Email Specials from March 2003

Sat 3/1/2003


Yesterday I was watching Mark price a box of small goods that arrived... pitch pipes, machine heads, that kinda stuff... I started to notice all of the small stuff we carry. We don't have the vast variety of items that Giant Eagle has, especially those giant Giant Eagles that even carry sushi... hmmmmm... sushi.... but we do have everything you'll need for your guitar-playing pleasure. I even saw Mark un-packing more harmonica holders... and I said to myself, "I don't think I'd like to hear harmonica in EVERY song, but it's nice to hear a little now and then..." And then I said, "How the heck do people play those?... after all, you can't see what you're doing since it's in your mouth..." And then, just as I was starting to wonder why I was talking to myself, while at the same time being surprised at how well I was getting along with myself, I thought, "I just watched an old Ed Sullivan repeat, and I saw Stevie Wonder playing 'Fingertips, Part 1 & 2' and, man, was he great..."

Here's your chance to give it a try... (And once you master playing it, we have the harmonica holder you'll need to play it and your guitar at the same time...)


See You soon,


PS: This week's Customer web site:
Science Fiction Idols

Sat 3/8/2003


Well, it sure has been an interesting winter. At least that's what I was thinking yesterday morning, as I was scraping 3 inches of ice off of my windshield. But, you know, spring HAS to be right around the corner. (I hope...)

And when it's finally warm enough to go outside without a giant winter coat, and when it's finally light out when you leave for work, and STILL light out when you come home from work... then our thoughts will turn to.... love... and music. (OK, we thought about both during the winter, too... but not about doing them in the street!)

Summer is the time to take the ol' guitar out on the porch, or the sidewalk, and let some music loose into the air. Why not get started on your acoustic repertoire now, so you'll be ready when the sun eventually starts to shine again.

This week's special is our best selling acoustic guitar. It's an inexpensive, easy playing, full-size dreadnought, by Fender. It makes a great first acoustic, or would be a nice second guitar if you don't want to play your Martin in the rain.


See You soon,


PS: This week's Customer web site:
John Doe

Sat 3/15/2003


As I'm sure you know, Lloyd Loar, working for Gibson, developed one of the first electric pickups in 1924. And, of course, the first commercially successful pickup was designed by George Beauchamp for Rickenbacker, and used in their 1932 Electric Lap Steel. And we all know that from that point forward, lots of pickups were designed for lots of different instruments. They varied in size, from the thin pickup on Leo Fender's Telecaster, to the wider P-90 on Les Paul's early Les Pauls... but what they all had in common was the basic design: a magnet with a coil of wire wrapped around it.

And who could forget that day in 1954 when Seth Lover, also working for Gibson, realized that if you hooked two magnetic coils together, wired in Series, you would eliminate the hum inherent in all single coil pickups. (Like you, I've always been disappointed with the name he chose: "Humbucking"... He should have called it a "Hum-cancelling Pickup" or a "Hum-stopping Pickup"...or even an "Un-hum Pickup"... but.....) Gibson started to use the new Humbucking Pickup in 1957.

Since economics is always a concern with manufacturing companies, Gibson only used the (slightly) more costly dual coil pickup on their more expensive guitars (Les Paul, ES-335, SG) and they continued to use the older single coil P-90 on lower priced models (Les Paul Jr, ES-330, SG Jr, SG Special). What's interesting is that, although the Humbucking Pickup is a technological upgrade, the P-90, with it's grittier, harsher sound, has a distinctive place in Rock & Roll. Which is probably why last night, simultaneously, on two major network shows two bands' lead guitar players were using mid-60s Gibson SG Specials, with P-90s. With rapid channel-changing power, I saw Ringo on Jay Leno and American Hi-Fi on Letterman. I don't know who either of the guitar players were... the guy playing for Ringo was twice as old as the guy with the SG Special in American Hi-Fi... but they both sounded great!

