Dear Tom:*

   I am writing you this letter on behalf of not just myself, but on behalf of several present and former bandmates and the many people within the local music scene who like and respect you. After a good deal of hint dropping and argumentative banter, we have determined that this letter is the only remaining vehicle by which we can communicate our concerns about a serious problem: to wit, your continued use of the Boss DS-1 Distortion pedal. 

   Initially, we all think you are a damn fine Guitar Player. Sometimes we actually go out to see a band you are playing in just to see you play guitar. Put aside the false modesty and accept this as truth – knowledgeable individuals actually will take an evening of their life and cough up $5.00 just to see you play guitar. Let that sink in.  OK, now hopefully you are ready for more truth…..

   That Boss DS-1 pedal sucks. It just sounds like shit. It’s tinny and it screws up the harmonic fluidity of your sound. It is not-boss. It magnifies every error and sucks the soaring joy out of every perfectly hit string bend. Presumably it destroys the ability to hit pinch harmonics, because we never hear you play pinch harmonics (it could be that you just don’t like to use pinch harmonics which is OK too). It is ruining our experience as listeners, and is plainly tearing out bits and pieces of your soul and setting them on fire in the parking lot behind Victory’s.  

   As we all know, guitarists are varying degrees of “sloppy.” Sloppy is not a pejorative term, just a description.  Neil Young and Jimmy Page, for example, are sloppy guitarist as well as being legends. Sloppy can get you cool overtones and extra notes which sound really good, it’s sort of a technique really. Generally, sloppy guitar players prefer Gibson Guitars over Fenders because you can get away with a little more on a Les Paul than you can on a Stratocaster. Fenders are far less forgiving, and you need to pay attention that every note you hit is right.   

   Now, you have the level of precision to rock a Fender real good – we have seen excellent work from you on both a Strat and a Telecaster. But LISTEN to us; not even Steve Vai has the level of precision to deal with that awful thing of godawful. That stupid thing takes away all margin of error. It seems to be principally interested in amplifying fret noise and pinched notes. Boss engineers obviously spent months isolating the fret noise frequency to ensure it was boosted sufficiently. Months more on string buzz. If somebody hadn’t cut off the bastards R&D money, they probably would have perfected a device which removed all semblance of guitar whatsoever and channeled a four year old attacking an erector set with a rubber mallet.

   What is even more baffling to us is the fact that you play through a Fender Deville Tube Amp, which we just happen to know has a damn fine built-in distortion channel. A master volume switch for that small club vibe too -- nice amp, a fine piece of equipment. 

   So maybe you’re averse to amp tube distortion -- that’s cool, there was a guy in my high school like that. Or you’re just a pedal guy. Sure, we dig, girls fall all over themselves for guys with lots of pedals (especially those on top of a board with it’s own power source and velcro!). But you can still scare off pedal-groupies by jabbering at them about your hybrid string gauge and the latest Yngwie J. Malmsteen album without the Boss DS-1. Difficult to believe, but true.   

   There are lots of nice pedals! For distortion (what you are allegedly getting out of that monstrous black hole of terrible), try one of those nice Ibanez tube screamers -- the puke green ones. People steal them, sure, but it’s better to have loved and lost, eh? You can even get a wah-wah, if you promise not to actually use it. Or a phaser! You can finally nail that third chorus from “Life in the Fast Lane.” Sure to make you lose your mind, ohhhhhh!!!!!!

  So do the right thing “Tom.” Take that dreadful device and chuck it the hell off the Broad Street Bridge. Everything in life will suddenly improve.  



All of Your Friends.  

* We are using the assumed name Tom to protect you.  Or to paraphrase Bob Dylan, the only thing we know for sure about Tom is that his name isn’t Tom.  But you know who you are, “Tom.