Email Specials from February 2011

Friday 2/4/2011 ~ February 9, 1964


A few days ago I was interviewed by a professor from Duquesne University. He's hosting an event next Wednesday, February 9, 2011, to commemorate the Beatles first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show on February 9, 1964.

Often when someone asks about The Beatles on Ed Sullivan, the questions tend to be: (1) What was it like? and (2) Do you think something like that will ever happen again?The answer to the first question is more complicated than you'd think.

And the answer to the second question is: No.

Re: Question #1:When discussing the impact of the Beatles' Ed Sullivan appearance, we really have to stretch it over three weeks, since they appeared three Sundays in a row (Feb 9, 16 and 23, 1964). In fact, we should really stretch it through the month of March...It's "complicated" because it had its roots in events beginning a year earlier.

Here's how it started... and the events that lead up to those fateful early months of 1964...

On October 5, 1962, "Love Me Do," The Beatles' first 45, was released on EMI Records in England. It climbed to #17 in the charts. Here in the good old USA, EMI owned stock in Capitol Records, so Capitol had the right of first refusal on new EMI releases. "Love Me Do" was sent to Hollywood, USA, where one of Capitol's producers, Dave Dexter, had the job of auditioning new EMI tunes. He listened to the record, and he didn't like it... so he told EMI that Capitol would pass.

On January 11, 1963, The Beatles' second 45, "Please Please Me" was released in England and it went straight to #1! (In England.) This time EMI had high hopes for a USA release, but again Dave Dexter declined.

Fortunately, EMI had backup plans. They worked closely with a company in New York called Transglobal, who helped them place Capitol-rejected records with other American labels. In late January, 1963, Transglobal signed a deal with VJ Records in Chicago. (VJ's actual name was Vee-Jay Records, but their record labels featured a big "V" and "J," so we will abbreviate the company's name to "VJ" for this story.) VJ was doing well with another group on their label, The Four Seasons ("Sherry," "Big Girls Don't Cry," & "Walk Like A Man"), and since Capitol had already rejected The Beatles' first two records, Transglobal offered VJ a five-year exclusive deal.

VJ released "Please Please Me" and the Beatles' next 45, "From Me To You" in the USA to little fanfare. (While on EMI Records in England "From Me To You" became The Beatle's second #1 hit.) VJ also received a set of master tapes of The Beatles first British album, titled "Please Please Me." They retitled it "Introducing The Beatles" and made tentative plans for a summer 1963 release. But unfortunately, other factors were at play. It turns out that the president of VJ had a slight gambling problem... to the tune of several hundred thousand dollars. Needless to say, that impacted paying the bills around the office. And along with other projects, "Introducing The Beatles" was shelved.

By August, 1963, Transglobal noticed that VJ hadn't released The Beatles album, and they hadn't paid royalties on the two 45s. The lack of royalty payments was a violation of their contract. Transglobal informed VJ that their contract was canceled, and a few weeks later, when the next Beatles British release, "She Loves You," went to #1 in England, EMI went back to Dave Dexter. Amazingly, Dave Dexter didn't think the record was any good. Capitol passed again!!

Transglobal had no choice but to find yet another US label. In early September 1963, Transglobal signed a deal with Swan Records, out of Philadelphia. Since Transglobal, and subsequently their client EMI, had been burned by VJ, they only offered Swan a one-record deal: just the "She Loves You" 45. Swan released "She Loves You" in the US on September 16, 1963. (Here, I'd like to point out that the royalties that VJ owed to EMI for those first two Beatle 45s... the reason that Transglobal canceled their contract... were less than $1000.)

The little Swan label tried their best, but in September, 1963 "She Loves You" didn't make any waves in the US market.

Two months later, in November 1963, The Beatles released their fifth EMI 45, "I Want To Hold Your Hand." By this point The Beatles were so popular in England that EMI had a million advance orders for "I Want To Hold Your Hand" before it was released. It rushed to #1, knocking "She Loves You" to #2.

Once again.... EMI sent the record to Capitol's Dave Dexter. And... Dave didn't like it. Based on Dave Dexter's recommendation, Capitol turned down the biggest band in England... for the fourth time!

