Thursday, February 24, 2011

Rock Bottom Music Month: Inventory

This edition of "Rock Bottom Music Month" is going to focus on our store itself. Rock Bottom has two locations, one in downtown Augusta on the corner of 8th and Broad, and one in Aiken South Carolina on Pine Log Road behind Blockbuster. Rock Bottom has grown from a mail order store to a franchise. We carry more inventory than any store around. We carry tons of brands of every instrument. We have just started carrying Epiphone/Gibson. I came in this week to find around 100 of them being delivered! The new Fender Mustang amp has been a big hit, along with all the starts, teles and everything else Fender. Jonathon has made RBM the biggest Pearl drum dealer in Georgia. Line 6 amps, Egnater and Marshall are just a few of the amps you will see. There are more drums and cymbals than anywhere within 200 miles. Cables, picks, strings, drum heads,you name it its there. Jonathon and the staff will beat any mail order or advertised price. If its not in the store it can be ordered. Just ask. Along with being a a music store Rock Bottom is like a rock and roll museum. There are tons of signed guitars, drum heads and other things. Tons of cool posters and albums everywhere. Even if you dont play there is tons of cool stuff to look at, like you are at a Hard Rock Cafe. We have a teaching staff that can teach you about anything you want to learn. There is also tons of Rock Bottom gear you can get, like hats shirts and hoodies. We got techs to work on guitars amps and everything that can need fixed. Everyone that comes to Rock Bottom already knows this stuff, but all the out of state readers dont ;) Come down and check us out sometime. Check out the Rock Bottom website at
or call at 706-724-1172
Check out some pics of Rock Bottom at
there are a couple pages of pics. go to the bottom and click through all the pages. see you at Rock Bottom!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

R.B.M. Month: Brian Thrift

In the next article to be written for "Rock Bottom Music Month" I will be honing in on Rock bottom salesman and "Dr. Downtown" , Brian Thrift. Brian has been a fixture in the Augusta music and music store scene for 18+ years now. He has played in bands like Uncle Woody, Tokyo Joe,Dancing Green, Wire,(his first band) Burning Bush and did three amazing cd release parties with Keith Gregory. His first guitar was an Ibanez Roadster 2 that was white with a black pick guard. He got that guitar because he thought it looked like Jake E Lee's guitar. His two favorite guitar players are Jake E Lee and Eddie Van Halen.He has been playing guitar for 25 years and has been into music his whole life. The things that got him into music are 1)The soundtrack for Smokey and the Bandit movie. The song "East Bound and Down" by Jerry Reid made him obsessed. He could not listen to it enough. 2) Was "Cinnamon Girl " by Neil Young. The sound Neil Young's amp made in that song made him wonder how someone could make a guitar sound like that. 3) And this is MOST IMPORTANT, was hearing Eddie Van Halen for the first time. Hearing Van Halen changed his life forever. He knew when he heard Ed that he really wanted to play guitar. His dream guitar is even a replica Eddie Van Halen " Frankenstein" guitar made by Fender. He played out heavy from the years 1989-2008. Brian is such a fan of guitar he named his kids Zakk, after Zakk Wylde and another Edward Jacob, after Eddie Van Halen and Jake E Lee. Having worked a lot years in music stores Brian has seen alot of trends in music and music gear. He says he has sold more Fender guitars and products than anything else. He says some of the craziest trends and products are guitar synths and those little plastic Danelectro pedals. He says after seeing all the trends in music, from glam to grunge, metal to rap metal and everything in between, the common thread between all of them is rock and roll. No matter what style, it leads all of them to the same thing- loud rock and roll guitars. I agree. He can spot a new player a mile away. The advice he would give them? If you are into rock music get an electric guitar, if you are into Garth Brooks or folk music, get you an acoustic guitar. If you are getting your first guitar, get yourself a hard tail. Do not get a floyd rose whammy bar. I asked him how the Augusta music scene has changed since he first started in it back in the 80's. He says it seems like it hasn't changed at all. He says there is always a group of kids playing whatever is popular at the time, be it grunge, metal or whatever and it's what everybody is doing. The scene doesn't change, just what they are playing. Brian is a very knowledgeable and helpful salesman. He has been an asset at Rock Bottom Music.He has worked at all the big Augusta music stores and says "A World of Music" was at one time the best music store ever and says being at Rock Bottom is the same way. Rock Bottom IS ROCK AND ROLL and will go down in Augusta music history the same way as World of Music and that he is proud to be a part of Rock Bottom. He says Rock Bottom is not a corporate machine and he has found his home. I agree Brian, it's a blast getting to work with you! Next time you are in the store make sure you say hi to Brian and ask him about Eddie or Jake!!!!!!!!!!

