Joined: 14 May 2004
Location: Boulder, CO
|Posted: Wed Dec 15, 2010 8:52 pm Post subject: Scott answers your questions - round 2.19 - 12/15/10
Blues is generally considered simple music because it's harmonically not as challenging as jazz or fusion. But blues has the challenge of creating interesting melodies and licks with good phrasing, tone and feel; regardless of whether one plays simple or elaborate.
I love to listen to the masters of blues with a more traditional approach, but I also find it very interesting to hear accomplished improvisers like yourself, Pat Metheny, Herbie Hancock or Robben Ford on a context of a simple three-chord blues.
So this leads us to my guestion(s).
How about writing one or two blues tunes on your next album?
Or do you ever write (or could you ever think of writing) with a plan, like "Now I'll try to write a rock tune"?
Also, as your albums seem coherent in material, how strict are you about artistic integrity within an album?
For example, if you had mostly written fusion-oriented tunes for next album, could you consider putting blues tunes on the same record?
I am much obliged for your response.
| From my perspective, my albums aren't coherent in material at all compared to other people's records. On Well To The Bone for example, there's fusion, blues, rock, country… I have no problem putting a blues on the next record, even though it'll be instrumental. The only time I plan on what to write is after I get five or six tunes done - then I start looking at the album as a whole to see what's missing. If there's too much harmony, which there usually is because I get carried away sometimes, I'll write some vamp type tunes or some blues. It's hard to do an album and ignore my favorite twelve bar progression! |
hey scott, few q's:
1. what is playing "melodicly" means to you? is it playing motif/ideas? playing through the changes? etc? what makes person A playing is very melodic but person B is not melodic?
| Playing motifs and developing them is one way to create melody, but it's not the only way. Good improvisers can create melodies because they've spent time listening to the greats do it - that's art, not science, which makes it difficult to teach. Listening is the only way to learn. I'd say if person B is not melodic, then he doesn't want to be, or hasn't done enough listening to players who are. |
2. in your own opinion, what is jazz? what constitute as "jazz"?
| Maybe fifty years ago that would be an easy question to answer, but today, jazz music has been mixed with just about every other kind of music. It's still based on improvisation, but aside from that, the word jazz could apply to many styles of music. I wouldn't give it a black and white definition. |
3. back when you're younger, do you practice 10hrs a day? if so, what do you practice?
| I never paid much attention to how long I practiced a day. As much as I could - sometimes all day, sometimes an hour. I practiced the usual stuff - scales & modes, chord tones, etc, mixed with a LOT of transcribing. |
4. there is no doubt that your tone, phrasing etc is really "you", i can identify you in a matter of seconds. How did you ended up with your sound (tone+phrasing)? was it a conscious decission that you want to sound like yourself and not like other people(ie: your heroes)?
Pat Metheny said that for him it was a conscious decission by him not to sound like Wes, as much as he loved Wes. I think Wayne Krantz also said the same thing, he pretty much locked himself up for a few years I think, try to re-learn everything and make his own sound.
How was it for you? what was the process?
| I've been influenced by so many players, it would be difficult to sound like only one of them. Thanks for the compliment - glad you can recognize my playing, but I can hear my heroes in everything I play. Maybe you don't hear that as much because many of them aren't guitarists. |
I went to the last show of SA tour in Cordoba Arg and man... what a great show! I can not believe you are not playing with Berlin and Chambers in the US. What the hell is wrong with people around there!?!
| Glad you enjoyed the show! There are fans in the states, just not enough of them to make decent money on a tour. |
Show was awesome despite it started late (thank god someone paid the private plane). You all seen to be having a great time and I have to say that I'm surprise about how many fans you have here! Definitely, though we love Dennis and Jeff, you were the atacction of the night. We had the best time ever. Any real plans for cd/dvd with that trio?
| We're planning to record a CD, but we have to wait until the Tribal Tech album is out for awhile because it'll be for the same label. |
Jeff jokes were great and it was funny seeing how he was talking about you and you didn't undestand what he was saying. Chambers is a monster.
You were a couple of days in Arg, did you have to chance to know something or doing something funny?
