Joe Ely

Texas Gold: Joe Ely’s ‘Cold Black Hammer’

On “Cold Black Hammer,” from his 2015 album, Panhandle Rambler, the singer-songwriter Joe Ely evokes the tension between pumps and environment in the oil fields of his native Texas. The song is in the key of E minor. Its four chords—the i (Em), the iv (Am), the vi (C) and…

pick and guitar fretboard

Why Won’t My Guitar Stay in Tune?

Q: About six months ago, I bought a Gibson Hummingbird from the 1990s. Even though it was a little beaten up by the previous owner, it’s a solid guitar. It initially was a little fussy about staying in tune, but lately it’s gotten worse, and it’s particularly frustrating onstage. Why…

Joe Bonamassa Mostly Sticks to Rhythm on Live Disc

For years, Joe Bonamassa used to sneak three or four acoustic songs into the middle of his live shows. That changed in 2013, when he retooled his back catalog for An Acoustic Evening at the Vienna Opera House, and four years later, he’s reconceived it again for the CD/DVD Live…



Tanglewood Java Parlor and Winterleaf Orchestra Model acoustic guitars.

Gear Review: Tanglewood Java Series Parlor and Winterleaf Series OM

  Despite being distributed in 60 countries and receiving the “All-time best-selling acoustic guitars in the UK” award by the Music Industry Awards, Tanglewood brand isn’t a household name in the US. But that may change now that the UK-based brand of guitars made in Indonesia and China are being…

Mason Williams

Watch Mason Williams Play “Classical Gas”

In 1967, having completed his first season as a writer for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, Mason Williams spent a weekend with an old friend he had been neglecting: his nylon-string guitar. He composed an informal piece, thinking it might be handy for playing at parties, and called it “Classical…