Pickup schmiede https://pickupschmiede.com Stories Thu, 24 Sep 2020 10:56:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.1 The Rock Star Who Studied Astrophysics And Built His Guitar https://pickupschmiede.com/the-rock-star-who-studied-astrophysics-and-built-his-guitar/ Thu, 24 Sep 2020 10:56:03 +0000 https://pickupschmiede.com/?p=117 The true fans can connect the name of the guitarist of the English band Queen with a unique guitar. If the name Brian May comes up, one inevitably has an image of the Red Special. Because these days electric guitars were expensive, the legendary guitarist built his Red Special together with his father. The team needed nothing more than an old mantelpiece, the springs from a motorcycle and a lot of motivation. A legendary guitar that has found its place in rock history was born out of financial difficulties.

Initiative Was Required

In the 1960s, teenager Brian May would have loved to own a Stratocaster or a Gibson Les Paul. But money was tight and his father, an electrical engineer, preferred to contribute his knowledge. Together with his son, he got it into his head to build his electric guitar. An old mantelpiece served as the neck of the Red Special. Its wood was already eaten away by woodworms. Work on the musical instrument began in the summer of 1963. The story becomes even more impressive when you know that neither of them had ever built a guitar before. But the experiment succeeded. The new guitar’s thick neck later earned it the nicknames Fireplace and Old Lady. They filled the wormholes in the with matches.

18 Months Of Work

Father and son worked on the guitar for a year and a half. They test and try out numerous variants. The body contained cavities, oak and a veneer made of mahogany served as wood. The springs of the tremolo system came from a motorcycle; they also made the head of the lever of a knitting needle from Brian May’s mother. The shortage of money and materials led to unusual decisions. The neo-guitar makers built it without an F-hole, opted for 24 frets and three pickups, which they connected to various combinations with a few switches. If you want to know what this innovation sounds like, you should listen to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody again. There May plays through all the combinations on his guitar just for fun.

Still In Use

After eighteen months, the Red Special was finally ready. Since then it has been Brian May’s most influential guitar. He not only uses it on stage but also in the studio. The unique sound of May guitar play also called the professional luthiers to the scene. The Guild company has already brought a replica onto the market twice. Burns also followed suit almost twenty years ago. In the meantime, the guitarist also sells a model of his famous guitar himself. Brian May did not dare to build a second guitar. The Red Special gets plenty of maintenance, and regular services seem to be enough. Significant repairs have never been necessary. She has accompanied the legendary musician for decades. So far, the Englishman has shown no intention of ever replacing his Old Lady. He is still planning with his favourite instrument. The fans are happy to see them live in action again and again.

The Instruments that Came Before the Guitar https://pickupschmiede.com/the-instruments-that-came-before-the-guitar/ Sat, 16 Nov 2019 10:03:00 +0000 http://pickupschmiede.com/?p=103 The guitar may not hold the same prestige as say, a violin, it may not be held in as high a regard as the piano, it may not have the complexity of a harp but it’s hard to imagine any form of popular music without one. It’s a simple instrument that makes a wonderful sound which means anyone can pick one up, learn to play and put something together. But what came before the guitar? We’re going to take a look at the instruments of old that led to this amazing stringed instrument.


The Tanbur is an ancient instrument and likely the first precursor to our friend the guitar. It is so old in fact that it predates recorded history, the first recorded evidence of the instrument was made in ancient Babylon. Later we see statues depicting an instrument that looks very much like a tanbur from ancient Egypt which date back around the year 600 BCE and also in Greece, though here it was called a pandoura. Originally the Tanbur only had 2 strings, though later a third string was added, this begun the evolution of the instrument in build, technique and form.



The oud, first created in Arabia more than 3500 years ago, it is quite similar to the tanbur however here we have an instrument with a much shorter neck, a rounder body, three separate sound holes and between ten and twelve strings. This too is thought to be one of the oldest instruments in the world and was supposedly one of the most prominent instruments in the Middle East back in its day. This instrument was brought to Europe when the North African Moors invaded Spain during the 9th century CE where it would eventually transform into the Lute.


