After well over a decade, Tool has released a great new album. It’s definitely a great experience to listen to in its entirety, but it somewhat lacks any great singles like Aenima and 10,000 Days had. What it does have is great asymmetrical time signatures (5/4, 7/8, etc), providing some awesome rhythmic grooves.
If you like Tool it’s worth checking out. The “deluxe” sort of CD offering is long gone/sold out, and now the price to get one is even more absurd than the $37 that they were offered for brand-new… but the mp3 album is great and goes for $12.
I re-listened to Joe Satriani’s “Engines of Creation” album from just after the turn of the millennium… and while I love his guitar work, it basically sounded like Sonic the Hedgehog background music. Nonetheless, a great album using probably the most elements of electronica of any Satriani album.
One technique I came up with years ago for an exotic tone from electric guitar is to tune the A and D strings in unison, and the B and e strings in unison, giving about two octaves below the 12th fret for playing “courses” of strings. Tune the E and G strings to a suitable pitch for your chosen open tuning.
Then, place a microphone right up to the guitar and record it acoustically… add some reverb and it provides a wonderful (albeit tinny) sound to change the tone of a song.
I’ve been spending a lot of time lately working on clean, fast alternate picking on electric guitar. I’ve noticed I like a slightly thicker pick for this than general playing – so I’m back to using green Tortex picks, which are .88 size; I might try an even thicker pick at some point.
I also bought a mechanical metronome, which I thought was just cooler than a digital one or a phone app. It’s a cheap Chinese model but it works fine. It’s amazing how much more productive practice is with a strict time, like a drummer or metronome provides.
The work seems to be paying off as I’m playing fast lines much cleaner already.
One of the reasons I bought a Jackson electric guitar as my first guitar, many years ago, was because that’s what Randy Rhoads of Ozzy Osbourne played (though he played a variation on the Flying V body shape – cool but a little too extreme for me). The MXR Distortion + was just as key in the tone and nature of his sound.
This MXR pedal is not very high-distortion, like many modern distortion and overdrive pedals. But the tone is sweet and smooth, and remarkably articulate; it’s an optimal pedal for shredding, providing just enough bite to carry the gentle fuzzy base tone through the mix.
The pedal is a nice sunny yellow, with a stomp switch and two knobs: “Output” and “Distortion”. Generally, I keep the distortion knob ¾ up or higher, and the output from 12 o’clock to 2 o’clock. If you really crank up the output close to max it gets a bit fuzzier as the sound breaks up. I much prefer the definition provided by moderate output volume settings.
This is easily my favorite guitar pedal, and it’s built to last with MXR’s durable metal design.