Ah, the Masses

I LOVE HUMANITY
IT’S THE GODDAMN PEOPLE I CAN’T STAND



69MarshallHendrixBluesDude69 is a longstanding regular at The Gear Page where, as of today, he has contributed 17,847 posts all in the name of good fellowship and in helping his guitar playing brothers find that killer tone. 69...69 knows virtually everything there is to know about everything but he derives a special satisfaction in assisting his "brothers in tone" in selecting the "right amp for the job." Accordingly, 69 spends most of his time in the amp forum serving up his own brand of penetrating insight. For example, when asked about the Mesa Boogie Lonestar, 69 is always among the first to report that "the LS has a great clean channel but the high gain channel is flat and fizzy....but it takes pedals well..." 69 knows this to be true because back in 1995 his cousin stored a Boogie Mk III at 69's apartment for the summer and 69 played it a few times. Ever since then he feels that he has a special relationship with the Mesa Boogie line of amplifiers (you see, 69 possesses an intuitive grasp of the firm's total amplification philosophy) and is therefore sufficiently qualified to comment on any Mesa Boogie product. Besides, 69 just repeats what others before him have said numerous times, so it must be true, and it makes him feel good to confirm what everybody already knows. 69 knows what everybody else knows so he knows everything there is to know. Similarly, 69 has formulated a definite mental hierarchy of awesomeness regarding the entire D-style spectrum of amps based on watching hours of YouTube videos and reading what others have said about D-style amps. Once apprehensive about making his own personal contributions to D-style debates, 69 is now among the most vocal and apparently knowledgeable experts in the world regarding such matters. Even though the craze for guitar-driven Muzak and leisure suits will surely fade (hey, all good things come to an end) 69...69 has definitely worked up a solid method as forerunner in the next wave of hoodoo amplifier bunkum, whatever it happens to be.

Corky is an aficionado of what he refers to as "best-bang-for-the-buck guitars."  He was especially keen on models produced in Exploitistan, though, recently, he's noticed that the quality "has gone to shit" and he's not happy about the current state of affairs. After buying his latest guitar on clearance (he "just couldn't pass up the $179 Musician's Fiend Dumbass Deal of the Decade") Corky found nothing but disappointment: out of the box the action did not meet his rigorous standards (he’s "had better, goddamn-it, and on guitars that cost half as much"). He’s also outraged that the vibrato bar knocks the guitar out of tune (“every fucking time” he uses it); discouraged, Corky may have to “send this piece of shit back.” And, indeed, in time, he exchanges the “piece of shit” for another that is “way fucking better” than the “last piece of shit.” Incidentally, Corky is getting “sick of this shit” -- he’s “gone through seven guitars in the last nine months already.”  Corky has vowed to never buy another guitar made in Exploitistan, especially when they're making "way better"guitars in Slumsonesia.

High priest of the Robin Trower cult, Harold listens exclusively to Robin Trower albums, has learned every Robin Trower lick and solo note-for-note, and owns every piece of equipment that Robin Trower has used throughout his career.... It has been noticed by more than a few people that approximately half of all sentences emitted from Harold's mouth start with the words "Robin Trower."  Once on the cusp of “making it big” (Harold is fairly certain an A&R guy came to see him play in a laundromat on Long Island in 1974) Harold now transmits his righteous vibe from his mother’s basement, keeping the Robin Trower flame alive and “keeping it real” by countering indifference, perceived slights, and dismissive attitudes with emailed death threats and challenging “anybody” to a head cutting contest: “anywhere, any time, dude.”

