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Scott answers your questions - round 2.16 - 10/26/10

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StarShip Captain

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

PostPosted: Wed Oct 27, 2010 2:29 am    Post subject: Scott answers your questions - round 2.16 - 10/26/10 Reply with quote

I've just got back from the Scott's concert in Treibhaus, Innsbruck some two hours ago. whenever Scott comes to Austria, i never miss a chance. this year he's touring with the Scott Kinsey Group, whose concert i've seen for the first time.

Kinsey's style reminds me very much of great Zawinul, but still quite independent, unique and creative. i was very much looking forward to see Karim Ziad, and i was totally impressed. i saw Matthew Garrison with John McLaughlin few years ago, and was great as well.

this time, however, i'm dissapointed by Garrison. he was simply way too loud, leaving hardly a space for the band. i was on the center of the first raw, and maybe that was directly on the fireline of his Gallien-Kruger.

i expected more of interplay between the musicians, or anything which catches my attention. i don't know about the rest of the audience, but to me, at least in this evening, Garrison was just blowing the band off and i was quite pissed off about that.

it takes me three hours driving to get there, and another three hours to drive home. if i enjoy the concert, everything is paid off and i'm happy. how could such a gifted musician like Garrison blow it? i hope next year Scott is coming with his Blues Band.

Sorry you had a bad sound, but I don't think it was Matt's fault. He's playing a pretty small one cabinet amp, and that night he was no louder than normal. If you were sitting in the front row, you might not have heard the mix from the PA as well as if sitting further back. Kinsey's stage speakers face sideways so the audience doesn't hear much from those, and I put a lot of guitar in my monitor so I'm not too loud for the soundman. Karim plays pretty soft and needs help from the PA, so if you sit close to the stage with this particular band, I'm not surprised that all you can hear is bass. Also, the Treibhaus is a very live room, and there was too much low frequency in the PA. The whole concert sounded too loud and boomy, and the interplay is never as good on those nights.

I like playing the Treibhaus because the audience is always fun, but sorry, the room just doesn't sound very good. If I had a chance to talk to the owner, I'd tell him to spend about 500 Euros and put up some acoustic panels, at least around the stage. Sometimes club owners get the wrong advice about sound - it's not just about having a great PA. I've seen great PA's in rooms that sound like shit, and all they need is a little work on the acoustics, to cover the hard surfaces which reflect the sound and make the bass uncontrollable and the treble sound harsh. I can take credit for meeting a few of these guys, talking to them about improving the sound, and they actually did it. There are a few rooms in Europe which I used to hate playing in, but now they sound great. Before I did the Live album at La Ve Lee, I talked the owner into putting acoustic foam around the stage, which greatly improved the sound of the room, and the record, plus I got a lot of thanks from the other musicians who played there.

really +1 on all those beliefs you have about religion and pirate downloading;basically i'm trying to find one thing to disagree with you for the shake of it and i can't

That's OK, I'm surprised I haven't received more angry letters.

anyway just a short one,when you say you cut the whammy with a hacksaw,you cut the straight part of it and not the angled?is that right?because you said after you cut it you superglue the plastic knob back.I'm a little confused.Can you clear the process out please?

thank you

I cut about an inch and a half from the tip of the vibrato bar, not the part that goes into the guitar. Then I super glue the plastic tip back on. This adds extra tension so the pitch doesn't change when I hold the bar in my hand, makes it easier to bend notes in tune, and puts the pick on a better sounding area of the string when holding the bar.

Hi Scott.
You have played with a lot a great drummers throughout the years : Steve Smith, Dave Weckl, Gary Novak, Dennis Chambers, Kirk Covington etc...
Could you tell us who are your favorites, and why, and also who would like to work with you haven't played with yet ?

