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Thursday, 28 November 2013 18:05

FM Cables at London Bass Guitar Show 2014

FM Cables will be exhibiting at the London Bass Guitar Show 2014

The London Bass Guitar Show has been confirmed for 2014 and is set to be the biggest and best yet. On the 1-2 March 2014, some of the best bass players in the world will be descending on the London Olympia to promote the art of bass playing to the general public.

UK bass players will have the opportunity to observe first-hand the latest products and gear, watch the world’s top players and attend master classes and clinics, all under one roof. Your ticket gives access to everything for the day – there are no hidden costs.

Previous shows have included the likes of Mark King, Gary Willis, TM Stevens, Paul Turner, Marco Mendoza, Yolanda Charles, Doug Wimbish, Neil Murray and Dave Marks, Peter Hook, Igor Saavedra, Wojtek Pilichowski, Guy Pratt, Andy Irvine, Jonas Hellborg, Grog & Die So Fluid, Malcolm Joseph, Andrew Levy, David Ellefson, Jah Wobble, Lee Rocker, Nate Watts and Phil Mulford.

See you all there.

FM Cables.

Published in FM Cables
Tuesday, 19 February 2013 16:04

DAVID ELLEFSON ADDED TO MAIN STAGE LINE-UP

One of the most legendary and innovative bass players in metal, David Ellefson will be appearing on the Main Stage on Sunday 3 March in addition to his Masterclass on the previous day.

His Sunday presentation will be a mostly spoken-word event and is set to be the perfect opportunity for visitors to ask him about his world-class picking style, how he builds bass parts and other related gear and technique issues, as well as Megadeth’s recent Grammy nomination and the band’s forthcoming album (and first since their switch to Universal), Super Collider.

Now we know there’s a bit of a clash with Nate Watts but we couldn’t miss an opportunity like this! If you want to see both artists don’t fret – they’re both at the show on both days so get yourself a Weekend Ticket and have your cake and eat it!

Published in FM Cables

Be part of the audience of a live taping of Apple's "Meet the Author" series featuring Guitar World Tech Editor Paul Riario.

Riario will present a live overview of Guitar World Presents the Best Instruction Book Ever. He will share highlights from the iBook and do a little jamming of his own.

This event will take place 7 p.m. Tuesday, February 19, at the Apple Store in SoHo, 103 Prince St., New York. Space is limited, so get there early.

About Guitar World Presents The Best Instruction Book Ever!’

Have you ever imagined playing the blues like Eric Clapton, shredding like Eddie Van Halen or strumming like Paul Simon? The editors of Guitar World, the world's best-selling guitar magazine, will help you make your dreams come true, even if you've never played guitar before. In Guitar World Presents The Best Instruction Book Ever!, you'll find everything you need to learn to play like a pro, including:

• Essential guitar instruction-from first chords and scales to advanced tricks and techniques for rhythm and solo playing.
• The chords, scales and electrifying riffs used in your favorite blues, classic rock, country and heavy metal songs.
• An easy TAB system that shows you which strings to fret and pick.
• Hundreds of full-color photographs and diagrams.
• Audio and video for every lesson in the book.
• Plus, tips and encouragement from guitar legends like Pink Floyd's David Gilmour, ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons, Queen's Brian May and B.B. King!

About Paul Riario

For many, Paul Riario is the face of Guitar World magazine. Over the past decade he has appeared in countless online video segments, where he has reviewed the latest and greatest guitars, amps and effects for GuitarWorld.com. A great player in his own right, Riario is the man behind the hands seen in most of this book’s pictures and videos. Riario also is a member of the band RadioNashville.

Published in FM Cables

Tony Iommi, who is knee-deep into recording Black's Sabbath's new album, 13, is already looking beyond that project to something new — a riff-based album with Queen guitarist Brian May.

The idea behind the album, as reported by RollingStone.com this morning, is that fans would be able "build their own songs" around Iommi's and May's unused material.

