HBS Zoom G5 Guitar Multi-Effects & Amp Simulator

Zoom G5What do Dave Mustaine, Wayne Krantz and Eric Struthers all have in common? They are fans of the Zoom G5. Be careful… if you take a closer look at this multi-effects pedal, you might be too.

It’s amazing how multi-effect technology keeps on progressing. Zoom’s new G5 is yet another impressive unit that delivers an overwhelming amount of value and flexibility. I have to rave about one feature first: the multi-dimensional expression pedal. In addition to moving the pedal up and down, you can twist it to the right or left. Do the math…. yes, significantly expanded levels of expression and real-time parameter changes. The end result is that you can assign up to four parameters to the expression pedal. Nuts.

Based on their popular G3 model, the G5 is a great balance of digital processing and what can feel like old-school stomp boxes. I say “feel like” because while there are not actually any stomp boxes under your feet, the G3 is designed in such a way that the experience is the same. This is not just because there are four heavy-duty switches, but also because each one has three real control knobs, each with its own small LCD display. Needless to say, this is all highly programmable. Once again, do the math. There is an insane amount of fiddlin’, tweakin’ and savin’ available here.

There is a 12AX7 tube built into this pedal, which is cool. But what’s really cool is that it can be turned on or off with the flick of a switch.

There are too many impressive features to list here, but the few other ones that really impressed me are:

  • Up to nine simultaneous stomp-box effects
  • 16dB boost via foot-switch, with dedicated tone control
  • More than 120 effects
  • More than 150 patches designed by well-known guitarists
  • Up to 60 seconds of looping / phrase recording
  • More than 40 drum patterns
  • Balanced XLR output
  • Free “Edit & Share” software that allows you to send your custom settings to friends

There is a lot to shout about here. The most important detail is, of course, the sound, which is great. Zoom has done a nice job of crafting analog sounds out of digital models.

Zoom G5 Product Page:


Zoom G5 Guitar Multi-FX Processor Demo – Sweetwater Sound – YouTube
Eric Struthers, guitarist with Aaron Neville Quintet does a really nice job of discussing and demonstrating the G5. Not only the different sounds, but he explains why some of the features are particularly useful for him. This is a really helpful video because as a working musician, his discussion is as “real world” as it gets.

Dave Mustaine Demos the Zoom G5 Guitar Effects & Amp Simulator Pedal – YouTube

Dave Mustaine intro overview of the G5 is great. He explains all of the high-level features and what makes this pedal such a standout. What makes this video pretty cool is that in the second half, his guitar tech walks you through a few patches. It’s interesting to get his perspective because he gets into a very technical discussion of various parameters. Even if you are not a Dave Mustaine fan, this is a good video for getting a nice demo of the pedal.

Wayne Krantz demos the Zoom G5 Guitar Effects & Amp Simulator pedal @ Sound Service TV – YouTube

The intro is a little unusual. Wayne seems like a slightly odd bird, but he’s a pretty monster guitar player, and that’s what counts. Here he demonstrates some of his favorite sounds from the G5. The video gives you a pretty good sense of what the pedal is capable of. Wayne is a highly respected guitarist, so I’d say this is a pretty big endorsement.


Seymour Duncan SHPR-1s P-Rails – a P-90 and a Strat Pickup in a Humbucker-Sized Package

in Pickups.

Seymour duncan hpr p-railsIf your guitar has humbucker-sized mountings, yet you dream of the sounds of a P-90 or a Strat, the Seymour Duncan SHPR-1s P-Rails can make this a reality.

First things first: If you are looking for a full-fledged humbucker, go out and buy a full-fledged humbucker. Just wanted to put the whole “…well, it’s not really a real humbucker” argument aside. This pickup is meant for folks who have a humbucker-fitted guitar, yet are looking to get P-90 and or Strat tones out of it.

Some might say: “well, why don’t you just put a P-90 or a Strat pickup in the guitar?”

A: Because some folks cannot or do not want to make such a change. A perfect example would be a Les Paul or SG, which if already routed for a humbucker, is not a good candidate for further cutting.

So, if you have to stay with your humbucker-sized mounting, the SHPR-1s P-Rails from Seymour Duncan is lovely. All three of the sounds in this pickup are terrific. Keep in mind though, when you are in “humbucker” mode (i.e. both coils in series), this one is not going to sound like a normal full-fledged humbucker. It’s not. You will still have that “Strat-ish” kind of sparkle and snap, but then again, that is what you came here for.

