September 2011 Letters
What our readers had to say about the August issue of PG, and more!
Saving the Smeagols
You hit that one [“Banishing Gollum (or Discovering
Your Inner Punk),” Tuning Up August 2011] out of
the park, man. I lost that inner punk so long ago that
I didn’t realize it was gone, nor can I even remember
what he looked like. I’ve been playing for over 40
years and have some great gear and get great tone. But
after reading your article, I think back on the early
’70s, when all I had was a Univox Les Paul copy and a
Silvertone stack. I must have had that inner punk on
speed, because I had work all over town and tours, as
well. I lost that punk after years of compromise, I’m sure. Now I’m on a mission to
find that bastard and tear something up again.
Loved your “Gollum” editorial in PG Aug. ‘11. I haven’t figured out where they are yet,
but I’m looking all over my studio for your cameras. I know they are in there somewhere,
because you pretty much nailed me! Not the part about having a hit already—[although]
I’m amazed you missed that fact, since you must know that if I only woodshed a bit longer
I’ll have a modicum of sufficient perfection to make that hit! My wife and all our friends,
family, and even a few strangers, keep pressing me to share my talents and get out there and
play! Well, you and I both know you can’t trust those people—but with more practice and
that special piece of gear . . .
Yep, you caught me. It’s not the gear or the chops, but a little punk. That’s what rock ’n’ roll
started out as, and that is still its soul. Thanks for the wake-up call—because we all know
what happens if we wait too long for that perfect moment.
PG editor Shawn Hammond responds: “You’re welcome, Leland and Eddie. But I’m just
passing along what I learned a while back. There was a time when I didn’t want to listen
to anything that didn’t have an “amazing” guitarist—someone with great chops and awesome
tone. But my definitions of chops and tone were revoltingly shallow and obvious, fed
by the typical ego traps and insularity common to any artist too wrapped up in his own
thing. Only when I opened myself up to stuff off the beaten path did I start to loosen up,
break away from orthodox guitar-god worship, and find my own inner punk. Good luck in
your quest to throw “precious” into the fires of Mt. Doom!”
Zany About Zagray!
I’m a happy [Anacon Technology] Zagray!
owner and agree with your review [August
2011]. I placed my order after reading all the
positive comments from the 2010 NY Amp
Show. I was hesitant, having recently had a
bad experience with a Nashville-based amp
manufacturer. So what was I thinking, sending
money to some guy in Sweden? It couldn’t
have turned out better. Aleksander Niemand
is great (and fun) to deal with, and his amp
is stellar. And he is a monster at packing/
shipping. I’m not a fan of lots of controls,
but every knob and switch on the Zagray!
is useful. Note the round vs. chickenhead
knobs—more intuitive design. And, for those
into aesthetics, the photos in the article don’t
do justice to the copper-hued metal enclosure.
—Joan Bull (aka TDJMB on The Gear Page)
Thanks for the great article about one
of the greatest players of our time. Keith
[Urban, August 2011] is one of a kind.
Featuring him in your magazine will open
minds about this amazing musician to all
the clueless doubters. Keith is proof that
you don’t need to look or act like a reject to
be one of the best in the world. You can be
a good-looking, all-around great guy who
sings upbeat love songs and still shred with
the best. Thank you, Premier Guitar!
A Terror Flubbers Among Us
Look, I don’t want to be all negative and
hater-y, but somebody’s gotta take on the
tough ones, I guess. To wit: There ought
to be a LAW that old rock-goddy guitarists
with wrinkly, flabby underarms can’t be photographed
wearing sleeveless shirts. C’mon
guys, you know who you are! Just because
they’re called “muscle shirts” doesn’t mean
they make your geezer-flaps look studlier.
We’ll try to walk a fine line here, but there are
those on the PG staff who believe sleeveless shirts
should be banned altogether simply because A)
even on fit people, they reveal a disturbing level
of narcissism that we’d rather they kept to themselves,
and B) they overvalue the cooling effectiveness
of 5 percent less fabric while completely
ignoring the nausea-inducing effect they have on
the rest of us—especially those home-cut versions
that show a lot more than arm meat.
We neglected to credit photographer extraordinaire
Neil Zlozower for the awesome Randy
Rhoads pic on p. 143 of our July 2011 issue.
Sorry, Zloz! Also, in our August 2011 profile of
luthier Ken Parker, we described “veneers” in
some of the captions. Only Parker’s necks use
veneers—the other woods are solid. We apologize
for the misunderstanding. In that same issue,
we mistidentified the 6-string banjo player
in the Keith Urban photo on p.147. It’s former
Urban band member Chris Rodriguez.