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Scott answers your questions - round 2.1 - 7/17/09

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StarShip Captain

Joined: 14 May 2004
Posts: 278
Location: Boulder, CO

PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 8:08 pm    Post subject: Scott answers your questions - round 2.1 - 7/17/09 Reply with quote

Hi Fellow Musicians,

I didn't stop answering questions because of that one silly comment - I knew the guy was kidding. I was just really busy, needed a break, and I was getting a lot of the same questions. I realize by now there are a lot of threads, but more than likely your questions have already been answered on one of them.

Before we start, I'd like to re-post something that I'd posted on the Gear Page. Some guys were wondering why I pulled the video from the House Of Blues gig with Jimmy Herring, so I'd like to share with you my take on YouTube. It was a lot of fun to jam with Jimmy, even though I was playing music I didn't know and felt kind of lost half the time. I saw some red lights in the audience and tried not to think about my confused playing ending up on YouTube, but there it was, sounding terrible as ever thanks to the cheap gear that YouTubers record with.

I can understand the concept of people thinking they're doing musicians a favor by posting our concerts on YouTube, but they shouldn't take for granted that we're going to like everything they post. Most of us are humble and very critical of our own playing. We work hard to improve our tone, so there's nothing we hate more than crappy sounding recordings. Many of us pull videos when we don't feel like we played well and/or think the sound quality sucks. If YouTube didn't agree, they wouldn't have a complaint form.

I do concerts for the people who bought tickets to the show, not bad recording sessions for the general public. I'm tired of seeing red lights from 200 dollar cameras that shoot terrible video and destroy the sound of live music, and I don't want people to hear my playing on cheap, distorted videos with the bass totally missing. That's not the sound I envisioned bringing to the public as a professional musician. I feel like I've compromised enough by leaving older videos up that I'm not crazy about, because I wanted to preserve the early days of Tribal Tech and gigs with band leaders I worked with years ago.

One guy wrote that he doesn't understand why I'd throw away the extra exposure. The extra exposure that I'll supposedly get from having crappy sounding videos on YouTube isn't worth the embarrassment. I don't have anything against "taper friendly" musicians who want the exposure and don't care about quality control, and people shouldn't have anything against musicians who are more choosy about what gets posted. So here's my message for YouTubers - it takes 30 seconds to pull a video. There'a a 99% chance I won't like what you post and it'll be gone the next day, so why waste your time?

My friend George has been shooting some videos of some of my recent gigs, using some good sounding recording gear. Some clips that I don't totally hate are being used by E.W.S., a company that's making some gear I endorse. Those will be uploaded to YouTube soon.

Thanks for reading my rant - now to answer your questions...

Kirk, you are the man, for sending out that notice. Thanks for the heads up!

And Scott, you are the man for once again giving up your time to let us probe your mind. It really is very much appreciated.
The only real question I've got at this time is: Scott, are you familiar with Kevin Breit at all? If you're not, I've gotta send you a CD!

I've never heard him, but you can send me a CD C/O MI in Hollywood.

My question is about tubes. Do you hear any sonic differences within manufacturers? Is manufacturer of a tube that much important in achieving particular sound?

Many thanks for coming back, Scott!
Have a great day.

Man, my first tech question and I don't know the answer... Someone asked me that same question about strings, so me and Adam Stark did a string shootout in my studio and I was surprised that all the brands sounded completely different. Thank goodness for D'Addario, the winner hands down.

So it could be the same for tubes, but I've never done that test. John Suhr likes JJ's so I trust his opinion. One thing I do know - tubes are more inconsistent than strings. Every tube company makes tubes that are better than others, so even if you did a test, you might be hearing company A's worst tubes vs. company B's best tubes. If you did the test again with different tubes from the same two companies, you might get different results. Sorry for the totally useless answer.

Thanks for all the great music, and all the great help (info, etc.). I really dug your 3D playing on "Taxman" with Carl Verheyen. You two sounded really great together.

I also dig the stuff I get to hear with you and the Scott Kinsey Band. Wow!

I was just starting to work with the Bembe Wheel, and am really enjoying the various 12/8 Rhythms in it.

I wanted to know if you have eve worked with this?

I'm not sure if this is a Technical question, or not. If it is off-limits, please just delete it. I mean it as more of a musical perspective type of question.
As in, are there certain African, South American or Latin American Rhythms that you've worked with, extensively? Any that really just "got you".
I'm always looking for new (to me) stuff to dig in to.
Thanks again, for everything.

