Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

We’ve had a great time launching TrueFire’s blog this past year, and the feedback we’ve received from players around the world has been nothing short of inspiring. If this is your first time punching in, be sure to check out some of the archived posts listed down there on the right. We live on the feedback of fellow musicians, so please let us know what you think.

At the coda of 2009, we posed a handful of questions to some of the people who have been instrumental in making the Punch-In a success. With thanks to all of them for sharing their wit and wisdom, here’s what they had to say.

We hope your stockings were stuffed to the top with gear and that you make great music in the new year. —Rich Maloof, Editor

BRAD WENDKOS

Brad Wendkos is the founder of TrueFire

BradWendkosBiggest WTF of 2009
Hendrix Electric Vodka packaged in a “purple haze bottle”

Jaw-Dropping Moment
Larry Carlton playing “Kid Charlemagne” on the Steely Dan tour

I improved my playing this year by…
Eating my own dog food at TrueFire

I’ve learned from my musical mistakes: Never, ever again will I….
Attempt to sing. Not even back-up!

I would sacrifice at least one of my toes to play like…
Larry Carlton

Favorite New Gear or Gizmo (product released in 2009)
Enounce software (slows and speeds streaming video on the fly without change in pitch

Favorite Instrument/Gear/Software I Bought in 2009
Nik Huber custom snakewood Dolphin guitar

Guitarists I’m Watching Closely
Larry Carlton, Monte Montgomery, Tommy Emmanuel

Words of Wisdom for 2010
Be the water, not the rock.

LEE KNIFE

Lee Knife is a musician, and is General Counsel to the Digital Media Association (DiMA) in Washington D.C.  DiMA is a trade organization that represents digital media companies.

LeeKnifeFavorite Record of the Year
Bleu – “A Watched Pot”

Biggest WTF of 2009
That people STILL insist on talking about what new idea or approach will “revive” the music business. It’s over, folks! Recorded music will never be the type of stand-alone entertainment destination it was before the advent of the DVR, On-Demand, video-game consoles, cell-phones, the internet, IM-ing, texting…

.

Jaw-Dropping Moment
Seeing Lady GaGa — the princess of disposable pop for 2009 — belt it out, with just her and a piano, proving she is (was? could have been?) the real deal.


I improved my playing this year by…

Slowing down. Trying to pay attention to playing interesting melodic vignettes

I’ve learned from my musical mistakes: Never, ever again will I….

Tell anyone that I know how to play an instrument.

I would sacrifice at least one of my toes to play like…
Allan Holdsworth, even for a minute.

Favorite New Gear or Gizmo of the Year
REAPER 3.0

Favorite Instrument/Gear/Software I Bought in 2009
Either REAPER 3.0 or Toontrack Superior Drummer 2.0

Guitarists I’m Watching Closely
Jake Cinninger of Umphrey’s McGee, Guthrie Govan

Words of Wisdom for 2010
Play because you want to. Because it makes you feel good and fulfills you. Not to “make it” in the music business or to be famous.

RICH TOZZOLI

Rich Tozzoli is an award-winning producer, mixer, composer and sound designer. Check out his official website.

RichTFavorite Record of the Year
Ace Frehley’s Anomaly

Biggest WTF of 2009
The continued lack of any new real bands with “sack.”

Jaw-Dropping Moment
She’s from Venezuala, but I stilI don’t think she wants me to put this in print.

I improved my playing this year by…
Studying online.

I’ve learned from my musical mistakes: Never, ever again will I….
Work on a project basis instead of hourly — unless there are strict parameters.

Favorite New Gear or Gizmo of the Year
Creation Audio Labs Holy Fire Overdrive / Distortion pedal — Holy s#)*!

Favorite Instrument/Gear/Software I Bought in 2009
Black Gibson Les Paul Custom Shop Custom – game on.

Words of Wisdom for 2010
Don’t work for the man (or woman). Somehow, figure out how to get the man (or woman) to work for you.

PETE PROWN

Learn more about Pete Prown here.

pete-prownFavorite Records of the Year
Agents of Mercy‘s The Fading Ghosts of Twilight, Karmakanic‘s Who’s the Boss in the Factory

Biggest WTF of 2009
Gibson’s obscene line of Jimi Hendrix Strat-style guitars.

Jaw-Dropping Moment
A universe of brilliant guitar vids online. YouTube has changed music and guitar playing forever.

I improved my playing this year by…
Turning down the distortion and exploring a world of clean electric-guitar tones.