May mentioned the project in UK music magazine Kerrang! in a feature where fellow musicians were able to ask the guitarist questions. Iommi's question to May was, "When are we going to get to work on that album of riffs together? You know what I'm talking about." May's answer: "Yes, I do know what he's talking about, and I'm very, very keen. The record he's talking about what supposed to be a secret, but I guess he's blown it now."

The idea came to May during a recent visit to Iommi's studio, where the pair discussed the sheer amount of unreleased material the Sabbath guitarist has accumulated over the decades. "I thought it would be great to make a compilation out of them," May said. "The idea was to put all these riffs out in some form so that people could build their own songs from them. You could make your own music with Tony Iommi on guitar!"

Beyond that, the details are sketchy. There is no planned release date or label — or even verification that the project will actually take place. Iommi still has to get through the Sabbath sessions. The band's new album, 13, is expected to be released in June.

To watch Black Sabbath in the studio, check out the behind-the-scenes video the band posted earlier this week:

 

Published in FM Cables
Monday, 04 February 2013 15:17

How to Play Like Stevie Ray Vaughan

It’s definitely true that Stevie Ray Vaughan is one of my all-time favorite guitarists.

Ironically, I was never really into Stevie while he was alive. Then, shortly after he died, I got hold of a video of him playing a live show and was just totally blown away by his timing, his tone, his feel, his vibrato, his phrasing — everything. Some people are just born to play guitar, and Stevie was definitely one of them.

The VH1 Behind the Music program on Stevie showed some old footage of him playing guitar when he was a little kid— he was so good it made me want to cry.

It’s difficult to emulate SRV’s tone because his hands and soul had so much to do with it. Having said that, in my opinion, if there’s a player whose sound you really admire, you might be able to emulate his tone by investigating the gear he used. For example, if you really want to get a sound similar to Stevie Ray’s, then buying a Les Paul and a high-gain Marshall stack definitely isn’t the way to go, because that’s not even close to what he used.

However, you might get close if you buy a Strat—and probably even closer if you buy a vintage Strat [Fender offers an SRV signature model Strat that’s based on his legendary “Number 1” guitar, which was a 1959 body with a 1962 Rosewood neck and a left-hand tremolo unit—GW Ed.]. You’ll get even closer if you get a vintage Strat and a vintage Fender amp, because that’s what he used. I also know that Stevie used an old Ibanez Tube Screamer and a Vox Wah, too.

Another real big factor in Stevie’s killer tone was the gauge of his strings and how hard he used to play. A lot of people try to do the SRV thing using a set of .009s, and you just can’t do what he did with slinky strings like that. Stevie used real heavy strings—.013 (high E) to .058 or even .060 (low E). So, to get even close you need to start with at least a set of .011s.

In addition to using heavy strings, you also really need to attack the guitar if you want to get that big, percussive sound Stevie had. He was a super-aggressive player, and he didn’t really pick from his wrist—he picked with his entire arm! If you watch video footage of him, you’ll see exactly what I mean. Stevie also used a lot of downstrokes and a lot of that “string raking” thing too (more about this technique in a moment), which really added to the unique rhythm and lead sound that he got. Of the newer blues players out there, Kenny Wayne Shepherd definitely has that heavy string, high action, percussive attack thing happening—and he does it really well, in my opinion.

Like all great players, Stevie’s style contained a bunch of cool nuances—some of which are really hard to nail. Take the intro riff to “Scuttle Buttin’ ” [Couldn’t Stand the Weather] for example. I’ve been messing around with it for years but I still can’t play it with Stevie’s feel. There’s a weird slide he does near the beginning that I just can’t get exactly right, no matter how hard I try. I can play the riff note-for-note, but there’s that little nuance that I just can’t get, and I’ve been chasing it for a long time.

String Raking


As I just mentioned, SRV often used a technique called string raking, which is a relatively easy way to spice up your lead playing. As you’re about to discover, it’s kind of like percussive sweep picking. FIGURE 1 shows a simple C minor blues lick that starts with a string rake. To play this, mute the A, D and G strings by lightly resting your left-hand index finger across them, then quickly rake your pick across them using a single, smooth downstroke that ends with the half-step bend at the 10th fret on the B string. Adding this simple move to the lick definitely adds extra emotion, attitude and emphasis to the lick—try playing it without the rake and you’ll hear what I mean.

