PG chief editor Shawn Hammond on why guitar-playing listicles are bad-news bears that push his filthy-mouth buttons.
I've lost count of how many times I've ranted about garden-variety “listicles" and clickbait headlines leading to worthless online bullshit, but the sad truth is that now it's becoming more and more prevalent from guitar-oriented sites, too.
"5 Licks Every Guitarist Should Know!"
"9 Scales Only Dipshits Can't Blaze On!"
"17 Pedals You're a D-Bag for Not Owning!"
I'm obviously making these up—but just barely.
Theses things push my filthy-mouth buttons. I hate these friggin' lists. It's hard for me to believe that—like their counterparts on everyday subjects—90 percent of them aren't crapped out in five seconds under the vengeful eye of some bean-counting overlord or editorial slave driver, or by the latest over-caffeinated social-media-sensation wannabe. But to me even the ones that aren't full of fluff, even the ones that accurately analyze some musical point or another, are bad-news bears.
I know what you're thinking: "Whoa, there, Shawn-boy—who pissed in your Verena Street Cow Tipper coffee this morning? They're just headlines vying for eyeballs amongst a potential viewership whose attention is increasingly fractured by today's snappy digital lifestyle. No one should take them literally." Maybe, Ms. Very Articulate Mind Reader. But a lot of players out there really buy into this hyperbolic crap (craperbole?).
So exactly why do I hate these lists so much? Well, I can tell you that it's not just because they're arrogant and condescending. It's also because they're mind-bogglingly blind to the folly they peddle. They teach us to be lemmings. Every one of these listicles leads to things someone else already did better than you or I ever will.
"[Da Vinci] disdained 'trumpets and reciters of the works of others,' and tried to live by his own dictum: 'Better a small certainty, than a big lie.'" —Leonard Shlain
Given that we're here to talk about guitar and music, an ostensibly creative endeavor, it's worth taking a lesson or three from what we know about perhaps the most creative person humanity has ever known: Leonardo da Vinci. A peerless scientific genius whose inventions were centuries ahead of their time, he possessed a restless curiosity and keen intellect that altered the course of human history. He was also one of the most gifted, insightful, and prolific painters and sculptors of all time—a master of anatomy, perspective, and how they reflect and affect emotion.
Yet, as Bulgarian New Yorker (and MIT Futures of Entertainment Fellow) Maria Popova points out in her always-astute BrainPickings.org blog ("Leonardo's Brain: What a Posthumous Brain Scan Six Centuries Later Reveals About the Source of Da Vinci's Creativity"), he was also the opposite of everything a 15th-century listicle would've prescribed for success. Gay during a period when it was punishable by death, Leonardo was the illegitimate son of a wealthy playboy who later cruelly took him from his birth mother and treated him as something far removed from a son. Further, as a bastard child, da Vinci was not allowed to attend church-run schools of the day. Yet he went ahead and became the original Renaissance man anyway.
As Popova points out in her commentary on the late surgeon/inventor Leonard Shlain's 2014 book, Leonardo's Brain: Understanding Da Vinci's Creative Genius, all of these "disadvantages" and disconnections from the orthodox route to success in the 1400s likely preserved the unique natural aptitudes that led to Leonardo's place in history. As Shlain put it:
Unimpeded by the accretion of misconceptions that had fogged the lens of the educated, Leonardo was able to ask key questions and seek fresh answers. Although he could not quote learned books, he promised, "I will quote something far greater and more worthy: experience, the mistress of their masters." He disdained "trumpets and reciters of the works of others," and tried to live by his own dictum: "Better a small certainty, than a big lie."
"The source of Leonardo's extraordinary creativity," Popova posits, "was his ability to access different ways of thinking, to see more clearly the interconnectedness of everything, and in doing so, to reach a different state of consciousness…."
Food for thought next time you see one of those confounded listicles talking down to you from its perch on high, eh? Instead of falling for the bait, flush that cyber craperbole and hit the woodshed to start chiseling out your own "small certainty" based on what sounds and feels right to your ears, not some blathering blowhard.
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Kick off the holiday season by shopping for the guitar player in your life at Guitar Center! Now through December 24th 2022, save on exclusive instruments, accessories, apparel, and more with hundreds of items at their lowest prices of the year.
We’ve compiled this year’s best deals in the 2022 Holiday Gift Guide presented by Guitar Center.
Mystery Stocking is coming soon! Sign up for PG Perks below so you don't miss it.
Sign up for PG Perks on the form below to make sure you don't miss the launch announcement!
