Letter of the month

January 1, 2005

As Harvard physicians, we see a lot of interesting cases. We recently came across one of our favorites. A 13-year-old boy was practicing the solo from “Crazy Train,” and he had his pick in his mouth while he was tapping. Suddenly, he hiccupped and accidentally swallowed the pick. Unfortunately, the pick became lodged in the bottom of his esophagus and required endoscopic extraction. Right is an endoscopic picture of the pick in the esophagus. It turns out it was a Dunlop Medium. The patient and the pick are both doing well. Moral of the story: Picks may be hazardous to your health.

David Goodman, MD,Dept. of Anesthesia, Brigham & Women’s Hospital,Boston, MA

Every month, GP Managing Editor Emily Fasten will pick the most interesting, inspiring, humorous, snotty, honest, and/or confounding piece of feedback, cheese it as “Letter of the Month,” and send the lucky winner a snazzy GP t-shirt. In addition, this month’s winner will receive a couple of D’Addario goodies: the Pro-Winder and a box of EXL110 (.010-.046) XL Nickel Round Wound strings! So let’s hear from you!

Lessons & the “Blues”

You’ve raised my expectations! Now I expect a great issue every month, and December ’04 was no exception. I found Craig Hlady’s Woodshed lesson of particular value. Drop-twos are a great way for harmonizing melody lines. In the future, it would be great to see a similar treatment of raised-two and raised-three voicings. I’d also love to see more from Greg Koch. He’s an amazing player who has a lot to offer. My only editorial gripe this month is the blue-on-blue print for the first page of the Keith Urban feature. That was hard on the eyes!

Tim Fowler, Via internet

Boutique Bias?

There’s a bias going on in Guitar Player. Many times, you’ll test high-end “boutique” gear, give it rave reviews, and yet you’ll list “pricey” in your Concerns column. However, you just reviewed a handwired, 18-watt Marshall combo with a street price of $2,299, and the “pricey” assessment was strangely missing. As smaller builders have a hard enough time competing with the “big boys,” it doesn’t help when a magazine of your mass circulation and influence doesn’t give credit where credit is due. You get what you pay for.

Al Moeckly, High Point, NC

Al—I appreciate your pointing out inconsistencies in our assessments, but if you looked back at GP’s reporting on boutique amps since the early ’90s, you’d find we’ve consistently focused a lot more on construction quality, design elements, and tone than we have on price. After all, while most guitarists agree there’s more labor involved in building amplfiers with point-to-point wired circuits, I don’t think you’ll ever see complete agreement over why one company’s handwired 15-watt amp should cost as much or more than another’s multi-channel 100 watter. —AT

Ernie Ball

You guys are too much. I was innocently reading through my December issue of GP, and came across your goodbye page to Ernie Ball. I’ve been going through Kleenexes ever since. Your tribute was thoughtful and kind. I have been an Ernie Ball fan for a long time, both for the company’s strings and their instruments. You showed tremendous class by printing that page in your magazine.

Alfred Cockle, Montreal, Canada


In regards to the “On the Cover” sidebar on page 5 of the December ’04 table of contents, astute reader Neil S. Cohen of Valley Stream, NY, noted: “Fender commemorated the 30th Anniversary of the Summer of Love (’67) with a guitar Jimi Hendrix ‘burned at Woodstock’ (’69)? And they named it for the Monterey Pop Festival? I knew there would be repercussions for ignoring Wavy Gravy's admonitions about the brown acid!”

Totally my fault on that one, as I fumbled the facts. And I thought my acid flashback days were over! —MM

In our December ’04 installment of Rock Guru featuring Greg Koch, the last note in the upper voice in the notation staff of the fourth example should have been written as E, not F#. GP regrets the error.

In the January ’05 issue, the Geisha Girl Guitar photo, on page 36, should have been credited to Frank Ford.g

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