I like parades. And I like marching
bands in parades. And, because they are the most rock & roll
part of a marching band, I like the drum section the best. What
I like the least is the new plastic snare drums that marching
bands are using these days.
You know how when you're walking
down the street in the South Side, and you hear music off in
the distance? And you know how even with modern CD technology,
you can still tell whether it's a live band vs. a loud CD player?
And you know how that's always `cause you can tell the sound
of real, live drums? Nothing can really substitute for the sound
of a live snare drum.... especially not those tick-tick-tick
plastic snare drums marching bands are using. In the parade I
watched last Friday, right after a huge high school band was
one of those 6-piece Civil War groups. (I don't think they were
actual Civil War veterans, since none of them looked a day over
80...) And they had three real, wooden snare drums, and they
sounded better than the whole high school band.
My point here? Sometimes modern
technology is good (i.e.pocket calculators), sometimes it's just
cheap sounding plastic.
An example of good modern technology
is the new the Korg CA-30 Tuner. It's small, chromatic, lightweight,
inexpensive and accurate. (Though it still sounds bad if you
hit it with a drumstick...) The CA-30 is the email special this
week, at more than 50% off the list price!
And speaking of the 4th of July
parades last Friday, that's the reason this email special is
arriving late. Which works out OK, because next week's will be
late, too! We'll be out on the sidewalk celebrating the annual
South Side Summer Street Spectacular. That means fabulous sidewalk
sale sales for you, and lots of drinking for us... The SSSSS
starts on Thursday. We'll be open late Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
We're gonna have a good time... come down and join the festivities.
See you soon,
PS: Some examples of this week's Street Spectacular Sales are:
Harmonicas: $1.87, Kazoos: 47¢, Strings: $2.33, and more!
PPS: This week's Customer web site:
Whew.... I'm exhausted from last
weekend's South Side Summer Street Spectacular. All that sittin'
outside, listenin' to music, and drinkin' beer out of a paper
bag will wear you out...
Late in the evening I had a chance
to walk around and check out some of the other sidewalk sales
and I found this guy selling old pictures. These were probably
taken by Teenie Harris, a photographer for the Pittsburgh Courier,
who took thousands and thousands of photos during the 1940s,
50s and 60s. The guy on the sidewalk had some pictures of old
cars, some guys on motorcycles, some people walking down the
street, and some musicians. The one that caught my eye was this super cool
I'll wait while you look at it....
I don't have any idea who these guys are, but I love the photo.
The bass player is playing a Gibson EB-1, Gibson's first electric
bass. They made these from 1953 through 1958, and the EB-1 had
no high end whatsoever. It's hard to believe that the guy in
the photo could get any volume at all through the small Gibson
amp behind him. The amp appears to have four eight inch speakers,
and I'll bet they distorted like crazy with that bottom-heavy
Meanwhile, the guitarist is using
a wonderful `56-ish Les Paul TV Model. (Made from 1954 thru 1957,
the "TV" model was just like the regular, one pickup,
sunburst Les Paul Junior but in the "limed-mahogany"
finish. Gibson called it the "TV Model" because the
blonde finish looked good on black and white TVs.) That guy is
playing through a cool Danelectro amp propped up on the chair
in front of them.
I can't quite decide why they
have the back of the chair blocking the speaker on the Danelectro...
That guitar and amp set-up could certainly blow away the bass
rig; there would be no reason to even put it up on the chair...
Here's my hypothesis: I think they have the mic plugged into
the amp along with the guitar. And I think they are using the
back of the chair to bounce some of the sound back to the singer
and the other guys... as a monitor. The back of that amp is open,
so there would also be sound coming out of the back, but if the
singer stood directly behind it he would have more of a feedback
problem. This reflective approach might have been the solution.
It's a clever idea....
Any thoughts? Any idea who this
For the email special this week,
we're featuring the strings these guys were probably using: Gibson
flatwounds. (Or, if you'd prefer, D'Addario "Chromes"
See you soon,
PS: Did you notice that the drummer
is standing up?
PPS: The Teenie Harris Archive Project
PPPS: This week's Customer web site:
I was so inspired by the Gibson
EB-1 and Les Paul Junior in the photo from last week's email,
that I decided to change the display case in the back of the
store to 1950s Gibsons.
Now you can stop in and see an
EB-1 and several Les Paul Juniors live and in person. (Though
I guess "live" isn't exactly correct...) (OK, "in
person" isn't true either, since they're just pieces of
wood....) (But, you know, now that I think about it, guitars
DO have personalities, just like most people. It takes a long
time to change the display case, because I have to stop and play
each guitar... and they all feel different, just like most people...)
(Now that I think about it even
further, you know how sometimes you can tell in the first two
minutes whether or not you're going to get along with someone?
What's up with that? I don't even mean in a male-female kind
of way... although that is my preferred kind of way... I mean
that some people are immediately compatible with you and some
aren't. It must be some sort of unseen mystery vibe thing. Guitars
are like that too. Last weekend I was in Nashville at the NAMM
show, and at the Martin booth I tried the new Andy Griffith D-18.)
(At every show Martin introduces a limited number of Signature
Edition guitars. This one is modeled after the D-18 Andy used
on The Andy Griffith Show.) (I suggested that it should come
with a Don Knotts bullet! But Chris Martin, the pres., said they
have a strict no-weapons (or bullets) policy at the Martin factory.)
(Well, this D-18 just spoke to me. It felt great, it sounded
great, I wanted to go home and sit on the porch with it...) (I
couldn't... it was the prototype...) (Hey, I guess when it comes
to people, we're ALL prototypes...)
Speaking of the NAMM show, in
order to get the best prices from Fender (which will, of course,
be passed on to you) I had to order a whole pile of stuff. So
next Thursday we're getting 58 boxes of guitars and amps. I'm
not sure where we're gonna put them, but it wouldn't hurt to
clear out some big, floor-space-using items beforehand. This
week's email special is on a variety of larger items. Buy these,
so we'll have room for the 30 new Fender acoustics I just ordered.
Thanks. I appreciate it. So does Aunt Bea.
See you soon,
PS: Here's the link to the photo from last week.
PPS: This week's Customer web site: