Hello all, we are now in March, 2012... 'RizMum' blog sure is getting slower now, but as promised I will try my best to keep on going... and its been awhile now since my last post (T_T) and to update this took me almost a year, anyhow, this will be my final year so you guys know how it is when the big "E" comes. So guys, see you in my next post and keep on SHREDDING!!!! And as always please feel free to drop a suggestion/ideas via e-mail, Thanks

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits)

Name: Mark Knopfler
Born: 12th August, 1949 (Glasgow, Scotland)

Profile: He is a British guitarist, singer, songwriter, record producer and film score composer. He is best known as the lead guitarist, vocalist and songwriter for the British rock band "Dire Straits".

History: At the age of 7, he and his younger brother David attended 'Gosforth Grammar School', where he was inspired by his uncle Kingsley's harmonica and boogie-woogie piano playing. Later, in his teens, he wanted to buy an expensive Fiesta Red Fender Stratocaster just like Hank Marvin's, but had to settle for a £50 twin-pick-up Höfner Super Solid.

During the 60's, he formed and joined anonymous schoolboy bands. At age 16, he made a local TV appearance as half of a harmony duo along with a friend from school named Sue Hercombe. In 1969, he worked as a part-time lecturer at 'Loughton College' and played with mates in a band called the "Café Racers", during this period. He also played in a few bands such as the "Silver Heels" and "Brewers Droop".

One night while spending some time with friends, the only guitar available was an old acoustic with a badly warped neck that had been strung with extra-light strings to make it playable. Even so, he found it impossible to play unless he finger-picked it. He said, 'That was where I found my "voice" on guitar.'

Knopfler then joined brother David in a band and also found himself another musical partner, John Illsley (initially a guitarist who changed over to bass) and became the only other member of "Dire Straits" to figure throughout the band's career.

Influences: Elvis Presley, Hank Marvin, Chet Atkins, Scotty Moore, B.B King, Django Reinhardt and James Burton

Axology: Fender Stratocasters 1954 sunburst (named 'Jurassic Strat'), Fender 1952 Telecaster, Melancon Pro Artist, Gibson Les Pauls, Danelectro 59 DC, Pensa custom-built solid body guitars, Schecter Telecaster and Stratocaster models, Watkins guitars - Rapier 33, Ramirez Spanish Guitar, Martin Acoustics

Signature song(s): Wild West End and Sultans of Swing - Dire Straits (Dire Straits, 1978)

Link(s): (Official website)

"He is one of the most respected fingerstyle guitarists of the modern rock era" - Rolling Stone magazine

Monday, 19 April 2010

Arlen Roth aka 'The Master of the Telecaster'

Name: Arlen Roth
Born: 1952

Profile: He is an American guitarist and a columnist from 1982 to 1992 for 'Guitar Player' magazine. He has performed with artists such as Bob Dylan, Danny Gatton, John Entwistle, John Prine, Rick Wakeman, Paul Simon, Steve Morse, Albert Lee and Phoebe Snow. Roth is a Telecaster enthusiast and has written the book 'Masters of the Telecaster', which details the techniques and licks of many famous Telecaster guitar players.

History: He started with classical guitar lessons when he was 10 years old, but most of all, he practice with his ears along the years - a well self-taught guitarist who develop his own “voice” on the guitar.

After seeing "The Beatles" made their famous first appearance on 'The Ed Sullivan show', he got an electric guitar right away - an inexpensive chromed-out Japanese 4-pickup guitar with a whammy bar. At 11, he formed a band in his Junior High School in the Bronx, and played gigs anywhere he could playing "The Beatles" tunes.

His legendary guitar prowess crosses all genres, all styles, and all types of guitar playing, including one of his specialties, slide guitar. He fluidly moves from folk and blues to country tunes, and has played some of the most resounding rock ever recorded. He is as comfortable playing an acoustic ballad.

His music and endless creativity seem to flow directly from him and no matter which guitar or style he is playing at any moment, there is an unmistakable combination of clarity, depth, and fluidity.

His first solo album won the 'Montreaux Critics' Award for Best Instrumental Album of the Year in 1978. He also coached actor Ralph Macchio in the performance of most of his guitar parts for the 1986 movie 'Crossroads'.

Since his remarkable range of talent defies distinct categorization, the best in the business call upon him when they want the best - studio musician, sideman, songwriter, author, teacher, bandleader, film consultant, or to go on tour. He also produces his own, and other artists' music.

Recently, he was a guest on 'WFAN' on the morning of 10th March, 2010. Hosts Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton alternated naming songs which Roth had to play, including Jimi Hendrix's version of the Star Spangled Banner from Woodstock. Roth also performs frequently with his younger daughter, Lexie Roth.

Influences: Buddy Guy, The Rolling Stones and The Beatles

Axology: Fender Telecaster and Gibson guitars

Signature song(s): 'Layla' and 'When a Man Loves a Woman'

Link(s): (Official website)

Shawn Lane (Black Oak Arkansas)

Name: Shawn Lane
Born/Died: 21st March, 1963 (Memphis, Tennessee, USA) - 26th September, 2003

Profile: He was an American musician. Best known for his solo album 'Powers of Ten' and his long stint with former John McLaughlin bassist Jonas Hellborg. Lane is also well known for his ability to play very fast.

History: At the age of 8, he accompanied his sisters on the piano, but did not play guitar seriously until he was 10. Lane progressed very rapidly on the guitar and he found it to be his natural instrument. At 13, he began to practice heavily, developing his technical abilities. Word began to spread around Memphis about a talented young guitar player, and at 14 he auditioned for the lead guitar spot in "Black Oak Arkansas (BOA)".

"BOA" had been a popular Southern rock band but at the time when Lane joined the band's popularity was declining. At age 15, Lane saw Allan Holdsworth perform at a UK concert and was inspired to develop his own method of playing guitar. Shawn toured with "BOA" for the next four years. As the original band members dropped out, Lane began recruiting players from his high school days and began to play a style closer to fusion than the country rock style for which the band was known.

At 18, Lane was married and burnt out from touring with "BOA" so he decided to take a break and learn more about music. Over the next 8 years he studied music and composing on his own and mainly worked on playing piano. Much of the material on 'Powers of Ten' was written on his piano as Lane considered it his main writing instrument. He quickly developed his technique on keyboards as well, he began to create demo tapes which garnered interest from 'Warner Brothers Music' and Lane was offered a recording contract. Except for one cover song, Lane wrote all the material and played all the instruments on his debut album.

The album did well and earned several magazine awards. During the production of the album Lane continued to play live shows and did session work. He also performed on the Mark Varney Project's 'Centrifugal Funk' album. Lane released two more solo albums following his debut.

When Lane met Jonas Hellborg a musical relationship was formed. They both enjoyed classical, rock, Pakistani and Indian music. Lane and Hellborg played with drummer Jeff Sipe in a jam band commonly referred to as "HLS" (Hellborg, Lane, Sipe). Sipe was already well known in the jam band scene as the original drummer for "Aquarium Rescue Unit", and helped "HLS" get exposure all over the world.

In February 2003, Lane and Hellborg toured India with drummer Andrea Marchesini. Lane's last concert performance was at Smilefest in North Carolina with Hellborg and Jim Britt.

Influences: Liszt, Tatum and Cziffra.

Axology: Vigier's guitars and Charvel guitars

Signature song(s): Gray Pianos Flying - Shawn Lane (Powers of Ten, 1992) and Art Tatum - Shawn Lane (The Tri-Tone Fascination, 1999)

Link(s): (Official website)

"Few, if any, guitarists can play faster than Lane could, and his arpeggio sweeps and precision-picked lines blasted more rapid-fire notes than the average human mind could comprehend" - Guitar World magazine

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Herman Li (DragonForce)

Name: 李康敏 (Lǐ Kāng Mǐn)
Born: 3rd October, 1976 (Hong Kong)

Profile: He is the lead guitarist, backing vocalist, musician, songwriter and producer in the power metal band "DragonForce". He speaks Cantonese, English and French fluently. Herman draws influences from rock, metal as well as video game music and mimics sounds from popular retro games from the late 80's, early-90's arcade and PC games. His playing style consists of fast descending and ascending licks, extreme use of the whammy bar, quick sweep picking and tapping on the higher frets.

It is a little known fact that Herman is left-handed but learned to play right-handed. Recently, he has begun to use a device called the Hot Hand that sits on his right hand like a ring, which causes extreme vibrato when shaken, giving him greater capacity to emulate certain video game sounds.

