Pucker Factor

We suffer from the Pucker Factor Syndrome. Yes, say it…Pucker Factor Syndrome! You have it and you know you have it. You don’t want to believe you have it, but you know you do…admit it, it may be the first step in the cure.

Pucker Factor is most notable with players who do recording work. These people have trouble playing anything when they know the red light is on, when they can normally play the same thing with ease when it is not. There are those in this profession who have a black belt in pucker factor. It is not pretty. Others who work in large venues such as package shows for major artists, or large dance clubs, have pucker factor syndrome of a lesser degree but it is still quite noticeable in their playing.

Brand new, first year players have enormous pucker factors.

Pucker Number:

There is a mathematical equation for arriving at what your pucker factor may be. If you have it, you need to know what your factor is. You can’t overcome it, but you learn to deal with it.

Pucker Factor:

Is directly proportional to the number of strings on the guitar times the number of pedals, divided by the number of knee levers on the left knee by the power of 2, then double the number of knee levers on the right by the power of 3, but only if you are left handed.

If you are right handed, reverse these two numbers and multiply by 1.43679.

Average the number of notes you plan to play divided by the tempo, then multiply this total by the power of 3 if played against a 4/4, by 2.3 if played against a 2/4, and divided by 1.2 if played against straight 8’s tempos.

If the total of these numbers ends up being less than 4.55682 then multiply this total by 3.3 if you plan to record any part of these notes in dim light. In good light, no change. Divide the total by 45 if you intend to overdub one or more segments.

If you plan to actually punch in single notes at random you should divide all these numbers by 656 and multiply by the actual number of notes you really think you can hit, one note at a time, and on time.

Of course all of this works only if you play something you intended to play. If you plan to just “play”, and heaven forbid that, you should divide all the above totals by 12 and paint all the subtotals over with watercolors.

The result of all this is a stress factor that affects the butt-hole itself. Higher numbers restrict the ability of the butt-hole to maintain a stable position on a stool, thus giving the player a nonstable position upon which to execute fine movements of the arms and hands. If the numbers are extremely high the butt-hole actually “puckers out”. This condition leaves the player doing a rather odd but entertaining balancing act upon whatever he happens to be seated on. This condition has been misdiagnosed by many as the need to relieve oneself briskly. This is absolute hogwash in my opinion and shows a complete ignorance of the studio and its conditions. The need to relieve oneself is always accompanied by a crossing of the legs and a blurred, watery look in the victims eyes. Pucker factor on the other hand leaves the victim with shaking limbs, closely akin to a dog shitting peach seeds, and the look of absolute terror in the eyes.

High pucker factors leave the victim helpless to control anything in front of them. They literally feel as though they were balanced by the butt at the pinnacle of a flagpole. Recording under these conditions is impossible.


Learn to play and record on other people’s records so your name is not on the cover.
Learn to play.
Learn to not give a damn about any mistakes.
Learn to not give a damn about anything since they will forget anything you played by next year anyway.
Never risk your money on anything you record on.
Get into another field of endeavor with less stress such as:
Skydiving from the Hubbell Space Telescope.
Shark wrestling blindfolded, with one hand tied to your testicles.
Igniting booster rockets at the Kennedy Space Flight Center, manually, with a Zippo.
Flying ultralight airplanes through the eyes of hurricanes collecting barometric pressures at wavetop levels.
Instructing 40 year veterans of pedal steel guitar in the art of social grace and charm.

The possibilities are endless, let the above suggestions be a sort of guide as to what you choose. In whichever remedy you do find, never let the pucker factor get above 12.5. Only two things can occur. A sustained pucker factor of 13 or above has the innate ability of imploding upon itself. That is, the puckering butt-hole under constant stress, reverses its condition, sucking itself and everything else with it inside, very much like a black hole in space . The result of this is that the victim implodes inside himself and disappears.

All that is left is a pedal steel guitar standing with no one sitting at it, there is a terrible stench in the immediate area, and a blue haze hovers over the victim’s last known position, an obvious result of the butt-hole turning itself inside out. The smell and the haze can and will attach itself to other persons, the hair in particular, passing through the same area for a matter of hours. Again this has been miscalculated as bar smoke. Not so, it is simply the remains of an imploded pucker factor.

There are countless instances of pedal steel guitar players disappearing this way, most of which have been attributed to alien abduct-ions. More hogwash by those who don’t know anything about this business.

The other and less damaging result of high pucker factors is that the victim is rendered sterile and constantly seeks rock & roll videos to sleep to.

This malady has been taken too lightly, or not at all by the average playing public. It is and will be a force to be delt with in the future. There are more and more pedal steel guitar shows, videos, and backyard gatherings that will be attacked by this indescrete and deadly desease.

There are few pedal steel guitar players to be had even now. At the rate of the present dissappearances due to pucker factor it won’t be long before we can say goodbye to any public use of this instrument at all. In light of these facts, and this study, I strongly recommend that all players begin using helmets, goggles, and seatbelts when commencing play. Any type of drugs consumed may help, but they are only a temporary band-aide for the real answer. We need a long lasting cure. I leave you with this quest then.

I personally have never been affected by pucker factor in any manor so I don’t need a cure. I am OK. Thousands of pedal steel guitar players looking on while I play my brilliant lines has never affected me one twitt. I don’t need a doctor really, I am fine, you are the ones who need to be on the lookout. Wait, what was that noise?

Jeff Newman