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Scott answers your questions - round 2.15 - 10/22/10

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StarShip Captain

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

PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 3:04 pm    Post subject: Scott answers your questions - round 2.15 - 10/22/10 Reply with quote

Hi, Scott.

Just a response to the downloading issue: I grew up in the 90's so what's going on today is pretty much normal to me and this is how I see it. The CD's are there to promote your concerts, and not the other way around. They are the way for you to tell as many people as you can "Hey, this is what I've got, now come see me at a show!". You don't count on earning as much as you should from CDs because anyone can get them for free, and what you do earn is basically a "donation". Most of your income comes from touring, and you have to do a lot of it.

This is my perception of it and I realize for someone like you who grew up in a different time, and also has a family and doesn't want to tour 8 months a year, this is unacceptable. However, this is the reality I've learned to accept. As long as people can get something for free, they will, especially in this economy. This is why the record industry is slowly sinking and will never get better, until it implodes and something new comes out of it.

I am a music student and a while not a "kid who grew up thinking it's OK", I did grow up with it being at my disposal. I try to get exposed to as much music as I can and I download more than I could physically listen to(and obviously pay for), but the fact is, if I listen to your CD more than 3 times, I will probably "pay you back" through shows, merchandise, clinics,or whatever. I am a huge fan of yours and I don't have a single CD, but I don't feel too bad because I will see you live whenever I can, and that is pretty frequent.

I am still a thief, but that is the only way I can listen to as much different music as I do, and I really am doing what I can to give back. See you at the BP

I understand your point of view, and thanks for supporting the gigs. I still don't agree that people should download music for free. It's not the downloading itself that bothers me, it's people not buying the actual CD after they've downloaded something they really like. You'd think they'd want to support their favorite musicians. You do that by attending shows, but I can't possibly tour enough to give everyone that opportunity, even if I wanted to. The touring business isn't the greatest for this kind of music.

A new record can't be thought of as just a promo tool for concerts. For most musicians, our CD is our art - we work our asses off on it and when it's done, we feel like we've given birth. It's a big deal. Knowing that people are going to get it for free doesn't exactly inspire us to make another one.

I don't believe the record industry will die, any more than I believe the film industry will die. The "something new comes out of it" you speak of is intangible at best, and the reality is what we have now, a legitimate business being taken over by foreign criminals.

You may not be aware of this, but if you're downloading music from a site based in the US, then the musicians you're listening to don't have a problem with it. If they did, they would have removed their content by filling out a simple online DMCA form. Copyright infringement is ILLEGAL in the United States. Many musicians are OK with free downloading, because they're playing more mainstream music, and touring all year long. They're the ones who can afford to look at the income from their records as a donation. I have no problem at all with US based sites - they give the owners of the copyrighted material a choice to have their stuff posted there or not, just like YouTube does.

If you're downloading anything, not just music, from a foreign bit torrent site, you're more than a thief. You may have good intentions, but you're actually giving your money to the enemies of the United States, who are stealing our products and charging us money to buy them back at a cheaper price.

We have wars and terrorism going on, so this isn't on the top of our government's to do list, but I believe eventually, the countries which harbor these sites will have to shut them down, or face sanctions from the US. Then if you want to hear my new album, you'll have to go to and buy it.

Hi Scott!

Does the SD9 work good as a booster like for example the TS808 ?

Not really. The SD9 has a lot more gain than the TS808. You could give the SD9 less gain by turning it's gain knob down, or turning your guitar volume down, but it still won't give you that clean, bluesy type of distortion that a boost pedal will. It's a good idea to have both pedal types in your rig.

Have you tried the Seymour Duncan JB or Pearly Gates in your Gibsons ?

Not in my Gibsons, but on strats. They have too much output for me, and I think they mask the natural sound of the guitar. I prefer low output pickups, like the '59, or the Suhr SSV.

What about Mesa Boogie amps ? I've heard some clips and think they're great.
Thnx for helping!

I'm the wrong guy to ask. I never liked Boogies, but I haven't played through one in 15 years, so they could be making some great stuff by now.

Hi Scott,

What's your opinion of the chambered Strat sound?


I've never tried one. All I have is John's word that I'd probably hate it. He knows I like a "stringy" sound - that's why I set the bass on my amps to 0. I have plenty enough bass from playing single coils, and using a 4x12 with no wheels. He says chambered guitars sound woofier, and are also prone to feeding back, so I don't think they'd work for me. My Les Paul is chambered and I like the way it sounds, but Les Paul's have much less bass than strats.

Hi Scott
In the past you said that you choose the lightest guitars from Suhr. How much weighs yours? do you know?

My favorite Suhr's weigh seven pounds and five to ten ounces. The general opinion has always been that a good vintage strat should weigh about seven and a half pounds.

Hi Scott,

in some of your interviews and videos you were talking about the "Mick Goodrick approach" of playing a solo just on one or two strings and playing the actual note names rather than playing shapes. So seeing the guitar as 6 pianos. Actually this sounds like a great approach.

I have really a hard time doing this though. Let's take something like Giant Steps. Playing chord shapes and scales in different positions across the neck works quite OK. I think also a piano player sees a shape when doing this. I just see 5 (7) different shapes of those chords. When using those shapes I can see all the note choices at the same time.

With a tune like this where chords are passing by at this speed there is no way for me to play it with the "see all the notes on one string" approach and know the exact note names all the time.