History: Herman is a self-taught musician, learning mostly from listening to his favourite music, watching videos and playing a lots of retro video games and arcades. After having played in a number of underground rock and metal bands in London, Herman decided the only way for him to move forward, is to form a band instead of joining one. In the summer of 1999, Herman found a number of musicians in the UK to kick start a new band now known worldwide as "DragonForce".

In between intensive world tours with "DragonForce", Herman found time to write a monthly guitar column in UK's 'Total Guitar' magazine. He has also given many guitar clinics around the world, showcasing his own approach to the instrument to help inspire guitarists around the globe. As well as evolving as a player, Herman likes to understand his instrument as much as possible. He is heavily involved in electric guitar development, working on new ideas to improve the instrument as much as possible.

Outside of music, Herman's interests includes technology, martial arts and when not touring, enjoys training in Brazillian Jiu Jitsu five days a week.

Influences: Oddly Herman draws influences from video game music and mimics sounds from popular retro games from the late 80's, early-90's arcade, and PC games, example; several Pac-Man-type noises in the song 'Through the Fire and Flames' on 'Inhuman Rampage'. In 'Black Fire', the middle of the solo sounds similar to music in the beginning of the game 'Double Dragon'.

Axology: Ibanez E-GEN Guitars, a 7-strings Ibanez 540S7, Ibanez Acoustics, Rocktron, DigiTech Whammy 2, Mesa Boogie Stereo 2 and Peavey 4x12 Straight cabinets

Signature song(s): Through the Fire and Flames - DragonForce (Inhuman Rampage, 2006) and Heroes of Our Time - DragonForce (Ultra Beatdown, 2008)


Sam Totman (DragonForce)

Name: Ian Samuel Totman
Born: 26th April, 1974 (London, UK)

Profile: He is a guitarist and main songwriter for the power metal band "DragonForce". A great guitar player with plenty of feelings in both rhythm and leads.

History: He began playing classical guitar at the age of 9 with formal musical training for many years. When he was 15, he started to have interest in Rock & Metal music, soon he got his first electric guitar.

In 1993, he was part of the blackened power metal band "Demoniac" in New Zealand, during this time, the band struggled to achieve real fame at all despite albums and re-locating to London. Due to this departure, the band split sometime in late 1999, shortly after the album 'The Fire and the Wind' was released.

Totman and some of the former "Demoniac" members went on to form power metal band "DragonHeart", which later became known as "DragonForce". Keyboardist Steve Williams and bassist Steve Scott left "DragonHeart" to form "Power Quest" with whom Totman recorded on their demo and first album, 'Wings of Forever'. Sam also provided guest instrumentation on the band's following album, 'Neverworld'.

Totman is the primary songwriter of "DragonForce", writing both music and lyrics for a majority of their discography. He is also known for his energetic live performances, as he usually pulls off several stunts, such as 'Tornado Split Jump'

Influences: Bon Jovi, Metallica, Slayer and Iron Maiden

Axology: Ibanez STM - Sam Totman Signature Model, Ibanez VBT700 Custom V, Jackson Custom Flying V and Kramer Vanguard

Signature song(s): Through the Fire and Flames - DragonForce (Inhuman Rampage, 2006) and Heroes of Our Time - DragonForce (Ultra Beatdown, 2008)

Link(s): (Official website)

Andy McKee

Name: Andy McKee
Born: 4th April, 1979 (Topeka, Kansas, USA)

Profile: He is an American fingerstyle guitarist currently signed to the American record label 'Candyrat Records'. His style of playing and his compositions have earned him a considerable international fanbase in late 2006.

History: McKee played his first guitar, an Aria nylon string bought by his father, at age 13 and began listening to metal, such as "Dream Theater". He described how he was a 'metal freak' during childhood, even performing a "Metallica" song in his high school talent show. It wasn't until he saw Preston Reed perform live at a clinic. McKee later bought an instructional videotape from Reed and began to learn more complex guitar techniques from it, he has stuck with acoustic music in his professional life.

In 2001, McKee independently released his first album 'Nocturne'. That same year, he was placed third at the National Fingerstyle Guitar Competition in Winfield, Kansas. In 2003, McKee toured in Taiwan with Jacques Stotzem, Isato Nakagawa, and Masaaki Kishibe, and earned first place in the 'Miscellaneous Acoustic Instrument' contest of the Kansas State Fiddling and Picking Championships.

In 2004, McKee released his second album 'Dreamcatcher', followed by 'Art of Motion' (2005) and 'Gates of Gnomeria' (2007). In 2008, he spent the majority on tour throughout the world, performing with other 'Candyrat' artists and promoting both 'Gates of Gnomeria' and his collaborative album with Don Ross.

In 2009, McKee announced that he was intending to finish touring and concentrate on recording his upcoming album titled 'Joyland'. In this album, there's also a new harp guitar tune and a couple of covers such as "Layover" by Michael Hedges and one of his favorite 80's tunes.

Influences: Eric Johnson, Dream Theater, Preston Reed, Tommy Emmanuel, Steve Lukather, Metallica, Joe Satriani, Iron Maiden, Pantera, Steve Erquiaga, Vince Di Cola, Toto, Peter Gabriel, Imogen Heap, King Crimson, Primus, Pat Metheny, Don Ross, Michael Hedges, Billy McLaughlin and Pat Kirtley

Axology: Greenfield G4 and GB Guitars, Lance McCollum Baritone Guitar, Ron Spillers Harp Guitars

Signature song(s): Drifting, Rylynn and Africa

Link(s): (Official website)

Friday, 16 April 2010

Tony Rombola (Godsmack/Another Animal)

Name: Tony Rombola
Born: 24th November, 1964 (Norwood, Massachusetts, USA)

Profile: He is a American musician who has been the lead guitarist for the hard rock band "Godsmack" since the mid 90's. Rombola has been cited as 'an extraordinaire' by 'Guitar World magazine', and is cited to be the only guitarist to keep an 'original soloing style' during the nu-metal period, earning him the respect of the guitar industry. He's also one of the most influential guitarists of the last decade and a guitarist for the side-project band "Another Animal".

History: He is a self-taught guitarist. He first picked up a guitar at age 11. According to his father, the first song he learned was a song by "Black Sabbath". The first introduction to rock music he encountered was the albums 'Led Zeppelin III', '2112' and 'We Sold Our Soul for Rock & Roll'. He also never took guitar lessons, he learned everything he knows from guitar magazines.

His first guitar was an Gibson SG copy, before moving to custom Gibson Les Pauls that he enjoys now. Early in the 90's, he played cover bands, funk, rock, classic rock, and metal, before meeting up with "Godsmack" vocalist Sully Erna and bassist Robbie Merrill while Rombola was playing the local circuit with some band playing covers of "Alice in Chains" and "Rage Against the Machine". They knew they needed someone with Rombola's skill to reach the success they have with "Godsmack".

In 1997, they recorded an EP which later became their self-titled debut album in 1998. Which went on to sell over 5 million copies in just a couple of years. The song 'Keep Away' was inducted into the top 100 greatest rock songs labeled under 'Guitar legends'. Recently, Rombola worked with Brain Coombes (Tristan Park) and Rocking Horse Studio, on the 'Prospect Hill Album'.

Influences: Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin

Axology: McNaught Guitars, Gibson Les Paul guitars, Ovation Balladeer 6751-CCB, Takamine Acoustic guitars, Yahama acoustic, Splawn Amplifiers (Splawn QR and Nitro) and Boss NS-2

Signature song(s): Keep Away - Godsmack (Godsmack, 1998), Trippin' - Godsmack (Awake, 2000) and I Stand Alone - Godsmack (Faceless, 2003)


Thursday, 15 April 2010

Malcolm Young (AC/DC)

Name: Malcolm Mitchell Young
Born: 6th January, 1953 (Glasgow, Scotland)

Profile: He is a musician, best known as a founding member, rhythm guitarist, backing vocalist and songwriter for the Australian hard rock band AC/DC. He has been with them since he co-founded the band in November 1973, apart from a brief absence in 1988. Malcolm has been described as the business and brains behind AC/DC. As the rhythm guitarist, he is responsible for the broad sweep of AC/DC's sound, developing many of the band's guitar riffs and co-writing the band's material.

History: Malcolm started learning guitar in an early age (back in those days, Melcolm's guitar was always played by his brother Angus without him knowing), he first played with a New South Wales band called "The Velvet Underground" playing cover versions of "T. Rex" and "The Rolling Stones" songs. After playing gigs with "The Velvet Underground" in most clubs, he and Angus formed AC/DC in 1973 and toured with singer Dave Evans a year later.