I wrote a salsa tune on the Dr. Hee album 20 years ago. That's the closest I think I've ever come to Latin rhythms. If I start writing African influenced music, I'm in Zawinul and Kinsey territory, besides I play that kind of music in Kinsey's band. I'm always looking for new grooves to write to, and most of the time I end up using simple grooves that I enter into the computer with my keyboard. I don't try to make them sound great, because I know that Alan will come up with something much better when we start rehearsing the tune. I don't need to be inspired by a great rhythm track to compose. I can write to quarter notes on a cymbal - all I need is a tempo.

Hi Scott,

What do I play over a A7#11 Chord?

That should be written an A7(#11) chord.

Just kidding

That's OK, everyone should know the scale for that chord. It's A Lesbian Dominatrix. I'm not kidding!!

Now to my question:
I am experiencing something and was wondering if you share the same expierence with me.

When jamming at home (at low volume) let's say with a sequencer I play a lot of fast stuff. When playing on sessions or giving concerts this fast stuff somehow does not work anymore.

It is hard to describe. The licks don't "flow" anymore. At home I play really relaxed but live it is totally different. I really have to fight to make it work. I have the impression the amp just reacts really different at high volumes. (I am not under stress and I also trying playing sitting on a chair like at home)

It is more a sound thing than that I cannot play those licks. Everything gets "lost" somehow. I am playing similar gear as you but with a Marshall JTM-45. Basicly I have a great sound. So I think it's not really a gear problem. Most of the time I jam in a recording studio. So acoustics is no problem either.

Also I notice this stuff does not work musically. So when play with other people I play WAY less than I would do on my own. I am not a "shredder" actually. But at the end of a solo I want to make it more intense with some fast lines.
I was wondering if you are feeling the same or if it's just me. I have the impression you are playing pretty similar on workshops (low volume) and your live concerts.

Yes I've experienced that problem, and I think it's caused by a combination of playing too loud and being nervous. At high volumes, you have more tension in your mind, kind of a nervous energy. That can cause you to pick too hard, which makes the notes sound plinky and unmusical. Fast lines loose their definition, especially when playing legato. Also there's a thing that happens between the pickup and speaker - notes are trying to feed back which can choke the beginning of the next note. When things get too loud, my guitar feels "out of control", and I have to concentrate more on my tone and pick way softer to make things work. That pulls my mind away from musical phrasing and makes me have to think about guitar stuff - I hate it when that happens. At medium or soft volumes, I don't have to think that way and the music just flows. Picking hard is usually the reason things start sounding clunky, out of sync, and "uncompressed". When you pick soft, all the notes can be heard - the hammer on's and pull off's are the same volume as the picked notes and lines sound smooth.

If your band is playing too loud, tell then to cool out. They're there to support you, not make you uncomfortable. I sometimes have a volume problem with a certain unnamed drummer that I play with once in awhile. So I say to Kirk Covington, see that cymbal? The one closest to my head? Don't touch it during my solos or I'll spray your drums with beer. Problem solved!

Hi Scott as an old student can i ask you to listen to a few secs of my work ?
I miss your advises
you are such an influence to thousands of guitar players around the world!!

Thanks for the kind words, but I have to pass on critiquing music. That's what I do when I teach. I hate doing it and that's why I get paid for it. It's no fun telling someone their music needs improvement. Besides, I'm busy telling myself that.

hi scott

nice to see you again!!!

well my q is about your pickup the 59 double screw.

you said that is like a 59 stock but with 2 rows of screws.

the stock 59 has really scooped mids in its eq accordingly to the sd site.

does the double screw has increased mids? because you have a good amount of mids in your tone, or its the same as the stock and you increase the mids from your eq?

(as far as i know holdsworth's duncan is also based on 59 but allan also has huge amount of mids)

I haven't used humbuckers live in years, but here's the difference between the double and single screws. Double screw pickups have a smooth and silky top end, and hide the string noise between notes that occurs when you play legato. They also have very little bass. That's why legato players like Allan like them and it's why he has more of a midrange type tone. Single screw pickups have more bass and a more full range tone. They also have an edgier top end, but in my opinion that goes away when you roll down the tone knob. I like more bass so I prefer the single screw. I used the double screw in the Tribal Tech days, honestly because Allan recommended it. After doing my own A/B test, I discovered that I liked the other one more. The best humbucker I've ever heard for a strat is John Suhr's SSV (Single Screw Vintage). It's pole pieces are spaced wider to fit exactly under the strings, and that makes a difference. That all being said, humbuckers are just too midrangy for me. I own guitars with humbuckers that come in handy for recording, but for trio playing I like single coils much more.