About Mystery Stocking
Each year, Premier Guitar likes to put out these mystery boxes as a part of bringing some fun to the holiday season. Remember, this is supposed to be a fun holiday treat! If the contents of this box will ruin your holiday, deplete the last of your bank account, or end your ability to see the good in humanity, it may not be for you.
- This year's Mystery Stocking will cost $44.95. ($39.95 + $5 Flat shipping)
- Each box will be guaranteed to contain $40 or more in value.
- US only. (Sorry World.)
- Make sure your shipping address is correct.
- Have your credit card ready to go before you refresh the page. Paypal is not available. Autofill may not fill in your information.
- There will be NO REFUNDS given.
- There has been a huge demand for these in the past. We really did sell out in less than 4 minutes last year. When they are gone, they are gone.
- One per household, one per person.
Q: What's in the Mystery Stocking?
A: It wouldn't be much of a surprise if we told you, now would it?
Q: Will I definitely get my money worth?
Q: Can I return it if I don't like it?
A: Nope. All sales final.
Q: What if I live outside the US?
A: Sorry, US only.
Q. How much is it?
A. $39.95 Plus $5 shipping
Q. When will it ship?
A. On or before December 10, 2022.
Q. What form of payment do you accept?
A. Credit cards only. Sorry, no Paypal for this.
Q. Can I ship to a different location than my billing address?
Q. I tried last year and didn't get one. Will I get one this year?
A. There is an overwhelming demand for Mystery Stocking. Be sure you have a fast internet connection and be ready when they go on sale. Last year we sold out in 3 min 33 seconds.
Q. I want to buy 5. How can I buy 5?
A. You can't. This year, we're limiting to one per household, so more people can get in on the fun!
Featuring the Adaptive Circuitry recently introduced on their Halcyon Green Overdrive, Origin Effects have brought us a pedal with a character all of its own and a new flavor of drive.
Origin Effects introduce the new M-EQ DRIVER mid booster & drive pedal. Based on a vintage Pultec studio EQ, this unique pedal offers a range of mid-focused tones, from a subtle mid boost to thick, resonant overdrive. Featuring the Adaptive Circuitry recently introduced on their Halcyon Green Overdrive, Origin Effects have brought us a pedal with a character all of its own and a new flavor of drive.
A choice of three mid-range frequencies ensures that you can boost just the right part of your guitar signal and, when pushed harder, can elicit a range of saturation from a classic “mid-hump” overdrive to fierce “cocked wah” distortion. Thanks to the Adaptive Circuitry, the high-end roll-off of the Cut control is reduced as the pedal cleans up. This allows for a smooth transition from warm overdrive to bright clean tones in response to playing dynamics or guitar volume knob changes.
Introducing... M-EQ DRIVER || Mid Booster & Drive
Built-in the UK to the highest standards, the M-EQ DRIVER continues the Origin Effects tradition of vintage, studio-inspired tones in modern guitar pedals. The Origin Effects M-EQ DRIVER is available now from Origin Effects dealers worldwide.
RRP: 259 GBP (Inc VAT) / 319 USD (Ex TAX)
For more information, please visit origineffects.com.
The new finish, according to Lava Music, is “inspired by the beauty of the golden hour,” a shining time just before sunset and after sunrise when photographers covet to capture stunning pictures.
With bright and warm golden hues, the new finish adds a brilliant metallic glow to the surface of Lava ME 3, complementing its AirSonic 2 carbon fiber unibody which features L3 Preamp with FreeBoost 2.0, delivers industry-leading sounds by breakthrough acoustic technologies, and houses a multi-touch display powered by Lava-developed HILAVA system.
Speaking of the HILAVA system, Lava Music also added four new effects: Nebula, Desert Rose, Cassette, and Edge of Breakup. As unique as their names sound, they are very much different from what we normally know about effects. Programmed into the HILAVA system, each of the four is powered by the company’s latest ArctanDrive algorithm and incorporates effects like Pitch Shift, Delay, and Reverb. And every one of those incorporated sub-effects comes with various parameters that players can adjust to design unique, overdriven sounds by just tapping on the multi-touch display. That said, those effects enable users to play with overdriven tone on an acoustic-electric guitar without even plugging in any external gear.
LAVA ME 3 | Now in Golden Hour | LAVA MUSIC
Lava Me 3 in Golden Hour is now available starting from $999 on LAVA MUSIC, Amazon, and local guitar dealerships near you.
For more information, please visit store.lavamusic.com.