Guitar Player magazine has stated that the secret to Malcolm Young's guitar technique is playing open chords through a series of medium-sized amplifiers set to low volume with little or no gain. This is contrary to a common belief of rock guitarists that rhythm guitar should involve loud and overdriven power chords through large amplifiers.

Influences: Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry and B.B King

Axology: Gretsch 1963 Jet Firebird, Gretsch 1959 White Falcon and Marshall 100watt amplifiers

Signature song(s): Can I Sit Next To You Girl and You Shook Me All Night Long (AC/DC - Back in Black)


Eet Sjahranie (EdanE)

Name: Zahedi Riza Sjahranie
Born: 3rd February, 1962 (Bandung, Indonesia)

Profile: He is one of the top Indonesian guitarists and widely known as a guitarist of a popular rock band "EdanE". He is also a producer for various albums mainly local Rock artist. Rumors has it, that his last name 'Sjahranie' was taken from the surname of legendary guitarist 'Joe Satriani' as a symbol of recognition for his favorite idol.

History: His love in music started when he was just 6, with the help of great music from "Deep Purple", "Bee Gees", Jimi Hendrix, "Led Zeppelin" and "The Beatles", but after seeing guitarist Yon Koeswoyo of "Koes Plus" (legendary band from Indonesia) played guitar - it made him to take guitar as his instrument. His first guitar lesson was from a 'Parking-guy' in front of his school in Kalimantan, everyday after school, he and his friends will learn guitar lesson with the guy - from Folk songs, Dangdut and even Pop songs.

Eet also learned guitar lesson from his sister who studied classical guitar, he then realize with this extra knowledge in classical he wanted to explore more about this unique instrument. Knowing his commitment in this instrument, Eet's parents bought him his first electric guitar, with this new instrument he then started to explore and experiment all sorts of sounds.

In 1978, he joined 'Festival Band SLTA' in Jakarta, which won him the title "Best Guitarist of the Year", and then formed a band called "WOW", but when the band released their debut album, Eet went to the US to attend 'Workshop Recording Sound Engineering' for 3 months. When he went back to Jakarta, he met with Jockie Surjoprajogo, who invited him for the position of guitarist in "God Bless" (legendary Rock band from Indonesia) replacing Ian Antono.

As a guitarist, Eet wanted to release a solo album, he choose Ecky Lamoh as vocal, but Eet change the format of the album to a duo album with the title 'E and E', from the initials of Eet and Ecky. In the middle of recording, the both of them change their mind from a duo to a supergroup album by adding drummer Fajar S. and bassist Iwan Xaverius, and with this the band "EdanE" was formed.

Influences: Joe Satriani, Eddie Van Halen, Trevor Rabin, Angus Young, Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath), Albert Warnerin (Giant Step), Yopie Item, Gideon Tengker, Baron, Pay, Rama, Ivan (Boomerang), Ian Antono (God Bless) and Odink Nasution (Guruh Gipsy)

Axology: Radix guitars, Ibanez guitar, Gibson SG guitar, Cort KX Custom and Marlique GES Eet Sjahranie Signature Series

Signature song(s): Kau Pikir Kaulah Segalanya (EdanE - 170 Volts) and Borneo I (EdanE - Borneo)


Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Angus Young (AC/DC)

Name: Angus McKinnon Young
Born: 31st March, 1955 (Glasgow, Scotland)

Profile: He is a Scottish-born Australian musician and the lead guitarist, songwriter and co-founder of the rock and roll band "AC/DC". He is known for his wild, energetic performances, schoolboy-uniform stage outfits and the duck walk.

History: Angus first started playing on banjos but re-strung them with six strings. By the time he was 11, Angus had flirted with a tutorial course, but he preferred to learn by himself and most of his musical education was pure trial and error. In the beginning, Angus messed around with Malcolm Young's (brother) guitars for years before his mother finally bought him his own, a cheap little acoustic. At 16, a year prior to leaving school Angus had been practicing guitar almost constantly, jamming around with friends and playing at school dances.

As a teenager, he played in a band called 'Kantuckee'. He was 18 when he and his Malcolm formed AC/DC in 1973 with Angus on lead guitar, Malcolm on rhythm guitar, Colin Burgess on drums, Rob Bailey on bass guitar and Dave Evans on vocals (later replaced by Bon Scott). Angus tried a number of stage costumes, such as Spider-Man, Zorro, a gorilla, and a parody of Superman, named Super-Ang, before settling on his signature schoolboy look.

While AC/DC never strayed far from their original musical path, record and ticket sales continued to increase with each successive album and tour. With massive global success beckoning, AC/DC overcame a career-threatening tragedy in 1980 when Scott died from alcohol poisoning. But his replacement, Brian Johnson, fit in perfectly, as the group immediately issued their biggest hit of their entire career, the classic "Back in Black".

Most rock fans would agree that AC/DC guitarist Angus Young is one of the genre's most energetic and entertaining performers. It's impossible to imagine an AC/DC show without Angus bobbing his head up and down in time to the music, playing Chuck Berry's licks on his Gibson SG guitar, shirtless and drenched in sweat. And in addition to his manic stage persona, he's one of the best rock guitarists of all time.

Influences: Malcolm Young (brother), Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, Freddie King, Jimi Hendrix, John Lee Hooker, Keith Richards (Rolling Stones) and The Kinks

Axology: Gibson SG, Jaydee SG, Gibson Firebirds, Gibson ES-335 and Marshall model 1959 amplifiers

Signature song(s): Can I Sit Next To You Girl and You Shook Me All Night Long (AC/DC - Back in Black)


"We've been accused of making the same album over and over 12 times. But it's a dirty lie. The truth is, we've made the same album over and over 15 times"- Angus Young

Billy Sheehan (Talas/Mr. Big)

Name: William Sheehan
Born: 19th March, 1953 (Buffalo, New York, USA)

Profile: He is an American bassist known for his work with "Talas", Steve Vai, David Lee Roth, "Mr. Big" and "Niacin". Sheehan has won the "Best Rock Bass Player" readers' poll from Guitar Player Magazine 5 times for his "lead bass" playing style. Sheehan's repertoire includes the use of chording, two-handed tapping, right hand "three finger picking" technique and controlled feedback. However, Sheehan is also noted as a steady "true" bassist, fulfilling the traditional supportive role of the electric bass in the rock rhythm section.

History: Sheehan's first instrument was an acoustic guitar that he borrowed incessantly from his sister, he bought his first electric guitar soon after. However, when he saw Tim Bogert (Vanilla Fudge) using a Fender Precision bass with a maple fingerboard, he switched to the bass.

Billy Sheehan's first electric bass was a Hagström FB, which was soon sistered by a Precision bass similar to Tim Bogert's. After acquiring the Precision bass, he removed the frets from the Hagström. Over the years, he heavily modified the Precision bass as well, adding a neck pickup and additional support for the bolt-on neck, which Sheehan considers its greatest weakness. The neck pickup was added for what he referred to as "super deep low end" modelled after Paul Samwell-Smith (Yardbirds). The Gibson EB-0 type pickup in the neck and the original split Precision bass pickup each have their own separate output jacks on the bass itself, allowing for control of the tone via the bass. Sheehan also uses two amps to achieve his signature tone, one with full distortion and notch filtering to sound more guitar-like for solos, and one super clean for the low end of the neck pickup. This bass has been retired, but he affectionately refers to it as "The Wife".

Sheehan’s first full-time gigs came with "Talas", they played a mixture of cover songs and original material. They remained one of Buffalo’s most popular local bands for over a decade. Sheehan also played with a band called "Light Years" in the late 70's, though he eventually went back to "Talas" and played in a show that saw him acquainted with guitarist Michael Schenker, who would help him land a job touring with band "UFO" in 1983.

After the tour, Sheehan went on to play with metal band "Thrasher", though his involvement with them didn’t last. Eventually Sheehan was brought on board with David Lee Roth, as a guitarist for his second solo album. Sheehan helped with the album but left soon after, and by 1988 Sheehan and Paul Gilbert (Racer X) formed a new band called "Mr. Big".

Mr. Big met with some initial success, hitting hard with hits the likes of "Addicted to that Rush" and "To Be With You". After "Mr. Big" was disbanded, Sheehan continued to bop around with various bands until he debuted solo in 2001 with 'Compression'. A second solo album, 'Cosmic Troubadour', was released in 2005. Currently, he is doing clinics and workshops all around the globe with fellow virtuoso bassist, Dionald Tubang.