check out some more pics of brian at

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Student Spotlight: Shane Waldun

This "Student Spotlight" is on 18 year old, Hephzibah High senior, Shane Waldun. Shane has been taking lessons from me since October of 2009. He got his first guitar at three years old from his Grandfather, who also played guitar and released his own music. He has an Uncle who plays too. Shane really got serious on playing around 2-3 years ago. He also plays the piano, took 1 yr of lessons and the trombone, 3 years of instruction. I asked Shane why he even decided to pick up the guitar. He told me "The bands i loved sounded so cool, I thought it would be worth the adventure to learn!" That is a very cool reason. His guitar heroes are Kirk Hammet and Zakk Wylde. His favorite bands are Metallica and Breaking Benjamin. If he could be a fill in guitar player for any band it would be metal legends Metallica. Shane's dream guitar would be a silverburst Gibson Les Paul and his dream amp is one of the new revolutionary Fender Mustang amps. Shane is a member of the J.R.O.T.C.. He is going to attend North Georgia for college and hopes to major in music or computer programming. The thing Shane has gotten the most of from lessons is playing by ear sometimes just isn't enough and to practice as often as you can because practice really can make perfect. The most embarrassing song on his ipod? Sexting by Blood on the Dance Floor. Shane has been really working hard and I have enjoyed watching him progress as a student of mine. He has great things in store for him as he gets older. He has great taste in music and loves music from any style. Some advice Shane has for anyone new to the guitar is "If you are not really into it it's going to be hard to learn. It takes a lot of desire to get yourself to were your going to be able to play, alot of practice....and if you do go for it, shoot high." So here's to you Shane....Keep Rockin......Keep Playin.....and Keep having fun!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Learn From.............. Van Halen

This edition of "Learn From" is on Van Halen. Eddie Van Halen inparticular. Eddie and Van Halen were game changers. He is one of the few musicians in history were you can clearly see a before Eddie and after Eddie. Before Ed most guitar players sounded like beefed up blues (not that that is bad, its not). Think of Jimmy Page, Ted Nugent, Toni Iommi. Back before Ed every guitar player sounded similar to them, for the most part. He not only changed how people played, but how the guitar sounded. He added tapping, tremalo picking, speed, finesse, phrasing and many other elements. The song that changed it all was "Eruption." Check it out

While you might not want to start your Van Halen learning with it, Van Halen 1 is a great place to start. Songs like "You Really Got Me","Aint Talkin Bout Love" and "Ice Cream Man" might not be easy, but they are about the easiest of Eddie to start with. Once you get them down you can move on to all the other albums. Another great one is "Hot For Teacher"

When you are learning these songs listen to how they sound. His tone is one of the most sought after tones in music. He is not only a great guitar player/ innovator but is just as good at writing songs. What is a great solo without a great song? Nothing. He is a master rythym player too. Nothing makes a solo or song better than a great riff. Eddie has also invented alot of the gear we take for granted. The power break, the D-Tuna, whammy bar improvements....the list goes on. He has his own amp, guitar, cable, pedals, hell even shoes ( and many many other things) that just kick everything eles's ass. You can check out his guitars and amps at Rock Bottom, we got some. He has influenced more world class musicians than you can count. Example- Dimebag Darrel, Zakk Wylde, Kirk Hammett, Steve Vai, every guitar player in the 80's......the list will continue to go on. So go buy some Van Halen cd's, download some songs and buy some tab books (your gonna need 'em) and get yourself "Learning From" Eddie Van Halen!!!!