(American Hi-Fi was wonderful by the way. They were really rockin', and though both guitar players in the band were using distortion they had different tones, which were distinctive yet complimentary. Ringo was his usual happy self, and sang a nice song about George.)

At this point I really wish I had some SGs with P-90s to put on the email special...but I don't. The closest thing I have is two Les Paul Specials, with P-100s... so I'm gonna use those......


See You soon,

PS: The P-100 is the modern day version of the P-90. It's 2 stacked P-90s, so you get the fat sound of a single coil, but no buzz

PPS: Famous P-90 usage: Pete Townshend, The Beatles, Leslie West (the intro to "Mississippi Queen" is a perfect representation of the sound!) ,Santana, and hundreds more...

Sat 3/22/2003


Step One: Place your case on a flat surface. Make sure that the latches are on the bottom half, so you know which side is the top of the case. (Unless you have a Danelectro case from the late 50s... They have the latches on the top so your guitar will be upside down when you open the case...)

Step Two: Open case and remove guitar. (If you're in the basement watch that you don't hit your headstock on the water pipes.)

Step Three: Attach your strap to the guitar. (Unless you're from a punk band from the 1980s, in which case the strap is already duct-taped on.)

Step Four: Plug in to your amp, and turn it on. The on/off switch will be in the back, on the right. (Unless it's an old Fender, in which case it'll be in the center... or if it's a Marshall, it'll be on the front... or if it's a Vox it'll be on the top...) (Oh yeah... one more thing- if you're in the basement, make sure that you're not standing in a puddle of water... in your bare feet...)

Step Five: Make an "A" chord in the first position... and do it the rock & roll way, with one finger barring the D, G, and B strings on the second fret.

Step Six: Crank up the amp. And hit that chord the way Angus Young would.

Step Sev.... You know, this is gonna take a while... Let's just make it this week's email special...Hal Leonard and Fender Present: "Getting Started on Electric Guitar" DVD!


See You soon,

PS: This week's Customer web site:
The Yards

Sat 3/29/2003


I'm very happy today! I just made a trade with a guy from Wisconsin. I sent him an expensive new Martin, and he sent me a 1964 D-28E. Now, you're probably saying, "I know what a D-28 is... Martin has been making them since 1935. But what's a D-28E, and why are you so happy about it?"

Well, Leo Fender caused quite a stir in those fun-lovin' 1950s, first with his Tele and then, in `54, with the Stratocaster. Gibson was keeping up with the Les Paul line. And the world was going electric.

In 1959, Martin, the world's finest flat-top acoustic maker, thought they'd try to jump on this electric bandwagon. In a fit of temporary insanity (perhaps alcohol was involved...) they decided to take a perfectly wonderful sounding D-28 and screw two big DeArmond pickups, four knobs and a toggle switch to the spruce top! They only added an "E" to the model name, but they added enough weight to prevent that top from ever vibrating. Bottom line: you can plug it in, but don't expect much in the way of acoustic sound.

Martin made 179 D-28Es in 1959... and only another 62 over the next five years until they came to their senses in 1964. Grand total: 238

To get to the second half of your question: I like it because it's an interesting piece of American guitar history. It's an example of a grand old company trying to keep up with the times in an era of guitar-electronics technical infancy.

Pickups have come a long way since 1959. If you a need great, natural-sounding acoustic pickup, and don't want to drill any holes in your guitar, try the Dean Markley Pro-Mag. It's a removable sound-hole pickup and it's this week's email special.


See you soon,

PS: With only 238 ever made, not many D-28Es were ever used in high profile situations. The most famous use of this model: Kurt Cobain on MTV Unplugged, November 18, 1993.

PPS: Another reason I'm particularly happy about this guitar- I already have one from the first year, 1959... now I have one from the last, 1964. Bookends of the model, so to speak. (Martin is checking the serial numbers for me to see how close to the beginning and the end these are.) I know that doesn't justify extreme happiness... but it's kinda cool to a guitar nut like me...

PPPS: This week's Customer web site:

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