Influences: Tim Bogert (Vanilla Fudge), Johann Sebastian Bach, Jimi Hendrix and Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top)

Axology: Fender P-Bass, Yamaha Attitude series, Epiphone Rivoli EB232, Taylor AB3 and Alvarez Artist Acoustic Bass 4070BK

Signature song(s): See Saw (Talas), Shy Boy (David Lee Roth) and To Be With You (Mr. Big)

Link(s): (Official website)

Neil LeVang

Name: Neil LeVang
Born: 3rd January, 1932 (Adams, North Dakota, USA)

Profile: He is an American born musician who is best known from television's 'The Lawrence Welk Show', his played various strings instruments such as the guitar, violin and the banjo. He was also an accomplished studio musician, playing on several records for artists such as Glen Campbell, Frank Zappa, Bobby Darin, Bobbi Gentry, David Clayton Thomas, Neal Hefti "Batman Theme", Elvis Presley, Dean Martin, Neil Diamond and Noel Boggs.

History: Neil got his start playing the banjo and soon added guitar and violin. At the age of 15, he was playing with area bands and establishing himself as a versatile and accomplished stringed instrumentalist.

In 1948, Neil was playing appearing with Foy Willing and the "Riders of the Purple Sage", as well as Jimmy Wakely and several other country swing bands.

In 1951, Neil joined the US Coast Guard, which took him to Seattle. There he continued in the music scene playing with "Texas Jim Lewis and his Lonestar Cowboys". He also hosted his own radio show.

In 1959, he was hired as a temporary guitar and banjo player on the 'Lawrence Welk Show' when Buddy Merrill left to serve in the US Army. Welk was so pleased with his ability, that he hired Neil on a permanent basis when Buddy completed his tour of duty in 1961. Neil stayed with the 'Welk Band' until its final show in 1982. That same year, at the Country Music Association Awards he was nominated for best artist on a Speciality Instrument, the mandolin.

Neil also performed as a studio musician on many television shows including 'Little House on the Prairie', 'Ed Sullivan Show', 'Brady Bunch', 'The Monkees', 'Highway to Heaven', 'Green Acres', 'Petticoat Junction', and a host of 'Hanna Barbera' cartoons. He was the featured guitarist with Naomi and Wynonna Judd on the 1985 and 1986 Academy of Country Music Association Awards television broadcast.

Influences: Unknown

Axology: Fender Telecaster, Fender Stratocaster, Fender Jazzmaster,

Signature song(s): Ghost Riders In The Sky, Galloping Guitar and The Green Hornet Theme


Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Joni Mitchell

Name: Roberta Joan Anderson
Born: 7th November, 1943 (Fort Macleod, Alberta, Canada)

Profile: She is a Canadian musician, songwriter, and painter.

History: Mitchell began singing at the age of 9, and started in small nightclubs in her native Western Canada and then busking on the streets of Toronto. As a teenager, she taught herself ukulele and, later, guitar. She began performing at parties and bonfires, which eventually led to gigs playing in coffeehouses and other venues in Saskatoon.

In the mid 60's, she left for New York City and its rich folk music scene, recording her debut album in 1968 and achieving fame first as a songwriter and then as a singer in her own right. Finally settling in Southern California, she played a key part in the folk rock movement then sweeping the musical landscape.

In 1971, her starkly personal album 'Blue', is regarded as one of the strongest and most influential records of the time. Mitchell's soprano vocals, distinctive harmonic guitar style, and piano arrangements all grew more complex through the 70's as she was deeply influenced by jazz, melding it with pop, folk and rock on experimental albums like 76's Hejira. She worked closely with jazz greats including Pat Metheny, Wayne Shorter, Jaco Pastorius, Herbie Hancock and Charles Mingus.

While some of Mitchell's most popular songs were written on piano, almost every song she composed on the guitar uses an open, or non-standard tuning; she has written songs in some 50 different tunings, which she has referred to as "Joni's weird chords." The use of alternative tunings allows more varied and complex harmonies to be produced on the guitar, without the need for difficult chord shapes. Indeed, many of her guitar songs use very simple chord shapes, but her use of alternative tunings and a highly rhythmic picking/strumming style creates a rich and unique guitar sound.

Influences: Unknown

Axology: Steve Klein custom acoustic guitar and Martin D-28 acoustic guitar

Signature song(s): Both Sides Now, Big Yellow Taxi, Free Man in Paris and Hejira


"My style is quite different. People were always telling me I was playing things wrong" - Joni Mitchell

Pete Townshend (The Who)

Name: Peter Dennis Blandford Townshend
Born: 19th May, 1945 (London, England)

Profile: He is an English rock guitarist, keyboardist, vocalist, songwriter and author, known principally as the guitarist and songwriter for "The Who", as well as for his own solo career. His career with "The Who" spans more than 40 years, during which time the band grew to be considered one of the most influential bands of the rock era. Townshend has also been a contributor and author of newspaper and magazine articles, book reviews, essays, books, and scripts, as well as collaborating as a lyricist (and composer) for many other musical acts.

History: Born into a musical family, his father was a professional saxophonist in "The Squadronaires" and his mother was a singer, Townshend exhibited a fascination with music at an early age. In the mid 50's, he was drawn to American rock and roll. When he was 12, his grandmother gave him his first guitar, a single pickup Harmony Stratocruiser. He did, however, learn the banjo joining a traditional jazz band "The Confederates" playing with John Entwistle as trumpet.

From this beginning Townshend and Entwistle joined "The Detours", the lead guitarist Roger Daltrey at the time, sold him an Epiphone. In 1964, they renamed "The Detours" to "The Who". The band comprising Daltrey on vocals, Townshend on guitar, Entwistle on bass guitar and Moon on drums. The band raw and high-energy music, strongly influenced by American R&B, reflected the youthful frustration of their generation and became synonymous with the mod movement.

Townshend was to channel his self-expression through the group's overall sound, the songs he wrote for them, his rhythm guitar and his on-stage image. This separated him from most of his peers; Eric Clapton, for example, were very much lead guitarist. Townshend was not. Frustrated because he was unable to get the kind of sounds that Clapton could, he discovered his own solution.

One night, while he was on stage at a club in West London, he accidentally put the head of his guitar (a Rickenbacker) through the false ceiling above him, snapping off the neck. When the audience started to laugh, he smashed the rest of the guitar to pieces, picked up a 12-string guitar and continued to play for the rest of the show as if nothing had happened. Subsequently, ritualistic equipment-smashing became the climax of many of "The Who's" stage and television appearances.

By this time, Townshend, the inventor of the 'rock power chord' and a pioneer user of controlled feedback, had developed a unique playing style. Laced with on stage acrobatics and his trademark (windmilling arm motions), it provided a solid, powerful foundation for the rest of the band.

Influences: Link Wray, John Lee Hooker, Bo Diddley and Hank Marvin (The Shadows)

Axology: Emile Grimshaw SS De Luxe, 6-string and 12-string Rickenbacker semi-hollow electric guitars, Fender Stratocaster, Fender Telecaster, Vox Cheetah guitar, Gibson SG, Gibson Les Paul DeLuxe, Gretsch 6120 guitar, Guild acoustic, Takamine acoustic, Boss OD-1 overdrive pedal, T-Rex Replica delay pedal and Marshall amplifiers

Signature song(s): My Generation, Anyway, Anyhow, Anytime, I Can't Explain and Substitute


"... possibly the greatest live band ever" - Eddie Vedder

Monday, 12 April 2010

Iwan Hasan (Discus)

Name: Iwan Hasan
Born: Unknown

Profile: He is an Indonesian contemporary musician who plays harp guitar, a Jazz & Rock guitarist, contemporary classical composer, orchestral arranger, keyboardist and lead vocalist with the progressive rock music group "Discus". He is the one and only contemporary musicians that exist with harp guitar in Indonesia.

History: Started to learn music in an early age, and took it seriously when he studied Music in Wilamette University in Oregon, USA. Though, he was trained as a contemporary classical composer, he learn to experiment music in a 'rock' side of it, which most people now say "RIO".

In the early 90's, he formed a band called "Discus" as a lead guitarist and vocalist. Their album was released in 1998/1999 by Mellow Records.

Iwan Hasan gain fame after joining in a compilation album which consists of great guitarists in Indonesia, called "Gitar Klinik (1)". One of the song in this album entitled "Echoes Transcultural on 33 strings", produced a very beautiful harmonization by his harp guitar.