I’ve learned from my musical mistakes: Never, ever again will I….
Shred to show off (well…maybe a little) :^)

I would sacrifice at least one of my toes to play like…
Pat Martino. He plays guitar on a level beyond most mortals.

Favorite New Gear or Gizmo of the Year
PRS Starla or PRS Sweet 16 tube amp

Favorite Instrument/Gear/Software I Bought in 2009
M-Audio M-Tron Pro (Mellotron sampler), Seagull Coastline 12-string acoustic

Guitarists I’m Watching Closely
Julian Lage…the next jazz-guitar sensation

Words of Wisdom for 2010
Turn it down. You’re missing so much of the music in your own playing.

HP Newquist

HP Newquist is a widely published author, and Executive Director of the National Guitar Museum

newquist_hp_lgFavorite Record of the Year
Silversun Pickups – Swoon

Biggest WTF of 2009
Gibson’s introduction of a Hendrix-sanctioned Stratocaster model — and it’s subsequent disappearance.

I improved my playing this year by…
Playing in a band with musicians who are better than I am.

I’ve learned from my musical mistakes: Never, ever again will I….
Leave the house with a guitar but without a tuner.

I would sacrifice at least one of my toes to play like…
Steve Vai

Favorite New Gear or Gizmo of the Year
iPhone guitar apps

Guitarists I’m Watching Closely
Orianthi Panagaris

Words of Wisdom for 2010
All things must pass.

CHARLIE DIAZ

CharlieDFavorite Record of the Year
The Flaming Lips: Embryonic — a step back into the band’s darker side and a giant leap into the future of alternative rock.

Biggest WTF of 2009
Gibson’s Jimi Hendrix guitar

Jaw-Dropping Moment
The death of Michael Jackson, I think everyone remembers where they were when the news broke.

I improved my playing this year by…
Learning how to play my favorite songs; it’s amazing how many new chords and licks I picked up (thank you, Neil Young).

I’ve learned from my musical mistakes: Never, ever again will I….
Blindly go into any band audition I happen to find on Craigslist.

I would sacrifice at least one of my toes to play like…
Brian May. The delicate vibrato, the humming sustain…a constant source of inspiration.

Favorite New Gear or Gizmo of the Year
Some people have to change their pants after they play The Mothership
Analog Synthesizer
pedal from Pigtronix. But not me, I can control my
bladder.

Favorite Instrument/Gear/Software I Bought in 2009

I’ve got student loans.

Guitarists I’m Watching Closely
Johnny Hiland. Take the last 30 years of rock guitar and put it on an evolutionary timeline — Hiland is the pinnacle.

Words of Wisdom for 2010
Take the road less traveled.

TAMMY BRACKETT

Tammy has a great blog that provides inspiration, motivation and practical advice for musicians. Check it out.

TammyBiggest WTF of 2009
The circus surrounding the death of Michael Jackson

Jaw-Dropping Moment
Stumbling across Tina Turner in Concert on Pallida. 70 years old and she still moves like she’s 16. And sounds better than ever.

I’ve learned from my musical mistakes: Never, ever again will I…
Put all my music-business eggs in one basket.

I would sacrifice at least one of my toes to play like…
Mairead Nesbitt from Celtic Woman

Guitarists I’m Watching Closely
Chris Sheridan from Simplified. Great tone, perfect fills, awesome player, humble guy. Who could ask for more.

Words of Wisdom for 2010
“Hitch your wagon to a star, or you will stay just where you are…” —D.H.Lawrence

MARC SCHONBRUN

Marc Schonbrun is the creator of the new TrueFire course The Efficient Guitarist

MarcSFavorite Record of the Year
Muse, The Resistance

Biggest WTF of 2009
The Tea Party

Jaw-Dropping Moment
Seeing my bride walk down the aisle.

I improved my playing this year by…
Practicing less. Having less time has made me more efficient. It’s focused me on parts of my playing that really do need attention, rather than just reinforcing what I already know.

I’ve learned from my musical mistakes: Never, ever again will I….
Start sentences with, “Back when I was touring….”

I would sacrifice at least one of my toes to play like…
I don’t see it that way. I have lots of guys who I love, but at the end of the day, I sound like me. I’d give a toe to accelerate my own playing curve so I sound like me with 20 years more experience right now.

Favorite New Gear or Gizmo of the Year
Digidesign 11 Rack

Favorite Instrument/Gear/Software I Bought in 2009
Metric Halo ULN-8 recording interface

Guitarists I’m Watching Closely
Jonathan Kreisberg

Words of Wisdom for 2010
Keep doing something different. It’s only through constant change that we evolve. You won’t get anywhere by doing the same things over and over.