Before we jump to the lute let us travel to East Asia to China. Created around the year 200 BCE, the Qin-Pipa was a sort of early guitar that looks something like a banjo. It is played on its side and produces a sound reminiscent of the area. Here’s a fun fact about the Qin-pipa, supposedly the workers that were forced to build the Great Wall of China played this instrument and used it to play songs that expressed their resentment for having to do so.



The lute is perhaps the most obvious and best-known predecessor to the guitar, like the oud, the lute has a round body though in this case it has anywhere between 15 and 24 strings. Like the oud, it was played using a feathered quill and was a very popular instrument in its time. Interestingly as its popularity grew in Europe, makers began to change the fretting to adhere better to scales popular in western music, this was a key difference between the lute and the oud. The lute was a mainstay instrument in European music until advancements lead to a new stringed instrument, our old (or in this case new) friend, the guitar.

Top Apps for Guitar Players https://pickupschmiede.com/top-apps-for-guitar-players/ Fri, 13 Sep 2019 09:01:00 +0000 http://pickupschmiede.com/?p=97 AmpliTude

Let’s start with an app that should really impress anyone who is provisionally getting into recording and performing with their trusty guitar. AmpliTude effectively turns your iOS device into an amp as well as a recording studio. You will find plenty of features with the initial install but there is also a wealth of in-app purchases too, should there be something else you’re looking for. Key features include an awesome looping feature that also provides the ability to record those you’ve made and virtual effects pedals, loads of them. In fact, I’m certain you could lose a few hours just by messing around with the many it has on offer. It works well with both electric and electro acoustic guitars so it’s a great performance app for any player.

Ultimate Guitar
Ultimate Guitar

Ultimate Guitar

The Ultimate Guitar app is an absolutely fantastic library of tabs and chord sheets, with over 800,000 songs to choose from that vary from the latest chart hits to the most obscure sea shanty you can think of. You’ll find that it doesn’t just have these for your guitar too, you can also find sheets for your bass, ukulele, piano and even drums. You can save your favourite songs to your own personal library so that you can go back to them with ease and it also gives the option of transposing each sheet so that you can match it to your personal style of playing. If you should decide to go pro (a premium version of the app) you’ll also have access to an auto scroll feature so you can play hands free as well as listen to the songs you’re trying to learn via integration of YouTube. It’s an excellent bank and means that you’ll likely never have to but a songbook again.

Guitar Tuna
Guitar Tuna

Guitar Tuna

Believe it or not, this app has absolutely nothing to do with fish, instead it is simply a play on the word “tuner”. You shouldn’t let that bother you though because this is an excellent app for every player. Often it can be hard to find the right pitch for your guitar, you know it’s out, but you can’t tell which string is giving you grief. Well Guitar Tuna has you covered, instead of playing every string off each other simply fire up your app and this will tell you exactly which note each string is playing. I know that there are plenty of apps out there that offer this service but this one is extremely precise so you can always trust that once you’ve tuned using it, you’ll always be playing pitch perfect. And what’s great is you can also use this app to tune various other stringed instruments too, bass, mandolin, ukulele, it’s got you covered, even better it will remember the instruments you have most recently played so you can quickly access them without having to scroll through menu after menu.

Best Electric Guitars for the Blues https://pickupschmiede.com/best-electric-guitars-for-the-blues/ Wed, 10 Jul 2019 12:37:05 +0000 http://pickupschmiede.com/?p=90 Fender Eric Clapton Stratocaster

Immediately this guitar is throwing all sorts of high-flying names at you, there’s no doubt in my mind that you’ve heard of a fender Stratocaster and Eric Clapton is one of the most well-known guitarists in history. And a guitar with such a high premium name needs to live up to it, and oh boy does this live up to it. This has everything you’d want from a blues guitar from style to sound. It comes in several simple colour options and a minimalist style, made from solid alder with a satin finish maple neck that’s in Eric Clapton’s much-loved soft V shape. In order to produce its top-quality sound, it’s loaded with 3 of Fender’s Vintage Noiseless single-coils and a nice array of tone controls that produce one of the best blues sounds on the market.