In 2008, harp guitarist Stephen Bennett, John Doan and Greg Miner produced an album titled "Beyond Six Strings". An album which involve 13 musicians of harp guitar - including Iwan Hasan

Influences: J.S. Bach, Bartok, Dusan Bogdanovic, Milton Babbitt, Leo Brouwer, John Cage, Chick Corea, John Coltrane, Debussy, John Doan, Jim Hall, McCoy Tyner, Steve Morse, Yes, Carlos Santana, Swingout Sister, Linkin Park, Vocal Jazz, Messiaen, Takemitsu, Ginastera, Penderecki, Charles Ives, Lou Harrison and Avro Part

Signature song(s): Contrasts (including the traditional theme "Gambang Suling") and Echoes Transcultural on 33 strings

Axology: 21-strings harp guitar built by luthier John Sullivan, Gibson Les Paul and Fender Stratocaster


"Iwan Hasan's 21-string harp guitar sounds truly wonderful" - Brandon Wu (Ground and Sky)

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Guitar Pro 6

Hello friends (^^,) as of 5th April,2010... the long awaited Guitar Pro 6 (GP6) has been released with a completely redesigned version. \m/(^_^)\m/

I recommend guitar players out there to try this software, personally me, myself have tried this software since GP3 back in early 2000's. I also recommend this software to my fellow students, families and friends. Though I haven't try GP6 yet, currently I'm still using GP5 but surely I will be getting GP6 anytime SOON!!!

This is not just a typical guitar tablature software where we learn how to read tabs, I have been using GP for almost everything;

1. From composing songs
2. Experimenting varies of sounds and tunings
3. Explore more about music theories
4. Extracting MIDI files to Music sheets (or the other way around)
5. Helping me to improve my playing skills by using 'Metronome'
6. And last but not least, IMPROVE MY PIANO SKILLS!!! (^^p)

Try it out friends, you won't regret it and I hope you will enjoy this new version.

More about Guitar Pro 6, check the official website;

George Harrison (The Beatles)

Name: George Harrison
Born/Died: 25th February, 1943 (Liverpool, England) - 29th November 2001

Profile: He was an English rock guitarist, singer-songwriter and film producer who achieved international fame as lead guitarist in "The Beatles". Often referred to as "the quiet Beatle". Following the band's breakup, he had a successful career as a solo artist and later as part of the supergroup "Traveling Wilburys", and also as a film and record producer. He was a close friend of Eric Clapton.

History: When Harrison was 14 years old, he bought a Dutch Egmond flat top acoustic guitar and learned the instrument seriously. While at the Liverpool Institute, he formed a group called "The Rebels". At this school he met bassist Paul McCartney, who played in a band called "The Quarrymen" and joined McCartney's band soon after.

Harrison became part of "The Beatles" when McCartney told John Lennon about his friend George Harrison, who could play 'Raunchy' on his guitar. Although Lennon considered him too young to join the band, Harrison hung out with them and filled in as needed. By the time he was 16, Lennon and the others had accepted him as one of the band.

Harrison left school at 16 and worked as an apprentice electrician at local department store for a while. When "The Beatles" were offered work in Hamburg in 1960, the musical apprenticeship that Harrison received playing long hours at the Kaiserkeller with the rest of the group, including guitar lessons from Tony Sheridan, laid the foundations of "The Beatles" sound.

When Brian Epstein became "The Beatles" manager in December 1961, he changed their image from that of leather-jacketed rock-and-rollers to a more polished look and secured them a recording contract with EMI. The first single, "Love Me Do", saw Harrison playing a Gibson J-160E, "The Beatles" had become famous and Beatlemania had arrived.

The popularity of "The Beatles" led to a successful tour of America. Harrison, whose role within the group was that of the careful musician who checked that the instruments were tuned, was developing into a musical director as he led the others into folk-rock, via his interest in "The Byrds and Bob Dylan" and into Indian music with his exploration of the sitar.

Harrison's guitar work with the Beatles was varied, flexible and innovative; although not fast or flashy, his guitar playing was solid and typified the more subdued lead guitar style of the early 60's. Harrison explored several guitar instruments, the twelve-string, the sitar and the slide guitar, and developed his playing from tight eight-bar and twelve-bar solos in such songs as "A Hard Day's Night" and "Can't Buy Me Love", to lyrical slide guitar playing.

Influences: Chet Atkins and Carl Perkins

Axology: Futurama/Grazioso guitars, Gretsch guitars, Gibson J-160E, Fender Stratocaster and Telecaster guitars and Vox amplifier

Signature song(s): My Sweet Lord and While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Link(s): (Official website)

Friday, 9 April 2010

Akira Takasaki's Killer guitars

Another of Akira's Killer guitar back in the 1980's

KG-Prime Mosaic
Brand/Model and Name : Killer guitar
Neck : Hard Maple and V shape
Fingerboard : Maple with 22 frets (length scale 648mm)
Body : Maple wood
Color : Mosaic
Controls: Master volume and pickup selector switch
Pickups : LQ-500 (Bridge) and Dyna-Bite (Neck)
Bridge: Original Floyd Rose

KG-Prime Red Flame
Brand/Model and Name : Killer guitar
Neck : Hard Maple, Through Neck with Wheel Truss Rod
Fingerboard : Hard Maple with 22 frets (length scale 648mm)
Body : Ash Top / Mahogany Back
Color : Blue and Red Flame
Controls: Master volume (Pull-Tap) and pickup selector switch
Pickups : Seymour Duncan SH-2 Jazz (Bridge) and Symour Duncan TB-14b (Neck)
Bridge: Original Floyd Rose

KG-Prime Rasta
Brand/Model and Name : Killer guitar
Neck : Hard Maple and V Shape
Fingerboard : Hard Maple with 22 frets (length scale 648mm)
Body : Ash Top / Mahogany Back
Color : Oil painted RASTA
Controls: Master volume and pickup selector switch
Pickups : LQ-500 (Bridge) and Dyna-Bite (Neck)
Bridge: Original Floyd Rose

KG-Prime Ice Burn
Brand/Model and Name : Killer guitar
Neck : Hard Maple with wheel Truss Rod
Fingerboard : Hard Maple with 22 frets (length scale 648mm)
Body : Acrylic Resin
Color : Clear
Controls: Master volume and toggle selector switch
Pickups : LQ-500 (Bridge) and Dyna-Bite (Neck)
Bridge: Original Floyd Rose


Bucky Pizzarelli

Name: John Paul Pizzarelli
Born: 9th January, 1926 (Paterson, New Jersey, USA)

Profile: He is an American Jazz guitarist and banjoist, and the father of jazz guitarist John Pizzarelli. The list of musicians Pizzarelli has collaborated with over his career includes Les Paul, Stephane Grappelli and Benny Goodman.

History: Born in a musical background, he started to play guitar in his early age, taught by his uncle every Sundays. Later those years, he ended up playing in little weddings and in high school, he formed a small group band which played classical music like "Vienna Woods".

His professional career started at 17 when he joined the "Vaughn Monroe" dance band in 1943, he toured and recorded with the band through 1951. Near the end of WWII, while in the military, he played in an unauthorized dance band. In 1952 he joined NBC as a staff musician and played in the "Doc Severinson Band" on the Tonight Show.

From 1956–1957, Pizzarelli performed with "The Three Sounds" trio along with bassist Andy Simpkins and pianist Gene Harris. He toured several times off and on with Benny Goodman.

In New York, Pizzarelli worked mainly as a freelance musician in the studios and he appeared on many recordings as part of the rhythm section. One of the era's most solid rhythm players, he was in high demand to provide propulsion and background for other musicians. He has brought forward the great chord solo tradition begun by George Van Eps and Dick McDonough. Like George Van Eps, Pizzarelli adopted the 7-string electric guitar.

His recordings as leader began to appear in the 70's with recordings like 'Green Guitar Blues'. On this recording Pizzarelli established a pattern he repeated throughout his career. Pizzarelli has carried forward other jazz guitar traditions as well.

Influences: Django Reinhardt, Freddie Green, George Van Eps, George Barnes, Tony Motolla, Artie Ryerson and Barry Galbrith

Axology: Archtop 1955 Gibson guitar and Benedetto Bucky Pizzarelli Signature 7-string guitar

Signature song(s): Love Songs and NY Swing


"I practice by playing - not scales" - Bucky Pizzarelli

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Johnny Winter

Name: John Dawson Winter III
Born: 23rd February, 1944 (Beaumont, Texas, USA)

Profile: He is an American blues guitarist, singer and producer.