Martin runs a "boutique" effects pedal company (i.e., when not mowing lawns or serving as the part time assistant musical director at Snake Flop Baptist Church he assembles kits from BuildYourOwnClone.com in his basement and sells them through his web domain, FauxtiquePedals.com). Lately, however, sales have slowed to a trickle. Inspired by a massive current of irrational hype he encountered surfing a gear fetish site, Martin renamed one of his distortion boxes "The F-Wreck" and unveiled it on The Gear Page (a.k.a., The House that Hype Built). The F-Wreck garnered considerable interest among the Wreck-style cognoscenti, including 69MarshallHendrixBluesDude69, who was the seventh person in the thread to give his qualified nod of approval, noting that the F-Wreck, "while very close, lacks some of the even-order harmonics of a real Trainwreck Express..." 69 couldn't exactly remember what an even-order harmonic was, if he ever knew, but he knew that other important participants knew what it meant and that if he repeated what others said he would know what everybody else knows and he would then continue to know everything there is to know.  Ultimately, Martin received orders for 92 "F-Wrecks" in the first month but could fill only a fraction of those orders (his wife was unable to help solder and paint kits due to her very bad case of carpal tunnel syndrome) and he was soon ensnared in an ugly dispute at Harmony Central regarding some cold solder joints and black goop that Martin used to disguise the fact that "his" F-Wreck, and indeed all "his" pedals, are just generic Tube Screamer kits. Martin gave up on the F-Wreck (it was officially "discontinued" because, you know, it was a limited run, special edition sort of thing ... and all that jazz) but periodically one of these rare F-Wrecks makes an appearance on Ebay where it sells for upwards of ten times the original price.

Tommy is the self-appointed moral guardian of the vintage electric guitar concept. He's never actually owned one but his uncle on his mother's side, Uncle Frank, owned a 1964 Jag once and Frank told Tommy that guitars made today can never be as good or sound as good as vintage guitars because the wood used back then was "ancient." How ancient? This is Tommy's favorite subject and he drones on endlessly about the antediluvian origins of the woods used in those venerable guitars of yesteryear; according to Tommy, the wood is "thousands of years old." That's why everybody not playing a vintage Gibson or Fender is doomed -- all modern guitars "sound congested and constipated. There's nothing you can do about it...just forget it, Bro." Tommy frequently posts a link to a YouTube video that proves, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the only good sounding guitars are "older than fuck." Again, because the wood is "thousands of years old." And then along comes Franklin. Franklin is a graduate student in botany at the University of California at Riverside and an infrequent participant in the world of online guitar culture. Upon reading one of Tommy's countless diatribes pertaining to the "special mojo" of Pre-CBS Fenders, et al, Franklin thought he might chime in for once and inject a little perspective into the discussion. He wrote: "Actually, Fender made guitars with maple, alder, and swamp ash. The typical lifespan of these species is no more than about 150 years, with ash seldom living more than 100 years. It is true that there are some species that can live hundreds, if not thousands of years, however it is rare for any tree to live into the 'thousands' of years and certainly not trees commonly used in lutherie. All the best, Franklin." Outraged at Franklin's impudence, Tommy had no choice but to reassert his authority: "STFU Noob!"

Skippy frequents the Harmony Central electric guitar forum where he functions as the 'local wise guy' (Skippy is prone to self-characterizations of this sort) and is also a recognized 'expert' when it comes to Squire serial numbers (because this information is "super important") and, due to Skip's tireless efforts, all forum members are kept abreast of current 'hot deals' on "dirt-cheap" Chinese imports, especially those falling within the $60 and under category. Skip has been playing guitar for nearly two years and when he's not learning classic rock riffs (lately he's been honing his craft on Deep Purple) he likes to surf the internet for any 'hot deals' that may be lurking in the most obscure corners of cyberspace.  While on one of these virtual excursions Skippy stumbled across some unconventional music that made him upset, so unnerved in fact, that he made a point to alert his HC friends to the danger.  Skip's public service warning went largely ignored (his friend Harold, though, did inspect the offending music and concluded that Robin Trower could "easily destroy that shit"). The "weird" music did not represent an objective threat to Skippy but, for some reason, he just couldn't put it behind him. Somehow, the unpunished existence of "weird shit", the kind of "shit" that demonstrated a flagrant disregard for tradition and norms of right conduct, got under his skin -- to such an extent that he actually lost a few hours of sleep that week worrying over the existence of such "crazy shit."  "WTF?" he kept asking himself.  Thankfully, time and neurotic repetition heals low-grade trauma and, in a few days, Skippy was able to get on with his life and, since that terrible incident, he's been making good progress mastering "all" of the overlooked nuances hidden in "Smoke on the Water."