Guild Starfire V

When it comes to vintage style, the Guild Starfire V cannot be beaten. What’s even better is that it’s not all flash, it sounds amazing too and is perfect for anything from classic rock to (of course) the blues. This is a Korean made reissue of the original Starfire V made way back in the 1960s, it has a laminated maple, semi-hollow body and comes in three different retro finishes, each as beautiful as the last. The guitar is fitted with some impressive electrics along with two unique ‘Little Buckers’ that help to produce it’s absolutely quality sound that’s both balanced a warm.

PRS Custom 22

Here’s a guitar well rooted in the annals of tradition but with all the contemporary edge of a more modern sounding audio output, it’s highly versatile and a strong contester for the best blues guitar. With the PRS Custom 22 you’ll find a fine mahogany build body and neck with a rosewood fingerboard, complete with 22 frets and the company’s well known, signature soaring bird inlays for extra style. You’ll find your sound output with this six-string is highly adjustable and well under you’re control. With a simple twist of a few knobs you can go from a mellow sounding, smooth tone to a bombastic and harsh one, perfect for when you’ve got those low down, angry man blues.

Gretsch G9200 BOXCAR

Resonator guitars are perfect for certain styles of the blues and as such I simply couldn’t leave out the Gretsch G9200 BOXCAR from this list. These things scream the blues, with their combination of wood and metal parts that offer up an awesome blend of acoustic sound with a grinding bite to it. It has a full mahogany build, with both its body and neck being made of it. Not only does this ensure that the sound is particularly resonate but that has a powerful, booming sound to it that can pack a punch. It’s not a one trick pony though, is can also give off a cooler mellow sound too so you’ll have a nice range of bluesy tones with this guitar.

Gretsch G9200 BOXCAR
Gretsch G9200 BOXCAR
Crazy Custom-Built Guitars That’ll Rock Your Socks Off – Part 2 https://pickupschmiede.com/crazy-custom-built-guitars-thatll-rock-your-socks-off-part-2/ Mon, 20 May 2019 07:56:25 +0000 http://pickupschmiede.com/?p=85 Some guitars are personalised out both a practical need and maybe the love of a certain fashion, some however are made to stand out, to be as individual and iconic as the people that play them.

The Monkey Train

The next few entries are just that and first up we have the Monkey Train. Lita Ford was once the lead guitarist of The Runaways until broke out into her solo career in the 80s. Ford became progressively more metal as time went on and really found her own groove, her guitars went the same way and throughout her time in the biz we’ve seen her boast a whole host of awesome instruments that absolutely rock. One guitar she played however stands out in particular for it’s somewhat bizarre (yet still absolutely awesome) appearance, that guitar is the Monkey Train. Ford found herself working a lot with custom guitar makers B.C. Rich, who built up many of her ideas into reality. This wacky entry has a body that was modelled on a steam train with a monkey howling in the cabin. Werd? Yes. Amazing? Definitely.

The Axe Bass

KISS is a band that are arguably better known for their dramatic appearance than their music, but that’s not to say that their music isn’t much loved and the axe bass is the best example of how this band have blended the two. You’re likely aware that each member of the band dresses dramatically in black and white with each have their own onstage persona to boot. Gene Simmons is well renowned for his rock and roll life style and on stage the man is known rather fittingly as the Demon. As such no ordinary, run of the mill bass would do, Simmons (and the Demon) needed something metal, something to show the world exactly who he is. What better than a literal representation of the axe? Luthier Steve Carr designed this fitting piece in 1978 and it still looks just as fantastic today, a true weapon in the fight for the right to rock.

