Thursday, 16 May 2013

Guitar Lessons

I've been reviewing the multitude of instruction material to learn to play guitar available on the web, mainly for my own benefit to help broaden my own horizons and improve my technique. Along the way I've come across a lot of good instructional video material particularly on youtube, where there is a wealth of free instructional videos on playing specific songs, which I've been using quite a lot. Therefore I've decided to share what I think are some of the better guitar playing channels available on the internet. These are mainly free resources although some offer the option to make a small donation (entirely discretionary). Therefore in the coming weeks I'll post a series of articles highlighting my preferences and hopefully develop a useable reference library of guitar lessons instructional videos.

For those wishing to lift their guitar playing skills to a higher level I've already posted some links to the more formal guitar playing site, these are structured programmes for all guitar styles and although they do charge, I think they deliver good value and are the next best alternative to personal guitar tuition. Watch this space and meantime enjoy the view!!

Monday, 22 April 2013


I saw this guy performing live in Donegal last year, even bought a CD from him. A good guitatist and an even better singer, a true talent, I wish him well and know he'll go on to bigger things.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Michael Jackson - Irish Dancing

This has absolutely nothing to do with guitar amps or guitar music. In fact there is no association with the guitar what so ever, albeit there might be a few guitars in the backing tracks. However this is total indulgence, because the person doing Irish dancing in this video is my niece's daughter i.e. my great niece. She is eight years old and is fantastically talented. Apart from her great dancing ability she is also a great vocalist, I should encourage her to play guitar, and maybe have a valid link on my blog, but this is so good I just had to share it, enjoy

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Fender's Pawnshop Range of Guitar Amps

Introducing two new editions to Fender’s Pawnshop range, the Fender Excelsior and the Fender Greta; both as wonderfully unique, retro and strange as the other. The idea behind this range began in 2011 with Fender reproducing prototype designs from the ’60s and ’70s that were considered too ‘out there’ so failed to make it into production, and by appearance alone we can see why! So they left the factory and went straight into pawnshops hence the name of the range. We’ll have a look at two my favourites released at NAMM, the Excelsior and the Greta.
My personal favourite out of the two is the Greta, simply because it just looks so cool! It takes retro-cool to a whole new level and is so unique and distinctive its no wonder it failed to make it into production. It is constructed with a wooden front and back and finished in bright red and contrasting metal top and sides. The ‘Table Top’ amp has a 4” custom design speaker, which is driven by a 2 watt all valve amplifier that is constructed of a 12AX7 per-amp valve, and a 12AT7 output. It has a ¼” jack instrument input, a separate ¼” jack speaker output for an external speaker connection. They have even gone modern with a mini jack input, which allows iPod and MP3 connectivity so you can jam along. On the front is a single tone control next to the master volume; the vintage charm is completed with a golden ‘Greta’ badge and VU meter. Now you might be sat there thinking, ‘yes that all sounds great but its too small to be a quality amp’ and frankly you’d be wrong, but I would be lying if I told you I didn’t think the same. If you don’t believe me, have a listen for yourself.

Now the Excelsior, equally as vintage and distinctive as the Greta but is larger and is practice amp sized. On first glance it is obvious what look Fender were going for with a vinyl cover and ‘E’ shaped grille and, like the Greta, is finished with a golden logo. You can almost see them side-by-side in a Pawnshop, two diamonds in the rough. The Excelsior has a 15” custom design driver, two 6V6 tubes and two 12AXL tubes. It features a tremolo with speed control; treble/bass tone switch and an output for an external cabinet. Perhaps its biggest selling point is its separate microphone, instrument and accordion input. This may not seem important to most people, but to blues harmonica players this is a very unique selling point.
Now the excelsior looks seriously retro and I don’t think it will be to everyone’s taste but it’s a piece of Fender history and I think it looks really cool. With Fender describing as being able to produce tones from ‘refined’ to ‘raucous’ but its useless trying to describe how good an amp sounds, the only effective way is to listen to it yourself.
 Fender really have gone above and beyond with the Pawnshop range, you can just tell the amount of effort they have put into creating them. Granted they’re aimed at a pretty specific audience, but they certainly have everyone in there licking their lips. Both amps just seem different to other mass produced amplifiers that I have used. They both seem to have character that you usually only find with custom instruments. Fender; you’ve done us proud!

