Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Peddle of THE Pedal

At a music instrument store, working the accessories counter doesn't pay much. It's like if you worked in a sewing machine department you'd be the one attempting to whore-off all the notions like spools of thread and peach-coloured strips of zippers for homemade prom dresses. So in the music gear world you gotta do all you can to make even a fraction of what the guitar floor staff rake in on a daily basis. The only consolation seems to be that while these commission rich guys are hustling to push the high end Taylor acoustics towards the ca$h register, and to see them Gibson "V's" fly out the door, they still got a whole day of punishment-having to listen to "Eruption" played badly over and over again ("Stairway" banned, of course, silly!)by every high school air band champion who is now ready for the Reality Big Time... "I conquered the cardboard cut-out, how hard can a real Fender be?" Jesus.

So back to the front counter. Away from the guitar floor and away from another eff-ed up version of "Little Wing" played by "It's chicken wing nite at Hooters Guy". Peering into the glass showcase one can see the shining beacon of "Pay my Rent on Time" hope, the "Sure-sell", the "Close Everytime", the "Never Even Have to Demo it to Sell it", the "I'll Pick Up Two In Case I Lose One on Tour" item. THE item that is to distortion pedals what tissues are to Kleenex. Yep, I'm talking about the DS-1.

I know, I know, there are far better distortion pedals out there on the market, ones more current,ones chock full of great gizmo that sound good, fat, and organic to the ears. We also are living in a time where adding effects means more "check the box" in a computer program rather than "stomp the box" at your shoetip. But this little orange wonder has an ace in the hole that trumps all that, including the fickle passages of both time and of trend. It goes like this:

15 year old kid ambles up to the effects counter-
"I'm thinkin' of maybe, like, buying a distortion pedal."

"Well...(pause, purely for effect, pun intended), we have the DS-1. Kurt Cobain used it on Nevermind."


Done. Give the kid a dozen free picks...NEXT?

I would lose count of how many I would sell each day during Xmas.

So I just gotta thank you Kurt, wherever you are. I think he'd be okay with me using this piece of his musical history to inform and to sell a shitload of pedals. He helped me pay my rent. He helped me understand that playing guitar wasn't all about regimented and precise technique, and that realization has been to me, a currency valued beyond price.

currently listening to: Beyond the Valley of the Dolls Soundtrack


P A J O said...

we used that pedal on spiderland too, for what it's worth-- just saw one on craigslist for $30. they are classic!

Allan said...

That was my first ever pedal- I used it for years- beat it, drowned it, burned it- it was like Rasputin- nothing killed it.
It retired when I got my V-Twin.