Quarter-tone Bends

Another SRV move that definitely adds both bite and a nice bluesy tension to a solo is to bend certain notes just a tad so they end up sitting right between two notes. FIGURE 2 is an A minor run that features this technique. As you can see, the second-to-last note you play, the C note at the 5th fret on the G string, is bent up a quarter step so that it sits right between C and C#. Great blues players do this kind of thing all the time, and Stevie was especially good at it—hell, he’d even add a quarter note bend to notes he’d already bent up by one or even two steps. FIGURE 3 is a Stevie Ray style, bluesy, E minor lick that utilizes both of the techniques we’ve just discussed—string raking and quarter-tone bends.

Vibrato


Being able to shake a note in a way that compliments both the song and the mood of the solo is a highly expressive art that Stevie Ray Vaughan definitely perfected. I especially love his vibrato because it is so damned wide and muscular. Unfortunately, this technique is almost as difficult to describe as it is to do. So, to learn more about this, I recommend that you listen closely to his albums and also watch videos of him in action, zoning in on what he does with his left hand. Check out SRV’s Live at the El Mocambo video—it’s a jaw-dropping experience and, if you watch closely, you’ll learn a lot.

Published in FM Cables

Life Without You: Thirty years ago, Stevie Ray Vaughan took the world by storm with Texas Flood. As Sony releases the ultimate anniversary edition of that album, we celebrate the phenomenal rise of the last great blues guitar hero of the 20th century.

In May 1983, only days before Stevie Ray Vaughan was scheduled to play his first concert with David Bowie on the Serious Moonlight tour, his career had reached a fork in the road.

Texas Flood, his debut album with his band Double Trouble, was in the can and set for release the following month, but the tour with Bowie, which was scheduled to last until the end of the year, threatened to postpone his ability to effectively promote the album until 1984. Facing a choice between increasing his exposure as a supporting member of Bowie’s band or supporting his solo career on his own while the album was still fresh, Vaughan chose the latter.

The choice was not as difficult as it might have seemed initially. According to Chesley Millikin, who was Vaughan’s manager at the time, Bowie’s management reneged on an agreement to allow Double Trouble to open select dates on the tour, and even prohibited Vaughan from doing interviews without prior permission, which made it difficult for Vaughan to even talk about Texas Flood.

Then there was the issue of Vaughan’s pay. While the $300-per-show rate was the same as what other members of Bowie’s band were being paid, and was certainly not out of line for a supporting touring musician in the early Eighties, Millikin thought that Stevie deserved more. It seemed arrogant and reckless for Millikin to demand higher pay for a relatively unknown musician than the seasoned pros in Bowie’s band, but when Millikin pointed out that Bowie was being paid $1.5 million for a headlining appearance at the US Festival, it made Bowie look unreasonable and cheap.

In the end, Vaughan wasn’t actually given a choice between staying with Bowie or bowing out. Millikin made the decision for him moments before Bowie’s band boarded a bus headed to the airport to catch a flight to Brussels, Belgium, where the tour’s first show was scheduled. Bowie’s tour manager was instructed to remove Vaughan’s bags from the bus, leaving a confused Vaughan on the sidewalk, wondering what he was going to do next. Millikin’s decision turned out to be the right one, however, as Vaughan earned instant notoriety for allegedly telling Bowie to take a hike while gaining the freedom to concentrate fully on promoting Texas Flood and giving his burgeoning career the full attention it needed.

While it would have been fascinating to hear Vaughan jamming on Bowie classics like “Station to Station,” “Rebel Rebel,” and “Fashion,” had he remained with Bowie the world would have been deprived of his now-legendary show at the El Mocambo Tavern in Toronto, his pairing with Albert King for the Canadian In Session broadcast, and his first appearance on the Austin City Limits television program. We also would have missed his fiery performance at Ripley’s Music Hall in Philadelphia, originally broadcast on WMMR radio and officially released for the first time on Sony’s new 30th Anniversary Legacy Edition of Texas Flood.

