Category: Technical

Christmas Swing in Bb

Upbeat, Christmas swing guitar solo, with a lo-fi intro and some gypsy jazz influences, played with a Gibson ES 335.  Merry Xmas!

Play Video
About Christmas Swing

Original Christmas swing guitar track in Bb (first video in this key). The video starts with a slow, jazzy turnaround drenched in lo-fi effects (RC-20 Retro Color). After the turnaround, the sleigh bells indicate a tempo change, and off we go for a festive ride along with some tasty jazz-blues-swing licks, the beautiful b9, and the magical mysteries of the diminished scale. As usual, you get the guitar tabs on the screen & a few surprises along the way 😉

Featured Plugin

The lo-fi effect on the piano & guitar in de intro of the video is made with the RC-20 retro color plugin from XLN audio. This is a very creative plugin to add some vintage vibes to your sounds.

XLN Audio's RC-2O Retro Color

I even used the ‘space’ effect on the guitar for the rest of ‘Christmas Swing’ because of it’s nice reverb tail. It’s definitely worth checking out this plugin. 

You can download a trial here:

Gear used
  • The guitar used is a Gibson ES-335, straight into a Fender Blues Jr III (captured with Universal Audio Ox)
  •  Strings & Percussion from East-West Hollywood Orchestral Percussion, very nice stuff
More Jazz-Blues on the ES-335

Misirlou Cover (Pulp Fiction) By T.A.F. Surf Trio

Cover of the famous Dick Dale song Misirlou (from Pulp Fiction) by Jan, Maarten (me) & Arvid from The Art Factory music school in Roeselare, Belgium. 

About the track

During the time The Art Factory music school was closed (because of the global health crisis), we wanted to create a music video (online collaboration) to lift the spirits of our students (and colleagues).

Our music school just re-opened this year, so the temporary closure was a big setback.

Our choice fell onto a Misirlou cover (or Miserlou), this wild surf guitar song by Dick Dale and His Del-Tones, made famous by the Pulp Fiction movie by Quentin Tarantino.

R.I.P. Dick Dale, what an amazing song you recorded!

This video was so much fun making, even though the frenzied tremolo picking almost gave me a tennis elbow 🙂 

Trying to match the style and vigor of Dick Dale was quite the challenge. Plus, I absolutely love the contributions by Jan & Arvid here. Both the drums and trumpet parts are spot on! Great musicians!

The end result of our impromptu project is too entertaining not to share here, so I hope you enjoy this Misirlou cover! Maarten.

Misirlou Cover
My Misirlou Cover Outfit
Tone tips for guitar

Download the Fractal AX8 Preset here

I did not match Dick Dale’s tone exactly, but these things helped me to find a satisfying tone:

  • Strat-style guitar with Jumbo frets (my Suhr was up for the task, the frets on my Strat were too worn unfortunately.)
  • Single coil pickups (bridge position)
  • Heavy pick: I use Dunlop Jazz III Carbon Fibre 0,73 mm.
  • Boost pedal: TC Electronic The Spark (“fat”-setting).
  • Delay before the amp I combined my MXR Carbon Copy Delay (+/- 90 ms slap setting) with a 131 ms Delay from the AX8 and put them before the amplifier.
  • Spring Reverb (from AX8)
Misirlou signal flow
delay before amplifier helps to get that vintage tone
Misirlou practice tips
  • Practice with a metronome
  • Start slow (below 150 bpm) to learn the melody, but speed up once you get the knack of it
  • Practice short intervals (10 min.) at high speed: 150 bpm, increasing to 172 bpm
  • Watch out if your picking arm starts hurting (seriously!), try not to play too tense
  • The intro is the hardest part, so practice this ‘hit-the-ground-running’ concept
  • Give yourself some time to learn this song
  • Credits to Arvid for editing the video
  • Credits to stringtheorist for sharing the original AX8-preset for this song. I modified it a little bit to my taste and ears.
  • We do not own the rights to this song. Misirlou is originally performed by Dick Dale & The Del-Tones (1962) written by Nick Roubanis e.a.

GLAB GSC-4 Switcher In Action

In this first installment of ’tech talk,’ I discuss the basic features of the GLAB GSC-4 (Guitar System Controller 4) and show you how to program a preset.

In the picture below, you can see GLAB GSC-4 on my pedalboard. In the video, I explain the basics of midi programming. How to send a midi cc message to the eventide H9 (via midi cable).

My pedalboard
Pedalboard with GLAB GSC-4

There is a seperate post on my pedalboard here


I am not sponsored by glab  but a long time fan of their products. I only recommend products that I absolutely love and use myself. The same goes for my Bogner Burnley and Eventide H9 = my desert island gear). In the video I show my battered-but-still-working GLABGSC-3. This company builds simple yet high performance and durable gear!

Gear Links

My personal experience with G-LAB

GLAB has excellent customer service too (this story is not in the video btw). A few years ago, I bought a Blackstar amplifier, and I needed a stereo-jack to (weird) 9-pin adapter for switching amp channels. The music shop where I bought the amp couldn’t help me. They couldn’t even help me look for a solution although they where official Blackstar and Glab-distributors) so I emailed GLAB in Poland myself. 

These kind people made an adapter for me and sent it through the mail, all the connections nicely labeled and working perfectly. These are things that you remember as a customer! The GLAB GSC-4, highly recommended!

Double Stop Hybrid Solo

I wrote a new solo for my  backing track on YouTube.  The main idea was to use hybrid picking and double stops to create movement, while improvising over 1 chord. One of the improvising techniques I like to use is “W.W.X.D.?” (=what would X do?), the X in this case being David Grissom. I tried emulating his use of double stops and open strings a little bit. Have fun !