Total Guitar

Total Guitar May 2021

Total Guitar is Europe’s best-selling guitar magazine, crammed full of songs to learn plus backing tracks. From the latest metal and indie hits to classic rock from the likes of Led Zeppelin and AC/DC, TG has more songs than ANY other guitar magazine!. Please note: This digital version of the magazine does not currently include the covermount items or content you would find on printed newsstand copies

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in dieser ausgabe

1 Min

I’m sure you’ll have noticed our bold claim of a ‘new’ generation of acoustic guitarists on this month’s cover. Truth be told, I’m always a little nervous of using the word ‘new’ when it relates to music. Even the greatest musical visionaries are products of their influences, so what does new even mean for us guitarists? Well, to put it in perspective, this month we’ve interviewed Ben Howard and John Smith – two new-school folk artists and leading exponents of contemporary progressive acoustic guitar. We’ve brought them together to talk about their latest albums and how they’ve both come full circle, seeking simpler approaches in their playing and experimenting sonically to find new, interesting sounds. It’s the songs that matter for Ben and John, and the gear they’re both using is…

1 Min
beauty in tension

Some of the greatest albums of all time turn 50 years old in 2021 – among them The Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers, Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On, Led Zeppelin’s fourth, and Joni Mitchell’s Blue. The latter has long been acclaimed as a peak of Joni’s career, and in terms of her guitar playing it was just the beginning of her tuning adventures. Blue features extraordinary choices: DADAAD on Carey, Open A major 9 (E-A-C#-G#-B-E) on California, and open A b (A b -A b -E b -A b -C-E b ) on This Flight Tonight. They allowed extended chords that are inaccessible in standard tuning. Joni resented the ‘folk music’ label; her use of harmony was far more expansive. Despite her complex chords, it wasn’t jazz either—Mitchell compared her use of harmony to…

2 Min
“a real buzz!”

Scottish rock band Mason Hill scored a major breakthrough last month when with their debut album Against The Wall entered the UK’s Official Rock & Metal Album Chart at #1. And this achievement is all the more remarkable for a band on an independent label. The last new British independent act to achieve this feat was Lonely The Brave back in 2014. Against the Wall also landed at #19 on the main UK album chart, and as the band’s guitarist James Bird tells TG: “It’s been an absolute huge effort from all involved, from the band, everyone behind the band and the fans. It’s superb.” The album’s success is good news for the UK rock scene and for guitar music in general. It follows an uncertain 2020, when Mason Hill’s future looked…

2 Min
pop art

In just the first few months of 2021, we’ve already seen some ridiculously sweet six-string releases from Fender, including the Mike McCready 1960 Stratocaster, 1969 Ford Mustang Resto-Mod and the Spark-O-Matic Jazzmaster. But the company may have outdone itself with the new Prestige Collection, an annual exercise whereby the Fender Custom Shop’s Master Builders are given a challenge to “build a guitar with no boundaries.” The result is the Prestige Collection, consisting of one electric guitar or bass creation per Master Builder. This year’s lineup features mouth-watering models with enticing names like Leaves of Tears, Sugar Surprise Strat and Tapestry Telecaster, among others. The aforementioned Sugar Surprise Strat was inspired by LA-based artist Pamelina, who approached approaching Paul Waller with a project of a guitar that lights up. The idea was to…

3 Min
“i feel like i’ve completed my tone mission”

The last couple of years have arguably been the most prolific of John Petrucci’s career to date – with Dream Theater’s 14th album Distance Over Time followed by his first solo album in 15 years and now the long-awaited return of instrumental project Liquid Tension Experiment (featuring ex-DT drummer Mike Portnoy). By John’s own admission, the studio he works from – which also serves as Dream Theater’s HQ – has started to feel like a second home... On this new album, Liquid Tension Experiment 3, we’re guessing you stuck with your signature guitars and amp… “Yes. After all these years of developing the guitars, amps and pickups with Ernie Ball Music Man, Mesa/Boogie and DiMarzio, I’ve gotten to this perfect place. Starting with my solo album and then moving onto this, I feel…

2 Min
“i call it modern pop blues”

On the debut album by Scottish four-piece The Snuts, lead guitarist Joe McGillveray is adding new pages to the indie guitar rulebook. Influenced first by his father’s record collection and then by plenty of indie rock from the early 2000s, this largely self-taught guitarist has a knack for catchy lead lines and layered riffs. In describing his style, Joe says: “I call it modern pop blues”. As he recalls “The natural thing to do when I was younger was to put blues licks in every single space”. Nowadays his relationship with the genre has matured into an ability to interact with Snuts frontman Jack Cochrane’s vocals in a way that evokes classic call and response, but with added pop catchiness and a very modern feel. Sensitive to compositional dynamics, he says:…