At this point, The Beatles manager, Brian Epstein couldn't take EMI's USA approach any longer. Epstein called Alan Livingston, the president of Capitol records. When Livingston explained that he had been following Dave Dexter's advice, Epstein demanded that Livingston himself listen to one of the records. Livingston had a copy of "I Want To Hold Your Hand" sent to his office... and liked what he heard. He agreed that Capitol would sign The Beatles. "I Want To Hold Your Hand" was scheduled to be released in early January 1964, and The Beatles second EMI album, "With The Beatles" would be released shortly afterward. (The album "With The Beatles" had been released in England in November 1963. The Capitol USA release would be retitled "Meet The Beatles.")

Despite their original schedule, Capitol was forced to rush release "I Want To Hold Your Hand" on December 26, 1963, after numerous USA radio stations started playing British EMI copies of the record.

And that brings us to January, 1964. Still weeks before the Ed Sullivan Show.

The Beatles were finally making waves in the US. Capitol's 45 of "I Want To Hold Your Hand" was climbing the charts, and word of the pending release of an entire LP was in the grapevine. This did not go unnoticed at the VJ headquarters. They were sitting on the tapes for a Beatles album, which they believed was the same one that Capitol had, and they could smell the money. Despite the almost certainty of lawsuits from Capitol, VJ released "Introducing The Beatles" on January 10, 1964. They were wrong about the content... Capitol's "Meet The Beatles" was actually the band's second British album. But they were right about the lawsuits. Capitol sued immediately, throwing every law book they had at them. Meanwhile, Capitol released their LP, "Meet The Beatles," on January 20, 1964.

Unfortunately for Capitol Records, the case against VJ wasn't as open and shut as it appeared. And during January, 1964, as lawyers for both sides spent hundreds of hours arguing back and forth, VJ busily marketed not only the LP on their label, but also the two 45s at their disposal: "Please Please Me" and "From Me To You." As all of this was going on, Swan Records quite legitimately started pressing and selling thousands and thousands of copies of their one record, "She Loves You." And Capitol was selling "I Want To Hold Your Hand" 45s as fast as they could make them.

And that is what hit the youth of America the week before The Beatles' first appearance on Ed Sullivan. Two different Beatle LPs were in the stores: VJ's "Introducing The Beatles" and Capitol's "Meet The Beatles." And four different 45's: VJs "Please Please Me" and "From Me To You," Swan's "She Loves You," and Capitol's "I Want To Hold Your Hand." And these four weren't just random album tracks... they were quality hit songs, that had all been #1 in England.

By the time The Beatles hit Ed Sullivan's stage, their music was everywhere in America. All we needed was the visual to go with it.

I'll need another Email Special to describe how unique the band was visually... but let me wrap up what happened during February and March...

Capitol's case against VJ turned out to be extremely complicated, and VJ had a couple of cards up their sleeve. First of all, VJ's original (now-canceled) contract was with Transglobal not Capitol, so VJ questioned what right Capitol had to sue. Secondly, VJs original contract allowed them to continue to release records for a period of six months after the expiration of the contract. (Admittedly, it hadn't "expired," it was canceled...) And VJ even questioned the legitimacy of the cancellation. And it turned out that while VJ owed Transglobal, and therefore EMI, a little under $1000 in unpaid royalties for Beatle record-sales back in early 1963, EMI owed VJ significantly more money in royalties due on VJ-owned releases (The Four Seasons, et al.) that EMI had licensed for sale in England.

After lots and lots of court action, in several cities, it was eventually settled that VJ would have six months to market the songs under their control, and then everything would revert to Capitol. The result of this settlement was that VJ could now take songs from the "Introducing The Beatles" LP to create new 45s. "Do You Want To Know A Secret," "Love Me Do" and "Twist & Shout" were all released over the next two months. (VJ created a new label, Tollie Records, for the release of "Love Me Do" and "Twist & Shout.")

As this was happening, Capitol had to keep up with The Beatles newest recordings from England, so in March Capitol released "Can't Buy Me Love."

And adding to this mass of Beatle records on the market was Capitol Records of Canada. Although related to Capitol USA, they didn't have Dave Dexter working for them, and had been releasing Beatle records since January, 1963. By March 1964, Capitol of Canada 45s were drifting down to the USA. Of particular interest were two 45s not available on Capitol USA, VJ or Swan: "All My Loving" and "Roll Over Beethoven."

This flood of Beatle recordings led to the historic April 4, 1964 Billboard Top 100 Chart. That week, less than six weeks since the last of their three Ed Sullivan appearances, The Beatles held twelve positions of the 100, including all of the top five spots. Under ordinary circumstances no record label would ever release that many singles at one time. But due to the strange events of 1963, the record buying public in early 1964 could purchase Beatle records on five different labels. And they were all in the stores, and on the radio, at the same time!