Search eBay for Duncan shpr-1s

Keep in mind that you will need to get jiggy with a mini-toggle switch (double-pole / double-throw is probably your best bet) and a soldering iron. But let’s assume you are, or you know someone trustworthy who is. Once you pop these babies in and wire ‘em up, you are in for some pretty fun stuff. P-90 kinda stuff, Stratty bell-like charm, and fun combinations of both are on the menu. Of course if you play a Les Paul Jr or a Strat, when then… duh! But if you are stuck with a mucho-macho humbucker-focused guitar and really want to get these two classic sounds under your fingertips, the Seymour Duncan SHPR-1s P-Rails are a brilliant product that kill two birds with one stone.


Rock Solid Guitar Stands – All Wood Guitar Rack Sees Solid Growth

in Parts.
Rock Solid Guitar Stands

Rock Solid Guitar Stands – All Wood Guitar Rack

We just received an update from the awesome folks at Rock Solid Guitar Stands:

Designed by a collector tired of a chaotic studio and cluttered living space, Rock Solid Guitar Stands is an emerging brand nationwide. They are designed not only to safely organize and protect guitars, but to showcase your collection and compliment the home as a piece of furniture. Rock Solid is the first multi-guitar stand made of real wood in its price range, allowing our audience to range from young adults to veteran collectors.

Along with the aesthetically pleasing design of the stands, each model is adorned with soft neoprene foam on the bottom rails and neck slots to allow optimal protection. All models have adjustable floor risers, wood veneer covers and a light birch plywood center. Our stands are even safe on nitrocellulose finishes! Rock Solid is a classic piece of furniture for your home, with three quintessential finishes including dark cherry, honey and ivory.
The three models available today are the Classic 4, Show 5 and Classic 6—each of which holds electric or acoustic guitars, basses, banjos or similar instruments.

  • The Classic 4 is for the collector with limited space, holding four guitars and measuring at only 33” wide x 28” high x 18” deep.
  • The Show 5 is our most unique design; fitting five guitars and giving you space to show off your favorite and have it accessible at all times.
  • The Classic 6 holds six guitars, measuring at 44” wide x 28” high x 18” deep. These saving-space designs give our customers a distinctive place to organize and admire their collections.

Rock Solid Guitar Stands has captured the attention of the industry through exceptional reviews from Premier Guitar,, Home Recording Weekly, The Fret Wire, Guitar Noize and a five star rating from blogger Sean Maine. In merely two years, Rock Solid Guitar Stands has amassed a loyal following of over 3,000 users combined on Facebook & Twitter.

Rock Solid is the ultimate multi-guitar stand doing double-time as a space-saver and quality piece of furniture.

Contact: Jeff Negrin
Tel: 516.764.0400

Official website/Online shop:
Available Online: &


Dimarzio’s “Pickup Picker” makes choosing the right product a snap

in Pickups.
Dimarzio Logo

Dimarzio’s “Pickup Picker” is quite useful

Instead of browsing through multi-level menus, find the right Dimarzio pickup in three easy steps.

Pickup makers such as Dimarzio and Seymour Duncan are great. They make high-quality products at a reasonable price. But sometimes, it is not easy to find the right pickup to suit your needs. Maybe you are a Telecaster player, but which Tele pickup should you buy? Vintage? Noiseless? 7-String? Ugh… there number of variables adds up quickly. Then you have to consider what kind of body wood are using, what is the problem you are trying to solve? Overall sound character? {insert migrane headache here]. Understandably, deciding which awesomely amazing guitar pickup to buy is a challenge. There is some good news though:

Dimarzio has done a nice job with their new “Pickup Picker”. This web site feature prompts you for very simple and easy-to-understand questions, and based on your answers, recommends three pickups. The whole “Step 1, step 3, step 3” approach really works. I gave it a spin today and here is a rundown of my experience:

Step # 1: Select a size. There are only two choices: “Humbucker” or “Strat”, simple enough.

Step # 1

Step # 1

Step # 2: Choose the pickup position: “Bridge”, “Middle” or “Neck”.

Step # 2

Step # 2

Step # 3: Answer several very basic questions.

