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The Winners of the Gibson Gear Humbucker Contest Are…

11.19.2007

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Fifty years ago Gibson introduced the mighty humbucker, setting the standards for pickup design forever after. To celebrate that milestone in guitar history, Gibson Gear hosted the Gibson Gear Humbucker Contest. More than 54,000 people entered to win two pairs of Patent Applied For Gibson humbuckers—the sparkling ’57 Classics and the gritty Burstbuckers. Three lucky winners took home a Gibson Gear prize pack.
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Gibson Talks to Chris Adams: The Inventor of the Robot Guitar’s Self-Tuning System

Ellen Mallernee
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11.19.2007

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The idea for Gibson’s revolutionary Robot Guitar auto-tuning system came to Chris Adams in a fit of frustration. Aggravated that he couldn’t keep his guitar in tune and that he was spending so much time trying to, the twenty-something turned to the Internet to see if there were any automatic tuning systems on the market. Dissatisfied with what he found, he imagined a system that would automatically tune a guitar in no-time-flat. That got him thinking about other possibilities too: a system that could switch effortlessly between multiple tunings, keep a guitar perfectly intonated, and even change strings for you.
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Getting Inside Seal's System

Aidin Vaziri
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11.19.2007

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Seal has avoided the spotlight for the last couple years, but he seems to be making up for lost time. Since the release of his fifth studio album, System, Seal has been garnering some of the best reviews of his career. On his first collection of new material since 2003’s Seal IV, the three-time Grammy winner moves away from the wind-machine driven ballads that made him a worldwide sensation in favor of a return to his dance-rock roots, offering up a set of sleek, shimmering songs produced by Madonna's Confessions On A Dance Floor collaborator Stuart Price. Speaking to Gibson last week, the singer-songwriter and ES-335 player offered a simple reason for the album's creative triumph. "I wrote all of it on guitar," Seal said. "If the songs couldn't stand up with just vocal and guitar then I wasn't interested in putting them on the album. You can dress them any way you want but the songs must be strong enough. Once you have those you can do anything with them."
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Wes Montgomery’s L-5 Fetches $41,125 at Auction

Sean McDevitt
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11.16.2007

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The 1961 Gibson L-5 CES Custom that Wes Montgomery is pictured with on the album Movin’ Wes brought $41,125 at auction last month by Massachusetts-based Skinner, Inc., a sale price that exceeded expectations. The guitar (No. 38024), which was later owned by jazz great George Benson, was used by Montgomery on the ’64 classic Movin’ Wes as well as the albums Goin’ Out of My Head (1965) and A Day In the Life (1967). It sports a Florentine cutaway and was estimated to bring up to $30,000.
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Coachella and Stagecoach Announce Dates; Rumors and Reunions Abound

Josh Baron
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11.16.2007

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The countdown to two of the best music festivals has begun. Goldenvoice Concerts, one of the nation’s top promoters, announced next year’s dates for its two biggest festivals—2008 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, now considered California’s signature music festival, and the second installment of the highly successful Stagecoach Country Music Festival, which is fast becoming one of country music’s must -see events. Both festivals will take place on consecutive weekends at the same venue. Coachella, which is now a three-day event, hits the Indio polo field in Indio, Ca., on April 25-27. Stagecoach rolls into town on May 3-4.
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From the Archives—Hubert Sumlin: Raised By Wolf

Ari Surdoval
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11.16.2007

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"This is where the soul of man never dies." —Sam Phillips, on first hearing Howlin' Wolf Just back from the Grammy Awards, where he was nominated for Best Traditional Blues Album for About Them Shoes, Hubert Sumlin is many years and many miles away from the dusty roads of Hughes, Arkansas and the moment that changed his life forever. He recalls it vividly, though. "The first time I saw Wolf, he passed by our house going to this place in Arkansas to play," Sumlin says. "I was really young, probably 11 or 12. I knew where he was playing and I hitchhiked about five miles to the Mississippi River to see him. I crawled into the place and all these ladies was standing up and I couldn't see, so I went to the door and they threw me out. And I crawled back in under these peoples' legs and they threw me out again. So I went around and stacked up some Coca-Cola crates that they had in the back so I could see. Somebody snatched them crates and I fell down right onto Wolf's head. He said, 'Ladies, bring my son here a chair.' He called me his son, man. He sat me down between him and Willie Johnson and played. He wouldn't let me get up, wouldn't let me get a drink, do anything. When I went to the bathroom, he sent somebody with me and then set me back down. He said, 'Son, you're gonna sit and listen and then I'm gonna take you back home to your momma.' He was like a father to me. I stayed with him for 25 years."
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Florida Woman Sets Record for Continuous Piano Playing on a Baldwin SD10E