To recap: The Beatles first live USA TV appearance was on February 9, 1964. And it was a significant event. However, the point of this long-winded email is to explain that contributing to the significance of that appearance was a strange set of circumstances... circumstances that allowed two different albums and four different 45s to be marketed right before the Ed Sullivan Show. And even more records marketed in the months following. It wasn't anything that could be planned. It just happened. It was the perfect Beatle storm. And it had a lasting impact on an entire generation.

Oh, and question #2: Could it happen today? Well, there are certainly talented people in the world, and there will be in the future. But with the speed of information available today, the above scenario could not be duplicated. We all know too much, too fast. With regard to entertainment technology, the Ed Sullivan show was the stone age. And you can't go back.


See you soon,


PS: You may have heard about this football game on Sunday... By now most of the country is familiar with the Steeler's fabulous Strong Safety Troy Polamalu and his distinctive hair. But many people might not know about our other secret weapon, Defensive End Brett Keisel's beard! Here's a picture of Brett. Well, to properly cheer on the team this Sunday, you too can now have Brett's beard... at least photographically!

Here is a link to the site, KeiselBeardMe.

Here's Sam playing one of this week's free recorders!

Here's John with our new selection of Airline and Eastwood Guitars!

Here's me relaxing!

And here's Betsy!

PPS: Customer of the week: Sahara Smith


Friday 2/11/2011 ~ Expectations & Technology

Expectations & Technology, Part 1 I give the Black Eyed Peas credit for doing the vocals live during the Super Bowl Half-time Show. Unfortunately, modern technology and the expectations it generates, led to negative reviews....
But first, a trip down memory lane...

Years ago there were two really good-looking dancing guys... who performed under the name Milli Vanilli. In 1989 they released an album that sold 6,000,000 copies. And they won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist. There was only one slight problem: they didn't really sing on their records... and they lip synced all of their concerts. One night in Connecticut things took a turn. During their "live" show, as they were lip syncing their big hit single "Girl You Know It's True," the recording started to skip, repeating one line over and over. Here's Milli (or is he Vanilli?) talking about it. (Sorry about the foreign language part at the beginning of this clip. Give it fifteen seconds.) The record-buying public did not take the news well. Some folks even sued. The Vanilli's career was over.

But technology has come a long way in the last twelve years. Thanks to modern vocal auto-tuning equipment, you can have hit songs with your own voice, even if you can't sing. No matter how little vocal talent you have (e.g. Kanye West, T-Pain, Ke$ha, etc.), the auto-tuner will adjust your voice to the right notes. And the equipment is sophisticated enough that it can be used in live performances as well.

Additionally, so many contemporary acts lip sync part, or even all, of their "live concerts" that the fan-on-the-street doesn't seem to care anymore. (It helps that today's computers are powerful, fast and reliable, so an embarrassing mid-song Milli-Vanilli-line-repeating-skip is unlikely.)

The downside to this current state of music is that fans' expectations have changed. With bad notes computer-corrected before you even hear them... and lip synced concerts sounding exactly like the CDs... it is expected today that everything will sound absolutely perfect.

And those expectations account for some of the negative reviews that the Black Eyed Peas received. They opted to do at least some vocals live. But quickly setting up a stage halfway through a football game is not an exact science. And you can't expect everything to be balanced perfectly. In this case, the Black Eyed Peas' vocal mics were a too loud relative to the pre-recorded band tracks, so they didn't sound exactly like their recordings. Was this a bad thing? Not to me; I like live music. But to a younger generation of fans, who are only used to live performances that sound perfect, it was disconcerting.

And in addition to the expectation that it should have sounded exactly like their CDs, some listeners may have been confused by the noticeably differing vocals. You see, Fergie can actually sing. Her microphone sounded normal. But the other guys in the group are rappers. When they attempted to carry a melody, the auto-tune equipment kicked in. And with the mics louder than they should have been, the auto-tuned vocals stood out and sounded even weirder than they do on the CDs.


Expectations & Technology, Part 2

When a non-singer uses auto-tune, the result is obvious. Yes, really bad notes will be corrected, but the slide from bad to correct results in a hollow, mid-rangey tone.

A more unfortunate aspect of auto-tune technology is that even good singers can use it to fine-tune notes that are just slightly off. The advantage to the singer is that they don't have to try as hard. And their performance will be nearly perfect. The disadvantage is... their performance will be nearly perfect.