It’s likely that, even if he had remained with Bowie, Vaughan would have risen to premier guitar-hero status upon the release of Texas Flood. The album was about as perfect a showcase for his immense talents as he could deliver. Recorded in just two days, Texas Flood essentially captured Vaughan and Double Trouble performing a live set at a magical moment in Vaughan’s career, where his seasoned performing experience, fresh excitement over new opportunities and desire to make a definitive statement coalesced.

“Stevie said that we waited all of our lives to make that first record,” Double Trouble bassist Tommy Shannon says. “After that, making records was work.”

“We didn’t know we were making a record,” adds Double Trouble drummer Chris Layton. “We basically played all the songs we had been playing at the gigs. We’d record something, listen to it, and if it sounded good we’d go on to the next song.”

Published in FM Cables

Orange Amplification has announced a pioneering new technology to match, test and grade valves--the Orange DIVO VT1000 Valve Tester. This ground breaking new product will help every guitarist, rental company, valve amp manufacturer, guitar tech and guitar/hi-fi store across the planet.

The compact and extremely easy to use VT1000 is a fully automatic valve tester, which performs a wide range of tests quickly and accurately. The benefits of using the VT1000 are clear and wide reaching; users can quickly and simply match and test valves, plus receive a reliable health check as to whether their valves are good, bad or worn.

Orange Amps developed the world’s first fully automatic, portable, digital valve tester, the VT1000, to make it easy to test amp valves. Until now testing valves with little or no knowledge of valve theory was difficult, expensive and often unreliable. This new product will test all popular power and pre-amp valves. Its ease of use will appeal to all valve users whether amateur, professional or in the music retail trade.

The unit has one octal and two nine-pin valve sockets for different valve types; simply insert the valve to be tested into the correct socket, select the valve type from the list on the unit and press 'Start' to test. The results are displayed clearly and concisely using LEDs and will test for a wide range of fault conditions, which could easily cause damage to other components. The simplicity of operation belies what is going on 'inside the box,' where a CPU controlled testing system is in operation, allowing full control over all inter-electrode switching and measurement operations.

The VT1000 really opens the door to everyone to have an extremely simple, portable, reliable, inexpensive and safe way to test valves.

Published in FM Cables

Wilko Johnson, former guitarist with 1970s British rock band Dr Feelgood, has been diagnosed with terminal cancer of the pancreas.

His manager wrote on the musician's Facebook page that the 65-year-old had chosen not to receive any chemotherapy, but was "in good spirits".

Despite the diagnosis, Johnson plans to finish a new CD and carry out a short tour of France.

There are also plans for a series of farewell gigs in the UK.

Manager Robert Hoy said: "He is not yet suffering any physical effects and can expect to enjoy at least another few months of reasonable health and activity."

"Wilko wishes to offer his sincere thanks for all the support he has had over his long career," he added.

"From those who have worked with him to, above all, those devoted fans and admirers who have attended his live gigs, bought his recordings and generally made his life such an extraordinarily full and eventful experience."

Although he was not a household name, Johnson was considered one of the most influential guitarists for his signature choppy guitar playing style - thought to have been one of the major influences for British punk rock.

After leaving Dr Feelgood in 1977, Johnson joined Ian Dury's Blockheads and formed his own group, The Wilko Johnson Band.

Johnson appeared in the 2009 documentary film Oil City Confidential where he recalled his memories with Dr Feelgood.

It sparked a revival of interest in the guitarist and a box set of all four Dr Feelgood albums Johnson wrote and played on, was released last year, as well as an autobiography.

Johnson has also had a recurring role in US fantasy series Game of Thrones, playing a mute executioner.

Published in FM Cables

Yesterday, David Bowie stunned the music world by announcing his first new album in a decade, The Next Day.