Mayhem Mike, as he like to call himself, buys a new Boogie Mk V combo amp, gets it home, excitedly sets up his cell phone video camera, unpacks the amp from its box and fires it up for what promises to be an ultra-insightful YouTube “review” -- all in about the same amount of time it takes to drive through Taco Bell on a Tuesday night. Nine days of ownership yields one sorry video, a slew of hostile comments, a rebuttal video shot on a "better cell phone", and, two weeks later Mayhem sells the "piece of crap" for a “good amp.”

Scott has just bought his 4th Fender Twin and cannot believe how bad it sounds. Each one has suffered from the same harsh and fizzy tone until the volume is, as he says, "cranked up so high that it just about blows my fucking head off!" Scott is reaching the end of his rope with these Fender Twins and, if he cannot find a "good one" after two or three more tries, he will just "give up on these fucking Twins" and "move on" and "give his money" to "somebody that wants his business."

After stumbling across a photograph of a PRS Private Stock Brazilian rosewood fingerboard at some gear site, Ronald had the distinct impression that this much-ballyhooed wood resembled the fingerboard on the Squire Classic Vibe Tele he nabbed on sale at Musician's Fiend for $325. Because Ron doesn't know shit from Shinola he began touting the superior qualities of his guitar, claiming that "the CV is made with a Brazilian RWFB" and shrugging off the skeptical protestations of his fellow travelers. Knut pointed out that, "Dude, I like the CV as much as you but a Brazilian rosewood fingerboard would be worth more than you paid for the whole guitar...." Undeterred, and in a non-too-rare case of self-delusion, Ronald formulated the very interesting notion that the Classic Vibe was the ultimate "investment" and that he would some day laugh all the way to the bank once the rest of the world caught on to "the secret of the CV." Right under the noses of unsuspecting customers, the Chinese factory that pumped this guitar out at $27.83 a pop was secretly making them with Brazilian rosewood. Yes, as difficult as that is to fathom, Ron just had a gut feeling that he was right and Ron always trusts his gut. For the last 19 months this moron (a certified Tier Three Shit Eater) has bought one Classic Vibe Tele every payday. That's 38 bottom feeder dung planks and he just "hunted up another" on Ebay that displays the unmistakable mien of "a Brazzy." Ron's wife, Betty, is absolutely beside herself and they fight every two weeks.

One of Chuck’s favorite magazines is Guitar Player. The gear reviews and advertisements are “awesome” -- every night he sits in his bedroom, Guitar Player on his bed, Peavey Raptor in his lap, strumming slowly and almost imperceptivity, hypnotized by all the “awesome” pictures of guitars, amps, effects, and the guitar gods “totally rocking out” on their cool guitars, amps, and effects. Chuck digs the interviews, too, that focus intently on the picks, strings, straps, guitars, amps, effects, cables, etc., that his favorite players use. Chuck also appreciates learning about the kinds of guitar, amps, and effects used by players he has never heard of -- he knows that you can really learn a lot about music this way. And the lessons, too, with their emphasis on the kinds of guitars, amps, and effects required to get “the right” sound, are “awesome.” Chuck’s dad, Steve (who was a bit of a picker himself back in the day) brought a stack of back-issues up from the basement but they were “really boring” – all kinds of “retarded crap” like African guitar styles (“Like they play guitar in Africa. Don’t waste my fucking time!”) and “gay noise rock bullshit” and “shit like that.” Chuck is relieved that today’s Guitar Player isn’t wasting space on “gay shit” anymore. Chuck knows that what’s really important is buying as many guitars, amps, and effects as he can, that never being satisfied with the guitars, amps, and effects that he has is his ticket to becoming an “awesome” player, and that things like “cable shootouts” are “really important.” Chuck’s favorite issue this year was one that offered sage advice on “awesome rigs for under $300.” He plans to sell his sister’s iPod and “some other shit” to get a totally awesome “rig” for his bedroom. Most importantly, though, is the upcoming Gear Buyers Guide, an entire issue devoted strictly to gear with none of the unwanted fluff. Chuck cannot wait! Luckily, the Musician’s Friend catalog just arrived in the mail and, as far as Chuck is concerned, these two paragons of music journalism are all that he needs to keep his passion for guitar alive.

