I’m pleased to say I’ve started writing again for Guitarist magazine and its associated website, musicradar.com. Years ago, I contributed a regular monthly column, and now I’m back writing features that look quizzically into the nooks and crannies of guitars old and new. I’ll post details below of my work for Guitarist as it’s published. But before I go, I looked up the last column I wrote for Guitarist back in the day, and it ended like this: << You’re never too old to stretch your imagination or broaden your knowledge. Memory can be a factor in all this, or rather which bits of your imagination and knowledge you choose or manage to remember. One famous musician I interviewed told me of a secret fear. He was terrified that one day he’d wake up, pick up his guitar… and wonder what on earth it was for. Er, which end do you blow down, then? >>
Relics: The Art of Ageing … A browse through the history of the relic guitar, where brand new instruments are roughed up to simulate the effects of ageing. See Guitarist‘s February 2020 issue.
I write features for Guitar Magazine and its website, guitar.com. Recently, I put together six oral histories of classic guitars, from the Les Paul to the Rick 12, based on my interviews archive. I’ve also written some general features, from a Jimmy Page guitar-ography (is that a word?) to a Leo Fender birthday profile. To help you find out more, you might want to pay a visit to an index of my stuff at GM‘s guitar.com site—click here to take a look at what’s on offer—or, if you prefer, you’re quite welcome to have a good old rummage below, where you’ll find direct links to all of my individual articles.
● ORAL HISTORIES …
A series of six features that tell the story of some classic guitar models, all drawn from my interviews old and new.
An Oral History of the Fender Stratocaster has extracts from my interviews with Jeff Beck, Bill Carson, George Fullerton, Dale Hyatt, Karl Olmsted, Don Randall, and Forrest White. Read it online here.
An Oral History of the Fender Telecaster rounds up extracts from my interviews with James Burton, George Fullerton, Dale Hyatt, and Don Randall. Read it online here.
An Oral History of the Gibson ES-335 boasts extracts from my interviews with Larry Carlton, Luther Dickinson, Don Felder, Mark Knopfler, Seth Lover, Phil Manzanera, Ted McCarty, Eddie Phillips, and Mike Voltz. You can read it online here.
An Oral History of the Gibson Les Paul features extracts from my interviews with Billy Gibbons, Ted McCarty, Jimmy Page, and Les Paul. Read it online here.
An Oral History of the Gibson SG gathers extracts from my interviews with Tony Iommi, Johnny Marr, Ted McCarty, Tony McPhee, Barry ‘The Fish’ Melton, Jimmy Page, Les Paul, and Derek Trucks. You can read it online here.
An Oral History of the Rickenbacker 12-String features extracts from my interviews with Suzi Arden, Dick Burke, Mike Campbell, Francis (F.C.) Hall, John Hall, Roger McGuinn, and Mike Pender. You can read it online here.
● OTHER FEATURES …
Abuse & Misuse of Gear … From slicing speaker cones with razorblades to turning guitars into splinters in a collision of angst and art, a short guide to six-string rule-breaking. Read it safely here.
Fender’s Search for the Next Great Guitar … This is a look at the brand’s ongoing quest for a mix of features that might provide the next Strat or Tele. Read all about it here.
Jimmy Page’s Led Zeppelin Guitars … Here’s a trip through the instruments Jimmy used in his career as Zep went from club gigs to superstardom. Read it here.
Leo Fender: The Guitar Genius Who Couldn’t Play a Note … I wrote this succinct profile of the great man in 2019 on what would have been his 110th birthday. Click here to read it now.
Rare Bird: The Gretsch White Penguin Story … The scaled-down sibling of the White Falcon is one of the coolest Gretsch models of all time, though on launch it proved almost as flightless as its namesake. Read it here.
Signature Guitars: From Les Paul to Rob Chapman … The history of more than a century of artist models, from guitars for vaudeville stars to YouTube phenoms who build new brands. You can read it here.
I write interviews for Sound On Sound (SoS). As I’m sure most of you will know, SoS is a well produced and long-running magazine that covers everything about audio recording technology. I’ve always been interested in how people use recording gear to make great records, so when the idea came up to start a series of interviews for SoS, it seemed a good opportunity to investigate the all-important human side of the process. Many of us love to explore the ins and outs of new and vintage gear, but the best kit in the world will prove useless if there aren’t talented people about who can make sure the lovely tech is put to artistic ends. Anyway, have a look below and you’ll find links to my SoS interviews so far.
● Dave Cobb: Producer & Engineer … The producer of Rival Sons, Jason Isbell, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and more talks to me about RCA Studio A, great mic pre-amps, and Grammy awards. SoS link here.
● Greg Fidelman: Producer: Enter Soundman … Recording Metallica and the 80-piece San Francisco Symphony orchestra live at 2019’s S&M2 concerts for the subsequent movie and audio releases. SoS link here.
● Laura Sisk: Engineer … Laura talks in detail about her work on Lana Del Rey’s Norman Fucking Rockwell album, and along the way notes the value of keeping noise in its place. SoS link here.
● Devin Townsend: Musician & Producer … An interview about the scope and limits of sonic ambition, notably as it relates to Devin’s typically adventurous 2019 album Empath. SoS link here.
● Butch Walker: Producing Green Day … When a band have been producing their own hits for a decade, it takes a brave producer to jump into the hot seat. That brave man is Butch Walker. SoS link here.
● Matt Wiggins: Recording & Mixing Engineer … Matt discusses the ins and outs of working with everyone from Paul McCartney to Adele, from The Horrors to Usher. SoS link here.
● Steven Wilson: Remixing Classic Albums … A wide-ranging chat about Steven’s work polishing records by King Crimson, Roxy Music, Jethro Tull, Yes, XTC, Tears For Fears, and more. SoS link here.