Thanks for the October issue’s review of 28 “little boxes of bliss.” I’m just starting to use pedals as I learn to play, and this is very helpful information. Some days, I even think there’s hope for me learning to play my guitar. If your senior editor has too many pedals in his office to review, why don’t you give some of them away? I’ll gladly take a nice wah or a looper off your hands.
-Brian Carty, via Internet
The Gift That Keeps Giving
I’ve been playing guitar for more than 30 years now, and for a number of those years, I’ve also been reading GP. I have not been disappointed by your publication. In fact, I still have every single issue. And while I do look forward to each new edition, it’s those back issues that often bring the inspiration I’m searching for. Just the other day, for instance, I was digging deep into my treasure chest, and I found the George Harrison Tribute issue (March 2002). As I leafed through its pages and re-read those articles about how George and his music had touched the lives of so many musicians of the last 40 years, a thought suddenly occurred to me: George was perhaps not only rock’s most influential guitarist, but also perhaps my most influential guitarist. I began to have that stirring inside that only a musician can truly understand. Soon my hands and my heart were longing for my guitar. Thank you for keeping it all alive!
-Joe Stallings, Havelock, NC
You Say “Tomato”
In October’s Lick Library, at the bottom of page 91, Jesse Gress describes one of Billy Gibbons’ techniques as “pinched harmonics.” Billy and the boys refer to this as “squankin,’’ and Billy always uses this technique to great effect. My personal favorite use of squankin’ is Billy’s outro solo on “Velcro Fly” from Afterburner. The fat tone and in-your-face tenacity of that solo is unbeatable. Check it out!
-Bruce T. Mosher, North Kingstown, RI
A Modest Proposal
I have a proposition to make. Put me on the cover of your magazine. I am young, I have long hair, and I can sweep pick. I enjoy all types of music—from Al Di Meola to Pig Destroyer to Frank Zappa to Megadeth. I adore Hendrix. Hell, I even like Steely Dan! My cousin and I duel on guitar all the time. We match all the criteria of being modern metal guitar heroes by your standards. I mean it, we would not disappoint. Oh wait, we don’t have scenester haircuts and eye shadow.
-Matthew Brown, via Internet
Your article on one of the best guitar players ever, Phil Keaggy, brought back many wonderful memories. Seeing Phil with Glass Harp in the early 1970s greatly inspired and motivated my growth as a player and performer. Phil played his cherryburst Les Paul through a Fender Twin with a quilt draped over the speakers so he could get that wonderful bite that only a cranked-up Twin will yield. If the players of today would sit down and draw from Phil’s endless depth of technique, they would be amazed by what they’d learn—no matter what type of music they play. Hearing Phil perform is like rediscovering the guitar.
-Kerry Severin, Atlanta, GA
When I receive my monthly issue, I usually gravitate toward the articles on contemporary guitarists, and skip the features written about “less popular” (though no less talented) players—probably because my students expect me to know the techniques of their guitar heroes. However, I was shamed into eschewing this myopic habit after reading what I erroneously expected to be a boring article on Mamady Houyate of Guinea, West Africa. Instead, Banning Eyre provided readers with an inspiring portrait of a true guitar hero, and also detailed the amazing philosophy of state-supported musicianship and proliferation of national music competitions forged by then leader Sekou Toure, who used music “to forge a national identity.” What a concept. Do you think our current and future presidents could likewise be so motivated?
-Lane Gallichio, Boca Raton, FL