When he’s not “chillin’ out” on the Carvin forum (distributing sage advice on Floyd Rose bridges) or rolling a fatty in his double-wide, Ronnie, aged 46, totally rocks out on his B. C. Rich War Beast and is looking forward to taking his “punk kid” to see a 38 Special tribute band “known for kickin’ it” at a skating rink over in Bilgewater, Rhode Island. Ronnie’s secret to Floyd Rose setups? Most importantly, you can’t believe the “bullshit” dispensed by Jackson, Ibanez, ESP, or even Floyd Rose, oddly enough. It's “bullshit.” Rather, the trick is to just take all the strings off at once and then spend the next 4 hours tuning, loosening screws, tuning, tightening screws, tuning ... Even though it “takes all fucking night” it’s evidently “the only way” to get them setup “just right.”

A self-described “Blues Man”, Harley purchased his first “puter” from Sam’s Club a couple of months ago and now participates on a "gitfiddle" message board where he uses words like "gitfiddle" and "nutin" and "sumpin" and "dagnabit" in every fucking sentence.

Chandler occupies a commanding height in the world of online gear collecting and his judgments are considered definitive and objective, at least in Chandler's mind. A good many others regard the C-man as a world class asshole with "more gear than talent." Chandler is an accounts manager for a large pharmaceutical firm and, combined with his wife's income, they enjoy a standard of living that few, even in America, can hope to achieve. Chandler's "Guitar Room" (900 square feet) is bejeweled with several dozens guitars hanging from walls and displayed on custom cocobolo guitar stands. But when Chandler is not oiling his fretboards, or changing strings, Chan likes to spend most of his time in the "Amp Room." Every day Chandler oils up a Strat or a Tele, puts on a new set of Tomastik-Infelds ("...they're simply the best, either you get it or you don't, and if you're serious about tone $18 for a pack of strings is irrelevant...") and gives it a "spin" in his hall of amplification. He really likes to give each guitar at least 5 minutes a day, checking the action, and working out a cool "blooze" lick or two. An electrician had to be called once when there was a problem with the recessed lighting in Chan's pedal boudoir, and, much to Mr. C's horror, the electrician, a nice fella named Kenny, deviated from his appointed task to inquire about Chandler's guitar hobby. "It's not a hobby" intoned Chan, "It's my passion." Kenny said that he'd like to come out and see "the band" play some time or hear some of his music; "Got a CD or something" asked Kenny. Chandler mumbled something inaudible and told Kenny to get a check from the wife on his way out, he was busy and had to "take off." At lunch Kenny told one of his co-workers about Chandler and they both agreed that he might be a "major league dipstick with more money than sense."

Terry is a psychotic troll who cruises guitar message boards while huffing butane. He once found himself in an altercation with, as he put it, a “douche bag” at a Metallica concert in Columbus, Ohio -- it may have involved a Kirk Hammet guitar pick tossed from the stage, though, the details are a bit fuzzy, but he distinctly recalls punching “that douche bag in the nuts.” Terry loves that story. A defiant individualist, Terry explained his propensity for frequently “getting banned” from message boards:

