Magazine article Guitar Player

Soundhole: Where Will You Go from Here?

Magazine article Guitar Player

Soundhole: Where Will You Go from Here?

Article excerpt

My first electric guitar was a no-name Les Paul copy that caught my eye as it hung on a wall at Gene's Guitar Shop in San Francisco. I was obsessed with that guitar, and it took a long time to save the money to buy it. (I suffered through anxious days and nights fearing someone might steal her from me.) When the faux Paul finally became mine, I felt a connection to my heroes who played the "same" guitar. Of course, that connection was rendered somewhat tenuous when I actually tried to play the thing. I realized that Mick Ronson and Pete Townshend must be gods if they could hold down those strings--which hung miles over the fretboard on my beautiful little atrocity--and produce such stunning music. What was their secret?

A Fender Champ became my first amp, but I couldn't get the desired Who-like cacophony at a volume my parents would tolerate. Happily, I took a cue from a Guitar Player article on blues cats and punched some holes through the speaker. Then I filled the open-back cabinet with foam, turned the amp face down on the floor of my room, cranked the volume to 10, and reveled in what I convinced myself was a creamy-thick Black Sabbath tone. My next amp was a monstrous solid-state Fender that some guy who played in a Greek folk band sold me for $100. It was loud enough to get me into a band, but I could never make that amp sound good. That's how I discovered stomp-boxes. And the struggle for good tone continued.

I relate this tale because many GP readers of a certain, ahem, age will recognize it as a shared experience. …

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