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Tuning Up: First Things First

Welcome to the 2010 Pedal Issue

Fab Four: This very special issue of Premier Guitar—our annual “Pedal Issue”—is being distributed at random with four different covers, each featuring a fully functional custom one-off pedal with this issue’s cover lines printed right on its face. You can enter to win the stompboxes—left-to-right: a Diamond Pedals Halo Chorus, a JAM Pedals RetroVibe, a DigiTech Whammy, and an Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi—at

As you’ve probably surmised by now, this November 2010 issue of Premier Guitar is pretty special. Editorial Director Joe Coffey, who usually writes in this space, is on the road as we put this issue to bed, so he asked me to fill you in.

What makes this issue so special—besides the fact that it’s our highly anticipated annual “Pedal Issue” packed with 30 stompbox reviews and three captivating artist interviews—is that it’s a huge first in at least three ways. For starters, as far as we’re aware, this is the first guitar publication ever to print its cover text right on the face of not one but four fully functional and 100 percent badass custom stompboxes: The DigiTech Whammy (in never-before-used “candy apple red” finish) and Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi are accepted the world over as all-time classics, while Diamond Pedals in Nova Scotia, Canada, contributed their wonderful Halo Chorus, and JAM Pedals in Athens, Greece, created the retro-righteous RetroVibe. We extend a hearty and heartfelt thanks to each of these companies and everyone who made this possible.

Our second first this month? This is the first PG to feature four different covers, each highlighting one of the aforementioned custom pedals. These four iterations of the November issue have been distributed at random to both retail newsstands and subscribers. If you’re a collector who simply must have the three issues that aren’t in your hand right now—and you’ve already hightailed it down to your local bookstore, but to no avail—relax: For $14.99 you can get the other three straight from us. Simply email ( or call us (877-704-4327) to work out the details. Oh, and did I mention that you can enter to win these one-of-a-kind stompboxes online at

We’re also stoked to report that Inquiry Management Systems, a publishing research firm that tracks all the major US guitar magazines, has verified that this is the first to hit the mammoth 272-page mark. (In all likelihood, it’s the biggest ever—period—but that’s difficult to verify categorically.) So for all intents and purposes, the November 2010 Premier Guitar is THE BIGGEST guitar magazine EVER. That’s pretty heavy—literally and figuratively.

Last but not least, this issue is the first with our new Gear Editor Charles Saufley. Charles has worked previously as an editor at Acoustic Guitar, and he’s been contributing to PG for a few months now (he wrote the September 2010 feature “Zen Guitar for the 22nd Century . . . and Beyond”). As you can imagine, accomplishing all these firsts has been a bit like birthing a 272-pound baby—it’s nearly killed all of us. And none more so than Charles. Not only has he had to hit the ground running with a new company (and from 2000 miles away), but he’s also had to manage, edit, and fact-check four times as many reviews as normal—and pen two features (Zakk Wylde and “5 Boutique Stompbox Builders You Should Know”). Welcome, Charlie!

Because this issue full of firsts has been such a massive endeavor—and so fulfilling to see come together—I want to be the first to thank the rest of our fantastic staff for their awe-inspiring work ethic: our totally on-the-ball admin team, our remarkably respectful sales crew, Chris Kies for all the stellar web videos, Rebecca Dirks for engaging weekly web content, Meghan Molumby and Angela Cox for their patience and impeccable taste, Adam Moore for his wrangling, Joe Coffey for his vision, Jason Shadrick for keeping our music theory straight and chipping in anywhere and everywhere, and Andy Ellis for his chops, wit, and wisdom. (Doh! I forgot another first: Andy’s fantastic new monthly instructional column, “Rhythm & Grooves.” And be sure to tune in for Jason’s first monthly instructional column next month.)

It’s going to be tough to beat this one, but something tells me this first-rate staff still has a few surprises up its sleeve.


Shawn Hammond