Step # 3

Step # 3

View your suggestions: After clicking the “Find my pickup” button, the pickup picker shows you your suggested products, with links to each one:

Dimarzio's Pickup Picker's suggested choices

Dimarzio’s Pickup Picker’s suggested choices


Making the right choice with regards to your new guitar pickups can be an overwhelming experience. Dimarzio’s Pickup Picker is pretty cool. What impressed me most is that they made it simple, simple simple. Any time you see a 3-step approach to any consumer-related product, you know that some thought has gone into usability.

Here is a link to the Dimarzio Pickup Picker:

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What is the Relative Major / Relative Minor?

in Theory.
Sheet Music

What is the Relative Major / Relative Minor?

Understanding this relationship can help improve your soloing, and lead to new sounds


In western tonality, we use the system of “Keys.” Each key has a number of associated sharps or flats that comprise the overall 7-note structure of the key. The exception is C-Major, which has no sharps or flats. An easy way to visualize C-Major is to imagine playing only the white keys on a piano. All of these white keys are in the key of C-Major. Every other key utilizes at least one of the black keys, meaning that they have at least one sharp or flat note.

In the same manner, every minor key uses one or more sharps or flats. The exception is A-Minor, which like C-Major, has no sharps or flats. If you imagine that same piano, and play only the white keys, you are playing in A-Minor. The logical question is: “Well, if I play only the white keys on a piano, am I playing in C-Major or A-Minor?” The answer is: You are playing in both keys.

Short Answer

Every major key has a “Relative Minor” key that uses the exact same 7 notes. Conversely, every minor key has a “Relative Major” key that uses the exact same 7 notes.

So, the next question might be: “Should I even care about this?”

The answer is: “Definitely”

Digging Deeper

Don’t worry, I have good news, and better news. First the good news: It is insanely easy to determine the relative major or minor key on a guitar. Can you count to “Three”? If so, great. If you need to know the relative minor key of a major key, just pick a note on the fretboard that represents the root note of your major key. I always envision the low-E string as it is simplest to view in your mind. Ok, so if you are in the key of A-Major, picture the “A” note on the 5th fret of the low-E string.  Now count down three frets. Three frets down from the 5th fret is the 2nd fret. The 2nd fret on the low-E string is “F#”. So, “F#-Minor” is the “Relative Minor Key” of A-Major. This means that if your band is playing in F#-Minor, you can play any note in A-Major. Conversely, if your band is playing in A-Major, you can play any note in F#-Minor.

New Sounds

The better news is that once you internalize this relationship, you have a tool that really allows you to broaden your palate a bit. For example, in my mind, when a band is playing in a major key and I ahve to solo, I always feel that it is a bit boring to solo in a major scale against the same major key. So I immediately think “relative minor” and solo in F#-Minor. Not every single note sounds perfect all the time, but with a little practice, you can really develop a libraby scales and patterns based on a relative-minor key. In my opinion, when you use the relative minor scale to solo against a major groove, it immediatey takes on a bit more of a “modal” sound. Once you can really switch back and forth between the major scale and the relative minor scale when you solo, you will really notice a difference in many different “moods” you can create using this approach.

Improved Chord Vocabulary

Even better news: This technique can really open up doors with regards to your chord work. Imagine again that the band is playing a goove in A-Major. If they are grooving on a A-Major chord, they are gooving on “The One” or “The Tonic”. This can get very boring very fast is you are only playing an A-Major chord over the groove. So, play the relative minor chord! Against that A-Major groove, an F# minor can sound very cool when voiced right. Imagine that you are playing an A-Major root-position cord as follows: D-string: 7th fret, -D-string: 6th fret, B-string: 5th fret. Add the G# on the high E-string (4th fret). You now have an F#-m9 chord. Tell me that does not sound much much cooler than just playing an A-Major chord. The best voicing for this chord would be to eliminate the A note (D-string, 7th fret). So, now you are playing only C#, E, G#. This is not only the top portion of an F#-m9 chord, but it is also a root position C#-Monor chord.


What I hope is becoming apparent at this point, is that when you start to examine the relationship between the relative major and relative minor keys, you will realize that there are all kinds of relationships between different chords that enables to you quickly develop alternate chord voicings that will not only help to liven up a boring groove, but also allow to you develop a broad range of sounds that you can use in solos or chords that become your tool-set.