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Happy Days

The Boy (aka No. 1 Son) was given an electric guitar and amplifier for Christmas. He dutifully attempts to coax sounds out of it on a daily basis. I ve shown him (and he is learning) the opening riff for The Beatle s Daytripper. He can do it now almost without referring to the tab or asking me, Is that right?

I figured it was better to give him a riff like that to start with than the obligatory Smoke on the Water riff. Which I finally showed him this morning. He prefers Daytripper –that s my boy!

This month I m taking him to see guitar legend and blues great, B.B. King. B.B. is touring to support his 80 th birthday. We were able to get third row seats (thank you, Donato).

This summer I m going to take The Boy to see Les Paul. He plays every Monday night in a little club in Manhattan. Les Paul, if you don t know, is the electric guitar pioneer whose name has given birth to a whole series of top-shelf guitars.

How cool will it be if The Boy ever has a band of his own to say to his bandmates, Yeh, I saw B.B. King and Les Paul. In the same year. My dad took me. I was nine.

Nine. He turned nine yesterday. I took him to the local music store to buy what-ever-the-hell he wanted within reason, of course. I brought my patience, my debit card, and a gift certificate given to him by his Uncle Ronnie, Aunt Jennie, and Little Ronnie. We toured the store for the better part of an hour. We pointed at basses and electronic drums, mandolins and violins, big amps and small guitars.

I want to get a pedal, Dad, he said.

Which one?

Death Metal!

Death Metal is a guitar effects pedal that produces ear bleeding distortion. To quote their literature, Simply put, we have turned the gain up to eleven and ripped the knob off.

That s a cool effect pedal, the tattooed and pierced salesman told The Boy. I don t want to talk you out of it, but it s your birthday and this is your first pedal. I want to show you something.

He brought The Boy over to a rack of effects pedals, plugged a guitar on, and stomped on Death Metal . The Boy loved the sound that came out. You can t adjust the gain on this thing, the sales guy said. That s it. You get crunch and only crunch. But we can get that same high distortion you re looking for from this box. He pointed at Grunge ( Whether it’s chunky rhythm, heavy grind, or amazing sustaining leads you re after, the Grunge gets you these and everything in between ) and stepped on the switch.

BWAAANGG! Similar sound. But now I have control over the gain. I can soften the effect. He twisted a knob and the sound mellowed. Sometimes you might not want to pin the cat to the wall. Sometimes you want something a bit tamer.

I ll take that one, said The Boy. The salesman was happy. The pedal was $10 cheaper. Dad was happy too. (I played with it later in the day, the sustain is amazing. Melt in your mouth sustain.)

Gilmour - On an Island

So, I tell you that story to tell you that David Gilmour (guitars and vocals for Pink Floyd) has a birthday today (the day after my son s). He s 60 and his latest solo album, On an Island , goes on sale today. Gilmour is one of my favorite guitar players. Not only does he have virtuoso rock chops, he s got the kind of feel where he could play a one-note solo and leave you saying, Holy crap! That s amazing!

Based on his previous work, I can only assume that the album is going to be killer. I m wondering what kind of music a sixty-year-old rock star is going to put out. I bet I ll be impressed.

David Gilmour s music, including lots of Pink Floyd, are going to be played 24/7 all week long on Sirius satellite radio s The Vault –Channel 16. If you don t have Sirius radio, you don t know what you re missing.

nuff said.


Tanj said:

You two are seeing B.B. King and I am so jealous!

I will never forget B.B's appearance on Rattle & Hum (U2) where he mentioned he is bad a chords. After his contribution to great music, I found his admission profound.

Les Paul is a weekly in your area?
Wow. Never Knew.

Posted on Mar 07, 2006 01:16 AM

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