A Trip To The Guitar Store

Going to the music store is a wonderful experience, who doesn’t want to be in a large sonorous room with off tempo beats and out of tune guitars competing for the attentions of  reluctant audience members customers?

The typical  trip begins with a greeting by a long haired employee who looks happy to be there and is totally fine with his life choices despite what his parents say. Followed by a short detour to the amplifier section, there you’ll find the latest line 6 amplifier just begging to be dialed up to the “insane” setting.

After playing a long medley of Metallica riffs peppered with various tapping licks, rickety sweep arpeggios and out of tune bends with the treble on 12,

the now inspired six stringer goes on to look at guitars he can not afford only to be intercepted by the “can I help you guy”, “nah I’m just looking” is the readily available answer.hqdefault

Before long a couple hours have passed, and you have tasted the sweet Martin and Taylor tones of the acoustic section, played the intro to “Whipeout” on the drums, used the bathroom to evacuate your bowels only to finally approach the counter and ask the “Guitar Retail Specialist” if there are any Ernie Ball Slinky’s or Dunlop Jazz III’s on sale.

After a quick palaver with said employee, you’ll be questioning yourself whether you’re being punk’d.”Do you want an extended warranty on your strings”? No, no I don’t.

After your journey is complete, you can walk to your car knowing that your guitar is going to sound bitching once you place those Ernie Ball Slinky pinks on it! Once you get home you begin the ritual; you grab your preferred ax, string winder and other string changing paraphernalia, you cut off the strings one by one, not caring what that nerd on Facebook said about it ruining your truss rod. After about 5 minutes, a close call with your eyeball almost being poked out, and a couple needle sticks on your fingertips from the strings, you finally tune that bad boy up and re-tune it, then tune some more to where you are almost in tune. You bend that high E string at the fifteenth fret and POP!



Henry “Stax” Suarez

Guitar Players Collective

Featured in this article are videos from Jared DinesRyan “Fluff” Bruce and Tyler “Music is Win” Larson check them out, they are great guitarists, musicians and funny as hell.

Online Guitarist Featurette Tina S.


Tina S has been making YouTube guitar covers for quite a while, eight years in fact.In this video she is covering the 3rd movement of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.


Now  historically Tina has received some hate from the online guitar community, “she has no emotion” is an oft quoted trope for example, but the hate typically appears to be jealousy in disguise. She has talent and obviously puts in the wood shedding hours. She has amassed quite the following online and deservedly so…

She has been featured on Guitar World and Guitar Player magazines Facebook pages many times.

She is usually seen playing Vigier Guitars, a French electric guitar, bass, and string manufacturer based in Grigny, Essonne, which she is endorsed by. She uses Ernie Ball slinky 9-46 strings.

So sit back and enjoy a fellow guitarist exhibit technique, phrasing and tone, a trifecta in the guitar universe!


Ludwig van Beethoven – Moonlight Sonata (3rd Movement) Tina S Cover


Tina’s Youtube Page

Tina’s Facebook page

Henry Stax

Guitar Players Collective

Top Ten Albums of All Time and Their Guitars 10-6


10. Led Zeppelin – IV
Released 1971
Records Sold 37 million
Though untitled it is known colloquially as Led Zeppelin IV, the album was a success, with hits like “Black Dog”, “Rock and Roll” and “Going to California”. The album was also mired in controversy, with the accusations of alleged back masking satanic messages.
The album was recorded between December 1970 and March 1971 at several locations, most notably Headley Grange (a three-story stone structure Built in 1795 in Headley, Hampshire, England, UK)6a00d8358081ff69e2016762c0862d970b-800wi

Best Guitar Moment: Stairway to Heaven
Zeppelin’s Jimi Page is known as a prolific guitarist. It is hard to choose any of his works, though the Best guitar moment in IV is a no brainer in the 8 minute + “Stairway to Heaven”. Considered by many, much to the chagrin of guitar shop owners, to be one of Led Zeppelin’s greatest song and a prominent staple of Classic Rock radio and still heard on rotation to this day. The song starts off with a finger picked Acoustic intro in morphing through several sections each adding more layers of guitar including 12 string, (becoming a rock symbol live with the use of the Dual neck Gibson SG) and working up to an exciting guitar solo that wasn’t too flashy and served the song expertly.
Fun fact though Jimi is known as a Les Paul player he cut the iconic solo using a 1959 Fender Telecaster and through his Supro amp, (though in a Guitar World interview he said it could have been a Marshall). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stairway_to_Heaven#cite_note-Light-13

9. Shania Twain – Come On Over
Released 1997
Records Sold 39 million
The 3rd studio album from Country Pop star Shania Twain. Written and co produced with Mutt Lange, the album went on to become the best-selling country album of its time. With hits such as “You’re Still The One” and “From This Moment” it stayed on the top 10 for 54 weeks, set a record for longest stay in the Top 20 of the Billboard 200 of 112 weeks, and in top 40 for 127 consecutive weeks. If you were watching MTV/Vh-1 in ’97 you were exposed to some Twain…

Best Guitar Moment: Man! I Feel Like a Woman!
The Album opener, the song has a catchy hook, and features simple riffs and a tasty Country flavored Rock solo likely played by a session player. The video famously pays homage Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love” music video, featuring Twain dancing with ripped male models staring blankly at the camera.