Gabriel J. Hernandez
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11.15.2007

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Pat Jones has been playing the piano for a long time—quite literally, a very long time. That’s because for the last three days, Jones has been sitting at the helm of a Baldwin SD10E concert grand, securing her place in the Guinness World Records by playing it continuously for a record 65 hours, which bested the old mark by one hour. She began her attempt at 11 am (EST) on November 12, and finally went home today. “I needed an operator to handle all the calls I’ve received about this event,” said Teresa Foster, owner of Teresa’s Piano Gallery, Jacksonville, Fla.’s exclusive Baldwin dealer, and the site of Jones’ record-breaking attempt. “She really wanted to break the record on a Baldwin, and I’ve got the nicest stage, and the nicest Baldwin pianos in town.”
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Player Profile: Citay (Free MP3 Download!)

Russell Hall
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11.15.2007

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BAND: Citay HOMETOWN: San Francisco, California PLAYERS: Ezra Feinberg (vocals, guitars, mandolin, piano, synthesizers, percussion), Tim Green (guitars, pianos, synthesizers), Warren Huegel (drums), Diego Gonzalez (bass), Tahlia Harbour (backing vocals), April Hayley (backing vocals), Adria Otte (violin), Jesse Reiner (Moog synthesizer), Julie Napolin (flute) WHAT TO BUY: Little Kingdom, the band’s second album, is rife with languid, pastoral compositions redolent of the early ’70s post-hippie prog-rock heyday. Layered guitars, vintage synthesizer sounds, and gauzy vocal harmonies abound—all giving rise to melodies played out in cinematic fashion. Feinberg, who writes all the music, admits that his richly textured, neo-psychedelic compositions cut against the grain. “There was a moment that had to do with psychedelic culture where longer songs—songs that were more involved compositionally—were popular,” he says. “But that moment came and went very quickly. I don’t think people’s attention spans have changed much in the past 50 years, when it comes to tastes in music. The three-minute pop song trumps all.”
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In Memory: The Way Hank Thompson Did It

Jerry McCulley
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11.15.2007

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When Hank Thompson died on November 6 after treatment for lung cancer, he left behind a musical legacy that was more rewarding and long-lived than mere units sold and chart positions. While those numbers are impressive – Thompson tallied some 60 million record sales during his lifetime, racking up three score Top 40 hits between 1948 and 1980 – his true musical legacy lies not only in those gritty, honky tonk-rooted sides, but the generations of performers Hank’s music influenced as well. The “Country Outlaw” movement that powered Willie and Waylon to superstardom in the ’70s owed much of its freewheeling charm to the musical and personal attitudes that powered Thompson’s own songs, performances that continue to inspire contemporary country stars like Dwight Yoakam, Brooks & Dunn, and George Strait. Lyle Lovett, who performed a duet with Thompson a decade ago on the tribute album Hank Thompson and Friends recalled after the singer’s passing that he "was a true gentleman. I feel honored to have known him and to have gotten to sing with him. As a performer, anytime you get the chance to work with a legend is a real privilege."
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Gibson Tone Tips: It All Starts with the Wood

Dave Hunter
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11.15.2007

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However much you swap your guitar’s pickups, strings, and wiring configuration, tweak your amp, or revamp your pedalboard, you will never achieve the golden tone that rings in your head if you don’t take one tip to heart: it all starts with the wood. Sure, these are electric guitars, and all the electronic components in the sound chain will affect what comes out of the speaker, but they are acoustic machines first and foremost. Hit the strings with your guitar unplugged, and it still rings and resonates, and the sound you hear—even with no electronic devices attached—still defines the core of your tone. And to make sure this is the right tone for you, or to avoid fighting a tone with endless component tweaks that never seem to satisfy, you need to understand a little bit about how all that wood sounds.
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