What Were You Thinking?
|Years ago, PG Editor in Chief Shawn Hammond brilliantly
traded a brand-new Spector NS-4 plus $150 for
this Jazz-bass copy that ended up having major neck
issues. (Note the two poorly filled holes just below the
I loved the “What Was I
Thinking?” column. You
definitely hit a nerve with me! I
would say that similar personal
experiences came flooding back
to mind but, being a gear fiend,
I am doing conscious battle with
these regrets daily. Which brings
me to my tale: At age 18, I finally
scored the bass of my dreams:
a 1979 Rickenbacker 4001 in
Ged-glo (sorry, Jetglo, but you
get the obvious [Geddy Lee of
Rush] reference), and I was on
cloud nine. I even ordered the
Ric-O-Sound stereo kit by mail
(this was 1982, mind you). I was
running through Yes and Rush
bass lines like a fiend.
Fast forward to 1988 and it’s
time to learn 6-string guitar and
be a virtuoso. What guitar? Well,
a Kramer of course. So, I head
to San Antonio, Texas, to do a
trade. Yes—my pristine, as-new
4001 for a Kramer Focus. The
guy at the now-out-of-business
Richard’s Music Center saw me coming a mile away. “Gee, the neck needs adjusting
. . . that really docks the value.” He must have read my mind or my dull expression,
because I was mentored by an older brother whose friend once turned the truss
rod too many times on a Silvertone guitar and broke it. Therefore, his mantra was
“NEVER, EVER, EVER adjust a truss rod! You could break the neck!” So, with the
only flaw being a somewhat flaccid neck due to lack of rod support, the Richard’s
salesman fleeced me proper. He reluctantly accepted the 4001, plus—PLUS!—$150
for my new Kramer Focus. His last comment to me: “This damn Ric-O-Sound box
you gave me—I’ll have to throw this away. NOBODY likes these things.” That’s my
story. Hope you feel better, Shawn!
Fort Worth, Texas
Oh, man! Your story pains me, Brian! I had a similar experience, only in reverse: I had a
brand-new Spector NS-4 bass that was great but didn’t have the vintage look and sound
I yearned for. The guy at a Bay Area shop got me to trade it in and pay $150 toward a
Jazz-bass clone that sounded and looked good—but later I found out the neck couldn’t be
adjusted to make up for the extreme back bow. At least we can laugh about this stuff now,
huh? If not simply to hold back the tears! Thanks for sharing! —Shawn Hammond
All in the Family
. There are four boys playing guitar
in our house, ages 12, 14, 16, and 50. I
get a kick out of the guitar hero pictures
you run at the front of the magazine
[Opening Notes]. I told my son Michael
(12) if he practices hard in his band, State
of Awe (older brothers Nick and Alex are
handling guitars and vocals, and neighbor
Aaron bangs the drums), he may end up
in PG someday! This is where it all starts.
I really appreciate that we have access
to insightful and in-depth articles, the latest
innovations, and infinite combinations
of amps, boxes, and guitars.
Thank you, and rock on!
— Karl Maurer
As the father of three boys—a 13-year-old
beginning guitarist who loves Zeppelin and
the Beatles, a 9-year-old who can’t stop
dancing to MJ’s “Beat It,” and an 8-year-old
who yearns to bash the skins as soon
as me and the Mrs. decide the household
can stand it—I totally identify with your
sense of pride and joy, Karl! And knowing
Premier Guitar helps increase the
enjoyment of the guys in the Maurer home
and perhaps even brings your family closer
together in some small way gives me and
the butt-kicking staff here a sense of pride
and joy, too! Thanks so much for writing!
• In our April 2011 review of the Tony
Bruno Custom Amps Underground
Custom, we should have listed the head’s
price as $3299. Also, in that issue’s Signal
Chain column [“The Evolution of the
Twang Bar”], the “Peter Gunn Theme”
was attributed to Duane Eddy despite
the fact that it was penned by Henry
Mancini. (Kudos to PG
Antinozzi for catching this.) We apologize
for these errors.
• In the April 2011 edition of Inside Jazz
the second chord in Fig. 3 was marked
incorrectly. It should be a D7.
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