8. Fleetwood Mac – Rumours
Released 1977
Records Sold 40 million
The eleventh studio album by British-American rock band. It was mostly recorded in California and spawned massive hits “Go Your Own Away” and “Don’t Stop”, it is regarded as their most successful album. Though lots of drama due relationship issues plagued the making of the album it didn’t stifle its success. On the contrary all those mixed emotions may have helped them mold this masterpiece. The album stayed at the top of the Billboard 200 for 31 non-consecutive weeks.
Best Guitar Moment – Don’t Stop6359098965481949491920310826_15102-vinyl-collection-1920x1080-music-wallpaper
The guitar playing of Lindsey Buckingham is all about serving the song. Using then state of the art recording techniques they captured beautiful tones. An honorary mention has to be made about the brief bass solo right before the outro section and guitar solo of “The Chain” It has a gorgeous sound and feel and give way to a great release!

7. Bee Gees and various Artists – Saturday Night Fever
Released 1977
Records Sold 40 million
Hairy chests? Check
Falsetto? Check
One of 2 Soundtracks in this list, Saturday Night Fever was a massively successful album to accompany an equally successful movie with heart-throb John Travolta. The album was certified 15x Platinum, being added to the National Recording Registry in the Library of Congress for being culturally or aesthetically significant. The Bee Gees are featured significantly in the album. Fun Fact The Bee Gees’ involvement in the film did not begin until post-production. As John Travolta asserted, “The Bee Gees weren’t even involved in the movie in the beginning … I was dancing to Stevie Wonder and Boz Scaggs.
Best Guitar Moment – Manhattan Skyline
Being a Disco album it is sparse in the guitar department save for the occasional wah wah riff. The main melody line at the beginning of Manhattan Skyline features a warm slightly compressed clean guitar tone.


6. The Eagles – Their Greatest Hits 1971-75
Released 1976
Records Sold 42 million
With selections from the Eagles’ first four albums, “Greatest Hits” was for a long time the best-selling album. It has been certified 29 x Platinum by the RIAA. Considered by the band as way for the record company to make more money off of product without having to produce anything new. As true as that may be, the album was hugely successful.
Fun Facts it is the first album to receive the RIAA platinum award, introduced in 1976 to honor albums that shipped one million copies in the US.
Best Guitar Moment – One Of These Nights
The album “One Of These Nights” has been called the dress rehearsal for what would become Hotel California. It was recorded Criteria Studios, Miami, & Record Plant, Los Angeles, 1974-1975
Featuring the newly added Don Felder, he brought the rock edge the band was looking for. In this song he plays a funky solo with a tone to die for. Discussed by forum goers to be nothing more than his Les Paul into a Fender tweed which may or may not have also contained distortion and or fuzz pedals in the signal path. Whatever the case the solo is peppered with amazing phrasing and little clicks and pick squeaks it just oozes rock n roll. all killer no filler.

Mock And Roll Hall of Fame



Oh the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame where does one begin? Probably one of the most unrock n roll institutions there is save for the Grammy’s!

Let’s take a look at this year’s inductees:

Steve Miller


Okay great!! He’s earned it.


Cheap Trick 


Sure enough, well deserved…



Well, uhm… huh?!

In all respects to NWA they are iconic and definitely culturally significant but Rock n Roll they are not. They are as rock as Jethro Tull are metal (still not in the HoF) however the latter at least is within the Rock category. Would Steve Miller be admitted into the Hip Hop Hall of Fame? Unlikely.


Now I know genres and sub-genres are funny things and many band’s blur lines.


You could also argue genre’s have been more historically important for record labels then for actually categorizing music. But it is the system we have and many people identify with and understand it.


It brings up the question, what is rock? Now that is a tough question beyond the scope of this article. But it could be argued that Rock IS an attitude, which NWA definitely posses, but it is also about sound bought to us by instrumentation, loud guitars, thundering bass and crashing drums are and should be part of the ingredients.

If samples and 808’s are sufficient to be called “rock” then categorizing music appears to be an exercise in futility. Why not add Liberace to the RnRHoF? He sure is flamboyant enough for rock.

Who will be future inductees 20 years down the line? Justin Bieber? Nicki Minaj? Now if there was shortage of rock bands needed to fill the hall then by all means add more obscure or unrelated acts but it clearly is not the case. I mean when bands like NWA are admitted in place of bands like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest? something is just not right there I guess when you have a bunch of suits running organizations like this it is to be expected, it is obvious it’s a business, and businesses end line is to make money by whatever means necessary.

At least Steve Miller spoke out about some problems with the Hall of Fame after his induction.

“We’re not gonna wrap this one up,” Miller said, insisting the press woman sit down and learn something. “This is how close this show came to not happening, because of the way the artists are being treated right now.”

Classic. Good for him!

