August 8, 2006

I have nothing against the Flaming Lips—and they make great music—but judging by the picture on page 75 of the July issue, someone from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Guitars (SPCG) should rescue Drozd and Coyne’s axes, and sanction those guys for instrument abuse. At least Mike Campbell got his vintage Broadcaster to look that way by playing it to death.

Paul Kleiman, Los Angeles, CA


I would like to thank you for the Chuck D article. Not because I’m a fan—hey, I have a metal reputation to uphold—but because the other mainstream guitar magazines wouldn’t touch that story with a 28"-scale baritone. Your hunger for the new and different is the reason I run to my mailbox every month. Thank you!

Nate Perry, Via Internet

I think that it’s sad that Chuck D gets to use the pages of GP as a plug for his new album and as a soapbox for his ridiculous, racially divisive explanation for the lack of guitar in black music today. Even more offensive—and blatantly hypocritical—is that Chuck D classifies some of the most talented and influential players of the ’80s guitar movement as “white boys” imitating black players 70 years before them, while simultaneously pointing out that most rock guitar players are in a “racist bubble.” We all know the roots of modern electric guitar, but I really don’t remember hearing much tapping going on in 1910! People who see skin color everywhere are the ones stuck in a racist bubble.

Christopher Mangeot, Cincinnati, OH

I enjoyed reading Chuck D’s thoughts on using guitars in hip-hop. He’s a thoughtful musician who is working outside the mainstream in his genre (musically and politically), and I give him full marks for that. Just one problem: I’ve been playing guitar—and reading Guitar Player—for a long time, and it’s obvious that Chuck has not if he thinks rock guitarists have “always been in their own little racist bubble.” White guitarists know well where American music comes from: black roots music. Rock guitarists have been paying homage to black guitarists since Chuck Berry hit the stage. It took the Rolling Stones and John Mayall to bring them back to us in the ’60s, but anyone who listened to the Brits quickly figured out where their music came from: Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, John Lee Hooker, and others. We idolized Hendrix and the Funk Brothers. We got off on Funkadelic and Prince, and now we listen to Keb’ Mo’ and Robert Randolph. These days, though, most hot black guitar players are from Mali or Brazil—rarely from the U.S. That’s a loss for us all, white or black. If Public Enemy can promote guitar among young African Americans, we’ll all gain. Meanwhile, all guitarists freely acknowledge their debt to black music. There’s no “bubble” hiding that truth!

Vance Bass, Via Internet

Kudos for the article on Chuck D. Being a guitar player who loves and plays hip-hop music, I’ve always had an ear for his word, as well as his music. His comments got me to thinking that there are plenty of black guitar players out there who deserve some recognition. Jef Lee Johnson, Jean Paul Bourelly, and Jimi Hazel are all black guitar players who heavily influenced me as a kid in the ’90s, and they’re all still active. I could produce a list of guitarists of all races who I think deserve coverage, but I think something on any of these three would be a good place to start.

Joey Fior, Santa Barbara, CA

As a struggling musician on a limited budget, I found your article on Chuck D very useful ... as toilet paper.

Todd Moyer, Westchester, CA


I can’t begin to tell you how much I look forward to your magazine each month. It’s never a disappointment! I’m a novice middle-aged player who just got my first invite to join a blues/rock band. When I learned how much more I now need to practice, I discovered, which gave me just the right grooves and licks to give me a jump start. What an awesome addition to an already information-rich Web site and magazine.

Michael Whitney, Pleasant Hill, OR Myspace

Thanks for the article in the July issue. I have to tip my hat to you for recognizing the masses of independent artists out there struggling to make a name for themselves. This is a huge stride, seeing how most major publications are content covering major label artists promoting new albums. Congratulations to Guitar Player for pushing the envelope once again, and for staying on top of the publishing game!

Steven Custer, Via Internet

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