Email Specials from December 2005

Friday 12/2/2005 ~ House too dry


I woke up at 3AM on Wednesday and couldn't go back to sleep. At first I thought it may have been the bottle of Clos du Bois cabernet that I had earlier that evening... But then I thought, no, that can't be it or I'd wake up EVERY night...

Then I realized the problem... the house was too dry. I ran to the attic, moved a couple of boxes of Christmas decorations (THIS year I'm gonna put those up!) and dug out the humidifier... A few minutes later... ah.... moist, easy-to-breathe air!


Earlier this week I had finally turned on the furnace. I waited as long as possible, but once it got colder inside the house than outside, I figured I'd face the potentially high heating bills and crank up the old furnace. You've probably done that yourself. But now that the heat is on, we face that unseen danger... dryness.

Although you can't see the dry air, you can certainly see its effect.
*If you touch a metal doorknob and a spark flies between your hand and the doorknob, you just might be a redneck... oops, I mean you just might have dry air.
*If you try to comb your hair and your hair sticks up in every direction, you have dry air.
*If you go to kiss your significant other and get shocked, you could be in love, but you also have dry air.

Now, if you like funny hair and shocking experiences, the dryness won't be too much of a issue. But if you have a guitar in the house, problems may develop. Just as we are 90% water, your guitar is 90% wood. (I made up both of those percentages...) And just like your hair, wood is affected by dry air. Specifically, wood shrinks. Excessive dryness will actually cause the neck of your guitar to get slightly thinner. Unfortunately, unless your house is really really really really dry, the metal frets will NOT get thinner. (You'd have to have your thermostat set at around 2500 degrees...) (I looked that one up: If your guitar's neck width shrinks, and the frets don't, you'll feel the sharp edges of the frets as you slide your hand up the neck. And that hurts.

As the dryness increases you'll notice your action getting lower. This happens when the top of the guitar starts to shrink. If you picture your guitar laying flat on it's back, on your dining room table (like Uncle Bob at Thanksgiving)... the top of the guitar near the soundhole will get closer to the table and the top of the headstock will get closer to the table, but the mass of wood at the neck block won't. The result will be a hump right where the neck meets the body, and the guitar will fret out at that point. You'll get a buzz, and not the good kind.

Ultimately, the final result of too much dry air will be cracks in the face of the guitar.

Now, all of these things sound really bad, and they are, but all your guitar needs is some moisture. Both you and your guitar will feel better if you are properly humidified. This week's email special is Guitar Humdifiers.


See You soon,


PS: Clos du Bois, also known as the Michael Jackson wine...

PPS: Customer web site:
the hi-frequencies

CD Release party Saturday night, 12/3/05, at The Rex !!

Friday 12/16/2005 ~ New for Christmas

I was going to talk about how much I enjoyed once again watching "White Christmas" on TV this week... but it occurred to me that this is the last email special before Christmas, so I should probably talk about the store...

1) We just got the cutest new Vox amps! (Almost as cute as Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen when they sang "Sisters" in the beginning of "White Christmas...") These new Vox DA5 amps have 11 built-in effects... and 11 built-in amp samples. They run on batteries or electricity... and are a very loud 5 watts. It's an amazing practice/travel amp... and it's only $134.

2) Also in Voxland, we're the only folks in town with the new AC-15. These amps have been highly sought-after since they were discontinued by Vox in 2000. Now, thanks to public demand, they're back! A little brother to the world famous AC-30, the AC-15 is a wonderful sounding all-tube, 15-watt, Class A amp with one 12" speaker. It has all the great sound of an AC-30... in a lighter, easier to carry package. (If you recall, the AC-15 was the first amp ever made by the Vox company, first produced in 1958... four years after the theatrical release of "White Christmas.") We placed our orders before the new amps were even officially released, and they sent the first few to us. When our Vox sales rep visited the store this week he was excited to see his first one here!

3) Also new this week, Scratch & Dent (although, really just one small Scratch) effects pedals. We got a call from Electro-Harmonix last week, and they told us they had a handful of new pedals with a slight scratch or two. They offered them to us for a few bucks cheaper and we're offering them to you... for a few bucks cheaper. We have the Small Stone, Small Clone, Bassballs, and the Big Muff. Generally they're around $22 less than our usual discounted price. (And you'd probably put a scratch on one at the first gig anyway...) (Especially if you move your entire show to Vermont, to help out the General...) (My favorite scene: when Bing Crosby hears (over the phone) how much it will cost them to move their show to Vermont for the Holidays he says "Wow!" Danny Kaye quickly asks, "How much is 'Wow'?" Bing replies, "Somewhere between 'Ouch' and 'Boing'." )

4) Since it's almost Christmas, we've set up a "50% Off Sale" near the front of the store, featuring selected guitars and amps. I can't say the brand names here, of course, but there's an electric that has a List Price of $416, on sale for $208... an acoustic with a List of $286, on sale for $143...etc., etc.

5) In 2001 Rickenbacker announced its new "C Series" Vintage Reissue Guitars, meant to be perfect replicas of the models played by John Lennon and George Harrison. Unfortunately, Rickenbacker is a bit behind with its manufacturing schedule.... well, years behind. Just this week we received our George Harrison Reissue 12-string, the 360/12C63, that we ordered in 2001. How much is it? All I can say is, "Wow!"

6) Just in today: Fender Lunch Boxes. The perfect stocking stuffer. If you have a big stocking... Only $19.95.

6) You know, our biggest selling guitar is one that was originally designed in 1954. I can't mention the brand, but I'm pretty sure you'd recognize it, especially if you are a Christmas gift "Sender." Even the least expensive versions of this famous model are decent guitars. As a Christmas sale, this week's email special will be an extra $20 Off of any new version of this model... which you shouldn't drop, `cause if you did, you'd say, "Drat." (Although you probably could drop it, because unlike a Les Paul it most likely wouldn't break...)


See you soon,


PS: A "White Christmas" line that I never understood as a child: General Waverly gets a letter, but doesn't have his glasses with him. As he's squinting and moving the letter forward and back, Bing offers to read it for him. He says, "Let me help you with that, I'm playing a little trombone myself nowadays..." I think of that line every time I try to read our store inventory number on a pack of strings...

PPS: Needless to say, the 1954 movie "White Christmas" featured der Bingle singing the song "White Christmas." However, this wasn't the first time Bing did the song in a movie. It was actually written for the 1942 movie "Holiday Inn." In that film, Bing and co-star Fred Astaire run an Inn (in Connecticut) that only opens on Holidays (thus the name). Composer Irving Berlin wrote a song for each Holiday... and "White Christmas" was born.

PPPS: Bing's 1942 recording of "White Christmas" was an immediate success. In fact, the Master Tapes were used so often that they were damaged. In 1947 he re-recorded the song with the same orchestra and backup singers. The 1947 version is the one you're most likely to hear.

PPPPS: We will be open on Saturday Christmas Eve from 11AM - 3PM.

PPPPPS: If I don't see you before next weekend, have a Merry Christmas!

PPPPPPPS: Customer web site:
Jason Deutsch

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