A double-entendre-laced love letter to road trips and gear shows.
PG is known the world over for taking guitar dweebs to NAMM—or at least the closest most players are ever gonna get to seeing the latest tone toys in person. This summer is no different: To serve up your fix from the most recent show, our staffers hit Nashville’s Music City Center from July 18–20 to get the scoop on new guitars, amps, and effects, and crank out a bunch of demo videos essentially in real time.
The staffers from our Marion, Iowa, headquarters made a road trip out of it. You can’t really get anywhere with a straight-shot flight out of our airport, and the drive took about as long as it’d take to queue up at various airports, track down shitty/ridiculously priced food, and tap in and out of airplane mode—plus we had a bunch of gear to haul there and back.
We split driving shifts and Bluetooth turns, diverting ourselves with a hodgepodge of music that probably tested everyone’s patience and sanity at various points. To kill time, we also took advantage of the, er, “sights” along the way—snapshot-able road signs … vehicles with kick-ass custom paint jobs.
During my return-trip shift at the wheel, I was suddenly struck by one of the tunes randomly streaming out of my phone and through the speakers of our rental car (a shockingly lo-tech 2019 Dodge Caravan). The song’s been in my life for decades now, but for some reason it hit home with newfound pith.
The track? Adam Ant’s 1982 hit “Goody Two Shoes.”
Having just spent three days in a convention center filled with 6-string wankers—and I mean that in the nicest way possible (more on that later)—I was struck by several things I’d never really considered about the song before. For starters, longtime Ant songwriting partner/guitarist Marco Pirroni actually lets a couple of measures of thundering toms go by before launching into the song’s catchy opening riff. This alone is significant when you’ve just come from a place where every person within arm’s reach of a guitar can’t seem to let a breath, let alone a measure, pass between screaming licks. It’s like each cheesy blues lead or AC/DC-meets-EVH-meets-Gatton rip-off is a desperate, subconscious plea for an appointment at the nearest insecurity clinic. With all due respect to the many wonderful players there, the place is possibly the least musically inspiring room on earth.
But let’s get back to “Goody Two Shoes.” Another cool thing about the riff is that it’s proudly no-frills. On the Friend or Foe album version, it sounds like it’s played on a rather thin-toned acoustic, but maybe it was a bare-bones take from the DeArmond-stocked Gretsch White Falcon that Pirroni dons in the video for the U.K. single. Either way, the notes and the way they’re delivered prioritize punch and thematic simplicity, without a hint of care for vibrato, “good tone,” or other guitar-guy histrionics and bullshit.
But it’s more than that. Despite its almost embarrassing simplicity, the “Goody Two Shoes” riff just breathes. Pirroni or Ant or whoever wrote the part consciously bids the unadorned notes to put a bounce in the song. In essence, the song was lodged in millions of minds due to a fearless commitment to just letting the part ride. Correction: They weren’t afraid to let the silence ride—because there’s no sustain whatsoever making any of those notes sing.
Now, before any of y’all go off screamin’ “Git a rope!” like the Pace picante sauce commercial of yore, let me own up to a tinge of hypocrisy in my own words here. As a reverb junkie who cranks his amp’s onboard springs to the max and often slathers another ’verb pedal on top, I could certainly stand to let the silence ride myself. Secondly, all this crap I’m saying here isn’t so much about this song, as it is the epiphany born of an exhausting workweek. (I do love the song, but there are plenty of other tunes that could’ve driven the point home.) Thirdly, I get that a gear-show like NAMM is sort of a weird hybrid between a lab, a sales floor, and an effing circus, where players and gear designers alike try to impress in a blaring environment that doesn’t exactly reward nuance. It’s like a petri dish of musical and egotistical bacteria, some of which is perhaps healthy, and much of which is sonic tuberculosis. But hell, none of us created that atmosphere … or did we all have a hand in it?
With the heartbreak open
So much you can’t hide
Put on a little makeup, makeup
Make sure they get your good side, good side
Look out or they’ll tell you
You’re a “superstar”
Two weeks and you’re an all-time legend
Subtle innuendos follow
There must be something inside
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Sporting custom artwork etched onto the covers, the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One Humcutters are designed to offer a fat midrange and a smooth top end.
Billy Corgan was looking for something for heavier Smashing Pumpkins songs, so Joe Naylor designed the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One pickup. Sporting custom artwork etched onto the covers, the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One Humcutters have a fat midrange and a smooth top end. This pickup combines the drive and sustain of a humbucker with the percussive attack and string clarity of a P90. Get beefy P90 tone plus amp-pummeling output with the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One.
Patented Railhammer Pickups take passive guitar pickups to a new level with rails under the wound strings lead to tighter lows, and poles under the plain strings offer fatter heights. With increased clarity, the passive pickup’s tone is never sterile.
Railhammer Billy Corgan Signature Z-One Pickup Demo
For more information, please visit railhammer.com.
Designed for utmost comfort and performance, the Vertigo Ultra Bass is Mono’s answer to those who seek the ultimate gigging experience.
Complete with a range of game-changing design features, such as the patent-pending attachable FREERIDE Wheel System, premium water-resistant and reflective materials, shockproof shell structure and improved ergonomic features, the Vertigo Ultra Bass takes gear protection to the next level.
The Vertigo Ultra Bass features:
- Patent-pending FREERIDE Wheel System that allows for wheels to be attached on the case in no time, giving you the option to travel with it seamlessly
- Upgraded materials, including a water-resistant 1680D Ballistic Nylon outer shell, plush inner lining and new reflective trim for maximum backstage and night visibility
- Enhanced protection with a shockproof shell structure and heavy-duty water-resistant YKK zippers for protection from the elements
- Improved ergonomics and functionality including added back support and load-lifting detachable shoulder straps with side release buckles
- Flexible storage options with added space for touring essentials
Mojotone will manufacture and market over 60 of their speaker cabinets and amp kits as “Licensed by Fender.”
This partnership marks Fender's recognition of Mojotone’s dedication to its craft, quality of products, and dependability of knowledge. Beginning November 29th and ranging from $327 - $1,016.
Amplifiers were among the first products to wear the official Fender seal. A qualified electronics technician by trade, Leo Fender developed his iconic amplifiers during the mid-1940s putting innovation at the forefront. To this day, Leo’s influence and innovative spirit can still be heard in today’s amps, as that same iconic, clean Fender tone continues to color new music around the world. As a result, the process for completing the exclusive licensing deal required Fender to carefully audit Mojotone’s amplifier kits, wiring diagrams, electronics, hardware, construction methods, and more to ensure this innovation carried on through the partnership. Mojotone’s many years of intense research, quality production, and favorable reputation solidified the deal.
Mojotone has always been determined to provide its customer base with the most sought-after parts with their insider industry-knowledge. They have spent the last 25 years helping musicians recreate what they deem to be the most famous and easily-recognized tones and aesthetics in the music industry. When purchasing Mojotone products, like Fender products, customers can be assured of unmatched quality and craftsmanship.
For more information, please visit mojotone.com.