Of course, striving for perfection in life is a noble goal. But music is an art form. And just as none of us will ever be perfect in real life, art shouldn't be perfect either. It's slight imperfection that gives art, and music, its soul. When voices are exactly perfect, the music loses its spirit. If an act is lip syncing, or playing along to tracks, there is no room for magic. At concerts in the old days, before drummers were playing along to click tracks and background vocals (and even lead vocals) were prerecorded, bands sometimes messed up. But they also had the chance to take music to new heights. I can't tell you how many times I saw The Kinks lead singer Ray Davies forget the words (or an entire verse)... or the drummer, Mick Avory, start a song way too fast... or some other human-caused imperfection. But those events were overshadowed by magical moments when the entire band clicked... when everything fell into a perfect groove... and the result was significantly better than the original recording could ever have been.

If you go to a concert this week, you will most likely see a perfect show. Technology has provided that. Modern concert-goers expect it. The sad thing is that unplanned, unexpected magic moments don't fit in that scenario.

That's why I like to see local bands in local clubs. The musical presentation is more honest. What you see, and what you hear, is what you get. Mistakes may be made... but greatness may also be reached. There is nothing cooler than seeing a smokin' band in a small club, and the moment is so fine that you get chills. Ah... that's what live music is really about.

And, although I'm not a big Black Eyed Peas fan, I appreciate that they went "live" at the Super Bowl.


Speaking of local bands in small clubs, that's also when you can really hear the beauty of a fine guitar. Let's face it, if you're in a giant concert hall, the guy on stage may be changing guitars every song... but by the time that sound is processed through his rig and the big P.A. system and makes its way to your seat... all of those guitars sound the same. But if you're ten feet away from a guitarist in a small club, and he's playing a Telecaster through a small Fender Deluxe amp... it will actually sound like a Telecaster through a small Fender Deluxe amp. And if he switches to a guitar with P-90s, you'll hear it. And then a Rickenbacker through any clean amp... ah... nice! If you want to hear live vocals... and the actual sound of specific guitars... go to a local club. I'm a little late for New Year's resolutions... but the Black Eyed peas have inspired me. I'm going to see more bands in 2011!


See you soon,


PS: With regard to drummers in concert using click-tracks in their in-ear-monitors, I realize that big shows these days often utilize pre-recorded videos. If the band's video director wants the segment of the butterflies to start at the beginning of the third verse, then that drummer has to begin the song exactly when the video starts, and play the song at exactly the same tempo every night. And in most cases, today's audiences are expecting a multi-media presentation. My lament is just that if the songs are played at the exact same tempo every night, and sound exactly like the CD every night, then something is lost. The audiences are getting big videos, but they're missing the magic that live music can be.

PPS: Speaking of the Super Bowl and technology... Roughly twelve years ago I bought my first CD burner. It was an external unit, since this was before CD burners were built into home computers. And it cost a fortune... more than $1000. The Steelers were doing particularly well that year, so I took a cassette of Steeler fight songs that my father-in-law compiled, and burned CDs for several family members. It was very exciting as we moved from the rickety old cassette format to modern digital technology. But this year, those same family members dug out the CDs... and none of them worked! I know that some blank CDs are better than others... and I don't know what kind I bought those many years ago... but they lost their information, or at least the ability to play it back, in only twelve years? What the heck? Fortunately, we still have the cassette! And when that eventually degrades, we'll still have the records!!

PPPS: And I guess we can't talk about the Super Bowl and music without mentioning Christina Aguilera's version of the Star Spangled Banner. She messed up the words, and folks have complained. I think we should give her a break on that. She sang live, a cappella, on TV to millions of people. That's a lot of pressure! With regard to her arrangement... well... I might question that. Unlike most "singers" on the charts, Christina is so talented that she can hit any note she chooses. To me, it would have been nice if she chose more notes that were actually in the melody of the song... Perhaps she was inspired by this 2006 Saturday Night Live bit.

PPPPS: Customer of the week: Gang Of Four


Friday 2/18/2011 ~ The Passage of Time


Here's a true story.

Last week a guy brought his guitar in for a set-up. I recognized the shape of the case (some cases give away the guitar inside), so I asked, "Is it a Super Axe?" He said, "Yeah!"

(The Gretsch Super Axe was one of Chet Atkins' last contributions to the Gretsch line. Shortly after its introduction he parted ways with the company. Here's a picture of the model.)

