The final installment of Meddling with Metal Tones is now live on the Sam Ash Spotlight Blog!

If you’re taken aback by some of the incredible playing you find in Prog Metal, including that of Dream Theater, Animals as Leaders, and Periphery, you’ll want to check this out. The guitar playing in these bands (not to mention all the other instruments) is so well thought-out and complex, it should be no surprise the gear is too.

Click Misha’s mean mug below to read it.

Part 3 of my 4 part series on achieving the tone of prominent metal bands is out now on the Sam Ash Spotlight Blog. It’s focused on Nu-Metal and Alternative Metal, and features the gear of The Deftones, Korn, and Slipknot.

If you think this is going to be a lot of seven-string guitars tuned-down…you’re right. But the intricacy of the instruments these guys use and the differences in amps/effects goes pretty deep. It took a lot of time to try and get it fully accurate. They all have long careers and have switched up their equipment here and there. But I enjoyed writing it and I hope you enjoy reading it.

Click on Stephen Carpenter, dowsed in purple light, to check it out!


It’s been a year since I released my first EP Unlearned Lessons — and what a year it’s been. Somewhat aligned with the EP’s title is the irony of how many lessons I actually have learned since then. Most of them about being true to yourself and doing what you love in life. Cheesy? Yes. Annoyingly important? Also yes.

Post EP release I started working for Sam Ash as a writer (awesome), where I’m coming up on my first anniversary. I’ve played my songs at a bunch of open mics and met a bunch of excellent musicians. More recently, I’ve started playing in two great bands (and I’m playing bass in one, go figure).

I think that the writing, recording, and releasing of the EP set a lot in motion for me. Things that I believe will be long-term staples in my life. It was an important exercise in acknowledging what I find important, fulfilling, and worthy of my focus and effort, not to mention the realization of a major goal. Actually executing all of that opened a lot of possibilities up, in my mind and out in the world, and it put me on a path that I don’t intend to stray from.

Having gone through the events and processes of fully becoming a musician and working in the music industry, I’ve been nodding to the universe, in a way, as if to say:

“This is where I want to be and I’m proving it, so help me out.”

However that plays out, I’m cool with it, because I’m really enjoying the journey. And as far as I’m concerned, if you’re enjoying the journey, you’re already succeeding (Cheesy? yes. Annoyingly important? Also yes).

I’m still working on a follow up to Unlearned Lessons, but a lot of the material is ready to go, so it’s not too far off.

But more importantly, on the first anniversary(ish) of the EP’s release, I just wanted to send out a thanks to everyone who listened to the music or supported me in any way over the last year. It’s appreciated more than I can express.



For Part 2 of this 4 part series, I covered the gear and tone of some of the bands I grew up moshing to. Some call it hardcore, some just call it metal–and they all have some punk elements in there–but I don’t care too much for specific labels. You just have to listen and love it, or not. But don’t disregard anything automatically because of a genre label.

All I can really tell you is these bands are heavy and their shows were always (and still are) fun as hell to be at–especially when they were all playing together (Ozzfest ’04 anyone?).

You can check out the article on the Sam Ash Spotlight blog by clicking Andy Williams (of Every Time I Die).

I’m finding that the more basic topics I write about for Sam Ash afford the most value to the most people. Sometimes, when you’ve been doing something for a while, you brush past things because they seem obvious, even if they’re not.

This short, explanatory article gives a pretty straightforward analysis of the two main schematics for guitar pickups — single coil and humbucker. It was helpful for me to write it out, and seemingly helpful for some people to read it.

If you’re interested, click the HSS Strat below to check it out!

I don’t play a 7-string guitar (yet), but I have great respect for players who do. The 7-string is conducive to heavy metal, but in writing this article for Sam Ash Music, I found that it’s not exclusive to it.

In researching the most prolific 7-stringers, I found a great jazz guitarist, as well as a Brazilian gentleman who’s playing really captivated me — Yamandu Costa. If you want to be impressed by someone’s emotionally driven and incredibly passionate guitar work, on a 7-string classical guitar no less, check out this YouTube video:

And if you’re interested in checking out all the other 7-string guitarists I highlighted in this article, click the Ibanez below.


There’s a question a lot of us have asked. As I got more into gear, I tried to learn what set the expensive stuff apart from the cheap stuff. Sometimes, it’s a little overblown and the price could come down a bit. But often there’s good reason for the higher prices on many guitar models.

My newest post on the Sam Ash Spotlight gets into different aspects of what justifies the price tags on high-end guitars.

Click this incredibly rare PRS below to check it out!