Reading - July 2019

The Guitar Magazine (August 2019 / Issue 371)
An interesting "oral history" of the Strat, although the cover is a bit misleading: it shouts "Jeff Beck on the magic of the Strat" but in fact it's just a couple of paras from him in the middle of it all. Strymon's extraordinary Volante is reviewed and there's plenty else of interest.
Electric Guitars: Design and Invention by Tony Bacon (2017)
Most electric guitars are based on the original designs of the fifties, so it's no surprise that this book has a lot more detail about the early years, but too much of the subsequent history is taken up by detail the minor revisions made by Fender and Gibson over the following decade. Meanwhile, Ned Steinberger and Ken Parker - two of the most original guitar designers to emerge since - are given about a page each, while the Floyd Rose tremelo gets a couple of paragraphs. Lots of nice pictures of course, but much heavier on the kind of detail also available in other Tony Bacon books (like those about Fender and Gibson) and not enough on newer innovations.
Be My Enemy by Christopher Brookmyre (2004)
A bit gruesome in places but well-plotted as ever, and fun to read.
The Colour Of Magic by Terry Pratchett (1983)
Amazing to think this was written in 1983 and yet I didn't discover Pratchett until I was an adult. I'm doing all of them in order, I've decided, and so it starts here. All the traits are already in place, as indeed they are in his juvenalia, but lacking some of the pointedness of some of his later books and just rejoicing in the breadth of imagination. Next is The Light Fantastic, but I read that earlier this year, so I am moving straight onto Equal Rites.
My Bass And Other Animals by Guy Pratt (2007)
A tremendously entertaining romp through the rock 'n' roll highlights of a session man's life. Despite being as full of drugs and bad behaviour as Allan Jones's Can't Stand Up For Falling Down, it comes across as much less needy and desperate to be cool and instead as, well, boys having fun. Guy is obviously well-rated as a player (although he doesn't make a big thing about this), but just as importantly is clearly simply very charming, something that radiates from this book.

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