The customer continued, "I love this guitar. I bought it when they first came out, 25 years ago!"

It was a fine looking guitar! And he was a very nice guy. But I had to correct him. The Super Axe was introduced in 1976, so what he really meant was that he bought it 35 years ago!

This type of math is a common problem for anyone over the age of 50.

If you were born in 1981 (which would make you 30 years old this year) you reached your teenage years in the late 1990s. The coming 2000s were right around the corner, and when you're young you presume you'll live forever... so the 2000s were expected.

If you were born in 1971 (40 years old today) you were in your late 20s in the last part of last century. In your late 20s you begin to understand the concept of "growing old" and "the passing of time"... but your future is still a work-in-progress, and that would happen in the early 2000s.

But if you were born in 1961 (turning 50 this year) you did a lot of living in the 1980s and 1990s. In high school you may have read George Orwell's "1984" and that book was about the future. And 1999 seemed very far away. And 2000? Well, that was some mysterious distant year.

Now that we're up to 2011, a lot of us in the upper age range are kinda surprised we made it this far. (Especially after living through the 1960s!) And when we start doing quick math, we tend to forget that it has already been ten years since the turn of the century. There is an odd tendency not to count those first ten years of the 2000s.

That's what the gentleman with the Gretsch Super Axe did. And that's what I did in last week's email special, when I mentioned Milli Vanilli's fall from grace in 1989, and then said, " has come a long way in the last twelve years...".

As usual, I was typing fast. And I didn't think twice about the addition. My mind thought "Hmmm... 1989... well, twelve years ago!" But, yep, it was 22 years ago! Sorry about that. I have no excuse. Except age.

In 1975 (wait, lemme calculate... 36 years ago!) I was playing a gig on the Gateway Clipper. At one end of the boat was my band, doing the current hits (Fleetwood Mac, etc.), and at the other end of the boat, alternating sets with us, was a jazz band full of old guys. Yeah, I'm not proud of saying that... but at the time they seemed like "old guys." Now, looking back, I have no idea how old they actually were. During a break I checked out their band, and the guitarist had a beautiful, expensive Gibson archtop. When they finished I walked up to him and said, "Wow, what a nice guitar! That must be worth thousands!" And I'll never forget his reply. He looked at me and said, "I would give you this guitar in a second to be your age again."

As I mentioned, I don't know how old this guy was. He may have been 50, he may have been 75. From my perspective, as a long-haired young kid, those ages would have been the same. And, to be honest, I'm not sure that his words completely registered with me then. Although, I did remember them. And I can certainly understand them now.

Time is strange. It just keeps going on and on. That guy, whoever he was, may be gone now. But his guitar is most likely still around, being enjoyed by a new player. (As a jazz guitar there is less likelihood that it was smashed by a punk band in the 1980s...) This week we bought a 1917 Gibson L-3. (Here's John with the guitar.) I think it's safe to presume that the Gibson worker at the Kalamazoo factory who made it in 1917, the person who ordered it, and even the UPS (or whoever...) guy who delivered it, have all gone to that great concert hall in the sky. But the guitar is still here, making music. And still sounds as good as the day it was made!

In 1967 The Beatles released the "Sgt. Pepper" LP. When we turned the record over to side two, we always skipped track one, the 5-minute, droning, seemingly one-chord, Indian-music song of George Harrison's, called "Within You Without You." I didn't listen to the lyrics until years later. But the last line of the chorus is "Life flows on, within you, and without you." It makes sense to me now.

I guess our goals should be: (1) While we're here, make some music. It will be good for us, and good for those around us. And it will help us celebrate this wonderful life we've been given. And (2) Add correctly.


See you soon,


PS: Two weeks ago I talked about the "perfect storm" of Beatle record releases in the summer of 1964. And I mentioned that after a complicated legal battle with Capitol Records in January 1964, the Vee Jay record label was given a limited amount of time to release the Beatle songs that were originally licensed to them in early 1963. But as part of the settlement they weren't allowed to rearrange the songs on the one Beatle album under their control. So... they had a hit release with the LP, "Introducing The Beatles," but no way to further market the biggest band in the world. Or did they? Some clever ad-man at VJ came up with a unique idea. They could re-sell the same LP with a different cover! And they did! In June 1964 VJ released an album called "Songs, Pictures And Stories Of The Fabulous Beatles." It had a cool fold-out cover, with lots of information about the band (height, weight, favorite color, etc!). But, inside the sleeve? The exact same record as "Introducing The Beatles." They even used the same label on the record.

