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His resume is one of the most impressive in rock. He brought the world Green Day and gave the word “Dookie” new meaning. His records have sold nearly 200 million copies and Eric Clapton, Dave Matthews, My Chemical Romance, Kid Rock, Avril Lavigne, Fleetwood Mac, The Goo Goo Dolls, David Cook, Paramore, Hot Hot Heat, [...]

The Master of Space and Time

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The Axesmith: Acoustic Guitar String Change

I’ve been changing guitar strings for decades. Smugly, I had always placed the degree of difficulty somewhere between tying my shoes and pumping gas. That all changed when I met Joey Brasler, now one of our top guitar merchants. He took a sad look at a Baby Taylor I brought into work, rolled his eyes, [...]

“Holy Wars” with Dave Mustaine of Megadeth

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June 2009: While Hoobastank guitarist Dan Esstrin certainly has the chops to qualify for designation as a genuine guitar hero, when one steps back and looks at the big picture, the description "guitar role model" seems more appropriate.

In addition to dazzling listeners with solos that burn with intensity, Dan Estrin is a fully rounded musician that writes well crafted songs with unusual chord progressions, tasteful melodic lines, and richly textured layers.

"I'm taking the guitar parts into consideration a little bit more," says Estrin. "Instead of just playing power chords in the chorus I'm playing things that are more melodic. I don't want to play the bare minimum, like three or four power chord progressions."

While Estrin mainly relies on a Mesa/Boogie Road King, a variety of Gibsons (a Les Paul, SG, and ES-137), and a PRS Custom 24 when playing live, he plays just about every imaginable amp and guitar in the studio. While making For(n)ever he also used a Mesa LoneStar, a Peavey 6505, various vintage Marshall plexi heads, a Soldano, a Top Hat amp and more. Guitars included a variety of Les Pauls, SGs, Fender Strats and Telecasters, Paul Reed Smiths, a Rickenbacker 360 six-string, and some vintage Gretsch models.

"Sometimes when I'm writing a song I'll have a particular vibe in mind," says Estrin. "The tone I envision might be something like the neck pickup on a Strat. I don't play Fender guitars live, but I still want that exact sound for the record. I'm not going to use something else like a PRS or Gretsch to get that sound. I'm going to use a real Strat."

However, Estrin is also open to experimenting in the studio to come up with new sounds. On "Gone, Gone, Gone" he played a Sixties Telecaster through several different amps at once, using the natural overdrive sounds on some amps blended with heavily distorted tones produced by Fuzz Face and Rat distortion pedals. The intro to "Who the Hell Am I" features doubled electric guitar and electric sitar tracks playing identical parts and panned hard left and right.

Dan often writes songs alone and records demos with Pro Tools, Logic, and Garage Band. "At this point Garage Band is the easiest and most convenient software to use," he says. "I just pull out my laptop and record. I just got some Digitech processors like the GSP1101 that I can hook up and use with Garage Band or Logic. It's inspiring to come up with new ideas when you already have a great preset tone. When you come up with a cool idea or riff it's like 'bam!' – you've got a new song. My best ideas usually come when I'm about to fall asleep. I keep my recording equipment near my bed so I can capture ideas right away."

Estrin has already written several new songs since For(n)ever came out in January, but he's in no hurry to get back into the studio. "I still want to tour behind this record," he says. "I want to play the new songs live for a while. I also want to spend time really crafting our new songs. We're not the same band we were back in 2001, and I always want the band to continue to grow. I never want to get to a spot where we're complacent. I want to get better as a songwriter and guitarist, and I want everyone in the band to get better, too. If I can make myself happy and other people happy by making music, that's more than enough for me."

Not only did Dan Estrin and his bandmates in Hoobastank get a load of cool new gear, DigiTech's own John Larabee came by the guys' rehearsal space to help them set it all up and walk them through the incredible features of their new stash. The whole band were as excited as kids opening presents on Christmas morning. Check out some of the goodies Dan picked up.

RP1000 – Dan was particularly excited by this remarkable unit. Not only does the RP1000 put a nearly endless variety of sounds and effects at his feet, but it's flexible enough to use in any situation. For effortless writing and recording, the RP1000 comes with Cubase software and a USB out. For rehearsals and jams, Dan wants to keep the amp tone he loves. Well, the RP1000 lets you disable its acclaimed amp and cabinet modeling so you get the effects you want, and nothing gets in the way of your sound. Plus, with the RP1000 set to 'Pedalboard Mode' Dan has a fully programmable pedalboard with individual control over each effect.

HarmonyMan – Nothing turns a song up to 11 like a great harmony lead. With the incredible DigiTech HarmonyMan, Dan can create soaring guitar harmonies that automatically match the chord progression he's playing. Digitech's innovative MusIQ technology, used on their popular Vocalist pedals, generates intelligent harmonies with up to two voices in a variety of intervals.

Time Bender – Possibly the most powerful delay available, the Time Bender may unlock the secrets of time itself. Ok, maybe not. But it will give Dan Estrin access to advanced looping (up to 20 seconds) and 10 different delay types. The unique Strum Tempo feature lets Dan set the repeat pattern by simply strumming his guitar, opening up possibilities that go way beyond traditional delays.

Brian May Red Special – Dan already has a DigiTech Jimi Hendrix Experience pedal, and he loves it. So he can't wait to dive in to this bright red beauty and explore the classic tones of the great Brian May. Developed in close collaboration with May and legendary engineer Eddie Kramer, the Red Special faithfully recreates the guitar tones from seven Queen favorites.

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