Can´t wait for your new cd with TT and I hope to see you around here again pretty soon.
| Dennis, Jeff and I are huge comedy fans, so anytime the three of us get together, it's laughs 24/7. That day in Nuequen when our flight was cancelled and we were sitting in our rented apartment, thinking there would be no gig in Cordoba, I took advantage of Dennis's bottle of Jack Daniels and got pretty wasted, so that was funny since I don't drink much at all. Despite the knowledge that we were about to loose a lot of money, we sat around all day laughing at our YouTube clips (and taking them down), eating very weird hamburgers, and joking about our totally fucked situation. We were shocked when we learned the promoter hired a private plane. I used to fly Cessna's when I was a kid, but it really messed with my ears so I stopped - I was surprised that this little two engine prop plane didn't bother my ears at all, so after some coffee I was ready to play - that was our last show and one of the most fun gigs of the tour. |
If you didn't have your current live set up and equipment funds were tight, would you consider using a Line 6 POD for live gigs? It's nice to be able to change from a modeled Plexi to a Fender, etc. if you need a wide variety of sounds as most of us do. Plus, volume is almost always an issue. I wonder what your current pedalboard would sound like going through the Line 6 Plexi model.
| Through a POD, no. I used to use one until I heard a Korg PX5D. I never rent amps for workshops anymore - I plug my guitar into the PX5D, plug that into my MacBook Pro, and into the PA. Instant amp and backing tracks.
Scott Kinsey doesn't have a room for recording a loud amp at his studio, so I couldn't use my amp or we'd have major bleed into the drum mics. I used my PX5D for the whole Tribal Tech basic tracks session. I'll replace a lot of it with my real amp tone, but some of it is good enough to keep as is. There's more about the PX5D in 2.10.
It seems that sending long cables from the amp's FX loop all the way to the front of the stage for your volume pedal/knob would cause tone degredation. Adding these two units at the end of your pedal board would result in far less cable usage overall. Do you make the long cable runs from the FX loop because the FX loop comes after your pre-amp, so it's less of a concern? Or because your FX loop is (presumably) +4 line level, so long cable runs don't negatively affect the tone?
| A volume pedal before the preamp isn't a good idea since it doesn't just affect the volume, but the gain as well. In the FX loop, the gain isn't affected. I use my guitar volume to adjust the gain, and the volume knob/pedal strictly for volume. There's only about 25 feet of cable overall (going and coming back) and +4 signal doesn't loose tone nearly as much as -10 instrument signal.
I did a test in my studio - I recorded a track with my amp, distortion pedal and two very short cables. Then I recorded a track with the whole rig, five true bypass pedals and wah, mixer, FX, long cables out to the volume controls, everything. That track was a slight bit darker, so I recorded another track with the amp presence turned up from 6 to 6.5, and then I couldn't hear a difference in the tracks. Actually I keep the presence on 6 when I play live because I've found that live PA's are always brighter than my studio.
Hi Scott, and thanks for answering all our questions!
Are you going to NAMM in january?
| Probably just one day. |
Are there any plans for concerts during the NAMM show?
| I'm playing at the Baked Potato on Jan 13 and Alva's on Jan 16. |
I am really looking forward to the ne Tribal Tech album..Can you say anything about what we can expect?
| We got great basic tracks, and we've picked our favorite 10 from over 30 jams. Now we're in the process of creating cool stuff on top of the jams - no idea of what it will finally sound like yet. |
How do you like Greg Howe's guitar playing?
..Again thanks for your time!
| No disrespect to Greg intended, because of course he's an amazing player, with much more ability on the guitar than I have, but I don't listen much to guys that play a lot of notes. My favorite rock guitarist is Jeff Beck, and my favorite sax player is Wayne Shorter. There are thousands of guitarists and sax players who have 10 times the chops of those guys, but chops isn't what I listen for in music. I listen for melodic and creative playing, and tone. |
I'm looking at a really wild ring modulator
and a really sweet wah pedal. I can only afford one though!
Which of these will make me a more manly man?
| You'll be a more manly man with the wah since chicks are attracted to that sound. They run away in fear at the sound of a ring modulator. |
Question number two (indiscretion included) - being a northern
neighbor of Macedonia, I sometimes find myself in paralyzing fear
of their musical heritage.
Have you explored it? How about Joe Z? Has anything Balkansy
(other than your wife) ever inspired you?
| No, I haven't heard much Balkan music, even married to a Macedonian girl. She listens mainly to classical music and jazz, but once in a while she plays music from her home country. Joe Z was influenced more by African music than Balkan, though he started as a musician by playing folk music, and when I heard him play that music, especially on accordion, it sounded to me like it's roots could be Russian, or somewhere in eastern Europe. |
Hi Scott I just watched a Gary willis video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_oBJlE5qNc&feature=BF&list=PL7A61F14EDC93FDB1&index=47) and is really interesting his aproach to right hand playing. Any comment on that? He seen to play so effortlessly. Another player that seen to play effortlesly is Alan Holdworth. I'm trying to play with less tension ad effort. Any advice about this?
