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February 2011 Letters

The Low End . . . and The High Road First, I love the magazine. I found it a couple of years ago, and it is one of those rare

The Low End . . . and The High Road
First, I love the magazine. I found it a couple of years ago, and it is one of those rare magazines where it is a must read from cover to cover. But this email is specifically about Kevin Borden’s The Low End column. Kevin offers such an awesome insight into the bass guitar. He has a real one-in-a-million perspective and is a thorough professional. He writes about things that are very helpful (for example, how a large part of the tone comes from the neck of the bass, recommendations on string gauges to enhance tone on Fender Precisions, etc.).

A couple of months ago, I emailed Kevin on some questions and problems I was having with my Rickenbacker 4001. He responded and offered a lot of his time over several emails in the course of a week. I was very appreciative and blown away that he would do this for me. I thought you should be made aware. I read the magazine from page one forward, but always have that moment of “YES!!!” when I get to The Low End.
—John Roberts
Marysville, WA

Thanks so much for your email, John! It’s great to know you’re loving the mag and our bass coverage (which, you’ll be glad to hear, is going to be increasing this year), and that Kevin was such a help to you. I passed along my your thanks (and mine) for going above and beyond the call of duty, and Kevin replied: “John was having some major issues and we got real in-depth. I saved him from selling a loved bass because his non-vintage repair guys couldn’t get the tweaks correct. I always appreciate feedback from my editors, but hearing a stoked reader—there’s nothing better!”

Beyond Crass
First off, let me say that I truly enjoy Premier Guitar mag, and I have since issue number one. That being said, I have to tell you that I found the Jan. 2011 Last Call article by John Bohlinger beyond crass. Perhaps it was an attempt at some type of “cutting edge” satire or humor, but it stuck me as demeaning, condescending, and incredibly disrespectful, not only to the musicians he mentioned, but to anyone that suffers from mental illness.

Don’t get me wrong: I totally agree that, for the most part, musicians (and ALL creative people) do dance to a different beat (or any other tired cliché you’d like to use), but the manner in which Mr. Bohlinger chose to address it was simply snide and nasty, to say the least. Then, at the end of the article, he tries to backpedal out of it with a wink and some bullshit disclaimer (“To avoid litigation . . . ”). Give me a break. Why should he, or anyone for that matter, give a rat’s ass about what Eric Johnson’s pedalboard looks like, or the fact that he likes cheap Radio Shack cables?

Leave that to the gear-snob forums.

I’m no thin-skinned wuss, but may I suggest that, in the future, you rethink 30 PREMIER GUITAR FEBRUARY 2011 LETTERS publishing this kind of tripe? It does NOTHING to benefit our guitar-playing community. There is already enough nasty trash-talking out there. We don’t need Premier Guitar to add to it.
—Geo Jacopec
Glen Allen, Virginia

Last Call author John Bohlinger responds: “Dear Geo (and any other offended readers): On one level, ‘My Kind of Crazy’ was a humorous look at our irrational approach to capturing sound. Most would agree that the time, energy, and money we put into gear defies logic. For example, I drive a $200 car, but on any given day I have gear worth four grand in my trunk. Time readers would see that as crazy, but Premier Guitar’s demographic sees it as perfectly reasonable. (Both may see it as a little funny, too.) On a deeper level, the goal of the column is, through humor and a bit of medical research, to encourage the guitar-playing community to accept our own glitches and try to see that, as I said, ‘faulty wiring is a blessing and not a curse.’ There’s no satire here, just a genuine hope that we can accept ourselves and others and see the beauty in imperfections—just like the beauty in the weather checking on my old Martin D-28.”

The Next Big Thing
You guys are way ahead of the curve by including the ukulele article on Jake Shimabukuro [“Hawaii Four-O,” January 2011] in your magazine. The ukulele is the next big thing in the music world! It is growing in popularity by leaps & bounds!
—Tom Rubin
via email

Thanks, Tom. We figured we’d be nuts not to cover such a facile and interesting player who’s influenced by so many guitar greats—especially since we haven’t started Premier Ukulele yet. Ha!