Feedback: December 2008

December 1, 2008

Letterof the Month

I’ve been a reader and subscriber for 30-plus years, and GP just keeps getting better. Unfortunately, I gave up playing in the ’80s after realizing I was never going to play like Al Di Meola. Thinking it was useless to read a guitar magazine if I wasn’t playing, I stopped doing that too, and donated most of my GP collection to a local library. I started playing again about three years ago. Today, I realize that had I kept up with my subscription, my hiatus might have been much shorter. I just hope I live long enough to recover the ability to play the music I hear in my head, which is more important than playing like Al. If I was a famous guitarist and you asked me what advice I had for the young guitarist, I would say, “Just keep playing.” Daniel Marois VIA INTERNET

Every month, GP Managing Editor Kevin Owens picks the most interesting, inspiring, humorous, snotty, honest, and/or confounding piece of Feedback, cheeses it as “Letter of the Month,” and sends the lucky winner a snazzy GP t-shirt. In addition, this month’s winner will receive a Seymour Duncan Power Grid Distortion!


October’s Alvin Lee feature transported me all the way back to my youth. Not only was seeing Ten Years After in 1970 the reason I picked up the guitar in the first place, but Lee was also on the cover of the first issue of GP I ever bought. Talk about a testimony for your magazine: I can’t remember who was on my first issue of Playboy, but I can remember my first issue of GP—even the month and year! This month’s interview was outstanding. It is so refreshing to hear a guitarist of his stature speak with such self-deprecation. With the 40th anniversary of Woodstock coming next year, it would be great to see some of the patterns Lee spoke of in the Lessons section. Thanks for the trip down memory lane, and for proving once again why GP has been my favorite guitar publication since 1971.

I grew up in the ’60s, and got my first guitar in 1964—a $12.50 Stella from the Sears catalog. Back then, few, if any of us, could read music, so we didn’t bother. Instead, you learned G, C, and D. The barre chord was the ultimate achievement because it gave you the whole neck to play on; move or lift just one or two fingers and you got 7th chords or 6ths or minors. It was amazing. But for rock, it was three chords and let it fly. Experiment, and make it your own. I didn’t even know until a couple of years ago that there was such a thing as the pentatonic scale, but that’s what we used back then in ignorant bliss. Since then, I’ve discovered the new technical world of modern guitar playing, where everyone seems to have a master’s in music theory and can play a zillion notes a second at any metronome setting, and I’ve been feeling totally ignorant and most inadequate. That is until I read the Alvin Lee interview. He has revived my faith in myself and the “old ways,” when we just went for it and didn’t try to copy anybody. So thank you, Alvin, for your words of confirmation and inspiration.
Jon Forseth HOME, WA

Having grown up in the shadow of Woodstock, I was very pleased to see Alvin Lee in the October issue. He has all the traits and characteristics to make him a true pioneer, legend, and professional: an immediately identifiable tone and playing style, ground-breaking music, and highvolume record sales. Thanks for a great magazine all these years and for making my day with this issue.


To read or not to read? I think Tony Vega’s defensiveness (November 2008 Feedback) on this issue causes him to miss the point. True, reading is no more essential than “correct” technique or theoretical knowledge for creating great music. Rock music is largely about people flailing defiantly— and sometimes triumphantly—in the absence of these skills On the other hand, these same skills enable us to move more freely in the world of music. While few would place Metheny on par with Hendrix as a creative artist, Hendrix would likely have admired the freedom Metheny’s mastery of these skills affords him.


I have been buying GP at my local newsstand since issue #3. Over the last few years, I think GP has become even more relevant. For example, the mention of Ry Cooder’s latest release (I, Flathead) in the October issue was an alert I appreciate. With the steady decline of music stores, it’s hard to keep up with true musicians who do not make commercial crap. The GP-approved picks of recent releases that appear both margins of the Rants and Raves section are a goldmine. These little bits of focused comment have built GP into a value for players of any age, skill, or gender seeking serious quality in a world of muck.
Earle Baldwin VIA INTERNET


The August issue’s James Nash feature mistakenly stated that Nash founded the Waybacks in 1999. In fact, the Waybacks were founded in 1996 by Chojo Jacques, Stevie Coyle, and Glenn Pomianek. Nash joined the band in 1999.

November’s feature on Taj Mahal included an error that referred to Jesse Ed Davis as Jesse Ed Harris. Our apologies to Mssrs. Davis and Harris.

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