Monday, February 7, 2011

RBM Month: Kevin Ellis

The first person we are going to spotlight in "Rock Bottom Music" month is Kevin Ellis. He is one of the repair techs at the store. He is a native of Long Island New York. He works on anything that gets brought into Rock Bottom. From guitars and basses to violins and banjos. He does any kind of repairs, paint jobs, set ups and anything that needs done. He went to Atlanta Guitar Works in 2009 to get his certificate in guitar building but has been working on guitars since he was a kid in New York city. He started building and working on guitars because he was wanting to do his own thing. He wanted to improve and customise the instruments he played. The Fender Strat and Gibson Les Pauls that were in Sam Ash music were also an inspiration. He is a big fan of the Les Paul binding. Though he builds for love and not money, he really started getting serious a couple years ago, as far as the business side is concerned. He sold his 1970 SS Chevelle with a 454 in it to get the seed money to start up. He has converted his garage into afull guitar building workshop. Complete with a paint room, tools and a stockpile of wood. His goal for his business is quality, not quantity. He admires the old time craftsmanship were quality came first. Kevin hand works alot of the wood and parts for guitars. Sandpaper and chisels are used alot by him. He got hooked into Rock Bottom Music with his persistance. Hanging out and showing Jonathon Karow his evolving work got him the job. Kevin believes how theneck feels on a guitar is the most important thing about a guitar. He is also a guitar player and sites Eddie Van Halen as a big reason he gotinto the guitar in the first place. Kevin's guitar repair company is called Dream Guitar Works. You can check them out at

I am gonna profile one of his builds. Its called the "Tone God" and is modeled after the Peavey Wolfgang.The body is canary wood. The body top is flame maple. It has a 7 piece binding. The neck and headstock is one piece coco boa. Its a 2 way truss rod with the adjust at the heel. Abolony shell inlays. Stumack jumbo fret wire. 25 and 1/2 inch scale.Wolfgang usa model pick ups.3 way toggle switch. its a go tow floyd rose with alocking nut. Its all hand made.
here is a link to check it out.

here is an acoustic he has built

more pics of ellis and his shop at

Kevin is an honest hard working guy. He is someone who takes pride in his work and loves doing it. I hope you had fun checking this out and stay tuned for the next person to meet from Rock Bottom Music!

Spotlight Licks: Dave Mercer

This "Spotlight Lick" is brought to you by multi band\ multi instrumentalist\ vocalist Dave Mercer. Dave Mercer plays bass in Suns Collide, sings lead in Shotgun Opera, plays drums in Sibling String and plays guitar in Chairleg. This lick is based in E minor and is a good jammin riff. On Febuary 26 Dave will be playinghis farewell gig with Shotgun Opera at The Vue opening for national act Taproot.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Rock Bottom Music Month

I am declaring the month of Febuary "Rock Bottom Music" month. This month I am going to dive right in to all things Rock Bottom. From the people that work there to products we carry and services we offer. I will also get into the concerts, in store appearances, and clinics that get held there. These things have everything to do with getting inspired to play and knowing what products you are going to be playing, plus it gives me something new to write about. I will also get into the head of Jonathon Karow and see what makes him tick and find out what it takes to keep all the things he has going successful. I have had some students over the years want to be performers, concert promoters and talk about opening their own store one day, so Jonathon will have some insight for them. There are quite a few characters at Rock Bottom so I will have alot of good things to write about. First up will be Rock Bottoms instrument repair tech Kevin Ellis. His piece will be up the beginning of next week. So keep checking in and keep reading!