-I went out to dinner two days
ago and tried a fish called Florida Pompano, that I'd never heard
of before. `Cause I like to try new things.
-But yesterday as I was walking
to the post office I looked at my reflection in the front window
of a store I was passing and I realized that I've had the same
haircut for the last 15 years. Maybe I don't like to try new
-Then last night I watched a
German movie with subtitles called "Run, Lola, Run"
because I really do like to try new things...
-But today at lunch I had a Bacardi
& Coke, the same drink I've been drinking since Pam gave
me my first one 8 years ago...
-But then, for something new,
I had a Vodka & Tonic...
-But then, like whenever I drink
too much, I had some Pepto Bismol...
I don't know if I like new things
For example, I like DR acoustic
But will I like the new DR "Extra-Life"
Coated Acoustic guitar strings?
I guess the only way to know
is to try!
See You Soon,
PS: Most string manufacturers
use the same processes. DR Strings use a unique method of compressing
the string as it is being wound. The result is a string with
more mass than the feel would indicate. They're a loud, full-sounding
PPS: Meanwhile, the coated concept
was started by Elixir. They bought strings from GHS and coated
them with a corrosion reducing material. If you like the way
they sound out of the box then you'll like them for a long time,
since the coating slows down the usual wear and tear. Because
of Elixir's success lots of other companies are now selling coated
strings, and everyone's goal is to use less and less coating
to give the strings more life and brightness, while still preventing
corrosion. The DR Coated Strings use a super thin .0003"
coating of lacquer, which, as you know, means 3/10,000th of an
inch, which is darn thin! I'm looking forward to trying them.
`Cause I DO like new things!!
PPPS: This week's customer web site:
Last night I watched the footage
from the Pittsburgh Guitars 25th Anniversary Party
at The Rex. We had 16 different acts, with three cameras running
and it looks great.
A few thoughts crossed my mind....
1) I never realized before how
good white binding looks on a guitar. Both Scott and Deanna were
using Hofner basses, and the white binding up against their dark
clothes and the dark sunburst of the guitars really emphasized
the beauty of the instruments. In another instance, two guys
were playing acoustic guitars, and the guitar with white binding
distinctively stood out. I'm gonna have to re-think the importance
of binding. Naturally, it has no effect on the sound or playability...
but under the bright lights on-stage it outlines the work of
art that is the guitar. Hmmmmm....
2) Along the same lines, the
lead singer in Tangerine was using a Les Paul that was freshly
polished and when the stage lights reflected in the shiny finish
it looked wonderful!
3) We were using 90% Fender amps
that night, and you just can't beat a Fender tube amp for reliability
and clarity of sound. I love the look of Vox and Marshall amps,
but if I was trapped on a desert island with only one amp (and,
oddly enough, electricity) I'd pick a Fender... (and a guitar
with white binding, in case there were any cameras...)
4) Of course, like everyone,
I didn't like seeing myself on video. I used to be so young and
thin. It reminded me of an exchange I saw on TV... I can't remember
who the characters were, but Person #1 was defending how he or
she looked on TV... and the conversation went:
Person #1: "Well, they say the camera adds ten pounds."
Person #2: "How many cameras did they have on you???"
5) It was cool to see that even
the folks who had never been on stage before knew to run their
guitar cable up behind their strap (to prevent accidentally pulling
the cable out of the guitar mid-song). With people all over the
stage you never know who's going to step on what, and that's
such a simple, yet effective, preventative measure.
Speaking of cables, if you'd
like an excellent, and colorful, cable, this week's special is
the braided, multi-colored, cloth-covered Spectraflex cables.
See You Soon,
PS: : This week's customer web site:
PPS: We're staring to write this
year's Halloween Show, Night Of The Singing Dead, Part XII.
If you'd like to be in the show, and you can sing, and do a good
impression of a dead rock star please give me a call!
When I was living in New York
City in 1976 I loved to window shop on 48th Street. There were
several small used guitar stores in a row, including my favorite,
"We Buy Guitars." (I was impressed with both their
selection, and the straight-forwardness of their name.)
"We Buy Guitars" had
three rows of guitars hanging all the way around the store, and
it was a joy just to go there and stare at them. (In those days,
places like "We Buy" sold "used" guitars;
this was before anyone thought of the term "vintage"
One day, in the window, I saw
my first ever Rickenbacker 325. Since it was from the mid-60s
it had an f-hole, unlike John Lennon's solid-top 325. And, as
per the era, it had been painted in psychedelic swirls. But it
was almost Beatle-like. I borrowed every penny I could to raise
the $250 they were asking for it. As I was handing over the cash,
they said, "That'll be another $25 for the case." I
was surprised! And annoyed! And semi-mad! And too poor to pay
the extra $25. So I took it without the case.
After that experience, I never
bought another guitar there.
