I like it! This guitar pick is really good at helping me play fast and accurate.
I got the heavy version (3mm) of the Bog Street Battle Axe design because of how similar it is to other picks I've liked. It's basically three picks in one since it's pretty much in the shape of a triangle.
Why so thick? Because it reduces the distance from string to string, and each point is beveled which allows the pick to easily glide off the string.
The only thing I didn't care for right away is the concave middle part of the pick. This will take some getting used to on my part. I get why it's there though; it increases your grip on the pick.
There's a grip hole, raised texture, AND a concave shape which all help reduce the risk of pick slip.
Overall, I do recommend this pick for players who like shredding, playing faster than anyone would ever need to, and want something that has almost no risk of ever getting slippery and moving around.
Check em out: Axe Series – Bog Street
Here's a video where I tested it out during a live stream:
I'd like to add that Bog Street did not ask me to review their pick. I get no $$$ from sales. I just think it's a good pick!
Makes Home Recording Easier
Like most musicians, I don't have the money to always head into a state of the art studio to record my music.
That's why I bought my Blackstar ID 60 Head. It makes recording guitar in the home studio easier, and sounds better than always using amp simulation software.
Improved Sound and Playability
An issue I continued to have with amp simulation software, like amplitube and ampire, is that when I play fast material the notes have a terrible time ringing out. In other words, the fast notes kept getting cut off. You couldn't hear them!
Now, using a compressor pedal and tube screamer can certainly help with that (and I still use those for recording), but another issue in recording direct is not having the best sound possible when you record.
With the Blackstar ID 60, you don't need to use compressor pedals or the like. It simplifies the process of plugging directly into your audio interface, and records a far better sounding performance.
The sound you send into your interface has already been saturated by the Blackstar, colored with your preferred distortion and gain settings, and enhanced with the Valve Power feature. This gives a much richer audio recording of your guitar.
In other words, it's best to have a great sounding guitar going into your interface instead of trying to make it sound great after you've recorded.
Designed for Direct Recording
Some amp heads require a cabinet or load box even though there may be a direct out line for recording.
The Blackstar ID 60 Head is designed so you can plug directly from the head into your interface without the need to use a cabinet or load box.
Why Not Just Mic Your Guitar Amp?
If you're like me, you don't live in a place where you can get away with blasting an amp to get the best sound out of it. Micing a guitar amp for me just isn't optimal.
Another issue with using a mic to record your guitar is that you need to get your material recorded that day. At the very least, all the guitars for one side of the mix must be done for that song. Because if you try to punch in on that track on a different day, or try finishing your guitar parts (like the 2nd half) on a different day, chances are you won't have the exact same sound.
Speaking from experience, even if you don't change an amp's settings, or mic placement, you can still end up with a slightly different tone that is definitely noticeable when played directly against what you recorded earlier. Direct recording eliminates this possibility, granting you more freedom and time in how you record your material.
True, a properly miced guitar amp/cabinet in a well designed recording studio will absolutely sound the best. But, I need convenience, and direct recording with my Blackstar provides the convenience I'm looking for.
Blackstar ID 60 Head Features
"It really does capture a remarkable spectrum of tones and does it very close to real tube-like dynamics."
"Dirt/distortion tones, unaided, are the best SS dirt tones, I have heard or tried."
-The Great Solderdini
"In love with this head. It sounds just as loud and as powerful as a Valve amp while being solid state. For those heavy, metal tones, there is no other comparison."
The Only Thing Missing
Something important to keep in mind, is that you WILL need some kind of guitar cabinet simulation software (commonly referred to as impulse response emulators) when recording direct. This will make your guitar sound even better! Typically I use Recabinet.
You could also run your head into a cabinet/speaker emulator (this is hardware) like these two:
Make Home Recording Easier
If you're looking for great sounding direct recording and you want it simple, I highly recommend the Blackstar ID 60 Head.
Share Your Thoughts
Have you used any Blackstar products before? What do you think of them? What do you do for home recording? Do you have a different preferred method of direct recording? Share your thoughts in the comments section!
Guitar Cable Importance
If you want the best possible sound from your guitar rig, you'll need good cables.
Not only do cheap cables break easily, and have a very short life span, they can allow unwanted noise to break through and interfere with recordings, and live performances.
CLICK HERE to read an excellent article on the importance of having good cables, or just read the next section for the main points.
Benefits of Having a Well Made Cable
Mogami Gold Instrument Cables
I've been sold on Mogami cables for a several years now.
Not only do they easily out last cheap cables, but I've noticed better life span than Monster cables.
Features of the Mogami Cables
"Before this cable, I was using some cheap generic cable. I didn't realize how much noise I was getting from the other cable until I switched to this one...This Mogami is well-shielded and quieter."
"In my experience with many different types and qualities of instrument cables, I have found Mogami to be unparalleled in terms of their build quality, durability, near-silent operation, and seamless reproduction of my instrument's tone profile without coloration."
"Extremely even and clean crisp tone and zero noise or feedback even with my Strat which is what I play the majority of the time."
Upgrade Your Guitar Cables
Share Your Thoughts
Do you already use Mogami? What do you think of them? Do you prefer something else? Share your thoughts in the comments section!
Easy to Use Convenient Compressor
Having things simple is very important to me. I hate messing around with a bunch of unnecessary crap.
The 4 Knob Compressor Pedal from Keeley works perfectly for me. It's small, has sturdy construction, and easy to use.
Benefits of Using a Compressor
Here are some reasons why I use a compressor.
4 Knob Keeley Compressor Features
"If you've been using inexpensive or midprice compressors, or are convinced that only the vintage Boss compressors are worthy, springing for a Keeley will be a revelation."
-Peter B. Hales
"Amazing pedal. Gives my sound so much beef and the 4 knobs allow you to change and mess with your sound until you're happy! I totally recommend it!!"
"What can I say? It's the best stomp box compressor I have ever used. It beats out a bunch of the crappier rack compressors I've used. Shell out the cash and it won't disappoint."
-Matthieu P. Decker
Improve Your Guitar Sound
Share Your Thoughts
Have you used a Keeley Compressor? What do you think of it? Do you prefer a different compressor? Share your thoughts in the comments section!
Classic Overdrive Pedal
The Tube Screamer Overdrive Pedal is easily one of the most popular pedals amongst guitar players.
What drew me to this pedal was the thickness and warmth it added to my guitar's sound.
This pedal is NOT for crazy distortion, like a Metal Zone.
The TS808 Tube Screamer has a more subtle distortion, commonly referred to as just overdrive, and is great for giving your guitar sound some extra color, tone control, and beefiness.
How I Use This Pedal
I got this pedal to improve my guitar tone in recording.
As previously mentioned, you can really thicken up your guitar sound and shape the tone into something very pleasing.
For me, this is to saturate my guitar tone and to improve the quality of my recordings.
Tube Screamer Features
TS808 User Reviews
"The TS 808 is a classic pedal that is a must have on your pedal board."
"Does it get much better? This pedal is amazing! I am using a 1974 twin reverb and a 60th anniversary telecaster and it sounds great!"
"Great pedal does exactly what you want. Adds the perfect amount of ballz! I'll have this guy for the rest of my life."
Beef Up Your Guitar Sound
Share Your Thoughts
Do you already use a Tube Screamer? Do you prefer something else?
Share your thoughts in the comments!
Work the Other Side of the Forearm
Using something like the Planet Waves Varigrip is great for building grip strength and improving guitar performance.
But, what about the opposite muscles?
The muscles that OPEN your hand are important too, and also need to be strengthened and maintained for optimal forearm health.
Airisland Hand Extensor Exerciser
The extensor muscles in your forearms are very often overlooked, and most people never really take the time to develop these muscles.
Grip strength gets worked on a lot, but issues can arise if you don't work the opposite muscles too!
Airisland provides resistance bands that make it easy to develop and maintain your hand extensor muscles.
Besides building extensor strength for your hands, here are additional benefits of the Airisland Hand Exercisers:
"Used these for tennis elbow and knocked it out really fast."
-No Name Verified Purchase Amazon Customer
"I’m a massage therapist and this really helps strengthen my forearms."
"Once you start using it, it is easy to make it a habit. I leave the exerciser on my computer desk and use it whenever I get a spare minute."
Complete Your Grip Training
As mentioned earlier, it's important to work the opposite muscles used for gripping and fretting your guitar.
Share Your Thoughts
Have you used these bands before? If so, what do you think of them?
Do you use something else to work on your extensor muscles?
Share in the comments!
Build and Maintain Hand Strength for Guitar
Speed Up the Learning Process
When you first start out as a guitar player, your grip is probably going to be pretty weak. This is problematic for holding down your notes for long periods of time, and can make barre chords a nightmare.