Are there certain styles you would use this approach with? Or does it just need a lot of practise? I have the impression on your Giant Steps solo you are not using this approach. But I could be wrong.

Regards Jens

The better you get at recognizing individual notes on the fretboard and knowing how they relate to the chord, the better off you'll be. It helps a lot, even on a fast tune like Giant Steps. The first note of each chord change should be a strong chord tone, so knowing your intervals on the neck helps you target that first note of the measure. That being said, any other tools are useful too, like scales, shapes and arpeggios. Good improvisers rely on all of it, but I believe the ability to recognize chord tones on the neck is one of the most important things to learn. The guitar is six times more difficult than the piano, so do it one string at a time and be patient. Believe me, a couple hours a day on that kind of practice will put you light years ahead of the people who didn't do it.


In line with your Kenny G discussion, thought you might think this vid from a young man in your neighborhood would be funny.

That's awesome, I'm sure it was inspired by what Kenny G did. Kenny sucks!!


What is the purpose of the Suhr Line Mixer in your signal chain?
Why does the manual for EWS SVC say using it with a mixer is the best way to preserve the natural guitar tone?


The Suhr line mixer prevents FX you have in your amp's FX loop from harming your tone. Even high-end expensive gear can color your sound. The mixer has no knobs, just four jacks - in, out, send, and return. You plug from your amp FX send to the input of the mixer, and from the output of the mixer back to your amp's FX return. The mixer is 100% transparent, so your dry tone is unchanged. Now, you plug your FX unit into the send and return of the mixer, and set all your patches to 100% wet. In this way, you're mixing only the effect in with your dry signal, and not using any of the dry signal from your FX unit, which would definitely color the sound.

The manual for EWS SVC assumes you'll be using FX in your FX loop - that's why it suggests using a mixer. If you use the SVC by itself in the FX loop, there's no need for a mixer.

P.S. I read about what the MiniMix II does. Does it mean that it's only useful if you have signal processors in your effects loop and is not going to make much difference if all I have is the SVC? How about if I use a regular delay pedal?

Mixers are only useful if you're running signal processors in the FX loop. The MiniMix II adds the ability for a second FX unit, allows you to mute the dry signal, and accepts instrument level signals, so I guess you could use a delay pedal with it. I use the regular mixer since I only have one line level FX unit.

Hi Scott

Thanks for keeping up this Q&A activity.

I totally appreciate what you said about downloading. However, there is another perspective to it that people in the US and Europe might not be aware of: the kids in most parts of the world have no way - financial and otherwise - to legally buy music. A CD worth $20, plus shipping, is out of question for most people, especially the kind of people who would listen to that music - musicians, young students. Plus nobody has a credit card to begin with.

This was true back when I was a kid, and it's still true today, at least in Vietnam where I'm from. I imagine it's not too different in other poor parts of the world.

When working in Australia, I bought CDs. Now I'm back to Vietnam, and simply watch youtube. I don't download, but perhaps youtube is just as bad - as far as the artist is concerned.

On one hand, downloading IS stealing, no question about it. On the other hands, without it there are many kids who wouldn't be able to hear all the wonderful music that we love. All my musician friends over here listen to pirate CDs and use free instruction material from the Web, and honestly I don't see an alternative. Most of them earn something like $100 per month, if at all.

This is probably a very weak excuse but I don't know if there is a good solution for it. This is just to offer another view of the matter.

PS. personally I've got 4-5 CDs by you, and hunderds others that are legal. Ah, those were the days ...

Thanks for your letter. This is definitely a legitimate problem and everyone feels it. The last time I took my wife and daughter to a movie, it cost me about 70 bucks. CD prices have been climbing over the years, like gas prices and just about everything else. Manufacturers have a bottom line to keep their companies in business, and have to set their prices according to the times. There's no doubt that it sucks, and I hate being associated with a product that's harder and harder for fans to afford.

It still doesn't seem fair that digital products have become so easy to steal, thanks to foreign criminals who want to see our economy crash and burn. The recording, film and publishing industries are the most affected, and aren't as necessary as food, medicine, transportation, clothing, ect. If criminals were stealing that from us, you can believe we'd be trying harder to shut them down. Food is clearly more important than a CD, but most people would feel less guilty about downloading a free CD than stealing food from a store. I feel the opposite - I need food, I only want a CD.

I can't tell people what to do, I can only speak for myself. I used to buy two or three CD's a week - now I buy about one a month. These are tough times and there are many things I can't buy as often as I did. I'm not going to resort to stealing because the economy sucks - that's only going to make things worse.

Scott hi you ever hang out with Ted Greene? RIP any cool stories?

I took a lesson with him and hung out with him when he was teaching occasionally at GIT. I can only say what everyone says about Ted - he was a true genius. He made some unusual career choices, since most musicians with that level of talent are always making records and touring, but Ted just wanted a quiet life of teaching his students, and as far as I know, he only made one record. It's a great record, but it doesn't even scratch the surface of what Ted was able to do. His harmonic vocabulary was so huge that it seemed endless to me. Not only that, he could improvise with that harmony in an ensemble style, playing the melody, chords and bass at the same time. He could improvise multiple moving lines in the style of classical music, but with modern harmony. What really killed me is when he would play R&B tunes - his time was perfect and he could groove his ass off, while playing some ridiculously complicated shit. Ted was a true master, and in my opinion, no other guitarist has come closer to Zawinul's level of composition through improvising.

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