List of others who should be in the Hall of Fame but aren’t.


Henry Stax

Guitar Players Collective



Guitar Music Is Dead

As it pains me to say, it is inevitable that we come to terms with this sobering realization.

Modern music is saturated with autotuned drivel, if there is any guitar in the music it is so buried in the mix as to be imperceptible.

Long gone are the days of guitar solos in every song. The guitar has simply become a relic, sales are at an all time low. Mega stores like Guitar Center are clinging on to dear life.

We can no longer lie to ourselves. The best thing we can do is sell our axes and waste our hard earned money on more fruitful endeavors.

One thing is certain is with the advent of modern technology the guitar has been put on the back burner of public consciousness. If you still wanna be viable in the modern music market, I suggest you pick up a new instrument.

The accordion has seen a resurgence in popularity. If that is too technically difficult for a simple musician as a guitarist then a Kazoo maybe just what the Dr ordered.

So I urge you on this beautiful April 1st, lets rise up and make the guitar even more greater than it is currently! The guitar is the most amazing instrument according to me!

So lift up that sex machine and blaze a minor Pentatonic guitar solo, the future of the instrument may just depend on it.





Foo Fighters continuing to own 2015!


As if they needed anymore press of how awesome they are, Dave and co. Have just released an EP available for free with some hard and heavy guitars in the song.

Off the coat tails of their world tour which got national media attention when the Lead Singer/Guitarist fell off the stage breaking his leg, (There is a pun in there somewhere right)?

But giving their “show must go on mentality” and absolute unencumbered love for Rock and Roll they continued with a custom built throne of guitars for Dave, akin the the Iron Throne from television series Game Of Thrones.

Another inspiring venture the ex Nirvana drummer finished with his bandmates was “Sonic Highways” a love letter to American cities and their rich musical and recording histories. A must see for any music fan, especially of the Rock variety. Though shot throughout last year it was released this year on DVD.


All in all Dave and the rest of the Foo’s are an inspiring rock band with a pure love for all things Rock. A sight for soar eyes indeed, wishing them nothing but more success!


Guitar Players Collective

Download the EP here and read a lengthy letter penned by Mr. Grohl.

Saint Cecilia EP

Cover Songs vs Original Music


Must there be a choice? On the internet you’ll come across people deriding cover artists and waxing poetic on how they’ve released 20 albums of original material that no one has ever heard.

I say why limit yourself? There are plenty of successful professional acts that sprinkle a cover into there set to spice things up after playing the same songs night after night on tour. Or they start off doing covers and evolve and get the bug to write their own tunes. While the inverse is true, why limit yourself to only learning covers? When you start off the best thing you can do to broaden your musical vocabulary and library is to learn other artist’s music. You immediately start to pick up how songs are written, how chord progressions are built and how melodies fit on top of these musical landscapes. Furthermore by attempting to sound like other artists (and failing) you begin to develop your own style and sound.


Another way to change it up is to change it up, covering a song verbatim is satisfying, at least to me. You nail the rhythms and solos and you feel the rush almost as it was you that originally cut the track in the studio. However making a cover your own is also as exciting. Say you have a Heavy Metal tune and you tone it down, drop the bpm’s a little, change it into an acoustic arrangement with some light strings to accompany! Hell who knows your version might become the preferred version. There is a vast catalog of cover songs that have become more famous than the original. All along the Watchtower is an easy example, originally recorded by Bob Dylan and made famous by Jimi Hendrix.

After a while of learning and performing other people’s songs you might get interested in what making your own music might accomplish. Perhaps you join a new band and they require you to write your own parts or bring full demos to the table. Writing your own music is a journey that is unparalleled. You have the literary aspect of writing lyrics were you can create autobiographical songs about experiences in your own life, or you can be like a fiction writer and create new worlds that only live in your mind! Another aspect is the musical: tempo, rhythm, melody, harmony… You can stick to traditional song structures i.e. Intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus. Or you can create your own. Perhaps an hour-long chordal vamp with syncopating melodies, the sky is the limit! What instruments do you want in the arrangement, everything is game (don’t forget guitar, it just goes good with everything).writing-music-rap-lyricsDon’t limit yourself, learn other artist’s songs, create your own, start a cover or tribute band, write your own songs and add them to the list. There is no formula, embark on your own journey, only you know the destination that suits you.

Henry Stax

Tune up, Plug in and Rock out

You can see my covers, lessons and other videos here

Guitar Players Collective Facebook group

Hotel California Guitar Solo Lesson

“On a dark desert highway”
download (1)

Simply one of the most Iconic solos in the History of rock and roll, Joe Walsh and Don Felder trade some tasty licks and segue into a head bopping dual guitar harmony outro! In this post you will see a video of me playing the guitar solo with TAB and I will also insert the TAB so you can look at and download…

A gorgeous song detailing the excess of the 70’s, following the Chord progression Bm-F#-A-E-G-D-Em-F# in the key of B minor… I hope you guys enjoy and expect more lessons like this in the future

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Henry Stax

Guitar Players Collective

GPC Facebook Group