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March 2012 Staff Picks: Gear Abuse Confessions

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March 2012 Staff Picks: Gear Abuse Confessions

PG Staff Gear Abuse Confessions
We’re not perfect. Although we worship the very air surrounding our beloved sonic paraphernalia, we’ve
made some mistakes and—gasp!—even mistreated our most prized babies. We hope you can forgive us these slights, or at least take a bit of joy in the fact that it happened to somebody else.

Andy Ellis -- Senior Editor
What are you listening to?
Howlin’ Wolf, Smokestack Lightning—The Complete Chess Masters 1951-1960. For me, hearing Chester Arthur Burnett—the mighty Howlin’ Wolf—cut loose with his band is one of life’s great pleasures. The music swings so hard!
What’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever done to a piece of gear?
In 1969, I stripped the paint off my ’68 Les Paul goldtop reissue (which I’d bought new) and stained the top red.


Shawn Hammond -- Editor in Chief
What are you listening to?
Nada Surf, The Stars Are Indifferent to Astronomy. Fantastic vocal hooks (think Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander) and jangle-pop tones that instantly feel classic.
What’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever done to a piece of gear?
In the ’90s, I wanted my iridescent red Kramer Stagemaster Custom to look more low-key, so I hit Home Depot to begin the process of sanding it and botching a new stain job.


Jon Levy -- Publisher
What are you listening to?
Fitz and the Tantrums. Also, the Skrillex single “Bangarang”—it’s simultaneously brilliant and seizure-inducing— and Big Star’s Radio City. I never get tired of Alex Chilton’s voice and guitar.
What’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever done to a piece of gear?
Years ago, I routed my 1976 Fender Telecaster to replace the stock neck pickup (which I never used) with a humbucker (which I also never used). Still have the guitar, but the 3-way switch is perma-frozen in the bridge position for righteous twang.


Chris Kies -- Associate Editor
What are you listening to?
Zechs Marquise, Getting Paid. Their sophomore album goes down like a peculiarly tasty shot: Part Permanent Wavesera Rush synths, part Mars Volta-esque rabid riffing as orchestrated by Hunter S. Thompson on a bender.
What’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever done to a piece of gear?
I was coming inside from my deck with my Recording King acoustic and I tripped on the sliding door track and fell on the guitar. It go boom.


Rich Osweiler -- Associate Editor
What are you listening to?
Noel Gallagher, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. I was never a huge Oasis fan, but the elder Gallagher brother’s new project is full of super-solid rock tunes that prove Liam was never a necessity.
What’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever done to a piece of gear?
I’m embarrassed to say it’s something I’ve done over and over again during momentary, hallucinogenic states of clutter-free grandeur. Yes, I’ve sold gear and regretted most transactions 10 minutes later.


Brett Petrusek -- Artist Relations Manager
What are you listening to?
UFO, Strangers In The Night. Killer, old-school Michael Schenker—sick live tone, amazing vibrato … it got me hooked on guitar.
What’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever done to a piece of gear?
After a few beers, I decided my Gibson Explorer needed to be relic’d. A few YouTube videos later, I was dragging the poor guitar on the sidewalk. I used a power sander on the neck, then rubbed in oil and dirt for effect. It’s arguably the worst job in history, but I love it!


Charles Saufley -- Gear Editor
What are you listening to?
Grateful Dead, Dick’s Picks 14. I got homesick for San Francisco while back east for the holidays, and this thing cut the gray and warmed up the joint like a blast of noonday sun in July. The 23-plus minute “Playing in the Band” is super-double sick.
What’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever done to a piece of gear?
I’ve mistaken my guitars for machines capable of sustained flight. Let’s leave it at that.


Jason Shadrick -- Associate Editor
What are you listening to?
Steve Masakowski, For Joe. He’s one of the most underrated jazz guitarists of the last 30 years. His swinging lines and woody 7-string tone pay fitting tribute to Mr. Pass.
What’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever done to a piece of gear?
After my uncle passed down a vintage Ross distortion pedal, I thought it would be a good idea to take it to school and try to clone it. It never sounded the same again.


Susan Tedeschi -- Guest Picker
What are you listening to? Scrapomatic, the Wood Brothers, Fela, Etta, The Band, the Stones, Eric Clapton, Elmore James, Junior Wells and Buddy Guy.
What’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever done to a piece of gear?
I checked my guitar on an overseas flight. The airline took it out of its case and leaned it up against a chair to check the case. It slid and the back of my guitar had a huge scar down the entire neck. It tore the finish off and was unplayable. You have to be careful about trusting your gear with those who don’t respect it the way you do.

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