History: Johnny Winter began performing at an early age with his younger brother, Edgar Winter, he were about 10 years old, playing ukelele and singing. His recording career began at the age of 15, when their band "Johnny and the Jammers" released 'School Day Blues'. During this same period, he was able to see performances by classic blues artists such as Muddy Waters, BB King and Bobby Bland.

In 1968, Winter caught his biggest break, when Mike Bloomfield (blues guitarists), who admired his playing, invited him to sing and play a song during a "Super Session" jam concert in New York. As it happened, representatives of Columbia Records were at the concert.

In 1969, his first album was released, featured the same core group called "Winter". The album's success coincided with Imperial Records picking up The Progressive Blues Experiment for wider release. The same year, the "Winter" toured and performed at several rock festivals, including Woodstock.

A year later, he recorded his second album in Nashville, after "Winter" disbanded and formed a new band called "Johnny Winter And".

In live performances, Winter often tells the story about how, as a child, he dreamed of playing with the blues guitarist Muddy Waters. By 1977, Winter got the chance to bring Waters into the studio for the 'Hard Again' album. The album became a best-seller, with Winter producing and playing support guitar - followed with two more studio albums with Muddy Waters.

Today Winter is enjoying an unparalleled resurgence performing to sold out shows worldwide even after a long life full of honors and accomplishments such as a triumphant appearance at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Festival. In a ceremony with Slash presenting in Nashville, Gibson Guitars released the signature Johnny Winter Firebird guitar that has been his beloved trademark for years. Always one for special appearances he recently performed with the "Allman Brothers" at the Beacon Theater in Manhattan on the 40th anniversary of their debut.

Influences: Muddy Waters and BB King

Axology: Gibson Firebird guitar

Signature song(s): "Dallas" (a striking acoustic blues), "Good Morning Little School Girl" and "It's My Own Fault"

Link(s): (Official website)

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Wayan Balawan (Batuan Ethnic Fusion)

Name: I Wayan Balawan
Born: 9th September, 1973 (Bali, Indonesia)

Profile: He is a producer, versatile guitarist that play many styles of music and a great solo performer. He has developed the ability to play a special and difficult form of tapping which involves chord and bass work with the left hand and tapped melody with the right hand, which resembles piano playing. Balawan is now considered as one of famous favorite jazz guitarist in Indonesia.

History: Balawan grew up amongst Balinese "Gamelan" music. At the age of 8 he began to play guitar and started to shred his guitar neo-classical "Malmsteen" style since he was 10 years old. And formed his first band at the age of 14 called "Maxel" and followed with "Trisum".

In 1993, he went to study jazz at the Australian Institute Of Music in Sydney for two years. In 1997, he went back to Bali and formed "Batuan Ethnic Fusion" (A mix of Balinese Gamelan and Jazz) and released an album in 1999.

In early 2000's, Balawan was quite busy performing his love with Jazz in festivals and tours all around the world, such as "Open Strings Guitar Festival, Germany" (2000), "East Meet West Gitarren Festival, Germany" (2000), "Hell Blues Festival, Norway" (2001), Australian tour (2005), "Pop Asia Fukuoka, Japan" (2005), "Quebec City Summer Festival, Canada" (2006) and "National University of Singapore Art Festival, Singapore" (2006). In 2007, he performed in Javajazz with "Balawan Trio".

Influences: Allan Holdsworth, Paco Delucia, John McLaughin, Steve Morse, Charlie Parker, Ian Antono and Indra Lesmana

Axology: Blueberry double neck acoustic guitar, Stephallen 13 Strings guitar, Ibanez Rhoadstar 1986, Fender Stratocaster, Digitech GNX 3000 and VOX amplifiers

Signature song(s): Morning Alarm and "Semua Bisa Bilang"

Link(s): (Official website)

"He's amazing. He came to my studio only with a drummer and he plays 1 guitar with 3 amplifier" - Mayzan

Tom Morello (RAtM/Audioslave)

Name: Thomas Baptiste Morello aka The Nightwatchman
Born: 30th May, 1964 (New York City, USA)

Profile: He is a Grammy Award-winning American guitarist, best known for his tenure with the bands "Rage Against the Machine", "Audioslave", his acoustic solo act "The Nightwatchman" and his newest group, "Street Sweeper Social Club". He is best-known for his use of guitar effects, his innovative guitar solos, his use of the tapping and his heavy-riffs. His guitar playing is also characterized by heavy use of guitar effects, such as delay, modulation, wah, harmonizers, distortion, feedback, and others in unique ways and combinations.

History: Morello attended Libertyville High School, where he was active in speech, drama club and sang in the school choir. He also met Adam Jones future member of "Tool". At age 13, Morello joined his first band; a Led Zeppelin cover band as the lead singer and purchased his first guitar. Around 1984, Morello first started studying the guitar seriously. He had formed a band in the same year called the "Electric Sheep" with long time friend Adam Jones (Tool) on bass, followed by his next band "Lock Up". At the time, Morello's musical tastes lay in the direction of heavy metal.

In 1991, Morello was looking to form a new band after "Lock Up" disbanded. He was impressed by Zack de la Rocha's freestyle rapping and asked him to join his band "Rage Against the Machine (RAtM)". He also drafted drummer Brad Wilk, who he knew from his band "Lock Up", the band's lineup was completed when Zack convinced his childhood friend Tim Commerford to play bass.

In 1992, after frequenting the L.A. club circuit, "RAtM" signed a record deal with Epic Records, and released their self titled debut. They achieved a considerable amount of mainstream success and released four more studio albums.

In 2000, "RAtM" disbanded, Morello, Wilk and Commerford went on to form "Audioslave" with former "Soundgarden" singer Chris Cornell, and released three studio albums. In 2007, "Audioslave" have broken up as a result of frontman Cornell's departure. The band reunited with Zack de la Rocha and resumed their previous band "RAtM".

Morello and "RAtM" has since continued to tour around the world, headlining many large festivals in Europe and the US, including Lollapalooza in Chicago.

Morello is less known for his folk music, which he plays under the alias "The Nightwatchman". In 2003, The Nightwatchman joined artists Lester Chambers (The Chambers Brothers), Boots Riley (The Coup) and Mike Mills (REM) on the Tell Us the Truth Tour. In 2007, The Nightwatchman released his debut solo album, "One Man Revolution".

Influences: Kiss, Iron Maiden, Alice Cooper, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, The Clash, The Sex Pistols and Devo.

Axology: Mongrel Custom named "Arm The Homeless", Fender Stratocaster named "Soul Power", Fender Telecaster named "Sendero Luminoso", Ibanez Artstar, Ibanez Talman, Gibson EDS-1275, Gibson Les Paul, Ovation Breadwinner, Digitech Whammy Pedal and Marshall JCM 800 - 2205 with Peavey 4x12 cabinets

Signature song(s): Killing In the Name - RAtM (Rage Against the Machine, 1992) and Like A Stone - Audioslave (Audioslave, 2002)


"It took a while for me to realize that I should concentrate on the eccentricities in my playing and find my own voice" - Tom Morello

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Kurt Cobain (Nirvana)

Name: Kurt Donald Cobain
Born/Died: 20th February, 1967 (Aberdeen, Washington, USA) – 5th April, 1994

Profile: He was an American singer-songwriter and musician, best known as the lead singer and guitarist of the rock band "Nirvana".

History: Cobain was raised by working-class parents, and his family had a musical background. Cobain began developing an interest in music early in his life. According to his Aunt, he began singing at 2 years old and at age 4, he began singing and playing the piano, writing a song about their trip to a local park. He would listen to artists like the "Ramones", "The Beatles" and the theme song to The Monkees television show at a young age.

In the 80's, he discovered punk, and his musical course was set, in 1983, he attended his first concert, it was Sammy Hagar and Quarterflash at the Seattle Center Coliseum. Cobain, however, claimed his first attended concert to be the "Melvins" - an experience of which he wrote prolifically in his Journals. As a teenager living in Montesano, Cobain eventually found escape through the thriving Pacific Northwest punk scene, going to punk rock shows in Seattle. Eventually, Cobain began frequenting the practice space of fellow Montesano musicians the "Melvins".

For his 14th birthday, Cobain's uncle gave him a guitar. He started by learning a few covers, including "Louie Louie" and songs from "The Cars", and soon began working on his own songs. During high school, Cobain rarely found anyone with whom he could play music. While hanging out at the "Melvins" practice space, he met Krist Novoselic, a fellow devotee of punk rock. Later, Cobain and Novoselic would occasionally practice and jammed together. A few years later, Cobain tried to convince Novoselic to form a band with him by lending him a copy of a home demo recorded by Cobain's earlier band, "Fecal Matter". After months of asking, Novoselic finally agreed to join Cobain, forming the beginnings of "Nirvana".

