tuning up

Although John Lee Hooker lived in Los Altos, he told Ted that Eli’s, across San Francisco Bay, was a favorite haunt to play and hang out when he was at home.

Sometimes the joy performing brings can pay dividends greater than money—and fried shrimp and sausage, too.

As I’ve written, I have a passion for exploring the special spaces where great American music in its unadorned form is still made—juke joints, honky-tonks, dusty farm fields. And while I never want to impose on the authenticity of the music with my presence, sometimes I do get to show up by invitation with a guitar in hand. So, a story—about the kindness, gratitude, and community that comes with playing live music.

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The cover of our June issue.

There’s logic and a process to how the artists we write about are selected, and how we strive to fulfill our commitment to serve the entire guitar community. Let us know how we’re doing.

Recently, we received a letter from a reader complaining that we didn’t write about enough artists that reader knew, so they were canceling their subscription. I was perplexed. Over the past few months, we’ve written about Kerry King, the Black Keys, Marcus King, the Melvins, the Black Crowes, Blackberry Smoke, Judas Priest, Steve Albini, Sleater-Kinney, and, in this issue, Slash, the Decemberists, and Richard Thompson. Hardly a cavalcade of the obscure. Plus, one of the reasons I started reading guitar and other music magazines when I was 16 was to find artists I didn’t know, and decades later I still love discovering new musicians who excite me.

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Photo by Jesse Dylan

Why you might be your own most important DIY project.

This is our annual DIY issue, where we share a few interesting projects—this time, a guitar mod that's a lesson in the proper way to use a router and six pedal-kit builds—that can be done fairly easily, in one day. The idea is to showcase attainable work that builds basic skills needed for more complex projects.

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