The Electric Guitar Is Dying… Is It Really On Death Row? A recent article in the Washington Post published an article in which is suggested that the electric guitar is dying. GMI obviously was interested in this article and we had a look as to what was on the web. There has been a huge […]
Music, Health & Healing – Changing Peoples Lives Many people around the world are waking up to the fact that music is not just about enjoyment or accompanying a social/entertainment situation. Music is now used as therapy to help people of all ages who suffer from a wide range of illnesses and ailments. Ged Brockie […]
FretDeck – Learning Guitar Through A Card Deck Justin Comstock recently gave an interview on the GMI podcast about his community funded product FretDeck. The FretDeck website states, “Master The Guitar – The FretDeck helps guitarists learn and master the guitar in every single key”. In this review, we look at FretDeck and see what it has […]
Pretty much everyone—including living guitar gods Eric Clapton, Zakk Wylde, Buddy Guy, Joe Satriani and beyond—has covered the music of Jimi Hendrix at one point or another, sometimes live, sometimes in the studio.
Case in point: this live 2015 performance of “Little Wing” by Steve Vai and Eric Johnson.
The clip was filmed and posted by a YouTube user named AlanGuitar at Vai Academy 2015, which took place last August at the Arrabelle at Vail Square in Vail, Colorado.
AlanGuitar had this to say via his comments on YouTube:
“This was an informal jam in a hotel meeting room in front of a bunch of guitar players. The audio is recorded on an iPhone, and I was standing right in front of Steve’s 4×12 cabinets, so that’s why there’s so much Steve in the mix. I’m sure the mix coming out of the mains was a lot better than what I managed to capture here.
“To see Steve and Eric on stage together jamming on a song we all loved was a wonderful experience.”
It’s true; the mix mostly favors Vai. In fact, at one point, Vai is clearly asking the sound crew to raise Johnson’s amp in the monitors.
Covered by artists like Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Sting, “Little Wing” is one of Hendrix’s most beautiful and enduring compositions. It’s easy to see why. The original is seductively warm, poignant and light as a feather.
“One of my favorite touches on that track is the glockenspiel part, which was played by Jimi,” said engineer Eddie Kramer. “Part of the beauty of recording at Olympic Studios in London was using instruments that had been left from previous sessions. The glockenspiel was just laying around, so Jimi used it.”
Hendrix’s rich and watery guitar solo was, says Kramer, in part the product of a secret weapon. “One of the engineers had built this miniature Leslie,” Kramer said. “It was like it was built out of an Erector set and had a small 8-inch speaker that rotated. Believe it or not, the guitar solo was fed through this tiny thing, and that’s the lovely effect you hear on the lead.”
I’ve always maintained that the single most important swap that makes a clear and notable difference in tone is changing the speaker in your amplifier or cabinet.
I know the very idea of changing a speaker seems so elaborate because most guitarists are conditioned (or swayed) to constantly change simpler components such as pickups and cables, strings, hardware and bridges, amps and even effect pedals in order to upgrade their tone. But—perhaps naively—guitarists often woefully neglect the only audible voice of their tone: the guitar speaker.
Don’t get me wrong, finding the right speaker can be an elusive and somewhat expensive journey, but I can tell you I’ve recently come across two 12-inch guitar speakers from Celestion, the Cream and the Neo Creamback, which have dynamically supercharged my tone for the better. Both speakers are sonically different, with the Cream having more of a vintage-focused character and the Neo Creamback having a punchier and highly detailed voice that’s tailor made for rock and metal. Depending upon your application, both are outstanding replacements speakers if you want to take charge of your tone.
FEATURES The newer of the two is the Neo Creamback, which is available in eight- or 16-ohm impedance, has a 65-watt power rating and covers the 75-to-5,000 Hz frequency range. Its most noticeable feature is its employment of a neodymium magnet, making it super lightweight at 4.2 pounds, but preserving all the tonal characteristics of the Celestion G12M Creamback, which it’s based upon and which is almost four pounds heavier because of its ceramic magnet.
The Cream is a beautiful 12–inch speaker with a creamy retro paint job, but its tonal magic comes from its pure Alnico magnet. The speaker is available in eight- or 16-ohm impedance, has a whopping 90-watt power rating for incredible headroom and also covers the 75-to-5,000 Hz frequency range like the Neo Creamback. However, for all its good tone, it is a heavier speaker clocking in at 9.3 pounds.
PERFORMANCE I spent a lot of time swapping both speakers in my open-back, custom Baltic birch ply cabinet, which has incredible musicality and a huge sound that belies its 1×12 stature. I began with the Neo Creamback, only because the speaker I had been using up until this point was a Celestion G12M Creamback (which I love), so this made the most sense in hearing whether the Neo sounds similar at half the weight and with a different magnet. Using a Les Paul and a Tele, and Marshall and Vox heads, the Neo came very close to replicating the growl and focused vocal-like midrange of the ceramic Creamback. I would venture to say the sound is more transparent, with a high-definition top end that is sweetly compressed. It handles low end with remarkable clarity and fullness, especially if you use a lot of amp distortion or high-gain pedals.
There’s little doubt the Cream is the more vintage-styled speaker but with so much more application and responsiveness. I found that the Cream loves pedal-based rigs, and because of its expansive headroom and higher wattage, it adds spacious dimension with delays and reverbs. With some overdrive, it responds with warm bell-like highs, articulately sweet midrange and a firmer bottom end that is structured rather than being mushy, which an Alnico magnet is sometimes guilty of. The Cream is by far Celestion’s most organic and expressive Alnico speaker that sounds like it’s been broken in for decades.
STREET PRICES: Neo Creamback, $169.99; Cream, $299 MANUFACTURER: Celestion, celestion.com
● The Neo Creamback has the entire frequency spectrum and Celestion “growl” of their flagship Creamback G12M speaker but at half the weight. ● The Celestion Cream is a superbly voiced Alnico speaker with an enormous 90 watts of headroom and bell-like tone.
THE BOTTOM LINE The Celestion Cream is an incredibly detailed speaker that rings with warm vintage chime, while the lightweight Neo Creamback delivers high-definition response and punchy hard rock tones.
Musician’s Moving Online 1 – Youtube Guitar Guru David Wallimann This is the first in a series of podcasts (which are not offered in sequential order across the series) which deals with the subject of how to create a successful offering online as a musician and actually make a living doing so. The first interview […]