Email Specials from May 2007

Friday 5/18/2007 ~ The Big Beatles Show and Anniversary Plans


So yesterday John said, "You should play guitar at the Big Beatles Show!" and I said, "Awww... I dunno... I've played drums at a thousand gigs, and I LOVE playing guitar, but I've rarely played guitar in public..." Then John said, "That's the beauty of The Big Beatles Show, everyone gets a chance to play!" So I said, "OK!"

Checking the list I saw that someone will be singing "She's A Woman." That's a fun tune since the opening chinks are on the up-beat, but played with downstrokes.

I've always been intrigued by that. I asked Scott about the chords. I could hear that the verses in the song are the basic 1 - 4 - 5 pattern. (Knowing 1 - 4 - 5 qualifies you to play 90% of the "blues" songs ever written.)

(Hey, I just thought of something: What's the difference between driving in Pittsburgh and playing a blues song? Answer: If you're driving in Pittsburgh you have a better chance of seeing a bridge!)

Scott explained that the chords in the chorus were C#m - F#m - C#m - D - E. The song is in A, so the D and E are the normal 4 and 5; but adding the C#m makes it really interesting. I said to Scott, "Boy, that's a cool chord change." He said, "A lot of Beatles songs have cool chord changes. That's why we're still playing them after all these years!"

Come to The Rex on Saturday and see if I can play a C#m!


Here are the plans for the next two days:

Today, Friday, May 18th:
- An extra 10% Off any Fender, Guild or Gretsch Product!
- With any guitar purchase: A free acoustic guitar gig bag!
- With ANY purchase: a coupon for $10 Off your next purchase of $50 or more.
- Sign up for Saturday's Give-away contests

Saturday, May 19th
- An extra 10% Off any Fender, Guild or Gretsch Product!
- With any guitar purchase: A free acoustic guitar gig bag!
- With ANY purchase: a coupon for $10 Off your next purchase of $50 or more.
- Every half hour we will be drawing names for free stuff: T-Shirts,
hats, strings, pedals, and more! Sign up any time on Friday or
- Saturday at noon we'll announce the winner of our "I Saw Her
Standing There" Free Vox Amp Contest.
- All day Saturday our Fender Sales Rep will be in the store. Come
down and ask him why Fender makes so many different Stratocasters!
- Saturday at 5 PM we'll award a Free vintage Harmony Stella to the
person with the oldest Pittsburgh Guitars receipt.
- Saturday at 8 PM the Big Beatles Show #3 at The Rex Theater!

Oh yeah, also: Friday and Saturday at the store: Cookies!


See you soon,


PS: Did you see me on KDKA-TV this week?

John, Betsy and I took some guitars to the "Pittsburgh Today Live" TV show. We did a display of all of the electric guitars played by John Lennon between August 28, 1959 until February 16, 1964.

I know that's not the kind of thing you usually see on a weekday morning TV talk show... but, hey, someone has to bring this valuable information to the American public!!

I think the folks at the TV station are amused by my slightly excessive dedication. For example they were entertained by two pictures that I brought:

(1) Here's the first ever color picture taken of the Beatles. It's from the summer of 1957.

(2) OK, now see the guy on the far right, who just happened to be standing there, holding a beer? Here's me with HIM!

By the way, his name is Dennis Littler. He lives in Formby, Liverpool and he's a very nice guy. He was kind enough to let us into his home and chat about the old days. (In fact, everyone I've met in Liverpool has been VERY friendly. You should go there and visit!! It's a great town, with nice people!)

PPPPS: Customer web site:
Duncan Sheik

Thurs 5/24/2007 ~ "You don't know what you don't know."


