrong page unless of course your name is Jimi Hendrix and you are reading from nearest black hole.

How this actually works is through using magnetic pick ups to actually change the MOTION of the strings..allowing you to mix up muted banjo sounds with sustained notes as you can hear. WHY SO?

Well, a magnetic pickup consists of a permanent magnet such as a AlNiCo, wrapped with a coil of a few thousand turns of fine enameled copper wire. The vibration of the string modulates the magnetic flux linking the coil, thereby inducing an alternating current through the coil of wire. This signal is then carried to amplification or recording equipment via a cable.

Here though is a guy who just doesn’t need anything but an amp, a guitar and a fuzzface. Yes it`s Jimi Hendrix inventing time travel in 1970…

Guitar Materials & Innovation – Resonators and Hole Heads

In May I mentioned the awesome talent invested in Mattsen resonators after having tried one out at Mojo Sound in Wellington. Mattsen are made in Neslon, Aotearoa, New Zealand and if you are ever here you should visit Russ Mattsen at his studio and play one of his exquisitely crafted resonator guitars – they really are something else.

I thought I would have another look at interesting guitar technologies that involve innovations in materials. We`ve already had a look at the Carbon Fibre Handle so tday I`m going to push the envelope and have a quick look at some NZ resonators that are made of some rather innovative and distinctive materials, as well as another guitar that has a few extra holes in it the black bird rider.

USB Guitars Laptop Rock updated

Anyway, the meeting of modern digital technology and the tradition of guitar manufacturing is continuing to blossom with plenty of new products that bring the two together and one of these is the inclusion of USB connectivity into guitars. IN SHORT what this means is that you can plug your guitar straight into your computer without the need for any interface. This allows you to jam directly alongside you Tube videos, or any other music source on your computer.