Using the Varigrip from Planet Waves can speed up building your grip strength, which can lead to enjoying the learning process of guitar even more.
Get Rid of that Weak Pinky
A very common issue guitarists seem to share is having a weak pinky.
Using this hand exerciser can absolutely help you strengthen that pinky.
Help Build Callouses
A very unique feature that comes with the Varigrip is the callus builder.
This can be useful for those who may be away from their guitar and want to make sure they don't lose those calluses.
What Other Users of the Varigrip Had to Say
"This is Fantastic! Has definitely improved my finger dexterity and hand strenght! Very small and durable. After two months there has been a noticable improvement! This even though I already have been using one of the "A" shape spring grip strenght devices for years. Have yet to need to increase the spring tension wheels, although it is good to know the capability is there. Easy to stash in your pocket, a guitar case, keep on your desk or night stand, and use while driving. The removable back cushion reveals three parallel simulated string ridges to help keep your finger calluses in good shape."
"Bought this for guitar playing strength!! Very helpful even after just a week!!My fingers are much stronger I know because I couldn't snap my fingers on left hand.I can get a loud snap out now!!I have to use it on right hand too because my left hand is getting stronger!!Seems like it's made well. Don't know how other people's fell apart?? The callus builder really works & hurts!! Each fingers resistance is adjustable.Instructions on how to best use exerciser are very helpful.I'm very happy with this exerciser & the price was right!!I'll keep ya posted but for now, after a week, I'm very satisfied!!
1 Month later: Still holding up great. Much improved strength in my fingers, hands & forearms.Exercises the whole finger depending on what part you use to push down.This thing is PERFECT for guitar players!"
-Joe Joe Gadget
"First, let me say that I have not had ANY issues with the device breaking or the little finger pistons/springs popping out. I've had mine for over a year and it is still fully functional. I use both functions (finger movement and the flipside fingertip toughener) with no problems. With that said, I can definitely see how, with improper use, you could dislodge the pistons. The key to me is to apply your pressure as straight up and down as possible. If you try to squeeze the finger pistons down at an angle then you are applying a large amount of lateral force in addition to the vertical force. The pistons are not built to hold up to large amounts of lateral force and it causes them to dislodge. The device should be held between the fingers and the thumb not between the fingers and the base of your palm (at an angle). It's harder this way but it is supposed to be hard. Just turn the tension down and build up to it."
Share Your Thoughts
Have you used a Varigrip before? Perhaps something similar?
Share what you think of it in the comments section!
Perfect Portable Amp for Metal Guitarists
Crunchy Distortion and Pretty Cleans
For a pint sized amp, the tone you can get really impresses me.
The sounds range from good crunchy distortion or light overdrive to
Built In Guitar Effects
There are a few classic guitar effects built into the amp so you can have fun playing around with different sounds.
Until I have a video of my own demonstrating this amp, check out this Guitar World video to hear what this amp can do.
"Plain and simple WOW!!! This amp is really good for people who are just starting out and need a decent, affordable and quality amplifier. It is small, light in weight, can fit your luggage easily when travelling( which I do a lot of), but above all, IT CAN PERFORM!!!!"
"This amp is great for the home. I leave it set up in the living room and you don't notice it being there ... so I don't have to go to another room to sit down and play if the mood strikes me. It also has a powerful output for such a small amp. I would recommend for the home for your own enjoyment or giving lessons etc. A lot of sound from a little box!"
-Bela Walton Jenks iv
"Can't be beat. Portable and great sound. Good effect variety without being overwhelming. Every guitar player should have one."
Share Your Thoughts
Do you have this amp already?
Share what you think of it in the comments section!
A Musician's Best Friend
Improve Speed and Accuracy
Countless hours of meticulous metronome practice is how I gained my speed and dexterity.
Boss's DB-30 Dr. Beat Metronome is pretty straight forward and easy to use. Boss does make much fancier metronomes that are almost like drum machines, but I don't need anything that fancy.
I just want something that keeps the beat, and can have the BPM moved in increments of one BPM. That's exactly what this metronome does, plus some other cool things that have proven useful when working with students.
All my favorite feature are:
"Folks, this does it all. Choosing your tempo is quick and the "tap" feature is huge when making a big time change. It provides both audible (click) and visual (lights and meter) timing cues."
-Anthony De Lucia Jr.
