August 2007 Letters

Letter of the MonthAs a guitar player since the age of 14, I eagerly await each new issue of Guitar Player—which I almost instantly read from cover to cover, devouring the licks, interviews, and everything. I enjoy finding out what’s new, and what’s old that’s new again. It keeps me feeling young and active and involved in today’s music scene. But doggone it, on page 54 of the June issue, you folks are making me feel old! I know the words and music to all—and I mean all—of the “Top 40 Songs of 1967.” Way to go guys, and thanks a lot. Because of that, 60 is no longer the new 40 for me. Dang it, I’m old. Pass me my cane, the Metamucil, and that box of Depends on your way out, will you?Charlie Ogden Midlothian, VA

Every month, GP Managing Editor Kevin Owens 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 Morley Quad Box!

I wish to applaud the efforts of the GP editorial staff for bringing us “The Troublesome Truth About Sitka Spruce” [June ’07]. As the music industry is financially worth only a fraction of a percentage of the forest products market, it is truly significant that an organization such as Greenpeace would devote its efforts and resources to fight on our behalf. I implore the readers of GP to let this serve as a wake-up call. We do not have to allow the small market share that we represent be an indicator of the extent of our voices. Greenpeace, the MusicWood Coalition, and the Forest Stewardship Council exist and operate primarily on thoughtful donations from people like us. We cannot afford to do nothing about this issue. If you can’t afford to donate to these organizations, find out to whom you can write in the U.S. Congress, and contact your state and local officials. The guitar wood we save may someday be our own.
Norman McDonald Cresson, PA

Thanks to Jimmy Leslie for his white paper about the impending shortage of Sitka Spruce from southeast Alaska. Mass logging has been reported for years, but it seems to hit home even more when it affects something I love so dearly (playing guitar). I believe setting aside an area for music-grade wood would be ideal, and could be paid for by a slight five to ten percent “tax” on guitar-related items (everything from picks to strings and, obviously, guitars) with all proceeds going to this forest. A logo could be used to show which manufacturers are helping the cause. Although we might not like paying the price now, the cost will be much greater in the future when the supply is near nothing.
Adam A. Lobaugh Ellington, CT

In the 30-plus years I have read GP, I cannot remember experiencing the level of delight I felt when the June ’07 issue arrived. It is so great to see Uli Jon Roth getting much deserved coverage. I’ll never forget my first encounter with Uli’s work on the Scorpions’ Virgin Killer. The sheer beauty of those singing, “violinistic” tones, and the colors of blue I saw while listening to those diminished harmonies—I was beyond hooked. Speed had nothing to do with it—it was all about the lyrical delivery. Additionally, I probably would not be building the instruments I am building today had it not been for Uli’s Sky guitar. The whole concept of creating an instrument to fulfill one’s artistic requirements, rather than confine one’s vision to an existing instrument is what inspired me to create the TogaMan GuitarViol. Thank you, Uli, for the inspiration, and thank you, GP, for giving him the ink. [Ed’s note: For more info on the GuitarViol, check out Barry Cleveland’s Exotica in the October ’05 GP].
Jonathan Wilson Via Internet

Thanks to Michael Molenda for his revealing interview with Andy Summers in the June 2007 issue. Like many GP readers, I have enjoyed listening to and playing Police songs for many years, and I was genuinely excited to see them perform at this year’s Grammy awards. My enthusiasm was dampened considerably, however, when a short time after announcing their new world tour, the Police catalog suddenly became unavailable for listening on Rhapsody Online, the Internet music service I subscribe to. If I want to listen to Police songs on Rhapsody now, I will have to pay an extra fee for each song in addition to my regular subscription fee. I don’t know if Mr. Summers is responsible for, or even aware of this situation, but it is apparent from his comments in the GP interview (i.e.—“If business continues like it is for this tour, then the obvious thing is to make another album”) that big money is pulling the strings behind the Police reunion. So, like Mr. Molenda, I find myself “fighting back those tears,” but, in my case, they are caused by a very different emotion than bliss.
Brett Boyd Via Internet

In our May 2007 tribute to “Sneaky” Pete Kleinow, we mistakenly identified him as an Ohio native. Kleinow actually hailed from South Bend, Indiana. For an extra-special tribute to the pedal-steel master penned by his daughter Anita, click here: Sneaky Pete Kleinow 1934-2007.

In July’s roundup of 26 new stompboxes, we passed along incorrect contact information for Aural Magic, manufacturer of the Procyon Meteor RX3. The company’s correct phone number is (888) 999-3111, and its Web site can be found at