That's a hard one to answer since my favorites would depend on what kind of music I'm playing. I think Kirk is the perfect drummer for Tribal Tech - no one could do it better - but I thought he was sometimes overkill in the chops department for the music in my trio. All the guys you mentioned are excellent and really versatile. I like playing straight ahead jazz more with some, and playing rock and funk more with others. So I can't really say I have a favorite, but I consider myself lucky to have played with these great musicians, and I should also mention Vinny Colaiuta, Mike Baker, Karim Ziad, Alan Hertz, Danny Carey, Gregg Bissonette, Joe LaBarbara, Kenwood Dennard, Steve Houghton, Joey Heredia, Marvin "Smitty" Smith, Land Richards, Ndugu Chancler, Alphonse Mouzon, Joel Taylor, Rayford Griffin, Sonny Emory, Andy Sanesi, Virgil Donati, Danny Gottlieb… all great players. I can think of some more drummers I'd like to play with like Mike Clark, Adam Nussbaum, Zach Danziger, Gene Lake - many others, but especially this guy…

Hi Scott.
Do you think that the sound of the guitar cabinet affected if it's on wheels or not?

Absolutely. Eddie Van Halen even goes so far as to strip off the tolex from the bottom of his cabs so the wood makes direct contact with the floor. I have rubber feet on my cabs and still have plenty of bass, and it's natural bass which I like to get from single coil pickups and 4x12 cabs, not the woofy kind of bass which comes from the bass knob on the amp - I set the bass to 0 on all my amps.

Or if it's on a wood floor or not?

The floor definitely makes a difference. I have a wood floor in my cabinet room and I love the sound in there. Here's a weird story - I used to mic my 4x12 with my 2x12 sitting next to it. Just by accident, I discovered that the 4x12 sounds bigger and has more bass when the 2x12 isn't there, probably because it stops the floor from vibrating as much.

Live, I prefer carpet because hard surfaces make everything loud and boomy, as mentioned above. One of the clubs in Europe I was talking about is the Quasimodo in Berlin. It used to be all hard surfaces on stage - when the drummer hit his snare, even with a light touch, it sounded like a gun went off. I had horrible concerts there until I talked to the owner, who simply laid carpet on the floor of the stage. What a difference - now it's one of the best sounding stages we play.

Scott, what would you recommend as a reliable power supply for your pedal board for a European gig?
Thanks again, PDS

I use batteries - they make pedals sound the best, especially distortion pedals. Use the cheap carbon ones, not alkaline.

Scott, what kind of step-down transformers, if any, could your recommend for use with say a 100 watt Fryette (or similar) rack mounted power amp for a European gig? And if so, what make and wattage would be robust enough?
Thanks, again PDS

To be on the safe side, the transformer should be at least 1000 watts. You need two hands to pick it up.

Scott, any insights you can offer struggling musicians on the safest/most cost-effective way to send your gear overseas? Specifically, can you recommend any good freight forwarding services that can be trusted to get your equipment to Europe in one piece? Thanks, PDS

Back in my rack days, I used Hellmann Worldwide Logistics
They're cheaper than UPS or FedEx, who ship to addresses. Shipping companies like Hellmann ship to airports, where you, or someone you authorize, pick up your stuff. I sent my amp head in an anvil case, a four space rack, and two extremely heavy monitors in an anvil case to Europe, all for about 600 bucks. It usually takes two to three days to clear customs. I used a carnet, which is a set of documents that tells customs the gear won't stay in the destination country, to be sold for instance, but will return back to the US with me. The purpose of a carnet is to make the gear exempt from taxation. If your gear is staying where you're shipping it, be prepared to pay taxes on it, so set the value as low as you think you can get away with.

Getting it there in one piece is your responsibility as well as the shipper. Companies like Hellmann don't offer packing services, so take your gear to a good Box & Ship place - they kick ass with the styrofoam and bubble wrap before they box it. You don't need to box anything that's already in an anvil case - that's plenty enough protection. The shipper just ties everything down to a pallet to ship it, so if it's boxed well, you shouldn't have any problems.

hey scott!! cant wait for the video lesson!! anyway question about that, is the price for 5 lessons or for 1 lessons?