"Everyone hates carrying around those huge metronome/tuners. This is such a better option. I myself attach it to the strap of my R.B. triple continental bag, via the belt clip on the back, so that way it is always there. It could be a little louder, but I solve that issue by putting in earbuds. Great for subdivision and different syncopation. I would say this a MUST HAVE for any middle school, high school, college, or even professional (yes even they still practice with a metronome)."
"The Boss db-30 by DR Beat delivers ! When I need to know the exact BPM I use this product. I have used Dr Beat metronomes for over 25 years. I have a mixer... a pro cd player and several digital software programs that also measure bpms but they seem to be " FOOLED " by complicated bass and drum patterns. NOT Dr. Beat."
Share Your Thoughts
If you already use this metronome, or use a different one you prefer, please share your thoughts in the comments section!
This Pick Allows Me to Play FAST
Made for Speed
I love the whole design.
Why it Works
I love the whole design.
This is something I experienced when I used to use Sik Piks exclusively. However, I eventually began questioning my accuracy with the Sik Pik, and finally settled on the Psycho Pick after trying SEVERAL others.
So, not only does the thickness of this V-Pick help my speed, but it also improved my accuracy.
It's also surprisingly comfortable to hold compared to a standard flat pick.
What Other Psycho Pick Users Have to Say
Just got my Psycho from you….wow! My Strat has NEVER sounded so good…even with me playing it!!
Brought it to band rehearsal …. even fatter than the bass players fingers! Love it. Thanks man you have made a huge difference to the way I sound!"
God bless ya
“Imagine my surprise at picking up the Psycho. Prior to ordering the package from V-Picks, I had been a committed user of the Dunlop 3.0mm Little Stubby. I liked the idea of the small pick because it would force me to work on my technique. The Psycho is larger and thicker and I was stunned to discover how much quicker and accurate I was playing this monster. The pick is very fast and really pulls incredible tone out of my guitars, both electric, semi-hollow and full acoustic. I had expected to try it and go “not for me”. How wrong I was!”
"Vinni, you might call it the Psycho, but I call it a musical life
raft. I have diabetic neuropathy which has totally trashed my feet and
is now just beginning to creep into my hands and deaden the nerves.
I’ve always used heavy picks in the same shape as the Psycho, but have
had trouble holding them in recent years. Not only can I hold onto the
Psycho better, but my old huge tone is back. Thank you SO much for
giving me this option!"
Stop Playing So Damn Slow!!!
Worth Every Penny
This pick is more expensive than your typical pick, but it's WORTH IT!
Your guitar pick is one of the most important pieces of gear in your set up. Why would you skimp on something that could make you a better player?
Retailing at $15.99 this pick will LAST and LAST and LAST. The fact that each side is symmetrical basically gives you
3 picks in one. When one side wears down, switch to the next!
Metal and Rock Rhythm Guitar Crash Course
What's the #1 thing every guitarist needs? Speed? Accuracy? Natural Ability? Knowledge? WRONG!
Psst! Let me share a little secret with you…if your rhythm sucks, everything suffers. Everything. Rhythm, by far, is the single most important aspect of music. It separates the men from the boys. You’ll never become the guitar player you dream of being with poor rhythm.
I designed the new Metal and Rock Guitar Rhythm Crash Course to dramatically improve your rhythm. This will carry over into all other aspects of your guitar playing.
What if the material is too difficult? Won’t it overwhelm me?
This course has been carefully crafted to benefit a wide variety of guitar players. Each section has varying levels of complexity at a variety of tempos. That means you learn at the pace and tempo you want. The section-ending etudes provide you with the chance to put everything together. With them, you’ll solidify your ability to switch between different rhythm patterns. As you conquer each one, watch your confidence soar.
So what do I actually get? Do I only get a few tabs and some videos?
Phhffttt! Are you kidding? You get way more than that. Each section includes:
My favorite song isn't in 4/4 - will this course help me?
Though 4/4 time is the main focus of this course, I haven’t ignored other time signatures. The section “Beyond 4/4” has got you covered. You’ll learn how to count and play in 8 other time signatures. There’s even a short section on polyrhythms and polymeters - for those seeking a real mental workout.
Here’s how some students have described my teaching methods, which you’ll enjoy in this course:
The Metal and Rock Guitar Rhythm Crash Course includes:
And if you buy the course outright, you get Guitar Pro files (Ver. 6 & 7) for the entire course. As an introductory offer, you can get everything in this course for only $97. That’s the price of 3 guitar lessons.
This download will be a .zip file containing the following items:
John Taylor, guitar instructor for Mile High Shred.