The Axe Bass

Crazy Custom-Built Guitars That’ll Rock Your Socks Off – Part 1 https://pickupschmiede.com/crazy-custom-built-guitars-thatll-rock-your-socks-off-part-1/ Mon, 11 Mar 2019 07:52:49 +0000 http://pickupschmiede.com/?p=81 If you’re reading this, or in fact even just by visiting this sight I can safely assume that you both appreciate and love what is arguably one of the worlds most popular instruments, the guitar. Guitars are amazing, relatively simple instruments that are fairly easy to pick up and produce both beautiful and awesome sounds, particularly once the instrument is mastered. It’s this love that persuades us, no, requires us to personalise our guitars, to make them a part of ourselves and an extension of our personality. Maybe you simply give it a lick of paint? Your favourite colour perhaps? Or maybe you cover it with stickers? Perhaps you’ve gone a step further though and you’ve had one custom built? Maybe you’ve even made it yourself, really crafting something that shows who you are. There are plenty of people out there who’ve shown their love for the instrument in this way, and there are some incredible examples of how far you can push the boundaries on them out there. Naturally you’ll find some of the best amongst the most successful players out there, let’s take a look at some of these crazy custom models and just who they belong too.

The Five Necked Guitar

You’ve probably all seen a two necked guitar, maybe even one with three necks but there is nothing quite like the guitarist of Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen’s somewhat ludicrous five necked guitar. The guitar was built in 1981 and is more than simply made to look impressive, the idea came out of a genuine necessity for such a beast. He spoke of shows he played at in the late 70s and early 80s in which he’d play 5 different guitars during his solos. He’d stack them up, playing one for a portion of the solo then tossing it to one side and simply pick up the next one he needed and keep playing.

The Five Necked Guitar

It was time to streamline the process, make it more efficient and fluid so he put in a request to Hamer, the designer of the last guitar in his five-instrument pileup, to combine them into a multi-storey music machine. Believe it or not though this five necked wonder wasn’t actually the first concept he had for the thing, this was actually a more conservative version of his first idea. Initially Nielsen was hoping to have a contraction that instead has six necks and spun round like a wheel of fortune, meaning he could simply spin the guitar and grab the neck he needed as the show went on. In the end though this design never saw the light of day, perhaps it was just too majestic for this world. Still, this shouldn’t take away from the marvel of the five necked guitar which is still more necks than most players will ever need. It would have been good to see that sixer though.


Five Famous Funny Guys Who Play the Guitar https://pickupschmiede.com/five-famous-funny-guys-who-play-the-guitar/ Thu, 28 Feb 2019 11:01:51 +0000 http://pickupschmiede.com/?p=69 We can all agree we have our list of favorite Celebrities. While watching their movies, we have been moved to tears and brought to laughter during the same film. The Actors behind the screen have diverse talents that are portrayed in their performance. When it comes to music in movies, it is hard to tell what is truly the actor versus movie magic. Many times, if an actor holds a gift for tunes, it will be included in some of the roles they play. The Guitar especially is a popular instrument with a rock and roll status. When it comes to talent, these Five Famous Funny Guys can also take the stage like any Rockstar, surprising both their fans and the admirers of music in general.

Michael J. Fox

We have been following Michael J. Foxes career since his days on family ties as witty Alex Keaton. He gained even more fame while he traveled through time in the Hit movie Back to the Future. You may remember Marty McFly light up the stage at his parents Enchanted Under the Sea Dance. As with most movies, he didn’t get to play live however it is well known he knows his way around a six string.

Jack Black

As an actor, Jack black is not shy when showing his funny side. He is known for being the funny man on the block with several roles that have landed him the title. One of his most popularized screen sessions is in Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny. He prefers acoustic styles and has made his musical presence known to all of movie kind.

Kevin Bacon

We knew there was more music to Kevin Bacon than his serious dance moves on Footloose. The actor has played some dramas, yet it seems he has a flair for comedies. The Tremors series, Animal House and A few good men are must watch movies if your “cravin the Bacon”. Aside from being a major movie star, he also plays the Guitar. Kevin and his brother Michael formed a duo they call “The Bacon Brothers” in which he shares his shredding abilities on stage.

Adam Sandler

Everyone knows who Adam Sandler is. The Comedic extraordinaire has been seen in stand up, television and block buster hit movies. His Guitar has served as his sidekick while he sings and plays funny songs as a part of his show. Happy Gilmore, Click and Fifty First Dates are a few of the roles he is known for.