“heres why I was kicked off from bucne of forums; For essentially speakng the truth of thr; all your guitars they play as shit, as shit and much shit. I must know, this I hold true more for Strats than Of gibsons, although dearly much each gibson not on the management 40 years of old this is applied to also. I mean, Im with you, I have bucnh of guitars of buckwheat too, I do not obtain to me untruth, but at least I confirm ot. It is far as Mexican guitars and you gusy of that they are the following: " great" guitars". .what will utter trash! Even guitars of the store of nw=ewer prepared to order hell of likie. Much to depend on stlye you play. If you play with amp, then which there are no 40 years of old, you could not say difefrence of anyhow. Shit of theyare of reason too. I had a friend which it made remarks of amp of fender. His .why amps very much.? ,… because it did not accept into acount the value of old transformers and wood and completely that substance. ll new in pickuos in your guitars much also. tale which to the bank. Now if your type of sherd or a high increase, then, then your sound there are no " tone" - its shit; therefore this are not applied to you anyhow. Eeven if you think your shitty guitar, then large (it doesn' t), after this I can garuntee you 99% of the time it plays as the absolute reason for dogshit it setup correctly! You can' t speaks the reason for diference you you also play as ass! Exactly to recap; all your guitars and amps shit. (mine too). Thanks.”

Harper is what is commonly referred to as a "douche bag", though, as far as I know, Harper has never attended a Metallica concert. Even though Harper sold his one and only Mesa Boogie years ago he nonetheless clogs up the Boogie Board with "worthless" commentary that breakdown thusly: 47% = "Pics or it didn't happen"; 23% = "This thread is worthless without pics"; 19% = "Clips or this thread is worthless"; 10% = Other.

Cedric is Eric Johnson's self-proclaimed number one fan. Yes, out of 6.92 billion people on the planet, Cedric is EJ's most devoted follower. In short, if there was an EJ fan club, Cedric would be the organization's Grand Poobah, El Presidente, Czar, and Generalissimo all rolled into one. Recently, however, Cedric has become despondent over the guitar tones on EJ's most recent album which evidently suffers from some kind of "plasticy" sound that is hard to pin down. Cedric was albe to make this determination based on a couple of ripped YouTube videos which spared him from "wasting" his money on Up Close. This new "plasticy" sound adds to an already growing list of complaints that Cedric has against his favorite artist, including EJ's "horrible vocals" (Cedric only likes the instrumentals) as well as the "psychedelic fluff" that EJ sticks between songs as filler. Airing these concerns at one of the various online guitar forums, Cedric was queried regarding his favorite EJ album or song. Cedric reported that his favorite album was "the one with Cliffs of Dover on it." Over the span of three days and seven pages Cedric laid out his case for brandishing the mantle of "EJ's number one fan": Cedric has bought "every one of EJ's albums" except for Seven Worlds, which he didn't care for that much, and Tones, which he borrowed from his cousin and ripped to his hard drive for free. (Curiously, Mr. Number One Fan is completely unaware of the nearly 100 compilation and cameo appearances featuring the Texan guitar slinger); he owned a Fender Eric Johnson Stratocaster that, unfortunately, he had to "let go" because he "couldn't live with the sticky nitro neck finish"; Cedric uses Eric Johnson signature Dunlop picks (or did, until he grew weary of paying the extra buck "just to have Eric Johnson's name on a pick you can buy for less"); he programmed not just one but three separate EJ patches into his Line6 Pod; Cedric also "cherishes" two issues of Guitar Player magazine which feature EJ on the cover; he currently "runs" a Dimarzio pickup in his Yamaha Pacifica "just like the one that EJ has in his Strat." and so on and so forth...... Cedric also revealed that he was unhappy with the sound of EJ's album that had the song Bloom on it (another forum member, Jake, reminded Cedric that Bloom was a song on an album of the same name, to which Cedric replied, of course, he knew that but only momentarily forgot). By and by, through a process of elimination, Jake and others were able to determine that Cedric actually only liked one song by Eric Johnson, Cliffs of Dover, because of the catchy melody that went "La la -- la la -- la la -- la la -- la la -----la"). Completely oblivious to the sarcasm, Cedric experienced a warm surge of self-satisfaction envelop his entire being when Jake observed that "Eric Johnson is really lucky to have a guy like you as his number one fan."