There's an old saying, "You don't know what you don't know." It applies to the difficulty in predicting the future. For example, yesterday John the-new-guy told me that he's excited about getting tickets for the upcoming Crowded House reunion tour. I said, "Are they the guys who did the vegemite song?" John said, "No, that's a different Australian band. Crowded House had a hit with 'Don't Dream It's Over.' Here, watch..." and in less than a minute we were watching a video of Crowded House on

(Notes: (a) The vegemite guys were Men At Work, (b) I would have remembered "Don't Dream It's Over" if he called it the "Hey Now Hey Now" song, and (c) my brother-in-law is from Australia and I've tasted vegemite. Yuck!)

Now, could we have predicted, even a couple of years ago, that in 2007 we would have instant, free access to practically every video ever made? No. For that matter, when I opened Pittsburgh Guitars in 1979 I could never have imagined the "internet"... and that folks from all over the world would be able to see our inventory in real time, and make purchases via the magic of email! (Last week we sold a guitar to a guy in Denmark... this week we sold a bass to a guy in Australia.) (Wait a minute... Australia?)

But just as you don't know what you don't know about the future, it's also hard, if not impossible, to accurately imagine the past. That came up last Saturday.

Our Fender sales rep, Dave, came to the store to help us celebrate our Anniversary. Over chocolate chip cookies and mimosas Dave mentioned that his first instrument was the bass guitar, and he had a couple of 1970s Precision basses. I said, "Hey, would you like to see an old one?" and I pulled out my 1952 PBass. Here's the bass.

Dave was in awe and held it close. He said, "Do you realize that before this bass, electric bass guitar did not exist. THIS is the start, the beginning of it all..."

Now, on the one hand, yeah, I knew that this 1952 bass was from the first year that the PBass was widely commercially available. I know and appreciate its historical significance. But after Dave's comment, I tried to really imagine a world before the electric bass... And that's not easy. You can't un-know something. In 1951, or anytime before, if you saw a band you saw a guy in the back with a huge instrument that could barely be heard. Today bass players and guitarists share the stage and the spotlight. And volume-wise, bass players and drummers can lock into a powerful musical groove. Paul McCartney, Gene Simmons, Sting... famous frontmen AND bass guitarists. Leo Fender changed the rhythm section and the role of the bass player forever. Suddenly, in 1952 bass players had an instrument that was easy to play, easy to move, and could be turned up loud. (...or at least as loud as you could get from a 1952 amp.) It's hard to imagine now how unique that must have seemed.

Then I started to try to imagine what it was like before other technological breakthroughs...

For example, our building here at Pittsburgh Guitars was built in 1885. East Carson Street wasn't paved yet. So the UPS man must have made his deliveries by horse-drawn cart on a dirt road. (I guess everything was brown in those days...) And the guitars would be delivered in wooden crates... And you wouldn't have had a telephone, so the only way to order a set of strings would be by mail... Sheeeeez.....

You know, you can try to describe old times, and you can TRY to imagine what it was like... But I don't think it's possible to REALLY know... We readily accept new concepts, like the internet and the electric bass... but once they are a part of your life, you can't go back... and relate to what it was like BEFORE.


Yep, that's what crossed my mind on Saturday. Then I went up to the Rex and had a great time at the Big Beatle Show #3!


See you soon!


PS: Thanks to everyone who celebrated our Anniversary with us!

PPS: Also, congratulations to Hank, who brought in the oldest Pittsburgh Guitars receipt! I opened the store in May 1979 and Hank has a receipt from September 1979!!!! I'm VERY impressed!! !Hank wins a vintage Harmony Stella.

PPPS: And special congratulations to our "I Saw Her Standing There" contest winner, Matt L. Thanks to ALL of you who submitted songs. Every one was great. I'm sorry I didn't have lots more Vox amps to give away.

PPPPS: Hey! Did you happen to see the gala finale of American Idol last night? It was a big exciting show, so they wanted to open the event with a powerful song, sung by the two finalists. And the Big song? "I Saw Her Standing There"!! (The Idol producers are probably on this mailing list somewhere!)

PPPPPS: The Beatle Show was a blast!!

PPPPPPS: Customer web site:
Derek Trucks

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