The article on Randall Smith [December ’05] was special to me. I bought an original Boogie from him in late 1977 or early 1978. Back then, it took about eight months to get an amp after you ordered it. After receiving and playing it for a few minutes it quit working. I called their number, and Randall’s wife answered the phone. I told her what happened, and she said it had never happened before. I was the first to get a bad Boogie! She then got Mr. Smith on the phone. Talk about enthusiasm! You could tell how much he loved his amps. He knew exactly what the problem was, and he sent me the parts so I could solder them in myself. He even offered to pay for the repair if I wanted to take it to an electronic shop.
It wasn’t until I read the December issue that I realized I was talking to the Smiths at their home! I had always envisioned I was talking to them at some big amp factory. Anyway, I still have that Boogie, and I will always remember the day I had a conversation with Mr. and Mrs. Smith.
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 leather Levy’s guitar strap!
A Separate Reality
I can’t stand reality TV, but from the first Rockstar show to the last, I was hooked. What impressed me the most—besides the obvious talent of the contestants—was the fact that all of the judges treated the contestants with dignity and respect. Treating people with the grace that all human beings deserve has been so sorely lacking in shows such as American Idol, that it came as a shock to see amateur performers treated with such good will. To INXS I say, “Well done!” May you go forth to keep bring that sweet music into the world.
I laughed out loud at Tim Farriss’ contention that Rock Star INXS “knocked that American Idol crap out of the way.” You took the same chassis, hung some dice from the rear view mirror, painted “Rocker” on the hood, and pretended you had a hipper car. But in America, we know when we’re being taken for a ride.
Your recognition of Brian Lonbeck’s playing in Rants & Raves [November ’05] was gratifying. Brian is truly a master of the Maphis style, and he is the last one on the planet to play like that. I feel fortunate to have seen Maphis perform when he was alive, and I remember Rose Lee, his wife, saying that Brian was the only player she’d ever heard that played like Joe. Most folks today will never know what an incredible musician Joe was unless they have an opportunity to see Brian.
Your chat with Steve Kimock on intonation was an ear-opener! I can’t begin to count how many times I’ve hit the frustration wall over this one. Sometimes in the studio I tune the B string a couple of cents flat to bring the third fret D into tune. I also have a fretless guitar. It’s different to play, but it’s as in tune as my hands are. And then we should remember that for hundreds of years the frets on lutes, vihuelas, and viols were moveable. A coincidence? I think not! Perhaps this piece will be the first comment in an ongoing discussion of the whole world of intonation.
William (Chico) Schwall
I really like the many changes you’ve made to your publication, such as the inclusion of “Oeuvre Easy,” the removal of song transcriptions, and the Buzz artists (even though I’ve found many of them less-than-buzzworthy). I also really like the inclusion of the “Huh?” boxes, although I have to take exception to your intent to clarify the concept of ‘just tuning’ in the December ’05 issue. It starts off clearly enough, but gets progressively murkier toward the end of the paragraph. To wit: “Unfortunately, a just instrument only sounds in tune in one key. The equal tempering of the guitar and piano sacrifices consonance in nearly every interval...” Not exactly clarifying the point here, guys. But this is really just nitpicking—I love the way your magazine consistently covers the entire spectrum of guitar playing, and it has given me a broader appreciation of styles and artists I would not have taken a second look at. Keep up the good work, and I’ll keep renewing my subscription.
James Burton should be getting a royalty check from every country guitar player under the age of 40! He is the king of slinky bends. If you don’t believe it, check out any Rick Nelson, Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris, or later Elvis. And he did it all with a Fender Twin and a Tele! Did I mention he is still the king?
In the January 2006 Distortion Pedal Roundup, we regrettably ran the wrong phone number for Rocktron. The correct number is (269) 968-3351.g