In the market for "top of the line" and "world class" headphones, Phil asked around a few audio and recording forums for suggestions for "top of the line" and "world class headphones" because he couldn't live with his current "budget" cans any longer. When a couple of friendly helpers asked about his budget, Phil reiterated that he was only interested in "top of the line" and "world class" phones and that he couldn't be bothered with toys that are fine for people who are not serious about music. One helpy helper suggested some "top of the line" Sennheiser HD 800 headphones while another helpful friendly type suggested some "world class" AKG K812 phones. Phil was outraged: what, he demanded to know, where they smoking!? Both of those headphones cost nearly $1500. What kind of crackhead pays $1500 for a pair of fucking headphones? Another helpish type suggested that perhaps it was crackheads who want "world class" or "top of the line" headphones that would be willing to pay those prices. Phil was nonplussed. He let those dope heads know that he wouldn't pay more than $50 for a set of cans and that anything over $50 was a total scam. He then bid these idiots a a fond farewell and advised them to "kick the pipe, dudes."

Petey holds forth at a popular guitar, amp, and pedal fetish site. The sum total of Petey's musical output consists of one cell phone video on YouTube shot in his garage that one time he "cranked his Plexi to 10" while his wife was at the grocery store. Petey's claim to fame is helping guys pair up the right pedals with the rest of their "rig." As a self-proclaimed "amp and pedal guy" Petey was in rare form the time Roger appeared online, just as pleased as punch, after buying his dream guitar and amp after saving money for four years. Roger's dream consisted of a Gibson R9 Les Paul and a handwired Marshall JTM 45. Roger was especially happy with the live tones he was getting with his band playing covers two or three nights per week around the Springfield area and he pointed everybody to some live audio so they could share in his excitement. Petey was unimpressed. Yes, it sounded good but it could be so much "better." Petey suggested that instead just just plugging the guitar straight into the amp, Roger could "kick it up to the next level" by "hitting the front end" with an Echoplex pre. Assuming that Petey knew something, Roger bought an Dunlop Echoplex pre and a week later was showing off the new results. Of course, Petey indicated that there were better Ecoplex pres on the market but this would be "okay for now." Petey then suggested that stacking a clean boost like a Klon would help "hit that front end" better so Roger, thinking that Petey knew something, went out and bought a Soul Food boost and, a week later, demonstrated his new sound. Of course, the Soul Food pedal was a known quantity to Petey who found it lacking and not up to snuff for His pedalboard. But fine, whatever, if a guy isn't that serious about tone, then the Soul Food would be "okay until you afford something better." Months later, after leading Roger around by the nose, the later had amassed a sizable collection of pedals and a custom-made pedal board but, despite all the tweaking, Petey was just not satisfied and suggested that perhaps less was more and, week after week, had Roger subtract one pedal at a time until Roger was right back where he started. Less is more, you know? Suspecting that the Marshall was not all it could be, Petey put Roger in touch with a guy who could replace all the caps and get a "good" transformer for that JTM. Fear not, Roger is going to get this sorted out!

Arnold is an old guitar hand -- he's been a member of The Gear Page for 15 years and has racked up thousands of helpful posts dispensing guitar wisdom. Oh, the things Arnold has seen over the years. An old Strat, Tele, and Les Paul guy, Arnold ventured into unfamiliar waters when he purchases a PRS with a terrifyingly enigmatic rotary pickup knob. What kind of monster puts a rotary doohickey  where there's supposed to be a goddamn lever that points to something real? The guitar sounded good but as Arnold sat playing his new PRS in his basement he just could not figure out how a person was ever supposed to know what pickup they were hearing with that damn knob. There's no way to tell! Arnold got so darned "flustered" with that damn crazy knob that just went all kinds of places he took it to a shop and had the crazy knob replaced with a real switch. Now Arnold knows!