He was never a technical player, Cobain rarely relied on flash, preferring to make his point through dynamics instead, fleshing out his songs with judicious use of distortion and feedback. Even his "solos" tended to be self-effacing in the extreme; the guitar break in "Teen Spirit," for example, merely reprised the vocal line. But Cobain's deft use of harmony and lean, tuneful sense of line more than made up for any lack of chops, shoring up the songs so exquisitely that it was easy to overlook how elegant his playing was.

Influences: AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Kiss and Cheap Trick

Axology: Left-handed Fender Mustang, Ferrington Custom; Mesa/Boogie amplifiers

Signature song(s): Smells Like Teen Spirit and Come As You Are - Nirvana (Nevermind, 1991)


"I just can't believe that anyone would start a band just to make the scene and be cool and have chicks" - Kurt Cobain

Steve Cropper

Name: Steven Lee Cropper aka "The Colonel"
Born: 21st October, 1941 (Willow Springs, Missouri, USA)

Profile: He is an American songwriter, guitar player, arranger and record producer for many great soul artists like Wilson Pickett, Eddie Floyd and most notably Otis Redding.

History: In the early 50's, Cropper family moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where he exposed to local R&B music. At age 10 he strummed his brother-in-law's Gibson guitar, for the first time. Cropper received his first guitar aged 14 and started playing with local musicians.

Cropper formed "The Royal Spades", who eventually became "The Mar-Keys", referring to the marquee outside of Stax Records studio. Eventually The Mar-Keys began playing on sessions and had a hit single of their own with "Last Night" in 1961. Besides being impressed with the young guitarist's playing, Stax Records president Jim Stewart saw professionalism and maturity beyond Cropper's years, later Cropper became a founding member of the "Stax house band Booker T & the M.G.'s".

At this time Cropper's fame was not limited to the US. The Beatles favored Cropper's playing and his production on Otis Redding records. In fact John Lennon and Paul McCartney made tentative plans to record in Memphis and to work with him. However Brian Epstein canceled the sessions, citing security problems.

In 1969 Cropper released his first solo album "With a Little Help From My Friends". Later that year Cropper left Stax, to set up TMI studios, where he lent his guitar and producing skills to "Tower Of Power", John Prine, Jose Feliciano, "The second Jeff Beck Group", Ringo Starr and John Lennon.

In 1996, Cropper was named the greatest living guitar player by Britain's Mojo Magazine. When asked what he thought of Cropper, the guitarist Keith Richards (Rolling Stones) said "Perfect, man". In February 1998 Cropper released Play It, Steve! which included some of Soul music's most enduring songs.

In 2008, Steve Cropper tours Australia with Guy Sebastian playing on Guy's "The Memphis Album" tour, where he played guitar on the following promotional tour.

Influences: Lowman Pauling (The Five Royales), Jimi Hendrix and Syd Barrett

Axology: Fender Telecaster

Signature song(s): (Sittin' on) the Dock of the Bay and Soul Man - both songs performed by Otis Redding.

Link(s): (Official website)

"Just follow the dots and you can't get into trouble" - Steve Cropper


The Blues scale is similar to the Pentatonic scale, but with an additional lowered fifth. The lowered fifth, also known as the "blue note", is essential in blues music.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Frank Zappa (Mothers of Invention)

Name: Frank Vincent Zappa
Born/Died: 21st December, 1940 (Baltimore, Maryland, USA) - 4th December, 1993

Profile: He was an American composer, electric guitarist, record producer and film director. In a career spanning more than 30 years, Zappa wrote rock, jazz, electronic, orchestral, and musique concrète works. He also directed feature-length films and music videos, and designed album covers. Zappa produced almost all of the more than 60 albums he released with the band "Mothers of Invention" and as a solo artist.

History: In his teens, he acquired a taste for percussion-based avant-garde composers such as Edgard Varèse and 50's rhythm and blues music. He began writing classical music in high school, while at the same time playing drums in rhythm and blues bands — he later switched to electric guitar.

After a brief period working in the advertising industry, he wrote the music for several less-then-celebrated movies. His soundtrack to Run Home Slow earned him the money to buy a small recording studio where he recorded a band called the "Omens" - whose members went on to form both the "Mothers of Invention (MoI)" and "Captain Beefheart's Magic Band".

Zappa's break came in 1966 when Tom Wilson, heard Zappa's band playing in LA and wanted to record them. The result was the "MoI"'s ground breaking debut album "Freak Out" and followed "Absolutely Free" in 1967.

After the first two "MoI" albums, Zappa released his first solo record: "Lumpy Gravy". The album that followed "Hot Rats", was the first to feature the extended guitar soloing that has since become a trademark. It also contains some of his most highly rated guitar playing.

Zappa was a highly productive and prolific artist and he gained widespread critical acclaim. Many of his albums are considered essential in rock and jazz history, and he is regarded as one of the most original guitarists and composers of his time; he remains a major influence on musicians and composers. He had some commercial success, particularly in Europe, and for most of his career was able to work as an independent artist.

Influences: Johnny Guitar Watson, Guitar Slim, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Matt Murphy, Jeff Beck, John McLaughlin and Brain May (Queen)

Axology: Gibson ES-5, Gibson Les Paul, Gibson SG, Fender Stratocaster and Marshall 100-watt heads; Mu-Tron Bi-Phase

Signature song(s): Inca Roads - Frank Zappa (One Size Fits All, 1975)

Link(s): (Official website)

John Petrucci (Dream Theater)

Name: John Peter Petrucci
Born: 12th July, 1967 (Kings Park, Long Island, NY, USA)

Profile: He is an American guitarist and songwriter best known as a founding member of the progressive metal band "Dream Theater" (DT), along with his bandmate Mike Portnoy, John has produced all DT albums since their 1999 release.

History: John began playing guitar at age 12 and quickly realized that music was his passion and that the pursuit of excellence on his instrument would consume him for the years to come. To that end, he practiced for at least 6 hours a day in an effort to further his understanding and technical abilities as a guitar player.

At age 18 after graduating from high school, he attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston along with schoolmate John Myung (bass), where they met future bandmate Mike Portnoy (drums). These three in addition to another childhood friend of John, Kevin Moore (Keyboards), formed the band "Majesty", which would later become Dream Theater.

In 1998, while DT is what John is most commonly associated with, he released "Liquid Tension Experiment" and "Liquid Tension Experiment 2" respectively, along with DT bandmates Mike Portnoy and Jordan Rudess and the inimitable Tony Levin on bass. Both albums would not only prove to be worthy and enjoyable side projects, but also favorites among fans worldwide and he also appeared as a guest on several records by other artists such as the "Explorer's Club".

In 2001 he was invited by Joe Satriani and Steve Vai to tour with them on the popular G3 guitar tour, which exposed him to a massive number of new fans and inspired him to record a solo album.

In 2005 John released his first and much anticipated solo album titled, "Suspended Animation" on the Sound Mind Music label. The self-produced album of all instrumental guitar music featured Dave LaRue on bass and Dave DiCenso on drums.

John proceeded to take his band on a very successful musical journey including many gold and platinum CD and DVD releases as well as extensive world tours. He would go on to receive many notable awards in the various guitar publications throughout the world, including most recently the 2007 "Guitarist of the Year" as named by the readers of Total Guitar magazine.

Influences: Steve Morse, Al DiMeola, Steve Howe, Allan Holdsworth, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Randy Rhoads, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Alex Lifeson, Yngwie Malmsteen, Rush, Yes, Iron Maiden, The Dregs and Metallica.

Axology: Ibanez guitars, JPX guitar by Music-Man, Road King Series, Marshall JMP1 amplifiers

Signature song(s): Pull me Under - Dream Theater (Images and Words, 1992) and I Walk Beside You - Dream Theater (Octavarium, 2005)

Link(s): (Official website)

Saturday, 3 April 2010

John Lee Hooker

Name: John Lee Hooker
Born/Died: 22nd August, 1917 (Clarksdale, Mississippi, US) - 21st June, 2001

Profile: He was an American blues singer-songwriter and guitarist, and rose to prominence performing his own unique style of what was originally closest to Delta blues. He developed a 'talking blues' style that was his trademark. Though similar to the early Delta blues, his music was metrically free.

