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Sharp Criticism

By City Weekly Readers
Posted // December 23,2009 -

I was impressed when I saw Bill Frost’s article on how to intonate a guitar [“The Gift of Survival,” Nov. 19, City Weekly] but as I read, I became puzzled and then disappointed.

First off, Mr. Frost wrote, “Tune to standard tuning EADGB#E.” There is no such thing as B#. That is a C. Just like there is no E#, that is F. Secondly, he implies that the intonation process doesn’t work on a seven-string, but it does. I suspect that what the problem really was that he didn’t know that the lowest string is tuned to B, and the other six the same as a regular guitar.

Also, when he is describing the intonation process, he writes, “If the tone registers sharp, move the bridge saddle back, away from the neck. If sharp, move saddle forward toward the neck.” He just invalidated the whole article with that major blunder. I expect a little more professionalism.

Also, I was very offended by his disparaging of some of the best players of our time. He implies Eddie Van Halen is a pussy because he chooses light strings and incompetent because he plays his strings too low. Then, he calls Joe Satriani’s work with Chickenfoot banal. I think it is safe to say that these fine guitarists know the difference between sharp and flat, and I challenge Frost to play “Hot for Teacher” or “Soap on a Rope.” I suspect he will not even come close.

Finally, he says that it is “pointless and impossible … differentiating the guitarists in Slayer.” This also illustrates his lack of competency. I have no trouble at all distinguishing whether it is Kerry King or Jeff Hanaman; they are very different. Jeff is minor dominant and speed orientated, while King loves 13ths.

If Frost would like to try me in a jam, I would be happy to meet him at Uncle Bart’s on jam night and chop his head.

Thomas Crawford
Salt Lake City

Editor’s note: In Bill Frost’s defense, the “B#” was a copy-editing error.

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Posted // January 2,2010 at 07:41

Jesus Christ, Thomas Crawford!

A simple # symbol made you spring a leak this detailed?

The "B" was correct. The sharp symbol was the typo. From that simple typo, you launched an attack on old Frosty.

Your point that there is no B#, just C, is true, but was a bit disengenous because you were arguing for there to be a "C" string, rather than a B (B#) in standard tuning and there is not.

And you know and I know that moving a saddle bridge toward the nut shortens the string and makes it sharper; the other way has the opposite effect. Someone proof read with beer goggles on.

And, as a blues rock player, let me say that Joe Satriani sucks ass. I tried to watch a recent concert video and his stage antics only made him look sillier. The fan blowing in his face, his hair being blown stylishly through the air, the posing like he's having sex with himself, the goggle-sun glasses, etc.

But the most egregious part of Satriani's playing is his tone! That high-thin, buzzing sound of a perfectly good guitar being played through a bank of electronic effects is like a trip to the dentist for me. Does Satriani have natural vibrato? Does he have natural sustain? Does he really think that a high, thin, squeel from a rack-mounted circuit board is the same as grabbing a bottom E string and bending it until it roars with natural feedback?

Yes, technically gifted, but so is Jeff Beck, the greatest electric guitarist alive. And that title is from his peers who sit in his audience, shaking their heads and laughing at his mastery. Joe Bonamassa (look him up) said that sitting in Beck's audience at BB King's club in New York was his first religious experience.

Satriani is McDonald's compared to a Philly Cheese Steak off the street cart.


Posted // January 2,2010 at 07:55 - Or was that Steve Vai? They all sound the same to me.