One lesson, but I just looked at how it's worded on the lesson page, and I see how it could be interpreted differently. Sorry, I'll change that.

have you tried Axe-Fx? could be your solution for long distance travel and recording, needs alot of tweaking though, but you seems like a guy that like to tweaks (maybe i'm wrong), dweezil uses it as his main rig, petrucci and vai use it for FX and pete thorn use it as his overseas rig

Check out answers 2.7 and 2.10. Do a search for Axe on both posts.

also regarding the music industry, how do you think it should adapt/embrace to new technology/internet? I think the damaged is done, its not just about stopping illegal download anymore, the younger generation prefer to download than buying CD

I think the future IS downloading - eventually labels will sell their music that way, artwork and all, and CD's will go the way of vinyl. The technology has to improve for that to happen though. There are still plenty of people out there who know that CDs sound better than mp3s, and they'll want the same quality for something they're paying that much money for. Labels have already embraced the Internet by selling on sites like and lowering prices for mp3s on iTunes. However, they'll never embrace being ripped off, and will always fight against "music should be free", the slogan of extremely ignorant people who don't understand that the folks who make and sell music have the same right to earn a living as they do.

I can see the appeal of all the free music out there, and how people view downloading it as a learning experience. I don't see the act of downloading much differently than when Tower Records used to have their "listening post" where people could listen to clips from any CD in the store and buy the CD if they liked the clips. Record labels wouldn't be against downloading if they had the assurance that fans would buy the real thing if they download a CD which they end up listening to on a regular basis. After all, they're buying artwork and better sound quality. I personally don't feel ripped off by someone who downloads my CD, listens to it once, and doesn't like it enough to hear it again. I don't want their money. But a person who really likes my CD, listens to it over and over, knows I'm a real person with a family just trying to make a living, and still won't pay for my music - yeah, I've got a problem with that. I don't like bums, and that person is a fucking bum. Bit torrent sites make their money off the knowledge that bums will never buy the real thing, even if they love it. At this time, the entertainment industry has only one option - continue to fight against the criminals who steal their products.

You're right, the damage has been done, and it's never going back to how it was, but if the MPAA manages to at least shut down the major offenders, it might make a difference. Someone might say, I don't want to waste any more time looking for the illegal version, I'll just buy it.

Hey Scott!! Big fan for many years now. When you downsized from your Bradshaw rig to the pedalboard, was it solely to cut down on transport costs and headaches while touring (and backaches while hauling)? Or was it also to cut down on the lengths of cable in your signal chain, and improve your tone? (Whenever I see racks with pedals in the drawers, each pedal gets 2 cables, which are 1.5-3 feet in length each, in order to allow the drawer to completely slide open. This seems like A LOT of cable to be running before hitting the amp's input.) Or was the cable length in your Bradshaw rig never really an issue for you?

No disrespect for Bob intended, because he's the best there is at what he does, but I realized even though I liked the way his system gave me random access to all my sounds, my smaller rig sounds better. Bob's system uses a lot of cable which muddies up the tone, and that has to be fixed with a buffer in the rack. I don't like buffers because they add their own color. They restore the treble, but along with a very high tweeter-like treble which sounds kind of fizzy with high gain. Also, the pedals sound better with batteries than AC power, and now that my pedals are all true bypass, the rack loops are no longer needed. I can fit my pedalboard, FX and cables into a regular suitcase which I can bring on the plane. The Bradshaw rig had to go with cargo, which was a pain in the ass since it meant an extra trip to the airport, and the gear had to sit in customs for a couple days. The only downside is, now I have to do the pedal dance again, just like I did in high school. No biggie, I'm playing looser music these days and have plenty of time for switching sounds.

Also, you've previously mentioned that you have many great pedals at home, such as a TZF and a Moog Ring Modulator. Do you ever wish you had access to these in your rig while touring, or do you feel that any added nuance from these pedals (versus your SE70) can't really be heard onstage anyway, and that they're best saved for recording?

I'd love to have those pedals on the road, but they're just too big. They blow away the cheap sounding ring mod and flanger in the SE-70, and it's not a subtile difference. But I have to think about overweight and portability, so those wonderful pedals have to stay at home.

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