Listen With Mother...
No sooner had we returned from this year's APRS show (that's the Association of Professional Recording Studios' annual studio gear exhibition), notebooks and cameras full, than it was heads down again - this time to get ready for the British Music Fair, to be held at London's Olympia on August 2nd. 3rd. and 4th. Rather than attempt one of those tedious stand-by-stand guides (there'll be a perfectly adequate catalogue for that on sale during the event), we've opted instead to try and tempt you there by covering some of the new instruments and equipment which you'll be able to see and try for yourselves. IN TUNE will, of course, be at this major event, both to see for ourselves what's new, and - we hope - to meet as many of you as possible.
Meanwhile, I'm going to crow! Our latest IN TUNE free entry competition prize is a GIBSON LES PAUL CUSTOM - yes, the real thing, a 'Black Beauty' or 'Fretless Wonder'. Because we reckon that there's hardly ever been been a musician's competition prize even remotely as desirable as this, we're asking you to make two entries for it - one from this issue and one from the next. You'll have to get correct answers to both sets of questions, but the effort has got to be worth it! One of you reading this is going to end up owning this ultimate solid bodied guitar. Will it be you? You can fuel your enthusiasm by seeing the prize Gibson on Rosetti's stand at the BMF. You might well find some of the answers there, too!
Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy the article we're running this month on soldering. I'm not ashamed to admit that I spent my first few years as a musician forever soldering and re-soldering components that had fallen to bits, simply because no-one ever bothered to show me how it should be done! Anyone else out there who's either having (or had) the same problem? IT's aim isn't just to review gear in the hope that it helps guide you to products which you may find useful, but is also to provide helpful, practical information, of which reviews are only one aspect. Following Geoff Lowther's explanation of the arcane mysteries of soldering, we plan to introduce some easy to assemble projects for useful (and inexpensive) accessories. You won't need the combined skills of a neuro-surgeon and a computer scientist to handle these (we'll leave that sort of stuff to the specialist hobby electronics mags), because we want our ideas to be accessible to the majority of our readers. You could give us a lot of help, though, by writing in and saying what sort of D.I.Y. projects you'd like us to feature. We'll do our best to oblige majority tastes, as ever.
Anyone out there been catching the re-runs of Ready, Steady, Go! which have been featured on Channel Four lately? One horrible aspect that strikes me (apart from how corny it all seems now!) is how much better even Sixties pop songs were than today's. Even the most bland crud seems to have had some creativity to it, especially compared to 1985's identikit junk music. The evidence that I'm not alone in this view can be found on many pub juke boxes, where it's not just the old fogies who play Sixties hits. The reason, I suspect, is that few bands in the 1960s felt obliged to record their own material. Since then (especially since the realisation of how much money is at stake on royalties if you play and record your own songs) it's become de rigeur for performers to insist on rolling their own. But not every musician (however great) is a natural songwriter. From this observation, may I make a plea? Don't assume you're a songwriter, however good a player you may be. Songwriting is an art, and the obvious analogy is that great actors rarely write their own plays. If you or your band don't write good songs, why not team-up with a writer who does? The result will not only be more commercial it will also result in better music. Yes, you may forsake eventual royalties, but what chance do you think you'll have of getting a record deal or a saleable musical product if your songs are rotten? Half a loaf, they say, is better than none!
Finally, as if suffering foot-slogging exhibition coverage wasn't enough, I also lost last month's bet with the IT Cat, hands down. So many of you have ordered our 'I'M IN TUNE T-Shirts - complete with 'you know who's' mug plastered all over them that I've had to spend much of the last month catching his mice for him! Things started to get seriously out of hand when he demanded Mouse en Cocotte Vallee D'Auge for lunch today. Is it any wonder that we're half-demented down here?
Editorial by Gary Cooper
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