While driving home from work recently, I listened to an interview with the author of a book about tips for writing an effective complaint letter. A few days later, I read an article in the Times on the same subject. A well-written letter of complaint, reaching the highest levels of management, can succeed as a redress of grievances. This subject is very topical and books are being published and sold advising how to do it. This should be a matter of interest to anyone in business because customer service and satisfaction must be priority #1, right? It’s not only good for business; it’s just the right thing to do. The examples that I’ve heard and read involved major corporations and industries: think cars, airline flights, hotels, and vacations gone awry. The subject caused me to reflect on my little sliver of the economy, musical instrument retail, and the experiences that I’ve had in providing customer service and addressing customer concerns.
Like many guitar players, I began as a kid and started to get serious about it during my teenage years. Those years were the beginning of a journey when many of us search for answers to the questions about who we are, who we will become, and what I call “The Big Why?” For me and others, the period of existential angst characteristic of adolescence was anchored by a dedication to learning to play the guitar. I had a release valve for the stresses and tensions that were new to me then, and are part of the challenges of being an adult.
Then “adult life” happens. Typically when we get to the early 20’s, when the quarter-life crisis asserts itself and the demands of early-adulthood dictate harsher terms regarding the use of time and money. How do you continue to follow your passion and your dreams? Is it even a realistic expectation that we have the option to do so? When do the calls to grow up fairly, or unfairly, determine your life’s path? Do you follow the well-intended advice of others or continue to march to the beat of your own drum?
It never fails, someone always wants to talk about that one special guitar that got away. That tends to be a painful conversation. Let’s face it, we’ve all had to let go of a cherished guitar or two because, well, life happens. Unplanned emergencies that have to be dealt with right away, such as homes needing new furnaces in the dead of winter, cars needing new transmissions…you get the idea.
What makes an electric guitar’s tone great? How is it defined and how is consensus, if any, arrived at this subjective opinion? I’ve heard all kinds of answers over the years. An entire industry is fueled by the sale of instruments, equipment and accessories to help guitarists achieve the optimum guitar tone. There’s the claim that “it’s all in the hands." That, while true, is really only part of the equation. Many, like Percival in his quest for the Holy Grail, are forever searching for an elusive tone that escapes them, but unlike him, the prize is forever out of reach. After years of using, selling and talking about the equipment responsible for generating electric guitar tone, my thoughts turn to these fundamental questions: What has informed us about good sounding electric guitars? How have our tastes been influenced and shaped by the tone of electric guitar as it’s been recorded in the last 50 years?
According to the RIAA, these are the best-selling albums in American history:
- Eagles - Their Greatest Hits 1971 - 1975 // 29 million copies
- Michael Jackson - Thriller // 29 million
- Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin IV // 23 million
- Pink Floyd - The Wall // 23 million
- Billy Joel - Greatest Hits Volume I and II // 23 million
When you walk into the space we will be calling our new home, one might try to envision what the new store will look like. Each day, it’s looking more like a store and easier to see the vision that Brett Mulzer and the Moore Music team have for the space.
BEFORE IN PROGRESS
That’s it! I’m not watching any more awards shows on television. A couple of weeks ago, I made the decision to power through the 2017 Billboard Music Awards. A friend of mine plays drums for Cher, among other big artists, and she was performing and accepting an Icon award, so I wanted to see my buddy play on TV. Of course, Cher was literally the next to last performance of the show, so I was forced to watch the whole thing.
I’m a rocker, always have been and always will be. I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s and have managed to live through the hair metal and grunge movements with my most favorite bands coming from one of those two eras. I tend to favor bands like Van Halen, Motley Crue, Ratt, Dokken, Alice In Chains, and Soundgarden. As I write this, we are just learning of the untimely passing of Chris Cornell. It’s a somber morning as we pay our respects through listening and perhaps remembering what was going on in our lives when we first heard iconic songs like Rusty Cage, Outshined, Black Hole Sun, and Spoonman.
Andy's performance here at Moore Music was incredibly inspiring. All of the things that we guitar players look for were present and accounted for. Let's start with tone...the walls were dripping with it! Of course, the gear plays a part in that. Andy was playing his signature Ibanez guitar through some killer pedals, most notably a Strymon Timeline Delay, a Carl Martin Compressor and signature JHS Channel Drive.
According to market analyses performed by my industry, a paltry 7% of women represent my customer base. This is troubling from a business perspective. How could any business fail to capitalize on the portion of the population that makes a majority of the buying decisions in the household? It just does not make sense to me, despite the fact that these findings reflect my experience, as I observe who walks through our door at Moore Music. Truth be told, there is some sense to this statistic; I just don’t like the sense it makes. It’s unfair, and frustrating to me on many levels.We’re nearly two decades into the 21st century and it seems like the guitar is mostly associated with male-driven Rock bands.
An electric guitar’s tone and expectations of performance is a result of the sum of all its parts working together, much like a car. A Yugo and a Mercedes will (hopefully) get you from point A to point B, but the manner, quality, and how long you can count on them to do so are what differentiate one from another - just like an electric guitar. We need a way to get our weak electric guitar signal to the amplifier for it to do its thing and rely on instrument cables to do it. There are many competing brands out there of varying price and claims to excellence. Often an instrument cable is an after-thought of a guitar/amplifier purchase. However, it’s a crucial component of an electric guitar rig. Instrument cables fall into the accessory category, but they’re more like a lifeline in some respects. So, why do superior cables make a difference?