Email Specials from February 2003

Sat 2/1/2003


We were in sunny California last week at the NAMM show and we stopped at the Danelectro booth to complain that we missed the old "Dan-Echo" pedal. It was one of the original large metal Dano pedals, before they came out with those little cheap plastic mini pedals. The Dan-Echo is a solid, relatively inexpensive, great sounding delay pedal. You can get a wonderful "slap-back" echo and really nice delay. It's loads of fun, and we sold a lot of them a few years ago. The guy at the booth said, "Oh, I have some of those left!" So we bought a bunch to offer to YOU, our favorite customer.


See You soon,


PS: In case you're wondering what happened to the Danelectro guitars, here's the story in 1000 words or less: Five years ago a guy named Steve bought the "Danelectro" name and started making vintage-style Dano guitars... He sold tons and tons of them worldwide, and just when the market seemed totally saturated he redesigned some old models and introduced some new, wacky ones. A couple of years ago he leased the designs to a wholesale company. (They sell a variety of brands of small goods like strings, and some company-branded big stuff like guitars and drums.) The wholesale company made and sold Danelectro guitars for a while, but the new wacky stuff didn't sell as much as they had hoped and so they stopped. Right now no Dano guitars are being made. And, as always happens when you can't get something anymore, we get emails almost daily from people looking for the original 1998-99 Danelectro models. We have long-since sold all of ours... (Wow.... As I'm typing this a guy just called looking for one! Coincidence? I think not.) However, the wholesale company's leasing agreement runs out later this year, and Steve will be making guitars again. I don't know which models... but based on requests we've been getting, he should go back to the vintage styles. We'll see. (This whole time he kept the rights to make Danelectro effects, so all of the pedals are from the original company...)

PPS: Yep, as you guessed, we couldn't help ourselves and we ordered lots of Gretsches. I checked them out and they've really put a lot of effort into design and quality. They seem much more impressive than the early reissues from a few years back, so we're gonna go for it. I'm just not sure how we're going to fit them all in the store... More news next week.

PPPS: This week's Customer web site:
Los Lobos

Sat 2/8/2003


Last Monday I drove to Nazareth, PA, for a private tour of the Martin factory. I was just there a year ago, but it's such fun that I had to go back. Besides, I had to see first hand what the internal differences were between the Martin HD-28 and the HD-28V... (You can read about these things, but that's not the same as actually seeing the guitars as they are being assembled...)

It turns out that the biggest behind-the-scenes difference between the two models is the HD-28V's forward shifted bracing. As you probably know, there is bracing under the face of an acoustic guitar to help the top withstand the tension of the strings. In 1840 C.F. Martin introduced an "X" bracing pattern, with the cross of the "X" between the soundhole and the bridge. This cross was about an inch from the soundhole. Well, sometime in 1939 the cross of the "X" braces moved about an inch toward the soundhole. No one knows why. (My guess is that one day someone lined the braces up on the wrong side of the little pencil lines that they draw on the underside of the guitar face...and just stayed that way.) To give the HD-28V true "vintage" specs they move the bracing to the pre-1939 position... now referred to as "forward shifted bracing."

I enjoy the 1939 inadvertent-brace-shift story because it's an example of how hand-made Martin guitars are. Even now there are a hundred folks sitting at workbenches carving little pieces of purfling and gluing on multiple layers of binding. It's cool that in this technological age there is still hands-on work being done. Guitars, like people, should have a personality. And personality comes from the human touch.


And just to visit the other extreme... This week's special are things that most likely no human ever touched, until we opened the box....Fender "Electro-Volt" Guitar Cables


See You soon,


PS: I was also able to visit the old factory, where my favorite acoustic, my 1954 D-18, was born! Back then they were cranking out three or four guitars a day, in an area about the size of our store.

PPS: This week's Customer web site:
The Granati Brothers

Sat 2/15/2003

Boss is introducing two new multi-effects pedals, so yesterday we ordered some. As we were talking to the sales rep I looked over our current inventory... to see what we were low on. When I glanced through the Boss Pedal pile I noticed that we had 82 Boss pedals in stock! Now admittedly, we do have 32 different models, but still, I think 82 is too much.

So I picked one, and we're going to have a super sale on it.

Since I wanted the sale to be truly super I picked the Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive. It's your basic distortion, except.... it's Super! And the Price- 66.667% off!


See You soon,


PS: For this week's "Read Carl's Mind" Contest, we're offering a FREE Boss SD-1 Pedal (a $97.50 value!) (Unless you have this coupon, in which case it's a $32.50 value...) to the first person who correctly fills in the missing three words in this phrase: "It's SUPER! ___ ___ ______!"
The phrase doesn't particularly make sense, but it made me laugh when I thought of it... If you can read my mind and are the first person to reply, you win the pedal. Then you'll be Super.

PPS: Yea! The Gretsch Guitars are starting to arrive! AND since we've gone this far (Hofner, Rickenbacker & Gretsch) we've decided to go one step further and we ordered Vox Amps, too! The first batch arrived this week and they're great! And look fabulous! And even the little ten-watt one sounds wonderful! (OK, that's a lot of exclamation points for one paragraph. Sorry. I just got done watching that stupid stupid "Are You Hot?" TV show, and my brain hurts... I wanted to turn away, but I couldn't...)

PPPS: This week's Customer web site:
Mr. Small's Funhouse

Sat 2/22/2003


Early this week a guy from Italy was in buying a guitar and he jokingly said "Where's your 'No Stairway To Heaven' sign?" He was, of course, referring to the guitar store scene in "Wayne's World," and the repeated playing-of-hit-song riffs that we hear in this biz. I explained that I opened Pittsburgh Guitars 24 years ago and I've heard a LOT of song licks played a LOT of wacky ways. "Stairway To Heaven" was certainly big, but it was long ago out-played by the riff from "Crazy Train." Another one that we heard for a year or so was Guns N' Roses' "Sweet Child O'Mine." And of course, Metallica's "Enter Sandman." And ALWAYS popular with folks trying bass or guitar is Nirvana's "Come As You Are."

It's never bothered me to hear these riffs played over and over. After all, they're a part of our musical heritage. In fact, I think, as a guitar player, it's your duty to know at least the main riff from these songs.

That's why I was so amused when I saw this new series of books from the Hal Leonard Publishing Company. (And, since our primary business plan here at Pittsburgh Guitars is to carry stuff that amuses me, I ordered them!) Yes, it's a series called "Riff Notes" and in one book you get up to 63 memorable guitar riffs!! And there's different books for different decades: "`70s Guitar Riffs," "`80s Guitar Riffs," etc, plus "Famous Bass Intros" and "Famous Acoustic Guitar Intros."

They're pretty cheap to begin with, so the email special is only a few dollars off But if you've ever wanted to go into a guitar store and reminisce about the hundreds of famous licks that have been played there, these are the books for you!

Come on, let's hum "Come As You Are": da da da da dum dum dum da da da da...


See You soon,


PS: This week's Customer web site:
Buckwheat Zydeco

PPS: Congratulations to Steve Belfi for winning the Boss SD-1 pedal in last week's contest. Steve correctly guessed that I was thinking of the song "I'm Super! Thanks For Asking!" by Big Gay Al in the South Park Movie.

PPPS: The new Vox half-stack arrived today, and, boy, is it cool looking! It's really more than a half-stack... it has a 4X12 cabinet, but it's big like a Super Beatle, except without the stand...

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