If that wasn't enough, Bowie also released an official video for the album's first single, "Where Are We Now?," a plaintive, piano-based number on which the 66-year-old singer sounds world-weary. While a more mellow approach might be fitting for Bowie's 24th studio album, producer Tony Visconti says the lead single is in no way indicative of the rest of the album.

"It's a very reflective track for David," the producer told the BBC of the track. "Maybe the only track on the album that goes this much inward for him. It's quite a rock album, the rest of the songs, so I thought to myself: 'Why is David coming out with this very slow, albeit beautiful ballad? Why is he doing this? He could come out with a bang.' I think the next thing you hear from him is going to be quite different."

Visconti revealed that the album has been in the works for a couple of years now and should please Bowie fans of all stripes.

"I've been listening to this on headphones, walking through the streets of New York, for the past two years," Visconti said. "I have not tired of a single song. I think the material on this album is extremely strong and beautiful. If people are looking for classic Bowie, they'll find that on this album. If they're looking for innovative Bowie, some new directions, they'll find that on this album too."

While the world his been waiting for the glam-rock legend to break his silence for some time, the announcement, in typical Bowie fashion, has in many ways prompted more questions than answers. Why the long wait? Will he tour? Is he healthy?

Questions about Bowie's health have dominated conversations about the reclusive rocker ever since Bowie underwent emergency heart surgery for a blocked artery. While even his biographer was certain of Bowie's quiet retirement, Visconti assured readers that what we'll hear on record is a very healthy David Bowie.

"He's a very healthy man," Visconti said. "I assure you. I've been saying this for the past few years. I couldn't explain how I know that, but I worked with a very healthy David Bowie in the studio and a very happy David Bowie in the studio."

The Next Day is out March 12.

Published in FM Cables

After nearly a decade of relative silence, David Bowie has announced his first new album since 2003's Reality. Titled The Next Day, the album is slated for a March 12 release date.

"Where Are We Now?," the album's first single, is available now on iTunes. A haunting music video for the track, directed by Tony Oursler, can be seen at this location.

A press release posted on the singer's re-designed website states that the single was produced by longtime Bowie collaborator Tony Visconti, and was recorded in New York City. It seems likely that Visconti — who worked with Bowie during his famed Berlin period — produced the entire album.

"In recent years radio silence has been broken only by endless speculation, rumor and wishful thinking ....a new record...who would have ever thought it, who'd have ever dreamed it," reads the official press release. "After all David is the kind of artist who writes and performs what he wants when he wants...when he has something to say as opposed to something to sell. Today he definitely has something to say."

The surprise announcement came shortly after midnight GMT time. David Bowie turns 66 today, January 8.

We'll have more details as they surface.

The Next Day Track Listing:

Standard Version:

01. The Next Day 3:51

02. Dirty Boys 2:58

03. The Stars (Are Out Tonight) 3:56

04. Love Is Lost 3:57

05. Where Are We Now? 4:08

06. Valentine's Day 3:01

07. If You Can See Me 3:16

08. I'd Rather Be High 3:53

09. Boss Of Me 4:09

10. Dancing Out In Space 3:24

11. How Does The Grass Grow 4:33

12. (You Will) Set The World On Fire 3:30

13. You Feel So Lonely You Could Die 4:41

14. Heat 4:25

Total (Approximately) 53:14

Deluxe Version

01. The Next Day 3:51

02. Dirty Boys 2:58

03. The Stars (Are Out Tonight) 3:56

04. Love Is Lost 3:57

05. Where Are We Now? 4:08

06. Valentine's Day 3:01

07. If You Can See Me 3:16

08. I'd Rather Be High 3:53

09. Boss Of Me 4:09

10. Dancing Out In Space 3:24

11. How Does The Grass Grow 4:33

12. (You Will) Set The World On Fire 3:30

13. You Feel So Lonely You Could Die 4:41

14. Heat 4:25

Bonus tracks:

15. So She 2:31

16. I'll Take You There 2:44

17. Plan 2:34

Total (Approximately): 61: 03

Published in FM Cables
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