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SongTown: Things I’ve Learned The Hard Way

1) There is no substitute for a GREAT song. A great sounding demo and lots of connections won’t help you get a weak song cut.

2) You have to get outside your box. I don’t naturally like to mix and mingle with people. I’m an introvert. I’ve learned that I have to get out of that box because it limits me and hurts me as a businessman. I have to get out and get to know people, build up my network and be seen around town.

3) Getting a publisher doesn’t guarantee cuts or solve all of your problems. I’ve still gotten a big proportion of my songs cut myself. My publishers have gotten me some significant cuts, but the majority I got through writing with artists or pitching myself.

4) You never get anything for free. Early on, I had people tell me that I should “Never sign away” any part of my publishing. I finally realized that publishers have to make money too, and they aren’t going to pitch my songs for free. The cost of doing business is that you will almost always have to give away some part of your publishing if you want to get cuts. You will ALWAYS have to give away part of it if you want a staff writing deal.

5) Don’t demo every song you write. As much as I hate to admit it, they aren’t all worth spending money on. I try to be very objective and critical of my songs when I’m deciding what to demo.

6) Watch where you spend your money. Most of us don’t have unlimited funds. Pick and choose carefully where you spend your money. I recommend that people spend money on a) things that make them better writers and b) things that increase their chances of a cut. Other than that – BEWARE!

7) It takes time. I thought originally that I could write for a couple of years, start getting cuts, and be financially independent writing songs within 5 years. Not going to happen. I don’t know anyone who has had that experience. You have to settle in for the long haul.

8) You have to decide how bad you want it. Only those who want it enough will succeed. I can generally predict someone’s success based on their drive or “want to.”

Hopefully, you can learn from my mistakes and succeed more quickly. Write on!

Marty Dodson

Marty Dodson is a songwriter, corporate trainer and entrepreneur. His songs have been recorded by artists such as Rascal Flatts, Carrie Underwood, Kenny Chesney, Joe Cocker, Leon Russell and The Plain White T’s. He once bumped Psy out of the #1 spot on the K-Pop charts but that’s another story for another day. Marty plays Taylor and Batson guitars. Follow him here: www.facebook.com/songtownusa, at www.facebook.com/martydodsonsongwriter and at Twitter @SongTownUSA or visit martydodson.com

Guitar World

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Caparison Releases Apple Horn 8 Eight-String Guitar, the Mattias “IA” Eklundh Signature Model

Caparison Guitars has released its new Apple Horn 8 model.

From the company:

With a walnut-and-mahogany composite tone wood solid-body, the Apple Horn 8 helps to maintain that essential note definition needed when dealing with avant-garde tunings. The highs remain crystal clear with a distinctive bell-like mid-range, and the low notes are tight yet thunderous.

The fast and comfortable, hand-finished, five-piece maple–walnut neck fits comfortably into your hand, making extended playing a fatigue-free breeze. Add to this the 27-fret True Temperament system on a 27-inch-scale length select rosewood fingerboard, and the exacting harmonics this guitar produces sing out in perfect intonation.

The calculated lunacy is completed with an eight-string Floyd Rose Original tremolo system, for maximum sonic exploration, an articulate and dynamic DiMarzio D Activator 8 pickup in the bridge and a PAF 8 in the neck, each selected by a single “push/push” volume pot.

Caparison set out to make the ultimate eight-string guitar, eminently playable, sonically astute and beautiful. The Apple Horn 8 represents the epitome of creative guitar building and stands apart from other instruments of its ilk. Hand made in Japan, the Caparison Apple Horn 8, is available to order now.

Priced as follows:

U.S.: MAP $ 5,299 (excluding tax), Europe: €5,019 Euros (inc. VAT), UK: £3,989 (inc. VAT).

For more about Caparison Guitars, visit caparisonguitars.com.


Guitar World

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Streaming Now: ‘The Essential Richie Kotzen,’ Disc 2 — Exclusive

Today, Richie Kotzen is streaming disc 2 of his new album, The Essential Richie Kotzen, right here at GuitarWorld.com.

You can check it out below. As always, be sure to tell us what you think of it in the comments or on Facebook!

The album, which was released today, September 2, contains material curated from Kotzen’s entire career (which has spawned 18 solo albums), not including his work with Poison and the Winery Dogs.

The new package was purposely designed to give listeners the most comprehensive, concise introduction to Kotzen’s extensive body of work. It includes two CDs of classic Kotzen material as well as two new songs, along with a DVD of music videos, acoustic performances and bootleg material. It’s the ultimate collection of music for Kotzen fans.

We recently spoke with Kotzen about the Essential package, his upcoming solo album and some of the most memorable moments of his career. For the rest of this interview, head here!

GUITAR WORLD: What spawned your new Essential package?

It was an idea that actually came from the record label. I have a very nice fan base that’s been great to me over the years and has allowed me to tour around the world. But there’s also a huge community in the rock world that knows my name but has no idea what it is that I do musically. I remember when I was on tour with the Winery Dogs, people would often come up to me and say, “Man, I didn’t know you sang like that and I just found out that you also have a solo career. What record should I get?”

I never knew what to say. I wrote my first record when I was 17 (and recorded it at 18), so a lot of time has passed. What we decided to do was make one package that would answer the question. I went through and picked out songs I like to play live and still represent who I am today. So for someone who is curious about what it is that I do, now there’s an answer.

Another cool thing about the package are the demo and acoustic performances. Particularly, the track “Until You Suffer Some (Fire and Ice).” Not many people realize your contribution to Poison. What can you tell me about that experience?

It was such a sideways move for me. Two years before I joined the band, my contract with Shrapnel was bought out by Interscope. That’s what brought me to California, and I spent about a year writing songs for what I thought was going to be my solo record. We really wanted to make this R&B, soul/rock record and even got the budget approved. Then at the last minute, the label said, “Wait a minute. I didn’t sign you to do this kind of music. I need you to be a hard rock guy.” I remember just losing my mind and insisted on being dropped — which they did.

At the same time they were dropping me, the A&R guy said, “You know, Bret Michaels just called me. They’re interested in you. I think you should do it and then circle back after the album cycle.” So I went out and met Bret and really liked what he had to say. They brought me in as a band member and writer and that song that you mentioned was one of the songs I brought in that would have been on that solo record. I never really played the song live and thought it made sense to do a version of me singing it. That’s what’s on the record.

For more about Kotzen, visit richiekotzen.com.

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Guitar World

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Led Zeppelin teams with designer Paul Smith for scarf collection

Led Zeppelin has teamed up with British fashion designer Paul Smith to create a limited-edition collection of scarves featuring prints of the band’s album covers.

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Smith’s collection will launch with six scarves, featuring artwork from the first three reissues – “Led

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