Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 14
MR. SMITH INSPIRES
I was really excited to see VG highlight Matt
Smith's Six-String Ranch ("Austin-Powered:
Familiar Names Create Music as J&B Brothers,"
January '18). It's a first-rate recording studio,
and a place dedicated to sharing the knowledge
of music with anyone. They regularly host
classes with first-rate players, and anyone can
attend. I went to the Ranch last May and saw
Matt for the first time in 35-plus years; he
was the first guitar teacher I connected
with when I was in high school. I had a
huge passion for the guitar despite my
late introduction at 17 years old. I also
had no idea what I was doing until Matt
helped me unravel the instrument, music
theory, and rhythm, while being very
encouraging. He was so good on the
guitar, but not intimidating as a teacher.
I went on to major in music, and
have seen much of the U.S. and Europe
because I decided to study the guitar. I'm
not sure I would have done that without
Matt. It was absolutely delightful to see
him featured - a person who's been paying
it forward for decades and is an incredible
player on top of that! Thank you.
I discovered Phillip Sayce (December '17)
last year at an 80-seat club in San Francisco
during the Biscuits and Blues festival. He's a
brilliant and dynamic performer.
Vintage Guitar readers who love the styles of
Jimi and SRV need to do themselves a favor and
check him out. He's not just an imitator - he's
actively carrying on their legacy and pushing
the limits. After the show, he came out and
talked to fans - almost all guitar players - for
30 minutes. He was kind, humble, generous,
and refreshingly clear-eyed. I'll be at all of his
shows when he next comes to town!
NO KESSEL, MR. CORNISH?
It was nice to finally read an incisive, detailed
interview with the Rascals' Gene Cornish
(November '17). I grew up in Pelham, New
York, hometown of Rascals' organist Felix
Cavaliere, but as a guitarist I always appreciated Gene's taut and tasteful licks. His soulful
riffs served the songs.
Mr. Cornish worked hard to identify him-
self with his Gibson Barney Kessel, so I was
puzzled to learn that his current main axe is
a Fernandes. Of course, many of us move on
to different instruments through the years.
Gene says that Gibson didn't even give him a
pick back in the day, but a '60s Barney Kessel
is top-shelf. Just ask Jeff Tweedy, Nels Cline,
John A. Digianni
New York, New York
MANY THANKS, NEIGHBOR
For years, my friend Keith Thorne would
slip his copy of Vintage Guitar in my
SEND LETTERS TO
mailbox once he was
through reading it. We
both looked forward to
Keith had a background
in design and was an art editor
for several car-racing magazines. Before
he passed away this year at age 70, he spent
time building solidbody guitars, basses, and
baritones. He figured it out from scratch,
and enjoyed taking creative license with his
designs. Truth be told, though, he always
had a soft spot for Fender, with Strats really
stirring his pot; he also enjoyed the "spage
age" concept of design and the whole Sputnik
era of the late 1950s and early '60s.
Keith was an avid reader, cinephile, and a
warm, generous man. His wife continues to
drop off the monthly issues, just like he did.
Thank you so much for the wonderful,
informative world you bring to readers!
Send letters to vguitar@VintageGuitar.com, or Vintage Guitar,
Attn: Reader Mail, PO Box 7301, Bismarck, ND 58507.
Illustration: Sean Thorenson.
HE SAYCE IT ALL!