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

PRS Guitars Introduces New PRS SE Guitar Amplifier

PRS Guitars Introduces New PRS SE Guitar Amplifier

Boutique Attitude with a Popular Price Tag

PRS have been producing high end electric guitars, geared towards the professional guitarist since 1985. In the late nineties the Student Edition (SE) was introduced, to meet increasing demand. At a recent performance Bernie Marsden (formerly of Whitesnake) showed off his new PRS SE signature guitar, Bernie who has long been respected for his rich, blues inspired style, was touring under the heading “Bernie Plays Rory”. An excellent tribute to Rory Gallagher’s contribution to blues/rock music. Bernie’s impeccable talent as a guitar player has kept him active in the music world for over thirty years, and was a fitting tribute to one of the world’s greatest blues guitar players.

Closely designed with Marsden himself, the SE Bernie Marsden offers classic appeal with today’s quality and dependability, including a Vintage Sunburst maple top with flame maple veneer, PRS designed SE 245 humbuckers, two volume controls and a single tone control with a 3-way toggle pickup selector.
 Bernie Marsden, playing a tribute to Rory Gallagher on his PRS SE Bernie Marsden signature guitar

PRS have now launched a new line of amplifiers, the PRS SE Guitar amplifier, modeled after the PRS SE line of guitars, the amp like the SE range of guitars aims to provide affordable equipment without sacrificing tone, quality or usability.
The proto-type was hand wired and built with high end components, to what was essentially a vintage guitar amp specification. This was then used as the tonal and functional quality baseline for amplifier. PRS then worked with expert consultants to develop the final production model family of SE guitar amps.
The line up offers 20, 30 and 50 watt versions. They are all-tube amps with pots, jacks, and switches chassis mounted and tube sockets board mounted, giving incredible quality and value. The PRS SE20, with 6V6 tubes; the PRS SE30 featuring 5881 tubes and the PRS SE50 which has EL34s all come either as 1x12 combos or as heads.
There is a PRS SE 2x12 “Bigmouth” cabinet to go with the heads. The 5/8” plywood construction and heavy duty tolex provide durability and strength. It has two custom voiced speakers, which are designed to complement the tonal range of each guitar amp, providing clarity, definition, and punch.
All of the amps come with two channels a clean and lead channel, with separate EQ, an effects loop, and reverb. The clean and lead channel gain stages are driven by 12AX7 preamp tubes and the loop, verb, and phase inverter utilize 12AT7 tubes. All the amps have custom wound transformers, high-end “on-on-on” selector switches, the best NNS tubes, custom-voiced speakers, custom knobs, and much more.
The PRS SE 20 delivers an array of tones from crystalline clean to light overdrive crunch, and the lead channel provides warm distortion and plenty of overdrive. This amp is perfect for recording, practicing, or gigging in a small venue.
The PRS SE 30 is the ultimate versatile amp with a great combination of modern and vintage tones. The clean channel can deliver pristine cleans to moderate crunch all with lots of chime and clarity. The lead channel offers the same level of clarity with harmonic richness and a lively, organic, responsive tone. This is an ideal match for a wide variety of guitar and musical styles.
The PRS SE 50 can do it all with plenty of volume in any live setting and with lots of attack. The clean channel has lots of punch and tonal character. When driven to the extreme, the lead channel produces punchy, tightly focused distortion and perfect for heavy metal, however it can also be tamed to play blues, fusion, and roots rock. Listen to the demo and judge for yourself!

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