History: Hooker were home-schooled and were permitted to listen only to religious songs - with his earliest exposure. In 1922, his stepfather William Moore (a blues singer) provided Hooker with his first introduction to the guitar and whom he would later credit for his distinctive playing style - playing a droning, one-chord blues that was strikingly different from the Delta blues of the time.

In 1941, he settled in Detroit, worked with local bands and got his first electric guitar from T-Bone Walker, which he used to record his first USA hit "Boogie Chiliun" in 1948.

Hooker recorded over 100 albums. He lived the last years of his life in the San Francisco Bay Area where, in 1997, he opened a nightclub in San Francisco's Fillmore District called "John Lee Hooker's Boom Boom Room", after one of his hits.

He fell ill just before a tour of Europe in 2001 and died soon afterwards at the age of 83. The last song Hooker recorded before his death was "Ali D'Oro", a collaboration with the Italian soul singer Zucchero, in which Hooker sang the chorus "I lay down with an angel".

Influences: William Moore (stepfather)

Axology: Stella acoustic with a pickup, Gibson Les Paul, Epiphone Sorrento, Fender Twin

Signature song(s): "Boogie Chillen" (John Lee Hooker-The Ultimate Collection, 1948) and "Boom Boom" (1962).

Link(s): (Official website)

"The blues don't have no changes. The hard blues, the natural blues, the soul blues, they ain't got no changes. It's not in the book" - John L. Hooker

Friday, 2 April 2010

Abu (May)

Name: Nasir
Born: 1966 (Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia)

Profile: He is the lead guitarist and co-founder of the Heavy Rock band called "May". He is also a session musician and composer. He is also the nephew of the legendary late M. Shariff.

History: He was raised in a musical background where his uncles and cousins played guitar which influenced him to play the instrument, and took classical music at Yamaha Music school in Ipoh - taught by legendary music guru Thomas Hank.

He started to play guitar seriously in 1983, and played with various other bands such as "Exit". In 1986, he and drummer Man formed "May" where their always play gigs in a local club named Tiiwangsa and always did an opening act for the Metal Glam band "JSY", in the same year "May" entered a local "Battle of the Bands" type contest called 'Juara Rock' - which their won in first place.

In 1987, "May" released their debut album "Dilema" which hit the charts with their signature songs "Sketsa sebuah Cinta" and "Cintamu Mekar di Hati" in their second album "Hakikat".

Currently, Abu is busy with "May" and as a secessionist for other bands and artists.

Influences: Pink Flyods, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Creed, Metallica, Kitaro, Megadeath, Slayer, Loudness, King Diamond, Eric Clapton, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Eddie Van Halen, Jimmy Page, Queen and John Lennon (The Beatles)

Axology: Ibanez guitar, Epiphone guitar and POD Line 6

Signature song(s): Sketsa sebuah Cinta - May (Dilema), Cintamu Mekar Di Hati - May (Hakikat), Sendiri - May (Hakikat) and Jemu - May (Penaklukan)


Thursday, 1 April 2010

Mus Mujiono (The Hands)

Name: Mus Mujiono
Born: 15th March, 1960 (Surabaya, Indonesia)

Profile: He is a famous Indonesian Jazz musician, guitarist, composer and also a singer. A multi talented musician who controlled almost all musical instruments. He is widely known as a guitarist who have guitar skills called "Scating", it is a harmonization of guitar melody that is consistent with the tone coming out from the mouth. He learned this technique from the world jazz musician, George Benson.

History: Mus was exposed to music in his early age, he started as a drummer in his teens with his brother's band the legendary Mus Mulyadi in the early 70's, he later found out that drums is not his thing and replaced it to guitar due to his love in Jazz music and started his own band called "The Hands".

After "The Hands" disbanded, Mus went solo as a national and international session musician. In 1988, he released his first solo album called "PERTAMA" and his second album "SUARA HATI" in 1992.

In 1995, he and bassist Jantje Manusama formed a band "Funk Section", where Glenn Fredly became famous as a young upcoming singer.

In 2009, Mus released a new album titled "Mus Mujiono Journey". This album is an appreciation of Mus Mujiono's music career in indonesia's music industry since the 80's.

Influences: George Benson

Axology: Unknown

Signature song(s): Arti Kehidupan - Mus Mujiono (Yang Pertama, 1988)


Jason Newsted (Metallica/Voivod)

Name: Jason Curtis Newsted
Born: 4th March, 1963 (Battle Creek, Michigan, USA)

Profile: He is an American bassist best known as the former bassist of "Metallica" after Cliff Burton's death. After he left "Metallica", he continued with his project "Echobrain", played with Ozzy Osbourne and joined heavy metal band "Voivod". He is also the founder of the Chophouse Records studio and label based in California.

History: The early part of Jason's music career had him performing bass for "Flotsam and Jetsam". Following the death of "Metallica's" bassist Cliff Burton in 1986, "Metallica" began a search for a new bassist. Jason auditioned for the part along with roughly 39 other musicians and in winning the role, his first live performance with Metallica was at the Country Club in California.

In 2001, Jason left "Metallica" and joined Canadian thrash metal band "Voivod" in 2002. Coincidentally, he was also Robert Trujillo's replacement in Osbourne's band (having switched sides) during Ozzfest 2003, which included "Voivod" as a Second Stage act. Jason then focused solely on "Voivod" where the group was funded entirely through him. They recorded two albums before Jason's participation in Rock Star Supernova, a supergroup created through the reality television series, Rock Star: Supernova, in 2006.

Influences: Unknown

Axology: Aria Pro II SB1000 (originally owned by Cliff Burton), Fender 1958 Precision Bass, Sadowsky bass, Mesa/Boogie and Ampeg SVT cabinets.

Signature song(s): One - Metallica (... And Justice for All, 1988) and My Friend of Misery - Metallica (The Black Album, 1991)


Slash (Guns N' Roses/Velvet Revolver)

Name: Saul Hudson
Born: 23rd July, 1965 (Stoke-on-Trent, England)

Profile: He is a British-American musician. Best-known as the former lead guitarist of the hard rock band "Guns N' Roses" (GNR), with whom he performed and recorded between 1985 and 1996, he later formed the eponymous "Slash's Snakepit" and co-founded "Velvet Revolver" with his former bandmates.

History: As a young boy, Slash was influenced by a musical school teacher who had a Gibson Les Paul guitar and was always playing "Cream" and "Led Zeppelin" songs, he straight away wanted to be a guitarist.

After deciding to form a band with friend Steven Adler, Slash decided to pick up the bass guitar as Adler had declared himself lead guitarist. Slash stopped in at Fairfax Music School and told the receptionist he wanted to play the bass, and at that time met his teacher who told him that in order to learn he would need a bass of his own. Slash went home and asked his grandmother and was given a worn-out, single stringed flamenco guitar. After hearing his teacher play "Brown Sugar" by ear, Slash realized that the guitar was his calling.

In 1983, Slash formed the band "Road Crew", a Motörhead tribute band, with childhood friend Steven Adler. He placed an advertisement in a newspaper for a bassist, and received a response from Duff McKagan. When "Road Crew" disbanded, Slash joined a local band known as "Black Sheep", the band shared an agent with another new group known as "Hollywood Rose".

In 1984, both bands opened for "Stryper". After the show, Slash and lead singer Axl Rose were introduced to one another by a friend. The two quickly became friends, and several months later, Slash and Steven Adler were invited to join with Axl Rose, Duff McKagan and Izzy Stradlin as the band "Guns N' Roses (GNR)".

After his departure from "GNR", Slash focused on his side-project, Snakepit, playing a few tour dates before disbanding the group in 1998. Over the next decade, Slash became an in-demand session musician, recording music with the likes of Alice Cooper, Sammy Hagar, Insane Clown Posse, Ronnie Wood, Bad Company, Cheap Trick, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson.

In 2002, he reunited with Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum for a tribute concert. Realizing they still had the chemistry of their days in "GNR", they decided to form a new band together. The band that featured Slash, McKagan, and Sorum also featured former Stone Temple Pilots singer Scott Weiland and "Velvet Revolver" was born.

Influences: Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton and Django Reinhardt

Axology: 1985 Gibson Les Paul Standard; Marshall 100-watt Jubilee heads and Crybaby wah-wah.

Signature song(s): Sweet Child O' Mine - Guns N' Roses (Appetite for Destruction, 1988) and November Rain - Guns N' Roses (Use Your Illusion I, 1991)


"..... My basic roots come from a certain hard rock background. You can do a million things with that base" - Slash