Johnny Depp

There is almost no need to say anything further as the name says it all. Johnny Depp is perhaps one of the most diverse Actors we have known. He is notably brilliant without a parallel comparison. The question is… does his guitar playing match up with his genius Acting ability? The answer is yes! Johnny Depp is an all star who seems to rock the show both on and off the screen.

Legendary Female Guitarists to Know https://pickupschmiede.com/legendary-female-guitarists-to-know/ Tue, 05 Feb 2019 12:17:29 +0000 http://pickupschmiede.com/?p=64 We have had a trail to follow of Legendary Women in music. From the days of Gospel and Folk lore acoustics to Jazz, Rock and Pop, Women have done it all. Leading Ladies in the music industry at one time were restricted to being singers and vocalists. In modern times, the stage sings a different tune with Female Musicians who write, sing and play both the lead and rhythm Guitar. Women Guitarists play in both all-Female bands and with men by their side. To create a complete list of Legendary Female Guitarists would take hours to review. There is however a few fan favorites to start with that have helped set the stage and pave the way for the future.

Memphis Minnie

This Legendary Musician was self-taught playing both the Guitar and the Banjo. She was a leader on the Blues scene and famed for her fast moving fingers. She was known for her Picking techniques, her tenacity and savvy skill. She moved to Chicago in the 1930’s and beat one of the best of the Blues, Big Bill Broonzy in a cutting match.

Nancy Wilson

She was not only a long standing member of the band “Heart”, she also has the claim to fame that she is the first Lead Female Guitarist to top the charts in a rock band. She was a part of most of their trend setting songs and led the way with both an acoustic and electric Guitar. She cut through the stereo types and came out a Rockstar.

Joan Jett

A Guitarist doesn’t have to play lead in the Runaways to steal the spotlight. Joan Jett had a penchant for both the melody and hardcore versions of the strings. She never cared to take the center of attention, although her sounds and shredding did that for her. After her prior grouping she took the head of the band Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. At the end of the day she has eight Platinum and Gold records along with nine top 40 hits that were achieved in rocking style.

Mother Maybelle Carter

In the realms of Country music and folk is where many guitar sounds were born. Mother Maybelle coined techniques such as Carter Family Picking, the Church Lick and Thumb Brush. Her style was innovated from the banjo that led the way to the strings of a Bass with a fresh sound. Ms. Carter commanded presence and was an inspiration to future Guitarists for generations.


When you think of a Female Guitarist who shreds with the best, Orianthi is at the top of the list. Rockstar heroes Richie Sambora, Alice Cooper and Steve Vai are among a few of the Leads Orianthi has shared the stage with. Originally from Australia, she made it a goal to capture the classics. Orianthi is one of the strongest Female Guitar players who has shown she can stand on her own, even releasing some of her songs where she showcases her talent.

Learning Guitar Slang Made Easy https://pickupschmiede.com/learning-guitar-slang-made-easy/ Tue, 29 Jan 2019 15:20:34 +0000 http://pickupschmiede.com/?p=61 At any stage of learning to play the Guitar, you will undoubtedly become a part of the musicians circle. Common interests bring people together in both song and conversation. Guitarists share thoughts on the concepts of music, how they improve their techniques and different music styles they are trying out. If you are newer to the scene, you will come across some Guitar Terms that you are not familiar with. Smiling and nodding will get you by for a short while, however its best to avoid the awkward moment with an understanding of Guitar Slang.

The word Slang is referring to a singular word or sequence that represents a particular name, item or topic. Although these phrases are considered informal, they are regularly used in common groups or circles. Interestingly, the original defining world can sometimes become lost and ultimately replaced with the Slang version of it. This applies to almost any subject you can think of. Music covers a wide range of themes including Guitar playing.

Guitar Slang

Ax or Axe There is some debate as to how this term started. It references a physical Guitar and could have originally referred to a Simmons Ax bass. Others believe it was from the nickname of a saxophone.

