Okay. May 2006 issue. Page 81. Tip number 13. Whose dumb-ass idea was it to tell kids to play loud? Kids today get a Les Paul, a distortion pedal, and a half-stack, learn two power chords, and then think they can play anything under the sun. That’s not music, that’s noise! And the BS remark about jazz people: “They play soft so you can’t hear them.” I play soft and clean so people can understand me, and I don’t need a distortion pedal to cover up mistakes. I had a student who wanted to learn how to play Scorpions music. He had a pedal and a big amp, and he couldn’t even play “Happy Birthday,” much less the Scorpions. This Nigel Tufnel should tell people to learn how to play before they turn it up. What a dumb thing to say!
Steve Hornung, Via Internet
BOOKS AND COVERS
After reading the June issue and learning that the long-haired, muscle-bound, leather-clad Zakk Wylde is really “one of the most humble and reverential dudes in guitar-dom,” and then that the pale-faced, black-fingernailed, Goth-looking John 5 is “actually one of the most sensitive and caring folks you could ever meet,” I fully expected the professorial-looking Ralph Towner to be exposed as a beer-drinking, hotel room-trashing hellraiser. Alas, that was not the case. However, though the cliché of the debunked stereotype might have been a bit overdone in the articles, the basic message that these guys love the guitar, practice it intensely, and commit themselves to music is one we all can learn from—no matter what we look like!
Bill Nemec, Milford, CT
I thoroughly enjoyed the Zakk Wylde interview in the June issue. I vividly remember the first time I ever heard Zakk play “No More Tears” with Ozzy. His solo put chill bumps on my arms then, and, to this day, it still does. But what really struck me were Zakk’s comments on preparing for a big show. You see, I’m about to take on a very “big” job, and I’ve been wondering if I’ve got what it takes. Well, Zakk set me straight. I’ve worked my butt off to get where I am and to learn what I know. So I’m going to follow his advice, and just do what I do naturally. Thanks, Zakk!
J.K. Johnson, Via Internet
I just read June’s Zakk Wylde interview, and I can give you one more reason Zakk is a survivor: Besides his monster talent and relentless work schedule, he is possibly the most humble and down-to-earth rock star in existence. My band was recording in Nashville a few years ago, and we heard that Zakk was working at the same studio. As we were loading in, we kept passing a guy who looked like Zakk, but we figured a guy of his stature wouldn’t be doing his own grunt work. But, sure enough, as I passed him, he put his load down, extended his hand, and introduced himself to me and the rest of the band. He wound up hanging out with us on the loading dock for over an hour, cracking warm Coors Lights, and telling us stories about everything from his kid’s christening to touring Japan with Ozzy. This is not your “where is my Evian and hot towel” kind of rock star. He is a class act in the truest sense.
Chris Conti, Albany, NY
Why should I take my time out to gag on yet another photo of Zakk Wylde? Yeah, he’s an awesome guitarist—and I liked him with Ozzy—but gimme a friggin’ break. His squeals have become pukingly boring, and his style “same sh*t/different song.” Where is Slash when you need him? Bring me an awesome Thin Lizzy, Black Crowes, Billy Gibbons, or Bo Diddley riff! Anything but those same old squeals!!!
Dan Wilson, Via Internet
In the June issue, we accidentally neglected to include a photographer’s credit for the NYC Guitar Festival piece (pages 36-37). The photos were all taken by Jim McCarthy.
In the July issue’s roundup of handwired 30-watt tube amps, we inadvertently paired the Carr Hammerhead MK II with a chassis shot of the Matchless Independence 35. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused, and to set the record straight, here is the correct image of the Hammerhead’s interior...
Adding to the fun, we also said that the Hammerhead was only available direct...in reality it’s available only through dealers, which can be found by visiting Carr’s Web site.