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I am in receipt of the 1999 Vintage Guitar Calendar which you sent me this year for Christmas. I would like to thank you for including me in the limited distribution of this handsome production, which now graces the control room wall here at River Sound. The eye-popping pics of vintage Strats, luscious old Gibsons, classy tube amps and the like are a welcome addition to the already high-class jazz-rock milieu.

Unfortunately, a careful examination of this year's calendar has revealed certain deficiencies. In the interest of improving your already fine promotional gift product, I would offer the following suggestions:

1. The calendar features the birth dates (and in some cases, the dates of passing) of various illustrious guitarists. February 7th, for example, is the birthday of Guitar Slim. The calendar's timely reminder of his nativity enabled us to set aside some time to celebrate his unique contribution to the 20th century music scene. But when I look at February 20th, I see Randy California, I see Kurt Cobain, but I don't see Walter Becker. Let me ask you, Albert - do you think it's good for business to send a promotional calendar to a prospective customer that neglects that customer's contribution to the contemporary music scene (to say nothing of the vintage guitar trade)? And anyway, how many of those pricey custom color Strats do you think you'll be selling to Kurt Cobain or Randy? Are you out of your fucking mind? Please Albert, see to it that I'm not left off the calendar again next year, okay?

2. Some of the "illustrious" guitarist don't seem all that illustrious to me. Who the hell is Paul Reed Smith? Who is Tommy Iommi? What the hell is a "Nigel Pulsford"? I don't think I want my name to be up there on the wall with a bunch of nobodies. So send me next year's list and I'll help you weed out the losers.

3. On this year's calendar, the aforementioned month of February is adorned with a picture of three Gretsch guitars, including one of those big orange Chet Atkins honkers. I take this picture as a personal affront and I'm sure that my mentor Randy California wouldn't have much liked it either. Next year, let's see suave February represented by some axes that Guitar Slim or Yours Truly might actually want to own - like some of those nice Fenders or Gibsons, okay? You can save the hillbilly stuff for April or May or one of those other shitkicker months.

A couple other things to keep in mind for February's picture:

a) no ES-335's
b) nothing in green (green amps are okay)
c) no Bigsby tailpieces - I hate those things

4. For April 28th, the entry reads - "Eric Clapton marries Patti Boyd" - let's lose that, okay?

5. Those four Strats (January) with the old plexi amps - they look kinda cool. How's about sending them out here on approval and I'll see if any of them work for me. Deal?

Okay, Al, that's all for now. I'm sending this little note along in good faith, based on the idea that you're not such a bad guy after all, and that, given half a chance, you'll be as willing as the next guy to do the right thing once you know what the right thing is. Thanks again for the calendar.

Walter "White Lightning" Becker [b. 2/20/50]

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