| Sorry, I don't know anything about Willis's bass technique, only that he sounds great! Go to the Index under TEACHING and you'll fine a lot of things I've written about confidence and relaxation while playing. |
hey scott, i've been reading zawinul biography, in a silent way, and he sure does have lots of stories to tell!!!
havent finished it yet, but did your name mentioned there? i have to keep reading, very interesting
| I've been meaning to read that, I'm sure it's great. My name is in the index, but I have no idea what was said about me. If I was writing the book, I'd probably say that Joe couldn't possibly find a sax player to replace Wayne Shorter so he decided to use guitar instead, and since I or any other guitarist he hired doesn't play as good as Wayne, the Zawinul Syndicate was never as good as Weather Report. |
anyway, me and the wife were driving home the other day, listening to, I think, A remark you made or In a silent way, from weather report 8:30 album, so I told her how beautiful shorter's playing was, and she just said: " is he better than kenny G?"!!! i had a heart attack!!!!
the next statement was more shocking "isnt kenny G the best in the world?"!! i almost faint!
so i educate her straight away and told her never to mention that again in public or i will have to divorce her, lol
| Wow, I can't even imagine comparing Wayne Shorter to Kenny G. It's like comparing Dr. Martin Luther King to a cockroach. I think your wife owes you breakfast in bed for at least a couple months. |
Hi Scott I Have audio+book lesson from you, and i want to ask some questions. In the opening
there's paragraph : "A lot of the the jazz I heard in high school just sounded like a blur of notes to me,' says Henderson. "It didn't hold my attention. Then I Heard Miles and Wayne Shorter and knew these guys had the sense not to play a million notes and have the next guy come up and do the same thing. To me, the great bands have a sense of space and melody in their music, as well as a sense of adventure.
1. what is meaning of "have the next guy come up and do the same thing"?
| Sometimes in traditional jazz, there are many soloists in one song, usually horn players, with very little variation in the rhythm section between solos. This is my least favorite kind of jazz, and I get tired of listening to horn players lined up one after the other over the same background - sounds like some kind of contest to me. In the music of Miles Davis, especially the band with Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams and Ron Carter, the soloists played with much more space, and the rhythm section often played completely different feels behind each soloist and were much more experimental and creative. This new concept was very original and innovative at the time, and put Miles in a category all his own. That same concept was borrowed from Miles by Wayne Shorter and Joe Zawinul in the beginning stages of Weather Report, and even though their approach became more compositional later, the improvising influence of Miles Davis remained throughout the history of the band. |
2. what is meaning of "as well as a sense of adventure"?
| Creativity and experimentation. |
and in the closing there;'s a paragraph : Finally my suggestions for this lesson is take it slow! Work on one concept at a time. Instead of just playing the scales or arpeggio up and down, try to create melodies with them and incorporate rhythmik ideas. In other words, make them song
like. Everything you study should be put into the context of a tune , so you can develop your phrasing and musicality as well. Often when players try to expand their vocabulary, it comes at the expenses of their playing. So try to practice the ideas in a musical way. etc
3. what is meaning of "Often when players try to expand their vocabulary, it comes at the expenses of their playing"?
| Learning licks from other players can make you sound like you're just playing quotes instead of playing your own ideas in context within the music. If you learn a lick, you also need to learn how to play into it and out of it seamlessly, so it doesn't sound like a detached idea. Also, learn to change it rhythmically and modally to make it sound more like your own, and most importantly, work on one idea at a time in the context of a song and don't try to learn too many licks at once. I tell my students, one new idea a week is plenty, because learning it is the easy part - making it sound musical in a solo takes time. For most people, even a week isn't enough. |
4. what do you mean when you said "Everything you study should be put into the context of a tune". It is meaning when we learn something like a lick we should practice to try experiment plug these ideas in standard tune (all the things you are, dolphin dance,etc), until it comes naturally instead just practise in isolate progressions like II-V-I in 12 key?
| Practicing new ideas over ii V I progressions or over standards is the same to me, since most standards are just a bunch of ii V I's strung together. A one chord vamp is fine too. The point is to practice it over music, not just by itself. |
5. there's a post in your forum from RJ7 "I sat in a jam session with Scott at G.I.T. There were about 8 of us. They would play a jazz progression and go in a circle and just improvise. At the beginning when it was Scott's turn he would blow out this stuff that was like YUK!!! This SUCKS!!! But as the session went on he started hitting this really cool stuff.