Hi Scott~ I'm Korean guitarist who love your guitar playing very much.
Also like your guitar tone.

so i have a question.

When you record "tore down house" song(not all tore down house album, just "tore down house" song), did you use "v60-lp pickup with fender57 strat(maple finger board neck)" or "v60-lp pickup with rose fingerboard strat(62 reissue)" ?

i think you use v60lp pickup with 62 reissue because i saw the rose wood finger board on your album jacket(tore down house album).

And......please give me detail explain about your guitar that you used for tore down house.
thanks a lot~

It was a Fender re-issue with a rosewood fingerboard, but I don't remember which year re-issue. It could have been a '62. It definitely had V60LP's in it, all pickups the same, no hot bridge pickup. It was an OK guitar, a little on the heavy side and not as good sounding as my next guitar, which was my first Suhr.

WOW I told this will never happen but it did and I want to say, for now, thank you Scott and welcome back.

We never left your board.



You're back

I am looking forward to your new album..
Is there anything you would like to tell us about it?

Yeah, it's taking me forever to write it. I've had the same three new tunes for a year now. Actually I have a five year old daughter so I spend most of my time at Disneyland, Universal City, and Chucky Cheese. I never thought it was possible for pizza to taste that bad, but on the good side, I've ridden the Simpsons ride over 50 times. Being a dad is the most fun and rewarding thing in the world, much more so than music. I still plan to keep writing and touring but I don't pump out the tunes like I used to. My daughter starts kindergarten in September so that'll give me more time in the day to write. I hope my next tune doesn't sound too much like It's A Small World. Tribal Tech is planning a new album in early 2010, so that'll probably happen before I have a new solo album.

I've been to your gig in Warsaw in 2007, you had one of the greatest sounds I've ever heard live, awsome. I've got 2 questions:
1) Was your speaker cab with open back? (I think you had Marshal cab with greenbacks, that is cosed in the stock version).
2) Did you have the other cab pluged? (You had the other one turned back from the audience) and if yes - why (to not to burn 25'' Greenback;) )??
thanks a lot and keep rockin'

Those were closed back cabinets. One had Greenbacks and the one that was turned around backwards was a 1960 cab with 75's, the worst speaker ever made by Celestion. When I fly to gigs, I can't bring my own cab which has four 8 ohm Greenbacks , making it an 8 ohm cabinet. Marshall style amps sound MUCH better running at 8 ohms than 16!!! Unfortunately, the only cabs you can find on the road are 16 ohm, so I have to rent two. Two 16 ohm cabinets together make an 8 ohm load on the amp. Since Greenback cabs are more expensive to rent, I just get one, and the other cab doesn't matter because it'll be turned backwards so no one hears it.

If you're playing a Marshall through one 16 ohm cabinet, you're really missing out on how fat a Marshall can sound - sell those 16 ohm speakers and replace them with 8 ohm speakers. You won't believe the difference! All the old recordings we love by Hendrix, Page, Blackmore, etc, were made using Marshalls running at 8 ohms by using two 16 ohm cabs but just miking the straight cab. If you're playing big stages, two 16 ohm cabs rule! For the volume I play, one 8 ohm cab is plenty enough.

Scott it's great to have you back-thanks! And thanks Kirk for the head's up. Scott I was wondering what's new in your rig since the last time you signed off? I heard you are using celestions G12H65 these days. If so, what prompted the switch? Any new pedals? Thanks in advance-can't wait for a new album.

I have a few gear changes. I went back to using the Maxon SD-9 instead of the VOP-9 and I asked Mike Landau to shoot me in the head if he ever sees me using another distortion pedal. I'm using the new RC Booster with the lower bass frequency - what a big improvement! E.W.S. is making the "Subtile Volume Control" which is the volume box that I use to control my master volume, and they're also making my signature cable, so those will be on the market soon. I'm still using 8 ohm Greenbacks, in a Kerry Wright closed back 4x12 for recording and in an open back 4x12 slant for live. I have one of his 2x12 cabs and that's the one with the Heritage 65's. I also bought a Hot Rod Deluxe for small jazz gigs and put a 65 in that too.

I'm selling my '69 plexi Marshall Super Bass because I never use it anymore. It has the "lay down" transformer, the loudest one Marshall used, so I had to run it at 90 volts with a variac or my speakers would be toast - it really should be used with two cabinets. It's the amp on "Dolemite" and two other songs on Tore Down House, and three songs on Well To The Bone. It'll probably sell in Japan since Americans aren't spending big bucks these days.