Here's VJ's release "Introducing The Beatles."

Here's "Songs, Pictures And Stories Of The Fabulous Beatles." Different cover. Same record.

A few months later their license was running out. But The Beatles were bigger than ever. If only there was some way to make more money... Imagine the "Ah-Ha!" moment at the VJ offices when the next brain-storm was hatched! Back in late 1963, VJ had a hit record with the album "Golden Hits Of The Four Seasons." By early-1964, The Four Seasons were recording with a different label (VJ hadn't been paying them their royalties, so they left), but VJ still owned the rights to the "Golden Hits" LP. In late summer 1964, VJ released a double-album called: "The International Battle Of The Century: The Beatles vs. The Four Seasons." And the two discs in the set? Yep, the exact same "Introducing The Beatles" and the same "Golden Hits Of The Four Seasons" record.

Here's a picture.

Marketing genius? Or an evil record label taking advantage of a gullible public? Whichever it was, in 1964 VJ Records sold the same album three times!

PPS: Customer of the week: Steve Forbert


Friday 2/25/2011 ~ Themes


I was watching TV the other day, and stumbled upon documentary about Katy Perry... Apparently she moved to LA in 2002 and worked her way up in the music biz. It was a nice story, with a happy ending. And during one of the video excerpts from her first national headlining tour, I saw our good friend (and former Pittsburgh Guitars' guitar teacher) Korel playing guitar right behind her. Like the rest of her band, he was wearing a white suit.

Although I keep in touch with Korel, I've never really asked him about the suit. (He doesn't wear a matching stage-outfit in his main band, the Goo Goo Dolls.) But I think the suit looked pretty cool. (Well, maybe not cool from a temperature standpoint...)

I know a lot of musicians don't care for the idea, but I'm a fan of bands with matching clothes. It represents a unified presentation. Not just four or five musicians playing together, but an organized group. Look at these guys, for example. It makes for good show biz! And I'm all for the "show" in show biz!

I realize it's not for everyone... and, of course, you don't want to look like a tuxedo-wearing wedding band. But if pulled off artistically, matching outfits can be a good look. For example.

What you rarely see in rock & roll bands is matching guitars! I've seen a few pictures of groups from the early 1960s, where everyone was using color-coordinated Fender instruments... like The Beach Boys. But I can't recall too many other examples.

Although, now that I think about it... I remember seeing The Four Seasons on TV in 1965... and while I was bothered by their non-Beatle hair and that falsetto singing, I was impressed by their matching Gibson Firebird guitar and Thunderbird bass. Mmmm... let's see if by the magic of the internet, I can find a picture from that show.... Wow, look at that! I found it in less than three minutes! And they're using matching Gibson amps, too! Here's the picture: The Four Seasons. This darned internet is pretty amazing!

This week I noticed we had an excess of inexpensive black Stratocaster-style guitars, ready to go out on the wall. Most of them are Fender Squier Strats, but a few are Ibanez or Johnson Strat copies. We were going to sell them for a variety of different prices, but today I decided to create "$99 Island." On the island in the middle of the store, which formerly held our left-handed instruments ("The Leftorium"), I've just displayed all of these black Strats and Strat copies. And they are priced at $99 each. They have all been professionally set-up, with new strings. And most have gig bags. This is your chance to have matching guitars for your band! For only $198 you can get two black Strats! And to complete the picture, we probably have a black P-Bass around here somewhere that we'll give you a great deal on!

And let's have a quick contest: Whoever emails the best picture collection of bands with matching outfits and/or matching guitars, will win a free used $99 black Stratocaster. The winner will be chosen by our crack team of judges. Contest entries must be in by next Tuesday (March 1st).


See you soon,

PS: Even if bands don't wear matching clothes, I believe they should at least have a distinct image. It's not very impressive when the band looks like they could just be regular people off the street, who picked up the instruments and started playing. Like these guys, for example.

PPS: Speaking of a distinct image, this week someone sent me a link to a band called The Cleverlys. Since I have a weakness for folks who don't take life too seriously, these guys are right up my alley. And by a typical Pittsburgh-Guitars-coincidence, this clip also involves Katy Perry! My new favorite band: The Cleverlys!

PPPS: Customer of the week: Eric Lindell
(Caution: This web site opens with music. It's fun music, but if you're reading this at work, you might want to turn down your speakers.)


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