It turned out that he was "focusing" on playing diminished triads over the changes. He was experimenting right there as we went. Just messing around and learning what sounded good. Making the licks his."
are you trying to practice/experiment plug those "diminished triads" ideas in context of standard tune progression?
| I practice any new idea over standards, ii V I's, vamps, my own tunes, whatever. The important thing is to make the new idea sound like it's in context within your improvising, over any progression or vamp. If it still sounds detached when you play it, you haven't really learned it yet. Your fingers may have learned it, but there's still a big leap to using it in a musical way. |
1. How do you like the Blues Junior? If you had one, would you put a 25W Greenback in it? (I realize a downside is no effects loop)
| I've never heard one, but it's only 15 watts so I'd put a Greenback in it. |
2. How would a set up work (a la Larry Carlton) where you mic'd your amp and went through a mixer, put your delays/reverbs on at the board, and used one output of the mixer to some monitors for your stage sound and sent a second identical output to the main board?
| I'm not crazy about that idea since mixers color the sound - it's bad enough having to go through the house mixer, which often isn't very good. John Suhr's mixer which I use to add FX to my live rig, is very transparent mainly because it has no potentiometers, but it doesn't have multiple outputs either.
I just did a short tour in Europe where there was no budget for gear, so I played through a rented Marshall DSL. I always put some guitar in my monitor since I don't want my cabinet to be too loud for the soundman, but because the amp was dry, I also put some delay from the board in the monitor too. It was a little weird to have a totally dry sound in the back and wet in front - I like using the amp FX loop more.
Just a tip about that - I've heard guys like Mike Landau say they don't like FX loops, and for years Mike always floated his FX in separate stereo cabinets. (see answers #29), but when mixers like Bradshaw's and Suhr's became available, Mike started using his FX loop. What I've noticed is, even with a mixer, if you put too much information in the FX loop, it can compromise your tone. I've tried it all - reverb with delay, two tap delays, multi tap delays… now I use the simplest thing possible, which is just one 450 ms delay tap with a tiny bit of feedback, or for some tunes, a little reverb only. That doesn't seem to screw with my tone, whereas all the other things I tried did.
3. Do you ever use a high-quality mic preamp live?
| No, though I'm sure it would improve my tone. I just don't want to carry my Neve 1272 on the road. |
Do you like Fender Twin amps? I know you don't like red knob, but what with others (i.e. blackface 65 vintage/ reissue or new twin reissues) I saw Rosenwinkel and Adam Rogers plays on them (they sounded great as always) but i am curious if that amp is only good for jazz/ clean sound rather than blues/fusion.
(btw i don't like roland jazz chorus either but again - heard John Abercrombie played one - and it works for him, i enjoyed his playing/ sound - maybe its about 80% hands and mind and 20% gear?
| I saw Kurt play one and he had a great tone, but I haven't played through a Twin in many years, so I don't know if they work well with distortion. |
I don't know if this round of questions will get to you in time, but I'm going to be stopping in LA on the evening December the 21st on my way to a gig. I've never gotten to see you live, so if you're playing that night I would really appreciate knowing where!
| Sorry, no gigs in LA until NAMM week. |
I'm a little confused on the issue of "8 ohms sounds better than 16 ohms". Does this have to do with the output impedance of the amp, the impedance of the speaker (or the speaker cab) or both?
| The impedance of the amp. |
Are you talking about impedance mismatch, as having only an 8 ohm speaker output on an amp and connecting a 16 ohm speaker into that?
| No, that's just wrong and can cause damage to the amp. |
Or do you mean that although an amplifier has separate speaker outputs for different impedances, it sounds best connecting an 8 ohm speaker to the 8-ohm speaker output?
| Yes, because the amp's transformer sounds better at 8 ohms than at 4 or 16. |
When checking on frequency curves and other data on the same speaker model with different impedances, one will notice variation.
Do you hear general difference in tone between 8 ohm and 16 ohm models and which do you prefer?
Thank you very much for answering our questions.
| People who know more about speakers than I do say there's no difference in sound between the 8 and 16 ohm version of the same speaker. Let's say you have one 16 ohm Greenback in a 1x12 cab. The only way to run that speaker properly is by setting your amp to 16 ohms. Now you want to hear if the Greenback 8 ohm version sounds better. If you leave your amp set to 16 ohms, it won't sound good because you've got a mismatch. If you change your amp to 8 ohms, it's not a test for the speaker anymore because you've changed the way your transformer is working, affecting the tone of the amp.
I use 8 ohm speakers in my 4x12 cab so it runs at 8 ohms. I use 16 ohm speakers in my 2x12 cab so it also runs at 8 ohms. The difference in tone between running the amp at 8 or 16 isn't about the speakers, but about using different taps on your amps's transformer.