Hi Scott:

Just had a few questions for you:

1: Do you listen to any contemporary classical music; e.g. Xenakis, Lachenmann, Stockhausen? If so, who are some of your favorite composers and why?

[quote] I don't listen to much classical music. [quote]

2: My tone is absolute shit, man. I have an old Marshall bottom with 4 celestians in it, but I don't have a working head. I want to get a versatile head: one that I can cut blues, jazz and even a bit of metal on. Any suggestions on models/brands?

Suhr OD-100, one of the best amps ever made.

3: If you had to work with any 'well-established' vocalist with a large following, who would it be, and why that particular vocalist?

Beyonce for obvious reasons, but she has to loose Jay-Z.

Thanks so much for the outstanding music over the years. You're a true source of inspiration, and your composing/playing is always something to marvel at. Please keep it coming. And thanks for answering our ridiculous questions.


B.T.W.- Where can someone send transcriptions of your music off to?

The same place most of my composition ideas go to - the trash can.


I saw the clip on Youtube about how you adjust your pickup heights. You also mention that your Fletcher-Landau's are all equal output. I see that Suhr's FL pickup set configs include 6.0, 6.4, 6.5 to 6.9K. Which K ohm spec did you decide on for your pickups?


I use Fletcher-Landau Standards, but I still use V60LP's too. In my open back live cabinet, the more midrangy FL's sound the best, but in my closed back cabinet which has more mids, the more scooped sounding V60's sound better. So I use FL's for live and V60's for recording. I never use a hot bridge pickup, all three pickups are the same.

Welcome back.
What is the new album like and when does the supporting tour start?

The new album is seven tunes away from being done. The touring is going better than the writing - I'm doing an Asian tour in October with Jeff Berlin and Dennis Chambers. My trio will be doing shows throughout the year - we just got back from some gigs in Florida. The big tour will be in February/March in Europe, then directly to India for a week, then Moscow and hopefully Tel Aviv. I'm happy to announce that I have a new agent for the US (!!!) and we're planning an east coast tour in April.

Hi Scott,

thanks for coming back!

I've bought a Suhr Classic guitar with alder body, 3 V60LPs, maple neck and Gotoh 6 screws bridge.
Great guitar!
I'd like to setup the bridge in the floating way. I can see that yours is pretty high. How did you set it? How much can you bend notes? Did you also modify the angle of the tremolo arm?
Thanks a lot!


I set it up so that pulling the bar all the way up makes the G string go up a major 3rd. I have to make the bend in the arm a little wider so the tip isn't too close to the pickguard, so I put the block end of the arm under a door and pull up on the tip a little at a time until it's at the proper angle and feels comfortable. I also cut one and 1/4 inch off the bar and super glue the tip back on. This makes the tension stronger, makes your hand hurt until you get used to it, but improves intonation when using the bar.

Hi Scott,

I have been a huge fan of yours for 21 years now and have NEVER had the chance to see you! I grew up in So Cal but now live up north, and I do not see that you've really had many shows up here, aside from the recent one(s) in Half Moon Bay. Have you thought about Yoshis in either Oakland or San Francisco? Yoshis would be such an amazing venue for you, and people you have performed with have played there as well. I keep missing you in So Cal for those So Cal sparse gigs I do see listed on your site. Any chance you plan on some shows up this way or would consider it?

Warmest regards,
Johanna McKenna

Sorry you missed the Half Moon Bay gigs - that's a fun place to play. We plan on coming there again as soon as we can, and also to the Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz. I'll be sure to post those shows on my site. I like Yoshi's but so far they haven't showed much interest, but now that I have a new agent, that could change. If you're planning a trip to LA, there's a trio gig at the Baked Potato coming up on August 14.

Scott, as the second member to enroll on this board, I have to say that's really cool to see you here again
Just a quick question : ever tried the Electrovoice EVM12L in your cabs ?

That question brings back memories... I used those in a 4x12, back in the Tribal Tech days. The cabinet was so heavy it felt like it was nailed to the floor. I used them with a Peavey Special 130 amp for the Jean-Luc Ponty "Fables" album, Tribal Tech "Spears" and with various amps on most of the Tribal Tech records. I also used Vintage 30's for awhile. On "Rocket Science", I rediscovered Greenbacks and realized I should have never left them. I was using a '71 Marshall and a 4x12 with Greenbacks when I was 20 years old, and that's exactly what I use now. Why I started changing amps and speakers I'll never know, because I can't imagine anything sounding better than this. 20 year olds just don't know how good they have it.

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