ASTUTE OBSERVATIONS

Guitarists and Their Woobies

Greetings once again, dear readers of The East Nashvillian magazine. I hope you all had fun at the Tomato Art Fest this year and are enjoying the waning days of summer. Have any of you tried my spaghetti sauce recipe yet? It’s great in the fall, trust me. But on to more pressing matters.
     Hey Chuck Allen, Mr. Editor, it’s me, James Haggerty, the astute observer. Congratulations on this latest issue. Guitarists and their instruments are something that we really don’t hear enough of or read much about here in Nashville. So thank you for helping to fill the void!
     Could you do me a favor, Chuck? Would you look over to the top left-hand side of this page? Do you see that drawing? That’s me. Do you see that thing around my shoulders? That’s a bass. Dean Tomasek drew that picture. He’s a bass player too. He did a good job. What’s a bass, you ask?
     It’s that instrument in the rhythm section along with the piano and drums that is actually playing the song correctly. We’re the cats behind you guitar types onstage, laying the foundation for your solos. You know, while you wait for the first verse and chorus to go by so you can learn the changes before you make your tasteful, restrained entrance? We’re the folks playing them. You’re welcome. You can have your guitar issue, Chuck. This is the rhythm section column — equal time, my friend.
     I’ve got a couple of questions for you, sir:
     How many guitarists does it take to cover a Stevie Ray Vaughn tune? All of them, apparently.
     In the next century, how many guitarists will it take to change a light source? The answer is five, Chuck. One to change it and four others to reminisce about how much better the old tubes were . . .
     But seriously, Chuck, what’s up with you guys? Always fretting over your pedal board. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.) Something is always breaking on it — right before the gig starts. You’re sweating, cursing, down on your knees, banging these little boxes against the floor and then apologizing when you realize you forgot to plug the power supply in or something. Calm down. Is that pedal board your security blanket? Your electronic woobie? Chuck, I think it’s time to give up the woobie.
     And the endless conversations about string gauge, picks, cables, and tone circuits. This amp, that amp. You’ve got an entire issue devoted to just that! Good lord man, just plug it in and play it! What would Malcolm Young do?
     You know what a conversation between two bass players sounds like, Chuck? “That bass sounds good.” “I think so too. Can’t go wrong with an Ampeg amp.” “Nope.” “Wanna get a beer?” “Sure.”
     It’s cool though, Chuck. We’ve got your back. It’s what we do. We need each other. You guys just keep jumping around doing your windmills and whatnot. We’ll be behind you playing the changes. You’re welcome.