Example – “Don’t forget to bring your Ax tonight!”

BPM “Beats Per Minute” is the tempo beat of a song. The goal is to raise your Guitar playing speed to match that of the song you are playing. The measured meters and BPM go hand in hand while learning.

Example – “I’m playing at 100 BPM; my goal is to get to two.”

Tabs – This term is short for tablature. It is a quickened way to learn specified chords for songs. The tabs correlate with the differing strings providing placement and sequence for the notes.

Example – “Here is the Tab for the song we wrote”

Lead – Taking Lead plays opposite of the rhythm Guitarist to form a cohesive sound. Unless you have only one who can play Lead in a group, alternating the priorities provide well rounded practice sessions.

Example – “Will you take Lead for this song?”

Lick – The notes of a song that are used for a solo part or filler section. A Lick has some leeway that can be altered without repositioning the whole piece allowing for a little more creativity than the Riff.

Example – “I have an idea for the lick of the next song”

Riff – Mostly instrumental, the riff is the consistent sequence of notes that stays the same for the duration of the song. Steady and sure, it is important the Riff does not deviate too far from the intended notes.

Example “We have to work on the Riff, there was too much variation.”

Shredding – This term works in conjunction with “killing it” and “smokin”. The put all you have into playing the piece you are working on is determined as shredding or shred.

Example “Man, that guy was shredding that Guitar!”

Take your time, look through our short list and try to incorporate these terms in your professional speech – it is safe to say this could help you appear more knowledgeable.

The Many Benefits of Playing the Guitar https://pickupschmiede.com/the-many-benefits-of-playing-the-guitar/ Sat, 26 Jan 2019 05:45:22 +0000 http://pickupschmiede.com/?p=55 The Guitar has remained one of the coolest hippest sounds of the century. Rock stars command the stage and guitar players seem to have their own galaxy of fans. Musicians have a variety of reasons they begin to play an instrument. The Guitar is a popular option for its availability, diverse style and adaptability. Learning how to play a Guitar takes less time than their more intricate counterparts such as the Violin. When you play the chords, you can be soft and steady or assertive depending on your mood. It is a source of both relaxation and a stress reliever that collaborates with your creative side. The benefits of Guitar playing have been known for many decades bringing us music, melody and peace of mind.

A Focus on Guitar Benefits

It has been long prescribed that playing an instrument will help ease anxiety and depression. The Guitar in particular has a rhythm that plays any tune. Whether soulful jazz or hard core beats sing to your soul, the strings of the guitar can carry them. The persistence it takes to learn can have a soothing or calming effect. The distraction of dedicated time can surpass the impacts that could otherwise become an unhealthy focus. In the same way the instrument helps to compose the nerves, it also keeps the mind in shape. Connecting the sound with movement creates a dynamic that allows the senses to interact with cognisant thoughts. This process utilizes multiple aspects that can assist in awareness and problem solving functions. Learning finger placement in conjunction with the notes strengthens your memory and muscles. Holding the guitar properly will additionally improve your posture and increase the support of muscle groups not used as often.

Along with the mental and physical advantages, there are also emotional benefits when playing the Guitar. Musicians enjoy the quietness of their thoughts while they play. It gives them the room to concentrate or meditate on other things and to heal in their own way. Music is an emotional outlet that replaces potentially dangerous releases one may otherwise engage in.

Drugs, alcohol and continued use of vices can have unwelcome results. Setting goals and meeting them turns into achievements which can bolster your self-esteem and confidence which in turn deflects negativity. Adults and Children of any age experience the pressures of life. Work, school and at home tensions can place an emphasis on stress. When the stressors build, they tend to have adverse reactions on our life and health. Heart attacks, strokes and mood disorders are greatly exposed to these conditions. Playing the guitar is beneficial in reducing the impacts of our environment.

Music has a way of bringing a needed serenity to the world. From poetic lyrics to the echoes of the Guitar, the benefits of playing are numerous. Mind, body and emotional balance is promoted by both a good jam session or a quiet set with positive effects that can last a lifetime.