But I couldn't get the beauty
of the wall-of-guitars out of my head, and a few years later
I opened my own store here in sunny Pittsburgh. Like the NYC-folks,
I picked an unambiguous name (in Pittsburgh + sell guitars =
Pittsburgh Guitars) and I've always hung the guitars flat against
the wall, for maximum viewing pleasure. Unlike them, if we buy
a guitar with the case, we sell it with the case.
Oddly enough, two months ago
I was at the Philadelphia guitar show, and a guy came in with
100 old guitar cases. I said, "What's up?" And he said,
"My Dad used to own 'We Buy Guitars' and these are all of
the empty cases I found in the basement." And right there,
in the pile, was a silver, short scale Rick case that probably
belonged to my 325. Unfortunately, after 25 years in a NYC basement,
it, and every case he had, was moldy, and scummy, and smelly...
His cases were beyond help, but
if your case hasn't spent a quarter of a century in the scary
nether-regions of a Manhattan basement, there is still a chance
to save it: with Meguiar's Case Restoration Kit! This kit contains
a vinyl & tolex restoration cleaner and a monster toothbrush,
and it'll make your case shine like new. And it's this week's
See You Soon,
PS: Those small 48th Street guitar
shops are gone now. They've all been bought out by Sam Ash. (Sam
Ash is a mega-store chain, like The Guitar Center.)
PPS: Twenty years ago I had that
325 refinished to black, like John's, but looking back now, I
wish I would have kept the psychedelic paint job.
PPPS: Last week's email mentioned
white binding and Linda, one of our non-guitar-playing readers,
asked if that was some sort of tape. She said the emails need
a Glossary to explain terminology. So:
Guitar case: A container for
a guitar. Often shaped like a guitar. Sometimes rectangular.
Generally has a handle, unless it's a case for a mid-1970s Gibson
L6S, or one of the early brown Kramer cases. (Those handles always
broke...) If it's a mid-1980s plastic Fender case the hinges
are probably falling off. If it's a late 1970s Gibson plastic
case the plastic latches should be broken by now.
Rickenbacker: A small West Coast
manufacturer that is in business today because in 1960 John Lennon
bought a used Rickenbacker Model 325 in Germany.
New York City: A large metropolis
on the East Coast. It used to be like visiting a different planet.
Now it's semi-clean and friendly. Driving in New York is still
a thrilling experience!
PPPPS: This week's customer web site:
Yesterday I was flipping though
the 100 channels on my way-too-expensive Comcast cable system,
and I stumbled onto one of the lesser-known VH1 channels, VH1Classic. The first few videos were 1980s
metal "hair bands" with pointy guitars. But then, in
a rapid change of pace: Black Oak Arkansas! You may not remember
them. They had really long hair and high boots with lots of fringe
(in a mountain-man sort of way). And they were a pseudo-Southern
Rock band... except for the white spandex pants, which I don't
believe were part of the official Southern Rock authorized wardrobe.
It occurred to me that they were
the interesting combination of: 1) a one-hit wonder, and b) their
one hit was a cover tune. (The song was "Jim Dandy",
originally recorded in 1957 by LaVerne Baker.)
Of course, being a one-hit wonder
is still better than being a no-hit wonder. But the downside
to having a cover tune as your "hit" is the way the
money is split in the music biz.
In theory, if you record a song,
and lots of people buy the record, you get a pile of money. However,
every penny that was spent recording that song (the producer,
the engineer, the guy who brought in the sandwiches...) comes
out of your pile of money. The $125,000 you spent on the video
comes out of your pile of money. And the $60,000 a week that
you spent on the road in your tour bus comes out of your pile
of money. So you have to sell lots and lots and lots and lots
of records to end up with anything. (Furthermore, if this was
your second record, and your first one flopped, you may still
owe your record company hundreds of thousands of dollars from
the flop. That gets repaid first, before the new expenses are
HOWEVER the guy who wrote the
song has no expense deductions. He gets paid from the first record
FURTHERMORE when the song is
played on the radio, the ONLY person who gets paid is the songwriter!
If you turn on WDVE right now
you'll probably hear "Won't Get Fooled Again." That'll
be the 2,347,562nd time 'DVE played the song, and the 2,347,562nd
time Pete Townshend made money. The amount of money the rest
of The Who made from those airplays: $0.
No matter how big your hit is,
the songwriter is the one who's really sitting pretty. Especially,
5 or 10 or 20 years later, when you're totally out of the picture,
and the song is still on the radio.
So, when you have your big hit,
try to make it one of your songs, rather than a cover.
Speaking of covers, this week's
email special is guitar covers, or, as we like to call them,
See you soon,
PS: A free Pittsburgh Guitars
T-Shirt to the first five people who can name other One-(Cover)-Hit
PPS: This week's customer web site: