Arguably rock’s greatest producer, nobody captures those sounds better than Eddie Kramer. Even if you don’t know the name, you’ll know the records he helped make: Led Zeppelin II, Frampton Comes Alive, Physical Graffiti, Kiss Alive!, The Woodstock Soundtrack, All You Need Is Love and pretty much the entire discography of Jimi Hendrix. Given his near sixty-year career behind the mixing desk, Kramer has a thing-or-two to impart about the ins-and-outs of the recording process. Today, we’ve selected some choice observations from our favourite Eddie Kramer interviews.
The Grand Auditorium Bodyshape, the NT Neck and “V-Class” Bracing are all products of the company’s unique approach, and brought new life to a centuries old instrument. It’s not just Taylor’s instruments that win them accolades, though. In the past twenty years, the company has led the charge when it comes to making sustainable guitars. Today, we’re going to find out how they changed the sustainability game by changing the way they sourced their woods.
Back in 2018, we ran a feature on the history of the Martin D-28. Today, for a long overdue follow-up, we’re looking at some of the players that made the guitar so iconic. The list of legendary D-28 wielders is so long that we’d need an entire article series to cover them all. For the time being though, we’re focusing on three of our D-28 playing guitar heroes and the stories behind their instruments.
In the world of rock n’ roll, they don’t come much more iconic than Chuck Berry. One of the most influential players of all time, the likes of John Lennon, Keith Richards and Angus Young owe an enormous debt of gratitude to Chuck and the legacy of music he created. It goes without saying, then, that studying Chuck’s playing is about as fundamental a course in rock guitar as you can get. Today, we’re highlighting three ways that you can achieve that classic Chuck Berry sound.
As rock critic Colin Maguire noted, on one side were the Collins detractors who claimed "[Genesis] sold out and became too corporate when Collins stepped into the spotlight." On the other were those who argued that “the [prog-heavy] Gabriel years were boring and hard to stomach.” Today, those factions remain.
Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi is the man who invented heavy metal. “War Pigs,” “Children of the Grave,” “Symptom of the Universe”: those seismic riffs presented a blueprint that a generation of hard rock axe-wielders would follow. Circa 1970, Iommi’s playing sounded like nothing out there. His doom-leaden, monolithic, end-of-the world riffs were, well, heavy… man.
Introduced in 1971, the SG-100, SG-200 and SG-250 were intended to supersede Gibson’s budget friendly Melody Maker instrument as the company’s entry level offering. As you’re probably aware, however, they didn’t. Indeed, within one year, production of SG-100s, 200s and 250s had ceased altogether. So what happened? Why did these budget model SGs fail, and are these much-maligned guitars due a re-evaluation today? Hold on to your hats, ‘cause we’re about to find out.
Guitar pedals are incredible tools. But, sometimes, the sheer wealth of pedals on the market leads to option paralysis. To put it another way, there are so many choices out there, we end up not actually choosing any because we’re so overwhelmed by it all. While mulling this problem over the other day, I had a thought. If I were restricted to owning only a handful of pedals, what would I choose? What – for me anyway – are the essential units that help me craft the guitar sound I like?
As we all know, the right number of guitars to own is always one more than you currently have. Yes, there are individuals that have a monogamous relationship with one instrument. But we’re betting that the majority of readers have a couple of six strings on the go at any given time. We all like to buy guitars. However, not all guitar buyers are alike. In our experience, there are three kinds of guitar buyer out there. And, there are pros and cons to each approach.
Gibson’s Flying V is such an icon, it transcends the realm of guitar nerdery. Along with Fender’s Strat and Gibson’s Les Paul, it’s one of the most recognizable guitar silhouettes of all time. And, at one time or another, it’s an instrument that every would-be head banger has coveted. But, the Flying V wasn’t an instant hit with customers on its release in 1958. Indeed, it would be almost two decades before Gibson’s futurist axe found its sizable niche. In today’s post, we’ll find out why. But first, we need to know what was going on with Gibson’s number one product circa 1957…
The original version of “Comfortably Numb” – the one first heard on Floyd’s 1979 opus, “The Wall” – is so iconic that it’s hard to imagine the song any other way. But, it could have been a very different story. Floyd lead men Roger Waters and David Gilmour had completely opposite visions for the track, resulting in much friction between the already strained writing duo. Today, we’re taking a dive into the making of “Comfortably Numb”; where it came from, how it evolved, and the fraught, fracturing partnership that produced it.
We’re back with part two of our MTV Unplugged iconic performances rundown. In this edition, we’re covering three more of the show’s legendary episodes and what made them so special. So without further ado, let’s dive in with a ‘70s superstar rediscovering his roots…
There are plenty of great MTV Unplugged performances. And then there are those that are truly transcendent; the ones that changed the way we thought about an artist or introduced them to a new generation. In this article, we’re running through three of those iconic MTV Unplugged moments and what made them so special.
Last week, the rock world lost one of its greatest drummers. Neil Peart of Rush passed away at age 67 after a three-and-a-half year battle with brain cancer. To say that Peart left his mark is an understatement. “Neil Peart, that’s a whole other animal, another species of drummer,” Stuart Copeland said of him in 2018, a comment that will resonate with Peart’s many admirers. Instantly recognizable and uniquely inimitable, his playing inspired a generation.
I’ve always loved Prince’s guitar playing, and I think he deserves more recognition for it. Given the man’s undisputed musical polymath status, his six-string prowess was ultimately obscured by his myriad skills in singing, dancing, arranging, producing and writing. But, my god, when he had that axe in his hand and the solo break came, Prince slayed with the best of them.
A couple of weeks ago, we asked what you thought was the best solo album released by a former Beatle. And you guys obviously have some strong opinions on the topic, because you responded in droves! Now, we’ve tallied the results and can reveal the top five Beatles solo albums according to the Thalia faithful. Where did your favorite record end up? Read on to find out!
In this edition, we’re diving in with the first taping of MTV Unplugged, and how a special relationship between the program and Martin guitars was established. In 1989, MTV recorded the inaugural episode of Unplugged. But, pitching the radical new format to artists and audiences wasn’t exactly easy. As producer Alex Colleti recalls, “getting someone to do the first one was like rolling a boulder up a hill. There were maybe 50, 60 people in the audience; I could look at footage and name half of them, because I had to invite people”
Here at Thalia, we’re big fans of the Gibson SG. Winning out in both playability and aesthetic departments, it’s an iconic axe for a reason. With that in mind, it’s perhaps unsurprising that an iconic axe has so many iconic players. Today, we’re spotlighting three Gibson SG wielding guitar legends, and the stories behind their signature instruments.
We’re back with the final entry in our top Led Zeppelin bootlegs list. In Part One, we covered the band’s raucous early days. In Part Two, we looked at some releases from their stadium packing mid period. Now, we’re focusing on the final years of the band. Many Zeppelin fans will attest that the group’s performing prowess faltered in their final years. But, there are some truly grand live moments in Zeppelin’s latter days, and the first entry in this article might just be the grandest…
We’re back with Part Two of our Led Zeppelin bootleg rundown. In the first article of this series, we covered the band’s early days, from the Fillmore West in 1969 to their first tour of Japan in ’71. In this edition, we’re picking up with Zep as they make the transition from burgeoning rock heroes to the arena level superstars. And, appropriately enough, we’re kicking off with a show that one-or-two of you might be familiar with…
“What’s your favorite Led Zeppelin album?” I’ve always struggled with this question. It’s not because I don’t like Led Zeppelin; they’re one of my favorite bands of all time. It’s because my favorite records from Messrs. Page, Plant, Jones and Bonham are ones that hardly anyone has heard of. I’m talking about bootlegs, and live bootlegs specifically. As far as I’m concerned, Led Zeppelin was a live band. I’m not saying that to downplay their immense achievements in the studio, but it was on stage that their music reached transcendence.
A few weeks ago, I read “1971 - Never a Dull Moment: Rock’s Golden Year” by David Hepworth. In the book, Hepworth argues that 1971 was the most important year in rock history. According to the author, the rock landscape changed in those twelve months, with massive shifts at an industrial, social and cultural level. As a result, a huge number of monumental albums were released; The Stones’ “Sticky Fingers”, “Who’s Next” and “Led Zep IV” to name but a few. And, it was the year that a plethora of rock legends established their place in the pantheon of popular music.
In 1970, Derek and the Dominos released “Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs,” one of the landmark rock albums of all time. Arguably Eric Clapton’s definitive musical statement, “Layla” is also the record that made Slowhand synonymous with the Fender Stratocaster.But, while Clapton and Fender are synonymous today, his early sound, and some of his most famous recordings, were actually created using Gibson instruments. Today, we’re going to run through Eric Clapton’s Gibson years, and three of the Ted McCarty-and-co designed guitars that he staked his name with.